Friday, 28 March 2014

Bolt Action: US Parachute Rifle Platoon 1942-44.

As a lead on from my last post, here is the organisation of a US Airborne Parachute Rifle Platoon as would be found operating in Tunisia.

Copyright Osprey Publishing. Used without permission.

Although they're not listed in the official T/O&E, in December 1942 a special order was issued supplying four bazooka's to each Parachute Rife Company. These were normally distributed one per rifle platoon, with the fourth going to the Company HQ. No dedicated operators were ever added to the rifle platoon T/O&E for the Bazooka. Much like the two platoon HQ LMG's, it was assigned to members of the platoon HQ  or one of the squads as needed.

Note the complete absence of BAR's from this T/O&E. Something I'll have to remember when it comes to ordering miniatures for my platoon. Instead, I'll model two man .30 cal teams as my squad LMG's (in bolt action, squad LMG's have just two crew). The three man LMG teams from the Platoon HQ and Mortar Squad will count as MMG's.

Bolt Action Parachute Infantry Platoon:

In Bolt Action terms, I would use the following force selections to depict my Parachute Rifle Platoon:

Platoon HQ 
1st Lt and 1 additional SMG (Platoon Leader plus Platoon Sgt)
FAO and 1 rifleman with SMG (Asst Platoon Leader plus Radio Operator)
MMG Team (Radio and Code Corporal plus two Messengers)

1st Rifle Squad:
9 Men - 1x Sgt, 1xSMG, 2 man LMG (I'll use a .30 as I would for a MMG but give it just two crew), 5 Riflemen,

2nd Rifle Squad:
As Above

Mortar Squad:
Medium Mortar Team (3 men)
MMG Team (3 men)

Bazooka Team:
2 Men (1 from each Rifle Squad)

Once these building blocks have been purchased, I'll add Pioneer Squads to represent members of the Battalion Demolitions Platoon plus a Medic and (possibly) some vehicles in support.







Bolt Action on my Mind

I've been focussing over much on painting and 40K since last I posted on this blog some six months ago now, but that's about to change. I'm suffering from an acute case of Bolt Action Fever. The plan is to make use of my existing terrain collection as much as possible, so I'll be concentrating my efforts in the North African theatre. Specifically, I'm planning on making use of the Tunisian theatre.

Why? Because Tunisia is a little under-used in wargaming circles. Which is a shame considering that it was a very active and varied theatre for wargaming purposes. Gaming in Tunisia will allow me to field Commonwealth, French, German, Italian and American infantry platoons, not to mention the US Airborne, Fallschirmjaeger, British Airborne, French Foreign Legion,  LRDG and SAS units.

I'm planning on making this my main effort for the next few years, given that I'm bored to hell of 40K and haven't played WWII "straight" (as opposed to "Weird") for at least a decade. I'll keep you posted, but I plan on assembling four platoons this year for a bit of variety. I doubt any of my regular opponents can be induced into collecting their own WWII Platoons, but I have no doubt they'll be willing to take part in a few games if I can provide all the minis'.

I'm looking to assemble:
  • A  late 1942/early 43 DAK "T Battalion" ( a hodgepodge of troops from various replacement pools thrown together as combat formations to counter the allied landings in Operation Torch).
  • A late 1942/early 43 8th Battalion Argyle & Sutherland Highlanders platoon from the 78th Infantry Division.
  • A platoon of US Airborne from the 2nd (and only) Battalion of the 509th Paraachute Infantry Battalion.
  • A platoon of Fallschirmjaeger from the Ramcke Brigade.
I'll be starting off with a box of Perry Miniatures WWII plastics. Either the DAK box or the 8th Army Box. Not sure which yet. Probably the DAK box as the Argyle and Sutherlands landed in Tunisia in the middle of winter -they'd have been wearing normal battle dress rather than the famous 8th army shorts.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

A Crowne of Paper/A Coate of Steele

I can't help but think that I sounded too dismissive or perhaps even critical of Perfect Captain's linked Wars of the Roses rule-sets yesterday. Namely A Crowne of Paper (the campaign rules) and A Coate of Steele (the battle rules). It felt as though I'd done them a great injustice, so, by way of recompense, I thought I should share my true views on these systems:

BEST WARGAMES RULES I'VE EVER SEEN. EVER.


Okay, now that I've said that your probably wondering two things: "if they're so great why isn't he using them?" and "what makes them so great anyway?"

Being the contrary git that I am, I'll answer those questions in reverse order.

What Makes them So Great Anyway?
Simply because they capture the period they are written for so well. Wars of the Roses wargames are often cited as being "just one big scrum" with nearly indentical armies using identical tactics real fighting battles with a nearly random result. While that's often true when using generic rules systems, it's almost never the case where dedicated Wars of the Roses rules are concerned. In such systems, the skills and personalities of the nobles present on the battlefield -and their shifting loyalties- are often key to who wins and who will not.

ACoS takes this one step further. Armies are not chosen based on points values, but on how successful a given noble is at recruiting troops for his "contingent" during the  ACoP campaign turn. The success of these recruiting efforts depends on the reputation and influence of the noble in question, not to mention his current geographical location. A northern noble will have a far harder time recruiting in Kent than he would in Yorkshire, for example. And this isn't just true for the army commander. It's true for every noble present in the army. The forces recruited in the campaign phase using ACoP translate directly into the number of stands available to the army in an ACoS battle.

Thus, the "two identical armies" complaint is negated: the forces arrayed against each other in any given battle rarely represent a "fair" fight.

Secondly, in the ACoP campaign, active nobles can attempt to recruit inactive nobles to their cause. While a noble is more likely to succeed in recruiting a family member or sympathizer to his cause, he might also be able to recruit a noble who leans more towards the other side. This is a two-edged sword however. It denies the other faction a potentially valuable noble, but that same noble might turn traitor mid battle.
A Typical Noble Stat Card (used without permission)
Individual nobles have great influence on the battlefield (for good or ill). Some are audacious, others are lethargic or even treacherous. However, there are strict rules determining which nobles can be placed direct command of whom. It's all very well having an audacious, experienced Baron in your army. But you might yourself forced by the politics of heirarchies to place him under the direct command of an inept Duke or Earl. Thus, a player has to be careful when considering what nobles to allocate to which armies: not just from a recruiting point of view, but also from the point of view of organising an effective chain of command.

The difficulty of command and control in this era is further reflected in the Wards system. Before the battle begins, you assign each of your companies to one of your Wards or "Battles". Each Ward is given a set of orders at the beginning of the game, reflecting what you-the player- would like to achieve. These range from a steady "grim" advance to holding a defensive position. These orders limit what your Ward can do throughout the battle by granting a specific set of "tactics" tokens, each of which can be used only once during the battle (although some last for several turns). Once you're out of tactics tokens for your Ward, it can't do much else for the rest of the battle, representing the exhaustion of the troops and the lack of effective communications between Wards on the battlefield. So even if your Ward completely smashed the enemy Ward opposite it,  there's a good chance you won't have sufficient tokens left to organise an attack into the rear of a second enemy Ward. It's a perfect little mechanism that captures the very flawed"command and control" system of the period perfectly. Again,the talents of individual nobles are an important factor here: good commanders grant extra tokens. Bad ones don't.

Image from the Perfect Captain's website. Used without permission.
Finally, the other mechanism that helps to reduce the "random" element with regards to determining the victor is the excellent "hand-strokes" system. At the start of each turn, a player chooses which "hand-stroke", or order, to issue to each company engaged in hand to hand to hand combat. The hand-strokes chosen by each player are cross referenced to determine the modifiers for each player in that turn of combat. For example, a player might chose to have his company commander leap headlong into the fray to inspire his men. This gives favourable modifiers against just about any handstroke the enemy has chosen, but greatly increases the chance that the noble in question will will be killed. This is a big risk: a dead noble won't be bringing any troops to the next battle.So not only does losing a noble weaken the army in this battle, it weakens the army indeed, the entire faction) for the remainder of the campaign. 

[Edit: It's worth noting that you don't HAVE to fight A Coate of Steele battles as part of an A Crown Paper campaign. You can simply choose a battle or scenario and use the appropriate forces. But the two work so seamlessly together that it almost seems an abominable waste NOT to use the two together.]

If They're so Great Why Isn't He Going to be Using Them?

The simple answer to that question is time. A Crowne of Paper/A Coate of Steele capture the period so wonderfully because of all the various complex mechanisms built into the rules. But these mechanisms really slow the game down. Just assembling the required tokens and organising the various contingents into a viable army before the battle can take as long as the battle itself. In fact, just organising your army is as much as sub-game of the rules as the hand-stroke system itself.

Part of the ACoP Campaign Board. Used without permission.
Given that no-one in my current local gaming circle has a background in historical wargaming (most of them come from a Games Workshop background) I'm extremely dubious that I'd be able to entice any opponents. They're all used to relatively games that are played over an hour or two at most and require very little in the way of pre-game set-up. Hence my decision to adapt the War of the Rings and Lord of the Rings systems instead. Additionally, I'm already adapting these rules to the "Artesia" fantasy setting anyway, so much of the conversion work is already done (Artesia is set in a fantasy world very similar to the Wars of the Roses in technology, theme and flavour).

Frankly, I'd much rather be playing A Crowne of Paper and A Coate of Steele, but that just wouldn't work in my local gaming community.

Friday, 1 November 2013

War of the Rings and Roses?

For the last few weeks, I've been musing about to do about the Wars of the Roses. Bloody Barons from Peter Pig is an excellent system, but uses an awkward 3 miniatures per 30mm square base in 15mm games. A basing system not really compatible with any other game system I now of. On the other hand, Coate of Steel has some interesting mechanics that revolve around the personalities of the various lords and their respective talents. Best of all, it's free to download here. On the other hand, it has an incredibly detailed but time consuming pre-battle and combat resolution system.  Combat resolution involves draw after draw of playing cards and more combat modifiers than I care to think about and the admirably detailed pre-battle sequence takes as long to play-out as the  battle itself.

Battle of Towton
Plus there's the fact that I want to play small skirmishes ranging from a single lord and retinue (or even a single knight and his household) all the way up to massive battles. That would create some real issues with basing for 15mm miniatures. I'd effectively have to collect and paint two separate forces for each faction: one multi-based for large battles and a another, single-based collection for skirmish games.

But then I stumbled across General Headquarters' excellent War of the Rose campaign. I was struck by how it was actually cheaper to use the plastic Perry 28mm boxed sets with the Bloody Barons rules than it was to use 15mm metal miniatures! A 40 figure box from the Perrys would cost just £20 and provides five whole companies of eight single "base" miniatures. I especially liked his movement trays with the round insets so that individual miniatures could be placed in them securely. Say, hadn't those been a GW innovation?  So that miniatures based for the Lord of the Rings skirmish game could be used in the mass combat War of the Rings system?

The excellent company bases used by CWT over at the General Headquarters Blog. Image used without permission.

And it hit me: Why not use the Lord of the Rings and War of the Rings systems to game out the War of the Roses? It shouldn't be hard. They're very adaptable to multiple genres. Fran over at the Angry Lurker uses them for his Warring States samurai. Or rather, he uses the Lord of the Rings skirmish rules. I'm not entirely sure if he uses the War of the Rings rules as well.

The more I think about it, the more reasons I have to use them:
  • The War of the Rings and Lord of the Rings games are fully compatible. Models have the same stats and abilities. 
  • The importance of "heroic orders" and "might points" which are assigned to captains and important characters means that the character traits of the nobles present on the battlefield will have a real impact.
  • The rules are quick and simple to use and easy to teach.
  •  Even the biggest games only last an hour or two.
  • Minimum adaption needed (use the stats for Gondor archers as retinue archers. Use Rohan archers as levy archers, use the typical Gondor captain stats for a typical War of the Roses "nameless captain" etc).
  • A campaign system will be easy enough to create, with losses in large games being applied to the forces in "skirmish" games on a point for point basis.
  • The War of the Ring mechanic of companies (represented) by a base of eight 28mm miniatures organised in formations with a single leader figure represents noblemen surrounded by their "affinity" of retainers extremely well.
  • If I don't like the mechanic after all, the eight figure company  easily converts across to Coate of Steel and Bloody Barons, which feature companies of eight-ten 15mm bases. In this case, one 28mm miniatures would equate to one base of 3 15mm figures.
However, as much as this would allow me to capture the impact of the various personalities on the battlefield and play a wide variety of scenario's, it doesn't quite capture the "treachery" and "random event" aspects of the Wars as captured by Coate of Steel and Bloody Barons. So I'll be looking very closely at the pre-battle phase of Bloody Barons and the random battlefield events from Coate of Steel with an eye towards converting them to my game.

This means I have to think up rules for the following:

  • Mixed formations of billmen and archers to represent "retinue" and "household" quality units.
  • Create rules for treachery
  • Create rules for random events.
Doesn't sound hard at all.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

15mm Modern Fictional Wars

Regular readers of this blog will know how much I love the modern age as a wargaming period, but at the same time I am extremely uncomfortable in gaming real world conflicts more recent than than (say Vietnam). I've discussed the reasons why in previous posts, so I wont go into them again. But what I'd really like to do next year is assemble and create terrain and armies to let me play out these conflicts.

So, I'm taking a stab at creating a fictional nation (as yet un-named) off the coast of North-East Africa. This means I'll be squarely in the middle of two of the worlds trouble-spots (North East Africa and the Middle East) for wargaming purposes. The idea is to create a nation about the size of Qatar, but to make it an Island nation off the coast of  Somalia, just north of the Seychelles.

Scenario Ideas:
The idea is that although this will be a small nation (with about 11,000 professional soldiers) it's a very professional and well equipped force in a very troubled region. So it's soldiers get around a bit on peace-keeping duties and protecting the national interests. That should give me plenty of room to for creating scenarios such as:

  • Raids on pirate bases
  • Peacekeeping and peace-enforcement
  • Inteverention in local fictional conflicts (such as a religious or socialist coup in the nearby Seychelles or on the mainland).
  • Repelling an invasion by a foreign power. Perhaps even those dastardly Franonians?
  • Zombie plague outbreaks
Terrain:


This nation will be a former British Colony (independence circa 1971, like many of the former British colonies in Africa) with British style laws, policing and traffic codes but with Middle-Eastern/African/Medeteranean style terrain and buildings. Inspired by cities such as Tel-Aviv and Muskat (at one end of the scale) and Mogadishu on the other, that will mean the following sort of buildings will turn up:

  • Generic Middle Eastern/North African villa's, sginel room dwellings and compounds
  • Italian/Spanish style tenements
  • Les Verrieres style buildings.
  • Shanty Towns
  • Modern Office buildings and shops.
  • Roads, Pavements and 70's style blocks of flats from Scalescenes.co.uk in HO scale. (OO printed at 87%)
Miniatures:
The military of this fictional nation will be relatively well equipped given it's size, with a good portion of it's military recruited from abroad (particularly from Britain, Pakistan and India). However, it's gear will be a mix of legacy equipment inherited from the British Garrison, second hand equipment purchased cheap during the initial formation of the military and newer, better quality equipment as the military attempts to modernise. Although the country will maintain close ties to the UK, it will purchase most of it's equipment from regional powers (such as Israel and South Africa) and the USA.
  • Peter Pig IDF soldiers to represent the regulars (painted with ACU style uniforms)
  • Flames of War M113's to represent the battle taxis of most units.
  • Stryker's (from QRF) and Hummers (from Peter Pig) to represent the AFV's supplied to newer suits
  • Peter Pig militia  and Technicals ( to represent african insurgents, pirates and the like)
  • Khurasan armed British Police ( to represent the local police)
  • Civilians from Peter Pig, Rebel Miniatures and Ground Zero Games
  • Zombies from Khurasan and Rebel Miniatures.
And that will be my major project for 2014.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Warmachine: Butcher Battle Reports

I've got a tournament coming up later this week, so Luke came over for some practice games at the weekend. It's a "beginner friendly" Steamroller tournament. 35 points, two lists. 12 minute turns. Thanks to a trade with Lord Siwoc, I now have a decent amount of Khador miniatures. I'm still painting some of them, but, combined with the Khador miniatures in Luke's collection, I'll be able to put together two lists. Neither list will be entirely brilliant. One of them is almost every miniature that Lord Siwoc sent me with a few tweaks. The only is very, very thrown together. The Lord Siwoc list features eButcher, and would have been brutal in mki but, in Steamroller 2013 tournament rules, suffers badly from limited mobility.

PButcher and Co
Still, it's going to be my main list for the time being, so I decided to get some practice games in with it, using prime Butcher rather than the epic version. Because it's "beginner friendly" I'm hoping that that tournament organizer will let me use the eButcher model as p Butcher. I've asked, but haven't heard back yet.

These games are my tenth and eleventh games of Warmachine mkii. I played my ninth game on Vassal the night before.

Anyway, on to the lists:

eCaine list


My List:
pButcher
-Berserker
-Berserker
-Wardog
Widowmaker
Widowmaker Marksman
Max Uhlans
Max Shocktroopers
Saxon Orrick

Luke's List:
eCaine
-Stormclad
-Squire
Gun Mages and UA
-Defender
Stormblades and 2WA
Ayanna and Holt
Rhupert

Game One: Scenario 8

Game One Deployment

I chose to go first. Luke surprised me by taking the left hand table edge. I thought he'd have benefited more by taking the other table edge for the clearer lines of fire. I suspect that he just really liked the idea of being able to teleport his 'Caster in and out of a forest. 

My turn one consisted of putting Iron Flesh on the Uhlans (two of them are represented by Proxy Bases because Luke forgot to bring his Uhlans to pad out my own) and Fury on the Shocktroopers. Saxon Orrick gave the Uhlans Pathfinder. Everything Ran.

Luke put Blur on the Stormblades and eCaine's shooting buff (Dead Eye? True Shot? Snipe?) on the Gun Mages. His shooting was pretty ineffectual, only ticking off a few boxes from my multi-wound infantry here and there and killing a Widowmaker. Even eCaine didn't manage to do much. Ayanna and Holt were out of range.

In turn two, I dropped Iron Flesh on the Uhlans. My Widowmakers gunned down a number of Stormblades and withdrew bakwards. My Shocktrooper hugged the very edge of my control zone to stay out of charge and shooting range of the Stormblades. Orrick gave the Uhlans pathfinder and they charged the Gun Mages, killing a few (including the UA thanks to reach) but failing to do more than scratch the Defender. My Widowmakers picked off another Stormblade or two.

Uhlan's Charge Home

My Berserker with three focus failed to charge the Stormcad (half inch out) but as he hadn't actually spent any focus I didn't have to worry about him blowing up.

I looked at the board before moving Butcher and, knowing that eCaine would HAVE to go for an assassination run soon before his Gun Mage flank collapsed, decided to entice him into trying it too early, when the chances were poor. I moved Butcher (with just two focus) up so that only the War Dog was between him, the StormBlades and eCaine. 

Madness? Not really. I'd been counting inches and knew that Ayanna would be out of range to Harm and the Holt would be too. Plus I was fairly sure that only two Stormblades would be getting a shot in, and one Stormrifle. I expected the other would be killed the WarDog and that the second would be shooting the Dog to ensure it was dead before eCaine activated. Finally,  I'd worked out that, even with pathfinder from Rhpuert, eCaine would be an inch out with his pistols. I knew he'd just teleport away once he realised that he was out of range, but that would be thin.  I'd pop Butcher's feat. Massacre his over-committed Stormblades with the Widowmakers and Shocktroopers, kill or engage A+H with the Berkerker and remaining Shocktroopers, destroy the objective and control his zone with the Uhlans (I was confident the Defender and Gun Mages wouldn't kill them all) and claim a third control point with Butcher (safely behind a good number of medium bases and camping on six focus). That would force eCaine to go for the assassination again, which he'd fail. After that I'd wrack up one more control point on his zone and on my next turn after that, either kill Caine or score the 5th CP anyway.

I smiled at Luke and dared him to come get me.

Luke activates, drops his upkeeps, and camps everything on eCaine. I try not to smile. His Gun Mages activate and kill one of the Uhlans and Saxon Orrik. Fine. His Defender activates and kills an Uhlan. Fine. 
The Stomrblades move into range of Butcher. Also Fine. The Wardog doesn't kill the first rifleman (a little unexpected, but still fine) and runs back to Butcher. The first Rifleman doesn't kill it (but hit's it) the first Stormblade kills it. The second Rifleman hits Butcher for two boxes (fine, I'd expected at least one hit from the Stormblades) the second Stormblade hits automatically but does no damage. Ayanna advances and casts Harm. Out of range (as expected). Holt advances and shoots. Out of range (as expected). e Caine advances and shoots (fine). Wait.... what.... he' within range. 10" you say? But I counted  inches. He's out of range by a good inch. It should be 13". Even with a 1" margin of error, you should be out. What's that? Speed 7 you say?

S**t. Could have sworn he was speed 6.

What follows is very tense. First shot hits. Second shot hits, third shot... and every time the damage modifier gets better and better. Critically, eCaine actually misses a shot and by the time shot number nine rings out, eCaine is now sitting squarely in melee threat range of a very angry, 4 box Butcher who hasn't yet popped his feat. Knowing he's about to face a 5d6 Pow 16 hit damage roll followed by 6 more 4D6 damage rolls, Luke extends his hand across the table.

Butcher gives eCaine the chop.

Whew. Talk about close.


Game Two:

Game 2 Deployment
We decide to do a straight re-fight of the game, with the exception that Luke wants to switch table edges. Our deployments essentially mirror the first game in almost every respect. The first turn plays out exactly the same. In my turn two, I drop Ironflesh on the Uhlans with the intention of casting Fury prior to their pathfinder charge through the woods. But I make a mistake, Butcher is too far away to cast it without having to move towards them and away from the friendly zone. Deciding that his Stormblades aren't going to be able to threaten my own zone, I chose getting a control point myself (because I'm still first player) over stopping eCaine from getting his and don't cast the spell. But when I come to activate the Uhlans, I'm suddenly second guessing myself. Are those Gun Mages and the Stormclad even in charge range. I make a stupid decision and keep them where they are, in the woods, even knowing that the Gun Mages ignore concealment and that they might as well be out in the open contesting the zone.

It costs me the game. In Luke's second turn, the Gun Mages, eCaine, Ayanna and Holt combine to murder all my Uhlans. That's right, my mobile element -the only really mobile element in my list- is gone. I suggest re-starting as well still have time to fit in another game. Luke thinks I still have a chance. I can't see it, but I'm still feeling kinda bad about winning the last game by a fluke and decide that Luke deserves the satisfaction of taking me down. So I play on and break his Stormblades with shooting and two charging Berskers. See? Says Luke? You can still win this.

I physically can't, because I've nothing that can contest his zones in time (except the Berserkers, but I've still got the Mkii prime scenario rules in my head that say 'Jacks can score). But I grunt and play on regardless.

So his Stormclad charges my right-most Berserker and kills it (plus two Shocktroopers with lucky eleaps). His Stormblades rally but can't do anything. ECaine destroys his objective and teleports back into the zone and at the end of his turn three Luke is sitting on 3CP.
No Chance. End of Lukes turn 3
My turn four, I kill the Stormclad with the second Berserker (actually, it dies when the 'Zerker blows up from focus overload) and kill all but two Stormblades. The dog can't reach his zone to contest. He's on 4CP. He'll get number five just by ending his turn. I extend the hand.

Final Thoughts:

Two very bittersweet games tonight. My Victory in game one wasn't really earned, as I'd miscalculated how far Caine had moved forward and by rights I should have lost. I won the game due to a fluke of bad dice rolling on Luke's part more than anything else. Secondly, I lost the second game when I stupidly didn't upkeep Iron Flesh on the Uhlans in turn 2. I had intended to Fury them instead, decided they wouldn't be in charge range of the Stormclad and then instead of casting Iron Flesh on them again, I moved Butcher to the other side of the table looking to score a control point by dominating my zone. Then I compounded the error by leaving them in the woods (which wouldn't give them cover from the Gun Mages anyway) rather than at least moving them up to contest the zone. Major brain fart. 

I even suggested we re-start the game there and then, explaining to Luke what I thought would happen in the next couple of turns. Instead, he convinced me I still had a chance and then the game played out exactly the way I said it would, with the sole exception that I had one less Shocktrooper left than I'd anticipated. I'm kicking myself because we would have had time to get a third game in that might have actually been of benefit to both of us, rather than simply playing out a lost cause. Of course, if I could have just ditched the mkii prime thinking that Berserkers can't contest the game would have turned out....exactly the same. Buying me an extra turn until the Berkserkers were killed wouldn't have given me enough time to get the Shocktroopers across without running them. And it was a shot from the Shocktroopers that broke the Stormblades. If I'd ran them, that wouldn't have happened and they'd have been tied down for a turn in melee with the 'Blades. Same result.

I've learned a few lessons from this game, and I've tweaked my pButcher list accordingly, removing one of the Berserkes and replacing it with some Men O'War demi corps (I know, I know, my list needs more mobility, not more so slow units, but Luke and I don't have a single small-based Khador infantry unit between us yet. A major gap in my tool-box. It's like not having a screw-driver.

Lessons Learned:

1: It's all very well making your opponent dance to your tune. Just make sure he doesn't know something you don't.
2: eCaine is Speed 7
3: Saxon Orrick can only grant Pathfinder to WARRIOR models.
4: Be more aggressive with those Uhlans.
5: Be more aggressive with Butcher.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Fox Hounds: Distress Call

A Fox-Hounds battle-report written by George, who plays Foa (Vike) in the campaign.

Prior to evacuating CEO Rashiq Iqbal from the Outworlds Alliance, Foa received a personal distress call from an associate on Kinkaid III.

Fox Hound Command Lance deploys to Kinkaid II

After being decontaminated Quintas Allard offered the Fox Hounds a mission that involved work in the Outworlds alliance against the Oberon Pirates, the primary objective being on Kinkaid II. Conveniently (or rather, thanks to Lishka's wheeling's and dealings) the Hounds had beeen offered a contract in the same system as the distress call.

Arriving in the system Foa received yet another short distress call from the same source. He persuaded the the crew of the drop ship to make a quick detour to Kankaid III. 

Due to mountainous terrain and high winds, the Lucky 7 drop ship landed in a clearing some distance from where the distress call originated.

On arrival, the Fox Hounds deployed 4 mechs: Lishka in the Clint, Ranger in the Javelin, Domino in the Panther and Foa in his Valkerie. Boxier rode in the Valkyrie, on a fold-down seat.

Shortly thereafter, a lance of pirate mechs were spotted attacking several buildings. With the Fox Hounds' deployment, they broke off their attack and came after for the Fox HoundsTwo Locusts and a Cicada raced down the mountain track while a Pheonix Hawk rose into the air on its jump jets.

Pirate Mech Lance
Ranger and Lishka immediately took up positions on a low hill while Foa and Dom moved up the centre of the valley towards a grain silo.

Foa's Valkyrie unleashed a swarm of LRMs to greet the Pheonix Hawk. They struck in a concentrated burst, melting the armour from the pirate's left torso.

Pirate Locust-1 ran round attempting to Flank but met with Ranger and Lishka whereupon they dueled it out. The pirate was having none of it and dodging wildly and managing to break through.

Mean-while the 3 other pirates crossed the river. While laying down covering fire they closed in to concentrate fire on Domino's Panther. After trading shots and searing armour, none of the pilots came out on top. The pirate Cicada and Locust-2 broke off, leaving the P-hawk and Dom dueling it atop a grain silo.
Domino and a Pirate Duelling atop the Grain Silo

Having had little luck against the Panther, the Pirate lights concentrate their fire against Lishka, who had been sniping with her Mech's large laser from the near-by woods. As they closed in,  Lishka managed to dodge most of their shots. Unbeknownst to them, Ranger closed in on  from behind unleashing a volly of SRMs, at one of the locusts. Although it dodged many of the missiles, but didn't manage to dodge one of Ranger's physical attacks, which tore off one of it's weapon-pods. 

It was at this point the pirates noticed that Foa had made his way across one of the peaks towards the target buildings (while also laying volley after volley of LRM cover fire). The Cicida broke off its attack to try and head him off before he could get across the valley floor. Ranger pursued in his much slower Javelin.

At this point Domino's Panther and the pirate -hawk engage in physical combat. Domino has the worst of it, nearly losing a leg. She jumps off the silo, leaving a spread of SRM's in her wake. The P-Hawk also breaks off towards the hills and comes under enfiladding fire from two Fox Hounds. While Ranger only clips it, Lishka surgically snipes off its large laser. Locust-1 closes on Lishka but is unable to do any significant damage. In exchange, the Locust take's a large laser to the leg, crippling it.


On the other mountainside the Cicada goes for Foa. The Fox Hound who ignores it and continues to launch LRMs into the P-hawk keeping it back. Locust-2 moves across the valley floor to back up the Cicada, Ranger dogging him all the way.

At this point Dom ignores the almost ineffective fire from the P-hawk. Combined with sniper fire from Lishka and SRM volleys from Ranger, she blows the a leg off Locust -2, forcing it to the ground. 



Foa reaches the target building, still taking harassing fire from the Cicada.

The P-hawk makes a break across the valley floor in a final attempt o take him down. Dom lets loose with a PPC blast from her Panther that melts most of his centre torso armour.

Foa exists his machine letting Boxer take the controls. Shortly thereafter, the objective building opens its Hanger Doors. Foa re-appears, but this time at the controls of a new and unfamiliar mech.

Just as Foa emerges, Ranger unleashes a furious onslaught of SRMs and punches at the Cicida, blowing out it's giros. A follow up flight of LRM's from Boxer blows of the Cicada's left foot. The Cicada falls. It does not rise again.

By now the P-hawk pilot has given the battle up for lost. The medium pirate mech begins to withdraw. In return, Lishka, Boxer and Foa unleash concentrated fire which leaves him damaged so badly that he badly makes it off the field alive.

After the Fox Hounds regroup, Foa quietly explains that his new Mech, a Firefly, is a family heirloom which he and his tech have been restoring for the past 5 years..With the recovery of this Star League era antique and the capture of two pirate Mechs (a Locust and a Cicada) Locust this mysterious side trip has proven quite profitable for the Hounds.

The Fox Hounds contact the Davion Government on Kincaid II. They inform the planetary governor's office that they have made a short “good will” detour to Kincaid III to take care of a pirate incursion (“Just fulfilling our civic duty ma'am”) and are now on their way to fulfill their contract on Kincaid II.

Post Mission Notes: The Fox Hounds take only light damage. As well as recovering Foa's ancestral Mech, they also recover a Locust and a Cicada from the battlefield.