Command Con V 2003 Report

By Terry Callahan

Command Con V presented by Big Muddy Historical Gamers Association was held Nov. 14 to 16 at Grant's Shelter, Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis MO. There were sixty games presented over the three-day weekend with six venders in attendance. Additionally there was a silent auction and a movie area showing nonstop was movies. Food was also available to the convention goers. There were approximately 110 attendees with most. Big Muddy held an election three of its officers and a club by-laws change was on the ballot. On Saturday morning and afternoon all the tables were occupied with games ranging from a DBM tournament, World war II land sea and air games, Lord of the Rings and American Civil War. There were others genres that I missed.

Games Played

I played two games presented by Mark Johnson, "Napoleon's Spanish Ulcer - Return to the Peninsula". I commanded the Nassau Division in the morning and a Swiss Division in the evening.

The British have landed in Spain and along with her allies are attempting to drive the French from Spain. The Nassau and Swiss Division were ordered to drive the British back into the sea. We rushed onto the table in march column on two different roads that converged on a small Spanish town. The villagers that cheered our arrival seemed friendly we did chase off a Spanish Militia unit that retreated towards the coast. As we emerged from the town the British were landing on a small beach and advancing towards us. The terrain was empty of any hindrances making it an exceptional location to maneuver.

As the Swiss commander deployed his five regiments a one of the British commander became impatient and advanced a regiment of cavalry, with two regiments of infantry on our right. The rest of the British were still unloading onto the beach. The advance of the enemy cavalry worried our side as our own Chassurs were on the opposite flank and unable to react to any charges British charges. One of our regiments formed square on the approach of the British cavalry. On the next turn the right flank regiment formed square at same time as the British cavalry charged. This charge was thrown back with losses. The infantry units came up in support of the shaken cavalry unit.

Infantry units began to exchange musket fire while a British motor began to bombard our regiments. I moved up my two infantry regiments and formed line with the three Swiss regiments. I placed my five medium guns on the left of the infantry line with the Nassau Chassurs protecting the left flank.

The British moved their other infantry up slowly as my gun began to hit the units hard. The British set up a rocket battery and began bombarding any and all troops on the battlefield. The Spanish Lancers holing the British Right had several rocket barrages land on or near them. More landed in and around our troops doing little damage. One player remarked the rockets' bark is worse than it bite.

After hitting the British Cavalry Unit with my artillery and firing on a regiment of infantry in the flank, the British began to pull back to try to establish a line. We moved our line, consisting of five regiments, forward towards the British positions. We were firing as we marched forward causing loses on the enemy regiments facing us. One of our Swiss regiments was pulled out of the line and replaced with one of our reserves after taking some severe losses in musketry exchanges with the enemy. It was detailed to the rear as a read guard in the village.

As the infantry line advance the artillery was masked and began to limber up to move to a better firing position. The Spanish Lancers seeing an opportunity charged the limbered guns. The Nassau Chassurs countercharged and hit the lancers allowing the artillery to escape. The resulting melee ended when the lancers routed towards the beach with the Chassurs in pursuit. The Artillery turned around, set up a flanking position, and began to hit the enemy units. As we our line neared the coast we came under fire from the offshore British Ships. An error in judgement by the artillery captain caused several losses among the artillerymen manning the guns. On our right skirmishers were continually firing at the remaining British cavalry. Eventually the British broke and ran all the way back to the beach and attempted to board the ships that brought them to Spain. A British gun attempted to trade counter battery fire with our guns; the result was a destroyed British gun. The enemy units retreated further as our units poured musket fire into their ranks. After two more units routed the British commander sued for peace. We allowed the British to board their ships and leave. It was a glorious victory, our troops cheering "Vive'le Emperor" as the British left in their ships.

In the evening, I played the commander of the Swiss Division in a continuation of the campaign begun that morning. During the afternoon session the British had landed up the coast and tried again to move into Spain. Defeated in the afternoon session they were now attempting to escape complete destruction at the hands of the French allies. It began and ended as a chase with most of the British force escaping. A valiant rear guard action by the Lancers and Queens Own delayed the Swiss and Nassau forces long enough to enable the British to escape. It was a short game and the only question was how many of the British units would escape.

Games Presented

I presented two games. On Friday I presented a computer assisted naval wargame, "Convoy Attack in the Barents Sea". A ten ship convoy escorted by three corvettes, a destroyer and a light cruiser are attacked by a German task force consisting of the battlecrusier Scharnhorst, and four Z31 Class destroyers.

Following is a turn by turn synopsis of the battle.

  1. Movement only
  2. Scharnhorst fires on Manchester. Manchester returns fire. Minimal damage to both ships.
  3. Scharnhorst and Manchester exchange fire again. DD Clare enters fray with more fire. British commander selected TF1 with three CA's and four DD's, rolls an '8' TF will enter next turn.
  4. Scharnhorst targets Clare with secondary gun and sinks her. Scharnhorst and German DD's get hits on three freighters, AP Hill, DH Hill and G Meade.
  5. Scharnhorst sink Manchester, use all gun on the cruiser, Meade, AP Hill and DH Hill hit again. Scharnhorst and 2 DD are hit. Long range fire on Scharnhorst by Exeter, Belfast and Suffolk begin.
  6. Z33 hit by a torpedo fired earlier by the Z34, Z33 breaks in half and sinks within minutes.
  7. Z31, Z34 and Z38 hit by gunfire from Exeter, Belfast and Suffolk. JB Hood sunk. Corvette Compass Rose gets a critical hit on the Z38. Z38 dead in the water
  8. Z31 sinks after being hit by gunfire from Exeter. J Early, DH Hill and tanker Esso Albany all dead in the water. Suffolk and Scharnhorst exchange gunfire. Compass Rose dead in water after being hit by gunfire from Z34
  9. AP Hill sinks, Scharnhorst targets Exeter and Suffolk, Scharnhorst begins to turn away from battle, has 20% minimal damage, though "A" turret has two guns out and several secondary guns are out.
  10. J Early sinks, Scharnhorst and Exeter, Belfast and Suffolk exchange gunfire.
  11. Corvette Loosestrife hit by Scharnhorst secondary batteries.
  12. Scharnhorst damaged by hit from Exeter, Belfast and Suffolk.
  13. Exeter, Belfast and Suffolk fire on fleeing Scharnhorst. No damage.
  14. DD Juno sinks after being hit by secondaries from Scharnhorst. Exeter, Belfast and Suffolk fire at Scharnhorst, again no damage. Distance closing between pursuers and pursued.
  15. DD Hancock suffers 82% damage from Scharnhorst's secondaries. Scharnhorst slows due to damage inflicted by Exeter on stern.
Game ends at this point with tactical victory by the Germans. Germans lost four destroyers and would eventually lose the Scharnhorst but the British lost a light cruiser, two destroyers and four freighters. They also left three freighters and a corvette dead in the water.

Saturday afternoon I presented the Bomber Game "B-17's over France" This is the continuation of an air mission campaign I have been running at the last four conventions I have attended. At this con, the planes made their bomb run and turned back for home. We lost another two B-17's on this leg of the mission. It will be a long trip home as many of the planes are beat up.

(Group stats).