Monday, 31 July 2017


I just about gave up on cinemas years ago due to people, yakking, crisp bags, popcorn tubs, mobile phones and generally no thought for anyone else in the theatre, which was a shame as I still have that childish delight of watching something on the big screen in the dark.

I was quite prepared to wait for Dunkirk but all the bumf talked of the screaming sirens and the overwhelming sound of battle so it had to be the big screen, besides, the missus wanted to see it. So on Sunday afternoon off we toddled, despite my reputation I was really hoping to enjoy the movie.

Once our hero, or one of our heroes, managed to jump over the barricade I thought it all went a bit flat. Christopher Nolan does not like CGI seemingly but the film was crying out for it, not to overwhelm the experience but to bring the devastation of a defeated army to life. There was the odd truck and AA gun around and the whole thing was understated, I have seen busier beaches in Brighton when the sun comes out.

I was also puzzled why the RAF would be flying at 2,000ft across the channel when my memory recalls them fighting further inland and much higher, as you do in a fighter, trying to stop the Luftwaffe getting through. The only bit of the film I have to admit which engaged my interest was when 'Jock' couldn't get the canopy of his downed Spitfire open, I was happy Nolan didn't let him sink. As for the rest of the aerial action, well, have a look at this from The Eternal Zero.

I wasn't going to hold Nolan to ransom over historical accuracy because I know there are limitations and he has a much larger audience than a know it all wargamer to please and he may well have done that, but I am now going to search out the John Mills movie as even now it is presumed superior.

So overall I thought the movie uninteresting and flat, but that's just me, but so did the missus, the defence rests M'lud.

Oh, and the French were mentioned, several times, so they can keep schtum, and it is a British movie after all, and the other nonsense that the Imperial forces were ignored, considering there were, to the best of my knowledge, only two mule teams on the beach from the sub-continent, so what, perhaps they were way over in that last line heading into the sea and the racist reviewer just didn't see them. Dear me.

Sunday, 30 July 2017

The Spider Misses Again

Last week was a training week, as well as introducing Kevin to the delights of War and Conquest I also took him through a game of Dead Man's Hand on Saturday. I didn't want to drop him straight into a fancy scenario with desperado's running about all over the place so I went with one of the 'Scenes' from the rules.

The first is a play on Clint Eastwood settling a score on behalf of his mule in 'A Fistful of Dollars', so Kevin took the gunhand while I was in charge of three drunken Mexicans, there is no finesse in this shoot out and my Caballeros sought to close and outflank the Gunslinger cowering behind some boxes. One of my boys went down and this angered his compadres and they let loose a fusillade of shots at close range, Clint bit the dust, the look on the mules face was a picture.

Clint gets more than he bargained for.

The second scene was simply a shoot out in the main street between Clint's mates and the Spider's gang. The Lawmen had a couple of men out front of the Sheriff's office while the rest made their way along the back of Main Street. I met them with some of my men but the Spider found himself, as he usually does these days, on the back foot and on the opposite side of the street.
The Spider making his move.
The alley of missed opportunities
 Nonetheless I ran my four guys forward to hopefully kill some lawmen before I was overwhelmed, Kevin had the same idea and his Marshall rashly attacked down 'the alley of death' or more accurately 'the alley of wounds'. I let loose several shots including two barrel's of buckshot but although bleeding profusely the Marshall escaped, as did his mates as none of my bullets hit a vital part, even the Spider sprinting across the street failed to stop the Marshall.

Quiet returns to Carefree.

A round of mayhem proceeded and most of my amigos went down, the Spider decided that discretion was the better part of valour and ran. I am becoming disheartened by the Spider and he is going to have to step up to the line if he wants to maintain his hold on the gang.

I nice little game and I think Kevin enjoyed it, a lot of fun as usual and no fuss.

View From The WIndow

Well it's raining again, we have had a couple of days where torrential showers have ruined 'summer', it is cold this morning and if I look to the north it is like looking at Mordor despite a bit of sun poking through now and again in the east. I heard scratching noises the other day in the wall of the Post Office and thought I was going mad, when I went out the back I found the lid of my main drain up and two geezers powerjetting, I pulled them up and they said they had knocked at the door, I have a bell. Next door was flooded and they were trying to unblock the pipe, although it is never our fault whoever is living next door blames us despite that drain not being our sewage drain. It transpired that it was blocked with baby wipes, an uncomfortable lesson for next door.

My internet went down again as after one torrential shower we lost power for about 45 minutes and the sudden shock fried my broadband box. I phoned BT the next morning, and explained my problem, he couldn't find my account, they never can, god knows what software they use, "is that S T E W or S T U A for Stewart" no it's G E O for George, "oh wait, found you, number 111" no it's 99/101. He also said my account number was wrong, well it's the one you bill me on matey, Brains got off the hook when I mentioned I had fibre to the house, "another department I'll transfer you." This lady told me I would have an engineer out first thing in the morning, it took me ten minutes to stop laughing and answer her.

Sure enough my man turned up around nine, took one look at my set up and pronouced it bad workmanship, or womanship as it had been the girl with attitude that had put it in. This lad was brilliant, he moved the broadband box, attached the battery back up which M'lady hadn't bothered with and renewed the horrible black wire with a white one on the outside wall, in actual fact he renewed the whole deal and I was back online by lunchtime. M'lady needs sacked but of course that would be impossible these days being a protected species i.e. female.

Well done that man.

You can bank at the PO and last week in came what can only be described as a dizzy blonde, but not in a Marilyn Monroe way, more like a Phyllis Diller way. She pushed some cheques through the slot, "put them in for me", no, you need an envelope, as I pushed them back. Now these envelopes are like hens teeth and I am only supposed to keep an emergency supply. I didn't know Natwest had closed says she, well they must have kept it a secret from you because the rest of Lancashire knew thought I. I handed over two envelopes, the first came back and wouldn't go into the system, hang on, you have put the cheque details not your account details, envelope number one hit the deck. The second envelope went in but the machine informed me the number was Barclays not Natwest, envelope number two in flames, I was five envelopes down to do two transactions. She bimbled in the other day, pushed an envelope through the slot and it was filled with coins and cheques, see where it says "Cheque Deposit Envelope" says I, no coins, but they told me I could do that, no they didn't. Another two envelopes gone before things were sorted.

My son is going on holiday to the Dominican Republic and has had his holiday booked for quite some time, now with only days to go he has been told that if his family all want to sit together, one a six year old girl, they have to pay £77 extra. Where in the country today would you be expected to leave your child sitting for seven hours in the midst of complete strangers? Not only that if you think about it it must be a deliberate policy to seperate groups in order to get the £77. The other one that gets me is that you have to pay to put your luggage in the hold, how mad is that, that's what the hold is for, then of course with no one putting luggage in the hold the boarding is held up while they look for volunteers to put their luggage in the hold.

Pick a seat, well not any seat obviously.

It seems to be a week about children, there was the five year old girl fined by council Enforcement Officers, catchy title, for selling her lemonade to people on their way to a pop concert I believe, a young entrepeneur crushed by officialdom for at best a few quid, but of course it could have been poisoned and a health hazard to the concert goers, yeah right. Enforcement Officers, Community Police Officers, have a good look at them, would you give them a job?

And now we have children as young as five being expelled from school, read it again and ask yourself why a five year old should be so disruptive that they have to be expelled from a classroom where an adult is in charge. Of course the upcoming documentary will focus on the needs of the little darlings, well I know what they need and it isn't special. I only ever saw one person being disruptive in a class on one occassion in all my years in education, and he stopped dead as soon as wee Joe McCallister entered the room, took his punishment and sat sheepishly down.

When did it fall to the remit of a mayor, even one of our capital city, to mouth off that certain world leaders would not be welcome in his city because he didn't like them. We have opened our doors and given expensive dinners to all sorts of madmen and dictators, even shook hands with killers, but for some reason the President of America, democratically elected, whether you like it or not, is not to be welcomed. Both Sadiq Khan and Andy Burnham in Manchester would sell their mothers for votes.

And you can give up on Democracy, with the likes of the unelected Gina Miller sticking her oar into Brexit I now learn that an outfit called ClientEarth, owned by an eco maniac with plenty of cash has set his sights on Europe and holds governments to account over signing daft deals on emissions etc. which of course they think no one will take seriously, but have left them vulnerable in the eyes of the law, should someone have oodles of cash. So basically we have unelected, sanctimonius know it alls forcing government policy, but only if it agrees with their ideology. And this is only the start.

Creationists have rebuilt a replica of Noah's Ark for $100,000,000 and are convinced the plans are correct as they have scoured the bible and texts to find them, now, big as the hulk is, it should be quite plain to anyone looking at it that it cannot hold two of everything on the planet including dinosaurs. Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.

And on a happier note, good work by the Egyptian tank crew who, seeing a speeding car coming towards their checkpoint drove over it and crushed it. The car contained three Jihadi's and an ark full of explosives which went up shortly after the tank backed off the wreck. A great many lives were saved by this action.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Saxons Bounce Back

Instead of shopping on my afternoon off as usual or continuing with a map project I managed yesterday to fit in a War and Conquest game, Kevin had braved the elements and turned up at me Casa to try his hand as he is in the throws of completing several forces suitable for War and Conquest, forces which will enable the Twelfth to earn their denarii in future conflicts.

Yesterday’s battle was Romano-British against Saxons, I took only one elite unit and the rest were average troops, I did add my Pict warband as they had never made it to a game before and it was time they did. Kevin took two Comitatus units one on foot the other mounted with heavy armour, he also paid for some Saxon mercenaries while the rest of his troops were bog standard although one Milites command had light armour. It turned out I had one more battle formation than him but only my elites were armoured so I was outclassed in quality, but I hoped I could make up for this with experience.

I set up first, nothing fancy, I put my cavalry on my far right in skirmish formation as I knew formed up they would not stand against the mounted Comitatus, I put the Picts with them as back up, three units held my centre and two more were on the left. The Romano-British formed up opposite but only had their cavalry on the left, I immediately thought I could shower them with javelins and arrows then send in the Picts, but there was some broken ground to the front of the Picts and this really played on my mind far more than it should have.

The battle opened with the flanks of both armies advancing while the centres glowered at each other. The mounted Comitatus saw the danger of advancing too far and withdrew, this allowed me to throw my cavalry into a charge against some British skirmishers, against the odds Kevin decided to stand and fight and to my chagrin the archers turned into the men of the match. My cavalry could not budge them and in return they were losing men steadily but surely, I did not put the Picts into the fight as I was sure the archers would be fleeing at any moment, meanwhile the Comitatus lined up and came in right at the end and that was it for my horsemen.

Romano-British on the left, Saxons on the right.
No one dares move in the centre.
My left flank had now joined battle with their opponents and while my Ceorls only just held, the young Geoguth ran for the hills only just outdistancing their pursuers as I gave a sigh of relief, we traded charges in the centre and things did not go well for me, both my units were routed. As I looked at the mayhem around me I could only see my Gedriht and the King standing faced by the foot Comitatus and the British Dux, I began to look around for a white flag. But wait! Within a move my Ceorls had dispatched their foes and against the odds the Geoguth had returned and dispersed their tormentors, the left was safe, over on the right the mounted Comitatus had crashed into the Picts but the dour Northerners had held, and then numbers began to tell against the cavalry, my flanks were both now safe.

My cavalry gets a nasty surprise.
My centre about to go.
The tables are turning.
Hold, hold....
 Although two units and some skirmishers had gone in my centre the pendulum of war had swung in my favour, Kevin now asked his elites to cut through mine and salvage some honour, despite them attacking downhill my Gedriht held them off and inflicted horrendous casualties, the British last gasp had failed and the Dux was dragged from the field to fight another day.
A good afternoons gaming and a complete turnaround for the Saxons, I really was in a pickle at the midpoint, I had lost my Atheling and a Thegn as well as two central units and the cavalry while all the rest seemed to be on the back foot. What saved me was when Kevin won the combats his pursuit moves were dire so my men were allowed to escape and in the case of the Geoguth come back and haunt him. We are playtesting a cavalry disengage move and this would have been perfect for the Comitatus but my internet went down the night before and I couldn’t get a copy, so maybe next time.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Scots Wha Hae

Last night was the big run out for Hammer of the Scots at the club, its appearance was met by sounds of appreciation as several mentioned an interest, and of course expressed a further interest in my being soundly thrashed being the only Scot in the club.

The Rebellion begins.
 We set up and played the William Wallace campaign, I refuse to call him Braveheart, I of course was Wullie while Simon played Edward I. I had a slight edge in that I knew how important it was to maintain territory in order to get as many Nobles on your side as you could but Simon had picked this up by the end of the night. The Scots 'rebellion' is strongest north of Stirling while the English control most of the land to the south, my initial aim was to clear out all the English supporters from the north and then make inroads south of Stirling. I started well and handily won several battles in 1297 and 1298 and only missed having enough Nobles to induce the French to turn up, after that it all went horribly wrong. As I tried to clear out the few remaining English supporters I suddenly found my troops had run out of enthusiasm e.g. could not kill the enemy, so quickly found myself on the back foot as Edward took over the Lowlands. Around 1303 I managed to make another aggressive push against the English garrisons but once again my efforts were in vain and all I could see to the south was English red. We ran out of time with just a few years to go, although Simon looked the strongest we both had six nobles each so the game ended in a draw.

Winter 1303AD and Wallace has a long way to go.

We started off throwing men into battle, but as we progressed we both started to understand that you had to position yourself for the upcoming Winter, or the end of the turn, otherwise you could lose forces or Nobles would change sides, bringing the enemy back to an area you thought humbled. Quite a bit of thought has to go into winning the game and each player has to look to the future while gaining ground in the here and now.

So how does the game compare with Robert the Bruce, not bad actually, my only real complaint and it is merely a game mechanic is that in RtB apart from your core faction when you try to compel a Noble to join you they will either do so, remain neutral or immediately join the other side, the heirs of dead Nobles may also turn Neutral or defect rather than meekly return to their fathers choice. The movement and combat in HotS is far easier, even if the latter is a tad awkward at first from other games I have played.

Overall both games are good, HotS is simpler and not as much fuss as RtB while still providing a challenging game, the latter however has a more historical feel to it if you know anything at all about the period.

Simon, being a boardgame fan, mentioned that the map and cards had been done on the cheap, and I have to say I did not expect a simple card map when I opened the box, even Robert the Bruce all those years ago had a hardbacked map. I am not too bothered about the cards but then I don't have anything to compare them with and have no idea what to expect quality wise these days. You can buy a board but that will have to wait.

I am painting again, not a new army, but the finishing touches to one, the troops belong to my son who, with moving house, does not have the time to complete the extra figures he has left so I have volunteered myself. They are Carolingian foot and mounted, they are a mixture of Norman, Carolingian, Saxon etc. with some hero types from Footsore, I don't like Normans but these figures are really nice, I am not in a hurry so pics much later.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

View from the Window

No View this morning due to visitors. Normal service will be resumed next week, I have a few chestnuts on the fire.

Have a nice Sunday.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Aetius' Army

Some time ago at one of our wargame weekends I wandered over to a table where Rob Broom was playing against my son's Carolingians with his Patrician Roman army, and very nice it looked too, as he pointed out some of the units I thought the choices were very cool, all Rob's army are nice but this one caught my imagination. Having finished my Early Imperial Legion I began to turn my thoughts to an army of the 5thC, the Late Roman army has become flavour of the month recently, ignored for years in favour of the lorica segmentata wearing, empire extending army, it is now taking its rightful place in the ranks.

The army in the late 4th and 5thC in the West has a very bad press, the idea of it being overwhelmed by constant Barbarian hordes as it is found wanting and the Empire in the West is lost is the default position. The truth of course is different, this army was still very powerful and most barbarians simply could not defeat it in open battle, it was well equipped and for a time still trained to a higher standard than its enemies. It did boost its numbers with allies and the recruitment of newcomers but still had a Roman heart. The most dangerous foe the army faced was itself  as civil wars took their toll of the veterans and the army lost the ability to recruit and retrain men to the same standard, also the loss of revenues from areas populated by even friendly barbarians had an effect on the army.

A number of leading generals (Patricians) took command of the field armies and usually campaigned successfully against the Empires enemies, but this only brought the enmity of ambitious courtiers and most of them paid for this with their lives, assassinated by hangers on and men with no vision.

Before I bought a figure I bought several books on the Late Roman army including a history of the Fall of the West, I also bought two books on the most well known of Patrician generals Stilicho and Aetius and chose Aetius as my man. Aetius lived with the Huns for a time and was known as a friend to them and I wanted Huns in my army.

I got most of my figures from Footsore, many the same ones as in my Romano-British army but these troops would be more uniform, the Huns/Alans I got from the beautiful Aventine range of Steppe Cavalry. I built the army around four Roman Legions (more like a cohort at this time) as a core, many wargamers use the Christian Chi-Ro sign for this period, I decided not to, as far as I can tell it was only daubed on the shields of Constantine's men at Milvian Bridge but as this was in 312AD and the Notitia Dignitatum with hundreds of shield designs came out in 395AD then it's the military shields for my men. In support I brought in a contingent of Goths along with their own chieftain and likewise a couple of units of Huns or similar nomads.

Roman generals of this period began to recruit their own bodyguard or household troops, not that they ever seemed to do them any good when the assassins came calling, these units were known as Bucellari and unlike the later Byzantine Bucellari seem to have operated with their general in the field rather than as seperate commands, so if Aetius is on the field he has to be attached to either Hun or Goth Bucellari, one or the other, not both.


I have fought several battles with this army since its completion and it is a joy to play with, I thought putting Aetius with a cavalry unit would be detrimental to my command but it hasn't been so far, the Roman infantry are the backbone and the cavalry and the Goths are very good strike forces to destroy the enemy flanks. At first glance the army seems a little light in skirmish forces but this is made up for by the fact that the Nomads can all take bows and are experts with them, also you have the two bolt shooters which no one can ignore on the War and Conquest battlefield. Looking at the whole army arrayed for battle I am thinking perhaps one more Legion......

"A Bruce, A Bruce!"

Back in the mid 70's I went to one of my first wargaming shows, probably Claymore, at that time I was an SNP supporter when it was all a bit of fun and pie in the sky, unlike the fanatics in charge today. Nigel Tranter's Bruce trilogy was still a vivid memory and I had completed my first ever, proper army, Scots naturally. At this show I came upon a game by Fusilier games of Aberdeen and it cost £5, a princely sum back then for a game, but as it was called 'Robert the Bruce' and covered the Wars of Independence (although we were in fact independent) I dug deep and became a proud owner.

I enjoyed many games and like a proper wargamer I wanted to spruce it up, I always wanted to use 25mm knights rather than the counters but never got around to it, I did however make some nice coloured cards and laminated them. My one bugbear with the game was the map, many of the hexes could be argued over whether they were highland or lowland so I designed my own map, but never got around to actually printing it off, looking back it was a pretty amateur job which was best left alone.

I became aware years later of the game 'Hammer of the Scots' a nod to Eddie One and always fancied getting it but never did, every now and again the idea came up and again it disappeared as whatever I was doing at the time took priority. Due to technology the next time I looked I could actually see the game and watch how it was played, niggling away at me was the idea that this was simply 'Robert the Bruce' updated, I even checked up the designers and they are indeed different, but believe me the similarities are too many for it not to be a clone.

So the other day I bought it, the price had come down and I was tipped off that it was now £43, so I jumped at it. I had hoped to take it to the club this week but the one day I am expecting a parcel Parclefarce don't turn up until late afternoon so way too late to sort the rules out, and guess what, the next day 0910 bright and early!

I like the look of the game and the mechanics are better and more streamlined than RtB, it is a block game and will be the first I have ever played. But, yes there is always a but, there is a touch of Braveheart in it, RtB was completely historical with HotS there are French knights, nope, don't remember them during the Wars, they don't turn up until the Stewart's are on the throne so why they should be Scottish allies niggles me. In the original the Lord of the Isles was a Bruce supporter and MacDougall a Comyn supporter, both had fleets and were a great way to move forces around, the English had a fleet as well, in this version for some reason the only fleet in the area is Norse, seeing as the game starts around 1297 and the Norse had not been seen on the Scottish mainland since 1263 and signed a treaty in 1266 I do wonder who came up with this. I have one other small, but important to me complaint, James Douglas is represented by a generic saltire and not his coat of arms, that will be the first change and I have the technology and skills to do it, a saltire indeed for the Black Douglas. (When looking for 100 famous black Britons a few years back the Good Sir James (he was only the Black to his enemies) was mentioned, I wonder if they thought the Red Douglas's were native Americans?)

So already I am thinking of introducing the Isles, Macdougall and an English fleet without even having played the game, so I shall have to rein in my enthusiasm until I play a few rounds.

Oh, and you can keep your Balliol supporting William Wallace, "A Bruce, a Bruce!"

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 11

 As the days passed on leaving Mombasa the effects of our short stay began to show themselves, the Sickbay was right across the passage from the Radio Room and it became a struggle each morning for the Forenoon Watch to get to the door as the queue outside the Doc's got larger and larger filled with anxious Matelots with dodgy privates. Now the shame of getting a 'dose' for me would have been mortifying but for some of our veterans it was treated as of no more consequence than a cold.

Friday the 17th found us off the island of Masirah after dark, all around us were fishing boats involved in what we found out was a turtle hunt, the skipper decided to help by turning our 20" signal lights on the surface of the sea, that is 20,000,000 candle power, a small searchlight in other words.

Two days later we anchored at a place called Khor-Al-Quwai, off the Iranian coast, reputedly the hottest place on earth, there is no doubt that this area was hot and there was no balmy sea breeze to bring any relief when on the upper deck. Our air conditioning broke down a couple of times and if you did not want to sleep on the upper deck you had to lay towels along your bunk to catch the sweat as the mess decks turned into sauna's, extremely uncomfortable. We slipped the anchor and prepared for a Banyan, a large beach party for the ships crew with food and of course beer.

A Banyan.
 The tipple on the ship was small cans of Younger's Tartan in yellow cans, fondly known as Yellow Peril, if you were over 18 you could have three a day, so what happened was that one mess member became the 'Beer Bosun' and a locker was made available for storing the cans, then if you wanted more than three or were under 18 you simply bought them, the money going into the mess fund, sometimes there was so much beer it was stored under bunks or in shoe lockers or anywhere we could find. There was also a tradition with us that if you 'called someone round,' invited them to the mess they were given a can by all in the mess, there were about eighteen of us in the mess, you needed the afternoon off if invited to the RO's mess.

The Banyan lasted only for the forenoon and we were underway again shortly after noon. We sailed past the islands of Tunb and Bu Musa to check which flags were flying as they were disputed territory and it was our job to make sure neither rock had been invaded, not that we would probably have done much about it.

So at 0800 this morning we arrived in Bahrain and tied up alongside Mina Salman Jetty in Manama the capitol. The Royal Navy had a shore base near the port complex, HMS Juffair, which had been there since 1935 and which was a very long walk away if you had to do it and not recommended in the horrendous heat.

Tribals at Mina Salman, not us though. I would get a draft to the Nubian years later.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Summer Ost Front

Hottest day of the year so far yesterday, or so I was told, I was also told to look out for rain today but nothing so far, just a nice cool breeze. Anyway I turned up at the club to find Matt hard at work packing up all the wargame bits and pieces, and there is a lot, into boxes for a move, builders are working on the school heating system over the summer so we had to move to a different building and take what we required with us for a few months. A half hour of unintended physical labour followed, not made any better by the amount of wargamers flesh on show, shorts being the dress of the day.

Having lost time we quickly sorted a table and fought the usual three objective game, I really want to get out of the habit of this, I know it suits a club night but we tend to make tentative moves towards the easiest objective then in the last move you get a mad rush for the third. Maybe there is something wrong with me but I just cannot take to Warlord's scenarios for Bolt Action and I have not had much success getting off my bum and doing my own. Maybe it was the heat.

Anyway my force of course was short of what I really wanted but I went with a tooled up veteran squad and two normal squads, along with a sniper, MMG, flamethrower and a Marder III, I wanted to try a StuG III with a squad of riders but didn't have the points, maybe next time. We came at each other from opposite corners of the table, there was no fancy manoeuvring as we knew time was against us, Simon came on particularly boldly and threw his KV1 into action almost immediately against my sniper, cowering alone on a nearby hill. I had no option but to bring the Marder on and set it up in an ambush position to hopefully make Simon think twice about continuing his attack. It did not stop him and I loosed a shot off, bang, a hit, sadly only enough to stun the crew and bring the monster to a halt for a turn.

Meanwhile I ran two squads up the right flank towards the middle of the table, I pushed the flamer and finding a sniper in a nearby building let loose, I killed the spotter and set fire to the building so the sniper had to vacate, I was happy, I hate snipers in this game.

Simon moved his tank again with a squad of infantry in support, the Marder shot a second time but the shell bounced off, however my boys survived a hail of machine gun fire from the said tank by burrowing into the ground. The gods favoured me in the next turn as I drew several German dice out for the beginning of the move, my veterans moved forward and loosed a panzerfaust at the Russian tank but missed, the rest of the squad meanwhile decimated the nearest Russian troops, however they made their morale and stayed put. It was now the turn of the Marder again, this time the shot penetrated and the KV went up in a ball of flame.

As predicted we both made a run for the middle objective as we knew we were on the last move, this time my flamer failed to hit the Russians sheltering behind a nearby hedge but it remained a danger. As we got to the end of turn five Simon had two objectives and the third was contested, it became clear that if we had gone another turn it would have been one each and a contested mid objective so we called the game a draw. I was pleased with my performance, I still have a long way to go with WWII but felt I had learned some things from previous games.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

View From The WIndow

The Gods are playing with us, the School Sports was a miserable, wet disaster yesterday, it rained almost continually all day, there was one lorry in the walk through the village, it could hardly be called a parade, today it is a beautiful morning with lovely azure skies, puffy white clouds and I can see all the way to the horrible windmills halfway to Yorkshire. We passed the celebrations stuffed into the pub car park and around the swing park, it looked like a hastily thrown together refugee camp rather than a sporting event for the kids, all sodden by the incessant rain. Apathy of course is the big killer for events like this, there are hundreds of kids at the local school but many of the people who make the effort to organise the 'School' sports are not parents. The wash out this year will not help things for next year, a real shame.

While I am on the subject of rain I am reminded once again, as if I need reminding, that in general I hate people, don't worry, if the end comes there will be some room on the Ark for those who make the grade, let's just say it won't need to be as big as Noah's. We visited my son last Sunday at his new home, he had been there for two days, it looked nice, had a lovely garden, was in a well looked after neighbourhood and everyone was excited and making plans. We had a few beers and a glass of wine and life was good. The next evening he phoned and told me there was water pouring down the dining room wall as once again the rain had come, there was no way to simply put a bucket under it so a relay of towels had to be used. The culprit was the small extension roof, a roof he had specifically asked the previous owners if it leaked, no he was confidently told.

Desirable residence, open plan.

Now we find out that of course the solicitors have washed their hands of the matter with the less than helpful advice that it wouldn't be worth seeking justice or money back as it was his word against theirs. Of course his main thought after moving in was to poke a hole in the roof and seek redress before fixing on the colour of the new carpets. Then you have the money thrown at the surveyor, the person supposed to find out what's wrong, remember the bit they all get you to sign saying it is not their fault or clause I detest giving these bloodsucking leeches money for putting a picture on a website, or checking the whole house in five minutes or doing a search which has been done countless times before for the same information. All these so called professionals bring to the house buying experience is abject misery and mountains of stress.

I have a mate who was organising with great enthusiasm a wargame weekend for people to enjoy a social occasion and play games, he went to great lengths to recruit people to make an effort to come along kicking and screaming to have some fun. In the end despite the small numbers he didn't want to let them down and was just about, at great expense to himself, to sign on the dotted line when within a few hours the other day four cancelled on him. Why bother to put your name down if you have no intention of going, pulling out at the last minute is easy but leaves someone either hopping mad, out of pocket or both. People.

The wife tried to clean our new oven last week, it is a 'smart' oven, you cannot simply pick up a bottle of Cif and a cloth and set too with elbow grease, oh no, this oven needs to be programmed, locked down and left to heat up to something akin to Vesuvius on a good day as it incinerates every piece of dirt inside and after two hours when it returns to normal you can eventually open the door and marvel. Well, you could if it worked, after two hours you could have kept ice cream inside it. We bought Neff because we swallowed the blurb, so far we have had two visits to sort the touch screen on Oven 2 and now we find that Oven 1 needs a software upgrade before it will clean itself, it's an oven for heavens sake not a computer, well it is I suppose, so we await Oven 2.0. Progress.

And while we are on technology it seems that cyclists looking for that all important big win for sponsorship and fame do not need to rely on drugs alone, they can put engines in their bikes, yes engines. Someone has invented an engine so small it can fit in a bike frame and enhance the performance of an athlete, and the astonishing thing is that the authorities know and have known about this for a long time. I read that coming on top of the Lance Armstrong and other scandals in the world of top class racing they do not want another scandal so quietly ignore the engines, perhaps they can do this as they reputedly cost upwards of £2 million. In sport of all kinds these days it seems you cannot get to the top without cheating in some way.

£2 version

Volvo have said, if I read it right, that they will not build petrol driven cars in two years time, so if you have shares in Volvo my tip is to get rid of them now.

And here is a another quick one, you may have read in the media and watched on the news the item that a British man has just given birth, no, that didn't happen. And neither did the other 26 'men' around the world.

I'll leave you with another jab at sport, it caught my eye last week that the boxer Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather have a fight coming up and last week we got the now deriguer performance where they both try to unsettle each other in front of the cameras. This pantomime is like filming two kids trying to outscore each other with insults in the playground and it just looks stupid when two grown men do it (watch them shake hands at the end of the fight). Mayweather looked more like a rap star than a boxer while the disgusting McGregor wore a striped suit where, if you looked close enough, the stripes were made of the words 'F*%k You'. Classy.

Clothes don't maketh the man.

As you can tell, my karma is slightly out of kilter this week.

Thursday, 13 July 2017


I have been painting since 0845 this morning, sadly not another army but the shop front, this I hope will keep it from falling apart until the PO shut me down, but it is not a bet I would rush to take.

Anyway I am finished and sitting giving the door another wee bit of time to dry then I shall lock up for the day. So I have put my Romano-British out for their photo shoot while I wait, I shall do the Patrician Romans next week and that will give me a complete record of my four War and Conquest armies.

The British started, like the Saxons, as a small skirmish group for Dux Britanniarum but I got so entangled with the whole end of Empire thing along with the Dark Ages that I decided to expand them into a proper army. I started off with a kind of regimented look and then quickly dropped this the more I thought and read about what Britain was like once the Romans had left, not that you can simply pick up a book and all the information is laid out for you. Like anything during this period you dig into it a little and then choose your path.

As I wanted the troops to have a semblance of their Roman past about them I used almost exclusively late Roman figures, I also liked to think they were the kind of forces still clinging to an Imperial past in the bottom corner of Britain known as Dumnonia. Also in that area, perhaps the last proper 'Roman' part of Britain, were the cities of Cirencester, Gloucester and Bath (Corinium, Glevum and Aquae Sulis) who may have had their own militias along Roman lines. So my army has a place to call home, at least until 577AD when the cities fell to the Saxons and the Britons were cut off by land from their neighbours in Wales.

If Arthur was ever real this is the army he might have led, so that is always a nice talking point, in the Scarab Age of Warlords lists you get a choice between the Army of Vortigern or the Army of Ambrosius (Arthur), I have fought with both and like both but normally march with Ambrosius.

Next week it will be my last and newest army, the Patrician Romans, I do like these guys.