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.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

X Marks The Spot

Helion and Company continue to present me with all sorts of interesting projects and authors, the largest of which was thirty four maps for the third book in a series of reprints of George Nafziger's work on Napoleonic battles, the last being Leipzig. About half of the maps were strategic movements but the others were all battle maps and I really enjoyed drawing these. Helion have contacts with many authors from beyond the old 'Iron Curtain' and this shows with new books from the Russian perspective on WWII along with Hungarian and Bulgarian etc. tomes covering both world war. Other periods are receiving attention as well, especially the17th and 18th centuries.

So here are a few recent doodling's covering the last couple of months:

The city of Narva, a work in progress.




At the moment on the drawing board lie the British Army in Egypt 1801, recruitment to Haig's armies WWI and the Persian Gulf between the wars.

Quiet on the wargaming side since my hectic weekend with Matt, the 3rd Foot are almost there, I have received some buildings from Charlie Foxtrot so I am unsure whether to build these or paint the next French battalion. Probably back to the club on Tuesday and in two weeks another wargaming extravaganza with my son.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

View From The Window

It's been a wee while and Life is part of the title here, there will no doubt be more wargaming coming along soon.

I am suffering particularly this morning, quick footsteps, a look up and I quickly duck back behind the screen and roll my eyes. This has to go to 'Bonnie Scotland,' which usually means it belongs to me for some reason and I have to expand with pride, then comes 'cheapest' and no the guy is not Scottish. I work my magic and then as I am putting the label on I get 'that's tracked and insured yeah?' No it is not, you didn't ask for that. His face says never mind it is expensive and handmade but I am too cheap to pay decent postage, and it won't get lost will it? I look at him blankly and smile.

Previous I had my dumb blonde(ish) in.
B: I need 50 euros.
G: I can't do that, I only have twenties.
B: I have sixty pounds.
(long wait)
B: Just give me fifty then.
G: I can't do that, I only have euros in twenties, I can give you sixty?
B: Then I'll have change, I don't want change.
G: I can't give you change, nowhere gives change for foreign currency.
She hands over sixty pounds, I give her sixty euros and change.
B: Is this change real money?
G: Yes, it's British.
B: I've got sixty euros now and only wanted fifty, I'll have to send sixty.
G: Blank look.
B: Is that tracked?
G: They have to sign for it but I cannot recommend sending cash.
B: It'll be all right, won't it?
G. I can't say.
B: Who would have thought Royal Mail didn't have somewhere in Italy?
G: AAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh!

Then I get 'Australia', fill in customs form please, what for, it's only photographs, what do they think it is (photographs probably when they read the customs form). I haven't got my specs, give it here, sign there, then he signs somewhere else, no there, where I am pointing. Don't I get proof of posting, you didn't ask for that, root about in the sack, retrieve photographs and give him proof of posting. my parting shot is "Won't do you any good, Aussies will say they didn't get it and Royal Mail will say they did" smiles inwardly as customer retreats shaking head.

I almost forgot, bloke comes in, I can see he has DVLA paperwork, I jump the gun and tell him we don't do cars here mate, he comes back with "it's not a car, it's a JCB!"

My missus is working at a real Post Office at the moment, helping out some people who wanted to go on holiday but couldn't get anyone to look after their office, not me, I did warn her, Warton Post Office is not work, despite having four bags of mail to go today, normally two, she fills around 20 every day. Doesn't get a break from 0830 - 1745 hrs, I should be dozing off in another hour, desperately trying to stay awake dreading the door bell going.

 Trouble with tech again, the other night I wanted to relax, I had just received my copies of Life's Too Short an hilarious comedy series starring Warwick Davis. I got my cold beer and accompanying crunchies, I always like something savoury when drinking a cold one, but it's hard nowadays as they take all the sugar and salt out of things, cut it down or use substitutes, I now have to put salt on my salted peanuts, leave them alone, that's why I like them! Anyway, I popped the DVD in and settled back, wouldn't work, no autoplay, they always autoplay, in out, in out, nope, I downloaded a DVD programme, thirty minutes lost. Put the DVD in again, reached for my beer, 'DO NOT RECOGNISE DVD', played the off on, in out game again, no use. Downloaded another programme, almost an hour gone now, blood pressure rising, missus shouting calm down. In goes the DVD, up it comes, thank god, on with the earphones, no sound, screams. Wait, headphones not plugged in, funny bone gives up, crunchies put away, beer back in fridge, off to bed.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

How Not to Survive the Apocalypse

Yes I know I have been ranting about the roads a bit recently, well they now close the main road through nearby Carnforth every evening from 1800 hrs, yes I know it needs repairing but to close it completely so that we are almost cut off from the rest of Lancashire unless you travel roads last used by a coach and horses is a bit much. Anyone want to put money on roadworks within a few weeks of it being finished?

Right, Club Night and only six of us in a rather empty room, Stuart had brought along his latest purchase, "Last Days" Osprey's attempt at getting in on the Zombie genre, which is probably approaching overkill I suspect. Although a two man game Stuart played umpire and brought us all in to the game. We had three gangs of survivors all armed with different weapons, from assault rifles to clubs, the objective was to grab some usefull items which lay scattered about the playing area, you are free to kill zombies and the other gangs.

My guys on the way out.

The play sequence seemed a bit overly complex but that may have been because we had three gangs and five players rather than two, we were fairly quick by the time the game ended. The actual zombies to me were harder to kill than the other humans considering how many of the Undead in The Walking Dead are despatched on a regular basis. I have played Zombicide, The Walking Dead and now Last Days and the first is still my favourite as far as killing zombies goes. How did I do, Charlie and I were in charge of the most useless bunch of survivors ever, probably estate agents, double glazing salesmen and life coaches, we lost. "Zombie's are people too" shouted the Social Justice Warrior as her throat was ripped out.

My mate Julian kindly gave me a copy of Black Powder and then shortly after Warlord Games put it online for free, uh oh. Yes, Black Powder Second Edition is on the way at a whacking £30 as far as I am aware. Now if it is anything like Bolt Action Second Edition it will have a few new rules, almost the same typesetting and no index, ching! I am going with Black Powder for my Seven Years War project as eventually they will be large games and it seems to handle these with no problem, I may use Honours of War for smaller actions, this also has no index, none of Osprey's rule books do as far as I am aware, certainly not the two I have. This is a major annoyance with me, especially with a book which I am forking out £30 on, an afternoon on Word will get you a half decent index, buy a small programme and you will have a worthwhile addition to the tome. The War and Conquest rule book is an excellent example of how to do it right. At £30 don't cut corners.

OK, hoping to get delivery of some wee sojers today or tomorrow as I should finish the Bretagne battalion tonight, varnishing tomorrow, based by the weekend. I have also been inspired to add more 'scatter' terrain to my Bolt Action set up after seeing Matt's bits and pieces over the weekend, also on the list is at least two more Charlie Foxtrot buildings. Several new vehicles are also being added to the orders of battle. Aventine have brought out their Agema cataphracts and they are gorgeous, I had intended not to buy these but get the Companions, I think it is now only a question of when I buy them rather than will I. So a lot going on at Casa Anderson for the rest of the year.

Nearly forgot, a new movie about Robert the Bruce is premiering on September 6, only in select theatres and Netflix, read into that what you will. I have seen a two minute trailer and I do not hold out much hope for a great drama about my number one hero, next to Batman closely followed by Spiderman* and James Longstreet. Why does Hollywood always think it can improve on a great story by contemptuously tossing the story aside. A very small part of me hopes against hope this will be a good movie, but I fear disappointment is on the way.

*not the new 'inclusive' Spidey of course.

Monday, 20 August 2018

1944 to 577

Back from the pub and fortified with steak pie and lasagne we got our troops ready for the third Bolt Action battle. A simple meeting engagement around the Chateau Wartone only this time I took the British and Matt the Germans. We both had four squads along with supports and two tanks, a Cromwell and Sherman V for me and a StuG III and PzIV for the bad guys, remember that poor medic.

The terrain due to the size of the well kept Chateau grounds was fairly open, unlike both the previous battles, so we both put down a tank to help control the approaches, the StuG half hidden behind the brasserie wall while my Cromwell settled down on the edge of a small orchard. I was unsure where to make my main attack in this game but halfway through my deployment I decided to make the left flank my main effort although I put the Sherman on the right to watch a road junction while leaving it free to fire into the centre of the battlefield should I wish.

Impressive Chateau and grounds.
As the game opened I managed to kill off the German mortar with machine gun fire, this only confirmed my intent to assault the left, seeing what was coming Matt started to bring in reserves around the brasserie. We both had some men on the opposite flank waiting for an opportunity to do something should it arise, but this part of the field was fairly quiet apart from the PzIV/Sherman duel as shells whizzed past or bounced off the vehicles. Fairly early the StuG put paid to my Cromwell, first disabling it then killing it, thankfully this was followed shortly after by the PzIV going up in smoke, back to evens Stevens with the armour.

There was a lot of German infantry around the brasserie by now but I did not want to move the Sherman out of hard cover and waste a shot in case the StuG got him, these two now duelled but again no one could make a kill. I only had a 2" mortar this time and he was miles away, as was my PIAT team. I had tried a quick rush on the building only to pull my troops out as Matt got there first, however I was starting to build up a good number of squads in the area and just needed some luck. I got my flamethrower up by having him sneak along a hedge then the wall of an outbuilding, this forced Matt to bring troops out of the building and into the yard, he missed a good opportunity of flank fire into one of my squads then paid the price as I got a really good round of shooting in.

The fight hots up around the brasserie.

I lost the flamethrower but the fear of it had opened up the defences, my boys piled in as the game came to an end, the Germans opposite my right began a run for the brasserie with my squad and the PIAT behind them but it was too late in the game for them to make a difference. I managed to claim a victory as I had taken out several of Matt's support units so he had lost more command dice than me. I had dropped one artillery barrage on the German mass around the brasserie but my spotter was off and it landed squarely on a family of harmless pigs in a nearby field. Again my sniper had a good game killing the German sniper and a few others.

It's all over.

Another good game which delivered more than it promised as the action around the brasserie became intense. For anyone interested as there has been a few comments elsewhere most of the buildings were from our mutual friend Colin at Charlie Foxtrot, the Chateau was Sarissa, the church Hovels, many of the fields and hedges The Last Valley (you have to catch him at a show) others were scratch built by Matt, like the churchyard. As we were playing in the Post Office we had several customers in on Saturday morning before we closed for the weekend and I had to warn Matt to stop being so nice and welcoming as they may expect this to continue once he had left.

Sunday, and I was on breakfast duty, fortified by a traditional full English we set off downstairs for the big event, a refight of Deorham 577AD. The Romano-British have an allied army of three kings from Bath, Cirencester and Gloucester (modern names) hoping to stop an invading army of Saxons from destroying their way of life and conquering the area, they line up on a ridge near a hill fort to deny the main road to the Saxons. The Saxon king Ceawilin and his son lead the Saxons and are determined to win loot and glory.
There was no finesse to this battle, Matt and his defenders (he lives in the area today) locked shields and decided to remain on their ridge, so I had to move him off it. I had two plans, one was to concentrate on his extreme right and overwhelm it while at a couple of other points try and goad his mercenary warbands to leave the security of their line and charge downhill. The battle opened with some desultory shooting from the skirmishers and his own massed archers while I manoeuvred to hit his 'weak' point, the warbands stood their ground sadly, so I thought I would hit one of his lesser units with Ceawilin's son's bodyguard unit and maybe punch a hole that way, I also thought I might take out the unarmoured archers and send them packing in disorder back through their own lines.

Romano-British on the ridge, Saxons advancing.
Saxon army in all its glory.
Still looking good.

Now things began to unravel, instead of two units charging into the British line on my left one refused, leaving the Frank mercenaries at a big disadvantage and fighting two of the enemy, not the other way around. Cuthwine's hearthguard on my right now found themselves the target of masses of javelins and missiles and it was apparent they would not make it to the British line in a fit state to beat anyone, Shieldwall! The same things was happening to the men sent to see off the massed archers, these had got the range and my men fell like rain, but were determined to stick those bows somewhere and bravely struggled on.

"I thought there was more of us" said the Frank Lord
At last almost the whole Saxon army is in melee.
It all goes wrong.
The Franks were beat but manfully stood their ground, at last in came their supports along with Ceawilin and his companions, they were up against the contingent of High King Farinmail himself and in true Dark Age fashion Ceawilin wanted him dead. A huge fight ensued and I got one opportunity to break the line, but it required a superhuman effort from my lads, sadly it did not happen and after that as bodies littered the ridge my men were only waiting for the inevitable. It came as the Brits dealt a crushing blow from which my boys could not recover, the army broke, at almost the same time sensing victory the rest of the British started to charge downhill, the Saxons fled, even the archers managed to stand up to my warriors and after a quick look round their opponents also joined the mass rout.

The Romano-British advance in victory.

It was a debacle for the Saxons, I have only seen one other such disaster and thankfully it was me handing it out that time. An exciting and tense battle and just the fact that all the wee sojers were on the table made it a worthwhile exercise. We did sit and discuss the scenario at the end and concluded I might have been a bit rash using so many troops and having the armies equal, we came up with several suggestions on how to improve it should we ever play again as it is an excellent base for a battle. So that was it, another excellent full on wargaming weekend, due to commitments the next will be in October for me when I travel south to Rob Broom's WAC weekend in Bristol. What a great hobby.

During the morning we had a passer-by try the door, normally I would have ignored such an interruption but the guy looked genuinely interested so I opened up and he asked if he could look at the table, he then asked if he could bring his sons in to look. In almost twenty years of living in this village that is only the second time I have talked to someone who has shown a real interest in a wargame and he was only passing through, hopefully we have left a memory in the minds of his kids for the future.

A big thanks to Matt for braving the horrible roads and being a great opponent, and the missus for looking after us.