Battle of Gaza 1799 revisited

At OrcCon 2017 LAX convention Daniel and WR replayed out the Battle of Gaza 1799 scenario featured in WR back in 2011. Same scenario format, the tabletop action lasted for twenty turns of back and forth miniature conflict, out of the twenty-one scheduled scenario turns. Mid game WR had Daniel on the ropes after a grand mameluke cavalry charge, but in the end the French, having higher morale and combative abilities won out. Following is the blow by blow narrative for those interested. This scenario game really shows the back and forth action common for our napoleonic (republican) era games.

Opening scenario deployments. Levant Ottomans at left in Gaza and on the background low-rise. Arriving French at right crossing the Gaza wadi.

GD Lannes infantry command and General Murat’s cavalry cross the Gaza wadi toward Gaza and along the coastal road. March orders for both at start, Murat’s cavalry in battle mode formations.

Levant Ottomans defend Gaza village and the low-rise. Four commands present (l to r): Aga of Jerusalem on rise, Mameluke cavalry, Hassen Aga El Arish, and Adballa Pasha Palestine at Gaza.

The scenario map shows the basic open terrain for scenario. Coastal road to Gaza and beyond to Acre. Palm or fruit orchards, the town or village of Gaza, low rises or hills, and the Gaza wadi. The Mediterranean sea with coastal dunes edge one side of the tabletop. The ridge crest prevent vision across if on the lower ground. Scale to 12″ per square of tabletop, typical for the WR scenario maps.

Gaza 1799 game map. Each square is 12″. full scenario details in scenario notes file.

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Calore River 1943 revisited

Last time WR’s Calore River crossing 1943 scenario was played the Germans eked out a narrow victory. For the Orccon 2017 convention, Daniel (WR’s son) wanted to run the same scenario since he missed the first game. Joined by FOW veteran Bruce, teamed with young Jesse, the scenario replay was hard-fought for ten turns. In the end, a new victor, American or German was determined, but the reader will have to read the AAR… or just scroll down to the final scene.

Scenario starts with the deployment of both sides (FOW meeting engagement mission basically, alternating platoon placement) and the Americans have first move. This is important for the German player to notice and plan his deployment carefully, knowing his exposed platoons will receive immediate American firepower after the American movement step is completed.

Full table with both sides deployment. Germans on left, Americans on right with first movement. Table is 6′ x 8′

A quick recap of the American and German platoons involved in the scenario before the AAR narrative. All the American platoons start on the tabletop, two of the vehicle German platoons are reserves and will arrive on turn two. Specific deployment zone bands are described in the scenario notes file. For a complete scenario background and scenario notes, click on this link: Calore River crossing 1943.  Continue reading

BA in Normandy 1944

Been a busy gaming rabbit for the first month of 2017. Apart from two napoleonic training games in the warren and Bob’s napoleonic game in Redondo Beach, WR had the opportunity, with his son Daniel, to join fellow gamers at MunsonCon II. The featured game was Dan’s 28mm Bolt Action modified (BAm) game on the soil of Normandy 1944. Scenario background had the Americans advancing then encountering a local German counterattack near St. Lo (Normandy). Since the 25/28mm napoleonic training games kept WR busy from photographic opportunities for those scenarios, this report of the BAm scenario shall cover WR January effort to document different gaming locations in the Southern California (Los Angeles) region, i.e. the local events outside the warren.

The St. Lo (Normandy 1944) BAm scenario has Americans vs. Germans walking the tabletop down the central country lane. American regular force consists of the following OOB (Andy and Daniel):  Company HQ leadership with sniper, bazooka team, medic, and radio net and two rifle platoons (PL, SSgt, runner) of three squads each (SL, Cpl, six riflemen). A small detachment of combat engineers ( SL and three engineers) lugging their trade goods with the American advance. Providing close tank support for the infantry are a Sherman M4a3 and Stuart M3a1 while off table, back in the rear lines, two medium M1a2 105mm howitzers stood by on call while during their laundry.

German regular counterattack force OOB (Paul and WR): Company HQ leadership with PzFaust and Panzerschreck teams, SSgt, message runner, and medic. Two rifle Zug (platoon) having Lt, Sgt, runner, and sniper) with three squads consisted of SL, Cpl, Mg42 team and four riflemen each. A small pioneer team rounded out the German infantry component (SL, Cpl, 4 engineers with demo charges and Flammenwerfer). On board mortar support provided by a GrW 36 section (two 81mm mortars and FO). Backup armor support includes a Panther Ausf A and PzJgr Marder I to terrorize the Americans with rumors of “Tigers”.

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The general scenario terrain from the American side. Hedgerow bocage, woods at right, low stone walls and hedges and scattered buildings. Hard to see are the open field “low hill rises” which blocked direct line of sight across the open pastures. Center house at upper right of photo.

Basic deployment notes: American deployed their Company HQ along the road edge, one platoon on each side of the road (in the fields), and had their Stuart advance down the roadway. The M4a1 Sherman deployed with the left platoon, planning to crush the bocage and making gaps for the infantry to advance though. Off table 105mm howitzer crews awaited the first radio call to sight their cannon. The Germans likewise deployed one Zug (platoon) on each side of the road, kept the armor off table for later arrival on the road, and prepared the hedgerow corner with demo charges, to blast a gap, for possible later armor movement into the large open field. Lastly, their 81mm mortar detachment set up on the low-rise behind Paul’s Zug lining the forward hedgerow to the right of the road. Table size is 6′ x 4′ for the scenario.

The day’s photographic effort tells the 28mm Normandy BAm scenario story. Remember that all WR blog photos are 2MB in size, and by clicking on the actual photo, you can expand and enlarge the picture. So… to the report filed by the attached war correspondent photographic teams.

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First movements had the M3a1 Stuart driving down the “wide” roadway… wider than most roads in the Normandy regions it seems. Coming to a bend in the road…. what is ahead?

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WWI Action in France

Recently WR was sent some photos of a WWI scenario by WR’s good friends David and Matthew, based out of Long Beach CA. WR has always enjoyed the 28mm WWI action on David’s tabletop so when David and Matthew set up another scenario this past weekend, WR was bummed he couldn’t drive south and toss dice. Superb tabletop scene with their 28mm WWI terrain, American and German miniature collections are having at it. Hopefully David will provide some colorful written commentary about the scenario and forces involved. Till then, the photos themselves speak of the tabletop action. Photos by David.

Update 01/07/17: Additional photos received from David and posted below. Look for the update photo break for the additional photo files. David’s email comment attached to photos copied below…

…. I should make Mathew’s BC write the after action report… the problem is his colonel is still holed up in the church and coordinating the efforts to take the town. Matthew just cleared the German HMG covering the crossroads. It’s the building with the smoking livery doors. The German crew took a point-blank shot from the French 75 mounted on the Schneider. But being good Germans, one young Soldat crawled back to his post, crewed the weapon and continued to keep the MG08 firing before selling his life dearly for the Fatherland. He continued fighting despite taking fragment wounds from American rifle grenades attacks and multiple .308 rounds before eventually bleeding out. The Kaiser, however, will be awarding him the Iron Cross for pinning down two American platoons for his gallantry displayed. A credit to the fighting spirit of the Imperial Army.

Miniatures: Germans are Renegade and Great War figures. Americans are a mix of Brigade and Great War.

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Calore River crossing AAR

Having written up the recent Salerno invasion “Crossing Calore River 1943” sscenario, it is time to play test the scenario with an actual Flames of War 20mm tabletop game. The scenario is based upon the efforts of 2nd Battalion, 179th RCT to advance across the shallow Calore river, march to block German access to Highway 19 near Serre, and link up with the rest of their 179th RCT taking a different route towards Ponte-Sele and Serre villages.

Scenario background and write-up article link: Crossing Calore River 1943 and scenario notes file (.doc) Calore River crossing 179th RCT scenario notes

To the scenario commentary. Start off with a quick view of the scenic scenario tabletop and suggestive platoon deployment. The scenario notes (.doc) file describes the platoon initial placement in map row assignment or specific map square, so the actual placement is freely determined by the players…. within the assigned map rows or actual map square location. Generally, the terrain is mostly open rolling ground dotted with low hedges, crop fields providing infantry concealment, a few farm buildings, and river or hill slope bushy zones. Woods are near the table edges except for one near the destroyed bridge – ford. The river is crossable for foot or vehicle, being low water flow during late summer, but does reduce vehicle movement.

For the players…. Paul, a seasoned German player, Luis a new-bee with the FOW system, backed by WR to coach him in the finer points of dice rolling. Daniel called to work at last minute.

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The Calore River crossing scenario on 8×6′ table. Both sides have deployed their starting units or platoons per scenario notes. Placement has some latitude and only suggestive in this photograph.

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Scenario map drawing with 12′ marked squares. Total table size is 8×6′. Map legend at right and scenario notes file have terrain description and effect.

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BA – Canaryville in Normandy

Canaryville, France (Bolt Action – modified) AAR                      by Korrespondent Dan

On Sunday, December 4, the players (Andy Mouradian, Dave Beymer, Paul Szymborski, Dan Munson) met at Aero Hobbies in Santa Monica to stage a “Normandy 1944” scenario crafted by Dan, entitled “Canaryville, June 1944 (a.k.a La (Bo)Cage aux Folles). Andy and Dave played the U.S. side, while Paul and Dan pushed the Germans. Rules in use were Bolt Action, as modified by the San Fernando Valley Wargamers.

Basic scenario: The Allied forces have managed to push inland some ways since D-Day, but are not yet clear of the bocage country. The previous day and night, U.S. troops drove defending Germans back to the outskirts of the crossroads village of Canaryville. (picture 1 below).

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Canaryville #1

The GIs overnighted in the bocaged field on the right in picture 3 below.

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Cararyville #3

During the night, U.S. engineer teams dynamited exit gaps in the bocage on their side of the road. During most of the night, Germans were manning firing positions dug into the bocage across the road, so the U.S. rested up and got ready for its next big push at daybreak. As the GIs kick off their push at daybreak, the rear area behind the German defenders is being heavily attacked by massed field artillery and Allied “Jabos.” Whatever artillery support the Germans might have hoped for is either being blown up or shot up or is hiding itself deep in the nearest woods it can find. Roads are heavily interdicted, so the Germans fighting at Canaryville are, in essence, on an island all by themselves, with little or no hope of outside assistance. They are, however, “hidden” at the start and in many places are “dug in.” Also, during the night, German pioneers, assisted by infantrymen, managed to sow hasty minefields across much of the front. The 3” x 3” cloth patches seen in the pictures represent either live or dummy “hasty” mine fields. Continue reading

Napoleonic Training day

The Saturday before Thanksgiving, WR opened the warren for a bit of napoleonic gaming, specifically for playing a training scenario for understanding the group rules and French army organization as the primary scenario objectives. Since the scenario would be a French vs. any French ally tabletop battle, the WR painted 25/28mm napoleonic collection yielded an obvious match up…. France vs. Northern Italians.

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Scenario map. Typical european terrain, with some open ground, low hills, a woods, a few buildings, and low walls or hedges. Scale is 12″ for each square for 6′ x 4′ tabletop area.

Forces involved: WR designed the scenario to use forces with similar organization battalion or cavalry regimental structure. So, French vs. Northern Italian “revolt” with a timeline of 1810-11 became the choice since both armies have basically the same battalion structure and cavalry regiments… except for French two cuirassier regiments and two converged grenadier battalions, WR used his Italian guard cavalry and infantry.

French organized their single corps with four commands. Two infantry divisions, each with one legere, two line regiments, and 8 pdr. foot battery. Each infantry regiment had three battalions of six miniatures. The cavalry division had four cavalry regiments; two chasseurs a’ cheval and two dragoon regiments (five miniatures each), with attached 4 pdr. horse battery. Lastly, the French reserve division had two converged grenadier battalions (2×6), two cuirassier regiments (2×5) and 6 pdr. foot battery. Attached to the corps headquarters was a 12 pdr. positional foot battery and corps ammunition train.

The Italian single corps organization matched the French commands in number and size. The only difference was in the Italian reserve command. Italian reserve division had a battalion of Italian guard grenadier, a battalion of guard chasseurs, the guard dragoons, and lastly the Italian Guard di Honor converged squadrons formed into a regiment. Artillery and corps headquarters remained the same as the French. For the numbers summary; both sides had 159 miniatures organized as 31 combative units, army MFP morale level at 105, and nearly balanced at 1590 points.

Scenario rosters (.xls):  France Roster,  Italian Roster

Opening deployments (1000 hours): French 1st Infantry Division deploys to the road left side, the sister French 2nd Division deployed between the road and farm with the French corps HQ deployed near the road. The cavalry division, having limited open space near the infantry, formed up on their right flank. Being Side One for the sequence of play (SOP), the French 1st Division marched forward to control the low hill, sending a legere regiment, in battalion columns, towards the left flank medium woods. The central 2nd Division, marched forward in massed formation, not proper narrow battalion columns, so their movement rate was restricted to linear. Holding back a bit, the French right flank cavalry division trotted forward to the roadway, placing chasseur a’ cheval skirmishers in front.

Note: For infantry column movement rate, the battalion is required to be in a “proper” column formation. Simple rule…. have more battalion unit miniatures in the rear ranks compared to the front rank. So a six miniature French battalion would have two miniatures in front and the other four miniatures in following formation close order ranks (a two by three block of miniatures). If three miniatures are in the battalion’s front rank, the other three are formed as the second rank… this is a massed formation, i.e. more than one rank of miniatures for firepower targeting, but moves at the slower linear formation rates (French class A movement, 9″ vs. 7″).

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General view of scenario after the eager French 1st movement phase completed.

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The French side surges forward towards their Italian opponents. Note the French 2nd Infantry Division is massed formations and not using “proper columns” compared to 1st Division at left.

Northern Italians  basically the same Corp’s organization and structure as their French opponents, so the Italian deployment sort of matched the French. Italian cavalry on their left, opposite the French cavalry division. The 1st Italian Infantry Division before the central village, and the remaining 2nd Italian Infantry Division covering the Italian right flank. One little wrinkle… The Italian players detached one Italian chasseur a’ cheval regiment from their cavalry division on left and placed with their right hand infantry division.

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The Italian view awaiting  their first movement as the French complete the 1st movement phase.

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