Friday, July 29, 2016

ECW Commission

I am on to my next commission.  This is in a period I have never done before, the English Civil War.  The figures are all from Warlord Games, mostly plastic, but several metal models added in.  This has been a fun challenge.  The uniforms are varied, so lots of different colors/highlights for each unit.  It takes more time, but isn't as boring as painting scores of soldiers in the same kit.  I have put a dent in the project by completing the Royalist infantry, three regiments of 26 figures each.  Here are a couple of photos.

This is Newcastle's Regiment in white coats.

This is Tiller's Regiment in green coats.
Today I am going to finish a cannon and crew, a few preachers, and get a start on 12 Royalist dragoons.  After that, it's on to the larger force of Scottish Convenaters.  I have much to do before I have to head back to school.

Friday, July 22, 2016

2nd Day of Gettysburg Wrap Up

We just finished our week of American Civil War action.  14 young people, with the help of three assistants, had a terrific week of gaming.  We ran the battle twice.  The second time through we added some reinforcements to add a little drama to the game, which worked out quite well.  Both sides had to decide where to commit their troops and how they would use them.  It was a nice addition.

The most encouraging aspect of doing this class is seeing just how much kids can enjoy this hobby.  They pick up the rules quickly and a couple have even started purchasing and painting their own figures.  By the way, they do a much better job at their tender age than I ever did.

Here are some pictures from our second game.  There were five points along the Emmitsburg Road that were the objectives.  There would not be a draw this game!  The brigades were distributed along both sides of the table in a much more even fashion, but it was clear that the Union line was spread thin with little reserves to plug any holes that might occur.  

This is the Union extreme left.  That is the 20th Maine in the foreground, commanded by our lone female participant.  As in history, this regiment proved to be a very touch nut to crack for the Rebs.
This is to the right of the previous picture.  This hill would become the dominant geographic feature at this end of the table.

Moving north along the Union line, this was the weakest part of the Yankee position.

Many charges and counter charges took place at this stretch of the road.

This is the Union right center.  Those two batteries proved to make the biggest difference on this end of the table.

This is the Union left center with the wheat field in the foreground.
After the first day of fighting the Confederates had the definite edge, making their superiority in numbers felt all along the line.  The only bright spot for the Yanks was that their artillery did a lot of damage to their counterparts in gray.  This would have a definite effect on the overall outcome.

These are pictures from the very end of the game.  The Union controlled three of the five objectives and contested a fourth, so it was a clear victory for the men in blue.  This was surprising, because the Confederates had such an advantage in numbers.  But they seemed determined to attack straight ahead, with no real regard for where the objectives were.  In the end, they smashed up against strong points that had no real significance at the expense of securing all important objectives.

On the Rebel left, Robertson's elite brigade was bested by incredibly accurate artillery fire from the hill on their right and some amazing dice rolls by the young Union player who opposed them.

The Rebels controlled this objective right up until the end of the game.  Instead of capturing it and then just holding on, the young rebs here were determined to press on their attack against superior numbers.  The net result was 66% casualties.

Much loss of life occurred here, at a strategically meaningless place on the table.

The Confederate center was battered relentlessly by superior Union artillery.

This is the peach orchard.  The Confederates captured this objective early and held it until the end.  However, they weren't able to use it to break through and exploit their success.

The Confederate position on Seminary ridge.

Despite being outnumbered, the battered Union regiments were able to hold their ground.  Some well timed rolls of 10 certainly helped with that.

The extreme Rebel right.  Despite having overwhelming numbers, they weren't able to drive the stubborn Yankees off the table.  One Confederate brigade that could have made a huge difference elsewhere on the table, never fired a shot.

Benning's Georgians trying to vanquish Vincent's brigade.  They were unsuccessful.

Here is a link to a video that will give you an idea of just how much the kids were enjoying this experience.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Second Day at Gettysburg

Today was the first day of our wargame based on the second day at Gettysburg.  14 players, seven on each side, would be commanding literally hundreds of figures in our simulation.  I also had the good fortune of having three older students helping out which makes things so much better!  We are using Regimental Fire and Fury rules.  Things are fairly historically accurate in the center and Union right, but we had to take some liberties on the Union left due to the size of the table.

Looking North down the Emmitsburg Road

The Union players preparing to defend.

Hood's division ready to assault

Historically, the battle began with perhaps the fiercest exchange of artillery fire of the entire war.  That was not the case today.  The Confederates decided to charge straight away as they felt they had a huge numerical advantage.  On the rebel right, Law's brigade stepped off only to be greeted by a hail of fire from the Union line.  Five stands, representing 200 men historically, were knocked out of the line.  That was more than the rookie commander could endure, so he decided to pull back on the next turn.  On his right, our lone female player was a bit more cautious and had the only artillery battery on this end of the table at her disposal.  She was able to disorder two Union regiments at no cost to herself.

Law's losses, prompting a retrograde movement.

In the center, the Confederate batteries tore their Union counterparts apart, throwing nines and tens almost exclusively.  The consequence, however, was that several artillery caissons were quickly emptied and ammunition would be scarce for the remainder of the game.  On turn two, Barksdale's men would attempt to charge the peach orchard, only to be thrown back with heavy losses from blasts of canister from the remaining Union batteries.

McLaws' men before the attack

Barksdale attacking the peach orchard

The Union center
On the Rebel left, DH Hill's two small brigades attempted to close with the more numerous Yankees facing them and were decimated.

From DH Hill's position

Looking south down the Emmitsburg Road
DH HIll's Florida brigade taking losses in their ill fated attack
As the day came to a close, the young Confederate commanders came to appreciate how difficult it is to advance over open ground against a determined enemy.  Rebel casualty markers littered the field in solemn testimony to the hard lesson that was learned this day.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

My Latest Commission is Finished!

It took fifteen days, but I was able to assemble, paint and base 265 figures.  I couldn't have done it if it hadn't been my summer break.  I enjoyed the project.  I did the hardest units first, the Victrix boxes of 60 figures each, while I was still fresh.

Here's a link to a video of the completed soldiers.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day 2 of SYW Campaign

My young pupils arrived eager to renew the battle they had begun yesterday.  Each side was allowed to select a certain number of points in reinforcements.  The place and time of their arrival, however, was determined by dice rolls.  Coincidentally, all of the Prussians arrived on their right flank despite only having a one in six chance of doing so.  This brought that end of the table to life in an instant.  By the end of the day's action, a Prussian cavalry brigade had forced two Russian infantry brigades into square and destroyed a battery.  But one of their regiments suffered 75% casualties in the effort and a Russian light cavalry brigade has fortuitously arrived in time to probably drive off the Prussian horsemen.  But a brigade of Prussian grenadiers has maneuvered into a position to be able to attack the second most important objective that is held by a single Russian battalion.

Prussian cavalry attack on the right flank

Prussian grenadiers prepare to attack an important objective
In the middle, the Prussians sent over a lone brigade to take on three Russian ones.  The Prussians were forced to take a brigade morale test due to the number of losses they suffered, and they failed. so back across the bridge they went.  A second Prussian brigade arrived and took up a defensive position on the other's left flank.  This sector settled into a firefight.  Prussian jagers were able to inflict 75% casualties on a Russian heavy battery, but other than that, this sector was a stalemate.  In the grand scheme of things, however. two Prussian brigades have been able to tie down four Russian ones.  This could have a major impact on the outcome

Prussian attack on the middle is blunted

The action is now primarily a firefight.
On the Prussian left, the cavalry melee continued to see saw back and forth.  The Russian fought desperately.  At the day's end, though, one brigade was completely wiped out and the other was close to the end.  The Prussian cavalry on this flank has suffered close to 33% casualties.

The meat grinder that is the Prussian left flank.

The numbers are considerably lighter at the end of the day.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Day One of SYW Campaign Game

We got off to a good start today in our mini campaign.  Despite the fact that the majority of the kids were new to wargaming and I didn't have my usual helpers, we got on fairly well.  The first hour and a half of the day was spent going over the rules, dividing into teams, and choosing brigades for the initial moves.  Each side was allowed up to 2,500 points in figures.
The Set Up

Cards were used to represent the various brigades until they came within 12" of an enemy card.  At that point, figures were placed on the table.  The Russians, who I assumed would take up defensive positions and do their best to hold their ground, took the initiative and sent two strong heavy cavalry brigades to attack the Prussian left flank.  The Russians didn't know this was the very point that all of the Prussian units would be entering from this day.  Needless to say, the Prussians were surprised.

The Russian cavalry colunms.

The first charges of the game.  The Russians won one and the Prussians the other.

An overview of the action

The Prussians avoided disaster with some lucky dice rolls.  Their cuirassiers were able to turn toward the onrushing Russian heavy cavalry, otherwise they would have been hit in their flank and easily defeated.
Some of the young gamers involved.
In the following turns the Prussians were able to consolidate their position.  They were even able to rally a militia battalion that had been crushed by some victorious Russian horse grenadiers.

As the day was winding down, a Prussian brigade marched over a bridge to attack the Russian center. Cards were turned over and the Prussian commander was dismayed to see that two strong Russian infantry brigades, one supported by heavy cannons, were ready to receive him.  When the smoke cleared his leading battalion was reduced by 50 percent, yet it passed its morale check.  His jagers were able to cause casualties on both Russian batteries.  
Bevern's Brigade attacks over the bridge.

The Prussian left flank at the end of the first day.

The Russian center
After a short debriefing, the boys dispersed for the afternoon, all eager to return to the action tomorrow.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

SYW Mini Campaign Begins

Tomorrow is the first of two wargaming classes I will be overseeing at a summer camp in Manhattan Beach.  I have 11 students for tomorrow, but none of my helpers are available, so I'll be going it alone.  We'll see how that works.

This week will be a small SYW campaign.  An aggressive Prussian army will be attacking a smaller yet very determined Russian army.  My figures are based for the Die Kreigskunst rules.  The units have been given a point value based on their size and morale.  Both sides will be able to select brigades totaling up to 2,500 points.  The Russians, being the defenders, will have a lot more freedom in placing their troops initially.  The Prussians will be more limited.

The brigades will be represented by cards until they come into 12 inches of an enemy.  At that point the figures will be placed on the table.  I am hoping this will create a fog of war for the kids and force them to be more strategic.

This is a map of the table which is about 12 feet by 4.5 feet.  There are six towns on each side worth a set number of points.  These will be the objectives of the game.  The Russian towns are worth quite a bit more than the Prussian ones.  This is to serve as a handicap for the Russian players who are considerably outnumbered.  They will be on the defensive.  Points will also be awarded for destroying enemy brigades.

I am curious to see how this works our.  We have five days to play; three hours each day.  I'll be posting pictures as the week goes on, so please check in and follow along with us.