Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Annexation of Chiraz - Game #1 - Battle of Petreville - The Game

...and so to the game - you may wish to read the previous post to refresh yourself on the set up..

Just a last couple of pieces of administration before we started....

Firstly, DG and I rolled for 'first player', and perhaps in a portent of what was to come  (and you'll have to read on to find out if it was ) DG won the roll so he gets two moves before I can move; this could be important...

Second, we then organised our troops into brigades so as to allocate command figures and came up with the following - they're colour coded by brigade.

Allies (Me - 2 Brigadiers plus CinC):

The garrison in the Powder Mill were treated as a brigade in their own right and given their own command..


Country Unit Type Unit Name SP MP
British Cavalry Schomberg 5 5
British Cavalry Lumley 5 5
Dutch Cavalry Nassau Friesland 5 5
British Infantry Dering's 5 5
British Infantry Lord North and Grey's Regiment 5 5
Dutch Infantry Beinheim 5 5
Dutch Infantry Sturler 5 5


Franco-Bavarian (DG - 3 Brigadiers plus CinC):


Country Unit Type Unit Name SP MP
French Cavalry Orleans 5 5
French Cavalry Chartres 5 5
French Cavalry Souastre 5 5
Bavarian Hvy. Cavalry Weickel 5 5
Bavarian Infantry Lutzenberg 5 5
French Infantry Navarre 5 5
French Infantry Toulouse 5 5
French Infantry Royal Italiene 5 5
French Infantry Lee (Irish) 5 6
French Infantry Dorringtons (Irish) 5 6

The Game:

...and so to the game, and a little experiment in time lapse photography for this report... click on any of the following pictures to 'embiggen' as CK [clicky] would say

End of second move (below) - the guard unit in the powder mill are alerted to the arrival of the French flying column top right - 3 squadrons of cavalry burning horse shoes to get to the powder mill as quickly as they can in an attempt to pull off a coup de main.

Bottom left the allied force have just entered with the same aim but in their case, to scupper the French plan..  the race is on...


End of third move (below) - this was going to be very close... both sides have now started to bring their infantry on - it was about now I mentioned to DG that I might appreciate some of Jackson's foot cavalry...!

Good fun, and fairly tense...


End of fourth move (below) - SO close but I've brought my cavalry on in two columns so will have the benefit of numbers when it comes to the crunch - DG is hampered by the bridge which can only take a one column wide formation...


End of fifth move (below) - so about an hour in real time - both sides have arrived within striking distance of the mill at the same time -  DG has paused to deploy his second cavalry squadron into line, but has failed and they are milling about in a state of disorganisation... [Note: in our rules a change of formation requires a test; 6+ on 2D6. We add  a cumulative +1 to each subsequent move]  His cavalry are out of range of the garrison so no shooting..


End of sixth move (below) - I swing Lumley's into the powder mill yard without even pausing and deploy the other two squadrons into line (good dice throws!)...  DG is more successful in doing this with his first unit, but the second unit continues to mill about in a state of disorganisation ...  On my side, my ability to march in two columns is allowing me to concentrate my force quicker...


End of ninth move (below) - apologies for the gap in coverage - too damn exciting on the table and I forgot to take pictures! So a quick recap is in order:
  • The two cavalry forces clashed - and despite them being inherently better, the French squadron (Orleans) sees off Schomberg's (known as "the Black Horse", and one of my favourite units - dour beyond dour...) Quelle catastrophe! That was move 7 - in the picture you can see them with the red pin to the right of the hill...
  • In move 8, Orleans then charged the Allied second line (Nassau Friesland) and saw them off as well! The first laurels of the campaign are awarded.... Nassau Friesland rout - that's them with the red pin to the left of the hill... Bah!
  • The Allied infantry are entering the powder mill enclosure; I have their flank covered by Beinheim's Foot (who are covering the gap between the corner of the Mill and the hill to their left) 
  • Orleans are eventually seen off following a somewhat cheeky charge by Lumley's who, still in column, managed to charge them in the rear, and then caused them to rout. Lumley's then about turned and managed to get back into the yard..  a sweet manoeuvre if ever I saw one! Orleans can be seen top left of the action, with the red pin. That should stop them repeating their previous successes..
  • In the yard, Lumley's are mid-formation change (was trying to do an about turn after the successful charge)
  • DG's infantry are entering the village - it doesn't take a genius to see where the assault will come from..

End of eleventh move (below)

..and again too much excitement on the table to keep stopping for camera work...  I must apologise to DG for the lack of refreshments - we didn't seem to reach a natural break for me to get out the tea pot!

So - the British cavalry has recovered (for the time being) - they're still shaken (yellow pin) but they have at least stopped running.

Beinheim are edging forward, and DG is edging his cavalry back - a wall on one side, and the hill on the other is good flank protection.

Sturler's are beginning to line the wall on the right of the powder mill, the garrison has spent the whole game marching up and down the far wall trying to decide where to stop  and which way to face!

Derring's have entered the yard bottom left - Lord North & Grays regiment are providing support to Beinheim's.

I am at this point slightly perturbed by the thought that DG might not actually halt, and might carry on with his infantry around the bottom of the Mill in a flanking attack..


Close up of the action end of Move 11 - Derring's going over the wall - Lord North and Grey's regiment to the right, providing cover for Beinheim's (in front) - in the yard Lumley's are facing forward..
End of thirteenth move (below)

Back to time lapse... in the interim the Allied Nassau Friedland cavalry have failed two more morale tests and routed from the field...

I've got DG's guys coming at me from all directions and I am failing formation change rolls left, right and centre..  in the yard Lumley's and Sturler's are both disorganised (blue pin), and I've made an error with Derring's - they've advanced too far for me to be able to swing them the other way round the Mill building.

On the plus side Schomberg's has recovered - but are weak - and Lord North and Grey's regiment have changed into column with a view to moving to the right as a counter to any out flanking move..


End of game (below):

...and that was largely it...both Derring's and Sturler's were routed by DG's coordinated infantry assault from the village, while on the left the Garrison melted away like snow under a desert sun in the face of the Wild Geese (and I can't blame them!)

On the far side of the Mill Beinheim's have done a superb job holding off DG's cavalry (winning the second laurels of the day) but are clearly isolated...

A last ditch attempt by my cavalry (foreground) is clearly wasted time - DG has the objective and I pass the word to my Brigadiers "sauve qui peut"... the French have taken the day, and the objective..


Wild Geese assault column - two battalions of Ireland's finest - Lee's and Dorrington's with Toulouse on their right

Victory!
Post Match Analysis:
  • Refreshment on the evening comprised Tanglefoot - in my view Hall & Woodhouse's [clicky] finest - but I can only cringe and fawn Uriah Heep'like for the lack of anything else offered, I really was just too pre-occupied with the game, which provided a fine mental tussle...
  • We both agreed that mentions in dispatches were well deserved for DG's cavalry Orleans, and my infantry, Beinheim
  • The forces were loaded slightly in the French's favour as I felt they needed the assistance, one because the scenario demanded it (or the campaign could end fairly quickly!), but two, as I assumed they would have to assault the Mill and casualties were likely - as it happens DG fought as fine a game as any I've seen, and the Allies were swept away with minimal fuss......   calls by myself that the dice gods weren't looking on me favourably is mere churlishness... 
  • The tussle in the Powder Mill was entirely engaging while being frustrating at the same time as manoeuvring battalions in such enclosed confines gave some special challenges! 
  • I made a couple of mistakes though - in the yard I errored with Dering's (as noted above) advancing them too far and leaving me with a bit of a complicated move to extract them. Similarly, I advanced Lord North and Greys regiment to far at the end of the game and covered the gap between the yard wall, and the village such that my cavalry couldn't engage.....
Casualties:

The Allied butchers bill was severe:
Country Unit Type Unit Name Starting 
SP
Ending 
SP
Chiraz Infantry Garrison 3 1
British Cavalry Schomberg 5 3
British Cavalry Lumley 5 5
Dutch Cavalry Nassau Friesland 5 0
British Infantry Dering's 5 3
British Infantry Lord North and Grey's Regiment 5 5
Dutch Infantry Beinheim 5 5
Dutch Infantry Sturler 5 1

...for a total of 15 SP's lost - almost 40%  casualties...
The  French casualties were significantly less...
CountryUnit TypeUnit NameStarting 
SP
Ending 
SP
FrenchCavalryOrleans 5 3
French Cavalry Chartres 5 2
French Cavalry Souastre 5 4
Bavarian Hvy. Cavalry Weickel 5 5
Bavarian Infantry Lutzenberg 5 4
French Infantry Navarre 5 5
French Infantry Toulouse 5 5
French Infantry Royal Italiene 5 5
French Infantry Lee (Irish) 5 5
French Infantry Dorringtons (Irish) 5 5

...for a total of 7 SP's lost - just less than 15%  casualties...

Good game - so now we move to the second game in the campaign which will hopefully be just before Warfare in November....

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Annexation of Chiraz - Game #1 - Battle of Petreville Set Up

…or my interpretation of it anyway….

As DG was down for the Colours weekend we were looking forward to a game. Having bought this at last years Colours I read the first chapter and scenario set up for the Chiraz linked series of scenarios, thought it sounded interesting, and suggested it with a view to fighting the campaign in the same way we did the St Michel Campaign.

DG agreed, so here we are...

I have to admit that the first game as described was not really suitable – it’s almost a large skirmish game as Charles Grant uses his big regimental organisations and this scenario was set at company level, it's also a siege game and in the scenario featured individual scaling ladders etc. It had possibilities though, so I have taken the premise, and the background to the campaign, and the scenario objectives, and modified it slightly with a view to fighting the campaign, but using the standalone versions of the scenario's rather than the fully linked versions…..


Background: 

Chiraz is an independent state’let that lies between the much larger states either side, which for our purposes, will be France (and their Bavarian allies), and the Allied maritime powers (comprising England/Holland/Austria) rather than those of Lorraine and the VFS.

Chiraz is a fairly prosperous state – agriculturally based – a wine making area – but their primary benefit is twofold:

1. The country is bounded on both sides by major rivers that provide much needed transportation opportunities to the French and the Allies – control of Chiraz by either major power could put this in doubt for the other power as they would have control of one bank of the river...

2. The north of the country is mountainous and provides a major source of saltpetre – the primary constituent of gunpowder…

After previous invasion attempts have led to bloody stalemate on each occasion, the major powers have agreed that Chiraz should remain neutral as a demilitarized zone. This state of restless peace has lasted for several years, but the French have now found out that the eldest son of the Dutch Staatholder has started to pay suit to the (only) daughter of the Duke of Chiraz – who is the sole heir to the throne. Further his attentions are returned in spades; clearly the danger is that the Allies would gain control of the country without a shot being fired.

This cannot be allowed to happen, and the French launch an invasion to protect their interests…

The campaign starts with the planned seizure of the gunpowder mill at Petreville…


A 6’ x 4’ table - looking length ways - Allies enter bottom left, Franco-Bavarian from top right, the powder mill is in the centre of the table - roughly equidistant from both corners...

The French as invaders have a free move - DG and I agreed that they would move, and then we would dice to see who moved next.

The powder mill is garrisoned by an understrength battalion of the Chiraz army who for the purposes of the campaign are allied with the Maritime Powers – the powder mill itself is a substantial walled enclosure with factory in the middle.

River only crossable at the bridges

Orders of Battle: 

NB. Neither side has artillery – you really don’t want stray cannon balls flying near one of the largest gunpowder mills in Western Europe!

Rules are my variation of Will McNally's SYW rules - check my Marlburian project page (link top left) for the details.

Allies (me):

Garrison:

Country
Unit Type
Unit Name
SP
MP
Chiraz
Infantry
Heidebrecht Regiment
3
3

Main force:

Country
Unit Type
Unit Name
SP
MP
British
Cavalry
Schomberg
5
5
British
Cavalry
Lumley
5
5
Dutch
Cavalry
Nassau Friesland
5
5
British
Infantry
Dering
5
5
British
Infantry
Lord North and Grey's Regiment
5
5
Dutch
Infantry
Beinheim
5
5
Dutch
Infantry
Sturler
5
5


Franco-Bavarian (DG):

Country
Unit Type
Unit Name
SP
MP
French
Cavalry
Orleans
5
5
French
Cavalry
Chartres
5
5
French
Cavalry
Souastre
5
5
Bavarian
Hvy. Cavalry
Weickel
5
5
Bavarian
Infantry
Lutzenberg
5
5
French
Infantry
Navarre
5
5
French
Infantry
Toulouse
5
5
French
Infantry
Royal Italiene
5
5
French
Infantry
Lee (Irish)
5
6
French
Infantry
Dorrington (Irish)
5
6


Objective: 

Capture (or retain) the powder mill!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

If I could bottle it...

...I'd make a fortune....... 

I have no idea what drives these things, but there are probably cleverer people than I 1 who could drum up Powerpoint2 presentations until the point I lost the will to live, to explain the reasoning....

So I was just typing up my post for Salute 2013 and spotted that the review I did of the last Scarrow book had an implausible3 number of page views, so on a quiet afternoon, and after 600 posts I thought I'd look and see which one was the most popular...... I wonder what drives these things???  I can only assume someone on a more popular blog has mentioned the following for some reason.....!

....astonishing..... well.... anyway, it passed an interesting 5 minutes.... 

Entry Pageviews
Zvezda 1/100 (15mm) Pz II.. a review                  27 Nov 2012, 5 comments 3572
Definition of "Old School"??                                 18 Feb 2013, 55 comments 1239
"Arena" - a review...                                             30 Aug 2013, 3 comments 1121
A slight diversion... Maunsell Navy Sea Forts       21 Aug 2011, 6 comments 991
Salute 2010..                                                       25 Apr 2010, 13 comments 525

1 you know who you are - shiny silk suit, two sizes too small, loud lining, much taken with talking loudly on latest model Apple iPhone (or whatever is considered must have gadget of that time) while wearing those very pointy shiny leather shoes....
2 in the words of the BBC, "other presentation tools and applications are available"...
3 I'm amazed anyone reads this drivel so anything more than 3 is implausible (that's me, my mum, and one accidental hit).....  haven't you people got better things to do - in the words of  the Legatus [clicky], don't you have little metal men to paint??

Monday, September 16, 2013

Colours 2013

....it was that weekend again, and as the rain battered down on the conservatory here at chez Steve the Wargamers, I can't help thinking that I'm glad I went Saturday rather than Sunday! 

I love Colours, always have, I liked the old venue (the Hexagon had a unique charm) but I like the new venue even more - it's easier to get to, and the light is hugely better  for seeing things and taking pictures... 

So it was that DG and I found ourselves in a queue to enter the venue by about 10:20 (albeit by luck more than a sound grasp of our social diaries), and in my case wondering why I hadn't put my thermals on...  just for once I quite envied the English Civil War cum renaissance re-enactors across the way practising with their broom poles, sorry, pikes...

So how was Colours this year?

"Busy" it seemed to me (though I don't have much experience of the show on a Saturday as we normally go on the Sunday), the trader count seemed higher - in fact for the first time the organisers have opened a separate annexe/hall, just across from the main entrance.There were a lot of punters, and there were plenty of £20 notes in evidence.....

I can confirm the annexe was well worth visiting, definitely not an after thought, with some fine games on display and also some interesting traders. Among these was a new manufacturer to me, Eagle Figures [clicky] whose "generic" 17th Century armed civilians [clicky] definitely caught my eye - these are sold in their SYW range but would make a lovely unit of American War of Independence militia - 28mm but not chunky, and they didn't look huge - may need to buy some to see if they compare with my Minifigs...


Elsewhere, the usual culprits appeared Antenociti/Caliver/Essex/Foundry/Langton etc etc Nothing burning new to buy it seemed - but the following thoughts occurred later.......
  • the new Lardies rules Chain of Command [clicky] featured heavily  everywhere, and I have to admit I was tempted.What put me off was one, the size of the book - the rules were laid out quite clearly but seemed more complicated than I wanted, and at 100+ pages (albeit including army lists) I think I might have lost the will to live before I got some little metal men on the tabletop. My second reservation is entirely personal, in that every set of their rules that DG and I have ever used ("Shoot an Elephant", and "I Ain't Been Shot Mum") we have found difficult to read, understand, and have been full of ambiguities - the word among the bloggeratti is that these are considerably improved  in that area, but the combination of the two was enough to keep me moving on...
  • I think the Saga glut might be coming to a close - only saw one stand all day selling the rules and the dice
  • the overpowering smell of burnt MDF when I came through the front door put me in mind of visiting a carpentry shop! Laser cut everything this year, especially more complex stuff like buildings and terrain items, ships etc
  • among the demo/participation games WWII seemed to predominate - I was quite surprised there were no WWI actions given the upcoming anniversary, I might be too early though...
....w.r.t retail therapy, I had money to spend  (DG and I had just concluded some sales on eBay) but couldn't find anything to spend it on - I am within the skin of my teeth of starting a new English Civil War project, but am not going to until I can find a decent set of rules - so I browsed "Pike and Shotte"  and "Forlorn Hope"  and wasn't taken with either... any suggestions from among my followers gratefully appreciated and accepted....  I want a set that models the interaction between pike and shot, regimental level, on the simple side while giving the flavour of the period....  I may even write my own...

So the money stayed in the pocket except for two packs of bases and a bag of static grass....! There's Warfare coming up in November - it can wait... 

...and so to the games.... even with the Annexe I thought the game standard might have been down this year; there was a humungous Napoleonic game in 54mm put on by the Skirmish Wargames group which left me thinking "why?" as it seems to defeat the purpose of both the scale and the group ethos, a number of hex games (blechhhhh...), a number of games that looked lovely except for one thing that spoiled the look and made me move on (usually a terrain feature/item  that just didn't fit)... so among the myriad of games (and there were a large number that would be appreciated by those less fussy than your correspondent) I have come up with a top 3...and so, in reverse order we have...

..in third...  this game was hosted/presented by Bruce Weigle using his own 1866 [clicky] rules


Not my scale - 6mm - but what captured my eye was the glorious looking terrain/table top, which flowed in a most pleasing  and realistic manner..  this game represented the Battle of Rossbrunn on the 26th July 1866 in the Austro-Prussian War


Lovely!

...and in second place, this WWII game by the Loughton Strike Force using 15mm figures...


...action on the Eastern Front ..  we like ruined trains......


..a very nice table top - they were demonstrating the new Second Edition Panzer Grenadier rules...


...simply lovely....  loved the onion dome church and the water tower...


..but in first place this game!


...this was put on by the Society of Gentlemen Gamers (edit: thanks, Will) ..


...and represented the action at  Naqb Rala where the Foreign Legion and Free French took on the Italian Folgore Division in the Western Desert (23rd October 1942)



...this action was part of Operation Lightfoot and took place just north of the Qattara Depression


Nice simple terrain and lots of lovely models - you'd know this was Rapid fire without even having to ask!


...a worthy winner I thought....

By the way...something of a milestone as this is my 600th post!

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Donald Featherstone (1918-2013)

It's with huge sadness that I have to report that it's been reported on a number of other blogs and sources that after a short spell in hospital following a fall at home, Don Featherstone died yesterday..

Dons books single-handedly propelled me into a hobby that has now fascinated me for almost 40 years, and while I may have dabbled with Charles Grant and "Charge!" I am at heart, a follower of Featherstone...

His writing was crisp, easy to follow, his hints and tips worked, and as a hideous, spotty, kid of 12 or 13 I devoured his books whenever I could get them from the library.

For me his seminal works were the big four - "Wargames", "Advanced Wargames", "Wargames Campaigns" and "Battles with Model Soldiers" - if I hadn't come across the first (and I've no idea how I did) my life story could have been entirely different....

He was approachable (and I count myself blessed that I got to meet him twice at Colours), always free with words of encouragement, and I for one am very much sadder today for hearing of his passing....

Thanks for everything, Don.....


Sources:
  • http://theminiaturespage.com/editorial/ 
  • http://wargamingmiscellany.blogspot.com/2013/09/donald-featherstone.html http://hordesofthethings.blogspot.com/2013/09/donald-featherstone-1918-2013.html

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race start - London

My sister and I headed up to the smoke on Saturday, for the start of the Clipper Round the World yacht race [clicky] a brilliant day out as we had tickets for one of the spectator boats courtesy of her husband who works for the race.. the sun shone, huge crowds and the boats looked superb....

We then followed the boats down the river to their last overnight stop at Tilbury before they start the race proper...   the river is an absolute delight, I had no idea there was so much  to see, so much history on view from the days when London was thriving trading port...  docks, dry docks, wharfs, superb very much recommended..  Greenwich looked simply fantastic and I've pencilled that in for a future "I have been to..." (I got lucky with one of the photo's as there was also a Tall Ships event on the same day)


Having enjoyed our time on the water we then took ourselves off to the pub, the Dean Swift [clicky], which was an absolute triumph, and entirely down to my sisters research. A hitherto undiscovered  (by me anyway) gem in the heart of London serving some of the best beer I've seen anywhere, at entirely un-London prices, good food, in a lovely, traditional type beer house... a lot of people enjoying themselves - recommended (a definite 9 out of 10'er)


...and finally the GPS track for a bit of fun ... and no, the spectator boat didn't suddenly sprout wheels, we lost satellite signal a couple of times!