Friday, November 19, 2010

Game Report-- "Fritzy" Frost Fails (but just barely)

The goal: Secure the disabled Armored Car in the center of town
Game: Rolls Royce Down!
Setting: Somewhere on the Eastern edge of the Transjordan, October 1918
Rules:  Price of Glory 
Date & Location: Saturday 11-13-2010 at The Yankee Peddler Wargames Club (almost 40 years old)
Forces: British: ad hoc Platoon consisting of elements from the ANZACs and British Army (2 sections, both controlled by Mike), Indian Army (2 sections, Eddie) and Arab Northern Army (1 section, Mazz)all amply supplied with Lewis Guns and Bombs;  assisted by local insurgents (eventually up to 6 or 7 groups, Mazz); 1 Se5 Biplane; 1 Indian Army Mountain Gun (Scott Pasha) and 1 Light Car (Scott Pasha)
Central Powers: 1 large Platoon of Ottoman Turks (5 sections, John and Jim); 1 small platoon of AsienKorps Germans (2 LMG teams and 1 rifle section, Gary); Albatross Biplane
ScenarioScenario begins with a knocked out Rolls Royce Armored Car in the village and it's scout car retreated just outside the village. Lt. "Fritzy" Frost, a rather forward thinking Brit who champions adoption of Storm Trooper style tactics, has been chosen to enter the village secure it for recovery of said AC. He is taking a crack team of former ANZACS, Sikhs, Sharifian Regulars and British Regulars amply armed with Bombs and Lewis Guns into the village to hook up with local "friendlies" (who will be riled but by Political Officer Larry of the TransJordan). Meanwhile José Pasha and sympathetic German Captain Gunter von Prüsspantz commanding  rogue elements of the dispersed Yildirim Army have decided to take the village, kill the women, "kiss the boys" and then take off across the desert to join up as mercenaries with ibn Saud (little suspecting the true fate that will await them if they make it).  
Terrain: Almost all buildings scratch built by Mike.
Figures: Turks: Copplestone Castings, Woodbine Designs, Brigade Games; AsienKorps: Brigade Games, Battle Honors; ANZACS: Brigade Games, Woodbine Designs; Sikhs: Brigade Games; Sharifian Arabs: Artizan; Arab Insurgents: Battle Honors, Artizan, Brigade Games, 
Vehicles: Aircraft: Corgi Aviation Archive; Rolls Royce Armoured Car: Matchbox; Light Car: Company B

Initial  British and Australian set-up
With some prompting by Jim, I ran a Price of Glory game last weekend. It went over pretty well and may have resolved the most recent "theoretical problems" that I have been posing to myself about PoG, namely what are the unbalancing factors? There is a lot of grumbling about Machine Guns, and attacks on defended positions and armoured cars. So... the scenario involved two relatively evenly matched forces who both started in a village, with no HMGs or cavalry or active ACs. 

An Indian Mountain gun dropped shells on the Turks in the center of the village through the entire game.
The Turks and Germans  deployed across the width of the town and began an advance. At first the Turks came under some fairly intimidating shell fire while in some ruins but quickly moved up to occupy  a strong, two roomed building at the central crossroads in town. 
Sharifian Regulars move forward on the British right flank
The Frost's force in some ways mirrored the advance of the Ottomans and Germans. The focus here, though was a little more oriented on establishing effective crossfires and getting Larry's Sharifians into town. Once there they would foment an uprising against the insufferable Turk.
Initial Sikh positions
The Sikhs spent much of the game in an attempt to engage and take the Turkish strongpoint. British victory condition was to secure all four corners surrounding the Armoured Car at games end. Eddie's Sikhs were the most active British units in attempting to directly achieve this goal.
After driving off British air cover, a German Albatross strafes Frost's force
I used the super simple Air Superiority rules from our previous game. It is mostly there as a counterbalance to one side having unrestricted aerial attacks. In this game though there were only two turns in which one side (German) ever had air superiority. The rest of the game was spent in dogfighting. 
The Central Powers forces advance into the village. Note the ruins in which the Turks were shelled.
Little knowing what was awaiting them, the AsienKorps infantry moved up and then pretty much stayed static. After Larry entered the village he and his Arabs stirred up the natives and the Uprising began. Mazz accidentally (mostly due to my being unclear about the scenario rules) placed his first group of "pop-up" insurgents on the table before he could activate them. In other words the Germans fortuitously noticed a milling band of surly locals and dispatched an LMG team to deal with them.

The Insurgency begins. Armed local Arabs activate to the left of advancing AsienKorps infantrymen.
And deal with them they did. The LMG team you see in the foreground above moved to assault the offending Arabs and did them in by tossing some Grenades into the building and following it up with a determined melee. No Arabs survived. 
A Turkish sniper, working in concert with a German spotter,  looks for  a target
Meanwhile... The Turkish command group surveyed the battlefield. José Pasha and his subordinates size up the situation. "This troublesome Frost must be dealt with". He orders the sniper team to shoot down any British officers seen on the field. Unfortunately for them the previously "beneath contempt" occupants of the house reveal unseen weapons and make an attack.
Arabs attack, and eventually kill,  the sniper team 
The sniper and his German spotter are killed. Wisely José turns chooses the better part of valor an d moves out of the building. "So as to be closer to the boys up front.." he says, the bullets flying after him. Sometime around this "advance so as to retreat" his favorite water-boy Achmed is grazed by an errant Arab bullet, an ill omen? Who is to say?
Frost's lads assault the Turkish right and engage in a protracted melee. Eventually the Turkish section is destroyed.
With the appearance of their Pasha, the "boys up front" make a determined stand against an attack by Fritzy's boys. The melee seems to go the ANZAC's  way, then the Turks and back-again. Finally the Turks are defeated... and killed to a man. "In memory of Talal" grumbles the NCO as he bayonets the last remaining Turk.
The Turks seized this building and it became the key position in the game. The three sections suffered at least 50% casualties, including 2 NCOs, by games end. It was constantly being hit by small arms fire, mountain gun shells and grenades tossed by Sikhs in the buildings to the East and South-East
Meanwhile... the other half (well 3/5ths) of the Turkish Platoon advances to occupy their stronghold.
Another, later, strafing run. The buildings in the mid ground were teeming with insurgents.

The table, as seen from the Northeast corner. The seemingly endless dogfight continues above the village.
It should be noted that for almost the  entire game the Germans occupied the same three buildings. They exchanged fire with Sharifian Regulars and Sikhs who occupied the buildings ahead of them and fought off several insurgent attacks from behind. 
Where earlier the Turks were wiped out, now a Turkish counter-assault retakes the building and destroys the ANZAC defenders.
The Turks on the right flank were steadily pressured forward as their rear filled with new and larger Arab units each Turn. Eventually there were about 6 to 7 units of insurgents in the Turkish rear. The Turkish leadership moved forward and motivated the remaining Section to counterattack and eliminate  the ANZACs.

In a desperate bid to take the Turkish stronghold, Fritzy leads his boys across the garden. They were met by numerous thrown grenades, but it's the rifles  that begin to tell against the lads.
The Armoured Car stopped smoking (a hint by me that it was approachable). If anyone had attempted to enter it they would have found that the Vickers MG was operational and loaded. But no one did. While the Brits focused on the central Turkish stronghold (ssen in the mid-ground, far right), José Pasha led the remnants of the right flank Turks around behind the last ANZAC section.
In attempt to secure their hold on the crossroads, and deny the wreck to Frost's men,  the Turks launch an assault across the street. It is doomed to fail under a British / Sikh crossfire. 
John's attempt to secure the North East Corner of the crossroads failed, as was almost inevitable. By this point the constant blast attacks and small arms fire were beginning to tell against the main room of the stronghold (note the suppressed markers and lack of command figures). The situation here was more fragile than it seemed. 
The failed, final,  assault. Led by Frost, the exhausted men are not able to make themselves close with the enemy. Moments later belated lewis gun fire from the Sikhs suppresses the Turks, but it is too late as the game comes to an end.
If the Sikh and ANZAC players had co-ordinated this last assault better, there could have been a victory. The suppressions that resulted from the Sikh fire would have made it unnecessary for Frost's lads to pass a Courage check to close. It was still possible for the Brits to win this game in the last round...


James said...

Your write up seems spot on, as usual. It was a good battle that was a much more evenly matched engagement than it first appeared.

Our next action needs to be on more open ground so those "infernal" machine guns can do their work properly!

Back to painting...

AngryCoffeeMan said...

Great write up!!! My eagerness with the Arab insurgents was due primarily with my fascination with "pop-ups"...I HAD to get them on the table!!!

I loved being Larry of Transjordan!

Harry said...

Very nice write-up.

As I`m new to these sort of games, a quick question as to the Black and blue caps thats on some of the barrels on the miniatures, what are they for ?

Scott Pasha said...

Hi Harry, the caps are "casualty caps". Since I have my figures mostly mounted two to the stand we have to use these to show when a single figure on a stand has been "killed".
Thanks for your interest
Scott Pasha