Saturday, May 26, 2018

Yapton Beer Festival 2018

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

The sun shone, the beer flowed, Yapton worked it's usual magic and we all got sun burnt and enjoyed some decent (but not outstanding) ales... it doesn't get any better and we had a better turnout from the jolly boys (the bunch I go drinking with) this year, which is always a joy...

As ever most beers were surprisingly cheap - I think we were paying £1.40/ £1.50 a half (which I think was slightly cheaper than previous years), but excellent value. Last years idea to offer free containers for takeaway - something I took them up on then, was continued this year and I again spent my remaining vouchers on a pint to enjoy at home!

Long may this little festival continue!

Picture courtesy

So without further ado here's the ales.....  I have to say, much like last year although I didn't have a poor beer, the choice was very largely from lesser known breweries this year...  having looked at the notes from last year, they did exactly the same this year with Thornbridge (very much a premier league brewery) but the beer was an unknown to me (and isn't even listed on the brewers web page) and very average, on the other hand perhaps my favourite beer of the day was from a brewery I don't normally rate..  so horses for courses, and you pays your money and...

Brewery Beer (click for more info) ABV Notes (from brewery website) What I can remember...
Southsea "Low Tide Pale Ale" 3.8% "Great hoppy flavours refresh your thirst in this tasty golden pale ale" A good start from a local brewery based in Henry VIII's castle in Portsmouth..  very bitter, also slightly hazy rather than golden..
Big Hand "Pendragon" 3.9% "Welsh red ale, malty with a warm citrus hit." Ok - but not outstanding.
Bowman "Sarva" 4.5% "Pale, lower strength IPA with pine and citrus flavours from the American Cascade and Simcoe hops".My beer of the day - took a pint of this home with me as well - for a beer of this strength a lovely hoppy bitter hit without the all too present grapefruit'y/citra taste.
Thornbridge "California Sun" 4.5% "Crisp, hop forward session IPA, full of pine and grapefruit flavours." Was looking forward to this but it disappointed - a very thin brew with not a lot of taste carry through...
Broken Bridge "Insane the Grain" 4.2% "This is a deep and complex pale ale brewed with barley, rye, spelt and oats. Full bodied, spicy, biscuity and crisp malt base and well hopped." Close run thing for favourite beer of the day - very powerful flavour (or maybe that was just in comparison to the Thornbridge I'd just had??) with a good bitter finish
Hop Studio "Ascalon" 4.5% "Brilliantly drinkable strong and complex golden ale. Floral and Citrus aromatics. Bitter, slightly spicy, dark fruit flavours and a malty backbone." "Very dry and bitter" I wrote..
Emsworth Brewhouse "SkIPA" 5.4% "a hoppy, American IPA brewed using malts, oats, wheat and 5 new world hops to create a rounded, ‘fuller mouthfeel’ India Pale Ale without being too much of a hop monster!" My most local brewery - they have had a distinct up turn in quality since they relocated to proper premises and brought in a qualified brewer - I liked this, it was OK

...and that was it - wended my way home for a snooze on the sofa and the wedding highlights...

Saturday, May 05, 2018

"With Pennants Flying" - a review..

DG gave me this (loaned?? I need to check!) years ago and it's been sat on my bedside table ever since..  but this year I took an new year 'intention' to read at least one non-fiction book a month and this is this months...

This is an old book, my edition was printed in 1943 on that slightly thin, and weightless paper the British government bought in under war time rationing...  that in itself adds to the atmosphere!

What we get is a brief history of the Royal Armoured Corps in the war from the start of the war to the date of publication, and given it was published in '43, this covers a quite surprising number of operations and theatres; BEF in France, the retreat to Dunkirk, he then cuts to North Africa for Wavell's campaign against the Italians, the abortive campaigns in Greece and Cyprus, campaigns against the Italians in Eritrea, then Burma, and then back to North Africa for Crusader, Tobruk, and El Alamein..........

He has a flowing style, that puts you in mind of reading one of those Pathe newsreels - he has endless numbers of fascinating personal stories of the officers and men who fought in those fragile machines that the RAC went to war with (except the Matilda II of course, about which he positively glows)  - he also talks to them and gets interesting (fascinating) insights into what it was like to fight in a tank with no real main gun against German Pz3's and 4's...  how good the Matilda II was (albeit slow, and quickly outgunned)...  I particularly liked the coverage of the Wavell campaign...  Reminded me very much of the Alan Moorehead North Africa diaries..

There is undoubtedly (how could there not be, given the publication date?!) an element of propaganda, and that Pathe view I mentioned of "play up, play the game", but even so, as a written history of events at the time, and with his first hand access to combatants, this is very much  recommended!

Steve the Wargamer gives this one 8 out of 10....

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 15 - "Fortified Defence" - Setup and Game (Redux) - Part 2

....where we left it..  the garrison had fled the barn (six moves of artillery fire, and concerted attack by angry Germans will do that to you.. ) and the Americans are doing OK, they've lost their light infantry, they've also lost one battalion of infantry, two units of infantry are routing, but they still hold the redoubt, and they still have their cavalry... they are 8 moves from victory...

American strategy for this 'half' of the game is "delay, delay, delay", the key to this strategy is the cavalry (to be fair they have precious little else to delay with! )

So - the British have triggered the refit clause in the scenario - all the remaining units are removed, and then their starting OOB is placed at their starting point on the board edge...  onwards and upwards..

Move 7:

Having called refit the British bring on all their units in column (for speed) and march hell for leather for the redoubt...  they leave one battalion of jaegers to secure the barn (it is not outside of the realsm of reason that the routing garrison may not recover...  but unlikely) The Rangers again are sent through the woods (the terrain is perfect for them - they still move at the same rate as the regular infantry in the open, but gain the protection of the cover)

The American morale checks however are disastrous - all fail - but battalions of foot continue routing, and the redoubt reinforcement force rout from table and are removed. The cavalry manoeuvre to the centre of the table and threaten the advancing columns..

Mid move 7 - on the left a battalion of jaegers marches to secure the barn - the other three battalions have come on in column - the gun is limbered...  on the right the Rangers have just entered the wood. Top left the battered garrison from the barn are about to rout again...  top centre just beyond the cavalry the other battalion of foot are about to disappear for good..

Move 8:

The British infantry depoly in to line to face off the American cavalry - at a stroke their forward movement is cut by a third, but the chance of being charged while still in column doesn't bear thinking about... in the woods the Rangers are joined by the other battalion of jaegers.

A quiet move for the Americans - the garrison from the barn fail morale a third time and rout from the table, the cavalry continues to shadow the advance waiting for an opportunity..

Move 9:

The British occupy the barn and continue their advance on all fronts..

End move 9: Starting at the bottom - the jaeger battalion have secured the barn - but with little chance of the Americans taking it will soon vacate so as to add wait to the assault...  Erbprinz and the Brunswickers eyeing the cavalry warily, then in the wood the other jaegers and the Rangers...  the cavalry is keeping plenty of foot between it and those cavalry!

Move 10: The British advance continues - in their heart of hearts they know that there really isn't enough time to pull a miaculous vicotry out of the hat but it doesn't stop them trying...  The Rangers are now within firing range of redoubt..

The American cavalry fire and then withdraw without inflicting casualties.

Move 11:

In the face of continued threats from the cavalry the British artillery is forced to deploy. The cavalry sweep past the Brunswickers and charge but are met by a hail of cannister

In the woods the Rangers attack redoubt but are thrown back bloodied...

About end move 10 I'd say - the jaegers in the wood are about to charge the cavalry (and fail) - the cavalry are about to get there first face full of cannister - the Rangers (top) are about to assault the redoubt - the Brunswickers (corner of the wood) are getting close - Erbprinz (bottom centre) has a way to go....

Move 12:

Just three moves to go - getting close!

Seeing the plight of the artillery, and knowing they need it to batter the redoubt, the jaegers attack from the woods hitting the American cavalry in the flank  - in the ensuing melee the  cavalry stands and then repulses them! (Laurels for this regiment as well I think..)

At the redoubt, they fire on the Brunswickers causing casualties and a morale check..

Time for the British to hit back, but before they do the American cavalry, who have got the bit between their teeth, charges the artillery again... but with the same result - another face full of cannister...!

Move 13:

The British have blown it, but they fight on...

The shock and impact of losing the fight with the cavalry is too much for the jaegers who fail their morale checks and rout..

Elsewhere though the Rangers are clearly made of sterner stuff, recover, gird their loins, and advance upon the redoubt again, similarly the Brunswickers recover but are hit by the redoubt artillery before they can attack.

With untold bravery the American cavalry brings the move to a close by attacking the gun again - and get their 3rd face full of cannister - but job done, the artillery will not play a part in the attack on the redoubt...

Move 14:

The Brunswickers fail their morale, they've been handled badly so not a surprise, and rout. They have managed to cover Erbprinz however, who then charge the redoubt but are repulsed bloodily.

Coming up behind them, the last battalion of jaegers (from the barn) are closing fast

Three loads of cannister finally do for the American cavalry and they rout.

Move 15:

The Brunswickers fail to recover, Erbprinz the same..

On last roll of the die for the British - the Rangers attack from the woods, and the jaegers - still in column - attack frontally...

The jaegers are repulsed bloodily, but the Rangers are at the redoubt. The garrison tests to stand... and ...  passes handsomely   ... well, what did you expect?? No fairy stories in war... the following hand to hand the Rangers are handled very roughly and stream away into the woods....

American (French?) win!

Post match report:

  • Realistically I knew the British didn't have a chance from about move 10, but there was always that tantalising chance they would pull it off that makes a close run game so exciting to play solo
  • I'd definitely go with one unit per fortified "area" it's difficult enough to win this game as it is - two or more units would make it nigh on impossible
  • Been playing the rules for a long time but I continue to tweak and may need to revisit the section for 'outcomes from melee' for those in strong points and fortified positions...  in that first melee when the garrison was forced to retire, I'm not sure they would have done - human nature is to stay where you're safe - I have a proviso that routing units don't leave cover, the same may need to be case for retiring units...