Not a bad month, seven games and a visit to Warfare at the new venue in Farnborough.
The new venue for Farnborough was very nice, two rooms, a big one and a very big one; light, airy, catering where you didn’t have to queue forever, plenty of trade and some nice demo games. It’s a bit of a drag coming down from Coventry and I’m not sure I’d do it every year but on this occasion my good friend Mark at M&C Painting was there with the last of the Successors so well worth the trip.
Our first game of the month was a western gunfight set in the fictitious Dardenell County where a pair of Texas Rangers came looking for the Bald Eagle gang and found trouble! A fun little two hander that played out well.
Next up was another gunfight game, this time a multi player game, being a take on the film ‘3:10 to Yuma’ but this time the law were escorting the prisoner off the train and down the main street to the County lock up pending trial. Much miniatures blood was spilt on the streets of Mal Paso as the gang freed the leader and several follow on games were created.
Next up was a big game Cossack v Muscovite encounter which lasted over two sessions. In a game where Tartar allies raced around the table wearing down their slower opponents and the Streltsy performed badly we eventually ended up with each side having a collapsed wing and everyone else in no shape to press for victory. A draw!
Next up was an ‘away day’ WWII game featuring retreating Germans and pursuing Soviets for which I lost most of the photo’s 😪 Suffice to say that only a few Germans managed to avoid their pursuers but we did have the ‘fun’ of the NKVD squad opening fire on troops they deemed not to be vigorous enough in their pursuit of the fascists.
Next was a cartel game where a DEA/Federales task force sprung a trap on two sicario gangs exchanging gold for drugs at an abandoned airfield.
This was probably our best game of the month; the scenario flowed well, players were on good form and the rules covered everything we needed to.
When the game wrapped we had most of the Federales dead or gravely wounded and not a scratch on the DEA agents 🤔, a significant number of dead sicarios and a haul of cocaine but both leaders fled the scene along with the gold.
Our final game was an Indochina encounter with the Viet Minh attempting to ambush a convoy and take out two Foreign Legion camps. It wasn’t our best game and we might give it another run in December but the column just about got through, losing only one vehicle and a few troops, and one camp was hanging on by a thread.
So, another month gone and Christmas is getting closer! Enjoy your gaming however you do it.
A few posts back I discussed our tentative steps of getting back into western gunfight as a period and after a couple of false starts we have settled on the rules – The Old West Skirmish Wargames and our scale of 28mm, well actually 32mm given the size of the Dead Mans Hand figures and the Black Scorpion figures!
We acquired a whole town from one of our gaming acquaintances who was looking to invest in a new bike and added some new buildings and some more figures. We then had a couple of scene setting games to make sure we were happy and just recently held our first proper Dardenell County multi player game.
The game was the film ‘The 3:10 To Yuma’ in reverse. Ours was the ‘3:10 From Tanglefoot’ whereby notorious land grabber and alleged murderer, Abe McQuown, was being transferred from Tanglefoot on the 3:10 train to the county seat of Mal Paso for incarceration, trial and possible hanging, but McQuown had a cadre of loyal followers who had drifted into town determined to prevent his incarceration.
Our game was centred around McQuown being escorted from the train station down main street to the county sheriffs office by two professional gunmen, Matt Morgan & Craig Blaisdell, sworn in as temporary marshals. Waiting in the upstairs office were Sheriff Will Rogers and Deputy Johnny Gannon plus old Ernie Jones downstairs guarding the cells. Three groups of McQuowns gang were randomly positioned around the town waiting for their chance to ambush the marshals – actually this randomisation didn’t work out as well as I expected as the groups ended up within a couple of buildings of each other – such is the nature of random I guess 😄
For the first few moves not very much happened; the marshals advanced up the street guns drawn – yes I know McQuown has got guns but I wasn’t about to break them off and then re-glue them, Charley Prince, Bob Nicholson & Buck Slavin took up positions in the ground floor of the Los Pecos Hotel while across the street, Rick Belden, Ben Nicholson & Fen Jiggs took up similar positions in the Bar and Bunk – both of these were conveniently at the T junction where the sheriffs office stood. The only group doing anything was that of Cherry Valance, Tom Morgan & Curley Burne who advanced up the street from the Western Union office and into the open space of the T to face down the marshals. Somewhere far off, a dog barked 😉
The action started with Valance and co drawing their weapons and Tom Morgan calling on the marshals to let the prisoner go to which Blaisdell responded with a, “get out of our way or face the consequences”. In this moment of calm before the storm confusion set in; behind Morgan a voice shouted “Tom, get off the street!” which was Belden from the batwing doors of the Bar and Bunk trying to draw a bead on Blaisedell, Morgan froze momentarily and Blaisedell shot him in the right arm, seriously wounding him and forcing him to drop his gun.
Then it all got a bit messy. Snapped out their lethargy Rogers and Gannon drew their guns and headed out of the upstairs office, Gannon leading. Out on the street Valance heard and saw the lawmen coming out and squeezed off a shot which hit Gannon squarely in the chest and dropped him seriously wounded and Rogers ducked back taking cover. Back with the marshals all hell let loose as Burne, Jiggs, Prince and Slavin opened up which saw Burne’s shot kill Blaisedell stone dead – there obviously were consequences 😢
In the brief moment of quiet following the roar of the guns as the consequences of what had just happened settled in, Morgan put his arm around the throat of McQuown and jammed his Smith & Wesson against the mans head as he snarled “back off boys or the boss gets it!” as he tried to back heel open the door of the bank – no joy. But clearly everyone’s blood was up and Prince fired again, taking the risk he wouldn’t hit his boss, but (fortunately) wildly missed. Morgan now realised he couldn’t hold onto the prisoner and stay alive so loosened his grip enough to fire into the Los Pecos and in quick succession knocked down Slavin with a head wound and then snuffed out Prince with a precision shot. From the upstairs window of the Sheriffs office Rogers joined the gunplay putting a bullet into Valance but in the confusion McQuown started making his escape turning down into an alley and eventually disappearing into the outskirts of town.
The gunfight however was far from over. Realising his exposed position Morgan ran back down the street to take cover behind a convenient barrel while Rogers fought a lone battle with the gunmen in the street – although it was a bit one sided as he was in cover and they weren’t 😉
Despite fire from the Bar and Bunk and the Los Pecos, Rogers downed both Burne and Morgan which was just as well because under the cover of the firing Ben Nicholson and Rick Belden had sprinted across the street and up the stairs to finish off the lawman so they could make good their escape. First through the door was Belden who levelled his Colt and……click. A dud! Rogers wasn’t so unlucky and his shot shattered Belden’s right arm giving the lawman enough time to knock the bleeding man to the floor and cuff him. Just as well because next in was Nicholson who shot wide as Rogers pulled his second gun and in the following exchange Rogers, and the now recovered Gannon, put a bullet each into Nicholson.
Back on the street the last shots were fired as Jiggs and Morgan exchanged shots, the lawman was a good shot but the range was long and Jiggs was good with a carbine so “when a man with a .45 meets a man with a rifle” and Morgan sprawled in the dust seriously wounded.
And that was it. One law officer dead and two seriously wounded plus a notorious criminal free to cause more trouble; serious questions would be asked! However McQuown was going to need to do some serious recruiting; Prince was dead and Morgan, Burne, Nicholson and Belden would stand trial once they had recovered from their wounds; Valance and Jiggs had made it to their horses out back of the Western Union office and the other Nicholson and Slavin had snuck out of the Los Pecos and disappeared.
All in all it was a good game and created several more possible follow on scenarios, we placed some 25 moves, had a laugh and rolled some amazing dice, good and bad. Perfect 😃
The month started off with our bi annual trip to Newark for Partizan (The Other Partizan as it’s called) where we put on our Battle of the Scheldt WWII skirmish game, so not quite the battle, more of an action within it 😄
We bought a new mat from Tiny Wargames custom made to depict the sea of the Scheldt estuary, the beach in front of the town of Flushing and a standard green area for where the actual town would be depicted – looked good.
The game played well, the initial commando landings crept cautiously into the town, encountering some machine gun fire from the bunkers on the hill but little troop resistance as the Kriegsmarine squads (specially painted by Dave for the game) were up on the high ground facing out to sea and organising them for a counter attack proved quite the task for the German player 🙄
The arrival of the allied 2nd wave, comprising the Kings Own Scottish Borderers and the armour, gave the sole ‘big gun’ in the sector some juicy targets for the German player and in some unprecedented die rolling managed to sink two of the landing craft! While being some amazing shooting it was also quite the comedy moment because the armour that sank to the bottom had just been finished by Dave and so never actually got their maiden outing 🤣😂
As the battle hotted up German reinforcements started to arrive and the fighting became a bit more intense with the commando’s taking some significant losses.
Ultimately the Allies were unable to gain significant ground and by the days end we could confidently say the Germans were still comfortably holding on.
Regarding the show itself, it seemed to be busy until well into the afternoon so from a numbers point of view the organisers should have been pleased. In terms of games some of these were quite magnificent and were a credit to those that put them on and added further to the shows reputation for top quality games. Trade wise it seemed to be the usual faces and business seemed to be steady but our perspective on all these aspects is limited to a quick run round the show by each of us taking time out from the game.
Back at the ‘Eagles Nest’ we managed to get a number of games in through the week. First up was a return to our cartel layout which hasn’t seen the light of day since pre Covid.
A simple game of a cartel gang ambushing a bullion truck on the way to the bank provided some deadly action and several comedy moments.
In the inevitable shootouts the body armour of the cops kept them in the game longer than the sicarios and the final body count left more dead sicarios than federales.
The comedy moments were provided by; two police cars running into each other, a police attack dog getting distracted by a stray cat and running off table, a sicario shooting out a plate glass window and then realising he was an open target and the female sicario sniper getting frustrated by a fellow sicario blocking her line of sight so started a brawl on a drive thru roof 😂
Next up was an Arthurian era game; Saxon siege of a section of dike disturbed by Romano Britain relief force. We had a number of player available and so were able to have 3 Saxon commands and 4 Romano British.
The game was quite the slog – as it should be, and saw some vicious action which pleased us all.
The major event of the game was the death of three commanders in one turn – two were fighting each other with their bodyguards. Not surprisingly this rather tipped the game and the Saxon king fell back with his command begrudgingly leaving the bodies of his two sub commanders with their bodyguards.
Our final game of the month in fact turned into two games!
We planned a large GNW game which we judged would last over a couple of evenings but the first game was a disaster for the Russians with the Swedes forcing a stream crossing and routing the opposing cavalry quicker than we expected which led to a collapse of Russian army morale.
So the table was re-laid and the Russians defended a large village with some linking defence works.
In this fight the Russians kept one brigade of cavalry as a reserve while the other held the right flank. All the infantry were distributed amongst the buildings and defences.
The Swedes deployed all their cavalry on one flank and all their infantry on the other, facing the entrenched Russians.
This was a far more even battle. The Swedes certainly saw off the Russian cavalry on the one wing but their own significant losses and fire from artillery and infantry who had turned to face on that flank plus the arrival of the Russian reserve cavalry saw both the Swedish brigades head for home.
The infantry fight was brutal. The Swedes took losses from the artillery and long range musketry to which they couldn’t give an effective response, however once they were up close they charged into melee and the Russians reeled.
Ultimately, the left hand Russian brigade routed from it’s entrenchments leaving the Swedes exhausted at the defence works, the other brigade, however, held on and actually caused the Swedes to rout, so honours even.
The difference of course was that the Swedes had Charles XII around to rally them, the Russians had no significant senior general who would have a similar effect. As we rolled the last dice we figured the Russians would withdraw covered by their intact cavalry and the Swedes would hold the ground they had gained.
On the getting stuff done front, another unit of Huguenot cuirassiers were completed which should be the last one for the collection 🤔
Also some additions to the western gunfight collection were finished, ready for our first game in November.
So, another month draws to a close and the days get darker and colder, hopefully we can keep the lights on for more games next month 😁 Keep well everybody.
Wow, September has been and gone! Holidays and building work reduced our meeting schedule so only three games this month and precious little done on the painting/modelling front.
The month kicked off with a Carlist Wars game at the Bunker and for the first time in 3 years we had everyone present 😁
The game was fictional and involved a surprise attack by the Carlists on the Liberals camp unaware that more Liberal troops were on their way.
The encamped troops were the ‘good’ troops being the Foreign Legion and the British Legion. Light companies were deployed forward of the position and visibility was restricted in the opening moves to simulate the dawn breaking. Once the first shots were fired (basically the Carlists running into the light troops) each battalion would dice for how many turns until it marched out from the camps. The Liberal reinforcements were pre programmed to arrive on the road emerging from the woods on the right flank but nobody knew when.
The Carlists duly bumped into the lights and the game was on! The lights fell back and the Carlists pushed on as quick as they could but some good dice rolls saw the Government troops spilling out of their tents and forming up on the left flank and behind the blockhouse.
In short, the Carlist attack on their right faltered in the face of the speedy deployment and eventually ground to a halt facing the tents. In the centre the Carlists did much better, sweeping away the opposition, isolating the blockhouse (which did prove to be a nuisance) and cutting the road. The left made hard work of the terrain and light opposition which meant it wasn’t in quite the best position when the reinforcements arrived.
When the reinforcements arrived (which was essentially the main army) the game took on a new dimension as they struggled to get off the road as it exited the woods quick enough to be in the right shape to fight. Both sides used spoiler cavalry attacks to prevent troops deploying and the cavalry even got to fight each other! The really bloody fighting was when the attack columns of both sides got stuck in around the ever expanding Government bridgehead.
Ultimately the Government were able to push out from the woods, despite some serious losses – the Guards cavalry regiments were practically destroyed and move across the back of their lines.
By late afternoon (our time) we decided to call it through sheer exhaustion 🤣 and declared a Government victory – this was not without some debate, the Carlists rightly claimed they had split the Government forces in half by occupying the centre but as the game organiser pointed out the objective was to overrun the camps before the reinforcements properly deployed and, because of the failure on the right, they hadn’t, so victory to the Government.
Our next game was another from the Successor project, this time the Imperial army of Perdiccas (so all the good stuff 😀) against one of the western satraps, Attalus.
The Imperials deployed four blocks of pike split evenly by an elephant centre with each pair combining a veteran block with a levy block; the left of the line was anchored on the Hypaspists and the right wing comprised all the companion cavalry.
The Satrapal forces were more numerous so overlapped their opponents but were not of the same class; they deployed with their cavalry on the right with a very clear plan of riding round the slow enemy infantry and striking the rear and/or looting the camp while the infantry, comprising two pike blocks and two hoplite blocks alternating with units of peltasts screened by psiloi, advanced to pin the opposition.
Once the armies were deployed Perdiccas realised the enemy plan and set about sending his elite cavalry galloping across the rear lines in a race against time 🙄. Other than that both sides commenced their advance.
The early action all took place on the Satrapal right where their cunning plan came unstuck because the Hypaspists got out in front of the pikes and basically got in the way 😏. A couple of javelin volleys pinned the lead cavalry which road blocked the others and once that was sorted out the only way forward was through the Hypapists and that didn’t work out so well 😢.
Ultimately the action resolved itself with the Satrapal cavalry either destroyed or fleeing and Attalus dying leading his companions in an all or nothing charge against the lately arriving Imperial companions.
On the other flank of the Satrapal army events were more in their favour, the clash of pikes saw one of the Imperial levied pikes flee the field with their opponent in pursuit and while the Imperial veteran pikes crushed a peltast unit they soon found themselves being circled by the hoplites and remaining pike.
The centre was a bit of a non event with the other two Imperial pike units being harassed by Satrap light cavalry for most of the game and the elephants facing off to the peltasts. Ultimately the light horse retired, which did leave the Satrap camp vulnerable but at least the peltasts killed an elephant.
The death of Attalus rather sealed it for the Satrap forces and so we called it.
Our final game was a sweeping cavalry encounter featuring the C14th forces of Tamerlane and Tokhtamysh an encounter facilitated by the slow repurposing of some really old figures from our Mongol, Russian and Mamluk armies of yesteryear and slogging away at a stupid metal mountain that accumulated when we had more money than sense.
The field was mainly open with 2 low hills with a wooded valley between on one flank and a lone hill skirted by trees on the other. Both commanders occupied the hills in their deployment area with their guards. The numerically inferior but qualitifly superior Timurids deployed their allied White Sheep Turks on the right with orders to infiltrate through the wooded valley, unfortunately the Horde allied Cumans had the same order and so the battle for these commands was a disorganised exchange of arrows that finally saw the Cumans retreat.
The centre of the Timurid line was 2 commands of heavy cavalry screened by lights and supported by elephants, the left was a similarly formed command behind the stream. The Horde had 4 commands in the centre, one was purely skirmish horse , one was allied Russian cavalry and two were Mongol heavy cavalry – everyone except the Russians were bow armed and the Timurids were generally better armoured than the Horde.
Tamerlane realised as soon as deployment was complete that his centre was in danger of being overwhelmed so he committed the Guard early and that diverted the Russian Boyars in his direction. The bow fire dissuaded the lead Boyar unit and then the hand to hand favoured the Guard – better armoured and better morale, end result was the termination of the Russian command (with extreme prejudice 😂)
The more even centre fight then saw both sides shooting bows for all they were worth and then exchanging blows. The Horde did manage a break through and one unit galloped off in pursuit of it’s opponent but overall the fight favoured the Timurids and the arrival of the force from over the stream tipped the balance; victory to the Timurids.
In terms of stuff done, one of the guys painted up some striking pieces for the Successors project with a kind of Ptolemaic/Egyptian Pharaoh vibe. Could also be used in a fantasy setting?
Also another Italian Wars condottierre unit got done along with a couple of command stands, all from existing stuff that just hadn’t been got round to.
A few more random desert terrain clutter items got completed, suitable for any of our middle east modern skirmishes, or the Foreign Legion, desert WWII or even the Successors.
Well another month over and, given the amount of time we have, fairly lean pickings in terms of games done. We had a chat about it and can’t really put our finger on the why; age, lack of enthusiasm, other stuff getting in the way, too many periods; it could be any, all or none of these, certainly we have collections that are perhaps seeing the light of day once a year – the Timurids, the GNW, Dark Age, Sikh Wars, and some that haven’t been out all year – most of the modern skirmish, the ACW, the Byzantines, 3 Musketeers. Slimming down the collections has started but then the Successors is brand new so….
Anyway, that’s it for the month. Next month is Partizan so maybe we’ll see folks there.
The summer is almost over and we’ve played in some serious heat! Only managed to get 3 games in but did manage 2 ‘away games’ so that was a plus.
First away game was with some of the local Coventry and Warwickshire crowd – Bob, Pete, JC & James in a return to Vietnam after the last awful outing with BOHICA. This time Pete put together a two pager sampling from some 80’s/90’s sets from when we all played in 20mm plus some ideas of his own.
Basic scenario was a US patrol of several fire teams charged with occupying a local village and conducting hearts & minds to woo the locals away from the VC known to be in the area. The VC were aware of the approach of the ‘imperialists’ but reduced in numbers so would have to be sneaky – players had a series of ‘ambush points’ they could appear at during the game, take a shot and disappear, if the US moved over an ambush point it was lost and VC movement therefore reduced. Movement was I Go You Go based on initiative and restricted to one fire team per ‘go’.
It didn’t take long for the US jungle walk to be interrupted when up popped a fire team with an RPG, the round exploded in front of the lead US team killing one GI and sending the officer scampering back 🤣
The US split its forces, one group stayed the course on the road and the other split left into the jungle where a booby trap was triggered resulting in a man down who now needed medivac – one fire team spent the rest of the game trying to get the man back to the start line where the helicopter landing zone was deemed to be.
The VC continued to pop up and at one point flanked the US – a neat little special rule from Pete was that local villagers could pop up (but look like VC) who would fire ineffectually but would cause the US to chase shadows.
Ultimately the US withdrew with 3 KIA and 1 seriously wounded, so much for hearts and minds 😂🤣
Next away game was in darkest Wales and a return trip to Lord Raglan (aka Gareth Lane) in a long delayed return trip, this time we were playing Roman Civil War – Septimus Severus v Pescennius Niger using the Soldiers of Rome rules which are a spin off of Soldiers of God rules I believe.
As the visitor I was offered choice and I chose Niger, mainly because of the camelry and cataphracts. The western army of Severus was almost all infantry; legionaries, auxiliary and praetorians with a smattering of cavalry and the eastern army of Niger was heavy in cavalry – almost one entire wing, plus legionaries and auxiliaries. Both sides were divided into 3 command each (as per the rules); the Severan right was legions, auxilia and a lone unit of cavalry, the centre was the praetorians and the left legions and auxilia, Niger forces had the cavalry command on the right, the centre legions and auxilia and the left legions and auxilia plus cavalry. The rules are card driven (exclusive to the game) and similar to Dead Mans Hand in that you have permanent cards (in this case 3 – 1 for each command) and then 4 dealt cards each that are used alternately based on who has initiative; the cards allow you to do one specific thing, move, charge, melee, shoot, but also have a special event that you may use instead, shooting and melee is resolved using D6 and you can save hits.
The rules limit you as to what kind of battle plan you choose which in itself influences your permanent cards; I chose to hold my centre and attack with the wings, Gareth chose all out attack. This sounds fine but of course to fulfil the plan you need a run of cards and that is a frustration 🙄 It certainly took me a few moves to get into the rhythm of using the cards effectively and managed to throw away 2 units of camelry in the process 🤣 which made me think ‘this is all going to be over by lunch time!’
In short; after my disaster with the camels the right wing redeemed itself (led by the cataphracts) and ultimately broke their opponents and headed for the enemy camp which they duly looted, the left duked it out inconsequentially but it was in the centre where victory was clinched because as Severus looked on as his praetorians slowly pushed my legions back an ignored auxilary archer unit emerged from broken ground and killed the emperor in a volley of arrows! My thanks to Gareth for gentlemanly pointing out I could do this, I had just assumed you could only shoot units 😁.
I’ll admit I’m not a fan of card driven games but we had an exciting and fun game which lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. The reliance on the cards for what you can do did give some odd results, so units in melee didn’t actually fight because they didn’t have a melee card and this did mean melees dragged on longer than they should have and the stop start nature of the moving didn’t seem that realistic to me given the machine like nature of the Roman army. That said, I’d play again, just because something isn’t my thing doesn’t mean I wont play if invited to do so.
Back to our own games and the first of the month was a post Normandy action with Canadians advancing on German town held by Panzer Grenadiers and Volkstrum. Basic scenario had a full platoon of Canadians in Kangaroos supported by a troop of Shermans advancing on the allegedly undefended town, Germans have a weak Volkstrum platoon and a reinforced Panzer Grenadier squad plus a dug in Pak 40 and a Puma.
The Canadians advanced on a broad front (too broad actually), two sections advancinging right, the Shermans and platoon HQ taking up position on the central high ground and a lone section advancing on the far left.
After a few quiet turns the action got underway with the Shermans and the deployed mortar shelling targets as the HQ spotted them. The two sections on the right got into extended fire fights on the outskirts of the town with Volkstrum and Hitler Youth who they quickly eliminated although not before the Pak 40 took out one Kangaroo.
Having revealed itself the Pak 40 was picked out by the Shermans and silenced. The fighting continued into the town with the Panzer Grenadiers doing better but numbers told and they were eliminated along with their transport and the Puma.
Over on the left the lone section struggled to cross open ground and got itself shot up pretty badly but supporting fire from the Shermans saved them especially when it acidentally took out the Volkstrum HQ squad in a random shot on a building.
With the loss of all their heavy weapons and the panzer grenadiers the remaining Volkstrum fled the town and the Canadians took control. A good game, plenty of excitement.
Next up was a large scale eastern renaissance, Poles & Imperialist v Swedes.
Both sides deployed with a strong cavalry wing which in this case ended up facing each other, a weak centre and then a strong infantry wing battling to control a large hill.
On the cavalry wing it was a bloodbath. First of all the Finnish cavalry caused some shock losses on the Poles but strong counter attacks saw them off and momentum saw the Poles smashing into the Swedes & Danes in what became a long rolling cavalry action over several moves. Ultimately the Poles prevailed and 5 regiments of enemy horse were either destroyed or fled.
The battle for the hill was a see saw affair with 10 regiments of foot ultimately battling out what became a stalemate with nothing to show but some very bloodied regiments.
We called time when the victorious hussars started to swing around the rear of the swedes, it was a hard fought game.
Final game of the month was a Sikh Wars game. As usual the Sikhs were defending – high ground on their left and centre with regulars (foot & guns) plus a brigade of cavalry, village on the right with irregulars.
The British/EIC deployed an infantry brigade to march through a village on their left and attack the Sikh village supported by a horse brigade, the centre was two brigades of foot and the right two brigades of horse.
On the British right the horse were held back while the guns pounded the noble cavalry forcing them off the hill enabling the British horse to sweep up and dispatch the remaining horse and turn inward on the guns.
In the centre the British infantry slogged forward under accurate fire from the Sikh guns taking serious casualties before the rear regiments were able to get close enough to volley fire the defenders out of their position.
On the British left the cavalry and infantry acted in concert and forced the Sikhs from the village and then turned in on the other flank of the hill. Sikh regulars wisely retired.
And that was August. Not much done on the painting/modelling front just bits and pieces finished off. Holiday breaks coming up so September might be a bit thin but we’ll see.
A bit of a crap month for gaming, only two games done, one was the Bicocca re-fight and the other a pick up western gunfight. The reason? Well reasons really, car crash, relative hospitalised, covid, you name it Dave experienced it!
I’ve already posted about Bicocca so our only other game was a pick up game set in our fictional western gunfight county. In this adventure one set of cowhands saw beef bearing their brand in the stockyards that had been rebranded and went seeking the culprits.
It was a pretty simple set up, 3 cowhands per side, average stats to start then random amendment by die rolling. The Van Hee boys started at the stockyards and the Burton boys were just coming out of the blacksmiths.
Although it should have been a simple shoot out at the stockyards Dave made it all complicated by going commando (no, not that commando!) and sneaking off round buildings in what became a bad interpretation of Open Range.
In what became ‘here we go round the mulberry bush’ the Van Hee trio were trailing around asking civilians where the other guys had gone. Eventually the Van Hee’s cornered ‘Two Gun’ Brookes at the stockyards and literally filled him with lead while the other two Burton hands fled across the street.
Out back of the Telegraph Office scores were settled with the Burton boys firing from the cover of an abandoned shack and a half built building; in the shoot out at the building Adolphous ‘the Gent’ Rogers was laid low with a serious wound but his assailant was then put down by Van Hee firing as he came out of the back door of the Telegraph Office, out back of the Office Billy Blue went down with a shotgun blast in the leg but when ‘Shotgun Bob’ walked over to finish him off with the other barrel at close range Billy recovered enough to put a bullet in Bob’s head – shouldn’t have gloated Bob!
In other news, three pike blocks and the Hypaspists were based up for the Successors project which has made a big difference; a couple more pike units to go and the commanders and this project will be done.
On the 10mm front got some APC’s done for the Iran Iraq project, might do a separate blog post on this.
Also went along to the Devizes show, Attack. This is one of those shows that has been around forever but I’ve never been, mainly because it’s a bit of a hack from Coventry. However, the stars aligned and I went down for the Sunday and it was a fine day out, very much in a late 70’s style (which is no bad thing) and if I hadn’t had other reasons to be there it might have been a bit ordinary but I did some shopping, did some chatting and came away pretty pleased with the day. Well done the organisers.
And so a refight of Bicocca was born, narrowly missing the 500 year anniversary. This is the battle that is anecdotally used as an illustration of what a liability Swiss mercenaries were, for it is here that they demanded a battle be fought or they would go home!
The history is as follows. In the campaign season of 1521 the French under Odet de Foix, the Marshal Lautrec, were expelled from the Duchy of Milan by the Imperialists under Prosper Colonna. In the spring of 1522 Lautrec was reinforced by 16,000 Swiss and resumed the offensive, taking Novarra and besieging Pavia; Colonna took up a strong position at Certosa which Lautrec decided against attacking, opting instead to starve Colonna out. Great strategy but then the Swiss went and spoilt it by demanding their back pay (there was none😮) or battle the next day, the reasoning being that loot would be to hand after a victory. Lautrec had no choice but to agree and march on the Imperialists who had now moved to the fortified park of Bicocca where they was joined by Francesco Sforza of Milan with reinforcements.
The French deployed with 8,000 Swiss front and centre screened by some 3,000 Italian foot arquebusiers & 300 mounted arquebusiers under Giovanni del Medici (the ‘Black Bands’), the Duke of Montmorency notionally commanded the Swiss. Behind this were the French guns being dragged forward and behind them some 6,000 crossbowmen under Pedro Navarro flanked by companies of Gendarmes & Archers under such luminaries as, the Chevalier Bayard, the Duke of Lescun, and the Duke of Ponteformy. Out on the right flank was a mercenary condottiere force under the Duke of Urbino representing Venice.
Inside the park the Imperialists sat and waited. The park was bounded by high walls with an entrance over a bridge in the eastern wall which was covered by Sforza’s contingent from the outside of the park and the west nestled against a marsh, but the most daunting aspect of the position was the sunken road that ran in front of the park directly opposite the French line of advance. The Imperialists lined the wall overlooking the sunken road with Spanish arquebusiers and artillery and behind them some 2,000 Spanish pike and around 8,000 Landsknechts under Georg von Frundsberg; the back of the park had several hundred Spanish & Italian men at arms under Antonio de Leyva in case there were any break throughs. Out in front of the road were around 1,000 Spanish Genitors detailed to be a nuisance.
The original French plan called for Medici to clear away the Genitors which would allow the artillery to move close enough to deploy and batter down the ramparts, engineers under Navarro would then fill the ditches and the Swiss would attack. Out on the flanks, Urbino would turn the Spanish left (they obviously didn’t know about the marsh or had no time to scout forward) and Lescun would lead the Gendarme companies in an attack that would drive off Sforza and break into the camp via the gate. None of this went well at all 😧; as soon as the Genitors were driven off the Swiss ignored Monmorency’s order to halt and continued on to the Imperialist position where they came under artillery fire and then sustained harquebus fire which caused heavy casualties but being Swiss they just shrugged it off. At the sunken road the impossibility of the task became apparent, once they had jumped down into the road the Swiss found that the height to the Imperialists above them was as tall as their pikes! So with all formation lost (the famous Swiss column was no use here) the Swiss floundered around at the mercy of the enemy arquebusiers and the few that did gain a foothold were soon thrown back. After about an hour of this the Swiss gave up and marched back leaving half their number behind, dead or wounded. Elsewhere, Urbino made a half hearted attempt at the marsh and then gave up but Lescun did actually managed to get over the bridge and into the camp but de Leyva showed him the exit.
How to refight a battle that shouldn’t actually have been fought? Firstly did we have the numbers? This is a big battle and even at the 1:50 ratio we use in our rules it was still going to be a stretch, so rather than beat ourselves up about it we went for representation by block. We had 4 Swiss pike columns so that was our base line; the Spanish colunellas we easily matched and our 4 Landsknecht blocks matched the Swiss, the Gendarmes/Archers were an exact match to the numbers along with Medici’s Black Band and the Italian and Spanish cavalry, the various supporting cast crossbowmen and pikemen (French and Italian) were slightly under represented but they did nothing in the real battle and did nothing in the game! The big task was the park of Bicocca; the size we just built around the deployment of the Imperialist force which in itself was based on the contemporary maps that are available but a sunken road on a 2D table is a challenge; after a bit of thought we opted for sections of Last Valley road with a wall running along one side (the Imperialist) and a hedge the other thus guaranteeing cover and advantage of ground for the Imperialist arquebusiers and ‘double disorder’ for the advancing Swiss. Our next problem was the Swiss; no self respecting wargamer is going to do what they did (well we would because its history so why wouldn’t we?) so we amended the command rules slightly so that the Swiss would be forced to advance unless the general used command points to actively stop them – in the rules each commander has command points reflecting his historical performance (or at least our interpretation of such) and uses these to move his troops but Gendarmes need points to NOT move (reflecting their lack of discipline) so we just widened this category to include the Swiss – Monmorency was a 2 so even if he did spend his points at least 2 Swiss would be on the move and then co-ordination would really be lost!
So how went the refight? The early moves were much like the real thing, just a bit less well co-ordinated. In the centre the Swiss trundled forward as Medici took on the Genitors which took a while longer than history, this wasn’t due to the Genitors being particularly effective (they weren’t) but due to the fire coming from the park which at one point halted the foot arquebusiers who the Swiss just marched right through 😂. Eventually the Genitors were cleared out and Medici headed his force towards the left side of the park (seen from the French side) to try and keep the defenders occupied while the Swiss attacked on the right.
On the French right, Urbino decided to use his points to get his crossbowmen forward to maybe shoot the Swiss attack in by clearing the Imperial skirmishers out from where they had jumped into the sunken road which they were using as a trench (sneaky!) – in the long run this kind of worked in that the skirmishers in front of the manor house were eliminated but it didn’t do much to help the Swiss. On the French left, Lescun duly advanced but Sforza decided to come and meet him and use his crossbowmen to wear down the Gendarmes – it took a while for Sforza to convince his mercenaries to get moving and their firepower wasn’t that effective but they did managed to kill Ponteformy which stopped his company (rules note, no Captain, no move).
But it was the centre that mattered. The Swiss skirmishers soaked up most of the Imperialist fire and frankly it wasn’t that good (sometimes the dice gods just don’t smile on you) but one Swiss column lost its captain and so was stood waiting for Montmorency to come over and appoint a new captain (rules note, replacement captains have to be appointed by a command figure joining the unit). Eventually however the Imperial skirmishers were cleared out of the road and the Swiss started to climb in.
Despite their disorder two of the Swiss ‘charged’ their opponents at the wall. One column overran the guns it was facing and ploughed on into the park, the other was stopped briefly by one of the Spanish harquebus colunellas but then they routed with heavy losses. The problem for the Imperial player in this was when and how to commit his pike although in these two examples it didn’t matter too much, the Swiss who overran the guns then ran straight into Frundsberg’s veteran Landsknechts who held and then inexorably pushed the Swiss back into the road and the other ran into von Sickingen’s Landsknechts who scattered with the loss of their captain after a couple of rounds of melee.
The other two Swiss were a little tardy, one was the one that had to wait for Montmorency but once it had it’s new captain it too was over the wall and into Frundsbergs block – normally this would have finished the Landsknechts but the lack of ranks the Swiss could count plus their disorder and the fact that they hit Frundsberg as he was pushing back the other column meant that his momentum trumped their ‘charge’ and they were stopped. The 4th block had taken the more serious losses from fire and so as it assaulted the walls it had already lost supporting ranks and was held at the wall for two embarrassing turns of melee by a harquebus colunella; once they had seen off the the arquebusiers they were then charged by one of the Spanish pike colunellas and held.
The pike blocks were now locked in combat; both sides tried to use their forlorn hopes to turn the tide but they largely cancelled each other out (the rules allow bases of halberdiers/sword & buckler men to issue out from the blocks). The deciding moment was when the 2nd Spanish colunella managed to align itself on the flank of the Swiss that had seen off von Sickingen, there was no need to fight that out, those Swiss were done and knew it and so fell back. It was over for the Swiss, so near but so far.
We could have played it on for several more turns but the result was always going to be the same, the Swiss, disordered and lacking effective supporting ranks, had just not been able to punch an immediate hole and follow on.
On the flanks it was all a bit of a non event; Urbino performed much as history and was defeated by the terrain, Lescun actually did worse than history, being held by Sforza long enough for him to be unable to make any difference.
The performance of the Swiss in actually getting into the park was pleasing given the historical impossibility of it happening and we had some tense moments as we rolled for the pike melee’s. All in all a good scrap and a lesson in what not to do either historically or in recreation 😊
Family holidays and house moves derailed hobby time a bit but still managed to get some games in.
First up was another Successors game in the steadily expanding project. The game went well, which means the rules played out with no major glitches, and we enjoyed the day. High points were the much vaunted Galatians failing to charge – oh how I laughed 😅, elephants dying and the Silver Shields ploughing through their opponents.
Next was our day game of re-fighting Lobositz using our SYW collections. I’ve already posted a blog on the actual game so wont bore people with another battle report, suffice to say we had a hell of a game and history was reversed.
As a change of pace, and because we were unable to do day games due to Dave’s shift pattern, we opted for a dark age skirmish game with one group of Vikings raiding another.
Just having a couple of bands apiece was a nice change and a bit of a challenge. The rules were our own and we added in a couple of ‘add ons’ like guard dogs scenting the invaders and whether they barked or attacked to spice the game up.
Overall it played well and lots of fun was had. Despite the surprise of the early dawn attack the dogs did bark (a lot!) and the attackers were sent packing with heavy losses although the settlement was going to need a new sub leader.
Another skirmish game was next, this time a return to Afghanistan, which we hadn’t gamed for a while.
Our basic scenario was a US marines column called in to escort a pair of Taliban prisoners who had been snatched by a special forces team. The idea was that the prisoners had important intel but bad weather had grounded the helicopters so the SF team were waiting at a deserted wadi for transport. The Taliban were about (otherwise it wouldn’t be a game!) and their 3 groups were given several start point options on the board before knowing what direction the convoy would come from.
The Taliban chose a dry river bed that led to the wadi from the south, a set of ancient ruins on a hill to the south east, a clump of rocky scrub to the north east and a medieval tower to the north of the scrub where they deployed their mortar. The convoy came on from the east which put it between two enemy groups.
As the convoy roared on the Taliban opened up with the mortar and missed the lead Humvee but this revealed their position and the Cougar opened up with the auto grenade launcher and took out the mortar and it’s team.
General firing then erupted as the two eastern Taliban groups tried to stop the Humvees and the lead Humvee crashed off the road – we realised afterwards we had made the Humvees too vulnerable, classing them as the soft skins of the earlier part of the invasion rather than the later better armoured versions.
The game then developed into a running firefight as the marines exited the vehicles to return fire and got the remaining Humvee to the extraction point. The SF operator watching the wadi spotted the Taliban there and shot them up enough to suppress them but the Cougar was disabled by RPG fire. However the bad weather lifted and the marine lieutenant managed to get an Apache on line which made mincemeat of the south eastern Taliban as they crossed the open ground from the ruins. The americans might just pull this off.
At the wadi the prisoners were bundled into the Humvee and headed out but as the SF operators waved it off and faded into the country the one remaining Taliban group zeroed in and blew up the Humvee killing the prisoners and crew. Total disaster!
We had a bit of a post game review after as the game had seemed a bit one sided. The rules are Spectre Operations V2 which we’ve grown to like and feel familiar with but sometimes (like the Humvees) we do make rookie errors; the problem we agreed was in the scenario, a dozen marines against around thirty Taliban was always going to be a stretch especially as the marines were confined to the moving metal boxes, I think we just got excited about getting this collection back on the table after a long absence 😃
Our final game of the month was an exercise in expediency; I had just come back off holiday so no time to organise something, but the desert mat from the last game was still out so Dave was detailed to bring round his Western Desert WWII Italians & LRDG.
The game was simple enough, an Italian supply convoy comprising a fuel truck and two lorries of supplies guarded by two Ethiopian squads escorted by a couple of tankettes and two armoured lorries carrying an Italian squad, had to enter by the eastern road and exit by the north western road. Three troops of LRDG started the game in ambush positions, objective; don’t let the supplies get through.
The game played well and was quite exciting. As the column entered the table, 3rd troop opened fire and disabled one truck but the return fire from the Italians in the armoured lorries downed the British Bren gunner. The Ethiopians also debussed and engaged in a lively small arms fight with 3rd troop.
The column quickly became a confused ants nest as 1st troop charged out from concealment in their Bren gun carriers and the Italians and Ethiopians got out of their vehicles to return fire to their north and south.
The charge of the Bren gun carriers wasn’t quite the success the British player had been hoping for; helped by the sustained smg fire of the two Italian officers who sprang from their kubelwagen, the Italians stopped the carriers and 1st troop ended up ‘circling the wagons’ 😅
As the two firefights raged on the tankettes finally arrived (better late than never) and were directed towards the positions of 3rd troop who quickly succumbed to the weight of heavy machine gun fire and with most of the troop down wounded, surrendered.
Where were 2nd troop in all this mayhem I hear you ask? Well they were dicking around in the wadi or “finding a suitable firing position” as the British player asserted 😂 although this was of no use to the beleaguered 1st & 3rd troops.
Back at the main fight the Italian Captain came up with a cunning plan to escort the fuel truck out of the firefight in his kubelwagen and leaving the troops to cover him thus saving the fuel and his reputation! Unfortunately 2nd troop had finally found their “suitable firing position” and in a fusillade of fire knocked out the truck.
Unfortunately for the LRDG platoon as a whole though things weren’t going too well; 3rd troop were being escorted back to the trucks by one of the Ethiopian squads, thus freeing the tankettes for further duties, while the other Ethiopian squad climbed the high ground that overlooked 1st troop and began to fire down into the already reduced troop. Added to this the Italian lieutenant, who had stayed behind with his men while the captain bravely tried to fulfil the mission (well that’s what the official report said 🙄), had rallied the squad and were advancing on 1st troop.
At that point we called it. Yes the fuel truck was stopped (but not destroyed) and so was one of the supply trucks but all the Italians were still in the game and two of the LRDG were not so we rationalised that 2nd troop would fall back while the Italians repaired the vehicles and carried on. So nearly a success.
In other news, I went to Games Expo early in the month. This was my 4th visit after a pause in 2020 & 2021 and was great fun. By no stretch of the imagination can this be called a wargames show, yes people like, Bad Squiddo, Black Scorpion, Iron Gate, Rubicon, Second Thunder and Crooked Dice are there and obviously Games Workshop, but that is a drop in an ocean of around 400 exhibitors and you can almost taste the enthusiasm . The main offerings are in the realms of board gaming, collectable card gaming and the myriad of versions of ‘role playing games’, but that doesn’t make it unattractive to the wargamer with a broad view of the hobby. Every year I’ve been I’ve played a wide variety of sample games and enjoyed every one of them but except for one have never played them again but this is a big part of the event, many of the exhibitors have games running to market their product which you can just rock up to and take part or in some cases wait to take part, and it’s such fun. There are also a significant number of stands selling ‘clutter’ mainly for the RPG/fantasy skirmish market but every time I’ve been I’ve picked up stuff that I can use in ‘proper’ wargaming and if the the fantasy end of wargaming is your thing (Frostgrave and the suchlike) then there is a whole load of 3D printed figures out there for fledgling games that can easily be utilised as well as barbarian types for Viking skirmish games. What did strike me this year was the shear volume of 3D printed models in all scales and how that is going to revolutionise our small corner of the gaming hobby, the days of metal casts is nearing its end.
On the painting/modelling front it’s been a lean month; various items of clutter that have been sitting in boxes for years have got done, so more stuff to hide behind.
A little bit of extra was added to the gunfight collection
And some 10mm terrain was done for the Iran Iraq project which is now involving me in trying to understand the difference between a tank battalion and a tank regiment (or a company, or a troop, or a squadron 🤯) and how many tanks there are in each and how that scales down using Cold War Commander.
That’s it for now, July should see an Iraqi tank battalion done and some more Successors based up, oh and the Devizes Show – first time ever!
Despite the much much fawning over the greatness of Frederick The Great this is one of those battles where the greatness is not so evident.
In brief, the campaigning season of 1756 kicked off with Frederick crossing into Saxony with the intention of knocking said state out of the alliance of states ranged against him. At the same time an Austrian army under Field Marshal von Browne was marching through Bohemia with the intent of keeping the Saxons on side. On October 1st the Prussian advance guard caught sight of what they thought was the Austrian rear guard deployed around the town of Lobositz and the Prussian main army hurried forward.
In fact the Austrian rear guard was the main army which von Browne had deployed in and around the town making good use of the terrain which created a funnel through which the Prussians must advance. On the Austrian right the slopes of the Lobosch Hill were defended by a strong force of Croats and regular musketeers under Lacy, the centre comprised the town, defended by more musketeers and a sunken road in which were hidden a line of more Croats and Grenadiers supported by cavalry, the left was the main army hidden behind the marshy stream known as the Morellen Bach; out in front on the valley floor was a brigade of cavalry screening the Austrian deployments from the Prussians. As best we can tell from the sources, von Browne’s plan was to fight a holding action that would give him time to march the main army across the River Elbe behind Lobositz and join up with the Saxons.
The Prussian plan, such as it was, seems to have been to arrogantly power on forward and drive the Austrians from the town!
The battle, in brief, consisted of an early morning artillery duel which inflicted some serious losses on the static Prussian infantry and some losses on the Austrian cavalry manoeuvring on the plain. Battle proper started with the Prussian left wing infantry under Bevern ascending the Lobosch and engaging in what turned out to be a day long musketry duel with Lacy which finally turned in favour of the Prussians. On the valley floor Kyau’s cavalry brigade, which included the Garde du Corps and the Gendarmes, galloped confidently forward and got their arses handed to them by the hidden guns and muskets. The remnants joined the main cavalry body and the whole lot then attacked without orders! half of them got into the sunken road but where seen off by a counter attack by Austrian cuirassiers and the other half ended up stuck in the Morellen Bach where they were easily shot down. After the cavalry debacle Frederick left the battle (again!) leaving Ferdinand of Brunswick to direct the main infantry attack which eventually convinced the Austrians to relinquish the now burning town in the late afternoon. Frederick claimed victory by dint of the fact that he was master of the field (even though he personally wasn’t there!) although von Browne had in fact achieved his aim, the main army marched successfully behind Lobositz and across the Elbe. Losses were about even.
For our refight we mainly relied on Christopher Duffy’s ‘Frederick The Great. A Military Life.’ plus a couple of articles of refights from ‘Battle’ (Charles Grant on matters military) and ‘Practical Wargamer’ (Paul Stevenson’s ‘A Bohemian Rhapsody In Fifteen’). Using Duffy’s map we had enough battalions and regiments to match the numbers although not necessarily the specific units – we didn’t have the Garde du Corps or Gendarmes for example and we reckoned that as long as we had enough Austrian units to line the Morellen Bach that would be enough as most of the main Austrian body took no part in the battle. Regarding the terrain we had a large ridge section that stood in for the Lobosch rather well, the marshy stream was no problem nor was the town itself and the nearby villages of Wellhotta and Sullowitz; the sunken road we created using our TYW siege line pieces.
Recreating the ad hoc affair of the battle was more of a challenge and after some thought we opted for everything to be deployed as was and put narrative proscriptions on the players, so, Kyau’s cavalry had to attack straight forward, Bevern had to attack up the Lobosch, the Prussian main body couldn’t advance until Kyau’s cavalry retreated or broke, and all the Austrian commands had to hold unless a personal message was received from von Browne. this asked a lot of the players but actually worked rather well. We also overrode the rules regarding artillery arcs and firing overhead for the Austrian guns so that the effect of the opening cannonade could be felt.
Playing the game was a long one (but we had all day 😀) and at the end we were tired but pleased.
In the opening turns, Bevern slogged his way up the Lobosch while the artillery duel took place – in typical wargamers fashion both sides ignored counter battery and tried instead to wear down opposition units; the Austrian guns were better at this 😏.
The first real action took place on the valley floor where the Prussian cavalry did better, at first, than their historical counter parts, seeing off a dragoon regiment in the first clash of swords and then having a series of swirling melees, retreats and reforming with the Austrian hussars who proved remarkably resilient – helped no doubt by the support fire of the entrenched Croats.
Despite overrunning the Austrian battery the Prussian cavalry were eventually seen off with serious losses – all three were at 50% by the end of the action when the Austrian cuirassiers joined the fight, but this was the signal for the main Prussian body to advance.
Over on the Lobosch it had taken Bevern some time to get there but when he did we had some spectacular musketry which rolled on for several turns and was really quite tense!
The wargames version of the Bevern/Lacy fight however went somewhat differently to the history; Bevern consistently outshot Lacy and punched several holes in his line which he was able to exploit by advancing into and turning onto the flanks of now exposed battalions. Eventually Lacy’s brigade gave up the fight and retreated for the Elbe.
The retreat of Lacy now exposed Lobositz itself and Bevern was ultimately able to drive some of the defenders out. Well done Bevern.
Back on the valley floor the Prussian juggernaut ground forward and this time the infantry line led the way and the cavalry followed filing out from its regimental column into line of battle behind the steady infantry.
This solid wide line, supported by cavalry, meant that the reserve Austrian cavalry and the remnants of the first line had no means of turning the Prussians and so came front on and in a swift volley all along the line were sent packing in a distinct change to the history.
Having seen how things were likely to play out the Austrian player had sent a message to the brigade behind the Morellen Bach to advance but it was going to be too late, the going was slow and by the time the brigade started out the cavalry had already been shot up.
A crucial point was now reached. Lacy was in retreat and the Lobositz defenders were starting to be winkled out of the town – although no fires were started despite the best efforts of the Prussian howitzers! The Austrian cavalry were done and although the Croats were very comfortable behind the sunken road they weren’t going to trade shots very evenly with the Prussian foot and committing the Austrians from behind the Morellen Bach wasn’t going to have much of an effect.
So, we took stock of where we were. The key factor was that elements of Bevern’s command were now behind Lobositz so, from an historical standpoint, could dispute the crossing of the Elbe. Measuring up how long it would take the Austrian main body brigade to get across the marsh compared to the Prussian line getting into range of the Croats it was clear the Prussians were going to be shooting up (🙄) the Croats before the Austrians could mount a saving attack, even if they could fight their way through the main body of Prussian cavalry.
It was over for the Austrians, von Browne would have to retreat rather than cross the Elbe and join the Saxons – historical note, the perfidious Saxon elites took the money and capitulated to the Prussians anyway 😮.
So, a more decisive Prussian victory than history (and Frederick didn’t leave the field 😀) and a very enjoyable game. The rules played well and although it was long we enjoyed ourselves all day and that I guess is what it’s all about 😊
A busy month, we got 7 games in and attended Partizan so pretty pleased with ourselves 😀
First up was two games set in Indochina; the first was using the new Mourir Pour L’Indochine rules, which didn’t prove to be too successful (see previous blog) and the second using adaptations of our own WWII rules. It was a shame the commercial rules didn’t work for us as it would have saved a whole lot of work but on the upside it has spurred me on to write a ‘proper’ set rather than notes tucked into various pages of the WWII rules 😂
Next we had another playthrough of our, in progress, ancients rules for the Successors project; the game was an enjoyable clash between a Eumenid army and an Antigonid featuring rampaging elephants, dying elephants and pushes of pike and the rules are playing well, which is pleasing.
Mid way through the month we had a dry run of our Carlist game for Partizan which made us rethink a couple of our assumptions about the game; the biggest assumption of course was that we’d have time to play the game through on the day 😂🤣
Post Partizan we ‘relaxed’ into a WWII skirmish, Americans in France advancing on an ‘undefended’ bridge by a small hamlet. Needless to say the hamlet was defended (1 squad plus an augmented HQ squad) and the platoon of GI’s (3 squads + HQ + weapons) struggled to make progress.
In fact the game was a classic example of not concentrating and could have been used as a training video 😃 The American player roared up the road with his column not taking any time to reconnoitre the bocage or probe the hamlet buildings their side of the bridge. Result? A Panzerschreck took out the lead half track and it remained a burning wreck for the rest of the game, effectively blocking the road; the squad inside it rendered useless – by game end half had succumbed to their wounds and the other half were grateful for the fall of night.
After that wake up call the rest of the platoon got their other vehicles off the road where they could and debussed trying to get around both flanks of the hamlet. The Panzerschreck team were disposed of (a bit late!) and the American player skilfully used the command Dodge as mobile cover for the HQ squad while the 2nd half track used it’s .50 cal to give support fire for its squad.
However, the Germans had utilised their meagre resources well; a machine gun team hidden in a wrecked Sd.Kfz. 251 cut down a number of the HQ squad until it was itself silenced and a Panzerfaust brewed up the Dodge. An emplaced heavy machine swept the main road and forced the GI’s off into a mine field – where none of the mines exploded!😞 and a sniper took down the .50 cal gunner.
By nightfall the GI’s were up to the hamlet buildings but the defenders were still securely in place so we judged the Americans would fall back and call for armour support. We did have a vague plan to play out that scenario but reckoned a game with a Sherman pounding various buildings wouldn’t be much fun.
The upside to the game was that we got to use the two new Grand Manner resins we bought and painted up.
Our next foray was a French Indian Wars adventure which we haven’t done for well over a year. This particular game was a raid by a couple of bands of Indian tribesmen on a settlement just as the local trader turns up and a trio of frontiersmen (and their dog) stop by to exchange news.
The Indian bands did a good job of getting close to the settlement but good old Blue, the faithful hound, sniffs a change in the wind and alerts his masters – lots of barking (actually a random die roll set against distance). Now we had a game 😮
The first casualty was poor old Blue with an arrow in the throat 😢 and then the action kicked off. The Indians took some early losses to fire from the frontiersmen as the settlers scattered for their cabins but three frontiersmen against around eight braves was a tall order.
The fight then became increasingly desperate; Trader John was dropped by the cooking fire and was quickly followed by Ma & Pa Adams as the Indians moved into the settlement, hatchets ready.
A couple of more losses to the settlers saw them fail their morale and lock themselves away in their cabins saving the last musket ball for themselves. The frontiersmen got stuck in with musket butts and hatchets and gave a good account of themselves but it was going to be a close run thing.
With the death of their leader one of the Indian bands broke for the trees but the frontiersmen were now down to two and the other Indian band was unhurt so with a heavy heart they faded away, the cries of the victorious Indians ringing in their ears and over that the single musket shots telling them the fate of the remaining settlers 😧
Our final game of the month was a 6mm Arab Israeli game. One of our occasional players blew the dust off his long buried away collection and bought it over to trial the recently released Cold War Commander V2 which I picked up at Partizan. We have no plan to do 6mm or Arab Israeli but we have been toying with the idea of doing the 80’s Iran Iraq war in 10mm, hence the buying of the rules.
We played a very basic game to get a handle on the rules and that worked well with no problems being experienced. I did learn that Centurions completely out class T54’s!
With all this gaming going on did any project work get done? Well yes. The main distraction was the proposed 10mm Iran Iraq project; a lot of reading of the Helion books and the Cold War Commander rules, then some actual models purchased from Red3 and painted up – my first go at this scale. Once we’ve made a bit of progress I’ll do a separate blog post on it.
In other news, another unit of Timurids were completed along with some civilian additions to the western gunfight and the stagecoach was finished. Some more vehicles for the Syrian moderns adventure were also finished off.
Generally a pretty successful month, let’s hope June is as productive 😁