Thursday, 29 June 2017

Not A Lot

Monday 26th June 2017 - WDW

'Black Powder' - Frreman's Farm re-fight (AWI)
'Oregan' - boardgame

DBM - Makkan v Philistine - Al wanted to field the later version of the army with Cv(S).  That meant he also had to convert all his Bd(F) into Sp(I).  We were facing an army bristling with Wb(F) and Bw(I).

I was just managing to hold onto the extreme left flank with a block of chariots (versus the inevitable Camels).  Unfortunately my Ps(I) and Sp(I) were demolished when the warband hit. 

Meanwhile Al had managed to slaughter a load of Wb & Bow breaking an enemy command.  So victory was a distinct possibility!

On a vital match up my Sp(I) managed a '5'.  "Only a 6 will win this", said Andy.  Guess what happened!  The dice gods were clearly not on my side this day.

Wednesday 28th June 2017

After complaining about record high temperatures in June I noticed the car (external) thermostat - 11 degrees at 14.00 hrs.  It started raining Monday evening and has not let up since.  We are not talking biblical proportions here just constant light rain, wind and grey skies.  No wonder the British are always talking about the weather - it's so damn changeable. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Crumbly Castle

Saturday 17th June 2017 - Phalanx 2017

Steam hissing from their noses, feet pawing the ground, jostling, fidgeting and a heady sense of excitement.  No not the Paplona run or the start of a marathon but something far more tense - the opening of the Bring & Buy at Phalanx 2017. Once the starting whistle went off the crowd surged to engulf the tables - two and three deep in places.  I waited my time - necessity - as I'm not the biggest or burliest contestant in that particular rugby scrum.

When there was space I took a look and came away with two boxes of plastics:

Caesar 009 - Egyptian Army
Revell 2557 - Swedish Infantry

I managed to resist three boxes of Samurai (2 x Cav & 1 x Inf) telling myself that I would never paint them.

At the traders I was unable to purchase a copy of 'Lion Rampant' as rules were, generally, in poor supply.  I did manage to pick up some dice holders and 7mm dice for my New World project though.

This year I drove across from Mytholmroyd using the M62 /  M60 / M62 route. Luckily it was too early for the Trafford centre traffic but the roadworks meant that nearly all my journey was at 50 mph.  It took me 1 hr 20 mins - and would have been less if the signing between the M60 and the second part of the M62 had been up to the job. 

Here's some other views about the event:

Sunday 18 June 2017 - Will's Wargames Blog -

Saturday 18th June 2017 - WDW

Whilst I was in 'foreign parts' and strongly holding onto my passport, there was action on the home front.  Here's Chris' report:

"Saturday 17th June 2017 saw the 102nd anniversary of the day that was neither Quatre Bras nor Waterloo.

There were two games. Tim Kohler and Chris North, both regular competitors in The Northern League,  had a close-fought DBMM between Book 3 Poles (Tim) and Mediaeval Hindu Indian (Chris). At half time the score was 1 command each; but in the second half, the Poles finished the Indians off.

Chris Jackson organised an Age of Eagles Marengo refight, with John Smith as Napoleone Buonaparte and Andrew Parkin and Jim Ellis as Melas and Ott respectively. As with the original, the French had the advantage in Infantry (Columnar, with a sprinkling of Elites in Desaix's force); the Austrians (Linear) a numerical advantage in Cavalry (Albeit lights only) and artillery. The Austrian objective was simple - force open an escape route to the East via Marengo.

Given the difficulty of a direct assault on Marengo across the Fontanone, the Austrians reinforced their left and tried a turning movement. The French responded with a spirited attack by Kellerman's cavalry brigade, supported by dragoons. These took a battery; seriously damaged a light dragoon brigade, and pushed back an infantry brigade before Jim stabilised the situation. With Desaix seen in the distance, Andrew pushed several cavalry brigades across to the South of Marengo, while fixing the French frontally in the centre.There followed a fierce battle with Cavalry riding down French infantry brigades, only to succumb to the next brigade in line; which in turn was taken out by the next cavalry brigade.  The Austrians lost three cavalry brigades; the french three infantry brigades with three more "worn". As the sun began to set in the West, Andrew threw a large fresh Austrian brigade at two smaller worn brigades at the side of Marengo; victory would have opened the way to freedom. They bounced him back. A Hussar brigade was across, and in position to breakout; but that was all. By now, Jim had forced the French right-wing cavalry to withdraw, (Albeit largely undamaged), and had established a line of three batteries, half a dozen foot brigades, and some cavalry, and was advancing menacingly towards the French right. However...By common consent, it was agreed that a long day of battle had ended. Melas and Desaix had fought each other to a standstill; Jim had been held up long enough by the French cavalry. Tactically, this was a drawn battle; strategically, a french win, with only Ott able to escape being driven back and surrounded by converging French columns."

Sunday 18th June 2017 - Halifax

Another visit to the new store.  It seems to me that 28mm is taking over from 1/72nd (20mm) so there is less for me to purchase these days.  I did get one box though:

Waterloo 1815 AP 011 - Dervish Infantry

In addition I obtained 2 wide brushes (fan shaped) for dry-brushing.

Looking at my figure acquisitions it seems that I am majoring on the 'Universal Soldier' (Dylan?). 

The Swedish infantry have found themselves in all sorts of 30 Years Wars armies from French to Germans to Swedes to Danes. 

Some of the Dervishes may actually end up in the Sudan but others will be supporting the Brits in WW1 East Africa.  Also possible would be 'ancients' use and for some of the African DBA-RRR armies.

Finally the Egyptian army are hindered by their strange wigs and tapered breech clouts.  However I can think of ways to wield a crafting knife to overcome these problems.  What's a little Green Stuff between friends huh!

Wednesday 22nd June 2017

I heard that a record temperature was recorded at Heathrow yesterday - 35.4 C. The shortest night should, however, be more bearable as it has just rained in the north of England.

Finished the re-paint of "Crumbly Castle" at last (think that title came from a very old computer game).

Started reading a 'new' book:

Monday, 19 June 2017

French Revolutionary infill

This Thursdays blog includes a report on Saturdays WDW game.  Whilst reading it I suddenly realised that you, my readers, would be lacking the background necessary to fully understand the situation.  So I went back hunting for Chris' previous report and found it (sent to me on the 27th May).

Sorry that there are no pictures.

My (French) Revolution game - 1794 Tourcoing

"The strategic situation in May 1794 was that the French had raised an army of 730,000 - a vast number for the time; and the equipment shortages were coming to an end.  Lazare Carnot - the famed "Organiser of Victory", wanted to arrange for a large army to drive the Allies out of the Low Country. There were rumours that the Austrians wanted to be out of the war so that they could filch more of Poland, instead. The year began with allied victories; but by the beginning of August, the French , for the first time in years, proved able to form square. On balance, I felt the French foot deserved regular status. All had skirmishers, as at this period, whole brigades  - even line ones - could dissolve into skirmishers. The cavalry were still, for the most part, bad. From Blenheim down to the revolution, the French moved from having a lot of cavalry in a cuirass to just one regiment - the 7th Cavalry (and no, their sweethearts did not wear a yellow ribbon...). By this time, no British regiments wore armour. However, some 7 years war surplus cuirasses were dug out of store and issued to The Blues for the campaign. They were so impressed that they went back into store at the end of it.

The situation was that the Austrian army was nominally under the command of the Emperor, with General Mack - the man who caused the disaster at Ulm in 1805 - making the plans. As the French were strung out from Lille to Courtrai, York agreed, against his better judgement, to launch a co-ordinated attack with the Austrians with a view to cutting off 50,000 French in the North, and compelling them to surrender, trapped against the Lys and Scheldt. No sooner had he agreed it, than Mack decided to divert some of the Austrian army with a view to besieging Lille. For good measure, Mack decided upon an over-complicated plan, involving six separate columns to converge on the French. This was how the Austrians did things; and it is worth considering it was an Austrian plan of this kind which caused the defeat of the Russians at Austerlitz. Given Archduke Charles in the south had 50 miles to cover, it is no surprise his wing did not make it. The main fighting on 17th May was done on the ridge in the centre of our battlefield, by the British and Hanoverians and Hessians.  The end of the day saw them holding Mouveaux, Roubaix, and Lannoy, the three villages we depicted. If the Austrians in North and South could move quickly, there was every chance a large part of the French army could be cut off and destroyed, ending the war in the Low Country. Orders were issued accordingly on the night on 17th May by the Emperor's HQ. However...

In the South, Kinsky just ignored the orders. The Archduke suffered an epileptic attack over night; his staff did not want to disturb him; and so not a single man moved until mid morning - by which time the opportunity was gone. Clerfayt started late, but took two villages and began to push down the road to Lille. However,  two Chasseur battalions turned up at a crucial moment, and so he gave up. In the centre, the overstretched British and Allied forces did a good job holding the ridge, despite being over extended. The French managed to take the central village eventually - Roubaix - and this effectively forced a withdrawal. The Southern village was nonetheless held by Hessians against 9,000 French. As the guards retired, they effectively gave them the opportunity to escape. Both the Guards and Fox's brigade performed prodigies throughout the campaign, here and at Famars, and this was why I gave them re-rolls. They out fought and out shot the French to such an extent I considered making them "impulse" infantry. This is in stark contrast to some of the British regiments which turned out later in the year, which were pretty poor. However -  they had to retire; and that is not a victory.

The overall result was an allied loss of 3,000 - 930 of them British. The following week, the French were heavily defeated at Tournai. However, the damage was done; the Austrians pulled out, to nick more of Poland, and the British went home believing the Austrians had deliberately taken virtually no part in the battle.

I decided that for our game to work, we would have to let the allies have a better chance of getting the Austrians in. The rules suggest the French should be columnar, and the Allies linear. This means the French foot move very much faster. The initiative system does not work terribly well for allied armies trying to attack in this period. I settled for giving Clerfayt and York zero initiative, and allowing them to use this for movement - and I apologise for not having made this sufficiently clear. Although I imposed a penalty on Kinsky, amazingly, he moved with more haste than the Archduke.

The result:
In the North, Bob and Adam came within an ace of not merely holding the French, but driving them back and cutting off part of the French army. The single most deadly French unit on table, Stu's Carabinier Brigade, dissolved an allied cavalry brigade, and sabred an infantry brigade. Trapped between allied cavalry and an intact infantry brigade volleying into its flank and rear for three firings, it nevertheless suffered  not a single stand lost. This is why I do not like D10s and favour re-rolls for better units. Bob and Adam managed to set up a very good attack into Stu's flank (Souham); but the dice prevented what could have been a devastating counter attack. Fighting on this flank effectively stabilised out, pretty much as in the real battle. Interestingly, most of Clerfayt's force was allied units paid for by English gold.

In the centre, perhaps wisely, Mark, John and Andy by passed Roubaix (Centre) and and Lannoy (south). This resulted in  the Hessians in Lannoy being surrounded by a sea of French, just like the Hessians in the real battle. While Jim, as York,  did very well to hang on so  long (hence my "Man of the Match" award), Mark's constant attacks kept the allied forces concentrating on the gap between Mouveaux and Roubaix, thus preventing them providing support to Mouveaux, which eventually fell to Stu's attacks. Mark did well in containing the best allied unit - The Blues and Royals - from doing more damage than they might have done. Given their special rule re charging and re-rolls, this was a unit potentially capable of carving a path right through the French line from one end to the other. Further south, John and Andy passed forces each side of Lannoy, just as the French did. This left the Hessians surrounded; and, coupled with the fall of Mouveaux, gave the French a breakthrough, cutting the allied line in two. John managed to drive the guards Brigade back and take a stand from it, despite my attempts to rig the scenario in its favour.

In the South, Dave got Kinsky moving quite fast, unlike Kinsky himself. This resulted in Chris North, who took over Kinsky, getting the chance to deliver a devastating charge with an elite Hussar brigade against one of Andy's demi-brigades. Result? The French were driven back... into the safety of a Marsh, and the Hussars then had to retire.  Andy had moved up another brigade to flank the Hussars. This was crucial, as it prevented Kinsky moving further north and  preventing the breakthrough in the centre and North.

In the South, Dave as the Archduke, had problems getting his infantry moving consistently. Andy took advantage of this to drop his infantry back to safety. Dave, seeing where things were going, settled for rushing his cavalry forward. This included one of the strongest units on the field - the 10 base strong Austrian dragoon brigade. Supported by two elite Hussar brigades, this could have really hurt. However. we timed out before it could get into combat...

I think they all did better than they thought they did. I thought initially that the casualties were 4:3 in the Allies favour. When the losses resulting from the fall of Mouveaux were added in, it was much closer. The allies lost three batteries - all from York's force. this compares reasonably with York's actual losses of 19 guns out of 28.  Not a single French gun was lost.

Our battle ended with stalemate in the north - like the original. We had a broad breakthrough in the centre -like the real battle. Unlike the real battle, we had an allied cavalry division cutting in behind the French and their main supply base - Lille - in the south.

SO - the question you have to ask is this: with their army split in two, would the allies stay where they were? With allied cavalry cutting them off from their supply base in Lille, would the French hold their ground or fall back? A Wellington would have stayed put, resulting in the French having to drop back; a Napoleon would have pressed on, forcing the allied wings to drop back.  On balance, given the real generals, I back a fall-back by the allies. Both sides get bragging rights."

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Ups & Downs of a Wargamer

Saturday 10th June 2017 - Gt. Houghton

Another session in the games room - HotE & HiDA.

The first battle was Force Publique v Azande using "Hordes of the Empire".  We started out too far apart and it took a long time to get into action.  Neither of us were happy with the rules (the Imperialists won).

The second game we set up closer and used "Hordes in Darkest Africa".  This time the Brits were fighting the Azande.  Ian managed to throw an amazing number of ones and twos for movement while I danced all over the place. Still the music had to stop....and when it did...the Brits were annihilated. 

Under these rules the warriors could be re-cycled (like Horde) so only the Shooters were in any danger.  The Brit elements cost more (3 as compared to 2 for the Azande) so were fewer in number.

Nevertheless an entertaining game with the 'natives' coming close to breaking a few times.  Maybe some rule tweaking needs to be done!

Monday 12th June 2017 - WDW

An interesting set of games tonight:

"Horse, Foot & Guns" being used to fight some 19thC imagi-nations - Kingdom of Yorkshire v East Anglians.  Andrew's Easterners failed to make any real impression on the hubristic northerners.

"Baroque" - ECW clash with the Parliamentarian horse getting a pasting.

"The Men Who Would Be Kings" - a Crimean War fight between the Russians and the Allies (Brits & French).  The players were not happy with the rules as too many units were getting 'pinned' and unable to do anything.

DBM - Assyrians v Medes - three players aside.  Bob and I managed to hold onto the wings of the Assyrians (only just in my case) but the 'corporation dust carts' and their associated cavalry fell in the centre. 

In history the Assyrians were usually the victors but under DBM they are under-achievers.  The army list has precious few bowmen which seems out of kilter with the histories.  Oh well!

Thursday 15th June 2017

The hordes descended upon me today (all 2 of them) to clear my living room of its furniture.  Now everything is stuffed into any available nook or cranny.  Of course I have no idea where anything I want is right now.

Finally got my computer back up and running after much unprintable language being voiced.  I only moved it upstairs - why such a hoo-ha from the modem?

Anyway I'm now ready for the contractor to call and give me a final price.  No doubt I will need to partake of one uncovered treasure - one-quarter bottle of rum.  Maybe normal wargaming service can be resumed at some future date...but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Just Another Week

Monday 5th June 2017 - WDW

'The Men Who Would Be King' - Mahdists v Egyptians (and Sudanese) - good to see a colonial game going on.  The Egyptians managed to hold off the hordes of Dervishes.

'Square Bashing' - Austrians v French 1914

'Roll Through the Ages' - dice game - using a 'peg-board' - unusual

DBM - Later Crusader v Syrian - a tough game with Lh(S) facing off on our L (their R).  Our right flank showed Irr Kn(F) supported by Bw(O).  Al advanced wondering what was hidden behind the crest of a steep hill.  The answer turned out to be 10 x Irr Ax(O).  This flank could have gone either way and finished with both commands teetering on the edge of oblivion.  In the centre the dismounted Armenian knights backed up the Bw(O).

I was lucky on the dice killing 3 Lh(S) elements in the first round of contact.  The next round I killed 3 more and that command collapsed.  For once the dice gods smiled upon me.

Thursday 8th June 2017

RL getting in the way of wargaming (and I am not referring to a certain uk event).

Have found some photos of red-brick buildings so, when time permits, I can finish off my aquarium ornament.

Dug out my copy of "Hordes of the Empire" and dusted off my colonial figures.  Trouble is that I have never found a 'colonial' set that I am entirely happy with.  As a consequence I have figures on a multitude of different base sizes and numbers per element.   Saturday's game(s) will require 24 points per army so hopefully I have enough for that.

'Furioso' - new set of early Renaissance rules have just come out.  Although I prefer to fight in the 17th century period rule mechanisms are often transferable.   Generally I play DBA-RRR but there are certain aspects that I want to tweak - Reiters for example.

Still de-cluttering my house.  Still found nothing of great interest.  At least all the junk is being amalgamated into 'dedicated' boxes.  Friends turning up tomorrow to help me lug furniture around - oh joy!

Thursday, 1 June 2017

King of the Castle

Saturday 27th May 2017 - Pontefract

 Went shopping in a steamy atmosphere.  Buying oddments and looking around the cheapo stores.  As the skies opened up I scuttled into Wilkos (formerly Wilkinsons) where I purchased a "Rosewood Aquarium Orn" for £2.95.  As I don't have a suitable 'stronghold' for my HotT armies I thought that this would do.  No building work needed at the front.

Not sure what colours weathered red bricks would be - need to do some research.

Not so good round the back.  There is a hole where the price tag links through.  It needs to be filled in or a pipe ending added - as a necessary outflow! 

On the left side is the number - this needs filing off and the rock restored.

WIP - the terracotta is far too bright and needs toning down (more dry-brushing).  Watch this space!

Monday 29th May 2017 - WDW

Bolt Action - WW2 Germans v Americans (double yawn)

DBM - Later Tang v Sung Chinese - definitley a couple of second rate armies.  This was a rare ocassion when Andy did not field masses of Warband.  Instead he relied on large numbers of Irr Bw(X),Bw(O) to ponderously roll forward.

Chris' warband eventually reached the enemy bow and it was touch and go for a while. Fortune smiled upon the Tang breaking the enemy (with only a 2 element margin).

My duties had involved covering the right flank of the warband and keeping a mass of Lh(F) from interfering.  Andy retreated the Lh until he was 6" from the table edge and I had to cautiously persue with Bw, Cav & Ps.

At end of play it was a minor victory for the Tang.

Wednesday 31st May 2017

Two boxes of soldiers arrived from Emodels:

RB72101 - 16C Italian Infantry (set 3) Pike
RB72098 - 16C Spanish Infantry (set 3) Pike

These troops are probably too old-fashioned to be employed in 17C armies (my prefered Renaissance period).  However the various colonial adventures undertaken by Europeans are another matter. There was an ethos of adaptation in the New World with metal armour being abandoned and local materials used.

Given that I now have 32 pike (which will have to be shortened) I may have to look elsewhere to employ them all.  Substitution for existing elements will free some later figures for a Spanish army at the time of the Dutch conflict.

The 16 halberdiers I am not sure how to deal with.  I guess some could become pirates but not many.

If you want pictures take a look at the 'Awaiting Review' section on PSR.  As usual with Red Box it was difficult to remove the figures from the sprue.  There was also quite a bit of flash in places.