WHFB: Dwarves vs Empire (2012 07 21) – Part Three

The final part of the battle report, my narrative on the second half of the game after the disaster that had befallen the Dwarves.

The Rangers c ontinued to menace the flank of the Empire, but were being whittled down by gunfire !

After taking serious damage as well from missile fire, the now denuded Hammerers charged the steam tank in the flank.

The Miners charged the Halberdiers who had about faced, only for the detachments to get engaged as well:

But the dragocopter lined itself up nicely for finishing off the large unit of hand gunners:

…before it got charged in the side by a small unit of hand gunners and after a couple of rounds combat it was defeated.

The second unit of miners came on, again behind the Empire lines, but were not so effective as the target units were busy advancing away from them at a much faster rate heading towards the Hammerers’ flank.

The White Wolves came round the ruins/forest to roll up the Dwarven gun line, what was left of it…

The Rangers had now got into combat with the hand gunners on teh flank and were busy beating them up, but the miners toddling across the battlefield in a vain effort to help the Hammerers were now themselves about to be flanked by the Empire troops:

A great game. The Dwarves after their initial shock loss, continued to play well and dished out a lot of damage, but beiung light on missile fire (no artillery), against the Empire firing line they took casualties at a faster rate.

Though Anthony modified his plans, the miners were too unwieldy when faced with the Empire detachments and were caught on thier flanks as well as by the horde of Halberdiers. The Empire troops with a two inch movement advantage (on march moves) also proved too fast for the Dwarves, and their now scattered units were going to be picked off one by one either by missile fire or by the numerous detachments of Empire troops.

Richard, the Empire General got a lot of lucky breaks with his dice rolling. The first combat of Rangers vs White Wolves was a very very lucky break for him, and getting the Dwarves to run away was a disaster for Anthony. However, the Hammerers did come close to destroying the Steam Tank, IIRC it was down to 1 or maybe 2 wounds at the end.

I concur with what both of them said in Part Two, that Anthony would have been better continuing with Plan A and flanking the Empire line where he could have progressively rolled up the firing line before the Halberdiers could get to them – I think the detachments and small units of hand gunners might then have got in the way and hampered Richard’s response.

An interesting game, which with a change of dice rolls could have ended in a different result.

WHFB: Dwarves vs Empire (2012 07 21) – Part Two

Here are some narratives from Anthony & Rich, there now seems to be three postings worth of material as I have found another half dozen photos and my own comments to add in conclusion, for tomorrow…

Dwarves – Anthony

As any dwarf army general knows, it is hard to out manoeuvre your opponent. One way to attempt this is to make good use of both your scouts and miners. It is actually possible to put a significant amount of your infantry into these units. In this battle the infantry was split into roughly in three equal parts:

  • The front block of hammers (32 + General & Runesmith), crossbowmen (20 + Bugman) and thunderers (18 + Runesmith);
  • The flanking scouts of warrior rangers (33 + Lord & Thane) and longbeard rangers (20 + Thane)
  • The flanking support of two units of miners (27 + Thane).

The idea was to choose a flank, place both sets of rangers on it, advance rapidly towards the enemy, and have that flank further supported by the miners. Meanwhile the notional centre of the army was to distract the opposing army (which it succeeded at).

The initial setup went well, and the flanking manoeuvre appeared to be working; a unit of heavy cavalry was successfully lured into a charge of the 35 ranger warriors (which would then have been flanked on the next turn by the supporting longbeards). However, due mainly to some poor dice rolling on the Dwarf side in combination with some lucky dice rolling on the part of the opponent, the steadfast bonus of the warriors was lost by a single model. Therefore the whole of that unit was wiped out…

Not only did the Dwarves lose a substantial unit (for the cost of a single wound on the heavy cavalry), but this cavalry was now free to roam the battlefield at will. The reaction of the Dwarves to this loss compounded the issue, by then changing the plan and bringing the miners on behind the enemy lines. Here, the new counter charge facility (and sharing of strength from units not in combat) provided to the empire supporting units (cohorts?) made what was going to be a difficult, virtually impossible.

If the original plan had be kept, then the remaining unit of rangers, would have combined with the miners to advance on a vulnerable flank, with easy access to war machines and (shoot or fire) missile troops. Therefore, even with the original set back the plan could still have been effective. In a smaller game a similar strategy worked well, and there is no good evidence to say it cannot work at a larger scale. There are certainly several different ways of fielding a dwarf army that can be generally effective (and keeping your opponent guessing about the type of army you will field is always good).

Some good points did come out of the battle from the dwarf side (even though they were annihilated).

  • It is possible to protect a Gyrocopter by hiding it behind the advancing rangers.
  • The flanking manoeuvre almost worked, and with just average luck would probably have held the heavy cavalry)
  • An empire steam tank can feasibly be taken out by a unit of hammerers
  • Taking a small amount of anti-magic can effectively showdown most of the opponents magic phase
    With a little bit of luck (or just getting a fair share at key points)

Lessons learnt:

  • Stick to the plan (there was a good reason for it – and you probably do not have the manoeuvrability to reconfigure a dwarf army).
  • Do not be greedy when the Gyrocopter gets in an amongst move or shoot troops. Several smaller shots are better than one big shot.
  • An empire army is probably going to suffer most from a traditional dwarf heavy artillery (and firing line) attack – to significantly weaken their natural number superiority.

Notes:

  • The empire army had actually set up in such a way as to block itself in; if it had not been for the miners presenting themselves behind the enemy lines, the main empire infantry blocks would have had a hard time getting into the battle.
  • The empire artillery never misfired (no matter how many artillery dice are rolled – and their were lots); this made there equivalent of the dwarf organ gun look very potent indeed.
  • There is not much you can do tactically (or even strategically) to over come lucky (or unlucky depending on perspective) dice results at critical junctures in the game. Most of the time, such discrepancies even out and do not significantly affect the flow of the battle as a whole.
  • Empire war priests provide the units they are with, with the hatred special rule (in addition to some magic capability).
  • Empire supporting units (cohorts?) can counter charge.
  • Empire supporting units can be steadfast based off its main units ranks, even when this unit is not actually in the combat.
  • Empire (generals?) enable rout tests to be made with the lowest of three dice.
  • A dwarf army can compete in a shooting contest with an empire army. It will lose on the small arms fire (as empire troops are cheaper), but this should be compensated by the effectiveness of the heavy artillery (with suitable runes on them).

Empire – Rich

What went right:

  • All the bits of the army were selected with a planned role, and they all performed it well. I was especially pleased with how the units and characters worked together.
  • I had a good plan for deployment and didn’t let the unusual Dwarf army derail it too much
  • Really good dice rolling, especially when it really mattered – e.g. never rolling a misfire, making all the 4+ saves for my Knights vs the Rangers, hitting one unit of Dwarves with 3 Hellstorm rockets

What went wrong: I didn’t really have a plan to deal with being flanked (because of facing Dwarves) – but I was ultimately allowed to get away with it!

What went wrong for the enemy:

  • A big initial set back
  • Allowing that set back to change his plans. He should have used the miners to increase the threat on my flank, rather than throwing them piecemeal into the centre of my army – albeit the rear of my army.

Other thoughts:

  • It might all be downhill from here!
  • It would have been nice to test the units against a “normal” army to see how it performed
  • I picked the army specifically to fight Dwarves, it wouldn’t cope with a magic using enemy

Rich then commented on Anthony’s write up just before I published this

Awesome write up, much better than mine!
A few notes:

  • It’s detachments not cohorts (though the Roman terminology is apt!)
  • The detachments CAN borrow steadfast but only if the parent is in combat (I think the same combat). Mine was borrowing Stubborn which the unit had due to a magic item.
  • The Hold the Line! rule, rolling 3 dice for Break tests, comes from having an Empire General or Captain in the unit.

Phew….lots of words there from the two of them…more pictures tomorrow and my own conclusions !
And if you thought the above was pretty intense, then the books I’ve had delivered on Friday and Saturday about the RCW are mind meltingly tough by comparison.
Again more tomorrow to make up for the couple of days’ of absent posting.
😉

Mordheim: Marienburgers

I liked the idea of rich mercenary buccanneers, with flamboyant outfits, especially Orange….

As the WHFRPG supplement commented commented: Where Seagulls dare !

The Mordheim figures allowed you a lot of customisation with the plastic sprue of weapons and equipment:

These are pictures of my Marienburgers painted 10+ years ago:

And here are some Foundry Picts I used as henchmen as they are very ragged:

But I also used a lot of very old Citadel figures as well:

And more:

Rich used some C series Rangers in his Imperial Army Huntsmen unit:

You can also see the progression of my painting in these figures, just look at the bases !

🙂

I once dreamt of fielding a Marienburg army, but I think the latest Empire troops are OTT and too Sigmar oreintated. Especially if I wanted to field a Sea Elf unit. Maybe I’ll have to work on something.

WHFB: Dwarves vs Empire (2012 07 21) – Part One

My mate Byakhee Anthony has long been a Dwarf player so I was keen to watch how he handled his army. So rather than dividing my attention commanding some troops of my own, organised a game with Rich & Anthony with myself as host/observer.

So this battle report, is a bit more detailed than usual, and later, as in I didn’t post it last night. In fact I’ve gpot so much material, I’ve asked Anthjony & Rich for their comments as well as my own unbiased neutral comments as a reporter for the august newspaper The Carcosa Times. So Part Two will come later today or tomorrow.

Each army had 4,000 points (approx) of troops. This takes us about an hour or so to set up and roll the first dice in anger, and finished before 6pm.

Dwarves:

Anthony is still buy painting his army for the first time, and whilst watching the4 battle, and in between making pizzas, I did some block painting (more of which later):

  • Lord on Shield Bearers, Runesmith & 32 Hammerers
  • Lord, Thane & 33 Rangers (Warriors)
  • Bugman & 20 Quarrellers
  • Thane & 27 Miners
  • Thane & 20 Rangers
  • Thane & 27 Miners
  • Runesmith & 18 Thunderers
  • Gyrocopter – represented by a dragon figure, so it got nicknamed variously the gryrogon or dragocopter

Empire

Rich has had an Empire army for some time and sued the recent release of the new Empire army book to dust them off, update them and field them for the first time rather hurriedly he claimed:

  • Grand Master of the White Wolves, Luthor Huss, Priest of Sigmar, 15 White Wolves of the Inner Circle
  • Priest of Sigmar & 40 Halberdiers, and a Sword Detachment
  • Priest of Sigmar & 30 Great Axes, and a Sword Detachment (15)
  • Captain & 30 Great Swords
  • Hand Gunners 920), two detachments of crossbows (10 each)
  • Hand Gunners, marksman w Repeater Handgun (10)
  • Hand Gunners, marksman w Long Rifle (10)
  • Huntsmen (15)
  • Helstorm
  • Steam Tank
  • Hellblaster x2
  • mortar

Quite a firing line and took Rich a while to put out:

And here’s Anthony’s stuff – rather black (now fixed):

Not appearing on a battlefield near here, yet…miners and rangers…:

And then up popped the hunters:

Rich’s Empire army got the initiative and the first key encounter arose:

The White Knights vs 30+ Dwarf Rangers, a tough one to call, neither side could afford to blink.
And then it all went a bit Pete Tong (wrong), with the Dwarf Thunderers taking multiple casualties:

Whilst the White Wolves charged, defeated and wiped out the 30+ Dwarf Rangers ! :-O

Everytime Anthony’s undercoated figures came off, I set to work painting some block colours, until I ran out of my first tub of basing paint:

Then Anthony’s first unit of Miners (30) came on, of course he’d equipped the champion with a steam drill so could re-roll his dice when working out when they aoppeared. So he made them turn up in the middle of Rich’s line:

More to follow.

Flint Knapping: Flint Axe in action

Well I got a sirloin steak:

And then sliced it using the flint axe I created on Sunday:

So I used it as a test of the claims made about flint implements:

That was two slices – and as you can see there is a white line that’s the cut made by the flint axe, and that’s on a marble cutting board.

And there it is going in to the grill, a light dash of olive oil with some pepper. Grilled blue/black style. To be served with some chips (yes the only time I have chips), onion rings and fresh asparagus with freshly made Tewkesbury sauce (a mix of mustard and horseradish). Yum. 🙂

Looks like the neolithic people could have eaten well.

A Big Beast

Copplestone Castings have just released a new tank (resin and white metal):

Ordered Thursday AM, delivered Friday AM.

(Only partly assembled)

Here it is next to some figures:

Obviously based on the Mark VIII that didn’t make it in time to WW1:

Here’s it being tested by the Rebel Colonists/Americans.

And also inspired by a certain movie:

Mechanical effects supervisor George Gibbs said The Last Crusade was the most difficult film of his career.[10] He visited a museum to negotiate renting a small French World War I tank, but decided he wanted to make one.[11] The tank was based on the Tank Mark VIII, which was 36 feet and 28 tons. Gibbs built the tank over the framework of a 28-ton excavator and added seven ton tracks that were driven by two automatic hydraulic pumps, each connected to a Range Rover V8 engine. Gibbs built the tank from steel rather than aluminum or fiberglass because it would allow the realistically suspensionless vehicle to endure the rocky surfaces. Unlike its historical counterpart—which had only the two side guns—the tank had a turret and two guns on its sides. It took four months to build and was transported to Almería on a Short Belfast plane and then a low loader truck.[10]

The tank broke down twice. The rotor arm in the distributor broke and a replacement had to be sourced from Madrid. Then two of the valves in the device used to cool the oil exploded, due to solder melting and mixing with the oil. It was very hot in the tank, despite the installation of ten fans, and the lack of suspension meant the driver was unable to stop shaking during filming breaks.[10] The tank only moved at ten to twelve miles per hour, which Vic Armstrong said made it difficult to film Indiana riding a horse against the tank while making it appear faster.[11] A smaller section of the tank’s top made from aluminum and which used rubber tracks was used for close-ups. It was built from a searchlight trailer, weighed eight tons, and was towed by a four-wheel drive truck. It had safety nets on each end to prevent injury to those falling off.[10] A quarter-scale model by Gibbs was driven over a 50-foot (15 m) cliff on location; Industrial Light & Magic created further shots of the tank’s destruction with models and miniatures.[14]

Some more details from The Miniatures Page (TMP).

What am I going to sue it for ?

Errrr…..
It’s a bit late for WW1, too late for RCW and definitely in the “What If ?” category.
Maybe BoB ? Afterall we do have this figure:

Possibly AVBCW ?

I’m sure I’ll find some use for it, and the tank in the American testing video did seem to have camo paint.

Maybe I’ll just have to think up some campaign for the Republic of Hatay, and get to use those nice Perry Afrika Korps figures they’re bringing out…which is where I started all this madness…

BoB: Colourful White Russians 4

On the back burner after my unexpectedly busy w/e were the colourful White Russians. Here’s some I finished today at last !

Gun:

Commander (based on the drawing I found):

Two Lewis Gunners:

The rest of the command group, standard bearers and maybe some ordinary Cavalry I dug out will be ready before the w/e. I hope.

Painting

The black trousers I painted using my normal method:

  • black undercoat/paint
  • Foundry Charcoal Grey highlights
  • Citadel Badab Black wash.

This gives a black that has highlights, but they aren’t grey.

For the horse, I tried a variant:

  • black undercoat
  • Foundry Bay brown (shade)
  • Citdael Badab Black wash.

This gave the horse a black coat with the subtle hint of brown. As we know that most black fur/hair is really really really really really dark brown.

It’s a bit like black socks:

Father Ted: That’s right, Dougal. You see, ordinary shops sell what look like black socks, but if you look closely, you’ll see that they’re very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue.
Father Dougal: That’s true. I thought my Uncle Tommy was wearing black socks, but when I looked at them closely, they were just very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very dark blue.
Father Ted: Never buy black socks from a normal shop.
[Whispers to Dougal]
Father Ted: They shaft you every time!
[Dougal looks worried]

Finally:

WIP – you can see how I’m building up the bases of the cavalry with putty.

WHFB: Dark Riders

A key unit I use in my armies – Dark Riders to flank and take out artillery units.

I again used dark green cloaks to help tie them in with the rest of the army.
Command:

But they take up a heck of a lot of room, here’s their KR foam tray:

The latest Dark Elf book allows for them to be upgraded with shields, but losing the fast cavalry ability…I’ve got a unit in preparation.

BoB: Colourful White Russians Project – 3 & Books

The second tranche of books arrived today:

As you can see I have immediately started reading them, with lots of post it note flags on the Kornilovsky book. The book promised to confound some myths and it certainly has already. I am now preparing to add shock regiments(s) to my White Army, and even ensure they are used in my putative campaign of Whites vs Germans:

In Taganrog the commander of the german forces, General Von Arnim, met with a Bolshevik delegation in Rostov during the Spring of 1918:

“Where is the Volunteer Army now ? ” asked Von Arnim.

“It does not exist. It is broken and scattered in the Kuban region.” explained the delegation.

“Where is General Kornilov now ?” was the General’s second question.

“Serviceman Kornilov was killed near Ekratinodar.” The delegates answered with triumph.

“How was Kornilov killed ? ” Von Arnim asked sharply. There was some silence, and then he said with spite; “You Russians are not able to value a talented warlord.”

Hmm, sounds like General Von Arnim and Kornilov would have been good sparring partners…

Quality remains excellent and I have ordered yet more.

And the cover of the book: How Odessa became Red, is deeply politically incorrect, which is ironic given the origin of the image – Red.

I’ve included this as it is an example of the historical analysis that backs up serious wargaming. Just as the flint knapping workshop on Sunday, there is a lot of material available to war gamers to support their hobby. Similarly musicians, film directors and others also delve deep into the background of their interests.

It’s all there, you just have to delve a bit more deeply and it tears yourselves away from the goggle box (TV).

Flint Knapping

As essential skills go, I’m sure you’ll agree that Flint Knapping is up there with the rest. Byakhee Rich invited me along to a Flint Knapping course arranged for today. He had little idea of what to expect, and I had none. But you just have to do this sort of thing !

We drove down to Aylburton in Gloucestershire near the Forest of Dean where we were given our Flint Knapping worksop, run by Karl Lee one of the few experts in the subject. There was just the two of us so we had Karl’s total attention.

It’s a hands-on workshop, and we got to bring home our own flint tools we had created, and Rich got the examples Karl created to demonstrate the skills. We soon appreciated that the skills and technology used to create flint tools are anything but “primitive”. I’d expected a lot of H&S, and we needed none. You’re always striking the flint away from you and counter-intuitively, you hit the flint on one side with the aim of knocking shards of it off of the side pointing away from you.

We started off with the creation of a basic tool to scrape animal skins clean – in this case the aim was NOT to create a tool that had sharp edges that would cut the skin itself, but a tool robust enough to scrape off flesh, sinew and gristle from the animal skin.

The second task was to use a flint ‘core’ and knap the flint to create sharp blades for use on arrows, butcher’s tools and knives. This was really difficult. This was used to create the firing flints in flintlocks, and apparently, British flints were amongst the best at producing the spark needed to fire the weapon.

Next up was the creation of our own flint hand axes – so don’t annoy me too much ! The flint hand axes are extremely sharp, serrated and I would not like to be on the receiving end of one. We’ve been set the challenge to use them to cut up our next steak meat.

Finally, having mastered basic skills we were introduced to pressure flaking flint knapping, as used to create the flint arrow heads. This was far more difficult to master, but after much effort both Rich and I brought home our own flint leaf arrow heads. Karl also showed us some bows he was constructing from Yew and Ash that would have been used to shoot said arrows.

At all stages Karl was able to provide additional information on how our ancestors would have been using these implements.

Here’s Rich’s haul of flint tools:

Items on the left are Karl’s produce.

Richard’s produce:

Middle top, the long shard was turned into a Burin, the tool used to inscribe bones.

Its a bit difficult to photograph these items, as the flint is very dark grey/black. However, the edges are really sharp.

Here’s some of my haul:

My flint core (top left), on its side, so you knock the flint shards off of the sides top down, using the flat top of the core. The shards would serve as blades or arrow barbs.

My hand axe. It’s shaped a bit like a very large pasty (not scary unless you are Chancellor of the Exchequer)…only the crimped serrated edge is a razor sharp edge of flint (very scary). I may go buy some steak tomorrow and chop it up with this item and post the pictures.

Finally my leaf head arrow tip. Again it just looks like a black leaf, but the tip and edges are razor sharp.

I commented in the morning, some of the skills were similar to those we use for painting our wargaming figures, but in other ways they were diametrically opposed to them. I found I was tensing up when knapping the flint much as I do when painting (so my painting is accurate and not wobbly). Karl commented many people with similar skills came along and were good at knapping, which later turned out to be true for Rich and I. The hardest to master was the skill at pressure flaking which really required a lot of concentration. Karl made it look easy, but confirmed practice makes perfect.

Karl’s large flint axe head. Ideal for carving up the carcass of cattle, boar,or other ancient mega fauna. Weighed a lot, sharp all round and about 8-10 inches long.

We had a good time, and if you ever have the chance to do this, its a very good day !