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 28 August 2015

The Battle of Pyddle-in-the-Marsh

Earlier this week Jon and I managed to get together in GHQ for our first game this month! We chose an ECW game using my own 'A Crowning Mercy' rules. Jon took the part of Lord Walton, one of our Royalist commanders, while I commanded the Parliamentary force as Obadiah Bykleigh, Gentleman. The opening positions are clear in the first picture, I hope, with the Parliamentary army drawn up with its back to the Pyddle River and Pyddle Marsh defending the crossing to Pyddle Down Hall. In the far left distance can be seen the Royalist Horse reserves who could enter after Turn 2 by passing Lord Walton's Command Rating of 8 ~

The Parliamentary army was tasked with denying the ford over the Pyddle for 12 turns to claim a win but lacked much Horse at the start. These could arrive from the end of Turn 3 by passing Obadiah Bykleigh's Command Rating, also of 8, but only one unit of the three making up the Horse reserve per turn could enter if the roll was successful.

The Royalist Foote advanced steadily under Parliamentary artillery fire, mostly ineffective but noisy, while on the right the rival Horse were soon engaged with each command loosing one regiment.

The Parliamentary Horse commander withdrew his surviving Regiment to guard the flank of the Foote who would have been threatened otherwise by superior numbers of enemy Horse and Foote
The withdrawal and subsequent defeat of the Parliamentary horse meant that the Royalist Horse could hit home against the Parliamentary Foote before the commander could do anything about it ~
The other Foote reacted to the loss of its partner Regiment by swiftly forming Hedgehog.


Meanwhile, on the Royalist right flank the Foote advanced on the hard pressed Parliamentary Foote, supported by the reserve Horse who had arrived very promptly! Parliament's position was in danger now, although some Horse was finally coming to their aid.
Parliament's right had collapsed and the centre was under great pressure from both Foote and Horse.
The Royalists pressed home their attack on the Parliamentary right. Things were looking grim for Obadiah Bykleigh!
The Parliamentary Horse had arrived too late to make an impact and the game was lost in Turn 11, with two commands in the Parliamentary army having fled the field or been destroyed.
It was a while since we had played an ECW game and I found out how much I had simply forgotten about my rules as the game went on! As Rick Priestly once said, the worst person to ask about the rules is the person who wrote them. Seems more than true based on my problems of memory with this game. Never the less, we both enjoyed a close encounter. Both side's firing was noisy but mostly ineffective. The game was largely won by the Royalist Horse's cold steel! I'm replaying the game on Tuesday next week with Phil, with one or two amendments to the OOB though I think to give him more to think about. Now, back to painting Late Roman archers!
PS Its taken two days to make this entry thanks to swapping between my iPad and my laptop. Thanks a bundle Microsoft for Windows 10!!!!!!

Monday 24 August 2015

Rohan's Freikorps 1794

I seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut right now. Another Monday, another missed game with Phil! My fault again, as I had an appointment at the doctor's. Fortunately the news was generally good, so I've decided not to waste the day entirely and instead put up some shots of my latest addition to the Wars of the French Revolution project in the form of a unit 'representing' Rohan's Freikorps, a unit of French emigres raised in Flanders in 1794. The figures are from Foundry, part of the 'new look' early Napoleonic Wars range the previous management put out. As figures go they are a bit of a throw back to earlier sculpting styles, very definitely not of the Perrys' look, but they have a certain charm never the less. There were two packs, labelled as Early Austrian Grenz, a command pack of six figures and a rank and file of eight. I bought two of the latter and the command, not really knowing how I'd incorporate them into my 1793-95 Flanders project. Not long after I acquired them, I bought an Osprey of the Austrian Army of the Napoleonic Wars, the Infantry volume, for £5.00 at Stafford Barrage wargames show and while browsing for inspiration came across a list of Freikorps units, of which Rohan's Freikorps unit fitted the bill nicely, while the uniform details, such as they were, more or less fitted the look of the figures in question. Of course I must say right now that the collars are wrong and there are no plumes on the early shakos, but the figures can easily represent such a unit in my games for me! They will do, as Phil might say...
Rohan's Freikorps drawn up in loose line. Bases are 40 x 40mm with two figures to a base rather than the Line regiments' four figures to a base.
A closer view of the figures. I could n't see the eyes, so they were n't painted in on this unit! I've also based up six figures as skirmishers to place in front of the unit to better represent it's more loose formation.
This picture gives an idea, I hope, of the look I'm after on the tabletop for this type of unit. I have three more infantry units to add to the collection at present. They are a Highland unit for the British, which although painted as the 42nd will be known in our games as the Dunwhingin Fencibles, with their colonel one Alexander Salmond, Laird of Dunwhingin. There are two further infantry Regiments for the Allies, one of Trent Miniatures and one of Reiver Castings. They will be outfitted as Hanoverians, just for the slightly different look. I've got some Hanoverian flags now from GMB Designs, so I hope to start on these two units next month.

Monday 17 August 2015

Feeling foolish...

Because today I should have been over with Phil playing another of his splendid Eastern Front WWII games utilising his wonderful terrain and figure collection. Instead I'm sitting about at home nursing my bruises after a serious fall yesterday afternoon. Before my family pipe up, it had nothing to do with the wine I had with my Sunday lunch either! I just tripped over my own feet in the garden, but unfortunately chose to do it against the garden shed and onto a slate area, resulting in many bruises and cuts to the hand. So, no gaming, no painting, and no going out with Ruth, Arthur, William and Sue.
So, I'm feeling sore and sorry for myself! Here are some figures I finished earlier in the month to cheer me up! Hope you like them. They are Foundry Late Romans for my C4th army of Pompus Maximus, firstly a mounted commander for the Heavy Cavalry and two artillery pieces ~

Next, a unit of Cataphracts, combining heavy armour with bows. Slow to get into action, I know, but pretty hard to defeat I've found. Flag and shield transfers by LBM of course ~

I didn't enjoy painting these, I have to be honest. Too much metal seemed to intimidate me with choice of finish. Also, if I'm brutally frank, the castings of the horses were uninspiring, the legs of two or three were very thin. The poses are old hat now, with nothing new to excite. Unfortunately I've found it hard to find compatible figures to these amongst more contemporary ranges so I am padding out the army with extra Foundry units, but spreading the painting over a longish period so I don't give up! {At present I was painting some early Austrian Grenz as Rohan Freikorps for the Wars of the French Revolution project and had hoped to finish them this week and get a unit of Light Archers done for this army, but yesterday's events rather put the mockers on that!}
Still, on the bright side, our eldest grandson Arthur is here with us for a few days and then we are going down to see Matt, Sarah and Reuben, so hopefully I'll be both fit and able and energised to finish on my target before the 31st of the month. Now, time to put my feet up again...

Monday 10 August 2015

Disaster at Brecher's Bay

A war of 1812-15 Blackpowder game Phil and I played out recently here in GHQ. The scenario sees the Anglo-Canadian forces in an audacious amphibious assault designed to wrong foot the local American command and wreak havoc behind the lines. I took the role of the Anglo-Canadian commander, Major General Isaiah Pastitte, and Phil, as General 'Fightin Phil' Robinson, commanded the American forces charged with repelling the landing. The game was played using Blackpowder rules and lasted 12 turns. We diced at the start of the game for the command rating of our Commanders: Phil was a 6 and I was a 5!! Our Brigade commanders were one better, the Americans being 7 and the British 6. Straight off this proved interesting, as I hope I can show. The game begins with the first troops ashore in the sheltered bay, while the Americans enter the table from the opposite end. In subsequent turns, Brigade commanders had to pass their command ratings for the troops to arrive on table: the Anglo-Canadians in the Bay, the Americans along the table edge at the opposite end of the table.

The landings are supported by the Royal Navy. HMS Dianna's batteries threatening to enfilade any rash attackers. The model is the old Britannia resin set I seem to remember. Guns from Dixon I think and the crews Abbott Miniatures which Redoubt used to sell.

The first Brigade of Anglo-Canadians to land raised their commander's hopes for a swift consolidation of the position, while American troops could be seen in the distance advancing briskly to the attack.

A brigade of State and Volunteer troops makes straight down the bay hoping to pin the enemy while buying time for their further Brigades and the CinC to arrive on the table.

In the meantime the Marines and Naval shore party move cautiously down the beach, hoping to take up a position to harry the flank of the American advance. The Michigan Fencibles move off the landing beach to support their move while the Canadian Fencibles struggle to form up in the surf.

Troops from Pennsylvania, their flank supported by Volunteer companies, engage the skirmishers of the Glengarry Light Infantry. The Colonel of the Michigan Fencibles calls a halt while he assess the situation unfolding before him. Before he can act, the Pennsylvanians charge the Glengarry LI and drive them off, rushing on to attack the unsupported RA battery. The subsequent Closing Fire shatters the attackers and they flee the field. But, not before the Brigade commander of the Anglo-Canadians is taken prisoner!


At last, in Turn 5, Scott's Brigade appears marching to the sound of the guns and bringing relief to the stalled American attack. Meanwhile, the third Anglo-Canadian brigade is landed in the bay by the Royal Navy, meaning the attackers still have local numerical superiority over the American commander's forces.

American scouts bring in worrying reports of a large Paddoquoi war party moving down the great river. Gen Robinson orders the Maryland Regiment forward across the river to prevent a flanking surprise attack. The attack is held up for a move by fire from the Canadian Fencibles supported by the guns f the RA and the RN broadsides from HMS Dianna.

The brave Maryland troops, now supported by a regiment of Regulars, surge forward and engage the Paddoquoi, driving them into the woods.

The Americans are across the river in numbers now aiming to cross upstream and flank the enemy camp and defensive line. Despite their third brigade failing to make it onto the table, they press forward bravely. The Paddoquoi are driven off after they attack again and the Newfoundland Fencibles are repulsed shaken when they try to charge the Maryland troops!

With the Anglo-Canadian troops making no headway on the Americans' left flank and seeing their centre somewhat stretched, the Ohio Volunteers heroically charge the flank of the Canadian Fencibles and send them reeling in the subsequent melee! Suddenly the RA guns are vulnerable and the troops along the beach cut off from the camp. On the American right flank the Newfoundland Fencibles are driven back further and the Paddoquoi dispersed! The end of Turn 12 brings the end of the game with the American cause in the ascendancy but the Anglo-Canadians doggedly hanging on right on the waterline. We reasoned the game was a draw, but noted that the Americans would probably break their opponents in the next turn or two!

A great game which ebbed too and fro from almost the outset. The low Command Ratings meant that troops often failed to move or were restricted to one free move because of their current formation or the use of initiative moves when in proximity to the enemy. Frustration drives commanders to errors of judgement I find, and I certainly made two during the game: the first seeing a Brigade Commander captured as I forgot to move him at the end of my turn; the second in allowing my CinC to give a 'Follow Me' order and ending up beyond the dense woods, cut off from any support and faced by superior numbers of American infantry. Oops! Here's to the next battle, and the next mistake!
For those interested in such things, the figures are all from my collection, mainly Foundry figures from either their 1812 range or the main Napoleonic range. The former sculped by Ally Morrison, the latter by the Perrys. Scenics from The Last Valley and Phil made the terrain tiles with the exception of the waterline ones which I made by basing a beach mat on MDF and he tarted up with green towelling and spray paint.

Thursday 6 August 2015

Real Life Issues

I am beginning to think that my new location for GHQ may have had a gypsy's curse laid on it! First Phil has to cancel a game as his wife was admitted to hospital, then Jon had to cancel a whole month due to work commitments and home issues. John went off to China on a holiday and Kevin went off on a cruise! I'm still here on my ownsome though and making use of the time painting and planning, as we all do I know when gaming is scarce. I thought that I'd post a few pictures of my recent work even though its a bit of a mixed bag and is still awaiting varnishing as the wet weather has knocked that back too! A building complex for the Indian Mutiny {and for Rhanzlistan} from Mutineer Miniatures and Ainsty ~

A few additions to the Late Roman army of Pompus Maximus, Foundry figures of course ~

Some Pulp Figures British Sailors. Depicted in temperate climate summer order I believe. The first five can serve as a boat's deck crew or gun crew, while the second five represent a shore party. I'll probably use them in my 1940's Zeelowe/Blandings games or in the 1938 VBCW ~

Finally, an ACW command vignette of Grant, Meade and their staff. The figures are from Dixon Miniatures of course. The seated figures from the train passenger set for the Western Gunfight games, while the table and chairs from the Saloon poker set. I can't find my sheet of printed maps since the move, but they will be added to the table when I find them  ~

I'm working on a Foundry unit of Late Roman Cataphracts this week, but its slow going as I'm not really fired up for it if I'm honest. I need a game to get the muse into gear I think. I really do hope to have something to show on the game front next week, hopefully a War of 1812 battle, but I'm a hostage to fortune at the moment as I said at the start. Fingers crossed we shall get the game in on Monday, so pop back next week to see how it went.