Monday, December 14, 2015

Inconclusive Experiment

Realising I had forgotten some farm buildings in my previous posting, and reading Tim Gow's WW2 action with Britains figures, I was moved to try a little experiment with my own Army Men project.  First I wanted to show the buildings I had forgotten to include in my previous posting. But as that was scarcely worth a whole article, however brief,  I thought I'd check how these OO/HO scale buildings would look against my Army Men figures.

My reasons for investigating this idea came from the 'footprint' size of the 'rubbled' ruins in Tim Gow's game.  How would intact buildings look though only half the scale of the Army Men figures? Well, the AFVs were underscale anyway, so maybe...



It was also an opportunity to try out my own Army Men rule set on a very small 4ft by 4ft 5in table. The first thing that had to be done was to scale down the moves and weapons ranges from the set rule set designed for larger battlefields... such as an 8ft x 6ft table.  Or a lawn.  Everything was scaled back back to about 20mm for each inch in the parent system.


The action was between those inveterate enemies, the Imperial Raesharn Army attacking, and, in defence, the Republic of Kiivar.  The forces were:

Raesharn:


  • Infantry Company comprising two platoons each of two sections;    Each section comprised 1 NCO with SMG, 1 LMG team (2 men), 9 rifles - 12 men each;
  • Tank Platoon with 2 medium tanks;
  • Artillery Battery with 2 field pieces.

The Raesharn 2nd platoon began off table.

Kiivar:

  • Infantry Company comprising two platoons each of three sections;   Each section comprised 1 NCO with SMG, 1 LMG, 4 riflemen - 6 men each;
  • MMG section with water-cooled MMG;
  • Mortar section with a medium mortar and three-man team;
  • Anti-tank gun portee mount with medium anti-tank gun (began off table).

Instead of the anti-tank gun, the defenders had immediately available a mixed light tank platoon parked on the road behind the 'ornamental' palm trees.  One of these was a support tank armed with a medium infantry support gun. Having parked them there I completely forgot about them!




Number 1 Platoon was ensconced in and about the farm, with 'B' section lurking behind a low stretch of rising ground just visible in the above picture beyond the barn.  'C' section garrisoned the barn itself, whilst 'A' section prepared to defend the farmhouse.  The MMG section set up among the palms. Number 2 Platoon formed a defence line based on the ruined farm ('D' and 'E' Sections),  and behind some piled logs near the rail junction ('F' Section).  In rear of 'F' Section the mortar team was ready in support.

So far as the figures vs 'terrain' was concerned, the problem didn't lie with the figure-building comparison, but with the ground.  The lead platoon - just two sections of 12 men apiece was stretched across a front that looked as though it ought to accommodate at least double the force.  It is true, though, that my armies have a kind of built-in sliding scale.  One figure represents one man, vehicle, gun, and what have you, but 2 guns is a battery; 2 AFVs a platoon, and two platoons is a company. Seen in that light, the figure to ground scale doesn't look quite so anomalous.

The initiative lay with the Raesharn; they opened the ball (I use a IGoUGo system).  Rather too enthusiastically the two 4-man assault teams of '1' Section outpaced their fire support team and surged over the 'ripple' - a low ridge of rising ground that was sufficient to conceal who lay beyond. This was a complete miscalculation on my part.  The move and fire thing I have adopted and adapted from the Panzer Marsch rule set - a game system I haven't played in a very long time. As the Kiivar section hadn't moved or fired the previous turn, they were permitted a 'reserve fire', which also meant they fired first, and the attackers took casualties before returning fire.  The latter provision was probably a mistake, though, and the shooting should have been simultaneous, as the defenders, not concealed, would have been visioble the moment the Raesharn crested the ridge.  Damn. And double damn, because that meant that 'B' Section really should not have been placed there at all.
The result was bad for the Raesharn, with some excellent shooting by the Kiivar at short range knocking over no fewer than seven of the eight attackers.  Four would have been the expected 'score'. With firepower nearly as great (more guys, but the LMG left behind) the Raesharn ought to have achieved similar results.  Oh, well...  The lone surviving Raesharn did manage to knock over his man.
Just as the Raesharn Number 1 Section was getting its beans, the gun battery loosed a stonk against the Kiivar 'F' Section behind the logs.  Strictly speaking there was no occasion for this, as there was no reason to suppose anyone was there.  But I wanted to revisit my artillery scheme with the fire grid shown above.  I'm kinda proud of this invention - the device defining the point of aim, the line of fire (along a diagonal), the central point of impact, and the beaten zone.  The 6x6 grid gives the fall of shot based on the roll of RED-GREEN dice.  Unfortunately the 'permanent' marker has proved more temporary than I expected, leaving the thing bally hard to read.  However, the 4-4 result meant 'on target' and no deviation.  I haven't shown it here, but for every man under the grid (the beaten zone) TWO dice were rolled - one for each gun firing - a 'six' resulting in a casualty.  'F' Section proved to be very lucky, despite the 'on target' result cancelling the cover of the logs.  Just one man became a casualty.

In its turn, the Kiivar mortar dropped a shell on part of Raesharn's '2' Section.  The 5-2 roll for fall of shot meant  a deviation 7.5cm to the left. This still left three men under the grid.  As there was but one tube firing, one die was rolled for each man.  There were no casualties.


Shortly after the ambush of '1' section, '3' section entered the action, gathered up the remains of '1' Section and, together with the armour, surged over the rise.  Easily overcoming the Kiivar 'E' section, though not without taking further loss, the Raesharn on this flank were able to push on towards the farm.
Now you see 'em...

Now you don't.  'B' Section annihilated.
Meanwhile, on the left, '2' Section had much farther to plod before finding any enemy.  The NCO commanding the Kiivar section behind the wall ('D' Section) took with him two riflemen on a personal reconnaissance up towards the patch of brush crowning the hill to his right front.  As enemy infantry pushed through the rough going a brisk firefight developed that sent the Raesharn packing. Whilst the Raesharn LMG set up a fire position in the patch of brush further down the slope, the remaining four men of '2' section approached the farm.  They could see not far off a Kiivar portee mounted anti-tank gun approaching from the opposite direction.
From the cover of their wall, the Kiivar drove off the enemy with loss.  The Raesharn LMG tried to sustain the contest from its cover position, but could do little against the cover enjoyed by the Kiivar infantry.  Number 4 Section was still some way off, so there would be no advance here for the time being.
Lacking attractive targets, the mortar tried its hand at a little counterbattery fire.  Selecting as its point of aim the mid-point between the guns, they dropped their shell right where it was wanted (another 4-4 roll!).  All six gunners were vulnerable, but just the one became a casualty.  This, by the by reflects the nuisance rather than killing value of single tubes under this rule set.  Although the Raesharn artillery proved woefully ineffective in this action, having two tubes promises far better results, and three (the maximum 'battery' size under my scheme) could be devastating, especially if they are heavies (which require 5s to hit as well as 6s).. 
The second salvo of the Raeharn artillery was 'over' target, which left just one man of 'F' Section under the beaten zone, but also one of the mortar crew.  The two men survived, but for some reason I included the mortar tube itself.  For it, not one, but two 'sixes' were rolled, leaving it pretty much wrecked.  This 'rule' I think I'll revisit, and allow damage to equipment only if they lie under the 'on target' section of the grid.
Having cleared the 'ripple' the Raesharn infantry swarmed towards the farm.  Badly shot up in a brisk exchange of fire, 'C' Section hastily abandoned the barn - leaving half their number behind.  The armour, meanwhile, swung off to the left with some vague notion of helping the advance on the left flank.  It has to be admitted, Raesharn command was not shining with particular brilliance this day! Come to think of it, neither was the Kiivar.

But I really needed to test out the tank and anti-tank.  The two medium tanks had helped take the barn with their machine guns, now they swung off to the left. 

At once the lead tank came under long range fire from the anti-tank gun.  Red dice for effect: a 'six'! Medium AT vs medium armour at long range, a 'six' should have been a KO.  But the station platform lay between, enough cover  to count the tank as being 'hull down.'  Hull down armour counts as being the next grade higher - 'heavy' armour in this case.  A 'six' means 'damaged', the amount of damage being determined by a die (D6) roll.  Tanks can continue functioning with up to 6 'points' of damage, the 7th 'point' being enough to put the machine out of action.  The damage roll came up with a '4' - moderately severe.
In their turn, the tanks were able to return the fire and knock out the gun crew.  Unfortunately, I omitted to take pictures to show how this was done.  The tanks fired, but as they were within line of sight and in 'anti-tank' range, they could shoot using average-dice (D5s) instead of ordinary D6s to determine fall of shot.  The result was 'on target' and crew (rather unluckily for them) eliminated.
It was at about this point that I noticed the Kiivar light tanks waiting idly behind the ornamental palm trees.  It was clear, therefore, that the Raesharn had reached their high water mark, so it was determined that they would at once abandon the attack and pull out.  Relieved at the abatement of the attack, the Kiivar were in no position to hinder their departure.  Losses were heavy enough, in all conscience: some thirteen Kiivar personnel plus some equipment destroyed; and nineteen Raesharn infantry, two gunners, and a tank damaged.

I rather think I'll need to do some work in this game system if it is to 'fit' this size of battlefield. Maybe it will work OK in an urban setting?  Intriguing thought!

6 comments:

  1. Another game I'm getting the blame for! Looks good and you have spurred me on to revisit my own game when time allows.

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    1. Hope you don't mind! I'm actually thinking of adopting your system as more suited to the sort of playing surface I have available. Speaking of which, I must look into the Megablitz thing a bit more closely...
      Cheers,
      Ion

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  2. The whole thing looks great and the larger figures don't look out of place with smaller buildings (to me at least), I think if you just had 1 or 2 smaller size buildings dotted around on the table that wouldn't work as well visually as having lots of terrain.

    Best wishes, Brian

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    1. Thanks, Brian. For this kind of action, the open spaces do need to be quite broken up to allow some kind of manoeuvre. Terrain pieces work best in clusters, I believe, rather than spots, as you point out. A couple of years ago I spent some time making larger scale buildings for my Army men project. I'm beginning to suspect it was wasted effort.
      Cheers -

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  3. Nice to see your army men in action, Ion. I agree on the scale of the buildings, undersized works quite well here.

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    1. Cheers, Corp - It was only when laying them out for photographing the thought crossed my mind

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