April 2023 Report

Back from holiday we were into a multi command GNW game which saw two fairly evenly matched sides slug it out over a convivial afternoon of gaming.

The Russians deployed with half of their cavalry behind a stream on their right supported by a foot brigade and the rest in the centre hoping to use a patch of wooded scrub as an area where they could deploy their other cavalry dismounted to slow the Swedes. The Swedes themselves deployed all their horse on the left with the aim of smashing their way across the stream and thinly held the centre and right with their foot.

As always the Russians had the toughest job given the poor morale of their troops but the cautious advance of the Swedes rather played into their hands in the early moves.

On the Swedish left the massed cavalry attack was funnelled by the stream and marsh behind which the Russians were hiding and in the early moves they took losses from musketry fire but once they got going it was difficult for the Russians to hold on. The Swedish first wave were indeed repulsed but when the second wave crashed in the already weakened Russians collapsed and fled the scene which forced a morale test on the supporting infantry who decided that home suddenly sounded very appealing!

Across the Russian centre and left the plan of dismounting the dragoons worked and the Swedish advance in the wood slowed to a crawl but on the left where the village was located the Russian foot didn’t fare so well and after a stiff fight they gave up and fled.

All told, a strong Swedish victory. For those that are interested the bulk of the figures are Foundry with Old Glory in support.

Next up was another Successors game with the predominately Victrix collection, this time Eumenids v Antipatrid.

In this encounter Eumenes was significantly outflanked on his right so had to get on with it before the jaws closed.

Being superior in cavalry and elephants, as well as having the better quality infantry, Eumenes got a bit cocky and galloped his right wing cavalry across the face of his infantry in order to overwhelm the Antipatrid sole cavalry force on their right. Not surprisingly this was a fail, the cavalry got tangled up with the enemy foot resulting in the loss of the Xystophoroi and the slowing of the Eumenid infantry advance.

The Eumenid left wing cavalry did the job they were meant to do which was slow up the Antipatrid shock cavalry and in fact such was the accuracy of their volleys that they saw off the opposing Thessalians, although the nearby elephant might have been a bit of help 🀨

In the end, of course, it was the infantry centre that settled it and the better quality Eumenids burst through their opponents before the jaw could close about them although in reality this was more to do with over timid play by the commander of the Antipatrid left – problem of a Napoleonic player being more concerned about nice neat lines and not getting stuck in πŸ˜‚πŸ€£

After the intensity of a couple of big battles we changed the pace with a Franco Prussian skirmish game around two scouting parties coming to loot a monastery.

The rules were a set of amendments to an existing Napoleonic set held together by a rough narrative and making up stuff along the way that we hadn’t catered for – surprisingly it worked and both sides managed to get off with something although the French lost their officer and several troopers.

Although this was a bit of fun we reluctantly came to the conclusion that we just don’t get enough out of gaming this so the collection is going to have to be sold on. If you are interested then drop us a line on the site and we’ll get back to you with details and photos.

Another skirmish was next with a medieval away game which was a tourney to select those who would be sailing away on a campaign using the old Lamming rules. Nothing else to say really.

Final game of the month was an Ottoman v Swedes game circa early C17th.

The terrain was split by a stream which flowed between two large hills (on the Swedish deployment baseline) and had two formal crossing points (a pontoon bridge and a ford) although the stream could be crossed by anyone albeit at a reduced rate. A burnt out village and a wood anchored both flanks on the Ottoman baseline and a small village sat in the middle of the more open plain beyond the stream.

Both sides opted for the ‘smash through with all your cavalry strategy’ πŸ˜‚ The Swedes deployed almost all their cavalry to the right of the big hill (where the two landskap regiments spent the whole game) comprising 3 units of Danes, 3 units of Swedes & 1 unit of Finns covered by a skirmish screen of Transylvanians; on the other side of the hill, ready to cross the stream via the ford were 2 units of German cavalry and a Scots brigade on the other hill. The Ottomans deployed their 6 units of Feudal Sipahi and 2 units of Sipahi of the Porte in the centre, just short of the stream, screened by 3 units of Azabs, the pontoon bridge on the left was held by the Voyniks and the right by 2 units of Tartars.

In the initial stages it was all about the skirmishers; the Transylvanians got the worst of the shooting from the Azabs who had waded across the stream and retired hurt, the Tartars got tied up with the Germans in a back and forth which eventually saw the Germans retiring having been unable to get up close enough to fully utilise the caracole.

Out on the Swedish right the Finns avoided what would later become death central further over and in a brief, but too late, affair drove the Voyniks back across the bridge in rout – this was the single success the Swedes enjoyed.

In the centre the Sipahi’s took longer to get over the stream than their general would have liked but the Swedes & Danes were held up by the over enthusiastic Swedes pushing through the Danes and disordering everyone and then realising that being disordered as the arrows started to fly in wasn’t such a good idea!

The early Swedish attacks went well, sending the Azabs scuttling back across the stream but by then the Sipahi’s had dried themselves off from the crossing and, after a volley of arrows, charged in and the rot started πŸ˜“

The repulse of the initial attack wasn’t the end of the world for the Swedes and the units that retired would soon rally but in order to keep the Sipahis back the cavalry general committed his Danes to the charge rather than shooting (carbine armed). This just didn’t work out well, a couple of the units refused to charge which meant that their opponents were able to get the jump on them next turn and the one that did charge just got mashed up. Suffice to say the Sipahis “got their dander up” and were all over the Danish cavalry who then retired into the the Swedes who off course couldn’t get organised quickly enough to repulse the following on Ottomans.

Realising all was lost the Swedish commander and his downcast cavalry general conceded. A crushing Ottoman victory.

In other news some more figures were added to the future wars project, cheers Mark.

Extras for the GNW collection were recruited, thank you Neil.

Additions to our Mexican bandits for the western gunfight project, thanks Vlad.

Iraqi command stand stand for the Iran Iran Cold War Commanders project.

More for the modern skirmish collection, wonder if they’ll actually get used? This is such a rabbit hole πŸ˜‚

Well that’s it for the month, not a bad one, next month is Partizan and we’ll be taking the Successors on tour so if you’re going to be there find us and have a chat πŸ˜€

Aleppo Comes To Newark

Hind over Aleppo

Conventions are back! Much awaited and much anticipated we were back at The Other Partizan on Sunday October 10th and it was like we hadn’t been away 😊 Everyone was super excited and there were some excellent games on display although our chance to to view them was restricted by it being just the two of us this year and so our time was taken up with our own game.

Quiet before the storm

We took along our Syrian Civil War city streets game with the superb terrain from Task Force Terrain and had our streets populated by the crew of a downed Hind, Syrian Special Forces on a search & rescue mission, various representations of the numerous insurgent factions and Hezbollah units bolstering the government forces. The rules were Spectre Operations V2 which we are fairly confident with these days hence the numerous factions (9 different units in the end plus armour support) but as we were at a show and we knew we’d get distracted we didn’t deploy all in one go but rather fed them on as we went.

Syrian NDF deploy outside the police station

Elsewhere in the hall were some excellent games, none of which we managed to take a picture of, but from memory the outstanding ones for us were; a 28mm Plains Indians War game, excellent Indian village and what looked to be quite an innovative basing system – wish I could have stopped and chatted about this, a superb looking C18th game complete with star fort and two enormous galleons out to sea (I mean the size of the things you see in antique shops!), very visually arresting, an excellent looking El Cid game, although I couldn’t see Charlton Heston 😁 and a quite extraordinary 60/70mm ancients Macedonian v Persian game – wow!

Insurgents take the high ground

On the trade front it did seem a bit thin; the stalwarts were there, Foundry, Warlord, Empress, Dave Thomas, and Warlord and Foundry occupied a significant amount of hall space but I did have a feeling of something missing. This could of course be just not enough time to look around properly or the fact that October is now brimming over with conventions, SELWG on the 17th and FIASCO on the 31st plus Battleground and Warfare in November so maybe traders are taking it steady in the post pandemic times.

Insurgents clash with Special Forces over the downed Hind

In terms of attendees the morning seemed very busy and we spent a lot of time chatting with interested gamers and meeting familiar faces who we literally hadn’t seen for 18 months! Certainly by the time I got home my voice was gone πŸ˜‚. The numbers were a bit worrying in these post mask times and some people were wearing and some were not, we wore ours to start but eventually abandoned them due to the difficulty in conversing and with so many people not wearing it all seemed a bit redundant. The fact that the weather was kind to us meant that the double doors could be open so there was plenty of air circulation. What was very noticeable was that by 2.00pm the show was largely depopulated, why I have no idea but it was far more acute than ‘normal’.

Insurgents occupying a building

What did strike me this year, from a display gamer point of view, was that the little extras (the coffee vouchers, the free figure, the raffle tickets, etc) were not on hand which was mildly disappointing; hey there’s no rule that says they have to be available it’s just one of those nice Partizan traditions. Maybe with no revenue from 3 cancelled shows some of the costs had to be throttled back and I get that, we also didn’t see anything of the organisers either which was unusual πŸ€”.

Into the ruins

So, was it good to be back? Of course it was! Will we back next year? Obviously 😁. So many thanks to Laurence, Richard and the the Irregulars, well done.

Rescue At The Old Fort

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This was the 2nd of our ‘Adventures In Syria’ campaign (more of a collection of loosely connected events) and followed on from the ‘Hunt For Ali Suliman’ game where 2 Syrian special forces troopers and their Russian adviser were captured. The rules are Spectre Operations V2.

Fast forward a couple of months and Damascus Mission have negotiated with the insurgent group and agreed a hand over of cash for the captured soldiers and their adviser at the old Ottoman fort some miles west of Aleppo, although unfortunately one soldier has died of his wounds in captivity. Of course nobody negotiates with terrorists, especially Bashar al-Assad, and so a rescue team headed by Marton Csokas are approaching the fort through the eastern cactus field maintaining comms contact with Dmitri Davidovich a seconded sniper on overwatch in the high dunes to the south west. The insurgents are the Azaz Command headed by Amir El Masry one of Suliman’s lieutenants.

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Most of the insurgents are positioned in and around the fort with a couple of men in an outlying shelter and another in rocks to the west scanning the road. A variety of small arms are carried by the group supplemented by two RPG’s, an M249 and a PKM plus a technical with a mounted machine gun, an armoured technical and a truck; all are on Alert and the prisoners are under the watchful eye of Abu Nazir.

The first few moves nothing happened, the Syrians moved cautiously and the insurgents got impatient resulting in El Masry finally sending off El Adouari & Boussalet down the road in the armoured technical to see where the hell the money men were. However once the Syrians were at the wall they were heard and Sleiman & Sheik turned from their positions on the walls to see the Syrians at the breach but the Syrians had the initiative and opened fire killing Sleiman and Nazir (useful) but missing Sheik (not so useful) who let go with his RPG, missing the target but still hitting the wall and killing private Tahir al-Malik in the AOE.

Out on the desert road Adouari reacts to the firing and hauls the technical around and comes roaring back up the road which activates Davidovitch up on the dunes who calmly picks off Boussalet in the back of the vehicle and then picks off Hamza who is manning the machine gun on the other technical.

 

Back at the chaos of the fort El Masry lines up for a shot down at the rescuers from the tower but is gutshot by private Hamza who was left behind in the cactus on overwatch, Masry dies in 3 turns.

 

Csokas and his men are into the fort now, eliminating Sheik before he can let go with another RPG but before they can get the prisoners freed the two guys from the shack, Marhyar & al-Malik make a belated appearance and in the gunfight that follows, Csokas & private Hamdouch kill Marhyar but don’t kill al-Malik before he can spray the area from his M249, missing them but killing prisoner Pushkin (not in the plan at all!). Csokas downs al-Malik before he can do anymore damage and the one remaining insurgent in the fort (Hammoud)is grabbed for questioning (not nice).

Making their way outside with the prisoner, the rescued, and two dead team members, the section are witness to the bizarre sight of Adouari trying to shoot from the window of his moving vehicle with his AK74 and not surprisingly failing while private Hamza calmly suppresses him.

With the sun now high in the sky the team move off to the extraction point leaving behind the shattered remnants of El Masry’s cell and a weakened Ali Suliman.

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Postscript: The parents of Corporal Vladimir Pushkin received the news of their son’s tragic death in a motor vehicle accident on the outskirts of Damascus several weeks later.

 

The Hunt For Ali Suleiman

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A bit of a play on the ‘hunt for Osman Bin Laden’ this came out of a discussion around a modern middle east game we played recently where Syrian special forces and their Russian advisers attempted the capture or elimination of a noted terrorist/resistance fighter/legitimate opposition leader – delete as appropriate according to which news channel you’re watching, somewhere around Aleppo.

Continue reading “The Hunt For Ali Suleiman”