Saturday, 8 February 2020

Poems for Wargamers 6

Nefarious War!

Last year we fought by the head-stream of the Sang-kan,
This year we are fighting on the Tsung-ho road.
We have washed our armour in the waves of the Chiao-chi lake,
We have pastured our horses on Tien-shan's snowy slopes.
The long, long war goes on ten thousand miles from home,
Our three armies are worn and grown old.

The barbarian does man-slaughter for ploughing;
On this yellow sand-plains nothing has been seen but
blanched skulls and bones.
Where the Chin emperor built the walls against the Tartars,
There the defenders of Han are burning beacon fires.
The beacon fires burn and never go out,
There is no end to war!

In the battlefield men grapple each other and die;
The horses of the vanquished utter lamentable cries to heaven,
While ravens and kites peck at human entrails,
Carry them up in their flight, and hang them on the branches of dead trees.
So, men are scattered and smeared over the desert grass,
And the generals have accomplished nothing.

Oh, nefarious war! I see why arms
Were so seldom used by the benign sovereigns.

Li Po

French and Indian Wars update.

On the paint table nearing completion.
I have put the figures on 20 mm bases to fit the KR trays I have.
The French for the French and Indian Wars are very nearly done. Hair, buttons and bases then they are ready.
The Ivory painted coats look very nice. A slightly off-white to off-set against the white gaiters. I'm pleased with the colour.

Warlord Games French Regulars (warlordgames

Some Mohawk warriors
A lot of work still to do on these and the Hurons.

Galloping Major Miniatures (gallopingmajor)  MOH 3

Some Huron Warriors

Galloping Major Miniatures (gallopingmajor) HUR 1

Some Persians for the Early Achaemenids.

I think these are Garrison figures. Quite nice actually
I do need an officer and standard bearer for these.
Some work on the shields I would like to do.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

Charge! Or how to play Wargames (Part 1)

Charge! Or, how to play wargames was the first book on Wargames I ever encountered. It was in my local library in the mid '60's. Yet while that fired my imagination I never played a wargame for over 10 years. Not until I was in Colchester stationed at Hyderabad barracks, now demolished, with the 3rd battalion Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. In the garrison church behind the barracks the Colchester Wargames Club held their meetings. Luckily, I saw the poster and went along.
As I recall I only attended 2 sessions. These were a Napoleonic and a Renaissance game. I can't recall why I didn't go back but it was probably duty, beer or girls. Or all 3!

Roll on a few years and I'd moved to London and I bought my first two secondhand armies from a magazine advertisement. One Roman and the other Greek.

Yes. Good old MiniFigs. Where would we be without them.
These I recently sold. I never used them enough in my opinion.
Living in London at the time It was a blessing to be able to go down the Victoria to buy figures in the MiniFigs/Skytrex shop. 
But it wasn't Greek or Romans. I had read 'The Ancient WarGame' by Charles Grant. 

It was Persians! Persians, Persians and more Persians! Just about the whole list for the Later Achaemenids as prescribed in 'THE tome', WRG army list 1977 for use with rules 3000 B.C. - 1250 A.D. in 25 mm goodness.
Yes, I know. I should have gone for the Early Achaemenids. A better fighting machine with better troops. But. Ah! well!
There were some Greeks hoplites to for the Persian subjects which my youngest brother purloined on a visit. I haven't let him in the house since!
I needed opponents so then came Alexandrian Macedonian, another MiniFigs army in 25 mm. The trouble is they usually beat the Achaemenids.
Then I moved to Milton Keynes, where eventually, I met up with the Milton Keynes Wargames Club. A genial bunch but it was mostly WW2 at that time. So I decided to go solo.


Tuesday, 31 December 2019

New Year, continuing projects

I've not been one for looking back at what I've done, achieved, or not in the past year. Preferring, instead, to look forward to the coming year. But this is a first as I'm nearly up to date with the figure painting.

I've not quite finished the French for the French and Indian Wars. They aren't looking too bad. I've struggled with them to be sure but they are looking half decent now they are nearly completed. Now I have the Vallejo Ivory for the French coats I can finish them.
Sadly, I haven't started the British which I had hoped to complete before Christmas. I can start them soon though along with some Huron and Mohawk figures form Galloping Major (Galloping Major) which were a present for Christmas. Each pack containing 6 figures enough for a scouting/tracking party. The warbands can come later if I want to expand.
Also. I am awaiting some cabins as a present, so am making headway with the project on all fronts. Now I need more trees.
Once these are complete I will look to purchase some Heroics and Ros French Napoleonics (Heroics 7 Ros) for Blucher.

I've been scouring the internet for Ronin scenarios and been a little disappointed at the lack thereof. I will try a one or two.

A lot to look forward to, and happy to be on top of the lead pile.
Have a good New Year.

Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas

It's the time of year to put the figures aside for a couple of days and enjoy the Christmas period with family and friends with undivided attention. Church, carol singing and overeating are optional.

I hope your wish lists are fulfilled in whole or, at least, partially.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

To Ur is Human, AAR/Battle rport

I took time to wargame a skirmish with To Ur is Human.
Nothing grand. Plain 2' x 2' board with 4'' squares marked off with stones. I could have gone down to 2'' squares as I was using 40 mm frontages with only 1 element as a unit. Similarly to Neil Thomas' 6 unit wargame.
This is my first use of a gridded wargame so it felt a little odd.

I used the suggested amendments from 'You do not know the north' (youdonotknowthenorth) (and supported by Graham) for the chariots.  Namely, using the massed bow stats for shooting. It helped both only slightly. I kept it simple by not using javelins or spears for close combat, bow only.
I also added one die for first contacting an enemy for the four horse heavy chariots. It didn't have an effect on this game but could possibly inflict another casualty.
I used die to keep tally of casualties. Normally I would have used pen and paper.
The spectacle of it wasn't the uppermost priority, just the testing of the rules

The forces consisted of:-
2 chariot units
2 auxillia
1 heavy infantry shielded
1 medium infantry bow.

Assyrian went first advancing rapidly with the right wing chariots and the auxiliaries and heavy infantry advancing. The left wing stationary
The Egyptians advanced slowly.
Assyrians charged with the right wing chariots taking bow fire from the Egyptian chariots and javelins of the auxiliary on the way in. No appreciable effect, either in casualties or fear impact.
The rest of the Assyrian army advanced, except the bow who shot, and missed. Obviously out of range.
The Egyptians showed better morale through-out the battle. Their chariots, though charged, held up well, especially the right-wing chariots. The left-wing chariots did succumb eventually leaving the Assyrian chariots free to charge the Egyptian bow. By then the horse were blown and the impact lost,  and fight was mostly even. But being elite the chariots wouldn't back down.
The Egyptian heavy infantry charged the Assyrian bow who soon , fearful for their lives, ran. But rallied before leaving the battle. The Egyptian right-wing auxillia sent the Assyrian left wing auxillia running also. And they didn't look back until reaching Nineveh.
This left the Egyptian right-wing infantry free to engage the Assyrian heavy infantry. Who, in fright, ran. Straight into the fight between the auxillia to their right. It could only end one way with the Egyptian heavy infantry following up. And did.
The chariot battles continued  but the auxillia of the Assyrians, now flanked didn't last long.
Although the Assyrian bow rallied the battle was lost.

I found the rules quite easy to learn. The fear tests were quite even to both sides and it became easier to judge whether the fear test was passed without looking at the rules.
Each side had drops in morale, mainly due to losing the round of combat. Some, the Assyrians, due to very low die rolls on the fear test dropping two levels of morale.
But the Egyptian massed bow stood up well to elite chariots, tired though the chariots undoubtedly were. Very low rolls for these miserable creatures against the bow!

Using the increased die for combat is a good idea. Better. IMHO, than a raft of amendments.

The amendments were not critical so I think passed the test. It didn't make them super troops

A few pictures to set the scene:-

Egyptians army top most in all pictures

Assyrian right-wing chariots charge in.

Thursday, 31 October 2019

To Ur is Human

Received my copy of To Ur is Human yesterday. On first read through it is interesting.
I bought it to try out with the slightly later biblical armies, the Hittites, Assyrians, Egyptian's and the few Syrian/Hebrew chariots I have.
I like the idea of the fear factor. And the riding down of troops in the way of a charge by chariots. It sounds awfully like what nobles would do.
The use of 4 bases per unit isn't exactly my taste, as it wasn't with Neil Thomas' One hour Wargames and Ancient and Medieval Wargames.. I'll use paper records for unit casualties. After all, the armies are not large.
But that is on first reading.
Time will decide.

Friday, 6 September 2019

6 mm ECW wargame. Lords at war

As befits the leading men of the county, Lord Holland and Lord Battersby raised forces for Parliament and the King respectively.
Lord Holland raised 2 regiments of foot, 2 of horse and 2 of dragoons.
Lord Battersby raised a similar force for the king..
Having been bested in the race to secure the arms in Ashgrove, Lord Battersby set out with his small force to make his presence known in no uncertain terms.
Being aware of this, as it is no easy task to conceal a mustering of forces in the same county, Lord Holland gathered his force and went to confront the upstart on his march. Thereby saving his tenants and neighbours from unseemly ruffians upsetting their livelihoods and forcing them to into allegiance with the king.

Lord Holland had the following force:-

1 regiment of pistol, inferior. Colonel Dove (2 elements, green coats)
1 regiment of pistol, inferior. Colonel Houghton (2 elements, black coats)
1 regiment of foot, ordinary. Colonel Dierden (6 elements, red coats)
I regiment of foot, ordinary. Colonel Smith (6 elements, green coats)
I Regiment of Dragoons, ordinary. Colonel Potts (1 elements, purple coats)
I Regiment of Dragoons, ordinary. Colonel Booth (1 elements, orange coats)

Lord Battersby had the following force:-

1 regiment of pistol, ordinary, fast. Colonel Ainsworth (2 elements, yellow coats)
1 regiment of pistol, ordinary, fast. Colonel Walker (2 elements, blue coats)
1 regiment of foot, ordinary. Colonel Barlow (6 elements, red coats)
I regiment of foot, ordinary. Colonel Tyldesley (6 elements, blue coats)
I Regiment of Dragoons, ordinary. Colonel Jackson (1 elements, yellow coats)
I Regiment of Dragoons, ordinary. Colonel Clegg (1 elements, green coats)

Foot regiments are on  80 x 40 mm bases. I am counting them as double. It just looks better to me personally.
Lord Holland's force 110 points
Lord Battersby's 1118

On a bright August day they arrayed their forces on even ground near the town of Walkden. A few stands of trees was all that stopped it from being a bleak moor.
To the sound of drum beats and course shouting the armies advanced.

Lord Holland's infantry

Lord Holland set his infantry regiments in motion supported by the dragoons and pistols.
Col. Booth headed for the clump of trees hoping to gain some cover and advantage over any passing units.
Lord Battersby, feeling confident in his horse, sent them to chase the commoners horse away.
He had a little more difficulty persuading his foot to advance.

As the Royalist horse approached Colonel Dove gave the foot the order to fire. Colonels Walkers horse recoiled from the flying lead. Ainworth's horse, not wanting to be disadvantaged by the Parliamentary horse pulled back.

Lord Holland was satisfied with the early events of the battle. He was to be sorely tested later though. Strangely, he waited to see what the Royalist horse was going to do instead of pressing his advantage. Both commanders, in truth, were inexperienced in warfare. It was a learn as go war, hopefully a short one.
Col. Potts took position to shoot at the Royalist horse. He was somewhat exposed. War is a risky business and he was hoping for a little glory to brag about to his friends and impress the girls in town.
After sometime the Royalists manged to coerce their foot to advance. Col Clegg saw the opportunity to charge Potts but it was ineffectual. Potts, well aware of the risk had kept an eye out and defended well. He sent the Royalists back with their tails between their legs. But the foot were coming ever closer so he mounted and rejoined the Parliamentary lines. A hero in his eyes!
Col. Booth proceeded to the far edge of the trees to pepper the Royalists when they came within range.  When they did he found himself out shot, and retreated.
At last, a little success for the Royalists.
The Royalist cavalry had been stationary, not in range of the shot but wary of advancing because of it

Then the Parliamentary foot advanced once again. Some said Lord Holland was insistent the battle be over before before dinner, he was hungry. It may have been the clouds over the enemies lines that could let pour the rain it threatened, thereby dampening the powder. He wanted resolution this day!
The Royalist horse commanders happy to have the foot advancing in support charged again to mixed effect. With the foot in support Walker was decimated, Ainsworth persevered sending Dove packing.
The Royalist foot was closing slowly.

Royalist's at the top

Dove received the charge at the halt

Houghton, meanwhile, had manoeuvred his horse to the left wing to support Dove but had moved too late. He took position in line to charge the Royalist horse. But was a little to slow as the Royalists charged him!

The Royalist foot charged into contact and drove back one regiment but were pushed back with the other. Both successful regiments followed up, driving the advantage. Both opponents rallied and pushed back. It was hard fought until, suddenly, Tyldesley's regiment gave way and fled. Not long after followed by Barlow's. The Royalists had fled the field. The horse hearing the cheering broke off and followed the infantry from the field.

It was a bloody days work.

Lord Holland sent Houghton to follow the Royalists to make sure they didn't stop and return. He took his army back to celebrate his soon to be famous victory.
Lord Battersby cursed his regimental commanders and vowed to give the king victory in his county, come what may.

This battle was a curious affair.
Both armies showed reluctance to close with the enemy, low dice rolls for pips in reality. Lord Holland's decision not to advance was dice driven though.
I dice for initiative each round before dicing for pip points. The Parliamentary army won slightly more than their fair share. They also, usually, did better with command pips rolls also. And combat and shooting rolls! Only occasionally did the Royalists better them.
I was nonplussed when the dragoons on horse charged the dragoons on foot as to what to do! Contacting the yahoo group solved this problem. Thank you! But it seemed a curious rule that they fought on the same factor.

I may, at some point, try a different rule set. Though which one I don't know. Any suggestions will be taken on board.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

6 mm ECW mini-game

This bank holiday weekend, 24-26 August, I'd thought I'd try to get a game or two in with the ECW armies.
Rules used will be DBR
Initially, two small forces sent to secure some arms in a small town, Ashgrove. Neither force knows the other is coming and, by coincidence, have the same forces available:-
Two troops of horse and one of dragoons.(I had thought to include a regiment or two of foot but I wanted a small game).
Parliamentary horse are Pistols, inferior.
Royalists are Pistols, fast.
Both Dragoon troops are ordinary.

The tiles are Total System Scenics. Four, 1 foot square tiles bought many years ago for 15 mm skirmish gaming. You will see the two areas of rough ground, a few trees and the 'T' junction where the town is situated.
Two small farms with hedged fields complete the field of battle to come.

Thus, the two forces appear on the roads leading to Ashgrove.

Captain Hodgkiss with his Parliamentary horse and a troop of dragoons

Captain Sutcliffe of his Majesties Horse and a troop of dragoons

Both forces proceeded up the road until they spied each other.

Captain Hodgkiss ordered his dragoons forward into the filed, hoping to enfilade the Parliamentary horse. He stood at the halt waiting for them to advance.

But Captain Sutcliffe sent his dragoons through the wood. They gained the advantage and with their first salvo decimated the Royalist dragoons.

At this unfortunate turn of events Hodgkiss advanced to contact with the Parliamentary horse, hoping to settle the matter as between gentleman and commoners. Taking fire from the Parliamentary horse which impeded their impact on contact, the Royalist horse recoiled from the clash.

Hodgkiss decided that as the odds were against him, with the dragoons free on his right flank, to retire from the field.

I was sorely tempted to charge again but the dice decided the Royalists would retire in good order. Thus saving the troops for the war to come.

The Royalists didn't have a lot of luck in the dice rolls.
Perhaps they will do better next time

Sunday, 18 August 2019

Brtain's Toy Soldiers and What a Tanker!

I visited the auction house of W&H Peacock in Bedford last Friday (9th August). I hadn't been for a couple of years after it moved out of Bedford itself to a new build just off the A421. Living in Milton Keynes it just didn't seem to be worth it just to visit the auction house. I used to like walking round the centre afterwards and do a little shopping, before both the relocation and Bedford councils rapacious parking department took away most of the free parking areas.
Having a stroll round the auction house, as you do, I came across this display of Britain's in a display case.

Some nice pieces even though I don't collect them my self. I especially like the elephants and the Indian soldiers. Lovely.
Also, there was a display of antique firearms. These look just right for the north west frontier!

Whilst there I came across a box of tanks and other vehicles. New. Unopened. And my thoughts turned to 'What a Tanker'. But I'm not a WW2 sort of guy! But, boy, did I want them! After taking down the lot number the rush of blood to the head subsided. A little rationality sank back in. Better, if I was going to do WaT would be to do it in 6mm for which I have more buildings and scenery. I'm sure it's quite possible and very few tanks would be required so minimal cost. Few! A couple of hundred pounds saved. For now.

I didn't see anything else worth bidding on that day

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