Monday, 31 August 2015


I have been up since 0730 hrs finishing a map project which has been a nightmare, OK, a bit dramatic but it may be cursed, I finished one map and saved it as something else thereby obliterating the original, this meant redrawing said map again without the lure of money at the end. I also saved all the maps as a different version on my new PC and thus instead of sitting comfortably in my study finishing the job I had to sit in the PO instead. Also unlike all the lovely people I have dealt with so far this time I am not so lucky.

I keep thinking it is a Sunday and want to start on another 'View'.

We decided to go out yesterday instead of sitting staring at the walls and watching several more episodes of Chicago PD, police after my own heart, but sadly fictional. We went to Liverpool, I don't have happy memories of Liverpool, I took a driving course there after I left the Navy and can regale you with a ghost story if I ever get the time, I do however enjoy Scouse humour. Anyway off we went and everything went well until we hit the outer environs, it is rough, there are nice bits and I have seen them but this way in I was hoping we would not break down. Despite the Satnav I ended up on the wrong side of the Mersey and have now been across it, or under it, twice.

Our destination was the new Waterfront area near the Liver Buildings, it was very clean but the new modern monsters grate with the beautiful old granite buildings, these were very impressive monuments to the city's past. We visited the Slavery and the Maritime museums, the first as you can imagine dumped huge amounts of guilt on Europeans, mostly deserved, but I know for a fact none of my family ever owned a slave and were more akin to slaves themselves in the 19th and 18th centuries, the Anderson fortune was made by me and the missus, and it's not much of a fortune. But it did take a welcome stand against modern slavery and opened my eyes to some of the horror perpetrated today. The Maritime part I found a bit disjointed, perhaps it could have done with a larger area, but interesting nonetheless, I especially liked some of the artefacts brought up from the 'Titanic' debris field, a lovely White Star Line wine decanter in particular.

Royal Liver Buldings.
 There are also a lot of flashy restaurants and bars in the area and I suspect it would be buzzing at night, especially on a nice summers evening. The only thing missing is a ship, a real ship you can visit and walk around as a focal point. I had heard a story that a replica of the 'CSS Alabama' was to have been built and put in one of the dry docks as it had been built at Birkenhead, but it was deemed politically incorrect and the project never left the drawing board, a shame.

CSS Alabama
 Leaving Liverpool seemed to be a lot easier than getting there, also the traffic on the motorways heading north to the Lakes for the bank holiday had gone, so it was plain sailing so to speak. You can take the boy out of the sea but ...............

So today, pack up the Western town from Saturday, paint some horses, yes I am still at it, and catch up with Hank Voight at the 21st Precinct.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

View From The Window

Once again it is not raining although there is no sunshine in sight and it is fairly grey, there is no wind either, probably blown itself out after three months. Summer however looks like closing the way it began, miserable. Ever notice how you can be buzzing away, carefree, the sun is shining, the sky is blue all is right with the world, and then you get that one little drop of rain, you shrug it off, life is good, then another, suddenly the temperature drops, the light goes, it becomes dark the birds stop singing, dark clouds roll in, thunder crashes and lightning barbs shatter the sky, that'll sort you out mate, happy sod!

I have just had an email from my friend in Canada who went to an ACW reenactment depicting the return of the 2nd Minnesota at the end of the war, a happy event you would have thought. I think this was the outfit I fought with at my last reenactment many years ago at Spring Hill, Tennessee. One of the participants was portraying a Colonel of the 6th Minnesota who was the Provost Marshall General at the time, he was instructed not to mention the regiment to the public when asked who he was as the 6th had been engaged in the Sioux uprising, the period band were also told not to play 'Garry Owen', George Custer's favourite tune and one immediately identified with the 7th Cavalry as, yes you got it, it offended any visiting Native Americans. I don't know if you remember the Battle of Trafalgar celebrations here when it was not the British and French fleets which refought the battle but the Blue and Red fleets and Nelson went out to his flagship dressed as an admiral under a huge bright yellow life jacket. Can't upset our EU neighbours or have Nelson take a tumble, have you also noticed the sneaky way that the media now say we fought WWII against the Nazi's without a German in sight.

With the 2nd Minnesota, second from the left, looking sharp.
What kind of 'ist' are you, if someone listened in on our Grumpy Old Men session in the pub of a Wednesday afternoon we would immediately be branded a number of 'ists', racist, ageist, sexist, categorist and a whole school of others of which I am thankfully unaware of but are out there.What we do manage in the two and a half hours is to put the country and the world to rights, not an easy thing to do in such a short time but we manage it every Wednesday and wonder why the politicians can't do the same. I leave the establishment without a care in the world and the feeling of a job well done, by the time I get to the house, 100 yards up the road, I think, was that a raindrop I just felt?

I mentioned before that fracking licenses have recently been approved for various parts of Lancashire and many local people, afraid that they will be swallowed up by an earthquake akin to San Francisco in 1906, have been venting their spleen at various sites. In amongst the crowd you can normally see one or two old ladies or the odd country gentleman but the vast majority are young, dishevelled, I should say dirty, and dressed in various weird outfits with weirder haircuts and metal through any part of their body which protrudes. Call me a cynic but my first thought is don't they have jobs they should be at, don't they have homes because they certainly don't fit in with the rural idyll here in Lancashire, you don't see them enmasse in Kendal high street of an afternoon. I suspect where you will find them is at a Post Office or bank picking up money provided by muggins here. Power to the People!

The famous or infamous Swampy.
 We are off to the Lakes next weekend for a family bash, we have rented a large house and there will be around fourteen or so of us, only my eldest son and one of my brothers will be missing. It is an old fashioned do and if the weather holds we will be playing rounders and having egg and spoon races and no doubt some singing and reminiscing in the evenings. All our songs usually start with one or two lines sung with gusto and then they deteriorate into 'dee dee, dum, dumm, dedee' as we have never actually learned a full song in years. I am unsure whether I will manage a 'View' next week but no doubt you will get the full story in the one after.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Open Range and Coffeyville

We started the afternoon off with the Open Range scenario, see an earlier post for the background, I took the cowboys and Simon the corrupt Sheriff and local bully Denton Baxter. As both sides faced off on Main Street Charlie duly stepped forward and put a bullet through gunslinger Butler's forehead, both he and Boss then ran for cover behind a nearby wagon.

Both sides face off.
 Baxter and his henchmen tried to close with our heroes and continually came close to killing them but Boss and Charlie seemed to live a charmed life. Their friend from the Livery Stable joined them and took out a couple of Baxter's thugs with his rifle, Boss broke cover to try and sneak around their flank and bring his shotgun into close range but he found himself in the open and unable to dodge and was gunned down. This brought the cowardly Sheriff Poole and his gang from the jail into play along with several citizens who had had enough of Baxter's rule. Baxter found himself isolated, hiding in the Livery while the citizens with their new found courage cornered him and shot him down like a dog.

Charlie and his Livery friend hold off Baxter's men.

This left us enough time to play the Dalton's raid on Coffeyville, this time I took the bank robbers and Simon the citizenry. Once the Dalton's were recognised the locals ran to arm themselves and move on the banks. I brought Grat Dalton, Bill Power and Dick Broadwell out of the Condon Bank and across the street with the intention of making a run for the horses tied up in a nearby alley, Bob and Emmett meanwhile decided to stay put in the 1st National and shoot it out with citizens who had made it to the front of the bank and were shooting through the windows. I now made a fatal mistake and thought Grat and his sidekicks could finish off some of the locals who were heading in their direction.

Grat makes the mistake of entering a gunfight.

This halt enabled the locals and the Marshall to seal off the alley and ensure the bank robbers would run a gauntlet of fire trying to make their horses. Over in the 1st National the gunfight did not go the way the robbers planned and Bob was left wounded as his brother bled out behind the counter. A fusillade of shots felled Grat and Bill Power leaving Broadwell to throw his weapons to the ground and surrender, shortly after this Bob also gave up.

The elusive horses in 'Death Alley'.

For those who know nothing about the Coffeyville robbery the Dalton gang of three brothers and two friends tried to rob two banks on the same day, unfortunately even with wigs and false beards they were recognised as they had been Coffeyville residents in the past. The citizens rallied and gunned down four of the gang, only Emmett survived with 23 wounds to his body, he became an author and actor after fourteen years in prison.

Tim Evans was actually Bill Power, check this site for more info

Friday, 28 August 2015

Always Look On The Bright Side

We were supposed to be away this weekend enjoying ourselves with a picnic somewhere in Northumbria with the grandchildren, however one has been stricken with a mystery illness and as we have a large family gathering next weekend we have decided not to take a chance. Tentatively I broached the subject that if we now had no plans for tomorrow then I could possibly have a game, or not, not that bothered really, what do you think? I got the green light which has depleted my store of brownie points somewhat but hey, three weekends on the trot, now that is worth unloading a few.

I am going to try out that 'Open Range' gunfight scenario I thought up on the hoof a week or so back, if it works I am hoping to also fit in the Dalton gang bank robberies at Coffeyville, Kansas.

As well as drawing maps I also do the odd bit of indexing for Helion if they are stuck, I was too busy so my wife did it. The book however was very intriguing, it looked at attitudes to WWI, the interwar years and WWII and even with a quick look over the missus' shoulder it immediately caught my interest. I am an admirer of modern historians like Gary Sheffield, Gordon Corrigan and John Terraine who look at WWI with their heads and not their hearts. Brian Bond seems to have slipped my net, the book in question is due out on 15th September and is called "Liddell Hart to Joan Littlewood" take a note and look out for it.

I also had to do some research for some 1948 "Jewish War of Independence" maps, a period about which I have not a clue, it was not good reading, one thing led to another and I spent a couple of hours reading up on the subject, admittedly in a general manner, but enough to never feel the need to wargame it. Do you have something you wouldn't wargame? I remember years ago at Claymore seeing a naval game based on the Falklands which had ended the previous year and feeling a bit queasy over it, especially being ex-Navy and having a brother-in-law lose his ship from under him. About the same time I appeared on a BBC Radio Scotland show as they wanted to do a piece on wargaming, not the best thing to showcase on radio where you can't see anything, and a researcher asked me if we wargamed Northern Ireland, needless to say she was put in the picture rather sharpish and the question did not arise. Which is just as well as I 'froze' in front of the mic and can only remember babbling incoherently, but I got a tenner for it. On the other hand I am quite willing to pile up the bodies of my Romano-British, Saxons, Yanks and Rebs without a second thought, it's a funny old world.

I am painting again, albeit at a slow pace, but I am sure things will pick up once I get the horses finished.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Flying Solo

You would think having such an easy life I would be bored and turning out an army every couple of weeks, well I have not been able to get to a paintbrush in almost two weeks now and still have not managed it this week either. Some of the lads wanted a large ACW game yesterday and I volunteered, but of all the Tuesdays in all the calendars where the missus could have a lunch appointment it had to be this one.

My new PC turned up (more anon) and I was like a bear with a sore head for most of the afternoon and only just managed to organise some squadrons for X-Wing dogfights at the club before I gathered up my stuff and made a sharp exit.

I am not the greatest pilot in the galaxy and to be honest enjoy scenarios rather than dogfights with X-Wing as that way some of the more obscure ships also get a chance to make it onto the table. Anyway in the first game I took five bog standard ships with nothing extra on them, I also wanted to try out the Z95 and the E-Wing, I was hoping to give Simon a fright with numbers. He chose two IG-88 robot ships tooled up to the eyeballs so it was me who got the fright, within a short time I lost three ships and the other two were smarter than me and were heading for the table edge and home. Is it just me or are Scum & Villainy overpowered, probably just me.

We had time to play a second game and this time I flew the Millennium Falcon for the first time since I bought it with Han Solo, tooled up and with two Rookie X-Wing escorts, Simon went for two Y-Wings and three Z-95's, all had extra weapons of some kind or other, much better than my effort previously.
Yes, a Scottish Falcon.

Things started well apart from Han, who couldn't hit a barn door, even with re-rolls, the two Rookies played their part and sold their lives dearly, I managed to down one Y-Wing early on and had a nice set up on the second when everything went south, bloody Han again! I lost the two Rookies and then Simon got an excellent volley on the Falcon and it took some heavy damage, it was also in a position to take more when I threw the towel in.

As much as I blamed Han Solo for my tribulations some of the blame I had to take myself as I had a card which, if I had remembered to play, would probably have decided the game in my favour. So many games and so little time. I have to get back to the PC now.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

View from the Window

Now here's a surprise, it is a beautiful sunny morning outside, it is muggy away in the distance so maybe that bodes well for the rest of the day, I have even had to pull the blind down so that I can see the screen properly. The only dampener is that there seems to be a very strong wind blowing, the hollyhocks have almost reached my window now and are swaying like mad. Don't worry though, torrential rain and thunder last night.

We have our own little soap opera here in the village as no doubt all villages do, who has left who, who has been rushed to hospital, who has been barred from the pub, who has died, not in any way Jeremy Kyle material but you get the picture, normal life. But I was surprised this week by the fact that two very young lads took it upon themselves to wreck someone's home while they were away, including turning all the water taps on and killing a pet bird. I have not heard the complete story yet, only rumours but was informed the police have not interviewed the culprits so far as they are too busy. How must that make the owners feel? We have a 'village Bobby' assigned to us and several other small locale's in the area, I last saw him three years ago at a village fete showing off his car and utility belt, I think I have seen more of Batman.

 I had computer trouble again yesterday, I downloaded Windows 10 as a good Scotsman would as it was free, only to find that a week on I was having trouble with the graphics, it decided out of the blue to make parts of the screen disappear and did not recognise the second monitor. I put my vast technical knowledge to use and switched it on and off several times, got cheesed off and went back to Windows 7. My No.1 screen looked terrible so more switching on and off, then a frustrated bang on the side of the tower set it right, it's a long story. Now my second screen loses power after ten minutes, the technical term for that of course is it is *&^%$£!

Also why so many different versions of Windows? Does anyone actually use Windows to make videos, archive their photos or anything else it does worse than real programmes?

I watched 'Terminator: Genysis' last night, are you as confused as me about who is leaping where in time and what effect it has, despite being given a mini lecture on time travel every time one of the main characters spoke I am still none the wiser. Wouldn't it just be easier for the machine to kill off Sarah Connor's mum and dad? Did you also like me shout "NO!" at the end? The point of course is that despite all the technology in the robots they always work perfectly, their operating systems boot up in nanoseconds and you never see "Please Wait" in the head up display or "Restart now for upgrade to take effect" just as they are about to fire a weapon. They also have nice round numbers, you don't get T1000v.1.3.4 as the last one's didn't work so well.

Charlatan, now there is a word that is underused these days as the world is full of them. As I waited for my computer to get better I looked around the book shelves in the PO and found this "Veganist" by Kathy Freston, intrigued as the word immediately got my back up I looked inside. Here you go "...if you care about your diet and health, the earth ...the environment, animals and sustainability ...moving towards veganism ...with love and respect". Now seemingly you can do all this good work and reverse cancer, diabetes and a whole host of other things simply be eating plants, plants by the way that you shape into bacon rashers, sausages, steaks, chicken legs or make taste like bacon, sausages, steak or chicken legs. As you 'lean into' this diet you can rest assured that you are also benefiting a whole other pile of stuff like feeding the global poor, reducing climate change and increasing your spiritual awareness, where do I sign up?

A few examples of what you should be eating; Earth Balance butter, vegan cold cuts, tempeh bacon, Gardein fillet, flax pizza and my favourite Kashi Frozen Tuscan Veggie Bake, now who could resist such a repast. I could go on but enough, my dad lived into his eighties, never bothered the planet or anyone else in any way and only ever cooked chips and egg with the occasional roasted cheese scone, come to think of it, almost veganist, makes you think?

While we are on about saving the planet what about the woman who has given up on modern living and built her own 'home' no bigger than a trailer with all sorts of rubbish, oops, unloved, discarded items. It has no modern amenities like electricity or all that other stuff people have invented over the decades to make life easier and more pleasant. Now call me a cynic but I think the fact that she is allowed to park her 'home' rent free at the end of a field and that she has no job or prospects might have more to do with her lifestyle choice than saving the planet from all that junk, there I go again.

Is it just me or is the human race really not getting any smarter?

Wednesday, 19 August 2015


I sit here having polished off the dregs of the Drambuie along with some excellent wine, I am flush with bonhomie.

I have eventually managed to get the horse archers on to the painting tray now that I have got rid of all my visitors, I had looked at a quick way to paint horses but have decided to go back to my normal way. I intend to get at least an hours painting done each day and will make a conscious effort to do so, I am really looking forward to painting and using this unit.

My wife made me an offer this evening which I am finding hard to refuse, when the PO eventually closes, as it must, I am being given the space for a wargame room. We are talking a huge area here which would be self contained, toilet, tea and coffee facilities along with storage for all my armies and terrain, it also has to contain my PC and library, my 'den' in other words. How can I refuse?

Another reason for the lack of painting at the moment is my map work, I am working on the Battle of Loos 1915 at the moment and have three other projects on the conveyor belt, tanks in WWI, the Sikh Wars and Rhodesia again.

High Expectations ....... dashed!

Club night and again it was fairly empty, two boardgames, Bloodbowl and four of us playing Muskets and Tomahawks, mind you the whole of our part of Lancashire seems empty as I barely sell a stamp book these days, maybe they are all out protesting against the latest fracking licences.

Anyway, Rob Martin as usual had organised the game and it was well done, there were a bunch of supplies in a small French Fort which were the target of the British in the area, they had to be torched for us to win the game. There were French regulars on the way and the supplies could also be loaded onto a nearby bateux (now theres an EU moment). The 'Auld Alliance' meant nothing in these here parts as I took command of some Jocks from the 78th Foot and two units of experienced woodsmen, this I was reliably informed were an elite assault force, don't forget the matches, job almost done.

The target.

The Jocks and friends.
Andy was in charge of more irregulars but he was further from the fort than I and would take time to get through the woods. I decided to creep along the trees nearest to the fort and open up on the defenders, this way Andy could hopefully make for the dock and the fort gate, brush off the civilians and end the matter.

 I put some Rangers on the edge of the wood and started taking pot shots at the walls, three rangers bit the dust, ooops! I tried again with the larger unit of Jocks, three more guys went down, I retreated into the woods and advanced enmasse against some French irregulars who had had the temerity to enter the wood. This time I lost one man before the inevitable three, however I plunged on, these guys were elite and expert fieldsmen, they failed miserably to do any damage to the enemy and once again I was forced back.
My elites roll to kill!

Too late I thought what I should do is put the rifelmen at long range and simply take pot shots, like the enemy Indian sharpshooter on one of the towers who was causing carnage in Andy's ranks. I put my two remaining rifles in a position to shoot, but sadly they were just inside musket range and they promptly died with a look of surprise on their faces. With nothing left to lose I put my commanding officer to a duel with the Indian, then as a near miss winged over his head he legged it back into the forest.

As my remaining troops cowered in the wood the French irregulars disdainfully left the wood and returned to the fort having completely nullified my strike force. It was at this point I was given command of a bunch of Indians sympathetic to the British, a mere six men they nonetheless charged through the wood in front of the fort and opened up on a large group of Frenchie's and destroyed them, they then sat and started to decimate the regulars who had turned up and were marching for the fort. I could at least bragg about something in this game. Andy meanwhile had been beaten back and had holed up in the nearby town, he did however manage to kill more French than I did, the attack had been a disaster for the British.

French regulars arrive.

I now realise that what I should have done was occupy the village and snipe away from cover until the defenders were suitably worn down and then we both should have rushed everyone forward for the gate. I am unused to games where buildings are important and generally steer clear of them, but no longer, I do like the game but I am not sure the game likes me.

My excellent Indians.

It was a pleasure to play with Rob's troops which are beautiful figures and painted to a high standard, I also liked the fact he had all the little extra's which make a game, the supplies, the boats and a wonderful cart which looked like a travelling inn complete with massive wine barrel.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Rebel Yell!

I hope you all enjoyed my report on the recent battle, I thought it only fair to give the Confederate commander a chance to put his view across, so to that end I asked Billy to pen a report, and here it is.

Battle of 15th August
Arrived at George and Evelyn’s on Saturday morning, just as the PO was due to close.  George had as usual set up an aesthetically pleasing table, which was 6 or 7 feet by 5.  We had previously agreed to field 4 brigades each.  I chose not to muck about and quickly settled on 3 brigades from McLaw’s division, that of Kershaw, Barksdale and rather stupidly Semmes small brigade along with the Texans of Robertson’s brigade from the 3rd Division of Longstreet’s  Corp of the Army of Northern Virginia.
Semmes' small brigade was more or less isolated on my right as Kershaw was covering my left with Barksdale starting to its immediate right. Robertson coming on behind Barksdale. My initial set up was not that bad for an attack down what I perceived as a weakly held Union right, only trouble was my biggest unit from Kershaw was started in the wrong position and spent most of the game bringing up the rear as it turned out.  

On the Confederate left as expected the Union rolled forwards and engaged Semmes who ended up in a dog leg however these units were formed in line and the two covering the far right of the Confederate line thought they spotted an opportunity and waited until the union force had wandered close enough, these units were mostly in skirmish and extended line, the Confederate general (me) fortified with a measure of Drambuie believed he could make a mess of this larger Union force, however as the skirmishers took a pot shot at 50th Georgia causing 1 casualty the resulting morale roll of double one saw the brave Georgians head towards the rear, damn and drat.  However not to be put off and bearing in mind that this left the 10th Georgia on its own facing 4 -5 enemy units Semmes decided death or glory and announced a charge, this caught the Federal units moving and forced a number to stop their forward move. Alas the brave 10th were in no mood to face the enemy and decided on a roll of 3 to stand shaken before the enemy.  This basically heralded the fall of my right flank.  By this time the Federals had managed to bring 2 Napoleon batteries into the line against the other 2 units of Semmes brigade and these were quickly shredded.

Even though there had been a minor success on my left as some counter battery fire frightened off some Federal gunners who without taking any casualties decided to leg it. George being most impressed with his gunners.

It was around this stage of battle that we called a halt for some chow and off we headed to local pub for some excellent steak pie.  Oh yes and yet more refreshment.  I had to say at this point it looked like a walk over to the Yankees.  

Upon return from the pub I quickly realised that if I was to get anything from this game I would need to do something with my left, my recollections of actual events now start to become hazy as George and I had been enjoying the pleasures of Drambuie for a number of hours as we played at a leisurely pace both enjoying the chat and game.  Kershaw did manage to break individual parts of the Union right mostly on his extreme right flank, but other units of Kershaw’s brigade that managed to get through further over found themselves quickly isolated which resulted in their rout or complete destruction as they were fired upon from their flanks etc.

The centre ground had become mostly stalemate with elements of Barksdale engaging the union Iron Brigade which I must say seemed to perform as well as my own Semmes brigade and appeared to try and commit suicide by deciding not to fire effective volleys with one unit rolling out of ammo as it tried to fire at a charging unit of Robertson’s brigade.

One thing the Confederates can take from this battle is that whenever there was contact of the bayonet this was invariably won by Confederate troops.

All in all a good game though to be honest although both armies were messed up the Union was the winning side, they were in the process of rolling up the Confederate right, Kershaw’s attack although fairly successful had more or less run its course and at the end there was only the 15th South Carolina and the small 3rd south Carolina and 2 gun batteries left as effective units on my left.

I had decided to bring a 15 year old bottle of Drambuie down with me, be warned this tastes nothing like the usual Drambuie and both George and I managed one glass before deciding to fall back on the Drambuie George had stashed in the fridge, from there on both commanders were a tad under the influence but this only added to our enjoyment.  

Thanks George, let’s not wait for years before doing this again!  

(what a gent... ed)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Yankee Hurrah!

I phoned my friend Billy who had taken part in the huge Waterloo game mentioned in an earlier post and in conversation I mentioned I had not played ACW in an age, neither had he so he said he would come down after his holidays. I arranged the table and went for a straight forward meeting engagement rather than a scenario, the gist could have been that the vanguards of both armies wanted to capture the crossroads for use by the main force, sorted. We are old hands at Johnny Reb II so despite the fact we had not played in a while we were comfortable in handling four brigades apiece (approx 18 regiments and three gun batteries).

 We chose four entry points on our table edges then diced for which brigade/battery turned up at each point, if two brigades arrived at the same point one did not enter until turn two, we also felt the brigade could be delayed even further if the player wanted to bring it on at one of the other points.
I got one brigade on my far left, two in the centre right and one on the right, Billy got the same as me but opposite, so most of the troops were on my right.

A quick look and I decided to push my left, I also wanted to plug the gap a little so I intended to spread my Iron Brigade out towards the town, my right would simply hold the right anchored in a convenient wood and await proceedings. Neither of us held our reserve brigade back and they duly entered on turn two, I decided my left was fine so used it to go between the Iron Brigade and my right to help hold a long ridge as it looked like the Rebs were going to test me there. They had a battery on a wooded ridge opposite and it was becoming a pain, it had routed my battery on that side and was taking pot shots at troops lined on the slope, it never actually killed anyone after its victory over my guns but I still couldn't ignore it.

The Union Right.

The Union Left.

Both sides advance.

The Texans arrive and the Rebs move on the ridge.
 My left brigade were marvellous and they destroyed the enemy brigade opposite them, unfortunately for Billy the brigade which had been given the defence of his right was his smallest and it was not keen to fight as one regiment bolted on seeing some blue serge. He had intended to push his elite Texans along to the right but changed his mind and turned them towards my centre, probably a  mistake, he also needed more artillery on this flank as two Union batteries were in the area and would soon command the crossroads and make the churchyard a charnel house.

The Rebel right crumbles.

First Reb assault beaten off, but they will be back.

As we stopped to visit the pub and eat we both felt it was only a matter of time before the Rebs threw the towel in, big mistake.

Billy's first assault on the ridge was turned back fairly easily but his men stubbornly refused to stop and before I knew it my right was in disarray as some of my regiments bolted, I don't think he had enough troops left to completely overwhelm my right but I had to keep pulling men back from where I wanted them to plug the gaps, two of his regiments spectacularly burst through the Federal line but found themselves badly isolated and surrounded with no support, they paid the price. I began to breath more easily.

Pennsylvanians with Iron Brigade in the background.
With their right flank gone and a battery captured the Texans tried one last, glorious advance across the open cornfield, they did manage to push some Union regiments back but then found themselves in the open and their flanks in the air. With no hope of breaking the solidifying Union line and many regiments having lost up to 50% of their complement the Rebels admitted defeat.

One for the folks back home.

Make sure you drink upstream!

So that was the battle report, how was it from a wargamers point of view. Well, I did not manage to halt one Confederate charge all game due to high impact dice rolls and only narrowly held on. I really did not expect my right to crumble and I also forgot to form up a lone regiment which I lost sight of beside a log cabin, I paid for that mistake. Although the 24th Michigan from the Iron Brigade poured some devastating fire into the churchyard it fell back from a charge while one of its supporting regiments ran out of ammo as the chargers came in, so much for elite troops. But in their defence they did hold the centre and they were all there at the end of the game. Billy had some really bad luck on his right and his regiments just refused to stand and fight, that along with them being outnumbered meant big trouble for him in the game. I also lost three officers during the course of the game, twice when I needed them to get their brigades to advance.

At the end of the day a great game and well worth waiting for, it was nice to face Billy again across the table and good of him to travel from across the border into enemy territory for the pleasure.

View From The Window

Go on, hazard a guess, yes it is wet again, a light drizzle this time and according to our weather diviners it is supposed to get better as the day goes on. I can just about make out the windmills but it does look pretty dull over there. The new neighbour has arrived but I have only seen her once, so that is the excitement over for the time being. Washington House is definitely going on the market so it will be interesting what kind of price the Grade II historical building will fetch, to be honest I do not know what kind of person would want it, it needs a lot of work to modernise and has no garden to speak of, not a family home.

Every now and again I find a bag containing large, free-range eggs on my windowsill of a Sunday morning, these are deposited by one of our oldest village residents and ex-paperboy (75) of ours, I have no idea where he gets them but I am one of the lucky recipients of this bounty. When we first came here we received potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, bread, fish and the occasional bottle of wine from customers and neighbours, but the demographic in the village has altered over time and this no longer happens apart from the eggs and the odd piece of home smoked Bavarian Ham courtesy of a German lady.

I have had my granddaughter for the past week and have therefore had to indulge in pursuits which are normally alien to me. Our first call was to the cinema to see 'Minions', there were four people sat at the back, Eve and I in the middle and two way down front, in comes a crowd of four and sit right at the back of us, an empty cinema and they sit at the back of someone! WHY! Also one kid had an annoying false laugh which grated on me for over an hour.

Our next port of call was a trip to Morecambe on a beautiful sunny day, we went to a local park which I just knew would be full of ...... people. Happy Mount Park is not on a mount nor is it particularly happy as you fight for space with the great unwashed, we gave up and moved on to the promenade. Here again there is nothing of interest and the small beach was festooned with huge people content to let their kids wallow in mud (the tide was out) while they settled into the sand like hippos.

Thursday was Lake Windermere, another scorching day amongst the crowd, we went on a boat trip where we almost managed to learn Chinese as that was all we heard onboard shouted at the top of their voices by a horde of kids, OK, four kids but it sounded like a horde. No one, including my granddaughter was remotely interested in the boat trip or what the guide attempted to tell us. The small funfair on the lakeside must have thought they were in the Italian Lakes as the prices were on a par with our holiday.

You remember a few weeks ago I was complaining about the lack of plates, well the Village Inn at Windermere takes the biscuit, my fish and chips came in a cage on a slate, it was simply impossible to eat and maintain any dignity. That's it for me, they bring a plate or I walk in future.

'Mary Poppins', along with 'The Wizard of Oz' are two films which I have managed to dodge throughout my life and I have never ever seen them all the way through, until now. I watched the former with Eve and despite its age it was brutal, Dick Van Dyke's cockney accent deserves an award all of its own, dum dililittle dum dillieye. As she was flying in on that umbrella I vainly searched for a 40mm Bofors.

I had my friend Billy down from Scotland yesterday to play a game, he told me he was bringing a 15 year old bottle of Drambuie Liqueur so we could fight in a civilised manner. I poured out two large glassfuls,  we sipped looked at each other and pretended it was lovely, I not to embarrass him and him not to show he had made an expensive mistake. We took some more and I diplomatically informed him I needed some lemonade with mine, he concurred. We had a third gulp, I put the white flag up "Sorry mate this is almost pure whiskey, I can't drink it" he again concurred, and I felt much better, we opened up my bottle of normal Drambuie and tucked in. Perhaps the ageing had taken away the lovely spice and honey taste, it certainly did not pour like a liqueur nor taste like one. In fact I now realise he has left the bottle in my fridge!

 Eureka! I have received a cheque for the wall repair, most unexpected. Has this gesture restored my faith in humanity................ not on your nellie.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Bolt Action Again

My second try at Bolt Action hosted by Andy who has oodles of WWII stuff, again Russians vs Germans and I can play both sides without a problem but if I can help it I won't bother with Russians as I feel I have nothing in common with them despite reading a lot of their history and having great sympathy for the everyday Russians, not that I have particular leanings for playing German either. Should that bother me in a wargame, I am unsure of the answer, I don't have any problem with my armies and always have both sides, which I will play as the mood takes me, anyway I digress, and if I did build an army I think I would go British.

 It was a scenario taken from the Bolt Action rule book, it was too simplistic and I knew right away it required more information and thought than what was presented. It was an attack/defend scenario, Andy, the Russians, was the attacker and I, the Germans, was the defender, we had forces which almost mirrored each other so it was going to be an uphill struggle for Andy to take his three objectives. He started the game with a pre-emptive bombardment, which, although it hit all my squads and pinned them, was of no use because by the time he got anyone on the table I had rallied all my troops and again was sitting ready for him.

Pinned everywhere!
 He decided to use his tank to force the bridge across the river but of course as I set up first I had an A/T gun, a panzerschreck and two squads around the bridge with panzerfausts and if all this failed I had a Panzer IV sitting in reserve. It was the panzerschreck which eventually did for the T34, so that was his armoured support gone, in true Russian style he then threw some infantry squads in only to have them cut to pieces. I did lose my MMG's and the A/T gun was down to one man and a dog but there was no way he was crossing that river.

Bang goes the T34.
MkIV preparing for the turkey shoot.
 We don't really have a handle on this set of rules yet and I continue to peruse eBay for a cheap set which is just not happening, but again I did feel that I was being forced to make decisions and if Andy had got across the river I would have had to rethink my whole defence, I could actually plan, which was great.

It was a fairly full night at the club, we had a Bloodbowl game a Punic War bash with 'To The Strongest' and some guys trying out the new 'Great War' boardgame from PSC, two more playing a  large WWII game with what looked like 6 or 10mm troops called Spearhead or Spearkrieg or something similar which they have made their own, it looked good. We always have two lads, or rather mature gentlemen who, every week, play a boardgame, the good old fashioned type with counters and hexes, their interests range over most periods and their houses must be full of games.

I have not been able to get to the painting tray this week, I now have my granddaughter here and I have a mate coming from Scotland for an ACW game on Saturday, so the horse archers will not see a brush until next week. As well as maps I am also helping Helion out by indexing a book on the memoirs of a Padre during WWI, although it has to be scanned fairly quickly for key words and phrases you do pick up the gist of the book and I find it incredibly sad. His descriptions of the front and the loss of friends and 'parishioners' throughout the war are extremely poignant.