Monday, December 19, 2011

MOMBATS in the Belfry

The Roscian column comes under fire.
It is my intent that each of my "active" collections see action at least every other year. My 1/72nd forces last hit the tabletop in November of 2009. When Bob Cordery released the lastest version of his Memoir of Modern Battle, it seemed like a good time to take an hour or so to give the  soldiers of Naryatria and Roscia a quick outing. The table was still set for Holding Action, all I had to do was swap out the buildings, swap in the palm trees that show I'm not in Kansas, swap about the hills so that the crucial ones would be hexed, and select troops to deploy.
 The Balimont Rifles prepare their recoiless rifle. (figures from the spares box and a few plastic scraps made into a very accurate representation of a Mk 2 Ross Recoiless, the Naryatrians use a Mk1)

The opposing armies are those of Naryatria, which first saw light of day for a few AK47 games back around 2004 give or take a year and Roscia which were created in 2009 for CWC. They were both formed to resist the forces of Centralia but since these have not been seen since the repulse of their invasion of Roscia in the spring of 2009, it seems inevitable that there have been border skirmishes. Not that they share a border to the best of my knowledge but the geography is a little hazy to be sure. The time frame is almost as hazy, mid to late 60's is about as close as we are likely to make it.
The Hereditary Foe: Jerry's Centralian Hordes. Photo courtesy of E Tenibris Lux.

The scenario called for "light cavalry" and "heavy cavalry". Translating the latter into Tank was easy, but the rules had no real equivalent to the former. Luckily, Bob has been kind enough to send me a doc file of the rules to make it easy for me to tinker. I decided to add Armoured Cars as a catch all for obsolete tanks, armed APC and armoured cars. I ruled that they would be treated as a "Tank" when being shot at, but would have only 2 strength points and would only fire with 2 dice.

I wasn't happy with the anti-armour capability of machine guns, mortars and infantry so deducted 2 dice for MG's and 2 dice from the others. I considered ruling that small arms could only drive back AFV but decided not to complicate matters.

'A' Company of the Balimont Rifles, complete with Bazooka for anti-armour defence. (Almark WWII British, plus Imex Korean War US, an old paratrooper and a bren gunner from somewhere.

In order to allow my "new" Pershing tank(only a year 1/2 old)  to take  the field, I let Roscia be the advancing force, chasing a retreating Naryatrian incursion no doubt. The Naryatrians dug in around the pass with 4 companies of infantry, a mortar, a recoiless gun, an armoured car, a Technical mounting an MG (treated as an infantry target but with vehicle movement), and a field gun. The Lions in their Red Berets deployed their left of the road and in reserve while the Rhino's deployed to the right.

The Roscians deployed two tanks from the Hance Horse, an Armoured car, APC and company of armoured infantry from the Newpore Lancers, a mortar, recoiless rifle, mg and 3 companies from the Balimont Rifles and a local defence company and mg.  There should also have been an M113 SP mortar but it seems to have run out of gas or broken down en route. Since I had already failed to adjust force levels  to account for the Naryatrians being entrenched, this didn't help.

 Volunteers from the Local Defence Forces move to the assault. (Esci Muslim warriors with some new weapons)

I assumed that the Naryatrian positions were concealed until they opened fire. The first round of the day, from a field gun firing at extreme range from dead ground and controlled by an observer, drove back the lead Saracen. Not at all dismayed, the Roscian armour advanced up the road while the infantry deployed to either side.
The Newpore Lancers debus from their APC and prepare to assault the hill covered by tank fire. (British armour from Airfix kits, the Pershing is a die cast model by somebody or other, Modern British Infantry by Revell.)

It didn't take long for 2 truths to sink in: entrenched infantry is tough, and sending your infantry forward in a solid mass is going to cause additional casualties.

The Rhino's Recoiless Rifle zeroes in on the Saracen.

There was a short lived  duel between the Rhino's Recoiless rifle which was being treated as a Mountain Gun, and the Saracen. The boxcars rolled by the rifle provided the first loss of the day. Not having the special die, I ruled the following: 1=Miss, 2=Retreat, 3,4=Infantry, 5= Tank, 6 = Hit Anything.

 The Lion Brigade takes heavy casualties.

Once the tanks opened up, the Naryatrians began to take losses despite the entrenchments.  The Pershing quickly succumbed to a mix of medium range infantry fire (RPG) and artillery. A duel between the Centurian and the Naryatrian Armoured car ended badly for the latter. Supported by 1 company of infantry, the Centurian took the right hand ridge despite heavy fire. An infantry assault on the left, took out the Rifle and a company of infantry but at a heavy cost. When a counter attack took out the last rifle company on that flank, it was time to go home.

Highwater mark.

The game was fast, furious and fun. I have a couple of quibbles over a few minor details but the rules work well and are easily tweaked. I thought my 2 grades of armour worked well and could easily be tweaked even farther to account for the latest super tanks if one wanted to, without new rules, just new unit stats.

The infantry stats worked well, but I'm not so keen on the mortars and MG's not only being able to fire and move but being extremely dangerous at point blank range making the mortar the most effective close assault unit.I am guessing the reduction in effect with range for the mortar and artillery accounts for the increased difficulty of target acquisition. (oh yes I also ignored the LOS rule for mortars and allowed them to use an observer as well.)  I might be tempted  to try flattening their hit dice like the tanks but will definitely make mortars and MG's move OR shoot only. The artillery ranges seemed a little short to me and it seems that when using indirect fire, that the distance from observer to target  is probably more important than the range from the gun if it is on table, so I may just measure artillery range from the observer for indirect fire, but then the heavier guns wouldn't have a longer range. Perhaps a maximum range for indirect fire as well as the direct fire chart.. I'll have to think about it. The current mechanism works anyway.

So there we are, an enjoyable excursion for my "modern" troops. I predict that they and MOMBAT with or without ross-visions will see the table again ere long (Thanks Bob!).


  1. Looks like fun! I should get back to work on the People's Republic of Mbotu sometime soonish...

  2. Great report - nice to see the (relatively) modern toys out again.

  3. Good stuff Ross, liked it a lot. Did I see a Centurion in there somewhere?

  4. Thanks for the comments gents. Yes it was fun, it was a nice break from all those horses and mudskets, bows ans spears. And yes there was not only a Canturian, but it survived (just).