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 April 2022

The Battle of Sala Giochi

 A second game in GHQ this week! A fictional battle set somewhere in the Norther plains of Italy, perhaps in the Po valley. The game pits a French Republican force against an Austrian Allied force. The game is to welcome new 'GHQ Irregular' and old Alumwell Wargames Society chum Paul into the fold. The rules will be Black Powder 2 to introduce them to Paul and the figures drawn from my FRW collection, which you will have seen numerous times before I expect! Paul would lead the French to victory as it happened while the Austrians stuttered to defeat under my guidance...

A few shots from the game to give a sense of events. I was too wrapped up in helping Paul through his BP2 initiation to take more, sorry about that.

The opening moves looked favourable on the whole for the Austrian Cavalry on the right and Infantry in the centre, though the Hanoverians were hesitant in the centre and the Austrian light infantry on the left were immobile!
A bold advance by the Austrians just fails to secure the ridge to the front of the French position!
The French skirmishers swarm over the ridge with support close behind from their parent columns. On their right flank the battery of 4lb Horse Artillery guns play havoc with the approaching Austrian lines!
Early successes by the Austrian Heavy Cavalry are soon reversed, while the Light Cavalry steadfastly refuse to move to their aid. Despite one French Dragoon unit routing the French have the upper hand on this flank. The Austrian centre is stalled too and is soon assailed but multiple French columns. On the left the Light infantry, confronted by the Light Cavalry are unable to make any impact!
Well, here's the final position with the Austrian right in retreat and the French columns smashing through the centre to great effect. Three out of five Austrian Brigades are Broken and the army quits the field!
No game in GHQ next week as it stands, but you never know...

A Small Tribute...

 ...to the gallant Ukrainian people, long may they give Mad Vlad a bloody nose!

I don't often do serious here in GHQ but just felt right now this was warranted.

Tuesday 26 April 2022

Carrying on Up the Jungle...

 ...for our weekly game here in GHQ, a return to Burma 1943. Pitting elements of the Japanese Imperial Army, lead by Colonel Onomoro against the British & Empire Army commanded by that well known military incompetent, Major 'Tubby' Bykleigh. We had originally planned on using Bolt Action, but discussion over a pregame coffee lead to a decision to try Rapid Fire Reloaded instead. As ever, a photomontage to try and convey some idea of how the game played out ~

A view across the tabletop battlefield from the Japanese side. Pretty much all the appropriate terrain I have for jungle games.
Some Japanese Type 94 tankettes lead a reconnaissance towards the heavily defended ford across the river. Here it can be crossed by vehicles and infantry without penalty.
Encountering no opposition they press forward, supported now by an elephant drawn anti-tank gun and the first of the Japanese infantry!
Fighting breaks out in the centre first as the Gurkhas dug in along the river banks come under mortar and infantry fire from across the river.
Both the Gurkhas and the Japanese take early casualties, the larger Japanese infantry groups somehow disguise the scale of their losses more than the smaller Gurkha groups 
With the Gurkhas defending the ford now coming under machine gun fire from the Japanese Type 94 tankettes the British Grant rumbles forward, its opening shot destroying one tankette!
Emboldened by his success, the tank commander orders,  "Driver, advance!" The second shot damages the remaining tankette but fails to drive it off!
Gurkha resistance is crumbling under sustained fire, enabling the first Japanese to cross the river and occupy the deserted positions (callously bayoneting the wounded of course!)
The British infantry occupying higher ground in support come under intense mortar fire! Casualties are mounting alarmingly and the response is desultory at best.
The advancing Ha-Go gets the first shot in and brews up the Grant! Things are looking more than a bit rum for our boys right now.
More Japanese infantry are across the river, effectively splitting the Empire troops' position. Casualties reach a critical points and morale collapses! The decision of the Dice Gods brings 'Surrender or Rout', neither being a welcome option here! A hard fought win for Onomoro, but a win never the less! Tremendous fun of course for both players, but very bloody from the off. I still find myself pining for the second edition Rapid Fire! rules. '10 pts on Table 4!' is etched on my memory it seems!

Saturday 23 April 2022

B.A.O.R. Mechanised Infantry

 This is my representation of the B.A.O.R. Mechanised Infantry about 1983ish, based on the diagram below lifted from the net ~

Although the diagram represents the Platoon organisation in our games it will be a Company by the addition of 51mm mortar and GPMG teams, or even a Battalion by adding a second 51mm mortar and GPMG team.! As I'm sure you recall I'm using the Battlefront metal figures for these. Since I posted them as a work in progress in the previous entry I've reworked the helmet covers and also completed the whole group. I've yet to decide how to grass 'n tuft their bases though, largely thanks to Phil offering a suggestion I'd not considered. More on that when I've made up my mind on it. In the meantime here's a group image ~
In addition to reaching this stage a number of vehicles have exited the paint shop and had markings applied before being based and textured. They now also await washing, followed by grass 'n tufting. A word on the transfers; it took me over an hour to do four vehicles! The transfers, just over two years old, kept disintegrating in the water! Poor show! Finally, William came by for another of his 'wargames with grandad'. The result was never in doubt given his ability with the dice ~

Monday 18 April 2022

The Little People!

 An update on the progress I'm making with the 15mm Cold War Gone Hot project is in order I think. By way of a reminder, if one was needed, Phil has kindly undertaken the painting of the vehicles, leaving me to apply transfers and basing. I've also been processing the numerous MDF kits I've acquired for this project. Now I've finally started on the first of the figures for the game in the shape of the infantry element of a B.A.O.R. Mechanised Company. These figures are from Battlefront's Team Yankee range and are metal castings - I'd simply tired of waiting for PSC's long expected plastic 15mm figures! 'Coming Soon' clearly means something different in their lexicon. Frankly I am struggling to see what passes for detail in so small a scale, so I've aimed squarely for the 'Are they Recognisable' for what they are? A test suggested by my wife I might add! Now clearly my approach is basic, and I'm being overly generous there too, but they will do for me.  Here they are, warts and all, with bases still to be grass 'n tufted of course ~

So far then I've painted the Company HQ; two 2" Mortars & crew; two GPMGs and crew; and two eight man Sections out of the four I plan. That will leave the 9 figures representing the Milan anti-tank Section and we are done. I'd hope to be there by next weekend! By then my remaining figures from Redoubt Enterprises should have arrived and I can slip back into more comfortable 28mm territory for a while with the F&IW expansion.

Thursday 14 April 2022

Speak As You Find

 I've never been one not to speak his mind, just ask my family, friends and neighbours or former work colleagues. Nor do I suffer fools gladly I'm told. I thought I'd better say that first before getting down to the real point I want to make.

Last week, 7/4/22, in the late afternoon, I made two small orders for some F&IW figure packs; one from Redoubt Enterprises and one from Galloping Major. I've ordered from neither before; my entire F&IW collection of Redoubt Enterprises' figures came as either Review samples for Wargames Illustrated or were purchased at shows. I've not bought anything from Galloping Major before. Having seen issues raised on social media concerning Redoubt's mail order I was expecting the figures to come several days apart. Following the orders' progress via the respective web sites, they were both marked as Processing the next day. This morning, 13/4/22, the postman delivered two packages of figures, one from each company. Now, I call that pretty good service.

Before I get to the next stage, there are two other things I need to add. Firstly, the Redoubt Enterprises' package contained an extra as a 'thank you' for the order ~
Secondly, on the Tuesday evening I'd received an email from Galloping Major telling me the order was posted, followed by an update apologising for sending an incorrect pack in the order and assuring me the correct pack would follow immediately. Oh, and I could keep the incorrect pack! Now on all counts that's great customer service, from both companies! 
So I thought you'd like to see what I got in these orders. These are straight from the package, no cleaning up at all, just as they came ~
Four packs of figures and a free pack from Redoubt Enterprises comprising :-
F&I 210 British Infantry Command advancing & F&I 231 British Grenadiers Standing Firing
F&I 46 Woodsmen and F&I 140 Compaignes Franches de la Marine
The Freebie of two firing First Nations warriors firing
Turning now to the Galloping Major figures, the pictures clearly show the pack numbers and contents, so I'll not insult your intelligence!
A comparison shot of the warriors from the two companies as o know folk are interested in this aspect. From the left: Galloping Major; Redoubt Enterprises; Galloping Major; Redoubt Enterprises.
Meanwhile, the correct Galloping Major figures have arrived on Thursday morning! I have to say that is excellent service, up there with much bigger companies like Foundry and Old Glory.
And again, straight out of the packaging!
A cursory examination of all the figures from both Galloping Major and Redoubt Enterprises suggests there is little in the way of flash or vent runs to worry about so I hope to get these ready for painting fairly briskly, once I've got the 15mm Cold War Gone Hot figures well underway. So far I've completed four trial figures, so hopefully 'They will do!'

Tuesday 12 April 2022

Action at Robinson's Rough

 Back to normal here in GHQ after a week's enforced hiatus, when Phil preferred shopping to gaming! I may forgive him, in time... Anyway, to today's game and a fictional encounter in the AWI between Lord Rawnsley's Crown forces and the rebellious and ungrateful colonials lead by that icon of military incompetence, old  "Independence or Death" Bykleigh. The rules used were Black Powder 2 as usual and the game was set at 12 Turns. As is my custom an annotated photomontage to give a sense of how the game played out ~

The colonials open the action with a rather disjointed advance on the enemy! The left is secured by two small brigades of Militia while the Continentals make up the centre. Their right flank is covered by cavalry to deter a turning movement by Rawnsley's forces.
The Crown's forces are slow to execute Rawnsley's orders. His Regulars make up his centre, supported on the right by Loyalist elements and a warband of the Paddoquoi, his left covered by a small cavalry brigade.
As both sides struggle to get into position the first action opens in the centre. Early fighting consists of an ineffectual firefight across the fenced lane leading to Robinson's Rough.
Old "Independence or Death" Bykleigh is not at the races yet, troops are proving slow or even reluctant to execute orders. Virginia Continental infantry are moving slowly to support the 2nd Maryland and elements of Lee's Legion who are trading lead with British light infantry.
The 45th are holding the centre flanked by the Royal Artillery 6lb gun on their left and the Lights on their right. The Loyalist units are on some confusion in the distance, though Butler's Rangers have secured the small farmstead.
A firefight all along the front of both armies has developed by Turn 4. The Rebel's cavalry are too advanced and take heavy casualties. Nevertheless, their presence is safeguarding the army's right flank.
Feeling confident that his position is a strong one, Rawnsley sends the 45th forward to probe a gap in the Rebel's line.
After some early success against Butler's Rangers, the Virginia Militia finds itself confronting the Paddoquoi! They prove stubborn opponents who surprised us by standing up to repeated volleys, refusing to give ground to their foe!
The 3rd New Jersey, the famed Blues, finally break under the sustained fire of the British regulars and the Royal Artillery! To plug the gap Bykleigh deploys his brigade of Continental Dragoons. Desperate times call for desperate measures!
The brigade if Militia cavalry on Bykleigh's right are finally routed and the Continental Dragoons are obliged to retire to prevent further losses. Strangely Rawnsley does not seem inclined to exploit this opportunity, his forces being very battered on his left it seems!
On his right Rawnsley's forces are stubbornly holding off all attacks on the farm, aided by ineffective fire from the Militia! In the centre the situation moves to favour the Rebels, though they fail to exploit their advantage!
It is the end! Twelve Turns have been played out and neither side has delivered the decisive blow to claim a victory for their cause! Though a draw, the Rebel position is judged the weaker with two Broken Brigades and two other brigades on the cusp of Breaking. Old "Independence or Death" concedes the field to Lord Rawnsley and withdraws his army to fight another day!

The forces involved:-
Crown forces
CinC Lord Rawnsley.
1st Brigade:- 23rd, 43rd, 45th
2nd Brigade:- King's Orange Rangers, Volunteers of Ireland, Loyalist Militia
17/18 Light Dragoons
Tarleton's Legion
NY Light Dragoons
Loyalist Militia Horse
Screening force:- Light Infantry detached from 1st Brigade, Butler's Rangers, Queens Rangers
Paddoquoi war party
RA 6LB & 3LB guns.

The Rebellious & Ungrateful Colonials 
CinC Old "Independence or Death" Bykleigh
1st Brigade:- 4th & 8th Virginia Continental infantry, 3lb Galloper Gun
2nd Brigade:- 2nd Maryland Continental infantry, 3rd New Jersey Continental infantry, Lee's Legion foot, 3lb Galloper Gun
2 Militia Brigades of 2 Militia infantry units
Brigade of 3 small mounted Militia units
2nd & 3rd Continental Light Dragoons
Grand Battery of 3 Heavy Guns.

Sunday 10 April 2022

The 'Joys' of Rebasing!

 Most of the past week has been taken up with a rebasing of my small F&IW collection. Originally I based these mostly on 25mm round MDF bases for use in a skirmish sized game. Having tried and rejected both iterations of Sharp Practice, as well as the original Muskets & Tomahawks, we have tried using Black Powder with some in-house modifications more successfully. Having settled the rules issue, it seemed logical then to rebase the figures to fit in with those of my larger SYW collection.

The first French regular infantry, the 2nd battalion of the Royal Roussillon and light gun support.
French Woodsmen: Coureurs du Bois and Frontier Militia.
Huron allies, enough I hope for two War Party groups. The captive women vignette I bought at a Tabletop Sale in Penkridge several years ago.
The 28th Foot, supported by their Light Company and Grenadiers of the 78th, Fraser's Highlanders.
Robinson's (Roger's) Rangers, lead by a well known fictional group of figures!
Civilians/Militia and a Light gun with crew.
Transport for the Rangers  (useful markers in a game for Step Off points or Objectives.)

This reorganization has lead to a fair number of figures surplus to immediate redeployment. So I have ordered up the extra figures to make up the units. As most of the figures I have are from Redoubt Enterprises F&IW range I have placed an order, crossing my fingers they will arrive {as I've seen some worrying posts about the lack of service.} In addition I've made my first ever order from Galloping Major, a small War Party's worth of Stockbridge natives. I'm hoping that they will be compatible with the existing Redoubt Enterprises' range.

No doubt this will merely be the start of further future expansion of the collection, after all we are all wargamers and know how it more than often pans out! I also seem to have an empty 7L RUB in GHQ!