Thursday, July 26, 2007

Whites Across the Border

This was a quick Contemptible Little Armies/Back of Beyond game I threw together and played last night. Playing the game were John Bertolini and Christian Knudsen. Now Christian is an old wargamin’ pal from waaaaaaaaaaay back that I had kind of lost touch with and managed to track down through the culty fad-of-the-month: Facebook.

The scenario involved a brigade size force of White Russians, fleeing from the Red onslaught, which has crossed over into China. Cold, Starving and tired, they head for the nearest town, which unfortunately the find to be garrisoned by a TWO battalions of Chinese, who seem to have had some warning that they were coming and are not to terribly interested in sharing their homes and resources…

John (General Bertolovski) played the Russians and Chris played the Chinese. I gave John the option of having some of his force (up to half) make a flank or rear march. After the fourth turn if attacking on the flank, or eighth turn if attacking to the rear, units in the force would individually start dicing to see if they show up. John chose to have one regiment (three battalions) of infantry to do a rear march.

John’s force consisted of the following
1x C-in-C
1x Staff Officer
6x Regular Infantry Battalions (18 figures each)
1x Cavalry Cossack Regiment (16 figures)
2x MG Detachments
1x Sniper

Christian’s Chinese defenders had:
1x C-in-C
1x Executioner
2x Chinese Infantry Battalions (18 figures each)
1x Special Assault Unit (8 figures)
1x MG Detachment
1x Trench Mortar Battery
6x Sections of barbed wire
6x 4” sections of trenches
the town (hard cover)

In hindsight I should have given john some off-table artillery support and/or given Christian a bit less stuff. Maybe only one infantry battalion – or two smaller ones – and either the trench mortar OR the MG…

(Remember: click on the pictures for a bigger version)

The initial set up (that’s Christian off to the side). This is actually at the end of the first turns shooting phase and dead Russians can bee seen lying down on the field already…

John started out with his troops in close order columns – though they gained no benefit from this not being classed as “close order troops” (other than being able to maneuver all three units in a relatively small area) - because he said they were Russians and it just felt like the right thing to do.

There they are again. Being in a close order formation however they are considerably easier for Christians Chinese mortar and MG to hit and he took a chuck out of two units…

On the next turn John dispersed his troops into open order!

There was a lot of open ground to cover to get to the town or even the defenses before it… All the while the Chinese plucked away at the Russians with the mortar and MG as they advanced.

Christian cleverly placed the wire to funnel most the Russians into a nice neat killing zone. While John had some good movement rolls to start off once they got to this position the Russian infantry faltered and started rolling 3 and 4 (on 2d6!) and weren’t able to close quickly with the defending Chinese infantry.

One unit of Russians in the center was wiped out. The following one and the one off to the side were pinned down, with two morale failures, out of bomb-chucking range… The C-in-C rushed to the front but was unable to get the men moving again.

The Cossacks were unleashed! The MG took a heavy toll from these as well. Another terrible movement roll also left the cavalrymen within small arms range for a turn too long. Those that did make it to the line were beaten down by the kung-fu warriors defending it…. Did I forget to mention that this town was home to one of the leading Kung-fu schools in China? Well it was, and their specialty move was taking down charging horsemen with flying one wire leaps with a fixed bayonet.

After a couple of turns of failing to show up, making us all think John perhaps should have just attacked with his entire force from the north in waves upon waves, Part of the flanking force finally arrived… two battalions one turn, the third one the next. I took over these troops as John had to leave and the forces he had been commanding at the other end of town were more or less wiped out.

This briefly (very briefly!) looked promising. Three battalions attacking in waves at the south end of town, thinly held with a very stretched out line of Chinese and no support weapons… The first battalion made it into close combat. Between the fire on the way in and those lost in the actual close assault they totaled 6 casualties – causing two morale test… both of which they failed and were thus forced to retire the next turn!

The second battalion got in there with half of it’s number (due to a bad movement roll) at the end of CC they had no troops left in contact and their second line was 2” away from the Chinese in the town… so they decided just to hang tight and throw bombs for the next turn to soften the Chinese up a bit before going in again. The did soften the ine up a bit, but the Chinese return rifle fire soften the Russians up enough to compel them to leave the field.

The third battalion made it in. After one round of CC things were looking not terrible. The Chinese battalion defending the south end of town were down to 6 figures and the Russians were easily double that… however… the Chinese still didn’t have any morale failure markers – thanks to having lost their men in small numbers over a number of turns… and the presence of the executioner squad!!

Unfortunately beyond the Chinese at the immediate south end of town were the (still fresh) Special Assault Troops just waiting for their chance to get into the action and the (mostly intact) Battalion of Chinese from the North end of town, having wiped out everything there, was quickly making their way through the town to help out!

It was also getting late and I was getting sleepy so we called it a night and a definite victory for the Chinese.

I actually sat down to figure out the points for the respective forces – I usually totally ignore these things… but I thought I’d figure it out just to see. In an assault scenario such as this the suggested point totals are 1000 for the attacker, 400 for the defender. The Russians had 900; the Chinese had 460 – not including the defensive benefits of the town itself. It probably could have been considered a trench or 36” (thus another 36 points…). Like I said if the two Chinese infantry units had been half the size, and I dropped the Trench Mortar and gave the Russians an off table artillery battery… things might have been a bit different… Maybe I’ll try soloing the scenario again with those changes some night this next week…

The next game I run I think I’ll try a big encounter battle – two forces that both happen to be heading for the same objective bump into each other. Set up on the long ends of the table so there’s lots of room to maneuver… bust out ALL the toys… should be fun!

Hey, if you made it this far please feel free to leave a comment below; let me know you were here and what you think! Thanks!


  1. After four games of CLA, I'm still trying to get assault tactics. Rolling well always helps. Maybe give the attacker more artillery? Or don't let him put his troops in close order!

  2. a) soften them up with a stunning amount of artillery
    b) send in the infantry in wave after wave after wave...

    If we had sent in all the Russians on the one side, they probably would have done mush better. If we could have pounded the chinese front line with HE even for just a turn or two they would also have done much better.