Saturday, July 8, 2017

DBA Syracusan Army in 1\72nd

Some fine work by my friend MS.

We are working on DBA armies for the Macedonian and Punic Wars. MS favors the Greek types.



The whole DBA army

CV

LH

LH

LH

SP (Hoplites)

SP (Hoplites) 

Aux (peltasts)

Aux (peltasts)

Ps

Ar (Ballista)







Monday, June 26, 2017

Dartnell's Reconnaissance -A Zulu War Scenario


The idea for the scenario came from: VICTORIA’S BATTLESBOOK TWO: THE ZULU WAR, 1879 WARGAME RULES FOR GREAT BRITAIN’S 19TH CENTURY COLONIAL WARS by Frank Capotorto

The rules used in the game were The Men Who Would Be Kings by Daniel Mersey and Osprey Publishing.

Below is a screen shot of the scenario (although hard to see I admit). The OB was modified slightly and both sides had 8 units. The Imperial forces are in red and the Zulus gray. The major terrain features were the the hills (upper right corner and conical hill center right)>

Imperial OB

2 Squadrons of Natal Native Horse (8 figs each)
2 Squadrons of Mounted Infantry (8 figs each)
1 Squadron of Natal Mounted Police (8 figs)
1 Squadron of Natal Carabineers (8 figs)
1 Company of Natal Native Contingent (16 Figs)
1 Company of Natal Native Contingent (disaffected Zulus, 16 figs)

Zulu OB

Elements of the inKobamakosi, inDhloko, uThulwana, and inDluyengwe regiments. 

Based around the large hill in the upper right corner: 3 units of assagai (16 figs each), 1 unit of obsolete muskets, 16 figs)

Based around the conical hill: 3 units of assagai (16 figs each), 1 unit of obsolete muskets, 16 figs)





Scenario Description


Dartnell’s Reconnaissance, 21 January 1879

Major Dartnell lead a force of colonial horse and elements of NNC scouting the high ground to the southeast of Isandlwana. The force encountered a mass of Zulus late in the day and the two sides skirmished till dark.

Although a small affair the incident had consequences.

Lord Chelmsford had divided his column into two portions leaving Colonel Pulleine at the camp at Isandlwana with about half of the British infantry. Chelmsford took the other half after ordering Dartnell to reconnoiter southeast to where Chelmsford believed the main Zulu Impi was.

Only it wasn’t.

Dartnell believed he faced the main impi and made the risky decision to camp on the battlefield  after the skirmish while Chelmsford came up with his column. This took Chelmsford further away from Isandlawana  and disaster ensued.

From a wargame simulation point of view the initial skirmish presents a number of interesting “what if” type questions. 

#1. What if Dartnell had pressed his attack and routed the local forces only to discover they were not the main impi?

#2. What if the Zulus disobeyed their orders to hold and pressed an attack upon Dartnell only to have Dartnell do a fighting retreat and thus confirm his impression that it was the main Zulu impi?

My interpretation of a what if was based on "what if" #1.

Victory Conditions

The Zulu’s gain nothing by attacking Dartnell but gain everything by holding the two high points and their board edge thus preventing Dartnell from discovering they are but a screen shielding the main impi on it’s way to Isandlwana.

So...

For the British forces to “win” they must discover that the forces arrayed against them are light and thus have the opportunity to inform Chelmsford thus preventing him from pursueing a wild goose chase while the threat is the camp at Isandlwana.

So...

If the Imperial Forces gain the small hill they have a 1 or 2 chance  (on a six-sided die)  of discovering how weak the Zulu force actually is. (They may roll for this every turn a unit is on the hill.)

If the Imperial Forces outflank the Zulus on their open flank getting to within 8” of the board edge they have a 1, 2, 3 chance of discovering how weak the Zulu’s are. (They may roll for this as long as they are within 8” of the board edge.)


If the Imperial Forces take the large hill even for a turn they automatically win. 

Pertinent Notes on the Rules and Set up.

Zulu spear units may not cross the board center for that would disobey their orders to screen/defend and offer themselves up to British infantry headed in their direction. The  musket armed units may cross the center line.

Note: Although the spear armed Zulu units could not cross the center line they could charge across the line if an Imperial unit was within two inches of the center line. This occurred at least twice in the game. The board dimensions for the game were 7' by 4' so the center line was at the 2' mark.

The two hills were rough terrain.

Mounted units could evade 1\2 move for free. (house rule)

A card activation system was used instead of the IGO-UGO system in TMWWBK. (house rule)

Leadership values were modified by the Leadership Traits section in the rules. That added another dimension to the game that was quite fun.

My two friends MS and JZ commanded the Zulus. MS held the large hill while JZ held the small center hill. I commanded the Imperial forces.

Brief Description of the Action

My initial plan was obvious and that was to string out the Zulu units so they had to cover their exposed flank. This created a nearly constant shift to their left flank as the small center hill became threatened.

The musket armed Zulu unit fronting the small hill was attacked via carbine fire by the one of the Native Horse units and then crushed by the disaffected Zulu unit. Some of MS's units had to shift while JZ's remaining units had much more frontage to hold.

The disaffected Zulu unit was destroyed by a counterattack while the Imperial horse units stayed at a safe distance until it became safe to charge pinned Zulu units.

On the large hill flank two of MS's Zulu units charged as the NNC and horse units got to within 2' of the center line. The horse successfully evaded while the NNC were destroyed after giving a good account of themselves. Both Zulu units had been weakened by carbine fire and rifle fire from the mounted infantry and eventually they broke.

On the Imperial right after the destruction of the disaffected Zulus other Zulu units attempted to come to grips with Imperial Horse as they approached the center line. They were largely prevented from charging home because of pinning and when one unit did charge home they were bested by the Natal Native Horse.

The net result of all these actions is that Zulu's could not cover all the ground between the hills nor on their more exposed left flank. The victory went to the Imperial forces not because of the casualties inflicted per se but because they would have discovered that the forces arrayed agains them were not the main impi and could have informed Chelmsford.

It was an unusual game with a lot of mounted units and no British infantry but a great deal of fun.

The pics are not in any particular order but I'll try to explain the action in each.


The figures in the foreground (RSM Miniatures) are the disaffected Zulus falling on the composite antique musket armed Zulus (Italeri figures).

Extreme Zulu left unit forced to try and cover the exposed flank. 

The battle for the small center hill. The green marker shows that the unit is pinned. Zulu figures on the picture's right are Italeri and on the far left HAT.

HAT Zulus on the Zulu right flank protecting the large hill and using the small rise to shield the unit behind it from carbine and rifle fire. 

View of the Zulu right from the Imperial left. Natal Mounted Police and Carabineers are pictured as well as mounted infantry. The center line rule limited Zulu options and some poor dice throws limited the Police and Carabineers from doing much of anything until the end of the game. (Figures are New Line Design and HAT)

The Zulu left just after the disaffected Zulus destroyed their brethern. The mounted unit is Natal Native Horse and this particular unit did rather well. It's counterpart was led by a coward who would not charge home under any circumstances!

The Zulu's on the Zulu right gathering for an attack across the center line as soon as the Imperials got close enough. The NNC would feel their wrath!

The Zulu counterattack that would destroy the disaffected Zulu unit.

The end of the disaffected Zulu unit.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

MEM44 in 1\285th Scale Micro Armor

My son and I have been playing MEM44 since the game came out. For us it was a quick and easy war-game playable on a kitchen table with miniatures. We also enjoyed the card system is the drive engine for the game.

Well the other night we had the opportunity to convert MEM44 into a truer miniature game utilizing the 1\285th Micro Armor.

Our friend Mike suggested the idea. Mike had constructed a complete set of hexes (much larger than the ones on the MEM44 game board) plus trees, plus buildings, plus hedgerows and all the necessary miniatures to do a late war scenario as the Americans drove into Germany.

For the record the Germans won 7 medals to 6 for the Americans. The game went back and forth with neither side getting a decisive advantage. Finally, the Germans reached 7 medals and the game was over. A splendid time was had by all.

2 Panthers supported by infantry.
M4 Shermans
More Shermans
The famous 88mm
American Artillery
American Infantry approx 5mm in size.
Given the small size it's hard to tell here what is going on but the Americans in the open are retreating past the Germans in the wood. A game like this provides an excellent bird's eye view.
Destroyed house.
Two elite panzer units launched an assault.
German artillery
German Engineers hold a woods.
German infantry hold another woods.
German defenses. ATG unit on the right.
Hunting Panthers
Panthers
SPA "Priest"
Sherman with the 76mm gun
Paper buildings of a village
Americans hold the other paper village (for a time anyway)
German engineers about to eliminate the American artillery in the paper village.This gave the Germans the win

Saturday, May 20, 2017

2nd Punic War DBA in 1\72nd

One of the things I like about DBA is that you do not need a lot of figures to do a game. One of the things I don't like about DBA is that because you don't need a lot of figures to do a game you lose the grandeur of a massive ancient battle. Nevertheless, DBA is a good place to start if you like to do a lot of small armies and then add to them when you want to upgrade to massive.

Here are two of my 2nd Punic War DBA armies-Polybian Romans and Carthaginians in 1\72nd plastics.

In our games the command stand is free so each army has 12 elements plus the command unit.

Gotta have a war elephant.

HAT figs

The war elephant is being supported by Iberian Infantry as two stands of velites try to bring down the elephant with javelins.

Two stands of Hastati are called in. Figs are HAT.

I read somewhere that Hannibal favored his Iberians and issued them with white tunics so I painted them accordingly.

Again HAT figures. 

Hannibal's Iberian Cavalry. They could equally be Gaul or Liby-Carthaginian but in a basic DBA army you only get two stands and I picked Iberians. Figs by HAT.

In other sets of ancient rules Iberian Cavalry is divided into two categories differentiated by their shields with the smaller round shield types being of the light horse variety. In DBA it doesn't matter so I mixed them up.

The famous Numidian Light Horse. Two stands allowed in a basic DBA list.

Hannibal's veterans in Roman mail with the oval scutum type shield. The stand in the middle is the command stand and is from the HAT Carthaginian Command and Cavalry set. Figs are all HAT.

I think the veteran set is rare and a friend gave me 8 of his for the army. They were fun to paint!

Roman Triarii face off against the Veteran Libyans in Roman armor. Zama time!

The DBA Roman list for the period allows 6 stands of blades (Hastatus and Principes) and 2 stands of spears (Triarii) The figures are Zveda and quite nice.

Early Roman command unit prior to SPQR.

Carthage muse be destroyed! The Centurion with the vine rod is a nice touch. Figs by Zveda

The Carthaginian counterpart from the HAT command set. The shield designs are transfers from England and a pain to work with but they are designed for HAT and since I stink at shield designs quite useful.

We must avenge the 1st Punic War!

Roman Cavalry (Equites) Figs are a combination of  Italeri and Hat figs.

Celts by HAT. I love the fig with the Carnyx.

Gauls\Celts-enemies of Rome for centuries. The noise from the Carnyx was deafening as I understand it.

Last but not least Balearic slingers. One stand is allowed.