Monday, May 9, 2011

Battle of the River Plate - Naval Thunder

This is one of the scenarios included in the Naval Thunder expansion "Bitter Rivals".  It is one of my personal favorites to use when teaching new players or for just a quick game.

This is a AAR of  a rousing game I played with my two boys.  My eldest son and I took command of the British while my younger son commanded the Admiral Graf Spee.  As with all my WWII games the models are 1/1800 Wizard of the Coast "War at Sea".

Exeter and Graf Spee immediately began exchanging salvos at range. While the Achilles and Ajax rushed to the scene.
British Gunnery was deadly accurate or lucky this day as the Exeter was able to score a critical hit at long range taking out the aft Main turret on the Graf Spee cutting her main guns by 50%.

The Graf Spee still proved a formidable foe even with only 3 x11" guns remaining.  As the distance continued to close Graf Spee pummeled the HMS Exeter while Achilles and Ajax continued to approach unmolested.

The Main and secondary guns of the Graf Spee tore into the Exeter and proved to much for the old cruiser as she was taking on water and developed a severe list.

As the other two Cruisers began to pour a withering fire into Graf Spee it proved too late for Exeter as she slowly rolled over and sank.

Graf Spee immediately turned her secondaries on Achilles scoring multiple hits at short range.

Despite pounding the British cruisers with her own remaining guns the combined fire from both  British ships proved too much and the Graf Spee was soon overwhelmed herself succumbing to the fires started from her earlier exchange with Exeter and the constant barage from Achilles and Ajax.

As the range was now point blank the British cruisers launched a salvo of torpedoes which sent the mighty German raider to the depths of the South Atlantic.

Again this proved a very fun, but short scenario as it was done in under an hour.  Taking out a main turret on the Graf Spee early proved fatal as she was never able to split her fire between the two British forces.

In the end it was a Draw as the Exeter was sunk, but so what the Graf Spee while both the Achilles and Ajax survived the encounter albeit with heavy damage themselves.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

AAM 3D terrain- Italy vs. UK with AAR

This was a Axis and Allies Minis scenario I put together and played this past year.  The terrain used is GHQ 4" hexes terrain maker system.


Italy was on the defense with 300 pts and Britain/commonwealth on the offense with 351 pts.
Italy set up in a fixed linear defense and the Allies started off the map deploying on their first turn.

Italian Army:

Common Wealth Army:

The Map:

The Italians are set up up already in a static linear defense with some Armored reinforcements.  If the British successfully mass and penetrate Italy will have a hard time winning.

There  three Objectives: Bridge, Pass and supply depot

Game Length: 10 turns


Played this scenario for about 4 hours today resolving this conflict.  The scenario played very well and was pretty evenly matched with the terrain that the Allies had to negotiate.
Initially the teams were Myself and a friend as the Allies vs. his 15yr old son who wanted to be Italy.

Early on the Allies were bogged down advancing across the sand and trying to make movement roles to get into cover.

The Italians held their ground while the allies made the slow advance.

Soon the Italian Commander ("Luigi") became bored with the defense and decided the best defense was a good offense.

At one point the Italian commander was heard to say "I should either retreat or charge" while his subordinates where asking "whatever happened to holding our ground?"

The bold dash forward by the Italian armor leaving cover stalled the advance, but soon showed its weakness as the South Africans were able to outflank the left wing of the Italian defense and make a drive for the Supply depot.

Italian reserves were forced to re-deploy weakening the right flank.  The Italian commander was soon wishing he had those units back that boldly charged forward.

After a lunch break my eldest son decided to join us and help the Italian cause.  This he did well with some truly unholy die rolling which blunted the Allied assault on the right.

In the end the Italians had sacrificed to boldly and the British were able to secure the Pass as well as the bridge on the right flank.  The Italians defended the Supply Depot well, but with the collapse of the Right and center it was only a matter of time before British would move across the rear of the Italian line and capture that as well.

The Italian commander saw the error of his ways and respectfully asked for favorable surrender terms at the end of Turn 8 as common wealth infantry were preparing to roll up his final position.

Overall a great day of gaming.  Not sure there is much I would change with the scenario itself.  We agreed to make it a 10 turn game and had the Italian commander been a bit more patient and let the Allies come to him I think the results could have gone either way. 

The only thing I really need to do is make some more terrain so I can host more large scale battles using the 3D hexes.  I have plenty of hexes to be made and just need to find the time. ;)

Friday, May 6, 2011

USN Battleship Division 9 - WWI

USN Contribution to the Grand Fleet in WWI was Battleship Division 9 or the 6th Battle Squadron of the Grand Fleet

From Wikepedia:

United States Battleship Division Nine was a division of four, later five, dreadnought battleships of the United States Navy's Atlantic Fleet that constituted the American contribution to the British Grand Fleet during World War I. Although the U.S. entered the war on 6 April 1917, hesitation among senior officers of the U.S. Navy as to the wisdom of dividing the American battle fleet prevented the immediate dispatch of any capital ships for service in the war zone. Following a direct request from the British Admiralty and a series of high level staff meetings, American opinion changed, and Battleship Division Nine joined the Grand Fleet on 7 December 1917. Within that organization, the Division served as the Sixth Battle Squadron.
While serving with the Grand Fleet, Battleship Division Nine was forced to adapt quickly to unfamiliar British methods and standards. New signals and maneuvers were adopted relatively smoothly, while more stringent gunnery standards proved more difficult to achieve. On a personal level, relations between American and British officers and men were notably cordial. Throughout 1918, the Division participated in all major Grand Fleet exercises and deployments, as well as conducting several detached convoy missions in the North Sea. Following the signing of the Armistice on November 11, 1918, Battleship Division Nine was present for the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet on November 21, 1918. On December 1, 1918, the Division departed from the Grand Fleet to return to the U.S.
Although Battleship Division Nine's service was limited mainly to convoy duty and the maintenance of the blockade of the German coast, its presence greatly augmented the strength of the Grand Fleet, thus making major combat between the British and German fleets even more unlikely in 1918. By helping to keep the High Seas Fleet effectively blockaded in port, Battleship Division Nine played a role in ensuring Allied control of the oceans.


Four Battleships originally sent Dec 1917:

USS New York BB-34

USS Delaware BB-28

USS Florida BB-30

USS Wyoming BB-32

fifth Battleship joined the Squadron in Feb 1918:

USS Texas BB-35

Joined the Squadron July 1918 to replace USS Delaware:

USS Arkansas BB-33

Added DD Support USS Cassin Class:

Models are 1/2400 GHQ Micronaughts

Armies in the making- Returning to ACW Gaming in 10mm

It has been along time since I have done any ACW Mini gaming.  The last rules I played were the Original Brigade level Fire and Fury and well as a home brew version of fields of Honor.

Recently I discovered that a new version of Fire and Fury has been release, "Regimental Fire and Fury". 

I picked up a copy and was instantly impressed.  This was the game I had always been looking for, capable for fighting larger battles or small level skirmishes without alot of troops.  Better yet my son was interested in playing.  When a 14 yr old tells you he will spend time playing a war game you need to strike while the iron is hot.

Unfortunately, I had no troops.  Several years ago I had sold off the last of my painted 15mm armies when my children were young and there was no hope of playing again anytime soon.

What to do?  I must re-build of course.  At the recommendation of my LGS I decided to go even smaller and give 10mm a try.  The figs are still of decent quality and paint up just as quick.  Before I knew it I had dozens of craft sticks with primed soldiers ready to paint.  Several hours later I had one regiment complete. :(

OK I remembered this going faster.  As luck would have it I attended a con the following weekend.  What did I find in the flea market...a whole army work of painted and unmounted 10mm infantry both Union and Confederate.  It was perfect.  Additionally I found someone to help me paint the primed minis I already had thus doubling the size of my intended forces.  Now in a matter of hours of basing and touching up I had close to 4 brigades worth of troops.

Two weeks later I finished painting the various Arty limbers, cannon, commanders, other infantry command stands and markers I doubled my force again bringing the total up to 8 brigades with 4 on each side, finally ready to take the field and do battle.

With a free weekend on the horizon we will now be able to get out the terrain and fashion our first brigade level skirmish. ;)

More to come.......

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wings of War in the Pacific "Return to the Ship" -Scenario with AAR

I developed this scenario about a year ago and it has become one of our favorites so i thought I would share.  The AAR is over a year old and uses some custom models I built using AIR200 models before the official ones were released.

2nd wave of the Attack on Pearl Harbor has just been completed.  The IJN planes are making there way back to the fleet. The planes include an observation VAl which stayed back to asses damage done during the attack.  The observer will report back to Nagumo so he can determine if a 3rd attack wave is needed.  Upon leaving the Harbor the Val took some shrapnel in the engine cowling and is losing oil pressure.  The pilot has skillfully adjusted for the damage and is nursing the wounded plane back to the fleet along with another Val and a fighter escort. 

Admiral Halsey in a desperate attempt to locate and destroy the enemy has launched numerous scout planes.  Two fighters call in that they have intercepted a radio transmission from an American Pilot claiming he is in pursuit of Japanese planes.  They are ordered to intercept as Halsey prepares to launch everything he has to throw at the Japanese pending a good bearing on the Japanese fleet.

IJN:2 Zero
2 Vals (both have been damaged and can only fly at slow speed)
Location: two damage rulers from the South edge of the Table

US:Starts with a lone P-40 at the south edge of the table
After turn three 2 Wildcats enter from the from the middle South west edge of the table

-Japanese Exit far side of the table with at least 1 Val (observation plane) and No U.S. in pursuit.

-U.S. Objective Destroy the Vals and pursue the IJN to the learn where they are heading in hopes of discovering the Japanese fleet location.

Special instructions:
 (1 val will be secretly marked as the observer)

January 26, 2010

Overall this mission was very successful and all were excited to play it.

We ended up with 5 players.  I controlled the Vals as a semi neutral.  One player flew the two zeros and then one player flew the P-40 and one Wildcat while another flew the last wildcat.

Both teams were briefed separately on the objectives.

If a US plane crossed the last 1/4 of the Northern playing surface the fleet would be spotted and a third Zero (CAP would appear).  Only the IJN player knew this.

IJN Mission:
Get Wounded Val off the North end of the Map.  Prevent a US plan from spotting the fleet and reporting back.

US mission:
Destroy IJN Planes and locate the fleet.

Initial deployment with one val wounded and could only move at Slow Speed (permanently marked with Smoke)  This was the IJN commander known only to the IJN players.:

P-40 in hot pursuit while two zeros perform a split S, but overshoot their target in a flyby exposing the VALS they are suppose to protect:

P-40 delivers some crucial blows to the VAL while the Zeros re-orientate and pick up the P-40  Unknown the the IJN two Wildcats from the Enterprise Enter the fray with the start of the 4th turn while the Zeros are out of position:

P-40 Takes a alot of damage and finally splashes:

Vals spit up in a attempt to shake off the pursuer and divide the fire...hopefully against the wrong Target while getting off some good shots with the tail gun actually flaming a wildcat:

Fighters jockey for position while one VAL makes a run for it while the second is forces to circle back around to get back on course:

One Wildcat succumbs to fires along with a Zero as the Val gets back on course and attempt to make a run for it.  Unfortunately, the Wildcat makes a turn just at the right time getting a shot off bringing down the wounded VAL:

The Wildcat then broke off as the Zero retreated back toward the fleet undiscovered IJN Fleet just over the horizon:

In the end it was a draw more or less a draw:

U.S. Successfully shot down the IJN Command plane preventing the report to Admiral a result Nagumo makes the fateful decision to withdraw leaving many valuable targets behind at Pearl Harbor which will allow it to be be a vital base to rebuild from in the months to come.

IJN Successfully kept the fleets location a secret thus thwarting Admiral Halsey in his attempt to locate them and attempt to exact revenge against the Pearl Harbor Attackers.

Remember the Maine! -Naval Thunder AAR

One of my favorite gaming past times is naval wargaming.  Specifically I like to use the Naval Thunder rules from steel Dreadnought Games:

I had been eagerly awaiting the release of the newest expansion Rise of the Battleship 2 which deals with Pre-dreadnought naval warfare.  In anticipation of this expansion I had completed my  Spanish American war fleet which had been lying patiently at Anchor for some time waiting for the expansion.

As I evaluated the two historical scenarios for the Spanish American War I realized they were extremely lopsided.  Instead of playing a historical scenario for the first game I decided to scale it back and bit and play a more balanced what if alternate history scenario.

I present "Remember the Maine"

Order of Battle:

USN Squadron:USS Maine: 101 pts
USS Texas:109pts
USS Brooklyn: 82pts

Spanish Squadron:
Vizcaya: 82 Pts
Infanta Maria Teresa (flagship): 82 pts
Almirante Oquendo:82pts
Cristobal Colon: 55pts (Estimate no Main guns)
Destroyer Pluton: 4 pts
Destroyer Furor: 4pts

On the evening of 15 February 1898 the battleship Maine drifted lazily at its mooring. Although the Havana night was moonless, the Maine's gleaming white hull -- longer than a football field -- contrasted against the blackness of the sea and sky. Smoke wisped from its two mustard-colored funnels. Random lights sparkled from its portholes and its bridge.
In the captain's cabin, Charles Sigsbee sat at a table writing a letter to his wife. The trouble in Cuba, he wrote, would soon be over. The new Spanish governor of the island seemed to have the situation under control. During the three weeks that the Maine had been in Havana, Captain Sigsbee had seen no sign of Cuban rebels. He'd entertained the Spanish officers in his mess, and he and his staff had been entertained lavishly by the local officials. Although Sigsbee found the bullfights to which he'd been invited somewhat barbaric, the Spanish officers behaved as perfect gentlemen.

Even Fitzhugh Lee, the American consul, seemed optimistic. A month earlier the old general (Lee had commanded a cavalry division under his uncle Robert E. in the Civil War) had summoned a battleship to "protect American interests." Although the Maine was only a second-class battleship, it was the largest ship ever to enter Havana harbor. To the Cubans, it was a floating American fortress right in their capital city.
Aboard the Maine, "taps" sounded at ten minutes past nine.

Just then shouts erupted from the main deck and then the rattle of gunfire.  Captain Sigsbee ran from his cabin to the main deck.  He found a detail of Marines boarding a launch.  The Officer of the deck quickly saw him and reported in.  Soon he spotted another small boat that was pointed out to him as the Marine’s objective.  The Marines investigated and found 6 men on the boat all but one dead or dying from guns shot wounds.  The sixth was slightly wounded.  The Marines also found the boat was laden with explosives. 

The wounded man was interrogated and discovered to be a Rebel bent on sinking the Maine.
U.S. Marines were ordered ashore to protect American Interests. 

Upon learning of this conspiracy additional U.S. warships were dispatched to Havana including the Battleship USS Texas and the Armored Cruiser USS Brooklyn along with several transports carrying an invasion force.
Spain would not set idly by as the U.S. implemented colonial expansion in their back yard at the expense of the Spanish empire.  Spain quickly dispatched Admiral Cervera with his force of four armored cruisers and two torpedo boats to challenge the Americans landing in Havana.

On the afternoon of 28 February 1898 the USS Texas and USS Brooklyn arrived with the invasion force and joined the USS Maine. 

On the morning of March 1st the US forces began the landing in earnest meeting minimal Spanish opposition.  The Maine and Texas entered the Harbor and provided fire support at the land forces drove the Spanish from the city to the surrounding hills while the USS Brooklyn maintained patrol outside the harbor.
In the Early Dawn of March 2nd 1898 the two American Battleships lay at anchor waiting for the sun to rise to continue shelling the Spanish strong points that still remained from the day before.
Unknown to the American the Spanish threat did not only lie ashore as a naval force was quickly approaching.

Special rules:
First three turns are treated as night.  The two Spanish DDs are aware of the location of the Maine and the Texas. 
All other ships must roll 1d10 to spot each enemy ship until turn 4.  Once a ship is spotted it remains spotted.
Turn 1: 9-10
Turn 2: 8-10
Turn 3: 6-10. 
All ships are spotted once they fire the first time.

USS Maine and USS Texas are at full stop just inside the harbor.  Upon sighting an enemy ship the can move speed 1 the next turn and increase speed by 1 each turn after that.


USN Forces:

Texas and Maine:

USS Brooklyn on Patrol:

Furor and Pluton preparing to make their run on the unknowing US battleships:

Spanish main Battle Line:

Turn 1:
Spanish Destroyers closing on Maine and Texas unspotted While the Brooklyn and Spanish Battle line close on each other:

 Turn 2:
The keen lookouts on USS Maine spot one of the DDs, but the gunners are unable to score a hit while the Brooklyn and Spanish cruisers continue to close the range unaware of each other’s presence:

Turn 3:
The Texas joins the fight as it spots the attacking DDs and blasts the Pluton out of the water, but it is too late as fish are now in the water.  The Spanish gunners also spot the Brooklyn and open fire drawing first blood.

The torpedoes prove deadly at close range as Furor scores a hit setting USS Maine afire:
Turn 4:
The Furor takes evasive action to avoid the lumbering battleships heavy shells looking to seek revenge while the USS Brooklyn scores a hit on the lead Spanish cruiser causing flooding.

Turn 5:
The Furor is able to quickly close back into torpedo range and cross the beam of the Texas avoiding her big guns.  The Spanish cruisers  begin their turn into the Harbor while exchanging close range fire with Brooklyn starting fires and causing the Brooklyn to take a critical engine hit.

The Spanish fish prove extra potent scoring a 2nd hit this time on the Texas casing flooding.

Turn 6:
Having spent all her torps and having no guns Furor races off taking evasive action while Texas and Main turn toward the oncoming Spanish line while licking their wounds.  Brooklyn attempts to continue to stay engaged, but her reduced speed is beginning to show.

Turn 7:
Ranging shots are exchanged with no effect.  The only eventful occurrence is the Spanish Damage control proves inept and Vizcaya takes on a list while Maine is able to extinguish her fires.

Turn 8:
Texas scores another crit on Vizcaya causing flooding.  This proves too much for the overwhelmed damage control parties and the Vizcaya rolls over as she take a second severe list.

Turn 9:
The Spanish no longer hindered by the Vizcaya's slow speed quickly close the range on Texas and Maine.  Both forces score hits.  Texas takes a 2nd flooding hit and a severe list.
Turn 10:
Another slug fest turn as the Spanish 11" guns prove deadly at close range as the focus on Texas score two damaging critical hits.  Texas can take no more and succumbs to the damage that has been inflicted.
Turn 11:
The now outgunned Maine tires to even the score and hits the Maria Teresa.  The Spanish gunnery is not to be outdone this day and they score two deadly criticals on the Maine taking out both Main batteries leaving USS Maine almost defenseless.
Turn 12:
In a desperate attempt to salvage the day the hapless USS Maine makes a run to rejoin the USS Brooklyn which still has plenty of fight left in her.  The Spanish sailors will have none of it though.  Like sharks smelling blood in the water they continue to pound the Maine starting another fire.

The damage tally has proved too much for the aging 2nd class battleship.  Her crew is unable to control the raging fire and it proves to much as her decks go awash and she starts to settle below the waves of Havana harbor.

USS Brooklyn now hopelessly outnumbered retires leaving the battered Spanish Squadron in command of the harbor and the city trapping the US Marines and soldiers that went ashore the day before.
The U.S. fleet will be back to seek revenge crying "Remember the Maine"

I was quite surprised by the results of this action.  The Spanish had a small point advantage, but considering the Colon carried no main guns it seemed fairly even.  The Spanish definitely had the dice gods with them this day scoring many criticals to include 2/3 torpedoes scoring their mark.

I would not expect the same results again.

So far RotB 2 has lived up to my expectations. ;)