Battle of Tagliamento 1917

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German and Austro-Hungarian troops spread out to cross the Tagliamento River.


One of the things I try to do at wargaming conventions is play games that in period that I don’t regularly get to play.  Large conventions like HMGS Cold Wars really give you the chance to experience lots of periods and rules sets.  Not to mention people will often have really nice figures  to look at as well. I also admit to an interest in the Eastern and Italian Front of World War 1, which no one plays much.

This year I played in the Battle of Tagliamento 1917 with Kurt Schlegel & the Hawks as GM.  This was a 10mm game using Take Action! rules.  The battle takes place along the Tagliamento River in Italy as the Italians are falling back after the German and Austrian Hungarian forces have broken through on the Isonzo Front.

I actually wanted to play the Austrians but with everyone wanting to be an Austrian player I opted for playing the Italians.  I commanded the right flank that included part of the front trench line and a town. The other two players controlled the rest of the front trench line and the second trench line.

The Austrian/German right flank on the other side of the board from me made the rolls and really made good progress.  They also paid for this with the most casualties.  The German unit was the first unit wiped out.

My forward trenches are being shelled and the enemy has not even crossed the river yet.


The View from my forward trench on the Italian right flank the unit in the trench next to the town was the hero of the game.

Every so often you have a game with a unit that defies the odds.  It makes the impossible morale rolls and stands against much better units. This game would have that, the unit behind the trench would be forced back once but I would send it back to the trench.  I would loose the unit and trench next to it and the town and be surrounded but still survive.  The unit would go down to the bad morale for having all the other stands destroyed.  Still I would make the morale roll.  I would make 14 saving rolls in a row with it and it would survive the game in the same trench.  Like the Roman Legions of old it stood.

Smoke puffs denote both sides artillery hammering at each other, at least you get a saving throw in a trench.


The Central Powers have crossed the river now things will get really get tough on the Italians.


The other board edge the enemy just keeps coming.


The town and center of the first line of trenches have fallen but still the one stand fights on standing like an Italian stone wall.

It looked bad at the point in the game in the above image.  The center of the first trench line had been busted through and the town next to it had also fallen.  I had to remove my artillery observer from the town. The Italian right flank was still standing in the first trench line but waves of Austrians were coming towards them.

The other Italian flank was seeing it share of carnage going toe to toe with the enemy.


Late in the game the Austrian forces have forced their way through on the left flank.

At the point in the above picture I was really worried about the Italians.  I had not been able to move my reserves up to the first trench line for a counter attack.  The Austrians had taken the town and were pushing through in multiple spots on the front.  Still not without a price the grey pipe cleaners are hits and a stand can only take three hits.  The Austrians had taken a beating and gone down a unit morale level.

The second Italian trench line awaits the enemy attack.


The Italians flank is starting to crumble.


The other Italian player led a spirited counter attack which cost both sides men.

At this point the center of the first trench line had collapsed.  So he went for the victory point objective of the town on the end of the second trench line.  As one of the Austrian players said it sounded like a good idea at the time.  He got out in the open between fire from my reserves that I had in a corn field and had turned towards him my light artillery and the second trench line fire he was blown away.  The open is a dangerous place to be in these rules no saving throws.  Machine gun fire even if does not damage suppresses you and you can’t move.

Austrian infantry caught out in the open on the road.


Austrian casualties force a unit morale roll which is failed.


Just one stand left in the Italian first trench line but no one can stop him.

The Italians had held the left flank, destroying the German unit and forcing a morale failure on an Austrian unit.  The center was broken through but stopped before the second trench line as Austrian loses caused a morale failure.  The first trench was broken through on the right flank but the Austrians were down a morale level because of casualties and one more hit from having to take a unit morale roll.

When I started I felt the Italians would not be able to hold. The Central Powers medium and heavy guns were really deadly.  I usually am not the biggest fan of rules sets with saving throws but I know it is what saved me.  I may not have rolled well in shooting but I won most melee and made saving throws for the trenches.  I have no experience really with rules for this period but I liked these ones.  The rules were easy to understand and flowed I thought.

While helping clean up the game I could see what could have changed things.  The Central Powers spread out against the Italians.  If they just chose a place to hit them like the Italian right flank and concentrated all their forces on point they would bust through and right into the corner of the second trench line and the objective.  They defused their numerical advantage by spreading the troops all over.  It was a fun game, and good to play something new.



HMGS Cold Wars

I attended HMGS Cold Wars again this year and enjoyed myself.  I have gotten use to not staying at the Lancaster Host and work well around that.  As you can see from the below links Cold Wars is something I think about and like to do every year.

The weather was alright it had snowed just a few days before the convention but it did not prove a problem for me.  My wife and I had a good time doing some things in the local area and I enjoyed the convention.  The gaming the dealers hall and the talking with others in the bar.  Though I am slowing down considerably in the last two I believe.

The Host looked better in some places but still has a way to go some things are still falling apart and need to be replaced.  Still I like having the convention at the Host even if I have not chosen to stay their for the last two years.  Perhaps that will change and I will go back to staying at the Host.

The club I game with put on two games.  Kon put on a Battlestar Galactica game which I have no pictures of this year and Del did an American Civil War game using a rules set under development. As talked about in these earlier posts.

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Del Stover’s nice terrain for this Civil War battle at Cold Wars 2017


First blood on the Union side.


Convention game players enjoying the game.


Watch out for the flanking cavalry attack.

HMGS Cold Wars offers a wide range of games and that is something I like about the convention.  I will post several of the games I played in future posts to further display this but the next photographs also show this.  On the table next to the American Civil War Game a whole different game was to be had.

A Trekkie one in every crowd I guess


The GM next to us told me he was running a boarding action against Deep Space Nine game.  It got too easy for players to just destroy Deep Space Nine which he ran last year so he had made it a boarding action now.  Something different but really nicely done figures.

Deep Space Nine Model is very impressive.

HMGS Cold Wars a nice gaming convention what ever you choose to play.


Preparing Game for HMGS Cold Wars

Members of the Wednesday Night Gamers were only running a few games this Cold Wars convention but one was going to be an American Civil War game.  These rules are the work of a friend of Del’s and we have been giving them a test for a while.  I myself like them and like play testing rules for possible publication by others.  Our club has a fair variety of players and size to give quality feedback I believe.

This game was not based on a real battle too my knowledge but is a scenario to help set up various situations to get a feel for parts of the rules.  Myself and others in the club are fairly familiar with the rules and any changes made so far to them.  See past posts for examples of several games.

The game I did not take photographs of both nights but it is my opinion it would be a Confederate victory with George and Del holding the roads.

Click on photograph for larger image.

Union coming on the board towards objective


Confederates hold the road.


Rick’s Union infantry attack the woods full of rebels.


On the other flank my Union infantry force back rebels in the trees and my dismounted cavalry engage the infantry in the road.

Things got ugly on the other flank.  I did not feel my troops would reach the town in any realistic time frame but on the other flank the troops attacked each other.  George charge out of the woods at Rick’s hoards of troops for lots of bloodshed.


George lining up in the edge of the trees for a rebel yell.


Out of the trees and down the slope they come


More feedback was given from this game of course for the designer of the rules and for setting up the scenario at Cold Wars.  Del I am sure made good use of the information.  Some people found the cavalry to be unrealistic and too powerful.  I myself felt that way about the large artillery stands.  They were considered to be so many sections they got to roll a lot of dice.  Really devastating results could be had this way in a short period of time at long-range.

Still the game was fun and this provided a learning experience to help run the game at Cold Wars.


Battle of Elkhorn Tavern After Action Report

The club I game with got together and played some American Civil War Battles getting ready for Cold Wars game convention in March. A club member is play testing a rules set for a person and would be running a game or two at Cold Wars using the rules. On the night we played the game we did not know it was the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern that we were playing we just knew it was a real historical battle. I liked not knowing it made it interesting with no preconceived ideas from knowing the historical outcome.

Not knowing what the battle was I had no real care about which side I played but ended up being a Confederate player with George.  Attacking the Union the Confederates would be trying to take the cross roads and pushing them back.  My troops on the Confederate left flank were all green with smoothbore guns so had really short range and crappy morale.  George had pretty much the same but was going through some woods so had some cover.  The Union infantry had rifled muzzle loaders so had better range.

Right off the bat I took a beating as my troops were being outranged and shot up at distance.

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First Unit takes hits and being green goes Shaken



As the Union fall back the advancing Rebels take hits. The skirmish line has two and is one away from loosing a stand

The tactic of falling back bit by bit was effective for the Union side.  They outranged the Confederate forces and fell back when they got a chance with initiative to stay out of smoothbore range.  The Confederate skirmish line was able to soak up some of the punishment.

George with the other flank comes out of the woods with his forces in better shape. His artillery has inflicted some damage to the Union.

Experience with the rules paid off for me a little bit.  That and getting initiative at the right time.  I came to the conclusion I could not wait and out shoot the enemy so would need to go in with the bayonet and hope that my rolls were high enough to win as I had green troops.  So I set up for an attack as George continued to force the other flank and center.

Timing and a little luck perhaps that is all that is needed as the green troops slam into the Union line.

I lined up my troops with attack columns and lines of infantry in front of them.  When the Union backed up into the woods slowing their move and then I got the initiative I charged.  Getting a bonus for charging, better formation the attack column and a supported line helped out.  Not to mention the dice roll.

The Confederate right flank and center starts to force the issue as well.


Shaken Union infantry fall back from the Confederate left flank exposing the gunners to a charge.


The Confederate center and left flank starting to turn the battle.


Guns destroyed and charging into more Union infantry

Two things kind of got lost in this battle were the overall destructive power of the batteries.  The batteries were big and if you rolled well you could really do some damage at range.  This and a Confederate Cavalry unit that George rode around the flank and I think was largely ignored by the Union players.  It did some real damage perhaps too much it was more like a Napoleonic cavalry regiment than ACW it seemed to most of the players.

Confederate troops under George converge from the other side further causing collapse of union forces.

The game was pretty historical as it left the Confederate forces with the field but not really in shape to follow up the victory.  Much discussion was had about the rules but that is why you play test rules.  I myself felt the artillery is too strong and others felt the cavalry was too powerful.  Again this is learning experience in some ways but made for a good game.  As stated before I liked playing a historical battle and not knowing which battle it is for a change.

Del Stover gets the credit for the scenario, the nice terrain and also the 10mm troops painted to such a nice standard.


Club’s Italian Campaign

Troops holding towns are very tough to defeat in these games

Starting the last months of 2016 and here into February of 2017 the Wednesday Night Gamers of Alexandria have been doing a World War II Campaign game.  Welcome to sunny Italy.  It has been a series of attacks against German defenses by American forces the Germans tasked with delaying the Americans.  This harkens back to a club sponsored convention game of many years ago called “Welcome to Sunny Italy”.

This game saw us pitting British forces against German defenders trying to again stall the allied drive through Italy.  The rules set used for this was Spearhead.  Del built great terrain, while people painted up tons of figures.  We had tee-shirts made for the game it was a great event and time.  At his point we had people leave and take their figures so now we have Germans and lots of Americans.

I took photographs of several of the games over a number of nights but erased a number of them from my camera before my January trip to Sicily.  Yes I went to not so sunny Sicily but had a great time.  Having said that I still do remember the first night I played in was an experience as I had not played Spearhead in a while.

I was trying to take a town in the center while to my right another player was trying to drive up a steep hill and beat the Germans back.  The Germans were pretty thick in numbers here and the other flank was more of a demonstration keeping the left American flank occupied.  I learned my artillery rolls were crap so could not drive the Germans from the town.  The only good point was my smoke rounds were blocking his lone tiger tank from seeing me so somewhat covering me over some open ground.  Ultimately I pulled back and regrouped and found a way around the town after dislodging one German Company.

That was kind of new to me or at least something I don’t do very often. We some plan is not going well pull back to stop taking casualties and come up with a new plan.  I don’t do that often during a game and just usually play things out to the end but this was for some reason something that occurred to me.  The German forces more or less one the game even though they retreated they delayed the Americans.

Next game I participated in over several weeks I was the lone American player.  I had lots of troops and failed to use the lessons learned previously.  I became inflexible and stuck with a plan that caused me to lose lots of troops.  In the end it was a kind of victory but at high costs.  I felt I had lost too many troops for it the game to be considered an American victory.

Each game we played in the game had the Americans trying to push the Germans back and ultimately they would because of numbers.  I felt that even though the battles were each considered an American victory it was always a good delaying action.  The German side was always more fun to play I felt also.  The Germans always delayed the American even if they could not stop them.

Artillery was very potent in this game.  You really need to put your artillery spotter in a good position it really made a difference.  On a number of nights different players found that out the hard way.

I did not do a complete After Action Report for any particular battle as they were all somewhat similar.  The Americans needed to push on beyond the German held lines and the Germans needed to delay them until the next lines were completed.  The battles were interesting and bloody often.  I felt you had to be flexible and willing to regroup and or avoid built up areas and go around strong points as the American.  This is not something I have always done in games especially the regrouping part.

Now for few photographs. Click on photographs for larger images.

Germans Holding a Hill


Americans slugging it out with Germans on the hills of Italy

An enjoyable campaign just the same but really good if you switched sides every so often.