Saturday, December 23

"Firing into the Brown" #34 - Christmas, last of the cowboys, and a public chortle..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..

Here's the last of the cowboys, including the promised picture of Pancho - he's the one on the left in the following..

Pancho (front left) and the Moustache Brothers... πŸ˜€

"Drop them or I shoot!"

..I am very much looking forward to getting these on the table for a gunfight - perhaps between Christmas and New Year.. 


Speaking of which, "A Merry Christmas!" to all my reader.. and by way of a festive snippet... πŸŽ„ 

This Christmas pudding is believed to be the last surviving from a batch of 1,000 sent to sailors and Royal Marines serving on the front during the Boer War at Christmas in 1900. 

The puddings were commissioned from London confectioner Peek, Frean and Co., by Dame Agnes Weston, known as Aggie, a philanthropist known for her kindness to sailors, and intended as a morale booster for for the sailors and marines on the front line. 

Aggie is best known for setting up rest homes (hostels) for sailors to stay in when in port – somewhere to help them avoid the temptations of drink and sex, in fact she campaigned actively against the evils of alcohol (they reckon one in six matelots abstained from the daily rum ration, and even beer, as a result of her campaign).

Any how, no one knows how this tin came to survive...  it either never made it to South Africa, or it was brought back by its recipient, but either way it was found at the back of a cupboard in a home in Poole in 2011 (I reckon I have a jar of Marmite at the back of mine of about the same age πŸ˜€)  and loaned to the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth’s historic dockyard; its curators believe it’s the oldest Christmas pudding in the world.

Not sure I'd want to eat it after 120 years – despite “high-class ingredients only” inside apparently – but the tin still features instructions for preparation, as well as a message which reads: “For the Naval Brigade, In the Front, With Miss Weston's Best Christmas & New Year, 1900, Wishes.”

 The charity she set up [clicky] in 1876 still helps sailors and their families today. 

The lady herself, bless her..  when she died, she was buried with full naval honours
(the first time that such an honour had been accorded to a woman) πŸ‘


Beer of the Week Year..

Bit of brewing history..  so years ago this stuff was brewed by a brewery called RCH (the beers name, by the way, commemorates the basic weaponry carried by rebels in the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685). 

Unhappily RCH closed it's doors in 2017, but happily the beers were continued to be brewed by a new brewery also called Pitchfork after the flagship ale - unfortunately they then had to close their doors earlier this year. 

It's a tough old market for brewers... costs have sky rocketed..  to say I was gutted at the thought of no more Pitchfork ale is an understatement. When the receivers went in I almost drove the 300 odd miles to get a few boxes of the bankrupt stock to keep me going!

Then Nuttycombe Brewery enter the scene - they are a new brewery (2022) that started up in the premises of another brewery that had closed down (Cotleigh) purely to make sure the Cotleigh beers continued - when Pitchfork closed down they also picked up the RCH/Pitchfork portfolio of beers...   

...and so it was that as I walked slightly despondently to my favourite pub in Bath this week, where I'd sunk gallons of Pitchfork over the years, you can imagine how gob smacking surprised I was to see it advertised on the board outside...

The stuff is glorious, it is golden, hoppy, sweet'ish, but with an almost tangy aftertaste - it's not rocket fuel, and I could drink it all day and never get bored..  this one's an 11/10.. 🍻


..finally, lest anyone believe that Dickens was not possessed of a cracking sense of humour, let me leave you with this nugget from the excellent "Dombey and Son" (this years Christmas Dickens).. 

Mrs MacStinger resorted to a great distance every Sunday morning, to attend the ministry of the Reverend Melchisedech Howler [now there's a quintessential Dickensian name..πŸ˜‚], who, having been one day discharged from the West India Docks on a false suspicion (got up expressly against him by the general enemy) of screwing gimlets into puncheons, and applying his lips to the orifice [πŸ˜†], had announced the destruction of the world for that day two years, at ten in the morning, and opened a front parlour for the reception of ladies and gentlemen of the Ranting persuasion, upon whom, on the first occasion of their assemblage, the admonitions of the Reverend Melchisedech had produced so powerful an effect, that, in their rapturous performance of a sacred jig [πŸ˜‚], which closed the service, the whole flock broke through into a kitchen below, and disabled a mangle belonging to one of the fold.

Pure and utter comedy gold.. I'm not ashamed to say I chortled out loud.. unfortunately I was in the pub at the time, so probably not my best moment.. 


 Laters, as the young people are want to say...  and enjoy the day between now, and then.. πŸŽ…

Saturday, December 16

"Firing into the Brown" #33 - Brown, Cowboys, and beer 'natch

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..

Not a one for putting a lot of fiction book reviews here in the main blog; they tend to live over their on the left in the Book Reviews page, but I thought this one was worth a bit of focus...

I must have first read this when I was a young teenager, probably because it was written by the "same bloke wot wrote Hornblower" (sic) but what I'd forgotten was how good it was...  so the premise is that a young sailor, the sole survivor of a British cruiser destroyed by a German surface raider in WW1, is rescued by his enemies, but then escapes from the ship while it is undergoing urgent repairs received in the battle, and then seeks to delay it's departure at whatever the cost to himself. 

But it is far more than that - it's also about his life and all the influences on it, how he came to be conceived, about his indomitable mother, about the vicissitudes of life, about a father he never knows, and most of all it is about Forester's love and admiration for the Royal Navy, all which helps to explain his actions and why he is doing it..  bit boys own now, old fashioned undoubtedly, but I thought it was a lovely read.. 

Giving this one a 9/10


The cowboys are done...  first batch here..

Wagon...  a nice model this, and comes with four horses and the guy to lead them

Very pleasing..  can see this one featuring in any number of scenario's - rob the wagon, hide behind the wagon, supply wagon, hide in the wagon, destroy the wagon, etcetc

Now the first selection of hired guns, cow pokes, innocent townsmen, gun slingers, outlaws and lawmen

Love the dusters (long light coats worn to protect against sun and dust/sand) - guy on the right has a double barrel (he'll be 'Doc').. the one in the front middle is going to be 'Sneaky Pete' for the gun he's hiding.. 😏


"Did you see which way they went?"

Uh oh.. πŸ˜€

More anon, including my favourite of the lot..  'Pancho'.. 😁


Beer of the Week:

We've seen mention of this one before on the blog, but in a week of otherwise quietness (on the beer front anyway) this was my standout beer of the week (new rule - bottles don't count from here on in, got to be a beer drunk in a pub)..

Was out for a walk with the current Mrs Steve the Wargamer and the gang of reprobates known as the Jolly Boys* (and their current partners) this week, and we had cause to re-hydrate at the most excellent Hawkley Inn [clicky] when what should see upon the pumps, but this oft bottle drunk beer, that is rarely seen on draught..  we almost bit their arm off, except Rodders (the leader of the Jolly Boys) who decided on "Pressed Rat and Warthog" (and yes that is a beer [clicky] as well as a song by the excellent Cream)

While I can't for the life of me understand why the draught is a whole 1% weaker than the bottled version (it'll be to do with excise/duty and beer strength undoubtedly), in truth it loses little in the translation - ours were fresh as a daisy, golden, full of bitter/grapefruit flavour (Citra hops without a doubt), and dangerously drinkable.. left... this one dates back to 2019 so it's been a staple for a while..  😏


*the Jolly Boys are the bunch I sail with in the summer..


Laters, as the young people are want to say...

Saturday, December 9

"Firing into the Brown" #32 - Thomas Ballard's Regiment of Foote completed, Dickens, beer and stuff..

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..

Thomas Ballard's regiment have now been based and flagged..  job done..

Considering that they were the first little metal men to receive the tender ministrations of my paint brush since March the year before last, I'm reasonably happy with these..  the paint brushes hadn't fallen apart, and the paints were still vaguely liquid!

These were painted using my usual technique - black primer, damp brush all over with white, and then start blocking in colours...  rather than normal paint I use inks wherever possible (as they self shade when you have the   black primer/white dampbrush combo). I then apply washes over any normal paints to dirty them down - these guys are supposed to look like they are on campaign, not the parade ground. 

Washes, b.t.w, were venerable bottles of Games Workshop 'flesh wash', 'armour wash', and some newer ones from Vallejo in the form of Umber and Sepia 'Game Wash'.

So there you have them - Thomas Ballard's Regiment - as present at the Battle of Edgehill - painted December 2023 - 24 figures - mostly Peter Pig with a leavening of Steel Fist (officer/drummer/ensign and the kneeling musketeer)


That time of the year again, my regular reader will know that as Christmas approaches it is my want to read a Charles Dickens book, so it's Dickens time again! 

Here's the 'Christmas Dickens' timeline to date...

  • 2013 - "David Copperfield" (9/10)
  • 2014 - "Nicholas Nickleby" (exceptional)
  • 2015 - "Oliver Twist" (8/10)
  • 2016 - "The Old Curiosity Shop" (7/10)
  • 2017 - "A Tale of Two Cities" (7/10) and "A Christmas Carol" (9/10)
  • 2018 - "Great Expectations" (10/10)
  • 2019 - "Bleak House" (8/10)
  • 2020 - "Little Dorrit" (retired hurt - no score 😏)
  • 2021 - "Our Mutual Friend" (8/10)
  • 2022 - "Pickwick Papers" - brilliant... (9/10)
  • 2023 - "Dombey and Son" - stay tuned for a review...

My top four Dickens novels so far would be "David Copperfield", "Nicholas Nickleby", "Great Expectations" and last year's absolute joy, "Pickwick Papers" - "worst" (it's Dickens for goodness sake, how can there be a worse?), 'least enjoyed', was without a doubt "Little Dorrit" which was mawkish beyond extreme, but of which my opinion seems to be at odds with most other people - I may have to have another go at some point, as Dickens 'only' wrote 15 novels, and I've now read 11 (and a bit) of them...

This years Dickens, however, will be "Dombey and Son", of which I know nothing of the story, so a bit of a voyage of discovery...


Beer of the week:

..not had the opportunity to try this before but a couple of pints yesterday confirmed my initial view that this is a  lovely pint..  clean tasting, very fresh golden ale brewed with green East Kent Goldings hops as soon as they are picked... kind of a Beaujolais nouveau of the beer world..  I'll give this one a 7/10.. πŸ˜€πŸ»


Laters, as the young people are want to say...

Saturday, December 2

"Firing into the Brown" #31 - "You cowboy", Thomas Ballard's Regiment of Foote, and an anniversary...

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..

Been a while, but little metal men have appeared in the manse..


...and a wagon.. πŸ˜€

Very much enjoyed the little set-to at Long Bute Farm [clicky], and promised that for the next set-to I'd try the 2nd Edition rules, but in order to do that I wanted some pukka cowboys rather than my ACW stand-in's...  I've gone 15mm thinking they would fit my existing Sudan/desert terrain as I have a feeling, I'd like to set these games somewhere on the Mexican border (and indeed one of these bags does indeed feature some Mexican bandoleros!)

Not painting all of them, just enough for four or five a-side..  a selection are already mounted on pennies, the wagon constructed, all of them undercoated and ready for the brush... 


From the freely available online
 Osprey Elite - "Soldiers
 of the English Civil War 1: Infantry"
 link in the ECW Project Blog
Couldn't help noticing the other day while playing the ECW game that the two sides of the project are currently slightly unbalanced as the Royalists have six regiments of foot completed, whilst the Parliamentarian army only has five..  time to remedy that!

Looking at the order of battle for Edgehill that I am using as my "starter for ten", I picked Thomas Ballard's Regiment, purely because I had only painted one other regiment in the brigade..

My main source for information on the battles, leaders, and regiments of the British Civil Wars is the BCW site, but I've noticed that it is currently unavailable so have had to revert to the last scanned copy of the site on the Wayback machine..  I hope the owner is OK, as the site is an absolute gold mine of information..  link in the ECW Project page has been updated to take you to the saved version of the website, by the way..

There's not a huge amount of information available about either Sir Thomas Ballard, or indeed his regiment, and that's mostly because the regiment (and him to an extent!) were a bit of a one hit wonder..

The old Sealed Knot website for the reenactment of the regiment was good for the history, though - link here:

Col Thomas Ballards - Ballards in the Civil War (

So, to summarise the information there, it seems: 

  • Thomas Ballard was born in 1600, and was the 3rd (and only surviving) son of Henry Ballard.
  • The family lived in Southwell near Nottingham/Newark, and also owned property in Lincolnshire. That becomes important later..
  • He served under Lord Grandison in The Bishops War, and there is mention (but little documentary evidence) that he also served abroad in the 30 Years War.
  • I think it probable that he did serve though, as Parliament saw him experienced enough to appoint him to command and recruit a regiment (one of five) for service in Ireland, following the rebellion there in the spring of 1642. Only one was actually sent abroad, and the others (including Ballard's) were incorporated into the Parliament army at the start of the war.
  • Ballard's apparently were under strength and marched later than the other regiments, but by October the regiment was complete and had joined the Earl of Essex's army in the Worcester area. 
  • At this time Ballard was appointed Sergeant-Major General of Foot (similar I guess to Brigadier) and had command of four regiments - his own, Essex's foot, Lord Brooke's and Denzil Holles' totalling 3604 men excluding officers. Ballard's numbered 776 men and 33 officers with the men formed into 10 companies. 
  • At Edgehill. Ballard's brigade was in reserve, positioned on the left centre of the army, behind Charles Essex's brigade. 600 musketeers from the brigade were detached to the left flank to counter Royalist dragoons (200 of these were from Ballard's). Royalist cavalry charges on both flanks routed the Parliamentary horse and must have had a devastating effect on these musketeers as there was no no pike support. 
  • Rattled by both the defeat of their cavalry and pressure from the Royalist foot, the brigade in front of Ballard's broke and ran but despite this, Ballard's four regiments stood firm and engaged the opposing foot, helped by two regiments of Parliament cavalry that had been in reserve - this turned the course of the battle.
  • The battle ended in a stalemate, but the losses suffered by Thomas Ballard's Regiment were dreadful - the brigade as a whole is estimated to have lost approximately 40% of it's strength. but Ballard's lost nearly 45%; 776 men down to 439 - two company commanders had been lost and two companies formerly of 80 men were down to 19 and 15 each.
  • There are no further records of the regiment participating in any major actions as the reduced unit was relegated to a Garrison unit and in in Aug 1643 Thomas Ballard himself left to take up a command in the Midlands and the regiment was taken over by it's Lt-Col, Francis Martyn. From May 1644 to October 1645 the regiment formed the garrison of Aylesbury. A few of the officers seem to have been continued in pay until spring 1646. . 
  • Ballard himself fell from favour after the attack on Newark failed. Some accounts have it that he did not pursue the attack as fiercely as he might because he still had friends in Newark (told you that was pertinent.. 😁). It is believed that he subsequently left England (he apparently applied for a pass to do so from Parliament) and may have been buried in Rouen, France or emigrated to America (where there were several Ballard's amongst the early settlers despite it not being a common name) or even joined Henry Morgan in Jamaica (!).

Painted - not yet based - bear with..

From The Cromwell Association Online Directory of Parliamentarian Army Officers:

  • Thomas Ballard Colonel of a regiment of foot in the earl of Essex’s Army from or by 12 Aug. 1642. On 6 Jan. 1643 he was paid a month’s salary as colonel of a brigade from 9 Dec. 1642, and as colonel of a regiment and captain of a company from 24 Dec. Ballard was still colonel as late as 31 July 1643; however, he left in the summer to campaign instead in the Midlands and the regiment had passed to Francis Martyn by 25 Aug. 1643. References: TNA, SP28/1a/66, SP28/5/39, SP28/8/224, SP28/9/187.


...and the Anniversary?? Well the 27th November just gone, marked the 17th Anniversary of the first ever blog post here on the "Random Musings"..  where the hell did those years go???! 😱

Laters, as the young people are want to say...

Saturday, November 25

"Firing into the Brown" #30 - Malta GC, Volunteer Reviews and a Sally Port

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martinis firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update..

Just finished a very enjoyable 2nd circumnavigation of the "Harry Gilmour" series, which is a fictionalised account of the life of a young guy in the RNVR in WW2 serving in submarines (very much recommended by the way)..  for a couple of the books the submarine he's on is assigned to the near legendary 10th Submarine Flotilla [clicky], who were based at Malta. 

One of the books (David) Black the author quotes as a source for the stories he uses in the Harry Gilmour books was this one by James Holland - and on a whim while in town I spotted it  in Waterstone's while browsing, and bought it. 

SO pleased I did - the book is riveting and is my third "10 plus" of the year - it tells the story of the siege of Malta through the many eyes of both combatants (of both sides) and civilians engaged in the conflict. Nurses, pilots, soldiers, anti aircraft gunners, submariners, admin staff, entertainers, but also lots and lots of civilians having to live their lives in hellish conditions. 

The book is divided chronologically, and covers each of the phases of the siege (which in order very roughly were, being attacked by Italians, then the Germans, then left alone for a bit while the Germans were busy with Barbarossa, before being attacked heavily by the Germans again) and covers the air war, the vital importance of air cover for both defensive and offensive reasons, the submarines (of course), and the role of Malta not just as an island in the Mediterranean, but as the base for vital Allied operations against first, Rommel in Libya, and secondly when that campaign was won, the second front against Sicily. 

Absolutely wonderful - can't recommend it enough..  Steve the Wargamer rates this one as 10+


Little more on the Lines..  this is the Sally Port  (in blue on the map above), a 6-foot-wide (1.8 m) and 8-foot-high (2.4 m) tunnel built through the West centre curtain to act as a sally port ie. a protected entry or exit to the fortification, to save the garrison having to go the whole way round every time they needed to go to either front or rear of the Lines..

Those door hinges are serious pieces of ironmongery - the gates would have been significant. The tunnel has regular passing points built in to the sides.


Couple of fascinating contemporary prints featuring the Lines..  this time from the The Easter Monday Volunteer Review in 1868. 'Nother fascinating rabbit hole by the way, as I knew nothing about these annual events.. 

The Reviews were begun in 1861, and basically were a military exercise in how quickly volunteer troops (later these would be designated Territorial) could be concentrated in a single spot. Reviews were held in different venues, including Brighton, Dover, Guildford, Portsmouth, Tring, and Dunstable. Each “review” consisted of a march, a sham fight, and rifle shooting. 

"The Volunteer Review at Portsmouth: The First Hants Engineer Volunteers Constructing a Barrel-Pier Bridge for the Sortie at Hilsea Lines 1868" (c) Alamy

The Lines (albeit slightly stylised) can be seen in the background of the picture above, so this perspective would be from the north side of either the Creek, or more likely the moat, but in that slightly "epic" depiction the London Evening News was want to show!  😏

Picture following was from the same event, but this time taken from the Lines looking North and is a better depiction as you can see the separation between moat and creek, and up on the hill in the far distance one of the Palmerston Forts, built to negate the technological advances in artillery that had already rendered the Lines obsolete militarily by the time they'd been finished..

The Volunteer Review at Portsmouth, the Sortie from Hilsea Lines (engraving) by English School, (19th century); Illustration for The Illustrated London News, 25 April 1868.

Not an event where they just went through the motions..  these exercises were highly regarded. “The whole affair was regarded with importance as demonstrating the efficiency of the Volunteer force, which behaved itself admirably,” said Edward Farr in The History of England. 

The reviews were discontinued in 1878, largely because of the 1871 Bank Holidays Act, which gave the railroads enough civilian traffic on Easter Mondays to refuse to transport the Volunteers, who up to then travelled at a significant discount.

Fascinating, eh? πŸ˜€


 Laters, as the young people are want to say...

Sunday, November 19

"Firing into the Brown" #29 - "Battle of Grimpen Mire" (OHW #24), and the Lines

"So Carnehan weeds out the pick of his men, and sets the two of the Army to show them drill and at the end of two weeks the men can manoeuvre about as well as Volunteers. So he marches with the Chief to a great big plain on the top of a mountain, and the Chiefs men rushes into a village and takes it; we three Martini's firing into the brown of the enemy".

Kipling "The Man Who Would Be King"

Time for another update.. and about bleeding time too..  eight months since the last one, foresooth!


I suppose it behoves me to at least apologise to my reader (you know who you are, Jim πŸ˜„) for my prolonged absence but what can I say - I was busy elsewhere, the wargame mojo left me for a while (well at least the desire to apply paint to little metal men, and set up tables for games anyway - reading in the subject however, was unaffected), it was my first summer as a retired person, so the boat, and Gertrude played a significant part in my absence - the weather (for the first part of it anyway) was glorious, and inconducive to sitting in a stuffy loft...

Clearly however, the mojo is now stirring..  😏


Based on scenario #24 in Neil Thomas's "One Hour Wargames" I thought it long overdue to get the English Civil War little metal men out for a run..  last game was February..

The scenario posits that one army is trying to clear enemy control from a major road that provides them with both supply and communication. The fly in the ointment though is that while they have superiority in force, their ability to use those forces is constrained by the fact that there is terrain either side of the road that is impassable/unavailable to them...  

West of the road is a dense wood that not only have they have not managed to reconnoitre, but of which they have intelligence it is hard going, and not passable. Meanwhile, East of the road is Grimpen Mire*, a supposedly bottomless marsh of sucking water and soft mud providing no footing or passage for any troops. There only routes north to south then, are via the road, or on either flank.

For this scenario, the Royalists (all regular quality troops) are the attacker and comprise four regiments of foot, one regiment of horse ("galloper") and a regiment of dragoons. Parliament (also all regular) comprises three regiments of foot, and  regiment of dragoons. Both sides were rolled for on the random tables in "One Hour Wargames", substituting "skirmishers" for dragoons

Parliament starts the game with all units on the table but is allowed to have one of them deployed in the woods - following shows the position at move one with the Royalist attackers just appearing at top..  

Parliament has deployed its dragoons in the wood (a logical choice I thought), but as the winning condition for the game is to have a unit within 6" of it at the end of 15 moves they have deployed all three regiments of foot to withstand any Royalist attempt to drive them off. 

The Royalists (following) are pushing all their foot down the road - column of march where necessary to move quickly. They gave sent their cavalry and dragoons down the east and west flanks. Parliament is turning their flank foot regiments to face the threat. Blue dice is the move counter so this is turn 3..

"Boom!" - following - and the muskets of both sides open fire as the Parliamentary dragoons and Sir Charles Gerard's Regiment of Foote exchange fire.. to the left John Belasyse's Regiment of Foote [blue flag] and Colonel Thomas Blagge's Regiment [St George flag] have taken advantage of the dragoons being otherwise occupied, to slip past..

It is all too much or the Parliamentary Dragoons (following picture) and after a couple of diabolical morale checks they re seen here routing from the field (bottom right) the Parliamentary commander desperately trying to rally them..  

It's about turn 9 from memory, and in the centre John Belasyse's Regiment (blue flag) have come to close quarter fighting with Colonel Charles Essex’s Regiment (yellow flag - musketry only - neither regiment could get the ascendancy to close to push of pike), no room on either flank for overlaps..  

..the Royalists are 'cab ranking' their foot regiments to maintain pressure in the event Belayse's break.

Here you go - following - we suddenly went back to 197'pffft... πŸ˜†

Crunch point of the battle - turn 11 - on the right Lord Wharton's regiment have formed stand of pike to receive horse but as is always the way the horse swerved and targeted Lord Mandeville's Regiment on the left where the Dragoons had dismounted and were providing flank support..  it was all too much for Mandeville's and they break and stream away past Wharton's..

Move 13 - following -  and I think it safe to say that the Royalists are in the ascendancy..  for Parliament Gerard's have finally broken but not before first having sent Belayse's off with a flea in their ear.. happily the Royalists already have a replacement to feed into the mincer in the form of Sir William Pennyman's Regiment, who finish them off 

Mandeville's (blue) continue to rout to the right/East accompanied by Gerrard's - all hopes for Parliament are now pinned on Lord Wharton's regiment (green flag) who stand like a rock - pikes ready to receive horse, but looking worriedly at Pennyman's - they have yellow dice so they're already shaken, but so are the Royalist horse - can they pull it off?? Can they last two turns??

Final move of the game - following - and no they couldn't...  they managed to see off the Royalist horse but the continued pressure from Pennyman's - with flank support provided again by the dismounted dragoons was in the end too much, and they break and rout ...

...pursued by Pennyman's (following)..  

Royalist mission accomplished - just in time!

Post match analysis..
  • Very close and enjoyable game even solo - and the scenario delivered exactly what it promised it would, a four foot table width is reduced to little less than 9" total available 'advancing room' for the attacker..  very clever..
  • I realised after I'd started the game that terrain placement is key to the game - with only one unit allowed in the woods, it was theoretically possible for the Parliamentary dragoons to just sit in the woods out of range of muskets, but within 6"of the road to meet the victory requirement..  such games'manship is of course is beyond contempt, below the salt, and unthinkable to any of my reader..
  • * thanks Sherlock.. πŸ˜€


Since the completion of the little local history project based on the Portsmouth canal [clicky] which I enjoyed immensely, the next local history investigation is the old Hilsea Lines [clicky] an 18th/19th-century fortification built between roughly 1858 and 1871 to protect the northern approach to Portsea Island/Portsmouth (not generally known that Portsmouth is built on an island, by the by) but more importantly to protect the key naval base...   the lines were rendered obsolete by advances in artillery technology even before they were completed, and never saw actual action, not even in WW2 where you might have expected a significant anti aircraft presence, but where I suspect the lines would have been too far away from the dockyard to provide meaningful cover..   bit of geography may help here:

Portsea island..  the Lines are highlighted, dockyard circled..

As always, the bogeyman causing the huge expenditure was fear of invasion by the French under Napoleon III - this amble concerns the central section - Bastion 3, specifically - see following - but over this winter I'll go and check the other sections as well, if Gertrude is willing..

Bastion 3 following.. these are the casemates - so this would be behind/south'ish of the gun line which would be firing from the other/north side, connected to these, internally, inside the mound..  

This is very descriptive; helps understanding of the construction and design.. 

Other direction to the first picture ..  so approximately 10 casemates in total in this bastion..

Artillery store entrance I think.. 

Stay tuned - this will be a slow'ish burner - I have details on the sallyport, but the other bastions I plan to visit over the winter..


 Laters, as the young people are want to say...  and hopefully not so long this time!