Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hummels: Part the Second...

As indicated in my last posting, I have made progress on the two Hummel assault guns I have been building.
Progress so far.  The rear 'doors' are simply two squares of very
thin plastic.  Handles will be added later.

The front plates of the fighting compartment have been added.  I figured out a way of getting that bend close to the embrasure: scoring about 2mm parallel to the edge and using a rat-nose pair of pliers to snap the edge around.  Three of the four attempts were successful; the fourth I actually snapped the thing off.  As it was straight, I just glued it back the way I wanted it.  Gaps I tried filling with Green Stuff, and I'm here to tell you that damned gunk is a beggar to work with.  How people achieve what they do with it I can't imagine.
Gun shield attached to the hull decking, not the gun, for the
sake of strength.

The curved piece (gun shield?) immediately behind the front plate I glued direct to the hull, rather than to the gun (which I think ought to have been done).  I was rather puzzled how to make these, but solved it by using a plastic bottle that once held floor cleaner.  I wanted a thickish soft plastic for this piece.  It took several goes to get the dimensions more or less right, and the thing still required a little extra bending, but the result was satisfactory.
What to do about the interior of the fighting compartment?  The ESCI model had a couple of boxes close by the rear, and pair of seats beside the gun breech.  I'm very tempted to leave them out, partly because the ESCI seats don't look right anyway, but also to reserve the space for the gun crew.
Those front hatches haven't worked out so well...

A glance at the deck in front of the fighting compartment discloses a pair of hatches.  I wince each time I look at this.  Having no other source of plastic discs the appropriate size, I tried cutting the circles from very thin plastic sheet.  This was not very successful, the less so when I was stupid enough to glue them on anyway.  

As Hoffnung once remarked: 'I must have lost my presence of mind!'   Since taking these pictures, I have found that the judicious application of black marker pen effectively disguises the irregularities of shape.    There is reason, then, to hope a clever paint job will have the same effect.  Otherwise, if I do find something more appropriate, they'll have to be placed overall, as I'm never going to be able to get those botched hatches off again.
I wondered too how I was going to do the louvres at the sides of the fighting compartment (I suppose they are louvres).  Just painting them on I could not see as a satisfactory solution.  As anything more elaborate seemed to me fiddly and hard, I just attached an appropriate area of thin plastic card.  The pencil lines serve as painting guides/aides memoire for when the finishing touches are added to the vehicle.
To the basic ESCI guns, I added the cheeks (?) with holes to accommodate the guns' trunnions; the hydraulic elevating gear, and behind the cheeks, the wheels, handles and sighting gear in a very simplified form.  The result isn't hugely accurate upon close examination, but the overall dimensions are reasonably close.
I wasn't especially consistent here, trying out different materials for each.  The right hand side handle is a bit of staple for one gun, a two short pieces of plastic glued (with an infinitude of trouble) at right angles on the other.  Similar sorts of differences appear on the other side.  The final painting will disguise these disparities.
The following pictures show what the vehicles will look like once the guns have been properly mounted.  This I will not do until the guns and the interior of the fighting compartment at least have been undercoated.  
Except for those bally hatches (What was I thinking??)
These vehicles aren't looking too bad...
 To add a little colour to a rather monochromatic posting, allow me to reintroduce my ESCI model by way of comparison.  Incidentally, my finished model originally came in buff-coloured plastic, rather than the grey of the pieces I am using (also ESCI, if I haven't mentioned that before).
Three Hummels in battery.  However, one of the scratchbuilds is destined for the Army of Evil Uncle Brian (A Fist Full of Plastic), who supplied the kit bits you see in these pictures. In Command Decision game terms, I now have enough Hummels (two) for as many Self Propelled artillery battalions.  But not enough Wespes (three).  However, I do have a Wespe hull, sans (if memory serves) gun.  Now: does this become my fourth Wespe, or does it remain gunless as an ammunition resupply vehicle.  Decisions, decisions...
Three Hummels in battery.  One of the new fellows will end up looking like the chappy in the middle.  The other?  Don't know yet.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The story so far...

Several weeks ago- getting on towards months now - I set myself the task of scratch building a couple of 15cm Self Propelled artillery pieces - Hummels.  I was given some of the bits: guns, running gear, lower hull, ammo racks and other small items, all from ESCI kits that had presumably been adapted to other purposes.  The upper hull and fighting compartments had to be built. 
The front drive sprockets having been glued previously needed to be re-fastened with reinforcing.  I drilled a hole through the centre of the sprocket right through the hull and shove in a brad.  The solution is OK, but better would have been thickish wire (about Nr 16 gauge) right through.  After all my effort, the sprocket still sticks out a bit...
The alignments aren't great, I have to admit, though
the top plate over the driver's compartment looks worse on
account of the skewed ink streak at the front edge.
 Here's my progress thus far: none too impressive, I have to admit.  I've not used plasti-card for modelling to any extent before, and I'm finding it not very forgiving.  Getting things right is hard enough, but with a glue that grabs, it's hard to get things properly aligned as well, as these pictures show.

I'm hoping, therefore, that the final painting will disguise the less perfect aspects of these models.
Alignment problems and poor measuring left a gap
that you see in the centre.  Time to try out what
can be done with Green Stuff.
The grey pieces are from the ESCI 1:72 kit.  From the above picture I've mocked up how they should fit together.  The front of the fighting compartment has certain peculiarities I haven't yet figured out how to model: the slight inward bend edging the embrasure; and the cylindrical/frustum-shaped piece that forms the gun-shield(?) attached to the gun.  I'll also be making and fitting the hydraulic arms involved in elevating the gun in action.

A quick mock up with the bits assembled so far.
H'mmm... could be worse...
 The way things are going, I think the final product will at least be recognisable.  I'll be keeping one: Evil Uncle Brian (who provided the ESCI parts - Thanks Brian)) will be getting the other.
 Below is an ESCI kit made up many years ago when it was just about the only German ordnance (with the Wespe) that one could find in plastic that was not an Anti-tank or FlaK gun.  I still haven't figured out how to do the louvres at the sides, just above the tracks.
I have the crew figures.  I just need to glue them in...
 About the time my daughter was born (twenty years ago, now)  I used the ESCI model as a template for making a towed 15.0 cm gun/howitzer.  I've since removed the shield I had fitted, and I believe there are additions to be made.  The legs are too short, too, though I hope to disguise that by adding spades.  

Needs finishing: hydraulic elevating gear and spades; some crew figures.
Then finish off the base.
The whole thing was made from cardboard, balsa and plastic tube.
I never did finish the thing...

Finally, a couple of 7.5cm PaK40 Anti-tank pieces fashioned from the gun from the Airfix SdKfz234/4 Armoured Car kit.  The original kit was unsatisfactory from several points of view.  They will end up as fitted with scratchbuilt 75L24 guns as recon support vehicles (SdKfz 233).  One unfortunately I destroyed trying to fashion a Soviet BA64.  That experiment was not a success...

A use for the guns from the Airfix Armoured Car kit.
  I did at one point have a couple of scratchbuilt 7.5cm field guns
based on these, but dismantled them for other uses.
A bad decision!
The near piece has has the gun barrel replaced with plasctic tube, but the muzzle brake has been retained.  Not a wholly satisfactory solution.  I had shortened the original barrel to make 50L60 PaK38 AT guns - a mistake as I had no clear idea what the PaK38 looked like.  Oh well...

Friday, August 24, 2012

Twenty Questions

This seems to be the season of the twenty questions.  I thought I would look into this, myself.

1.Favorite wargame period?
Tempted to say 'historical', but I'll go with 'Horse and Musket: 1700-1865'.

2. Second favorite - money no object?
I've added some pictures to liven up a rather ... erm ...
 monochromatic posting.  Here is the Hildberghausen Infantry
of the army of Trockenbeeren-Auslese.

World war two.  Just by the way, I like to translate these into slightly alternative worlds in order to be less trammeled by actual historical events.

3. Favorite 5 films (no particular order):
Ben Hur
Terminator 1 and 2
Three Musketeers (the whole 2 movies made in the 1970s, with George MacDonald Fraser credited with the screenplay. It was intended as one movie but ended up being two.  As  a movie enthusiast, G.M. Fraser rather enjoyed shoving in every cliche he could!)
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring  (that Balrog rocks, man!  So close to the way I imagined it as makes no difference)
Once Upon a Time in the West
OK, that's 6.  Couldn't decide which to leave out...

4.Favorite TV series:
Last Train to Surbiton
Avengers (especially when Emma Peel was part of the team)
The Wild, Wild West
Big Bang Theory
and a special mention to the Royal Shakespeare Society, especially the Wars of the Roses plays,
Henry VI (Parts 1 to 3) and Richard III.  Such an engaging villain as Good King Dickon you could never hope anywhere else to meet.
Trockenbeeren-Auslese Cavalry and Artillery.

5.Favorite Books and/or Authors.  I'll go with the latter.  But I'll subdivide...
George MacDonald Fraser (especially, but not only, his Flashman novels);
C.S. Forester
Patrick O'Brien (the film-makers who butchered his Master & Commander ought to have been lined up against a wall and shot)
Terry Pratchett
Harry Turtledove (some fine alternate histories)
Children's Literature (a special interest)
Diana Wynne Jones
J K Rowling
Margaret Mahy
Philip Pullman (For His Dark Materials trilogy.  Helps if you have read Milton's Paradise Lost and know the stories of Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty).
Brian Caswell
(These are just the Fantasy writers - there are plenty of very good ones around: a very rich genre these days)
Steven Runciman (The Crusades in 3 volumes)
Charles Oman
Steve Keen (Debunking Economics)
Naomi Klein (Shock doctrine)
D.S. Freeman (for his ACW books)
Wargames Books (Classics)
Charge! Brig. Peter Young and Lt. Col. C. Lawford
The War Game Charles Grant
War Games Don Featherstone
War Games Campaigns Don Featherstone
Guide to War Gaming George Gush
 Battle Gaming Terry Wise.
There are a good many others I could have included in this list...

6. Greatest general?
The usual:  Napoleon Bonaparte (up to 1809, after which I think he was getting rather sick of it all, to be honest), Alexander the great, Julius Caesar, Duke of Marlborough.

7.Favorite Wargame Rules?
My own.  Command Decision 2 for WW2.

8.Favorite Sport and team?
Two more Imperial infantry regiments.
Sport: tennis.  Roger Federer (long ago, an admirer of Rod Laver)  I'd follow cricket as well, bu the New Zealand team has been so woeful these last several years.
Football: Barcelona and Man U. ( Yeah, OK.)
Rugby:  All Blacks, Crusaders, Canterbury (Taranaki a close second)
League:  Queensland for State of Origin; Wigan for North Hemisphere league (not that I see it often).
U.S. Football: Green Bay (not that I watch this anymore, since ESPN went pay TV)
Unfavorite sports: Baseball and Basketball.  Yick.

9. One-time trip by time machine?
Back to visit me at age 12, so that I can 'know then what I know now.'

10.Last meal on Death Row?
Scotch fillet beefsteak fried rare with onions and pan fried chips; eggs fried sunnyside up optional; cabbage and peas done the way I like them; a pepper sauce over all.  For dessert: passionfruit flavoured ice cream with maple syrup, if it's summer, else bread and butter pudding with lotsa raisins, currants and/or sultanas, and dates, half drowned in cream.  Washed down with ordinary gumboot tea, unless I am in the mood for a Speights Old Dark.
Who needs paradise?

11. Fantasy relationship?

12. If my life were a movie, who would play me?
Jim Parsons.

13. Favorite comic superhero?
Jules Feiffer used to have an occasional strip in Playboy Magazine (probably shown in other publications as well) with a character who would transform into a superhero when he uttered the word 'hurt.'  I can not for the life of me recall the superhero's name, nor find any clue trolling through the net.  Otherwise: Darkwing Duck.  Maybe Pro-Junior (Robert Crumb)

14.  Favorite Military Quote:
'Don't worry.  They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist---'  Maj-Gen John Sedgwick at Spotsylvania Courthouse, May 1864.
As for coolest military endings, this has to be the winning entry.  A certain French rural nobleman was leading a revolt against the King of France some time in the 16th or early seventeenth Century.  Having defeated a royal force sent out to put down the rebellion, the Noble rebel paused.  About to issue orders, and to make himself heard, he lifted the visor of his helmet with his pistol... his loaded pistol...

15. Historical destination to visit?
Khevenhuller dragoons.
The true sites of Megiddo and Kadesh.  I have an idea about Megiddo that might explain why the name of that battle (a.k.a. Armageddon) has given its name to the final battle between God and evil.  It seems to me that the psychological impact at the time must have been so immense, it left an imprint that persists to this day.  Upon whom?  Those who lost, and they must have been the Hebrews...

16.Biggest wargaming regret?
Not knowing there was such an animal as wargaming (qua hobby, with actual figures and vehicles and stuff) until I was 23.

17. Favorite fantasy job?
Wargaming for a living.  I gather there are people who actually do this.  They must live in countries that have large populations.

18.Favorite songs (top 5)?
Unable to narrow down to 5 'favorites', I just made a random selection from a much larger list of favorites.
In no particular order:
Desolation Row Bob Dylan
When the Levee Breaks Led Zeppelin
Telegraph Road Dire Straits
Gimme Shelter Rolling Stones
Won't Get Fooled Again The Who

19. Favorite Wargame moment?
Can't think of one.  How sad is that?

20. Miserable Git Question: What gets right up my nose?
What follows is, quite frankly and avowedly, a rant.  Yep.  Strong stuff.   Avoid if you have a delicate digestion, a nervous disposition or a predisposition to sick headaches.  Don't bring the horses too close.  Keep dogs, cats and other pets indoors.

Imperial Horse on parade.
- Politicians.  I don't give a rat's rump what colour.  They're all worthless.  I wonder how many of us when voting find themselves actually voting for, rather than against.  I mean, truly.  Not bally many, I'll be bound.
An exception might have been Democrat voters at the last U.S. Presidential election.  Poor schmucks - but I was fooled, too, as was just about the whole planet.  Republican voters earning less that a zillion a year might think they are voting for something, but if so we are looking here at a working definition of 'chump'.

- The Politicians and their Fat Cat mates who for near on thirty years, the theft covered by a bogus economic shibboleth and a vicious socio-political program of wealth redistribution from the have-not to the haves, systematically plundered the commonweal for their own private profit at the expense of the livelihoods and such meagre wealth as possessed by the many.  We knew all along we were being bilked but lacked the means to do a blind thing about it (the Unions, hands still held out for their annual subscriptions, ducking for cover whilst bleating 'We're trying to save jobs' and failing even to look like approaching  this mediocre and unambitious aim).    The vultures have yet to come home to roost, but when they do I hope its the bloated corpses of the whole wunch of larcenous criminals, fraudsters, thieves and hired assassins they feed upon, rather than the emaciated bones of the commons they robbed.  So there, with knobs on.

In concluding this questionnaire, I have departed from my policy of abstaining from political ... erm ... discourse.  At that, I've cut it short lest it get completely out of hand.  I propose never again on this blogspot to write about such matters.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The First Marnon War : afterthoughts

Having just seen Gowan's query about the size of the map, I thought I would reply with a posting, rather than  specifically to his comment.

The map board of Marnon Island (for the Wizard's Quest game).
Overall, 4 map spaces: 8 castles, and 36 territories divided equally among 6 regions.
Ruberia claims the regions of the Golden Dunes, Whispery Meadow  and the Misty Forest.,
and strongholds #1 through #4 - the western half of the island.
The Marnon map is straight out of the game Wizard's Quest, which, by the way, is a lot of fun in itself, and has the potential for some interesting wargames into the bargain.  The board is probably about 30"x20" (75cm x 50cm) though quite possibly less.  Not a large board at all: call it roughly the size of 6 pages of A4 lined up in portrait format (short side at the top) in 2 rows of 3.  At that there was a reasonable margin of ocean surrounding it featuring dragons and game information.

The map itself comprises 8 castles or strongholds, plus 6 regions each comprising 6 territories. In total, then, there are 44 map spaces, not counting the inland Sea of Marnon, which troops may not land on, but may (in certain circumstances) cross.  The 8 castles I thought of as colonial towns.  They were numbered 1 to 8, which provided my with the names of each settlement.  The other regions and the territories within each, besides being named, were all numbered 1 to 6, designed for the random placement of non-player characters in the original game.  A roll of a pair of dice determined which region, and which territory within it.
A strong Ruberian squadron encounters off Dragonhead
an even more powerful Azurian force.
Fortunately it was a time of peace;
 after the exchange of salutes, both continued on their way.

I gave Ruberia settlements 1-4 and Regions 1-3 as providing the most likely-looking border between the two.  This did leave Settlement #4 (Fourborough) in an awkward salient, and of the four, three were border towns (only Doubleton was back from the border.  The Azurians had only two border towns, though #5, Cinqueville, was the only link between the north and south west of the Sea of Marnon.  You can see why a canny Ruberian strategist might have made that place a point of aim, or than the Azurians would make sure it contained a powerful garrison.and was heavily fortified.  At that, Azuria was favoured with both towns being fortified, and as I have only 3 'fortified' tokens, the Ruberians were less fortunately placed.  Still, Monoton held out comfortably enough with only its walls...

Both sides had 2 Sea Ports (#1 and #2 in Ruberian territory; #6 and #8 in Azurian {the other two Azurian towns are on the shores of the Sea of Marnon}).  The First Marnon War did include some naval action that I didn't include in the final narrative as not being particularly meaningful.  Just to make things interesting I had both side roll 1xD6, which determined how many units went into this or that sea port.  Ruberia ended up with 4 ships in Monoton, on the North Coast; and just two in the south; Azuria got 5 in the south, and just the one on the East Coast town of Huitville (#8).

I'm considering using 4 ocean map spaces - north, east south and west coasts, plus the sea ports for naval forces.  To be meaningful  somehow the naval operation have to influence what happens on land e.g. Blockading ports (or elimination of the enemy squadron) might affect adversely the availability of reinforcements from the mother country.  That both sides have a sea port on the South Coast indicates I might have to think further about the implications.  One possibility is to use the creases and folds of the map to define 6 areas of coastal waters: NW, N, E; SW, S, SE.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

First Marnon War - Concluded

 As the first week of fighting drew to a close, reinforcements came in, both sides coincidentally having 6 CU available.  Ruberia was able completely to recoup its losses, 4 new Rifle Divisions and a Cavalry being raised.  Less fortunate, Azuria raised a couple of Rifle Divisions, a Cavalry and a badly needed artillery train.
The question then arose: where ought these reinforcements be placed?  I decided they ought to go into a town, and move up to their corps.  This was not a good decision.  They should simply have been placed where wanted, but perhaps with some limitation upon how many per map space, and/or how many troops a map space could hold.
But Azuria was luckier in its roll for the initiative, though, as it happened, only two moves or attacks could be mounted.  With no sensible attacking options available, they contented themselves with moving II Corps up into Dread Moor, and pulling the remnants of III Corps back from Flintshire into Windfor, closer to the besieged town of Cinqueville.   As the turn passed to Ruberia, their anticipation of a multi-pronged attack was rudely disappointed by rolling a 1 for their move/attack allowance.  The weather must have been bad during the week, with only the one battle being fought.

The addition of an extra artillery train in Sixbourg having made the place too strong for a single Corps to overcome, 2nd Corps was given the task once again to strike into Dread Moor.  A Rifle and Cavalry Division with artillery support and ably led (well, a leader was present) gave the Ruberian seven dice to roll ( +1 [rifle] +1 [cavalry] +2 [artillery] +3 [leader, all three arms present] = 7).  The roll was reasonable: an Azurian Rifle Division destroyed.

The weaker  Azurian V Corps did rather better with its 5-dice allocation.  Having just 2 rifle Divisions (+2)  plus a Cavalry (+1) with no artillery support, its commander could add just two for the two arms present (+2).  The Azurians gave their assailants a mauling, and the Ruberians remained in the forests of North Hemp, minus their artillery train.

So the second week ended with little change, Ruberia losing an artillery train, and Azuria a rifle division only.  The question of reinforcements became rather tricky, there being no spares to supply them.  A roll of 5 (on 2xd6) would have recouped all Azuria's war losses (they rolled an 8 in fact); any roll at all supplied Ruberia's wants.  For the sake of bringing the war to a speedy close, I decided to waive the reinforcement rule for the time being.  After a couple more weeks of some desultory action in the north, and rather fiercer battles in the south (including 3rd Ruberian Corps attempted storm of Cinqueville), the respective forces found themselves placed as in the following map.
 Ruberia's main offensive in the south with three Army Corps had been bloodily repulsed, and all three driven well back from the border.  First and 2nd Corps had just one rifle division between them, a sorry remnant (I think I'll enact a rule that only one leader is allowed per space, though, with a 2 space movement allowance, they can pass through a space containing a leader).  Third Corps, though in much better case, was still a mere shadow of its former strength.  But the Azurian III, IV, and V Corps had all taken heavy knocks in defence of their borderlands.  IV Corps had barely managed to remain in Cinqueville at all.

At this point both sides agreed to an armistice.  Reluctant to give up the one significant gain either side had achieved, Azuria was talked into relinquishing hold of Fourborough only by the presence of Ruberian troops occupying most of the Crystal Mountain region and handily placed to strike at Cinqueville.  Brought thus grudgingly to the negotiating table, the Azuria Governor of Marnon somewhat bad-temperedly dashed off his signature to the reversion to status quo ante bellum.

OK, then.  What to make of this?  A number of small issues cropped up:
1.  Attrition.  In commenting upon Bob Cordery's account of his own little campaign, I enquired about both sides rolling simultaneously as attacker and defender, instead of only the attacker rolling.  We agreed that the attrition rate would be much faster, and it is, but it was not such as to cause an overall depreciation of armed forces' strength given 2xD6 'points value' reinforcement at the end of each turn (week).  Mind you, as I was not using the Memoir '44 dice, there was a small difference in combat outcomes, as infantry under 'my' system were lost at just half the rate they would have been (Double-4 and double-5, 5-4s did not count for losses; c.f. two infantry symbols on each of the M44 dice).

2. Reinforcement/replacement.  Clearly 2xd6 each turn is too much.  However, I have not included any provision for the loss and/or replacement of leaders.  All sorts of ideas spring to mind here, up to and including the taking and exchange of prisoners of war.  Further, there is the question of where they may be placed, and what, if any, restrictions may be placed upon this, and upon the the number of elements per map space.

3. The Eagle Games Miniatures box came with some interesting other items that looked as though they ought to be recruited into use:
3A - Explorers and Engineers/Surveyors.  The latter I had already decided could perform a military function by assisting in the assault of fortified places (towns).  But they might well be employed in creating fortifications, or bridging otherwise impassible waterways.  On Marnon, the great River Amnon is crossable west of Haven only at the bridges.  An attack from Sheep Meade to Heatherlawn is not feasible unless an engineer(bridging) train is present.  As for the explorer figures, I haven't thought of a function for them yet.  Mineral/water/oil prospector seems to me a possibility.

An Azurian squadron brings
 a smaller Ruberian  force to bay.
First blood to Ruberia, as an Azurian warship is sunk.
3B - Naval squadrons, each of 6 pre-dreadnought warships.  I had worked out an ultra-simple set of rules for these rather similar to the land battles, in that they are decided by dice, but different in that they are - or may be - fought to a finish in one go.

Vengeance is swift!
A salvo sinks a Ruberian battleship.

Now Azuria has the upper hand.
A Ruberian warship had just one turret left in action.

The damaged Ruberian
warship is finished off...

Blooey!  The last Ruberian warship sinks under a barrage of shellfire.
 3C - Infrastructural symbols: sea ports, factories, churches (or educational facilities); steam locomotives (which implies rail transportation and hence speedy troop movements!);  walled and fortified towns.  I used the 'fortified' symbol to indicate fortified towns in the First Marnon War (Fourborough, Cinqueville, and Sixbourg).

There are limited numbers of each of these, and as I don't want particularly to add to them, I'll have to think of sensible ways of employing them.  There are 6 locomotives.  If they were to represent stations or terminals then small representations of track will suffice for a rail infrastructure.  Here is another use for the surveyor/engineer figures, and maybe for the explorers as well.

Some food for thought, here!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

The First Marnon War (1869)

Open warfare began in the morning of 1st April, 1869, with the blue hordes of Azuria striking across the border in four places.  Of the five Army Corps, only IV Corps remained inactive, strongly garrisoning the vulnerable though heavily fortified town of Cinqueville, lying between the border and the shores of the inland Sea of Marnon.

The attack upon the desert town of Monoton by I Corps proved an abject failure, handily repulsed by the exiguous garrison (see previous posting).

 But the successful storming of Fourborough by II Corps was an early success that encouraged the Azurian forces.  Destroying the infantry division defending, the attackers forced the surviving artillery to retreat into Portston Moor, where it joined the Ruberian 5th Corps.  (Unfortunately the defenders should have got 7 dice, not 6.  I simply miscounted.  All the same, the loss inflicted upon II Corps of 1 infantry division meant the Azurian victory came at some cost.  As it transpired, this was not the last mistake I made.  However, I will continue the narrative, as we still get something of the feel for this kind of thing).

The fortuitous addition of an artillery train to its strength was a boon to 5th Corps, about to face the onslaught of the powerful III Azurian Corps surging out from  Haven.  Even so the ratio of strength was 3 to 2 (I miscounted again, thinking III Corps had 2 cavalry, so Azuria -again - got the benefit of my inability to count beyond one or two).  Having only one infantry division present, 5th Corps' losses were contained, but a cavalry unit also fell back westward into Heatherlawn.  For their part, the Azurians lost their artillery - a serious diminution of their strength.  It's invasion of Portston Moor a failure, III Corps remained in the Crystal Mountains.

Azuria mounted just one attack in the south, where three Ruberian Corps were concentrated.  This was intended as a spoiling attack, in the hope of taking the pressure off the fortified town of Sixbourg.

The V Corps attack was spectacularly successful in that the opposing 2nd Corps was forced - minus one of its infantry divisions destroyed in the battle - to retreat into Marls Gate, deep in the Misty Forest.  But the Ruberian defenders had fought stoutly enough to cause V Corps in turn to come pouring back out of the North Hemp, across Dread Moor and into Dragon Head.  Despite this ignominious retreat, Azuria could count the North Hemp battle as a strategic victory: one half of the Ruberian pincers aimed at Sixbourg had been thrown back.
The initiative now passed to the Ruberians (Side B), who, like the Azurians at the beginning of this turn, rolled a 4 for allowed moves and attacks.
 First off, 2nd Corps reoccupied North Hemp, from which they had recently been evicted.  Meanwhile, 1st Corps launched its lone assault upon the Sixbourg.  That the place was fortified put the odds somewhat in the defenders' favour, yet there remained a reasonable chance that even unaided the Ruberian attackers could take the place (e.g. a triple 6, or any combination of double-1, double-4, double-5 and double-6 would have taken the garrison out of the place.  Mind you, with just the 5 dice available, that's a tall order.).  Unfortunately, for the cost of one of its infantry divisions, the attack failed miserably.
 This was not a good augury for the rest of Ruberia's campaign.  Deciding for the moment that Cinqueville was too strongly held, 3rd Corps marched over the passes into the upper Haven valley, an attack intended to coordinate with a 5th Corps attack into Haven from the lower end.  Thus caught in a pincers, III Corps put up a tremendous resistance, the battle proving the bloodiest and most decisive of the campaign.  The attack by 3rd Corps inflicted losses amounting to 3 infantry and 1 cavalry division, and forced its survivors into a retreat across the mountain range into Flintshire.  But III Corps mauled their opponents badly before giving way: 3rd Corps admitting the loss of an infantry and a cavalry division, and a third - rifle - division falling back into Marls' Gate.  (The sapient reader will have observed that I had forgotten my about cavalry not being counted in fights in mountains, except insofar as they count as an extra arm if a leader is present.  So the Ruberian 3rd Corps should have got 9 dice only; the Azurian III Corps 6 dice.  Never mind.  I may rescind this rule - already provisional anyway.  But a question does arise with one-two attacks like this.  Should all forces roll at once, or should each be resolved separately, the defenders getting to roll against the second attack with the survivors from the first?  For this action I had intended the latter option)
 The hasty retreat by III Corps meant that the 5th Corps' blow fell upon empty air.  Nevertheless, they poured into the Haven, whilst 3rd Corps remained in Pembroke, menacing Cinqueville.   There was precious little left of the once powerful III Corps - a single infantry division with its leader.
 As the first week of hostilities drew to a close, both sides could count the gains and the costs.  Azuria had scored an undoubted success in taking Fourborough.  There seemed little prospect of the town being retaken any time soon.  For the rest, the only really decisive action had been the Ruberian victory in Haven, that had decimated III Corps.
The losses in Horse (1 Division) and Foot (4 Divisions) had been equal, but Azuria had also lost two artillery trains.  When it was learned what reinforcements they could expect, Ruberia was pleased to discover it could recover all its losses (rolling 4+2=6); but Azuria (rolling 5+1=6 also) was much less delighted.  A net loss of 4 CU was not to be sneezed at.  

I am a bit uneasy about the reinforcement rule, for reasons that emerged later in the war.  But we'll visit this issue next time.
To be continued: The First Marnon War, Week (Turn) 2.