Saturday, April 28, 2012

Operation Cornichon - Game 2 - End

...just a quick post to bring the Operation Cornichon game to a close... 

...you may remember that we left the action in turn 6 (just before SALUTE last weekend, but it feels like weeks away!) with the position as follows...


..the German section in the suppressed Hanomag (top middle behind the house) have bailed out looking for what cover they can get (I decided to make the passengers suppressed as well) - this turned out to be optimal timing as in next segment of the same move the French anti-tank gunner (at the bottom of the hill) finally gets his kill and the Hanomag bursts into flame...

On the hill, the remaining French LMG (single red dice) opened fire inflicting their first casualty on the Germans, not surprisingly the German return fire and also inflict wounds (the red dice indicate turns out of play as a cause of being hit)...

In the next move the Germans bring forward their other Hanomag to give supporting fire to the section in the village who are heading for the wall for cover..


...and BANG, the next Hanomag also gets it...  damage to Hanomag's aside, the French commander now feels he's done enough, and in light of his orders to cause a delay only orders his men back to the lorries and takes off leaving the Germans to rustle up some transport...

Another view - end of game..



My thanks to DG for taking the French for the second half of this game - he was down for the weekend to go to SALUTE...

Casualties

French - four dead, four wounded..

Germans - two wounded - both Hanomag's out


=============================

...and because we had time, we decided to play the scenario again, but this time with the French having 3 whole sections instead of two... and three anti-tank rifles...

Brilliant fun....  I took the Germans and DG took the French...

Remembering how poorly the anti-tank rifles had performed in the first game I decided to take my luck in my hands and ordered the first Hanomag straight down the road, and parked it next to the house....

BANG!

You guessed it - DG's luck cut in and he immediately brewed the Hanomag with their crew still on board...

We diced for casualties, and action in the middle of the table was then dominated by Wounded Germans crawling into the house, where they then recovered enough to (in the end) lay down a fairly lively fire to the rear of the house....

In the picture following we can see that DG attacked on two flanks


With an end view that looks like the following - both my Hanomag's out of action - one brewed, one disabled, but both his attacking sections have been mauled....  unfortunately not as much as mine - I gave DG a narrow victory.

End of Game - was having too much fun to take any more pictures!
Casualties were roughly equal on both sides with the exception that DG had kept his second section in reserve, and I didn't have one!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Salute 2012 - Games

So in the time honoured manner... and in reverse order... here we have my favourite games of the show... now baring in mind that Salute is almost exclusively a trade show, I thought the demonstration/presentation games were very good.... there are far more participation games, and some of those were very worthy, and came close to being included in this list... there was a WWII Crossfire participation game that I thought was particularly good.. As ever these are my selection.. some will almost certainly disagree... I have an aversion to hexes, so a few quite pretty games were immediately ruled out that would otherwise immediately have made it into the list... hey... it's my blog... 

So.. in third place.... Wolverhampton University present "Clad in Iron: Britain Intervenes in the American Civil War", a 1:1200 Naval game featuring shed loads of ironclads on what I thought was a very effective looking table despite the hexes..

The scenario is that Britain has intervened in the American Civil War (not such a far fetched idea given our reliance on southern cotton to feed the mills of the industrial revolution in Britain), and they (we..) have unleashed a massive Ironclad Fleet & Coastal Assault Flotilla against the Union's combined Land and Naval defences of New York City, circa 1854.



...  very effective, and they're not proper hexes anyway - I think they're octagons...  besides anyone who can use that many ship models just to represent the quays in the town has to be doing well...

The game was put on by the University of Wolverhampton's Department of War studies (wouldn't you love to study there?), and was run by Dr. Howard J. Fuller, who wrote “Clad in Iron: The American Civil War and the Challenge of British Naval Power [2008]”.



...and moving on, and in second place for me this year was this beautiful game - very simple, elegant, layout, but lovely figures, and a brilliant premise for a scenario - "Brave Little Belgium 1940" put on by Crawley Wargames Club...


The game represents a fictional Belgian setting, showing some of the many natural barriers that they used to slow down the German advance before they were eventually overrun....

I had a chat with the guys on the stand and they said that they planned to play the game twice, first using Flames of War rules, and then Panzer Grenadier - all figures are 15mm.


I was much taken with the village - one for the detail, and the beautiful buildings, but two because the lights actually worked!

Biplanes, tankettes, artillery ...

...and canals..
..versus armoured infantry...

...tanks and combat engineers...

...supported by heavy elements of the Luftwaffe...

..superb game...  so much detail....

...and so in first place and probably no surprise if you've seen the pictures on other blogs - "Corunna 1809" represents the retreat to Corunna, and was put on by the Essex Gamesters.. absolutely no contest that this was going to be no. 1 - there was nothing to match it...  simply superb



Happily, this time the organisers of the show agreed with me, and presented them with the Salute Challenge Shield for this game... very much deserved....  this game was just gobsmacking.... it put me in mind of that superb Blenheim game at the 2010 show (which they didn't agree with me about on that occasion)

Frigates in 28mm!

Yes, plural - not one, but three of them and all superbly detailed..


...support vessels and the quay....

..just the town and quay would have been enough to win this for me, but then the guys went on to the real tour de force, depicting the land battle and the retreat, and it just got better and better....




3000+ troops on the table.. and it stretched away into the distance....



Superb detail...

The rear guard holding back the pursuing French on the right.. I did wonder if that regiment in the foreground with the orange standard was the 35th Foot - the Orange Lillies but they didn't serve at Corunna..

Ordre mixte in the centre..  amazing...

Superb.. I was talking to the guys who presented the game, and it really is a game - this is not a diorama.. they weren't playing it on the day but they have played it to completion four times, each time with a historical result though it was close on one occasion apparently...!





...hope you enjoyed those..

...if you want more pictures of the games, the organisers (South London Warlords) have their own facebook page with a load on, I'd also recommend a look at Big Lee's blog as he took over 600 photo's on the day (!) before whittling them down to the fine selection he shows...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Salute 2012

Coooo... like the new/updated Blogger interface....

Anyway - here I am, fresh back from my chevauchee to Salute at the weekend with DG - surely one of the highlights of the gaming year, and while not my favourite show (that accolade goes to Warfare at reading in November), it is still well worth going to... a no-brainer....

Like many of my fellow bloggers, there's a shed loads of pictures in the post as I realise not everyone is able to get to the show, but for those of my readers who did get to the show, and by way of some personal thoughts to start, here's my thoughts on the show... be interesting to see if others thought the same way....

First as ever I am always amazed at the sheer size of the show - those who have been will know what I mean - you know you've been walking when you get home at the end of the day!


The Excel exhibition area used for Salute is simply gi-nourmous (I tried to get a view of the whole in the short vid above)..  at least a couple of thousand square metres...  when we first started going (and DG and I have been every year since the old days of Salute at Kensington Town hall) they struggled to fill the Excel - I remember thinking the first year, that it was a little "roomy", but clearly the show has grown into the space and this year my view was that the hall was clearly more filled with games/demonstrations/exhibitors & traders than last year.... there was space still, but clearly less space than last year...

The other thing I noted was that visitor numbers seemed to be up - last year you were able to get to most traders stands without too many problems once lunchtime had passed - this year the traders were one and two deep even at 4 in the afternoon... much busier....  and my impression was more money changing hands....

For the first time ever, I also didn't get a goody bag this year - they'd run out by the time DG and I got there at about 11'ish - clearly more numbers...

..and how was the show for me?? Well I didn't have a shopping list - sometimes dangerous (!), but not in this case, and although I had cash in my pocket it mostly remained there...

Steve the Wargamers loot from Salute - don't laugh...

In terms of who was there traders'wise, Salute is increasingly becoming a fantasy show - and before anyone moans that I'm being dismissive, I don't mind that - it's always seemed to me that for one reason or another (no idea...) the more creative and artistic gamers always seem to gravitate towards the fantasy side of the hobby (perhaps because there are no limits in terms of having to be true to historical accuracy etc??), so Salute is an opportunity to see what they are doing.....  there were some simply superb figures there...  not my cup of tea, but the design quality were just gob smacking... but the prices!!  Some of those 25/28mm's were going at over £5 a piece, but people were still handing over their cash...

So what about my purchases???  Yep picture above shows all of them... that was it....
  • two 15mm lorries from QRF - these are destined to become transport for the French in my WWII Skirmish project...
  • I visited Sean at Newline Designs to see if I could see the new Sudan British 20mm series in the "flesh" so to speak... they were superb...  and after roundly berating him for putting me in an almost impossible situation (I seem to remember calling him the "b" word.. ) I'm now almost certain that the existing 15mm Sudan project will be sold off, and replaced with 20mm....  I just need them to design and make some Dervish before I take the plunge...  Sean's a good egg, he tried to give the pack you see as a free sample but I told him I wanted to make sure he finished the range so I bough them to paint up as a sample..  !
  • The rules were a bit of an impulse buy...  they were only £10, but as I have been playing a lot of WWII Skirmish recently they caught my eye - nicely laid out, lots of examples (which I like), and I'm looking forward to trying them out... DG also bought a set (always a good sign) which means we may be able to get some games in fairly soon...
...and that was it apart from a cup of Costa coffee...! I didn't have any paint needs, the metal piles are largely intact, scenery is good to go, didn't need any books (but was open to the idea if I saw anything)...  just didn't have anything on the list... which was OK....

So a good mooch round.....  these caught my eye so much that, unusually (for me), I took a fair few pictures... these were on the Mutineer Miniatures stand and are from their Indian Mutiny range beautiful figures, backed up by a set of nice looking rules ("The Devils Wind" by David Bickley - same guy who wrote "A Good Dusting", the rules I'm using for the Sudan project)..  very tempting...

Yellow uniforms - lovely..   I'm almost ready to forgive the painter the fact that he painted in the eyes...


It was these that got my first attention - love the guy in the middle with the long white beard..


The sepoys are superb...


Lovely job on the white uniforms...


Naval Brigade - what's not to like?? Look at the wheel ruts..  nice effect...


 So what else...  well I missed Charles Grant unfortunately - he was on the Ken Trotman stand signing copies of his latest book (The rules from The War Game in their own volume to accompany the Wargaming in History series)...

Looks like a new volume in wargaming in History is due - this will be volume 6 and covers Bull Run and the rise of Stonewall Jackson, including other early battles in the Civil War - it may be that I'm "cheap" but I find this series exciting, but expensive...  (and don't even get me started on the Wargames Annual prices, and also the linked Teaser campaign booklets...)...  over £30 for this volume so I doubt I'll partake - as indeed I haven't for the other volumes for the same reason....

So ... roll of drums.....  how were the games???

Well that's the next post....

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"A Place Called Armageddon".. a review..

CC Humphreys may be better known amongst the wargaming fraternity for his Jack Absolute books "rogue, duellist, charmer and Captain in the Light Dragoons", and set in the American War of Independence...  highly recommended by the way, but this book is something entirely different....

 The tale is set at the time of the Fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453..  there are a number of characters in the story, and one of the things I liked most about it was that Humphrey's has picked them from both sides of the conflict to carry the story, very few of them are unpleasant and they each have an interesting back story that makes you empathise with why they  happen to be fighting each other, and with the conflicting aim of capturing the last "Roman" city of Constantinople...

On the Christian side (since the conflict was one of Christian versus Moslem) we have have Genoese and Venetian mercenary's, the inhabitants of the city (nominally "Roman" but in fact mostly Greek); there is bickering, religious in-fighting (between the Pope and Rome representing the mainstream West of Europe, and the Orthodox Church of the East), Genoese are at loggerheads with Venetians (both huge trading nations in the Mediterranean) and over all - like some medieval Eisenhower holding them all together is the Emperor Constantine

On the Turkish side there is the young Sultan, Mehmet - who faces the same challenges - a largely conservative, older, court trying to restrain him from what they see as a pointless and fruitless exercise (as Constantinople has resisted half a dozen sieges over the years - and they don't see how this can be any different). We have bashi bazouks, ghazi's, janissaries, Italian mercenaries, a massive Turkish gun, a search for the missing ingredients of Greek fire in order to assist the defenders, sea battles...  you name it.

A brilliant read..  Steve the Wargamer recommends it highly - 9 out of 10...

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Bear with me... I have the end of the second Operation Cornichon game to complete a post on, and also a review of Salute (brilliant day out) which DG and I attended yesterday...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Operation Cornichon.. Game 2... Turn 5 & 6

So... the Germans arrive on turn 1 and start their advance down the main road..

The French open fire with their anti-tank rifles and are spectacularly unsuccessful, but successful enough that the Germans decide that it makes sense to get off the road in to some kind of cover...

The first Hanomag (containing the first section and CO) turns left to take cover behind the village - the second Hanomag turns right (those directions are as you face the French position)...

The Germans start to lay down some very heavy machine gun fire with the Hanomag on the right being particularly effective - three French casualties in quick succession result in the anti-tank rifle man on the French left coming down the hill in order to get a better/closer shot..

Turn 5 - The German CO is next to the road in the elbow formed by hedge and fence..  in the meanwhile German 1st Section is deploying into the village, skirmishing forward.. their MG section is heading for the upper floor of the barn (just out of picture to the left)..  Across the road, concerted French MG fire has suppressed the Hanomag (and their crew)... the French anti-tank rifle man is at the bottom of the hill trying to get a shot...both French machine gunners have been hit on that flank...
Turn 6 - ...the German section in the suppressed Hanomag bail out looking for what cover they can get (I decided to make the passengers suppressed as well) - in the very next segment of the move the anti-tank gunner gets his kill and the Hanomag bursts into flame - nick of time for the Germans!....  over on the hill, the remaining French LMG opens fire on the crew inflicting their first casualty on the Germans, only to take fire themselves...
...it's not over yet! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Operation Cornichon.. Game 2... Start




Table Set Up..  Germans enter from the furthest edge - French set up along the line of hills....
Initial Set Up.. 
No great surprises that the French have deployed as they have..

 I have a concern that the weaker section deployed to the right of the hill don't have the best field of fire (site line is blocked by the village) but they have positioned the anti tank rifle and LMG with the best view they can get....  the rest of the section is under cover in the wood - I'll use them when I have to..

The stronger French section is deployed left of the road - the CO is with this group as well - LMG's deployed - the other anti tank is with the LMG group in the centre..

The Germans have deployed on the road - one section per half track - CO in the front one...

On with the game!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day out in London ... 2

...so to the end of the day, Tower tube stations name is a bit of a give-away....  not really a "I have been to..." post as we didn't have enough time to justify actually going in - but I have it on the list to do (next to the Belfast visit)....

Tower of London in all it's glory...
North side of the Tower - pretty amazing view when you come out of the tube station!
The White Tower in the distance (four towers with spikes/flags on top) is the Norman origin of the castle...  between me and it are the two curtain walls - Inner and Outer that were added at later dates...

Outer curtain wall - Legge's Mount (an early artillery angle bastion) on the far right masked by the tree (Outer Wall) - the Devereux Tower (built by Henry III but named after Robert Earl of Devereux who was imprisoned in the tower for treason against Elizabeth I) behind (Inner Wall)

Bowyer Tower on the left (named after the royal bow makers who lived there; According to Shakespeare, George, Duke of Clarence was imprisoned in the Bowyer Tower for treason against his brother, King Edward IV. In 1478 he died there, supposedly by drowning in a barrel of Malmsey wine!) , Flint Tower on the right - both Inner Wall - both of these are more of Henry III's massive output..

West side - the Casemate (Outer Wall) with the Byward Tower at the far right (the Byward Tower was designed to provide a new fortified entrance to the castle- built by Henry III 'natch...) - behind them you can see the roof's/chimneys of Mint Street - site of the medieval Royal Mint...   and right behind them, Tower Bridge...

Moving round to the south - the river is behind me - in the distance the White Tower (started by William the Conqueror in 1066) - Wakefield Tower on the right (see below) - the buildings with windows are part of the inner wall - they stand on Water Street, which used to be on the bank of the river - everything between me and them is reclaimed land...
The Wakefield Tower is one of the more interesting towers -
  • the upper storey was rebuilt by Henry III, who made it the entrance to his palace - 
  • in 1360 the records of the kingdom, which had previously been kept in the White Tower, were moved here
  • the Great Hall of Wakefield Tower was the scene of Anne Boleyn's trial (the hall was pulled down during Cromwell's time
  • the name is said to be derived from the imprisonment of Yorkists taken at the Battle of Wakefield in 1460 during the War of the Roses
  • Lancastrian king, Henry VI, was murdered in the Wakefield Tower (whilst he was at prayer apparently,  probably on the orders of Edward IV) on 22nd May 1470.
...south west corner - another view of the Byward Tower - new entrance to the Tower of London, with a drawbridge. Gatehouse of the Outer Ward part Henry III part Richard II. The tower was strengthened further during Richard II's reign in 1381 following the Peasants Revolt.

Like this one... a cosmopolitan set of architectural styles..
Everyone knows this one..  Traitors Gate at the base of  St. Thomas's Tower
The gate was built by Edward I, to provide a water gate entrance St. Thomas's Tower which was originally designed to provide accommodation for the royal family. Over the years the function of the Tower moved more towards being a prison...   this gate allows direct access to the river....

I had no idea, but the pool behind Traitors' Gate had an engine that was used to feed water to a cistern on the roof of the White Tower. It worked by the force of the tide, or by horsepower, and eventually by steam engine. In 1724–6, it was adapted to drive machinery for boring gun barrels (!) and was removed in the 1860s.Interesting - people forget the Tower was also armoury - who can forget the Brown Bess - also known as Tower Musket.......

Anne Boleyn, Sir Thomas More, Catherine Howard, all entered the Tower by Traitors' Gate.

Wakefield Tower on the left (Inner wall) - Henry III's Watergate on the right (Outer wall)

Middle Tower - built by King Henry II between 1238 - 1272 - this was his new entrance to the Tower - behind it there was a stone bridge or walkway over the moat leading to the Byward Tower in the Outer Wall.  In the centre of the bridge was a wooden drawbridge. There were two portcullis in the tower. The Middle Tower was only named that because it was built between two other towers - seemples! If you visit the Tower this is the way in...

...enough of this tour'istry - next time I'd like to go inside....!