EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Get'em up!

Well, one never quite knows what to expect. Last Sunday, a few hours after playing the first game of a 3 part miniseries using the new Elastolins, I was struck down by a nasty flu bug or similar. By Wednesday I managed to scribble a quick game report (click here to see the report or go to the Gathering of Hosts blog) but that's been it for hobby stuff for the week.

Today I finally felt up to playing something small, simple and seated. Seemed like a good time to break out my old card table set up and some little figures as well as being an appropriate time to give One Hour Wargames another try.  But which period?

A Roscian column makes it way down the road : 4 infantry platoons lead followed by the Battalion (recoiless) AT gun and a Centurion. Their mission is to press on and exit at least 3 units by Turn 15. If not slowed by the enemy the column could accomplish this in  3 turns. Some veteran gamers may recognize the infantry portion of A company. 
(Some veteran 20mm gamers may recognize the make of the infantry portion of the 1st platoon.)

It has been on my mind that after investing time and money in my 'game in a box' 1/72 modern (well they were contemporary when first produced) troops two years ago, they haven't been out since.  Fair enough, I've never tried the OHW WWII rules and these lads are just barely post WWII. Just the thing for today.  I decided to start one of Thomas'  suggested mini-campaigns. I rolled Scenario 6, selected 2 armies and then tried to figure out the best way to fit the game onto my 36"x30" board. The simplest way would have been to fudge the 6" so I decided to mark off an area of 27"x 27" ( or 9x9 3" squares) and reduce all measurements by 3/4. This  gave me a border around the edge to hold off table troops and gaming paraphernalia. I made a quick measuring stick marked with ranges and movement since my brain was still too fuzzy to calculate such things on the fly.

I rolled up 2 armies and, after consulting the curiously jumbled boxes, determined that the Green, or Lilliputian, Army would defend. This army once had a slightly different name but I was having trouble remembering it and since the infantry are largely CtoA copies of the old Britain's Lilliput version of the Herald Khaki infantry I decided that it will work fine. The meant that I would attack with my Roscian or Khaki Army.
At the end of turn 1 the column has taken significant casualties while deploying to attack a blocking force of 2 Green Infantry platoons. Green reinforcements have also shown up, a Pershing, a mortar, and 2 more infantry platoons.  By turn 2 almost every unit is firing with superb fire control, massing their fire for optimum effect. Units started disappearing ....fast!  (Note, the last row of squares is not in play)
Once again it took considerably longer to set up the game than to play it but from the time I decided that I wanted to play something through finding stuff and dragging it downstairs to finishing the game, it did take just under an hour. The Lilliputians did manage to put up enough resistance to slow the Lilliputian advance by 2 turns but it was all over by the 1/2 way mark of the 5th turn as the Roscians exited the board.

Lower die rolls all around would have helped prolong the game but that's dice for you. Having to defend with modern troops in the open, the only real hope for the Green army was the support of their deadly mortar platoon which came into action on Turn 2 and played a roll in all 3 destroyed Khaki units.   At least, not including the initial battleplan, there were actually 2 points in the game when I had to make a decision about moving or shooting. Once for each side.  The rest of the game was win the firefight or die.    If I should replay the game I'll probably let the blocking force infantry entrench.

By turn 3 the Green infantry blocking force had been eliminated and the Pershing was out of range of living targets so it rolled forward  despite having already taken heavy damage. On Turn 4 it took the  combined fire of the BAT and Centurion and the road was open.  The mortar, still firing for all it was worth, took out the BAT  but there was nothing to stop the Centurion and the 2 remaining Khaki Infantry from exiting the board. 

The temptation is strong to add some terrain, switch rules, then play it again. Maybe tomorrow.

12 comments:

  1. Are some of the plastic infantry in the first photo from the long defunct Almark 20mm range ? - the did the Germans in metal for some reason ?, Tony

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  2. I moved the game to a hex grid and played on a 6 X 6 hex surface with each hex counting as 6" for the ACW games. It worked fine.

    I like WWII, so find the WWII the weakest of them all especially as A/T guns are allowed to move as though they are self propelled guns, giving them more of an offensive rather defensive attitude.

    I think each rule set just needs a few house rules adding to are them more acceptable for my tastes. For my ACW, when units take losses, they have to take a morale check rolled against their casualty level. If they fail, they take an additional hit and fall back 1 move. This seems to be a good way of dealing with the over-powerful Zouves (their term for elites) when they occupy defensible terrain, as you at least now have a chance of prising them out before burying burning out a couple of units trying to assault them.

    Nice to see your plastics on the board.

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    1. I agree that the rules can be tweaked but there are many things about them that work just fine but which I don't enjoy. Hence not worth the effort for me to fix, replacing the rules and just playing the scenarios is easier for me.

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  3. Sorry about some of that sounding like gobbledygook ...... Predictive text on the tablet!and bad editing ... More coffee for both me and the tablet!

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    1. Should I be worried that I didn't notice any gobbledygook?

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  4. Hi Ross,
    I don't have OHW and won't be getting it due to all the reviews/comments I've seen, yours included.
    I did recently get Thomas' Wargaming: An Introduction due to comments I had seen. They also have problems, but the WWII rules at least look interesting enough to be worth tweaking. Unfortunately, they are are smaller scale than I prefer (figure = 1 man), and include saving throws (never liked them, but tying them to current morale state -- worse morale = better saving throws but lower close assault factors -- is an elegant system). But I might use them once in a while for variety. Lots of holes to fill, though -- how hits are allocated, how many hits to KO team weapons, fire process against soft vehicles, units fight to the last man, tanks can't defend themselves in close assault.
    The ACW rules look pretty good, too.
    Thanks for another good battle report & pics. I really like that gidded terrain mat.
    Catch you later.
    John

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    1. Good to hear from you John,

      To be honest the collection of stripped down scenarios in OHW is still very useful. For most purposes I prefer the Grant scenarios and the like but they usually take longer to set up and reward a longer game. These stripped down ones can be thrown on a table in minutes and with a different set of simple rules played out in no time. Perfect for a short evening or when sick or busy.

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    2. Ross,
      I should have mentioned that the scenarios in Wargaming; an Introduction are pretty generic for most periods, with four varieties for WWII, but it does have interesting limited army lists for WWII, and two of the WWII scenarios involved unbalanced forces in attacker-defender. Specs on laying out the battlefield are almost non-existent; just that every game has three physical objectives to capture.

      John

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  5. Dear Ross,

    Almark conversions abounded in Scunthorpe in the late '60s. You only need so many Sappers with mine detectors!

    Regards, Chris.

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    1. I used to see the magazine ads for these but only once came across a set on the rack in a hobby store over here in the mid70's. It was a surprise when I stumbled across 3 unpainted, malingering, ones in the cupboard a couple of years ago.

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  6. Ross Mac,

    I used to have loads of those Almark plastic figures, but somewhere along the line they got themselves lost. They were excellent little figures, and I wish that they were still available.

    All the best,

    Bob

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