Thursday, 14 September 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 14

Mid way through September now and back at sea, our only visit apart from Bahrain after Karachi was Sharjah one of the United Arab Emirates and where we had an Army and RAF base. We had a very raucous run ashore at the local NAAFI bar where our resident Tartar 'pop group' played, two of the members were from the RO's mess or at least Chris Short was, the drummer if I recall. There was nothing else of interest in Sharjah and the trip was quickly over and forgotten.

Next we visited Doha in the state of Qatar, Doha was very much on the way up back in 1970, a new airport was being built along with a road programme and the ruler was considered 'progressive', or as much as such a ruler can be. This visit was much quieter than Sharjah, there was no alcohol to be had at all, so with only sporting activities to be had we RO's had a pretty boring visit. The place is very much different now of course and I visited it some years back when my son lived there, who would have thought.

Doha 1970
 A quick weekend in Bahrain and back to sea, this time with two American ships, USS Noa and USS Power, both these ships were Gearing class destroyers built during and after WWII. The Yanks had one more ship in Bahrain, I cannot remember its name but it was quite often tied up alongside us, it was some kind of patrol ship and was ancient, it reminded me of the vessel from the film 'The Sand Pebbles'. It also had an open quadruple AA gun on the front and stencilled in big letters along the shield was 'MAN KILLER', I always had the urge to add 'eventually.'

I had a personal encounter with our Allies while in Bahrain. Coming out of a restaurant we frequented, a more down market establishment than the Moons Plaza but nearer and cheaper, my oppos Keith Wilman and Mick D’Cruz tried to enlighten a drunk Yank that he was paying too much for his taxi back to base, the Yank took offense and a yelling match started. It was too much for me and the Yanks companion, a very large black man and we both held back resignedly. Keith ignored my advice that he let the guy pay over the odds and wanted to help him despite himself, a bit of shoving now ensued and I heard the fatal words uttered by Mick "I'm with you Keith." In the time it took me to roll my eyes, turn around and look back, both my mates were on the deck bleeding profusely from their noses, the very large black American standing over them, he came at me as I stood transfixed and in shock and I thought my time had come. He raised his arm, looked into my eyes, shrugged, dragged his drunken mate into the taxi and left. I could only pick my mates up, cart them into a taxi, pay the proper fare, and get them back onboard, one clean white shirt and two red ones.

Anyway we exercised all over the place with the two destroyers, popping back to Bahrain for the evening then out again to meet the RAF and a couple of Hawker Hunters doing fake strafing runs on us, it may be an old aircraft but they were pretty sharp when attacking us. We will be returning to Bahrain on the 18th for several weeks for a maintenance period. Pretty much a nice break for us RO's, maybe a bit of work on the flagdeck helping out the Buntings but you can't do very much maintenance on radios when all you do is use them, not fix them. I pity the poor stokers and seamen, no, I don't.
Mucking about on the flagdeck, me, Lofty, Mick (glasses to hide black eye) and Dave.
 Note: Mick became an officer and a gentleman and had a successful career, Dave a meat inspector in New Zealand, looks after posh peoples houses now and no idea where Lofty is.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Fulminata Victrix

Despite the dire warnings given out with glee by the weather people about 'Storm' Aileen I braved the rain to take the Twelfth to the club for my last game before the holiday, I was fighting Ryan's Successors with longer sharp sticks than Kevin's hoplites. They are not painted yet as he is a busy young man and not an old lag with more time than he knows what to do with, however he does have all the troops in his plastic mountain. Hence the maps as his army resembles the Unsullied at the moment.

I actually got a fairly well balanced army for 2,000 points, Early Imperial Romans have some great choices for troop types and it is a tough army. I knew Ryan had cavalry this time so did not feel guilty about bringing some cataphracts, I also took bolt shooters and massed archers in fear of his elephant. It may be boring but it is about the only valid tactic for fighting a phalanx army so I again went for the flanks, I was helped in this as Ryan threw his Elephant and Companions straight at my line. The Lanciarii dodged and my cataphracts countercharged, the Companions narrowly missed a lovely hit by a Scorpio, they saved them all, but they were no match for my cavalry and were soon dispersed.

As the cataphracts positioned for a roll up of the Successor flank the elephant on the other side started to receive a hail of fire from javelins, arrows and bolts, it screamed in pain and went amuk, luckily for both of us away from our lines, the beast therefore crashed out of the battle. My missile troops now turned their attention on the advancing phalanxes.

My cavalry now drove into the flank of one of the phalanxes, while a cohort moved up to support, the writing was on the wall and Ryan conceded. Ryan was rushed into this game and if he had turned up earlier he may have thought more about his deployment, having fought with the Thunderbolts now for several weeks I am very comfortable with them.

Elsewhere we had two boardgames and some of the lads having a run through with Bolt Action. That's it now for about three weeks wargaming wise, the last part of the year promises more action as Kevin sorts out his Republican Romans and Carthaginians while Ryan is determined to grab a paintbrush and work on tactics. As for the Twelfth, bring it on!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Revenge and Disappointment

I went to Stewart's this Sunday for some wargaming, we take it in turns and it is a drive of about 75 mins so not too strenuous on the nerves. We wargame in the conference room of his workplace in the rather posh surroundings of the Zetland estate, he should, now that he has moved be able to eventually have a table somewhere in his new home.

His Carolingians beat the Saxons the last time we played and I brought them along for revenge, it is usually an even handed battle between these two armies and he would just whinge if I turned up with the Romans (walking tanks according to him). I had taken a fairly typical Saxon army, a couple of elite units, some average and some not so average commands, a small amount of skirmishers and a small cavalry reserve. Stewart had brought two very large cavalry units, some elite foot and a bunch of average cannon fodder, he had more firepower than me as he had a unit of massed archers.

I deployed refusing my right while intending to throw my left forward and outfight and outflank him. Things went well for me and I got one of my Gedriht units up swiftly and in to combat with his right most unit, he saw the danger as some of my Duguth were getting ready to outflank the line and marched some brave peasants forward to help. I suffered a lot less from the massed archers than I anticipated. As the lines clashed my Gedriht did not destroy their opponents as I had hoped, but neither did they run as they suffered horrendous casualties, this only marginally made me feel better. I threw SIPs at them to help their morale and ensure they stood their ground. I was just about to smash into the enemy flank when the peasants turned up and put an end to that plan.

Carolingians at the top, Saxons at the bottom.

Meanwhile the Carolingian battle line had advanced and threw caution to the winds and charged with abandon, there was to be no finesse in this engagement. Shieldwall's clashed and men fell, but as the dust settled all my units had held, one managed to actually win. As the huge melee continued for a second turn and my Duguth slammed into the peasants the Carolingians lost faith, units fled for the rear while their mates thought better of continuing and also fled. Apart from the cavalry and the men struggling with my Gedriht the enemy army had ceased to be a fighting force. A spectacular and unexpected revenge for the Saxons.

We had time for a second game, so we changed the scenery and set up again. this time I refused my left and put all my good troops on my right, again the plan was for a quick attack while hoping the left would hold. The Carolingians had squeezed most of their army on my far left, I was not unduly worried at this stage.

Carolingians on the left, Saxons on the right.

I advanced quickly and my two Gedriht units plowed into the enemy, vanquishing them tout suite, now things began to fall apart, I did not manage to catch the routers. One routed off table and made its morale check which meant they were coming back, this forced me to keep one of my victorious units out of the battle to handle them instead of pushing forward. The Carolingians recovered and I found myself getting outflanked as I had not pushed my line forward enough, ever watchful of the large number of enemy streaming toward my weak left.

Last of the Saxons.
Several times I thought I had recovered only to have my hopes dashed as my troops seemed to have lost their appetite for victory, the original routers now came back and this time destroyed their tormentors. Meanwhile my left collapsed, leaving me with only two average units to stave off the entire Carolingian force, I accepted defeat.

Two good battles both with large amounts of fighting, Stewart's morale in the first was shocking, when he managed to halt the Gedriht I thought I was in trouble, but as he failed to break them my line was not tested, however his was and it failed spectacularly. The second game started very well for me but again because I could not destroy my opponents and they got away it caused problems for me, the battle was a big mess with units all over throwing themselves into combat, I tried several times to catch flanks but didn't manage to hit home. So with a result of 1-1 we could both be happy, or happyish?

The conference room at Stewart's work had some beautiful hand drawn and written prints relating to all the ships in the RN from 1400 ish to 1900, they were lovely, they had been given to the boss by a friend, I think the very man who put them together.

So that is it, I am a bit WAC'ed out for the moment, I have one small battle to put my tired boys through tomorrow night at the club then that is it until after the hols, I would like to do some ACW when I get back and when Stewart has the time for another clash.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

View from the Window

Well the weather is all over the place again, several different types all in one day, but it is certainly cool. Washington House remains for sale, not a soul near it, it has had a bit of a spring clean and the garden tidied yet again but all to no avail. It will pretty much have to go for a song.

Hurricane Irma is emptying the shelves in supermarkets all along its path, everything is in short supply, but there is good news. If you are a vegan you can leave that dash for a day or so as those particular shelves are still full.

That'll put you back on your feet.

Do you remember my brush with the PO last week, well I have had the old man in asking if things have been sorted, he still does not have his pension from last week and nothing this week, I have no doubt the letter containing his new PIN number is either in the bin or sitting unopened. I have a good mind to phone 'Abby' up and let him know what a mess he has left an old man in due to his unhelpful attitude.

Talking about unhelpful, normally when you go on holiday from a PO you have to let the Police and the Security (Alarm) people know and leave a contact number. I phoned the Police and all I got was "Hello", no "Lancaster Police can I help you", by the tone of the voice I could envision him sighing and taking his legs off the desk while he pulled himself nearer the phone. "We don't do that any more" says he, unsurprised I put the phone down, I have not seen a policeman, or woman, or even a plastic one in months, there is a cardboard cut out in a shop in Lancaster but he doesn't count. Next I tired to phone the Alarm people who have carefully left off all contact numbers from their paperwork, so it was back to the Hellline. No, they don't do it either any more I am told, but I was assured that if it goes off the non-existent not bothered Police will turn up and the Alarm people will be right on it, yeah right.

Which one would you call?

Will we lose government in the future and it will all be done on mobile phones, it would seem, sadly and frighteningly that the Twittersphere and such are having a far too large influence on our lives whether you want it to or not. Every show and newspaper now almost always reads out Tweets from t**ts venting their opinion, Ayesha from Tower Hamlets thinks ...... , Freddy from Glasgow warns .....? At one end of the scale you have politicians tweeting and back peddling if the great unwashed disagree with them, and at the bottom you have a gay woman on Strictly Come Dancing having to defend dancing with a man!

The pandering to the Green gods has at last done for me, not only do they take extra money off me as a businessman to build things I do not agree with they have done for the Batmobile, it is simply too expensive now for the road tax, not that I couldn't pay it but I don't see why I should be hit while the Fiat or Honda whatever up the road does not. All cars damage the road surface no matter what their emissions are, and the road tax is just that, for the road, not that you would think it if you drive in the UK, the simple question of course is what would our leaders do if everyone turned to green buggies and no road tax was collected? The motor car gave Joe Public a freedom of movement which only the rich and famous could afford for most of history, now that freedom is being attacked at every turn, once again if you have oodles of dosh it is no problem, if you are nearing your pension you have to do the sums, freedom or the bus.

Yesterday one of the workshy came in, youngish, tall, fit, best of walking gear, rucksack etc. 70cl bottle of whisky in side pocket, checked his account, money in, informs me he has been drunk, checks out and off he goes, I actually earned some of that money in his pocket, a thank you would have been nice.

The so called government of Northern Ireland cannot agree to run the place together, but somehow their prosecution service, led by a republican, can get their act together to continue to hound British soldiers who served during the 'Troubles,' without ever batting an eyelid to IRA murderers walking around in their midst courtesy of Tony Blair. I fail to understand why our government simply cannot say NO, and to paraphrase Admiral Farrugut "Damn the legal niceties".

In the same vein we have the murderer of Lee Rigby and Injury Lawyers For U or some such despicable mob trying to get £10,000 for having two teeth knocked out while fighting prison officers.

I ventured back to the cinema to watch Dunkirk, I am not a regular goer as I cannot stand noise, popcorn, mobile phones, people etc. I now learn that Apple are working on a phone you can use in a cinema, why would you do that other than to annoy people like me? Seemingly it has a less bright light and muted sound, but you cannot mute the idiot using it Apple. Why would you want to ruin your and other peoples enjoyment with a phonecall, what is that important? It is like Bobby Smith when I was offshore, you couldn't smoke in the cinema, Bobby would have a smoke in the radio room while waiting for the film, then he would go and grab a seat, five minutes later he was back out having a cig!

 I will leave you with one more, why were the gender identity fascists of cash strapped Shropshire Health Trust not sacked immediately for refusing £2,500 of charity money and putting their gender lunacy before patients needs. Why was it refused, well a bunch of men who dressed as comedy nurses for a laugh upset the PC morons, this has been going on for twenty years, they used to push a bed as well but of course that was against 'elf and safety. Seemingly it was demeaning, outdated and highly sexualised. The Trust do have enough money though to have a full time 'officer' for such issues as gender, diversity etc. which if you are suffering should make you feel better. The most popular operation at NHS Shropshire, removal of funny bone.

If you find these guys sexy, you need treatment.
That's it for a couple of weeks, I am going dark for the hols.