Saturday, January 19, 2019

Geronium 217 BC

This is another battle simulation in my 2nd Punic War Series.

The rules used have been derived from my friend Jim's DBA 1.0. I've modified his original work and called my version DBA_BR. We are able to play the battle simulation with a single page of charts and rules.

What I've been doing is using some of the excellent scenarios found on the Command and Colors Ancients website. I adapt the scenarios to our rules and we play out the game.

This scenario was tricky because it featured an ambush by Hannibal. In a simulation like this it generally goes against the side that is ambushed and so it was in our game.

The map below is a rough representation of my 3' by 3' game table. It's all I have room for so the size of the armies and rules are constructed constructed accordingly. On the Carthaginian left there is a hidden contingent of Libyan SP, Celtiberian WB and Iberian CV led by Hannibal's brother Mago.

The elements on the hill are commanded by the great man himself as is most of the main battle line. Maharbal, is the third Carthaginian leader and he is in support of Mago's hidden force.

If you read the historical background below you will see that Marcus Minucius Rufus and his legion fell into Hannibal's trap. I chose to start the game just as Mago's contingent have emerged from being hidden.

In the meantime the Carthaginian light elements on the hill will check and hold in place Minucius's legion while Mago crushes the flank. Fabius will, as he did historically attempt to withdraw and avoid a total catastrophe.

Note that the elements are double stands. They act like normal elements with appropriate bonuses. I simply think the game looks better with element blocks.

The Roman (me) right collapsed rather quickly as the Carthaginian (Jim) commander was aggressive. The Carthaginians achieved a major victory under Hannibal the great.

The captions will tell some of the story.

A splendid time was had by all!

Historical Background
Following the Roman defeats at Ticinus, Trebbia, Trasimene and Umbria, the Senate elected Quintus Fabius Maximus as Dictator in command of all Roman Forces. Fabius followed a strategy of avoiding open battle with Hannibal so as to prevent any more disasters. But with Hannibal freely roaming Italy, conquering and plundering as he went, the Romans called Fabius back to Rome to explain himself. In his absence his Master of Horse Marcus Minucius Rufus initiated a successful skirmish action against Hannibal's army as it foraged around the town of Geronium. Ecstatic with this minor victory in a sea of defeat the Romans took the unprecedented step of appointing Minucius as a co-dictator with Fabius.

Fabius and Minucius did not get along and so they split the army in half. Each man received 2 legions and associated allies and each camped separately near Hannibal at Geronium. Hannibal, seeing the Roman split and aware of the eagerness of Minucius for action, set a trap for him. There was a low ridge in the plain between the camps and Hannibal posted his light infantry there in full view of the Romans. Around the ridge the ground had many dips and hollows and in these Hannibal concealed 5,000 infantry and 500 cavalry with orders only to emerge when the Romans were committed to action on the ridge. As expected Minucius took the bait and advanced on the ridge with his army. Hannibal responded by moving his own army forward in support. When Minucius was fully engaged the hidden troops attacked the Roman rear where they were joined by Numidian cavalry.

Minucius was now in dire straits, but Fabius had been observing the action and his army was ready. Fabius attacked the encircling Carthaginians, and seeing that they would be trapped between two Roman forces they fled leaving the battered army of Minucius to escape. Both sides now retired to their respective camps. The Romans should have learnt their lesson that they could not at this stage beat Hannibal in the field. They did not. For the following year's campaign, they raised an enormous army of approximately 80,000 men and committed them to the catastrophe at Cannae.

Hannibal Die roll plus one for pips

x3 SP (Reg-S)
x1AX (Irreg-O)
x1WB (Irreg-O)
x2 LH (Irreg-S)
X2 AX (on ridge, fast) (Irreg-O)
x2 PS (on ridge) (Irreg-S)
11 elements

Maharbal 1\2 die roll for pips

X1 CV (Reg-S)
X1 CV (Irr-O)
X1 WB (O)
X1 AX (O) 
4 elements

Mago1\2 die roll for pips

X2 SP (Reg-O)
X1 CV (Reg-S)
3 elements

Total Carthaginian elements=18

Romans OB

Fabius full die roll for pips
X1 CV (Reg-O)
X2 PS (Irr-I)
X1 AX (Reg-S)
X3 BD (Reg-O)
X1 SP (Reg-S)
8 elements

Minucius full die roll for pips
X1 CV (Reg-O)
X2 PS (Irr-I)
X1 AX (Reg-S)
X3 BD (Reg-O)
X1 SP (Reg-S)
8 elements

Victory Conditions

The Legion under Minucius must try to take the ridge and must advance the maximum toward the ridge according to the pips rolled . The Legion under Fabius may not move until Turn 3.

Minor Carthaginian Victory-hold the ridge and destroy 8 Roman elements not counting PS.
Major Carthaginian victory-hold the ridge and destroy 12 Roman elements counting PS.

Minor Roman Victory-hold the ridge and destroy 8 Carthaginian elements
Major Roman Victory-hold the ridge and destroy 10 Carthaginian elements


Sudden Death Leaders: All leader elements function as +1 to the CF except for Hannibal and he is a +2. If Hannibal dies the Carthaginians automatically lose. If Fabius dies the Romans automatically lose.

Roll for lose of a leader on two dice. Roll a 2 or 3 if recoiled leader dies. Roll a 2 and not recoiled leader dies. -1 to pips of secondary leader commands if leader dies.

Game notes

1.    The elements in this game are double blocks but function as single elements.
2.    Units that receive the bonus for a double rank are SP, WB if they initiate contact.
3.    The Iberians on the ridge and the Celtiberians on the flank are rated (F).
4.    The Iberian AX in Hannibal’s main line are rated Special (CF 4 -3) instead of AX.
5.    Roman AX is rated as (F).
6.    The ridge is bad going.
7.    Elements rated as (F) or AX\ PS ignore bad going penalties.

Fast moving Iberian AX and PS hold the rough going ridge tempting the Romans to attack.  Figures are Hat and Newline.

Mago's flanking ambush force of Celtienria W,  Libyan SP and Iberian CV. Figures are Hat and Zvezda.

The Carthaginian right consisting of the famous Numidian LH, a Gaul WB and Hannibal's Iberians. Figures in this picture are all Newline.

Hannibal out front of his Libyans and Iberians. Figures are Hat and Newline.

Maharbal's command of Iberian\Gaul CV, Gaul WB and Iberian AX.

The Roman right that would cave in. The CV are Hat and all the Roman infantry are Zvezda.

The Roman left under Fabius. Fabius could not move until T3. I'm not sure it would have mattered.

An intimidating sight but not today!

Italian CV and Italian AX. 

Close up of my Newline Numidian's.

Close up of some of my Newline Gauls and Iberians.

Newline Libyan SP.

Newline Iberian and Gaul CV combined into one element.

These are Hat figures. I use them as fast Celtiberians. (My rules are evolving a little with the three figure stands becoming fast as in later editions of DBA or DBM.

The Triarii. They ended up quite surrounded and would have perished to the last man had I not called the game.

Better picture of the Iberians that held the rough going ridge. They suffered a little but checked the majority of the Legion that got sucked into the ambush.

Mismatch. Note to self-avoid Hannibal (Fabius)

The Roman's had one shot. Turn the flank before the ambush could fully develop or die. They died. If I ever redo the scenario I may give the Romans a bit more time, but not much.

Th collapsing Roman right.

This is whee the Romans had a slight chance to gain the high ground. They did not.

Carthaginian Ax and Ps descend on the flank of the hapless Legion.

The Triarii look defiant as the right collapses. The small white die keeps track of recoils. Accumulated recoils can destroy the unit. The Italian Ax has one recoil. They are rated superior and can take two more. Before that happened they were destroyed in a 2-1.

Hannibal leads his Iberians.

Close up of the Newline Libyans

Close up of the Newline Iberians and Gauls.

There was not way Fabius was going to dislodge Hannibal's main battle line from the ridge.

The end of the Roman right.

Old School: Rally Round the Flag

Readers of this blog may know that I returned to wargaming and painting figures after about 25 years.  One of my favorite periods back in my original wargaming days was the ACW. Back in those days (70's and 80's) the rules of choice for the period was a set called Rally Round the Flag.

Rally Round the Flag (RRTF) was a set of rules scaled where one fig represented 20 actual men and one gun represented an artillery section of two guns from a battery. The figures were 25mm Confederals but also 22mm Musket Miniatures and quite a few Airfix from the time when that's all there was.

The rules were modified to fit our tastes but the game remained a regiment\brigade\division type game even though Johnny Reb I and other sets had appeared that may have been better. Our little group was satisfied with what we had and that was that.

When I reconnected with my old friends I wanted to do ACW again. One friend still had two brigades of my old figures and I had a kept some as well. It didn't take me long to paint up some more using some of the excellent plastic figures that had come out in the last 25 years but also some more metal figures in 20mm from different manufacturers.

To get a fresh start I selected Black Powder rules for the period. I hold that it is an excellent set of rules once you learn the mechanisms  and memorize them. But that was our problem. We didn't play enough ACW to memorize them and remembering agreed upon conventions became a problem. I longed for a simpler time when I and my friends could use a few charts and play a fun game in a few hours.

I commented to my friend that I wish I had kept my old copy of RRTF. It would be fun to dust it off and try again even if it was just for nostalgic purposes. Well, he kept his and gave it to me. I then planned two games that brought the old rules back to life.

The first game was a non-historical test game and it was a little bumpy as we tried to remember the conventions we had used way back in the 70s and 80s. It wasn't bad however so I took a lot of notes and made some new charts and decided to try it again.

This time we did a scenario from one of the book that the Potomac War-game Group put out. They are available on Wargame Vault in PDF form. I'm not certain what rules they are for but the scenarios adapt well or our purposes. We did the Battle of Greenbrier in late 1861 in what became W. Virginia in 1863.

Despite me, the game master, making a few key errors it went well. Everyone thinks a few more games and we should have the rules down. We took pictures of both games but detailed  battle reports are not really available since I was concentrating more on rules and less the flow of action.

Nevertheless, I'll make a few comments and if nothing else the games showed off some nice figures.

In the first game the Rebs held an extensive fence line. The miniatures here are all Musket Miniatures.

More CSA Musket Miniatures

These are Newline 20mm Union Cavalry-excellent figures and among my favorites.

Union Musket Miniatures.

More Union Musket Miniatures but also a few plastics that fit in well.

Musket Miniatures again. The Union Regiment has suffered casualties and is marked for a morale check. This Union flank was turned in our first game.

South Carolina Rebs. These figures and the flag were painted in the late 1970's or early 80's.

Cavalry mash up in the first game. The Rebs are Italeri. Italeri make some of the finest plastic figures around. The Reb cavalry would win this battle. They are painted up to represent Hampton's Legion.

Just before the Union Cavalry routs.

The pictures below are from the Greenbrier game.

The Union was supposed to outflank the Rebel position by taking the battery. They never got close. The Confederates had quite a few units with smoothbore muskets and all their artillery were obsolete 6lbs. They did just fine.

Nice close up of the 6lb battery and Confederate line behind light works.

This section was on a small hill that overlooked the bridge crossing. The figures are old Airfix classics and some IMEX. 

They are hard to see but there are 10 Reb sharpshooters in the fenced orchard playing the devil with the advancing Yankess.

An Ohio battery playing the devil with the Rebs across the deadly field!

Classic Arifix Rebs in an early war uniform. Careful, could be blue-bellies! 

A brigade of Ohio boys. They did their best to turn the Confederate right but did not have any support from the Indiana brigade on the Union right.

The CSA sharpshooters in the corner of the fenced orchard. They did their job in delaying the Indiana brigade.

Safe and secure which is a good thing because most of the units are small and are equipped with smooth board muskets. Historically, the CSA forces in the battle were small because many were in camp with sickness. Sickness probably killed more Civil War soldiers than musket balls.

My Zouaves representing part of an Indiana Brigade. They both routed due to sharp shooter fire. They rallied but really didn't get it together until it was too late. The artillery battery routed as well as the CSA 6lbs hit it while limbered with devastating results.

Union high tide. The Confederates lost heavily but held and two of three Ohio regiments routed.

Same melee from the CSA post of view. CSA figures are all Airfix.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Reconnoiter the Town

This isn't a battle report per se.

My friend Jim did the lay out it is as well as all the models, He  has been working on a set of WW2 miniature rules for his beautifully built 16' by 4' layout.

The rules are called THAB (To Hell and Back) from the movie starring Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy.

The scale is 1\72 and the unit scale is flexible but usually go above the squad level. In this short introductory (to me) game the units would roughly equate to platoons and companies. The purpose of the game was to show me the mechanisms in anticipation for actual historical simulations in 2019 and to show off the 95% completed layout. I was impressed to say the least.

The basic idea was for a small American force to reconnoiter the town.

I took a few pictures trying to capture the scope of the layout but my iPhone 8 even with an attachment really could not capture the fill impact.

Below are the pics I took and I hope you all enjoy them as much as I did immersing myself in what Jim calls Grand Manner wargaming after the late Peter Gilder.

The Americans were to advance along the road on the left passing by the forested hill on their left.

The other side of the game board from the pic above. Note the dugout and tank obstacles. The section represents part of the West Wall in 1945.

A nice shot of a bombed out "kraut" city. GI lingo in WW2 would have used the "kraut" label quiet liberally. I know because my dad was an MP in early post-war Germany and he was still using the term well into the 1960s! Not very politically correct-ha.

West Wall pill box

A factory on the the outskirts of town. The building on the right has already been flattened by fighter bombers to deprive the defenders of a strong point.

More of the factory complex…I like the truck but somehow the Panzer Grenadiers must have missed it. It's 1945 after all and times are tough.

One of my favorite pictures. I cropped the original. The figures are Caesar Miniatures and have fantastic animation to them. The slight blurring gives the impression of movement. I wish I planned it that way.

The original for the picture above. US Armored Infantry led by an Easy Eight command unit.

Nicer closeup. I have a fondness for armored infantry and White halftracks.

A platoon of Shermans wisely gets off the road but must pass the wooded hill on their right. Are the "krauts" dug in on the hill. Maybe I should have sent the infantry to find out?

The other platoon of Shermans avoids the road as well and proceeds toward the river and the bridge that needs to be crossed.

Uh oh!

Big and bad and blocking the bridge. What will happen?

The Shermans continue to advance and and are not intimidated by the big bad Tiger I.

One of the Shermans is intimidated and is pinned down by the Tiger's 88mm. At this point they are lucky to be alive.

What could have possibly happened? The Shermans return fire managed to destroy the small unit of Tigers. In these rules, because they are units armor is not the major consideration. Results from fire can be pinned down like with the Sherman or a morale loss or in this case destroyed. Frankly, I rolled well and would have been thrilled had the Tiger merely retreated. As it is, KAPUT!

A nasty surprise emerges from the cover near the bridge-a kraut with a panzerfaust. My boys hate them and those who use them.

Uh oh, part of a Pak unit guarding the bridge. In this case a small unit of Pak 50's. Sherman HE fire would deal with them in a final way.

Oh oh! The half of the Pak unit and the big brother to the Pak 50-in this case a Pak 75. It would brew up a Sherman in our short training scenario.

Just another nice shot from a different angle.

The Pak 75mm unit scores. Bail out boys!

I just wanted to pose this picture.

Posed picture. Looks almost real. Maybe I'll convert a couple to B and W.

I just like them.

Another shot of the Pak 75mm unit. The infantry needs to get up there and dig them out because we don't any artillery in the scenario. The grunts are grumbling about that.

Another surprise emerges from cover and takes our 1\2 of the Sherman unit. Then the "kettle" wants to surrender to the infantry coming up. The infantry don't think so.

Not going to happen Fritz.

I want to be the guy in the track having lunch or something.