SAS Wargames Club

SAS Wargames Club
Welcome to our home on the Web! Well it's brighter and hopefully better than ever before - well it all works - which is better than before. Don't worry despite this new glossy professional feel we're still the same bunch of reprobates looking to play toy soldiers!

Monday, 26 January 2015

Battle of Benevento - 26 February 1266

This two week game is the first of a number of Sicilian Vespers related games that are planned to be put on by John. The games will utilise John's extensive 15mm crusades collection but put the figures in a European setting, i.e. Sicily, to make a change form the run of the mill crusaders middle age games.

The Battle of Benevento was fought  in present-da Southern Italy, between the troops of Charles of Anjou and Manfred of Sicily. Manfred's defeat and death resulted in the capture of the Kingdom of Sicily by Charles, effectively ending Hohenstaufen rule in Italy.

The Papacy had long been in conflict with the German Imperial house of Hohenstaufen over their rule in Italy. At the time of the battle, the Hohenstaufen ruler in the Kingdom of Sicily (which included Sicily and southern Italy) was Manfred, illegitimate son of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. While the rightful heir to the kingdom was Frederick's legitimate grandson Conradin, he was young and safely across the Alps in Bavaria. Taking advantage of a false rumor of Conradin's death, Manfred had usurped the throne in 1258. Pope Urban IV determined to wrench the Kingdom from him, and in 1263, concluded a secret treaty with Charles of Anjou, giving him the Sicilian throne.

The Ghibelline Forces
The Guelph Forces
The Game
Utilising the club's own Ancients to Middle Ages rule set, the game saw two substancial armied pitted against each other across the tabletop. The Angevin French (Guelph) armies were commanded by Steve, Mike N &

Rupert whilst Mike W & Phil took command of Manfred's Scilian, German & Italian (Ghibelline) forces.

At the outset of the game the Guelph forces had 3 battles on the field, deployed in line across the table. The Ghibelline forces only had two battles on the table and these were deployed one behind the other, Cavalry out front and Infantry behind. Much of the Ghibelline forces were Saracin allies and German mercenaries with a core of Italian knights.

From the outset the Ghibellines, pushed their light cavalry archers out to harass the closing Geulph knights, initially they came off worse, with one unit getting caught and nearly destroyed whilst another fled at the sight of such danger. Luckily these rallied and they were able to slow down the relentless advance.

As the Guelph forces advanced the third Ghibelline battle was able to advance onto the tabletop, formed of Italian & German knights, these joined up with the existing knights on the table and then surged forward to attack the enemy lines.

At the end of the first week it was nip & tuck, the Ghibelline light cavalry is no more but two units of Guelph Sergeants have been broken and the knights continue to fight in the center.

Horse Archers melee with European Sergeants - and loose!

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Battle of Dvinsk - The Counter Attack

Length wise view of the table, showing the three roads
that could form the axis of any Russian Counter Attack.
This is a follow on game from Mike N's Russian Campaign,with week One played out last December, when a surprise German Air Assault,lead by paratroopers stormed the city and captured it in very quick time!

Although the local Red Army elements remained almost intact, the sudden capture of the city meant that most of their Divisional & Corps command and control was taken out...

... as a result the Russan counter attack is piecemeal, with 2 x Infantry Brigades and an Armoured Brigade all making separate attacks against the now German defended city.

A clear view of the width f the table and the road passing the Petrol &
Ammunition Dumps recently capture by the Paratroopers.
In the first week of the counter attacks we see three Russian infantry brigades commanded by Comrade Rupert throw themselves at the German defenses. Now at this stage it should be said that the German High Command was probably lax in their preparations and many of them underestimated the resolve of their foe.

Added to the four battalions of Paratroopers that took the city was a 5th battalion of Air Transport Infantry, who arrived by glider, They were known as the 'Afrika' Battalion due to their originally being modeled as paratroopers for use in North Africa!

Left foreground, the Fuel Dump building
Anyway I digress, Mike W, the commander of the said African Battalion immediately made it known to his superiors that in his opinion the Red Army would take the shortest route into the city, that is from the long table edge, fighting across the width of the table, rather than driving down the length of the table as thought by the incumbent German Command.

Amongst many 'Guffaws', name calling and comments about him only being a 'johnny come lately' colonial commander the defense of the city was planned, assuming an assault down the length of the table.
Two Ammo Dumps and a Fuel Dump - blown to pieces...

Bravely, the 'Afrika' Battalion took up the defense of the Ammunition and Petrol dumps, aiming to head off any potential attack, with a company in each of the Ammunition Dump buildings and one in the Petrol Dump Facility.
Anyways to cut a long story short, Comrade Rupert's Russians attacked the city from the direction predicted by the 'Afrika' Battalion commander and ironically it was the 'Afrika' battalion that had to defend the undefendable...

German troops occupying the city,awaiting the attack.
Figures loaned to John by Pete from bb Wargames
.. with crates of ammunition and drums of petrol staked around them they made short shift of the first Russian infantry battalion wave that flooded against their positions.

Quiet before the storm
However, as the next two Russian battalions moved ever closer under the cover of smoke, the Russian pre-planned rolling barrage erupted over the 'Afrika' battalion positions - First turn it arrived, the entire 2nd company of the 'Afrika' battalion was eliminated along with the building they were occupying (Ammo Dump nearest the Petrol Dump). This left the 1st 'Afrika' company isolated in the furthest and most exposed most Ammo Dump building - unable to retire due to exploding ordinance and unable to exit due to being nearly surrounded by enemy troops, they resolved to fight on. Only a single attached engineer was able to slip away and head back towards the Fuel dump via sheltering craters.

The inevitable happened! and during the next round of the rolling barrage, a number of shells dropped short and blew up the remaining Ammo Dump and all of the Africans isolated company therein.

The remaining 3rd company of the 'Afrika' battalion, in the Fuel Dump, learnt the lesson and exited the facility just in time to avoid being hit by the third round of the rolling barrage and they were able to move out of the predicted line of fire, digging in to inflict revenge on the Red Hordes in coming tame turns.

1st Russian Infantry Brigade, in cover behind hill.
So there ended Week One of the Dvinsk Counter Attack game.

Week two began with the Germans consolidating their positions around the destroyed Ammo & Fuel Dump, utilising the remnants of the 'Afrika' Battalion and elements form various HQ units - primarily 20mm AA Cannons, AT guns and Air Mobile Howitzer units.

2nd Russian Infantry Brigade advance
on to table behind a smoke screen
2nd Russian Infantry Brigade arrive on table
Talk on the German side was as to where the expected 2nd Russian Infantry Brigade would enter the table, as anticipated again by the commander of the 'Afrika' Battalion, it was in support of their 1st Brigade!

This second Infantry Brigade was commander by the wiley Comrade Phil Hardy, renowned for his attacks along the edges of the table, and again he would not disappoint tonight....

Russian bombardment of church and city
After a half-hearted final assault by Rupert's 1st Brigade, which resulted in the loss of another company, the 1st Infantry Brigade spent the rest of the game in cover behind a hill - which was in fact it's objective for the game.

Comrade Phil's approach was much more methodical, utilising his truck mobile troops to make a faster entry on the table, however, the German commander on that flank anticipated this Russian move and deployed a battery of 20mm AA Cannon supported by captured truck mounted Quad HMGs AA vehicles well forward of the Main German Lines to slow down any Russian advance.

More of same...
These advance guns did their job well, forcing the Russians to deploy on foot a lot quicker than they had originally hoped, shooting-up and destroying two companies of infantry plus a number of other assets. The remaining troops then quickly dropped prone, to reduce chances of being hit but in doing so stopped in their tracks - preventing the Russians form gaining a foothold in the albeit wrecked city.

Captured Quad HMG truck at top of picture attacks flank of 2nd Brigade
Amongst the clouds of smoke laid down by the advancing Russians another artillery barrage rolled in - which lasted the rest of the game, dumping terror and damage on the unfortunate Germans in the impact zone.

Ad Hoc defense line of 20mm AA Cannon,
AT guns and 75mm Infantry Support Gun
face off the 2nd Russian brigade
Luckily, although the barrage was longer, it caused less damage than the first week, to troops - although the city was again pretty much flattened. The Germans having at least figured out that moving out of the way of the expected barrage was a good way not to get hit!

In the chaos the Russian lead infantry battalion failed a morale test and broke, this severely impacted the confidence of the Russian commanders to be able to take a foot hold in the city - as more German reinforcements poured out of the central areas into the contested flank. That and despite the advance of the Russian Armoured Brigade along the length of the table, (in three separate columns), the Russians decided to pull back and allow them the option of a renewed, better co-ordinated attack on another day.

So ended the game,both side somewhat battered and bruised, though on balance the Germans probably in reasonable shape.

Arrival of the Russian Armoured Brigade's 1st battalion
contested by German AT guns and hidden landmines.
German reinforcements flank the bombardment to bolster the front lines
For those interested the game was run using Rapid Fire rules and using figures from the collections of John Sears (Germans) and Mike Newman (Russians), with additional figures supplied by Pete from BB Wargames in Norfolk and the 'Afrika' Battalion from Andy Flatman's collection.
Additional Armoured Brigade assets arrive on the table

Finally a Russian Heavy Tank Battalion rolls on to the table top.