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Saga Wargame – Review of the Raven’s Shadow Expansion booklet

The Raven’s Shadow is a supplement with four new factions for the Saga game. It also covers a couple of new rules and has an errata and Q and A section. You can catch my review in full at the SagaTapestry.com here.

Saga Wargame – 4 points of Anglo-Dane Hearthguard

Just finished up the first four points of my Anglo Danes in 28mm plastic for Saga wargame from Gripping Beast / Studio Tomahawk.
One thing I don’t claim to be is a great miniature painter. It is strictly tabletop standard. I wasn’t 100 percent about the paint job, but the basing I think helps pull it together and divert the eye.

Note: the lighting I had to play with isn’t the best. I will try to get better quality pictures at a later date.

[Edit@ I have added some more pictures with added lighting]

The models were the Wargames Factory Hammer of the Gods Saxon Thegns plastic box set. The only other parts used were Renedra plastic round bases (25mm) and a metal Dane Axe from Gripping Beast’s Viking Starter Set. The Axes in the WF plastic box set are a bit too short for Dane Axes. The Dane Axe is mandatory in the Saga wargame for an Anglo-Dane Warlord.

The paints used were from the Vallejo Game Color range. The finish was done with an Army Painter Anti-shine matt spray varnish.

The basing was three stage. A coat of Vallejo GC Tierra (brown earth). Then a sprinkling of OO scale fine brown ballast (Javis) onto a PVA glue coat. After that had dried another batch of PVA glue was used to secure a mix of topping materials ( a mix of Woodland Scenics  Coarse Turf, Javis Coarse Light Green Grass,  Javis Medium Green bushes, shredded Hornby Skale scenics Early Autumn Coarse Foliage Fibre Clusters and lastly a few bits of shredded light green Woodland Scenics lichen thrown in for good measure – all in descending order of quantity in the blend).

Leave to stand for an hour at room temperature and all should be dry enough to photograph/game with.

AAR – Battle Report – FoW – 1750 pt LW – US 3rd Rifles v Pucassi (Axis) Romanian Infantry

Last week I tried out a changed US 3rd ID list for late war. I drew Hammy, our veteran Flames player at the NWGC in Stockport.  Hammy used his new Romanians and got to work on Easyarmy to draw up a list.

Note: this was the third time I had played on the same table setup. Each time my starting table side was different which put a new perspective on the terrain. As the missions and opponents are also changing, it made no odds to me what the table looked like.

Mission: Hold the Line  (Defensive Battle) P280 of the v3 rulebook.

Here are the lists:

US: (US 3rd ID, Confident Veteran) (1750 pts)

HQ with two bazookas (bazookas attached out to rifle platoons)

Assault Rifle platoon

Rifle platoon

HMG platoon with 2 bazookas (all attached out to rifle platoons)

HMG platoon with 2 bazookas (bazookas attached out to rifle platoons)

AT gun platoon (3x 57mm guns plus bazookas)

AT gun platoon (3x 57mm guns plus bazookas)

Armored rifle platoon (5 half tracks)

I&R Jeep Recon (3 Jeeps / 3 infantry teams)

Weapons platoon (2 LMG, 3 60mm mortars – attached out the LMGs to the rifle platoons)

Germans: (Romanian, Late War, variable levels of morale and skill, 1750 pts)

Pucassi (Axis)

HQ (faust) + 2 Schrecks
1st coy 16 R/MG + cmd faust
2nd coy 8 R/MG + cmd faust
HMG ptn
81mm mortar ptn + obs
4 120mm mortars + obs
6 TaC 38 (50mm) ATG
6 TaC 40 (75mm) ATG
8 Skoda 100mm + 2 obs
4 cavalry scouts
3 20mm AA
3 T-38 (Pz 38t)

Deployment:

I (US) won the role to attack. Hammy chose one long table end to set up and we each placed an objective. Romanians had one objective to the centre rear of their long end, US on their right flank and more open side, as close to the centre line as the rules allowed.

Hammy placed his large Infantry platoon (company) in a line across the table ready to catch anything I could send across. These were placed as if they were trained, but rolled for their status just before first turn. He placed his heavy mortars to the rear and  the light mortars more centrally. He had two lots of AT guns in Ambush. The rest of his force was put in delayed reserve.

I chose to make the main attack toward my objective, with on of my large rifle platoons with extra HMGs, LMGs and bazookas (the rifle and pioneer rifles platoons each had 1 rifle command team, 9 rifles, 1 LMG, 2 HMG, 4 bazookas. The pioneers had one less rifles as they took a flamethrower option.

The Recon dismounted their Jeeps and waited at the head of the infantry to move up into the small wood.

The rest of the US troops spread out into the centre, with the pretty useless AT guns on the hill near the rear. Both mortar platoons were kept up with the attacking rifle platoons to help out. The APR platoon was kept in the rear behind the long hill as a reserve force should my rifle platoons get cut down.

The Game:

The aim for Hammy was to keep me off the objective and out of his end of the table by his turn 6. This was going to be difficult.

Hammy had to roll for the status of his platoons. The Infantry nearest me were Reluctant Veteran. This would help me with his motivation to counter assault. The 120mm mortars were Confident I think. The rest I can’t remember too well.

The game started with the US Recon infantry moving into the wood and hiding. On the US first turn, the Recon moved to the edge of the wood. Next turn they hoped to be able to remove Gone to Ground from the Romanian infantry ahead of them.

The US rifles moved up behind the recon moving around the wood to try and get to the enemy as quickly as possible!

The centre pioneer rifle platoon moved up on the village.

The US 60mm mortars didn’t do much, the 80mm did better laying a large cloud of smoke down on the enemy infantry in advance of the rifles.

The Romanians played the AT ambush straight away in the woodline on their left flank. They were affected by the US smoke later, but did do some damage, mainly in helping to pin down the US Rifle attack.

The Romanians managed to use their MG rifles, HMGs and AT guns along with a bombardment from the mortars to pin down the US rifles and cause some casualties (despite the smoke).

The US rifles moved two teams on the far right into assault keeping the rest away as non-assaulting teams. It became obvious that trying to make more assaults along the line would only pull in more and Romanians and thereby stop the assault in defensive fire.

The assault was limited in effect and the Reluctant Romanians fought back causing casualties.

The US right flank was starting to whittle down.

In the centre, the vain attempt of the US to get into the village was met by mortar and rifle/MG fire, pinning the platoon.

It’s fair to say that the assault in the village and the US left flank was very bloody. The US got unlucky, a village assault with two teams needing to roll 3+ each resulted in no hits. The Romanians pushed back and killed a number of US stands. At that point I think the game was lost.

Attempts to push the attack ended up failing, with the much reduced Pioneers eventually being reduced to 4 teams (but not breaking).

The US AT guns of the 3rd had no HE so they sat with nothing to do but watch and wait for Romanian panzers to arrive from reserve.

Eventually the US HMG platoon, the 60mm mortars along with both rifle platoons were shot to bits, but managed to survive the morale checks.

The US armoured rifles moved forward at the double to try to get to the centre line for US turn 6. By the end of turn 5 it was obvious that carrying on was futile, with little more than the ARP, recon platoon (!) and 2 AT platoons.

The game ended with a handshake. Thank Hammy!

Result: 6-1 to the Axis.

Summary:

I was expecting a lot of assaulting to happen in an infantry match up and was not disappointed. It was a learning exercise (only my 8th club FoW battle). Hammy is a great opponent as he teaches the game as you go along. Thanks to his thoughts I was able to understand the assault rules a lot more clearly. It is the hardest part of the game for me to get to terms with.

The Romanians were excellent. Their reserves did turn up later on but were NOT needed.

The large Infantry company really did the job, so large they were hard to shift. The Romanian artillery and AT guns were all supportive of the defensive line.

The lesson from this game (apart from launching effective assaults) were to make sure you use smoke on the attack (having 6 80mm mortars was useful to cutting down the hits in the defensive fire). Also, I really should have spread my troops out in a longer line to avoid hits from artillery. At one point I had all but two teams from the rifle platoon under a template(!) A gift to the artillery.

Bottom, line I should not have attacked the centre at all. It achieved nothing.  I think I should have left the HMGs dug in to cover the centre and left of the US position. Then I should have used both rifle platoons to attack on the far right (as I did, but in greater strength), with the teams more spread out) Hammy recommended no more than four teams in a group to keep artillery casualties down. I should also have not left the ARP until too late. Having the Armored rifle platoon in closer support may have made a difference.

I really enjoyed the game and learned a lot from my excellent opponent.

Pictures:

AAR – Battle Report – FoW – 1750 pt LW – US 3rd Rifles v German StugBatterie

On Tuesday I had a fun battle against Andy (AndyGI). I used my US 3rd ID with seven platoons, but outsourced (!) the HMG and bazookas platoon to the rifle platoons leaving me with six to play with.

The Axis list was new to me. Mainly Stugs with a platoons Nebelwerfers, AA guns, mounted recon and one MG teams platoon. This seemed like a more evenly matched battle than usual and I was not to be disappointed.

Here are the lists:

US: (US 3rd ID, Confident Veteran) (1750 pts)

HQ with two bazookas (bazookas attached out to rifle platoons)

Assault Rifle platoon

Rifle platoon

HMG platoon with 2 bazookas (all attached out to rifle platoons)

Sherman platoon (3 M4/M4A1 tanks)

AT gun platoon (2 57mm guns)

Armored rifle platoon (5 half tracks)

M-10 Tank Destroyer platoon (4 TD’s)

Germans: (StugBatterie tank company from Grey Wolf, Confident Veteran, 1750 pts)

HQ: 1 x StugG

Combat 1 = 2 x StugG G, 1 StuH42 (with Tank rifle escorts).

Combat 2 = 2 x StugG G, 1 StuH42

Combat 1 = 3 x StugG G (with Tank rifle escorts).

Sturm Platoon = 1 cmd panzerfaust SMG + 6 x panzerfaust MG teams

Sturm Scout Platoon = Cmd MMG Team, 2 x MG teams – all on motorcycles.

Rocket launcher platoon = 3 x NW41 Nebelwerfer, Observer, command.

Sturm AA platoon – Cmd SMG team, 3 x Flak 38 gun.

Sporadic Air – Stuka 87G

Warrior – Von Sauken in SdKfz250.

Deployment:

The objectives were placed in the Cauldron area – you can see them in the first picture one on the road junction at the head of the village, the other further down the road near the wood. I used both rifle platoons to defend each of the objectives. They had two HMGs each and three bazookas.

The Axis were lucky and got the weight of their forces on my right flank to make an attack through the wooded area into the right side objective. In response I played my ARP (Armored Rifle platoon) on the right behind the wood as a response to the Stugs massing on that side of the board (along with Von Saucken). This gave me 2 HMG, 2 LMG and 8 bazookas near the right side objective plus a shed load of rifle teams and my 2ic. The 1ic hid behind a building within 6 inches of both rifle platoon command teams.

The Axis also brought on a Stug batterie with a breakthrough gun onto the hill overlooking the front of the village near the oher objective.

I was not looking forward to a breakthrough gun with firepower 2+ hitting my dug in troops!

My tanks, TDs and AT guns were held in reserve. Axis as far as I recall played their three Stug platoons on the table along with their 1ic Stug and Warrior Dietrich Von Saucken.

The game:

The Allies got first turn and sat on their backsides waiting for turn 3 reserves to potentially arrive.

The Axis attempted spent the first three turns trying to manoeuvre around to the right side objective with the Stugs. Over to the left, the Sugs on the hill tried to dig out the infantry with the stuH gun. It was only the arrival of the Nebelwerfers as reserves that later started to have an effect on the infantry defending the right hand side objective, causing several casualties. The Tank Destroyers arrived in turn 4 behind the stugs/stuH on the hill and shot and killed two of them. The other survivor scooted off toward the edge of the board and out of sight of the TD’s.

The Axis Stuka tried to dive bomb the Td’s in the open but the single plane missed. The TDs then moved to hug the wood and did not take any damage from the Stuka.

On the right, the 1iC Stug and the two platoons of stugs gave up on trying to take the right hand objective and moved back across to the centre behind the little hill. Von Sauken stayed where he was to keep the objective within 16 inches. After that, the nebelwerfers and stugs made use of stormtrooper moves to move further each turn.

The US Shermans arrived on the back nearer to the back and sides of the exposed Stugs in the centre but failed to do much damage at all, in return, the massed stugs now took their toll and eventually destroyed the Shermans.

On the US left flank, the Axis reserves brought on the Recon and AA guns, using them in tandem to remove gone to ground on the defending US rifle platoon near the road junction. The US started to take a little damage from the AA guns fire.

The US reserves brought on the AT guns in the centre rear and moved them down the wood to try and get a line to the Stugs. The AT guns whiffed and did no real damage at all this game. The Axis Stuka got lucky and ranged in on the AT guns even though they were next to the wood. They lost two guns one turn then another the next. The Command team hung tough and failed to rout.

The Axis brought on their Sturm Platoon hoping to come across the hill on the US left flank then bear down on the Tank Destroyers or just into the US infantry near the road junction. The US had moved the platoon back toward the village to get away from the AA guns and recon but the HMG guns got a bead on the Sturm platoon and killed two stands from four shots.

The Tank Destroyers retreated into the villag hoping to help defend against the stugs after the loss of the AT guns and Shermans. The Stugs moved around the village and managed to kill tow TD’s. At this point we had played to the end of turn 10 with no obvious win for the axis. We had been going all but three hours.

We called this a friendly draw as the game had to end because of time (I checked on the WWPD forums and for competitive play it would have been a 5-2 Victory to the Allies as the Axis had failed to reach their objective for the mission and it was not a fair fight mission).

Conclusions:

For my part I felt the game was well-balanced. Andy played the force he had pretty well IMO. I just had to hold the line in defence. By having so many troops and a long baseline to bring on my reserve, I seemed to have a decent advantage here. I would not want to be a tank force stuck in the cauldron with the attacker coming from all sides! It may suit heavy tanks to do this though…?

I think if the game had gone on a couple more turns my HMGs on the left would have destroyed the Axis recon platoon quickly and that would have forced the Axis to make Company checks. On the other hand, it looked set to drag on for a while as Andy was playing a cautious attack strategy (IMO) while waiting for the moment to strike home. His nebelwerfers were really pounding my dug-in vet’s on my right flank causing them to try and move. Their failure to rally from being pinned a few times stopped this. fortunately I still had the ARP to assist if needed.

I enjoyed this game against Andy as it felt much more equal in terms of out forces and the mission at hand.

Pictures: (apologies for the poor quality / blurriness – I was using my Nokia C3 camera)

Trip to local Museum – Portland Basin

I live several miles from Ashton Under Lyne (East Manchester). All parts of Manchester and Salford have a rich Industrial Revolution history. I was surprised to find some mention of Saga related topics in a small museum though! Longbows from Longdendale and even the Norman influence on the area.

Well worth a visit for a couple of hours! Social and Industrial history of the area and a nice little cafe all next to the canal junction. Here’s the link to the area … <link>