Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Something I like

How did I cope before without all afternoons off, I don't seem to have enough hours in the day.

I just went in and got on with my SYW game, I got through another few moves but felt I had to call a halt and retreat. You see although I have a sign up saying I am closed with the shop front being all glass I cannot hide, so if someone batters into the door and see me they think I should do the decent thing and serve them, despite said sign. So perhaps my solo gaming will have to be done when I am usually closed.

Anyway the upshot of my starter game is that I got most things right but a couple of serious things wrong, well one main mistake, I did not have enough commanders on the table and this would have made a difference to the steadfastness of my men. As for the game itself the British were coming out as the losers and were close to breaking point, their cavalry had been beaten and swept from the field so their left flank was wide open and the 2nd Brigade had obviously got the frights as they refused all orders to advance once the Guards had retreated from Kutzdorf. The French had lost one battalion and although a couple more needed to rally they were winning the firefight.

2nd Brigade not so keen now.
Mercy buckets silver plate.

It is really going wrong for the British, outnumbered and on the back foot.

So there we have it, my first foray into the Seven Years War and it won't be my last, I can see more troops being added now after I finish all my other projects which will take about two to three weeks perhaps. In the meantime I am ordering up officers as I need at least three more for each side at the moment, maybe even four.

The first naval campaign is coming to a close, it has given four of us something to do for about a week I have another just started. I have a small action to fight and then a report to write up so it will keep me going for another day or so. I suddenly realised I needed damage cards for the ships concerned and looked out all my old naval stuff and thankfully found all my old files, but I am having a hard time opening them.

I looked online to see if I could pick up a game to play on the PC, there is only one which caught my eye and I first heard about it way back in the early 90's and for its day was off the charts, Hitlers War in Russia now titled War in the East but the £68 price tag was just too much, still.......

So I have plenty to do in the upcoming weeks, but I do miss sharing everything at the club with social interaction and a bit of a laugh and a chinwag.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

Solo, not Han or Napoleon

Where does the time go, I had a bit of a lie in, made the breakfast then sat sorting the campaigns out, which is proving great fun for me at least, for a couple of hours.

I set up my small Seven Years War forces yesterday for a run through today with the Honours of War rules from Osprey. At 64 pages many of which contain army lists it is way lighter than Black Powder which I also have sitting waiting to try, although I have read through the book I wasn't sure how things would turn out on the table. I am a member of the HoW forum and downloaded a QRS, errata and clarifications before starting a small scenario contained in the rule book, Clash at Kutzdorf. Many people have moaned about the artillery being too effective, I don't know so although you can tone it down I played the rules.

The battle has Blue force (British) being attacked in flank by Red (French) as it sits on a ridge, both are almost equal, the French are supposed to have two light infantry battalions but I don't have any of those so they were instead regulars. I just went along with the sequence of play and checked things as they turned up.

You throw dice for initiative and then the players take turns moving brigades or independent units, the same system is used for firing, once this is complete your men react depending how many casualties they are carrying, five is a rout and lifted off, four a retreat, 3 will affect your shooting, any lower and you are fine. The firing is quite brutal and you either get hardly any casualties or you get too many and you are gone or retire, so far I have had one French infantry battalion and one British cavalry squadron lifted off while a couple of others have retired. You always get one hit on a natural five using an average dice, this is brutal as your five will probably get you three or four hits anyway so that unit is retiring or gone, having said that of the two gone from the field one was from melee and one from shooting over at least half a dozen turns. You can rally these hits off but you have to be out of harms way to do it which with linear tactics is not easy, your commander can also rally off hits but I didn't get the best out of mine as you move them first before the troops so they never seem to be in the right place at the right time, something to learn. I have several questions and need another read through the book as I am only half way through the game and will pick it up again tomorrow afternoon. I enjoyed it.

As to the battle the French cautiously advanced into a firing line while their cavalry went for their British counterparts on the right beyond Kutzdorf. The British infantry too formed a line and their left hand brigade moved off the ridge while the Scots Guards took Kutzdorf, prior to this Regiment Bretagne had fled the field. The 33rd Foot now retired as did the 7th Dragoons from the victorious French horse, to make matters worse French artillery fire meant the Scots had to evacuate Kutzdorf, not everything went right for the French though as a battalion of Grenadiers de France fell back leaving both lines in disarray. More fighting to come.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Day 3, food holding out, morale good.....

Strange times, trade only just dropping off in the PO then what to do the rest of the day, it didn't even seem like this when stuck on an oil platform for three weeks, of course there were a lot of other people which is the difference.

Anyway, I have ordered up a little industrial bundle from Sarissa and once that comes I shall also build the minehead wheel given to me by the bloke in the village who cuts MDF, I don't really need more buildings but the wheel or whatever it is called is a lovely kit and deserves more than being stuffed in the corner under some books. I also have some barbed wire defences to do. Oh, don't ever buy the big windmill from Sarissa, it does not really fit in a box or a shelf or anywhere and every time you move you catch the sails, nice kit just a dreadful thing to store.

My extra Russians are now done along with a little tarting up of a large barn/store, there is a sniper team in there and the other kneeling guy has a scope on his rifle so a free sniper perhaps.

I have also just received some British and German mortar/artillery figures for the extra crew members required by Chain of Command, I also spotted a nice trio of German Feldgendarmerie which I could not resist, I think these will be based for a Jump Off Point.

I am halfway through my gaggle of civilians, these are very easy to paint and won't take long to complete, they will soon be clogging roads used by invading or liberating forces or simply trying to keep out of the way, fat chance on a 6x4.

 What about actual wargaming, well with so much spare time even if I do the odd job around the place I can still set up a game. To this end I am running two small naval campaigns roping in some of the lads from the club, my son and mate Matt, the first is running along nicely and the second is about to start, I am really enjoying these. I hope to get a couple of battles from the campaigns although these may not necessarily turn up as both sides may want to avoid a fight! I have also just today set up my small Seven Year War forces at last to try out the Honours of War rules from Osprey, it may be tomorrow before I get around to actually throwing a die but it is ready to go.

For the next couple of weeks I think it will be Solo Bolt Action, fighting some scenarios from the campaign books. Although I do have another small scale campaign in my armoury from the American Civil War and a larger one if the lockdown continues.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

In Limbo

Apart from the odd lunch and a Tuesday night I may as well have been self distancing/isolating but when your choice is suddenly taken away you want it back, the choice to sit around doing nothing if I want is important, I see that now. I still get customers coming for the odd stamp and with a shopping return, nothing I suspect which is essential, however I retreat to the 'fortress' and they keep at arms length after which I sanitise my hands, counter top and door handles, from today I have decided to only open for three hours in the morning as the village is deserted and I may as well sit inside safe than sit here and wait to see what comes through the door.

My oldest son had ordered up some hand sanitiser and masks for his old folks on the front line only to fall foul of the scum that all these emergencies allow to float to the top of the pond, the site was a scam, thankfully he got his money back. Not for them "what can I do to help" but "how can I make some dough" it doesn't matter the crises up they pop. "Pssst, want some loo roll, £40 guv".

What am I doing, well I have some troops which I am taking my time to complete, some extra Soviets and a bunch of civilians, I also have a few more on the way so I can pass an hour or so of an evening before trying to find something to watch on my four or five streaming services, where's my book? I am also looking over my Eastern Front buildings with a view to 'tarting' them up. I also rescued a couple of Dark Age carts to use as dual purpose scatter.

Dark Ages
Russian Front
I had decided to try some solo games and at last give those SYW troops and rules a run out, then thought about a mini-campaign to give me a reason to fight a battle. I had a small WWI naval campaign lying about from 1987 based on the hunting of two German warships in the Mediterranean just before the declaration of war, the Goeben and Breslau, the British had to catch them but not be defeated by them, a tall order for at least a part of the British fleet. I found my three players and sent all relevant information out. As of this morning everyone is at sea and the hunt is on, I hope the players get some fun out of this, so far it has taken up most of my morning dabbling here and there and working out orders and courses which is great.

HMS Defence, hunter.
HMS Inflexible, hunter
SMS Goeben, hunted.

The campaign only lasts for a few campaign days, involves only a small number of ships and although it works best with three players and an umpire it can work with two and an umpire. The resulting battles can of course be safely fought at home. The campaign could also be adapted for any naval rules to be honest, pre-dreadnought up to WWII. I will do a full report on the campaign at a later date, however if anyone wants a copy then let me know.

Friday, 20 March 2020

The Russian 1944/45

The Germans during the war from top to bottom identified the Soviets as 'The Russian' not Russkies as I normally tend to use, but there you go, useless info, I'm full of it.

My own Eastern Front interest lies as the Russians destroy Army Group Centre in Operation Bagration through to the last desperate fighting in the streets of Berlin. Chain of Command for now seems to stop at Kursk in 1943, the Russian list in the rule book is supposed to cover late war but it doesn't, not according to official Russian sources anyway, it is generic and as such works fine. I had to look for myself, I was going with a simple Russian Rifle Platoon and I found information on such quite quickly online, but again nothing is ever simple and we all know that official organisation normally does not extend to the experience of the front line. No matter it is a start.

So for the bog standard Soviet Rifle Platoon for 1944 we have four squads, two Light and two Heavy, the make up of the platoon is as follows:-

Force Rating: Four Sections +5
(If I have got my sums right on the Chain of Command Calculator Force Ratings for Regular troops are; three sections +0, three six man sections -4, four six man sections -1, the Command stays the same.)

1 x Platoon Commander, Lieutenant or Junior Lieutenant with SMG (Senior Leader)
1 x Deputy Commander, Snr Sgt, rifle
1 x Sniper*

2 Light Infantry Sections
1 x Section Commander, Sgt or Jr Sgt, SMG (Junior Leader)
1 x Deputy Commander, Semi-automatic rifle **
1 x Rifleman, SMG
1 x LMG
1 x Assistant for LMG, Rifle ***
4 x Riflemen, Rifle

2 Heavy Rifle Sections
1 x Section Commander, Sgt or Jr Sgt, SMG (Junior Leader)
1 x Deputy Commander, Semi-automatic rifle **
1 x Rifleman, SMG
2 x LMG
2 x Assistant for LMG, Rifle ***
2 x Riflemen, Rifle

* this was reduced from 2 to 1 sometime between summer 43 and 44, only the sniper is mentioned but for wargame purposes I would count this as a two man team, I don't know if the rules handle one man teams
** this could also have been a normal rifle but several organisations give the platoons one of these so it goes to the senior rifleman.
*** this gentleman could also have been armed with SMG

A Soviet Rifle Company had a medical team, so a medic should be added to the support options in the rule book. Rifle Battalions also had access to 82mm mortars in their make up, at least in 1943 so this too should be in the support options. Another interesting aspect here is you make the Deputy Commander a Junior Leader rather than an assistant as befitting his rank.

Now for the good stuff, just as you get this into your head this was the ideal formation on paper, by the time this got to the Front there was probably only one Heavy Section, this is quite likely because like every other belligerent at this late stage of the war even the Soviets were getting short on infantry especially the way they used them. You can also find variations of this organisation online despite each of them claiming to be from the official records however the variations are fairly small and at the end of the day you have to make a decision. The above with only three sections will probably do you until the end of the war for the Rifle Platoon, there was a new organisation for 1945 which reduced the Guards and therefore more than likely the normal Rifle Platoons to six man sections, basically three rifles, one LMG with Assistant along with the section commander. There is a good chance this did not filter through before the war ended, however if you like living dangerously and have crossed the German border it's an option.

The above all pertains to Chain of Command but could easily be used with Bolt Action or any other platoon level rule set if you are an historically minded player.

While looking around the internet I came upon this strange picture, a PzIV with what looks like severe shell damage to the turret and something very strange stuck to the gun, any ideas?

A couple of links
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0ByQYXLuttS5ZZDlHQTdRbXNpcTg/view Calculator

While I am doing my normal and keeping away from people I now have a bunch of WWII civilians and extra bits and pieces for the Germans, British and Russians to see me through the emergency, I also have tentative plans for a small industrial complex nipping away at me. If this is not enough will I have to start a new period?

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

To the skies and beyond

With the current madness prevailing I wasn't sure the club would be open last night but yes, nine brave souls weathered the storm and turned up, we meet in a local school so perhaps our days are numbered but in the meanwhile it is mayhem as normal. I have been playing Coronovirus Bingo this morning, between 0730 and 0900 I heard or read UK death tolls of 500,000, 300,000, 20,000 or 12,000, actual deaths as of typing 71. God help us if we are ever hit with a real killer, although we will have the cleanest bums if panic buying is anything to go by.

Right, on a happier note Simon and I played Wings of War, the first scenario had the French, two Spad XIII's and a Breguet 14, on a mission to pick up a spy while two Fokker DVIII's and a DVII tried to stop them. As the first bullets flew one of the DVIII's caught fire, a fine start, however he and his wingman ignored the Spads as best they could and concentrated on the two seater, the DVII found himself on the outskirts of the dogfight. The Breguet managed to land close to the spy and as he jumped in quickly turned and began to take off again, the Fokkers were still on him though and the Spad's were missing the mark on his hunters. As the two seater climbed to gain height it was all over and he crashed in a ball of flame in no-man's land. One for the Hun.

Fokker DVIII's and Breguet 14.

DVII from Jasta 18

French two-seater


Our second scenario involved the RFC and a damaged bomber trying to make it to British lines, this plane was attacked by two DVIII's who were then bounced by a British Ace in the superb Sopwith Snipe, in the first run of the game the poor bomber took two very high damage cards which ensured his early demise before the Ace could properly interfere to save him. We set this game aside and changed some of the rules for the second try. This time the Fokker's got on the bombers tail but in turn were jumped by the Ace, it turned into a race between the Germans downing the bomber or the Ace downing the two Fokkers. In the end we had misjudged again and found that the DH4 was just as fast as the German Scouts, which meant that with some manouvering to put off the Snipe the Germans fell behind and only managed to loose off long range shots. The bomber only just crossed the line damaged and on fire but he made it while both Germans planes hit the deck, the Germans had taken very severe damage from the beginning and of course one had been on fire as well which didn't help. One for the Allies. We called a halt then and headed home, as for next week, we will see.

The spy gets picked up.

In flames again as the DH4 tries to escape.

I have rescued some more scatter terrain from my Dark Age collection this time, two carts to be precise, which in order to turn into possible Eastern Front peasant wagons will only need the addition of an old mattress and a table and chairs which I have lying about. They are pulled by oxen I think but if you get that close to point it out then you are already involved a game so might be more worried about that T34 or Tiger coming your way. I am also hoping to get some of those extra artillery figures I ordered up today and maybe a civilian or two.

(Spoiler alert) I managed to watch the latest Terminator film the other night, and although I fought off the feeling of Deja Vu I enjoyed its senseless violence and set piece mayhem. Yes the three main characters were all strong women, who like me you will never meet in your lifetime, while the only man was a robot, but what really got to me was when the super soldieress, is that right, spat out the words "you don't give birth to a man, you are the leader." All Skynet or Legion as it is now has to do is drop a few spiders.......

The village has a COBRA meeting tonight in the village hall with the idea of assisting old people who have been ordered to self quarantine for their own good. I have already done my bit by assisting one old dear this morning by collecting her card and delivering her money to her. This not only goes against my reputation but shows how unfit I am as the small walk took its toll, despite me feeling 25, OK 30 in my brain I am only three years from being confined to my Casa.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

Quiet Sunday Morning.

A couple of days and I had my new vehicles done and dusted, some transport, the truck for the Russians and the 251/1 to give my Panzergrendiers a complete armoured platoon if needed, one more Opel Blitz at some point and they can also be truck mounted as was more the norm.

The halftrack is an easy build and I decided to use the half open canvas cover this time along with some of my new stowage lines, I also added a spare wheel on one side as it was that or chuck it, foliage finished the model and it is good to go. From mid to late war the grenadiers fought from the vehicles as recommended in several tactical treatises, this aspect is ignored in all wargame rules that I have used, I do not doubt you have to dismount at some point but why do that if you do not have to? I shall have to look at this on the table top. I know the British used such as mere transports, not so sure about how the Americans used them.

The truck was a bit fiddly, for me at least as I seem to suffer from dropsy these days having to scour the area around my desk for various pieces which jump from my fingers, despite this it is a lovely little model. There was a very comprehensive decal sheet with this truck most of which made no sense to me apart from red stars, so I asked on Facebook for explanations, I got some useful and a few less than useful answers. I therefore tried to look into them myself, I managed to identify a few, enough to mark my own truck up, I also noticed that parts were painted black rather than green, so suffering from Wargamers OCD I repainted parts black. I then realised my Anti Aircraft truck was all green, I fought it off for 24 hours then dug it out and painted bits black. I am now back on an even keel.

As usual the Rubicon kit had a lot of extra pieces in case you wanted a GAZ AAA rather than an AA, there was no cab but enough I thought for a nice terrain scatter piece of a wrecked truck. I think it turned out fine, better than binning it.

I also finished my two Waffen-SS LMG's which have sat around patiently waiting for me to complete the vehicles, that should be it now, I have full Infantry, Volksgrenadier and SS platoons, the former and latter can also double as Panzergrenadiers, in support I have some Volksturm squads which include Hitler Jugend. I have a couple of wish lists still for WWII, British Airborne and Hungarians but I am not getting anything else until I get more games in, whether Bolt Action or Chain of Command.

I am still continuing my small war with Pizza Express and have annoyed them no doubt by putting up a couple of photos on their Facebook page which I suspect will be deleted tout suite.

Box art,mmmmmm.
Actual pizza, meh.
Wings of War I think on Tuesday, must get off my backside and sort the planes etc. out.

Oh, for some reason my last post had problems with the photographs, I have no idea why as I did nothing out of the ordinary. You may find some of the above may disappear for a bit while I double check some things, hopefully not but..........

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Lost in the woods

Club last night and I managed to beat Julian to the corner table, we have been having a contest recently and have only just resisted camping overnight. I thought I would try a Chain of Command scenario this time from the TFL 2019 magazine.

Briefly it involves some confused fighting between American paratroopers and elements of a Kampfgruppe around the town of Best during Market-Garden. There is an 88mm gun guarding a bridge and the Americans have to destroy it to win, they are also unsure of just what their force make up will be due to the confusion. With not a lot to do and customers slowly becoming a rarity in the PO, weather, coronavirus or my grumpiness who knows, I got everything ready, typed up OOB's and orders, sorted the troops out and then promptly realised when I arrived at the club I had left the 88 on a shelf in the PO. My first chance to use the model and I blew it. We do not have American paratroopers, Rob does but he wasn't there, so we used my British.

Right from the start it looked like it was going to be an uphill struggle for the British, the patrol phase basically pins them at the eastern edge of the table with the gun at the western edge, between them and the target the German player can very quickly set up a defensive line then sit and wait. Simon put all of his troops in one area of the woods expecting to push through but of course this allowed me also to put my squads right in his path. During the shooting match which ensued one of my squads broke but it had no effect on the defence as it was quickly replaced, the British meanwhile began to lose teams and take shock which hampered their movement. When the clock struck it was obvious the gun emplacement was safe (Stuart loaned me a 37mm to stand in for the lost 88mm).

Fake 88.

"It's a long way to ......."

Real 88.

What about the game, as I said above I think it is a big ask for the Allied player, all his supports are teams and require a 1 on the command dice, they can of course be activated by a Senior Leader but we both only had one of these, so they were very busy men as we both had Junior Leaders reduced to one activation due to wounds. The German squads get one man with a rifle grenade but as the minimum range is 18" and visibility in the woods was 12" this was pointless. My forward squad got hammered with shock, I wanted to pull them back and recover but as the shock comes off your movement I would have had to get 10 - 12 on two dice to move a couple of inches, not enough to get them out of harms way, the next phase found them in even more trouble as they were pinned, and you cannot move at all if pinned which is absurd as the only choice is to sit there until you break. The Germans won but not really as the British in our game had no chance of carrying out their mission.

I finished my latest vehicles, some AA cover for the British and a couple of little cars for my commanding officers, nice kits but I found the Schwimmwagen a bit fiddly. I got a couple more the other day a 251/1 halftrack for the Germans which means my Panzergrenadier platoon is now all armoured with more 251's carrying support weapons. My Russians got a truck, they might get another at some point, these two are now in the painting queue along with my two SS LMG's which seem to be taking a back seat.

The only things left on the horizon are some extra artillery crew and maybe some terrain additions, I am thinking of a couple of ruins or a small industrial type complex, a guy in the village cuts MDF buildings and other stuff and gave me a lovely model of that tower which lowers the cage into a mine.

Monday, 9 March 2020

A Close Run Thing

I have been very lucky so far this year with War and Conquest, just over two months in and three games under my belt, and all great games despite being hammered in one. This weekend Charlie, who is an occasional visitor to the club came over and brought yet again another Norman army, it was going to be Charlie's introduction to the rules.

I would normally take my Patrician Romans against Normans as they are a fearful army under War and Conquest but this time I took my Saxon Heptarchy army, this army seems to be my default army these days. I took two hearthguard units (Gedriht), two average (Duguth) one of which was mounted as I decided to use them as skirmishers, one unit of young warriors (Geoguth), some Ceorls and skirmishers completed my array. Charlie had a typical Norman army, it was cavalry heavy, four units of knights (Milites), one of light cavalry (Pueri) supported by foot Milites, Coloni, massed archers and some skirmishers. To be successful cavalry in WAC have to be heavily armoured, tooled up and normally elite, apart from annoying skirmish types anyway, so they are more of a nuisance than a threat, although you ignore them at your peril. Also going against them is the normal size of a wargame table at 6x4, there is not a lot of manoeuver room which is why I nearly always play on an 8x5, as it was Charlie's first game I set up a 'normal' WAC game, 2,500 points on a 6x4, I did not realise he would have so much cavalry or I would have made it larger, but at the same time I think 2,500 points is the limit of Charlie's army at the moment.

On deployment the Normans put Milites on their far right, missile troops then a left wing with their infantry supported by three cavalry units. I formed my infantry in a battle line with skirmishers on both flanks and cavalry and Geoguth ready to march and defend my left. Looking across the field of battle my warriors shouted insults at the weak looking Norman infantry line, if I was quick I might swamp these guys, I had forgotten the old adage about plans and contact with the enemy.

Saxons left, Normans Right.

Both armies advance.

The opening moves went to plan, my infantry advanced, the right leading while my left flank moved to stop the Milites flanking me, the Norman light cavalry on my right were a pain and I decided to suffer the arrows and javelins of misfortune at the end of my line and send my left flank archers to the right, deja vu. I hoped the large unit of Ceorls hiding behind the hill could hold out from the missile fire and hold the flank. No sooner had the battle started than my Duguth routed a unit of Coloni archers, this caused a panic in the Norman ranks and four units including some Milites ran for the rear, it looked to be all over. Sadly for me the Normans rallied and came back and hit my victorious Duguth and began to win the melee, the archers did not come back and dispersed.

Crash of horse on steel.

I did not panic and sent one of my elite Gedright units into the fight, they were up against Coloni scum and I expected this time to sweep away both Milites and Coloni, to my horror I lost the melee, the Duguth held on but the White Horses fled (my elites both have white horses on their banners), I hurled abuse under my breath, levy for god's sake guys! They must have heard as they immediately rallied, but the Duguth had to hold on, the same was true on my left as both units of Milites crashed into the Geoguth. Once again I expected to stop then rout these haughty horsemen, but no, the Geoguth began to lose, holding on by the skin of their teeth as they made their morale throws, a battle royal.

The Normans weather the storm.

Huge melee in the centre.
  Now Charlie threw his dismounted Milites into my second White Horse unit led by the King, these lads were in shieldwall and withstood the first assault and settled in to a desperate melee with the Normans which they eventually won but soon found themselves bracing for a cavalry charge as Charlie threw mounted Milites at them this time. On the left my brave Geoguth had had enough and ran, the Norman cavalry rode them down and were now poised to attack my rear, to get some distance from them I had now advanced my Ceorls against some annoying archers and my Duguth cavalry charged the javelinmen, doing no good whatsoever. A crises was approaching.

The beginning of the end.
 My White Horses routed the cavalry and my long suffering foot Duguth in an outstanding round of combat destroyed the cavalry fighting them and at last routed the Coloni, in the ensuing mess the returning foot Milites also ran in sympathy with the rest of the army in that sector, we were looking at a Saxon victory in the dying moments of the battle. We used objective cards again and I had achieved mine but the writing was already on the wall as we looked over the battlefield.

What a great game and just goes to show what do I know, it turned into a superb fight which I could have lost at any turn. The stands of the Geoguth and Duguth saved me albeit the former eventually ran they held up the flanking Norman cavalry for so long they could not interfere with the main battle, the tremendous fight back by the Duguth ensured the Saxon victory. The Norman Coloni also deserve mention for routing my useless Gedriht, but we got them in the end. Charlie fought well and was unlucky that my guys morale held up while in several turns his did not. I look forward to meeting this army again.

Wednesday, 4 March 2020


Club last night and nothing to take except some dice and a measuring tape, Dan had agreed to umpire another I Ain't Been Shot Mum WWII game, this time it would be larger than the last game and hopefully some things wee now better understood.

This time I had drawn the Germans and stood on the defensive with two platoons supported by some MMG's, a PaK 38 and a StuG III, Simon had one full company with a Sherman troop and a Carrier troop to attack with, I was told there was another company in reserve but luckily this did not appear. My forces were to be forced from the table, so I split them all along my defense line, like my War and Conquest games on Sunday I could not give in to my normal tabletop aggressiveness. The British tanks sped down the right hand road and flanked my position, I should have given them a nasty surprise as my StuG III was supposed to turn up on their flank, but I had misheard my instructions from Dan and it was on the other side of the battlefield, duh.

Opening moves with blinds.
Where is the StuG when you need it.

As sighting rolls were made and troops turned up my MMG's began to take casualties and I lost two of them, I had not wanted to show my hand with my two platoons so they took the brunt of the enemy fire from both tanks and infantry. Dan was unsure of how Overwatch worked so it had been dropped which was bad news for me the defender as I had to sit and take some punishment before reacting. I got some satisfaction from brewing a Sherman with my panzerschreck team but they died soon after from return fire. Simon then moved his Firefly until it could shoot at the StuG and PaK, I got quite a few hits on the Firefly but nothing they could not brush off, no one did very well in that duel. I had also hit the two remaining tanks with mortar fire, but again they mainly ignored it apart from closing hatches.
The are actually in the second floor of the building.

While this was going on the British had now shown their hand and were managing to put some heavy casualties down on my platoons, my own men always felt on the back foot but despite this Dan declared a British win although I had not really been moved from my opening positions. I have my lawyers mounting an appeal.

This time the game did flow better and it went along quite well, but Overwatch is required for defenders, I also think we were getting to grips with the whole command and control mechanics, I have no problem playing the game and would like to try out some proper scenarios but I would not add it to my repertoire as I have enough to get on with at the moment.

On the home front I have completed the extra support squad for the Volksgrenadiers and only have an LMG team to finish, I also quickly put the finishing touches to some farm animals to use as scatter on my miniature battlefields.

  I have also managed to build my three new Rubicon kits, the Jeep was straightforward, the schwimmwagen a bit fiddly around the back seat with the folded canopy, it is a nice little model, I normally would not put the machine gun on it but it just looks good, on the table it will simply be the commanders car not a mobile gun platform. I have now given the British some anti-aircraft firepower with the Crusader AA, a lovely model and very simple build. I will prime these pieces tomorrow along with my last troops for the moment (two SS LMG teams) and probably have them done in a week or so.

I was called 'useless' in the PO yesterday by some young punk as he exited having got no joy due to his attitude, I waited six years to get my own back on one customer and about four for another, I can wait this one out too. Sadly I thought up all my best come backs driving to the club, far too late to calm me down.

Monday, 2 March 2020

It's all Greek to me

Mark Walker whom I have met across the table before emailed me and asked if I could be available for a couple of games, my son had to cancel yesterday so I slotted Mark in, he traveled up from Grantham which is at least a two hour drive so you can imagine how keen he is. Mark so far has brought his Spartans and Normans nothing changed yesterday, his Normans are desperate to beat my Patrician Romans, my Seleucids had managed to survive against the Spartans the last time but only just, by millimeters when it came to the count down.

Mark appeared at the door at about 0815 and we had a chat and a catch up over a cuppa, first up was the Seleucids vs Spartans, just like the last time I did not feel confident about this line up, I have not played with them often and they are simply outclassed by any Greek Hoplite army under these rules. We played at 2,500 points, so I left the elephants in the stable, do they live in stables, I took three pike phalanxes, mercenary Hoplites, scythed chariots and a bunch of supports and skirmishers with the intention of winning the flanks before the main Spartan line hit me. The terrain went against me and the Spartan flanks looked secure and they were going to take the hill in the centre before I could get there, so I decided to hold back and continue with the flank plan.

Seleucids on the left, Spartans on the right.
Massed pikes.
Spartan left.
Spartan centre.
 Very soon it became apparent the dice gods were not Seleucids, the Spartan right flank skirmishers held up two large units of mine until it was too late to get anything from them. On my right I at first did fine and whittled the very dangerous Cretan archers but not before they took out my Scythians, a Hill Tribes warband now charged my lovely (but useless) Thureophoroi, my rubber javelins found no victims and neither did my spears, they held for a couple of turns before running for the hills, I had lost the right flank as well.

Things about to turn nasty.
My own chariot attacks my mercenaries.

The Spartan advance in the centre kept coming and I saw an opportunity to sweep away a non Spartan phalanx, I hit it with a chariot and one of my phalanxes, I got a slight win, I got another before the tide turned and although my boys held for a long time they were on the way out, I simply could not kill my enemies who saved on everything but a one or two. I had thought of sending my mercenaries over to the right but decided against, I dithered with this unit until it was too late to use them. I needed help in the middle, meanwhile I saw another possible opportunity to throw a spanner in the Spartan works, I again charged with a phalanx and a chariot. The chariot failed its charge and crashed forward right into the flank of my mercenaries with extreme prejudice! Looking over the battlefield I now only had one phalanx left fighting, my right was about to get rolled up and as my last phalanx could not dent their opponents, I had certainly lost, I handed over my sword.

The end.
 Despite a couple of bad dice rounds which did not help my own efforts in the beginning my boys fought well enough but could not stand toe to toe with the Hoplites, we simply could not kill the enemy, many times I hit 10 or more but got one kill or none. My only chance really was that the first charge with the chariot in support broke their opponents, this would have opened up opportunities but it was not to be. I got nowhere in this battle and was crushed. I have had a lot of experience fighting hoplites and have reached the stage where I would be loathe to fight them again unless I too had a Greek army. Despite my whining over the army lists Mark fought well and deserved his win.

Round Two and this was more to my liking, I can handle the Western Patrician Roman army pretty well although the Normans are always a tough fight and you cannot give them an inch, I also felt I had settled in a bit better for the second game. This time I had four Legions, Hun horse archers and my Magister Militum with his bodyguard and some skirmishers. As Mark deployed his army I wondered when it would stop, his right flank had massed archers and two small units of spearmen. the left flank had the normal elite milites and way out on the left was a mounted milite unit. It looked like I was going to have trouble protecting my flanks, I left my Hun horse archers to hold the left and took the decision to move my Bucellari to the right, hopefully in time to stop the Norman cavalry hitting my line in the flank. Things went well for the Romans right from the start, at times Mark's die rolling was dire, my Hun archers polished off both units of spearmen on the left with deadly volleys of arrows as the enemy failed their morale and were both eventually dispersed.

Romans left, Normans right.
The Normans advance.

My cavalry shift to the right flank.
Steady lads.
 In the centre my skirmishers saw off the enemy skirmishers and then I marched a unit towards the flanking Norman cavalry, these began to take casualties, when my Bucellari turned up these expert bowmen helped put an end to the Normans as they were cut to ribbons and dispersed. It was now that the Norman main line moved forward, it transpired that Mark only had to hold the centre of the table to get his objective, he had almost managed it as his flanks crumbled but I fortuitously decided just then to at last advance my own line, Mark lost out by millimeters. In the last two turns I lost a Legion on the left of my line to the massed archery but at the last moment it rallied, I also held off an attack on the line and my horse archers ran amok in the enemy deployment area, I had attained my objective and had only lost some skirmishers throughout. The Normans would have to wait a bit longer for revenge.

My archers get too close to the Norman line.

What's not to like?
Almost over as I win the flanks.
The end.

 This was not the most exciting battle but I was outnumbered and had one elite unit versus four Norman elites so I would have been mad to have taken them on on their terms, hence my holding back. We played with the objective cards I am not keen on these for games here, if people travel for a game then they want a game not to lose because their army was untouched but their camp silver has been stolen.

No matter, a good days wargaming and a big thank you to Mark for taking the time and effort.

I have more War and Conquest next Sunday, Charlie is bringing his Normans for a fight, I am using my Saxon Heptarchy army, one which, unlike the Patricians will really be up against it, but it will be something different, hopefully when Charlie gets more experience in he will face my Legions at some point.