Invasion: Sicily: Scenario 2 – Operation Husky

Background  – Invasion: Sicily covers Operation Husky 1943. This game is a solid, fun game that uses aspects of Vance Von Borries other great series games East-Front Series. I played this a while back – here are some of my notes. I should continue with them when I get the chance. Enjoy!

 

Invasion Sicily scenario 2: Operation Husky Historical Campaign.

Scenario Parameters:

Scenario Length: GT#1-#14 Weather, Dry (first turn) (No Storm)

Not using Historical Set-Up, card #2 Set-up only.

Exclusions: Detailed Sequence of Play: Exclude 1.c and 5.c from the rules.

Limitations:

  1. Commando and Airborne units can be used during any game-turn to invade/land on any allowable hex, so long as it is within five hexes of a non-airborne/commando unit of the same nationality. (Ignore enemy blocking hexes)
  2. British Airborne units are permitted to attack (only) on the turn they perform air assault missions, they may defend normally on all other turns.
  3. 2d Armored Divisions and 82d Airborne Divisions cannot enter any map hex where the last two digits are xx09 or higher after GT#8 or the fall of Palermo.
  4. US 4 naval/540 and 5naval/40 beach units must be withdrawn NLT the Allied Transport Phase of GT5.

 

VP Levels.

29+ Allied Decisive

20-28 Allied Operational

15-19 Allied Marginal

12-14 Axis Marginal

9-11 Axis Operational

8 or Less Axis Decisive

Turn 1: Allied Landing and Amphibious Placement. Airborne units (1ABN)  lands, one disrupted regiment – lost a step. Other landed safely.

0.1 Allied Segment
Combat Declaration: We are pushing hard to clear the coastline. Nearly 3 units (dummy) were completely useless CCNN 0-0-0 Removed! The remainder; let us see how that goes.
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The British have a few Italian’s to crack on out of the gate. Lets see how their combats turn out.

 

Turn 1: Pre Declaration of British forces..
Turn 1 Combat aftermath for the Allies. The Italians had a few 3rd Rate defensive units that just threw their hands up, the remainder, 2nd rate CCNN units with little to no experience/training. A coastal CCNN unit is holding fast and will soon be out of supply by second turn.
Turn 1 Allied Segment: Post combat.
Turn 1: Allied Segment – British forces, are now breaking out NNE toward Messina. The Axis have repositioned their forces and will need to block them.

End of Turn 1. VP’s == +1. Definitely a long road to victory. Losing the 40+41 RM in the initial invasion/thrust threw me off quite a bit due to the fact that Odd’s were dwindled against them as TEC modifiers and DRM’s turned their attack from 1:1 -1 to 1:1 +1DRM when conducting an Amphibious assault on Pollazo.

Things I learned as so far as Allies & Axis:

  • Allied Forces:
    • Allies need to push and screen along the main road coastlines.
    • Allies cannot get sucked into combat in the hills, the Odd’s are definitely against them. The Axis forces will be able to dig in as tight as ticks amongst the heavy boulders.
    • Allies will need to leverage the combat power the Airborne forces can provide, the limitation of ABN forces post landing/combat cause them to become more of a screening defensive force as opposed to a primary attacking force. Their role in this operation was definitely Air Assault, then hold/screen.
    • Royal Marines, Cdo’s and Ranger’s are not leading the way beyond the primary objectives. They are valuable alive.
  • Axis Forces:
    • Axis forces need to wait and see where the Allies end up then decide on next steps.
    • Axis forces have three phases: 1. Weaken US Forces and try to push them back to Gela and stop the British Advance toward Catania – comb the area around Mt. Etna if required. Great defensive positions. 2. NNW: Fall back into the hills, create an elastic defense along the rivers to the West of Palma – NNE area: Plug as many gaps as possible to slow the British advance to Messina.
    • Be patient and prepare Axis forces for Evacuation…

Turn 2: Weather – > Dry.

Combat Declaration – Allied Segment – Note: The axis blew the port up in Catania.

Turn 2: Allied Movement and Combat Declaration
Air-Support for the Allies, Axis cannot interdict from this zone; things are going to get a bit difficult for the Axis. Two glider units, 325th *US* & the 1ABN Glider troops fall into the fray. The OOS CCNN unit is still holding tight against the Canadians near Pozallo.

As you can see, all attacks declared are in Supply.

The 1SA Have captured the lighthouse at Augusta. My next tactical task is to move toward Catania to break down any units from being transported.

 

  • Turn 2: Four combats
    1. Combat against 157/55 (ER Check Failed AS Halved) against CCNN G: 1:1 -> No effect. (8 on CRT)
    2. Combat Vizzini: 2:1 odds, +2DRM (6+2) = 8 Attacker loses a step – 13/5 Brigade eliminated.
    3. Combat against CCNN in Pollazo: 6:1 odds -3 DRM: Rolled – D3R: Eliminated CCNN.
    4. Combat in Catania: Things are bad here for the Allies ->  1:1 odds DRM +1 (City), (ER passed) 8+1= 9 CRT: A2R/D1: Allies lose 2 steps & Retreat, Defender 1 Step loss. (Note: Axis do not advance, Allies retreat Hexes) 153/51 Eliminated.

Review of combats, best bet, next go around, get more forces up and stage a heavier attack with Air Support + Naval Support.)

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Allied Combat Phase (completed) – Directing attacks, requires coordination – This was a poorly calculated risk, causing heavy losses of an entire British Brigade.

 

To be continued…

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Part 3 of The Battle of Marathon – GMT Games Hoplite: The final struggle…

Part 3 of The Battle of Marathon – GMT Games Hoplite:

To recap last phases, it’s escalating! Lets see what happens when Pre-Shock kicks in and Shock Combat in Turn 2! Reminder: Athenians have a DRM +2 due to a Running Advance, there are also single-sized units, and half depth phalanxes on the field – will note them when rolling for Shock. The Persian side, Greek Mercenaries (MI) and one Elite Persian MI unit.

CORRECTION: Shock MUST check (I didn’t flip the counters for the Athenians – that was fixed)

Pre-Shock! Athenians on the Run take a few Cohesion Hits!

  • Athens 8 = 1
  • Athens 7 = 1
  • Athens 15 = 1 (Half Depth Unit)

Athenian Pre-Shock checks have all passed, with the exception of Plaetea’s HO single force! They take a CH of 1 due to this.

(This is insanity! (I haven’t been this lucky since my first vassal battle of Hoplite!))

We now continue to the second segment of checking the Persian pre-shock.

  • The Persians from Left to Right begin Pre-Shock! Cohesion Hits
    • The Carian LI Archers = 2
    • Persian Elite Medium Infantry take 1 CH and hold strong !
    • The Mysian LI Archers = 4 ; A major blow in the initial shock – They were unprepared!
    • All others have passed.
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Eight Stadia Run Results and the Pre-Shock Results…Here comes the Shock!

Note:: Susa and Syria made contact with the HO infantry unit above, the only unit that received a failed PreShock: HO Plaetea is no longer engaged. They also had made a “RUN” that was solved too…and advanced with the Eight Stadia Run – and passed the TQ check – however, they meet in stalemate…No Shock Combat for them.

Athenian Shock Combat Ensues – The Struggle is Real.

The outcome of Shock Combat! (Pictured below) The intensity of the struggle has reached a heavy crescendo – the speed power of the Athenian advance have crushed and routed 

The Persian, MI – Greek Mercenaries are routed, 4x LI Archers are routed -> pt Total as so far: 27 RPs for Persia. The initial Shock Phase was violent and swift, this does not mean much as of yet since Turn two is continued. We shall see how Persia bounces back from this.

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As you can see, the Persia’s right flank is isolated and out of command. Athenian Hoplite/Phalanxes have Advanced with a Wheeling Maneuver to envelop and wipe out LI Archers as the center of the battle is stalemated. The Greek Mercenary Medium Infantry drop and run. Due to the momentum of the Eight Stadia Run, the assault begins with full might. Centers have been collapsed. The killing begins…

Things take a major turn for the worse and disengaging is not an option. As the Persians realize what is happening, it is too late. Shield and spear thrusting through their wicker shields, blood soaking the battlefield, people are being stampeded.

IMG_0632FullSizeRender (10)FullSizeRender (11)

The final outcome, momentum was lost by both sides as hacking and slashing ensued. Datis, the Persian General has pulled back to attempt a rallying of troops, the possibility is very low, his Cavalry not in sight, (Not till turn 4); the opportunity to seize the moment, lost. What will come of this?

The Athenians, dead-bent on destroying the Persians, they’ve made perfect positioning on the flanks, their ranks, Advanced with perfect organization into Wheeling Maneuvers, taking little to no damage or threat. The Athenian right flank is now tired and may attempt to pursue further to annihilate  the retreating LI-Archers.

Suffice to say, little loss to the Greeks, the Commanders are reconvening for the push.

 

Turn 3

 

 

The Final Results of Battle – Datis Flees the field – There is no possibility of hope when a collapse of the middle, and being fully envelopment by Athenians follows. The Cavalry do whats best and proceed to safety…Their chance for recovering the battle is too late and would be of waste.

To fight another day…

Athens is Victorious! Now begins a new dawn, Democratia! The Athenians leave the dead in the field and collect trophies to take back.

Sparta comes soon after to inspect the field of battle to see what a Persian looks like at close up. Not realizing what the Athenians have done, they are baffled, shocked, at the sight….

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Below is a decent depiction of the battle of Marathon, you’ll notice the outcome nearly matched. Kind of crazy – The route could have continued.

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Score:

Athens: 0RP

Persia: 84 RP


Conclusion:

What did I learn from this simulation, and the historical Battle of Marathon…

Historical accuracies: Somewhat due to the confines of the battle, the orders I gave toward both forces. The only factor, advance of hoplites, and the luck of the die.

The area of the battle that I found compelling to mention: The breakdown of LI Archers on the flanks, and the glorious Wheeling Maneuver made the battle look so attractive to replay just for that!

There was a major chance for pursuit after the end of Turn 3 if I wanted to continue and play through the pursuit and potential Cavalry reinforcement – the engagement would have had changed from splitting forces to pursue routed Archers and Medium Infantry, and a blocking pattern to engage the Cavalry forces. Instead, I felt the battle was lost – and ended.

I can definitely see how Light Infantry Archers are useless when engaged by a bunch of crazed Greeks, wielding Hoplons and Dory’s at full run…Perhaps my learning lesson here is to disrupt the Athenian lines by creating gaps to keep distance and perhaps use Medium Infantry to strengthen a dominant side. I still have difficulty imagining why/how Datis could not see this coming.

My luck with Momentum on the field, for both sides, terrible. I couldn’t roll for the life of me…Until Shock-Combat occurred…then things picked up.

The Persian Cavalry: They could have totally disrupted the action for a limited time, the Archers could have presented a nice screen to bleed the Athenian Hoplites.

Note: Athenian Skirmishers were not heroes today, if anything, they served one true purpose, to disrupt and slow the flanks with H&D Tactics. :)

A great game, Marathon rocked! Now its time to read “The Battle of Marathon, by Peter Krentz!”

Rating of Hoplite
Overall: 8/10
Replay value: 9/10
Solitaire: 9/10
Historical: Yes – Can be.
Complex: Medium Complexity – You’ll catch yourself re-reading rules…over and over…Even when you know it, you’ll find something that you either missed, or realized was incorrect.

GMT: Hoplite – Marathon (490BCE) Part 2

Turn 1 and into Turn 2…

Opening Moves:

  • Initiative Goes to the Athenians.
  • Athenian Activation Phase
    • (Reminder: No Trumping in this Battle)
    • The Athenians – AM is pulled: Hoplite/Skirmishers
  • Hoplite/SK Orders Phase:
    • Rolling for HO Advance to Combat Rate(s)
    • HO/SK Movement phase
      • All TQ checks for HO units A2C set to RUN Pass.
      • Skirmishers move in in concert

The Athenian General, Miltiades flags the Skirmishers and Hoplites, orders are to march at once toward the enemy. As planned, to keep quiet and prepare for the Eight Stadia Run. The Athenian Right is moving at a solid running pace, confident in crushing the flank, they continue at a strong stride. Miltiades left, and his center Force Commander, Stesilaos keep at a trot, near walking pace to offset momentum and keep his weaker forces fresh and ready for a full fledged Run.

As they approach, dust begins to surround the field of battle.

[1st Athenian AM-Command Complete]

  • Persian Activation Phase
    • The Persians pull the Momentum AM
  • Rolling for Momentum: (Requires a <= 3) Passed!
    • Datis Activates his Medium Infantry Command
  • Medium Infantry Orders Phase
    • Movement Begins

Datis has activated his Medium Infantry to move out to meet the center. His confidence in collapsing the center is strong – his elite unit is at the ready and leads the way. With chanting and scowls, the Persian infantry move out.

[1st Persian AM-Command Complete]


 

The next AM Phases in order of Army.

Athens, momentum – Initiative DR has failed – Wasted.

Persia pulls Cavalry, cannot use Cavalry until turn 4.

Athens Pulls Medium Infantry – Persia Defers

Persia Pulls Archers and begins Movement Phase

 

  • Persian Activation Phase
  • Archers (Orders)
    • Movement Phase

Datis, now focuses his command in the direction of his Archers. Flagged to proceed further out toward the enemy to close into firing range.

Hesitant, the Archers move directly line-(abreast) formation, a force of presence toward the Athenians. A massive dust cloud now 20-30 metres in height loom over the Athenians, both sides now pressing forward towards their fate.

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The Athenians and Persians march!

The Athenian line moves staggered toward the enemy. Their Eastern/left flank, oblique  using the terrain characteristics to their advantage in the event of dispersal (The approaches to Mt. Kotroni could be of good use.)


Turn 2

Initiative is given to the Athenians to begin.

  • Athenian Activation Phase
    • Marker Pulled: Persian Medium Infantry! – Persians now take on next steps.
  • Orders Phase is Given to Datis and the Persians.
    • Movement of MI
    • The Medium Infantry have been ordered by Datis to proceed to the center to attack Athenian Hoplites – the goal, get the center and hold it. Athens will need to be broken from the thinning center. The flanks will be disrupted by our Archers (Composite bows) as they Pre-Arrange withdraw before the
  • Orders Phase Complete for Persian MI

 

  • Persian Activation Phase – Flipped over to HO/SK Athenian!
    • Marker Pulled: Persians have Pulled the Athenian Hoplite/SK Marker!
    • Orders Phase is Given to Miltiades and the Athenians.
      • Movement of HO/SK
      • The plan:
        • Skirmisher Action 1st.
        • From the (Right) Eastern Flank we have Athenian, and Athenian Slave Skirmishers – Both will begin to move toward the two outer Persian units to get in range to throw Javelins, conducting a H&D (Harassment and Dispersal) Tactic. Those units are both conducting the tactic.
        • From the furthest – (Left) Western Flank, we have Plataean Skirmishers (Javs) moving toward the outside Right Flank of the Persian Light Infantry (C-Bows) to conduct H&D tactics. The adjacent  unit, the Plataean tribe, Erecthesis (HO Single Unit) will support their salient as they disperse back. The goal: Disrupt, adjust, orient, and decide.
        • Hoplite Infantry 2nd.
        • Miltiades signals for the Eight Stadia RUN!
          • The center Phalanx/Hoplite units will begin to advance at a full run to attack the Persians as soon as Skirmishers complete their H&D tactics – As this occurs in concert with Skirmisher actions, the Persian Medium Infantry in the middle were not prepared for a full fledged sprint!

 

The initial clashes from Skirmishers – H&D Tactics, and outcome.

  • Skirmishers H&D Phase
  • No Dice! – No hits on Persian LI Archers
  • Missile Availability for Ath. SK – Passed (reloaded)
    • Entry Reaction Fire Occurs:  (Composite Bows)
      • 1 CH for Plaetean SK Unit
      • 1 CH for Athenian SK Unit
      • 1 CH for Athenian Slave SK Unit
    • Missile Availability  for Persians – DRs Passed. (reloaded)

In concert to the engagement, the “Eight Stadia Run” *signal* occurs. Hoplites enter the action in a full ‘run’ (advance) – giving them a +2 DRM when Shock Combat occurs. Note: The Eight Stadia Run has one exception: If the units in advance exceed their Advance to Combat Movement, there is a required 1 CH hit that the unit inflicts. (Hence 1CH on some HO units at the end of the post)

 

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The Outcome of the advance leads Unit after Unit into a bitter battle! With Hoplites entering combat, the preliminary events to a fateful crescendo of violence await us!


 

Stay tuned for the remaining segments of  Turn 2, where we will cover…

  • Pre-Shock!
  • The Outcome of Pre-Shock – and the pain felt!
  • Shock Combat Ensues – The Struggle is Real.
  • The outcome of Shock Combat!
  • And The AM Pulls that remain! (Persian LI Archer Movement and consolidation/Counter Strike)

 

 

 

 

GMT: Hoplite – Marathon (490BCE)

This past weekend I had the opportunity to play a Battle of GMT’s GBoH Series: Hoplite – (Specifically) The Battle of Marathon (490 BCE)…

I chose to play Marathon due to my anticipation of a recent purchase. The Battle of Marathon – Krentz – (Thanks bigboardgaming.com for the recommendation) – My goal is to recapture my thoughts on the battle, to play it openly to see if I can put into check (myself) either side due to opportunity.

I have bias; I am Pro-Athenian, the defenders. (of Democracy and Hellene Society)

So I took a little time to drop my bias, and see where and how Datis could potentially break the Athenians.

A few characteristics of Hoplite and the battle of Marathon.

Distance of armies? Well, our primary source Herodotus states “a distance not less than 8 stadia” which is about 1500 metres. Correct!

  • Hoplites hexes are calculated at 100 yards each (91 metres). (Correct by the eye and scale)
  • Hoplites Terrain Characteristics are to scale for the engagement to ensue.

The overall terrain is pleasing to the eye and not too plain. I like that. Historically speaking, nothing is certain in regards to terrain/situation. We use what we can to verify!

The history in summary: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Marathon Give it a read….I’ll spare all that want to get better source material/details on the battle.

The View from Above

Orders of Battle

The Athenians and Plataens under Miltiades and Kallimachos

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 2.45.02 PM

Note: [a] = Use as Single Sized Unit, [b] = Half Depth Deployed HO Units

  • No OC
  • No modified Int DR
  • FC may attempt Momentum w/o OC
  • No Trumping
  • All three are FC’s for HO/SK Cmd (5.52)

The Persian Army under Datis and Artaphernes

Screen Shot 2016-08-23 at 2.44.53 PM

Note: [a] = Greek Mercs in Persian Service, [b] = Elite Persian Infantry

  • No OC, no mod to int. dr.
  • FC may attempt momentum w/o OC
  • No Trumping
  • Datis is FC for MI and LI
  • Artaphernes is FC for Cav – Special Rules for Reinforcements

 

Special Rules: 

  • Initiative: Athenians for turn 1 and 2
  • Leader Ratings are marked as an exception since neither side have OC’s
  • Athenian Eight Stadia Run: Replaces 6.21/27 Special Rule
  • Retreat Edges:
    • Athenians: South Edge: 4237-424 inclusive or SW edge 1844-2644 Inclusive.
    • Persians:  NE Edge 00xx Hex Row

Victory: Athenian W/Draw totaling at least 40 RPs have been eliminated. The Persians, W/Draw when units with RP totally at least 35 RPs have been eliminated.

Totals: 10 Athenians (76RP) , 20 Persian units (113 RP).  


The Battle Begins:


Part 2 To be Continued…Soon…