Saturday, October 23, 2021

Sumerian Slingers

In a steady march to fielding a pair of Sumerian armies, off the painting desk today steps two-dozen slingers.  Mounted across six bases, each slinger base forms one skirmish BMU for Impetvs or To the Strongest!.  Combined, these figures could form three, double-stand BMUs for other rules.  Figures are by Newline Designs.
How is this new for 2021 project faring?  Well, to date, the project approaches 100 painted figures with another 36 figures nearing completion.  No critical mass yet to field a game but once a few battle carts are added into the mix, a small game will not be far off.  Perhaps by Christmas a couple of battle carts can be mustered?  We will see.  

On the gaming front, gaming frequency has been brisk with the need to even turn down games this week.  Scheduled for Saturday is a remote game to refight the action at Brawner's Farm.  In this game, I will be playing a role reversal as I take command of the Rebels.  My opponent is a cunning one. 
Action at Brawner's Farm
After the Saturday Brawner's Farm game, I clear the table and prepare for a return to playtesting Ian's Rein-bow Warriors for at least one session during the week. 

Sunday sees a return to Norway for a remote Bolt Action clash hosted by Matt.  A long time has passed since we last battled way up north.

Looking forward to both!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

My Little Fokker in Action On the Front

Having been away on leave, ace pilot, Rittmeister von Freitag missed his Jasta's initial deployment of the new Fokker DR1 Triplane.  That initial combat trial ended in mishap as Heinrich Manove' narrowly escaped destruction in the new fangled aeroplane (see A Brief Update for details).  As luck would have it, von Freitag would return to his Jasta on the frontlines flying one of these new contraptions.
The German squadron takes to the skies
As Rittmeister approaches his airfield, he witnesses three DV's arising from the field.  Even from this distance, he can make out that Manove' is leading the sortie in his trusty, steel blue aeroplane.  Looking around, a trio of enemy aircraft is seen approaching in the distance. Without hesitation and without knowing the mission, the Baron banks hard to the right to join in the hunt.
First contact!
Before he can make contact with his comrades, action is already heating up over the river below.  Still a distance out from the fight, the Baron can just make out a two-seater on a possible recon mission escorted by two fighters.  Surveying the dogfight, only two German DVs are engaged.  Was the third already shot down or had it returned to base?  No time to waste!  The Rittmeister must come to the aid of his countrymen while trying to figure out how to handle his new steed.
Lt Manove' gives chase
Lt. Manove' signals that he is giving chase to the two-seater as the recon plane descends from the clouds.  The Rittmeister acknowledges and turns toward the action to engage the two enemy escorts and even the odds.  With a young pilot in the cockpit of the DV, against two pups, Lt. Schneckeneichener could use a hand.
Nice maneuvering, Manove'!
As Lt. Manove' lines up his initial attack on the two-seater, the two escorts dive to the strutter's rescue.  With both German fighters higher and out of position, the Germans must act quickly before Manove' becomes the hunted rather than the hunter.  
The Baron tailing the enemy
The Baron swings his triplane about and dives to get upon the enemy's tail.  He succeeds in positioning himself on the tail of one of the pups and sends a burst into its tail.  At long range, it is difficult to see where the bullets hit.
Hard to tell friend from foe
Unfortunately for the Baron, his momentum and unfamiliarity with the characteristics of the DR1 carry him through the enemy aircraft.  Curses!  Manove' has the bit between his teeth and continues tailing the strutter as it peels off and begins a steep climb.  Has the strutter completed its recon mission?
The two-seater spins out!
While still on the tail of his adversary, the Baron sees the strutter go into a spin.  Lt. Manove' may get his third kill!  Manove' follows his prey watching as it crashes lands into the field.
The duelists
With the two-seater down, time to put away these fighter escorts.  Positioning himself to face an enemy pup, the Rittmeister leads Schneckeneichener into the fight.  The Rittmeister pumps a burst into the engine of the opponent and then passes overhead.
The pup's engine conks out
Following up in the second attack, Schneckeneichener pumps two long bursts into the pup.  The pup's engine coughs and then stalls.  She is smoking!  Sputtering, the pup pulls away and begins to descend, the pilot frantically trying to restart the engine.  It is no use.  The pup glides to the ground as the second British escort breaks off.  A kill for Schneckeneichener!  Hooray!

Stoked with adrenalin, the young Schneckeneichener follows his adversary too close to the ground and clips a tree with his wing.  His DV crashes not far from the spot where he brought down his adversary only moments before.  

The Baron and Manove' return to base as Schneckeneichener is fetched from the field.  The young pilot will have some explaining to do during the debrief, of course, after a suitable convalescing period to recover from his injuries.

For Lt. Manove's account of the action, please visit Graham's blog at Back up in the air.

Very fun!  Thank you Richard for hosting another entertaining session.

Oh, and the purpose of the recon mission was to photograph the Fokker DR1 Triplane downed on the previous day's sortie. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Brawner's Farm - An Australian Rebel

The Battle of Brawner's Farm saw action on the gaming table a second time.  Again, like Game #1, the battle unfolded remotely.  Rather than umpiring a two-player game pitched against two American players, in this contest I faced off against an Australian opponent.  Peter (Grid based wargaming) accepted the challenge to participate in a remote game.  

Peter and I managed a collaborative game years ago refighting the French & Indian War.  We teamed up with a combination of strategic play using a board game and tactical resolution using miniatures.  The campaign can be found at Montcalm & Wolfe.  Who still recalls that series?

With the 18 hour time zone difference, we decided upon a two-player game with me commanding one of the combatants.  Peter, from Melbourne, chose to command the Confederates under Stonewall Jackson.  I took command of elements of King's Division including Gibbon's Iron Brigade.  After guiding players from afar in the first Battle of Brawner's Farm game (see Battle for Brawner's Farm), I thought I saw opportunities for the Federals to gain a victory.  Well, not so much for gaining a victory as fighting not to lose the battle.  

Initial situation
How did I do?  Let us see...
Federals are marching toward Groveton
 on Warrenton Turnpike.
Gibbon's Iron Brigade wheels off the turnpike and begins
 to deploy on the eastern edge of Brawner's Wood.
Jackson arrives with 26 and 60 GA as Rebel guns
 swing into position on Stony Ridge.
Federals build an artillery fire base on the turnpike.
Baylor arrives to support Jackson
at the copse of trees in the center.
Gibbon draws deeper into the woods.
Confederate guns command the open field.
Rebels move up to support the guns as Gibbon sends
 a regiment and gun out to the east.
Federal troops preparing for action.
In a costly mistake, Federal guns move toward Brawner's.
They will be lost...
Rebels charge off the hill destroying one gun section.
Gibbon reinforces his right.
Has Doubleday's position been turned?
The center Federal regiment takes heat from guns
on the heights as a Rebel regiment attacks.
Rebels attack Doubleday after preparatory fire
from Brawner's Farm. 
One Federal regiment heads for the rear! 
Flushed with success, has the Confederate regiment
 advanced into a Hornet's Nest?
Yes!  Rebels are ejected from the woods.
On the Rebel left, Confederate reinforcements
 arrive in strength from Stony Ridge. 
With Rebels lining the high ground,
 can the Iron Brigade hold?
Situation about 7:30pm
With their left turned, Federals reel as casualties mount.
While the Iron Brigade holds on the Federal right preventing
 the Rebels from attacking Dogan's House, Doubleday's brigade
is destroyed in Brawner's Wood.  Gibbon is forced to retire. 
With Doubleday destroyed, the guns fall silent and Jackson and his Confederates are victorious at Brawner's Farm.  Congratulations to Peter for a finely played battle.  The Federals were regularly dancing to the Rebels' fiddle and mistakes early on cost the chance at victory.

Is the scenario too hard for the Federals to succeed?  Should Federal troops be allowed a reinforcement of either Patrick's Brigade from the west or Hatch's Brigade from the east to offer more balance?  We will see but first I would enjoy tackling the scenario again as written.  Better play on my part may yield a different result.  

This game was Peter's first try at a remote game and a new set of rules.  Despite the 18 hour time difference, I thought the game played smoothly with Peter jumping in and acclimating quite quickly.  After one or two turns, it was down to making decisions and rolling dice. 

Thanks, Peter!  Maybe I will taste victory next time?  I expect more from the Iron Brigade.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Babylon 16

A funny thing happened on the path to fielding these light infantry skirmishers.

In preparation for playtesting Ian's Rein-Bow Warriors, his rules require more skirmishing troops than does either Impetvs or To the Strongest!.  Ian said, "I need more Hittite skirmishers."  I snapped into action and pulled javelinmen from The Lead Pile and set to work.  It was only after I was part way through with painting these sixteen figures that I realized the figures on the workbench were not Hittites at all.  The figures were actually Babylonians.  Sigh.  I pressed on and finished them.

Off the painting desk today are four stands of four Babylonian javelinmen.  These sixteen figures are Newline Designs.  Next time, I will double check the figures before slapping on the paint.  More Biblicals are in the painting queue but work returns to the Sumerian project.

On the gaming front, a second remote battle of Brawner's Farm is on today's agenda.  This time, I face off against Peter (Grid-based wargaming but not always).  Peter will step into the role of Stonewall Jackson while I try to lead the Iron Brigade to victory.  With a time zone difference of 20 hours between us, I am playing on Thursday while Peter is playing on Friday.  Should be fun.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Battle for Brawner's Farm BatRep

After having sent out a call for players willing to participate in a remote ACW hex-based game in 10mm, juggling time zones proved difficult.  I received two volunteers from the same time zone so Brawner's Farm would be a two-player game.  Jennifer from Florida would command the Federals and Ivan from Michigan would command the Rebels.  This would be both players' first sampling of moderated, remote wargaming.  The game was fought on 09 October.

Prior to game day, each player received a scenario packet including the initial game map shown below:
Battle Overview
Only a few Confederate gun sections begin on table.  Elements of King's Union division were caught in column marching along the Warrenton Turnpike when battle begins.  Startled by the sudden arrival of incoming artillery from the higher ground to the north, Federal brigades of Gibbon and Doubleday snap into action to address the situation.

Let's see how the battle developed.
Gibbon's Iron Brigade swings off to skirt
the east end of Brawner's Woods
while a gun section unlimbers to cover Brawner's Farm.
As Gibbon turns into the woods, reports are received
 that Rebel troops are approaching the farmhouse.
View from the Rebel, overhead webcam.
Doubleday peels off to advance upon the farm.
Baylor and several batteries arrive as Lawton approaches.
King brings up more Federal guns into the woods.
The Iron Brigade working through the woods.
Both combatants take up positions along the fence line
 with a No-Man's developing between them.
Rebels position guns to the east to harass Gibbon.
View from east end of battlefield
The lines are drawn.
While Gibbon distracts Rebel reinforcements,
 Doubleday prepares an attack with artillery support
 upon Jackson and Brawner's Farm. 
Double prepares assault on farmhouse.
The Federals assault!
2 WIS charges Rebel guns positioned at the edge
 of the woods.
With devastating volleys from Lawton's Brigade
 almost on its flank, the 2 WIS wavers.
At the farm, Doubleday takes fire from the west
 and his assault loses steam.
With heavy casualties,Doubleday calls off the attack.
Lawton's Rebels eject the 2 WIS from the field
 as the Federal right is threatened.
As darkness falls, Rebel forces are heard working their way around the Federal left.  With the Federal right also in jeopardy, Doubleday and Gibbon call off the attack and retire into the growing darkness.  What was gained by this action?  Well, besides heavy casualties, Federal troops now know where Jackson's command is situated.  Today, Jackson (Ivan) is victorious.  Tomorrow is another day.

Saturday's gaming session was quite enjoyable.  Having two players unfamiliar with both rules and remote gaming, both took to the challenge with ease.  After a brief introduction and a quick work through the technology, Jennifer and Ivan dove in with little difficulty.  Within two turn turns of play, both players had command of both the rules and technology.  Having conquered those two hurdles, Jennifer and Ivan concentrated on tactics.  I could see tactics developing as the battle progressed.  Quite enjoyable to watch as the battle unfolded.  Well-played by both.  In a post-game retrospective, we discussed adding in additional troops to bolster the Federal position.  King's division had two brigades nearby that could have thrown their weight into the fray.  Perhaps a rematch may be in order?  I would enjoy that.

Thanks to both players for a very enjoyable Saturday gaming session.  That was fun!

For Jennifer's battle account from the Federal perspective, please see Brawner's Farm at her Librarian Gamer blog.