Saturday 30 May 2020

Retreat to the Longboats : Al Andalus

So we have the last in our mini-campaign looking at one of the many viking raids which took place during the period of Al Andalus in 844 AD. Historically with the Norsemen having sacked Isbiliya (Seville) the ruler of Córdoba Abd ar-Rahman II called in support from neighbouring areas and with the support of one Musa ibn Musa al-Qasi the Norsemen were defeated at a significant pitched battle at Talyata. This would be a great opportunity for a battle so we’ll come back to this when lockdown is over, but skirmish games are better in the virtual world so we skipped  few days to the flight of the remaining Norsemen who made a dash for their boats. No doubt carrying their loot many were caught and captives according to the record I have read were hung from the palm trees as a warning. This escape and dash for the longboats would make a much better closing scenario for our campaign.

The Norsemen would start from three points in one corner the Arabs under Musa al-Qasi from the other two. The treasure capture at Seville would be secretly distributed across the viking units and they would attempt to get as much as possible....if any away to their boats. These scenarios when we have played them are notoriously difficult for the ‘escaping’ side so we made it slightly harder for the Arabs three of their units had wild charge so could be dragged into the difficult terrain where they could be potentially slaughtered, it also means they will be slightly harder to get moving. Anyway on to the action.....
The viking army rolls successfully and brings on every unit first turn a good start
The longboat awaits but the Arab cavalry can be seen coming on from the left
After a single shot the cavalry fail an evade test and are cut down by the quicker than expected vikings, bad start !
The rest of the norsemen are making good progress but are being attacked with arrow fire
...and then Musa al-Qasi arrives together with more heavy but impetuous cavalry
He idly charges in against the heavy viking warriors..possibly not a good idea
Meanwhile nearer the boats the arab light infantry is hoping to hold back the vikings on the left
Gradually the norsemen are whittled down and Ragnar himself decides to make a push for the boats
Once the heavy cavalry has polished off the remaining warriors
They focus their attention on Ragnar...he mustn’t get away
Despite his wounds he bravely fights on and in fact has a chance to escape but uttering an oath to Thor he heroically stands to fight to the death and join his kin in Valhalla, but his end is les dramatic shot down in the end by arrows........
Burn the boats........... and praise be the north men have been defeated.

So our little campaign has finished, a draw in the first battle and one good win each. It has been fun mixing things up with vikings vs Arabs as they give greater variety to the some point we will come back and do the larger battle of Talyata........perhaps I need a few more vikings ! Not surprisingly the vikings also raided the Christian territories of Leon and Castile so i might try that at some point. Historically the Arabs learnt their lesson and built a wall around the city of Seville......too late i think !

Weather has been ridiculously good here, so two more shots of the beautiful Lake District  
Mungrisedale Common
Ullswater looking due south

Not her game planned this evening and the weather remains good, so more soon 👍

Monday 25 May 2020

CMOKNHT Junction : RCW

The keyboard can’t quite get the Cyrillic letters right but the rough equivalent, according to free google translator of Tuxedo Junction. With the railway on the table from last week it seemed a good opportunity to run a similar scenario using my RCW figures.

The scenario using slightly modified Bolt action rules is more complex. We rolled off to see who was defending the train as it happens the Reds had captured the train and the Imperial Forces would be seeking to get it back. There were three objectives on the train, the big gun ! The fuel wagon and the carriage which we assumed was carrying the ammunition. The Reds had to set up a unit at each objectives the Whites would attack from a randomised direction the re-enforcements would arrive down the opposite road but each unit could only arrive on a dice roll.
The central part of the train a small unit of elite Russian Sailors have been ordered to hold this position
The fuel wagon held by local irregulars 
And the ammunition wagon held by regular infantry
The Whites attack from the south supported by their local Airforce (the Nieuport effectively plays as a mobile machine gun with the advantage of causing an additional pin on any troops it targets)
Massed White infantry move up for the assault they need to move quickly to take the objectives before the re-enforcements arrive
The locals militia fighting for the Reds is already getting heavily attacked and are pinned down
After a couple of turns the reserves enter the table and despite being attacked from the air they make quick progress
But the Reds are in trouble everywhere, the 1st Officers Infantry Regiment are just about to assault the local Red militia who arent likely to stand up to the fanatical Officers Corp
The sailors have been almost wiped out, coming under fire from all directions
As expected the militia are wiped out but with encouragement from the commissar they push the Officers regiment back
..but the Whites now have the big gun ! and troops in reserve
Not quite so good on the left where the 1st Gen Alexeyev Partizan Infantry is pinned down in the long grass, they fail several attempts to assault
An overview of the battlefield at this point
The Red reserves have reached the centre and open fire
The commissar has a special rule where he can rally a unit and remove all their pins by shooting one of the soldiers ! It proved very effective here
At the ammunition wagon there are few defenders left
But everywhere else the battle has come down to furious hand to hand combat
Fighting at close quarters at the fuel wagon overseen by the commissar ....he never seems to actually fight himself ! The battle will be determined by the two combats
....and then turn 6 and the bi-plane takes a direct hit Boom !
The Red have the Reds have surprise the th turn was the last, the Reds one both the combat around the gun and the fuel wagon taking both objectives leaving the whites with the ammunition wagon., but even here they are being shot at by the armoured car. At this point Nestor the White enteral turns in disgust and beats a retreat.

A fun game considering it was played over zoom. It really did look after three turns that the Reds were done for, but a couple of failed morale checks for the whites and poor combat rolls and they snatched defeat from victory.

We spent some time thinking about hat else i need to boost this project..... perhaps another unit of infantry on each side. I have an eye on some German uniformed troops or more colourful Regts for the whites and perhaps some infantry in great coats for the reds. Ideally some more cavalry, a whippet tank, and I need a standard bearer for the whites.

We have had some great weather so have been enjoying some more isolation on my bikes 

This is Martindale the road is a dead end right up to the top of the valley unless you have a mountain bike and a lot of energy in which case there is a track that drops south into the next valley.
This is Ullswater from  the top end
I came back via Dacre a small local village, the Church is Norman but has been rebuilt a bit. But it has a history going back further and is thought to be the place where in AD934 Athelstan the King of England effectively became the first King of the United Kingdom, receiving homage from Constantine king of the Scots and Owen King of Cumbria. Apparently the evidence puts a monastery at this spot at the time. Why here i have no idea as it is pretty much in the middle of know where now.

Monday 18 May 2020

Tuxedo Junction : ACW Scenario : Rebels and Patriots

In the latest copy of Wargames Soldiers and Strategy 108 there is a small ACW scenario by Ken Butt. I have left the photo blurred to avoid copyright and all that, but it gives you an idea. Importantly it shows the water tower which gave me the idea to make one. It also has options for Sharp Practice and Rebels and Patriots. Anyway I picked  up the idea and amended it slightly.

In our game the objective is the same for the Union force to hold the station as a key communication/supply centre. The Rebel forces will enter randomised from their baseline apart from a cavalry unit which will enter at ANY point from turn two on a descending D6 role, this represents the rebel cavalry being sent on a wide flanking move ey could be critical but might turn up too late. Together with skirmishers the rebels have two infantry units of aggressive veterans. The Union force have a skirmish unit already on point in the station building. More skirmishers and dismounted cavalry will enter turn one but then from turn two some raw recruits will come on from camp with a single unit of veteran boys from the town. We agreed to play until one side was don to two units left, assuming they hold their nerve at 50%
All is quite at the station the couple of skirmishers by the station office are actually inside (roof is fixed on this building)
Rebel infantry advance at pace and the alarm goes up
At the Union campground two units of ‘green’ infantry are preparing to march, ahead of them the dismounted cavalry
It what is this turn 2 the union forces have hardly moved and the Rebel cavalry charge on after some debate they came on right at the camp
Are they Texans ? in the distance supported by a skirmish line
The rebel cavalry manage to pin down the ‘green’ boys amongst the tents
Things look better on the right
Dismounted cavalry have positioned themselves on the left flank ...but come under heavy fire
General advance towards the objective
Finally the cavalry are chased off but it has taken far too long to get moving from the camp a late breakfast isnt good at this stage
The Union Veterans may need to hold the objective on their own, its starts well as they force the Texans back
But the thin grey line is getting closer all the time
Finally with the cavalry gone the troops from the camp get moving they may be in time to make a difference
...but then Union forced back on the right...everything is in the balance
Two disorganised markers is bad news and the green troops are pushed back again into the camp (perhaps a second breakfast?)
But the unit under the control of the Union officer manages to assault the station building forcing the Rebel skirmishers this point the Union force is close to breaking already down beyond 50%
....and the inevitable the Rebels make one more decisive push and the Union force is pushed back again, at this point the green troops failed their final rally test and left the field so the Confederates are the clear winners.

A nice little scenario so thank you WS&S worth the money this month. We adopted it a little but think this made it just a little more variable.

No cycling photos this time as it was cloudy on Saturday instead as i was putting the Confederates away and tidying up, the infantry and cavalry all slipped out of the box for a parade, so here is a shot without artillery of my Confederate forces as they stand at the moment :) depending on scale 3 or 4 Brigades. I have a small unit of cavalry and some lovely rebels in shirtsleeves waiting in the queue.
As always keep safe and well.......Matt