Friday, April 16, 2021

Drive on Madrid

Graham set up another two-player Spanish Civil War scenario for his For Whom the Dice Rolls rules.  I would be commanding a Nationalist column of crack troops intent on securing two towns and a critical bridge on the drive to Madrid.  The success of the offensive would depend upon how quickly my column could secure these objectives to protect the army's left flank.  Ahead of the game, I was provided with my OB and an aerial photo of the area of operations.  I was also given the possibility of having limited air support.
Aerial recon of the Area of Operations
My force would be attacking from the west toward the two towns and bridge with orders to take all three objectives with all haste.  Of the Republicans dispositions, I knew little.  Limited intel suggested that militia was on the way in strength to thwart my attack.  While the aerial reconnaissance identified no enemy opposition, my hunch was that the towns would likely be enemy held.

How did the battle play out?  Please read on.

As my force approached the area of operations, the town nearest the bridge was already in enemy hands.  The town on the left was soon to be occupied by enemy militia.  With two of the objectives already in enemy control, what was my plan?

My plan included advancing the Legion up the middle to prevent the militia in the far left town (top of photo) from reinforcing the enemy center and to support the Moroccan attacks upon the central town.  To begin, my artillery targets the occupied town and begins a barrage as my troops advance.
The Legion and one Tabor of Moroccans advance into cover and begin to deploy.  The second Tabor moves swiftly to the edge of the town and debusses while the town's occupants are under bombardment.
The Tabor at the town prepares to attack by forming up into a firing line.  A third militia battalion advances to the riverbank and enfilades the Moroccans as they prepare to attack.  The Moroccans suffer light casualties from the militia but carry on with little concern for the security of their exposed flank.
Airstrike!
Photo courtesy 
http://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/
The Legion is the target of an enemy airstrike.  While the attack results in pinning the Legion, casualties are light.  Whew!
The Nationalist barrage lifts as the Moroccans go in.  In a very lopsided firefight, the militia are cut down where they stand.  The militia battalion dissolves.  The Moroccans take the town.  As the Moroccans are securing the town, they take more fire from the militia across the river.
When the barrage lifts, the Moroccans attack!
Photo courtesy 
http://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/
With the town secure, the first Tabor advances quickly from its covering position and works its way to the right of the town.  A Nationalist ground strike comes in over the battlefield strafing the militia on the far bank. 
Airstrike!
Photo courtesy 
http://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/
Shocked by this attack, the militia retreats back.  Unfortunately for this militia, a second wave of fighters appears overhead and strafes them a second time.  Ouch!
With one town secured and the supporting militia driven back, the Legion advances upon the far town.
Having set the Legion in motion toward the town, artillery is redirected to target and soften the defenders up before an attack can go in.  Before the artillery rains down, the Legion deploys into firing line and gives the defenders a bit of softening up themselves. 
As the barrage lifts, the Legion strikes.  Having recovered from the double air strike, the enemy militia moves forward toward the river.
Unfortunately, the Legion's assault on the distant town is repulsed with light casualties to both.  Meanwhile, having set up a strong defensive
 position, the Moroccans in the town begin concentrating their fire upon the approaching militia.
At the far town, the Legion goes back in to contend with its stubborn defenders.  The first Tabor moves up to the river discovering that it is crossable.

Casualties mount!
Photo courtesy 
http://wargaming4grownups.blogspot.com/
The Legion's second attack is no contest and the defenders are butchered in the confines of the town.  The second objective falls.  The first Tabor crosses the river and attacks the militia.  This battalion, too, is destroyed in the open field.  With three of the four Republican battalions tasked with the defense destroyed, the Civil Guard abandons its position.  Battle won by the Nationalists.

Well, that was a short, sharp action!  While the battle account may make this scenario appear as a walk-over, it was not.  Graham had terrible luck with his firing dice.  In the rules, hits accumulate for each '6' rolled.  At one point, 39 D6s rolled without having any 6s appear.  Zero for 39! Soon thereafter, another 39 D6s rolled only two hits.  Graham retired those dice!  

As a two-player game, this played in about two hours.  Action was quick and in many cases, decisive.  When proper tactics are employed on the miniature battlefield and produce expected and historical results, the system generating those results is solid.  The proper interaction and coordination between infantry, artillery, and air have an elegant beauty to behold.

Fun game!  

For Graham's perspective on the battle and many more terrific close-up photos, please visit, With The Legion In Spain.

57 comments:

  1. Will the enjoyment of these games get you starting a Spanish Civil War collection or project? I am assuming you don't have one hidden away in a cupboard somewhere.

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    1. Never say never on starting a new project. I painted a battalion of Basques for Graham and I enjoyed it. I am thinking of giving the rules a solo run-through using my early war WWII collection as a proxy to see if I can play without the author's guiding hand.

      As for collections hidden away in a cupboard, I rarely know what I may find if I begin to dig!

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  2. Another very nice scenario to fight over with great fog of war at the start, which is what many of us want these days. Graham's rules sound great and I might get them to add to my SCW books as they sound a great resource too.

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    1. Don't hold back. As Oscar said, the only thing to do with temptation is to give in to it. Support an up and coming rules writer trying to make it in a world dominated by Warlord Games and their starter packs.

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    2. OK Jonathan and Graham, you persuaded me and I've just ordered a copy:)

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    3. You know it makes sense. Thanks for your support. Every penny I make from sales is earmarked for spending on more toys. By buying them you are supporting the whole hobby.

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    4. You're welcome Graham and I agree about supporting writers such as yourself or smaller companies within our wonderful hobby.

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    5. Steve, this was another very interesting scenario. As the Nationalists, I have more than one option available to pursue in tackling the problem. Having a tactical problem to solve is a favorite of mine.

      Even if you do not play the rules but have an interest in the period, the rules have a lot to offer as a period reference. I have learned much about the conflict from the rules. As Graham suggests, don't hold back!

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    6. That's the spirit, Steve! We are a niche hobby.
      Contributing writers, publishers, and manufacturers deserve our support.

      Graham, you are not saving up for a winter home in the Bahamas?

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    7. Why would I do that? The costs of shipping the collection and the potential damage would mean no wargaming for 6 months. Oh, the horror.

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  3. Fantastic scenario. sounds like a great game

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    1. As the attacking Nationalist, it was a great game!

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  4. An interesting game look a lot of fun there, I might check the rules out to see if I can adapt them for 1:1 games with my 28mm collection.

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    1. They are intended for Brigade actions, which means a minimum of 3 battalions on the tables. Depending on how you feel about these things you could use 2 - 4 28mm figures for a company.

      Alternatively I guess you could push them down a level and use them for battalion actions, and have four companies on the table, each made up of four sections. Your MG company would be an absolute killer under those circumstances, which isn't necessarily wrong.

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    2. Phil, the game presented a very interesting situation and game-play produced an entertaining narrative. Whether or not this could work for skirmish gaming, I leave that up to you and Graham to decide.

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    3. I think I may get a set and give them a try, I currently use either Bolt Action, Chain of Command and Rapid Fire with SCW mods but all have left me feeling I have just played early WWII.

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    4. Graham will be pleased to read this!

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    5. I am indeed. You should be okay if you have figures for those games.

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  5. The opening with an aerial photo was a fun addition.

    The true dynamic possibilities of the battle was obviously not put to the test due to extreme dice results, but I am guessing the clever interplay falling from the geography of this battlefield could easily make this a 'favourite' for repeat play and even be the sort of scenario that could make it into a rulebook or some-such publication. very good.

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    1. The aerial photo was a happy accident. I ran out of time to draw the normal map, so I just "flew" my phone over the table, stitched the result together and put a b&w filter on it.

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    2. Thanks, Norm! The situation does appear to have a high replayability factor. Would better shooting by the Republican defenders have made a difference? We may never know.

      This scenario would make a great introductory situation to include in the rules since unit count and troop density are low and there are no armor and little artillery present.

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  6. A good read and an exciting game Jonathan.

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  7. "The proper interaction and coordination between infantry, artillery, and air have an elegant beauty to behold." As the rule writer, I'll take that.

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    1. I thought you might!

      To gain this "elegant beauty" one must get all of the pieces working in harmony. Sometimes, that is not so easy especially when an opponent insists upon interrupting the best laid plans!

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  8. The intro with an aerial shot was clever, good use of photo and text to depict the battle unfolding. Rules look interesting in the results given, proper for the scale of action played.

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    1. Joe, it is good to see that the BatRep, as presented, is easy to follow. The rules are not expensive and available on Amazon...

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  9. Looked a great game.I've always fancied the SCW myself.

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    1. Why hold back? For a brigade level game like this with 3-4 battalions a side you need 100-120 figures, so you get an army of Peter Pig figures for less than £60. The rules have orbats in them, so you can cost it out if you want.

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    2. The game was great, Ray! Go ahead, order a copy of the rules.

      Perhaps I should be asking for referral commissions?

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  10. Great sounding game,I like the lightly abstracted town, it works really well,I continue to be tempted by the period but shall resist!
    Best Iain

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    1. Tempted? Resisting temptation is old fashioned. Instant gratification; that is where we are today!

      Graham's table looks pleasing and not too much terrain to hinder play. For me, it simply works.

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    2. I have abstracted built up areas for a long time. The exact size and location of buildings is relevant in skirmish level games, but Katherine the ground scale names a nonsense of most other approaches I find.

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    3. In most games, I abstract BUAs as well. This method works for me too. We agree on much.

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    4. That should say "considering the ground scale it makes a nonsense". Sorry using a tablet not a keyboard this afternoon.

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    5. No worries! I understand and it happens to me with regularity. I have almost sworn off attempting to reply on my phone. Autocorrect often does me in.

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    6. I don't know, I quite like Katherine the ground scale!
      Best Iain

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    7. Yeah, I was working on figuring out a translation for "Katherine the ground scale!" Perhaps she was a long way down the line of inheritance to Katherine the Great?

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  11. Another great looking and sounding game Jon - as always, your tactics seem to be sound - have you been on the winning side in every SCW game so far, if not, it must only be one or two where yo have not been victorious!

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    1. He tends to win in the two player games, but hasn't won all of them (he lost 1st Ebresa). And he's been on the losing side in several of the multiplayer games especially when he fails the Terror Test for multiple units.

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    2. A solid plan and sound tactics ought to yield an advantage in play. In a reasonable combat simulation, historical tactics and planning ought to produce historically plausible results. In this battle it did.

      While it may seem that I come out victorious in many of these games, as Graham mentions, I have a certain propensity for failing Terror Tests with regularity. I do fare better in our two-player games and better when a scenario is replayed. I may have to have a think on why.

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    3. The two player games are more attack/defence than encounter battles,and the rules favour aggressive tactics that make use of the initiative. As to why you do better the second time round, its quite simple. You learn from your mistakes.

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  12. Oh, great looking scenario Jonathan!

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  13. Great looking game and report, Jonathan.

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  14. That seemed like fun, and as Keith says you do seem to have a knack for coming out on top in many of these remote games Jonathan.

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    1. It was a fun contest! Readily replayable too. Perhaps my hosts are letting me get the upper hand? They are both very nice guys. For the AWI games with Matt, I have been defending which is much easier than attacking in R&P. Graham really had a TERRIBLE string of rolls in this game.

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    2. Just to prove I'm not letting Jon win, I gave him close ups of the dice rolls.

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  15. Good looking game and a fine narrative.
    A shame about those dice...

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    1. Glad you enjoyed the narrative, Peter! As for the dice, well, I am not complaining...

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  16. Nice time there! It seems that you’re enjoying quite the winning streak with the remote gaming. 😀

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    1. Perhaps I only report the victories?

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    2. That sounds more like something I would do...

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  17. Now that was a methodical way to achieve your objectives. Nicely general'd Jon.

    This rules set sounds like it rolls as many dice as a game of Warhammer 40K. Always fun to empty the bag into the dice dish.

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    1. Thank you!

      I am not familiar with WH40k but this game can definitely be a considered a buckets of dice game.

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    2. I don't think of it as a BOD, as there's lots more going on. The 39 dice failure was achieved over several activations. But, yes, it does involve rolling more dice than DBA.

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