Erlabrunn Heights – 1982

A long weekend and time for a game on Saturday evening of Modern Spearhead, and what a fine game it was. 

The Soviets complete with BMPs and BTRs launched a considered attack on the British who conducted a flexible defence. Supported by tanks the Soviets struggled to gain traction initially, but as additional battalions were committed so the British defenders came under increasing pressure.

Realising the Soviet plan the British commander ordered forward one then two battalions. Now, while Chieftains and FV432s lurched forward in counter-attacks artillery observers directed coordinated fires in support of mechanised infantry in a desperate effort to breakup the Soviet attack.

Yet would the Soviet Hind helicopters wreck havoc on the British defenders around Erlabrunn?

A short report of this excellent game can be found here.

Ifigenia & Spanish Steel

It’s been a while since we have had a Sails of Glory game here but last Friday evening three of us gathered for a small frigate action. I took the opportunity to use the Spanish Ifigenia, a model I’ve had for a while but untested in battle.

I won’t try and describe the battle in detail, but in general terms there was, as usual, some jostling for the advantage of wind before the two squadrons were fully engaged. Of note both the French Embuscade and Spanish Ifigenia were outgunned by HMS Unite and HMS Sybille, yet the allies approached the British fighting to gain a better position. Wind has an important part to play it would seem in the age of sail.

The French Embuscade was first to fire and unleashed a broadside on HMS Sybille, who returned fire with equal determination. At the same time the Spanish Ifigenia exchanged broadsides with HMS Unite. However, at this point HMS Unite critically lost a mast. Her captain now struggled to manoeuvre her while undertaking temporary repairs. Critically,  HMS Unite was effectively out of the action for a short period.

Yet not all was going well for the Dons. Miscalculating the enemies speed Ifigenia moved too close to the larger HMS Sybille and the two ships became entangled. The British seemed prepared to take advantage of the Spanish error.

The Spanish marines however fought with great determination. Accurate musket fire caused increasing casualties on HMS Sybille, soon they would become critical. The French Embuscade, who manoeuvred close to the wind, now also came about. Together Embuscade and Ifigenia delivered further broadsides the former with solid shot while the later with grape.

The casualties again fell mostly among the crew of the King’s ship. Now the Spanish crew, emboldened by imminent success, poured aboard HMS Sybille. Unable to withstand Spanish steel the crew capitulated, providing Spain with a wonderful prize. It was a most glorious day for Spain, and perhaps our French ally!

The Year That Was…

With the end of 2016 almost here it seems an opportune time to reflect on my year of gaming. What’s been achieved, what hasn’t, and some general reflections. I’m not one for New Year resolutions but this year I intended to, and generally achieved, an increase in gaming activities. This meant a reduction of posts here as I focussed more on gaming and less on posting. All round this has been particularly pleasing change in focus.

I’m of course fortunate to have so many good natured opponents which has made this an enjoyable gaming year. Indeed, most weeks I’ve managed two gaming evenings. Tuesday has become a regular event with one player who approaches gaming generally from the same perspective as I do. This regular gaming slot has found us playing all manner of rule systems. DBA, BBDBA, DBR and Wings of War are regularly seen as the fit well into the available time. Each tends to go in phases with 300 point English Civil War encounters being the current phase.

Friday evening slots allow greater time for games and generally allow Volley & Bayonet encounters, occasionally supplemented with Spearhead or Modern Spearhead. Larger multiplayer Sails of Glory or Wings of Glory games feature when we are suffering from the impact of a busy work week. A larger group of players attend these events but organising these sessions can be a bit more hit and miss with many opponents travelling or suffering work commitments.

My attendance at wargaming conventions has been lower than I had hoped with only one out of town event and that being in Australia back in January. It seems a distant memory now. This was supplemented by DBA at Conquest here in Christchurch, which was pleasingly well supported by out of town players.

Yet there remains somewhat a hole in my convention gaming. I recall the many excellent Spearhead and Modern Spearhead events in Wellington in years past. It’s such a shame these are no longer organised.

What I haven’t achieved in the year is much progress with miniatures painting. A couple of small projects have been completed but in general the existing projects have languished yet again. Perhaps I need to add this to the list of aims for this year. For example I really need to complete my WWII Soviets for Spearhead, while progressing some long overdue expansion of other armies. Then there is a new 6mm Volley & Bayonet army that has been on my mind for a few years. Not to mention a large batch of 6mm Spanish I was gifted a few years ago. Goodness, the painting projects almost seem overwhelming!

So on reflection an excellent year of gaming. That said I’m rather looking forward to see what 2017 holds…

The Cold War Continues

There seems to be a bit of a theme here at the moment with two additional Modern Spearhead games being played over recent weeks. As always I find the Spearhead stable of rules produce both extremely enjoyable games, but ones that model well the layers of command and combat of the period very well. Yet for some reason, which really escapes me, Spearhead or indeed Modern Spearhead are not the most popular games around.

Anyway, that aside our two recent games were first class. First up Andrew and I deployed our forces for a clash between my West Germans and Andrew’s Soviets in an excellent 1982 scenario. Instead of deploying his Soviet Naval Infantry, as I expected him to, Andrew opted for a second rate armour heavy Soviet force which deployed the better part of two full regiments. Then, advancing on a narrow frontage, the Soviets advanced sweeping aside the outnumbered West Germans. A fascinating game from start to finish. Follow the link to a short report of the game Achtung Panzer.

Two weeks later Robin and I faced each other in another game, also set in 1982. Robin fielded his British which he operates extremely effectively in a defensive posture while I fielded my Soviets. Another fascinating game was the result. Again the game well illustrated the strengths of the rules. Reconnaissance, planning, resource allocation, combined arms all played a significant part. A short report outlining  Golubev’s Gamble, can be found here.

I need to start thinking about another game…

Baltic Diversions

Taking advantage of a long weekend Andrew and I decided to deploy our forces for another Modern Spearhead encounter on Saturday, set as often the case set in 1982. Well in advance we started planning for the scenario. With Andrew opting to field a Soviet force I would field either my West Germans or French. After changing my mind a few times I opted for the French.

As regular readers know we use a Scenario Generation System to balance our Modern Spearhead games. Part of the Scenario System is a points process that helps balance the various scenario elements. As the French AMX-30 tanks and AMX-10P combat teams are expensive, especially when NATO command and control is considered, hard choices must be made. I decided to take considerable artillery assets which I hoped would allow French to win the artillery war. Then as the ground attack gained momentum French fixed wing air assets wold deliver critical blows against Soviet counter-attacks.

Now, I was expecting to deploy against conventional Soviet forces, though likely operating older equipment, such as T-55s. To my surprise Andrew had been painting and opted for a Soviet Naval Infantry force. So while he fielded a few T-55s there were more PT-76s supporting his BTRs with a range of naval aircraft and helicopters.

The result was an encounter on the NATO Baltic flank. Following the landings of Soviet Naval Infantry on the Denmark coast Western forces moved rapidly to prevent the expansion of the Soviet beachhead. Electronic warfare, SAM suppression, counter-battery fires, deep flank marches, dramatic road dashes and air support were some of the significant events in the unfolding action as French forces pressed their attacks while Soviet forces attempted to consolidate their initial gains. A report of the action, supported by a series of photos, can be found here.