Showing posts with label pz8. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pz8. Show all posts

Sunday, 29 December 2013

8e Cuirassiers - Trial Run

I rather like the free rules produced by Pz8, if only for picking up ideas and inspiration. A few months ago I came across a draft version of '8e Cuirassiers', which were simple rules for conflicts from 1700-1870. They seemed interesting so I promise myself that I;d give them a go one day. It's taken me about six months to get around to it, but today I did.

Units in '8e Cuirassiers'  consist of four bases, each 20-30mm square, so my 6mm ACW figures are ideal, set up as they are as four base units on 20mm squares. So an ACW engagement it would be.

The board size for the game isn't give, but given the short movement distances (2" for infantry), and knowledge that Pz8 rules are designed for small, quick games, I went for a 2' x 2' playing area. I set it up as follows:


The farm in the middle was the objective, althopugh I didn't set any more than the vaguest of visctory conditions. really I just wanted to see how the mechanisms worked.

I put together two equal forces, each of six infantry regiments and an artillery battery. The Union had rifled artillery, the Confederates had smoothbores. All units were regular; I didn't want to mess around with varying troop qualities at this stage. Each side had one normal general.

I randomised the setup (I won't bore you with how), and got this - the Union are at the bottom of the picture and the Confederates at the top.


With only a 2" move, and plenty of  terrain limiting visibility it took several moves of advancing before things started to happen. This was the position after four or five turns. Both sides were holding back with their left, advancing cautiously on the farm with their centre and attacking with their right.


The Union advance on the farm.


The Confederate left and centre.


First fire! The Confederates open up on a Union regiment skulking in a wood, and its supporting artillery, but to no effect. Firing is an opposed die roll, with the firer getting modifiers then subtracting the target's roll. A positive score is a hit. A hit causes a unit to become Disordered, a Disordered unit to become Shaken and a Shaken unit to Rout.


The Union return fire, and disorder a Confederate regiment. Generals can remove disorder via a die-roll, but both sides seemed very bad at it.


More firing from the Confederates saw some Union regiments disordered.


The Confederate right attacks! The disordered the Union regiment in the wood, but their unit attacking the artillery was shaken by firing as it charged. However artillery automatically break in melee, so it still won the day.


The Union charged on their left, and ended up with two shaken units and a Confederate line which held. Melee can be quite deadly, as it is based on an opposed die roll; if the attacker gets the higher score the defender can go disordered, shaken or rout. The attacker only takes hits from fire as they go in, but if the defender isn't broken they fight a melee on their turn.


Fighting along the ridge.


Shaken units automatically rout if engaged in melee, so on the Confederate turn they only had to initiate melee to rout two Union regiments


The fight on the Union right continued. The shaken Confederate unit wouldn't rally, so was basically useless, whilst the units fighting for the wood just disordered each other.


On the Union left they finally routed a Confederate unit with a high differential win in a melee.


However two more of their units went shaken, then didn't rally, so would be broken on the next Confederate turn. At that point I decided to end the game.



So how did the rules work? Well, to be honest I'm not sure that they did. On paper they look OK, but I'm not sure that they've really been played at all, as a number of things just didn't seem to work. Units are not very manoeuverable and there's no interpenetration (which makes supporting attacks or relieving damaged units next to impossible). In a way I liked the way firing and melee were handled, but the game needs a mechanism for continuing melees, and shaken units need to be less vulnerable to melee attack as it's hard to get them out of trouble.

Would I play this game again? Unlikely in its present form, so either I need to modify them, or the author needs to come up with a new draft; the one I have is eighteen months old, though, and hasn't been updated since, so I can't see anything happening soon. Still, the game whiled away an amusing hour or two.

At the moment I cant find a link to the rules, so I can't send you in their direction. I would if I could.

Update: A link to the rules (and some discussion of them) can be found HERE

Friday, 1 June 2012

HOTT And Cambrai

Back from another evening of wargaming.

I played two games this evening. The first was a 48AP game of HOTT, with two players a side and the allied armies starting in opposite corners of a big board. The other was a game of Pz8's divisional level WW1 rules, with a few changes that I wanted to try out.

On to the HOTT game. The board was roughly 6' x 3'. Here's the terrain; the piece in the centre was just treated as a built-up area. There was no stronghold in this game. The river did dictate that the main axis of the battle was to the other side of the building:


A distorted closer view of the built-up area; actually it's the stronghold of my Mantic Elves (my only true fantasy 25mm army):


The armies set up, and players ready to go - Caesar's arms to the left, then Geoff, then Dave:


My army - The Morally Ambiguous Elves Of Mantic:


Opposite them, Caesar's Zulus:


Diagonally opposite Caesar were his allies - Napoleonic Austrians under Dave:


And diagonally opposite me were my allies - Undead, under Geoff:


Some Undead close on the Zulus:


Whilst others prepare to defend a hill against an attack by the Austrians:


The Undead outflank the Zulus who, oddly enough, form square:


The Austrians launch a futile assault against the Undead. At one stage I became worried about an Austrian column marching on my right flank, but it turned out to be their rapidly growing casualty pile:



The assault on the Zulus stalemated:


The Elven Hero finally links up with their Undead allies:


Death rides a pale horse, but he still struggles to inflict any casualties on the Zulus:

Death!


The Elven Spear line marches slowly across the table:


A bad turn - the Elven Hero dies to a Horde:


Elven Shooters, who skulked behind a wood for the whole game and didn't even see the battle, let alone take part in it:


The Undead begin to mop up the now demoralised Austrians:


The Elven Warband charge into action:


For someone who is winning, Geoff looks distraught:


The Elven Spears finally get into action as well, sweeping away a Zulu Horde:


There are no more Austrians left ...


And that was the end of the battle; with the Austrian Army wiped out or fled, the Zulu/Austrian Alliance was broken. The Zulus took minimal losses; a couple of easily replaced Hordes. Most of the caualties on the winning side were on the Undead, who actually did the bulk of the fighting; the Elves spent most of the game marching into battle.

Caesar and I then set up a game of Pz8's WW1 divisional rules. We played the Cambrai scenario, with Caesar taking the attacking British and me taking the Germans.

Caesar went for an ambition preliminary bombardment, but it paid off, smashing the German front-line trenches, and giving him a clear avenue of attack in the centre:


The first British assault; both sides have lots of artillery to spare, and weren't afraid to use it:


Mid-game the British were pushing all of the way through the German defences at some points. But isolated strong-points were holding out, and would need to be taken before nightfall. Three out of four of the British tank units had broken down, leaving the infantry do do all of the work, although the large amount of rough terrain on the battlefield limited how useful the tanks were anyway:


The game ended on Turn 6, with the front-line bunker still in German hands. So, despite the British successes elsewhere on the battlefield, the Germans won:


The reality was that Caesar had misunderstood the victory conditions, and didn't realise that he had to control every square in a row for it to count towards victory. He basically ignored the bunker thinking that he didn't have to capture it.

In terms of changes we tried Preliminary Bombardments only costing 2AP, along with a limit on the placement of bunkers and allowing assaults from different squares to be combined. In the more open terrain created by the effective preliminary bombardment the combined assaults were very powerful, even with the caveat that additional squares only contributed half value. However I shall try them again on a board with more defences and see how that works. A nice feature they created was that the British could adopt the tactic of assaulting just one or two squares each turn, hitting them with overwhelming force. But such a tactic takes time, and the clock is always ticking in this game; the British lost because they took too long to achieve their objectives (although, as already stated, Caesar misunderstood exactly what those objectives were).

Both sides pretty much ran out of artillery at the same time, which to me was a sign of a certain level of balance in operation. However as the defender I was cautious with my expenditure, as I was saving AP to defend against an attack on the front-line bunker which never came.

The Cambrai scenario strikes me as a good test-bed for these rules; I will run it through a few more times and see which changes work and which don't.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Saturday Afternoon On The Somme

The British Army ripped off GW's Land-Raiders
 in order to gain an advantage on the Western Front.
GW sued General Haig
Well, I reckon producing two armies from scratch and fighting a battle with them in 24 hours is reasonably impressive ...

On Thursday evening I downloaded a collection of two-page wargames rules from the Panzer Eight site. In amongst them was an interesting looking set of rules for fighting big WW1 battles; each base equal to an infantry battalion or a tank/MG company. From a read through it looked like the simple mechanisms contained a game which was about juggling limited artillery resources and making sure you had reinforcements in place to exploit or continue assaults. I was intrigued.

I also lacked any suitable WW1 forces to try them out with.

Now I could have just cut up some cardboard counters and gone with those, but where's the fun in that?

So yesterday afternoon I set about producing two armies for the game, from scratch.

The game uses a square grid, of a fixed size - 6 squares wide by 8 deep. The reverse of a couple of the cork tiles I use for 'Struggle Against Everything And Everybody', gridded up into 5cm squares, gave me that. This would allow me to base units for the Pz8 rules on 2cm squares, and still have them looking right.

Now, like most people, I don't have WW1 figures just laying around. But I had card and, more importantly, I had a few plastic hair-rollers; plastic cylinders with rows of spikes that, if viewed with the eyes of a wargamer, look like ranks of soldiers. I won't go into details about how I made things, but I chopped up 1 - 1 1/2cm sections of hair-roller to make infantry bases, a few small offcuts to make MG crews, with the MGs being grains of rice, and layered mounting board to make tanks. Most of the initial chopping and glueing was done on Friday evening, before a session of ferrying children around to youth groups, then I started painting, giving up just after midnight. This morning I finished painting the infantry, and built most of the tanks, having settled on a suitable design the evening before. I also came up with a reasonable design for the MGs and built those. Paper terrain, including all of the trench and barbed wire pieces needed, was downloaded from the Panzer Eight site, glued to card and left to dry overnight, then cut out this morning.

By 2pm this afternoon I had 24 infantry and 6 MG bases for each of a German and British army, 6 British tanks, plus plenty of trenches, barbed wire, bunkers, shellholes, woods and villages. It was all rough and ready, but it was ready to use.

And so I played a game.

I'd produced the sample 1916 forces given in the rules (with some extra infantry for the Germans so that they could be the attacker from time to time), so played a game using those. MGs and tanks are assigned based on a D6 roll; I rolled two dice and selected the higher roll, so both sides had plenty of 'toys' to support the infantry with.

Here's the British army - 24 bases of infantry, 6 tanks and 4 MGs. Remember that each base represents a battalion or a tank/MG company, so that's a lot of troops:


Against them, the Germans had 12 bases of infantry, plus 6 MGs:


Both sides had 18 sections of trenches, twelve sections of barbed wire and three bunkers. The British defences were really just to deter German counter-attacks. Here's the battlefield; both sides set up their defences in their half of the board, but the British went for a clear space in their front row so they could mass troops for the attack (defences limit how many units can be placed in a square). The Germans went for a single bunker in their first line, with two in the second, the aim being to defend those key points rather than try and cover the whole width of the board. One of the German bunkers was in a village as well:




The first part of the game was the preliminary bombardment. The British expended half of their artillery point (AP) allocation on this, hoping to knock out the bunkers and the surrounding defences. Here's the allocation; each counter represents one die roll:


They rolled badly; when the smoke and debris settled only one section of trenches in front of the forward bunker had been destroyed:


As the defender the Germans placed their troops first. The bunkers were occupied by MGs, and MGs covered the flanks as well. A few infantry bases were held back in reserve, to plug any gaps:


The British massed for the attack; in the centre a formidable group of tanks faced the forward bunker, whilst simple massed infantry was directed at the rest of the defences:


Here's a close-up of the tanks:


With lots of German MGs in play, and the preliminary bombardment having been so useless, the British plan was to capture the German first line as rapidly as possible with as many AP thrown at it as needed. Unfortunately the Germans were able to match their artillery gun for gun. In the first assault of the game, the British tanks attacked the forward bunker - four AP committed in support, but the Germans matched it with 3. A draw saw both sides lose a unit; a lot of resources used for a stalemate:


This was the position at the end of the first British turn. On the left a group of tanks had overwhelmed the defenders of one trench, whilst on the right infantry had done the same; British troops were now in front of all three German bunkers. On the far flanks the German MGs had held off the British assaults, inflicting heavy casualties:


The second turn saw a renewed assault on the German forward bunker, with both sides having reinforced their position with infantry units. Again, despite lots of shelling, the bunker remained in German hands:


On their left the British made a concerted effort to destroy a German MG company. They failed, losing most of the attacking infantry in the process:


A similar attack on the right saw more success:


On the third turn the tanks finally took the forward bunker:


But on the British left the German MG still held up the advance, and it was now reinforced by some infantry:


This was the position at the end of the third turn; the British had taken all of the German first line, except for that one stubborn MG position on their left. But the assaults had been costly and they were pretty much out of AP. It was obvious that there was no way they could crack the bunkers in the second line:


The fourth turn saw the tanks combine to assault the German MG position. The Germans expended the last of their artillery in support ...


And drove off the tanks!


Both sides were now out of artillery support and, finally, on the fifth turn the British took the German MG position with a combined tanks and infantry assault:


There was little action after the fifth turn; the British were too weak to attack any of the remaining German positions, so capturing the second row was out, but the Germans lacked the manpower to launch a counter-attack - most of their strength lay in powerful, but static MG positions. At the end of the sixth turn the end of game was rolled, leaving this position:


The British right. The German bunker is surrounded, but without artillery or tank support the British stood no chance of taking it; the rules do not allow units in different squares to combine in assaults:


The British left; casualties have left them looking a bit thin on the ground:


There were few troops of either side in the centre. The British actually have a clear run through the German lines, but with occupied German bunkers on each side it's not a position they can exploit:


The British casualties; half of their infantry and tanks. The 8 infantry and 2 tanks in the foreground were all lost trying to take the one German MG position in front of the British left flank:


The German casualties; about 75% of their force:


By occupying the German first row the British scored an Indecisive Victory. The forward bunker had proved a tough nut to crack, and a single MG position had basically consumed most of the British resources. But I think it was a mistake to use so many APs on the preliminary bombardments; they would have been better used supporting assaults on the positions rather than trying to remove the positions before the battle started.

The rules gave a very enjoyable and desperate game, and I shall look forward to trying them again. there are a few interesting looking scenarios around as well, some of them covering actions away from the Western Front.

You can get the rules from the Panzer Eight site HERE
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