“Dogs of War” battle reports coming

Chris A (left) and Chris S (right) running one of the “Dog’s” mega convention games “SHANGHAI”

My “Primary” gaming group the “Dogs of War” will soon be posting their Battle Reports here on my site. Chris Snell the great patron of “The Dogs” (he devotes part of his house to us) has for many years sent out weekly emails covering what has gone on and what is coming up at the club. Over the last year we have been refurbishing the club and I thought it might nice to also have the weekly battle reports Chris does get a facelift as well and giving Chris the ability to post them here with pictures would be a great way to do this.

Chris Snell (standing right) helps run the SAGA event at Games Empire. Seated is another Dog, Frank V.

A little bit about Chris…. Well Chris has been one of the original “Dogs of War” since the beginning and also probably the most active. In fact I can’t remember any “Dogs” game or activity that he has not been at!!! Chris has put himself in the forefront of all the projects and his efforts contribute mightily to everything the Dogs have ever been, done, or hope to do. Without Chris’s patronage the “Dog’s” may well have dissolved long ago. The “Dogs” are a great bunch and they all contribute much to the whole, but in any group there are always a few who provide the backbone that others build on, thanks Chris.

Side trip to Aberdeen Proving grounds, Historicon 1999? Joe, Dave L, Joe’s nephew, Tim D, Chris A,Chris Snell, Bill W (me) and sitting on fender of German Jagd Tiger is Ron Green.

So you will soon see Chris’s weekly reports appearing here! Yea Chris! I encourage all the “Dogs” to subscribe to this site and receive notifications when these reports go up. You can simply scroll down the main page and towards the bottom of the right side column you will see an option to enter your email and receive notification of new articles and updates on the site.

So welcome Chris and “Reports from the Pound”

Chris S (in tri-corner hat and long coat) helps run the Dogs pirate game “Maracaibo Mambo” at a past HMGS/PSW convention.

Storage Wars

Over the years my local gaming group in Southern California the “Dogs of War” have amassed a huge collection of miniatures, terrain, mats, and all manner of gaming material that when not in use has to be stored somewhere! When we moved from our long time clubhouse in Burbank (thanks to Danny’s garage) to our present digs (the bottom floor of Chris’s house) we found out just how much stuff had accumulated!!! well in the years since that move it has grown by leaps and bounds. Some of it ended up in a few storage units but most went into Chris’s garage and got to the point that it was near impossible to find things or get a car in it. The main gaming area had reached gridlock and the place was being suggested for an episode of “Hoarders”

The group put its collective head together and decided that it was time for a massive clean out and refurbish! I came up with a bit of a plan and this started with organizing the garage and building proper shelves for storage. The current shelves were plastic and groaning under the weight of several tons of lead! When newcomers visited the club and were asked if we had figures for such and such period the response was always “sure what scale do you want to play in” So it was decided to build strong shelves that would both hold the weight, provide additional space, and survive the earthquakes our area has from time to time!

Since I have built and out fitted trucks for the “Movie Biz” for many years the task of organizing this was my job, labor was pulled from all the core club members, and the material bought and paid for by selling off un-needed miniatures and terrain from the clubs pile.

The first stage of the project was to clean out and redo garage and this is a short video done over one of two weekends this stage took.

Storage Wars

Chris S (on ladder) Bill W (me) Tim and Joe (adjusting my neck!)

Are these really shelves? or bunk beds for Chris’s “indentured” painters?

Danny,& Joe, and Chris A

Chris and Tim bring new light into our lives!

Chris & Tim& Steve G

Chris A & Galen

 

 

 

Total Battle building project

I have written a few articles on the TOTAL BATTLE miniatures buildings and how much I liked them. Well I still like them and everyone who plays in my battles echos that along with my decision to go with 10mm buildings in 15mm games for a better look when representing towns and villages.

The slightly smaller 10mm buildings allow more buildings using the space that would only allow two or three 15mm buildings

Over the last year in between other projects I have been painting these buildings and occasionaly transporting them to games not at my place. I quickly realized that to prevent dammage to them I needed to come up with safe and easy way to transport them.  For years I have made an effort to bring innovation to wargaming with miniatures, especially when transporting miniatures and terrain. I dare say some of the things that are common today in the miniatures world where developed by myself and a few others. Bold statement? Yes but when I started miniature gaming people were slapping 3-4 colors on mini’s, gluing them on some painted cardboard, and transporting them to games in old pizza boxes!  Times have changed!

So this article is about finding a way to store and transport all my lovely Total Battle miniatures buildings easily and with out damage!  Recently I decided to change the way I store terrain at my place because overtime I found much of my terrain was getting dusty and dull looking even though it was stored in those multi level plastic storage drawers. The drawer system did a pretty good job but over time dust would still filter in especially since my gaming area shares the same space as my shop and terrain making area. The drawers were also not that convenient for transport. My career in the movie business had given me a lot of experience in storage and moving of equipment safely so I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to this. I want a system that works quickly, easily, and most important does the job. I searched long and hard and finally settled on a plastic stacking box system from “the Really Useful Box” system. The system is readily obtainable, strong, and economically priced. In the US they can be found at Office depot and Office Max as well as tons of internet sellers, I’ll list the common sizes I use at the end of the article but the one used for my buildings box is the 17 liter box.

The beginning of the “new” system. Old drawer storage on right and new “Really Useful Box” system on left. Easy to see and grab what you need and the stuff stays clean!

Over the last year or so I have been replacing my “plastic drawer” system with the “Useful Box” system and had reached the point of finding a good way of storing my Total Battle buildings in one. I wanted to keep all the buildings in one box but I also did not want to use too big a box (length & width) so I settled on one that was smaller but deeper. This box would to hold most of the buildings in it on one level but required me to “create” a second shelf in the box for the balance of the buildings with a bit of room left over for a few other terrain items.

The next step was to figure out how to keep the buildings organized and secure in the box so to prevent damage as well as easily see that everything was there (useful when picking up after a convention/away game when your tired and may miss something. My first idea was to use some powerful Neodymium Magnets in the base of each mini and then line the box bottom and shelf with thin steel. This required drilling the base of a building and then gluing a magnet or two flush in the bottom. It worked ok but not perfect. If there was a jar or a lot of vibration to the box the buildings could shift and it would be a bit of work to modify all the buildings….I didn’t like it. Next idea was to go back to another tried and true method we use for camera gear and other delicate gear, foam cut to size. This too required some work but in the end was a better system and not that hard, it was the way I went.

The right tools always make the job easier, safer, and faster. Note the single sided razor blade.

I recommend getting a good piece of foam not the white or tan soft foam found in chairs and couches as that foam tends to age and deteriorate when not sealed up in furniture. Use the grey packing type foam, it’s stiffer, last longer, and cuts easier. You can pick up this foam at any foam supply cheap. I bought a 2’ x 6’ one inch thick piece for $12. This project would only use around 2-3 feet so plenty left for other projects! To cut the foam a RAZOR sharp tool will be needed, utility knife, xacto knife, or even the razor blades made for single sided cutting. I used all 3 types and found the simple razor blade to be the best. Blades will dull up and this project took three.

Measure the bottom of the box and cut a piece of foam to match. Make sure to get a tight fit. I cut a bit over size and then trim down. Next the buildings are laid out on it and using a fine tip permanent ink marker (this ink wont later rub off on buildings), one by one mark the buildings position on the foam. Turn on some music, take your time and cut out foam from where the buildings will sit. It’s important to make these cuts just right. Too tight and paint may rub off over time, to lose and your buildings will fall out. Take your time and watch your fingers.

My first attempt at spacing was a bit to crowded and would have required the foam to be cut to thin and then lose needed strength so after a bit or rearranging the bottom layer looked like this.

Now that I had the spacing to my liking it was time to cut the foam.

Check your arrangement several times and when you are sure it works its time to mark the areas that will be cut out. Use a fine tip permanent ink sharpie for this if you have one, other markers may have cheap ink that wont really dry and rub off later on your buildings!

Cutting foam or anything else requires careful attention to what you’re doing! First to prevent injury to yourself and secondly to make sure you get the cuts right! Take your time! There is an old saying about cutting “measure twice cut once, measure once cut twice!” and its always possible to remove more material but once a cut is too big your in trouble. I did all this building cutting and fitting with a single sided razor and used 3-4 blades since even foam dulls the blades.

When cutting I made sure I cut slightly on the inside of the line ensuring a tight fit and remembering I could always take more off if I needed to. Switching to new blades after abut 5-6 buildings made sure the blade was always sharp enough to be able to cut by simply pushing straight down using a slight side to side motion.

As with most of my projects and articles at a certain point I get so wrapped up in it I start forgetting to take pictures! When I finished the bottom section and started work on the second level that was the case for this project.

My top shelf will sit on these two wooden “runners” holding the top shelf just above the bottom buildings. For my project full length runners on each long side were strong enough to support the top shelf. Take care to make sure these are level and an equal distance off the box bottom on each side so the shelf sits correctly in the box.

The second level would be made of 1/8th inch plywood (luan) and sit JUST above the tops of the bottom level of buildings. The bottom level hold the biggest and tallest buildings, the top shelf the smaller buildings (height wise). Make sure you plan all this out at the beginning of the project!!! Be doubly sure that all the measurements and tolerances will work out!

The top shelf being 1/8th inch is easy to cut using a small power or hand saw, again cut oversize and trim to fit. A second piece of foam is cut for it and the process of layout and cutting in the buildings happens just like the bottom shelf. I haven’t yet but I may use some spray contact cement (3M 77 spray) to bond the foam to the top shelf.

As a final step I put a couple of flexible “tabs” on each end of the top shelf so I could lift it out and get to the bottom section. I started with couple of temporary tape tabs to allow me to get the correct spacing and balance for the tabs. Later I used some 2 inch webbing material pop riveted in to create a strap for this purpose. Don’t complete this step until you have arranged and cut in your buildings since the weight may not be balanced meaning your straps may need to be off set so you get level lift out of the box! Find the balance and center of gravity and adjust the straps to match this ensuring a level lift. Pop Rivet guns are cheap and a really useful tool to have around the house! Holes are drilled in the shelf insert and the strap where the rivets will go. I used a hot wood burning pen (a small heated nail will do!) to burn and seal holes in web strapping and a lighter to melt and seal edges of strapping after cutting.

Top shelf in and tabs just lay across the top. Some lose stuff has still not been cut in yet.

Finished box. You could drop this setup from several feet and have no damage to the buildings! the box may be damaged but the mini’s will not be.

All in all I think this project came out very nice and made my hauling these buildings down to a game easy and safe from any damage. It’s also going to do a much better job of keeping my terrain looking good for years to come!

The only fault I could find with these boxes is they do not give dimensions on the box except to list capacity in liters. Their website does give the dimensions as well as a picture that does a fair job of letting you see which ones match for stacking.
I’m currently using:
64 L, 33L (both stack) Big
32L, 17L (both stack) Medium the 17L was the size used for the building box.
9L, 4L (both stack) Small

 

Visiting Old Friends for the Holidays, Crossfire WWII!

There’s a lot to be thankful for and blessings to be counted over the Christmas Holidays but one of my favorite parts of Christmas is the extra time off that I can sometimes devote to my hobby of Wargaming with Miniatures! This year is no exception, in fact I took a few extra pains over the previous few months getting other projects finished up so to have no interruptions during the Holiday Wargaming season (ok, who knew the shop / den sink would overflow!)

The “Machine shop” a central point of the evenings battle.

The first game I’ve managed to play over the holidays was a “Crossfire” WWII game in 20mm played with my longtime wargaming buddy Steve Gausche at my place. I have been doing WWII for near 30 years in some form or another, Micro Armor with Brian Stokes original Tank Charts rules then Steve Lorenz’s Panzer War. We then moved on to 20mm WWII trying several rule sets, Combined Arms, Battle Front, Overlord, Soldat and several others without really settling on one we liked. I and a few friends even developed our own set, “Frontline”. Now when I say developed our own set I mean we took as all rules writers do our experiences with other rules, things we liked, things we hated, and produced our version. Some mechanics had been done before, some were new. They played exceptionaly well with many players asking for me to publish them but I never did and after awhile we moved into other games and periods leaving WWII behind. Years later the WWII bug began to infect me again and I thought I’m either going to play or sell my stuff! I found however, as many of us have, that I had less time, and patience for rules heavy, slow games. I also was never one to buy into the “newer” rules types that are based on wargamers basically subscribing to a rule set full of ad on’s, updates, modules, and an official line of mini’s ala Flames of War or Bolt Action.

Wargaming Central at my place. Oberst vonGausche readys his men

I had played and purchased Crossfire years before but never given it a fair chance, I decided to try it again, the rest is history! Hands down in my opinion the best representation of the ebb and flow of WWII mid level combat period! (read my first CrossFire article)

As with most of our games when we don’t play a period for awhile there is that part about remembering how the dam game plays, rule sets typically have some overlap in rules and remembering rules for the game your playing verses a rule from another game can get confusing. We like to always do a “small game” first to help remember and sort things out….do we? Hell No! Get it all out! LOL!!! Yep instead of just remembering the basics we had to look up lots of other smaller less used rules as well. Crossfire is great because it has very basic, simple rules that apply overall to every army so picking the game up mechanics wise is easy; the strategy of using these rules to achieve victory is not!

If you talk to Miniature Wargaming folks many will say that miniature wargaming has been hurt by the advent of computers and PC gaming, I find that to not be the case at all. In fact I find that computers have increased the gaming community by allowing us to put our passion out there for all to see, certainly the computer has allowed us to do things to make our hobby much cooler and taken a bit of the drudgery out of it. One of the things I do for Crossfire is take an overhead picture of the battlefield (our playing table) on then print it out as a monotone map for players to use to record hidden deployment and battle plans. The map is placed in a plastic sleeve that can be drawn on with china makers, or better yet colored “overhead transparency pens” This ads a great deal to games and certainly removes the having to do the map making by hand! I keep the maps to use again and again.

Taking and printing a map for players is a great game aid allowing hidden movement and speeds game play.

I set up the battlefield to represent Russia during the 1943 summer offensive and a German push to secure a small urban area somewhere in Russia.

The forces would be fairly balanced numerically,German force, Panzer Grenadier company, 1 x Company commander, 3 platoons, each with 3 squads, 3 platoon commanders, 2 Heavy Machine gun sections (MG 42’s), 2 x 81mm mortars, 2 forward observers, reinforced by 2 Stug III’s, 2 PanzerKampfwagen IV’s, and 1 PanzerKamphwagen V “Panther A” and a fourth infantry platoon.

The Russians had a similar force, Russian “leg” infantry company, 1x Company commander, 4 platoons of 4 squads each, 4 Platoon commanders, 2 Heavy Machine guns (maxims), 2 x 85mm Mortars, 1x forward observer, additional resources included 2 x 76mm Anti Tank guns, and two M43 T34 with 76mm guns.The Russians might seem at first to be weak but they have the advantage of setting up and playing defensively as well as being “hidden” at the beginning of the game, very powerful factors in Crossfire! They were led by me…I’m a good player…but “they” have poor leadership in their on the table commanders as well as a troop quality of “regular’s” on the field. They also have limited counters to German Armor.

The Germans have what seems to be a powerful force but being on the attack they will need it since plans in Crossfire can go south very quickly, mistakes can be punished hard by your opponent! The Germans while not hidden have the advantage of being able to move and concentrate their forces, probing to find weak spots and exploit them; this is where Crossfire excels at duplicating the nature of WWII land combat. They also have excellent leaders at both Company and platoon level. The German troops are also “Veterans” giving a significant edge in morale and recovering from “pin” and “suppression” effects.

First moves and combat!

I played the Russians and laid out my “hidden” deployment on the map, situating the two Anti Tank guns to cover the most open of the approaches. My 4 platoons held a diagonal line running across the battlefield occupying to main buildings and then trench works on either end. The Mortars were at the rear of the headquarters building, this building also held one of the anti tank guns. The two T34s were hidden in town center as a mobile reserve to provide support in case of a breakthrough with the last anti tank gun dug in south west of town.

The German player deployed in the open with a 2 foot x 2 foot table corner as his entry point. Steve edged his two squads up onto two wooded hills where one immediately came under heavy fire from a Russian platoon holding the train station. His second squad held on the hill to the south.

Crossfire plays very differently than your typical “I go, you go game” with the action tending to localize in different areas of the battlefield, getting white hot while other areas do little. To me this is very realistic although it might take some time for players of traditional wargames to adjust to. Russian fire from the train station was getting the best of the Germans in the woods so the German commander brought up some armor in the form of two Stug III assault guns and prepared to ad their fire power to the fight. As soon as the Sturmgershutz III’s lumbered into position they came under fire from a hidden Russian 76mm anti tank gun that along with a platoon of Soviet infantry held that flank of the Russian defenses. The Russian gunners were in top form and after a brief exchange both German assault guns became burning hulks. This kind of ambush is the kind of action possible through use of Crossfire rules and hidden deployment rules and for me is the crux of WWII platoon/company combat in WWII.

Russian gunners take careful aim!

German support armor gets stopped dead in it’s tracks! Red Russian mud clings to the vehicles entire bottom half!

The Germans were becoming frustrated at this point as their frontal push and relying on force of arms was not working against the well laid out Russian defense. Clearly the Russians were well led and in greater strength than German intelligence had reported. Oberst vonGausche arriving on the scene held a conference with his platoon leaders and discussed a new plan of action, with the casualties already sustained and the loss of the two Stug’s the attack must well executed with minimum losses.

Mid game a final movement / combat.

The Germans decided to concentrate on the elimination of the AT gun and Russian infantry holding the south east flank and try to then apply pressure from the front, side, and rear of the Russian platoon holding the central train station. The German right flank was to regroup and hold, “just keep the Russian’s busy, prevent them from moving” said Oberst vonGausche.

The “Panther” helps hold the German right flank, continually bouncing rounds from the Russian 7rmm AT gun.

A “Panther” tank was ordered to give support to that effort. Two fresh German platoons, German mortars, and a pair of PanzerKampfwagon IV’s Panzers were set for the attack. Their German 82mm mortars began to drop smoke on the Russian positions to cover the German advance and the Germans moved into position. As the smoke cleared the mortars switched to HE (high explosive) rounds and the German tanks added their fire in as well. The concentrated fire suppressed and then killed the Russian gun crew. Russian return fire was ineffective at this point and they had no way to counter the German tanks.

The German Panzers engage the dug in anti tank gun.

A Russian messenger was sent to request support as German infantry moved up to close assault the Russian trenches. The German Mortars and tanks belched death and destruction once again into the Russian trenches killing a Russian squad, suppressing another, and pinning the third. Sensing the moment vonGausche ordered the men forward into the Russian positions.

German squads break into the Russian trenches, very little “quarter” was given on the Russian front!

Weak return fire from other Russian troops along with the Russian troops in the entrenchments failed to stop the German attack and with the odds in their favor the Germans cleared the position. Russian reinforcements in the form of two T34 tanks now rounded the corner trying to engage the German MK IV’s…the first German rounds missed the Russians, Russian return fire bounced their first rounds, the next German round found its mark and one of the T34’s burst into flames, the second T34 reversed out of sight.

The first T34 burns at the machine shop corner….

Seeing my flank collapsing as the Russian commander I decided to try and pull back and redeploy. The train station troops were given a retreat order but while exiting the back of the building came under fire and pinned in some woods back of the station.

A second Russian 76mm anti tank gun in the burned out warehouse failed repeatedly to knockout or even damage the German “Panther” tank. A Russian NKVD officer exhorts the crew to do better in the name of “Stalin”

At his point the Russian commander (me) decided that the town could not be held and further struggle would only get valuable troops and equipment destroyed. I ordered a full retreat and congratulated my self on a good defense, inflicting sustainable losses on the Fascist Germans, and looked forward to being reinforced in the morning and given the opportunity to retake the railroad yard in the morning!

It was not to be….I was shot in the morning, on orders from the political officer for cowardice in defense of the mother land…”long live Holy Russia!”

A Thrusting we will go!

Bengal club members Bill and Doug convincing themselves that all this work will be worth it.....

Bengal club members Bill and Doug convincing themselves that all this work will be worth it…..

Space the Final Frontier, well maybe not the final frontier for The Bengal Club but the one some of us are going to be exploring for the next year. A few of us have gotten up the courage to do a Campaign using a combination of the tactical “Full Thrust Continuum” (FT) rules and the old Avalon Hill “Stellar Conquest” (SC) board game for the strategic portion of the campaign. I have been loosely thinking about this for over a year and with the help of fellow gamer Doug Kendrick and other Bengal Club members will now attempt to put this idea into play.

Full Thrust Continuum the latest and I feel the most complete and well structured version of the Full Thrust system. Follow this link to Down Load them!

Full Thrust Continuum the latest and I feel the most complete and well structured version of the Full Thrust system. Follow this link to Down Load them!

Using FT and SC is not new several others have done it and the results can be found spread out across the internet, I’ll give it my “touch” and will see what happens. The idea, for me stems from the problem of generating battles that have a real goal, purpose, or result because of them than the usual “we all get a 1,000 points and meet in the middle battle”. Now don’t get me wrong we do fight scenario type battles, many of them great fun, well done, but still there is no over all purpose beyond that evenings entertainment. Players will make decisions in those types of games that they would never make in a battle were the results had consequences on future games they would have to fight like in a campaign situation. In other words “will winning this battle lose me the next battle or even the war?” Those kinds of decisons make the battles a lot more interesting, and I think result in a much more “honest” and realistic game play on the table top!

stellar-conquest-box-sml

You can find this great “out of production” game on the web for around $30.

There is also the great unknown factor in battles fought where players do not know exactly what they might be facing until the ships hit the table (sensor range). Play balance is never assured, options like, flee, fighting withdrawal, hold to the last man, start to mean something! Victories also become more sweet, obtaining objectives have purpose, and on and on. Campaigns also open a huge part of the gaming hobby that some of us find both interesting, rewarding, and just fun. The campaign mode will also give us a lot more opportunities to buy, paint, and use some of those great space stations, repair docks, and other space installations besides just ships. Planets, asteroid belts, and mine fields become much more integral parts of the gaming experience.

 

Explore new worlds! Conquer and exploit their populations, heck maybe just vaporize them!

Explore new worlds! Conquer and exploit their populations, heck maybe just vaporize them!

So over the next year watch the Stars (well this site) and follow along with us as we battle for the control of area RX7 or the “System of Seven Veils”

Bill W

This Campaign is being played out in the Greater Los Angeles California area (Valencia to be exact) and we would love to have any other local gamers interested in participating come join us! No requirements, one battle or all of them! No ships needed to just come and play. Give me a shout through the contact info or leave comment with your info. Check the Calendar section of my site to see what our schedule will be and get on our email list for timely updates.

If you want to follow this campaign or are involved in it please become a site subscriber or member. You will then be able to post, get into member only areas, and automatically receive notification when new material appears here. PLEASE if you become a subscriber or member, DO SO UNDER a name and email I will recognize or you may be deleted as a “spammer / scammer”

ft-old-school

Another “Dog Day Afternoon” in So Cal “Mansurah” 1250ad

Well its been awhile since I’ve posted up anything, not that there wasn’t anything going on its just that some times there is so much going on that time for posting it up is in short supply!

I did make some time to get down to the “Dog of War” club house for some gaming over the last month and that included a great gaming session based on the Crusader era “Crescent and Cross” SAGA rules. Tim Daun has been working on a multi player scenario featuring the 7th Crusades battle in Egypt circa 1250 for the control of the city of “MANSURAH”

The pictures are can be opened (by right clicking and selecting open) for a much higher res picture! It may take awhile if your internet speed is slow or you are using a mobile device! Use your browser’s back button to return to the article. Please be sure to check out the high speed time lapse of the game linked at the end, a 4 hour game in about 2 minutes! There are also quite a few more pictures on the official “Dogs of War” site maintained by Tim D at Dogs of War

The French, English, and Milites (Military Orders) land and deploy from their camp

The French, English, and Milites (Military Orders) land and deploy from their camp

These beautiful SAGA warbands are from the collections of Tim Daun and Chris Snell, dam nice looking on the field!

These beautiful French and English SAGA warbands are from the collections of Tim Daun and Chris Snell, dam nice looking on the field!

This SAGA recreation was the second “play test” of the possible game to be put on at a convention in the future. Tim D, Chris S, and Rick A would command the Muslim forces and Dave D, Chris V. and Bill W (me) commanding the assaulting Crusaders. The main task of the Crusaders is to secure the City as a base of operations for continuation of the crusade. Failing to do this leaves them stranded and open to attack, so they must clear the city completely. I wont go into the game much as it is still having play balance adjusted and needs to be played quite a few times for players to get the “feel” for it, work out strategy, and of course adjustments to be made. I will say I think it already plays well and is a lot of fun. With a few more tweaks it will be another classic “Dog’s of War” production!

Rick not only looks quite confident as the cities Muslim commander he looks the part!

Rick “Abbu Bey” not only looks quite confident as the cities Muslim commander he looks the part! Buildings by Crescent Root Studios

We are ready to soak our sand with the infidels blood!

We are ready to soak our sand with the infidels blood!

This battle (the 2nd) was I’m told a much better showing by crusader forces with them making it into town, clearing several buildings, while taking few losses. Other battles raged on the outskirts of the city where again the crusaders fought well and kept most of the Muslim relief forces from any hope of helping the cities defenders. The game however ended with Muslim forces still in control of half of the city so was technically a victory for the forces under the Crescent Banner!

Ricks Muslim Hearth Guard was held fast against the tide of Crusaders taking but a few losses!

Ricks Muslim Hearth Guard was held fast against the tide of Crusaders taking but a few losses!

My "Teutonic Knights" are raring to go!

My “Teutonic Knights” are raring to go!

I played my Teutonic Knights and did well mostly by raising my “piety” level up to a “4” and at this level the bonuses become very powerful! My Crossbowmen move forward mowing down Muslim defenders as if they were all armed with 50 caliber machine guns! In hindsight I made a few mistakes being new to my Teutonic’s and the scenario. I should have moved faster and more aggressively in clearing the town (this was true across the crusade army) and my last heroic charges by the Teutonic Knight Hearth guard while glorious at first were too late and ultimately directed at the wrong target.

Joe Nacchio as always provided some great accent terrain pieces to the setup. Joe is a real team player and many wargamers do not real think about how important these little extra touches are to any game!

Joe Nacchio as always provided some great accent terrain pieces to the setup. Joe is a real team player and many wargamers do not real think about how important these little extra touches are to any game!

The terrain was top notch and sure to be much more spectacular should this game ever make it to a convention. Thanks to all the “Dogs” for a great Saturday of Gaming!

Bill W

Check the entire 4 hour battle in 2 minutes! Go full screen and have your sound on! and remember you can select higher video quality if your system supports it. (up to 4k for this video!

Below a brief synopsis of the conflict taken from Wikipedia

By the mid-13th century, the Crusaders became convinced that Egypt, the heart of Islam’s forces and arsenal, was an obstacle to their ambition to capture Jerusalem, which they had lost for the second time in 1244. In 1245, during the First Council of Lyon, Pope Innocent IV gave his full support to the Seventh Crusade being prepared by Louis IX, King of France.

The goals of the Seventh Crusade were to destroy the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt and Syria, and to recapture Jerusalem. The Crusaders asked the Mongols to become their allies against the Muslims, the Crusaders attacking the Islamic world from west, and the Mongols attacking from the east. Güyük, the Great Khan of the Mongols, told the Pope’s envoy that the Pope and the kings of Europe should submit to the Mongols.

Louis the IX

Louis the IX

The ships of the Seventh Crusade, led by KingLouis’s brothers, Charles d’Anjou and Robert d’Artois, sailed from Aigues-Mortes and Marseille to Cyprus during the autumn of 1248, and then on to Egypt. The ships entered Egyptian waters and the troops of the Seventh Crusade disembarked at Damietta in June 1249. Louis IX sent a letter to as-Salih Ayyub. Emir Fakhr ad-Din Yusuf, the commander of the Ayyubid garrison in Damietta, retreated to the camp of the Sultan in Ashmum-Tanah, causing a great panic among the inhabitants of Damietta, who fled the town, leaving the bridge that connected the west bank of the Nile with Damietta intact. The Crusaders crossed over the bridge and occupied Damietta, which was deserted. The fall of Damietta caused a general emergency (called al-Nafir al-Am النفير العام) to be declared, and

One of French King Louis's brothers Charles d’Anjou

One of French King Louis’s brothers Charles d’Anjou

locals from Cairo and from all over Egypt moved to the battle zone. For many weeks, the Muslims used guerrilla tactics against the Crusader camps; many of the Crusaders were captured and sent to Cairo. As the Crusader army was strengthened by the arrival of

Alphonse de Poitiers, the third brother of King Louis IX, at Damietta, the Crusaders were encouraged by the news of the death of the Ayyubid Sultan, as-Salih Ayyub. The Crusaders began their march towards Cairo. Shajar al-Durr, the widow of the dead Sultan, concealed the news for some time and sent Faris ad-Din Aktai to Hasankeyf to recall Turanshah, the son and heir, to ascend the throne and lead the Egyptian army.

The Battle

The Crusaders approached the battle by the canal of Ashmum (known today by the name Albahr Alsaghir), which separated them from the Muslim camp. An Egyptian showed the Crusaders the way to the canal shoals. The Crusaders, led by Robert of Artois, crossed the canal with the Knights Templar and an English contingent led by William of Salisbury, launching a surprise assault on the Egyptian camp in Gideila, two miles (3 km) from Al Mansurah, and advancing toward the royal palace in Al Mansurah. The leadership of the Egypt_adm_location_map.svg2Egyptian forces passed to the Mamluks Faris Ad-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Buduqdari who contained the attack and reorganized the Muslim forces. This was the first appearance of the Mamluks as supreme commanders inside Egypt. Shajar al-Durr, who had full control of Egypt, agreed with Baibars’ plan to defend Al Mansurah. Baibars ordered the gate be opened to let the Crusaders enter the town. The crusaders rushed in, thinking the town deserted, only to find themselves trapped inside. The Crusaders were besieged from all directions by Egyptian forces and the local population, and they took heavy losses. Robert of Artois, who took refuge in a house, and William of Salisbury were both killed along with most of the Knights Templar. Only five Templar Knights escaped alive. The Crusaders retreated to their camp in disorder, and surrounded it with a ditch and wall. Early on the morning of February 11, the Muslim forces launched a devastating offensive against the Frankish camp. On February 27, the new sultan Turanshah arrived in Al Mansurah to lead the Egyptian army, and the death of as-Salih Ayyub was formally announced in Egypt. Ships were transported overland and dropped in the Nile behind the Crusader ships blocking the reinforcement line from Damietta. The Egyptians used Greek fire, destroying and seizing many Crusader supply vessels. The besieged Crusaders soon began suffering from famine and disease. Some Crusaders deserted to the Muslim side.

Despite being overwhelmed and ultimately defeated, King Louis IX tried to negotiate with the Egyptians, offering the surrender of the Egyptian port of Damietta in exchange for Jerusalem and a few towns on the Syrian coast. The Egyptians rejected the offer, and the Crusaders retreated to Damietta under cover of darkness on April 5, followed closely by the Muslim forces. At the subsequent Battle of Fariskur, the last major battle of the Seventh Crusade, the Crusader forces were annihilated and King Louis IX was captured on April 6. Meanwhile, the Crusaders were circulating false information in Europe, claiming that King Louis IX defeated the Sultan of Egypt in a great battle, and Cairo had been betrayed into Louis’s hands. Later, when the news of Louis IX’s capture and the French defeat reached France, the Shepherds’ Crusade movement occurred in France.

Louis IX was taken prisoner.

Aftermath

According to medieval Muslim historians, 15,000 to 30,000 French fell on the battlefield and thousands were taken prisoners.[24] Louis IX of France was captured in the nearby village of Moniat Abdallah (now Meniat el Nasr), chained and confined in the house of Ibrahim Ibn Lokman, the royal chancellor, and under the guard of a eunuch named Sobih al-Moazami.[25] The king’s brothers, Charles d’Anjou and Alphonse de Poitiers, were taken prisoner at the same time, and were carried to the same house with other French nobles. The sultan provided for their subsistence. A camp was set up outside the town to shelter the rest of the prisoners. Louis IX was ransomed for 400,000 dinars. After pledging not to return to Egypt, Louis surrendered Damietta and left for Acre with his brothers and 12,000 war prisoners whom the Egyptians agreed to release.

The battle of Al Mansurah was a source of inspiration for writers and poets of that time. One of the satiric poems ended with the following verses: “If they (the Franks) decide to return to take revenge or to commit a wicked deed, tell them :The house of Ibn Lokman is intact, the chains still there as well as the eunuch Sobih”. —from stanza by Jamal ad-Din ibn Matruh.

The name of Al Mansurah (Arabic: “the Victorious”) that dates from an earlier period was consolidated after this battle. The city still holds the name of Al Mansurah today, as the capital of the Egyptian governorate, Daqahlia. The National Day of Daqahlia Governorate (capital Al Mansurah) on February 8, marks the anniversary of the defeat of Louis IX in 1250. The house of Ibn Lokman, which is now the only museum in Al Mansurah, is open to the public and houses articles that used to belong to the French monarch, including his personal thirteenth century toilet.

Age Of Eagles II, Napoleonics for Christmas!

The French march on.

The French march on.

Merry Christmas to all! I had a few great games over the holidays, both Napoleonic since I had gotten a copy of Age Of Eagles II (AOE2) from Steve G for Christmas. We decided to try them out at my place and see what was new. It was going to be a  “learning” game but we found that AOE2 was really unchanged! A lot of elaborations, explanations, and clarifications, but basically unchanged! Yea!!!

I really like AOE for its very simple yet elegant style of play that plays fast and give pretty consistent results based on the commanders play. I’m not going to give a big detailed report on AOE here since I’m dying to hit the painting table and work on my Russian “line in greatcoats”

I have found that over enough battles in the Napoleonic period you see how much initial deployment and the first opening moves counts for winning or losing a battle as troops are not that maneuverable. The first game, just Steve and I was over pretty much after turn two, we played out to about turn 10 but the writing was on the wall early.

Initial layout

Yellow shows Austrian deployment and movements. Red shows French moves and counter moves. The Blue lines show French artillery lanes of fire during the game.

Steve and his Austrians came on in the center of the table and I with the French on the right flank of my table side. I pushed forward in a sort of “bloom move” with the object of reaching a commanding hill near the center of the table. Troop movement was equal as I was Impulse and Steve was Columnar. I had the edge in shooting.

Initial layout2

Deployment from the French side.

I decided to place most of my artillery on that hill with a covering force to the left (I tried to give the appearance of a flank attack by sending the Hussars all pushing out that way) On the right of the hill I pushed part of my force towards the town and the rest flanking Steve’s right. My Heavy Cavalry drove forward in the direction of another hill already occupied by Austrian Hussars (his infantry deploying to the rear along the road) My plan was simple, defeat in detail, Steve was already splitting his forces (he had more troops 60 infantry, 16 Cav, 5 guns, to my 48 infantry, 16 Cav, 5 guns) by swinging half his force wide to counter my force on the left. He fell into my trap! I was not attacking there but defending! This kept half of his force moving, trying to deploy for most of the game, and ineffective with me just having to toss a bit of artillery at it to further slow it’s attack while I concentrated on flanking and overwhelming his other flank.

The Austrian "right" moves off to stop the French left, an attack that never materialized. This kept them out of the battle!

The Austrian “right” moves off to stop the French left, an attack that never materialized. This kept them out of the battle!

Austrian4My command of the central heights with my concentrated artillery able to switch fire to either flank was also very effective especially when he attempted to move troops out of the center town to reinforce his threatened right flank (hitting them in enfilade as well as in movement mode!)

French Artillery controls the center! These are ESSEX figures painted 20+ years ago and recently rebased for AOE.

French Artillery controls the center! These are ESSEX figures painted 20+ years ago and recently re-based for AOE.

AustrianDeploy

Austrians push on, deploying into a small tight area….

Steve’s and his Austrians fought well but they were off balance from the beginning and the ponderously large Austrian formations were so closely packed that maneuvering became impossible! My cavalry gave the small hill to my infantry who were now also backed up by some of the infantry that had feinted attack up the center towards the town.

The Austrian light cavalry make a valiant but vain attempt to stop the French Heavy Currassier

The Austrian light cavalry make a valiant but vain attempt to stop the French Heavy Cuirrassier and Lancers!

As the French Heavy horse moved off to try and flank the Austrians the Austrian infantry made a bold move and launched an attack at my infantry as it crested the hill in an effort to regain the initiative or disrupt my attack but some good rolls on my part disordered him further pinning him while my Cavalry forced one brigade into square while it was under infantry fire!

The small hill was the point of the heaviest fighting of the game with both the cavalry and large infantry battles taking place there!

The small hill was the point of the heaviest fighting of the game with both the cavalry and large infantry battles taking place there!

"En Avant!" "A La Bayonette!" The "Hill" receives yet more spilled blood!

“En Avant!” “A La Bayonette!” The “Hill” receives yet more spilled blood!

The Cavalry continued into the Austrians rear and with out much fighting it was decided that there was no way the Austrians could recover and fight it out, it would just be a slaughter…the honorable Austrian commander vonGausche not wishing to toss the lives of his countrymen away in vain surrendered…his other forces not even really committed yet quit the field and the game went to the French.

The French press hard on the Austrians who taking fire from three sides, disordered, unable to move, and seeing Heavy Cav in their rear, surrender!

The French press hard on the Austrians who taking fire from three sides, disordered, unable to move, and seeing Heavy Cav in their rear, surrender! The line of French troops in Red jackets and Buff pants are Swiss!

It was a Great game and really well played on both sides, fun! Got me interested in painting and playing more Age of Eagles Napoleonic battles soon! Check out the AOE website in the links section. If you are in the Los Angeles area and want to play give me a shout via the contact form on the site!

TB buildings

I now use 10mm TOTAL BATTLE miniature buildings from their Black Powder range! There’s a link to them in the link section. They really make towns look like towns!