Monday, August 24, 2009

Figure Photos

Here are some photos of my arabs (almost all Battle Honors) and the Indian Army figs that I have completed recently.The Sikh Infantry and MG team are Copplestone. The kneeling Sikh NCO with the MG is Brigade Games and the 3.7" Mountain Gun and team are Battle Honors.
I will be taking some better photos on my new camera soon, I promise.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crossfire Colonial WWI Thoughts

Before I began to play in a club I gamed Crossfire quite often. It was, by far, my favorite set of rules (though WWII is not my favorite period to game). But my opponent moved away and I have never thought that I would be able to pull off a club game using these rules; so a number of years have gone by since I have thought to play it. What I forgot is that Crossfire plays as well as a solo game as it does a two-player game. So when the opportunity arose to put on a little game at home, I decided (after much worrying) to set up a small game on my small dining room table.

I used the standard Crossfire rules in my game with the following exceptions:

Armoured Cars: I allowed the Armoured Car 3 actions per initiative. Armor was 1/1. If you wanted to limit the aggression of ACs allow rifle fire to blow out tires on a “kill” roll (3 x 5 or 6). The firing player would lose the initiative (or fail to seize it) if he failed to blow out the tires. Tires may be changed as an action, which can draw Reaction Fire.

Command & Control: Infantry Platoons were required to stay in “formation”: column or extended line except when under fire. By 1918 the lessons of warfare on the Western Front so you should allow any infantry unit rated Regular or Veteran morale to operate by standard Crossfire c&c rules.

Barrages: In this game I allowed 6 missions of SOS Barrages. These were pre-plotted against specific Terrain Pieces and the FO could call in the missions as normal as long as his field telephone had an uninterrupted line of communication to a specific point at the Northern end of the table. The opposing force could cut this line, but in this game that was a moot point. All fire was considered to be Shrapnel and would have been ineffective against units INSIDE buildings.

LMGs: Lewis Gun Sections are assumed to be armed with 2 Lewis guns. I have stolen an idea from someone else and decided that if the Lewis Gun’s previous action was movement then it will fire at 3d. If this action is this stand’s first of this initiative, or the last action was a fire action, the Lewis Guns will fire with 4d.

* AP Ammo: Both HMGs were assumed to have been issued some AP ammunition. This allowed them the opportunity to try and knock out the AC. I upped the Penetration to account for the very thin armor of the era. ACC/Pen -1/-4. You might consider limiting the number of fire actions available with AP ammo.

Bombers: Bomber Sections are +1 in Close Combat. They may also make a 4d direct fire attack against targets within 2 stands range or in the same terrain piece. If this attack is made against buildings that the bomber section is in contact with the target receives no protective cover modifier.

Untested variants:

Close Combat: Grenade equipped vs non-grenade equipped +1 (in terrain piece only) (eg Gurkhas vs Arabs in 1920; South Africans vs Ruga-Ruga in East Africa1916); Cavalry vs. Infantry +1 (in open or fields)

Cavalry: Cavalry may be treated with the following options: a. allow a free pivot as part of any move; b. Treat as Japanese when initiating Close Combat, that is any pin caused by reaction fire is ignored, any Suppression is treated as a Kill; mount/dismount is a move action; cavalry is +1 against infantry in the open during CC; lancers are +1 vs non-lancer cavalry in CC; British Cavalry units should have attached HMGs at the Company level, after 1916 they may have one LMG stand per Company (per Troop in 1918).

All that being said, I do believe the closer you stick to the rules as written, the more Crossfire shines. Leave the nitpicking to others.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Crossfire Game (Solo)

The Affair at Balad Chanaq, near the left bank of the Euphrates, Mesopotamia
Late September 1916
Gamed: August 13, 2009
Rules: Crossfire
Scale: 1 stand=1 section
Table: 3x5

Yes, the photos are terrible. I borrowed a camera and it looks worse than I thought.

The Board: South is Bottom photo (including Wadi Gharbiye at top), North (including Balad Chanaq) is Top photo
Shown at set-up

Ottoman Forces (defender)
3 under strength Platoons (3 rifle stands each, Regular morale) each with a +1 PC [39 points]
2 Maxim Sections (unattached) (Regular) [12 points]
1 Arab Band (4 rifle stands, Green) with a +1 Arab leader [12]
1 detail of Bombers (2 stands, Veteran) & +1 PC [10]
1 Company Command stand +1 [4]
1 German FO with 6 SOS Barrages (4 dice each)[3]
1 Turkish Platoon (4 stands, Regular) & +1 PC [14]
Total Points: 80 initial / 94 reinforced

British Forces (attacker)
1 Company Sikh Infantry (reduced)
3 Platoons (4 stands rifles each; fourth stand is Lewis Guns in First Platoon) & a +1 PC each [62 points]
1 Company Command Stand +2 & 1 Stand Rifles (Escort, Veteran) [9]
1 Rolls Royce Armoured Car [12?]
Total Points: 83

This game was a variation on the Bridgehead Scenario in the Crossfire rulebook. The British must take 4 pieces of Ottoman terrain and hold them for 5 consecutive initiatives. The Ottomans receive their reinforcements when the British take the fourth terrain piece.

In real-world terms the Sikh company was seeking to clear Turkish pickets away from the left flank of a British advance and also “show the flag” to local Arabs.

The Ottoman set-up was as follows:
The Arab band in occupied two of the buildings in the village of Balad Chanaq. A Turkish MG and the FO were in the third (and Southernmost) building that overlooked the Sikh Company’s approach. The Eastern Wadi (Wadi Sharqiya) was defended by a Platoon of Turks, another Platoon set-up in the fields just to the North of the West Wadi (Wadi Gharbiye). The remainder of the Turkish company (an MG and the remaining Platoon) defended the wall on the Southern edge of an orchard, just East of Balad.
British Set-up:
The Sikhs deployed in a loose line with the Company A on the Right Flank (East, facing Wadi Sharqiya), Coy. B the Left flank (facing Wadi Gharbiye), and Coy. C in reserve, in some brush near the center. The Armoured Car started at the center as well.

The British had the initiative and moved forward with Coys A & B into the scrub north of both of them. This brought some reaction fire, resulting merely in a pinned section in either company. The AC charged forward and began “hosing” Wadi Sharqiya but did not suppress any Turkish stands; the initiative then shifted as a result. Some desultory return fire occurred, to no result. The initiative returned to the Sikhs.

Action shifted to the Ottoman Right Flank for several initiatives. Sikh Company B fired at the Turks in front of them, suppressing one stand. They then launched a forward assault on the Wadi Gharbiye. One Sikh stand was pinned by reaction fire from the Turks but this was not enough to halt the charge. They struggled to take the position (there were two tied rolls) but the Turkish defenders were doomed since the Sikhs had bonuses for being Veteran and for their opponents having a suppressed stand.

Company B kept up the momentum by moving into the fields to the West of Balad Chanaq. There they came under 6 initiatives worth of SOS Barrages and HMG fire, all being coordinated from the southern-most building in Balad. The Sikhs eventually suffered one eliminated stand and several suppressions (all of which were handily rallied by their PC) they were also effectively held in place.

Unfortunately for the Turks, the British CC mobilized Sikh company C to continue the push on the Western flank. They pushed forward through the fire that was being brought to bear on coy. B. Then when moving into a more Northerly field Company C was hit by a coordinated crossfire from both Turkish HMGs. Two Sections were suppressed but the other half of the Platoon eventually occupied a palm grove just north of the Northern building of Balad Chanaq.

The Turks kept up desultory fire against their opponents in the West, losing the initiative many times due to a failure to Suppress (despite inflicting many Pins, which the Sikhs quickly rallied from) or failure to rally. The unpinned remains of Sikh Company C launch an assault against the Arabs in the northernmost building in Balad. There is a brief struggle but the Arabs are defeated and the building occupied.

As the SOS barrage lifts an assault is made by Sikh coy B against the HMG that has been tormenting it. Victory is quick. One section of Sikhs go to ground outside the building, the others move in to occupy thus occupying the fourth Turkish terrain piece. At the same time the AC has rushed forward and suppressed the Turkish HMG and a rifle section in the orchard. The Turkish platoon has turned to face the north but are now effectively held in place by the threat of fire from the Sikhs in Balad or the AC.

A full strength Turkish rifle section comes on board and assaults the Sikhs in the northern part of the village but they are handily defeated. This is followed by a Sikh assault on Wadi Sharqiya which wipes away the Turkish defenders. At this point the victory conditions have been met and also the situation is clearly hopeless for the Ottoman. Later Ottoman prisoners are escorted back into British lines. The local Sheikhs promise to be docile, though many British sentries still die in the night and rifles disappear by the dozen. The war moves by Balad Chanaq…

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More trivia (painting, rules, etc.)

I spent the weekend painting up those Battle Honors Arabs on Foot (4 of them) plus a Brigade Arab leader. (I noticed that OldGlory15s now has photos of the Battle Honors WWI figs on their website.)

Mostly, though I put sand and stuff on the bases on some of the many of my WWI figs that have plain bases. All in preparation for my big (read 3 foot by 5 foot) solo game of later this week. I'd like to do a Mesopotamia Insurrection 1920 game using Crossfire or Price of Glory, but I only own three building models and I only have one unit of painted Arabs! (That just wouldn't do.)

Still haven't settled on rules to use. They have to work with small forces on a small table. Crossfire will probably do, with some mods.

More later

Thursday, August 6, 2009


By way of proving I'm still around, here's what I've been doing:

1. Finished painting Indian Mountain Gun & gunners; finished Sikh Vickers Team; nearly finished with four Battle Honors Arabs (more about this later); assembled and mounted for painting Artizan Arab irregular Lewis Gun team; mounted 8 Brigade / Artizan Arab Irregulars; basecoated and applied a wash to a Sikh 2.75" mountain gun team (the gun is painted).

2. Bought 27 old minifig painted Sikhs off e-bay; bought painted Asienkorp figures and artillery from Helen.

3. I've been reading: an article from Blackwood's Magazine (1921) called "The Rifle Thieves of Iraq"; the official history of the East Africa campaign (1914-1916); some old Chris Peers articles in WI on East Africa; a book of military despatches from T.E. Lawrence.

4. My family will be out of town for a week so I'm planning at least one solo game at home. Not sure what rules I'll use, maybe CRossfire, maybe Square Bashing.