Thursday, October 8, 2009

(Gnome Wars) Wishing Well Campaign - Battle of Marklin Depot

Set-up: The German moved to the village of Marklin, a major rail hub if the German advance were to continue.

Swiss defenses were stretched to the limit. The 3rd Swiss Infantry had been quickly patched together to aid the Marklin Civil Defense Force (CDF) in defense of the rail depot. The CDF did posses an old heavy mortar which they drug behind the railbed and sent a good number of their melee troops behind a hill as an advance force to encounter the Germans. The Irish were also present at the depot, but for a completely different reason. Unable to recover their “sacred” gold, the Irish were compensated by the Swiss for their loss as well as their services in the Battle of the Thirds. The Irish were unloading their new gold from Swiss trucks onto an awaiting train at the station. Once the gold was loaded, or once the fighting got too close and the engineer decided it was time to leave, the Irish would depart.

Both German units (3rd and 15th) continued their rampage from the last battle, however, with each success, command had been turned over to a subordinate officer with less experience. Field Marshall Von Erichoff’s crushing success with the 3rd at Chucaquatre turned to Colonel Nicholas’ solid victory at The Thirds. Nicholas had been recalled to the border to help prepare the German armor units, so command was turned over to Captain Michael Stepanski a half-german/half-polish gnome commoner turned officer with no combat experience before this war began and a field promotion to Colonel. To compensate for the lack of hvy artillery, a unit of rabbit cavalry (Aussie Cav used to fill in) and a light sausage mortar were brought up from the rear. To negate the wizard’s influence, the witch was convinced to make an appearance with her pumpkin bombs.

The witch was a welcome addition to the German juggernaut. Having her exposed to the Swiss guns early in the game... not wise

Turns 1-4 The German Commander’s inexperience showed even before a single shot was fired. Units were mixed throughout the woods, the 3rd Germans were clumped on the Swiss left flank with the 15th, and the cavalry emerged from the woods in charge formation, with nary a target to charge towards. The young Colonel wasted turns moving the 3rd Germans to the opposite side of the board. The German 1st Cav was left exposed in the middle of the field with a perfect view from the CDF mortar, which obliterated most of them. The bugler for the 15th was ineffective to rally his troops, so the Badenboens lay exposed as the initial turns ended.

The Swiss massed their hand-to-hand specialists behind a hill. Despite complete annihilation, their battle frenzy crushed the remaining spirit of the German left flank.

Turns 5-8: As the 3rd German emerged from the woodline, the Swiss were surprised to see the witch leading the charge, far ahead of the main body. A few well aimed shots of the CDF’s arquebusses fell the witch and sent the pumpkin bombs scattering. Once the 3rd managed to reach a stone wall, they managed to regoup and assaulted the CDF troops. The 15th German became the new target of the CDF mortar, and what was left was nearly wiped out by the melee group hiding behind the hill in the center of the battlefield. The melee group mopped the remaining German 1st Cav and crippled the 15th German to the point of routing.

End of turn 8 total number of Swiss Casualties: 6

Total amount of Irish gold loaded onto the train: 60%

The remains of the 15th Badenboens in the foreground. The main body of the 3rd German "Flying Monkeys" prepare to charge toward the stone walls.

Turns 9-11: As the only German unit left, the Flying Monkeys pressed forward sending peasant infantry forward to clash with the CDF in hand-to-hand with surprising results. The remaining troops suffered heavy losses, but continued to push the CDF back over the tracks and behind the depot.
It has been said that one action can change to tide of battle. The 3rd Germans were weakened but still possessed enough firepower and élan to jump the tracks and rout the CDF forces. One lone German Beier Stein Grenadier’s actions made that an impossibility.

The Swiss hand-to-hand specialists laid waste to the Germans, only to be shot down to the man by survivors of the melee. The five remaining German figures soon routed, so their deaths were not in vain.

The Irish leader “King Jim” had been standing at the corner of the train depot, keeping tabs on both the battle and the slow progress of his troops’ loading of the gold. Despite some heavy fighting coming closer and closer to the rail cars, “King Jim” attentions were directed at some poor Irish Shoe Thrower who couldn’t keep up with the hectic pace. With his back turned, he was an easy (and automatic) target for the German Grenadier. “King Jim” failed his attempt to heal himself during the Medic Phase, and his Irish, instead of routing, went berserk on EVERYONE. No one noticed who hit “King Jim” and between the Germans’ theft of the gold and Swiss’ failure to protect it everyone was fair game.

"King Jim" standing on the train platform. Who knew a foolish throw by some lowly grenadier might change the future of the war?

At that moment, I called the game. The three other units on the board were severely weakened I figured the Irish would run roughshod over them. The 3rd German would flee at the sight of an intact (and very angry) unit of Irish charging them. The 3rd Swiss had enough firepower available to do some damage, but for the wisest thing to do would be to rapidly fall back from their position. The CDF had a few arquebus near the Irish that would get taken out quickly, and a mortar team that would be overwhelmed before they could figure what’s going on. The engineer of the train would panic and leave without the Irish, but with 70% of their gold. The Irish would become a wild card in future scenarios.

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