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Saga AAR: The Escort – Vikings v Anglo-Danes

Here’s a link to a battle report I posted up on the http://www.sagatapestry.com website recently featuring my first “Escort” mission. Trying to move three carts while under attack is not easy!

Link.

Saga Vikings! Snow bases.

A few closer shots of the almost completed Vikings. I think I will have to go back and put some kind of shield transfers on these in the future and a coat of varnish.

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The basing was done with grey chippings form a bag of model railway ballast. That was PVA glued on. Followed by a mix of PVA and snow effect (from a tub of GW basing snow). Finally some Winter mininatur grass tufts were fixed on.

I wanted to approximate more of a tundra or Fjord-side feel. Wintry but without huge drifts of snow. They are at least a change from Summer static grass!

 

AAR: Saga: Clash of Warlords – Byzantines v Vikings

This is a quick post from a game of Saga I had with Dan at the NWGC on Tuesday. It was an outing for his very nice Byzantines and my still newish Vikings.  We played 6 points apiece and decided on “Clash fo Warlords” to keep it simple.

The board is 4 x 3 and each player secretly selects 1-6 pieces of terrain to use. The result of the two amounts is added up, divided by two and rounded up. The terrain chosen was just 3 pieces and seemed very sparse.  We selected a hill and two woods. I got the hill which had to go in the centre and the woods  were rolled up as no closer to the edge than 12 inches. This made for a crowded and uneven centre of the board and a lot of empty space all around.

Dans force was a unit of 10 spearmen and 6 archers, and one unit of archer cavalry and two of spear cavalry. The Warlord just hid off in the rear row of cavalry almost all the game (well, that’s the way it looked to the Vikings!) There were at least three banners in the units as well. Raven’s Shadow optional rule!

I used two lots of Hearthguard, one lot of Berserkers, two lots of Warriors and one lot of levy archers.

Dan won the dice off to choose sides and then got to Deploy most of his force last as it was mainly hearthguard cavalry.  I had just made a line with my archers to the left and most of the force in the middle with just a little support to the right to stop the cavalry just swinging into the rear of the army.

Here is the Deployment:

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The Byzantines chose to go opposite my archers (that’s the downside of deploying last). The archers which never got into the game, given they would have to trundle over the hill at S (4 inches) per move. Perhaps I should have tried that to at least make Dan move his men somewhere. I chose not to and decided to be the one to move toward the other player. Big mistake.

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I had been hoping to move two units up the right to try to draw the Byzantines in but Dan was having none of this. I have to say that Dan was very lucky in his dice rolling this game. He started by rolling some 3 rare dice symbols in turn 1. This way he quickly stored up the abilities he needed.

The view from the front….

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Dan charged into the line of Viking Bondi Warriors and killed 7 of the 8 for a loss of 2 Knights. Ouch. He then retreated back up the field away from the nearby Viking Hearthguard. How inconsiderate.

I couldn’t really get an opening. When I tried to charge his spearmen with my bravest Viking hearthguard, he used the Friendly Shields ability to take the hits on his archers and the line just held. Ouch indeed. Nice ability guys!

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The Rest of my force moved up but basically ended up going in piecemeal. As the next picture shows, I just fed units to the enemy and they chewed them up using their abilities (Kontos) to deliver extra blows) and Support Archers (fire into combat!) and Massed Archery to fire shots through friendly units.

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Then the Warlord and Berserkers come in from the far left…

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At this point the Warlord decided to end it all on the last turn and took the Berserkers in for a last-ditch effort. This came to nothing as the Berserkers were all but killed off and the Warlord just bounced off the front of the cavalry having lost the last Berserker in defence of his life. The game ended with no kill of my Warlord but barely a man standing. Dan had won a clear victory. Many Vikings had entered Valhalla for the loss of a handful of Byzantines.

Summary:

Dan was lucky in deployment options and dice rolling. After that it was down to my lack of tactics that did for the Vikings. I should have used the archers to get in and force some action from the Byzantines, or at least taken a lot of units together for the kill. The Byzantines abilities allow a lot of support archery, shooting into combat, switching out casualties to supporting troops and being able to withdraw back across the table (back into line as I saw it happen on the field using the Withdrawal ability). Dan was cool and calm and used my barbarian ways against me.

The Byzantine battleboard seems to be all about mutual support and holding the line. Next time I will have to take my Normans up against them to see if my cavalry can make a difference. Another option against the Byzantine line would be Scots (sprearmen!)

Well done Dan.

One issue is that the mission is the shot play time. 6 rounds is not a lot to get an infantry force up to the enemy if you want to keep in together. The scenery in the middle really blocked the table up and made it a place to avoid, which the Byzantines clearly did!  Dan seemed to have the advantage of ground (defensive position) from the outset and never lost it.

A few more pictures:

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150 / 30000 !

What’s all that about in the title you ask? Well I just checked and I have now published 150 items on this blog since the start and have just had 30,000 site hits. I am amazed. Just wanted to say thanks to all those who follow Flames and Saga and my attempts to try to win these (and 40K and WFB). I really am enjoying modelling, painting and getting in games. with some great folks.

My secret to doin’ better is of course practice. I think my painting is coming on little bit by little bit. The thing that really help me though was getting rid of a whole lot of things I knew I wouldn’t get to paint or play. I have now almost finished all my Flames of War figures and have completed three Saga armies. With three more Saga factions to do and some odds and bits of project, I can see the wood for the trees.

My advice, clear out your clutter and be realistic in what you can achieve. I like to mix up the projects. A bit of Saga and Flames on the go then something completely left field (recently that was a unit of Tau Fire Warriors built and base coated for my youngest son!)

Good luck and thanks again. Keep on gaming!

AAR: Flames of War – LW 1750 – HG Panzergrenadier v Brit Guard Armour

Andy Brown and myself set down to play a game a while back. We rolled “Breakthrough”. Andy ran a Brit Guard list, Shermans, scout carriers, mobile artillery some infantry, Stuart tanks and JOE Vandeleur. I ran HG Panzergrenadiers from Dogs and Devils. The mission meant Andy had to set up in one table quarter and move to the opposite one and take one of two objectives. His reserves (infantry) would come on from the opposite quarter to try to snatch an objectives. My job as defender was to stop this.

The Axis set up with Pioneers ready to move onto the rear objective in the enemy reserve area. Hopefully I could try to dig in and stop the oncoming storm. I put one of the PAK40 platoons, the nebelwerfers and a Panzergrenadier platoon in the quarter near the objectives to try to stop the Brits from just moving away from my main force and then taking the objectives.  The rest of my force set up covering the other quarter and the nearer objective to deter the Brits from a frontal attack. One thing in my favour was that I had a kill zone across the centre of the table across the front of the nearer objective by having two PAK 40 platoons facing each other. Any shermans trying to run this gauntlet would get short shrift.

The Game:

Looking at the objectives, terrain and the Axis deployment, Andy did what I would have done with my own British tank company, set up behind the cover of woods and try to get across to my weaker force rather than head into the gunfire of my main force. My scout cars only managed to force the enemy recon move to stay back a few inches. After that they were daft enough to try to shoot at one point. As a result they lost their Gone to Ground and were picked off quickly by shermans.

Andy did try to get to the near objective at one point but realised the combined PAKs and mass of infantry in the centre (with Panzerschrecks) was just too much. He swung all of his attack toward my weaker force and worked on that.

Andy kept the pressure on my centre so I could not easily move the troops in the centre to the left. I did get some AA guns and HMG fire toward the Brit reserve infantry, but it was very ineffective after they dug in away from any assault from my centre! I had been happy that my kill zone actually worked but then realised my weaker force were being trounced. The Brits came in from the far side of the hill in the centre and surrounded my pioneers.

The Axis pioneers had a bad time of it – they just couldn’t do anything to the Brit infantry reserve that had finally appeared and were even silly enough to try and assault them at one point and take some casualties. All Andy had to do was wait while his tanks swung around and the Axis were toasted after being pushed back onto the hill. The rear objective fell to the Brits!

British Victory, (can’t be sure how many Brit platoons were killed so points are not given).

Summary:

With hindsight, a little more thought as to how to stop the rear objective being taken would have been good. Just moving more troops onto the rear objective would have been good. I certainly had time before the enemy reserves arrived! The table quarter with the weaker part of my force (artillery/PAKs/smaller infantry platoon) was not defended with enough infantry. When the Brits came in to attack this quarter with tanks my AT2 troops could not deal with them. If I had the Pioneers at this point they might have stopped up the attack at least for longer. As it was, the weaker German force was picked apart by Andy’s well-timed attacks (remove GtG and use artillery prior to assault on each weakened platoon one at a time. Once the infantry were killed, the PAKs and then the nebelwerfers were taken out. This left my pioneers on their own defending the rear objective in the face of overwhelming odds. Inevitably Andy got a win by pushing hard when needed. A good win!

pics:

AAR: FoW 1750 LW – HG Panzergrenadiers v Brit Tanks in Italy

Here is a game I played several weeks ago with Dan. He wanted to try a more historical match up so we took Late War Italy based forces. 1750 points. Dan, not surprisingly was the Attacker. The mission, randomly rolled, was Fighting Withdrawal, my favourite.

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German list: Herman Goring Panzergrenadiers (Dogs and Devils): HQ with panzerschrecks doled out to Combat platoons. Two MG panzergrenadier platoons. lelg18 infantry gun. Two PAK40s (one in Ambush), rifle/MG pioneer platoon. 3 15cm Nebelwerfers. Scout car platoon, two 2cm SP AA gun platoons.

Brit list:  the list was from Fortress Europe. HQ with two tanks plus one supernumary tank, three troops of three Shermans, Recce troop of four Stuarts, RA AT platoon of four M10s (3″, not 17pdr) and priority Kittyhawks. AAMGs for the Stuarts and .50 cals on four of the Shermans – the CO’s and the three troop commander’s tanks – No ARV.

The Game:

The Germans deployed as defensively as you can get with one objective on the right protected by grenadiers and the infantry guns. The centre held the nebelwerfers, a platoon of PAK40’s and the other grenadiers. On the left, the pioneers held the flank. My guess was that Dan would deploy and start on my right flank. In that case he would remove the objective on my left, which he did. I was then reasonably free to move troops from my left to strengthen the centre. As it was, Dan really did come on heavily to my right flank and it looked as if his recon Stuart tanks backed by a lot of heavier armour would seal the deal fairly quickly for the Brits.

However, things were not to go that way. I still had a PAK40 ambush that could ruin Dan’s day. The big problem though was the dice. It has to be said, it was no a good day for Brit random factors!

I did not use my own mobile recon well, moving it away from the action rather than using it to push back Dans own light tanks. Dan moved into a position close to my right table edge behind some hedges. He removed gone to ground from the defenders on that flank and laid in with shooting and an assault on the panzergrenadiers. Despite a bitter fight, the german MG troops held on. The real stars of this game were the little infantry guns (and the dice!). The German gunner rammed home those AT9 shells and pretty quickly a stuart was burning.  British air failed to do much of any use. Then came the assault. A platoon of three shermans had come in and now assaulted what was left of the grenadiers and won the fight, pushing back the handful of teams in defence who failed to run and one team back on the hill behind. At this point it was looking grim as there wasn’t much left on my right to throw back the assault, i think i had lost the panzerschreck team at this point so all I had was infantry with tank assault 2 and one lelg18 close enough to do anything to the shermans or stuarts piling up.

Dan decided at this point to consolidate by moving over nearby hedges, probably from added protection from the infantry guns. He had three tanks to move over the hedgerows and bogged all three. So then things seemed to change. I now had a clear run to assault and kill the three bogged tanks and destroy a platoon for no effort. I duly did this leaving three burning hulks. This left my infantry out in the open but a small price to pay for surviving what should have been ‘Operation Certain Death’.

At this point the British decided to come in “en masse” from their position behind the wood onto the right flank. I had little choice but to play the PAK40 ambush on the far right and try to stop the assault. As you can see by the pictures, PAKs did some reasonable damage to the enemy armour, and then the Stuarts came in for a go at the objective but were finally lost to the lelg18 (one of these guns died, the other kept on firing!). Dan said at one point that as the mission is strictly timed he had no option but to try to go for the centre objective or lose the game on time. I only had to play for time and them remove the right side objective.

It didn’t come to this. Dan conceded the game saying that there was no way he could move his tanks all the way to the centre and take the objective from the defenders before the game ended. I couldn’t really disagree.

We shook hands on this and I won.

6-1 to the Germans (yay – my first 6-1!!)

Thoughts:

I feel really sorry for Dan as he just couldn’t win for the dice. Okay, the loss of the platoon when bogging could have been avoided, but besides this, my right flank defenders didn’t crumble despite being down to all but a man and a gun! Time is against you in Fighting Withdrawal. All I have to do is remove a platoon that is away from the action. Dan as attacker has to keep moving.

It wasn’t a fun game for Dan, but the learning experience is always good. I think Dan set out with a good plan it just wasn’t to be. I was lucky as my right flank should have been easy meat (apart form having a PAK40 ambush ready to go). The evening ended with Dan making a sacrifice to the Tank Gods and hoping for better luck next time I am sure.

Pics:

AAR: Overlord – Final Assault – Allied Armour v. German Infantry

In a last attempt to defend the roads to Cherbourg, a small German force has set up AT and infantry guns behind a small river crossing. The Allies are coming down the road looking to take the ground on the other side of the bridge and fords. The Germans have orders to delay the Allies for as long as they can.A special scenario was set up. Each side had 4 platoons and 7 turns. If the Allies could not control one of the two objectives by the start of their turn 7 the Axis would win.

The Allies had a HQ with two Shermans, 2 combat platoons each with 4 shermans (one a firefly), a rifle platoon and a universal carrier recon platoon.

The Axis had two stands in the HQ with attached out Panzerschrecks (3 were allowed), 2 combat platoons of rifle/MG’s, an AT gun platoons of 3 PAK40’s and an infantry gun platoon of 2 lelg18’s.

The Allies got first turn and pushed forward, the 1ic and one tank platoon on the left flank, the rifles across the corn in the middle and the 2ic and the other platoon on the right. The scout carriers pushed ahead up the road toward the bridge to get a closer view of the PAK40s in the area beyond and to the right. The Axis responded by firing the PAKs at the right side shermans and killed one.

As the US moved up, the infantry guns on the left opened up on the left side shermans but failed to kill any tanks. The Rifle pushed ahead toward the little river. They were lucky not to take any damage when moving despite light MG fire their way.

The Scout carriers did not need to use eyes and ears as the PAKs had already blown their gone to ground the previous turn. The right side shermans got lucky and killed one dug in PAK. Now there were two… The Infantry guns took out one of the scout carriers as an easy option.

The PAKs that were left then got very lucky and fired on the damaged sherman platoon on the right. They hit three times and scored three kills. Scratch one Allied platoon.

The Scout and the 2ic thought better of the situation and moved back.

Meanwhile. The infantry guns became the target of all 5 tanks on the left side. The shermans made six hits on the little guns and both were destroyed. Their officer thought better of it and ran off. One to the Allies.

The Allies tried three times to assault with the Rifle platoon and were beaten down to three stands which failed to crack in the presence of their commander. On the third attempt, the shermans joined in the assault and the tide turned. The allies killed two teams of German infantry on the way in and the return fire failed to kill anything. The combat swung a couple of ways but then the Axis lost and fell back. The Panzerschrecks did well to kill all but the 1ic and another platoon was lost. The Allies 1ic pushed onto the objective then consolidated away from the gap where the PAK40s could see.

The last rifle stand had finally broken so it was down to the Allied 1ic in his sherman to survive to claim an objective. The Germans could only get a single shot from a PAK40 and that was partially obscured. They whiffed. The nearby Panzerschreck team had moved out of the cover of the rocky hedge and had a single shot. It hit, but the Sherman had one of those days. All it had to do to survive was roll a 6. It did. If it had been killed the game would have been over. If it had been bailed then next turn the ‘schreck would have two shots and the PAK as well. As it was, the 1ic survived and so claimed an uncontested objective.

Allied victory, 4 – 3.

Overlord had been a struggle for the Tanks, with so much stopping power from the German defenders. As it was, the way to Cherbourg was a little clearer, victory a little closer….

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