Additional Monthly Meeting Saturday 19 June 2004

after action report


Well a good turnout of some 24 gamers, including a guest newly arrived from Singapore, Anthony Mok, and two new members joining; welcome to Jack Chow and Simon Shum.




Two sorties were flown using 1/300th scale Battle of Britain aircraft and the modified Mustangs rules, Air which can be downloaded from the Warflag web site together with the necessary aircraft data cards.


The first dogfight saw 4 Spitfire Mk 1A's flown by Chris and Andrzej, intercepting 4 Messerschmitt 109E3's flown by Philippe and Denny.  Despite liberally peppering the enemy aircraft, the first plane to be downed was one of Andrzej's Spits, although the pilot was able to safely bale out.  Andrzej's second plane ran out of ammo and headed for the clouds whilst Chris gamely took on the 4 enemy fighters, before having one of his Spits shot down in flames, the pilot unfortunately being trapped in his flaming cockpit.  Final score 15:10 to the Germans.


The second mission saw Andrzej flying a Messerschmitt 110C on a photo-recon mission over enemy territory, accompanied by Philippe in 2 Messerschmitt E1's.  Intercepting the mission were Chris and Anthony Mok in 2 Hurricane Mk. 1's and Denny in a Mk 1A Spitfire.  Andrzej's Me 110 managed to make two photo passes over the enemy installation whilst bravely holding off the 3 enemy fighters before being brought down by Chris whilst heading for home.  A closely fought action that could have gone either way. 



A Mini Minden


This game scenario was based on The Battle of Minden 1759, where the British/Allied army had cornered the invading French army at the town of Minden .  The army set up was based on maps and Orders of Battle from here.


The set up was simplified so that one brigade would represent one unit on the table. Therefore the French had 19 units to the British 16 units.  With the numerical advantage to the French, the aim of the battle was for the French army to create a breakthrough in the British line and exit 1 unit on the British deployment zone. Philip took charge of the French left, which included the cream of the French cavalry.  John controlled the right where historically, the French under Marshal Broglie concentrated their attack and attempt to breakthrough the British line.


The game was quite accurate in reflecting the actual battle.  The French attack on their right, pressed the British defence and a break through looked inevitable, but as in history the glorious French cavalry could not resist charging the British line.  After initial success in capturing a British artillery battery, the cream of the French cavalry were either routed or destroyed, having failed in their attempt to force their way through.  This left a large gap in the French line which the British Light Dragoon Brigade exploited and began to cause chaos by capturing a French artillery position.


The game went to 10 turns with the British successfully passing two withdrawal tests.  With time running out, their lines broken, the French army realised they were not going to succeed in their objective and decided to withdraw back to Minden .


The British had managed to survive... but only just!  


7 Years War - Another Place, Another Battle


The second encounter was between Herbert Wong's & Cheung Kar Fai's Prussians and James Cheung's Russians & Lawrence Ho's Austrians.  As usual, Herbert mounted a combined arms attack against the left flank of the Russian army.  It succeeded again and pushed back James' Russian first line.  The Russians suffered moderate losses while Herbert's losses were lighter. 

On the other flank, Lawrence Ho's Austrians and Kar Fai's Prussians ended in a stalemate with neither side willing to attack first.  Both sides suffered light losses.


DBM Ancients


The meeting saw Jeff Herbert’s Early Spanish (with supporting generals Eric and Peter Munn) up against Tony Mathews’ Marian Romans (with Ken Chan in support) in two games using the 10th June DBMM playtest rules.


Jeff’s Spanish have only just been completed and have previously seen one outing against Neil’s Carthaginians (which they lost) and a game against Tony’s Polybians, which they won.  On this occasion Jeff fielded the army of Sertorius against a Marian army of (S) and (I) blades.  Tony had a healthy respect for the flaming ox-carts having seen them decimate the Roman Polybian cavalry before.  In the first game Jeff went for 3 on table commands and one flank marching ally.  Tony got his deployment wrong and kept too many of his (S) blades guarding a flank.  Jeff exploited the gaps and the Romans were defeated, the oxcarts took out a few Superior blades before ‘burning up”.  In the second game Tony’s deployment was much stronger and Jeff’s 3 on table commands were unable to batter through the (S) blades, and his flank marching command made little headway.  The Marians won the day.


Jeff has found that the best tactic with the Spanish is to field 4 commands with two of the allies flank marching.  Sertorius was quite a man and those that want to know a little about him can find it at these two sites.


7 Years World War


We had a 4-player game "Seven Years World War" although we played it short, for three turns only; i.e. the first 3 years in the 7 Years War:  Lawrence – Britain, Jack – France, Anthony – Russia, Simon – Manchu.


Worrying about France raising a significant army in New France , Britain adopted a strategy of consolidating in North America by moving the majority of its forces to the 13 colonies.  The remaining French colony in America fell after a skirmish fight.   


Surprisingly, London was captured by the French with a naval amphibious assault on the second turn, despite a successful British illuminati on the islands (a re-roll of die).  On second thoughts, perhaps the lack of naval interception rule is an indication that the game does not simulate the war realistically.  It makes amphibious attacks all too easy.  It is, I think, an intended design effect (more on this later). 


Safe from possible French intervention into Austria , Russia began its aggression in northern Scandinavia but lost 2 wars to the Swedes.  Manchu, in the Far East , turned its eye on Japan and Korea and some progress was made by defeating their minor forces.   The Martha Confederacy was largely untouched by any hostile major forces.  France tried to enlighten her people, but instead got a reaction from all major powers, i.e. they all got additional campaign markers.


Turn 3 saw the British amassing their land army back to the islands for a counterattack from the 13 colonies.  Spanish reverted to the British call (by a diplomacy campaign marker roll), and given that a political allegiance between Russian and British was possible in Europe, the British were not that doomed as to the hope of retaking London and given time, could have done so.  Russia called for a political settlement with both Britain and France by calculating the possibility of repulsing the French on a 1:1 linear combat results table.  We called the game to an end because the earliest the British could take back London from a fortified French defence would be 3 turns (years) later.  


In retrospect, the British should have adopted an opening strategy as follows:

  1. Converted London base into a fort immediately;

  2. Did not go over to North America for any consolidation moves so early in the war, instead, waited to see what the French were about;

  3. Retained and used forced march markers to counter-march any French amphibious assaults, turning the French to the defensive.

The present Combat Results Table favours the attacker even at low or even odds.  It therefore encourages expansion rather than contraction.  The naval threat crossing the strait posed by the French should not be ignored given the number of French fleets she is able to mobilize.  The British wide open defence of London and not using its forced march markers (when it had 2) to counter-march the French, proved to be a disaster. 


The French invasion into England makes the 7 Years World War for an interesting strategic game with a lot of difficult-to-balance options.  Every major force has strengths and weaknesses. Russia has a positional advantage and the naturally undisturbed expansion into northern Europe , but she lacks the materials (especially at sea) and fiscal strength for any rapid expansion.  Manchu has to worry about possible European invasions from the sea into her long seashore squares, but she has the numbers in terms of men (though their quality is mostly horde) and the minor powers like Japan and Korea to chew on.  France can be a major threat to anyone because of her initially balanced land and naval forces.  On the other hand, she can be attacked from all sides, unless she can ally with the Spanish early on.  Britain , as usual, has the money to conduct all offensive or defensive actions, but is short on numbers in view of her vast lands and colonies. 


All in all, 7 Years World War is a good game for a magazine.  The draw of the chits allows every game flow to be different, but the game calls for a longer playing time for its full potential to be exhibited. 


War of 1812


First time visitor, Anthony Mok, takes on Sam Tang at Columbia's excellent block game of the 1812 campaign around the Great Lakes.  


Anthony, who was new to the game, played the Americans but could not long withstand the British onslaught at the hands of the well experienced Sam.


Anthony went on to join in the second game of Mustangs, reported above.




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