Monday, 24 September 2018

For Jeff Davis and Florida!

My son came over for the weekend to relax and get some in. We decided on a Johnny Reb 2 game as Billy Yank and Johnny Reb have not seen a battlefield for quite some time, I gave him a choice of two scenarios, medium sized and he chose the Battle of Olustee or Ocean Pond depending on whether you wear gray or blue. I also gave him choice of sides, I normally play the Union in this game and I don't think I have ever lost, when I have played the Rebs I have also managed to get a win or at least stop the Federals from winning, Stewart chose to fight for the Union.

This game is a meeting engagement as both sides blunder into each other, the forward troops are not very powerful and contain some cavalry, the Union player has a slight advantage in that he has a battery of guns which usually stops the Rebs trying a sneak first strike on the infantry skirmishers before they can form up. Troops for both sides then turn up over the course of the afternoon, the Union problem being they have a way to march to the front line while the Confederates can be bottled up and thus have huge problems deploying in a small space. The names of the units were changed from the originals to those of my own forces fore ease of management.

I decided against a first strike against the skirmishers for the reason mentioned above, I feared the green Tigers would be stopped by the artillery, I there moved my mounted and dismounted cavalry out on both flanks so that the oncoming troops could deploy without crowding, I also wanted to stretch the Yank line. I was helped in my efforts by the Union artillery battery running out of ammunition and having to retire to a nearby wagon. Both sides had reserves coming up and the Union looked like sending theirs to their left flank, I took the chance and kept mine in march columns to get as far forward as I could before deploying, I also pushed my own artillery up to the front. In their eagerness to take out the Tigers the 39th NY had opened up its flank to the 1st Florida and after a few volleys they hastily retreated. I had quite a few regiments up now and threw several charges in, the Union line buckled but I didn't yet have enough and Federal reinforcements were now making themselves felt, I stopped my advance and began to build up a line of battle.

The first reinforcements are beginning to arrive.
The duel between the Tigers and the Garibaldi Guards (39 NY)
The first Rebel attacks.

I was so eager to push forward that I failed my gun batteries, I lost one section to counter-battery fire and kept masking the others, I had to push skirmishers up to the front as the Union artillery was becoming a menace. I lost a cavalry regiment on my left but continued to push forward the one on my right, this forced Stewart to send an infantry regiment and gun battery to head them off, better chasing cavalry than forming a reserve. But just in case I sent all my artillery to my right. I now made a decision to charge all along my line with everything I could throw in, the Yanks were moving troops around and would soon have a second battle line to shore up the first, I had one chance to disrupt this before facing a wall of blue.

Union line recovers.
More Rebs turn up.

Muskets crashed out but I just failed to reduce the two main regiments to my front, the 63rd Pa. and 54th Mass. I was counting on this in order to break the Yankee line, I thought my efforts would now be in vain. I was wrong, the Union line buckled and fled, reserve regiments found screaming Rebs on their flanks, they too joined the rush as Federal morale began to fail, on my left more Union troops took fright and also ran. The few Union regiments which withstood the disaster and remained in the front line found themselves with victorious Confederate troops all round them, it was time to surrender, no shame.

Confederates quickly reorganise and move forward
Now boys, at them!
The Union forces in disarray and rout.
 Olustee never fails to deliver an exciting game, make the wrong decision and you will pay for it, be aggressive and you can win or fail so bad you cannot come back from it and find yourself being overwhelmed, you need your wits about you with this scenario. Neither of us has played JR2 for a long time and we made some mistakes which we caught and probably some we didn't, no matter, the rule set has stood the test of time (thirty years for me) and still delivers the goods. I hope it isn't so long until the next time the Gray and Blue fight, I still want to try the Chickamauga scenario Stewart didn't pick.

Next up Stewart's Carolingians vs my Saxons.

Sunday, 23 September 2018

Doing a Viv Nicholson

The legendary Anderson Wargame Fortune turned a corner recently so I found I have some spare shekels for wargaming stuff again so took a leave out of Mrs Nicholson's book (for non British readers or readers under a certain age Google will help). As you know I got several Charlie Foxtrot  buildings for Bolt Action along with a small Norman church from Dark Ops (still waiting for this).

Adding to this I replenished some of my paints, about half a dozen colours and got my friend Julian to pop into GW and get me Balor Brown, I am still on the lookout for something which matches the old Snakebite Leather. If he is at the club on Tuesday night I will pick it up, fingers crossed. I also jumped the gun and got some gravestones off Ebay for the upcoming churchyard, they arrived very quickly but were huge, they would have suited 54mm figures not 28mm. My own fault really as I did not look at the side pics, only the main one which did not give an idea of the size of the pieces. I have therefore ordered more headstones along with debris from Debris of War.

The new Legion.
 I also debated where to go once I finish the new buildings, I couldn't make my mind up whether to get Seven Years War artillery or cavalry so threw money at that new Legion I promised the Patrician Romans. Luckily I found enough bases and a movement tray so saved a bit of cash while I got the figures and shield transfers straight from Footsore, again a very quick turnaround, they now sit in the ready use locker waiting for some TLC.

So, I have two projects which are complete, firstly the Gardes Lorraine for my French, it was a treat to paint this unit as it is with most SYW models, lovely figures and colourful uniforms.

Also just in time for the weekend I put the finishing touches to the barn and outbuilding which I had been working on last week. I wasn't really keen to pick out all the little bricks so painted the corners, doors and windows a very dark grey, in future I will paint this stuff black, I had picked out some bricks in dark grey but after several dry brush coats they were lost, which is why I think black would have been better. Anyway I put a light grey on the walls, then a few more coats, each one lighter than the last until I was satisfied, then some green streaks to show moss/rain, especially around the bottom of the building and the cross pieces to which I also add a bit of rust. The roof, drybrushed/dabbled again lightly with greys and very light green over the red slate. The finishing touches were the barrel, pail and rubbish heap, I want to add more debris to both buildings but will have to wait until it turns up.

I have been wargaming all weekend so a couple of reports will be on their way soon.

Wednesday, 19 September 2018

On a Shredded Wing and a lot of Prayers

 I have had my new car now for almost a year, is it still new, anyway it parks itself, or is supposed to, I have only ever once had the opportunity to test it but had to abandon the test due to not remembering how to use it and the irate drivers behind me. My usual parking spot at the club is not available due to building work so I now park at the rear of the school, the perfect place to test the parking robot. My first test a few weeks ago was again abandoned because I hadn't a clue what to do. So the week after, all prepared I again didn't need it as there was nothing but parking space. This week surely was going to be a success, nope, there was a school function on and I only just managed to get parked on a dodgy corner four miles from the club, OK, not four miles but enough to have me cursing on the trot down with four boxes of aircraft etc. Why do they have us pay for these fancy robots if they are never used, and yes I know it is -4 outside and I can still drive for 64 miles, but I don't care.

What about the club I hear you say, right. Simon called off due to trouble with his drains, so that left only myself and Rob, I had intended to do a bombing scenario with my Wings of War stuff, two bombers and two escorts vs four scouts. With only two of us I reduced this to one bomber, one escort and two enemy scouts, Rob took the first turn as the Hun and chose an Albatross DVa to escort his Gotha V on its bomb run. I took two RNAS Sopwith Camels and the game was afoot, I ran at the bomber and Rob turned away to allow his Albatross to cross over and engage my boys. Bullets flew and Captain Brown began to suffer hits from both the Gotha and German scout, at one point smoke pouring from his engine. I was having a bit of difficulty getting into a decent firing position on the bomber as I found my Camels too fast to hang around in a decent firing position and kept overshooting the big monster. The Albatross was proving a damn nuisance as well although I guessed he was flying on string and sealing wax with all the damage cards on his control card, as he and Brown sped at each other the Boche got the killer shot in and down spun the brave captain. This left 'Mac' McGregor on his own as he bravely tried to deliver the coup de grass on the Gotha, sadly it was Mac who hit the deck as the bomber limped into the nearby cloud and escaped. A photo reconnaissance the next day proved that the target had been eliminated and Rob was victorious.

Smoking and a turn the wrong way.
Now I am getting the hang of it, but my guns are jammed.
A brave but ultimately doomed Captain Brown.
 It was now my turn, I laugh at danger and therefore took Manfred Von Richthofen and his small Fokker DrI as my escort, I was hoping that I could use the maneuverability of the small plane to run rings around the Camels as they attacked my bomber. I tried to keep Richthofen out of the way and zoom in on the Englanders to strike like an eagle but it did not go down that way, almost right away the triplane took devastating damage from a pass by Mac and hurtled into the ground, I was shocked both by losing my plane and the sarcastic barrage of false Scottish accents mimicking "Aw Come Oan" around the room to peels of laughter. Anyway, I thought the bomber would be able to complete his run home despite the attentions of the RFC. One Camel went south and the excitement mounted as the cloud (the table edge) hove into view, the Gotha was so close as her damaged engines and shattered fuselage made a supreme effort, but not close enough. An exchange of fire, the last possible put paid to the bomber while missing her pursuer, but wait, what would the recce plane find the next day ....... a target merely showered in dust, a British win.

The last gasp, so close.

Two great little games with the second being especially nail biting, it transpired that both the Camel and the Gotha only had one point of damage left as the last shots were fired, a tense card draw.

I should have the Gardes Lorraine based and ready for their photoshoot tomorrow, I have also started on my new buildings for Bolt Action, I decided also to get one more to finish my collection. I ordered a small Norman church from Dark Ops along with some gravestones from Ebay, these I hope will put the finishing touches to my Norman countryside, apart from some fencing and maybe some more hedges etc.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Wading Through Lard

My good mate Matt has turned away from Chain of Command but enjoys Sharp Practice 2 and has recently put together some lovely troops and terrain for the game, it can't be all bad then thought I. So when Julian asked what was happening this Tuesday I asked him to put on a SP2 game for me, Julian also has some nice forces and terrain for the game.

On arrival at the club I found that instead of the Peninsular game I was expecting we had French and Indian Wars with Stuart's excellent figures and terrain, Stuart played in a recent SP2 tournament so knows what he is doing, although it cured him of tournament style gaming. For a change I took the 'baddies', the French along with Stuart, we had to rescue a Monsieur Le Clerk from the clutches of some British settlers who had captured him, Simon and Julian with the British had to stop us.

My guys.
We tentatively advance.

Stuart had to attack the house with his vanguard and get Le Clerk, while I would keep the escape corridor open. The house proved too strong to take and within a short time the forward elements of the British relief had turned up and were giving his men a distinctly hard time, so much so that he had to fall back, Le Clerk was on his own. My men shuffled on to the table and managed a couple of half hearted, long range volleys at the British regulars, I did manage to push my Indians up to support Stuart but they too fell foul to the British van and they in their turn fell back.

The enemy, lovely wee sojers.
Just before the blue bonnets ran.

As we hit time Stuart's force was spent while mine had achieved nothing, the British were maneuvering to throw even more troops against our forward forces and it looked decidedly dodgy for them as the bell rang, a British victory.

A big thanks to Stuart and Julian for taking me through a game of SP2, but it did not change my mind re the whole Two Fat Lardy wargaming style. The faff about with the 'jump off' points is the first hiccup for me, the placing of these is a game within a game and frankly I can't be bothered with it, maybe I am not clever enough, just give me a deployment area. Then there is the group/formation thing, the initiative system, you can do this this time but can't do it next time. Then of course there is the 'Tiffin' token, the same thing I think applies in other games where the turn simply ends, sometimes before it even starts, why? What does this achieve, I don't get it, maybe it is just me. Every time I have played a TFL game, and I have tried, I just find it needlessly complex simply for the sake of it.

Now let's face it, you might have expected this report to go the way it has, but I did try and the lads put on a good table, but I am done wading through Lard.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Ho Hum

Not a lot happening at the moment, I had to miss the club last week although I am struggling to think about that, was it last Tuesday or the one before? No matter, I am going tomorrow, Julian was undecided what to do so I have asked for a shot at Sharp Practice 2, he has some lovely buildings and troops, as have some of the other members. Mate Matt plays it so it can't be all bad, I have therefore decided against my normal instincts when it comes to a 'Lardy' Game to give it a go, I played once before when it turned up at the club for the first time.

I have completed my third British battalion for my Seven Years War project, I have to have some Scots in the army so it is the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Foot Guards (Scots). The photos are dark which surprises me as I took the photos next to my large study window and it was sunny, I also shone a light over them, still dark. You therefore have to look for the dark blue facings, the sleeves usually have two lines of white lace but the cuffs were so small on these advancing figures I opted for one, after all, who will notice.....

I have now turned to my third French battalion from the Gardes Lorraine, I chose these as they do not have the normal grey/white uniforms, these boys have a blue coat and the drummer wore the livery of the Duke of Lorraine and Bar, this I have deduced is yellow and black, so the drummer will have a yellow coat with black lace.

Last week also brought some Charlie Foxtrot buildings which I intend to build after the Frenchies have been completed, I am also getting an urge to rebase a couple of my other buildings, the two ruins, as I am not completely happy with them.

On a side note I have picked up, rather late, on the excellent Sci-Fi series 'The Expanse', a superb piece of television. Nearing the end of Season 2 I have hit a problem, the series was saved from the bin but bought by Amazon, so Season 3 may or may not be shown on Netflix who had it originally, so much for Google. This series is so enthralling and good that if it does move to Amazon I will move with it. I thought I had found more painting background noise with the BBC's 'Unforgotten' but having waded through the virtue signalling and multitude of  'isms of the first series and watching the first three minutes of the second I reached for the remote. I am waiting for a whole raft of series to come back to my screens, it seems like ages since I finished watching them.

Right, back to the Gardes and outer space.