Operation Overcast 1945 Pt II

Bit of a different Flames of War 20mm scenario this time for the Thanksgiving holiday period. WR decided to play another scenario game on the same terrain setup for his recent HMGS-PSW convention Operation Overcast May 1945 game, especially since he hasn’t returned the majority of the terrain pieces to their proper storage. Being also interested in a holiday Thanksgivings game or more correctly worded as a “TanksGiving” scenario using a “TankFest” format….. ie.. a lot of tanks driving about on the large tabletop setting. With the tabletop terrain design done…. pulling out the month old Operation Overcast scenario map for the 16×6 foot table san German equipment, WR only needed to figure out the American and Soviet tank forces for each side, based upon his present 20mm late war collection availability, and the placement of initial tabletop units and arriving reserve units. Motto simple…. lots of tanks. WR has tanks!

View from the southern end of the table. Former Camp Dora at lower left, the Mittelwerk rocket factory, the old V-1 launch ramp, and aerodrome in top distance.

Opposite table view from northern end. Kummerdorf II camp or former military testing grounds and the aerodrome base. WR likes his electrical transmission towers and power sub-station.

Scenario map for tabletop: Same as the former Operation Overcast 1945 scenario. Just the German units and hardware equipment has been removed. Terrain map notes as follows: 1) the Mittelwerk mountain factory is three teams wide within the mountain if combat occurs. Consider the factory floor terrain to be similar to large buildings with four equal size “rooms or areas” within the factory mountain. Vehicles can drive through the mountain at normal unit speed, in single column, but no double movement. 2) The three fuel tanks have some fuel and will burn if successful 4+ FP hit result. A permanent smoke cloud will burn 12″ around the burning tanks till end of scenario. 3) The V-1 launcher ramp has concrete side walls and provides BP cover. 4) The electrical transmission towers and substation are not live with electrical current and provide no cover for concealment but do slow movement for the fence like barbed wire. 5) Radar tower is just for show. 6) Chain link fencing is similar to barbed wire sections for movement and unit crossing.

The entire 16′ x 6′ table map. Each map square is 12″ by 12″. The Mittelwerk mountain tunnel is assumed to be three teams wide if any combat occurs in the former mountain V-2 factory. Americans control the bottom half of scenario map. The Soviets enter from top edge of map.

Scenario Premise: The previous WR Operation Overcast 1945 Flames of War 20mm scenario had two component parts. The first was the search and collection of late war German technology by the Americans and Soviet special “intelligence” task forces or platoons. The Americans by their JIOA Operations Group teams and the Soviets teams from the Special branch NKVD, directly under orders of Uncle Stalin. The second part was the confrontation phase, leading to direct offensive action between the two major powers. In the end, the Americans won the battlefield but the Soviets were more successful extracting the German hardware technology, the German scientists and technicians, and rounding up the former Camp Dora ex-rocket factory technicians. During the first Operation Overcast 1945 scenario there was German hardcore fanatic SS teams, Gestapo teams, and former prisoner guards on the tabletop to interfere with the actions of the American and Soviets.

For this Operation Overcast Part II scenario the Germans are long gone from the tabletop battlefield, the advanced military hardware has been collected and hauled away, and the German refugees and former Camp Dora prisoner workers transported to other regions of safety. The Soviets are returning to the former battlefield as part of a major Soviet armored attack on the American central european army. They are confronted by a similar American armored forces and the “TankFest” scenario starts with that premise. Continue reading

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Battle of Halle 1806 AAR

Back on November 18th, or two weekends ago, WR ran his Battle of Halle 1896 scenario on the warren gaming tables. The outcome and AAR below covers the close action of the Prussians trying to fight their way northward and the two-step French process of seizing the Hohe Brücke covered bridges then their attempted breakout to block the Prussian Reserve Command from exiting the tabletop on the Dessau road.

After introductions and a brief pre-game discussion on the Halle scenario, both player teams (six players) set about the scenario opening turns. The background WR report for this interesting 1806 campaign battle can be read here: Battle of Halle 1806

Opening situation has the French I Corps under Marshal Bernadotte arriving and preparing to attack the Prussian outpost deployed before the Hohe Brücke covered bridges leading into old town Halle proper. Leading the French Corps is the 1st Division under GD Dupont and alongside is the Corp’s light cavalry brigade under GB Tilly. Following in road march are the two other French infantry divisions: the 2nd Division under GD Rivaud and the 3rd Division under GD Drouet. The forward Prussian Advance guard is commanded by GM von Hinrich while the bulk of the Prussian Reserve command is stationed south of Halle on the eastern side of Saale river. The Prussian Reserve Command consists of two Infantry divisions and a cavalry brigade. The 1st Reserve Division under GM von Natzmer, the 2nd Reserve Division under GM von Jung-Larisch, and the Reserve cavalry brigade under Oberst von Hertzberg.

With the forces positioned to start the scenario, the curtain veil parts with the two sides within artillery bombardment and charge range….

Opening 1000 hours scene. GD Dupont’s 1st Division with GB Tilly light cavalry brigade arrive before the Prussian fusilier outposts at Halle and Hohe Brücke covered bridges.

The rest of the Prussian Reserve command is positioned just south of Halle and in reserve. Their movement is triggered by French movement into Halle or crossing the Saale river. Each rectangular wooden block represents a divisional command.

The Halle 1806 scenario notes file (.doc): Halle 1806 Scenario Notes

Halle 1806 scenario tabletop map. Each map square is 12″ by 12″ to correspond to the tabletop.

Same scenario map for Halle 1806 but with the starting positions marked by the command counters. Arriving commands just on map edge pending scheduled arrival.

Scenario start 1000 hours: French have first movement (side 1) on the tabletop. Before the French Movement phase however, the Prussians have their Cavalry Charge Declaration phase (sequence of play chart at end of this article). So the two small Prussian detachments (dragoons and hussars) sound their trumpets. French morale tests passed, the French unit movement is slowed due to the Prussian charge zone (halved).

Prussian hussar and dragoon detachments open the scenario with their declared cavalry charges. French are not impressed by the token Prussian charge…. but French movement is slowed.

French finish their unit movements. The Prussian small hussar detachment charge home on the 2nd French Hussars during the Shock phase. French counter-charge but lose the sword play brawl for the moment and retire. Continuing their charge, the Prussian hussars impact the maneuvering 5th French Chasseurs in the flank, sending them packing to the rear. Prussians win the first fights. Continue reading

Battle of Halle 1806

In basic summary, the Battle of Halle October 17, 1806 was fought with a French corps led by Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte against the Prussian Reserve command led by Eugene Frederick Henry, Duke of Württemberg. The French defeated their opponents across the river Saale, forcing the Prussians to retreat generally northeast toward Dessau after suffering heavy losses. The city of Halle is located about 30 kilometers northwest of Leipzig, location of the large later 1813 battle, but for this campaign just a march stop by the victorious French army passing through towards Berlin.

Marshal Bernadotte’s I Corps consisted of 19,000 veteran infantry, 1,580 cavalry, and 34 artillery pieces. GD Dupont de l’Etang led 7,000-man 1st Division, GD Rivaud de la Raffinière commanded 6.000-strong 2nd Division, GD Drouet, Comte d’Erlon headed the 6,000-man 3rd Division, GB de Tilly commanded attached corps light cavalry brigade, and GD Eblé commanded I corps artillery reserve cannon. The  French 1st Division consisted of GB Rouyer‘s 9th Legere regiment of three battalions, GB Legendre d’Harvesse’s 32nd and 96th Ligne regiments of two battalions each, and two foot artillery batteries of 12 total guns. The 2nd Division included GB Pacthod‘s 8th Legere regiment of two battalions, GB Maison‘s 45th and 54th Ligne regiments, again of two battalions each, and one horse and one foot artillery battery of 12 total guns. The 3rd Division comprised GB Frère’s 27th Legere regiment of two battalions, GB Werlé‘s 94th Ligne regiment of two battalions, 95th Ligne regiment had three battalions, and one horse and one foot artillery battery of 14 total guns. Note that each infantry division has several small converged 3rd battalion elite company (grenadier and voltiguer) units. GB Tilly’s attached cavalry brigade consisted of the 2nd and 4th Hussar regiments and the 5th Chasseurs à cheval regiment (with GD Drouet for the moment), all of four squadrons each. In the artillery reserve there were one horse and one 12 pdr foot artillery battery of 12 total guns.

Eugene of Württemberg mustered 16,000 Prussian troops in the Prussian Reserve. His Prussian Reserve command included two infantry divisions, an advance guard brigade, and a cavalry reserve. GM von Natzmer’s 1st Division comprised the IR #17 Treskow regiment (detached), the IR #51 Kauffberg regiment, and the #54 Natzmer regiment, all of two musketeer battalions each, Added to the division was the Schmeling and Crety Grenadier converged battalions, and one and a half foot artillery batteries of 12 guns. GM von Jung-Larisch’s 2nd Division consisted of the IR #4 Kalkreuth regiment, the IR #53 Jung-Larisch regiment, and the IR #55 Manstein regiment (two battalions each), plus the Vieregg Grenadier converged battalion, and one and a half foot artillery batteries of 12 guns. GM von Hinrichs‘ Advance Guard brigade, generally positioned to secure the Saale covered bridge crossings, included the Borell Fusilier battalion #9, the Knorr Fusilier battalion #12, and Hinrichs’ own Fusilier battalion #17, two squadrons of Usedom Hussar regiment #10, one squadron of Hertzberg Dragoon Regiment #9, one squadron of Heyking Dragoon Regiment #10, and two 6 pdr. horse artillery pieces. The reserve cavalry command, under Oberst von Hertzberg, comprised the remaining eight squadrons of Usedom Hussar regiment #10, four squadrons of Hertzberg Dragoon regiment #9, four squadrons of Heyking Dragoon regiment #10, and one horse artillery battery of six guns (the other two cannon with advance guard). In total there were 18 battalions, 20 squadrons, and 32 guns.

At the close of the victorious French Jena-Auerstedt October 14th battles, Bernadotte had the ended his day’s march for the divisions of GD Drouet and GD Rivaud near Apolda while GD Dupont’s and the corps artillery remained at Dornburg. The position of Tilly’s light cavalry wasn’t described in WR’s sources but WR assumes they were at Apolda with the forward divisions. On the morning of 15 October, Napoleon instructed Bernadotte and I Corps to march to Bad Bibra, Querfurt, and then onwards to Halle, not knowing the true location of Eugene of Wurttemberg’s Reserve command at the time his orders were sent. By the morning of the 16th Bernadotte’s advance guard was about five kilometers north of Bad Bibra. His scouts and locals reported that the Prussian Reserve lay at Halle and planned his attack for the following day.

Back on 10th October, Eugene was marching to Magdeburg. He received new orders to proceed onwards Halle from the council of war held by the Prussian headquarters. On the 13th October, the Reserve arrived at Halle, with a fusilier battalion at Merseburg to the south and another unknown detachment at Leipzig to the southeast acting as outposts. The detached IR #17 Treskow regiment and some hussars was following his line of march, was at Aschersleben (northwest of Halle), en route from Magdeburg to Halle. Continue reading

Battle of Saalfeld 1806 AAR

Since WR hasn’t the capability to play out the major battles of Jena and Auerstaedt with his expanding Prussian 1806 miniature army yet, he plans to explore the Battle of Halle 1806 next after this AAR write-up on his recent Saalfeld 1806 game. But first, the opening campaign and exciting Battle of Saalfeld between Marshal Lannes and Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia.

Scenario opening positions at 1000 hours. Prussian left flank command (Major Rabenau) deployed before old town Saalfeld wall with Jagers at Garnsdorf. French arriving upper left..

Prussian and Saxon main body command under GM von Bevilaqua marches into position between Saalfeld and Crosten village. Prince Louis of Prussia at left before the Prussian 6th Hussars.

Total view of the scenario tabletop from the eastern view. French arrive from left, the old town of Saalfeld at right, and Prussian Saxon main body mid table.

Saalfeld scenario map drawn to 12″ per square or one inch equals 50 yards. French enter on the lower edge.

Saalfeld scenario map showing the various command counters and starting positions. See Saalfeld scenario notes document (.doc) for details.

For complete details of the Saalfeld 1806 battle and scenario files, please proceed to the Saalfeld 1806 articles recently posted:  Battle of Saalfeld 1806 and the Preparation for Saalfeld.

1000 hours: Opening scenario turn. Team France (Daniel and Luis) have first movement so they immediately assault the village of Garnsdorf starting the scenario within striking distance. Two battalion columns from the 17th Legere are sent against Garnsdorf. The separate small 3rd battalion, formed from the converged elite companies, is sent to skirmish and prevent any Prussian counter response. Deploying from road column, the leading 21st French Chasseurs a’ cheval regiment forms line backing the skirmishers. More French hussars arrive trotting down the Grafenthal to Saalfeld road, followed by their attached small 4 pdr. horse artillery detachment under Lt. Simonnet. Prussian Valentini jagers quickly abandon the Garnsdorf village, odds of 9:1 are well beyond their capability to resist. Major Rabenau deploys up his fusilier battalions across the low-rise Lerchen Hugel while the arriving 6th Hussars are directed to threaten the French downslope advance, joining the left flank Saxon Hussar detachment.

Prussian Saxon main body starts to deploy from battalion columns as the Prussian trains retire westward.

Continue reading

Battle of Saalfeld 1806

Another FRW / Napoleonic Imperial era campaign period and change of scenery. From the dry lands of the Levant and Italy. WR now looks forward to new military formations, unit names, old school commanders, forests, wet weather, muddy roads, and later on maybe a blizzard on the tabletop. All earmarks of the 1806-07 French, Prussian, and Russian campaign or Wars of the Fourth Coalition. Two months ago WR started preparation for the Battle of Saalfeld 1806 to nudge himself into painting up, organizing, and basing his 1806 era Prussians. WR’s Prussian 1806-07 has been privately labelled or nicknamed the “forgotten army” in the collection but in truth his British army of 1790, 1800, and 1812 era formations are the actual forgotten army, having been mostly painted, even unit organized, and just pending their basing since YR2010. Sometimes projects just go slow in the warren…. and need a bigger nudge to get rolling over the finish line. WR foresees a Peninsular war expansion nudge in his future as he presently has a large Spanish and English allied Portuguese army ready to hold their own on the tabletop while waiting for the British to land in Portugal.

For now it’s the 1806-07 Prussian army’s turn to form up and march across the tabletop. Someplace in the dark, cold, and no doubt snowy forests of Russia (or garage) lurks the Russian 1806-07 28mm miniature army. These allies of Prussia will surely be needed to save the Prussian army from their projected defeat at the hands of the French Grande Armee. But to paint an entire new green coated hoard army…. before the British army in sunny Portugal and Spain? WR will have to turn in his UK passport and identity as an Englishman. Choices for YR2018 painting schedule that WR will have to make…. green or red coats.

Meanwhile, back to the borders of southern Prussia and Saxony. After the weeks of political discussion by men with dusted hair, some written offers or threats, military service call up, and restocking of the fortress magazines, both the French Grand Armee and the Royal Army of Prussia, with their Saxon allies, were only week’s march apart along the southern Prussian / Saxon border. In general the Franconian forest, with its dense woods, hilly terrain, and narrow road passages lay between both armies. The French, with their own Germanic allies, are guided by the golden hand and unified command of Emperor Napoleon and his band of battle-tested Marshals. The Prussians, with their Saxon ally, held councils of war, wrote out long orders, and never really came to unified discussion or purpose of action before joined in conflict on the Jena and Auerstaedt battlefields. For one thing in WR’s favor, unlike some previous era and battles written up, the campaign of 1806, and somewhat 1807, is well documented, with much ink printed, discussing the military formation movement, the French command structure vs. the Prussian system… or lack of a system, the leadership characteristics, and minute details of both armies and their marches.

Taking the offensive in true French style, the French Grande Armee crossed the separating Franconian forest region in three grand columns. The main center column had the advance guard cavalry (Murat), I Corps (Bernadotte), 3rd and 4th Dragoon divisions (Beaumont & Sahuc), then III Corps (Davout). Bring up the tail end of the center column is the Imperial Guard, massed heavy cavalry divisions of D’Hautpoul and Nansouty, the 1st Dragoon division (Klein) and presence of Napoleon and his Imperial headquarters. The right column had IV Corps (Soult) and VI Corps (Ney) securing the eastern approaches and heading for Hof and then maybe threaten Dresden. The left column had V Corps (Lannes) and VII Corps (Augereau) directed towards Saalfeld then later on Jena. First to encounter the Prussians and Saxons, the center column advance guard cavalry, led by Marshal Murat, and Bernadotte’s light cavalry of I Corps encounter their Prussian – Saxon foes near the town of Schleiz.

West Point atlas early 1806 campaign map showing the three French ‘grand’ columns marching into Prussian-Saxon territory.

The Battle of Schleiz took place on October 9, 1806, between a Prussian-Saxon division under GM Bogislav Friedrich Emanuel von Tauentzien marching to rejoin Hohenlohe’s army near Jena, and leading infantry division (of Marshal Bernadotte I Corps) under the command of Jean-Baptiste Drouet, Comte d’Erlon and some leading cavalry regiments, led personally by Marshal Murat. It was the first clash of many in the War of the Fourth Coalition.

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brushing aside minor pickets and seizing a bridge crossing, the first significant clash occurred between the troops of Marshal Bernadotte and GM Tauentzien occurs near the Oschitz Wood, a belt of forest which lies south of the town of Schleiz. Marshal Bernadotte ordered GB François Werlé to clear the forest to the left as GD Drouet’s division advanced on Schleiz. In the thick woods, the infantry (27th Legere leading, supported by 94th and 95th Ligne, moved ahead while Watier’s cavalry regiments followed behind. GB Werlé’s advance guard entered and took possession of the woods but was prevented from continuing on by a Prussian force encountered under GM Rudolf Ernst Christoph von Bila. By 2:00 pm, the French were in growing strength and GM Tauenzien decided to abandon Schleiz, retiring to his supports further northwest. The Prussian division fell back to the north covered by GM Bila’s rear guard of one infantry battalion and one and a half cavalry regiments. GD Drouet attacked Schleiz at 4:00 pm and drove out the last of the Prussians. North of the town, Marshal Murat charged the rear guard with the 4th Hussar regiment, but this attack was repulsed by the Prussian fresh horsemen (Bila 11th Hussars and Saxon Pz. Johann Chevaulegers). When the 5th Chasseurs à Cheval regiment arrived with light infantry support, Marshal Murat pressed back Bila’s troops to the woods north of Oettersdorf where the action basically ended for the day.

Earlier and before the opening morning volleys, GM Tauentzien had sent Major Hobe with one battalion, one squadron, and two guns to Crispendorf about six kilometers west of Schleiz. Major Hobe’s assignment was to guard the right flank and maintain communications with GM Schimmelpfennig’s 6th Hussars in Pößneck, who was linking the front outpost chain to Prinz Louis near Saalfeld further on. When GM Tauenzien began to fall back, Major Hobe’s detachment retreated to the northeast to rejoin his division. Near Pörmitz, a village roughly four kilometers north of Schleiz, the detachment found itself caught between Marshal Murat’s cavalry and one of GD Drouet’s battalions. Attacked in a marshy forest, Major Hobe’s force was badly mauled and lost one of its cannons. Most of the losses in the battle were from Hobe’s luckless detachment. The Prussians and Saxons lost 12 officers and 554 rank and file killed, wounded, captured, and missing, as well as one artillery piece captured for the day’s fighting. French losses are unknown to history but probably light. For the central French Grande Armee column, the engagements around Schietz ended active combat till the Battles of Jena / Auerstaedt on October 14th. Continue reading

Operation Overcast 1945

WR’s large YR2017 HMGS-PSW regional convention scenario this time was an early version of Operation Overcast, a Flames of War post-war scenario with three not two active sides on the tabletop. The scenario premise has the war just recently ended and distrustful tensions between the allied armies are subdued for the moment by their victory over Nazi Germany. Within days the American Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) and Soviet Intelligence Special Branch (NKVD) teams are racing around unoccupied southern Germany seeking the very scientists, technicians, technical drawings, and actual prototypes of the advanced late war German technology. The winner of this “data collection and personnel roundup effort” will have a tremendous technology lead, placing their nation in the forefront and well positioned as the Cold War hostility reveals itself later.

Operation Overcast May 1945 scenario map showing the four general sectors. (L to R): Kummerdorf II, Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren, Mittelwerk, and Camp Dora zones. Table size is 16’x6′

The scenario notes for the game (.doc file): Operation Overcast 1945 Scenario notes

The scenario 16×6 tabletop viewed from the Mittelwerk end. Camp Dora situated at left.

Scenario tabletop from the Kummerdorf II table end. Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren in upper background. The Kummersdorf annex are the buildings upper left in photo.

The central Filegerhorst Kaufbeuren with the advanced German aircraft and missiles scattered about the aerodrome. The former Lionel radar tower atop the low hill at right.

Mittelwerk zone shows the Mittelwerk mountain V-2 factory tunnel entrance, the V-1 launch ramp and assembly building. Rocket test launch pad off photo at left.

Mittelwerk V-2 test launch pad for the advance testing of V-series rockets.

Camp Dora compound. Camp Dora prisoners are the workforce for Mittelwerk V-2 rocket factory. Two hut buildings, a barracks, and the “cooler” makes up the corner of Camp Dora pictured.

Electrical power substation for the Kummerdorf II technical factories. Rare to see electrical transmission towers on a tabletop wargame. Rarer still an electrical substation.

Another view of Kummerdorf II zone. WR loves his electrical transmission towers on the tabletop.

Well, the tabletop scene has been described and shown. Now to report the Act I of the scenario; the search by the three American JIOA and three Soviet NKVD platoons as they enter the tabletop. Note: WR used only three teams for each side at the convention. The full scenario calls for four JIOA and NKVD teams on each side.

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HMGS-PSW 2017 Convention

HMGS-Pacific SouthWest or PSW recently held their regional convention at California State University Fullerton in conjunction with the Orange Con International Plastic Modellers Society (IPMS) convention (Sept 30th-Oct 1st). WR ran two scenario games at the convention, the large Flames of War “Operation Overcast May 1945 Americans vs. Soviet” game using his 20mm collections, and a much smaller Battle of Saalfeld 1806 French vs. Prussians event in 25/28mm. WR is in the process of sorting photos and remembering the event of the day for his two events. Full reports to come shortly. In the meantime, here are some photos of the tabletop games with their event GM’s verbiage from the PEL.

2017 HMGS-PSW PEL

Operation Overcast May 1945 U.S. vs Soviet Union. GM – Michael and Daniel Verity. Rules – Flames of War Ver3.0 MRB using WR’s 20mm miniatures instead of the normal 15mm. Description – Russo-American “technology grasping” scenario. Basic plan or scenario has three “four area zones” of German technological research, each with the latest modeled German late war drawing board stuff, their technical staff running about, and some diehard Nazis teams to mess up the works. Americans and Soviets enter the table from several points of entry, seek out the “technical stuff, or better, the technical staff teams, and quickly exit the board with their loot or captives, then return for more. The Nazis teams of course with aim for their German “traitors” and there will be conflict as to which side grasp what or “desires” what the other side is trying to escape with, and “push the gun barrel” and “loud shooting” which could lead to a shooting misunderstanding. They of course will call in their supports if threatened…

If interested, the Operation Overcast May 1945 preparation for this event scenario is written up on Wargamerabbit.

One end of the tabletop showing the Mittelwerk mountain factory, Camp Dora at left, and the V-1 and V-2 launching sites with model of rockets. The central aerodrome in distant.

The other end of the table showing the Kummersdorf II Panzer proving grounds and distant aerodrome above. Electrical transmission towers a nice touch and different terrain.

The central aerodrome with all the latest in Luftwaffe technology on display for the active American and Soviet researching teams transiting the tarmac.

A SS team opens fire on trucks carrying German scientist and technician “traitors” while American Pershing platoon looks on.

Later in scenario the Americans come under heavy Soviet artillery bombardment while securing the Kummersdorf II buildings.

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