Friday, 14 October 2016

Battle of Guise (Again)

This week at the Central London Wargames Club we got an opportunity to have another go at the fighting the French counter attack on the left flank  of the battle of Guise. 

The French advancing, note in the background a unit of Uhlans charging down the road towards the French rear.
It transpired to be a most successful scenario which seemed to represent the historic action well.  Though the French came out slightly better at the end of the day. This was principally because the Germans ran out of steam by the closing stages of the engagement. 

The Germans, under Martin's command showed his Ulan's agility by galloping  the entire length of the  board to take up positions  in the undefended town in the French rear. 

Two regiments of the French centre traverse the high ground . 
In doing so  they successfully avoided my French cavalry who were scouting against him  they had just barrelled up the main road in an effort to take the crossroads. They got a nasty shock has they met a regiment of Artillery sitting on the crossroads. Unperturbed they charged! The follow action perturbed them somewhat but not before destroying a battery of  German 77's. This forced the Germans to show their hand and allowed the French to zero in on the crossroads.

The main French advance was on three fronts, sending the main force of 2 regiments over the central hilly region. They were supported by a the third Regiment and a Regiment of 75mm Artillery  to their right who where principally positioned to to defend the road and cover the flank of the main thrust.  

The French right flank in position  to engage the advancing Jaeger regiment.
On the left of the main attack the French attempted to flank the German advance with a regiment of Tirailleurs Senegalais light infantry. 

The centre commanded  by Alan, held  the advancing Germans and they fought  each other to a stalemate with a regiment from each side  forced in to retreat due to excessive casualties. On the left the Tirailleurs failed to cross the canal and were met from strong German defensive fire from the village.

However on the right flank the French 75's fired effectively causing casualties to the remaining German Regiment allowing the third  French regiment to advance  and flank the German positions which would force them into a withdrawal. 

We have played a  good few historical refights of First World War battles over the centenary period using the Great War Spearhead rules and it seems to work well and produce generally  historical results as far as we can tell. Though personally I find elements of the rule set quite complex when it comes to artillery fire. Despite this the rules seem to produce entertaining evening of gaming.  

Monday, 27 June 2016

Battle of Guise

In May over the Spring Bank Holiday which happened to coincided with the centenary commemorations in France and Germany of the Battle of Verdun. We got together at Central London Wargames Club  to play a Great War Spearhead game. The scenario was based around a French counter attack on the 29th August 1914 during the closing stages of the battle of Guise. At this stage of the battle the French attacked in an attempt to turn the German flank and cause a withdrawal in their centre.

Using the online trench map archives at the library in McMaster University I located the area on a contemporary War Department Map. Which meant we could approximate the terrain on the table top. The scenario involves the French assault on the German Flank in an effort to turn it and force them to break off their offensive. 

I was the French. My tactics left a bit to be desired. I forget field artillery had the ability to fire indirectly. To add to this I insisted on driving them through a wood which is never a good idea! 

As a result my infantry attacked with no support. And suffered horrendous casualties. 

We did manage a cavalry charge engagement as the two scouting elements found one and other in the centre. Again poor situational awareness was my undoing. My cavalry strayed too close to a German machine gun position which wasted no time pinning one of my cavalry stands resulting in  being out numbered for the charge. Still if was interesting to get into the position for a cavalry charge in the first instance although my cavalry were beaten and withdrew. 

On reflection if we fight the battle again I would be a bit more cautious and attempt to orchestrate the assault more closely with the artillery and shell enemy through out the advance. In an effort to get more pin markers  on the Germans which would give the French a better chance of breaking through their line. However the outcome was basically historical.  

Should we fight the battle again we will see if I've learn't anything. 

Friday, 27 May 2016

Tirailleurs Sénégalais

I am happy to report more progress has been made on additional units for my early First World War armies. The latest unit to arrive are French colonial light infantry. 

So far I have enough stands for around a regiment and a half. So I reckon they can make up a handy reserve force. I'd suggest that they would fit into a division or corps organisational table for the period.

These figures turned out very nicely I am pleased with the way they have painted up.  There is a colour picture in Hew Strachen’s tome The First World War which depicts Tirailleurs Sénégalais in white putties. It was dated 1913. So I opted to add the putties using light grey.   They'll make an interesting addition to the French side that originally peaked my interest in the early war period because of their colourful uniforms. 

The next on my painting table is German jägers which offer a little variation to the skirmish lines of field grey and pickelhaubes.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Heligoland Bight Mayhem

The centenary of the Battle of Jutland will take place at the End of May. We have been playing a bit of battleships down at Central London in preparation for a historic refight  of Jutland at the end of June.  Over the last month or so I've participated in a handful of fleet actions. These generally resulted in me nearly crashing into other ships in the fleet, being rammed or attempting to torpedo myself!

Last night's fleet action was not much different. Before the game, it was billed as mayhem and mayhem transpired!  I started with a cruiser and three squadrons of destroyers seen here at the bottom of the photo. The white bits are mist by the way.

At this point I was attempting to cross the rear of the ships sailing at right angles, at the top of the image.

Naturally I changed course slightly and gave my opponent, Martin nice target for his torpedo destroyers he promptly sunk my cruiser and my made large hole in my destroyers.  Nevertheless, a couple of rounds later got my own back an sunk Martin's Cruiser, Yay!

Shortly later Alan arrived with more German cruisers and battered me with some excellent gunnery forcing my two recently acquired cruisers to retreat back to port.   

In an effort to wreak my revenge on him I sent my two remaining destroyer squadrons steaming up the centre where one torpedo found its mark on one of Alan’s cruisers, but she shrugged it off.

At this point my impulsive game play got my destroyers in between the German destroyers and Alan's cruisers, they blew me to bits. But not before I nearly torpedoed myself for the second time in the game! 

On the next outing I am going to be a bit more tentative, maybe...

Friday, 20 May 2016

First World War Artillery

Now here's the artillery! Recently I picked up an assortment of figures to complete my early First World War German and French Armies. Naturally before I could start up on them I set myself the goal to finish off the last few elements of Corps Artillery. 

So here we have them more or less done, Some flocking and touching up is still required.  Above we  have three bases of German 210mm mortars. Below  battery of French 155mm canons to offer Corps level support  to there respective armies.

They have all had a lick of grey in various shades, followed by a black wash and then a dry brush highlight to finish them off. Now on to the next batch of new figures!