Friday, July 05, 2019

El-Mellah

The sail training Ship El-Mellah (meaning sailor in Arabic) owned by the Algerian Navy was in Portsmouth the other evening just as I happened to be going over to Gosport with the Jolly Boys (Beer Chapter) for a few beers at the Fallen Acorn brewery..


...for me, a bit too much superstructure to be considered truly lovely, but she still looked a fine site...  Polish-built, 110 meters long and 14.5 meters wide, the masts are 54 meters above water line, with a crew of 126 sailors and 84 trainees (for this trip), and this is her maiden voyage..  in the background are the (lower) masts of a considerably older square rigger..  


...and there you go..  three square riggers in one shot albeit the Gosport ferry was doing it's level best to block the view of Warrior.. 


Bear with..  there are painted troops ready to be based if I can get the time and they should be the next post..

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Colonel John Innes's Regiment of Dragoons

Apologies for the delay - been much caught up in matters best described as "life" and in addition to that and all it entails, we are also well into the sailing season, so "Sparrow" [clicky] is claiming a fair amount of my time..



Onwards and upwards though, and these guys, the first of the dragoons to join the project, have been finished for some time but posting has been delayed due to the serious lack of information about them.. it would seem that dragoons were not only cheap to recruit but don't warrant much considerations in the histories!

The regiment were also known as  Prince Rupert’s Dragoons but at Edgehill they were commanded by the John Innes mentioned - they were one of the units in the Royalist Oxford Army.


They had a long proud history of service, serving all the way through the army from Edgehill (their first engagement) to their surrender in the west country (at Truro) in 1646 - along the way in addition to edgehill they were also present at First Newbury, Cropredy Bridge, Lostwithiel, Second Newbury and Torrington. I am more than a little interested to know that they were also present at a skirmish very local to me - in January 1644 they were in a little to do at Havant, which is only just up the road from me (I've blogged on that before [clicky])


Not managed to find very much more about Innes - looks like he was born in about 1610, so he was 32 when he commanded at Edgehill..  the indications are that he was a professional soldier, of Scottish extraction. He is on record as commanding an infantry brigade in the Scots army at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650 (which included his own regiment), and on the assumption that it is the same man there are records indicating he was still alive (and married to a Jean Campbell with two sons at least, James and Hugh) in 1669, so he survived Dunbar. This was, reputedly, the colonels colour of his regiment at Dunbar..

...what little more I know is summarised here [clicky]


No coat colour is mentioned anywhere, so I went with green, as it happens the only other weargame representation I've seen is in the same colour! Like me he chose it as a change from red and blue...

Figures are Peter Pig 15mm painted May 2019. The dismounted version of the regiment, and a base to represent horse holders, are on the painting sticks as we type..  just need some time..

Friday, May 24, 2019

Yapton Beer Festival 2019..

Yapton has been and gone again... and another year has passed!

The sun shone despite the prognosis by the weather gonks, the beer flowed again, and Yapton worked it's usual magic and we got mildly sun burnt and enjoyed some decent (but not outstanding) ales... it doesn't get any better despite the slightly smaller turnout from the jolly boys (the bunch I go drinking with) this year, due to holidays and other commitments...


Beers were still cheap, but more than last year - I think we were paying £1.70/ £1.90 a half (compared with 30p less last year), but still excellent value and I thought the choice of beer was up this year so that may be the (acceptable) price for that improved quality.  

Long may this little festival continue!

Picture courtesy http://devoursussex.co.uk
So without further ado here's the ales.....  I have to say, much like last year I didn't have a poor beer, the choice was largely from lesser known breweries (as is the norm at the beer festivals as they are looking to keep prices in check), on the other hand perhaps one of my two favourite beers of the day was from a brewery I wouldn't normally rate..  so horses for courses, and you pays your money and... that's why we go to beer festivals, to try the stuff we wouldn't normally drink.. 

By the way - there's a PDF of the programme if you're interested here [clicky]

Brewery Beer (click for more info) ABV Notes (from brewery website) What I can remember...
Blue Monkey "Infinity IPA" 4.6% An infinitely satisfying golden ale brewed with ‘Citra’ hops from the USA. This was a replacement for another beer that hadn't turned up. I have an affinity for the brewery as I have relatives that live close by and they usually get me a selection of their bottles for Christmas - not disappointed, this was a good start - refreshing golden and light..
Bad Seed "Waymarker" 4.6% American Pale Ale with big citrus aromas and flavours of grapefruit and pine. This beer is packed full of Simcoe, Azacca, Columbus and Cascade hops. Very dry and hoppy, a step up from the first one and I was beginning to think I was on a roll..  
Almasty "DDH Amarillo Waimea" 4% Double Dry Hopped Pale Ale: Grapefruit on the
nose and citrus orangey tones on the palate,
with subtle piney tones.
Time to clam it down a bit on the strength...  not listed on the brewery website so possibly a one off, or very new? Unfined (hazy) beer which I have to say I dislike on principle - it adds nothing to the taste of the beer and detracts from the look of it - but a nice tasty beer for all that though..
Vibrant Forest "Malus" 4.5% Unfined APA. The Malus hops give refreshing
fruity flavours but low on bitterness.
Another hazy beer..  mate of mine says it is lazy brewing, I agree..   Lovey tasting beer, but how does the look of this beer improve your enjoyment of it??


Goldmark "WahWah IPA" 5% A golden india pale ale made using insane amounts of columbus, chinook and citra hops, giving a rich, sharp, smooth finish Oh my - first of the two best beers of the day - very good - so dry you could feel your teeth shrinking in your head.. another hazy beer but I'll forgive them that for the fantastic hoppy bitter, grapefruit'y tastiness of it...  I came back and had another half of this at the end of the session..
Kelham Island "Steel Rider" 5.4% A full flavoured IPA Dry hopped for a thunderous aroma hammered home with a massive juicy pallet, all the way from Valhalla Not an understatement to say that there wasn't a single one of the jolly boys who weren't keen on trying this one as we're all fans of the breweries "Pale Rider" (top 6 beer in my opinion) so we were keen to see what this one was like, which is their May 2019 "special"..  suffice to say that this was the second of my two favourite beers of the day..  light amber in colour, clear as a bell (tick) and packed full of flavour - for this festival that was it for me as I had two or three halves of this and before I knew it the festival was over! 

...and that was it - wended my way home for a snooze on the sofa and the end of the FA Cup ...

Monday, May 20, 2019

"The Battle for Spain".. a review..

This was a Kindle bargain a while ago and having had an interest in this particular war since my youth (when I first read Homage to Catalonia, For Whom the Bell Tolls, As I Walked Out One Summer Morning etc.) it was a "must buy". In much the same way as the English Civil War has always sat in the back of my mind as a potential wargames project this has also done the same...  I am fascinated by the possibilities of those inter war armoured vehicles, planes, Moroccan's, and most of all the International Brigades. I still may very well do this one day (also either Wellington in India or Bonaparte in Egypt). This is the expanded version of the book that first came out a number of years ago, and is huge - but just over half the book is notes and bibliography.

Covering from the very beginning of the war to well after the fighting ceased in mainland Spain, this is a huge old read - took me two weeks - it's also not an easy read...

The Republican's (and it's not always made clear, but they were the elcted government at the time hoistilities broke out) seemed doomed to fail from the very beginning - every shade of red (politically), yet none trusted the other and their ability to cooperate doomed them to failure from the beginning. What won the war for the Nationalists/Franco was
  • a singularity of purpose anyoe who disagreed with Franco was either transferred or executed, 
  • the support of the western world who distrusted "Bolsheviks" almost as much as they wanted to appease Hitler/Mussolini (and thereby also stopped all means of waging war reaching the Republican armies except from Russia), 
  • the support of Hitler who used the war as a test bed and provided the Condor Legion (which was not just airforce, but tanks/artilery/infantry as well),
  • the support of Mussolini (who almost bankrupted Italy with the cost of the support provided)
  • the support of the Roman Catholic church - which among many other things influenced the US not to provide weapons to the Republicans as a result of lobbying by Roman Catholic pressure groups within the US
Points of interest for me - how much Russia and Germany gained from the war - the Spanish Republican government transferred their gold reserves to the Russians as a way and means of continuing to get the arms and ammunition they needed to continue the war but the Russian accounting method was very "interesting" indeed in their favour.

The Germans on the other hand got (if I remember rightly) 15% of the Spanish output of iron and steel as payment - which set back the Spanish economy by years. In a practical way the Germans learnt how effective the 88 was in a ground attack role, how good the Stuka was (ditto), how they needed to urgently replace the Pz I as it came up against heavier Russian tanks, how to make fast/effective attacks with all arms..  the list goes on, and then there was Guernica.

Stunning book - well worth reading - and that project will come to fruition one day! 9 out of 10..

Friday, May 17, 2019

Infernal machines...

A saker - this one is in the Château du Haut-Kœnigsbourg
So, having re-read my notes on artillery [clicky] just to refresh my brain, it was time to add some artillery to the English Civil War project...

Choice for these was Peter Pig, which I had the chance of seeing in the flesh at Salute, so bought there and then - the guns are lovely, the crews are as characterful as the infantry and cavalry..  not surprisingly.. 

What I was looking for at this point was mediums..  there's scope, and I will definitely add, some lighter battalion level pieces later, but for the moment I wanted some battle level assets..  these represent saker/demi-culverin/culverin type ordnance.

I also thought about limbers, but that's a lot of painting for something that wouldn't usually appear on the table so I decided to forego - if there is a scenario specific requirement at some time in the future I'll add then.. ..

So on to the guns..  four of them (Peter Pig Medium gun), with crew (16 figures - one pack Gun Crew Firing, one pack Gun Crew Loading) allocated two of them per side..

I researched but didn't find any specifics about gun carriages being coloured/painted, so went with natural wood for the carriages, the guns are bronze as per the example above - in all reality, on campaign they would probably not have been polished, the barrels may even have been blacked, but artillery barrels are always this colour in my armies (except when I know they're iron )


Two part bases - the crew are mounted on 30x30 as per the infantry, with space left for the cannon trail. The cannon are mounted on a separate 15x30.


The idea being that the cannon can be left in situ when the crew are destroyed, or they leave the gun to seek refuge with the nearest pike block, or for any other reason..


Painted in a variety of muted colours, grey and brown predominate, 16 figures, four guns, painted May 2019.

Next on the painting table, 'dragooners'!