Sunday, 17 March 2019

Chain of Command, in the desert

Club day today, so Graham volunteered to bring his WWII Desert War forces & terrain along.

Here he is setting up the game - the focus very much the Arab dwelling near the centre.

I drew the Germans and our force morale was the highest, so we went first (after the patrol phase which determined where our deployment points were).

However, as Graham had better luck establishing his deployment points, he got men into the building early on and a bren gun team set up on the roof 

I decided to bring on an armoured car down the left to try and threaten his flank

Nasty surprise !  He has an armoured car ahead with an anti-tank gun which hits our main gun with its first shot . First blood to the Brits. 

Next I brought on a half track with MG34 fitted to the front

This proceeded to "brass up" the house

and the British started to take casualties

German infantry then arrived on the right behind some rocky cover to add the weight of their fire

An MG34 team that had set up behind a stone wall in the centre got picked off by the bren team on the house roof. Another blow to morale.

The British senior leader has now arrived and orders a section forward, right of the house

Another section has deployed near to the armoured car out on the right and they are joined by a universal carrier

The British are looking securely placed

German fire continues to be aimed at the men on the roof of the house

British troops rush to take advanced positions behind sand bags and scrapes in front of the house 

The German CO announces his arrival by leading a charge against them

A bloody affair which leaves four Germans dead and three British

so the Germans are forced back to their deployment point - in full view of several enemy guns !

The Germans get blown away - except for a very lucky CO. Down goes the morale again, so having started with 10 to the British 8, we are now no better off.

but the British unit is depleted and now coming under fire from the half track and infantrymen beside it, so will have to retreat 

The constant fire against the house has resulted in a British junior leader getting killed as well as the bren gunners. The MG team's loss did not seem to matter to the British but the death of the leader did 

The Germans have pulled back their armoured car to avoid further damage

This chap can feel pleased with his day's work !

The British having pulled back from their advanced position, the German half track advances threateningly to the sand bag wall

but the German infantry are reluctant to cross the open ground to support it

A British section has been ordered to replace the men killed at the house but their headlong dash has cost them quite some shock and they are not keen to enter the "house of death" !

We ended up with a stalemate, neither side wanting to risk the wall of lead coming their way should they venture too far forward.

That being the case and with both sides still sitting on reasonable force morale (6) it was thought that they would pull back from this bloody encounter, lick their wounds and try again another day.

It was a joy to play with these wonderful figures and terrain and Chain of Command rules always give us a game where you have to balance what you can really achieve against the cost of doing so.

Full marks !!!

Thanks Graham.

More Black Powder at Graham's

This was a made up game,  Mike and I brought Prussians & Austrians to fight Graham's French (and Ian joined him with Bavarians from Graham's and my collections)

I had the Austrians on our right, Mike the Prussians on our left.  Here we see the Austrian heavy cavalry ahead of the marching infantry columns

Opposite, a French light cavalry brigade including lancers

Here's an overview with my Austrians in the left foreground & Mike arranging his Prussians in the background. Opposite Mike are Graham's French. Bavarian infantry are on and around the bridge road.

The Bavarian brigade

Austrian Grenadiers with a cloud of skirmishers out front get the order to advance to the bridge

The Austrian light cavalry are the other side of the river, next to the Prussians

Menacingly, opposite them is a "Grand Battery"

Graham has a strong Cuirassier brigade on his right flank

This is Mike's impressive Prussian infantry brigade with light cavalry beyond

The Franco-Bavarian army wins the initiative and the French infantry advance - unlike the Bavarians who fail their first command !

The Cuirassiers have been ordered forward up on to the high ground beyond the farm

Our first move - my skirmishers move up onto high ground as the Heavies trot forward too

The Austrian Grenadiers have reached the bridge

A column of march is backed up down the road - quite a log jam.

The French Cuirassiers have stopped their advance as they survey the Prussians below them

Mike's Prussian artillery has really damaged the first French battalion causing big casualties and disorder

To the extent that they had to take a Break Test - and break they did, taking two supporting battalions with them. An early disaster for the French leaving a gaping hole in the middle of their ranks

Ian's French light cavalry brigade charge the lead Austrian heavy cavalry unit

but even allowing for the advantage of the lance in the first round, the Heavies won

but wisely decided to retire behind the ranks of the rest of the brigade to take down the casualties out of harms way

Mike's advancing Prussian infantry asked for some support so my Austrian hussars charged the French infantry forcing them into square making them an easier target for the Prussians

The hussars retired having done their job as Mike's Prussians bear down on the French

My Austrian Grenadiers are unable to cross the bridge and change formation - they are stuck in march column which will be bad news if the Bavarian infantry charge - this time, the Bavarians choose to fire but the Austrian skirmishers bear the brunt of this

View from the French side as the Prussians cross the farmyard

Graham's Cuirassiers are faced with a "corridor of fire" if they decide to charge 

Infantry and guns will hit them before they can reach the Prussian cavalry

Back on the French left flank, the light cavalry have pulled back with casualties 

This is becoming a troublesome sideshow !

Ian needs to reduce casualties before attempting another charge

The Austrians are stuck in march column crossing the bridge - not good if they get attacked !

which is exactly what the Bavarians do - the Austrian skirmishers stand firm to try and screen the march columns

Meanwhile, Mike's Prussian lines steadily march through and by the farm yard

The brave Austrian skirmishers take the brunt of the Bavarian assault

but are beaten back for their trouble. The attack will now focus on the Grenadiers

but the Austrian brigade commander has been able to rush more troops over the bridge and they have fanned out into attack columns and joined the fight

So four Austrian units are now over the bridge, two still stuck in march column

The French are determined to hang on to the farm as the Prussians enter the yard

Ian has sent in the French light cavalry again but they have become disordered 

Prussian pressure on the farm builds

The French light cavalry have been thrown back and the Austrian cuirassiers elect to retire behind the gun line so they can reduce casualties

Austrian hussars move up to support the Grenadiers

Three Austrian Grenadier battalions are now heavily engaged with the Bavarians

The endless tide of Prussian infantry !

Here's the situation at the bridge now. The Skirmishers have taken up firing positions there to shoot at the enemy light cavalry whilst the artillery are engaged in counter battery fire

The French infantry brigade has broken but one battalion is unable to extricate itself from melee

More and more Austrian light cavalry move up 

Astonishingly, two Austrian units have been beaten and gone - but more are about to cross the bridge

The French light cavalry have twice been bested by the Austrian heavy cavalry brigade and they have  retreated to lick their wounds

The lead Austrian battalion has to fight grimly on until reinforcements can arrive

but the Austrian light cavalry brigade lends support and threatens the Bavarian flank

Ian has had to send two Bavarian battalions across to try and stem the Prussian advance - this has dangerously thinned his lines 

The French Grand Battery has not lived up to its promise - bad dice throwing throughout the day !

The French light cavalry can now see a hole in the enemy lines

If and when this French battalion breaks, the flood of Prussians will break through

and they are firmly in control of the farm

At this point, the French & Bavarian commanders withdraw to discuss the situation.  The Bavarians cannot be expected to fight two enemy infantry brigades backed up by cavalry and guns. The intact Cuirassier brigade has been unable to do anything, faced by Prussian cavalry, infantry and guns and the French light cavalry are spent.

It is decided that the remaining Franco-Bavarian forces will withdraw screened by the Cuirassiers - game over !