Friday, December 31, 2021

2021.. a review...

By way of assuring my reader that I really haven't shuffled off this mortal coil ... as we say every year... "here we go again"...๐Ÿ˜

I'm still (still) not really a 'blowing the trumpet', 'review your triumphs', etc etc type of person (I leave that to the business corporate types I work with), but like my 'end of the year' review on the sailing blog it is kind of nice to cast my eyes over the year gone, and remind myself of the ups and (this year, mostly) downs.... and besides everyone else is doing the same thing...

So by way of a joining up of the threads, and a bringing to a close of the last year, let's push on...

First, how did I do against my expectations [clicky]?? Note: I never, ever, make 'resolutions', just 'set  expectations', and thus when I inevitably fail to meet them yet again, it is not too demoralising or depressing an event..

1/. Play more games..

    Major fail... there were two table top games in 2021 (c/w three in 2020, four in 2019, six in 2018, and eight in 2017) which is both atrocious and clearly a downwards trend; 
    ..but on the other hand DG and I did play 3 (possibly even 4?) games of online DBN/AWI using Battle Chronicler and exchanging moves via Dropbox.
    But all in all - still poor, I think...
2/. Try to keep up my painting efforts..
    I would say I did "OK" with this one - as is usual with me, my painting months are beginning and end of the sailing season, there's 200 points worth here which compares with 253 points in 2020... close, but no cigar... a definite fall off in painting efforts in the second half of the year though as ennui hit..

    On the other hand lots was painted and no one period dominated this year, which I think is excellent.. 

    • the Marlburian infantry were a continuation of a theme I started in 2019 as before that I hadn't painted anything in the period for several years..  keeps the project fresh and ongoing..
    • there was more ACW - two more regiments of foot join the ranks, but also some ships
    •  there was more ECW and as I expected the order from Steelfist [clicky] made up at least one of the regiments but despite looking lovely, having to attach pikes was a pain.. Peter Pig for me every time..  ๐Ÿ˜€

    Date (click to go to post) Item description Period Make Scale Points Value/Total Pts
    Regiment Angoumois
    24@1 Pts for 24 Pts
    Sudan rebasing
    13@1 Pts for 13 Pts
    Iron Clad Miniatures
    Charles Chuchill's Regiment of Foot
    24@1 Pts for 24 Pts
    12/2/21 1st Battalion Virginia Infantry (Irish)
    ACW Newline 20mm 20@1 Pts for 20 Pts
    19/2/21 62nd Ohio Infantry
    ACW Newline 20mm 20@1 Pts for 20 Pts
    19/3/21 Earl of  Carnarvon's Regiment of Horse ECW Peter Pig
    15mm 8@2ts for 16 Pts
    Sir William Pennyman's regiment of Foote
    ECW Steel Fist
    15mm 24@1 Pts for 24 Pts
    23/5/21 WWII French rebasing WW2 n/a 15mm 43@1; 3@2 for 49 Pts
    . . . . . .
    Total: 200 points (I had 253 from 2020 to beat)
3/. complete the Sudan re-basing..
    It is done, done I say!! [clicky]
4/. continue reading more non-fiction... 
    If I did nothing else in 2021 I did read (just as well, as I wasn't blogging!)...  thank goodness for books...  
    Slightly down on last year, and the quality was not as good I thought, though there was one of my 10's in the list..  Barratt, Holland and Holmes take it this year (they sound like a firm of solicitors!) get the laurels this year, Cavaliers and Sicily in particular were very good.....
    For this coming year I already have Max Hastings' book on "Operation Pedestal" on my bedside table courtesy of Santa - can't wait - in fact it is next to go after I finish my Christmas Dickens

    Score (out of 10)
    Not finished yet..
    A recent publication that caught my eye the moment it was announced.. I was hoping for something a little more than this book actually delivered...  it's not a bad book, far from it, as a campaign resource it is beyond compare good, but it is also exceedingly dull comprising as it does mostly just a long list of numbers and dates - casualty returns, muster returns, dates and transports...  bit disappointed really, some of it was good, but I had hoped to find a little bit more about the human side... even the uniform illustrations were a little "meh"..
    After the Osprey on the Hessians, this was an order of magnitude different and better - brilliant book describing the background to the (re) formation of the light troops in the British army of the American War of Independence (after their successful use in the SYW and eventual decline/disbanding after the war completed) - their ideology, tactics, skills, weaponry, organisation and uniforms...  brilliant, and has made me reconsider a few elements of my AWI rules!
    A valiant effort to try and explain what is a HUGELY complex subject, and no I'm still not clear! So from what I can tell - every region of the Ottoman Empire had it's own unique troop types, the functions of which were specific to the area in which they were located (would have been fairly useless to have a largely cavalry force in the mountains for example), and the names of which are very complicated and difficult to remember... the Janissaries (coming to the end of their period of control) and Mamelukes appear, along with a host of peasant militia types, and a much smaller number of regulars trained in both traditional and modern methods... you'd need a book five or ten times the size to get a clear idea.. so a good attempt..  9 (for effort)
    I was late getting to this - stupidly. Bought it on the recommendation of one of the bloggerati (apologies, forget who) but it is fantastic and unashamedly recommended for people with an interest in the English Civil War(s) or indeed early black powder warfare...  aimed specifically at the Royalist army the book is in the form of a number of self contained chapters, almost essays, about various aspects of the army, so after a brief introduction to the background of the war there are chapters on infantry/cavalry/artillery/dragoons and logistics - in the second part he deals with some specific organisations and campaigns - I particularly enjoyed the chapter on the Cornish foot (for me almost as stirring as the Wild Geese in French service), the Northern horse (I'd like to have gone out for a beer with them), the Irish army, sieges, even Royalist women...  I need to do some research to see if he did a similar book on Parliament as it would be a must have...  very good..
    Fantastic book - I have his book on Normandy in the "to read" pile and based on this one it has moved up a few places towards the top ..  so a concise (well I say concise, but it's actually 600 or 700 odd pages... I can honestly say it didn't seem that long!) but easily read book on what was the first Allied powers invasion into mainland Europe..   very much a learning exercise, that in planning teams was a success beyond all expectations..  good coverage on the naval cover, air cover (an absolute game changer and a significant input to the overall success of the campaign), the politic'ing and infighting between Patton (who I am sorry, and who despite his obvious skills as a battlefield commander, still comes across as a bit of a kn*b) and Montgomery (who could be prickly), and most of all the soldiers on the ground, that despite the Allied doctrine of "steel not flesh" were called on time and time again to attack well dug in, veteran and elite German forces simply because the terrain did not allow them to deploy their significant advantage in tanks and artillery..  fascinating book..  he touches on the Mafia angle (and who knows how significant that was??) but my overwhelming impression was of how quick the campaign was, how important the air cover was, how hard the infantry had to fight, and how well Alexander managed the campaign.
    Not sure where I saw this recommended, possibly David Crook's blog?? Either way, I am a huge admirer of the late Richard Holmes, I had the great good fortune to see him speak in person twice before his untimely death, and have always been a believer in the bottom up view of war that he championed..  his view is that the history of war is always best illustrated, and demonstrated, by the view of the individual...  in this book he sets out with four or five companions to actually ride the (exhausting) retreat of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914 from Mons (the furthest they advanced) to the Marne. The book is chock full of anecdotes, personal reminisces and commentary from those long lost soldiers, but at it's centre is the horse - those they rode themselves, but most importantly those the BEF used in great numbers...  an excellent and sobering history of the BEF in 1914. Recommended.
5/. Salute and Colours...
    Hmmm..  so Salute was a possibility right up to the moment they rescheduled it to the week I was away in Cyprus .... "Mrs Current Steve the Wargamer, would you mind if we didn't go on our first foreign holiday in the sunshine in two years so I can go to Salute? You can come too if you like...." yeah..  indeed... and besides I preferred Cyprus as well, I'm not that mad..  
    Colours was cancelled.. rightly I think for the time the decision was being made...   
    Which left Warfare, but with DG otherwise occupied I came to the conclusion that the chat and his company was more than most of the enjoyment of the show so a long days travel to go on my own, and the disease risk, just didn't appeal to be honest..
6/. Tangmere visit do...  it has at least re-opened.. 
7/. Edgehill walk - unlikely but if we don't aim, we don't even shoot... (just call me Confucius the Wargamer....)
    ...ditto like most of the traveling/social based events it's slightly back burner'ish.. 
8/. Spend less time on Facebook - it's wasted time, and it's too easy to lose an hour that I could use doing something else
    ...funny how you change your focus when your horizon's close in to the computer/virtual reality - all the events/things I would have been trying to do were not happening, and shifted to virtual..  so Farcebok became a ways and means of keeping in touch rather than trite entertainment..
9/. Lose 3 stone - fed up being a fat bastard...
    ...I am a stone and a half'ish* lighter than I was this time last year.. all hail the 5:2.. there is still a long way to go...๐Ÿ˜

    *it's post Christmas.. it may be a little less! 
10/. HMS Victory - been years since I last went ..
    ...yeah yeah.....  

...there you go... you may beg to differ, but as it is my blog I can once again report that all (achievable) targets and goals were achieved ...! Hurrah!! 

In summary?? I've got to say that on the personal front 2020 was not the best year, and neither was 2021..

Not in any priority at all..... work continues to gobble up increasing amounts of what used to be down time, and a change of work location has added an hour to my commute time; while delightful, and I wouldn't have it any other way, the family and grandson also deserve time; there were worries about COVID (all my close family except grandson are key workers)... and yes, I know and accept others have it far worse.... on the hobby front I'll say it was a poor year...  no Salute/Colours/Warfare with DG, a massive dose of wargamers block (pffft.. it happens..) but on the plus side a lot of good books..

There were 21 posts in 2021 including this one (c/w 32 posts in 2020, 49 in 2019, 35 in 2018, 45 in 2017, 58 in 2016, 69 in 2015, 68 in 2014, 84 in '13, 85, in '12) which is poor - the downward trend is back on again. I'm happy with Blogger, even like the new interface, I like to write and it suits my ordered mind, but I need creative inputs to prompt posts, and I wasn't feeling it in the second half 2021...

...apropos of absolutely nothing (I only have the number as I like to put reviews on the blog), 51 books were read in 2021, compared with 63  in '20, 55 in '19, 43 in '18, 52 in '17, 54 in '16, and 46 in '15 - despite distractions aplenty I had a hugely enjoyable reading year.. kind of interesting - I look to read a book a week on average..

Favourite books this year?

Fiction - these were my 'perfect 10's' of the year

Score (out of 10)
First book in the Dark Materials trilogy, re-reading it after some considerable time, and as a result of the (truly excellent) second series of the BBC television series having just finished. The re-read reminds me why I am in awe of Pullman's genius as a storyteller - he is right up there with Tolkien, Lewis and JK as far as I am concerned for his imaginative powers, and his ability to pull an entire alternative universe from his head...  so in this book we are first introduced to Lyra, the foundling child living with the scholars at Oxford university and we begin to discover her start in life, her parents (no spoilers for those that haven't read the books) and the alternative England that she lives in where people soul's are external to their body and in animal/bird form. This book deals almost solely with the search for "dust" a mystical substance that surrounds everyone and everything, but is not viewable under normal vision. It also introduces us to the Magisterium, a church like total authority that brings to mind the Catholic Church of the Inquisition period crossed with the 3rd Reich (!). Bring in armoured bears, witches, cliff ghasts, and an aeronaut with his own balloon facing off against gas engined airships and this is an awesome book..  my first 10+ of the year
Straight into the second book - Lyra's battle against the Authority continues and she gains an ally in the form of Will, a troubled young man from our world, who discovers an opening into a city in another world - this city is haunted by spectres that feed off the souls of any adults so the sole remaining inhabitants are children. They then discover about the knife after Lyra's alethiometer is stolen while visiting Will's world. For its return they are told to steal the knife..  when they do that however they discover that the knife has phenomenal power and strength - not the least being the ability to cut windows between worlds..  no plot spoilers, but the book ends with Lyra and Will about to enter the world of the dead in search of Will's father, and Lyra's long lost friend. an ABSOLUTE page turner...
With Will and Lyra searching the world of the dead, at the same time Asriels war against the authority has kicked off with both sides gathering allies in all the thousands and millions of coexistent worlds. The Magisterium send an assassin after Lyra, but they survive to provide critical assistance to Asriel in the final battle. Meanwhile, a character we first met in the second book (Mary Malone - a researcher at the Oxford University of our world) also finds a window, and arrives in the world of the Mulefa (a kind of tapir/elephant cross that move around on wheels made from seed pods - and I can't wait to see how the BBC show that!) and there discovers the Amber spyglass which allows her to see dust for the first time, and an ecological disaster in the making. Stunning...
Cut forward in time and this book deals with a Lyra in her early 20's..  but a much diminished Lyra, a quite sad Lyra though she wouldn't agree. She is now an undergraduate student at college, but slowly and surely she is losing her optimism and outlook - her imagination as her daemon Pan calls it. she is at odds with her daemon - they have been able to separate since the events of the Amber Spyglass, but now the guilt is beginning to corrode. Pan leaves her to travel and find her imagination so they can be as they were, and after moves by the Magisterium to hunt her down (the reappearance - in a way - of an old enemy from the Belle Sauvage) Lyra goes on the run, and in search of Pan.  I cannot wait for the third volume...  simply stunning...
The book that started it all - the meeting between Stephen Maturin and Jack Aubrey could have so easily gone the other way! Without a doubt the finest Napoleonic naval fiction writer there ever was...  if you don't believe me, try it and immerse yourself in the Royal Navy and society of the 18th Century ... Jane Austen with cannons and sails..
Jack goes from rags to riches in his usual round about way - it is the Peace of Amiens and having lost all his money in a financial fraud he is declared bankrupt and escapes to London to avoid the bailiffs - escaping again to the continent he discovers from friends in France that war is about to break out again and with Stephen disguised as a bear (superb!) they escape to Spain...  captured..  freed..  given command of an experimental ship...   before finally meeting triumph on the high sea's against a Spanish bullion ship
Missing out on the Spanish bullion prize money on a technicality Aubrey remains in debt..  Maturin goes on a spying mission in Spain and is captured, tortured, but rescued..back in England Aubrey is taken by the bailiffs and out in a sponging house (debtors prison) before Maturin manages to free him with an advance on some of the money he is owed for the Spanish bullion capture. Back in command of the Surprise the ship is destined for India and the Far East..  excellent..   the descriptions of the battle with the French squadron and the East India ships is second to none..  and Aubrey is inching ever closer to marrying his beloved Sophie.
If only temporarily (the now married and with children) Aubrey gets to raise his broad pennant as Commodore of a (small) task force tasked with opposing a much stronger French force of crack heavy frigates operating in the Indian Ocean. Cue operations around Mauritius and Reunion, opposed landing by the British army, but eventual triumph. Aubrey is tasked with taking the dispatches home - a sure guarantee of promotion and favour.
Jack (with Stephen) is given command of the elderly 50 gunner Leopard with instructions to go to Australia to help resolve issues caused by the governorship of Bligh (yes him.. same one) that had culminated in the Rum Rebellion. He is further ordered to carry a number of prisoners, the cover for one particular prisoner that the intelligence service require Stephen to interrogate more closely on the voyage. The prisoners bring jail fever on board (typhus) and in the ensuing epidemic over half the crew die. They care chased by a heavily armed Dutch 74, and having eluded that (no spoilers) are subsequently holed and almost sunk in the ice fields before making it to Desolation Island (the Kerguelen Islands) for repairs...  stunning... 
This has been a stupidly good year for books and I need to be careful I don't run out of 10's but I'm afraid this will be another! I have now read 29 of the Maigret books (not including this one) and have to say that this is without a doubt the best so far.

Maigret receives a series of strange phone calls from a caller who reports he is in danger, is scared for his life, and cannot shake someone who is following him..  when the (murdered) body is found Maigret sets out to hunt down the perpetrators discovering on his way a gang implicated in a number of bloody and ruthlessly carried out country side robberies...
In my view the best of the four books in the Omnibus that I was reading (the other three follow)..  the books starts with Hornblower imprisoned after a sea battle in the previous book that resulted in his ship being sunk whilst facing overwhelming numbers.He is sentenced to be sent to Paris for trial on trumped up charges of alleged piracy but on the way manages to escape with his trusty side kicks Bush and Brown. Taking refuge with a friendly French family for the winter they are assumed dead by the authorities, and in the following spring travel down river masquerading as a fishing party, before managing to re-capture a British ship taken the previous year in battle. Despite being riven throughout the book by doubts over the loss of his ship in the battle, Hornblower arrives back in England to great popular acclaim, and an honourable acquittal in the required court martial.
10 an absolutely outstanding year for good stories - out of those, it was a close call but on on balance I think the O'Brien book just takes it..  it starts a fantastic series of books based on the experiences of a Napoleonic naval captain "Lucky" Jack Aubrey and his good friend Stephen Maturin.. if no one has tried these, you need to, the writing, and the prose style is sublime...  ("Stephen looked sharply round, saw the decanter, smelt to the sloth, and cried, 'Jack, you have debauched my sloth.” ๐Ÿ˜‚)

The worst lowest scoring book was still better than anything I could write, so I refuse to comment here on it..  authors work long hours, and they don't need someone like me who has never created a book, to 'diss' their efforts..

This year?? Well I intend to keep exactly the same expectations! Fingers crossed...  
  1. play more games
  2. blog more - there I said it..
  3. try to keep up my painting efforts.. 
  4. continue reading more non-fiction... it is the heart and core of the hobby..
  5. Salute, Colours and/or Warfare...  Salute is already cancelled for 2022 so that's one off the list
  6. Tangmere visit
  7. Edgehill walk - unlikely but if we don't aim, we don't even shoot... (just call me Confucius the Wargamer....)
  8. Spend less time on Facebook - it's wasted time, and it's too easy to lose an hour that I could use doing something else
  9. Continue losing more weight - fed up being a fat bastard...
  10. HMS Victory - been years since I last went ..
So finally, Happy New Year to all my reader - may the dice roll as required, your brushes always keep a sharp tip, the beer be hoppy and bright, and the books all page turners...

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

RIP Don...

I've had this newspaper clipping floating around on my desk for ages now, and thought it was high time I saved it for posterity before it eventually gets lost, or becomes unreadable..

On this, the anniversary of his death, I for one recognise completely what a huge (huge) impact his books and writings had on a young impressionable mind, and which lead in the end to a hobby that I have enjoyed and pursued for what must be almost 50 years now.. 
Happily, I did get to meet him..  just the once, at the COLOURS wargaming show as I was leaving he was coming in, or vice versa - I forget, as I was reduced to a gibbering wreck, but I got to shake his hand, and I got to tell him (in not enough words) how much I appreciated his work..
Cheers, Don, RIP..

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Alive and kicking...

Close run thing...  two months without a post and up until then I was doing my level best (and mostly succeeding) to put one up a week...  

I blame the boat and the summer..  little or no practical wargaming activity, but I have been busy with the boat, and also busy with the new love of my life, meet Gertrude...


2021 model Cube Town Hybrid EXC 500 Electric Hybrid

...bought end May and already hit 800 miles ..   should have bought one years ago! ๐Ÿ˜

Wargaming content soon - not the least because I owe DG a game - but not going to be soon as I have the Jolly Boys (yacht) trip round the Solent this weekend..

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Rebasing the French...

Been a while - for which apologies - I'm afraid bigger things [clicky] have been demanding my paintbrush time.. 

Been meaning to update the basing for 15mm French for some time so as to bring them in line with the recent (well.. fairly...   well only 6 years ago!๐Ÿ˜ฒ) basing that I'd done for the British..

The French were passed to me by DG more years ago than I care to think about, I think we'd done some kind of a deal - I'd passed him a whole load of 6mm stuff (another of my ill found and inexplicable prejudices..  I just can't like 6mm figures.. to me they are little more than board game counters.. ) and he passed me these in return....

These little men have fought many, many, times but I like the new style |I chose for the British so it is a long term goal to move all my 15mm WWII stuff to the same style..

As a reminder they were based as per the following - square card bases and numbers..

..but they now look like this..

Officers/command at the back on 2p pieces - rank and file on 1p's

I also rebased the antitank and support weapons..

.. mortars..

..machine guns..

I'll be using these sabot bases to move and deploy on the table..  I've just ordered another ten..

Armour and transport next...   and then the Germans... 

Friday, April 23, 2021

"Sicily '43" - a review..

Fantastic book - I have his book on Normandy in the "to read" pile and based on this one it has moved up a few places towards the top ..  

So a concise (well I say concise, but it's actually 600 or 700 odd pages... I can honestly say it didn't seem that long!) but easily read book, on what was the first Allied powers invasion into mainland Europe..   

Very much a learning exercise for the Allies, that in planning teams was a success beyond all expectations..  Holland has good coverage on the importance of naval cover (the ability to call in naval broadsides for what was predominantly a land campaign can't be underestimated), the air cover (originally from Malta cab rank style, and later from landing strips on the island itself was an absolute game changer and a significant input to the overall success of the campaign)

He touches on the the politic'ing and infighting between Patton (who I am sorry, and who despite his obvious skills as a battlefield commander, still comes across to me as a bit of a kn*b) and Montgomery (who could be prickly), and most of all the soldiers on the ground, that despite the Allied doctrine of "steel not flesh" were called on time and time again to attack well dug in, veteran and elite German forces simply because the terrain did not allow them to deploy their significant advantage in tanks and artillery...

Holland touches on the Mafia angle (and who knows how significant that was, as no one seems sure??) but my overwhelming impression was of how quick the campaign was, how important the air cover was, how hard the infantry had to fight, and how well Alexander managed the campaign.

A fascinating book.. 9 out of 10!

Friday, April 09, 2021

Wargamer's Newsletter - Phil Barker's "Rules for World War Two (Normandy) Wargames"

Another opportunity to share some of the gems from that recent purchase.. complete with hand typed notes, and wonky page lay outs..  glorious..  this time some vintage Phil Barker in the form of WW2 rules

Going to guess the paper slipped in the type writer..  ๐Ÿ˜€

First interesting note - Normandy was not well known for it's "open steppe's" so I suspect these originated in another rule set...  One to one scale - so these are skirmish level... By the by I think I have applied "inherent military probability" to every game I've ever played - very sound words indeed..

Interesting .."Time spent in throwing dice" - as compared to overturning over a card? I can see 'overwatch' fire being difficult to adjudicate and subject to discussion... ๐Ÿ˜€  The firing mechanism is entirely random so it couldn't easily be dice driven - it requires a specific result to score a hit - not a result range... I like the idea about using colours to help adjudicate hits in cover or not, though - simple and clever

Straight forward given the explanation on the previous page - note that there is no range for medium MG's, basically everyone in the line of fire has a 50% chance of being hit (!)..   the "6" under 'Radius of Effect' is a mis-type I think... 

I can't imagine Normandy was awash with T70's and Josef Stalin 122's... ๐Ÿ˜€ So a 25% chance of hitting irrespective of range, and then a 50% chance after that if the vehicle is hull down - waiting to see if there are any suppression rules as clearly unless you can hit the tank you aren't going to fire at it...

No suppression option but that's an easy add - the black and white nature of inflicting damage on an armoured vehicle - it is either penetrated, or it is not, there's no scope for morale effect on the crew.

So the two Appendices' are not wholly applicable to the rules - the penetration values are purely informational (it would be nice to know the source), and all you need from appendix 1 is the gun type for the vehicle you are firing, Appendix 2 is purely informational..

Post match analysis:
  • there is much in these rules that I like, and I would say it is more than possible I will have a go with my 15mm "Fall of France" figures, since there is more than enough here to be able to reverse engineer the earlier vehicles
  • the core mechanism is the card driven result - red or black, and a number between 0 and 3. 
  • It wasn't until I saw the firing results for light machine guns that I realised that the result given to hit something is an "actual", not a less than, or more than number...  if you need "1" to score a hit and you pull a "2" or a "3", then the fact those numbers are bigger, is irrelevant - you miss...  
  • so effectively then you automatically have a 25% chance of scoring a hit
  • that 25% chance is unaffected by range - which is a little strange - the range bands provided just require you to pull a different number - still with a 25% chance - so I am not sure what is being modelled there..  the rules could lose the range bands as they are irrelevant in terms of making it easier or harder to hit the target. What I would have done is to offer multiple chances to hit at lower ranges eg, at close range you hit on "1", "2" or "3", medium range on "2" or "3", long range on "3". A "0" would always be a miss (as they are in the rules as written)...
  • the other core mechanism is red or black - whether a result is red or black governs (among other things) whether a hit is on a hull or a turret (anti-tank fire), whether it is a hit or not (eg. targets in cover, targets for MG's etc.), and whether a vehicle is destroyed or immobilised (infantry anti tank)
  • no morale or suppression rules - given the level of abstraction that may be by design/decision, but for me, my reading would lead me to the conclusion that it isn't only penetrating hits that disabled vehicles..
  • no hand to hand rules either - which is probably more understandable, and easily dealt with under firing
  • what a refreshing set of rules...  like them...   but yeah, I'd have to replace the cards - a lot of what they bring is good, but it also means other mechanisms need tweaking..

Friday, April 02, 2021

"One Hour Wargames" - Scenario 22 - "Ambush" - Set Up and Game - Redux!

The game of a few weeks ago, while absolutely hilarious (clicky), still rumbles (and rankles) in the back of my mind as it was quite clearly one of those utterly strange, 'quirks of fate' type game, where die rolls and their outcomes resulted in an outrageously easy win for the Royalist/"Blue" force...

Time then I thought, to have another go, and confirm one way or the other whether the scenario is flawed, or whether it really was just luck last time... 

DG and I are about to embark on our next virtual game, which will be an American War of Independence outing, using Battle Chronicler, and my go-to AWI rules by Will McNally (details as ever in the project page in the side bar), so I thought, 'why not?', and set this game in the period as well - I never need much of an excuse to get those glorious Minifigs out of their boxes..  

Off we go...

Forces for each side were diced for on the relevant table in the book, the only change being to ignore the skirmisher column and substitute regular foot.

I threw for and deployed the Red / British (or rather Hessian) force ie. the ambushed force, first. They got five regiments of foot, and an artillery piece (classed as light). I deployed them in a straight line, two of foot, gun, and two of foot, with another unit set back as a reserve, and at the front of the allowed  deployment zone..

The Americans threw and got three of foot, and a regiment of horse, so I deployed one of the foot regiments in the redoubt with the rest of the force  at the edge of the wood waiting to unleash death and destruction...  

All foot for both sides get maximum strength points (6), and are classed as regular with no morale modifiers - there are also no national modifiers, so both sides are equal in fire/melee..

On to the game - which was a cracker...  click on any of the following to embigen..

Initial deployment and table layout following.. the line of trees marks the edge of the wood

End of turn 1, following.. and an immediate change of fortunes for the Hessians (c/w with their Parliamentary colleagues in the previous game) - the American infantry have piled out and attacked the first/nearest Hessian regiment in the flank with the other American regiment providing an overlap..  in an outrageous change in fortune though, the Hessians throw off the attack, and both sides recoil! The American cavalry however are better..  crashing into the rear of the second Hessian regiment in the line, the Hessians are sent howling off into the pre-dawn dusk (the unit with the red dice / rout, heading for the right table edge following)...

End of turn 2, following.. not put off in the slightest the American infantry pile in again, and this time the second regiment have enough movement to bend round and attack in the rear rather than just providing an overlap - the result is inevitable, the Hessians break and run (foreground). The American cavalry pivot, and attack the artillery, routing it (the crew can be seen legging it)..

End of turn 3, following.. the Hessian fight back starts.. the first Hessian regiment to rout recovers, and the Hessian regiment next to the artillery turns to face the American cavalry who are about to charge and deliver a stinging volley stopping them in their tracks (shaken/yellow dice)..  the American foot advance rapidly to get into the fight. The British general meanwhile has chased after the other Hessian regiment to provide aid in the forthcoming morale check...

End of turn 4, following.. the American cavalry has had a retire morale check, but the two American foot regiments (one of whom is French) march on with flags waving and drums drumming - the green flagged regiment charge, but are halted in their tracks and sent packing - can Gallic verve save the day?? In the background another Hessian regiment has been sent packing, but the artillery crew have rallied, and the British general's presence has also steadied another regiment..  things are getting desperate for the American's, and the regiment from the redoubt ready themselves to enter the fray..

End of turn 5, following.. a turning point move...  the British re-crew their artillery, all the morale checks have been cleared, and two un-blooded Hessian regiments send the French packing..  the only glimmer on the horizon is on the British/Hessian right flank where the cavalry and the garrison are ready to take on a single slightly battered Hessian infantry regiment

End of turn 6, following.. the American infantry both recover enough to halt, but take fire from the British artillery, elsewhere as expected that battered Hessian infantry regiment breaks and scatters while the British general organises his remaining troops to cover the flank..

End of turn 7, following.. charge!  The American cavalry who have worked so hard throughout the game charge and are halted in their tracks by a perfect volley..  the green flagged regiment however have girded their loins, passed their morale check and charged home on the artillery sending their crew off in disarray for the second time this game, they are however, about to be flanked..

End of turn 8, following.. the flank attack sees for the green flag regiment, the cavalry fail a morale check and rout from the table, and in the melee the American regiment from the redoubt are also sent packing..

...end of game..  the American general realises that he can't achieve his goal and orders his troops to retire..  "we shall fight again"!

Post match analysis:
  • one of the quirks of the scenario is that it is only the blue player that can win - all the red player has to do is survive for the game duration...   anything else is a red win..
  • realising that, and I've played the scenario twice which shows how dull I am, it makes no sense for the red player to deploy anywhere near the front of the deployment zone as that makes it easier for the blue player to get to you..
  • I enjoyed that..  good fun..