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HISTORICON 2003

There were lots of Battlefront events this year. Rich put on some of demonstration games of the new Desert rules (and won one of the blue ribbons for his presentation-it helps to be a graphic artist). Michael Panzer put on a couple of his well-organized Kursk scenarios. Steve Keyer did two Finnish scenarios. John Rigley had a Chinese/Japanese battle. Steven Lee put on the next of the Kokoda trail scenarios (which is now posted on the site). Mike Pierce did a couple of Bulge scenarios, and Pete Landry (who said he was going to get me some pictures) put on another Mortain scenario which I don't have yet.. If I missed anyone, I apologize. Anyway, some of the samples are below and I look forward to posting any scenarios that people want to give me (Steve, Michael, John, Pete...).

Desert Warfare

The first desert game Richard Hasenauer ran was based on the actual battle of El Gubi, where a British Armoured force encountered some Italian tanks and infantry. Richard won an award for the visual appeal of this scenario.
This game was fought in two stages. In the first, the British attempted an quick overrun of the Italian position. The minefields did their work, and the attack was repulsed with heavy losses. In the second phase, the British player noted where the minefield counters were placed and used proper tactics to slowly grind through an obvious gap in the Italian positions. The Italian AT guns were unable to score kills beyond point-blank range. The British moved up just outside of effective weapon range (all of the Italians were revealed), and proceded to chop up the Italians, who were unable to respond. It should be noted that the historical battle resembled the first phase, as the British received a bloody nose from Ariete.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
El Gubi 01
Italian Infantry await their fate
The Italians wait in dug-in positions behind minefields.
El Gubi 02
Italian Armor await its doom
Far out in front of the Italian main positions, a column of M13/40 finds itself directly in the path of two Battalions of British Crusaders (this is historial).
El Gubi 03
Here they come!
A formation of Crusader charges onto the board. Note the dust clouds behind the moving tanks. This is treated as a disapating smoke screen. This worked quite well in the demonstrations.
El Gubi 04
More Crusaders!
More Crusaders pour onto the board.
El Gubi 05
It sure is lonely out here.
The Italian Armor waits in front of its infantry. Just off the bottom edge of the picture is a wall of British Armor.
El Gubi 06
Smokin!
To help their tanks make a safe getaway, the Italians drop some smoke on the lead British.
El Gubi 07
Run Away!
Discretion being the better part of valor, the M13/40s head for the dubious safety of their Infantry postions at their top speed.
El Gubi 08
Those mines can't hurt us!
The first wave of British Tanks attempts to rush the Italian positions through the minefields. However, enough of the vehicles are delayed by the minefields to give the Italians a chance to react.
El Gubi 09
Italian Medal of Honor
An Italian infantry unit destroys one of the penetrating tanks in close combat!
El Gubi 10
First Attack in shambles
The first wave of British tanks comes to grief. They soon failed their morale role and headed back across the desert. However, there was a full second wave.
El Gubi 11
Richard with his ribbon
Richard H. shows off his gamemaster battle streamer.
El Gubi 12
The second wave approaches
The second wave of British tanks heads for the gap in the minefield, covered by smoke..
After the first wave had come to a bad end appropriate for a light cavalry charge, the British players sent in the second wave in a methodical way. They noted that the Italians could not score vehicle kills with ANY of their weapons beyond 5 inches. The British moved up to about 6" an proceeded to shoot up the Italians with impunity. Rather than moving through the mines, the British went through the obvious gaps. At Historicon, we learned a few things about setting up desert scenarios, which was reinforced by the subsequent battle of Sidi-Rezegh (where the British were on the receiving end): This scenario could be interesting if the mine-belt were continuous. The first phase of the battle was quite exciting.

The second game was the battle for the Sidi Rezegh airfield in Operation Crusader. In this one, the British are on defence. It was almost a mirror image of the Italian game, except in this one, the British suffered from the qualitative disadvantage.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Sidi Rezegh 01
British Infantry
The British and their support await the attack.
Sidi Rezegh 02
Another view
A more complete view of the battle, showing the British Artillery in the rear. For some reason, the British player decided to move them closer to the action, and they were caught while in transit..
Sidi Rezegh 03
Germans Arrive
German Armor moves in, chasing some British Armoured cars.
Sidi Rezegh 04
Armored Cars run for their lives
Chased by some German light tanks, the Armoured cars head for safety.
Sidi Rezegh 05
Another view
Another view of the chase of the armoured cars. Note the British lurking behind the escarpment.
Sidi Rezegh 06
Tanks a lot
The main German force arrives.
Sidi Rezegh 07
Ground Level view
A view of both the German advance and the British positions.
Sidi Rezegh 08
From the British Side
The Germans and British as seen from the British side. Note the trucks moving up to meet the Germans. They were carrying 25-pdrs and should have stayed where they started.
Sidi Rezegh 09
Germans clear the escarpment
While the main German force prepares to move behind the British position, some German tanks move up to clear the escarpment.
The lessons from the first game were reinforced here. Soft targets must start hidden.

Michael Panzer's Kursk Games

Michael put on a couple of Kursk games early in the convention.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Michael Panzer Kursk 01
Kursk-Russian setup
Michael Panzer's games are characterized by meticulous preparation and well-defined setup. Here the Russians await the German onslaught from well defined defensive positions and minefields
Michael Panzer Kursk 02
German Recon Moves out
German Recon units move out and are greeted by Russian Artillery
Michael Panzer Kursk 03
Stugs up the Middle
German SPGs move up the middle while Recon units (in the background), probe the flank
Michael Panzer Kursk 04
Engineers put in a Bridge
Another view of the same situation as the previous pic. While the Germans advance, engineers bridge a river.
Michael Panzer Kursk 05
Recon
Another view of the same situation as the previous pics. The Recon moves out.
Michael Panzer Kursk 06
Russian Armor meets German Air
The Russians send in their armor, which is immediately attacked by German Tank-busters.
Michael Panzer Kursk 07
More Russians rush-in
More Russian Armor appears, and the Stugs start inflicting damage.

Steve Keyer's Finnish games

Steve Keyer of Two Tin Soldiers has been creating a figure line featuring the less well known armies on the Eastern front. His first major project is the Finns. I am looking forward to his Finnish ski troops. At the convention, he ran two games from the "Continuation War".

The First Game

The first featured a Russian armored assault against a Finnish counterattack.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Finn 01 01
Russian setup
Russian Tanks await the attack order. The vehicle in the back is an SU-76i
Finn 01 02
Finn setup
At the other end of the table, the Finnish Stugs and captured T34s get ready. The Finns use a combination of German and captured Russian equipment.
Finn 01 03
Finns Move out
The Finns send their T34s with tankriders to capture a strategic woods on the right flank.
Finn 01 04
Russians Charge
The Russians send their tanks out to counter the Finnish move. Infantry moves out behind them.
Finn 01 05
First Kills
The Veteran Finnish Stugs (just off the bottom of the picture) find that the charging Russians are within their effective range.
Finn 01 06
Payback
The Russians destroy one of the Finnish T34s.
Finn 01 07
Battle for the woods
The battle for the woods rages. The second Finnish T34 is knocked out, and infantry joins the fight. On the other flank, the Finns occupy another hill, but Russian infantry with a Su152 prepare to attack them.
Finn 01 08
The Battle for the Woods continues
Finnish infantry on the right flank moves up to help their comrades. Stugs on the flank pour fire into the kill zone.
Finn 01 09
Russian Infantry Attack
Russian Infantry pour into the woods to dislodge the Finns before their comrades arrive
Finn 01 10
Another View
The battle for the woods from the Finnish side
Finn 01 11
Finns counterattack
A bad maneuver roll having driven off the Su152, the Finns move their Stugs closer to the battle.
Finn 01 12
Climax
The Finns and Russians battle for the woods.

The Second Game

The second Finnish scenario featured a Finnish infantry attack on a Russian position. Your not-so-humble webmaster ran one of the 3 Finnish commands :-)
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Finn 02 01
The map
The Russians set up in a valley. The Finns set up anywhere outside the rim of the valley.
Finn 02 02
The Russian setup
The Russians get prepared in the center of the board.
Finn 02 03
Finns attack the mortars
The Finns decide their initial positions before the Russians set up. We decided on a 3-pronged attack. By luck, the Right flank forces appeared just behind the Russian mortars.
Finn 02 04
Russian mortars overrun.
The Russians mortars were wiped within the first 2 turns. Here the Finns occupy their positions.
Finn 02 05
Center Force advances.
In the middle, the Finns advance on the center town, led by two Finnish tanks (T26s). They encounter an anti-tank rifle, which disorders one of the advancing tanks.
Finn 02 06
Left Force attacks.
On the left (as seen from the perspective of the center force, the Finns immediately run into forces on the hill and in a blockhouse. Sharp combat ensues.
Finn 02 07
Russian tank intervenes.
The Russians' lone tank, a T-70 attacks the Finnish left flank forces. A Finnish ATR gets ready to defend.
Finn 02 08
Center and Left.
The center force advances, while the left flank is still embroiled in combat.
Finn 02 09
Center force advances.
Having disposed of the tripwire forces, the center force gets ready to occupy the woods in front of its primary objective.
Finn 02 10
Firefight
Having disposed of the mortars, the right flank Finnish forces engage in a firefight with the Russian defenders.
Finn 02 11
Russians run
Even with the presence of the tank, the Russian defenders break.
Finn 02 12
Up against the wall
Despite some Russian defensive fire that disordered the first wave, and a poor maneuver roll that forced them back into the woods, the center force establishes a base of fire for its assault on the town.
Finn 02 13
Up the hill
The right flank force assaults up the hill.
Finn 02 14
Tank Battle
The T70 moves to the middle, but is confronted by a T26, which disorders it.
Finn 02 15
Mopping up
The Finns on the left flank mop up the remaining Russians in the woods.
I must admit to being partial toward the Finns. They almost always find themselves with superior troops but inferior numbers and equipment quality (unlike the Germans who usually have superior equipment). This makes their battles extremely challenging and I am looking forward to more Finns from Two Tin Soldiers.

Another Kokoda Trail

Steven Lee ran the next of his Kokoda Trail scenarios. He also gave it to me for the site, so you can see what is going on by clicking here.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Kokoda 3 01
The Map
The Kokoda scenarios are fought in dense Jungle. Here is a picture sent to me by Steve before the convention
Kokoda 3 02
The Jungle
Another pre-convention look at the Jungle terrain.
Kokoda 3 03
Angry Japanese
These guys look really mad about something. Perhaps it is because the Aussies get to attack them for a change. :-)
Kokoda 3 04
At the convention
Here is how the terrain looked a the convention. The Australian attack columns move up
Kokoda 3 05
Left Flank
The Left Australian column makes contact.
Kokoda 3 06
Right Flank
The Right Flank Australian column makes contact.
Kokoda 3 07
Scattered Japanese Troops
The Japanese start this scenario scattered and inactive, so the Australian must be aggressive and attempt to overwhelm them in detail before they can get their act together.
Kokoda 3 08
Attack on the Airfield
The final Australian column assaults the dug-in position the indicates the location of the airfield.
Kokoda 3 09
Right Flank Attack
The Australians emerge from the jungle and attack the scattered Japanese.
Kokoda 3 10
Left Flank Attack
On the left flank, the battle rages about the small village.
Kokoda 3 11
Japanese Rally
After initially being forced out of the airfield, the Japanese rally and prepare to counterattack
Kokoda 3 12
Battle on the Left
The village continues to be the target of attack and counterattack.
Kokoda 3 13
Japanese forced back, but rally
On the right the Japanese run but aren't destroyed. This gives them a chance to regroup.
Kokoda 3 14
Fight for the Village
On the left, the battle continues to rage for control of the village.
Kokoda 3 15
Counterattack
The Japanese head back to contest the airfield.
Steven's Kokoda trail scenarios usually feature small forces and defined objectives. This one developed into three separate battles, each of them hard-fought and tense.

Mike Pierce's bulge games

Mike ran a couple of games featuring a U.S. delaying action in the Ardennes. Here are some pictures from the first.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Bulge 01
Germans Arrive
The Germans come on the board. The U.S. forces are hidden.
Bulge 02
Another view
A view from the rear of the German column
Bulge 03
Panthers
A second column of Panthers converges on the town
Bulge 04
Artillery
A hidden artillery spotter calls for fire on the advancing Germans
Bulge 05
Tank Destroyer
An American TD reveals itself and knocks out the lead vehicle in the column
Bulge 06
Panthers deploy
The Panthers deploy to meet the new threat
Bulge 07
More Germans
More German infantry appears.
Bulge 08
More Artillery
More artillery arrives and a hidden anti-tank gun (in the woods) opens up on the flank of the German infantry. The American TD decides to put a building between itself and the Panthers.
Bulge 09
Traffic Jam
German units pile up outside the town while the Panthers and some infantry half-trackes move into the outskirts.
And a one from the second:
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Bulge 10
Different Scenario
Using the same terrain, this scenario had the U.S. attempting to hold open the bridge for a U.S. column. The Germans came in from both ends of the board.

Pete Landry's Mortain game

Pete put on another game based on incidents from the Mortain counterattack in August 1944. I will have the scenario for this up soon (Road Junction 278). Incidentally we were happy to see the two Bob's from across the pond at our convention again this year.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Landry 01
Opening moves
The plans are set in motion.
Landry 02
Tank losses
Malcolm's light Coy of Stuarts catched deadly fire from a MK IV while in the background a MK IV burns from an early hit.
Landry 03
Panthers move up
Panthers quickly occupy the crossroads.
Landry 04
Panthers move up
Bob's ((Connor)one of the Bobs) Sherman Coy lays down covering fire as the infantry moves up. A German squad briefly retook the village destroying an armored car and two US squads before being blasted by the Shermans.
Landry 05
Flanking maneuver thwarted
The flanking manuever is temporarly halted while two Stuarts burn away.
Landry 06
Germans prepare
Germans waiting in ambush while a giant hand hovers over the battle.
Landry 07
Americans prepare to move up
The first hurdle is secured and the AT gun finally silenced, The Shermans will soon be moving forward.
Landry 08
Continued
More from the previous pic.
Landry 09
Americans attack
33 Ar. H Coy moves up with G Coy delivering covering fire from across the river.
Landry 10
Bocage Busting
Bocage busting with a dozer armed Sherman. German infantry aren't too happy to see that.
Landry 11
Smoke
US artillery smokes the crossroads to cover their advance.
Landry 12
Shermans move up
The Shermans move up and go hull down before the smoke dissipates.
End of the game
Shermans move up
The Germans hunker down, as the smoke disperses the Jeries get a nasty view of American armor!
Landry 14
End of the Battle
Lots of firepower but not enough infantry to take the village buy the time table. Maj. General Hobbs called off the attack. The Germans won the day but still had to give up the position the next day...
U.S. Team
U.S. team
The US team from the UK, Andy (last years MIA), Malcolm, Bob Connor and Bob Chapman.
German Team
German team
Some of the German team Joseph, Clark, Mike and Kurt Kramer

John Rigley's Marco Polo Bridge

This game is based on the incident that arguably was the first battle of World War 2. The Japanese attempt to take the Marco Polo Bridge in China. The Chinese are outgunned and have inferior troops, but the Japanese are on a strict timetable.
Click on the Thumbnail for a full-size photo Description
Marco Polo 00
The Setup
The Japanese objective is to clear all of the Chinese away from the Bridge. The Chinese start hidden.
Marco Polo 01
Japanese move out
Japanese start their offensive on a three company front with a tankette recon company in the center.
Marco Polo 02
Attack on the Left
Japanese make their first Banzai attack on their left, making contact with only one Chinese company.
Marco Polo 04
Attack and counter atttack
The Japanese Banzai clear's out the first rank of Chinese, but an unengaged company launches a quick counterattack.
Marco Polo 02a
Attack on the Right
Japanese make their first Banzai attack on their left, makeing contact with only one Chinese company.
Marco Polo 03
Brave Tankettes
Japanese tankettes push deep into Chinese held area.
Marco Polo 05
Tanks in the middle
Japanese Tanks move up to the barbed wire, preparing to breach and move on.
Marco Polo 06
Attack on the town
Japanese infantry and Tankettes advancing on the town.
Marco Polo 07
Artillery Lands
The smoke is the center point of Chinese preplotted arty which caught the Japanese first company flat footed, but did no real damage. But the Japanese didn't get the hint, and they moved their reinforcements into the same area. This time the Chinese got lucky and got a few hit's.
Marco Polo 08
Ever Onward
The Chinese counter attack in the lower right as the main Japanese push is getting ready to hit the town.
Marco Polo 09
More Artillery
Chinese Arty landing on japanese infantry.
Marco Polo 10
Tankettes move up
Tankettes pushing up the Chinese right flank.
Marco Polo 11
Tank destroyed
Japanese tanks push onto the hill, and gain a toehold at the foot of the bridge. Only to lose one tank in CC with Chinese infantry.
Marco Polo 12
Chase
Japanese Tankettes running down routed Chinese infantry.

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