Saturday, October 30, 2021

Jasper Tudor's Battle

Finally! After a very long wait in the photo queue, Battle #4 of my 28mm WotR project lines up for a photo shoot.  Today's group of 52 figures comprises Jasper Tudor's Battle in all of its green and white glory.  Figures are from Perry Miniatures in plastic.  
While Battle #4 marches out from the painting desk, Battle #5 has a coat of primer and is plodding toward entering the painting queue.  Will I muster one more Battle before year-end?  It's possible but work is backing up at the workbench with a number of Biblical units gumming up the works.  At last count, there must be at least a half dozen Biblical units in various stages of completion at the painting desk.  Mostly Sumerians are seeing attention but Hittites are making appearances too.
Back to Tudor's Battle emergence from the painting table.  It is fitting that a WotR battle group marches off from the painting desk.  This Tuesday's UK group game will see Richard hosting a WotR battle.  My recollection is that the battle may be recreating Barnet but I could be mistaken.  Nevertheless, I have been placed in command of the Lancastrians for this clash.  We will see how I do.

Ian and I had another test game in his development of Rein-bow Warriors rules with Hittites v Egyptians taking to the field.  My Egyptians lost...More details on that fight in another post.

Oh, and I played four games this past week.  Not much time for concentrated painting sessions.  Maybe next week?  

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The Last Die Roll at Brawner's Farm

After watching Jennifer and Ivan tangle at Brawner's Farm (see Battle for Brawner's Farm) and then losing to Peter in a match-up (see Brawner's Farm - An Australian Rebel), I thought I spotted opportunities for the Federals to take on the more numerous Confederates. Luckily for me, Ivan was willing to give remote gaming and Brawner's Farm a second try.  At first I suggested I play the Federals while Ivan command the Rebels.  Since Ivan commanded the Rebels in his first game, we thought it more interesting for Ivan to take command of elements of King's Federal Division.  So that is what we did.  I took on the role of Jackson and Ewell while Ivan took command of the brigades of Doubleday and Gibbon.  I was confident that Ivan would be plotting a cunning plan for the Federals and I was not disappointed.  As before, the Federal troops are strung out along the Warrenton Turnpike when their quiet march to Groveton is interrupted by Rebel artillery fire.  At the beginning of action, counter battery fire from Stony Ridge upon Dogan's House drives off two Federal gun sections.  This is an ominous start to battle.
Initial dispositions

Let's see how the battle unfolded.

Doubleday wheels left off the turnpike as an artillery battery
 passes through his brigade.
Federal troops scurry quickly up to the fence as a battery
 follows up on the Federal left.
Jackson and two Rebel regiments approach Brawner's Farm
from the railroad cut.
Federals stake out their ground without wasting any time.
Rebel batteries begin hurrying onto the field.
Doubleday forms up below Brawner's Farm
as Jackson garrisons the crucial real estate.
Positioned behind the fence, the Federals await
the expected attacks.
Baylor and elements of his brigade cross the rail cut
 and come up to support Jackson.
Rebel batteries deploy upon the heights.
Doubleday shifts to the right.
Federal guns bring Brawner's Farm under increasingly
 intense fire as Taliaferro and Lawton arrive
 to bolster the Rebel attackers.
View from the Federal left.
Lawton arrives through the copse of trees.
The Rebel's Brawner Farm garrison grows.
Federal artillery is beginning to take a toll
 on the farm defenders.
Ewell arrives from Stony ridge in the north on the
Federal right while Taliaferro makes progress against
 Union artillery on the left.
Pressure is too much for Federal artillery
and they limber up and fall back.
Battlefield overview
Rebels catch a Federal section before it can escape.
View from Stony ridge and behind Rebels lines.
Protecting the Federal left, Union batteries give their attackers
 a taste of canister as the Rebel assault approaches.
The left end of Doubleday's line is flanked.
Rebels attack the Federal lines as Trimble attempts to turn
the Federal right and threaten the guns at Dogan's House
 (seen in the background).
By 8:00pm with darkness falling, the Federal right is being
pushed back toward the turnpike.
Brawner's Farm is firmly in Rebel hands.
If Rebels take Dogan's House, they claim victory on this day.
  Only a single section of Federal guns stands in their way. 
On the last turn with one combat to resolve, Rebels attack!  
Unfortunately for the Confederates, Federal guns repulse the
 attacking Rebels and Dogan's House remains in Federal hands.
Battle Over!  With the two objectives split, the battle is judged a draw.  Whew!

On the last turn, on the last roll of the dice, Ivan and his Federals snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat.  Having held Brawner's Farm and beginning to drive the Federals back, I figured storming Dogan's House on that last turn could bring victory.  Alas, it was not to be.  Those stubborn Federal gunners held and saved the day for the Union.

Literally, this was the last die roll at Brawner’s Farm as the table will be cleared to make way for new battles.  This was a fun and challenging contest.  Early on, I feared Federal artillery and Doubleday would turn the Rebel right while Gibbon held firm.  Ivan nearly pulled this maneuver off but the evening-long firefights weakened both combatants.  Rarely were the long range firefights decisive so as darkness closed in, Rebels attacked across the open fields.  Their brashness paid off as two of Gibbon's regiments were driven back revealing a path to Dogan's House.  All suffered heavy casualties in these attacks.  Two of Gibbon’s Federal regiments were barely clinging on at 25% effective.

Unfortunately, the late arriving troops of Ewell and Trimble had only enough time to quick march from Stony Ridge to Dogan's House and launch one hasty assault.  Federal gunners kept their cool as the Rebels attacked uphill and narrowly repulsed their assailants.

Game over but by the slimmest of margins!

Thanks to Ivan for an entertaining session.  By my recollection, the game lasted a little under three hours.  The time flew by quickly.  Having umpired and played a handful of Fields of Honor games now, proper tactics are beginning to formulate in my mind.  A summary of these tactics, tips, and thoughts can wait for another day. 

Next up for Fields of Honor?  A return to the AWI in a week or two's time.

On the gaming table next? Thursday sees a return to Egyptians vs Hittites in continued playtesting of Rein-Bow Warriors.  Saturday sees a local away game where Fields of Glory takes to the field for an ancients match-up.

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.