Saturday, February 27, 2010

RM6.1 Conclusion

The game began with Palle deciding his marching order, then I read out loud the following paragraph;

Having split into two groups, Sir John’s armoured column moves up the Kunduz Valley at speed. Around two pm on the second day. Smoke is sighted on the horizon and not longer after this; the British pass the first groups of wounded Afghan troops sitting at the side of the road.
“Not long now” Sir John shouts from the forward passenger seat of his staff car as the column moves through a shallow valley. He turns to talk to Cartwright who is sitting behind him when suddenly there is a loud explosion from the head of the column.
“What the devil?” Sir John exclaims as the British force grinds to a halt. He steps from his car to see a dust cloud rising in the air from the head of the column. Denton in the turret of his Mark VIc, turns to shout back, but his voice is obscured by the noise of the tank engines.
“What?” Sir John strides up along the road, as the dust settles he can see none of his vehicles have been hit, but a small bridge has been blown up. Suddenly he realises what Denton is shouting, the column has been bottled! To the left is a rocky slope, almost impassable for tanks. To the right a gully runs parallel with the road. He glances about; looking for an enemy, and there is movement in the rocks to the left. He turns and is about to order his men to take positions against ambush when several artillery rounds land on the column and the signals truck is instantly destroyed. As gun fire begins to erupt around him, the tanks begin to turn to engage the hidden enemy.


A. Rasmus's recon unit (played by Jan in Rasmus's absence); two Rolls-Royce Fordson armour cars backed up by a Vickers VIc Light Tank.
B. Palle's units;, beginning with a single Vickers Mk VI Light Tank.
C. Three Crossley Light Tracks, each containing one British Army Infantry Section
D. Lt Col Sir John Napier, standing at the side of the road looking towards the demolished bridge.
E. Two Vickers Mk II Medium Tanks.
F. Sir John Napier's Staff Car, and behind that, Mad Dog Mitchell's Morris Truck, in which Rocketman was sitting.
G. Two supply trucks containing ammunition, fuel and food.
H. The Heavy Recovery Vehicle.
I. Jan's units; Two Vickers Mk II Medium Tanks.
J. The wreckage of the Signals Vehicle.
K. A Vickers Mk VI Light Tank followed by a Company of Sikh Infantry (marching)
M. The location of the hidden Bolshevik Field Guns
With the destruction of the Signals Vehicle (J), the British column came under withering fire from the hill side. The Bolsheviks had gone to great pains concealing themselves and as the British Infantry deployed from their trucks (C) those vehicles were quickly downed by concentrated rifle fire. Several British soldiers were killed outright. Sir John (Palle) then ordered his remaining vulnerable supply vehicles to come up and position themselves behind the destroyed trucks and tanks, in order to give them some cover.

When Mitchell's truck was downed (with George copping it) he jumped out and took cover. Rocketman who had been sitting in the back, immediately blasted into the sky and moved off the table. His idea was to come around in a long arc and drop down onto the enemy from behind...

Round One and the stationary soft vehicles get blasted.
Toilet paper equals smoke as I'd forgotten to buy cotton wool.

Despite months of time to prepare, some of the figures and models were still unfinished alas

The Sikh's, who were deployed on foot at the rear of the column were luckier and quickly made for cover (see image above). As rifle and LMG fire came from the bushes and slit trenches on the hillside, they organised a skirmish line and began a charge up the hill, no sooner had the first group reached the first heavy cover than a line of Bolsheviks opened fire on them but failed to kill a single Sikh. After that it was all bayonet work along that line.

Whilst this was going on, the Recon Unit at the head of the column was moving into a better position with Denton in the Mk VIc moving half way up the slope in a bid to survey the area. The Rolls-Royce Fordson's moved up behind the light tank in order to provide cover. During this time, the Bolsheviks found they were hampered by their lack of heavy gunfire against the tanks and Armoured Cars whilst the British were hampered by the fact that they couldn't see most of the Bolshevik's at all. This became blindingly obvious when the two Bolshevik field guns on the table opened fire and destroyed Denton's Mk VIc and yet none of the British were able to accurately pin-point the location of the Field Guns, so well were they camouflaged. With hindsight, I think perhaps the smoke from cannon fire would have given their position away, but never mind. A lot of this game was experimental, as Oleg has revamped the Bayonet rules to speed up the games, creating Bayonet+ and Bayonet++ and we've not had the time to test run them. We were using Bayonet++ which runs at roughly ten times the speed of the original Bayonet rules, (which we used in RM5). Essentially this game became something of a test bed for the big battle of Chapter Two, and I found the results were very encouraging.

The Sikh's charge up hill with bayonets attached

The British main force pinned down and burning

Vickers Mk VIc 'brewing up'

Sir John's infantry paid a hefty price for being at the centre of the battle, but his tanks repaid the damage. Once they'd got a vague idea of where the Bolshevik Field Guns were, they opened up on them, supported by Lt Leftbridge-Smythe. Both guns were quickly destroyed, but not before the Black Guards had brought in a carefully coordinated artillery strike with three rounds targeting a group of Sikh's and the fourth hitting the supply trucks. In both instances area effect did a lot of damage. The Sikh's had been following a Vickers Mk VI up the hill and the tank survived the artillery strike, but the shrapnel dropped three Sikh riflemen and took out the supply trucks.

Mad Dog Mitchell had been taking cover practically the whole game. This was a consequence of my playing two groups and I kept forgetting about him. Once the arty strike had taken out the supply trucks, Mitchell suddenly charged across the open ground in a bid to find and destroy an enemy. Instead, he got taken out by Goeg's Uzbeck Bolshevik's who had spent most of the game in concealed positions some where across the gully. With multiple machine guns they were able to enfilade the entire British line and Mitchell provided an excellent example of just how deadly machine gun fire has become in Bayonet++. He didn't stand a chance.

...Rocketman had been hampered by bad movement die so by the time he reached the Bolshevik rear, he found both field guns already destroyed. Spotting a lone LMG gunner, he dropped on him instead and engaged him in hand to hand. The LMG gunner was not a problem for the dashing hero, but the five Bolshevik Black Guards (including their commander Major Kapustin) who had been cowering in a trench beneath a nearby bush were. Rocketman was rushed and beaten to the ground faster than you can shout "Look Out!" and consequently this was the first Rocketman adventure I can remember where all Rocketman and his supporting cast of friends were downed. Thus ended the game as time had run out.

On the whole it was a good game I thought, a little slow still, but this was partly due to the fact that the rules were slightly different and more players and elements are bound to impact on the speed of the game.



Tervlon said...

Very cool wrap-up of the game. Rocketman had his game cut-out for him. Dirty commies!

How did the points pan out in the end? Did the good guys end up pulling it out?

moif said...

Because Rocketman was downed, the game became a technical win for the Bolsheviks, up until that point I think the Brits were winning.

Rocketman was only defeated by one lousy point. If I hadn't rolled a one at the critical moment (yet again) then he would have survived the encounter.

Oleg said...

Well, speaking as the dirtie commie commander...

That was a fun game.

We had set up a classic ambush with end (-ish) vehicles taken out to stop the column (this was given; the scenario started afterwards).
A light force up the hill.
Infilading fire from field guns / HMGs at respective ends of the table.

Everyone started concealed.
On the other hand we had a far inferior force with no armoured vehicles.

Although we damaged a lot of soft vehicles and killed some ordinary infantry, we didn't do much damage to anything else.
Slowly our forces were located, and, frankly, annihilated by coordinated fire from the various armoured vehicles.
Also, the Sikhs did as Sikhs did, and gradually fought their way up the hill.

We were going to be overwhelmed.

Rocketman was just unlucky.
I had not set an ambush, but I did have my commander with his own little unit.

The Bayonet ++ rules allow everything to move 5 x as far.
To compensate, fully automatic weapons get more combat factors, with other weapons that can fire in rapid succession (revolvers, bolt action rifles, etc.) get a lesser boost.
It worked.
On the other hand, we have to get away from the grid system (much as I like it) and put all figures on the table with markers to show if they are concealed.

moif said...

Agreed. The grid system works well for smaller games and traps but in mass combat, it just slows everything down.