Sunday, 13 May 2018

A Red Actions battle

A chance this week to dig out one of those armies that hasn't seen the light of day for several this case my Russian Civil War armies.  I built these up several years ago and they used to get a regular outing but they've languished for a long time, banished to the Loft of Despair.

The figures are mainly HaT 1/72 plastics with an assortment of odds and sods acquired via EBay.

My rules of choice for this period are Red Actions from The Perfect Captain website.  If you haven't come across this site (although I'm guessing most people have) it's well worth checking out the range of rules on there and available for free.  Red  Actions is a very comprehensive set covering the Civil War and also the various Nationalist wars that followed.  The only draw back is that it does require a fair amount of printing: the rules themselves are fairly brief but there are a host of counters and unit cards that go along with the game.  Luckily my previous job gave me plenty of opportunities to print stuff cheaply!

 A selection unit cards and commander counters that are used in the game

The rules are written in a odd question and answer style ('Tell me comrade, how does shooting work?') which is mildly amusing for the first few pages and then becomes a bit irritating...that, combined with an erratic layout and lack of index means that the rulebook, although brief, can be hard to navigate.  Despite this they are excellent and really suit the open nature of the RCW.  Casualties are surprisingly light for a WW1 era game but units readily acquire 'Terror' markers which severely limit their fighting ability.  It's also quite easy to remove these but it requires units to do nothing else for a turn, so games often take on a pattern of units engaging and then falling back to recover before going back into action...very fluid and dynamic.

Each unit consists of a number of platoons (up to 6) figures were all individually based and although I could have used 6 figures as a unit I find it looks better with them double based so I had temporarily remounted them onto 30 x 30mm bases...I say 'temporarily' but that assumes I'll ever get round to fixing them permanently.  There are unit cards for a whole host of Red and White unit types as well as Western Interventionist troops and various Nationalist armies such as Poles, Latvians, Freikorps etc.

I'd put together a straightforward scenario with both armies trying to occupy a railhead and some rolling stock in the centre of the table, no doubt containing vital supplies of caviar and vodka (I know...leave no stereotype unused!).  I'd probably gone a bit overboard with the number of units on each side but it was the first time in years I'd had all the toys out!  Both sides had a mix of infantry types and a cavalry unit.  The Reds had brought along an Austin armoured car and an FT17 tank for support while the Whites were accompanied by a British unit who had also brought some support: in this case a Mark V and a Whippet.  Both sides had some supports which would arrive on a dice throw...a plane for the Whites and an Armoured Train for the Reds!  More on these later...

We both immediately pushed our cavalry towards the buildings around the railhead and the White's won the race.  I'd tried to drive them off with mchine gun fire from my Austin armoured car but Andrew was able to hold on and then sensibly dismounted his cavalry and piled into the cover of the buildings
In the centre of the table both tanks were facing each other but quickly realised that they were unlikely to cause each other much damage.  In Red Actions armour is pretty impregnable: it can only be damaged by artillery or another tank and the chances of this are pretty slim.  This does seem a bit over-powered although reading contemporary accounts of tank actions backs up the notion that they rumbled around terrifying the infantry but only being susceptible to artillery or to bogging down in difficult ground.
Both tanks decided to ignore each other and concentrate on beating up the infantry:  my FT17 and an accompanying MG were able to batter the British who had been advancing through a wheatfield.  The Mark V concentrated on attacking the Red Cavalry which prevented them getting close to the railhead.

The fighting had now focused on the buildings (which was probably a mistake on my part).  The Whippet and Austin slugged it out on the left flank, taking turns to drive each other off with close range MG fire before eventually the weight of fire forced my Austin crew to abandon their vehicle and run off!

The evil imperialist lackeys were then lucky with the dice throws and a fighter turned up: these only stay around for 3 turns but it caused mayhem in this time, routing one unit and causing terror markers to pile up on others.  Simply being attacked by a plane or a tank is enough to cause a terror marker,even without a hit so this, couple with some lucky dice, meant my forces were taking a least it didn't stay around indefinitely.  And still no sign of my train...

dakka, dakka, dakka....

My brave revolutionary heroes were now looking a bit depleted and the Terror markers were coming in faster than I could remove them.  All I was able to do was rally these off each turn, only to acquire another few next turn.  This was forcing my troops to hunker down in cover or to pull back so, as the evening was also getting late, I conceded and left the White forces to enjoy their spoils of war.  Of course we decided to give one last dice throw for reinforcements and what should turn up but Tomsk the Tank Engine to save the day...too late!

This was a great game...the evening had flown by and it has definitely renewed my interest if getting these armies out more often.


  1. I have meant to try out Red Actions for years, just never quite got round to it. Thanks for the reminder...I will have to dig the figures out of the lead pile, dust them off and give it a go!

  2. Surprisingly no did not know about these rules, just had a quick read and seem perfect for a new project I had in mind. Thanks for posting.