Sunday, November 24, 2013

Foray into Building Bolt Action Armies

German Army Book
Several weeks ago I was introduced to Bolt Action.  Since that time I abandoned my plan to use my AAM minis to play as the weapon type is so important in Bolt action and the AAM figures lack the detail and quantity required to assemble appropriate squads.  As a result I decided to spend some of the proceeds form recent gaming sales to acquire appropriate 28mm figs form Warlord games and War-games Factory.  Besides as one of my good gaming buddies always tells me 28mm is a much more manly scale.

Over the last month or so I have been assembling and painting my troops and this weekend I have reached the point that all my infantry are now complete for both my German and American Armies.  This was no easy task for me.  I have painted countless 15mm and 10mm figures in the past, but this was my first foray into 28mm plastics.  The plastic troops all have to be individually assembled to include attaching heads, arms, weapons and other equipment.  After completing my first German squads I quickly learned that the trusty super glue was no longer the way to go and that nothing beats good old plastic model glue for this task.

U.S. Army book
In the end I now have a total of three squads with leadership, crew served weapons, special weapons teams and two vehicles per Army.  This is enough to field 1000 points for each with the ability to change a few things up and try new options.  Additionally, I have another box plus of troops to assemble as I better learn the game and decide on new options.  As the troops are custom built I decided to wait on assembling these so I can configure them later as needed.  The specific army books describe the various units and vehicles in detail to include how many points they cost in an army list. This allows one to customize their armies.  At this point I have constructed a German and American army that are fairly conservative.  I did not build these with the intent of playing in tournaments yet.  They are based on the Normandy selector and follow fairly historical builds versus a competitive tournament style.

This is what I have so far.
Three U.S. Squads 12, 12 and 10
Leader team, Bazooka Team, Sniper team
50 CAL HMG team, 30 CAL MMG Team, 60mm Mortar team
M8 Greyhound Scout Car
M4A3 Sherman Medium Tank
German Platoon 3 Squads (10,10 and 7) with Leader team
Flamethrower team, Panzerschreck team, Sniper team 
Medium Mortar Team, MG42 MMG Team

Pin Markers
German Vehicles yet to be completed
So that is it for now.  As mentioned 28mm is an entirely new scale for me.  While I am happy with how these turned out as gaming models there are some more painting techniques I would like to try on future models as well as some detail that can be added like insignia and unit patches.

 Once I get a few games in I can then decide how to better customize each army in terms of competitive advantage.  In the meantime I think we have a couple of decent historical lists that should provide some great father son games.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Battle of Brandywine-Regimental Fire and Fury

This week I returned to Rockton with my son for the weekly gathering to play with toy soldiers.  Mark was inspired by the recent foray into ACW Fire and Fury to reach back to American Revolution and set up Regimental Fire and Fury Battle of Brandywine.

As you will see by the pictures Mark spent a couple days putting this one together using his wonderful collection of 28mm figures.  He found much of the scenario info on the Fire and Fury support page as well as through research and corresponding with others.

You can find the MAPS, OoB and AWI QRS sheets here:

Now on to the battle:

The Battle of Brandywine, also known as the Battle of Brandywine Creek, was fought between the American army of Major General George Washington and the British army of General Sir William Howe on September 11, 1777. The British defeated the Americans and forced them to withdraw toward the American capital of Philadelphia. The engagement occurred near Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania during Howe's campaign to take Philadelphia, part of the American Revolutionary War.

The above is from wikipedia and you can read the entire account here:

For our scenario we were fighting the extreme right of the battle.  We had 9 players show up this week which was fortunate as there were plenty of troops to command.  Justin and I teamed up on the British side with Scott, Rob and Stan.  The Americans were commanded by Pete, Brian, Jon and Curt with Mark coming in to render assistance as people had to leave.

Justin and I were on the British far right.  I commanded a Hessian Brigade and Justin a Guards Brigade.  Our overall strategy was a frontal assault on our side to hold the American in place or drive them back while Stan took his larger brigade on our far left and executed a flanking maneuver off board out of sight from the Americans.

Initial deployments looking down the British Line some of the units are actaully off board and will come in behind others
Americans have a strong defensive position in the center with support on the hill
Two British Brigades deploy to the center and left
More Americans are still coming up on the British right to oppose the Hessian and Guards
British aggressively charge the fortified American Center......
...and achieve an early success with a breakthrough
On the British right the Guards and Hessian go into action driving back the American left initially
The American successfully organize a counter attack in the center
The British Left goes into action driving the Americans back and capture the Meeting house
Meanwhile on the British right it devolves into a stalemate with both sides trading blows as the Guards are unable to dislodge the American guns across the stream and a Hessian regiment is broken and driven back
Finally the flanking move pays off as a large British formation appears on the American far right.
At that point we had to call it an evening due to time.  At first it was thought it to be a British victory, but on closer examination we decided it was still to close to call.

On the British right both sides traded blows and inflicted an equal amount of damage with both losing a total of 16 stands each

The Americans firmly held the center after repulsing the initial British successes
On the far British Left (American Right) the British have captured the meeting house objective and a large formation of troops threatens to roll up the entire flank unless the American commanders can successfully redeploy to meet the new threat

We ended up leaving with it as an overall draw.  It was undecided if we will continue this game or reset the field with some small adjustments and re-fight the battle next week.  Either way it was great fun.  Again, many thanks to Mark for hosting.  Never a disappointment when gaming with the Rockton gang as the are all a great group.

Friday, November 8, 2013

ACW-Brigade Fire and Fury

This past Wednesday evening I had the opportunity to game with the Rockton group again.  ACW Fire and Fury was on the agenda as they are getting ready for a mega Ckicamauga game this weekend.  More importantly my eldest son, Justin, decided to come along and give it a try.  He was very impressed with the groups massive gaming collection which we had the chance to check out before everyone arrived. 

Portion of Mark's impressive figure collection
When we arrived and the battlefield was laid out similar to Chicamauga, but the OoB was generic (Troops were labeled for Gettysburg) as the intent was to refresh everyone with the rules.

Initially there were only four of us to play so Justin and I squared off as the Confederates vs Pete and Brian as the Union.  Rob showed up shortly after we started and he joined the Rebel cause so we each commanded a Division which also include a Corps commander and an Artillery reserve against a slightly larger Union force.  Later Mark our host arrived after a meeting and acted a judge for the remainder of the contest.

Initial Layout with Rebels coming from the right and Union from the left
Basic set up was two crossroads which were the objectives.  The Confederates had two divisions on the right (Rob and I) and one slightly smaller division on the left (Justin).  The Union was similarly deployed with Brian's command facing Justin and Pete aligned opposite Rob and I.

Rather than give a Blow by blow AAR of each turn I will provide a pictorial account with captions.

Justin's first Fire and Fury Command
After some early poor command rolls Justin finally was able to start to get into position against the Union forces to block the crossroad

On the left I deployed toward the center while Rob worked to sweep the far left against Pete.
I deployed my division artillery along with half the Corps reserve in mass to cover the crossroad.
The Union tried to pressure our extreme left, but Rob was more than up to the task
As I attempted to move some troops to the right they came under fire while in march column and quickly deployed into line
Rob organized the Confederate Left and started to apply constant pressure while our cannonade pounded the crossroad.
I managed to press from the other side damaging the batteries that were harassing my troops as they advanced to support the right
The far left became hotly engaged with multiple melees
On the right Justin had his hands full holding off the slightly larger Union force.  He quickly learned some valuable lessons as his smallest brigade was swept from the field.

Help was on the way to shore up the right if he could hold out long enough.
The entire line was engaged as a mass of humanity struggled to decide the outcome

On the right both sides charged and counter charged until finally Justin started to gain the edge driving the union attackers back.

In the center after driving the Union Artillery back I sent two brigades headlong into the crossroad in a gamble to smash the Union position and capture the second objective.
On the Left the Rebels had success and were rolling up the Union position while the Artillery continued to pound the center.

His blood now up, Justin, successfully broke through the center of the Union right leaving two Union brigades with their flanks hanging in the air with larger rebel formations closing.
The charge into the crossroads was a smashing success resulting in a breakthrough which allowed the Rebels to capture the crossroads while sweeping two more Union brigades from the field with subsequent charges to the flank.

Overall the night turned into a major victory for the Confederacy.  the Union right was broken and in full retreat.  the Union left had failed to advance to the crossroads and was in the process of be driven from the field. 

Most importantly Justin had a great time and he talked about the game all the way home and even the next day.  No matter who won the game it is always a victory when you can pull a 17 year old away from all the other life distractions for a few hours of historical gaming.

Many thanks to Mark for hosting as well as Pete, Brian and Rob for having patience to teach a new gamer.  He is now hooked and looking forward to the next ACW battle.