Sunday, January 12, 2020

Christmas gaming 2 - Incident at Fearnley Whittingstall

The second of my games over Christmas this year was An Incident at Fearnley Whittingstall.  

Richard Phillips has an excellent write up of the game over at his blog.

The renowned British scientist Barnes Mitchell-Whittle was spending the night in the village of that name in advance of a secret weapon test the following day.  

A German glider-borne assault aimed to capture Mitchell-Whittle.  He was to be extracted by sea, elements of the Brandenburg Regiment having captured the beach and cleared it of mines.

I have two favourite sets of WW2 skirmish rules, Arc of Fire from Tac Publications, and Chain of Command from Too Fat Lardies.  CoC is great where each layer has a platoon to command but this game saw players commanding quite variously sized units and I thought AoF was the way to go.

Richard P commanded the Home Guard forces - a standing patrol in clifftop positions, and the platoon's ready reserve at the church hall.  Sam had the two scientists and the section of Grenadier Guards assigned to protect them.

Rob and Andy took charge of the Germans.  Rob was told he had three gliders with assault squads ordered to capture the scientists.  Any had two squads that included some pioneers tasked with clearing and holding the route to the Beach.

Andy also had responsibility for the Brandenburgers and Kriegsmarine forces who would capture the beach and extract the German force.

We did the glider landings by means of the old method of throwing paper aeroplanes at the table and then substituting them with my resin DFS230 models.  This went fine except that Andy's first glider landed right on top of the Home Guard position on the cliffs so the alarm was given somewhat early in the proceedings!

I'm afraid I was a little cruel to Rob.  When he'd planned to use all three assault squads, I informed him that one of them had failed to arrive. This may or may not have had anything to do with the number of glider models I have!

The action at the clifftop turned into a fierce close-range firefight.  The Fallschirmjaeger were thrown back to the hedge lining the clifftop road.

Meanwhile, the troops from Andy's second glider moved out to secure the road between the village centre and the cliffs. 

Rob got his two gliders down in a nice tight landing zone and moved out towards the north side of Fearnley Whittingstall.

One of the German squads moved out to surround the village pub...

This proved to be a good move as the scientist (accompanied by Dr VR Smith of British Scientific Intelligence) had sneaked out of Rose Cottage (where the Grenadier Guards thought he was spending the evening).

The action in the village turned into a firefight between the Jaegers around the pub and the Home Guard at the Village Hall.

The Home Guard deploy their Northover Projector
next to the Village Hall
During the fighting in the village, the German naval force arrived at the beach in their Landwasserschlepper.

The Brandenburger mine clearing team discovered that the minefield was dummy.

And by the time the Brandenburger reached the path up from the beach their Fallschirmjaeger colleagues had driven off the Home Guard.

In the end the Germans had secured the route between the village and the beach but they were unable to drive off the Home Guard and the remains of the Grenadiers around the Village Hall.  When we reached the end of the available time I decided to call it a narrow British victory.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

A large Frenchman

My mother-in-law gave me this 54mm figure at Christmas.

It was painted by an old friend of hers (now deceased) and she thought I would value it.  It clearly means a lot to her.

I don't know the manufacturer but I believe he's a French fusilier (grenadier?) from the Republican Wars or possibly from the early Napoleonic period.  Interestingly he appears to have a knife and spoon attached to his hat!

Unfortunately the metal is severely oxidised.  I'm going to have to look into how best to clean it and repaint it if it's to survive.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Christmas Gaming - (Not) The Death of Gustavus Adolphus

Andy and Ron came over yesterday and we played The Pikeman's Lament with my recently completed Thirty Years War collection.

The battlefield was the extended version of the Lützen battlefield seen here previously.  The Swedes will enter from the right and the Catholic League troops from the left. You can see that there are wisps of smoke and fog drifting across the field.  These served only to block line of sight.

The unit in the centre of the board is Gustav Adolf, the King of Sweden, with his Life Drabants.  That's Gustav, top left, in the picture below...

Ron was His Majesty for the day and also took on the role of Ensign Niels Broden of the Smålands Ryttare.  Thus Ron had a one-unit company of Life Drabants, with the King rated as a "Lion of the North" and an "Inspirational Leader" and a five-unit company of Swedish horse (aggressive gallopers in the rules).

Jamie (as Ensign Per Lungmark) had the other Swedish company - six units of Östgöta Ryttare, also aggressive gallopers.  This meant that all of the Swedish units had the 'Wild Charge' rule!

Andy, on the Catholic left, played Ensign Salvatore Avallone, hot-headed commander of a company of Piccolomini's Harkebusiers (two units of trotters and three of dragoons).

Finally, I took on the role of Ensign Johannes von Altburg commanding a company of Götzen's Cuirassiers (five units of elite trotters).

The picture below gives an idea of the size of the battlefield.  We didn't need the extra leaf in the kitchen table this year!

The game began with the Catholics making no significant progress.  As a result the King was able to make an ordered activation and move away from the enemy (I'd rather hoped he'd be sucked into the action from the start but no-one got close enough to activate his Wild Charge rule).

On the Catholic left, Avallone's dragoons advanced towards the rough ground...

...whilst von Altberg's cuirassiers advanced on a broad front to their right.

Thereafter, I think the phrase "confused cavalry melee" is an awfully apposite one.  The Swedes, as is their won't, repeatedly threw themselves into headlong charges whilst the Catholics stood off and shot.  In the picture below, the a three-man Swedish unit has just charged into the left-flank troop of my cuirassiers emerging from a fog-bank.

Thanks to their heavy armour (Stamina 4 in rules terms) the cuirassiers were remarkable solid performers.

Gustav fought bravely.  An early personal challenge had seen him strike down Ensign Avellone and now he fought in melee against von Altberg's own troop.  The latter's gold-plated steel armour didn't protect him from an unlucky blow (yes, I rolled snake eyes) and down he went.

By the end of the game, I think we had lost three of the five company commanders involved (Andy's, mine and Ron's).  The dead outnumbered the living on this part of the Lützen battlefield.

In the end the victors were the dragoon elements of Piccolomini's Harkebusiers with all three units surviving if not intact then at least able to march off in formation.

Gustav Adolf survived as the last remaining figure of his unit as did Jamie's Per Lungmark.

The Pikeman's Lament includes a table to determine what happens to officers who fall as casualties during the game and I thought it might be interesting to find out.

Ensign Salvatore Avallone of the Catholic harkebusiers died a hero's death in single combat with the Swedish king.  He was promoted posthumously to colonel before being buried with honours on the battlefield.

Ensign Niels Broden of the Smålands Ryttare, unhorsed in the fighting on the Swedish right, turned out to be only lightly wounded.  He returned to the camp with an impressive scar and a good story to tell.

Johannes von Altburg's personal wealth perhaps played some part in his escape from the field.  Although his cuirassiers have previously shown little regard for him, they did on this occasion drag his wounded body from the field and he lives to fight again.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Christmas Goodies 2019

Happy Christmas everyone!  What did you get in the way of pressies?

Just a couple of gaming related acquisitions for me this year.

Somewhat out of my ordinary is this...

My Mum, bless her, doesn't really have a clue what kind of wargaming I do but she did pop into the local branch of GW and pick up the above figure.  She kept the receipt so I can swap it for something else.  I may see what I can trade it in for in the way of paint.

More my cup of mead is this gift from Jamie...

I've been considering Dux Britanniarum for some time as a way of using my Late Roman / Bacaudae figures.  A bit of rules reading is called for, possibly followed by some rebasing!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Christmas Games 2019

As usual I've got a couple of games planned for the Christmas period.

First up is a first run-out for my 6mm Death of Gustavus Adolphus game.

This is to be run using The Pikeman's Lament by Dan Mersey and Michael Leck.

If we get too many players for the Gustavus Adolphus game (always tough to judge as people tend to sign up or drop out at the last minute) I'll run a parallel game of The Pikeman's Lament using by recently rebased (and still to be flocked) 15mm Samurai...

And finally, I intend to run a scenario called Incident at Fearnley Whittingstall, a Second World War skirmish using the Arc of Fire rules and set in the small Dorset village of that name.  No more details at present to avoid spoiling any surprise but here's one of the village buildings that's currently on the workbench.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Steel Lard 2019

On Saturday, Jamie and I along with a collection of the fattest and lardiest gathered at Jury's Inn in Sheffield for the first Steel Lard.  The event was ably organised by Tom Davis.

Tom consults his mobile while Simon and Sammy
consider the tactical position
Tom had arranged things so that all of the players could play two short games and one long game.  I was umpiring throughout but I know Jamie got to try WW1 Chain of Command and Algernon Pulls It Off as his short games and a longer game of Sharp Practice set during the 1812 retreat from Moscow.  Other rules in use included Dux Britanniarum and  Richard Clarke's new Infamy Infamy.

Action from Mike Whitaker's Dux Britanniarum game
Infamy, Infamy!
In the morning I ran twice through a small Sharp Practice 2 scenario based on a solo game I'd originally played when I only had a few Maximilian Adventure figures painted.

Near the town of Tlaliscoya, a couple of groups of contre-guerillas, lost in the dense forest at night, have stumbled upon a deep gorge with a bridge defended by liberal guerrillas.


In the first game we had a narrow contre-guerilla victory with the red-coated contres making it onto the bridge as Tom called time.

The second game was a bit more one-sided.  The contres managed to get to the bridge first thanks to the vagaries of the activation system.  At one point they even managed to form a line formation of two groups.  Again time beat us but this time I was able to call a clear contre win. 

The bridge, by the way, was an emergency structure put together using the Jury's Inn's coffee stirrers wen I decided that the bridge I'd originally planned to use was too short.

In the afternoon I reset the terrain and we played my Menton 1940 scenario.

This was the fourth run through of the game after Crisis Point and a couple of goes at Posh Lard.  I think that's enough now.

This time was the first time we've played the four-player, semi-historical version in which the French get Renault FT-17 tanks.  The game was OK but it got bogged down into a fairly static fire fight after two of the three French tanks had been taking out by a well-positioned Italian anti-tank gun.

A well-positioned Italian anti-tank gun
I'd like to thank all of my players, who maintained a cheerful disposition despite the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

After packing away the toys, Jamie and I joined the merry throng at the Olde Queene's Head for a couple of drinks where Jamie was honoured with the "Hen of the South" award for most cowardly behaviour of the day.

Apparently, during the 1812 game he had refused to order his Russian militia to suicidally charge French grenadiers but had instead concentrated on mounting an artillery bombardment of a column of starving and frozen French civilians!

Monday, November 18, 2019

They've all got it in fer me!

Rich of the Too Fat Lardies seems to have settled on a name for his forthcoming ancients large skirmish game.  Disciplina et Virtus (or was it the other way round?) looked favourite at one point but it seems he's settled on Infamy, Infamy!  Than which, I'd say, there's no name more Lardy.

The rules clearly owe something to Sharp Practice.  Sharp Practice cards and force morale trackers are visible win the pictures on the Lard Island blog.  I believe Rich is also in contact with John Savage who ran a really nice-looking Sharp Practice Ancients game at Ebor Lard.

Between the two of them they really do seem to "have it in fer me".  I'm getting seriously tempted to start recruiting Imperial Romans and barbarians in 28mm scale.

I say Imperial Romans because it seems the rules will have a specific focus on first century combat along the limites of the Empire.  OK, I can imagine myself writing scenarios in that context.

There are early Imperial Romans available in plastic so a 50-odd figure force wouldn't be too onerous to recruit. Or I could adapt the rule to accommodate late republican forces and use my existing Punic War collection.

What I'd really like to do, though, is to make some better use of my fifth century Gaul forces - the Bacaudae and their opponents.

So should I get Infamy, Infamy and adapt it to the fifth century?  But then TFL already do a game, Dux Britanniarum, that's aimed exactly at that period!

Fortunately, I'll be at Steel Lard this coming weekend when Richard will be running Infamy Infamy and Mike Whittaker will be running Dux Britanniarum.  Somehow I just need to avoid being so busy running my Menton 1940 game that I don't get to see anything of the two games in action.