Thursday, 23 February 2017

Wargaming my way. Miniature Wargames.

It has been many years since I last had an article published in the wargames press. In those days I was quite prolific for a while and wrote articles on such diverse subjects as the 1st Opium War, The Gwalior and Sind campaigns in 1840's India, the Mesopotamian campaign in 1914-15 and the US-Mexican War of 1846-48.

Now with time on my hands I floated the idea for my take on 'Wargaming my way' just before Henry left MW, and submitted the article to the new editor John Treadaway shortly after he took over. Issue 407 of MW dropped on my doormat today complete with my efforts.

I'm not going to say any more but hope readers find it an interesting article. It is meant as a positive message of thanks to all my wargaming friends over the years.



Wednesday, 22 February 2017

A quiet week, but a productive one.

It's been a while since I had a game, well for me at any rate, over two weeks! Of course, a visit to Prague last week was the main reason why, and a great trip it was too. Glorious sunshine, no wind, not a cloud in the sky and an almost tropical 5 degrees C during the day. Spent much of the time trundling over the cobbles between cafes, sampling the beer and quite excellent food, museums, a bit of culture listening to concerts, one in an amazing church, and seeing the usual sights of the city. I was very tempted when I saw a Frederick the Great v Maria Theresa chess set in a shop but it was overpriced  and I've since seen it on line for a fraction of the price. It would make a nice birthday present. Hint.

I have a game on a Friday evening with Peter and hopefully a game next week during the day either atuesday or Thursday. Paul has sorted out the three remaining battles of the War of the Austrian Succession to play using his 15mm collection and Honours of War. Fontenoy, Rocoux and Laufeldt.

Meanwhile, I've started to base up the latest additions to my Austrian and Russian armies for the French Revolutionary Wars.  Sorry about the photo quality but I had to use my iPad as my camera has disappeared somewhere. It'll turn up. I couldn't wait to show these figures off hence the incomplete bases but I am very happy with them. They're all Eureka Miniatures. The Hussars and Dragoons don't yet appear on their webstore (indeed there are lots of codes that need adding, such as the Russians in greatcoats and Austrian Grenz, but you can still ask for a list and Nic will happily supply them). I shall be sending him a Salute pre-order so I don't get hammered with postage and customs charges. Take that, HMRC! I was lucky enough to pick up several volumes of A.V. Viskovatov's works on the Russian army of the Napoleonic Wars, focussing on the uniforms at the time of Czar Paul I so plenty of information there to help build my Russian army.

 The battalion will actually end up being a unit of the Conde's Emigre army that IIRC fought with the Russians and others before being disbanded at the end of the War of the 2nd Coalition. I've got to paint a flag for them yet but I have the info thankfully. 

 This pic is of Russian Hussars. Gorgeous figures. What more is there to say?
 Russian dragoons. Again lovely figures. In this case they are animated really well full of inaction. 


Lastly, a regiment if Austrian cuirassier, although I might redo the plume to make them Russian, as there's little real difference. (well  there is for the purist but in this scale...?)

So there, I hope to get these units based up by the weekend so they can take part in the game on Friday evening. If not, it doesn't matter. I might also manager to finish the bases on five more battalions of Austrians plus their battalion guns but I somehow doubt it. I have my painting and gaming mojo back at 100% but while the mind is willing the body isn't terribly enthusiastic just now. Hey ho, never mind! 

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Dettingen


Slightly delayed no thanks to blogger and the internet not speaking to each other for a couple of days, or some other reason beyond the understanding of this Luddite, but finally we have the account of this week's game, kindly organised by my 40 plus years wargame buddy Paul. Some of the detail might have been lost to my memory since the game last week but hopefully it all makes sense. We used his gorgeous and venerable 15mm collection (some of which I sold to him 30-odd years ago), a mix of Peter Liang, Minifigs and others I think. Joining us for the day were Conrad Cairns, Paul Stevenson and painter extraordinaire Dave Jarvis.  We were going to use Honours of War, so I umpired and provided the usual refreshments, while the Paul S and Dave played the Allies and Paul T and Conrad were the damned Frenchies, not that I am biased. Actually I didn't need to do much umpiring as everyone was getting better with the rules.

Battle begins, the Allies on the right and a mass of French horsemen in the bottom left corner.
Allied horse, about to be enfiladed by French batteries across the River.
The French right, with the cream of French cavalry ready to sweep the Allies from the field....yeah! Not.
The French had several batteries and a brigade of infantry across the river. The latter were to try and cross the river behind the English line and engage their rear, which would necessitate the withdrawal of an Allied brigade to counter them.
Allied horse.
French horse.
The French across the river on route to the bridge further downstream (or it might be upstream). The English artillery managed to break one battalion with artillery fire but couldn't stop the brigade departing. This meant the Allies had to detach a brigade to our rear to head them off. Exit the Austrian infantry.
French and Allied horse closing to contact.
The first rounds of melee went the way of the Allies.
But the combat developed into a see-saw of a battle, which continued to favour the Allies, just, thankfully down to Allied quality being better than French quantity.
The Allied centre facing not very much apart from an expanding hole in the French line as Paul fed troops to his left to counter the Allied advance opposite.
The cavalry battle on the Allied left rages. Both sides have taken heavy losses but the reserve lines are about to crash into each other.
A rare sight. The French infantry in a nice straight line. It didn't last and in fact only happened by accident when some of Paul's dithering generals failed to move while the others managed to, slipping neatly into the gaps! Not so the brigade seen at the rear which was rooted firmly to the spot.
English and Hanoverian Guards ready to unleash some deadly volleys into the flank of the French cavalry and a brigade of infantry that was wandering too close.
Meanwhile, the Allied right wing, three regiments of dragoons managed to draw off a brigade of French infantry to cover the exposed flank of the French centre and left.
The Allied centre advancing as seen from the French left.
.....and the cavalry fight on the Allied left is still raging!
The last time the front rank of this French brigade was seen before the Allies unleashed a series of underwhelming volleys that broke them.
As the French tried to close with the Allies their nice neat line broke up and started to loose heavily in the exchange of musketry.
With much of their infantry broken, retreating or generally out of it a lone French battalion vainly charged the Allied line, and was blown away by an English 12pdr.
The French looking seriously outnumbered.
The French left was now in complete disarray and separated from the right by a good two to three feet of table.
The allied dragoons meanwhile took in the scenery.
The unbroken Allied line in the centre.
One last attempt by the French to break the Allied cavalry failed.

At this point we agreed that with the French centre gone, their left in retreat and their right wing neutralised or fleeing that the Allies could claim a glorious victory.

It was a great game. Very fast, cut and thrust, and enjoyable, especially as everyone played to the period rather than the rules, which in themselves again proved they could cope with a pretty large game. Thanks to Paul for organising it and to the chaps for coming round to play.

Next time we shall do Fontenoy again (but this time with HoW) or Laufelt I think.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Vapnatark. A grand day out.

Well, I went to Vapanatark in a York on Sunday. We stayed at the Marriott just over the racecourse from the venue the evening before so there was no pressure to get up at silly o'clock and I was able to have a bit of a lie in and a nice breakfast, which is always a bonus.

Katherine dropped me off at about 10:15 before heading back to the hotel spa for a few hours of pampering. There was no queue at the venue but inside the place was pretty busy. By late morning I'd say it was heaving, and it probably stayed that way till well after midday. Of course, using a wheelie-walker meant I was able to pick my route through the crowds and 'accidentally' run over the fewest number of punters possible in order to get round. I didn't get to go round the bring and buy or whatever it was called as it was a nose to back sea of humanity whenever I tried to take a look.

I can't really comment on the games as I know I didn't get round all of them, and only took a couple of photos of one of those that I did see. I have to say, in MY opinion, that with the exception of the WW1 Seige of Kut game on the ground floor which was very pretty and they were actually playing it, that the rest of the games on show were disappointing, some more worthy of a club night game than a prestigious wargames show. There were a couple of interesting looking fantasy-cum-Warhammer games but they're not my thing although the guys playing were having fun and some of the modelling, especially on the one that looked like a battle between Lizard,en and Conquistadors was pretty good. There was a really nice looking ECW (Covenanters on one side) game with some nicely modelled terrain and lots of colourful regiments on display. I walked past at about 10:30 and thought , " mmmm that looks interesting, I must come back and see how it develops" but when I did my final swoop (sorry, trundle) before leaving at 2:30 I remarked to the now plucked, preened and waxed wife that the troops were exactly where they'd been four hours ago!



In terms of loot, I was very good this time and only collected some pre-ordered French Revolutionary Wars English off Reiver Castings and I made the usual stop off to replenish my stock of mdf bases at Warbases. That was pretty much it. Now, had I been carrying a long shopping list around I wouldn't have been disappointed as there were  lots of traders, all the usual suspects in fact. I could have bought much more on the day but the internet is a wonderful thing!

The best part of the day was catching up with loads of friends and acquaintances from both near and far as well as striking up conversation with numerous others whilst battling for somewhere to sit in the cafeteria area. There are some friends (some of very many years standing) who I might not see from one show to the next, or even longer, but within minutes it's like there's never been a break as we talk about our vast collections of little men and our current/next game or project. I did miss a few people though, either due to their absence or because we passed like ships in the night.

Overall, the show met my expectations and more importantly, met my needs, especially from the social point of view. 

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Friday night game and York tomorrow.

Last night Peter brought some beer down to accompany an impromptu game. I was being lazy so re-set the table for last week's game of the Russian attack in the Linth Valley in Switzerland. No photos this time though. Peter wanted to be the French so I was most gentlemanly when I decided to randomise where the Russian reinforcements entered the table. Predictably, all the infantry arrived on the western road while the Cossacks arrived on the eastern one.....just like last time. Unlike last time however the French deployed more of their troops on the eastern side of the river, which was to fatally weaken their defence of the other side, ultimately facing twelve battalions of Russians. It was still a hard slog though as the French were able to make good use of their superiority in artillery and hammer several Russian attacks back where they started before weight of numbers began to tell and the French retreated to a new line in front of the villages of Neffels and Mollis. Both armies had by now got one broken brigade, which the Russians could handle but the French couldn't as it represented half of their infantry and surviving artillery. The beer was finished by 10:30 so we called it a night and a narrow Russian victory, which was all that was required to restore their honour.

The amendments to troop characteristics still worked well as there were no re-rolls to either forget or to get frustrated at! Artillery representing two gun sections rather than a full battery have still to give any cause for concern which is pleasing. The potential and much feared consequence of fielding more  gun models, i.e. domination of the battlefield by massed artillery, just hasn't happened. Of course, were anyone silly enough to get too close to a full battery of three models then they deserve all they get!

Off to York shortly so we can be settled in time for the England v France Six Nations match this evening. Then its Vapnatark in the morning which I am looking forward to as a chance to catch up with lots of friends and acquaintances and perhaps buy some more little men.