Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Magic Well

We were going to do Bolt Action last night but perhaps I am jinxed, I got a shout from Julian who wanted to run a Dead man's Hand game so Simon and I changed plans, a little later we were also invited to a game of Dracula's America but it was too late to change things again. I admit however the weird side of Wild West gaming does not appeal to me, but I know the author, Johnny Haythornthwaite, and he comes to the club now and again so I would have given it a try but it was too late.

Our game was supposed to be a four way shoot out but Alex asked to join in as he had watched the game on several occasions and had always wanted to try it out, so we did some juggling as we never leave a man behind and ended up with five players, not ideal but off we went.

Julian explained that in this particular town bang in the middle of main street was a well, someone started a rumour that gold from a previous time had been stashed in the well and someone had claimed recently to have seen it. The rumour spread like wild fire and shortly five interested gangs decided to check it out, but of course they all turned up at the same time.
The gangs muster.
 The Mexicans started the ball rolling by firing at some outlaws while taking over a nearby hotel as a base, the Outlaws did the same and dragged their wounded companion into Rogan's bar to take shelter while sending some riflemen to the roof. Everyone did the same, the Pinkertons settling down in the undertakers and some more Outlaws taking over another Rogan's joint, Rogan's being like Starbucks in this town, one on every corner. Ryan's dodgy bunch were left cowering behind gravestones and the dubious shelter of the nearby gallows. It was going to be a brave man who would run the gauntlet of fire to get to the well.

The Spider heads for Rogan's 2.
Julian gets to the well first with Simon closing in.
It soon became obvious Julian and Ryan had made an agreement and as Ryan took the Pinkerton's under fire Julian moved on into a position to make a run at the well, 'The Spider' (me) decided to assault Julian's Outlaws in Rogan's and cut off his retreat if he did manage to get some gold, my Sniper Bob or Roberto took down the first kill of the game, Julian's gunslinger. Seeing what was happening the Pinkerton's and Simon's Outlaws began some mutual support, I still threw lead at the men leaving Rogan's, I got another two in the course of the game and lost one Vaquero.

Back at the well despite the lethal rain Julian managed to grab some gold, Simon now threw his men at the well and he too managed some loot, Ryan failed to find any. Although men were falling in other parts of the street the well area seemed fairly devoid of dead and wounded considering how much firepower was concentrated there. As the clock struck 10 Simon had four gold and Julian three, although there was no way Julian's Outlaws were getting back to their horses through El Arana and his waiting companeros.

A great game, a lot of banter and laughter and a moving cactus, you would need to have been there. Perhaps an upturned bullion wagon or stage would have been more 'western' than the well but it was a good scenario for a multiplayer game and I would certainly have another go. The camera pans in on the eyes of each gang leader, the tension rises, sweat breaks out on the Mexicans brow, you know it has to be the Mexican, then the frantic scrabble for guns and lead starts flying, that's a rap.

Elsewhere we had a boardgame, Frostgrave and as I said Johnny's Dracula game.

Oh, Julian is off the hook re the tape measure, I found my old friend in the same bag I left it in. The contract has been cancelled.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Legion Complete.

I finished the last of my Aurelian Romans last night and Auxilia Cohors II joined the army this morning, I am very please the way they turned out, I was a bit dubious about the blue shields but I decided to make blue the primary colour for the unit and after a dusting down it all looks good.

Mate Dave Toone threw the gauntlet down on his WAB page with a photo of his Republican Romans and a 'show me yours' dare, so, as I have a window between map projects I took the time to muster the full Legion and call his bluff.

I like all my armies but I have a special liking for the Thunderbolts, they are a complete historical unit with a history covering several hundred years, from Caesar until their mention in the Notitia Dignitatum on the Euphrates frontier in the 5th century. Not only were they honoured with the Fulminata title they also have Paterna (alluding to lineage?), Victrix (Victory), Antiqua (longevity), Certa Constans (surely constant) and Galliena (honorific from the emperor Galliena). It had a sticky time in 62AD being defeated by the Parthians and again in 66AD when it lost its Eagle during the Zealot Revolt but apart from that was a first class fighting force.

Next on the tray are the plastic archers, again no hurry for these but at the same time not hard to paint so maybe not long until they are done, they are primed and ready to go. By the way, that is not my library in the background but the book exchange in the PO.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

View From The Window

 The heatwave is having a hard time here in the Northwest, it is cool, dank and wet, the sky is exclusively stone grey, of course you might fry an egg on the bonnet of your car by noon, but then again probably not. The yellow car with the broken window which has been present across the road for about two months now has gone, the threat of getting towed by the council worked more than the murmurings of disgruntled neighbours. Washington House got a viewing yesterday, but by the impression on the viewers faces as they passed the PO the removals are not getting a call.

Things just get worse and worse, poor Theresa May must be wondering what can I be blamed for next. Did you notice what was different about the terror attack at the Finsbury Mosque, well, we are not being asked to come together, not blame all white people or christians, carry on as usual etc., nope, not this time, heads must roll. Did you realise Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson and Douglas Murray were all responsible for this latest attack, perhaps they jumped out of the van before it turned the corner. One nut runs a van into a crowd, I wonder where he got that idea, another innocent is dead, something must really be done about extremists, and right wing extremism Reg, the former in the past 23 months have killed 1,263 people, the latter one.

 What did you make of the Day of Rage, the payment must not have reached 'Rent-a-Crowd' Central because not enough turned up to fill a double-decker, despite one left wing journo counting one million and bringing central London to a halt, or was it Speakers Corner. They felt so convinced of their cause and the urge to punish the government, Trump, May, capitalists and that little guy in Yarmouth that instead they lay in the park or threw another shark on the barbie. I rage every day, I don't need a special one.

The defence rests M'Lud.............

 You might have missed in all the recent disasters that the powerful Unite union recently had their own election, and a gentleman and very senior figure called Gerard Coyne bravely put himself up against Len McCluskey. Coyne is now looking for a new job after a 'show trial' which has sacked him after thirty years for the crime of coming very close to toppling Mr. McCluskey. Democracy, you just gotta love it.
Did you see the face on Donald Tusk as he introduced the talks for Brexit, milk and sour comes to mind, he also had whined that the UK would be welcome back after it's mistake, the mistake Donald was talking about of course was the free vote on the matter by the British people. If you think we are heading for tough talks the EU have twice as much bother, the top brass want to punish us or get us back while the 27 all want their own agendas pushed for their own selfish reasons, all of them want to make a bit of capital out of City Hall during the process. Did you hear that Luxembourg pipsqueak vent his uncalled for opinion of the UK along with his Polish counterpart, all of a sudden we have to listen to places which have still to experience the '60's.

Aaaaaaaannnnd smile ..................

 The UK owes as I type, in fact I cannot keep up with the counter but I will try, £1,876,653,426,987 trillion pounds, the US figure is $18.9 trillion, in Germany it is 2.1 trillion Euros, you can imagine then the debt of basket cases like Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Latvia etc. What I cannot understand as I was never good at maths (see how I put the s in there) is who loans these amounts of dosh, if our own countries don't have enough money where do they go for the loan? Maybe there is a god.

Serial killer Levi Bellfield is in jail but may have killed another woman and her daughter while almost killing her second girl, Micheal Stone, an unsavoury character is doing time for the murders. Bellfield could be placed at the crime with DNA, but he refuses to give a sample because although he is a serial killer and has destroyed lives he is still entitled to rights, is it just me or is that mad and in prison he should have no rights.

When I read comics my hero's were Batman and Spiderman, I still do and they still are, Superman being invincible was no fun for me, and I never, ever got Wonder Woman, sexist, maybe, it wasn't a word in the old days. Even the movie doesn't interest me and I will watch all sorts of comic based trash. I have one big question, how does this tribe of Amazon women procreate without men and seemingly last for hundreds, nay, possibly thousands of years, and are all beautiful, size 10 supermodels? Once again we are being indoctrinated into how useless we are, although that scenario is becoming frighteningly real.
I don't get the attraction ......

Have you noticed that Royal Ascot is now becoming more famous for its fights and drunks than horse racing, now there's class for you.

I told you, Dragonfly 3 to 1.

Saturday, 24 June 2017


I had hoped to get a few more troops than I did for 3,000 points, I ended up with two elite Gedriht units to which I attached my Cyning and Thegn, then some average troops with some Ceorls bringing up the rear, I also took some skirmishers, one unit of cavalry as a possible reserve and once again paid good money for Frank mercenaries, after all they had actually won their last combat so fingers and toes crossed. The Carolingians only showed up with two cavalry units despite the larger table, but they were large ones, the rest were some elites, some good infantry and a unit of fairly average troops, although the Saxons could in the main use shieldwall they lacked armour behind it.

We decided on a pitched battle between the forces and the deployment favoured me as Stewart had to basically deploy all his troops first, on seeing this I decided to lead with my left flank and centre and hold my right. This caught the enemy out and the Carolingian left was a long way from where the fighting was obviously going to happen.

Saxons on the left, Carolingians on the right.

I won the initiative in the first few turns and Stewart lost several Strategy Intervention Points trying to get it off me, I managed to chase off his right flank cavalry but my pursuers didn't pursue far enough (twice) and caused a traffic jam which did not allow the Franks to fall on the enemy flank as I had envisaged. I attacked the centre with my Cyning and his bodyguard and although winning the melee did not win it decisively, it was at this point that the Carolingian archers raced downhill at my Geoguth unit, that surprised me, what was even worse was that they thumped the young warriors who only just held.

Both sides advance.
Saxon left.
Carolingian left.
In hindsight the turning point of the game came when the archers routed the Geoguth in the second round of combat and punched a hole through my centre, both my units on either side were in combat and winning but not quick enough. I had also lost most of my skirmishers and my right began to suffer from volleys of javelins and slingshot, it did not help that one of my skirmish units blended in so well with the little hamlet that I completely forgot about them for two moves! I glanced at the dead pile and there were more Saxons on it than Carolingians, something was going wrong.

Crises in the centre.
 The Carolingian archers now turned and hit my brave Gedriht in the rear, and despite this the boys formed up around their king and fought with such ferocity they almost managed to turn the tables but the archers fought like Trojans. My second Gedriht unit defeated their opponents and one of those moments turned up, I could hit the enemy to their front with both the Gedriht and the Franks who were now in a position to do some damage or leave it to the Franks and turn on the survivors who had cut down the Cyning, they would not stand an attack by Gedriht. Yes, I chose to depend on those utterly useless Frenchies, and they were soon running for the hills.

Archers about to charge the rear of my bodyguard.

A small window of hope for the Saxons.

My whole line now apart from a couple of units and some skirmishers had gone, the Carolingian left was almost untouched and I now had nothing on my left to stop the men who had seen off the Franks, my cavalry had chased off their opponents but it was tit for tat there and it suited the enemy more than me, I threw the towel in.

It is all over.
The White Horses die with their king.

It was a great game but I made some mistakes, chief amongst which was relying on the damn Franks, the event which doomed me was the success of the Carolingian archers who were without a doubt the men of the match, close behind them came my Gedriht, who, charged in the rear, disordered and surrounded held out until they were cut down to a man.

A Rum Do

My son arrived in the early afternoon yesterday so although the table was up and ready I still had to deal with some customers before we could start, and of course I got more in yesterday afternoon than most Friday afternoons.

I explained the scenario and some of the rules as he has only played Bolt Action maybe twice before, defending he had three squads and a Panzer IV, his support was a StuG III, I matched this with my three squads and took an extra squad along with a Sherman and a Churchill, I had learned my lesson about bringing armour to the fight. I also added in a couple of armoured transports for each of us, just to make things look nice.

The preparatory bombardment went well and I pinned most of the German units and narrowly missed killing several, however most had recovered by the time I arrived anywhere near shooting distance. I brought the Churchill on first but kept it out of the way of the Panzer IV, the StuG was behind a building further up the village so I kept my powder dry. The assault gun however rumbled on to the road and fired on the Churchill, bang, one tank gone, the infantry looked around in dismay. I brought the Sherman in through the small orchard and took a shot at the StuG but the shell whizzed past into the far beyond. Stewart was being especially aggressive and on came the Panzer to get a long shot at the Sherman, and then there were none. That's that thought Cavendish.

We actually had a chuckle at this turn of events, less than an hour of play and the British were going nowhere. We had us teas and returned for another look. I deduced that the Germans should not have had the Panzer IV, it had been part of the original line up and had been taken out during the last campaign turn, so, like infantry casualties it had gone and should not have been simply replaced. We also thought we should use the Chain of Command Patrol Phase and see if we could do away with the long march of the British from the table edge.

We duly started again and although the Germans still managed to get to their original defence line from the previous game the British were at least within shooting distance and it looked like a real game was in front of us. The shoe was on the other foot this time as the German tank (this time a Pz IV) went up in flames tout suite and the Germans also lost a squad to the Churchill's machine guns. A brave attempt to knock out one of the British tanks with a panzerfaust came to nought but his mates largely destroyed an infantry squad. As we looked at the wreckage from the second turn the Germans, with only one panzerfaust left, had no choice but to make a hasty retreat, game over.

We both felt that the games had been very much an anti-climax and had somehow left us empty. The pendulum seems to have swung in favour of the British, although the infantry squads of both sides took further permanent losses the attackers can always rely on at least two tanks, and in the next game the British in theory could have three. German support options will again only allow them one armoured vehicle, perhaps I am wrong about the automatic replacing of the Panzer IV.

I might have to rethink this campaign but today is the big event which is kicking off early after a bacon sarnie or two, anyone want to bet on how many annoying customers turn up?

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Wrong Side of History

Because the PO closes at 5.30 we are used to sitting waiting for the news at 6pm, despite knowing it probably won't last past the headlines, and to fill in the time we watch Pointless, despite ourselves shaking our heads at the subjects. I always like to test myself with geography or history but on all quiz shows now you tend to get sport or music which both mean nothing to me, the former is always what I have to answer in Trivial Pursuit when looking to win, "ask him a sports question, sport, sport!"

So, this evening when Military History came up I was prepared, however as the first battles, you got a clue, the year and the initials, appeared on screen I wondered just who had picked these simplest of questions, none would get under 70 for an answer (you have to get the lowest score in Pointless you see).

The first battles were Hastings, Little Big Horn, Balaclava, El Alamein, Bannockburn and another. One Scot had not a clue but managed to claw Bannockburn from the back of his mind while saying he wasn't sure who had fought Edward II in 1314, not an SNP or Scotland supporter then. A woman  went with Bengal for the Crimean War and Balaclava, while another went for East Africa for Montgomery's victory. The only struggle I could see with the second round may have been Plassey, but Gettysburg, Agincourt, Waterloo and the others were all gifts for anyone with an even passing interest in military history or history at all. Out of a hundred people asked about each less than a third had heard of any of them, even the most famous of British battles.

If you went to school and took anything in at all you must have heard of Waterloo at least, surely. Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer fought there for heaven's sake.

I couldn't tell you the square root of a jam jar but I could turn it into a molotov and chuck it at a tank because they did that in the war, you know, the one we won. I honestly despair or have I just got my priorities wrong, history is important without it we have no lineage, no collective bond, we really would be citizens of the world and therefore citizens of nowhere.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

New Banners

I wasn't at the club last night, I decided to have a night off, it is usually a bit of a rush so I took it easy last night, some work on the PC, a couple of games of Dawn of War III, and a bit of painting. The deliberate slowing down of my painting schedule is working quite well, Auxilia Cohors II is still on the tray and at this rate still has probably another week to go before it is complete, maybe a week and a bit. I have 24 archers waiting in the wings, plastic I know, but I have gone cheap as the unit might not see much action but is nice to have. I have not been converted to plastic figures.

I did rush one job and that was the renewal of two banners, one for my Romano-British Dux and the other for my 2/ic Saxon noble. I noticed the new flags in an email from Gripping Beast as they were made for their Aetius and Arthur game, although not exclusively, by Little Big Man Studios. The Saxon banner is nice but the Romano-British one is beautiful and big, I cannot wait to get it on the field of battle. I have one Saxon unit whose banner I am not happy with, but I have a quandry, they have fought under it for several years and may have gained an attachment and if I change it will they down spears, not that I have noticed conspicuous gallantry from them on the field of glory mind.

My son is coming for a game on Saturday, I am going to get the chance to use both my battle mats on the table tennis table and get the use of a much larger area, we are also upping our forces to 3,000 points, which will basically mean a bit more command and one elite unit or two average units, perhaps the Carolingian cavalry will enjoy the extra space.

I am using the Saxons as Stewart has a habit of dissing my Roman 'supermen', shieldwall, large shield, spear, light armour, oh, and darts. So do I go for quantity or quality, as the point total is 3,000 I can have three bodyguard units, which to be honest is far more than the army should have, I think two is pushing it. I have warband allies and mercenaries for the Saxons who don't see the light of day very often so I might give them an outing. Whatever happens I am hoping for plenty of mayhem on the table.

Depending on circumstances we might also get in the next instalment of Operation Martlet on the Friday if he turns up early enough so a good weekend's wargaming on the cards.

Monday, 19 June 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 7

Still on patrol, still enjoying mostly glorious weather. We continue to enjoy the odd visit from Royal Fleet Auxiliaries who keep us stored up with essentials and fuel, this usually takes a full day and again some lucky beggars get across to use the swimming pool after a gruelling few hours replenishing ship. You would think all we needed to do was jump overboard for a swim but it never happens, perhaps the catching of a 500lb shark by the crew of the Derwentdale had something to do with it.

We had some excitement when we spotted a British tanker near the coast and immediately intercepted her only to find out from the Admiralty that she had indeed been cleared to enter Beira harbour and we were to leave her alone. I of course did not at the time give it a thought that a British tanker had just got clearance to take oil through our supposed blockade.

Our Wasp helicopter carried out a medical emergency and took a crewman from RFA Derwentdale with appendicitis to Beira where he was quickly taken to hospital, the RFA had a doctor onboard but it was decided to take the man ashore.

Uncomfortable ride for a patient, I remember jumping out of one of these.
 It slipped my mind to mention that RFA Ennerdale hit an uncharted pinnacle off the Seychelles about a fortnight ago not long after we started our patrol. We were sadly too far away to help but the crew were all taken off safely, divers from the Andromeda recovered all the secret codes etc.then blew the wreck up to allow it to sink.

Ennerdale wreck.
We did not win the Beira Bucket the last time we met the Hermione but did manage it on our second encounter and as the Hermione was shortly leaving the patrol we turned our fire hoses on her at close quarters as seemed to be the tradition, the Andromeda will be taking over. Before she left we flew another casualty into Beira, perhaps our Wasp was faster.

News arrived this morning that on completion of our patrol we would be spending some time in Mombasa before taking up station in the Persian Gulf for some months, we were also going to get some shore leave. Incredulous stories now went the rounds about the delights of Mombasa, and the Casablanca bar in particular, however we still had to finish our patrol.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

View From The Window

It is gorgeous outside this morning, it is warm, sunny and no wind, I can see way into the distance through the gap and the garage roof at Washington House has been completely reclaimed by nature and some bats I have been told, it is going to be a long, lazy Fathers Day.

As a country nothing seems to be going right for us at the moment just when we need to show solidarity, I am disturbed at the reactions to events from Brexit, through the Islamic attacks, the election and now Grenfell Tower. We seem to have lost our sense of reason, the government did not torch the tower, it was a horrific accident compounded by several factors the main one being the council doing what councils all over the country do, take the cheapest bid for a job and then the regulations are followed just enough to be legal. I also find it disgusting that people on all sides want to make political capital from the tragedy.

The youth are up in arms, they are bleating that they will not vote because the country has ignored them and, my favourite, we oldies are ruining their lives. However they seem to have managed to get out of bed, some, not all of course, during this election enticed by free everything and the promise of a land of milk and honey. I would vote for that but two things stop me, my natural cynicism and commonsense. I also wonder how, as I ply my trade shackled to a lifetime of paying tax which, to me seems to go straight to mostly undeserving causes, welfare, foreign aid, climate change and minority groups to name but a few, I am holding someone back from getting on with life.

Bless 'em.

The Yoof need to learn to be a vocal minority if they ever want to get somewhere and get that invulnerable 'victim' status.

And what are some of these students studying, well, Puppetry at the University of London, Jedi mind tricks in Belfast, Waste Management with Dance Northampton, David Beckham Studies Staffordshire, all walks of life crying out for graduates, no?

I won't leave higher education before leaving you with this beauty. Foreign rocket scientist graduates at Strathclyde University are defecating in the showers and in dustbins and rightly so the cleaners are up in arms. However, a memo for this to stop was withdrawn as it may have upset the students as perhaps in their own countries this quaint ritual was normal.

The words of the comedian Dick Emery's catch phrase "ooh, you are awful" came back to me the other week when I found myself with no sympathy for Diane Abbot's diabetes attack, you know, when you suffer memory loss in front of a microphone. I searched my own diabetes medicine leaflets to see if I had missed that particular side affect, but couldn't find it. And who would have thought the cure would be retaining your parliamentary seat.

What was the question again?

 Not only do we have on the cheap police, i.e. community officers, have you looked closely at this lot, should they be anywhere near a uniform, I digress, we are now getting cheap doctors. Yes plans are being mooted that people, not quite proper doctors, will now be recruited to cure you of your ailments, check your insurance.

I am not a fan of Tim Farron but any leader of the pointless Liberal Democrats deserves some sympathy and respect simply for taking the job. What he doesn't deserve is to be hounded out of the job because of his private beliefs, and beliefs with which I would lay money on are the same beliefs of the majority of people in this country. It is ludicrous that in a largely atheist country the man is being targeted for his religious stance, wouldn't happen if he was a member of a certain other religion.

 What about the couple who don't eat, they were 'converted' to Breatharianism, whereby breathing and the power of, again, Universe or Earth Mother or some other hocum pocum is the only sustenance you need, oh, apart from a lettuce leaf or the odd piece of fruit three times a week. Or maybe it is fruitcake. And we look back at people worshipping stones and dunking women in village ponds with disdain.

No, really, I never eat solids.

And lastly here comes Schadenfreude again. On the island of Terceira they tie a bull to a rope then goad it mercilessly for fun, but last week one fun lover decided to film the whole thing on his iPad, but sadly he forgot how long the rope was. The bull did not and made its feelings abundantly clear as it tossed the guy around like a doll, he luckily managed to limp away, no doubt a very chastened gentleman.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Phalanx 2017

Set off earlyish this morning with a small shopping list to Phalanx, the St. Helens Spartans wargame club show, I picked up Simon to introduce him to his second wargame exhibition. The journey was uneventful apart from losing about fifteen minutes with a wrong turn. The journey to Phalanx is like taking on the Bermuda Triangle for me, and there is nothing easier if you look at a map, but tell that to my brain and Mrs Satnav.

Anyway, as usual there were no parking spaces by 10.30 and I had to settle for the main road near the entrance, on the way in I noticed people already leaving, or maybe they were depositing stuff in the car, I would like to think it was the latter. Again the dim light hit you as you entered the hall, I had got the Warlord newsletter the previous day and it waxed lyrical about the show including the excellent lighting, another black spot for Warlord from me. You will be able to tell by the photographs how dim it actually was.

The hall was packed and seemed busy to me, but Michael at 1st Corps informed me trade had not been brisk and it was quieter than the previous year. There were a couple of games which stood out and it seemed to me that participation games had increased and taken over, along with the usual one or two tables which were playing a normal club game and ignoring anyone showing interest. I asked one guy if he minded if I took a picture and was simply given a look as he turned back to the game, on another table they guys moved around me while they got on with playing, I was simply a nuisance.

These Japanese figures were impressive.
Everybody's favourite season at the moment, Winter, WWII Bolt Action.
Cambria, 1917.

Another Japanese inspired game, there were several of these.
I managed in the main to complete my shopping list, some trees and hedges from The Last Valley, the plastic generic archers I wanted and a refill from Cote d'Arms for my long finished GW Snakebite Leather and GW Flesh Wash. I also got some dice which my son asked me to pick up, a blue and white Rangers set to go with his green and white Celtic favourites, or maybe they are Scottish. The crazy thing being I eventually took the hint and ditched my blue and white dice a month or so ago, yes, I know it's daft but there you go, oh, and they joined the yellow and black traitors, it was a 'night of the long knives' for that lot.

Simon has jumped into 12mm Samurai and bought a horde of figures which he intends to base up and use as 'big' Saga much like the Cross and Crescent games at the club, he managed to get money off his order but didn't have the same luck buying the Saga rulebook. I think he was more than pleased with his raid. I look forward to playing with them.

There is a small local show next Saturday but I cannot really justify going as I do not need anything. I still want a couple of more buildings for WWII but it will be back to the little projects now until I once again build up my funds.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wizards of Oz

I didn't get my Bolt Action game last night as Julian couldn't get away, which was a shame as I was looking forward to being the 'goodies' for a change with my British against his Italians. Instead I joined a game of Battlegroup involving Australians and Germans on Crete, I went for the Aussies, and led a company against some dug in Fallschirmjager in a nearby village, I took the left flank.

As I was getting ready I could not find my trusty tape measure which caused me some consternation, I have had that battered old thing since starting serious wargaming and, although not heartbroken, I am upset I cannot find it, I intend to scour the house and cars again this morning before giving it up for lost.

Anyway I digress, as well as my company I had a battered old Matilda which the Aussies had put together from old scrap metal seemingly, but this didn't do me any good at all as it broke down on entering the battlefield and the crew abandoned it. There wasn't a lot of Germans on my side of the table and I decided just to go hell for leather at them and overwhelm them. Despite several units getting pinned on the way in I got enough up to destroy the Germans and claim two objective points.

For the rest of the game I gave covering fire to Ian who was cautiously advancing on my right and managed to help out a little by pinning troops behind a barricade and lobbing the odd mortar shell into the village. After a while his attack began to gain momentum and we managed to destroy the German forward forces and pin many in the village. Just before what would become an all out attack the buzzer went for time, the Aussies claimed a victory.

How did the game play, well I think if the Germans had put more men in their forward defences they would have held us rather than putting their machine guns in the village as we had some pretty open ground to cover, which you cannot do unless you have overwhelming forces or armour, and we were left with one tank. Artillery was introduced in this game and it, and the fact we had to look up quite a few rules in the book, slowed things down a bit. I argued for the fact that having actually worked a radio net for artillery support, and being good at it, I should have got a +1 when calling for a stonk, but this fell on deaf ears.

On a side note, when I did the training for Naval Gunfire Support at the commando school in Poole we were taught on 'Raikes Range'. This was a huge building with a fabric net suspended about six feet off the floor which was marked in a grid, the fabric had towns, villages, artillery positions, tank parks, airfields etc. in 6mm scale or something akin to it, a massive diorama in other words. We stood in a little control room at the back with binoculars, we would pick a target, then wait, a little puff of smoke would appear, a machine under the net was moved around on the grid and puffed smoke up to register a shell dropping. Once on target of course we 'fired for effect', I loved it. And if you think that is cool, the Fleetwork Trainer moved little coloured ships around on a cinema screen while we manouvred them sitting in a copy of a ships bridge!