Friday, 20 March 2020

Operation Caesar Augustus - The Battle for Ridgeway



With the current advice to self-isolate during the Covid-19 outbreak (I'm in one of the at risk groups, as is our son), my regular gaming with Dave has been put on hold for at least 3 months. Not a problem as most of the rules I now use are perfect for solo wargaming. Thinking about what to game, I fancied some BKC action after all of our BP games of late. My first thought was for some AVBCW action and then I remembered I had started a campaign.

I first started this campaign early last year and the initial AAR can be found here. To be honest I can't remember why I didn't carry on with it, but most likely it was the usual combination of work and family life that meant it simply slipped off the radar. I still had the notes for the next scenario, but frankly the impetus had been lossed and with fresh eyes, tweaked things slightly.

Broadly speaking the Army of the Severn Valley, now having secured a beachead, was planning to break out and push on towards Bristol, supported by 'heavier' forces moving down from Gloucester. In their path were elements of the 5th People's Flying Column, who had taken up defensive positions in the village Ridgeway and were hoping that re-inforcements from Prince Albert's Somerset Light Infantry would be forthcoming.

The AotSV was basically in Battalion strength with armoured support and that of the LAotS a few Company's strong and again with armoured support. I didn't work out points or anything but went with what felt right, which also allowed me to put some favourite toys on the table.

Recently I found this card from a good friend from when I was diagnosed with cancer. It seemed apt for the current situation, given the panic buying that has been going on of late, which frankly has left me despairing of humanities common sense.


Set Up
The AotSV would arrive using mobile deployment and PASLI would arrive from Turn 3, subject to successful command rolls. The 5th PFC was deployed in the village of Ridgeway which is roughly in the centre of the table.

An overview of the table.

The village of Ridgeway.

The 5th PFC Commissar on the road junction with his armoured support (you just have to love French WWI camo schemes).

A view towards the village and the PASLI troops would hopefully arrive along this road.

The Old Gloucester Road, which was important to either side in the defence of Bristol.

A view of the road leading from the beach head, from where the Kingswood Royal Auxilliary Police would arrive.

The Police and their armoured 'Black Marias'.

The British Union of Fascist and the WWI tanks.

The PASLI cavalry and armoured support.

Turn 1
The AotSV moved slowly along the roads towards their objective. The LAotS could hear their approach but had no view of the enemy, so ordered their tanks to move forward to try and gain sight of the enemy.

The end of Turn 1.

The Police advance along the road and across the fields (note that the river is shallow and fordable to infantry. It also marks the ridge from where either side is out of sight unless on the river banks).

The BUF move their armour down the road, flanked by infantry.

The Police armoured cars near the bridge.

The BUF armour. I just love having these toys on the table!

The Char St Chamond moves to try and get in position to shoot at the BUF armour.

Turn 2 
The Police continued their advance and as the armoured cars approached the bridge, they came under fire from an ATG in the village, which failed to score any hits. The advance stalled at this point with an armoured car in plain view of the enemy. The BUD right flank failed it's command roll, but the left flank infantry pushed forward, coming under mortar fire, whilst their armoured support move up the road.

Once again the Police armoured car lead a charmed life as the ATG failed to find its mark. The Char St Chamond advanced to the hedgerow and, with another ATG, managed to suppress the A7V, but it too took hits from Opportunity Fire.

The end of Turn 2.

The Police near the river, unbeknown to the troops in the village.

The view from the ATG postion towards the bridge.

The lucky armoured car.

The BUF advance.

With the A7V suppressed, the MkIV tanks move off the road.

The BUF left flank.

The Char St Chamond with Ft-17 support.

Turn 3 
The Police order their armoured cars forward and once again Opportunity Fire fails to hit them. As the Police infantry reach the river, they open fire on an unsuspecting Ft-17, which they hit, but Opportunity Fire back suppresses their ATR unit. The BUF left flank fails its command this Turn, but the right advances. The BUF tanks continue to move off the road but a MkIV tanks is suppressed by Opportunity Fire.

The PASLI cavalry fail to arrive and the 5th PFC fail to receive any orders. The PASLI armour does arrive but advances rather slowly up the road, not knowing where the gun fire is coming from.

The end of Turn 3.

The rather nice PASLI Inter-War armour arrives.

The BUF advance is very stop-start.

A view from the village towards the BUF force.

The Police armoured cars line the road to the right of the bridge.

The Police infantry reach the river and engage the enemy.

A view from the Police armoured cars towards the village.

Turn 4
Good shooting from the Police saw the Ft-17 suppressed and combined fire into the village saw and MG and Infantry unit suppressed and forced back, opening the way for a possible unopposed advance. The Police armoured cars fired into the village and were shot at by the 5th PFC ATG, but neither side did much damage.

The BUF right flank failed again and as the left flank advanced, supporting mortar fire failed to hit the Char St Chamond. As the BUF armour advanced, Opportunity Fire from the Char St Chamond brewed up a MkIV tank. 

The 5th PFC had little with which to affect the Police infantry on the river bank, so turned their attention to the enemy to the front. Combined fire resulted in a Police armoured car, BUF armoured car and the A7V all brewing up. The 5th PFC Commissar then Blundered, leaving all command units at a -1CV for the rest of this Turn and all of the next! The PASLI cavalry again failed to show and the CO only managed to move his tanks slowly up the road.

The end of Turn 4.

The 5th PFC troops are forced back in the village by weight of fire from the Police.

The PASLI armour trundles on.

The Char St Chamond and ATG see the smoking wrecks in the distance, a consequence of their accurate shooting.

The BUF armour a smoking mess.

The Police armoured car finally succumbs to shooting from the ATG.

The Police push over the river.

Turn 5
The Police really seized the bit between their teeth and, having destroyed the Ft-17, advanced into the building by the chruch and occupied it, thus really threatening the 5th PFC troops in the village. Not to be outdone the BUF move forward and combined shooting sees the loss the the ATG in the church yard. Just as things were beginning to get going for the BUF, their left flank HQ Blundered, leading to the same -1 CV as afflicted the 5th PFC. To add insult to injury, the BUF CO then Blundered leading to a permanent -1 CV for the rest of the game.

The 5th PFC troops made an initiative move out of the church yard to try and consolidate their flank. The Ft-17 traded shots with the Police armoured cars, brweing one up and suppressing another. The Char St Chamond and suppressed the remaining BUF MkIV tank, leaving them somewhat short on the tank front. The Commissar then Blundered again, leading to hits on the MG unit left in the church yard!

The PASLI cavalry finally arrived and managed to reach the edge of the village, thereby helping to stabilise the position. Sadly the CO failed to move the armour forward.

The end of Turn 5.

The cavalry show the tankers how its done by smartly galloping to the rescue of the beleagured 'villagers'. Maybe they'd been watching a Western at the local cinema?

The dashing cavalry. Who said they had no place on the modern battlefield?

The Police in the village threaten the 5th PFC's position.

The Police on the left, the 5th PFC mainly on the right.

The Police view of the village.

The Ft-17 stands defiant against the massed Police armoured car attack.

The BUF tanks continue to burn.

The view from the BUF perspective towards their objective which is still far away.

The BUF left flank reaches the woods.

The French armour like sentinels outside the village of Ridgeway.


End of Game
With the arrival of the PASLI cavalry and the loss of the BUF armour, I called it a day, as it was obvious that, although the Police were in the village, they AotSV could not take their objective. So the AotSV withdrew, but the LAotS still needed to keep a strong presence here, thereby possible leaving other areas less well defended...

Post Game Thoughts
Well I enjoyed that and it flowed rather nicely, for what was in the end quite a quick set up in terms of OOB etc. It was great to be playing BKCII again and having some of my favourite toys on the table. As always a few psot-game thoughts:
  • Before I would use the points system on BKCII when planning a scenario and then tweak things slightly This showed that going with a 'gut feeling' approach can work just as well. After all it's only me playing so it doesn't matter if it doesn't work out as planned. It is only a game.
  • Again I would use the campaign system from BKCI, but over the past year have learnt that going with the narrative works just as well. As I only have to satisfy myself it's fine.
  • For a tweaked scenario from one planned last year, I thought it worked remarkably well. It helps that I know BKCII more or less inside out, which generally makes it easier to come up with games etc. I found this true of Honours of War also. Certainly focussing on core rulesets these days makes this much easier.
  • I love having my WWI and Inter-War tanks on the table. It is not often that you can say and Ft-17 is a tought nut to crack, but when you are an armoured car it is. Also not having uber tanks makes ATR and smaller calibre ATGs fun to use and brings the combat more up close and personal. No long range shooting with an 88 for example.
  • The stars of the show were undoubtable the Police infantry and the Char St Chamond. Normally the former does diddly squat and the latter brews up after a few shots, so it was nice to have them make a big impact.
  • These days I generally go with a CV of 9 for the CO and CVs of 8 for the HQ's. This just makes the game flow more, even with my die rolling, as afterall you don't want your troops doing nothing Turn after Turn, now do you?
With the weather set fair for a good few days, I'm not sure when I'll get my next game. I certainly want to carry on with this campaign and I'm not sure whether to kick in the planned airborne element or have a natural next move on from this game. I'll have a think. Also I mustn't neglect my ImagiNations forces painting, as the lack of a deadline due to 3 months quarantine means lack of focus, which is bad for me. Plenty to think about so until next time...

14 comments:

  1. Steve, you set a marvelous looking table. Well manicured and groomed just I envision the English countryside. Very handsome!

    As for your talents, the camo on your AFVs is superb. One day, I may try my hand at intricate French camo patterns but until then, I remain a minimalist.

    Interesting mix of period TOE lends an alt-hist. twist. Something I have not considered doing myself.

    Excellent write-up and an enjoy BatRep. Thanks and stay well!

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    1. Thanks for your kind comments Jonathan. The Alt-History twist is great fun IMHO, as it allows you to be very creative with your OOB, equipment etc.

      Glad youenjoyed the AAR and hope you and your family stay well too.

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  2. Lovely table Steve and a really good unfolding story - well told!

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  3. Top report and a beautiful game. Thank you

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  4. Looking good Steve.
    Interesting times, I suspect you will have plenty of volunteers if you wanted to expand the games/campaign.
    Digging out some of the solo stuff to keep the hobby going.
    Cheers
    Stu

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    1. Thanks stu. There is plenty of options these days for online games/campaigns via the internet etc. Solo games are just perfect for these times and I'm so glad I went down this route years ago.

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  5. The tabletop and game look brilliant.

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    1. Thanks Peter and glad you loved the visual look of the game.

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  6. Lovely work Steve. I've suspended my own wargaming with others as well, although thankfully I am not particularly 'at risk' - except for being a bit older than yourself!

    Stay safe, and we'll meet up on the other side my friend.

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    1. Glad you liked it Keith. A shame we can't meet up but in the grand scheme of things, not a big issue. When you say meet up on the other side, I hope you're not referring to St Peter's gates? ;)

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  7. Hmmm... I wonder what wargaming in heaven would be like?

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    1. An interesting thought. One man's heaven would be another man's hell I'm sure!

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