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.

Thursday 28 September 2017

The Battle of Bridgnorth Road

Inspired by a recent epic ECW game here in GHQ I planned a similar game setting for my VBCW campaign set in and around Wolverhampton and South Staffordshire and for new GHQ Irregular Derek to have a second bite at Bolt Action 2 rules. The game envisages a strike on force setting off from Whitwick Manor, lead by the Mander family, towards Bridgnorth. It just so happens that Militias from Tettenhall have got wind of this development and, supported by a BUF contingent from the Bilston Steel Division, plan to surprise the Manders.
The table layout features just the Bridgnorth Road as it meanders through South Staffordshire flanked by rich farmland divided by thick hedges and rickety fences and dotted with agricultural buildings, a roadside garage, a public house and copses of trees. The view towards Bridgnorth ~

The view looking towards Tettenhall along the Bridgnorth Road.

A Wolverhampton Corporation bus en route to Bridgnorth, just local colour.

The Chillington Mounted Rifles secure the garage and its supplies.

The BUF Bilston Steel Division move on their flank. Mander's forces seize
the supplies at the Red Lion. One Victory point in the bag!

The Chillington Rifles surprise the Hilton Main Miners and knock them out
of the action over two turns.
The Mander's Machine Gun Company sets itself up to cover the attack on
Home Farm and its double supplies.

The BUF flank the Red Lion and hope to help the Rifles roll up the units on
Mander's flank.

Fighting for Home Farm and its supplies swings first one way and then the

Despite loosing the miners on his right flank, Mander's forces seize the farm's
supplies in Turn 7.

Despite losing units covering both flanks Mander, played by Derek, was able to seize three Victory points of supplies by Turn 8 leaving two Victory points held by the Reactionaries from Tettenhall and three Victory points unclaimed by either side. The game ended in a draw in Turn 9, Swindley, played by yours truly, holding the garage and threatening the farm and Mander holding the Red Lion and the farm.
Peace returns to rural South Staffordshire...
...until the next time that s.

Saturday 23 September 2017

Light Infantry Regiment von Proxzi...

...an addition to my Hanoverians in the Wars of the French Revolution project. There is a bit of a story to their evolution for deployment in GHQ if you'll bear with me. You may have seen amongst recent posts that I've been seeking out uniform illustrations on the net via Google searches, motivation for which came from another wonderful gift from my son Matthew. He and his family have sold their house in Godalming and are moving the Herefordshire. In the sorting out Matt found many castings of figures he'd sculpted, some of which were not released for one reason or another. They turned out to mostly be Trent Miniatures and I was able to share them with my friend Colin Ashton ( of Carryings on up the Dale fame!) I kept these Lombard figures and some others as I hoped to use them to 'represent by proxy' some of the small Chasseurs units attached to the British army in Flanders from 1792-95, along with some Hanoverian Light Infantry. These Hanoverian Light Infantry should look like this ~

At least the two figures on the left that is. Using the Trent Miniatures Lombard Legion figures to stand in for them produces this unit ~

Straight away I can sense those sad types who count buttons taking a sharp intake of breath before having me drummed out of the Napoleonic Forum on Facebook! Yes, I know they are wrong on several counts, but on the table from 3' or more away I don't think anyone will notice or care. The general look of the unit will be sufficient and I know all my gaming chums will accept my deployment of these troops without hesitation. Now, should they have a drummer? A standard? A Pavarotti tribute act as Colonel? I don't know on the first two counts and I don't care on the third! They will do! And, remember, they have cost me nothing!

I've also completed six other figures from the same range. They will stand in for the Damas Legion Chasseurs, in Black Powder terms a 'Small Unit'. I plan to add some Hussars of the Damas Legion, using unreleased Chasseurs figures, again the uniforms on the figures will be close enough for me, and some Hussars de Beon, both small units again. It will bring both colour and fun to our games. Staying on the Wars of the French Revolution theme I'm currently painting my Eureka Austrian Hussars, I've already finished four; they have turned out to be much more straightforward to paint than I feared!.

Finally, and completely unrelated to any of this, a 2" mortar from Warlord Games for my VBCW project. It was free, sent along with some missing tripods from the BEF set. I've rendered it as a civilian with military equipment; worked quite well I thought. No No2 of course, but I'll let that pass for now ~

Back to those Hussars now! Toodle pip!

Monday 18 September 2017

The Battle of Coven Heath

Monday saw Phil and I dusting off my ECW collections for our regular game here in GHQ. As ever our rules of choice were my own  'A Crowning Mercy' (available exclusively from Caliver Books). The figures forming the collection are mostly from Foundry and Perry Miniatures, supported by Warlord Games and some Bicorne guns. As usually is the case Phil took command of the Royalists in his persona as Sir Marmaduke Robinson and I commanded the Parliamentary cause as the dour Obadiah Bykleigh. The battle, which you won't find recorded for posterity in the great histories of the War, took place on the nearby Coven Heath, bisected by the road from Wolverhampton to the nest of Royalist vipers in Stafford. The Royalists are advancing southward to teach their opponents a lesson in loyalty, or so they think...
The army of Parliament marches onto the table, the Horse concentrated on
the right flank. Its all Medium Horse, so will be at a disadvantage in combat.

The Royalist army has concentrated its horse on its left flank. Its mostly
Heavy Horse, with some Cuirassiers and one formation of Medium Horse.
It has deployed all its infantry in the centre astride the road.

The Parliamentary Horse knows t is outclassed so throws everything into the
attack. The tactic proved costly in losses but slowed the Royalist advance to a

The Royalists were unusually cautious in the early moves, allowing the
enemy t get around their right flank with a Folorn Hope, supported in due
course by a regiment of Foote.

The Horse swirled back and forth on the flank, but superior Royalist Horse
were beginning to tell and the Parliamentary Horse was being slowly pushed

The Royalist cente was a logjam of formations all struggling to get into
action,while on the right the Oxford Foote try to drive off the Folorn Hope.

The gallant exploits of the outclassed Parliamentary Horse allows Obadiah
Bykleigh to advance his centre and deny the enemy room to manoeuvre and

The Oxford Foote is shattered and flees to the rear opening up the right
flank of the Royalists to being turned. Sensing a possible opportunity
Obadiah Bykleigh leads his Lifeguard of Horse forward.

The Parliamentary army goes onto the offensive all along its front. The
Royalist Hose is too badly mauled to be an effective threat thanks to the
exploits of the gallant but defeated Parliamentary Horse troops.

The Royalists begin to give way protected by the remnants of their Horse.

Both armies are exhausted! Parliament holds the field but cannot pursue
the Royalists as they fall back on Stafford. In the end a strategic win for the
forces of right, truth and justice, but in game terms a draw!

We played seventeen turns in just over two and a half hours! Good going by any measure we thought.
The sacrifice of the Horse by the Parliamentary army meant that when needed later in the game the Royalist horse was too badly mauled to affect the outcome with its infantry were under growing pressure. We called it a draw in the end as the Royalists quit the field but the Paliamentary army was too badly mauled itself to follow up for victory.
Next up in GHQ  will be a VBCW game, the Battle of Bridgnorth Road, which sees the reactionaries of Tettenhall and their allies attacked by the Socialists of Wolverhampton in an attempt to drive a wedge between armies to the south and east which could threaten the safety of the Peoples' Republic of Wolverhampton!

Saturday 16 September 2017

The British Army & Allies in the 1790's

I've been collecting illustrations of the uniforms of the British army and its Allies during the War of the First Coalition from 1792-95 and thought some of them might be of interest to others who are exploring this period for their wargaming. They are all found through internet searches and many may well be copyrighted so if any copyright holder does object then I will take them down of course.
Stating with several plates illustrating the uniforms of the British army ~


Light Infantry

Trent Miniatures do bandsmen and a drum major.

 The Hanoverian army ~

 Attached to the British army ~

By no means exhaustive, but enough to be going on with I hope. Now, back to painting Hanoverian Light Infantry stand-ins!

Tuesday 12 September 2017

It's been slow going...

...on the painting front here in GHQ, but at last I have a few things to show. Firstly, the free figure from The Other Partizan which Laurence kindly sent me via Phil. He will be a member of the Mander family in our VBCW games at times ~

Next, five Footsore VBCW British Militia Command figures, four of which were in a goody bag Matt gave me made up of all sorts of figures useful to my ongoing projects ~

Next, a command base of two Trent Miniatures mounted British generals for my FRW project, sold as Moore and Dundas. They will command one of my two British brigades in our games ~

An odd Foundry SYW British officer to provide an extra command base for our game ~

Finally, a few FRW figures representing the very early Service de Sante, first seen in the 1793 Army of the North's campaigns. I reasoned that revolutionary France might not yet have the dedicated uniforms, so painted the stretcher bearers in infantry kit. They were part of a box of old figures I bought for £4 at Penkridge Table Top Sale in the summer, probably by Hinchliffe I'd guess. I replaced their heads with Trent Miniatures bicorne heads for a more period feel. The Vivandiere I left as she came out of the box. (There is also a surgeon at work, but he's waiting for a table and a pile of arms/legs!) Anyway, they will provide interest on the tabletop, so, 'They will do!' as Phil says ~

Hopefully the rest of September will see more progress on my accumulated stock of figures in the 'Lead Lump' for the FRW project. On hand I have Eureka Miniatures French Horse artillery limbers and caisson and Austrian Hussars; Trent Miniatures Lombards, which will become Hanoverian Light Infantry, and two regiments of unreleased Chasseurs, one of which I see as Hussars of the Damas Legion; and lastly, from Foundry a British Horse Artillery battery with mounted command.

The Hanoverian Light Infantry in question, the two figures on the left. Plenty to go at then, best get to it...

Thursday 7 September 2017

"A desperate business, and no mistake!"

On Wednesday evening Jon and I settled down in GHQ for what has become our monthly game. We had agreed last time on an outing for my SYW collection, with Jon as Lord Walton once more taking the British command and yours truly as General de Bykli taking command of the French. I set out the table before the game with mostly open terrain broken by the odd copse of trees and a couple of fields, although a more heavily wooded area flanked one side of the table. As time pressure on Jon was a factor I took fewer pictures than I had intended, but I hope they give a flavour of the game. We used Black Powder rules without any modifications from The Last Argument of Kings ~
General de Bykli oversees the deployment of the French centre.
The Wild Geese and French Grenadiers move up on the right flank.
The Foot Guards move smartly to the British left flank to counter the French.
Meanwhile the French right has deployed ready to face the threat from the
British Foot Guards. The Hussars de Bykli drive off an attack by the British
Horse Guards.
Lord Walton advances his infantry in the centre as the artillery commence
The Foot Guards and the French grenadiers exchange volleys.
In the centre one French infantry regiment has broken but the French and
Swiss Guards march into the gap and steady the line.
The British Foot Guards exchange volleys with the Grenadier de France.
Both sides are taking heavy casualties and despite numerous Rallies
individual regiments begin to Break on both sides.

The French centre is broken and troops stream towards safety in the rear!
The situation at the end of Turn 9 ~ both armies are Broken and may not advance. The French, having one more Broken
brigade than the British quit the field.
Once again Black Powder proved itself equal to the task of producing a finely balanced game with numerous swings of fortune. Although ending in a draw, the French had the worst of it in the end, with one extra Broken Brigade leading them to quit the field. Lord Walton, wounded in the climax of the battle, was carried to the rear by his Aides as the French remnants retired in good order while offices struggled to bring order to the army.