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 30 May 2022

The Field of Mars

 Our regular Tuesday game here in GHQ took place this week on Monday! The excuse being that Tuesday marks my 72nd birthday and a modest celebration of sorts seemed in order. On to the Field of Mars then with Coronus Cunctator and Bicca Magnus and another 2nd Punic Wars period battle, using Neil Thomas's Ancient and Medieval Wargames rules, with our sundry additions and amendments as ever. 

The Etruscans of Bicca Magnus advance to face Coronus Cunctator and the Wolf's Cubs!
Rome has entrusted Coronus Cunctator with its defence when threatened by an Etruscan revolt. He takes up a strong position along the ridge line blocking the Etruscans' route to the Eternal City.
First blood to the Cretan archers recruited to Bicca's service. (Did not see dice like those again very often as the battle unfolded!)
Before Coronus' army can consolidate its position Bicca's cavalry charge home against their opposite number, hoping for a quick triumph and an open flank!
As the cavalry fight swirls around on his right flank Coronus orders his infantry forward, forsaking the advantage of the ridge line he had occupied.
Bicca counters this unexpected advance by moving the whole of his infantry forward! 
Casualties are heavy as the cavalry action swirls around the flank of the armies. The clash of iron and bronze, the screams of the wounded and dying men and horses rent the air.
The whole of both armies horsemen are now engaged in a death struggle, seeking the upper hand which will open the infantry to murderous assault on an unprotected flank!
Coronus's elite cavalry drives back Bicca's horsemen in disarray! Losses are mounting and morale is weakening dangerously.
Bicca's horse are destroyed as a fighting force and Coronus's sub-general tries to rally his victorious cavalrymen for a battle winning attack on the Etruscan infantry's flank!
Hardly noticing the mayhem out on their flanks the two opposing bodies of infantry slowly close with each other.
Coronus's sub-general is having real trouble rallying his victorious cavalrymen into an effective fighting force. This enables Bicca to reposition his Italian allies to face the potential threat while his skirmishers engage their opposite numbers.
The cavalry charge against the Italian infantry, but they are badly outnumbered and are mauled!
At last the opposing Legions clash. The air is black with pila as the front lines strike home!
Seeing the Wolf's Cubs being mauled by the Etruscan Legion the cavalry are unleashed on their supporting maniples. The fighting is intense with many falling in the combat 

Both armies are exhausted and have suffered great losses. The fighting dies down, breaks out sporadically, and dies down again as both Coronus and Bicca strive to extricate the survivors. A hard fought and bloody battle ends inconclusively on this Field if Mars 

B.A.O.R. c.1983

 Well, a moment I never thought would come has finally crept up on me unawares in that all of the vehicles and figures I bought for the NATO side of the Cold War Gone Hot project in the shape of the B.A.O.R. are finished, at least for now! They will be lead no doubt usually by that cool head, Brigadier 'Fighting Phil' Robinson, hero of many a desperate fight! All the vehicles and figures are from Battlefront's Team Yankee range of course. Anyhow, no more blathering, here are the whole kit and caboodle for your delectation, or otherwise ~

The tanks and AFVs for the Soviet side of the game, lead by the Russian branch of that family of military incompetents 'Mad Vlad' Byklovic, are also completed and the infantry are now finally underway, with the first four figures completed. The bases are ordered from the Plastic Soldier Company, along with a box of T55s to bolster the Soviets in due course as Phil is in the groove it seems!

Thursday 26 May 2022

The Rocket's Red Glare...

...As they sped through the air! Thursday' s game here in GHQ moved to North America and the War of 1812-15, pitting General Watson's Anglo-Canadian army against Ol' Mere Marching Bykleigh and his rag tag army. The rules used were Black Powder 2, as I'm helping Paul feel his way through them {cut the smirking there, Robinson!} The opening positions ~

The opening disposition of Ol' Mere Marching Bykleigh's American force, a Militia Brigade covered by artillery occupies his right, two brigades of Regulars cover the centre and left.
General Watson's Anglo-Canadian command facing the Americans has his right covered by Indian allies and the Glengarry Light Infantry, while his centre has a regular brigade and his rocket battery, leaving the left to be covered by a second smaller brigade of veterans and regular regiments together with a brigade of Canadian Militia.
Wasting no time, the Anglo-Canadian right and centre move briskly forward seeking to engage the American left flank as rockets roar overhead!
The American's left flank brigade is trying to shake out into a decent defensive position, somewhat tardily in its execution of orders though as the rockets strike home!
In the centre and on the right the Americans just can't seem to get it together. Orders don't seem to reach their allotted units or be briskly carried out.
In the Anglo-Canadian centre the infantry shake out into firing lines covered by the skirmishers of the Canadian Voltigeurs.
On the Anglo-Canadian right the infantry are pressing onward threatening the American infantry who are in some Disorder due to being hit by the rocket salvo as they tried to deploy along the road.
In some disarray under constant rocket attack  the Americans are trying to shore up their centre and left while there is little sign of their Militia having any enthusiasm for joining the fight!
In the centre the Anglo-Canadian infantry are pressing the Americans hard while the American's artillery look anxiously for support from the reluctant Militia Brigade! 
The American's left is in some disarray and the Anglo-Canadian infantry are pressing home their advantage, pouring fire into the unfortunate Americans. Those darned rockets are causing no end of disorder!
Another direct hit from the Royal Marines' rocket battery spreads even more Disorder amongst the Americans. One decisive push now and they would surely crumble?
It seems I spoke too soon as a wayward rocket salvo smashes into the rear of an advancing Anglo-Canadian infantry unit. Fortunately there are no adjacent units to share their Disorder!
While the battle on their left is going badly for the Americans in the centre Ol' Mere Marching Bykleigh's men have got themselves into better shape. Their dander is well and truly up and the Anglo-Canadians are pushed back with one unit being routed!
At last General Watson's orders get through and the Anglo-Canadian Militia Brigade begins to move steadily forward to cover the retiring centre.
On the American left flank one heroic infantry regiment is holding the Anglo-Canadian attack at bay. Casualties are mounting slowly but surely, it can only be a matter of time it seems for them.
As the Anglo-Canadian Militia Brigade shakes out into firing lines the American Militia finally appear along the crest to their front. They pour fire into the approaching enemy and the attack seems to falter.
Suddenly things are looking much better for Ol' Mere Marching Bykleigh's men. An unexpected change of fortune seems to have flowed from the rocket's errant strike on friendly forces!
On the American left though the fight is much closer now. Another rocket salvo strikes home! If the left crumbles the whole army will be flanked rendering the successes in the centre and on the right meaningless.
Suddenly, and as is often the case in these games, fortunes collapse. The heroic American defense on their left sees the Anglo-Canadian attack collapse. General Watson sees his army is broken! Ol' Mere Marching has snatched a surprise victory from a seeming defeat! Dogged defense has carried the day allied to the eventual and timely arrival of his Militia. What a game!

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Die Fabrik

 The final buildings, at least for the foreseeable future, for Groß Bikelberg are the four Sarissa Precision factory/industrial buildings I bought at WMMS, back in 2018 or 2019 I think. I still have to sort out a few issues such as perimeter fencing and some suitable industrial looking detritus, but this is pretty much done otherwise so I thought I'd pop it up here in the meantime.

I might consider a bit of weathering in due course, but right now I've other more pressing concerns on the painting desk. When it's properly finished I'll post some shots of it in situ with the other buildings of the town, but for now this is it. I think if I see another 15mm MDF building I may just scream...Mind, they'd be preferable to the 144 plastic Russians staring balefully at me from atop the paint drawers!

Grenadiers of the 15th Foot

 The second base of British Grenadiers as a part of my F&IW expansion project have marched across the painting desk and deployed into GHQ to await a drier day for varnishing. As with their compatriots from the 28th Foot they are from the venerable Redoubt Enterprises F&IW range. As with the other bases I've completed recently they are rather more liberally vegetated than is my norm, an attempt on my part to suggest the wilder nature over which the conflict was fought. Anyway, here they are for your consideration ~

I have cleaned up and prepared for spray undercoating the next tranche of figures for this project in the form of two similarly sized bases of French Grenadiers, one in bearskin and one in tricorn for variety. I've also processed five bases of Compagnes Franche de la Marine in likewise fashion. Perhaps when the recent rains abate I can spray undercoat the lot? In the meantime I'm happily grass 'n tufting the bases of the B.A.O.R. and Soviet Union AFVs which Phil completed for me. Just the transfers to apply then. Just? I must be optimistic given the last effort!

My unusual post-Partizan burst of activity is down to Phil being away for a few days, so there was no game on Tuesday as a consequence. However Thursday sees a second visit to GHQ for a game by new Irregular Paul, so a game report may appear over the weekend! 

Sunday 22 May 2022

Partizan 2022

 Phil and I went over to Partizan earlier today, a much anticipated event in our gaming calendar. We were not disappointed I'm happy to report! 

We arrived about 40 minutes after opening to find no queue and no free figure on entry. All gone already they said. No surprise as the show was literally rammed full of happy gamers relieving themselves of the contents of their war chests, or joining in with games, or just admiring the quality of the multitude of top notch display games! Here are a few shots from games which struck me particularly as epitomising the very best of our glorious hobby ~

Two pictures of an ACW game, not in 28mm scale! I particularly liked the burning town and the river gunboats.
An Elizabethan set to? I forgot to ask, oops!
Waterloo! A staple amongst Napoleonic Wargamers', featuring a splendid model of the chateau of Hougoumont.
Perhaps B Troop ain't coming back after all?
Dark Ages set to! Some splendid chaps on view there.
Two shots of the Perry Miniatures' Battle of Dorking game. Perhaps subtitled 'what to do when the French are late?'
Two shots of the Claymore Castings/Dave Imrie game. Lots of figures sculpted by Matt there!
Culloden. A smashing looking table!
The Iron Brigade' s ACW game by Kevin & Peter! My personal favourite amongst the games, not that I'm biased you understand...😉
Russians v Turks from Derby Wargamers I believe.
A 1st Carlist War game, almost as good as Phil's table last Tuesday, almost...
Some details from the Boondock Saints' Indian Mutiny game. I might have spent hours looking at all the little details here.
Cold enough for you? A splendid winter table here, one of the best I've ever seen. Quite made me shiver!
Shaun's memorial game for his friend Ian Smith, a super 40mm game. Loads of bespoke stuff on show, soon to be sold on I'm told.

As I mentioned happy wargamers' disposal of the contents of their war chests in the opening of this post I should show the efforts I made myself in that direction ~

From The Last Valley, bespoke terrain for the discerning wargamer!
Trent Miniatures' FRW figures and Empress Miniatures' Prince Imperial, Rebel command and female leader on horseback.
Perry Miniatures AWI camp set. I've always wanted this, from stalwarts Dave Thomas and Phil.
The second installment of Rapid Fire Reloaded, the new version of a hobby favourite. A kind gift from Colin Rumford.
From Great Escape Games, paint for my 144 15mm Russian infantry and more tufts!
From Foundry, a paint triad, Ochre.
From Warbases, who else, a base for the second half of my 15mm German factory and the 40x50mm bases for my F&IW expansion project! 
Amongst all the joy of attending what is now our 'local' show, a mere 2 hours away, I particularly enjoyed putting the hobby to rights with chums Aly Morrison, Colin Ashton, George Anderson, Kevin & Peter, Colin Jack, Dave O'Brien and many others! I even met Jon! {Obviously not too busy today?} My next show? The Other Partizan in October. It seems thebastardcovid is playing havoc with our hobby still.