Wednesday 23 December 2009

Monday 14 December 2009

Narvik (7): Contact German Destroyer Group 1

German Destroyer Group (1):
The Visibility at the murky pre-dawn is under 10,000 yds (5nm)
The German lookouts are watching a mysterious destroyer shape in the distance

Both the other German destroyer groups are at least 6nm away currently yawing long at 6knts helping Von (J) take stock of the wider situation and are waiting for a situation update while conserving fuel stocks

Back of the fag packet calculations: 6 knots = 10 turns to arrive by stealth, 12knots = 5 at a good cruising speed, 24-30 knots hell for leather as destroyers do, 2-3 turns.

"Nein Zerstroyer"
"Ein Cruiser!"

Even as those words are uttered the cruiser mechanically trains her broadside towards the German destroyer group and seems to be intent on closing the range for some business. It is now obvious broadside on, as an Arethusa class light cruiser of the Royal Navy, mounting 6 x 6", lightly armoured but with a speed to match that of the German destroyers.

Odds: Cruiser would still have a evens [50% = good in my book] chance of  hitting the German destroyers. Cruisers being far better gun platforms than destroyers and can deal out a more punishing rate of fire, whereas in return the German ships have only at best 30% of hitting the Cruiser. There are more Germans, but their guns would need to be firing under 22" to be guaranteed of penetrating (hull hits for example being halved).

Tactical situation tabletop: Cruiser is 40" away turning broadside to the Germans who are currently facing it line abreast.

Von (J) orders:
Increase speed from 3" to 8"
Evasive action (3/4 of normal movement [6"] but you will wiggle to put the enemy gunners off -10% and -10% to German shooting)
Simultaneous division turn to face broadsides to enemy
The range to the enemy closing slightly as both sides advance
Signal to other destroyer groups to make haste in support of Destroyer Group 1

Other tactics under consideration:
Make Smoke

A ripple of flame belches across the breadth of the cruiser
The destroyers begin returning the fire
Next ... Under fire

Friday 11 December 2009

Narvik (6): German Perimeter Search

Von (J) disposed of the active German Destroyers as follows:

Search Patrol (1):
Dispatched immediate:
One Destroyer
Out to a range of six nautical miles
North West sweeping in an arc down south

Search Patrol (2):
Dispatched one hour later that (1)
Three destroyers
Out to a range of six nautical miles
South sweeping in an arc upwards

Reinforcement Group
Dispatched two hours later than (1)
Two destroyers
Station keeping two miles outside of Narvik
Von (J) with this group

If uneventful both patrols should meet approximately WSW of Narvik six nautical miles out.
As night breaks into twilight ... Contact [South 6nm, unidentified ship - probable destroyer] reported from Patrol Group (2)

In addition there were three destroyers still in the process of refuelling in Narvik.
The Von Roeder was moored in the outer Fjord as a floating gun platform, though still capable of raising steam and minor movement, she is as such not sea worthy.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Sybil has the last laugh at the expense of Phyrus

After the hard won victory at the gates of Rome Phyrus now contested the very streets of the Roman capitol pouring his crack troops into crucible of battle. Although technically not proficient in this urban style of warfare, then who is, the hot blooded impetus of victory impelled even the Phalanx to be stripped to give bulk. Valuable specialists fell fighting Roman citizen militia but so be it when the stakes are so high.

Moving from the tabletop to campaign game, in what was to become the Stalingrad of an earlier age, the dice of siege were rolled and ferocious casualties inflicted to both sides, turn after turn. Rome's city status and once mighty Legions took a literal hammering but in the process the army of Phyrus became transfixed and impaled on its prize.

The citizens of Rome were reduced to eating their pets and squabbling over gnawed bones, the Legion became a militia but Rome was still intact. All that remained was one remaining low-odds Greek attack. Sybil laughed insanely as a 6-2 result spun in Rome's favour meant the beast was not slain, badly wounded yes, but now evermore dangerous because of it.

Phyrus took one look over his shoulder at that haunted city as he retired south with his uncommitted horse and elephants his destiny broken in her shadow. He had now become a victim rather than maker of history after all.

Rome has its active go turn next and in the words of one of her players, "Quake Greek, we will be back with just Blades next time!" The clock ticks forwards another twenty five years in campaign time. Regrets? Apart from being the would-be Alexander styled general who lost the Greek flank in the first battle and then urging the commitment of more and more resources to the insane street battles of Rome what did I get wrong? Besides how many chances will you get at taking Rome? That might have been my one and only one ;) 

Saturday 5 December 2009

Phyrus at the Gates of Rome - End Game (4)

To whatever gods the Greek and Roman generals prayed, they were beseeched with merciful cries to smash their opponents and bring favour to their devout followers. Could the Greeks punch a whole through the now thin Legion? It was a tall ask:

All along the line the Greeks had the cut of the cloth. The Roman troops that had outflanked the Phalanx themselves too were vulnerable and cut down. The remaining three intact Phalanx blocks caused extra Legion casualties, the Elephants were merciless to blade and light alike, only the splendid Greek Knights made no killing impression, but not being killed was good enough. 

With the Superior Triari and goodly portion of Blades gone there was nothing left but chaff.

Roman morale broke, (what remained of) the Legion turned and fled, the Samnites snook away,  Phyrus had his day, but could this tactical success be followed up inside the streets of the city? Only further campaign rolls would tell, but at least Phyrus was in a position to make them. Looking around the battlefield it had been bloody for both sides.

Friday 4 December 2009

Phyrus at the Gates of Rome - The Main Event (3)

The Lights as a screening force had always faced a tough one-sided job and were meant  to taunt rather than tangle full-on with the Legion:

After a round of fighting they retreated/retired, either forcibly by combat outcome or under PIP orders, to end up laying behind the main Greek battle line inadvertently  protecting the baggage (which as "fast" was allowed to follow behind the Greek box formation) and rear of the army (somewhat nullifying the threat posed by the Samnite sweeping arc).

In the middle the armies set to with a great shove of pike:

The Elephants roaring:

With the Knights causing pressure:

And the Legion starts to take casualties:

But just when the hour is darkest for the Romans, there is a glimmer of light as disaster befalls the Greek left flank, the "would be" Alexander goes down to the Roman cavalry generals sword on a straight 6 to 1. Sub-command demoralisation and carnage follows:

The Greek Knights are now diverted from their Legion bashing to fight for their lives. Simultaneously over on the other flank (off camera) a portion of the mighty Phalanx is destroyed as Roman Spear and Auxillia flank it. It all hangs in the balance.

Next: End Game

Thursday 3 December 2009

Phyrus at the Gates of Rome - Clash of Arms (2)

Both armies eyed each other murderously. The Romans visibly nervous at the concentration of Blade and Spear killing units aimed at the heart of their army. Here a few well placed dice throws could devastate and determine the game.

The Phalanx advanced and the Legions made minor adjustments with a shuffle forward gaining the best supporting arms combinations. The Greeks pondered, were there crazy flaming pigs or lurking anti-elephant war wagons to be declared as some part of a cunning ruse? If so, in theory, the light forces in the van of the Greek box were ready to deal with them. Meanwhile the Samnites on the extreme Roman right and (green caped - any significance?) Roman cavalry hurled themselves at the Greek left flank.

So started the battle royal:

The cavalry went toe-to-toe, the Greeks holding their auxillia as a reserve, while the Samnites tried to march move theirs the long way round with the aim of bringing devastation to the Greek rear. Would the tactic work? On the far left of the Greek line the Greek sub-commander is seen in the front line trying to emulate Alexander.

This turned out to be short-tern gain for a longer term pain, as command points were doubled and he followed up his own local successes (automatically advancing) on his Roman General opponent impetuously imperilling his flank over time.

Meanwhile in the middle, facing the dreaded legion and its Blades, the Greek light units engaged. To the relief of the Phyrus finding no mysterious foe (pigs or wagons) merely line upon line of deadly Blade and Spear. Eeek!

The right of the Legion also engaged with a screen of light horse protecting the valuable Elephants and Knights:

The Roman extreme left was poised ready to swing in on the right flank of the Greek box, with only a column of lights and auxillia (just out of shot) between them and a juicy Phalanx flank:

Next: The main event ...