Monday, 24 June 2019

The Wild Geese Weekend, Kenilworth 2109

Last weekend saw 24 venerable wargamers  (and two wives) gather together for their fourth annual wargames weekend. The origins of the group lies with John Ray's A Military Gentleman forum but the group has evolved into a much broader church of wargaming enthusiasts, renamed The Wild Geese for reasons that now escape me, a couple of years ago. Several previous attendees were sadly unable to come this year so we had a number of new faces among us, all of whom have said they want to come back next time!

Friday late afternoon saw the five games set up ready for the next day. After a very nice dinner we had the now traditional quiz, hosted by Tony Dillon, with assistance from me in the shape of a few movie/picture rounds and some apparently really hard questions. I didn't think they were but hey ho.

Saturday and the games commenced. There were five, each timed to last about 3 hours, thus enabling them to be run twice on Saturday and at least once on Sunday. That meant that we had the opportunity to play in three of the five games on offer, and one of the hardest decisions was which games to chose.  All I can say is that despite loosing all my games and dying in one I had a great time playing rather than organising a game as I'd done in the past.

Paul Robinson of the Grimsby Wargames Society again put on an enormous Great Northern War game, Danes v Swedes at Helsingeborg. Tony Dillon laid on a 28mm Peninsular War game, Steve Metheringham a splendid 40mm Seven Years War game using his gorgeous home cast figures and the new A Gentleman's War rules, and Willz Harley put on a splendid homage to the past with a beautiful 30mm SYW game using Spencer Smith figures. Lastly, stepping into the breach at the last minute the Perry Twins put on a really tough AWI game using Black Powder. The photos that follow are either mine, Chris Gregg's or Tony Dillon's. I can't remember who's is who's except that mine are the crap ones and they're all jumbled up in any case.

The Quiz Results.

After a splendid 'Curry Night' on Saturday there was the opportunity to return to the games or hit the bar. Pleasingly quite a few people chose to play after dinner games, I think for the first time in the life of the event. Seen below is Gavin and Leigh's Blood and Plunder pirate game.

After a morning of gaming and a large lunch we had our annual awards ceremony, where votes were cast for "Luckiest" (Lee Brewster), "Unluckiest"(Aly Morrison) and "Most Gentlemanly" player (Martin Gane), the "Best Looking Game" and "Best of Show" (both Tony Dillon).

To my knowledge everyone is safely home. The hotel excelled themselves this year and were very switched on to our needs. The food, both at lunchtimes and dinners, was excellent and there was lots of it. The hotel is maybe a little tired but its ok and good value for money. This year we shared the place with several hundred Rotarians, which is an improvement on a very raucous wedding and an even more raucous glittering hoard of ballroom dancers! A date has been pencilled in for 2020 (19-21 June I think) and I've been asked to organise the event again which is an honour. We will also be upping the numbers to a max of 30 so that this year's newbies and the absentees from last year are in theory all able to attend.

Finally a big thanks to everyone who asked after my health throughout the weekend and their support and kind words, and a very big thanks to my wife Katherine as without her support I wouldn't have been able to get through the bad times when my chronic pain was at its worse, and for her willingness to drive me down to the Midlands for a weekend with 24 wargamers.

Roll on next year.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Armies of Phillip IV of Spain from Helion

Helion, and especially the ‘Century of the Soldier’ series, only get better. This quite hefty volume is jam packed full of a vast amount of detailed information relating to the armies of Philip IV of Spain through a tumultuous period of European (and wider afield) warfare. In addition to informative
chapters on every aspect of the Spanish army including armaments, clothing and equipment, organisation and recruitment and tactics to name but a few, the book also covers every campaign undertaken during the period covered. Spain was fighting a long series of wars on multiple fronts against tenacious enemies, from Flanders and Germany to Italy and the Iberian peninsular, in addition to her overseas possessions, and this took its toll in terms of men, money and resources. There are numerous contemporary black and white illustrations, 15 useful maps and eight pages of colour plates detailing soldiers’ dress and standards carried by the army. There are some useful appendices covering muster roles and commanders. The book is well written and judging by the bibliography very well researched. Anyone interested in Spanish military history and the army of this period really must buy this book, as must others with even just a passing interest in the era. You will not be disappointed. Well, I hope not. I like it.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Sikh Wars odds and ends

I managed to finish a few more bits and pieces for the Sikh Wars over the past week or so.

Another Sikh Zamburek battery.
A brigadier, as yet unnamed.
Another as yet unnamed commander
Baggage camels.
A couple of shots of another unit of Sikh Feudal infantry

I still haven't finished my Bengal Horse Artillery limber teams and I really really must. Next week perhaps.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

The Battle of Champagne Farm, part deux

John was back over on Monday evening for another 42mm Franco Prussian War engagement. In this scenario the dastardly Hun had managed to cross the river and turn the French left flank, forcing a rapid deployment by the latter to face the new threat.
The French centre with Prussians and Bavarians in the distance.

The Prussian artillery would potentially dominate the battlefield.
We swapped sides this time and remembered to include a couple of house rules, namely, an infantry unit taking two unsaved hits would go to ground, requiring an order to stand up again. Also, artillery taking two unsaved hits would be forced to limber up and retreat a move (as well as becoming shaken of course).

The French cavalry before it blundered off in the wrong direction!

Some fast moving Prussians beat me to the church.

The Bavarians took their time advancing on their objective but still proved to be a nuisance.

A lone French 4pdr covering my extreme right.

Chasseurs making heavy going of crossing the river.

The Prussian attack in the centre developed slowly and John's Jager in the wood to the left were driven off by some snappy chassepot fire.
John deployed the Bavarians on the left on the ‘wrong’ side of the river with orders to advance and storm across the river ( and bridge no doubt) to assault Champagne Farm. Being Bavarians they were less than keen to do this, blundering on turn 1 and then making slow progress.  I tried to get a battalion of chasseurs across the river, eventually making it and ensconcing themselves in a wood.

On the Prussian right Johns Artillery blunted an advance by my troops trying to cross the river and occupy the church and farmhouses. At this point there were only cavalry and artillery facing them on this flank so it seemed like a good idea. Tell that to my shaken and disordered Zouaves as their bodies floated down the river after being shelled by the Prussians! Things got worse when my cavalry blundered and failed to cross the river as well! All this farting about gave the Prussians time to push a battalion into the church and some j├Ąger into the vineyards.

In the centre the Prussian attack was slow in coming and eventually fizzled out although some progress was made against Champagne Farm by the Bavarians and supporting Prussians. They failed to get in though, despite giving the defenders a battering in the run up to their assault. Sniping by my Chasseurs in the wood to their flank lessened their enthusiasm slightly, er.... lots. The Prussians did manage to kill one of my brigadiers, meaning that the entire centre and right was without a commander for a turn.
The Prussian Uhlans were broken after failing ALL their saves.
The Bavarian assault on Champagne Farm.

My dragoons running away.
Back over on the French left I had finally got my cavalry over the river and in a position to charge, although my Dragoons took a hit and became disordered. My Cuirassier charged but were defeated in the combat by the Prussian Uhlans when I failed to make ANY saving rolls! John then  launched his cavalry at my disordered Dragoons. His Uhlans drove them back in melee but didn’t break them. The Uhlans then made a sweeping advance into my Chasseurs a Cheval and miraculously were totally defeated when this time I made all my saves, failing their break test.

Meanwhile my Chasseurs a Pied were making no progress against the enemy in the church but the
Zouaves and Turcos were moving up in support. However, both of our cavalry brigades were somewhat battered, the Prussian assault in the centre had stalled and no progress was being made  by the Bavarians against Champagne Farm.

We called it a night at this point. The Prussians had done better than last week but had still failed to dislodge the French from their ‘position magnifique’. A minor French victory I think, but probably a short lived one.

Looking forward to the coming weekend when I hope to be joining the other Wild Geese down in Kenilworth. I'm not putting a game on this time so will enjoy playing in some of the others.