Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Trumpet Blowing

I almost forgot in all the excitement of my holiday that quite recently one of the books for which I drew the maps has won a prestigious award from The Society for Army Historical Research as 'Best First Book'. The author, Randall Nicol, phoned me up to thank me which pleased me enormously. I am quite lucky with Helion & Co as unlike many military publishers who do not mention the cartographer I get credit for drawing the maps and quite often a mention in the foreword or acknowledgements. Randall is now working on a second book and is sure our paths will cross again.

A couple of the maps from "Till the Trumpet Sounds Again: The Scots Guards 1914-19 in Their Own Words."

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Operation Martlet: Probe into Fontenoy (Game 2)

Stalled at the first hurdle the British decided to take no chances in their second attack on Fontenoy, Cavendish had asked for more armour and was given a Churchill tank to back up his Sherman, the tanks were going to take the lead and the infantry would follow.

Again the preliminary bombardment had little or no effect apart from keeping the heads of the Germans down for a short time as the tanks rumbled forward on the British left, now and again both loosed off shots at the entrenchments in the German centre, this meant those particular Germans were to remain in cover.

Knowing the Allied tanks were the main threat Weber moved his Panzer IV forward to uncover the Sherman, his first shell slammed into the Sherman and brought it to a halt, the infantry of both sides awaited the result of the duel. Paige's crew returned fire and a lucky shot brought the panzer to a halt as it sprung a track, Sergeant Newby now threw caution to the wind and advanced the Churchill to get a bead on Weber. The six pounder shell destroyed the enemy tank, this meant both British vehicles could now shoot with impunity into the German defences, albeit the Sherman from a distance.

Cavendish saw his opportunity and pushed forward the infantry, although the main defence were still cowering in their trench the others opened up with machine gun fire, the British however got off lightly.

As it looked like the attack might stall it was Newby again who took the initiative and ran his tank up and over the nearby German defences, as he drove forward a panzerfaust hit but did not explode, the defenders, who had also taken punishment from the advancing British broke and ran. Taking advantage of this a squad rushed the German commander and his escort looking for an easy kill but instead Braun managed to fight them off and escape.

Braun's men on the flanks withdrew now that their centre had collapsed and the road ahead was clear for the British. Cavendish radioed HQ but as he looked around he could see that although the price was not as heavy as the day before, some good men would not be going home.

The tanks were needed to weaken the defences and keep the defender's heads down before the infantry attempted the long, open march to the crossroads, thankfully the Sherman had only been disabled and its gun remained a threat to the enemy. The Churchill had also been lucky knocking the Panzer IV out on its first shot, an admirable feat, its advance on the German centre was crucial in allowing the infantry to get forward, although they also did well maintaining their movement despite the amount of fire directed at them. The German fire was not as lethal as it had been the day before which helped enormously. Cavendish may need reinforcements for the next action as his squads are now down to seven men while the SS are down to six, but they still have the edge in firepower. Next, Cavendish must clear the rest of the village before pushing onwards.

Monday, 29 May 2017

HMS Tarter 4th Commission 1970 6

We left Simonstown this morning, although many of us were hoping against hope that we would stay a bit longer, a small hole had been found in the hull but it had been patched and we were on our way to do a stint on Beira Patrol, the morning was spent running up and down just offshore while the engineers checked everything was in working order, we of course were back to keeping watches, no more slacking for us. We had left three crew members behind but thanks to the trials they managed to join us before we left the area.

The Beira Patrol was supposed to stop Rhodesia, which had declared unilateral independence from the UK getting oil, now I have read the Wikipedia entry on the patrol and it sounds intense but take it from me we didn't stop very much getting to Rhodesia. In fact it was quite easy for ships to hug the coast inside international waters and we couldn't touch them, the only ship I remember stopping was one which let us to exercise the boarding party.

We hit heavy weather on the journey around the Cape and it separated the boys from the men, the Tartar had two small 'wings' or stabilizers on either side of the hull which could be deployed in rough weather, but when goffers came over the bows we had to cling on regardless. We met up with RFA Resurgent to top up with supplies for the many weeks ahead at sea, at least six by all accounts, HMS Hermione was also on patrol but we were only to see her occasionally for a sporting event called 'The Beira Bucket'. This was literally an old bucket which went to the winners of several contests which could be held at sea or on flight decks, tugs of war, deck hockey, volley ball, etc. needless to say being the unsporting type I was not fazed by these antics and kept a low profile or was on watch.

Beira Bucket

RFA Resurgent
  All of us of course were overjoyed to see mail drops by Shackleton's, who, contrary to what I said earlier were RAF and not South African, flying from Madagascar. It was going to be a long summer.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Operation Martlet Probe into Fontenoy

Lt. John Cavendish, last seen defending a position in the Western Desert now leads his Cameronians against the men of the 12th SS Panzer Division in Fonteny-le-Pesnil, his job is to clear the town, gain the road and push towards the high ground around Rauray. To aid him in this attack he has a Sherman tank, a PIAT team and a medic along with his full, up to strength platoon, the Germans on the other hand have already suffered casualties and their squads are reduced but they are also veteran fighters and have a Panzer IV on standby should it be required.

Cavendish's plan is to advance along the left hand side of the main road, take the lone building and push on through the German lines, the Germans occupy the outskirts of the town and unknown to Cavendish have fortified the building he is aiming for, he has inadvertently chosen the strongest position in the defences to assault.

The preparatory bombardment of the enemy has not helped the British but they rush towards the village, the Sherman targets the bunker hoping to rattle the men inside and make an assault possible, also mortar fire manages to cover parts of the building in smoke. As the British approach closer to the festung, Obersturmfuhrer Braun radios for armoured support and is rewarded as Oberscharfuhrer Weber's Panzer IV rumbles into view and starts to open up on the enemy using the main road. Although ordered forward just as the smoke dissipates, Sergeant Stuart cannot get his squad to move as machine gun fire pins them down, despite the best efforts of the platoon medic casualties mount.

With the minor British probe on the left held up Braun moves a squad along towards the crossroads and pours even more fire into the British huddled on the road. A foolhardy attempt by the PIAT team to rush the Panzer IV ends in disaster as the men are shot down, the British armour still concentrates on the bunker to its front, but the support is pointless as the infantry cannot approach the building. As casualties mount Cavendish gives the order to retire.

So, that's the first game over, four moves in total which took me a leisurely two hours or so. I spent some time looking up rules as it has been a while since I played Bolt Action and I replayed some orders as I realised I had not done the right thing or was being unfair to the troops and there was a better, more commonsense action for them.

What went wrong? Well, sadly for the British they picked the house turned bunker to attack and then when the moment came to assault it the assaulting squad refused to move. The German fire was also pretty ferocious as the veteran SS squads had two LMG's each and their luck was most definitely in. The positioning of the Sherman was particularly bad and despite being on target with the smoke the mortar then suddenly could not hit anything. First blood to the Germans. I apologise for the photographs as I set the table up in the living room and the light is pretty bad, I did not want people gawping through the shop windows at the saddo playing alone, they wouldn't understand.

View From The Window

Grey clouds with the possibility of rain, we got a break in the extremely hot weather yesterday but I still have a large fan in the bedroom as things are still close. The small local brewery put on its annual music festival 'Live Ale' this weekend and of course it decides to rain after several weeks of drought, it is the last day today and they might get lucky.

I, like most of the country am fairly subdued this week after the atrocity committed in Manchester by an Islamist terrorist, there, no beating about the bush with the official wishy washy, blame no one label of 'extremist' here. I do wish the government, police and media spokespeople(?) would set the likes of this nut apart from say, Buddhist, Methodist, Jehovah's Witness etc. extremists so we don't get confused about who is killing innocents. Only our leaders refuse time and time again to face up to the reality of the situation and spout such arrogant nonsense like 'no one religion is to blame'. Apart from a deluded few we all know who and what is to blame.

You know I have little or no respect for politicians, but if you doubt me, listen carefully to the speeches and soundbites from Manchester's new mayor Andy Burnham, and note what he doesn't say lest it annoy his vast numbers of Moslem voters. This is a man who traded security measures for votes.

I put a post on Facebook earlier to vent my anger, but then almost immediately deleted it, I must not join the vast banal monster that is social media, the passing on of cute cat videos, the 'pass it on if your auntie is great', save this, save that. No, it is a means of extending my hobby of toy soldiers, end of, OK I do tease my brother now and again but that's my limit, pass it on.

I did notice however that a woman married a man this week which I got the impression was some big deal.

What do you have to do in this country to get locked up or appear in court, posh student Lavinia Woodward, I thought Lavinia was on the edge of Russia, punched her date before stabbing him with a bread knife, but the judge, bless him, thought it would be unfair to derail her career as an aspiring heart surgeon to send her to jail. Perhaps she was merely revising when she stabbed him, missed the heart and got him in the leg. Lavinia not only did not appear in court, she was not even in the country being in Milan with her mum! Not even community service.

Even if you get sent to jail you don't serve the full sentence, so why give people such a sentence which sends the wrong message, instead of putting the offender down for twenty years, be truthful, give the mad axeman three years. Members of the Asian grooming gang from Rochdale are already back on their local streets after their disgusting crimes, all jailed in 2012 seven have been released early. What justice?

On the brighter side we have the Darlington couple seduced by easy cash who decided to sue their holiday hotel for illness after being contacted by the 'no win, no fee' parasites, three years after the holiday mind. The hotel bravely counter sued and, fearing the loss of all they own to pay off the hotel, the greedy morons are now trying to end their claim, but of course they are then liable to pay the parasites to get out of the deal, more like 'no win, we win'.

And this week's 'to hell in a hand basket' is the Luxembourg presidents 'first man' standing for the photo shoot with all the other first ladies at the G7, and then doing the rounds of shopping and photo opportunities with them. Oh, and will Tusk and Junker turn up at anything for a free meal.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Bank Holiday Blitzkrieg

This Thursday I finished another of my little jobs which I have dreamt up as need to do but don't actually need to do to pass the time since completing the Patricians, and deciding not to collect another army or start another period, at least for this year. It involved giving all my WWII troops and vehicles a coat of clear matt varnish, they have been varnished but this stuff (Tamiya) turns the slight sheen to a lovely matt.

I also do not have much on map wise either at the moment and as it is a bank holiday weekend and it is impossible to use the roads I will be sitting put in the shade for the weekend. I have therefore decided to actually start the solo WWII campaign which has been eating away at me for some time. I am using the Too Fat Lardies campaign booklet "Operation Martlett" so that if it is a success and I enjoy it then I can move on to "The Scottish Corridor" which slots in with the former. I also want to see how the Bolt Action rules fair under the scenarios which I have to admit seem much more realistic than those in the Warlord books which are more gamey.

The first game which I have set up for over the weekend is a British probe into the outskirts of the village of Fontenoy, my main interest in this is that the British approach is over some very open terrain against a dug in defence, I asked my friend Matt to choose the German support troops and I will probably call on him again as the campaign progresses unless I can find some poor sod to actually command the Germans at some point.

I set the table up tonight and look forward to testing things out over the coming weekend.

Looking towards the British lines.
Fonteny crossroads and the main German defence line.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Battlegroup Tobruk

Something different last night, I took part in a Battlegroup Tobruk scenario, I have seen Battlegroup Normandy or some such being played with Andy's vast and lovely 20mm armies and this I believe is the latest edition to them. I have to admit that the Western Desert campaigns leave me cold, although I am told by many that the ground was not featureless it always looks that way to me, I am also not in sway to Rommel or the Afrika Corps. I have in fact, like many historians, been looking at the Italians with new eyes, useless equipment yes, several military disasters yes, but in other cases the bad press is not deserved, but I digress.

The scale was 15mm and as the British with a suitably Scottish force supported by some Foreign Legion I had to hold a ridge and an old, fortified, police station and hold off the Axis, off table was Rob Force with a couple of tanks and some LRDG people.

The Germans swarmed on the table with infantry and at first I thought OK, that looks fine as I loosed some long range fire on them, but fairly soon on came the armour, two Italian tankettes and two PzIII's. I fired my two pounders and a Boyes anti-tank rifle at the armour and although the gunners were excellent shots none of them penetrated, on came the steel monsters, I did however manage to destroy an Italian truck with a 20mm mounted on it and then pin a lot of infantry as they closed the range.

It was now time for Rob Force to turn up and on rumbled a couple of A13's with the LRDG trucks, one tank immediately hit a minefield and was disabled, but the rest charged onward to the Axis left flank, which now stopped and readjusted. I had at last stopped one PzIII by getting the crew to panic and abandon the vehicle, however, the Italian tanks had simply marched up to my left flank and destroyed the defenders, despite again taking hits which bounced off even their light armour.

Stuarts 3D tanks.

I now sent the Legion to bolster my left and although they took out the tankettes supporting German infantry they could not stop the little monsters as they ran over one of my two pounders. The panzers were now gearing up to join in the assault on the ridge but it was time up. The Germans had grabbed one objective and another was contested, I still held two of the objectives but the overall score gave the Germans a slight win.

The game was notable for the number of single ones thrown by everyone, these prevented my hits on the tanks from brewing them up but the Axis suffered as well. Once you know the rules it would flow fairly fast I think, although we did not use artillery for this scenario, it also has some interesting mechanics. You have a force morale level and as you do or suffer certain actions during the game you take a chit, this may reduce your force morale or it may offer an air strike, a minefield, low ammo or some such which will either help or hinder you. I don't know what scale the game is pitched at but 15mm worked really well and I think if you have 20mm it will also work, but perhaps not so much in 28mm. Depending on your die roll at the beginning of the game you may not be able to do something with all your troops, however, that is an occurrence which is not as severe as in some games and most of the time you will be fine, as you lose officers your chances of doing what you want will reduce and I can live with that. By the way my command rolls were dire all game and the Axis rolls were superb, they could have had a division on the table. The British tanks were printed off by our resident 3D printer owner Stuart.

Elsewhere we had Runewars, Frostgrave, an RPG and a boardgame. I went back to my camera for this edition rather than the iPad, not a lot of difference but I find the iPad handier for some reason.

A very cluttered Runewars battle. The figures were lovely.

Monday, 22 May 2017

HMS Tartar 4th Commission 1970 5

As we approached Simonstown on the 22nd May we fired a 21 gun national salute followed by a 15 gun to the resident South African admiral, we were alongside the small naval harbour by about 0930. The weather was glorious and as many of the crew got ashore as possible as we were going to spend a long time on patrol after this particular stop. The communications centre ashore took over our signal traffic so only a few RO's were required as duty watch so as many of us as could went ashore.

First stop ashore.

 Aparthied ruled the day back then of course and I found it very strange that there was two of everything depending on your colour, we had one black lad in the crew, a stoker, and he was not allowed to wear uniform ashore, which even back then as young as I was I thought was not right, he was British and serving in the Royal Navy, why should he not wear his uniform, but it was impossible. Whenever a ship docked at a port there was usually a waiting list of invitations to party's, trips, dances etc. which, if there was a lot a notice went up and you put your name down for what you fancied. Because our young stoker was the only black bloke he had his pick of the crop when the invites turned up from the local black and coloured communities, he had a large smile on his face when we left.

On my first run ashore with the help of some mates I sneaked in an all night leave pass, something you were not entitled to until you were eighteen. Our first stop was a South African naval bar where we chatted with an old salt who was happy to get the beer in, then it was the train and off to Cape Town. Some of us had already been to local shops and stocked up on Cape Brandy for the half hour or so rail journey, I can remember several being completely legless by the time we got to Capetown, god knows what happened to them for the rest of the day, at least two RO's were among the casualties, 'Taff' Anstey and 'Lil' New I think. We headed off to the main drag and commenced a pub crawl downing pints of Castle lager, we were welcomed and spoke to by many of the locals. We got split up somewhere and some of we younger guys got lost, a dishevelled old guy promised us that if we followed him he would take us to a club or some such, all he seemed to be doing was taking us further and further from the bright lights, my sense of self preservation kicked in and I insisted we leave him and head back to safety.

At some point we ended up in a very large club where most of the crew had washed up, we found the rest of the lads and settled down in the dark, smoky atmosphere to listen to music and drink, always hoping against hope to 'trap', navy slang for charming a young woman. Later all hell kicked off, a fight started and grew as more and more people joined it, not I of course, I grabbed a nearby waiter or some such employee and told him to get the manager quick only to be informed that the gentleman 'Lofty' had by the throat was the manager. The South African police arrived and they are not the kind of people who will pleasantly inform you of their presence by "'ello, 'ello what 'ave we ere then", batons flew and people were rough handled out and into the back of Land Rovers. I managed to escape all of it, made the station and boarded one of the last trains back to Simonstown sleeping all the way.

The next morning I was hauled up for forging my leave pass, I had enough presence of mind to inform the Radio Supervisor Bart Bartlett that it was his signature on the bottom and that he should have noticed and amended the times, not wanting to make a mountain out of a molehill Bart let it slide but my next all night leave would be in December when I was eighteen, or it might have been seventeen and a half.

I had one more run ashore and it was not as eventful as the first, we got off at the wrong stop on the way to Cape Town and as we left the station we began to be surrounded by a large number of people who seemed to live around the station, they didn't look too welcoming. Lucky for us one white guy in a navy uniform had also got off the train, barked something at the locals and they disappeared back into the shadows. After this we were invited for a cup of tea by a couple of old dears while waiting for a bus, they reminded me of Hinge and Bracket the singing duo, I think we all harboured thoughts of a nubile young niece or two on the premises but we were mistaken. This time of course I had to be back by midnight so the run ashore was rather tame compared to fight night.

We stayed alongside in Simonstown for about a week then sailed to take up station off Mozambique to begin our Beira Patrol for six weeks which was supposed to help bring down Ian Smith's government in Rhodesia.

Roll on Phalanx

What a long day yesterday was, it never seemed to end and I was reduced to playing DOW III on several occasions, I did however manage to finish a terrain tile I was working on, a shattered house. I have again done it on the cheap and used what I had lying around, some red brick debris, left over parts from previous Charlie Foxtrot builds and what was left of my Warlord walls. I also looked again at the buildings I had and weathered them a bit more. I will endeavour to get them all set up and a game sorted perhaps on Thursday to see how they all go together, I am staying with the village/countryside look rather than a large town despite having seen some lovely layouts of the latter. I do still want maybe one more house and a church.

I dug through my lead mountain tin yesterday and pulled out several figures which can be added to my forces, some officers, sappers, generals etc. maybe about twenty at the most, so these will be on standby. I also aim to go back to my WWII stuff this week and possibly tart it up or repair some scratches etc then it is more varnish, the excellent Tamiya matt spray which I have just bought.

Phalanx in St. Helens is next month and this show has always been good but it is becoming more popular with traders and grows every year, I am looking forward to it, perhaps I will get that church, some new dice and inspiration. I do hope however that the excellent standard of wargames on show does not deteriorate as more traders move in as this would be a shame. I do have two gripes about the show, one involves the parking which is only just adequate now and will only get worse as the show becomes more popular, the other is the lighting. I have heard people complain about lighting at Salute but last year at Phalanx on walking into the hall I actually thought something had happened to my glasses and that perhaps I still had my driving shades on, it hits you that forcefully.

Right, I have run over time and need to get on with maps, I am back to the trenches this morning with Vietnam in the wings.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

View From The Window

Well, it's not raining and not a breath of wind although it is dull, one of the village cats slinks along the wall en route to cause destruction in an area not its owners. Two old women have died in the last week or so in the village, Winnie had served in the RN during the war and had flown in a Swordfish torpedo bomber at one point, the other reminded me of the Miss Marple actress Joan Rutherford, Ann had a tendency to pick mad dogs from Rescue which must have been a nightmare for her. I always remember one which, when she parked up to come into the Post Office simply went stir crazy in the back of the car and made more noise than a banshee. Two nice old dears.

I registered for the BBC iPlayer yesterday, the service is not going to be free in the near future so you have to have a licence and you have to register to use it, you have about four regular questions then comes the one which causes you to stop dead in your tracks, are you male, female or other? Personally I am annoyed at this but as I belong to a silent majority I can be safely ignored, what has it got to do with watching a television programme and when will these gender fascists give up and admit there are only two genders, male and female. What chance has the human race got in the future when after all our progress we have got to a stage where we are unsure what or who we are? Don't for a moment think this nonsense will not impact you, my seven year old granddaughter is now being forced to read a text book entitled "Bill's New Frock" lest she grow up to be intolerant of people who believe they are neither male nor female. There cannot be any Moslem's at her school because if there were this would never even have been discussed as being a believer of Allah trumps even gender politics.

On the subject of the believers I see that the UNHCR have taken leave of their senses and proclaimed Saudi Arabia, a country where of course women can be executed for adultery and cannot drive a car amongst other lunacies, are in charge of what passes for the department of equality for women. First the EU then the UN?

I notice the Christians are at last fighting back and getting the boot in, sadly, instead of backing the bakers hounded by the gay community for instance they have jumped on a non-starter and are trying to get the King of Twitter Stephen Fry burnt at the stake for blasphemy, I say sadly because Fry's comments were truthfull in the first instance and not many would miss him in the second.

Giant rats will become intelligent and rule the world after destroying the human race, this is my prediction to add alongside this one "Palm trees could grown in the Antarctic if climate change continues". I don't know where you stand on climate change, I believe there is climate change and it is natural, there, no doubt GCHQ are monitoring this and I shall be whisked off to the sound of a truck engine idling and the stamp of jackboots on cobbles at 2 am in the morning. That aside I am old enough to remember some forty years ago reading in a newspaper that I would soon be growing bananas, pineapples, passion fruit and dragon fruit in my back garden if I could brave the solar rays and harvest them. Yes, palm trees 'could' grow wherever and giant rats 'could' take over and on the other hand, perhaps they won't, which one would you put your mortgage on?

And if you doubt the scientists then listen up, this just in, exercise will not now help you to lose weight, I will of course leap on this gem to justify my hours spent in front of the computer shedding pounds.

Weight, OK, a family somewhere were being hailed in the press for being frugal and instead of spending a fortune on takeaways, the canny woman made her own, fakeaways, geddit? She has succeeded so brilliantly in this venture that she has also managed to fake the fat content and no doubt the increased health problems, but she has saved £3.46p.

What's your take on novelty funerals, the coffin shaped like a star destroyer or the mourners turning up as the cast of Aliens, would I be happy if my friends and family turned up as Legio XII Fulminata or differing versions of Robert E. Lee or Ulysses S. Grant? No I wouldn't. I have given strict instructions that respect will be shown and anyone not in black or chucking on their best jeans, combat jacket or trainers gets turned away at the door.

Do you remember the old days when you fell out with your mate and you shunned him in the playground until you grew up and became best friends all over again. The modern version is far more stupid, you get 'ghosted' your so called mates do not answer your emails, texts or eventually when they fail, your phone calls, this allows the penny to drop and you are persona non grata. Isn't technology wonderful.

That damn Brexit won't be happy until we slide into third world obscurity, the latest victim of all those ignorant, racist, fascist, know nothing votes was poor Lucie Jones, you remember Lucie, the girl who lost X-Factor to the two incredibly talented Irish clowns, sorry clones, Jedward. Lucie suffered Europe's backlash against Brexit by not being voted the winner of Eurovision, I feel ashamed.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Romans vs Romans

Another War and Conquest game last night, it is either famine or feast with this enjoyable game. Simon has wanted to play with Romans for a wee while now and I have always been strangely reluctant because I see the Twelfth as 'my' army and I had not used it many times myself. Now they are veterans however and it is better to encourage others to play or you end up on your own, oh, and they are still 'my' army.

Simon chose three cohorts with heavy armour some skirmishers, a bolt shooter and a unit of cavalry, I had a more balanced army and had one Palatina Legion and two Auxilia Legions nowhere near as heavy as Simon's guys, they were supported by horse archers, cavalry, two bolt shooters, and two large skirmish units. My plan was to hit the enemy cavalry unit with archery then charge them, after this the cavalry would descend on the enemy flank and rear.

Twelfth on the left, Patricians on the right.

Plan A went out the window fairly fast as Simon managed to get a charge in before I could do any damage to his cavalry, this swept away the horse archers and routed the Equites, thankfully the latter rallied off table and would be back, the enemy unit then went on to loot my camp as per his objective. The Aurelian battle line advanced and this time my skirmishers failed to move the enemy and ran for the rear I got one back for a short time but eventually it too dispersed, not a great start, perhaps I was jaded after the weekend.

"Steady lads, steady".

I duly went into shieldwall as the heavily armoured legionaries hit me, I managed to hold all along the line, the Auxilia winning their fights but the Palatina were up against veterans and lost but held. The second round of combat gave the same results, but a third round and a dreadful morale throw caused the Palatina to run, but they did manage to outdistance their pursuers, sadly though this put them in the path of Simon's remaining cavalry and I couldn't stop them getting run down. However this unit had been reduced to a mere four figures and if it lost one more it dispersed, so I wasn't really bothered about it, I had a bolt shooter tracking them.

No, sixes are bad for morale in this game, sigh.

The game ended with my Auxilia defeating their opposite numbers and my cavalry free to do what they wanted. With units lost and reduced to under half strength the game was basically a draw at that point, I think one more turn would have turned the tide, especially if I managed to get the initiative but it was home time. A really good hard slog, because I managed to hold for the first clashes my numbers helped against the armour saves of the heavy infantry, I did seem to have some dreadful luck at the beginning and things were  looking very uncomfortable for a while.

Elsewhere we had a haunted house type game run from an iPad with figures and cards, the usual boardgame with Clive and Dave, Dave gave me a t-shirt which didn't fit him, then there was a 15mm ACW and some Steampunk along with Ryan and Julian testing out the new Runewars. Next week Rob is running a Battlegroup Tobruk game which I have jumped in to.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Slaughter in Somerset: The Results

Well the weekend of killing is over with an uneventful drive home until North of Birmingham then 50 and 40 mile an hour limits with torrential rain all the way to Warton, so that's summer gone.

I had been invited down south to play four games against Jenny and Phil over the weekend so after breakfast on Saturday first up was the Twelfth against Phil's German horde. I had gone for Raw Legionaries commanded by Centurions or Generals just to bring their moral up to average, these four cohorts were supported by two skirmish units and my favourite Lanciarii along with an Auxiliary cohort, horse archers, bolt shooter and Contarii. My first objective was to get rid of the enemy skirmishers, slowly advance the infantry and if the Contarii could get into a decent position charge the German cavalry.

Germans on the left, Twelfth on the right.

German cavalry.

The lines steadily advance.
 I used the Lanciarii aggressively and took out the skirmishers on the Barbarian right and proceeded to menace the German rear, the horse archers accounted for another unit, the German cavalry were very wary of the ballista and tried to stay out of its arc of fire. With their right flank under increasing threat it was time for the Germans to test my line so in they came hoping for some quick victories, however the cohorts held and beat them back. Soon most of the barbarians were running for the rear and all I had to do was reorganise my left and sweep the area, Phil conceded and I was up 49/3.

Roman victory.
 In the afternoon the Thunderbolts prepared to meet Jenny's Celts an army with which she is very competent, but my boys were looking for revenge for a past insult. The battle started well for me and once again I threw my left forward with the Lanciarii leading, I got rid of almost all the Celt skirmishers and had my cavalry in the Celtic rear, on top of that I hit the far right hand unit in the flank, what could go wrong? Well, despite losing the combats Jenny kept making her morale tests to stand, the melees were lasting far longer than I wanted. Time was running out and neither side had gained much of an advantage, I had lost my Auxiliary cohort but they had made a titanic effort against the enemy but lost out to numbers in the end. Just as the battle came to an end I finally beat off two warbands only to have two of my own cohorts run, one the result of a dreadful morale throw and the other because I should have retired it rather than risk it being charged, but hey ho. A very close fight and I went down this time 21/24, but of course I took it as a losing draw to save face. The survivors of two cohorts were severely reprimanded later in the evening but overall the Twelfth had come through the day with honour.

A long, deadly struggle in the centre.

Fortified with an excellent fry up Jenny and I met over the field of battle once again the next morning, in order that Jenny could use her Vikings I borrowed Phil's Anglo-Saxons. once again I went for the enemy skirmish screen and got rid of them all except one persistently annoying bunch of javelinmen who proved a pain throughout the battle. This was a typical battle of the period and both lines were soon in shieldwall within javelin range and letting loose to see who would falter first, it looked like me as I suffered tremendous damage from Jenny's shooting. On my left I stupidly threw a bunch of Thegns at a shieldwall and suffered the consequences, I should just have advanced slowly and hit the Bondi in shieldwall, but I didn't. In the centre I managed at last to destroy a bunch of massed archers who had been bothering me but as my battle line suffered and my men fell I was forced to charge. It did not end well, but it was the last move, the result was bad but became even worse as Jenny had managed to pursue and get into my deployment area which doubled her score, it ended 42/11 against. Not a great start to the day but softened by the fact it was not my army and it was my first time using it.

Vikings left, Anglo-Saxons right.


I was back on solid ground in the next game, a Roman Civil War with Phil's Patrician Romans against my Patricians. I had taken four Legions, three Auxiliary and one Palatina as the core of my army, my strike forces were Goth Noble Foederati and the Generals Hun Bucellari supported by Hun horse archers. Yes you guessed it, I took out the enemy skirmishers first while my Goths went hell for leather for the enemy Germans on Phil's right, a much smaller unit than mine, those particular Barbarians had taken the wrong money as it turned out and were destroyed easily.

Rebels top, legitimate troops bottom.

The West is safe.

The Rebel Germanic Noble cavalry now tried to close with my Huns, I used their firepower to whittle one unit down to 50% and wound its officer, these troops are expensive but deadly. Both my cavalry units were now charged, the horse archers feigned flight and escaped while their pursuers made a half hearted pursuit, my Bucellari destroyed their chargers and on following up struck the flank of the other German cavalry sweeping them off the table in rout.

The enemy flanks were now wide open Goths and Huns were in the enemy rear, the usurper had no choice but to throw in his infantry and hope to break my Legions, he did manage to break one unit but the other held and soon the Bucellari came to the rescue and hit the enemy in the rear causing them to disperse. The two remaining enemy units were now surrounded by the army of the legitimate Magister Militum for Gaul and duly surrendered. I tallied the score at 47/7.

What about the points you ask, if you insist, overall I had 128 to Jenny and Phil's 76 over four games, done as individuals it was 66 for Jenny, 64 for me and 10 for Phil. We were all winners of course as we had a good weekend.

So, that was it, a weekend of wargaming using beautiful armies which the photographs do not do justice to, obviously I like mine but the other four armies were truly unique in figures, composition and painting.