Sunday 27 November 2022

Battleground Stockton 26 November 2022

One of the many advantages of living in Teesside is this show run by Pendraken miniatures which is five minutes from my doorstep.

This year I supplied a large number of 28mm Italian Wars figures and my Italian city to add to Conrad’s massed pike blocks and our refight of Pavia in 1525.

Before the photos the verdict on the show. It was excellent. Really busy with a record number of punters through the doors (week over 700 I believe). There was a good selection of traders big and small, local and not local, and some good stuff to be had. The games were by and large pretty good, and a couple such as the Vicksburg game and our Pavia game were excellent but then I’m biased. The siege of Barnard Castle was also very impressive.

So here are the photos; not of all the games but a hopefully representative selection for your perusal. They are in no particular order …..

Me commanding the Swiss and looking pensive.


More of Pavia.

Pavia - the Medicis being swatted aside by the Spanish.


The siege of Barnard Castle - no sign of Dominic Cummings though.
Pavia again.

The city walls.

French gendarmes led by the king making hard work of defeating the Imperial cavalry.

The Swiss

The Imperial army.

Bautzen in 15mm

Wellington in India from the Westerhope club.

It was an excellent show and an excellent game organised by Conrad and Richard. In fact an excellent day spoilt only by England’s lacklustre performance against South Africa!

Friday 25 November 2022

Battleground Tomorrow


I’m not putting my own game on this year but have loaned a large number of my Italian Wars collection for the Durham Club game run by Conrad. I think there’s room for a few more figures! 

The game is a loose representation of Pavia in 1525. Should be interesting especially as were using a heavily adapted reskin of Twilight of the Sun King as they have some interesting mechanics.

I’ll do a show write up after the event.

Tuesday 22 November 2022

French Division Legere Mechanique to contest the Fall of France

This week it’s been a day or two of tanks. French tanks. You have to hand it to them but they may have had their faults but their tank paintwork is really cool and quite easy. The hardest bits were (a) the decals, there are so many options, and (b) the decision about whether to outline the different colours on the camouflage pattern. 

Somua S35 tanks. They’re mainly 3d prints but the four at the back are die cast and maybe the two odd ones will be repainted to match one day. 

Hotchkiss tanks. Technically I could do with two more. These are either 3d prints or from Early War Miniatures.

In all their glory. As I’ve mentioned earlier  I ought to do a couple more Hotchkiss tanks plus another Somua  for the  regimental command.  Have the models so let’s see….

I’ve been busy painting some 20/28mm buildings, either for France 1940 or for more generic horse and musket battles. Should have some ready by the end of this coming weekend.

Sunday 20 November 2022

More BEF for 1940

I was supposed to be playing in a massive refight of Leipzig at the club this weekend but I’ve had a horrendous chest infection so had to give the excitement a miss. I did manage to finish a few more pieces for the 1940 collection in the shape of two Royal Artillery units, one with old-WW1 vintage 4.5” howitzers and the other with 6” howitzers. 

They’re a mixture of plastic, 3D resin prints and metal from a variety of manufacturers, but mainly Early War Miniatures in the case of the metals. Each battery or regiment has an FOO plus the required soft skins and tractors (those of the 6” regiment are not pictured). I’m pleased with their appearance and look forward to seeing them on the battlefield.

I might even get my French armour done for my DCL by tomorrow. 

No game this week as it’s the Stockton Battleground show this coming Saturday which I’m looking forward to.

Friday 18 November 2022

Victorian Crusaders, a review

I’m absolutely certain this book will satisfy a wide range range and levels of interest, be it the military historian, the wargamer or the downright romantic. The idea of dropping everything and rushing off to Italy to fight with your co-religionists to defend the Pope is a very but not exclusively Victorian one, as plenty of similar examples can be found in the present century alone.

Romanticism aside, this book ‘Victorian Crusaders. British and Irish Volunteers in the Papal Army 1860-70 by Nicholas Schofield covers the volunteers’ involvement in fighting to defend the independence of the Papal States against the powers behind the Risorgimento, Garibaldi’s Redshirts and the Piedmontese. It is a thoughtful study of who these men were, their backgrounds and reasons for joining Rome’s surely doomed struggle. Fascinating stuff.

The book also covers the key battles of Castelfidardo and Mentana, as well as examining each of the campaigns, not forgetting the religious and political angles which weighed heavily on the reunification process. The author examines in detail the raising and campaigns of two key units in the Papal army, the Battalion of St Patrick and the famous Pontifical Zouaves. The author also describes the wider Papal army in terms of its reform and internationalisation.

Of course, the book is well provided for in terms of maps, orders of battle (for Castelfidardo and Mentana) and it is copiously illustrated with over 50 largely contemporary colour and black and white images. I was quite taken by the list of known English and Welsh Pontifical Zouaves but alas there is no sign of any long lost relatives! Even the incredibly wide ranging bibliography makes for fascinating reading, including as it does a wide range of contemporary archive material.

Overall this book well written and illustrated, and covers a fascinating subject in great depth. This is the author’s first book on military history and he has done an excellent job so I look forward to more from him in the future.

Wargaming the Risorgimento has always been a road I have managed (somehow) to avoid to date, with the exception of some Piedmontese for 1859 and 1866. You never know……

ISBN 978-1-915070-53-1 222 pages, Musket to Maxim No. 23

Tuesday 15 November 2022

This week I am doing this…..Refugees

Another quiet week again. The plan had been to host a big game last Saturday for the usual Burrowers and the lads from the Like a Stone Wall group, but I couldn’t go ahead due to me being seriously out of sorts and Katherine had had a difficult couple of days in her long and slow recovery.

I finally got these refugees for the 1940 project finished, or as finished as they’ll ever be. They’re either 3D prints off Badger 3D Creations together with the odd metal miniature that I can’t remember the provenance of. Every Fall of France 1940 project needs lots of refugees. 
The variety of poses in the 3D printed set is tremendous. I have a few more to do which will make up a fourth base to clog the roads in any future games. They’ll do…..

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Battleground 2022

My local show is coming up soon, and I shall be there. I'm not putting a game on again this time due to my ongoing health issues and indeed those of Mrs A. However, I am contributing lots of Italian Wars stuff for the Durham Wargames Group game, collaborating with their recreation of the Battle of Pavia in 1525. It will certainly be of epic proportions!

It's only 5 minutes from the Burrow so I have no excuse not to go along to one of the best shows of the year; lots of parking, usually some really good games, plenty of traders, ample refreshments and its FREE to get in!

If you are there then come and say hello at the Pavia game.


Saturday 5 November 2022

Franco Prussian War encounter

This week we had a mid-week game and played a FPW game here at the Burrow with rules based on Pickets Charge but with the obvious ACW references removed and replaced as appropriate with language and rules to accommodate and hopefully replicate the weapons and tactics of what I lump together in what is widely known as Bismark’s Wars. Neil had done a lot of great work on this transformation, and the rules worked well. We had all played Gen D’Armee in the past so the game mechanics were not a mystery to us, once the dormant muscle memory had been dragged  once more towards the forefront of our brains.

The French under Neil and myself were holding a ridge line, a ‘position [not very] magnifique’ with two weak divisions of infantry and two of cavalry. The Prussians (Conrad and Nigel) had the best part of a corps (less one brigade) supported by a cavalry division. The Prussians had a significant superiority in artillery which was to be a distinct but not critical advantage as they didn’t deploy their guns to the best effect. 

The French centre

The Prussian General von Clawswitz observing the French light cavalry division.

Looking down the table past the cat.
In order to divert the attention of the Prussian artillery from my infantry my light cavalry bravely exposed themselves on the left wing, attempting to outflank the enemy on there hill to their front. They nearly made it!
The Prussian dragoons wisely keeping out of the way.
Two regular battalions about to occupy the field. The third battalion of this regiment can be seen to the left in skirmish order, just before they bore the brunt of three Prussian artillery batteries and fled. Due to a bizarre stroke of luck I managed a double six so got to throw on the 'serendipity table.'  This resulted in the Prussian commander panicking and he ran to the rear causing his brigade to falter! 

Neil's troops in the centre.
The village was quickly occupied by two battalions of Colonial infantry.

Conrad's infantry in the centre advancing through the vineyards towards the French centre,.

Shortly after the earlier photo was taken the Prussian assault is halted in its tracks and the brigade falters.
The French right, facing a major Prussian thrust.

On the French right the Prussians were pressing forward.

Two battalions of infantry secure in the crops, with support from two battalions of  Colonial infantry in the village.

Von Bredow's brigade of cavalry prepares to advance, thoughtfully masking the Prussian artillery.

Nigel ordered his cuirassiers to charge the French guns. Predictably they were  blown away and fled.

While the cuirassiers were being shot to bits their sister regiment attacked a battalion of Zouaves. Guess what? The hussars were annihilated.

Prussian artillery on their left. Six batteries should have made a big impression on the French lines but they were not well placed and had limited fields of fire.

The final attack mon the Prussian right was repulsed and the now faltering brigade had to withdraw.

By this time it was clear that the Prussians were not going to dislodge the French from their positions, even with their left pushing the French back as two off their brigades were faltering and a further one (the cavalry) had been destroyed. The Prussians were slightly outnumbered but I had assumed their artillery would play a more prominent part, which it did not do.  Never mind, as in the overall narrative, the 'missing' Prussian brigade and their corps reserve artillery would appear on the French right flank and roll the line theory, but that's another game.

The adaptions to Pickets Charge worked really well and to be honest apart from the weapons and troops types/classes there was little to change beyond some of the ACW-related language. I look forward to trying these again, either another Franco-Prussian game or perhaps Austro-Prussian. And as I wrote this I remembered my plans to adapt Gen d'Armée to the Crimean War............

Every time I get these figures out I end up buying a few more or I dig out whatever I have that are unpainted and get all enthused for a week or two. Now, do I need to reorganise the armies? 

Thanks to Conrad, Neil and Nigel for playing, and also to Conrad for the scones  contraband.