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.

Wednesday 30 November 2022

Better Late Than Never!

The French regiment Bouillon musters into GHQ after an atypically prolonged residence on the painting desk! Of course this delay was caused as I'm sure you will recall by Phil and I having to process the contents of Battlefront's Red Dawn expansion to their Team Yankee game. Now that exercise being behind us, things can once more progress SYW-wise at a more sedate pace appropriate to my age!

Once more I chose to paint this regiment because I liked the flags. I found these on the splendid blog resource 'Not by Appointment' - a highly recommended source for both flags and uniform information. The regiment is depicted using Casting Rooms Miniatures figures and are based on 40x50mm MDF bases, from Warbases as always. One issue with SYW French uniforms is the multiple variations in coat collars, shoulder straps, cuffs, lace, pockets and such. Using these, my preferred figures, means I have to compromise at times. Here, there are 6 figures with collars, but none with cuff lace. So, the 12 rank and file have no collars but all 19 figures have cuff lace painted on to the bare cuffs. It's obviously a compromise, but one I can live with for wargaming purposes. Along with the flags it will help the distinctive look of the regiment as it takes its place in the line of battle.

I have two other units to paint for the French SYW army, a second Swiss Guard regiment and another Grenadier regiment, but I thought that I'd try a Hanoverian infantry regiment next, the first from Front Rank exclusively for this part of the expansion project. I'd hope to complete these before the festivities begin to intrude on life as December advances! I've also got 4 Warbases German buildings to assemble and paint for the SYW, so I might tackle those along with the Hanoverians.

My next entry will be the 1,000 blog post I've made, so it's apt I should end it by talking about what is to come, rather than focusing on what has passed. With that in mind, a quick check through the Lead Pimple shows my small Hanoverian force and smaller Imagination force for the SYW expansion project in addition to the aforementioned French. There are also three Dixon Miniatures ACW infantry regiments to form the Texas Brigade. Smaller elements, all from Warlord Games, of Roman civilians and a 105mm howitzer and crew for the Burma game, together with a plastic Stuart light tank kit for the same complete the inventory. Enough to be going  on with, at least for now, given a following wind I'd venture.

Tuesday 29 November 2022

It's My Blogiversary!

Tales From GHQ is celebrating its 11th Birthday today! I took a look back at my first posting last night ~

It seems I was painting ACW command stand figures, in this case Bobby Lee and entourage for the Army of Northern Virginia. I still have that vignette base but have to admit it seldom sees the light of day. I also note I'd been adding figures to the Anglo-Zulu War collection, again quite apt as I've only recently added the Prince Imperial figures too.

Did I think I'd still be blogging in 2022 back then? Probably not I'd say. Might I still be blogging in another 11 years? Well, I think that's something best not dwelt on. I'd definitely be a geriatric wargamer if I get that far! It's probably more sensible to just take each day as it comes and enjoy it to the max. Family, Friends, Neighbours and our wonderful hobby are worth celebrating every day! Wherever you are and whatever hobby activity you're planning, do enjoy your days, each and every one. Me? Sue and I are going out to lunch with Phil and Di, but no doubt there'll be some hobby stuff along the way today...

Friday 25 November 2022

The Spiders are roaming free...

...and the tumbleweed is rolling gently along here in GHQ! The reason for this lack of activity you might wonder? Well, Phil is poorly and Jon is busy, so I am in 'Billy No Mates' mode once more. And I can't even blame Boristhebastard this time either! To raise my spirits I thought I'd show you the Tales From GHQ calendar which I produce for my friends each year, John Aston has a full set and can tell me when this began. The theme for 2023 is the SYW featuring scenes from those games here in GHQ ~

While there's been no sniff of a game even I have been keeping morale up by sitting at the desk and painting as and when I can. My main effort is in the Red Dawn pre-release sphere. I've almost completed the Soviet Airborne troops, just a dozen left to finish off, and I've started basing those vehicles Phil was able to pass to me (thanks Diane!) before he keeled over! Our deadline for completing our task is very tight, but the text is almost written now and the in game photos are planned to our satisfaction, so the short promotional piece should all reach Dan in time. Sadly I can't post any pictures of the work, for obvious reasons.

I've also been fitting into the painting efforts a French SYW infantry regiment , Bouillon, again chosen because I liked the flags! I'm on the final four figures now so they might also be completed this month with a bit of luck!

Monday 21 November 2022

A Slight Diversion

There I was, plodding along steadily painting SYW figures for the French regiment Bouillon, when the Postie rang the doorbell. 

I opened the door and was handed a large brown box! Now, I was expecting this, but not quite so soon, and its arrival would bring about both a sudden modification of the painting schedule and in the scale/size of subject for both Phil and me.

A part of the contents of this package from Dan at Wargames illustrated included this pre-release box from the new Red Dawn expansion of Battlefront's Team Yankee game, due for release in December and January according to their website. Phil and I have been volunteered/recruited/conscripted to paint up samples from the boxed set which will be used to illustrate a piece about the contents in an upcoming issue of the magazine, following on our piece in the November issue.

I did mention that the boxed set was only a part of the package's contents, so it would only be polite to reveal the other content as I'm sure some of you would want to know. I received the new De Luxe edition of Never Mind the Billhooks, in fact the note enclosed said it was the very first copy sent out so I feel more than privileged. It is available to buy now if you'd not already pre-ordered it.

The book is every bit the professional product that you'd expect from the hobby's leading magazine and I'm confident that it will prove very popular with devotees of the Wars of the Roses and the wider late medieval sweep of wars and conflicts. Of especial interest to me of course is a section on the Italian Wars which I hope might prove useful here in GHQ.

All this means that for now progress on the SYW expansion project, currently in the shape of the regiment Bouillon you recall, will be a tad slower than expected while I tackle 15mm Soviet Airborne troops, as well as basing up all the vehicles Phil manages to process. Worse still, tomorrow 's scheduled game is cancelled, so it's all a bit solitary here in GHQ, for the foreseeable future at least. So, KBO is the Order of the Day!

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Lord Rawnsley's Defeat

This week's game here in GHQ featured a F&IW game, the first run through for a while with the extended and rebased collection using Black Powder 2 as the rules driver. Phil, as Lord Rawnsley, took command of the Crown's forces while I took the French as Du Merde. As usual we set the game length at twelve turns, which proved a tad on the optimistic side as it happened. Before starting we diced for Scouting, resulting in the British being out scouted and deploying first. Round one to Red Jacket and Du Merde! As usual I present a photomontage to convey a sense of the unfolding tabletop drama ~

Rawnsley deploys his regulars on his left flank, while his Provincial Infantry, Rangers and Stockbridge Tribes hold his centre.
Du Merde has his right and centre for his Regulars but on his left concentrates his Irregular forces and First Nations under Red Jacket, supported by two Small groups of Compagnies Franches de la Marine.
Du Merde wastes no time in closing with the British Regulars who are lead by a Large unit of Grenadiers. Both sides find it hard to cause significant losses to their foes though 
Meanwhile, in the centre, the Compagnies Franches de la Marine advance on the woods held by Stockbridge Tribes allies of the Crown.
Dice, Dontyajustluv'em? My volley produces two 6s & a 5, Phil's Saving Throws three 6s! Merde!!!! The British Regulars are pressing the French hard.
In an almost separate battle away on Rawnsley's right flank Red Jacket leads his War Party and Woodsmen in an attack on the isolated farm defended only by some Citizen Militia and a lone Stockbridge Tribes War Party.
The Compagnies Franches de la Marine are holding their own against the South Carolina Provincial Infantry allowing the Coureurs Du Bois to use the lane to move forward and outflank the British centre 
Du Merde 's Regulars form a firing line hoping to make their better disposition play a vital role in the developing firefight.
First Nations and Stockbridge Tribes War Parties clash around the cabin, with victory going to Red Jacket's warriors. Meanwhile, the remaining War Party attacks the farm supported by the Woodsmen.
Furious exchanges of close quarter musketry at last prove decisive as a unit of French Regulars breaks while their opposing Grenadier battalion falls back. It seems Rawnsley may defeat Du Merde at this point if he can press home the advantage.
In the Centre too developments seem to favour Rawnsley's cause  as one unit of Compagnies Franches de la Marine are driven back and the second charged by the Rangers. Support comes from the South Carolina Provincial Infantry and a War Party of Stockbridge Tribes allies.
Meanwhile in the native village Father Artois extols the many 'benefits' of French civilization to his flock. 
On Rawnsley's right events are swinging unexpectedly away from his control as both the Militia and the Stockbridge Tribes War Parties are routed from the field!
With the War Party routing on its right, the South Carolina Provincial Infantry falls back leaving the Light Companies in the woods exposed to the full fury of enemy fire. New Unit syndrome in play here I felt!
The defenders of the farm flee in panic before the ferocious attack from Red Jacket's warriors!

 The French have secured what seemed an unlikely victory as Rawnsley's resolve is shattered like his army which flees the field. Many scalps were taken it seems this day!

The game was unexpectedly over in Turn 7 when British morale collapsed suddenly. Losses on their right and centre left the Regulars on the left isolated and Shaken meaning the army was Broken. "Vive Le Roi! Vive La Nouvelle France!"
What had started as a few figures painted for review purposes has grown into a decent fringe SYW collection for games set in North America during the French and Indian War. In the main the figures are from Redoubt Enterprises, with some Galloping Major figures added lately and the odd Foundry figure. The trees and fences are from The Last Valley while the buildings are mainly either scratch built or modified MDF kits from Warbases. I hope that you have enjoyed your vicarious visit to GHQ and might feel kindly enough about our efforts to leave a comment, all feedback is valued and appreciated. Cheers!

Monday 14 November 2022

The Colonel-General's Dragoons

My SYW collection expansion project continues to progress at a steady if unspectacular rate. The latest unit readied to join the fray are a six figure squadron of the French Colonel-General's Dragoons. The figures of course are from Foundry/Casting Rooms Miniatures' range, which I recognise are a taste some will never acquire. I used the Command pack and the Troopers Charging pack for this unit. I may at some future point add a further six, time will tell. See what you think anyway ~
As ever the bases are from Warbases but the guidon I made using a downloaded image from the Project SYW website. Next under the brush are a French infantry regiment, Bouillon. More on them when they are done. Six down and four more underway, so almost halfway through.

Friday 11 November 2022

Lord Gornale Takes Command

Paul recently paid his now monthly visit to GHQ, to lead the Royalist army in an English Civil War game. We agreed to use Pike & Shot as the game rules as their common heritage with Black Powder makes them a little easier to pick up for a one off game. The battlefield is very sparsely occupied with terrain features, making a bloody set to more likely! Let's see how the battle unfolded, shall we? 

The action opens on the Royalists'left wing with massed cavalry charges led respectively by Rupert and Cromwell. Parliamentary heavy artillery opens up on the Royalist centre causing some Disorder.
Surprised to find Royalist Dragoons occupying the high ground on their right the Parliamentary dragoons halt in confusion. Had their commander been more aggressive they might have carried the position themselves, now it will cost many lives...
The Parliamentary Foote in the centre of their line at last begins to move forward!
The Parliamentary left and centre advance cautiously, the Royalist Dragoons have seized the high ground and will prove stubborn in its defence. 
The advance of the Parliamentary right is halted and thrown back but Gornale fails to drive home the advantage and they reform.
Talbot's and The Duke of York 's Foote hastily form hedgehog under threat from Parliamentary regiments of horse!
On Parliament 's right early exchanges between rival horse regiments favour Rupert's regiments of horse! Sir Matthew Bykleigh's Horse flee the field!
Steady Parliamentary Foote repel the attack from Gornale's Lifeguard of Horse!
A view from the Royalists' right flank. While Parliament's left wing has seen the dragoons forced back the line has not been broken or turned. Gornale's best chance of victory seems to be slipping away.
Despite some early hesitation and setbacks, Fairfax and Cromwell have lead the Parliamentary horse to a stunning victory over Rupert's regiments of horse.
In the Parliamentary centre, the Foote have formed up to bring their muskets to bear on the Royalists' who are struggling to form up.
Obadiah Bykleigh, gentleman, receives news of the battle's outcome from Essex.
Whilst the Royalists' Red Dragoons hold the hill, even with the support of Gornale's Lifeguard of Horse, they cannot drive of the Parliamentary left.
Lord Gornale confers with the Bishop of Lichfield, before both ignominiously flee the field.
Rupert's Blue Coats and Robinson's White Coats hold off the enemy amongst the chaos of defeat.
The Parliamentary left stays firm and holds the Royalist Dragoons at bay. The support of Essex's Tawney Coats, a light artillery piece and Bykleigh's Foote has emboldened the Parliamentary Blue Dragoons.
With three of Gornale's battles broken his army is beaten and leaves the field to the victors. A splendid game we both agreed which swung both ways at different times before suddenly slipping away from the Royalists as their morale failed.

They Came Home...

...but many did not.
From left to right:-

My father, Howard Bickley, served in the Royal Navy in the Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific and Mediterranean.

My uncle Arthur Nash, served in the R.A.S.C. in Burma with the Forgotten Army.

My great uncle Albert 'Jack' Boot served in the Coldstream Guards in the Great War. His records show he was a trench mortar gunner.

My uncle Earnest Slynn served with the Royal Ulster Rifles. He was in the glider force landed on the evening of D Day to reinforce the men at Pegasus Bridge. He was wounded in the fighting around Caen by shrapnel from an 88mm.

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Letters Home

I had an appointment for a check-up at the dentist yesterday afternoon. It all went swimmingly so breathing a sigh of relief I spent a bit of time trawling one or two Charity Shops in the City. Not a great deal on offer, and I already have a backlog of Crime Fiction in the To Read heap, but I did light on one item ~

I don't read a great deal of Military History any more but I do enjoy diaries and collections of letters. Generally the author who has compiled the collection includes such details as are necessary for understanding or adds commentary on the subject. The first hand accounts usually bring wider events into focus or give a different perspective on other accounts.
As the subject of this collected volume of letters served in the Sub Continent and fought in the Great Mutiny, receiving the VC for actions at Delhi, it's close to one of my gaming interests. I often find ideas for scenarios in these type of books, so I'm hopeful I shall find a couple as I read through.
In the meantime I've finished two of the SYW French Colonel-General's Dragoons and have a further two within touching distance of completion. I have the muse at present it seems.

Monday 7 November 2022

The SYW Collection Expands

As I'm sure I've mentioned previously I have decided, all things being equal, that I'd like to expand my SYW collection over the Winter and into the Spring. To facilitate this expansion, as you might recall, I've ordered in several new units' worth of figures. From Wargames Foundry/Casting Rooms Miniatures I bought figures to make up two French infantry regiments, one being the Gardes Suisse's second regiment the other the regiment Bouillon. {There was already another Grenadier regiment in the Lead Pimple, which can either be a Royal Grenadier or a further Grenadiers de France regiment.} The flags I copied from David’s superb blog, Not By Appointment ~
In addition to the infantry I ordered some Heavy Cavalry to expand the Mestre de Camp's regiment to four squadrons and a squadron of Dragoons to form the first of the Colonel-General's Dragoons. I've already made a start on the cavalry aspect of the expansion project and so I thought that I would show the new additions, though there is one 'original' amongst them!
As I had a mounted drummer from the command pack spare I painted him up too and added him to a previously painted mounted officer to form a more impressive Command base for the French Heavy cavalry. Obviously I thought you'd like to see these too.
The six new figures for the Colonel-General's Dragoons' first squadron are already underway so I'd hope to show those to interested followers/visitors in the not too distant future. Keep an eye out for more news as and when...

Wednesday 2 November 2022

"When they were up...

...they were up." Back in action in GHQ this week and a Wars of the French Revolution game was our preferred choice. 
The French are defending the important town of Peendevord which dominates the supply lines for their Army of the North. General Brune is charged with defence of the town at all hazards.

The Allied army is seeking to capture both the town and it's considerable military stores while also handing out a defeat to Brune's defending army.

Leading the force is the Grand Old Duke of York, assisted or otherwise by Lord Rawnsley and his ADC Lieutenant Colonel Bykleigh.
The British infantry in their centre advance raggedly supported by the amalgamation of small emigré Hussar units. The Royal Artillery battery opens fire in their support.
The French response is equally understated and sluggish, with several elements not receiving their orders it seems.
As the battle unfolds the French and British cavalry on the flank clash without any clear outcome, while in the centre the British infantry press forward with more determination. Hanoverians now appear to reinforce the centre!

French Hussards support the attacks of their heavy compatriots while lines of attacking British infantry can be seen in the distance as the attack is pressed home.
In the centre the forward French Demi Brigade is disrupted by intense musketry, opening up a gap in their lines. On the British right two infantry Brigades threaten the French position.
French infantry surge forward in a charge to halt the British advance. Suffering heavily from closing fire they come off worst in the ensuing melee!
The 2me Hussards are attacked by the Hompesch Mounted Rifles while the 11me are engaged by the 10th Light Dragoons.
In the centre the British and Hanoverian infantry press home the attack as French lines stagger under the impact!
On the French right the 8me Cavalry rout the Scots Grey's but retire with their right flank threatened by the Life Guards.

French artillery has proved largely ineffective in supporting the repeated attacks initiated by both their Light and the Heavy cavalry. Despite repeated charges and some successes neither has been able to blunt the British threat.

On the French left resistance is beginning to crumble as the infantry falls back under ever increasing pressure. Guns left isolated are overwhelmed and lost!
The French centre finally breaks as panic stricken troops flee for their lives!
The French Heavy Cavalry Brigade is spent and retires in the face of their British opponents.
The battle reaches its decisive conclusion when the French Light Infantry defending Peendevord flee broken, leaving the town gates open to the British Foot Guards and Highlanders who enter triumphantly!
As ever with Black Powder 2 rules the fortunes of war ebbed and flowed, ever changing the shape of battle. Although the French cavalry were determined they just could not break their British opposite numbers. The British and Hanoverian infantry in the centre, with no real threat to their flank, were thus able to press home their numerical superiority. The French defended doggedly, but in the end were simply overwhelmed by firepower and the point of the bayonet!