Sunday, 30 June 2019

Phoenix, Penrith

While the rest of Britain, from the Midlands south, basks in the hottest summer since Rorke's Drift oop here in't North it is grey, windy and on occasion rain falls, so what better to do than take in a wargame show, especially as the Morecambe Kite Festival of yesterday robbed me of two hours of my life.

Phoenix is only 45 minutes away at the Rheged Centre in Cumbria, a strange kind of place which holds all sorts of events and has a cinema, a grass roof and a very strange car park, I think it is supposed to be environmentally friendly but it confuses me, I am never sure which part I am in. This is very much a local show albeit some big names were there, Sarissa, Warlord and Colonel Bill's, the rest of the traders were much smaller outfits but there was a decent range of products if not huge. There was a small but brisk bring and buy where you buy a space and some time and then showcase your wares, most of this was GW stuff which seems to be very popular in these here parts. I thought GW and Victrix from Kendal would have been here but they were not. So for a local show not a bad turn out from traders.

Now the games, there were a few participation games, an ACW Rebels and Patriots with some very nice terrain and figures and a coastal naval game, not Cruel Seas which also had some lovely models involved. I think there was also a fantasy table of some sorts but that would be it. One of my reasons for popping along was that there was a Seven Years War game advertised, this turned out to be based on the British in India, the figures were 28mm and very nice, the terrain did not do justice to them as it was uninspiring, but maybe this is what it was. I eventually managed to ask someone who the manufacturer of some of the figures was but the gent did not know, others looked on frightened it seemed that I would ask them. I could return later when the owner was back, I said I would. Half an hour later I did get a word with the owner but it was a quick one and he then turned his back on me to converse with some other guys. I did get a good talk with the ACW guy and especially Jim from the Dumfries club who was running the naval game. I hate to say it but the 'game' side of things was not great, I feel a bit guilty saying that as we have a club 45 minutes away and no presence.

Yes I did buy some stuff, I got some blue Contrast paints, some battlefield bits from Colonel Bill and a few paintbrushes from ABC Brushes. I usually buy the horrendously expensive Winsor and Newton brushes but have found recently that some have not been up to scratch, I think they will be my last, I used ProArte years ago and I think I am going back there.

I also ran into David Bickley (Tales from GHQ) and Phil Robinson (News from the Front) up here on their hols and taking some time to bag a wargame show before heading home

Saturday, 29 June 2019

View From The Window

Its been one of those weeks where I thought things could not get any worse but every sunrise brings a new low, the politicians who I already have nothing but contempt for continue their march of hubris to bring the country to its knees.

They have listened to the Swampies, the schoolchildren, the purple rinse brigade and that plain, annoying looking girl from Sweden and made zero carbon emissions by 2050 a law. So practice your farming techniques (with due diligence to the wild life), your fire making (no coal or maybe even wood), hunting skills (checking in with PETA) and find the nearest cave and stake your claim because the new Stone Age is upon us. I cannot get over the supreme arrogance of human beings who think they can somehow change the planet, sure, keep stuff clean but the world changes, has been doing so for millions of years, why is it only the nutters are heard? And of course the lunatics think that 'our example' will have the Chinese, Yanks et al also giving up their modern way of life to march alongside us. No, they will laugh as we destroy ourselves.

Let me get this right Greta, you are twelve.................
 Our motorways are a disgrace for a modern country and journeys are almost as long I suspect as they were when people hung on the side of a coach, but no money to sort things out, however it is being poured into a black hole in order to shave ten minutes off the train journey from Manchester to London. And look around, which train company actually manages to run things efficiently, I predict that the ten minutes will come off the delay and not the journey time.

Oh and the politicos are not finished yet, from August able people with mental health issues i.e. anxiety, low self esteem etc. are to be provided with disabled parking badges, I have every sympathy with these people but they can still walk. So we could have real disabled people fighting for parking spots.

If it was ever in doubt that politicians have more interest in their parties than the country that has been dispelled with the in fighting of the two 'leading' parties and the Walter Mitty thinking of the third, how does 12 out of 650 entitle you to be the third party?

Top police woman (of course) Cressida Dick got very close to saying our Police are useless last week, this is another outfit I have lost my respect for, they find it easier to chase dead guys or people who usually turn out to be innocent for 'crimes' committed when the old King was on the throne, or pop round and inform you that your recent post/tweet might have upset someone living in their own safe space bubble. This week four of them and two vans turned up to arrest a woman who asked her useless husband to do his bit and clean his mess up. Seemingly a law was put on the books in 2015 that coercive behaviour is now a crime, like telling your husband to do the housework when he has his body to worship. I can expect a full SWAT team to pick up her indoors.

With those muscles he could surely lift a dustpan, oh and he is not Scottish, just a git in a kilt.
 Did you see the picture of the preening heads of state at the G20? Why was Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Argentina in the front row and Daisy May in the second, and why were the two unelected jokes, Tusk and Drunker there, and what about Macron, a leader whose people hate him and take to the streets every weekend to say so (no you won't find it on the BBC).

When I had to go and see the consultant with my problems down below earlier in the year I swiftly got an email from her asking me to rate my experience, why? Whenever I buy something online now I invariably get a follow up with a satisfaction survey, I bought two little pots of paint, I sent money I got them, big deal, I don't need to take time out to say how wonderful it all was, I buy all the time, get over it. It all started of course with that 0800- hows my driving nonsense, remember that, did you ever phone in? Anyway it is more direct now and you find yourself frantically locking the doors and windows as someone with a hunting knife or wheel brace let's you know they are not happy with your motoring skills. Anyway the Post Office has joined the club and would love your feedback and opinion on our services is now printed on all receipts, 0800-who cares, I don't.

I almost forgot, one more thing where we have lost the plot, the GP's have decided not to charge anyone coming from abroad for medical treatment, no matter that the NHS is another black hole for money which no amount seems to fill or improve. This lunacy means the good doctors can dodge claims of being racist, no I don't get it either. Members of my family have now all been taken off a drug which works and been given a cheap one, does it work, we will see, you can get a hip replacement quicker if you are a dog or a cat. The figures involved teeter between £200 million and £2 billion, which is it, perhaps NHS accountants should be the first out the door. In America years ago my wife could not leave the doctors surgery until I had paid the bill, in the UAE the first thing that greets you as you walk in to a hospital is the reception area where you have to show your credit card or insurance details or you don't go any further. Racist, no, commonsense yes.


I have just poked my nose outside to drink in some UV's for a few minutes before opening up, sailing past me was a local, on a bike, texting. This of course brought back to mind the idiot who, walking into the road on her phone, got hit by a cyclist then successfully sued the cyclist, you couldn't make it up. Two days ago another local on a horse passed the PO texting!

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Back to Fontenay

Quite some time ago I attempted to run a solo campaign from a Chain of Command booklet entitled Operation Martlet, it really didn't work and I made it too complicated by trying to mesh both Bolt Action and CoC. With my WWII forces looking good I decided to revisit this campaign and have roped in both Simon and my son Stewart. This time I have simply used the CoC book for the bones of the campaign but am fighting the games with Bolt Action, I am also not going into depth with how the sergeant feels about his officer or whether he has come up from the ranks or is a Hooray Henry. No doubt all interesting if you have the time but I will make it up as I go along. We are using a couple of house rules at the club and maybe a few more at Casa Anderson when we start at the beginning of July, both games I hope will be a learning curve for more of the same later. In this game I am German and in the one to come I am British.

We kicked off last night as the 11th Royal Scots Fusiliers probed the outskirts of the village of Fontenoy, waiting up ahead were troops of the 12th SS 'Hitlerjugend' under Oberscharfuhrer Braun, supported by a Panzer IV, a light howitzer and a halftrack. A nearby barn had been turned into a bunker recently by pioneers, I set up my three squads to cover my front with the tank on the right and the howitzer and halftrack on the left. I hoped the right flank would manage fine with the tank nearby while the bunker would protect my centre.

The British decided to go for my right flank and all but one squad and a sniper advanced on that side, I was not unduly worried as I brought up my tank to engage the British Sherman which was being a bit aggressive. I wanted my howitzer to start to throw shells at the Tommies but, yes, it began to fail its order tests and stayed put in a nearby orchard, what is it with that damn gun! I did start opening up with my light machine guns only to find they could not hit a barn door (maybe some of those wooden bullets that were around in Normandy). I moved up the Panzer and poked the gun around the corner of a house only to have two shots hit but bounce off the Sherman, the Sherman shot back and also missed. I needed to get some firepower to the front but the howitzer crew dithered and dallied, it was taking them an age to get through the orchard.

A sneaky little PIAT team was hopping along the side of the road in the trees and nothing I threw at it stuck, they took a shot and up went the Panzer along with my hopes of turning the tide. The squad in the nearby house were now trapped and on their own as I decided it was time to leave. As I began to retreat the British smelt blood and assaulted the surviving members of the house squad, now the Hitler Youth decided to put up a fight, the Jocks were decimated and sent packing. This was however only a brief respite and overwhelming fire put paid to the resolute defenders. So, a complete failure by Braun's men as they skedaddled back into Fontenay.

What went wrong, well not being able to put some hurt on the British as they advanced was my biggest problem along with the tank failing to brew the Sherman and in turn getting brewed itself. The useless howitzer once again proved to be useless and as things turned out it did not get a shot off, not once has that gun achieved anything on a battlefield, gah! I lost twice as many men as the Jocks and this will no doubt have an effect on how I fight the next game.

On the rules, we have dropped Tiger Fear unless it is a real Tiger, put Down back to -1 rather than -2 to hit and made it harder for a sniper to take out an entire team and weapon with one shot. Here at home I am going to try -1 for any sniper taking a second shot at the same target, surely they would hit the dirt, and don't tell me these supermen can disregard all cover end of, I hate how these are portrayed in BA.

Monday, 24 June 2019

Contrast Paints and more Waterloo

Friday was taken up with my usual day in the PO and then a torturous climb to the top of Arnside Knot on a beautiful summers evening, being shown up by the rest of the group some of whom were the other side of 80 and looked it! Nevertheless I managed to shrug off the idea I might try and do more exercise in order to get fitter. Saturday we entertained No.2 son and family and cooked a three course Vietnamese dinner, delicious. So Sunday in order to recuperate we did nothing so I took up the paint brushes and set to.

I managed to complete all the eight horses for the 4th Horse/7th Dragoon Guards and get the riders at least half way to completion. I used the Blood Angels Red on the Dragoons coats, the paint does what it says on the tin, and very nicely too, I was very pleased at the result.

The paint was rather on the thin side and it needs a good shake, I hate those pots by the way, I believe you could thicken it with some medium if you use such, I have some matt medium but the paint was fine for what I intended as it was. It will not cover a paint already on the model, so if you intend to splash it all over as I invariably do when doing a base coat then you will have to repair with white or use a normal colour for leather straps etc. If you are already a master painter you will not need to have recourse to brushing up stuff, but I am not.

Am I impressed, yes, they work for what I want and although I have white and red covered I shall be getting a blue and green as well for my SYW figures. I have seen horses done with the brown shades and they looked absolutely fine, so I may give this a try at some point although I am more than happy with my black undercoat and drybrushing technique. A welcome addition to the hobby paintbox.

What about Waterloo you ask, well I booked a tour with the Cultural Experience this morning for next June for myself and good mate Billy Stephen, it was now or never. We cover Brussels, Quatre Bras, Ligny and Waterloo itself, the tour guide is Major General Ashley Truluck, the last time I was at Waterloo it was horizontal rain and I was not in a good humour, marching out of one of the restaurants in high dudgeon and nearly killing myself climbing the Lion Mound in the storm. This time it will be different.

Friday, 21 June 2019

Waterloo: Rob

Two of our members here at Lancaster took part in what was described as the largest wargame ever (in 28mm), Rob for the Allies and Julian for the French, both put in a lot of time, effort and expense to take part in the extravaganza, including a trip to foreign parts north of Hadrian's Wall. Rob was holding around the village of Papelotte where he was credited with delaying the French until the Prussians turned up, he lost five of his twelve battalions doing so.

Here is Rob's story-

I have the honour of contributing to George’s Blog as a Guest contributor to talk about how I came to be involved in the recent Epic refight of Waterloo held at Glasgow University on 15/16 June 2019.

It is strange how quirks of fate set you on an unknown course of action. The local train service from rural Cumbria to Lancaster is to say the least erratic and with a tendency to cancel with no notice. To ensure you are able to get to a Hospital appointment in time, you normally catch a much earlier train. However it does leave you window shopping in Lancaster City Centre, not my favourite past time! So I picked up a wargames magazine in W H Smith and settled down in a coffee shop to read and kill time. I then stumbled onto an article by Dr Tony Pollard, Professor of Conflict History and Archaeology at Glasgow University. In wargaming circles, best known for his TV programme with Neil Oliver Two Men in A Trench.


The article was talking about the work His Archaeology team was doing on the Waterloo Battlefield but in particular the way the Archaeology was being used as Therapy for Veterans with PTSD. It went on to tell how they had accidentally started painting wargames figures in the evenings and discovered its therapeutic benefits not only to stressed soldiers but also to stressed out Archaeologists! It ended with a massively stupid ambition, to refight the battle of Waterloo in 28mm scale at a ratio of 1figure = 6 men. This would mean about 22,000 figures on the table Then, I hurried off to my appointment.

But a seed had been sown and in June 2018, the call went out for volunteers to provide units for the refight which was rapidly moving from an ambition to a reality. It scared the hell out of me to discover that each battalion would be made up of 72 figures and I would need to provide three battalions. My painting skills are OK but 220 Infantry figures would be madness!! For four days I dithered and hesitated and then discovered that the Commands were being snapped up. I thought this event is unlikely to ever happen again and it would be an excuse to build that 28mm Napoleonic army that I have always wanted. I Jumped ….and  agreed to take the role of  Prince Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar the 23 year old commander of the 2nd Nassau Brigade of the 2nd Netherlands Division.

Rob, bottom right red shirt.
 A year later and I have two huge boxes containing 3/2 Nassau Regiment, 1/28th and 2/28th Orange Nassau Regiments and a battery of Dutch artillery and I am carrying them into the Kelvin Gallery, the scene of the Two day refight….and I am one of over a hundred players and umpires who have donated to the Waterloo uncovered Charity, bought Polo Shirts and Dice and an army that most finished painting in the week before the battle. I am also clutching Black Powder 2 , the chosen ruleset.

The hall had four  tables which were about 80’ long and 6’ wide. the forces were placed in their historic positions at 1100 on 18th June 1815. The wargamers took the role of Brigade commanders and each Brigade had four regiments. The Brigadier provided three and a second wargamer provided the fourth regiment. The Divisional Commander was a forces veteran, usually with little wargaming experience and the wargamers role was to guide them in their decision making. That was the plan anyway! The commanders of the 2nd Netherlands Division came from Holland, Australia, the UK and Cumbria!

At the same time that the battle was raging on the main floor the galleries above had historical re enactors’, participation games, Archaeological displays  and a very big Warlord Games presence so that public visitors had other things to do than spot the bald heads of most of the players

It was a marvllous experience, truly epic in scale and ambition. It was fantastic to meet so many wargamers from so many countries. It also raised  money for a very worthy Charity. I am so grateful that I stopped dithering last June and jumped.

Red Polo shirts were the Allied commanders. Blue the French, Green the Prussians, White the Umpires (many of whom had flown in from Australia) and Light Blue the support staff who were mainly students from the University acting as war correspondents .

Thursday, 20 June 2019

An NCO and a Gentleman OBE

As I was lying reading 'Normandy 44' by James Holland last night a name came up which I had heard before, Ken Tout, whose book of being a tank crewman during WWII I had heard was a great read and a classsic. I went on to Amazon to see if the book was still available and popped Ken's name in the Search, several books came up and one popped out at me 'How Modest are the Bravest', I suddenly realised I had drawn the maps for that book at the end of last year. I had conversed with Ken, albeit by email, not realising who he was, a real Normandy veteran, Ken is still writing at 95! I feel honoured to have drawn the maps for his book, thankfully he was very happy with my efforts.

I think that is Ken second from the right.

A celebrity at the Tank Museum.

I have enjoyed Holland's book so much that I spent my Fathers Day book token today on two more of his books, I had wanted 'Burma 44' but am happy enough with what I got, I can wait for Burma. I can thoroughly recommend his Normandy book. A few years back I drew the maps for the release in English of 'A Combat History of the 21st Panzer Division' the maps came in a separate booklet, the same thing is going to happen with 'Bloody Streets: Battle for Berlin' later this year. I decided therefore to get myself a copy, I don't buy all the books I draw for, the missus wouldn't let me and I would need an extension anyway. So I looked up the 21st Panzer book and was shocked to see it retailing at £300+ for the hardback new on Amazon, I was crestfallen to say the least, I should have got one when it came out. Missus A to the rescue, she tracked down a copy for £65, I have paid for it but would have expected it by now, the sale has gone through so I will just have to be patient.

While in Kendal looking at books I also popped in to Games Workshop, unless you have been hiding under a rock lately you will have heard of the new Contrast paints, I have watched videos of them in action and thought I might have some use for them although I am an average painter and not an expert. My main thought was that they would be good for white French uniforms and I wouldn't have to make up a light grey wash which never seemed to look right. So I got one suitable for white, decided to also try red and treated myself to the old favourite Snakebite Leather. I also thought they might be good for horses but forgot all about that and did not get anything to try. As usual the guy in the shop was more than helpful and I chatted for a good fifteen minutes with him. I am looking forward to trying these out.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

Manzikert comes to Lancaster

Not a bad night last night albeit still not what I would call summer, I had a Saga campaign game to fight, we had to move rooms due to our usual room being decorated and the smell of fresh paint prompted horrible memories of the missus wanting jobs done.

I was leading my Byzantine raiders in an attack on Fran's Carolingians, after my surprise win in the last game I was if not confident fairly positive about the upcoming struggle. My first choice was a bad choice and I forgot completely how the army had faired in a training game, I went for mounted archers for the Hearthguard, I mentioned before the real army had a lot of archers both foot and mounted but this seems to have been ignored by Saga, at least in respect of their Saga abilities. We had to split our forces into two, so I put my foot archers and some Hearthguard on the left with the heavy spearmen, more Hearthguard and the Warlord on the right, my plan was to shoot to death the enemy opposite my left and then turn my men to help on the right.

The Byzantines get to put down some Saga dice before the game starts and I expected Fran to be aggressive and put them on defensive abilities, big mistake. The game started fairly well for Fran and his peasant mob with javelins started to cause casualties to the Skutatoi, not bad for a pile of Wurzel Gummidges. I  tried to get to grips with the peasants but found I couldn't do everything I wanted to, so I moved up my own archers on the left only to find they had all brought rubber arrows. The second turn proved horrendous for me as the mob slew every one of my spearmen, I also lost half of my Hearthguard on the left, so much for having numbers in shooters.

The Byzantine line, all show and no substance.
Useless archers.
Desperate charge which failed.

I threw a desperate charge into the javelin Levy, but didn't kill enough and only pushed them back, they retaliated in the next move by almost wiping out the horsemen who had charged them with another accurate volley, one man retreated. This left me with nothing to throw at the enemy who remained virtually untouched, while I only had one half decent (in numbers only) unit left, my useless archers, Fran offered to accept my sword and I handed it over. He also offered a 'fun' game as I had been defeated in record time but I had had enough fun and probably would not have recovered from any more.

The Battle of Manzikert in 1071 went down in Byzantine history as 'the terrible day' this was mine.

We had an interesting discussion on the game as we cleared thing away and Fran basically saw the game in the same light as myself although he has stuck with it and now enjoys it. Once again rightly or wrongly I found myself at the mercy of the enemy 'board' as against my seemingly useless one, it also did not help that I had set up for defence and Fran did not attack, and yes, his die rolling for shooting was exceptional. At the end of the day it was still my own fault I was fairly trounced and given a lesson, Fran hardly broke sweat. There was only one more game last night so it was pretty empty, I hope to kick off a Bolt Action campaign next week so will have to confirm it with Simon.

Nothing else on the go at the moment, I do have some new cavalry to prepare and will probably get on to that this evening. I am building up a large wish list in my head and am fighting against getting deeper into WWII, Rubicon are not helping with new kits and hints of what is coming in the future, Tiger II anyone?

Sunday, 16 June 2019

New Recruits

I finished my second French cavalry unit last week, the Apchon Dragoons, a nice red coat with light blue facings, this gives me two cavalry squadrons for each side now. It was time to order up the next batch of SYW figures and I drew back from the Grenadiers I wanted to get two more cavalry units, one each. Now I am not a big fan of painting cavalry and have reduced the squadrons from twelve to eight figures so I came up with a brilliant idea, you get two cavalry flags for the one regiment from GMB and if you just continue to add different squadrons you end up with a lot of flags left over, so why not build two squadrons instead of one. Now the really clever part is that if I ever do need a large unit of cavalry I can combine two eights for sixteen, voila!

The not so clever bit comes next, instead of ordering basically the same figures I made a mistake and ordered up a new set for the British, these will not fit as the 10th Dragoons second squadron so I had to order up another set of flags as this lot will be the 7th Dragoon Guards. I get the infantry of the SYW, light, line and Grenadiers, but the cavalry organisation I find confusing, Horse become Dragoon Guards but are not really Dragoons, Cuirassiers, Hussars, Heavy, Light etc, and there are the Gentlemen regiments, royal regiments, non royal regiments, pass me the paracetamol.

Once this cavalry are done I think more artillery then the Grenadiers, in between possible new vehicles for WWII with the new releases from Rubicon in July. I also have to settle on what I am going to use for buildings as I am getting close to having an actual game with the SYW stuff. I could go cheap and just get MDF from Sarissa, Dutch/Belgian types or the more expensive, resin I think, from Total Battle Miniatures, or I could go really daft and get them commissioned, watch this space.

I also managed to finish off my extra SS LMG teams and a couple of extra figures, I almost forgot, in amongst the stuff above I have to do two British Para squads, that will be it for WWII for now until the winter months draw in when I think I shall be looking East.

As I type Rob and Julian are in amongst it in Glasgow at the big Waterloo refight, with modern comms I know that Rob's Nassau brigade is under pressure but holding while Julian has won an 'Eagle' for destroying an enemy cavalry brigade with his artillery, so a good showing so far.

So now to Warlord's D-Day Overlord book, I have had more time to digest the contents, it is a hefty tome and I have to say worth the money if you have an interest in fighting D-Day. The information is fairly general and I don't know many wargamers to whom it will be new, it does however give a flavour to the nineteen scenarios contained within, six of which involve the British and one the Canadians, a bit of a disappointment for me considering Warlord are a British firm. I have nothing against the Yanks at all but it is a bit lop sided. There are a lot of new troop types along with weapons specific to the landings, new rules as well to cover this type of fighting, there are also 'Theatre Selectors' aimed at recreating the troops on the day for unique operations. I have my doubts about the experience given to many of the German defending units, I would suggest that the only troops who should be considered Veteran are the Fallschirmjagers and possibly the 21st Panzer Division, the 352nd Infantry for instance does not deserve to recruit Veterans, despite having a small core spread out within the division.

I would still recommend this book if you are a Bolt Action player, or even if you are not and simply want D-Day scenarios to convert. One word of warning, you will need a beach, ridges and lots and lots of defences, from large casemates to small Tobruk postions with one machine gun or mortar. During our recent Graignes game we were perplexed that entrenchments/foxholes were not covered in the main rule book but lo and behold there are such a thing, they are in the Western Desert Campaign book and in this one too, so only more money and hey presto!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Graignes 11 June 1944

Set off to the club last night thinking it was October not June, the warmest June on record seemingly, where, one small corner of Kent perhaps, take an average of the country and you will find nothing of the kind.

Anyway I digress, Rob set up a Bolt Action homage to the Normandy Landings, the scenario was based on a realistic action fought on the 11th June so it was appropriate to fight it yesterday. An ad-hoc force of paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne gathered in the village of Graignes and held up the advance of the 17th SS PzGren Division 'Gotz von Berlichengen', this, along with transport shortages and air attacks prevented the SS getting to Carentan before the 101st Airborne, making it easier to take the town and defend it.

The Americans were set up around the village church with mortars in the graveyard, some French resistance fighters were in a nearby boys school while the rest defended the road through the village. As the attacker I had to make an infantry assault first which was then supported by armour from the division reconnaissance battalion and some off-table artillery. Due to the entrenchments which the paras had dug I knew my infantry alone would suffer horrendous casualties trying to get close so I decided to wait for the armour. I did however position three squads for a move on the village when I thought it advisable, As an early support I brought on my light howitzer only to have it blown to smithereens by the Yank mortars, I desperately needed HE back up to attack the foxholes.

The church.
The village, minefield and road.

Forward and wait.

Eventually my armoured cars and halftracks turned up, but I was cautious due to what I believed to be a minefield on the road, also I didn't really need to get close with my heavy weapons. I brought in my artillery observer and a storm of steel hit the American positions, sadly not killing many but putting a lot of pins on units. I now moved my infantry squads towards the village and quickly got the upper hand here. The defending infantry were reduced in numbers and routed by a coordinated fire and assault move, the village was now in German hands.

Stummel before it caught fire and the new 234/1
The Germans about to assault the village.

The armour did not have it all its own way, two of my support halftracks were hit by bazooka rounds which either immobilised them or set them on fire, apart from giving me a small heart attack these did not unduly worry my boys. Allied Jabo's also turned up but managed only to strafe an empty field. We ran out of  time just as I was about to turn my attention to the paratroopers defending the school and church whose ammunition was beginning to run low.

The village falls.
 We had an historical result and the 17th had been held up, it had taken me quite a while to be able to rush the defenders around the village and I should perhaps been more aggressive, I certainly put my light howizter in the wrong place instead of somewhere safe. The minefield  turned out to be a dummy but it had done its job, I could otherwise have run my armoured cars straight down the road, but again there were a couple of bazooka teams which I could not ignore. Despite these excuses I was still too slow, although in my defence throwing lead at dug in troops who are also Down is pretty useless and time consuming, perhaps we were doing that wrong so I need to just check. The new Down order is by far the worst idea in 2nd Edition.

So thanks to Rob who designed the scenario and Matt who led the Americans. I got several new units/vehicles on the table so I was very pleased, I just need to learn to use them better.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Lucky Me

I have been going through a nostalgic phase recently re my Royal Navy service, Facebook groups, buying RN radio operator polo shirts and wearing my small enamel badge every day, well almost everyday unless I am wearing an expensive shirt. I have managed to contact a few guys I sailed and drank with and some I actually joined up with back in '68. Tuesday 8th of October to be precise, 1000hrs, Hawke 412 Class, D110948Y sir! OK so I cannot remember whether it is the grey bins or the green bins, but some things you never forget.

I mentioned a long time ago a set of prints following the Royal Navy from medieval times until 1900, these hung in the meeting room of the company my son works for. A few weeks ago I got a surprise phonecall from Stewart saying that if I wanted the complete set of prints (7) I could have them. These belonged to one of the owners, Mike Irwin and not the company, Mike very kindly offered them to me knowing my interest in all things military/naval and no doubt knowing I was ex-RN. The originals were hand drawn by a local architect, Harold R. Dick and are quite superb and must have been a labour of love, they are unique and a joy for me to own.

When the Post Office is closed I have the green light to turn it into a wargame room, simply avery large space with a big table or maybe two and all my toys in the one place, these prints along with my ACW prints and several others will adorn the walls.

So I have had a real red letter day, I got the prints and on the way home picked up some Wild Boar Pate, Hare Pate, Rabbit pie, liquorice wheels, Bombay Mix and some strange crisps, and guess what, the sun is shining. Nearly forgot, Barr's American Cream Soda, mmmmmm.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Patience, meh!

Yesterday was a good day for me, a splendid D-Day, our veterans were rightfully commemorated, and I got some new stuff. Isn't it a great joy to get a parcel in the post filled with hobby goodness, to fight through the armoured tape and eventually get your hands on the contents. I love it.

Warlord played a stormer and I got my D-Day book on 6th June, it is a very heavy tome, it is chock full of pictures, information, new theatre lists and scenarios. I got the book not because I am going to leap straight into beach and airborne landings but just as one of those 'in case' books, the way we used to collect rules until they got too expensive. I have already expressed my doubts about some of the lists but will get a better look later, to be honest I have also still to digest the Budapest book in detail. I am dubious about what seems to me an attempt to turn WWII into a version of 40K with all the different takes on a simple infantry squad, maybe I am wrong, we will see.

Rob is supposed to be running a D-Day themed game at the club on Tuesday, I can field enough vehicles for a German reconnaissance force but just felt something was missing. I had an idea to add a heavy armoured car to 2nd Panzer and this gave me the excuse not to wait. I ordered a Blitzkrieg model Sdkfz 231 from Great Escape Games on Wednesday morning and it arrived Thursday lunchtime, amazing turn around. It is not a kit but a resin model, as far as I know there is no kit for this vehicle at the moment, so I was stuck. The car is very nice and my only complaint which is minor to be honest is that the finish is not quite as smooth as it should be on the upper deck for some reason and when primed you can see very minute ridge lines.

I put magnets on the turret and body as it was too loose otherwise, I also added an aerial. I had the machine primed, base coated and camouflaged before going to bed, I used a sponge for the camo pattern. This morning I put on the decals, on these vehicles this is usually only the number plates, occasionally you see a national cross, it would seem crews gave their cars names as well, I am still thinking about this.

So there you have it, someone complained recently that there was too much German war material available to the detriment of the Allies, and for some reason he was jumped on and howled at for suggesting such a thing and told the Germans in fact needed more!

The French are almost there then I have to buy more!