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 July 2020

Back on track...

...in the Punic Wars project with the addition of the first of three Carthaginian Elephants. The models are by A&A Miniatures and the bases are from Warbases as ever. Phil painted the elephant for me, as he will the other two when he has time amongst his own and his busy commission work. He has form with elephants, having painted six at various times for my Indian Mutiny collection. I'm really pleased with how it all came together ~

The base has the same 80mm frontage as the rest of the collection. To protect the model, and the player from the pike, the base is 100mm deep. This allows for the addition of extra figures and for a little landscaping if desired. The hoplons on the side of the castle are moulded on, so I applied some spare shield transfers from LBM. I've started on some Greek Mercenaries now from Aventine Miniatures but it will be a while until they are completed I think.

Wednesday 29 July 2020

The Grand Trunk!

Two face to face games in two days! Could the human body stand the excitement? Jon's first visit to GHQ since all this coronavirus malarkey kicked off in mid March was celebrated by an Indian Mutiny game pitting Lord Walton's Imperial Relief Force against the wiley Raja of Bhyklabad, a mutinous dog of a rebel if ever there was one ~
The action takes place astride the Grand Trunk Road leading to Bhyklabad where the British are besieged by hordes of bloodthirsty mutineers!
The rebellious Raja of Bhyklabad has drawn up his motley force astride the road where it winds between two low hills. Lord Walton's force must force a passage and escort their baggage train off the table before more Mutineers can arrive to slow their progress.
The rules in use are Black Powder 2. The Mutineers are in place astride the road awaiting the inevitable attack ~
No more waffle, let the pictures tell the story of the ensuing conflict ~
Imperial infantry advance against the hill tribesmen holding the high ground on the Mutineer left. The Great Gun of Bhyklabad is primed and loaded to deal out death and destruction.
The main part of Lord Walton's Imperial Relief Force advances directly on the Mutineer right and centre.
The Imperial Relief Force infantry calmly deploy into line under fire and begin to trade death with the hill tribesmen. The crew of the Great Gun of Bhyklabad are Disordered and their fire is ineffective.
To relieve the pressure on the hill tribesmen their mounted brethren impetuously charge the Disordered infantry. A brave but foolhardy action which sees them streaming to the rear in Rout.
Fresh hill tribesmen pour into the attack and in ferocious hand to hand combat defeat their Imperial opponents. Only a throw of double six can save them! Jon duly obliges! Cue gnashing of teeth on my side of the table!!!
In the centre hordes of Badmash are rushing forward like fanatics. It must end badly I fear. The Raja's Household Guards are sterling themselves for the coming carnage.
Back on the left more hill tribesmen stream to the rear while others reorganise to enter the fray afresh.
The Raja of Bhyklabad leads his elephants in a headlong charge against Neil's Bluecaps in support of the Badmash's impetuous attack on the guns. It does not go well and the charge is repulsed with many casualties.
In Turn 9 it's obviously all over for the Mutineer force, with units either fleeing in rout or retiring in the face of the inexorable advance of Lord Walton and the Imperial Relief Force.
A fine game we both agreed. Some poor Command Rolls hampered Jon at various stages and his attack was slow to develop in the centre as a result. This should have helped the Mutineer cause with reinforcements expected from Turn 3; cue my usual abysmal dice throwing. In fact they only began to arrive from Turn 6 when it was really too late to stem the tide. There were some memorable moments like Jon's Double Six to save an infantry rout and my Rajas Guard sending the Highlanders flying with one devastating volley.
It's a great hobby made even better when shared with like minded friends. Long may we all continue despite all this ongoing malarkey!

Monday 27 July 2020

On the road to Starpel...

...actually via Rawnsley! I've been to Phil's of course for our fourth game since lockdown was eased and my first on the road so as to speak. That makes the game choice all the more apt for me! As usual I played the Russians in the usual state of rule confusion engendered by Battlegroup rules. At the end of Turn 3 the game looked like this ~
At the end of Turn 6 for the Russians it looked like this ~
The Germans had exceeded their Battle Rating resulting in a Russian win. Most damage was done by my three rounds of pre ordered off table fire from a 122mm battery and from 81mm mortars, helped along by fire from my immobilised T34. Hardly any need for infantry at all.
I'm not a fan of the Battlegroup family of rules, much preferring Rapid Fire2, but Phil is keen so I fit in and do my best. I do like the Force Morale and Chit draw system of Morale though. Pop over to Phil's blog, News From the Front, in the  side bar, for an alternative perspective.

Saturday 25 July 2020

More Numidians...

...but Light Infantry javelin armed skirmishers this time ~
The figures are from A&A Miniatures once more. As the shields of my Numidian Light Cavalry were so well received I decided on a different scheme for these to see what folk thought. The poses are not the most varied or dynamic, so every little helps. As with the other elements in this project the MDF bases are 2mm 80x50mm from Warbases. The basing texture is my mix of three grades of Woodlands Scenics ballast, buff in colour, available in my local Hobbycraft. I wash it after 24 hours drying time with Crafter's Acrylic Country Maple.  The static grass and tuft vegetation is from several sources.
At present I'm working on four bases of Gallic Heavy Cavalry from Wargames Foundry. Their bold sculpting style is kind to my eyes if not my hand - they are quite chunky! I didn't like the shield options which came with them, so I've ordered some from A&A Miniatures instead, as well as shield transfers from LBM. When I have these I'll preview those figures I've so far completed.

Thursday 23 July 2020

Bringing on another generation?

Well, we can only sow the seeds of enthusiasm and hope. William, our second grandson, has always been keen and so today he came to GHQ for a small game. Just a couple of pictures now of him enjoying himself, and beating Grandad into the bargain ~
William orders his men to advance! 
It's not all plain sailing though as his tank goes up in flames, just after he'd seen mine off too. After this his dice rolling beggared belief and my force was blown away!

Monday 20 July 2020

The Battle of Kinver Edge

For our third game here in GHQ since the easing of restrictions caused by all this coronavirus malarkey Phil requested either a 1940 Operation Zeelowe game or a VBCW game. I chose the VBCW for our games setting. The table is laid out as you see in the first picture ~
The scene is the peaceful South Staffordshire village of Kinver, nestling in the lee of Kinver Edge and to the south west of Wolverhampton. Unaware of impending violent confrontation the citizens go about their business amongst bucolic scenes of village life ~
Marching towards Kinver from the south are elements of the Regular Army, loyal to the Government and to Edward VIII. They anticipate being joined by local forces of Militia and Volunteers from the South Staffordshire area. From the north the forces of the People's Republic of Wolverhampton, under command of the Manders, supported by elements of the South Staffordshire Regiment are rushing to block the enemy's advance. Whoever holds the Edge commands the south west of the town and can threaten it's links to Birmingham with its military resources...
Opening of the battle: the probing Chillington Mounted Rifles come under devestating fire from the Manders' 18lb gun.
Militias loyal to the Government of Moseley, supported by the Bilston Steel Legion of the BUF, press forward on the right flank of the attack.
Vickers Mk VI tanks of the RTR  break through the hedge line into open country in a bold gambit to turn the right of the Manders' line.
The A449 south from Wolverhampton towards Kinver is heavily congested by the lead elements of the local Militia. Mander's Mounted Rifles probe for the enemy on the outskirts of the village supported by a boilerplate van sporting a 2lb anti tank gun and the Miners of the Hilton Main Collective.
Banner waving in the breeze and storing music from the Colliery's  Silver Band lead the miners forward into action.
The Mk VIs of the RTR race forward towards the open flank of the enemy. The Regulars of the South Staffords have no anti tank capability, so this could go badly for them.
While the Mounted Rifles and the Rolls Royce AC have succeeded in reaching the village they face a considerable force of the enemy skirting their position to the flank.
As they move into position to block the threat, the boiler plated van is moving up the Edge to give fire support to the South Staffords on the other flank. This will be a close race between the van and the Mk VIs.
Support from the local elements of the Anglican League have been slow to get moving, partly due to congestion on the road and partly to some confusion over orders.
The sudden appearance of a tank on the edge causes some consternation among the Mk VI tank commanders, which is exacerbated when the lead tank suffers Heavy Damage.
The Miners, lead by their Branch banner and their Silver Band are ready to support the Mounted Rifles and the AC in holding the north end of the village.
While Lord Rawnsley carefully coordinated the build up of his flanking attack the Manders' 18ld gun scores a direct hit on the transport of the Express & Star Rifles. They debus with no casualties though!
The attack by the Guards supporting the RTR has not really got going at this stage. The Colonel is struggling to get things going.
Meanwhile the Steel Legion of the BUF occupy one of the Kinver homes as a strong point to split the defensive line of Mander's Militias.
Elements of the South Staffords have reached the Edge in support of the lone tank. Their firepower proves decisive in first slowing, then turning back the Guards' attack.
A direct hit from the RA's 4.5" Howitzer destroys the tank, leaving the infantry without anti tank capacity again.
The battle is moving towards its climatic moments. Casualties are mounting for both sides but the Manders' left flank is being turned by a combined attack from the Tettenhall College Cadets and the Chillington Volunteer Rifles.
The miners and the AC are forced back to the village outskirts leaving only the gardener's of the Whitwick Manor Volunteers exposed to devistating small arms fire.
Despite turning back what proved to be a diversionary attack by the Guards and the RTR's Mk VIs the morale of the Militias holding the north end of the village and the Edge suddenly collapses and they flee leaving the way open for those loyal to the Government.
We played out the game using Rapid Fire2 as the rules with some modifications to increase movement. The failure of Morale when testing for reaching 20 casualties amongst the Militia saw them rout and handed the game to Lord Rawnsley and his men in Turn 9. It came as a bit of a shock to me as I'd thought things were going well for Mander's forces. I should have paid more attention to my left flank and less to the tank attack on my right with hindsight.

Thursday 16 July 2020

Punic Project Painting Progress...

...is moving  forward with the completion of the last base of three figures for the Numidian Light Cavalry. These are A&A Figures combining their Light Cavalry with figures from what they label as their Infantry Command pack. Two of the latter are dressed totally differently to the standard figure, complete with a Roman saddle and horse archer equipment. I wouldn't have used them ideally, but I wanted four bases of three figures, so I'll just squint when they are deployed in a game and pretend not to notice ~
Next in the painting queue are more Numidians, Light Infantry this time, also by A&A Miniatures, so here's a sneak preview of the first base I've completed ~
 After those I've an eclectic collection lined up: Aventine Miniatures Greek Hoplite mercenaries; Foundry Gallic Heavy Cavalry; Crusader Miniatures Roman Marching Camp; and lastly, Agema Miniatures Sacrifice sets. The latter two items are just for light relief from the anticipated painting tedium of the first two mentioned units. More as and when.

Monday 13 July 2020

The Revenge of the Masked Wargamer!

In our post-game chat after last Monday's return to action in GHQ, following the long hibernation through all this coronavirus malarkey, Phil and I decided we would play a follow up game over the same battlefield. Useless S Bykleigh, exhausted by the demands placed on his constitution by the previous battle, has ordered his equally exhausted troops to camp on the field.
Meanwhile, Robinson has rallied his men and is determined to show his worth by a surprise attack on the Union position. The game begins with most Union troops encamped, with the New York cavalry and the US Sharpshooters posted on piquet duty.
 Two Union regiments badly mauled in the previous engagement will factor in a -1 on any Command Roll made on them. They each begin with one casualty marker to reflect their loss.
The Rebs can enter at any point or points along their baseline. To aid his plans Robinson has divided his command into two smaller Brigades each with its own command rated at an 8 for Command rolls. He retains one ADC to enable him to exercise some control over the unfolding action without the risk of being caught up in the fire!
Having the initiative in Turn 1 the Rebels’ artillery deploys to support the infantry advance.
Alerted by sporadic firing on the right flank of the Union piquets the infantry are ordered to deploy.
The Georgians, supported by a Maryland regiment, make good time advancing to the attack. The first event card will put a spanner in the works next turn!
The Rebels have moved onto the Union’s right flank, threatening the artillery and US Sharpshooters. 
An overall battlefield view at the end of Turn 4. On the Rebel right the attack has stalled as Union regiments shake out into firing lines.
More event cards played on the Georgian infantry have forced the attack to falter then halt. It seems the outnumbered Union left may hold at this stage,
In the centre of the Union position the Union infantry is deploying for a firefight with the stalled Rebel assault.
An event card rather ties up one Union regiment at a crucial moment giving the Rebels a local superiority in weight of fire.
On the Union right one group of US Sharpshooters has fallen back on the battery while another is Shaken by mounting casualties.
Despite setbacks a second Union regiment deploys into firing line in the centre while on the left another lines the fence.
In Turn 6 despite mounting losses coupled with the generally poor firing of their infantry the Union look to be holding their ground.
Sadly though the turn saw very heavy losses all along the Union front. US hisself leads a desperate cavalry charge on the 10th Tennessee infantry threatening to roll up the Union line. "Follow me boys!"
While the ensuing melee was indecisive the 'dice gods' finally had the last word. The New York cavalry, along with ol' US, flee the field.
The last sight his troops have of their commander as he leads the rout! The army's will to fight evaporated and they withdrew from the field following their leader's example! It looks like Colonel PJ Robinson's star is in the ascendancy, promotion is in the offing. As for ol' US himself, well, time will tell...