Sunday, 25 June 2017

View From The Window

 The heatwave is having a hard time here in the Northwest, it is cool, dank and wet, the sky is exclusively stone grey, of course you might fry an egg on the bonnet of your car by noon, but then again probably not. The yellow car with the broken window which has been present across the road for about two months now has gone, the threat of getting towed by the council worked more than the murmurings of disgruntled neighbours. Washington House got a viewing yesterday, but by the impression on the viewers faces as they passed the PO the removals are not getting a call.

Things just get worse and worse, poor Theresa May must be wondering what can I be blamed for next. Did you notice what was different about the terror attack at the Finsbury Mosque, well, we are not being asked to come together, not blame all white people or christians, carry on as usual etc., nope, not this time, heads must roll. Did you realise Katie Hopkins, Nigel Farage, Tommy Robinson and Douglas Murray were all responsible for this latest attack, perhaps they jumped out of the van before it turned the corner. One nut runs a van into a crowd, I wonder where he got that idea, another innocent is dead, something must really be done about extremists, and right wing extremism Reg, the former in the past 23 months have killed 1,263 people, the latter one.

 What did you make of the Day of Rage, the payment must not have reached 'Rent-a-Crowd' Central because not enough turned up to fill a double-decker, despite one left wing journo counting one million and bringing central London to a halt, or was it Speakers Corner. They felt so convinced of their cause and the urge to punish the government, Trump, May, capitalists and that little guy in Yarmouth that instead they lay in the park or threw another shark on the barbie. I rage every day, I don't need a special one.

The defence rests M'Lud.............

 You might have missed in all the recent disasters that the powerful Unite union recently had their own election, and a gentleman and very senior figure called Gerard Coyne bravely put himself up against Len McCluskey. Coyne is now looking for a new job after a 'show trial' which has sacked him after thirty years for the crime of coming very close to toppling Mr. McCluskey. Democracy, you just gotta love it.
Did you see the face on Donald Tusk as he introduced the talks for Brexit, milk and sour comes to mind, he also had whined that the UK would be welcome back after it's mistake, the mistake Donald was talking about of course was the free vote on the matter by the British people. If you think we are heading for tough talks the EU have twice as much bother, the top brass want to punish us or get us back while the 27 all want their own agendas pushed for their own selfish reasons, all of them want to make a bit of capital out of City Hall during the process. Did you hear that Luxembourg pipsqueak vent his uncalled for opinion of the UK along with his Polish counterpart, all of a sudden we have to listen to places which have still to experience the '60's.

Aaaaaaaannnnd smile ..................

 The UK owes as I type, in fact I cannot keep up with the counter but I will try, £1,876,653,426,987 trillion pounds, the US figure is $18.9 trillion, in Germany it is 2.1 trillion Euros, you can imagine then the debt of basket cases like Greece, Bulgaria, Spain, Italy, Latvia etc. What I cannot understand as I was never good at maths (see how I put the s in there) is who loans these amounts of dosh, if our own countries don't have enough money where do they go for the loan? Maybe there is a god.

Serial killer Levi Bellfield is in jail but may have killed another woman and her daughter while almost killing her second girl, Micheal Stone, an unsavoury character is doing time for the murders. Bellfield could be placed at the crime with DNA, but he refuses to give a sample because although he is a serial killer and has destroyed lives he is still entitled to rights, is it just me or is that mad and in prison he should have no rights.

When I read comics my hero's were Batman and Spiderman, I still do and they still are, Superman being invincible was no fun for me, and I never, ever got Wonder Woman, sexist, maybe, it wasn't a word in the old days. Even the movie doesn't interest me and I will watch all sorts of comic based trash. I have one big question, how does this tribe of Amazon women procreate without men and seemingly last for hundreds, nay, possibly thousands of years, and are all beautiful, size 10 supermodels? Once again we are being indoctrinated into how useless we are, although that scenario is becoming frighteningly real.
I don't get the attraction ......

Have you noticed that Royal Ascot is now becoming more famous for its fights and drunks than horse racing, now there's class for you.

I told you, Dragonfly 3 to 1.

Saturday, 24 June 2017


I had hoped to get a few more troops than I did for 3,000 points, I ended up with two elite Gedriht units to which I attached my Cyning and Thegn, then some average troops with some Ceorls bringing up the rear, I also took some skirmishers, one unit of cavalry as a possible reserve and once again paid good money for Frank mercenaries, after all they had actually won their last combat so fingers and toes crossed. The Carolingians only showed up with two cavalry units despite the larger table, but they were large ones, the rest were some elites, some good infantry and a unit of fairly average troops, although the Saxons could in the main use shieldwall they lacked armour behind it.

We decided on a pitched battle between the forces and the deployment favoured me as Stewart had to basically deploy all his troops first, on seeing this I decided to lead with my left flank and centre and hold my right. This caught the enemy out and the Carolingian left was a long way from where the fighting was obviously going to happen.

Saxons on the left, Carolingians on the right.

I won the initiative in the first few turns and Stewart lost several Strategy Intervention Points trying to get it off me, I managed to chase off his right flank cavalry but my pursuers didn't pursue far enough (twice) and caused a traffic jam which did not allow the Franks to fall on the enemy flank as I had envisaged. I attacked the centre with my Cyning and his bodyguard and although winning the melee did not win it decisively, it was at this point that the Carolingian archers raced downhill at my Geoguth unit, that surprised me, what was even worse was that they thumped the young warriors who only just held.

Both sides advance.
Saxon left.
Carolingian left.
In hindsight the turning point of the game came when the archers routed the Geoguth in the second round of combat and punched a hole through my centre, both my units on either side were in combat and winning but not quick enough. I had also lost most of my skirmishers and my right began to suffer from volleys of javelins and slingshot, it did not help that one of my skirmish units blended in so well with the little hamlet that I completely forgot about them for two moves! I glanced at the dead pile and there were more Saxons on it than Carolingians, something was going wrong.

Crises in the centre.
 The Carolingian archers now turned and hit my brave Gedriht in the rear, and despite this the boys formed up around their king and fought with such ferocity they almost managed to turn the tables but the archers fought like Trojans. My second Gedriht unit defeated their opponents and one of those moments turned up, I could hit the enemy to their front with both the Gedriht and the Franks who were now in a position to do some damage or leave it to the Franks and turn on the survivors who had cut down the Cyning, they would not stand an attack by Gedriht. Yes, I chose to depend on those utterly useless Frenchies, and they were soon running for the hills.

Archers about to charge the rear of my bodyguard.

A small window of hope for the Saxons.

My whole line now apart from a couple of units and some skirmishers had gone, the Carolingian left was almost untouched and I now had nothing on my left to stop the men who had seen off the Franks, my cavalry had chased off their opponents but it was tit for tat there and it suited the enemy more than me, I threw the towel in.

It is all over.
The White Horses die with their king.

It was a great game but I made some mistakes, chief amongst which was relying on the damn Franks, the event which doomed me was the success of the Carolingian archers who were without a doubt the men of the match, close behind them came my Gedriht, who, charged in the rear, disordered and surrounded held out until they were cut down to a man.

A Rum Do

My son arrived in the early afternoon yesterday so although the table was up and ready I still had to deal with some customers before we could start, and of course I got more in yesterday afternoon than most Friday afternoons.

I explained the scenario and some of the rules as he has only played Bolt Action maybe twice before, defending he had three squads and a Panzer IV, his support was a StuG III, I matched this with my three squads and took an extra squad along with a Sherman and a Churchill, I had learned my lesson about bringing armour to the fight. I also added in a couple of armoured transports for each of us, just to make things look nice.

The preparatory bombardment went well and I pinned most of the German units and narrowly missed killing several, however most had recovered by the time I arrived anywhere near shooting distance. I brought the Churchill on first but kept it out of the way of the Panzer IV, the StuG was behind a building further up the village so I kept my powder dry. The assault gun however rumbled on to the road and fired on the Churchill, bang, one tank gone, the infantry looked around in dismay. I brought the Sherman in through the small orchard and took a shot at the StuG but the shell whizzed past into the far beyond. Stewart was being especially aggressive and on came the Panzer to get a long shot at the Sherman, and then there were none. That's that thought Cavendish.

We actually had a chuckle at this turn of events, less than an hour of play and the British were going nowhere. We had us teas and returned for another look. I deduced that the Germans should not have had the Panzer IV, it had been part of the original line up and had been taken out during the last campaign turn, so, like infantry casualties it had gone and should not have been simply replaced. We also thought we should use the Chain of Command Patrol Phase and see if we could do away with the long march of the British from the table edge.

We duly started again and although the Germans still managed to get to their original defence line from the previous game the British were at least within shooting distance and it looked like a real game was in front of us. The shoe was on the other foot this time as the German tank (this time a Pz IV) went up in flames tout suite and the Germans also lost a squad to the Churchill's machine guns. A brave attempt to knock out one of the British tanks with a panzerfaust came to nought but his mates largely destroyed an infantry squad. As we looked at the wreckage from the second turn the Germans, with only one panzerfaust left, had no choice but to make a hasty retreat, game over.

We both felt that the games had been very much an anti-climax and had somehow left us empty. The pendulum seems to have swung in favour of the British, although the infantry squads of both sides took further permanent losses the attackers can always rely on at least two tanks, and in the next game the British in theory could have three. German support options will again only allow them one armoured vehicle, perhaps I am wrong about the automatic replacing of the Panzer IV.

I might have to rethink this campaign but today is the big event which is kicking off early after a bacon sarnie or two, anyone want to bet on how many annoying customers turn up?

Thursday, 22 June 2017

The Wrong Side of History

Because the PO closes at 5.30 we are used to sitting waiting for the news at 6pm, despite knowing it probably won't last past the headlines, and to fill in the time we watch Pointless, despite ourselves shaking our heads at the subjects. I always like to test myself with geography or history but on all quiz shows now you tend to get sport or music which both mean nothing to me, the former is always what I have to answer in Trivial Pursuit when looking to win, "ask him a sports question, sport, sport!"

So, this evening when Military History came up I was prepared, however as the first battles, you got a clue, the year and the initials, appeared on screen I wondered just who had picked these simplest of questions, none would get under 70 for an answer (you have to get the lowest score in Pointless you see).

The first battles were Hastings, Little Big Horn, Balaclava, El Alamein, Bannockburn and another. One Scot had not a clue but managed to claw Bannockburn from the back of his mind while saying he wasn't sure who had fought Edward II in 1314, not an SNP or Scotland supporter then. A woman  went with Bengal for the Crimean War and Balaclava, while another went for East Africa for Montgomery's victory. The only struggle I could see with the second round may have been Plassey, but Gettysburg, Agincourt, Waterloo and the others were all gifts for anyone with an even passing interest in military history or history at all. Out of a hundred people asked about each less than a third had heard of any of them, even the most famous of British battles.

If you went to school and took anything in at all you must have heard of Waterloo at least, surely. Rod Steiger and Christopher Plummer fought there for heaven's sake.

I couldn't tell you the square root of a jam jar but I could turn it into a molotov and chuck it at a tank because they did that in the war, you know, the one we won. I honestly despair or have I just got my priorities wrong, history is important without it we have no lineage, no collective bond, we really would be citizens of the world and therefore citizens of nowhere.