Wednesday, February 1, 2012

(Gnome Wars) Tanga Campaign #5: Counter-Attack!

It's been awhile, so a refresher on the campaign special rules can here.

November 3, 1914, 1730 hours - The northern-central slope of Mt. Longido
Lt. Colonel Dykstra's Swiss forces had been on the mountain all day in the hot sun facing stiff resistance from the Germans. Luckily, they had fought off a number of harrassing engagements from German units trying to break up the supply lines, or all would have been lost. As the end of the day neared, the commander was pondering pulling his troops back to a safer location to rearm, resupply, and rest before trying it again tomorrow. Unfortunately, Major Kraut and the Germans had other plans, crashing down the mountain to break the Swiss forces' nerve.

This was a bit of an impromptu solo game. The one guy who was available had to bail, so I drafted the services of my own personal gnomes to aid me.

Amelia (left) and Maja look at the Swiss gnomes hiding in the brushline.

My daughters helped out. Amelia would point when I asked her where to move/shoot. Maja was responsible for all die rolls through turn 3.

German Order of Battle
Objective: Exit at least 50% of their figures off the Swiss edge of the board.
3 Infantry Units
1 unit of Teddy Bear Askari Infantry
1 Light Machine Gun Team

German Variable Attachments (1 roll d20)
1-3 2x skirmishers deploy in the brush in the middle of the table.
4-9 1x Teddy Bear Askari Unit
10-17 1x German Infantry Unit
18-19 1x Light Machine Gun
20 1x Teddy Bear Askari and Roll 1 More Time.

Swiss Order of Battle:
Obejctive: Prevent German victory conditions
3 Infantry (hereby called, Tan, Red, and Orange Hats)

Swiss Variable Attachments (1 roll, d20)
1-10 1x Infantry Unit
11-13 2x skirmishers (2 figures from any one unit can set up in the brush in the middle of the battlefield)
14-18 1x Sikh Unit
19-20 1x Light Mortar (not great, but pinpoint accuracy is a good thing in this scenario)

Besides the elevation rules, two more rules came into play. Areas of vegetation are considered heavy brush, halving movement and completely blocking line of sight, unless the figure is on the edge of the area, where he would receive hard/heavy cover (-2 to hit). Figures firing out of the brush must be on the edge to do so.

Teddy Bear Askari stats: Move 12, Rifles follow standard rifle ranges, but max out at 24". Charging Askari get an additional +2 in the first round of combat. We're playing two round combats each turn so if any opposing figures remain and the combat regroups, they only have standard bonuses/penalties.

The Swiss deployed just within the heavy brush line. Dykstra achieved a coup, not only gathering up a rag-tag unit of Sikhs to support the center of the defenses, but by discovering Bruce Carmezind, famed actor/adventurer/author/zombie hunter in the middle of a safari. Carmezind was always an attention whore, so leading men into battle sounded like good publicity. What he did with them in battle would be another story.

Bruce Carmezind leads his untrusty Sikhs.

Sorry boys, Bruce is a Mike Lung custom Znombie Hunter fig that he gave me as a gift. Not bad for one of his first attempts at sculpting.

The Swiss line up awaiting the Huns

The Grey Germans took a pounding while charging the flank

Turn 1: The Germans arrived on the far side of the board, as their card was drawn for initiative. They arrived haphazardly and cluttered in sections of the board to avoid fire. The two Teddy Bear Askari units (Brown and Silver) dashed for the heavy brush in the center. The Green Germans took up a spot to take a clear shot at the Sikhs. Unfortunately, the Sikhs had better shots at the wide-open Germans and they withered quickly. The Purple Germans used the brush to swing around the right flank, and the Grey Germans blew there bugle horn and charged at full speed (plus six inches) completely exposed on the left.

The worst deployment was the machine gun team. They were the last to enter the board and had deal with cramped quarters and a hail of bullets.

Turn 2: The Sikhs tore into the remaining Green Germans, the rifles completely destroyed the the peasants, grenadiers, and support joining the others diving into the rough. The Grey Germans continued to get picked apart by the Swiss rifles in the brush, the medic rolls were phenomenal, and with another blast of the bugle, they surged forth.

The Greens annihilated from the center, the German dive to the cover of the heavy brush

Turn 3: With only an obstinant Grey German unit to shoot at, the Swiss sent melee experts out to meet the Germans. The Orange Swiss clashed with the Silver Askaris with equal bloody casualties. The Orange medic kept his men going in the fray. Major Kraut began to worry, as none of his men had even come close to descending the mountain, yet the Green Germans were already testing for morale.

Turn 4: The Silver Askari - Orange Swiss melee continue in epic style. The Askaris had managed to kill both NCOs attached to the squad, yet the troops kept fighting. The Purple Germans, who had kept a low profile, emerged from the brush guns blazing and punished the few Orange Swiss still hiding on the defensive line. They were one turn away from exiting the board, but alas, a few Sikhs turned to shoot and gunned down the NCO. The unit would automatically rout the following turn. On the other flank, the Greys and the machine gun got into a decent position and finally dealt some damage to the Red and Tan Swiss hiding, with few casualties in return.

Turn 5: With a war cry that freezes the strongest of gnomes dead in their tracks, the Brown Teddy Bear Askaris charged down the hill and smacked the Tan Swiss around. The first round was devastating. The Teddy Bear Askaris' First Charge

Any sense of equal sense of success with the Silver Askaris was quickly muted. One lone Orange pickaxe remained from the carnage. The Silver Askari Commander left one Teddy Bear to finish him and dashed forward to try to reach their objective. The pickaxe not only dispatched the marauding bear, but attacked the Askari unit and took out two more bears before he was finally struck dead. To make matters worse, the remaining Greens were put out of their mercy and routed.

Turn 6: Medics from both the Tan and Red Swiss ran into the melee to heal all but one Tan Swiss. With that luck, and no more charge bonus, the Tan managed to rally, not for a crushing success, but a bitter obliteration to the man. With no medic on the flank, the Grey German finally pushed forward into the brush, dealing significant damage to the Reds, but not able to leave the board.

Turn 7: At this point the German objective was out of reach. Fifty-one gnomes and bears had already lost their lives for the Kaiser, and that did not include the figures routed off the board. Despite the loss of all figures with rifles for the Tan and Red, the rout of the Orange, and the wait-and-see attitude of the Sikhs, the Germans could not muster up enough strength to continue the assault. For most games I would have called it turn 6, but this was the last game of the campaign, and with both sides at a virtual tie, the only way the Germans could win is if they piled up a big body count. And boy did they try.

First off, Brown Askari Commander Lucius nDwengi Honeypot, his unit in shambles from the rallied Tan, chose death before dishonor and charged the Sikh line.

The resulting melee was so one sided that historians just say he was gunned down during the charge. It would have been a more pleasant experience, anyway.

The Askari Commander charges to his glorious death.

The German machine gun which had been so ineffective all game finally wheeled through the brush and unloaded on the emerging Sikhs with some success. One lone Tan pickaxe, still drunk with bloodlust, charged through the brush to kill the machine gun team, only to be met and shot by Sergeant Bogart of the Grey Germans.

Sgt Bogart was the true hero for the Germans. When the Grey's officer went down early, Bogart took over and held the unit together despite overwhelming odds, no cover, and the fact that Bogart was hit five times during the engagement and got up each time to continue the assault. He would earn an Iron Cross of both 2nd and 1st class, as well as Golden Military Merit Cross for his actions.

Turn 8: Sgt Bogart realized how bad the rest of the battlefield was and pulled back (failed rout check). That left the machine gun and the Sikhs, more specifically Bruce Carmezind. Carmezind alone came out of the bush, pulled out his trusty revolver and killed both members of the machine gun team (double 6's). His legend grows more each day.
Carmezind adds to his legend....

For the scenario to work better, it needs two out of three things to happen. Either (a) one more German unit should be added, (b) Swiss firing out of the brush should only get light cover , and/or (c) I need to remember that light machine guns roll four dice per crew member and not three. The Swiss units were all near breaking and an extra 2 or 3 casualties early on could have changed things for the resilient Grey Germans.

The Swiss obviously won this battle. Point wise, it was Swiss 61, Germans 46, making the final total the Longido Mountain part of the Tanga Campaign Swiss 197, German 181. The Germans will loose considerable manpower for the fighting in and around Tanga, although, given my miscues with the machine guns and cover, I plan on running a scenarion 5.5 at the next con to determine what supplies or manpower can escape from the train station to Tanga. That my friends, is for another post.

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