Wednesday 30 November 2016

Senility and death beckon..........

Well I hope not! Today I formally retire from Ofsted to become a gentleman of leisure. Actually I've been practicing for three years already but that's good in a way as I've become quite used to the life. It's great. Even with the arthritic spine and the daily dosing of opiates it is brilliant. "Whenever did I find the time for a job?" I ask myself.  Parts of my body might be operating at less than 100% but the brain still works away feverishly sending signals to the bits that do, as well as thinking up new ways to spend my enormous (not) civil service pension. More little men, more tufts, a new project, all of the above. More games too I hope, although more than one a week is probably being greedy and more than a bit silly.

Hosting a refight of Leuthen tomorrow as it's almost the anniversary of the battle (5 December 1757) but none of us do Mondays so this is as close as we can get. I shall of course report on the outcome.

Tuesday 29 November 2016

The Battle of Wilson's Creek 1861 and the Battleground show.

Last Saturday we were at the Battleground show in Stockton. John and Neil were putting on a 10mm Sudan game while Robbie and I had decided to refight the Battle of Wilson's Creek, which took place near Springfield Missouri on 10 August 1861. The battle was relatively small and we were easily able to recreate both sides from our 28mm collections with each unit present on the day represented by a unit on the table. We used Paul Stevenson's scenario which appeared in issue 364 of Miniature Wargames, suitably updated to accommodate the new rules and so forth from Glory Hallelujah Black Powder supplement. The Federals were outnumbered in every arm but the Rebels had to get their act together and bring all their troops up as they were initially caught napping by the boys in blue. Worthy of note was the fact that nearly half of Robbie's Rebs were pretty useless Missouri State Guard armed with shotguns and that my Federals included two battalions of US regular infantry and a unit of regular cavalry. We played the game slowly and for the benefit of the punters otherwise it could well have been decided rather quickly.

 The battlefield. Federals on the right advancing on the Rebels who have been caught with their pants down and can be seen hurrying into action in the distance.
 The Federal left flank. This brigade was to hold the cornfield area and thus secure the Federal flank throughout the whole game.
 The Federal right flank, three battalions of volunteers stiffened by a battalion of regular and two sections of artillery.
 The Reb left flank was made up entirely of Missouri State Guard. They tried to pin my right wing from the front and then send a brigade around my open flank. Good plan. Well thought out. Shame that it was entrusted to the Missouri State Guard!
 More Rebs on the march.
 Back on the left, my cavalry had dismounted and were keeping the Reb cavalry at bay, despite being under close range artillery fire.
 US regulars supported by artillery and skirmishers holding the 3rd Louisiana and the rest of the enemy right flank back.
 Turn 6 and Rebel reinforcements arrive and head straight for the Federal centre which has been taking a slow walk towards the enemy for much of the game, and showing little interest in getting moving.
 Eventually the Federal centre are in position, about 4 turns late, but not too late as it turns out. 
 On the right the regular battalion shot up and broke a battalion of Missouri Guard that had tried to charge them but then found themselves a little exposed.
 Eventually the Missouri State Guard get on to the Federal right flank but I was able to reposition my artillery and withdraw my infantry to counter them.

 The Rebels had difficulty in shaking out into line from march column, which was to prove very costly to them as they were hit in the flank and one unit and one battery destroyed.
This battery just refused to give up its guns and fought to the end of the game. Very annoying.

Anyway, it was a fun good-sized game and the Federals managed to get a winning draw out of the day. The Rebels just ran out of steam and were unable to envelop the Federal right despite having superior numbers.

As for the rest of the show it was great. Quite busy I thought until the usual lunchtime decline in numbers. Lots of interest in our game and that of John and Neil, and there were some pretty good looking games dotted around the hall as well. As usual the trade was excellent in terms of variety and I caught up with quite a few old chums and acquaintances and made a few new ones during the course of the day. Here are a few pictures of a very small selection of the games on display.

 Top two are of the Brompton Bankers game. Very pretty and a bit silly.

 The next two are of a 1918 Kaiserschlacht game, Germany's last great offensive. Nice looking trench systems and troops.
 I don't know what this was but I liked the cardboard hills!
 Border Reivers' Cross of Iron game, featuring the attack of the T34s from the movie. Nice train.
Durham put on an 1866 Austro-Prussian War game, the Battle of Skalitz, one of the early battles of the war (the second day of the war I think) as the Prussians marched through Bohemia. It was very big and featured loads of beautifully painted troops, many lent to the group by yours truly for the occasion. The Austrians played the game using the historical tactics and this resulted of course in a historical outcome as their assault columns were cut down by rapid firing needle guns.

Friday 25 November 2016

Some more troops for my Suvorov in the Alps project

I managed to get these based up over the past couple of weeks. I've now certainly got enough French for the time being and will very soon have Russians aplenty (once I've based them up of course). Tomorrow I hope to pick up my 'Alps' and a Devil's bridge off my mate Stuart. I'm also collecting some figures that I had to farm out recently as my arthritis has prevented me from painting at the rate I (a) want to, and (b) used to. Some of the pictures have an odd blue'ish tinge but no idea why other than blaming my lack of technical skills.

First up are some Russian commanders, a mix of Eureka and Trent.

Next some Austrian chevaulegers (Eureka)

 Another Russian commander. (Eureka)
 French generals. Eureka, Elite, Trent and the first one is Gringo 40's

 Completely anachronistic for the Switzerland campaign but I had to have a unit of ex-regulars in their white uniforms.

 The Polish Legion (Trent). I need to give them a flag though.

Tomorrow is the Battleground Stockton show, which I am looking forward to. Rob and I are putting on an ACW game - Wilsons Creek 1861. Say hello if you're there.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Bob Marrion Originals #2

I was fortunate enough (but nearly missed the boat!) to be able to buy these original Bob Marrion watercolours recently. Charles S Grant was selling them off on behalf of Bob's widow, so given that this was probably a unique opportunity I bought these four at a very reasonable price.

Confederate States Marines 1863

 2nd Wisconsin, Bull Run 1861

Major, 33rd Virginia, Manassas 1861 (Northern-style rank insignia)

Private, 33rd Virginia, Manassas 1861

I think everyone would agree that these are beautiful and I feel very fortunate to be able to hang them in my house.

Saturday 12 November 2016

Back to the War of the Austrian Succession. A slightly unsatisfying engagement.

Robbie, John and John the Red came up for a game again on Thursday. We hadn't played an 18th game using Honours of War since Robbie and I had been to the AMG event back in June. To say we were a little rusty is a major understatement but by half way through we'd just about dredged our understanding of the rules from the darkest recesses of or brains and got into the swing of it. Unusually tempers were a little short and the usual banter sparked them off on a couple of occasions but I put it down to having forgotten the rules and also remembering all the bits we didn't like first! Robbie and I were the Prussians/Brunswickers and the two Johns the Allied force. We had to attack and defeat the Allies who were trying to extricate themselves from danger and avoid battle.

Anyway, I based the scenario very (VERY) loosely on Kesseldorf, minus the snow etc and plus some Brunswickers as they needed an airing, and balanced the sides up a bit to make a game of it as we were going to be very rusty (really?). Of course the Prussian army of the 2nd Silesian War was still s**t hot (especially the infantry). The Austrians were, well, meh? and the Saxons ok or even pretty good in some instances, with pants generals. The Prussian plan was to 'demonstrate' on the right and thrust forward vigorously in the centre and right. hmmm! I neglected to take very many photos of the game, so I hope what follows makes sense.

 The Saxon Leibgarde behind the crest of a hill on the Allied right.
 The Allied centre. 
 The Prussians attack in the centre. It soon stalled as a result of the Saxon artillery fire.
 The Prussian left, led by a dithering commander so I had to use my C in C to bolster his command rolls, thus denying the right from his benefits.
 Austrian hussars looting Kesseldorf. 
 On the left the Prussians close with the Saxon Garde, lurking behind the crest of the hill.
 The Allied centre. 
 The first cavalry v cavalry clash. The Saxon Karabiniergarde about to destroy their Prussian dragoon opponents, weakened by artillery fire before they even closed to hand to hand combat.

 The Prussian IR15 assault and take the Saxon redoubt, but its too late to make an impression on the outcome of the battle.
 The Austrian cavalry facing the Prussian left had spent most of the battle lurking in the rear. One fortunate charge saw off a battalion of Prussian infantry but they pulled back before the advancing Prussian cuirassiers could close to contact. At that point with Robbie's Brunswickers broken, his dragoons battered, my left in retreat and centre well and truly stuck we threw in the towel. Boo! Hiss!

 The Saxon Karabiniergarde. Eureka miniatures. Gorgeous.
 Saxon Furst von Anhalt- Dessau Kurassiere. Ironic given that their 'inhaber' was the Prussian CinC.
 Another new unit. The Saxon Leibgrenadiergarde. Eureka miniatures again. 
The Saxon Leibgarde Regiment. Another Eureka regiment. 

So, a crushing Prussian defeat. Not much fun. Well, actually yes, it was. Despite the grumblings and the rustiness around the rules it just proves that an army of superior troops dies just as quickly as one of Saxons and Austrians. I got the chance to field some new Saxon units and my Brunswick regiments. The latter did very well, but were battered into the proverbial cocked hat and ran away. And my homemade vegetable soup was very nice.

Might have to try another HoW game to regain some confidence in the rules. I think I might prefer Black Powder......or not.