David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Friday, 25 November 2022

The Spiders are roaming free...

...and the tumbleweed is rolling gently along here in GHQ! The reason for this lack of activity you might wonder? Well, Phil is poorly and Jon is busy, so I am in 'Billy No Mates' mode once more. And I can't even blame Boristhebastard this time either! To raise my spirits I thought I'd show you the Tales From GHQ calendar which I produce for my friends each year, John Aston has a full set and can tell me when this began. The theme for 2023 is the SYW featuring scenes from those games here in GHQ ~

While there's been no sniff of a game even I have been keeping morale up by sitting at the desk and painting as and when I can. My main effort is in the Red Dawn pre-release sphere. I've almost completed the Soviet Airborne troops, just a dozen left to finish off, and I've started basing those vehicles Phil was able to pass to me (thanks Diane!) before he keeled over! Our deadline for completing our task is very tight, but the text is almost written now and the in game photos are planned to our satisfaction, so the short promotional piece should all reach Dan in time. Sadly I can't post any pictures of the work, for obvious reasons.

I've also been fitting into the painting efforts a French SYW infantry regiment , Bouillon, again chosen because I liked the flags! I'm on the final four figures now so they might also be completed this month with a bit of luck!

Monday, 21 November 2022

A Slight Diversion

There I was, plodding along steadily painting SYW figures for the French regiment Bouillon, when the Postie rang the doorbell. 

I opened the door and was handed a large brown box! Now, I was expecting this, but not quite so soon, and its arrival would bring about both a sudden modification of the painting schedule and in the scale/size of subject for both Phil and me.

A part of the contents of this package from Dan at Wargames illustrated included this pre-release box from the new Red Dawn expansion of Battlefront's Team Yankee game, due for release in December and January according to their website. Phil and I have been volunteered/recruited/conscripted to paint up samples from the boxed set which will be used to illustrate a piece about the contents in an upcoming issue of the magazine, following on our piece in the November issue.

I did mention that the boxed set was only a part of the package's contents, so it would only be polite to reveal the other content as I'm sure some of you would want to know. I received the new De Luxe edition of Never Mind the Billhooks, in fact the note enclosed said it was the very first copy sent out so I feel more than privileged. It is available to buy now if you'd not already pre-ordered it.

The book is every bit the professional product that you'd expect from the hobby's leading magazine and I'm confident that it will prove very popular with devotees of the Wars of the Roses and the wider late medieval sweep of wars and conflicts. Of especial interest to me of course is a section on the Italian Wars which I hope might prove useful here in GHQ.

All this means that for now progress on the SYW expansion project, currently in the shape of the regiment Bouillon you recall, will be a tad slower than expected while I tackle 15mm Soviet Airborne troops, as well as basing up all the vehicles Phil manages to process. Worse still, tomorrow 's scheduled game is cancelled, so it's all a bit solitary here in GHQ, for the foreseeable future at least. So, KBO is the Order of the Day!

Wednesday, 16 November 2022

Lord Rawnsley's Defeat

This week's game here in GHQ featured a F&IW game, the first run through for a while with the extended and rebased collection using Black Powder 2 as the rules driver. Phil, as Lord Rawnsley, took command of the Crown's forces while I took the French as Du Merde. As usual we set the game length at twelve turns, which proved a tad on the optimistic side as it happened. Before starting we diced for Scouting, resulting in the British being out scouted and deploying first. Round one to Red Jacket and Du Merde! As usual I present a photomontage to convey a sense of the unfolding tabletop drama ~

Rawnsley deploys his regulars on his left flank, while his Provincial Infantry, Rangers and Stockbridge Tribes hold his centre.
Du Merde has his right and centre for his Regulars but on his left concentrates his Irregular forces and First Nations under Red Jacket, supported by two Small groups of Compagnies Franches de la Marine.
Du Merde wastes no time in closing with the British Regulars who are lead by a Large unit of Grenadiers. Both sides find it hard to cause significant losses to their foes though 
Meanwhile, in the centre, the Compagnies Franches de la Marine advance on the woods held by Stockbridge Tribes allies of the Crown.
Dice, Dontyajustluv'em? My volley produces two 6s & a 5, Phil's Saving Throws three 6s! Merde!!!! The British Regulars are pressing the French hard.
In an almost separate battle away on Rawnsley's right flank Red Jacket leads his War Party and Woodsmen in an attack on the isolated farm defended only by some Citizen Militia and a lone Stockbridge Tribes War Party.
The Compagnies Franches de la Marine are holding their own against the South Carolina Provincial Infantry allowing the Coureurs Du Bois to use the lane to move forward and outflank the British centre 
Du Merde 's Regulars form a firing line hoping to make their better disposition play a vital role in the developing firefight.
First Nations and Stockbridge Tribes War Parties clash around the cabin, with victory going to Red Jacket's warriors. Meanwhile, the remaining War Party attacks the farm supported by the Woodsmen.
Furious exchanges of close quarter musketry at last prove decisive as a unit of French Regulars breaks while their opposing Grenadier battalion falls back. It seems Rawnsley may defeat Du Merde at this point if he can press home the advantage.
In the Centre too developments seem to favour Rawnsley's cause  as one unit of Compagnies Franches de la Marine are driven back and the second charged by the Rangers. Support comes from the South Carolina Provincial Infantry and a War Party of Stockbridge Tribes allies.
Meanwhile in the native village Father Artois extols the many 'benefits' of French civilization to his flock. 
On Rawnsley's right events are swinging unexpectedly away from his control as both the Militia and the Stockbridge Tribes War Parties are routed from the field!
With the War Party routing on its right, the South Carolina Provincial Infantry falls back leaving the Light Companies in the woods exposed to the full fury of enemy fire. New Unit syndrome in play here I felt!
The defenders of the farm flee in panic before the ferocious attack from Red Jacket's warriors!

 The French have secured what seemed an unlikely victory as Rawnsley's resolve is shattered like his army which flees the field. Many scalps were taken it seems this day!

The game was unexpectedly over in Turn 7 when British morale collapsed suddenly. Losses on their right and centre left the Regulars on the left isolated and Shaken meaning the army was Broken. "Vive Le Roi! Vive La Nouvelle France!"
What had started as a few figures painted for review purposes has grown into a decent fringe SYW collection for games set in North America during the French and Indian War. In the main the figures are from Redoubt Enterprises, with some Galloping Major figures added lately and the odd Foundry figure. The trees and fences are from The Last Valley while the buildings are mainly either scratch built or modified MDF kits from Warbases. I hope that you have enjoyed your vicarious visit to GHQ and might feel kindly enough about our efforts to leave a comment, all feedback is valued and appreciated. Cheers!

Monday, 14 November 2022

The Colonel-General's Dragoons

My SYW collection expansion project continues to progress at a steady if unspectacular rate. The latest unit readied to join the fray are a six figure squadron of the French Colonel-General's Dragoons. The figures of course are from Foundry/Casting Rooms Miniatures' range, which I recognise are a taste some will never acquire. I used the Command pack and the Troopers Charging pack for this unit. I may at some future point add a further six, time will tell. See what you think anyway ~
As ever the bases are from Warbases but the guidon I made using a downloaded image from the Project SYW website. Next under the brush are a French infantry regiment, Bouillon. More on them when they are done. Six down and four more underway, so almost halfway through.

Friday, 11 November 2022

Lord Gornale Takes Command

Paul recently paid his now monthly visit to GHQ, to lead the Royalist army in an English Civil War game. We agreed to use Pike & Shot as the game rules as their common heritage with Black Powder makes them a little easier to pick up for a one off game. The battlefield is very sparsely occupied with terrain features, making a bloody set to more likely! Let's see how the battle unfolded, shall we? 

The action opens on the Royalists'left wing with massed cavalry charges led respectively by Rupert and Cromwell. Parliamentary heavy artillery opens up on the Royalist centre causing some Disorder.
Surprised to find Royalist Dragoons occupying the high ground on their right the Parliamentary dragoons halt in confusion. Had their commander been more aggressive they might have carried the position themselves, now it will cost many lives...
The Parliamentary Foote in the centre of their line at last begins to move forward!
The Parliamentary left and centre advance cautiously, the Royalist Dragoons have seized the high ground and will prove stubborn in its defence. 
The advance of the Parliamentary right is halted and thrown back but Gornale fails to drive home the advantage and they reform.
Talbot's and The Duke of York 's Foote hastily form hedgehog under threat from Parliamentary regiments of horse!
On Parliament 's right early exchanges between rival horse regiments favour Rupert's regiments of horse! Sir Matthew Bykleigh's Horse flee the field!
Steady Parliamentary Foote repel the attack from Gornale's Lifeguard of Horse!
A view from the Royalists' right flank. While Parliament's left wing has seen the dragoons forced back the line has not been broken or turned. Gornale's best chance of victory seems to be slipping away.
Despite some early hesitation and setbacks, Fairfax and Cromwell have lead the Parliamentary horse to a stunning victory over Rupert's regiments of horse.
In the Parliamentary centre, the Foote have formed up to bring their muskets to bear on the Royalists' who are struggling to form up.
Obadiah Bykleigh, gentleman, receives news of the battle's outcome from Essex.
Whilst the Royalists' Red Dragoons hold the hill, even with the support of Gornale's Lifeguard of Horse, they cannot drive of the Parliamentary left.
Lord Gornale confers with the Bishop of Lichfield, before both ignominiously flee the field.
Rupert's Blue Coats and Robinson's White Coats hold off the enemy amongst the chaos of defeat.
The Parliamentary left stays firm and holds the Royalist Dragoons at bay. The support of Essex's Tawney Coats, a light artillery piece and Bykleigh's Foote has emboldened the Parliamentary Blue Dragoons.
With three of Gornale's battles broken his army is beaten and leaves the field to the victors. A splendid game we both agreed which swung both ways at different times before suddenly slipping away from the Royalists as their morale failed.

They Came Home...

...but many did not.
From left to right:-

My father, Howard Bickley, served in the Royal Navy in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific and Mediterranean.

My uncle Arthur Nash, served in the R.A.S.C. in Burma with the Forgotten Army.

My great uncle Albert 'Jack' Boot served in the Coldstream Guards in the Great War. His records show he was a trench mortar gunner.

My uncle Earnest Slynn served with the Royal Ulster Rifles. He was in the glider force landed on the evening of D Day to reinforce the men at Pegasus Bridge. He was wounded in the fighting around Caen by shrapnel from an 88mm.

Wednesday, 9 November 2022

Letters Home

I had an appointment for a check-up at the dentist yesterday afternoon. It all went swimmingly so breathing a sigh of relief I spent a bit of time trawling one or two Charity Shops in the City. Not a great deal on offer, and I already have a backlog of Crime Fiction in the To Read heap, but I did light on one item ~

I don't read a great deal of Military History any more but I do enjoy diaries and collections of letters. Generally the author who has compiled the collection includes such details as are necessary for understanding or adds commentary on the subject. The first hand accounts usually bring wider events into focus or give a different perspective on other accounts.
As the subject of this collected volume of letters served in the Sub Continent and fought in the Great Mutiny, receiving the VC for actions at Delhi, it's close to one of my gaming interests. I often find ideas for scenarios in these type of books, so I'm hopeful I shall find a couple as I read through.
In the meantime I've finished two of the SYW French Colonel-General's Dragoons and have a further two within touching distance of completion. I have the muse at present it seems.