Barracks Battles 2003
Friday Mar. 14 to Sunday Nov. 16 at Jefferson Barracks, St Louis, MO. Hosted Big MuddyPictures from the Convention
Germans Attack Russian Strong Point
Lining up on the HMS Illustrious
Cavalry clash in the center.
Another cavalry clash
French Allies Advancing
Barracks Battles Convention Report.
By Terry Callahan
I attended Big Muddy's Spring Convention Barrack Battle his past weekend March 14 and 15, 2003. It was held at in St Louis, MO at Grant's Shelter at Jefferson Barracks, MO. This was the first spring con Big Muddy has put on three years. Attendance was good and there were six vendors. I played two games and put on two others.
On Friday, I played a micro miniatures WWI game. The rules were a modified Command Decision and the GM had everything well documented and laid out for all the players. The scenario was WWII East Front during the Kursk Offensive. The Germans needed to occupy hill 203 a Russian strong point. There were three Russian and two German players. The Soviet forces included a Sapper battalion with 76mm ATG and KV1's, a heavy assault gun company of SU152's and a tank regiment of T34/85's. The Germans attacked with a PanzerGrenedier Battalion supported by StugIV's and a battalion of tanks. The Russian defenses included sixteen mine fields and nine preplanned 120mm mortar attacks.
The village was designated as a Strong Point was situated on a hill. The left and right sides of the hill were impassable to vehicles but could be climbed by infantry. A road ran through the village along the axis of the attack. On the left side and again on the rear of the hill vehicles could travel on slopes.
We set up a minefield belt in front of the strong point (SP) in a checker board pattern and interspersed several preplans (PP) in the mine field. We added three more minefields directly in front of the town and three on the right flank. Two companies of sappers were placed in the village on the hill as the strong point. These were dug in on three sides of the village. Behind the village, the tank battalion was held in reserve to see which way the German attack developed. On the left flank in an un-harvested field, we positioned a sapper company with its 76mm ATG pointed to the open area in front of the village. Behind the Sapper Co., we positioned the heavy assault Gun Company. Our strategy was to drive the German attack to our left and into the Sapper Co. and Su152's using the tank regiment to destroy any armor the Germans used in the attack.
When the Germans attacked they did the unexpected and attacked on our left directly into the Sapper Co. An all out battle ensued in the field between the Sappers and the Grenadiers. The Sapper Co was eventually destroyed but with it, the German infantry was devastated leaving only a couple stands to assault the town. The StugIV's followed up the infantry attack pushing out into the open and coming face with the SU152's and two battalions of T34's. The Stug's got the short end of the opening round of this dual losing five tanks to two T34's and one Su152. In the second round, they lost another three Stugs. It was about this point some additional German armor attacked.
A flight of JU88's attacked the town twice the first time they flew off without attacking because they lost contact with the ground controller. A second attack came in and destroyed a sapper platoon and KV1 in the town. We did manage to shoot down one of the Ju88's
Early in the battle a column of PzV's moved towards the middle of the German line of attack. These tanks would have flanked the battle in the field just beginning. I thought the lead tank had entered the minefield and measured made a measurement to see if the tanks had. They were short by two inches and I thought I had blown the hidden field and the German Player would go back. He didn't move at all. The tank column froze in place for another five or six turns while the German infantry was losing the battle in the field. Without doing anything except measuring a spot on the table the other player flinched and froze. He then sent his Heavy tank company of PzVI Tigers further to the Soviet right. I made an extreme range flank shot at the lead tank and missed, exposing my ATG's in the village. The German player then sent his Tigers on a long move around to the right and along the edge of the table. We were being cheap with the minefields and didn't put one on the table edge! The Tigers found this gap and moved on through to flank the village strong point. The Tigers then attempted to flank the village and make an attack from the rear. To counter this move we moved the SU152's and a T34 battalion to support the T34 battalion still in reserve to behind the hill.
The Germans at this point of the battle moved a company of infantry up to the front of the village short of the protective minefields. The Stug's had pulled back from the battle into the unharvested field. At this point of the battle, the GM announced that the battle off table on the Soviet right had been decided. A Russian Tank Brigade was about to enter the battle behind the flanking Tigers.
The game was ended at the point. The Germans did not have enough infantry to dislodge the Sappers in the village even with their entire remaining armor in support. The game was called and the Soviets were declared victors
The Second Game I played was an all day Napoleonic Game hosted by Mark Johnson. I will have Mark write up the details of the battle and I will post them here. I will give an over view of the game.
Mark runs an on going campaign at the conventions he travels to. At each convention he attends the players continue the battle or attack. The game on Saturday was a bloody affair between the Austrians and the French and French Allies. The set up was not planned as you will see as the players took the units and sat down. The French deployment left to right was French infantry division, artillery, cavalry brigade, Allied cavalry, Allied infantry brigade, artillery and finally an Allied infantry brigade. The Austrians curiously set up their army the same way. It was a game of the flanks while the cavalry ran back and forth in the middle. I controlled the Allied cavalry, a regiment of hussars and a regiment of Lancers with a horse artillery battery.
I enjoyed the game and played about 8 hours. I had to quit because I was going to host a game that evening. The rules Mark uses are simple and the details is in the strategy. As I said I will post the results from Mark's write up.
Games I hosted
I hosted one game each day. Both games were Blue Sky WWII air combat games.
Friday's games was "Attack on the Illustrious" German JU87B in two flights of six and a flight of three JU88A 's attack the HMS Illustrious in 1940. Defending the Illustrious were four Fairy Fulmar MKII fighters. I added the battleship MHS Valiant and three destroyers on the table. The British players immediately grumbled about their fighters being flying bricks. The climb rate is abysmal and would have taken forever to climb to meet the Stukas but for the fact they would meet them as the Stuks dived on the Illustrious. The Fulmars got in enough hits on the planes and actually downed a couple and one of the JU88's. The JU87's got four hits on the carrier and inflicted 19 points of damage. They needed 35 to sink the British carrier. They lost 8 of the dive bombers to anti aircraft fire and to the Fulmars. The JU88's on the other hand never got a torpedo off as they didn't dive fast enough to drop the torpedoes on the carrier. The victory went to the British.
Saturday's game was Blue-17 a variant given me by Tom Sparhawk. It combines Blue Sky WWII air combat rules for miniatures and B-17 Queen of the Skies by Avalon Hill. The modifications make for a very playable and enjoyable game. We had six players and players about 3 and half hours getting in nine turns. The players picked up the mechanics quickly and we were off and flying. In the first combat of the game a B-17 took 33 hits from four different ME110's. After we worked out the damage it was still flying. One player lost both of his German FW190's in the second turn by finding himself between the B-24 and B-17 Groups. The B-24 Group had an impressive bomber box. Three flights of three planes, Lead at high 3, middle at high 4 and the last group at high 2. The B-17 Group had a similar box though a little stretched out. Three of 18 bombers, one B-17 and two B-24, were lost and six of 14 fighters were lost in nine turns. By the time we stopped I was tailing a B-24 with two ME110's getting in hits each turn. The bomber had 45 hits when we finished. Everyone enjoyed the game and I got a few ideas to make the paper management easier. This game would lend itself towards a campaign game similar to the Avalon Hill game especially for conventions.
Over all the Conventions was a lot of fun for me, I didn't over extend my game hosting and got in some good games at the same time. I took a little over one hundred pictures which I have posted here. I plan on attending Historicon this summer and will host "Illustrious" game there. I'd like to do the Blue-17 game too but I will leave that to Tom Sparhawk.
BARRACKS BATTLES 2003 AFTER ACTION REPORT
World War II Coastal Action
By Warren Peterson
This report describes the events that occurred in a World War II naval battle involving British efforts to investigate reported German naval activity. It is a moonless night with heavy cloud cover, on calm seas as the forces approach each other.
German engineers have developed a Walter turbine diesel engine for use in submarines. Admiral Dönitz's has directed that the new engine be field tested in preparation for construction of the new Type XVIIG U-boat. If successful, estimates are that the new submarine will have a top submerged speed of 25 knots. U-boat 141, a Type IX submarine, has been retrofitted with this new engine. Presently it is under going sea trials.
At sunset, Kreigsmarine headquarters received word that U-boat 141 has surfaced with mechanical problems. The German armed merchant freighter, Stockholm, is attempting to render assistance to the stricken submarine. It is vital to the war effort that the submarine be repaired and returned to port as soon as possible, or towed to port if repairs are not possible. Headquarters has dispatched two Wolf-class destroyers (Flottentorpedoboots Wolf and Iltis) to assist in the recovery of the submarine. The submarine must not be allowed to fall into the hands of the British Navy.
Intercepts of German radio transmissions indicate that a submarine has surfaced in the North Sea and is calling for assistance. Intelligence also indicates that the Kreigsmarine has dispatched ships to aid in the recovery of the vessel. Feeling this is a bit unusual, the Royal Navy has dispatched two Clemson-class destroyers (HMS Belmont, HMS Chesterfield) and one Hunt-class destroyer (HMS Artherstone) to investigate. If possible, the British are to capture the submarine otherwise it must be destroyed.
Turn 1 - As British naval forces approach the reported position of the submarine, captains receive radar reports which indicate two potential enemy vessels on the horizon with another stationary contact slightly to starboard. Ranges vary between 2,400 and 2,000 yards.
The German captains also receive radar reports of possible enemy vessels. Mechanics from the Stockholm continue to assist the crew on the stricken U-141.
Both sides close at 18 knots, although aware of each others presence, neither side is willing to fire star shells or take other efforts to spot the enemy which might reveal their position. Both sides prepare for action.
Turn 2 - With radar reports continuing to indicate enemy vessels are closing, the German ships begin to move towards the submarine in a zigzag pattern. Captains for the Stockholm and U-141, aware that enemy ships are closing on their position redouble their efforts to fix the submarine's engine.
British ships likewise continue to close. The Artherstone moves closer to the Chesterfield. Both ships plot a course starboard towards the stationary radar contact, which they now believe to be the submarine, while the Belmont continues directly towards the enemy.
Turn 3 - Forces on both sides continue to close. Radar signals on Belmont indicate a ship 1,650 yards dead ahead. These same reports are heard on the Wolf. All ship captains continue to exercise extreme caution and fire discipline.
Reports from the engine room on U-141 indicate that repairs have been completed, and efforts are underway to restart the engine. Personnel from the Stockholm onboard U-141 return to their ship.
Turn 4 - The captain of U-141 receives word that the engine has been successfully restarted. He makes a mental note to reward his chief engineer for dedication to duty. A lesser man may not have been able to achieve this result ("a 20 on a d20"). The captain orders full ahead, away from the approaching enemy vessels. He radios the Stockholm that he is underway. The Stockholm likewise begins to move away with the submarine.
Captains on the Artherstone and Chesterfield receive radar reports that what they thought was a single ship (the submarine) now appears to be two ships, and the ships are moving away. At present speed they will still overtake the escaping vessels.
The Wolf and Belmont continue to aggressively close on each other.
Turn 5 - As the Wolf and Belmont close to within 1,000 yards, sighting reports are transmitted to the bridges of each ship. Both captains seize their chance and orders are given to fire. 4" shells from the Belmont hit the superstructure and hull on the Wolf, while 4.1" shells from the Wolf damage the hull of the Belmont. Flooding starts on the Belmont and damage control teams are dispatched. Orders for torpedoes to be fired are issued by both captains.
Captains on the other vessels observe the exchange of gunfire. However, being approximately 1,200 yards east of the firing ships (and unseen for now) they decline to add their supporting gunfire, and continue to close on the submarine's position increasing their speed.
The captain of U-141 continues to increase speed while surfaced. He contacts the engine room to see if the submarine is ready to dive, but the engineers are busy with the prototype engine. The Stockholm is also increasing speed, and maneuvers to place itself between the submarine and enemy ships approaching from astern. The 1,200 ton merchant vessel is armed with a 4.1" gun and the captain intends to use it.
Turn 6 - Two torpedoes strike the Wolf. The resulting detonations rip large sections of the hull open. Fires erupt and the ship begins to rapidly sink. Orders are given to abandon ship.
Evasive maneuvers are taken by the Belmont to avoid the torpedoes launched by the Wolf. Several pass dangerously close, and one torpedo even strikes the Belmont but fails to detonate.
Explosions on the Wolf silhouette the Belmont against the skyline. The captain on the Iltis desiring revenge decides to open fire (thereby making his ship visible). More 4.1" shells penetrate the Belmont's hull causing additional floods and a fire erupts. One shell strikes Belmont's torpedo mount severely damaging it.
The gunfire between the Wolf, Belmont and Iltis is observed on the bridges of the other ships. Orders are given for steering corrections, and gunfire erupts from all vessels as each targets the other.
Turn 7 - The Artherstone steers a course west of the Chesterfield and prepares to engage the Stockholm and Iltis. These vessels exchange fire and hits are scored on each other.
Meanwhile, the Iltis increases speed and steers a course towards the Artherstone while maintaining her fire. The captain of the Iltis orders torpedoes to be fired at the Chesterfield and Artherstone. Shells slam into the Iltis and Artherstone causing hull damage to each vessel. The Iltis also suffers steering damage.
The captain of U-141 concerned that he may not be able to submerge quick enough orders his crew to the deck guns. The crew responds and several shots are fired at the Chesterfield which is the closest ship. The Chesterfield returns fire, and hits the submarine causing some damage.
Turn 8 - The Iltis having suffered steering damage from gunfire can no longer take evasive action as it closes on the Artherstone. The captain of the British vessel is pre-occupied with the turning his vessel in order to bring a guns to bear on the enemy ships. As a result the Iltis rams the Artherstone in the side causing major damage. The impact of the collision prevents either vessel from firing its guns with any effect. Flooding begins on both ships.
The captain of U-141 receives word that the submarine can dive. Thinking it wise, the captain orders all hands below deck begins diving the submarine. The Chesterfield continues its fire on the submarine.
Turn 9 - U-141 slips beneath the waves with the Belmont in pursuit. The German submarine escapes! German victory!
Torpedoes strike the Chesterfield. The resulting explosions destroy the ship and it sinks.
But wait…the moderator caving in to a bunch of pleading from the Allied players allows the Belmont one more shot at the submarine as it slips beneath the waves. The Belmont rolls a critical hit…with you guessed it…a massive explosion! Deep six the submarine.
- Allied Players:
- Steve Parsonage
- James Kantor
- Edward Menlee
- German Players:
- Bob Gallavan
- Marty Gallo