Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Sunderland Blood and Plunder event 16th July report

A wee three hour jaunt over to Sunderland for Chris Carr and I to our first Blood and Plunder event, put on by Nate Zettle and a merry bunch of Easterlings that spoke surprisingly coherent English...

The format was simply 4 land based games at 100pts and the event was simply great, as we were all relatively new to the game and learning, as its a relatively new game, I suppose. All 4 of my opponents were sporting, patient gentlemen and excellent to play against, and Chris said the same  (Already planning our return on October 1st, as there'll be ship action).

Additionally, during lunch we had some period melee weapons on show, with gentlemanly duels and brawling: boarding axe, rapiers, cutlasses and various other swords. Good fun, but we had to watch the experts (probably a good job)

My 100pt force was Spanish Militia, consisting of an Inexperienced Captain, 3 x 6 Inexperienced Milicianos (drilled swapped for Elusive), 1 x 7 Inexperienced Milicianos (drilled swapped for Elusive) and 5 trained Milicianos Indios. So quantity over quality! Chris had taken an English Buccaneer force with a free Inexperienced captain, 6 Filibustiers and 2 x 5 Freebooters. In two friendlies the week before, I'd been decimated in Encounter as I couldn't bring my numbers to bear, while I had annihilated Chris defending in Breakthrough...

There were 12 players, and the 6 boards were nicely laid out as below:








Game 1: First opponent was Nigel King, using a very nice Brethren army. It had a free French Captain, 2 x 5 Marins, 5 Filibustiers and 5 Bouccaniers. The mission was Raid, and I "won" the roll and had to attack. Neither of us had played this mission, but given I'd be moving rather than firing I thought I'd concentrate in one area. The mission involves getting within 4" of either barrel of rum, and keeping the opponent more than 4" away. Doing so at the end of each turn gives a strike point to the force not controlling it, but crucially (with hindsight after we'd started) the defender gets them from turn 1 and attacker from turn 3.


Nigel's deployment meant I could pounce on the centre barrel turn 1


My Indios Scout ability allowed them to advance forward, in cover near the barrel.


On turn 2, Nigel had a strike point and had to "push" to charge my Indios with his Marins, wiping them out and getting to contest the barrel. "Pushing"  was new to me, but it essentially allows for an extra activation but the units gains fatigue. Unfortunately, my captain and his large Milicianos unit moved up, ruthlessly firing at 3.5" killing 2 Marins, who were on two fatigue. I realised the unit would flee and I couldn't use the captains activation to charge if they did, but Nigel passed all three resolve rolls, and I duly charged in and wiped them out. Having the barrel again on turn 2 meant a strike test, which even with a re-roll Nigel failed. It was a good but hollow victory, as it was just a lack of knowledge of the game/scenario that cost Nigel. Still, we both learned from it and the Spanish enjoyed the rum...


Below left is Chris, he doesn't like getting his picture taken but as a Spanish player I refuse to acknowledge the trifling wishes of this English pirate... He's playing Jester Smith, and it ended a draw!


Game 2:  Another beautiful board (which I came to love) and this time I was facing Sparks with his French Caribbean Militia with free inexperienced captain, 2 x 5 trained drilled militia, 1 x 6 trained drilled militia and 5 trained marins. I "lost" the roll, and got to defend in Breakthrough, as with lots of open ground I felt I could contain and bring enough rounds to bear...


The French had to set up 6" on and get to within 4" of my deployment zone (12" from my edge) by end of turn 3 to stop getting strike points. I needed to keep him out of my deployment zone or I'd receive them. The French had from the left as you look: their captain and 5 men, then the marins, then the other two, militia







On the left I deployed another 6 milicianos and slightly forward the Indios

 Apologies, as the game is fast and frenetic and I didn't take any pictures until the end.

Essentially, I advanced units up to the edge of woods/jungle, and received some incoming muskets. The Marins centrally pushed into combat with a six man squad of Milicianos and though I lost half and fell back, I got the first activation the following turn and sent in the captain and his squad for two rounds of melee, wiping out the marins. The French captains unit, with bayonets followed up but didn't make any impact as they faced off against twice as many Spanish in an ongoing melee.


On the right, with two units v two, the French used the blocking cover to good effect but a flurry of arrows and some very poor save rolls let to mounting fatigue on the French. With casualties far heavier on the French, and not getting into range of my deployment zone, in turn 4 losing 3-1 on strike points, the French failed their resolve and retreated...  Another learning experience (having only ever played Chris and his despicable English dogs). Sparks dice rolls weren't good, and had he been defending I'd have struggled to get passed his drilled volleys. As it was, I learned about bayonets and again this "push" which I have to say is pretty useful... Another win for the Spanish


Game 3: Staying on table 1, and with Chris sat behind me trying to jinx my dice having somehow managed to win with his puny force in game 2. I was facing and exquisitely painted force of his most catholic majesty's Spanish Militia. Leigh has done a beautiful job painting a familiar sounding force of an Inexperienced Spanish Militia captain, 3 x 6 inexperienced elusive rather than drilled Militia, 5 more similarly elusive militia and 6 milicianos Indios. The mission was Control the field, where you needed to have a unit within 2 of the 3 objectives along the centre of the battlefield or you gain a strike point. I lost the roll so had to defend the corner I was sat in, which conveniently had the best cover and fields of fire. I apologise again for only taking two pics, it doesn't do Leigh's painting any justice nor the quality of this game. Two virtually identical forces, setting up in almost symmetric fashion and lots of firing and to hits rolls on 10's


It was very tense, very tactical and very bloody. Both Indios units used their quick rule to nip in and out of cover, inflicting fatigue mostly on me, and casualties and fatigue on Leigh. We slogged it out over all 6 turns, and ended on 1 strike point each (need to have 2 more than opponent to roll a strike test). Leigh thought he had lost as I'd killed 13 men to his 7, but thankfully this wasn't the case as the difference between us was my ability to roll better saves than Leigh... A very entertaining draw, and I learned how quick works to good effect.


Game 4, and with Chris having drawn (indeed, most people had)I thought I might have to face him in Encounter. Fortunately not,  and I had to face off against Gavin Winspears Royal Blue French Buccanneers. Gavin was good fun to play against, mostly due to his hatred of playing Spanish Milicianos as his usual opponent is Leigh. As a result, in Encounter I rolled lowest and defended my corner again, but Gavin deployed everyone far away as he was worried about the Indios popping in and out and catching him in the open. I deployed my forces to advance into the central cover and bring my firepower to bear, while duly Gavin obliging by putting my Indios out on a limb to awit being overwhelmed while give me time to advance and deploy a gun line.

 If only it was on water, it would be a crowded wee island. His force consisted of 2 x 5 Filibustiers, 1 x 4 Filibustiers and 4 Marins, led by an inexperienced Captain. Chris had taught me ealier how nasty one unit of filibustiers can be with rerolling 10's to gain additional hits, so 3 untis wasn't going to be fun if Gavin kept back and fired



I took lots more pictures this game... Suppose I was being cruel telling Gavin I'd bought some of my Spanish horde from him ( he runs www.gamingfigures.com and stocks Blood and Plunder)


Sadly all at the start...


Bar this one near the end... Essentially, the Indios popped in and out harassing the French captains unit, but didn't do much damage til late on. One unit of 5 filibustier and the marins advanced off their wee island, and were decimated by concentrated musketry with a few tens rolled... The marins ran back behind the "island", allowing my numerical superiority (of almost 3 muskets to 1) against the remaining 2 units of filibustiers, whittling them down and forcing the French to strike their colours. I lost one Spaniard early on, but a long range exchange was always going to favour my number...



So with 3 wins and a draw, which was the same as Leigh, it was close at the top. And I managed to win by virtue of a single strike point over Leigh's total... Viva Espana!!!

Have to say, I learned so much, had 4 great games against friendly, like minded opponents and have to give a big round of applause to Nate and the Sunderland lads for a well run event, with great guys, great scenery and a damn fine lunch. And who wouldn't want to eat while watching people have at each other with swords and Golden age weaponry?

Chris managed to come third with his cutthroats too... (I deeply regret buying him new dice week before)

Think should also point out there was a raffle for all players with generous prize support from Gavin Winspear (www.gamingfigures.com) and also from Firelock...

Anyway, I've already sorted 1st October to be free for Nate's next event, keep your eyes ( or if ye be a proper pirate, your eye) posted in the Blood and Plunder UK players page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/208826329603940/) or Firelocks event page (http://www.firelockgames.com/forums/forum/blood-plunder/events/) as if you can make it, you will enjoy it...


Saturday, 29 April 2017

Merseyside Anzio Campaign: The Final Game Battle of Albano, British Attacking Fallschirmjager in Envelopment

With the Allies having won the last round, the campaign result was still in the balance. I hadn't faced Jamie Sanchez before but intelligence said he would field some ghurka's, so I decided to stick with my "Defence of Italy" Fallschirmjager, although this meant no flamethrower. I was defending in Envelopment and chose the right side of the board below.


The town of Albano
FORCES

Jamie Sanchez's British and Commonwealth

HQ

Regular 2nd Lt
Regular Free Artillery Observer
Regular Air Observer with P47 Thunderbolt "marker"

Troops

4 x 10 Veteran Ghurka Riflemen
2 x 5 Inexperienced English Riflemen

Transport

2 x Regular trucks
2 x regular Bren carriers with extra LMG
1 x Jeep

National Characteristic: Bloodcurdling Charge (I couldn't defensive fire)


Fallschirmjager

Veteran unless stated

HQ

2nd Lt plus 1 with SMGS
Medic

Troops

3 x 5 FJ's with 1 SMG, 1 LMG
7 FJ's with 5 SMG's and 3 Panzerfausts
1 x 8 Luftwaffe Feld-division, 2 SMGS (Inexperienced)

Support

MMG team
Sniper team
BMW 75 with MMG sidecar
STuH42



DEPLOYMENT

For some reason, I elected to take the side with only one straight road on, leaving Jamie with two, which given the transport he had was a bit dim... But with a wood and wheat fields on each flank, he wouldn't be driving quickly down the flanks, so I set up all 3 LMG squads centrally, one on my right in a wheat field, two more behind the village. I also had the MMG 2nd floor on my left, while the Luftwaffe cooks trying to survive in the floor below. My sniper took up central building 2nd floor. With the Brits on in first wave, I decided to keep everything else in reserve.

The preliminary bombardment managed to put a pin or two on all units, killing two FJ's including my right squads LMG.


TURN 1

Sure enough, the British sped up the roads, with a truck on each, advancing 24" and a ghurka squad then running out on my left, within reach of the Luftwaffe next turn. My MMG failed to activate despite the golden opportunity...


The second truck in the centre...


And the ghurka's it carried, who advanced and killed another of my right squad...


On my left, the bren carrier with 5 troops advanced up the road, firing at my down MMG team in the building... I wasn't happy that's despite needing a 7, Jamie rolled the pair of sixes needed to score a hit and add another pin!!!


I was even less happy that he followed it up with the requisite 6 to wound, and a fourth to exceptionally damage and take out the gun!!!


The second carrier came up on my right, its pair of LMGs taking out another of my right squad and putting me on 4 pins. So I rallied 2 of them, and Jamie pressed home his advantage with running another ghurka squad on towards my outnumbered right.


My Luftwaffe squad managed to motivate and kill two ghurkas, which I felt deserved a photo as they were about to be kukri-ed...


My left LMG squad failed to advance, but my central one did, advancing and inflicting a wound on the ghurka's at the central crossroads. My sniper added a second pin to the ghurka's on my left...

The British officer and observers came on, the Lt in the jeep advancing behind the truck, the air observer central and out of sight of the German sniper. The artillery observer advanced ran on my right, again using buildings to avoid sniper fire. The 4th ghurka unit ran up centrally, to support either of the truck borne squads if required.

So at the end of turn 2, I had two ghurka squads in my face, and my on board firepower was an LMG and MMG down, with one unit failing to activate... I felt I was in trouble.


TURN 2

The first dice out was Allied, and Jamie rolled to charge the left ghurkas into the Luftwaffe. But with two pins, they failed and went down! Next dice out was Allied, and with one pin, the second squad also failed to run into the floor below the sniper! I have to admit, I was laughing, as it had given me a brief respite from what I felt would be a massacre of my forces...


Still seemed to be the case, as below, the footslogging ghurka's both ran up, making the town centre look a bad place to be a German. The truck then ran off the board, giving Jamie and early 4 victory point lead with my MMG gone. My central LMG squad added a pin to the crossroads ghurkahs and took out their NCO, while my sniper missed the left squad... My two survivors on the left went down to avoid the bren carriers LMG. My officer came on behind my left buildings, allowing the left LMG squad who had just been targetted for an air strike ran up close to the two ghurka units. I advanced the BMW 75 on and it took out the NCO of the 2nd from left ghurkas. The medic came on centrally. The British left bren carrier advanced but missed the BMW 75, while the artillery was called in to eradicate my right flank and the air in to target the left LMG squad.


With both of them used, I brought on the STuH42, advancing up my left road and toying with which "down" ghurka unit I should fire at and probably miss... then I thought, oh, the Bren carrier could get hit on  a 5+. And I spied the officer and the jeep, sitting at the back and waiting to advance and motivate his troops. So one medium howitzer shell later, the jeep went up and the LT along with it! My Luftwaffe squad caused no casualties but put a pin on the left down ghurka's


TURN 3

Have to say I was happy still to have a fighting chance come turn 3... The skies were clear, so no air strike. The artillery was pretty poor, put a single pin on the medic, the centre LMG squad and the remainder of the right LMG squad.

End of turn 2


End of turn 2, with German line reinforced
Turn 3

Well, first dice could be interesting. Allies, and with 3 pins the left ghurka unit fail again to assault! 2nd dice, the second left squad, without NCO and with a pin, roll a 9 to assault... Jamie was not overly happy!!!


Still, I was pretty relived and buoyed by this opportunity and ignoring those two down squads, the BMW 75 advancing around the buildings and reduced the crossroads squad to 4 men. (They tried to assault the BMW later, but perhaps unsurprisingly failed!)


With the big squads harder to hit, and the truck backtracking down the road, the STuH42 advanced up for a point blank shot at the carrier. But having moved, 3+ was needed!


The carrier and its 5 inexperienced men, moved away, sneaking up behind the BMW and causing it to explode...


The sniper and advancing Luftwaffe squad added pins to the left squad, while the LMG squad assaulted the carrier. The inexperienced Brits leapt out...


And died before their boots hit the ground!!! Elsewhere the ghurkas on the right advanced into the ruins and took me to two men in the centre LMG squad, while the carrier reduced the left LMG squad to the NCO... The observers both ran up to try and exit the board. I kept my FJ assault squad off the board for another turn. The left Bren carrier was captured at the end of the turn.


TURN 4


Start of turn 4 (my left)

Start of turn 4 (centre right)
The US air support finally arrived, a ground attack plan targeting my left FJ LMG squad, tucked in between two ghurka units...


The unit hit the deck, and two survived although heavily pinned. The left ghurkas also took two, while the other nearby unit took one... My units near the actual plane didn't take anything, bar one pin on the 2 remaining in the centre LMG squad.


The 2nd left ghurka unit motivated to assault the shell shocked left LMG survivors, easily killing them and consolidating up to the hedge... My STuH advanced up and missed the left ghurka unit with 7 pins, while the truck repositioned centrally onto the road, hoping to dash up and off...

The right ghurka unit advanced out of the ruins to kill off my centre LMG squad, while the crossroads ghurkas failed again and stayed down.

With an untouched ghurka squad for support, the bren carrier advanced confidently, targeting my sole NCO on my right who went down and was unscathed. So the troops jumped out and popped a pin on him!!!


The artillery observer ran up, skirting the ruins, while the air officer ran up the centre road, just behind the downed ghurka's and near the truck. 7 units facing off against a lone NCO. Time for the assault squad, advancing on and firing two panzerfausts at the carrier, both of which missed while the rest of the squad blazed away at the healthy ghurkas, killing one. Not impressive!


The medic redeployed left to avoid being over run. The sniper missed the left ghurkas which was a shame...


as the German officers and Luftwaffe had brought them down to 6 men with 9 pins!!!


TURN 5

So first dice out, and its the Allies again... The ghurkas roll to assault my assault squad, and promptly FUBAR, running away and blocking the road for a truck dash! Simply unbelievable!!!


Jamie got the second dice, removing 3 pins by rallying on the left ghurka's. As the next was mine, I decided I had to hold up the ghurka's behind the hedge as the would doubtless chew my Luftwaffe and get close to board edge. So I advanced the STuH 42 to point blank them, not worryimg to much about their AT grenades. The unit went down and I missed.


Action switched to my right, with the two ghurkas on the left having activated. The bren carrier backed off and pinned my assault squad, while the inexperienced Brits did the same and killed  German para. I retruned the compliment, missing the carrier with my last 'faust and merely pinning the Brits. The truck did move up near the carrier later in the turnm while my lone NCO advanced and SMG'd the Artillery observer.


Switching back to my left, the officers killed another ghurka, while the sniper added a pin. They were easier to hit having rallied so my Luftwaffe aimed to add another pin to put them back to nine, but in an awesome display of firing, they managed 6 kills on the remaining 5 men!!!

TURN 6




TURN 6 START: CENTRE RIGHT

Left, start turn 6
Not wanting to break with tradition, the Allies drew first dice and then failed to assault with  ghurka unit! By this time I had nothing but sympathy with Jamie!!!



But being sympathetic didn't stop me targeting the new now left ghurkas by the hedge, killing 4 with the STuH 42 and putting on 3 pins up to 4. I then advanced up my inexperienced Luftwaffe, who got 5 hits and erm, 4 6's... the lone remaining ghurka surrendered!!!


The crossroads ghurka's finally managed to pass a test, their first move since turn 1, and ran downstairs of the sniper team. My officers moved up and added a pin on them even in the building with smgs. My left flank was secured!


Om the right, my solo NCO died to the Bren carrier, having advanced out to stop it running off the board. The inexperience Brits went down to avoid dying by SMG fire from the assault armed FJ's.


There was a chance of a seventh turn, but the roll was in my favour and the game ended! 14-8 victory to the Axis, Albano had been held...


AFTERTHOUGHTS

Well, the pictures of the dice say it all. That was looking like being a very short game which I had no hope or right to win, but it turned out to be a stalwart defence for me and a stalled advance for Jamie. I was in deep trouble, and Jamie's dice saved me. He had a tough infantry force, and it was well suited to the mission. Taking out my MMG was incredibly lucky, but that was it for his dice.
7 failed assaults gave me a victory, and if he'd eve made two or three of them I would have lost. I had no right to hold back his troops and they would have battered me in close combat. But exceptional shots taking out half his NCO's early on helped, and my dice came good in the end, especially for the former Luftwaffe, now fully upgraded FJ's...

It was an awesome game, tense and good fun and Jamie handled his poor rolling well, even in the face of my undiluted euphoria...