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.

Monday 29 November 2021

10th Blogiversary!

 Tales From GHQ is seemingly 10 years old today! 

Of course it replaced my older Freewebs site, when it lapsed while we were away in Australia, so I've been posting pictures of my figures and games for even longer. It never ceases to amaze me that so many folk troop by to take a look, though I do confess to irritation that so relatively few bother to comment. To those loyal contributors I owe a debt, you keep me focused when often I wonder why I bother. Of course GHQ would be a pretty lonesome place without my wargaming friends, especially life long friend Phil, so it's fitting he should feature in prime position in this post. It's also fitting that the game you see was an ACW affair, as the first picture I posted featured my favourite figures for the period from Dixon Miniatures!

The last twenty months or so have been the strangest most of us will ever have experienced as adults, probably I was just too young to appreciate the serious situation around the Cuban missile crisis. There's no getting away though from the serious impact the Coronavirus pandemic has had, and still has really, on all our lives. Throughout all the associated malarky our wonderful hobby has both sustained us, motivated us and eased any mental health problems. Certainly it has kept the black dog mostly at bay for me. 

When we couldn't manage face-to-face gaming I was sustained by the myriad blogs and their associated remote gaming reports from friends both physical and etherial. In my own small way I hope that my blog has helped someone else through this time, and sadly times still to come it seems. KBO must be the Order of the Day for us all! Better times will return, perhaps sooner than we fear, in the meantime we have our family,  friends, and our wonderful hobby! So, a few images to hopefully cheer if not inspire ~

Finally, the next generation of wargamers here in GHQ hopefully...

Saturday 27 November 2021

More SYW French Infantry...

 ...in the shape of the Royal Bavière, or more simply the Royal Bavarians. Chosen simply because I liked the standards! Well, my toys etc...

Of course the Casting Room Miniatures French infantry figures have the rank and file with the coats fastened to hide the lapels and turnbacks, surely a campaign look, but have the officers sporting the lapels and collars on some figures. Some sources show a white lace trim to the cuffs and lapels, but I've opted not to go that way for practical hand/eye issue reasons, so I hope you will excuse me on this. Enough wittering on, here are a few closer pictures as usual to disabuse any of the notion that I can paint a bit ~

The last additional unit I purchased from Wargames Foundry earlier in the year are a second regiment of the Garde Français, which I have set as my modest target for December's painting project. As yet, although they are cleaned up, only the mounted officer has been started, the rest need to have a spray undercoat. {I use the Double Acrylic Primer, spray cans at about £5 from our local Home and Garden store, which gives an even and perfectly matt finish to paint over, just in case anyone is interested you understand.} Finally, what to do with the two unused figures, one from the Character pack and one from the Command pack? Answer, a small vignette base for the camp/town or even a Command base in built up areas?

I'm waiting on another order from Dixon Miniatures for a regiment of Rebs charging. Together with the figures I've already acquired this month they will go into the painting queue and become Hood's Texas Brigade, replacing much earlier and incorrectly assigned and flagged figures. I've also been making up more 15mm MDF buildings for next year's Cold War Gone Hot project. I sourced these from Laser Art Craft via an internet search (www.lazerartcraft.com). Together with my Sarissa Precision industrial buildings I hope to make up bases for a small urban area and a village. In addition I plan a couple of farms, if Warbases get their finger out and sort me some 15mm versions of their Prussian/German buildings that is! Mind, that's if the Omega virus doesn't do for us all first...

Tuesday 23 November 2021

A First Class Fighting Man...

 For this week's game here in GHQ Phil wanted to play a Sudan War game, so, ever eager to despatch the unbeliever, The Barmy Bhykli rallied his forces ready for action! The scene is set, ready for the action to unfold ~

The fortress is rather dated and run down, occupied by an Egyptian force awaiting reinforcement. In a nearby deserted Sudanese village some Bashi-Basooks have encamped. Their role is to keep open the likely approach of the British relieving column. 

Meanwhile, the cunning Bhykli has mustered his army determined to defeat the Egyptian occupiers and deny the fortress to the British.

Speed is of the essence for the Mahdists! The relief column can arrive after 3 Turns, so an all out assault is the order of the day. The crumbling ruins provide hard cover from rifle fire, but not from artillery fire. Read on to see how the action unfolded ~

Mahdist artillery is directed to fire on the Egyptians cowering behind the crumbling fortifications, covering the advance of the first of the rifle armed Fuzzies! The Rubs advance fearlessly and take what cover they can in the wahdi.

 On the Mahdists' right flank all does not go according to plan from the first moments! The camelry refuse to advance, bogged in soft sands no doubt! The Arab horsemen are strung out along the rigde and only one element can engage the enemy! If the village is not captured swiftly the Relief Column may sweep in on the undefended flank of the Mahdist attackers!

Far from cowering in fact the Egyptian artillery pound the attacking Fuzzies, although without inflicting many casualties. Combined with the rifle fire of the Egyptian infantry the effect is to force the heads of the riflemen down. For now the walls are safe from attack!

While the rifle armed Fuzzies are exchanging fire with the Egyptians in the fortress the first of the supporting Rubs advances rather disjointedly towards the assault. Surprisingly the wahdi proves more of an obstacle than expected and the attack becomes disjointed.

The Egyptians' mounted force leaves the safety of the fortress and takes up a position to deter the Rubs in the wahdi from any impetuous assault on the crumbling walls! Meanwhile, the Arab horsemen have driven the Bashi-Basooks' cavalry back into the safety of the fortress and look to sweep the remaining occupiers from the deserted village.

Before they can sweep into the village though they are charged by the Egyptians and engaged in a ferocious melee of swirling steel!

The Arabs are sent fleeing to the rear, Broken by the fierce charge and furious melee! With the way clear the Relief Column headed by the sailors of 'HMS Repulsive' with their machine guns, marches directly into action. There is no sign of the force sent to shadow their approach!

Having finally mustered for the assault the Fuzzies are halted short of the walls by the heavy fire from the defenders lining the parapets! In Disorder and with their morale Shaken they are a sitting target for the naval gunners and riflemen who decimate them in no time at all. 

With his forces completely Broken, and with no sign of the Shadowing forces, the Bhykli is forced to abandon the assault. A stunning victory for Robinson Pasha!

Thursday 18 November 2021

SYW French Infantry ~ the Gardes Lorraine


The inspiration for my latest addition to my SYW French Army comes from the print opposite. Most other sources I have to admit show a blue coat with only the musicians sporting coats in the livery of the Duc de Lorraine. Browsing the blogs of fellow gamers however is revealing, showing that they too have outfitted the entire regiment in this style. After all, my toys in my game seems a common theme, so Lace Fanatics should probably wander off and look elsewhere...

As with the bulk of my SYW collection the figures I utilised in depicting the Gardes Lorraine are from the Casting Rooms Miniatures branch of Wargames Foundry, sculpted I believe by Rob Baker. There are basically three packs of figures: a Command pack of 6 pieces; an infantry marching pack of 8 figures; and lastly, a Character pack of 6 figures. As in all my French Regiments bar one I supplemented these with a Mounted Colonel from the pack of three ~

In painting these I chose to use the Foundry Ochre base and mid for the coats, finding the yellow triad a bit insipid really. In the flesh the coats look much lighter than in these photos, you'll have to trust me on that. The flags are from GMB Designs, the finials from Front Rank and the bases from Warbases.

I've just completed the first four figures of a second French infantry regiment, the Royal Baviere. I'd hope to have the regiment finished by next week if possible.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

Somewhere in France 1940

 A few pictures from today's game here in GHQ. I'll not say much more, since it seems few folk can be bothered to look and even fewer to comment, perhaps the blog has run its course? Anyway: Rapid Fire2; lists from Blitzkrieg Battlegroups by same; figures by Foundry, Footsore and Warlord; terrain bits by The Last Valley and Sentry Models ~

Suffice to say British morale collapsed in Turn 7 after heavy loses and three consecutive morale checks!

Tuesday 9 November 2021

Action at Sabo Springs

 A slightly rearranged tabletop battlefield here in GHQ for this week's game with Phil set in the War of 1812-15: Lord Rawnsley commanding the Crown's forces and Ol' "Retribution" Bykleigh commanding the forces of the United States. As usual here nowadays the rules in use are Black Powder 2, age and memory dictating this as much as preference. Just a few images from a tense game which swung one way and then the other over nine turns of play ~

Turn 1 and the only Americans on the battlefield are the US Rifles, supporting two batteries of artillery. As you can see Lord Rawnsley's command was rather more active! 
Turn 2 and a second US unit, a Volunteer Rifle regiment, arrived: oh joy, oh rapture! This is looking like a walk over for the Anglo-Canadians and no mistake!
Turn 3 and at last a Brigade of US Regulars, lead by the 1st Regiment, arrives to steady the Militia's nerve and take up a position on the left of the American line. All along the front the Anglo-Canadians have advanced briskly and the options for American action are severely constrained.
Turn 4 and the Anglo-Canadians have taken up a strong position on the American right, from the cover afforded by the fencing pouring fire into the US troops as they struggle to deploy into firing lines.
Turn 5 sees an indecisive struggle to dominate the centre around the farm buildings. The Anglo-Canadians are moving slowly but the American Militia cannot exploit the moment, being in some Disorder from heavy artillery fire from two batteries located on the far hills.
Turns 6 & 7 sees the action hotting up on the American right. Despite losses from fire and some Disorder the Americans' line is holding firm and exchanging lead with the enemy.
By Turn 8 the Americans are sensing victory despite the loss of the Regular Brigade on their left. The fighting in the centre is beginning to swing their way with two Anglo-Canadian infantry units Breaking under fire. Disorder though is rife amongst the Militia and that is hampering any efforts to exploit the opportunity.
Turn 9 sees the fortunes of war swing violently against the Americans when their large Militia Brigade holding the centre suddenly breaks and retires from the fight! {With too many failures to rally off casualties the individual Militia units were becoming Shaken from Anglo-Canadian fire.} With two of the three American Brigades now being Broken the army is finished and retires from the field, handing victory to Lord Rawnsley's command.
A grand game lasting just over two hours and demonstrating once again the unpredictability of the rules, which seldom fail to deliver an interesting and consuming encounter right up to the end. Next up in GHQ a game with Jon next week but we've not decided on what it will be as of yet.