Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Blitzkrieg at Postling : Operation Sealion

For regular followers I do apologise for my lack of posting a combination of hot weather, work and cycling. Anyway enough of the excuses activity in the Dungeon rumbles on. A couple of weeks ago we played a big Operation Sealion game.

S-tag (day one) is drawing slowly to a close, the Germans in many areas have pushed inland from the beaches. In other areas notably in the town of Folkestone itself their advance has been slower where troops stationed in the town have thrown up road blocks and turned houses into fortified gunpositions. To some extent the German high command has anticipated this, getting as much of the armoured troops as possible landed. In true blitzkrieg style they have sent a fast moving kampf group north from Hythe to break through the thin ‘skin’ of defence and start to overwhelmed the Kentish heartland.
Postling is a small village just to the North of Hythe
The villagers have been listening to the invasion through out the day taking place along the coast to the south they are reassured by a steady stream of RAF planes heading over the village to attack the german bridgehead
Ominously a single Stuka bomber is seen in the sky but the villagers give a cheer as the spitfire shoots it down (first turn!)
But then they hear a rumble coming from the south, the Germans are looking to push through the village to outflank the nearby village of Etchinghill where a strong defensive force has blocked the advance
Blitzkrieg 1940 style under the watchful eye of the Propaganda Ministry
The roads to the north have suddenly become choked with Vehicles of all sorts bringing troops to the front
British infantry has been told to hold the village
In their desperation a old Rolls Royce armoured car has been brought back into service, nobody expects this to last long again the german Panzers !
Breaking their initial line of advance the german tanks push across the fields towards the village
German Fallschirmjager who dropped earlier in the day are advancing in support through Douglas Farm
Realising they may be outflanked the german motorised Infantry is ordered to dismount
A mixture of british armoured vehicles have been rushed to the front including a bus from which singing can be heard ?
Infantry arrives on foot but most importantly a single Matilda II arrives
The previous cheers of the villagers turn to groans as the spitfire takes an unlucky shot form the ground, the British had been relying on the air support to pin down the advance
Ominous grey armour moves across the open ground, the sheep scatter but the British are not in position to defend
A Panzer II takes up a position on Tolsford Hill to give covering fire to the advancing infantry
Turns out the bus was full of drunk sailors having had a rough night out in Canterbury and decorated with fresh tattoos, the bus was taking them back to Folkestone harbour when they were swept up in the invasion defence, some immediately head into a nearby building to look for more drink !
As the german commander looks through his binoculars he can’t understand what is holding up the advance, some of the first wave of infantry can be seen pulling back having been caught in the cross fire
Unable for find more drink some of the sailors pull back into a field, but one of the Bren gun carriers has moved into a strong defensive position 
British troops take up a defensive position at the village cross roads
.......more make their way through the back yards
German Artillery is now in place and starts to target the British armour but for some reason they are ineffective
The german commander looks on in disgust as the advance seems to stall
Finally the german infantry get moving and start to run across the fields, knowing they are likely to take casualties they move as quickly as they can
The small village green is going to be a mess tomorrow morning !
Still the german advance moves forward, it is still not clear if the British have the power to stop the grey juggernaut 
No one seems quite sure what to do in the village ?
An overview shot taken by a spotter plan from west of Postling itself, Tolsford Hill can be seen in the distance
Period shot of the village under attack
On the German right flank though things are starting to unravel, close to Staples Farm german Infantry has been badly mauled by the combined fire of two Bren Gun carriers and the Rolls Royce
The Matilda appears impervious to the german shots but a thinly armed Vickers bursts into flames
Not quite panic but the British are pulling in more and more reserves
But somehow the german armour and artillery just doesn’t seem to be having the impact expected on the British defenders (at this point I should point out that the German commander, counter to the normal rules of gaming appeared unable to roll anything higher than a 3 and repeatedly hit but failed to blow anything up, at one point this became so comical that even the British cheered when something blew up !)
Suddenly one of the Panzers a early 38t is now on fire they have driven too close to the defenders without knocking them out 💥
In the german rear heavy mortars have some success
But in a matter of minutes the Panzer IV has had a track blown off and the PanzerJager has been destroyed
The german field commander reconsiders his options ?
Advancing on the right flank the Stug pushes forward and the infantry have assaulted and knocked out the final Bren Gun Carrier, but somehow the Rolls Royce is still working 😱
The Panzer IV immobilised, behind it Veteran Fallschirmjager can be seen just about to assault into the nearest building
But there are still a lot of defenders in the village
British counter battery fire knocks out a german Howitzer 
Now the Panzer IV has been hit again and knocked out, fearce hand to hand fighting has seen the houses on this side of the village change hands several times
But it is clear the break through is not going to occur here at Postling
The Matilda holds the centre of the village whilst the 25lb gun continues to engage the enemy
A shot of the battlefield at the end of the battle.......Hoorah the Brits 

So the Germans were turned back on this occasion, a very enjoyable game. The challenge for the Germans was to get stuck in before the British could deploy. The Germans threw everything at the defenders but I don’t think I have seen dice rolling as bad as that ever in the Dungeon 😀 great to get back to Sealion and my enthusiasm hasn’t gone. More soon.....

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Battle for the Kizil Valley : Blood in the Sand

The Kingdom of Lydia has grown wealthy under the shrewd control of their ageing Kind Alyattes. Safely sat in his capital at Sardis he has expanded his kingdom swallowing up smaller states to the west. This has enabled increased trade across the Aegean with other states across the known world, he has also been fortunate to discover gold in significant quantities and with his son Croesus has recently started a Royal Mint replacing the old system of measuring value with what they are calling “coins”, their first examples have proved very popular.

But such wealth doesn’t go unnoticed and Lydian attempts to expand their influence to the East have angered those best kept as allies. Far to the East there is a growing empire under King Cambyses his fledgling empire known as the Medes is looking for more lands to bring under their control. King Cambyses has already become quite powerful and a substantial force has been sent west to occupy the the border region of Lydia, gold having an unusually powerful attraction to any Tyrant. This invading force is built around a core of his own troops but a significant number of mercenary troops and other units pulled from different parts of his empire. When news of the impending invasion reaches Sardis King Alyattes has immediately set out with the bulk of the Lydian army. But at the same time a message has been sent to the mountain tribes in the North asking for support. It is not clear at this stage if these reinforcements will arrive in time to influence the coming battle.

The left wing of the Lydian army under the King’s son Croesus in the distance the Medes are lined up
On the left flank of the Median army light Scythan horse archers have moved into the valley by the small oasis 
The Medes have also brought units of camel archers who have a particularly unpleasant smell about them, the Lydian cavalry had better beware 
An overview of the battlefield, Medes on the right and the Lydian on the left
The Lycians left flank is predominantly made of blocks of heavily armoured spearmen, tough but slow moving
A huge unit shuffled forward along the river valley, the river will slow any movement but is crossable by everything except chariots
The Medes have brought a single war elephant to the battle but it has come under early fire from a Lydian bolt thrower, it has turned away to seek cover amongst the trees by the river.
The Scythian horse archers have been chased back out of the valley
The centre of the Median line is held by blocks of archers and two heavy chariots, King Cambyses can be seen riding his own Royal Chariot
Having crashed through the River the elephant charges into an infantry block....but they hold and push the elephant back
The hill beyond the river sees the clash of huge infantry blocks
The centre of the Lydian line held by infantry armed with long spears which will one day be adopted by the Macedonians
Light cavalry clashing on the far flank
The Mercenary warriors fighting for the Medes are coming under pressure (we have a special rule which makes them more fragile)
The elephant now wounded just about to charge in again
The Medes also have some barbarian mercenaries who can be seen by the oasis, so fearce are they that they come to battle naked but so terrifying they have already wiped out a unit of Lydian spearmen
The Medes on the right are holding the line but only just
Finally the chariots have joined the battle, they had been holding back whilst their archers attacked from long range
At this stage all was balanced.....but then from nowhere the Lydian mountain tribes arrive out of the hills, crashing into the Median right flank
The hill tribes charging into battle...
Immediately one of the mercenary units is over run and forced to take a morale check, this failed two units can be seen running from the field
Lydian peltasts are the only troops on the right holding the high ground but this part of the battlefield is rapidly becoming a side show
In the centre, long range attacks from the Median bowmen and skirmishers has severely weakened the Lydian Centre
More Median spearmen are pushed forward to hold the bridge 
The final mercenary hoplite unit is now isolated and is easily overcome
The bridge is still being held by a small unit of camel archers
The battle is starting to pivot towards the river
One of the chariots moves across the bridge
On the far left the Lydian’s have won the day apart from some light cavalry and the camels the area is lost
The Lydian army reforms to move upto the river
Lydian cavalry approach the bridge supported by a unit of archers
The last unit of camel archers holding the shrinking bridgehead 
Suddenly the Lydian King finds himself isolated and takes a wound from some nearby skirmishers
Over the river the last Median light cavalry has been seen off
A final charge by the remaining chariot goes in to hold back the Lydians on the hill
Eventually the two armies having fought each other to a stand still face off across the river
At this point the two commanders having battled for several hours in the heat of the desert decided they could not get a decisive victory. Both armies would pull back to regroup.

Another excellent battle lots of fun and hard fought 😀 for those interested the game was played with KoW rules and took in the region of  5 hours to play.