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Saturday, September 9, 2017

Breakout Turn 2

Finished the 6 inch grid for Rommel.

Decided to give the "Breakout" scenario a try.  Above are three combat elements of Americans - lets say 2 regiments of the 80th infantry division and CCA of the 4th armored division.

Below are the back of some of the units.   I know the insignia are all wrong, but they are there just to keep track of the different elements while adding a little historical flair.  This is CCA minus its artillery attachment.  I need to paint up my "Priests."  The truck in the American supply point.

The  317th regiment with attached armor.  Note I got rid of the steps on the combat track to minimize labeling.

Lets call the Germans the 3rd Panzergrenadier division with assorted Kampfgruppe.  Screaming mimis!

The other side of the "trap?"

The Germans were trying to line up for a grab at the American objective.  However, the Americans go first and grab the objective with off road movement and two tactical phases.

They also cut off the German supply.

On the second turn the Germans are able to re-establish supply and destroy a lone Sherman company.

I hope to continue this soon, but the rest of this weekend is spoken for.

Friday, September 1, 2017

An Encounter in France 1944: A Rommel AAR

I've never played any of the Honour Games.  However, I've been intrigued by some of the novel designs described at the website.

It was the announcement of "Rommel," a Grand Tactical rule set for World War 2, that finally induced me to pull the purchasing trigger.  I put my order in upon release.  I also picked up "Maurice" and "Freejumper," but they will have to wait for another day.

The PDF arrive instantly, but the actual book was not far behind.  Cheers to Honour Games for the prompt service!

Rommel uses company size units as the maneuver and combat elements that allow the fielding of entire divisions.  This is exactly the scale that I've been interested in and playing at for the last couple of years using Field of Battle: WW2.

I quickly read through the rules.  The instructions for the basic game aren't that long.  Overall, I'm happy with the formatting.  I like the army builder sections.  The scenarios allowed me to quickly assemble 91 point German and American armies for a test drive.  This effectively put two American regiments against 3 German Kampfgruppe.

Here are my lists:
Unit # Cost Total
Panzer Grenadier Battalion 1 11 11
Motorized Inf. Battalion 1 8 8
Panther Battalion 1 12 12
Field Howitzer 1 3 3
Panzer Grenadier Battalion 1 11 11
Motorized Inf. Battalion 1 8 8
Panzer IV 1 10 10
Panzer Grenadier Battalion 1 11 11
Motorized Inf. Battalion 1 8 8
Hetzer 1 9 9
Elite Infantry 3 10 30
105mm Howitzer 1 3 3
Shermans 1 10 10
Elite Infantry 2 10 20
Infantry 1 8 8
105mm Howitzer 1 3 20
Shermans 2 10 0

I had just made a felt mat with a grid for "To the Strongest."  The squares aren't 6 inches (as called for in Rommel), but closer to 5.  It was a little tight, but worked.  I'm working on a 6 inch grid to be used for Rommel, and a grid based Maurice.

I used the encounter scenario which seemed fairly balanced.  Here is a look at the layout:

No need for roads which get abstracted at this level.  I'm grateful, because it always frustrated me to see just how many roads there are when you start having battlefields of greater than 8 by 16 kilometers.  The Urban, Mountain, Bockage and soft ground (wheat fields) cover 2-4 squares.

The American used the initiative that they won and some ops to charge across the battlefield.

This might have been a mistake.  The hope was to grab some good protective terrain and keep the Germans well away from the American controlled objective squares.  The Americans attacked given that the Germans were in open terrain.

Some key tactical ops, plus the armor advantage repulsed the attack.

The Germans successfully counterattack:

Hills/Mountains are tough to take for both sides:

Pushing the Americans out of the town, not so easy either:

German reinforcements arrive first! 

The Germans use the off road ops to push through the relatively open center and take the American objectives!  Top of the picture in the two towns.  American reinforcements have just arrived, but the Germans got troops on the unprotected objectives before the newly arrived forces could move into them.

Nearing the end of the game, the American desperately counterattack.

The above was isolated and destroyed, but below the Germans were able to feed more troops in by resetting their ops and using off road movement again.

American infantry even try to push in from their occupied town to seize a German objective.  Tank shock stopped that for the most part.

The swing in initiative to the Germans meant the American never really had a chance to reset their headquarters.

A before and after of the German OPS file.

I really had fun playing this game.  I plan to adapt the Operation Luttich scenario for it soon, but I want a couple of more small games under my belt first.

The only problem I had was with the order of retreat.  The rules state that Attackers retreat at the conclusion of combat, while the defenders can retreat after the combat (as long as its not evasion).  I've read enough papers to know that the conclusion is still part of the paper, while after is, well, after.  So I thought the defenders could retreat after the attackers did.  It didn't feel right though, and you know, if it doesn't feel right, then maybe you shouldn't be doing it.  The good folks at the forum straightened me out, so all is right as rain. The defenders decide whether to retreat first.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A day of ...

...culinary adventures.

I realized I hadn't posted much on this topic lately, and yet there are days when it seems most of my time is spent on stuff I plan to eat or drink.  August 19th was such a day.

Time to make Kimchi.  Once I have some Napa cabbage, I then look around for what I can add.

Garden peppers (the purple and tiny red thai peppers), some cilantro, onions (red and yellow),  and garlic (of course).

Everything chopped/grated, and seasoning ready to go.  Don't forget the fish sauce!

Time to get my hands dirty mixing it all together.  Wash hands immediately after because those thai peppers are hot!

Let sit for an hour and then pack into a jar.

It could have used my fermentation crock, but it all fit in here, and the ceramic pie beads did the trick of holding all down.  I will taste tomorrow on my afternoon omelet, but it won't really hit its stride for a week.

Need to subculture my English Ale yeast and get a starter for next day brewing session.

Then time to check the pork I have curing in the curing chamber.

Not dry enough yet.  It has only been two weeks, probably 1-2 weeks more should do it.  The Penicillium nalgiovense is getting started which is good.  All three pieces came from a ham that I butchered.  The pork is of from a free range Berkshire pig.

Time to transfer that Belgian from two weeks ago.  I take my quality control very seriously and monitor the beer at each stage of its development.

My turn to make dinner.  T-bone steaks from a free range Dexter cow.

Normally I would dry age a couple of days, but I had to rush this one a bit.  Still the hickory chips and seasoning did it justice.  Sides were garlic mash potatoes with a cheddar-sour cream mix, and broccoli for the veg.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Ramses goes after the Hatti

Somewhat recently I purchased a new rules set for Ancient historical miniatures battles called "To the Strongest" - affectionately referred to in the hobby as TtS.  You can learn about it here.

This is a grid based system, so first I needed a playing field with a grid.  I bought a 2x3 yard cloth of the tannish variety and sprayed versus shades upon it after I marked it up.  Here it is with some troops arrayed upon it.

I'm about 3/4 of the way done rebasing my collection of Hittites and New Kingdom Egyptians - plenty for a battle.

I gave the rules a test drive.  The Egyptians have a camp, none for the Hatti...yet.  Ramses wants to invite the Hatti back to his tent.  Preferably in chains.  Nice tents!

 The Egyptians advance aggressively:

Hittite chariots charging some bald Egyptian bowmen.

The Hittite high command (Muwattalli?) kills an Egyptian Prince.

Rules seem to be working.  Time to take this show on the road to the house of my long time friends Richard and Cheryl.

Peeking through the palm trees.

Guard spearmen gearing up for battle.

And Hittite chariots.

Egyptian bow and spearmen on a hill prepare to receive the charge.

A clash of spearmen about to happen.

All types of flanking as a Hittite chariot unit tries to sneak in on the backside.

On the other side of the battlefield, Hittite spearmen flank Egyptian spearmen.

Ramses is not concerned.

These are "Super" bowmen as they vanquished Hatti spearmen.

These Hittite troops - chariots and spearmen have charged across the Egyptian backside and are about to attack these Nubian bowmen.

A prince of Egypt goes down in this game also.

All for naught as the Hittites hand over their last victory medal.  The Egyptians had one left.  I forgot a couple of rules, but we had time for a second game (a first in our decades of miniature gaming together.)  The Egyptians narrowly won that one also, and I believe no rules were missed.

I like the command and control system of these rules.  The combat feels a little shallow, and I'm not a big fan of the ammunition rules.  Definitely a fun game and robust enough to add your own little tweaks to add your own flavor.  I plan on definitely playing this one some more.  I'm particularly eager to try it with my Romans and soon as I'm done rebasing them also.

The Egyptian List
Cmd 1 # Save Pts Tot Pts VP Total VP
Chariots Vets 2 7 13 26 2 4
Spearmen 1 7 8 8 2 2
Bowmen 2 8 6 12 2 4
Sardana Guards 1 6 10 10 2 2
Ramses Heroic & Senior 1 3 6 6 2 2
Camp 1 1 1 3 3
VPs 17
Cmd 2 0 0
Chariots 1 8 11 11 2 2
Spearmen 2 7 8 16 2 4
Bowmen 2 8 6 12 2 4
General Attached 1 2 5 5 2 2
0 12
Cmd 3 0 0
Chariots 1 8 11 11 2 2
Spearmen 2 7 8 16 2 4
Bowmen 2 8 6 12 2 4
General Attached 1 2 5 5 2 2
0 12
Heroes 4 1 4 0
Total Points 155 41
Victory Medals 14

The Hittite List
Cmd 1 # Save Pts Tot pts VP Tot VP
Veteran Chariot 1 6 13 13 2 2
Chariot 1 7 11 11 2 2
Guard Spear 2 7 8 16 2 4
Javelinmen 2 8 6 12 2 4
General Senior 1 2 6 6 2 2
0 0
Cmd2 0 0
Chariots 2 7 11 22 2 4
Spearmen (Raw) 2 7 6 12 2 4
Slingers 2 8 6 12 2 4
General 1 2 5 5 2 2
0 0
Cmd3 0 0
Chariots 1 7 11 11 2 2
Spearmen (Raw) 2 7 6 12 2 4
Bows (Veteran) 2 7 8 16 2 4
General  1 2 5 5 2 2
20 0
Heroes 2 1 2
155 40
Medals 13