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 31 May 2019

Brecher’s Boys hold the flank against the odds.

Although it was a Bank Holiday on Monday here in the UK Phil and I were still able to meet up in GHQ for our usual weekly encounter on Tuesday instead, mainly as Sue and I were not required for grandparenting duties this week. We had settled on an AWI battle as I have recently completed several additions for both sides of my AWI collection. New unit syndrome? Well, let's see how it all unfolded, or unravelled...
The forces of the crown mass for the attack!

The American right is held by Militia units supported by two
regiments of Maryland Continental Infantry.

The centre is held by men fro New York and New Hampshire
in the main. The artillery commands the road.

On the British left the Queen's Rangers supported by Butler's
Rangers advance on the Militia who have them under heavy
fire! In the centre the 45th lead the attack.

The 45th are supported by the 43rd who line the fence and pour
fire on the riflemen defending the weak part of the line.

All is looking good for the rebel cause at this stage, the attack
on their left has stalled. Some very poor Command Rolls!

The New York regiments enfilade any attempts to engage the
American left held by two Pennsylvania brigades.

A Blunder sends the dismounted Light Dragoons into a very
uneven fight!

Colonel Brecher rallys the boys! The Queen's Rangers press
the attack home under fire!

On the American left the action is finally hotting up. Casualties
are mounting on both sides.

Weight of numbers threaten to overwhelm the weak
American centre as the Regulars move steadily

Hand to hand fighting is vicious and bloody in the
 fields and lane on the American left.
At last the Hessians find their fighting spirit. The boys from
Pennsylvania are having a hard time. The American left is
beginning to waver under mounting pressure!

As the infantry close in the centre Light Dragoons clash in a
vain attempt to stem the tide of the battle.

Weakened by fire the New Yorkers find themselves assailed by
the Light Dragoons! The Rhode Island battery plays havoc with
the South Carolina Loyalist infantry!

The American left is beginning to crumble as the Guards and
the Welsh Fusiliers finally arrive to deal the decisive blow.

While on the opposite flank the Militia are still standing firm.
{I don't ever recall throwing so many successive 5s and 6s
to save casualties from fire!}

The pressure on the centre has eased as old 'Independence or
Death' Bykleigh moves with the Philadelphia Light Horse to
fill a gap in the line.

By Turn 11 it looked very much like a loosing draw at best
for the rebel cause when Lord Rawnsley failed several
 Morale Checks. The British right and centre were suddenly
broken in rout!

While on the right of the rebel line the Militia had again held
off the regulars! "Cheer boys and give them more lead!"

A remarkable game in many respects. Regulars who would not advance in the face of fire; Mercenaries who just refused every order; Militia who totally out of character went toe to toe with the bloody backs. And on and on. So many firing hits saved! I thought I had lost in Turn 11 only to see a remarkable series of Morale Check fails by Phil in Turn 12. Victory snatched from the very jaws of defeat! The joy of Black Powder encapsulated in one game!!

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Colonel Joseph 'Ol Dependable Brecher

The second of my Perry Miniatures mounted Militia Colonels has made it across the painting desk and has deployed into GHQ, and just in time too. I like to name my AWI commanders, just a bit of harmless fun really, after my many wargaming chums. Fittingly the Rebels/Patriots are generally named for my long standing American friends.
So, without more waffling on, here is Colonel Joseph'Ol Dependable Brecher, a native of Pennsylvania now residing in the Carolinas. His extensive experience in the late F&IW makes him an obvious choice to command the Militia alongside the less, much less, reliable Ebenezer Bykleigh ~

He has arrived on the eve of battle, an unexpected arrival but a welcome one. Sadly his long time compatriot, Major Moore, did not arrive in time to join the action. Something about his baggage loosing it's its way I seem to have heard...

Sunday 26 May 2019

Finished? Well, not quite it seems...

After I had varnished the 45th Foot for the AWI and stored them safely away in GHQ I took a break from painting. In a mad moment, well we all have those I guess, I decided to tidy and reorganise my painting desk and it's immediate environs. The latter part of the exercise yielded a number of AWI figures for the Crown's forces, British light company figures. They were all Foundry figures and provided enough for two bases, one of four and the other of five figures. The base of four are finished now, I painted them to go with the recently mustered 45th Foot. I'm happy with how they turned out, but you must be the judge ~

{The second base will be painted as a detached Light Company when it's their turn on the painting desk. I'll decide on the facing colours nearer the time.}
Along with these I've been slowly working on the Perry Miniatures mounted Militia Colonels I bought at Partizan. For reasons that friends and acquaintances will be too polite to mention I started with the rather stout figure. He's finished now, so he can deploy into GHQ too for the upcoming AWI game with Phil. A second figure is well underway too, though I doubt he will make the deadline.

When working through my part of our Eureka order recently I sorted out the few AWI figures there. I've four artillery gunners to pair with a spare cannon I'd found last year and some ragged Continental Dragoons. There are three of the latter, apparently the missing three are en route from Melbourne. We shall have to wait and see.

Thursday 23 May 2019

45th Foot for the AWI

The last unit of my AWI expansion project to march across the painting desk and deploy into GHQ is the 45th Foot. I chose to represent these simply because in earlier times during the SYW they had been Robinson's Foot, a nod to Phil you might say. The figures are the venerable Foundry figures sculpted by the Perrys. They may be old but, like me, they are easy to deal with! The flags are from GMB Designs, I highly recommend them.
Here they are for review: firstly the whole regiment  drawn up in line, followed by a couple of closer shots for those of a strong constitution ~

I've several of the plastic sprues given away with the last WI so no doubt I shall return to new units for the theatre , but not just yet. Next in the queue are some additional mounted Militia Colonels from Perry Miniatures, a part of the Partizan haul.

Monday 20 May 2019

Contains No Photos

Phil and I went to Partizan at the Newark Showground on Sunday. I always have enjoyed the Partizan shows, in all of the different venues they have been held, and I’m pleased to be able to say this one was well up to expectations. The venue would be hard to top for an event in our hobby: ample free parking right on site; a large hall giving loads of space for traders, games and the paying public to easily circulate; bright and airy so the games can be properly appreciated and goods on sale easily viewed and assessed. Only two quibbles on my part really: it gets over warm I found so air conditioning would be nice, though I don’t know if the venue boasts such a facility; but more importantly, at least for this senior citizen, the layout lacks any seating beside the cafeteria area. I find the floor very hard on my knees and if it wasn’t for the kindness of friends like Duncan and Dan, who let me sit a while at their stands, or Barrie, who let me sit at his game, I would really struggle. I’m just one punter here, but I guess I’m not alone in that respect. It would be nice if for The Other Partizan this might be addressed by the organisers in some way.
One really pleasing aspect of the show is that it attracts attendees from a wide geographical area. This means the games on show are always up to a very high standard, both for Participation and Display Games, which in turn serve to boost attendance. Indeed Lawrence tells me that the show reached and then surpassed its record attendance. For historical wargamers the trade show surpasses Salute in my opinion also. When you consider its other advantages I’ve already outlined I really don’t think I’ll ever bother with Salute again.
Besides the traders and games on show the other advantage the Partizan shows enjoy is the opportunity to chat with old friends and even to make new acquaintances. I was able to meet up with good friends in our hobby and in fact the reason I took no pictures at all is that I was just too engrossed in chatting. Kevin was down from Aberdeen and Dave from East Berwick, two long time chums who I had missed when I wasn’t able to go to Carronade the week before. Colin was down from Middlesbrough, and although we kept missing each other it was good to see him and Kathryn again briefly. Probably though my long chat with Aly was the most interesting, ranging far and wide on hobby and life event matters, and compelling me to acknowledge that perhaps I am more of a wargaming magpie than I had admitted to in the past!
As I’ve already mentioned the wealth of traders in attendance I ought to mention the spoils of war so as to speak. Andy at The Last Valley had made me four more canal sections which I’d preordered and in addition I purchased a dozen sections of split rail fencing for games set in North America. Chatting with him I have ordered more of these for the second show and also commissioned a tunnel entrance for the canal to go into on a table edge. From Dave Thomas I bought a pack of Perry AWI Militia Mounted Colonels and from Dave Ryan at Caliver the last copy of Rebels and Patriots, as I just can’t warm to Sharp Practice for our occasional F&IW games. From Battlefront I bought another BMP1/2 in plastic for next years WWIII game I plan and from Coritani some new brushes. I also collected from Colin my part of our joint Eureka order, collected by a third party at Salute. This comprises: some of the new Renaissance civilians; some French Heavy Cavalry, Battalion guns and crew and some Austrian Grenzers; an AWI American gun crew and some ragged Continental Dragoons. I’ve cleaned some up already this morning for spray undercoating before I pop over to Phil’s for our regular Monday game.
I’m already looking forward to The Other Partizan in August and all the opportunities it will bring for hobby and personal enrichment. Both Partizan shows are excellent experiences and if you’ve never been then I do highly recommend that you try to make it to one. You’d be hard to please I think if you didn’t enjoy it I’m sure! It is worth the effort just to see the wonderful games.

Thursday 16 May 2019

Counter Attack at Soggy Bottom

Phil and I lined up in GHQ this week for a WWII game set in the fictional world of a successful German execution of Operation Zeelowe in 1940. Our game is set some days after the Germans have invaded and pushed northwards. A hastily assembled force under Brigadier Bykleigh mounts a counter attack towards the village of Soggy Bottom held by elements of the Wehrmacht. On the German’s right flank groups of Falskirmjaegers hold Whyte’s Farm and have fortified it to secure the flank from envelopment. They are supported by a number of Panzer 38Ts. In the British force elements of Regular infantry are supported by LDV and a troop of Vickers MkVI tanks. They can also call on a battery of 18lbers off table with an observer located on a prominent hill overlooking the village and farmstead.
The Krauts dig in at Soggy Bottom while the Falskirmjagers
Protect their right flank by occupying the farm buildings.
The British advance with determination to throw back the
The Red Lion shall not be taken!
Covered by the 2lb anti-tank  gun and a company of infantry
the Vickers Mk VIs advance towards the enemy centre. 
On the British right flank the old men of the LDV make a
move towards the cover of the field boundary.
Just in time too as a company of the enemy is moving to
flank the British attack.
In the centre a Matilda Mk1 supported by a company of
infantry and a MMG advance to the attack!
With theLDV's progress being somewhat tardy, the enemy
move into the cover of the wood.
Heavy fire from the enemy halts the infantry advance in
support of the tank!

The German centre looks pretty firm by this time with the PAK
drawing a bead on the hesitant Matilda.

The enemy tanks are thrown back when the Panzer II is
knocked out by a lucky shot ~ the first of several I have to say!

With the enemy tanks thrown back unexpectedly the British
tanks advance with infantry support to dislodge the remaining
enemy infantry who are forced back into Soggy Bottom.

The Germans call up their reserves to shore up their left flank.

But its all in vain, mounting casualties have fatally weakened
morale and after three successive turns turns the Germans rout!

A first run out in GHQ for 1940 games with RF2 as the rule set in use rather than our more usual Bolt Action set. The dice gods really helped me along the way in this game, with the tanks five times needing a 6 to hit and then getting a further 6 to knock out the Panzer II and one of the remaining PanzerT38's, while the German Pak could not hit a barn door! The game lasted 10 of the projected 12 turns, so the Germans could consider themselves a tad unlucky to loose, putting up fierce resistance in Soggy Bottom itself and blunting the LDV attack on their left.
Al the figures are from my 28mm WWII collection The infantry are mostly Foundry, supported by Warlord Games and Mutton Chop figures. The tanks are all by Warlord Games and the extra British vehicles are from Lledo. The buildings are the old Conflix range, now becoming available again I read somewhere or other!
Next up here in GHQ should be an AWI game in early June. These run of three Bank Holiday Mondays in six weeks has really scuppered our regular games programme and no mistake! In the meantime,its back to painting the last of the AWI expansion project units, the 45th Foot using venerable Foundry figures.

Monday 13 May 2019

3rd New Jersey steps out...

The last American, or Rebel unit if you prefer, for my AWI expansion project has been completed at last. The figures are once more the venerable Foundry miniatures, sculpted back in the day by the Perrys. I don't anticipate adding any more units at present, even though I've several sprues of free plastic figures from Wargames Illustrated via my friends. I chose them to represent the 3rd New Jersey and based them on a Don Trioani print featured in his Soldiers of the American Revolution ~

The flags are from two sources: the free downloads from Clarence Harrison, now sold by Warfare Miniatures, and one I found on the net for the 3rd New Jersey. No idea if the latter is right, but it's different! I also found this more contemporary picture a useful source for determining the uniform coat colour ~

As is usual for these posts, here they are firstly drawn up in line, and then featured in some closer shots, the latter for those of a strong constitution ~
This leaves me with just the 45th Foot for the crown's forces and I'm done, at least for now. After those I've some SYW artillery and crew and some War of 1812 Americans in the queue. Mind you, when I collect my Eureka order from Colin at Partizan that might all change! We shall just have to wait and see.

Wednesday 8 May 2019

Confined to Quarters!

Phil and I, together with Sue and Di, were expecting to be heading north tomorrow for a short break and a visit to Carronade too for us lads. Sadly I've scuppered that with a flare up of an old health problem! Right now I'd struggle to make the end of the road without, well, I'm sure you don't want to know the details. I just hope I will make Partizan now!

Sunday 5 May 2019

The King's Orange Rangers

The latest unit to muster into my AWI collection is a Loyalist unit, the King's Orange Rangers. The figures are the venerable Foundry figures by the Perrys. The flags are by Flags of War using their 'create a flag' option for colour and wording. To be frank I chose to paint these despite their poor record simply because I liked the colours. They were nearly the King's American Regiment, but, well, I had the flags in stock... Here is the usual, by now, set of pictures of the unit in line, followed by some closer photos ~

Next to hit the painting desk in GHQ are the 3rd New Jersey, again because I liked the uniform colours! No doubt some AWI buff has just exploded on reading that; but, my game, my toys as they say. That will leave the 45th Foot to be painted for the Crown's forces and we are done, for now at any rate. I hope I shall finish both units by the end of the month if all goes well in GHQ. After that we shall see, but the Lead Pimple is steadily diminishing...