Saturday, September 24, 2011

Counter-offensive at Lahtidoh

Another action on the Raesharn-Kiivar front. This time I've just posted pictures and a battle map...

A Raesharn battalion-sized battlegroup commanded by General Kohl ready to advance and take, seize or carry the village of Lahtidoh, a road nexus needed for the final assault upon the Kiivar city of Kavi.
That there was no covering for the tabletop was due to the keys to the Club terrain room going walkabout. Most of the terrain you see is mine, except for the village buildings, which are Jono's.

Looking east across the the Kiivar battle lines and no man's land between the rival forces. Lahtidoh village, lying between the armies, was also deemed necessary to be taken to aid the Kiivar war effort.
A Raesharn armoured car discovers the hard way where the enemy armour is... A scratchbuild by Jono...

A Raesharn air strike takes out one of Kiivar's tanks...

... but retribution is swift! It's flight path takes it within range of a Kiivar twin barrelled AA cannon, which brings it down.

Kiivar armour takes up hull-down positions on 'Blue-Towel' Hill. Not that it did them any good. A war correspondence know for his inability to resist bold and bad headlines remarked at length upon the 'towelling' the Kiivar tanks received...

The action ended with all the armour destroyed but for one damaged Raesharn tank. Infantry casualties were surprisingly light (8 Raesharn and 11 Kiivar) but the former lost rather more equipment. The action, like many such now that the Raesharn's early onrush has been stemmed, ended in a standoff...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Sideon IV - Battle of Dohremi

On the weekend before last, was fought part of a Kiivar counter-offensive against the Raesharn invaders. The models and figures were roughly in 1:35 scale. The forces were fairly equal, though Kiivar (Me) had a slight preponderance in infantry.

The Kiivar Battlegroup, commanded by Lt-Col Ptarmigan Thrapwordel comprised:
47th Rifle Battalion:
Able Coy (#1 and #2 Platoons)
Baker Coy (#3 and #4 Platoons)
HQ Coy (Anti-Tank Gun section [1 gun]; HMG Platoon; and 'T' Troop Assault Engineers, attached)
A Squadron, 34th Tank Regiment (3 Tanks: 2 gun and 1 close-support)
B Battery, 909th (provisional) Artillery Battalion.

The Kiivar 'Battlegroup Thrapwordel' at its startline, ready to advance. Armour on the left, with the Assault engineers riding on them. Like Johann Sebastian Bach, who sat on a tack, they soon got off...

Commanded by Major Tokarifa Yamahahahahaha, the Raesharn were defending a village but had no intention of waiting for their despised opponents. Their forces seemed to comprise elements of 123 Infantry Regiment in about Battalion strength, with an Assault gun, an infantry gun and an anti-tank gun section in support (1 gun or vehicle apiece); and Nr 1 Company 201st Armoured Regiment (3 tanks). As it transpired, the Raesharn could also call upon air strikes, against which the Kiivar had no defence.

Raesharn infantry in and about Dohremi village, and lining the hedgerows to the east.

Raesharn armour on the right flank, about to drive forward to meet their foes...
...and score an early success. The first Raesharn airstrike, also against the armour, proved (very fortunately for the Kiivar) unsuccessful at this time. Meanwhile, the Kiivar infantry are advancing, Baker Coy through the woods; Nr2 Platoon of Able Coy up the road (suggested by 'hedgerows') towards Dohremi. Out of the picture to the right is Nr 1 Platoon also advancing

The Kiivar infantry are organised 'two-up' from 7-man sections (squads). A subaltern officer commands a platoon of 2 sections, a captain commands a company of 2platoons. A battalion comprises 2 rifle companies, plus an HQ company of specialists, which might be Medium mortars, Heavy (Medium) Machineguns, Infantry guns, Recon group, Assault Engineer group, Anti-Tank guns, Signals. A 'Section' is one vehicle or heavy weapon; a Company or Squadron, 2 to 4. The Raesharn organisation is similar. The Kiivar 47th Battalion was a bit underequipped for this operation.

Raesharn infantry, rather rashly, advance to meet their Kiivars foes of Able Company. Accompanying them, the assault gun crashes through the hedgerow, and the Infantry gun crew hastily manhadle their piece to a gap in the hedgerow lining the south road to protect the flank. In the foreground field, but out of picture, a Heavy machine gun section was hurriedly setting up...

General view of the field, looking south from the Raesharn positions. A Raesharn 'pusher' ground attack aircraft approaches the battlefield...
Disaster! Nr1 Platoon, 47th Kiivar Bn, create havoc in Raesharn ranks, overrunning a heavy machine gun, wiping out the crew of the infantry gun and pouring a destructive fire into the Raesharn flank. The Kiivar AT gun also scores an early success...
Another general view. The Raesharn counterattack on the left has come to a complete standstill...
The view from behind Kiivar lines.Having knocked out the assault gun, the Anti-tank gun is being manhandled forward off the hill. Advancing up the road, Nr 2 Platoon (Able Coy) is about to come under heavy MG fire from the village...
Kiivar artillery in action - as seen from the receiving end. Do you think I could hit that front building? Not on your life! But the misses were occasionally destructive... wiping out the entire Raesharn Battlegroup HQ (I didn't even know they were in the village). The guns did their bit in taking ot the Raesharn lead platoon, and (fortuitously) knocking out an Anti-tank gun as well.
Victory at last for the Raesharn armour (helped by an AT gun to their flank until it was taken out by an artillery stonk). They wiped out the Kiivar Squadron for the loss of just one of their own tanks. Exposed as they are, the assault engineers (in red beanies) exchanged a brief fire with enemy support infantry, then make off behind the forest.
Raesharn armour, advancing to exploit their success, outrun their infantry and are about to come under a AT Rifle and gun crossfire. Meanwhile, remanants of Kiivar's Nr2 Platoon scatter into the woods.
Airstrike! The earlier strike was an abject failure, but now Raesharn aircraft find a new target - the Kiivar artillery...

They fly off, with the Kiivar artillery reduced by half.
Engaged by AT Rifles (the AT gun not yet ready to fire) Raesharn armour responds in kind, knocking out two gunners, but losing a tank. The survivor enters the dense wood - a rather dangerous place without infantry support. About here, the Raesharn abandon its counterattack, and evacuate the village.

Having agreed to end the battle at this point we did a tot up of losses. Raesharn lost 2 tanks, as assault gun, AT gun and an infantry gun; Kiivar all 3 of its own tanks and its heavy artillery piece. But infantry losses much favoured the Kiivar. It was agreed that it was a Kiivar tactical success.
The battered remains of the Raesharn garrison abandoned Dohremi overnight, and pulled back a few miles into a new position. The village was occupied rather apprehensively by 47th Battalion, with little in the way of heavy equipment to support thenm in the event of a counterattack.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


'What do you mean, Marshal, by this comment "Here be dragons"?'
For some reason, I seem unable to post comments on several blogspots, including this one. There are a few upon which I can. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

I thought I'd reply to the comments in my last post, and enlarge upon one particular point.

Thanks to Doug for the information. Clearly I my memory, suppositions or assumptions were mistaken. Can't think why. At any rate, those Warrior figures are nice little miniatures - 'cute' is the word that comes to mind - and they make a fine Advance Guard for my Austrian army.

For the others, 'Rodger' (Rodger Wood) and 'Jacko' (Paul Jackson) were the other two players in a three player Napoleonic campaign way back in 1991-92. This was a limited affair, using small forces (what we had available) in a Northern France theatre bounded by St Dizier in the east, Valenciennes in the north, and Paris in the southwest. The premise was that Napoleon had been rescued from St Helena late in 1815, and landed on the shores of France on 1st January 1816. Military operations opened a month later.

At the time, Rodger's French army comprised 348 figures, which he organised into 3 Army Corps, plus cavalry and some Guard units. Paul could field 280, mostly British, but with a small Russian contingent of 2 Line infantry, one jager and an Uhlan unit. Under the nom-de-guerre Archduke Charles, I fielded a very modest Corps of 190figures, the Austrians eked out by 2 18-figure Brunswick battalions. Actually, I could have fielded two Grenadier battalions, but figured that to be too over-representative.

My Austrian army has grown considerably since then:
400 Infantry in 18 units (4 Grenadier, 12 Fusilier and 2 Jager);
72 Cavalry in 6 regiments (1 Cuirassiers, 2 Dragoon, 1 Chevau-legers, 1 Uhlan, 1 Hussar);
32 Gunners (2x12, 4x6pr, 2x3pr pieces - the 3pr were taken from the Revell 7YW Austrian artilley set; and the 12 pr scratchbuilt).

504 figures in total, not counting generals, staffs and aides.

I'm also in the process of creating a small independent Corps of Brunswickers, beginning with the 2 small 18-figure battalions, a half-battalion of Jager (10 figures), a squadron each of Uhlans (4) and Hussars (4) and a field piece (4 crew).
One of those little 60-figure detachments sent out to guard some bridge or road against a possible flanking movement.

Back to the campaign: after a series of skirmishes and battles, the Allies drove the French gradually to the gates of Paris, where, on 1 March 1816 the two contingents combined to bring Napoleon to bay near the villages of Doumartin and Louvres. Unfortunately, their ill-cordinated attacks (The Archduke, not realising that the bulk of Wellington's troops had still to come up, launched his attack before his Allies were ready) failed to drive the French altogether out of their positions. Though they came desperately close, at the end of the day, both sides remained pretty much where they began it.

Casualties were very heavy, however. I had enacted a rule at the outset that any contingent that had been reduced (after post-battle adjustments and returns) to less than half their original strength, they were out of the campaign and had to retreat to their respective bases. A count confirmed that the Austrians were indeed no longer capable of continuing the campaign, but as it transpired nor were Wellington or Napoleon! Clearly, the Allies had failed to depose Napoleon for the third time, but the latter had equally failed to drive the invaders completely out of France.

An indecisive result, but an eminently satisfying one, from my point of view...

Monday, September 5, 2011

Napoleonic Austrians...

In a recent exchange on the Old School Wargamers' Yahoo group, under the thread title 'Appearance', I mentioned a bunch of Napoleonic figures I bought at a bring-n-buy four or five years ago. Several of them had the legend HOTSPUR stamped on the underside of the bases; there were other figures in the buy that were obviously crude homecasts that I managed to make something of.

One of the correspondents queried the HOTSPUR connexion, that outfit never (apparently) having produced Austrians - indeed its Napoleonics range I understand was never all that extensive. I did have some HOTSPUR French horse (Chasseurs and Dragoons) that I bought in about 1991 from an Auckland importer who sold Front Rank (I think it was), as well. I preferred the HOTSPUR cavalry as being close to the size of the Minifigs that I already had; the Front Rank figures being overweight ex-basketballers mounted on Clydesdales by comparison.

At any rate, I thought I'd show the figures here, with others in my Austrian Army.

To begin with: the alleged HOTSPUR figures:
13th Infantry Regiment. These are some of the HOTSPUR figures. Although I favoured helmets, I wasn't going to turn these down. I did consider doing them as Grenze - a serious want in my army - but didn't have the heart in the end.

43rd Infantry in helmets. As in the 13th, there were insufficient figures for the full 24-figure unit, this one comprising just 18.
The 10th Grenadier Battalion, comprising companies from 13th and 43rd Infantry Regiments

The following picture is of somebody's homecast figures - Bavarians he told me - that seemed possibly to be Hinton Hunt knock-offs. They did have some sort of 'HH' identifier stamped or etched onto the bases. They were truly horrible castings, but a fair bit of knife work got them to at least a half-way presentable state.
23rd and 12th Infantry Regiments march past. Bavarians they might have been intended to be, but they don't look too out of place in Austrian uniform.

HOTSPUR again: the 10th Grenadiers and 13th and 43rd Infantry storming a village. The general officer figure, by the way, is an Italeri command figure.
The following figures were also bought as a job lot. The light infantry are Minifigs 'Tyrolean Jager' painted up in the dark grey and red of a Freikorps Jager unit; the command group also Minifigs. But the Grenadiers and Line Infantry I can not identify. The Grenadiers might be Hinchliffe (or might not); but the others leave me at a loss.
Infantry Regiments 2 and 33 advance alongside the 2nd Grenadier Battalion...
Hungarian Grenadiers
Closer view of the Hungarian line. As they were wearing shakos, and one unit was painted up as Hungarians ibn any case, I thought I'd do the whole brigade as Hungarian. Looks as though some will need reissuing their regulation light blue pants!

Finally: some Minifigs. Tyrolean Jager, in their characteristic light grey with green facings, leading an attack upon a defended village.
Minifigs infantry (1st Grenadier Bn and 7th Infantry) and artillery attacking in columns headed by skirmishing Jager.

One thing this exercise has shown: this army could stand a bit of tidying up!