Saturday 31 October 2020

We're Back!

Still wanting to continue with some large battles I came up with the idea that as the Romano-British had foiled the Saxon attempt to bring all Britain under the Saxon heel, the last remnants of the Romans in the West saw an opportunity to regain some glory and reconquer Britain. Rob of the Britons had succumbed to his wounds from the earlier battle so Stewart of the Britons would now lead the army, the Romans arrived under Patrician Matt, desperate to gain enough kudos to perhaps dream of the Imperial throne.

The armies met somewhere in the South West, the British typical with a line up of heavy and medium infantry along with a couple of cavalry units and some skirmishers. The Romans were reliant on their Foederatii so half the army were Goths, large warbands and cavalry, the Roman element consisted of four Legions, half of which were heavy infantry and some excellent cavalry, firepower was provided by some skirmishers and two boltshooters. The British had infantry in the centre and cavalry out on the flanks, the Romans kept a tighter formation with the Legions on the right along with two units of cavalry, the Goths made up the left flank along with the bolt shooters.
The Romans advanced rapidly to take the hills to their front, the Goths stayed where they were, the British threw their cavalry forward but the infantry only slowly edged forward. The British cavalry attacked aggressivley and closed with the enemy as did their skirmishers, arrows and javelins flew and men began to die. The Roman cavalry managed to charge the British on their right and routed them while taking position on the central hill and slowly making their way up the second hill. The British commander now saw the danger and ordered his infantry to move more quickly. A desperate fight now developed on the right flank hill, the elite household Legion Lanciarii Gallicani Honoriani should have beaten the Milites to their front but the Milites refused to budge, it was now known that the British cavalry had rallied and would be back in the fight once they had reorginised, the Roman plan to overwhelm the British right after a good start now began to stutter. The Goth allies still held their ground on the left.
The main British line had now got into javelin range of the Legions and barbs began to fly, casualties mounted in the Roman ranks, having left their darts with the baggage train the Romans had no answer to the hail of steel coming at them. The attack on the right could still bring success, but despite the best efforts of the Gallicani under the gaze of their Tribune, the Milites on the hill simply could not be moved. The British cavalry now returned and were met by the Equites and another desperate fight ensued. The Goths were now ordered to advance just as the British right moved against them. The British in the centre now threw caution to the wind and attacked the Roman centre on the hill, the lighter armed Legions, Quinta Macedonica and Regii failed to stop this attack and soon ran for the rear. The Celtae Seniores met the British Dux's household troops and stood for now, back on the now aptly named Red Hill the Gallicani at last beat the Milites but were so exhausted they failed to catch and disperse the survivors.

The Goths were now in combat with the British right and looked to be winning despite the efforts of a second British household unit. The Romans now threw a desperate cavalry charge into infantry covering the British left, a valiant effort but one which failed to move the Pedyts, the Roman cavalry disengaged from the losing fight, nearby the Equites had been routed and the British pursuit brought them into position on the flank of the tired out Gallicani. The Regii had also been defeated so the Gallicani braced themselves for a last stand as the victorious Britons surrounded them. These men fought bravely around their wounded leader but it was to no avail, the Roman part of the army had been destroyed. The Goths meanwhile had routed the British right but as their leader looked toward the Red Hill it was obvious the battle was over, it was time to head back to the fleet.

Another excellent Dark Age clash and a big thanks to Stewart and Matt for taking part, especially Matt who has never played a game of WAC before, but like Rob of the Britons a veteran wargamer who knows a thing or two about tactics. Matt's plan was actually very good and was foiled by the rallying of the British cavalry which meant he had to peel off a cavalry unit to intercept them when they came back, the second problem which arose was the astounding defence by the Milites (men of the match) in the face of the Gallicani, this act gave the British centre time to advance and defeat the main Roman forces. I was kind of hoping I could continue the story line with a third battle between a revitalised Saxon army and the victorious Romans, but it was not to be.

I have an idea to go back to WWII for the next game, I have been fairly busy organising the going forward of the 'Berlin Project' and painting some Goths to upgrade their warbands so have not got around to it yet. With the country closing again soon and the awful weather I might get sorted this weekend.

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Busy Week

Had a bit of spare time last weekend and managed to get quite a bit done after a busy week, the rain is back along with the cold so I banished myself to the study, popping out occassionally to offer help just to keep in with the Memsahib and quite happy to be told no. First up was the Flak 37 from Rubicon I had already built it so it was time to paint it, I had seen one with an unpainted red primed shield and it looked good, but in the end I went for a simple Dunkelgelb base and some green squigles, I add some kill rings and kill markings which came with the model so job done. I also got to work on the crew and they were very easy, civilian dress apart from the Luftwaffe officer in charge, I also gave them all Volksturm armbands. Many of the crews mentioned in the Berlin book are Hitler Youth but you can't get them as figures, not as far as I know anyway.
I also painted up the resin ruined Opel Blitz, not the best resin model I have ever seen but it is a wreck after all. I painted this in the normal three tone late war colours and fished out some truck markings I had lying around. Lastly I moved on the Sarissa European Tram, in Berlin these were filled with rubble and turned into considerable roadblocks, I had intended to build mine as per the instructions but the cardboard sides simply did not fit, I had to cut pieces off to get them on the frame, I checked and double checked, but I could not see where I had went wrong. At this point I liked the look of what I had so I did not affix the roof. I wasn't going to fill the entire model with rubble so merely spread bits of rock, gravel, bricks and the odd shard of MDF until I was satisfied, if I say so myself I liked the effect. I did the same thing on the bases to be used with the tram, truck and 88, I sprayed them all black and then gave them a lighter dusting of grey, again I was very pleased with the outcome, I mentioned before I was unsure whether to go grey or sandstone, but I am very happy with grey.
I have also built and based the Rubicon telegraph poles and lamposts, an easy half hour, they also give you signposts to put on the telegraph poles, German in design, and also a couple of posts for them, but if you do this you will have to make new bases or take one or two from the telegraphs or lights, I already have German signposts so didn't bother with these. I also found it strange they did not do some decals for them considering Rubicon's attention to details.
Oh, and my City Ruins mat arrived, I went for grey and it looks good, some of the rubble is heroic in scale but overall it will do nicely as a base for Berlin or Budapest.

Let me stick the knife in right at the start for the new Netflix TV series 'Barbarians', I watched the trailers and it is based around the disaster in the Teutoberger Forest when three Roman Legions were wiped out. First up was the hiring of the same make up artist from Braveheart whose use of blue facepaint on medieval Scots is legendary, and secondly the use of at least three blonde, screeching, size 6 models who make short work of veteran Roman soldiers. Roman bad, Barbarian good. I am losing myself in the Roman world at the moment and painting to the ever excellent 'I Claudius', this will be at least the third time I have watched the whole series, many of the women in this tale are powerful, intelligent and ambitious without ever donning some ludicrous leather corselet, showing their tonsils and pretending to slice through a lorica segmentata. I can recommend author Ben Kane's Eagle trilogy which covers this and it is excellent.

My city ruins are on the way from Poland and the desk is clear, so all I need is some spray paint and off we go. I am nearing the end of another War and Conquest game between my son (Romano-British) and club member Matt (Western Patrician Romans)so a report on that coming next.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Please spare us from the madness

I have just read an article from Wargames Strategy and Soldiers, a real headline grabber, Challenging Historical Stereotypes, hard on the heels of other worries in the hobby, not enough women, inclusivity, diversity et al, prepare to have the joy of wargaiming sucked out of you. Enough of this hand ringing and self flagelation, I have spent fifty odd years without worrying about the periods I play, or that my opponent ticked a pile of imaginary boxes before setting up and losing myself from real world concerns with any like minded individual willing to meet me across a table. Now that is out of the way, I can report things are moving on the Berlin front, I now have a nice collection of bricks and gravel for debris, oil cans, boxes, street lamps and my mat is on the way from Milan. Several other bits and pieces are on the way and others have yet to start their journey, the main buildings for instance. While ordering the street lamps from Rubicon I bit the bullet and also ordered up an 88mm flak gun, quite a few of these were in Berlin during the battle so I may as well have one as well. I ordered the Rubicon one but got the crew from Empress Miniatures as an early war German crew were no good to me and civvies were the next best thing. The model and the new crew are all first class.
Since completing my small industrial unit and using it in a scenario I realised I needed a fence for it, Andy Duffell over at Tiny Hordes Blog had put together a chain link fence and it looked good, so I kept his article in mind and a couple of weeks ago I went past a place I normally do not go near, a DIY store, it was a WIckes and had a lot of different sheets of what we sould describe as model fencing, it escapes me what they call it. I got a large piece for around £6. I remembered I had some MDF bases lying around so cut them up into long strips, to these I attached matchsticks and then glued the 'fence', this I had cut into strips to fit the MDF and around 40mm high. I used Evostick wood glue and clothing pegs to hold it all together, once this chore was done I spray painted everything grey, drybrushed with steel then again with rust, I added a couple of barrels and a tyre I had lying around. Andy went a step further and put hinges on his gates, I didn't.
You know I upgraded my warbands a few weeks ago, well I forgot two, the Western Patrician Romans have two, so another order off to Footsore and Little Big Man Studios as all my old transfers have fused together it being several years since I bought them, I also of course had to order new bases, so a bit of a side step. Along with this I now have a small lead mountain gathering which is unusual for me, two SYW battalions and a couple of limbers are also in the 'ready use locker' patiently waiting. At the moment I am painting up the 88mm crew and will then do the gun, hopefully by then my buildings will have turned up. I have just finished Sicily 43 by James Holland and bought David Glantz's When Titans Clash, he is an acknowledged expert on the Eastern Front if not thee expert and as I have worked with him on an Atlas and with my recent turn to the East, I thought it would be a good idea to read some. Now back to Sicily 43, like Burma 44 I did not enjoy it as much as Normandy 44 and to be really honest I was glad to finish it. I only came away with two things which stood out, Patton was very strange and the poor Paratroops and Airborne men had a dreadful time of it, mostly due to poor planning and training of transport pilots and not the enemy. At the moment I am reading The Run Of His Life (The People vs OJ Simpson) about the OJ Simpson trial, the TV series of the book drew me in as it was very good, I just had to read the book.
I have been lost recently for something to watch, because it won so many awards I decided to give Schitt's Creek another chance, no, it needs flushing. I have gone back to Misfits and started binge watching it again, great stuff, a classic. I have found Criminal which I had kept flicking past, big mistake, really enjoyed it, so much I am now watching the French one and will continue with the Spanish series when done with that. I am keeping the new series of The Boys as a treat to myself when I can steal the telly for a couple of nights.
At the moment I am running another Dark Age game by email so a report on that next week probably, bits and pieces with maps, doing some scenario maps for an upcoming set of wargame rules and I have been asked if I would be interested in doing maps for a Sci-Fi author, now that will be interesting if it gets off the ground (see what I did there.)

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Rob of the Britons v Rob of the Saxons

With my new upgraded warbands ready to take to the field I decided to play another by email War and Conquest game but this time using my Dark Age armies, no fancy troop types no fancy tactics just a good old fashioned slugfest with the last man standing being the winner. Rob Broom (Rob B) was once again happy to play but I wanted to sit this one out and offered the part of the Romano-British commander to mate Rob Martin (Rob M). Rob B of course is a WAC veteran while Rob M up until now had only played one game, he is however a veteran wargamer and I would keep him abreast of the rules. The Saxons chose two cavalry units and five battle formations supported by skirmishers and Pict mercenaries, the British although the larger army had not upgraded many of their formations and also took several untrustworthy Pedyt units with low morale to make a second line of battle, they did take two Comitatus units, one foot and one mounted led by the Dux himself, the Saxon king was surrounded by his hearthguard and noble Gedriht. From the deployment the Saxons were counting on an attack on the British left while Rob M seemed set on taking the hills to his front.
Sure enough the opening moves went as expected, the only thing which suprised me was the British moving their mounted Milites to the left flank, to me this meant the Saxon left did not need to worry about being outflanked or harrassed by the British cavalry and could possibly in their turn harrass the British right. The centre lines of both armies now found themselves facing each other from the hills, the Saxon flank attack had swept away some British skirmishers but left themselves open to the slingshots from more enemy skirmishers. The British second line was now moving in support of the main line. The battle had reached a crises and whoever got the initiative for the next turn would get a jump on the enemy, it was the Dux.
The British line leapt forward and although they had the advantage the Saxon King held his ground as did his young warriors close by, the Duguth along the line holding the hill with every advantage were unceremoniously swept away by Milites 2 in a shock to the Saxon line. On the Saxon left things also turned nasty as the Dux's Comitatus moving forward caused the slingers to run taking the nearby archers with them, on the extreme left the British archers also sent the Saxon javelins packing. It was now the Saxon's turn to take the initiative, the tormented mounted Geoguth rode down the slingers but meeting Peydt 3 was too much to ask and they dispersed, the remaining cavalry threw themselves against Milites 3 while on the left the Ceorls now moved down from their safe hill and the warriors of Geoguth 2 charged the surprised Dux and his escort. Just as it looked like the Saxons had recovered the Gedriht broke from the renewed pressure of the Comitatus and they died around their wounded leader. Things were not all bad however as both Geoguth units were fighting like Trojans and the rallied Duguth and javelin skirmishers had caused the otherwise victorious Milites 2 to rout.
The fighting continued with neither side giving ground but another round saw the mounted Duguth rout off table and the hard fighting Geoguth 1 also disperse as did Milites 2 who failed to rally, although the Saxons were on the wane the Dux received a wound and his men reluctantly fled but were pursued, caught and cut down. Despite this last measure the field was definitely owned by the British.
What did I think of both sides, the British getting initiative at the crises point meant a lot to them, I was dubious about the second line of third class Pedyts, thankfully they did not have to make many morale tests, only one I think which if there had been more might have resulted in disaster. If Rob had known the rules I suspect the Romano-British army would have looked different and possibly he would have made more use of his cavalry on the right flank and left the infantry to look after the left flank but what do I know. The Saxon flank attack was a good idea but I would have led with cavalry skirmishers then the Pict warband which sadly did not get into action, the quick loss of the centre of course did not help the Saxons on the flanks and although they could possibly have done well on their left the British left just refused to buckle. So there we have it, Dark Age battles never fail to surprise and this one had its moments for both sides, some different dice scores and the result could have been very different. Many thanks again to Rob Broom for taking part and Rob Martin for volunteering to play a game which he barely knows, I got to get my armies on the field of battle and throw some dice around so we were all happy. I am thinking of doing another War and Conquest game and might be looking for a commander for a Patrician Roman army. This new Blogger is really dire and has run paragraphs together, sorry.