Friday, 28 August 2015

One Hour Wargame: Pushing the envelope

Having now tried out Martin Rapier's hexed-based variant of the World War II rules in Neil Thomas's ONE-HOUR WARGAMES rules – and having thoroughly enjoyed the experience – I decided to add a few bits of 'chrome' so that I could set up a scenario that is not in the book!

I wanted to see if I could set up a landing on a defended beach using naval gunfire support ... so I did. The only significant additions that I made to the rules related to the use of a large warship (in this case a battleship) to provide gunfire support. The model in question occupies two hexes ... so I treated it as two units that move together but that may – or may not – fire at the same target each turn. The battleship was given a starting strength of 30 points (i.e. 2 x 15) and each gun turret fired as if it were heavy artillery but is not allowed to fire at targets that are in hexes next to friendly units. For assessing damaged caused to the battleship, the ship is treated as if it were a tank.

Scenario
In retaliation for the recent border incursion, the Eastlanders decided to seize control of a small, fortified island off the coast of Morschauserland. To achieve this they sent a force of Marines – carried in a number of small steamers and barges and accompanied by the battleship Republicka – to the island.

The Eastland Battleship Republicka.
The Marine force comprised:
  • 5 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
The defenders occupied a number of concrete blockhouses and trenches, and comprised:
  • 2 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Artillery Unit

The Terrain


The Defenders
Each of the blockhouses was occupied by a Morschauserland Infantry Unit whilst the Artillery Unit was sited within the trench system.


Turns 1 to 3
The first three turns of the battle saw the Republicka concentrating the fire of her main armament on the two blockhouses.


The two Morschauserland Infantry Units in the blockhouses suffered casualties, but were by no means suppressed.


The Morschauserland Artillery Unit returned fire, and inflicted minor damage on the Republicka.


Turn 4
Now that the defences had been softened up, the vessels carrying the Eastland Marines began to move towards the beach.



The Republicka now switched her fire onto the Morschauserland Artillery Unit, which suffered a few casualties.


Morschauserland Artillery Unit fired back at the Republicka, and caused her some more minor damage.

Turn 5
The vessels carrying the Eastland Marines began arriving at the landing beach ...


... and the Republicka continued firing at the Morschauserland Artillery Unit.


For some reason the Morschauserland Artillery Unit fired at the Republicka again ... but her shells just bounced off the battleship's armour.

Turn 6
The first of the Eastland Marines stormed ashore ...


... supported by fire from the Republicka.

The first Marines onto the beach immediately came under fire from the Morschauserland defenders, and the Eastland Marine Infantry Units began to suffer casualties.


Turn 7
Whilst the Eastland Marines that had already landed laid down covering fire, the remainder of the Marines landed.


The Republicka continued to fire at the Morschauserland Artillery Unit, which was close to being destroyed.


The Morschauserland defenders continued to engage the Eastland Marines, and all along the beach the number of Marine casualties began to rise.


Turn 8
Whilst the Eastland Marines engaged in numerous firefights along the edge of the beach (as a result of which, the Morschauser Infantry Units in right-hand blockhouse was destroyed) ...


... the Republicka finally managed to destroy the Morschauserland Artillery Unit.


At this point the remaining Morschauserland troop surrendered ... and the island was firmly in Eastland hands!

This battle was a great pleasure to fight, and the Eastlanders did not have as easy a time of it as I had expected. The battleship rules worked well, and show that the basic rules have an almost infinite capacity to be developed to meet specific needs.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Nugget 282

The editor of THE NUGGET sent me the draft of the latest issue earlier this afternoon, and I hope to check it and print later today. Assuming that everything goes to plan, I will then take it to the printer tomorrow morning. I would hope to be able to collect it from them by next Tuesday, and to post it out to members of Wargame Developments by no later the following Thursday.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the ninth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2014-2015 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website. A printed reminder will also be sent out with this issue to all subscribers who have not yet re-subscribed.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

One Hour Wargame ... the re-fight

As I already had the terrain set up and the figures to hand, I decided to re-fight Scenario 30: 'Last Stand' using the unmodified version of Martin Rapier's hexed-based variant of the World War II rules in Neil Thomas's ONE-HOUR WARGAMES rules.

Last Stand: Morschauserland vs. Eastland ... the re-fight!
As before, Eastland troops were trying to hold up an advance into Eastland by Morschauserland troops, who had crossed the border to try to regain control part of the disputed border area.

The Eastland commander had three units at his disposal:
  • 1 x Infantry Unit
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
  • 1 x Tank Unit
The attacking Morschauserland force comprised:
  • 4 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Motorized Infantry Unit
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
The Terrain (as before)


The Initial Eastland Positions (as before)


Turn 1
The Morschauserland troops advanced onto the battlefield ...


... and came under fire from the Eastland Infantry Unit in the town and the Eastland Artillery Unit on the hill. Both encounters inflicted losses on the Morschauserlanders.


Turn 2
The Morschauserland Artillery Unit fired at the Eastland Artillery Unit in the hope that it would inflict casualties on it (which it did) and to provide cover for the two Infantry Units that were crossing the river via the ford.


The Morschauserland Motorized Infantry Unit engaged the town's defenders in a firefight, and both the sides suffered further casualties.


At the same time, the Eastland Artillery Unit engaged its opposite number with counter-battery fire ... with some success.

Turn 3
The fighting in and around the town had developed into a hard slogging match, with both sides suffering casualties.


Elsewhere the artillery duel continued ...


... and the sudden appearance of the Eastland Tank Unit was somewhat of a surprise to the advancing Morschauserland Infantry Units.


Turn 4
The battle of attrition taking place for possession of the town was almost at an end, with both sides almost at breaking point.


Whilst the two Artillery Units continued to slug it out, the leading Morschauserland Infantry Unit attacked (and was attacked by) the Eastland Tank Unit.


Turn 5
This turn saw a definite change in the fortunes of both sides. In and around the town, the Eastlanders had prevailed, and the Morschauserland Motorized Infantry Unit was finally destroyed.


Although the ongoing artillery duel ended with the destruction of the Morschauserland Artillery Unit, the Eastland Artillery Unit barely followed suit.

One of the Morschauserland Infantry Units that had been on the road supporting the now destroyed Morschauserland Motorized Infantry Unit began to make its way towards the ford ...


... at the same time as one of the two leading Morschauserland Infantry Units gave covering fire to enable the other Morschauserland Infantry Unit to advance towards the Eastland Tank Unit.


Turn 6
Whilst a new Morschauser Infantry Unit resumed the assault on the town, another of the Morschauser Infantry Units continued to move towards the ford.


One of the leading Morschauser Infantry Units engaged the already weakened Eastland Artillery Unit ...


... and wiped it out.

At the same time the fighting between the fourth Morschauser Infantry Unit and the Eastland Tank Unit continued, with both sides suffering casualties.


Turn 7
The Eastland Infantry Unit in the town came under attack from the bridge side of the town ...


... at the same time as one of the Morschauser Infantry Units in the centre of the battlefield moved into position on the other side of the town.


The fighting between the Morschauser Infantry Unit and the Eastland Infantry Unit continued with both sides again suffering casualties.


Turn 8
The Eastland Infantry Unit was attacked from two directions ... and was finally wiped out!


The ongoing battle between the Morschauserland Infantry Unit and the Eastland Tank Unit continued ...


... and only ended when the Morschauserland Infantry Unit was destroyed.


Turn 9
With only a single, weakened enemy unit to oppose them, the Morschauserlanders advanced into the disputed territory. Leaving a single Infantry Unit to hold the town and ensure the bridge's security, the Morschauserland Infantry Unit that had just assisted in the destruction of the town's Eastland defenders moved towards the hill. At the same time the fighting between the other Morschauserland Infantry Unit and the Eastland Tank Unit finally came to an end ... with the destruction of the Tank Unit.


The Morschauserlanders had achieved a complete victory over the Eastland Units that had opposed them ...


... but the price had been steep.

This was a very enjoyable solo wargame, and it gave me considerable pleasure to re-fight this action.

I felt that the rules worked much better without the changes I had previously made, and I will give serious thought before making any further changes. The battle was a dingdong affair, and the Eastland troops in the town did magnificently. Had the Eastlanders had just one more Infantry Unit, there is a distinct possibility that they would have stopped the Morschauserlanders in their tracks.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Just another couple of books ...

On Saturday morning I paid one of my irregular visits to Falconwood Transport and Military Bookshop (5 Falconwood Parade, The Green, Welling, Kent, DA16 2PL). The shop was even more packed than usual, but despite this I did manage to find a couple of real bargains!

The first was an ex-library copy of F M von Senger und Etterlin's TANKS OF THE WORLD 1983, which was published by Arms and Armour Press (ISBN 0 85368 585 1). The book has 828 pages(!) with 731 drawings and 603 photographs, and covers pretty well all the armoured fighting vehicles in production and/or service across the world.

Examples of some of the book's pages are shown below:



The second book was an edition of JAPANESE NAVAL VESSELS AT THE END OF WORLD WAR II, published in 1992 by Greenhill Books (ISBN 1 85367 125 8). The original book was compiled by Shizuo Fukui and published on 25th April 1947 by the Administrative Division, Second Demobilization Bureau. It was intended to 'present in a very simple form a record of all the important vessels of the ex-Imperial Japanese Navy at the termination of the war'. The original book was hand-written and contained numerous hand-drawn and annotated side views of the vessels included in the record.


What particularly interested me was the information about the lesser-known vessels used by the Japanese, including such oddities as the Maru-Yu transport submarines built and operated by the Japanese Army!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Trolling along ...

I have been trolled ... well, I think that I have been!

When I checked my emails this morning I found the following message in my inbox. It was entitled AIRFIX BISMARCK COMMENTS, and the text was as follows:

'Bob,
Try shaving the obligatory, "I'm so insecure about my looks" Do Nut beard....
You might actually be taken seriously.
Your off the mark and highly negative comments about the Airfix Bismarck set completely misses the point. It is there for the enjoyment of modelers and if your childish and apparently compulsive need to play war games is not suited for this set, keep your bloody rude and obnoxious comments to yourself!
N'
How interesting!

Whoever 'N' is (and the email did have a name and email address), they are obviously miffed about something ... but they have either got the wrong 'Bob' or have what my students used to call 'issues'.

So what to do about it?

I could just ignore it ... but somehow I feel that this person deserves an answer, and I have – therefore – sent the following reply:

‘N,
Thank you very much for your recent email. As you have taken the time to contact me, I felt that it would rude of me not to reply.
I regret to inform you that I don’t have any insecurity about my looks; I acknowledged the fact that I am no Adonis many, many years ago. As to my beard … well we have been together now for over forty-five years and I cannot see us parting company in the near future. With regard to my need to be taken seriously … well I gave up worrying about that a long time ago and leave those concerns to people whose self-esteem needs that sort of support.
I assume that my ‘off the mark and highly negative comments about the Airfix Bismarck set’ are the ones I made on my blog back in February 2012. I will take issue with you about what you refer to as my ‘bloody rude and obnoxious comments’, as the title of that particular blog entry was ‘Why the Airfix ‘Sink the Bismarck’ set is so useful’ and contained nothing but praise for the models that were included.
Finally, may I address what you call my ‘childish and apparently compulsive need to play war games’. Well, you are entitled to your opinion about what I do in my spare time, and to some people it may well appear to be childish. So what? I happen to think that watching twenty-two overpaid, so-called ‘athletes’ kicking a football about for ninety minutes is ninety minutes wasted … but if that is what some people want to do with their spare time, that is their choice. As long as what they do does not impact upon what I want to do, I think that we can live in harmony ignoring each other.
All the best,
Bob
PS. If you are not the ‘N’ who sent me this email, then may I apologise for the certain level of sarcasm that may have pervaded the text of my email … and inform you that someone has used your email address to send a rather rude email to me.’
I somehow doubt that I will get a reply ...
I was wrong; I have just received a profound apology from N, and I was only too please to accept it. I hope now that we can move on to other, better things.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames Issue 389

The September issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES WITH BATTLEGAMES magazine arrived by post on Friday morning, and I spent a large part of the afternoon reading – and thoroughly enjoying – it.


The articles included in this issue are:
  • Briefing (i.e. the editorial) by Henry Hyde
  • World Wide Wargaming by Henry Hyde
  • Forward observer by Neil Shuck
  • Fencing mistress: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Fantasy Facts by John Treadaway
  • 6mm and the bigger picture: Small scale figures for grand tactical games by Jim Webster
  • Board with World War I?: Get enthused again with Will Townshend by Brad Harmer
  • Waterloo refought: The Church Fenton alternative by Brian Fish and John Smith
  • A multi-period campaign: Giving your club games a purpose by Chris Jarvis
  • Negative freedom: A philosophical appraisal of wargamers by Rob Wyness
  • Points system in the dock: A send three and fourpence special by Conrad Kinch
  • Terrain for tiny chaps: Miniature landscapes for you 6mm armies: 2 by Mick Satce
  • Hex encounter by Brad Harmer
  • Recce
  • The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal report by Henry Hyde
I particularly enjoyed:
  • Brad Harmer's Board with World War I? because I have enjoyed all of Richard Borg's other wargame designs, and have come very close to buying this game several times;
  • Conrad Kinch's Points system in the dock because he puts that case for and against points systems extremely well. (I am not a great lover of points systems per se but I think that they can be helpful if properly designed. That said, I did included Army Lists – with points – in my rules WHEN EMPIRES CLASH!)

Thursday, 20 August 2015

One Hour Wargame

I finally managed to try out Martin Rapier's hexed-based variant of the World War II rules in Neil Thomas's ONE-HOUR WARGAMES rules ... and thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

I used my mini-campaign board and Hexon II hexed terrain, some of my Megablitz Soviet and German troops, and Scenario 30: 'Last Stand' from the book. The only changes I made to the rules were to use a card-driven unit activation system (as experience has shown me that this makes for a more interesting situation when fighting a solo wargame) and to allow units that have moved to fire during the same turn. (This was done to see if this speeded up the pace of the game.)

Last Stand: Morschauserland vs. Eastland
Eastland troops were trying to hold up an advance into Eastland by Morschauserland troops, who had crossed the border to try to regain control part of the disputed border area.

The Eastland commander had three units at his disposal:
  • 1 x Infantry Unit
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
  • 1 x Tank Unit
The attacking Morschauserland force comprised:
  • 4 x Infantry Units
  • 1 x Motorized Infantry Unit
  • 1 x Artillery Unit
The Terrain


The Initial Eastland Positions


Turn 1
The Morschauserland Motorized Infantry Unit advanced on the small town that was astride the road leading away from the bridge across the river. It came under fire from the Morschauser Infantry unit in the town, and dismounted before crossing the bridge and returned fire.

The Morschauserland Artillery Unit fired in support of the Motorized Infantry Unit, and were then fired upon by the Eastland Artillery Unit on the hill.

The remained of the Morschauserland force advanced towards the ford across the river.


Turn 2
The Morschauserland Motorised Infantry Unit (supported by fire from Morschauserland Artillery Unit and one of the Infantry Units) assaulted the Eastland-held town, but were unable to dislodge the Eastland Infantry Unit holding it.

The Eastland Artillery Unit continued to fire at the Morschauserland Artillery Unit, and the Morschauserland Infantry Units began to cross the river via the ford.


Turn 3
The fighting for possession of the town continued, and casualties began to mount on both sides.


At the same time, the Eastlander Tank Unit finally advanced to stem the forward movement of the Morschauserland Infantry Units that had cross the river via the ford.


Turn 4
Eventually firepower and numbers told, and the Morschauserlanders finally destroyed the towns Eastland defenders ... but at a price! (The Morschauserland Artillery Unit had been destroyed by its Eastland counterpart.)


On the other flank, the Eastland Tank Unit inflicted substantial casualties on the leading Morschauserland Infantry Unit, although not without suffering casualties of their own.


Turn 5
Whilst the Morschauserland Motorized Infantry Unit waited for its transport to catch up with it, the supporting Morschauserland Infantry Unit passed through it and advanced up the road.


On the other flank of the battlefield the fighting between the Eastland Tank Unit (supported by artillery fire from the Artillery Unit) wiped out one of the Morschauserland Infantry Units.


Turn 6
The Morschauserland Infantry Unit on the road continued its cautious advance, and the Motorized Infantry Unit was reunited with its transport. The Eastland Tank Unit withdrew slightly as its strength was becoming seriously eroded and the Morschauserland Infantry Units used this opportunity to swing towards the road.


Turn 7
It was becoming clear that the Eastlanders were not going to be able to stem the Morschauserland advance ... but they tried to inflict as much damage on the invaders as was possible.

Although the Morschauserland Infantry Unit on the road managed to get away and continue its advance into Eastland, the Eastland Artillery Unit destroyed the Morschauserland Motorized Infantry Unit and the Eastland Tank Unit eliminated one of the remaining Morschauserland Infantry Units.


The Morschauserlanders had achieved their aim of continuing their advance, but at the cost of severe losses. The Eastlanders might not have stopped the advance completely ... but they had given it a bloody nose and left the invaders seriously weakened.

In my opinion these are an excellent set of rules. I fought the whole battle in about an hour ... and I spent more time taking photographs and writing up the battle report than I did actually moving the troops and throwing the dice. I will certainly be using them again, although I do have a few developments/changes of my own that I want to try out. I will also revert to the 'move or fire' rule as written, as allowing units that have moved to fire during the same turn speeded things up a bit too much.

Note: I kept a note of each unit's strength by using small magnetic numbers that I originally made for my Megablitz battles. I started off using a 1 and a 5 to make up 15 (each unit's starting strength), but as units began to suffer casualties, I had to total the numbers on each base as I didn't have any number 6s, 7s, 8s or 9s. I intend to rectify this situation as soon as I can.