Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Holiday Greetings

A belated Merry Christmas and an early Happy New Year!

It has been a busy time at the Admiralty, with business travel (3 days to Florida to mark actuarial exams), final exams for the Fall Semester and Christmas.  Now with that all out of the way, I have picked up paint brushes and reference books for Curt's annual painting challenge.

Yesterday we took my mother in law to the airport for a 6am flight and then my wife, daughter and I saw the Star Wars film in IMAX.  Our local Science Centre has the only IMAX copy of the film in Canada, which was to our good fortune.  I am not a Star Wars geek loud some, but it was a very entertaining afternoon at the pictures.  Space Opera with great action scenes and pretty good characters, what more could you ask for?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

My Other Addiction - Books

I got taken in by Cyber Monday this week with a BOGO (buy one get one free) sale on E-books over at Pen and Sword, typically my go to pusher of military e-books.  I like the ebook route for a number of reasons.  Mostly it comes down to the fact that I am both cheap and impatient and most of my hobby wants are way to obscure to be found in a Saskatchewan book store.  ebooks are a cheap and fast way of feeding the addiction!

So what did I get in my electronic package?  Two absolute classics.

This one feeds into my Italian Wars project which is timely as it arrives just before the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge and my upcoming side duel with Curt.  Well written, good detail and lots of flavour.  It covers from the 13th century to the end of the 15th, ending with Fornovo.

It doesn't get much better than Marder when it comes to Naval History.  This volume covers a number of topics over the two world wars.  Of particular interest are the chapters on the Dardanelles  Churchill's time in the admiralty in the early days of WWII and the Battle of Mers-El-Klebir.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

AAR Sawmill Village Pt 2

Continuing on from my previous post, Curt's Milanese had attempted to barrel straight into the village without bothering to form up first and had gotten themselves spread out as a result.  Sylvain's French had opted to deploy first and the attendant delays meant that Curt was able to get his leading troops into the village in good time.  

Sylvain's left wing unit the "Archers" actually a heavy cavalry unit) facing Curt's Gendarmes and infantry (swordsmen with red shield then Swiss with Halberds) while Curt's missile troops man the village.  The rest of the French are formed up to the right while the Milanese continue to straggle up in the background).

Milanese Gendarmes on the left, Swords in the centre and Curt's Swiss.

The next few command rolls essentially decided the day.  After some ummmm... cautious deployment and backstopping, Sylvain tried to charge his Archers at the Swordsmen.  The command roll only let them make one move and thus left them in the open between the lines.  Curt in his turn charged the Archers with his Gendarmes, easily rolling enough to contact.  The heavier cavalry won out, pushing the Archers back and then breaking them with their Sweeping advance.

Sylvain looks resigned to his fate as the Archers get swept away.  His pikemen in the background have now failed two attempts to form a hedgehog formation (you want a Vole? formation sire?).  Otherwise things look orderly on the French side.

In the meantime, Sylvain tried missile fire with his cannon and two crossbow units (which outranged Curt's arquebusiers).  The cannon was ineffective but the Crossbows managed to disorder the Swiss, requiring them to halt and redress ranks for a turn.  Curt but his missile troops into the village, including his mounted crossbows since he feared they would be fast versus the heavier French cavalry.  I let Curt dismount, which was contrary to the rules but suited my interpretation.  I may look at treating these troops like ECW dragoons in the future.

With the Halberdiers halted, Curt charged a unit of swordsmen into the pike block who had now formed up in hedgehog.  Meanwhile the Milanese Gendarmes bypassed the infantry and charged into the flank of the French Gendarmes.  The French were able to turn to face but not able to countercharge.

The swordsmen hit the hedgehog on the left while Gendarmes clash to their right.  Bloodstains mark the hits and show that the French came off worst.  The yellow market on the roofs show where the dismounted crossbows went.

Another angle of the Gendarmes in combat.  Another broken cavalry unit with a Milanese sweeping advance into the crossbows.  In the background Curt is moving arquebusiers onto a difficult hill on Sylvain's flank.

The infantry fight.  Hedgehog gives advantages against infantry, but sadly not against foot troops.  The swordsmen have a +D3 to combat resolution vs foot and in this case rolled up.  The blades got into the block and broke the pikemen.

That is pretty much it. Sylvain had lost 3 of his 6 infantry and cavalry units, and had 1 of his 2 battalias broken.  The remaining French men retreated back home while the Milanese tested the local Chianti.

Monday, November 23, 2015

AAR" An Old Friend and New Enemies Pt1

Last Friday night Curt hosted and I GMed a miniatures games featuring an old friend and new enemies.  The old friend was a scenario that has been likely fought more often than almost any other (the scenario in the original Featherstone's Wargames likely exceeds it).  It was the Battle of Sawmill Village (OK Chance Encounter) from the first CS Grant Scenario Book.

The new foes were my early Italian Wars French and Northern Italian (Milanese on the night) armies circa 1496 using 28mm Perry figures.  The scenario calls for two equal points value advanced guards arriving from the North West (Milanese) and South East (French corners).  OK that's backwards Geographically but fits the layout of the book's map and our table.  We can rotate the orientation 180 degrees or assume that the French are on their pox-ravaged way back from Naples.

Curt's Milanese fielded the following units (the rules used were Warlord's Pike and Shotte)

  • 1 unit of Gendarmes
  • 1 unit of Mounted Crossbowmen
  • 2 units of Arquebusiers
  • 2 units of Swordsmen
  • 1 unit of Swiss Halberdiers.
The Milanese advance.  Curt's Bernese Halberdiers on round bases, my units on square bases.

To face them, Sylvain's French fielded

  • 1 unit of Gendarmes
  • 1 unit of "Archers" (really heavy cavalry, just not as heavy as the Gendarmes, but with bows)
  • 2 units of Pikemen
  • 2 units of Crossbowmen (on foot)
  • 1 Medium Gun with limber

French "Archers" gallop behind infantry on the march.  In the background the gun lumbers forward.

From the starting gun the two players had different plans.  Curt put his three foot with melee weapons in one Battalia and his mounted and shot troops in the other.  He also went straight for the village without deploying and allowing gaps to appear between units.  Sylvain put his units into two similar Battalia, each with a pike, bow and cavalry unit.  The first Battalia in his column had the Archers and gun, while the second had the Gendarmes.  Sylvain also chose to move south of the village and deploy fully before adding.  Even then his infantry were cautious (partly due to poor command rolls) and he seemed to favour using his firepower before closing on the Milanese.

Curt ponders the French slow and steady deployment.

Meanwhile the Milanese ride hell bent for the village!

This was our first time using Pike & Shotte and I have to say that they worked well.  The variable move system (it's like Marmite) worked very well IMHO, as each side had moments when they seemed to be ahead in the race only to have the opponents catch up.  Also, it drove one the pros and cons of moving at the slowest speed to keep a line intact vs moving at one's best speed and having gaps appear.
The Milanese Condottiere himself looking very dapper as he surveys his forces.  Mrs Admiral thinks that he needs cufflinks to complete the look.

The view from above the village (laser cut by Curt's pal Byron).  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Gonzaga Figure

A shout out to Bedford over at Gewalthaufen for the excellent Gonzaga vignette using Perry figures which has been a great inspiration for my own much less spectacular Italian Wars collections.  It appears in the latest WSS, but improperly attributed.  Go check it out at it's true home on the link above.

We are not worthy!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Henry V's Warship

I found this cool story on the Beeb website today, about archeologists finding one of Henry V's great car racks.  The wreck is in the a River Hamble, a spot that I know about as well as any in the UK.  My dad lives along the Hamble and keeps his boat moored n the river, although down river from the site.  From the looks of it, she lies upriver of the Bursledon Bridge towards the a Queen Elizabeth Country Park.

Monday, October 5, 2015

I'm Not Dead Yet

According to blogger, I have done diddly squat since July 19th (2 1/2 months ago).  This is not strictly accurate, although family members might challenge my position...

Anyway when we last left the blog story, I had lost the Waterloo campaign shortly afterwords lost my supper.  Having put up a flurry of "Blucher -100 Days" related posts I was pretty much blogged out and never really got back on the horse.

However, I have been active with gaming related activities such as:

  • Painting more Italian wars related Perry 28mm figures, mostly plastics with some metals thrown in.
  • Dusted off my collection of Armada era galleons and tried them out with Galleons and Galleys.
  • Read a bunch of books on 15-16th century voyages of discovery.  Most appropriately, my biography of Columbus got lost at one point but reappeared on the wrong continent (OK sofa).
  • Played several board games and actually won some of them.
  • Played a Blucher era game hosted by Curt using his 3mm (yikes!) figures for the 1809 Danube campaign.
  • And likely other stuff, but I am having an academic memory fade....
More on these topics to follow...

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Battle of Halle - When Real Life is a Metaphor for the AAR

So we fought out the second battle of Halle yesterday and evening (1:30-10:30 pm), and it was a WWF wrestle mania of an affair featuring the entire French army, all of the surviving brigades of the Anglo-Allied army and almost all if the Prussian army.  There were about 300,000 troops represented on a huge battlefield.

And it went like my dinner.  We ordered pizza from a national chain, and I risked a pizza that met my dietary restrictions on paper (gluten free and milk free).  But something bit me back and it turned into a religious experience involving much prayer at the shrine of the porcelain goddess when I got back home.  And that is kinda how the game went... down the flusher...

For the second day in a row the Anglo Allied army took on the bulk of the French army on a flat Belgian plain devoid of shelter or terrain.  This time Boney set up a Grand Battery and used a cavalry threat to force me into squares.  They were vaporizing a brigade a turn, while leaving their infantry out of musket range.  They obviously learned from the first day when the redcoats' fire was deadly.

The Prussians arrived in force, sooner than expected and much closer to me than I expected, but Boney was able to screen them and focus on me.  Meanwhile, aided by my atrocious activation rolls early on and a triple epic fail on a cavalry charge later on, the column led by Ney moved off board to threaten our supply line.

Bottom line

  • Anglo-Allies broken in the field for the second day running and forced to retire.
  • French achieved victory by exiting twelve units off the road to our supply lines.
  • Anglo Allies and Prussians damage the French Army, but not enough yo break them n the field of battle of knock them out of the campaign.
  • French victory in the campaign.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

100 Days Campaign - Battle of Halle pt 2 (or Not Dead Yet)

So today our 100 days campaign likely winds up with an all in all out slug fest in the second day of the Battle of Halle (our campaign map spells it Hal, but everywhere else has is as Halle and Halle looks classier).  We invade Curt's house for an afternoon cum pizza cum evening battle.  The map at day break looks as follows.

Curt has got out the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" machine and downscaled the armies by 1/3 (see the post) to fit the entire thing on one 4x8 foot table.

The French can win the whole thing in four different ways.

  1. Knock the Anglo-Allied army our of action permanently
  2. Knock the Prussian Army out of action permanently
  3. Exit a sufficient force off board at the road at B1.
  4. Exit a sufficient force off board at Brussels in A6.
The allies can win by avoid all of the above, or by knocking the French army out of action permanently.  As Curt has noted, all three armies have been knocked about a bit and could be crippled today.

In the first days action (AAR), the Anglo Allied army faced the full French Army and was forced to retreat North, while Ney took a column off table to the west and threatens our supply chain at B1.  Meanwhile the Prussians missed their appointed date with Ney en transit and showed up just as the Brits broke.  Boney has the main French force facing the Prussian advance guard to the south of Halle.

I have a really good idea of the French numbers and locations and only a foggy knowledge of the Prussian numbers and location (this was a constant theme during the campaign).  I have been assured that they will appear and cross the river between Braine le Compte and Halle, but Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny might also appear at the same locations....

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Grog, the Civilized Version

We are having the hottest weekend so far this summer, with temps at 30C with the humidex at 36C and now a Tornado watch.  For those of you still measuring distances in medieval Kings' body parts and temps based on sick Germans, I don't know the translation to Farenheit.

So we went for the modern reboot of18th Century Naval Grog -Mojitos.  Actually the recipe is not that different: rum, sugar, soda water, lime, mint.  Very refreshing, and the mint camefrom the garden.

Friday, July 10, 2015

100 Days Campiaign Decision Points - The Lead Up to Placenoit

With our 100 Days Campaign close to winding up, I thought I would look back on some key decision points based on the information available to me at the time.  To start with, I will revisit the lead into and follow up from the Battle of Placenoit.

The map below shows what the Anglo-Allied army knew and saw after the action at Placenoit, but gives useful references for the lead in.  Note that a column can move 6 squares/day by road, 3 if moving cross-country.  Also a standard battle would set up a 3*2 set of squares on a 6*4 table.

The campaign starts about ½ way through June 15 and the Anglo-Allied forces are essentially spread all over the place. We had two small columns (R and S on the map) at Nivelles and Quartre Bras.  Wellington entered at Brussels with a larger column T and our cavalry enters on the west end of the map as column U.

For our army, the early objectives were
  1. Get our widespread columns together in one group.  The most obvious place being the Mt. St. Jean area as it was both central and blocked a main route North for Boney.
  2. Try and figure out what the French were planning to attack, which became much easier as a strong French column arrived at Quartre Bras and drove our defending column North.  There is an overrun mechanism in the rules that displaces smaller forces facing huge odds without a battle, and that is what was employed here.
  3.  Link up with our Prussian allies.  To this end we received a rather cryptic note from Blucher stating “Meet you at Mt. St. Jean on the 16th”. 

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Prussian, but figured that Blucher would be on the road south east of Mt St Jean with a column of Prussians.   As the morning of the 16th played out, the French moved North and the various Anglo-Allied forces closed in on a junction at Placenoit.  There was also apparently contact to the east as French columns moved on Prussian forces at Sombreffe and then towards Gembloux.

However it was the Prussians who caught us all unawares as they shifted most of their army west and had moved into Placenoit before any Anglo-Allied troops could.  Under the Blucher system up to two columns from the same army can occupy a square, but columns from two different armies cannot (except for during battle).  So since the Prussians won the foot race, the Anglo Allied columns got pushed aside and our plans to centralize our forces got postponed.  Also, it meant that only one of my columns (T) got to take part in the action as the French came north to Genappes since columns R and S were elbowed off to the west by the Teutonic hordes.

I have blogged on the action at Placenoit earlier, but have some afterthoughts given what I know now.           
  • I think the French had hoped to catch elements of the Anglo-Allied army and do enough damage to knock us out of the fight for a while.  They were as surprised as I at the number of Prussians, so once the Prussians arrived in force it turned into an exercise of testing our combined strength and gathering information.
  •  From our perspective at the time, we had to hold Placenoit for the afternoon and gather more forces for the 17th.    There were a large number of French coming our way and initially the Anglo Allied forces were outnumbered.  We had no idea how many French were following up behind, nor for that matter how many Prussians were showing up.
  •  The Prussians apparently had a master plan, but never bothered to tell their allies what it was!  The idea seemed to be that they had enough troops to attack the French and hopefully do them some harm.  They might have had a chance at this if we had coordinated the efforts of both armies, but the Prussians didn’t want to let us in on the plan and in fact seemed very much of the opinion that they didn’t need us.

In fact Curt has since confirmed that the combined Allied forces had the French outnumbered at Placenoit.  However to have a chance of success I think three things had to happen.
  1. We needed more time.  There was only half a day left n the 16th and the Prussians were still arriving in column as the action started.
  2.  We needed much better coordination between the two armies.  Parts of the Anglo Allied army were blocked from entering the table and the plan wasn’t communicated well at all.
  3. The French had to stick around and let us attack them.  This to me was the biggest problem, since I think that the French have the imitative and get to call the shots on when and where we fight.  With their superior cavalry forces I think it would have been easy for Boney to pull back south and draw us forward after him.

Apparently the French was scared by what they ran into because they pulled out overnight.  Curt’s map above shows the situation  

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Battle of Hal Pictures

Curt forwarded on the pictures from our game this weekend.  Sean has a ton of shots too, but I want to winnow this down to the absolute stunning and weed out the merely fabulous.  

Start of the Game with all units hidden.  Stacey methodically counts noses on the French side.

Yikes!  That's a lot of Frenchies!

The Anglo-Allied position at Hal to start the game.  Our early reinforcement arrive across the river to our left.  Later reinforcements come down the road into Hal (i.e. from the bottom left of the photo).

The Anglo Allied right initially, soon to become our centre as we shift right   Not much terrain to hide behind (the fields are only for show).  No hills and a few woods.

Mid game, Vandamme pushes in the centre, taking a heavy toll from British fire.  I think that Vandamme himself had a couple of brigades shot out from under him.

First corps presses the British right in the morning.  The terrain worked for us here funnelling the attack onto a narrow frontage plugged by Red coats.  The downside is that our backs were up against the table edge which hurt us later on.

Late in the game and the wheels are definitely falling off for the Anglo-Allied army.  Ney arrived and did a reserve move to rapidly deploy to our right.  By this time we had run out of fingers to plug the holes in the dyke.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

AAR Battle at Hal aka That Won't Do Write Me Down A Victory

Well the battle was fought and lost, but perhaps not the campaign.  And I think that we gave a good account of ourselves before being forced from the the field.  A more complete AAR will follow when pics are available and when I am emotionally in a state to make sense of them.

The general situation is outlined below, with the green rectangle outlining the 8' by 4' playing surface.  This is the map Curt provided to all three armies, but as Wellington I had of course better info on the Anglo-Allied Army and my cavalry scouts gave me pretty darn good info on the French army.  I don't think Boney had much info on our positions beyond the map (if any).  There were also Prussian columns somewhere east of the river, but only they and their hairdressers knew for sure.

Oh yes, the Union Jacks show the French objectives.  If they could exit sufficient forces off either exit, they would win and we would lose.  So our backs were up against the wall.

General Situation Before the Battle of Hal
At day break I had the following information:

  • The whole French army (60+ brigade sized units) was in three mostly equal sized columns, at E3, F3 and G2.   The Imperial Guard was in the lead column, and all three columns had infantry, cavalry and artillery.
  • Initially the Anglo-Allied had 1 light cavalry brigade at D2, 16 units in D3 and 6 units at D4.  Our army was almost all infantry units, except as noted.
  • We had another 3 infantry and 7 cavalry units crossing the river from D5 to D4, and 10 units at C5.
  • Intelligence on the Prussian army was limited but messages from the Prussian command the day before had indicated that the would appear at F4 in time to interfere with the third French column.

So this was a big game (250K troops) with shifting odds as the day wore on.  I was facing the following odds

  • about 1:1 based on what was on board initially
  • about 7:4 once the second column arrived, which turned out to be turn 1.
  • 5:4 once the forces crossed the river to Hal, which took most of the morning.
  • about 1:1 if my column from C5 arrived before the third French column, which turned out to be a pipe dream
  • About 2:1 if the third French column arrived without Prussian interference and before my column arrived from C5.  This happened around midday.
  • About 3:2 if the third French column arrived and my last column arrived.  This happened right after the third French column arrived.  At this point the entire French and Anglo-Allied forces would be on table, and we were fighting a bigger fight than Waterloo!
  • About 6:(4+x) once the x units of Prussians arrived and every one else was on board.  This happened late in the day, by which time we had broken  strategically retreated of the north table edge.

It was a long afternoon and the British command (myself, Sean and Jeremy seconded from the Prussians) were in a nail biter.  Basically, I spent the entire day have repeated litters of kittens especially since we essentially had no cover to hide behind, there being no hills and limited woods for cover.

However,  while it was a defeat it was also a banner day for the Thin Red Line who defeated repeated  French infantry attacks and shook off cavalry attacks even while not in square.  One highland brigade in particular fought all day and faced down all challengers.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

100 Days Campaign Using Blucher Updates

Gaming group has been actively playing through the 100 Days Campaign using the excellent Blucher system (thoroughly recommended).  I have been taking on the role of Old Nosey.  Curt from Analogue Hobbies has been umpiring, separating fighting allies, messing up orders and doing a bloody wonderful job.

Things are nicely coming to a head and we look set for an all day all out rumble in the next week- June 19, 1815 game time but June 27th, 2015 real time.  I won't give away much but can supply a few bits of common knowledge.  I haven't given a map but look it up man, you can't spit without finding a map of the campaign on the 200th anniversary!

  • On June 16th the French advanced through Quatre Bras toward Placenoit.  They pushed Anglo-Allied forces aside at Quarter Bras but found a heavy concentration of both allied armies at Placenoit (see AAR).  We fought an inconclusive action late in the day and awoke on the 17th to find that Boney had pulled up stakes and buggered off.
  • A Prussian attempt to follow up the French withdrawal early on the 17th was fended off easily and we lost contact with Boney.
  • However shortly afterwards on the 17th the British cavalry encountered a French force near Nivelles. Our cavalry was moving northeast from Nivelles towards Mt St Jean and the French were moving west from Quatre Bras into Nivelles.  We set the forces out on table and fought a scounting action in which we found the entire Imperial Guard forming the French vanguard (very curious) with further Frenchies beyond.  We then  withdrew northeast having delayed Boney and counted noses. 
  • Later on the 17th, Anglo-Allied cavalry scouted the road from Quatre Bras to Nivelles and found French columns moving westward.  This scouting action and the next were performed using the Blucher campaign mechanism, rather than being on table actions like the prior one at Nivelles
  • Mid afternoon on the 18th an Anglo Allied cavalry brigade encountered a large French column advancing north from Braine-le-Compte towards Hal.  A very spirited scouting action provided us with details of the French force.
  • At day's end on June 18th, French columns arrived opposite Hal and found British forces awaiting them.  
  • Day break on the 19th will bring us the battle of Hal and almost certainly the deciding moments of our campaign.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

WW1 Naval Battle of Zante (Flight of the Goeben)

I attempt to look knowledgeable, but Stacy and Sylvain are not buying it!

This week I ran a WW1 Naval game based on the infamous "Troubridge Decision".  This is a historical almost-was scenario (see the link Pursuit of Goeben and Breslau) based on a squadron of armoured cruisers commanded by Adm Troubridge that could have intercepted the German battlecruiser SMS Goeben early in the days of WW1.  Troubridge lost his bottle over night and shied away from the confrontation based on orders that allowed him to avoid superior forces.  Had he met the Goeben and slowed her down, a lot of recent history would have been altered.  However his squadron would have likely have been sunk in a straight up fight.

The game was fought using my 30 year old 1:3000 scale ships (Navwar mainly and some Skytrex) and the General Quarters 3 WW1 variant Fleet Action Imminent.  This was my first time using FAI although I have run GQ3 games several times.  Overall, I am not sure that the GQ system really fits WW1 as well as it fits WW2.  This may be to my inexperience with certain FAI nuances and differences from GQ3.   I may haul out my home brew faster play WW1 naval rules and do a refight.

The forces were as follows

  • The BC Goeben and her escort LC Breslau were steaming SE at 18kts with orders to escape to Constantinople.  Sylvain took the Goeben and Jeremy the Breslau.  The Goeben had injured boilers and had a maximum speed of 24kts and would be slow in getting above 21 kts.  Note that the Goeben was still the equal in speed to the British CAs and vastly superior in fire power, range and armour.
  • Curt took the role of Troubridge with 4 CAs (Defense, Black Prince, Duke of Edinburgh and Warrior).  I also gave Curt two Beagle class destroyers which with better planning would have been available to Troubridge.  Curt was 20,000 yrs (max visibility) from the Goeben heading SSW and on course to cross her T.
  • Stacy took the role of the pesky Kelly brothers with the LCs Gloucester and Dublin plus two more Beagle class DDs.  Historically Gloucester tailed the Goeben for days until her coal ran low.  Dublin and the DDs nearly intercepted the Goeben on the previous night but just missed.  Overall the two LC captains (the brothers Kelly) were the only British officers to do well during the whole fiasco.  Stacy was 20,000 yrs SW of the Goeben heading E and well out of sight of Troubridge.
  • Wind was light and variable, and a random die roll had it blowing from East to West initially and then SE to NW.
I didn't take notes for a full AAR, but highlights are as follows.
Stacy plots his move.

  • The Goeben kept her speed relatively low (21kts) and got very close to Troubridge in trying to scoot past to the North (to the stern of the British initially).  This was a surprise to me as I expected her to speed up and keep the range long to maximize her advantages.  
  • Smoke badly affected gunfire, as did the concentration of 2 or more CAs firing on one target.  it also hillariously affected German signalling.  The photos show Curt's wonderful smoke markers in play.
  • Stacy's forces were unable to fire being our of effective range for the whole game.  My apologies to Stacy and I am nervously anticipating the role I get assigned in his next scenario.
  • Gunfire was sporadically effective but deadly when it hit.  A single salvo wrecked the Defense, and narrowly avoided achieving the same result on the Duke of Edinburgh instead taking our her searchlights no less than three times.  In return, a few hits from the CAs wrecked the Breslau.  The Goeben also got close enough (6000yds) to let the Duke of Edinburgh take off a stern turret.
  • Curt's two destroyers got in close and Basilisk put a torpedo into the Goeben, thus ensuring a British victory.  The hit reduced her speed and took out the fore turret.  It also significantly reduced her value to German diplomacy.
  • The Germans were often signally directly up or down wind (i.e. into coal smoke).  The best signal was the one delivered to Jeremy advising him to "maneuver from X flank to Y flank" since every third word was lost in translation!
  • The Breslau was dead in the water and struck her flag surrounded by three CAs.  In reality I suspect sea cocks would be opened and the crew to take to the boats.
  • We ended up with Troubridge breaking off having hurt the Goeben and sunk the Breslau.  The Kelly brothers would resume their watch and call in the British BCs to the west and more DDs to finish the job.
  • Lesson  number 1:  the ship with the bigger guns needs to keep the range long.  It takes longer but has far fewer risks.
  • Lesson number 2:  don't let torpedo craft get any where near the big ships.  They can close awfully quickly.
  • Lesson number 3:  I need review the  FAI rules again, as I am sure that I did things incorrectly along the way.  Also we were all caught by surprise by the ineffectiveness of many of the lighter guns.
Photos from Curt's iPhone below.

Troubridge's cruisers and destroyers with Curt's oh-so-cool smoke markers.

Looks like we're in range.  Gone under the tape measure, with Breslau on her port quarter. Not sure if this is the X flank or the X flank.  Models are 1:3000 Navwar and nearly 30 years old.  They stand up reasonably well, but my ship labels did not.  Fine point marker over white out were state of the art in 1986.

Destroyers make their run.  The smoke markers are particularly effective here.

Troubridge's squadron steaming to the right side of the pic.  Warrior followed by Duke of Edinburgh, Black Price and Defense.

A hit!  Too bad our 9.2" guns can't penetrate at any range over 6000 yrs.  Or  too bad we didn't keep the range longer if you're German and it is later in the action.

HMS Warrior takes a pasting from the Goeben's 11" guns!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Shameless Pimiping and Plugging

The sanbaggin', budgie smuggler himself, Ray Roussell is having a 500th post giveaway.  Check out Ray's blog over atDon't Roll a One.  You will find great games and figures from one of the hobby's more affable ambassadors.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Waterloo Cartoon

One of our gaming group forwarded the link below, which I thought I would share.  As well as providing first class photos, Sean is a local artist who has done very well for himself with exhibits and sales at the national and international level.  Hence the link to the Royal Academy.

The Waterloo Cartoon

Monday, April 20, 2015

100 Days Campaign Action at Placenoit

Here's few pictures from our game on April 17th.  This is the Blucher system with each card (3*1.5") representing a brigade.  A British reinforced division was based in Placenoit with Prussian corps to their left and right, and a French force entering from the south at Genappe.  I am assuming most readers have access to a Waterloo map and some knowledge of the terrain, but Mt St Jean is to the North behind the British position.

The action takes place late in the day on June 16th, 1815.  In history, June 16th saw Ney attack Wellington at Quatre Bras (off table to the south) and Napoleon beat Blucher at Ligney (well to the south east).

Initial Deployment from the French (south) side.  Back of cards show facing and nationality, faces show unit and attributes.

Here we see French forces advancing.  Units are revealed when they move, fire, suffer from fire or get close enough the enemies.  
The Martian tripod lander is Curt's iPhone allowing Napoleon (based 600km east in Winterpeg) to view the action.  This is approaching the limit on maximum geekiness!

Here we see another Prussian Corp advancing on table.  Gamers (l to r), Dan, Curt, Sylvain, fat dude who needs to bike more.
Action towards the end of the day.  French attack on our left has petered out, although it never really took off.  British hold the centre, while Prussians decide to launch a counter attack on the right.
I came back from a bathroom break to find that my Prussian allies and decided that "Let's hold this position and stall for time" meant "Let's launch a counteract and leave our self open to getting swept off table".  The sight prompted the classic British question to continental allies "What the hell do you think you're doing?".

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blucher 100 Days Campaign

Curt has been running the Waterloo campaign pack using Sam Mustafa's Blucher rules and it's a lot of fun.

First real contact was a big battle last night, which started late in the campaign day so ended without a result.  Looks like we pick it up in a week or too for the finale.  I've been given the Anglo-Allied armies, a polyglot collection if there ever was one, ably assisted by Sean.  Jeremy and Sylvain are acting as Blucher and co, while across the table we have Greg phoning in from Winterpeg as Napoleon with Stacey and Dan on site as Corps commanders.

As I see it, the Brits have a three fold problem.

  1. Husband our meagre resources until our various stragglers arrive.
  2. Figure out what the French are doing.
  3. Figure out what the #%¥£€#% Prussians think they are doing.
It's been fascinating to watch the various personalities interplay, and the Blucher system works really well.  If I am building an army I prefer lower level units, battalions for Nappys eg., as I like to have a sense of the unit personalities.  However, the macro level view from Blucher is fascinating.  Curt has been using the unit cards, but I can the appeal of brigade bases using 6mm figures.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

AHPCV 28mm Perry Figures and Inspiration from Michael York

Yes there is a unit of figures influenced by Michael York, and no it features neither Zeppelins nor Musketeers!

So the end of winter is upon us, and even the frozen Canadian prairies are feeling spring like.  Here’s my last entry to the Challenge Version 5, 12 Italian wars foot in 28mm based on the Perry’s plastics and metals.  There are 4 Genoese Crossbowmen to complete the unit to its full 12-man strength plus 8 Italian swordsmen representing the start of a new unit, to be finished after the Challenge is over.

The 4 crossbowmen are pretty much straight out of the Plastic boxes. They appear along with the swordsmen above, and with the rest of the unit below. 

 I believe that there is one foot knight holding a standard and the rest are mercenaries.  The heads all come from one of the two boxes but damn it if I can remember which head comes from which box.  The flag is paper, printed from a file found on the Web and represents a flag flown by French Genoese allies at Marignano in 1515.   I had planned to use another fabric flag like my recent entries, but I put my sheets of flags in that dreaded location “somewhere safe where it won’t get damaged or lost”.   Well I think we know what happened there….

Capuleti’s Swordsmen are a combination of full figures and bits and pieces from the body part farm.   Various component parts are as follows:
  •       Two metal figures straight from the Perry Italian command box (the officer and drummer)
  •        10 plastic Torsos from the Mercenary and Foot Knight boxes
  •        Heads from the plastics boxes plus metal Italian heads.
  •         Plastic arms with swords (and matching left arms) from the Mercenary’s command stand and the foot knights boxed sets
  •         Plastic sword arms (and matching left arms) from GW Empire state troops box set.  They match up pretty well once you trim down the GW meat cleaver swords.  The GW torsos are too beefy to mix and match with Perry’s but the arms work fine especially as puffy and slashed sleeves hide a multitude of sins (I picked this tip up vis the Lead Adventure Forum and other bloggers).

On the whole I am quite pleased with the unit.  I started out wanting swordsmen using Perry Oval shields but along the way the oval shields morphed into bucklers and the broadswords became two handers and Main Gauche in a few cases.   For the next swordsmen unit (the Montechhi), I’ll go with the lighter armoured figures as they have a better look to my eyes.

While these were in process, my wife commented that the Yellow and Scarlet themed livery was bright, but she acknowledged that they were bright historically.  I used a raw umber wash to dull things down a bit and add shading, but I do have a historical precedent to the unit.  The Capuleti and Montecchi families were based in Verona and involved in blood feuds until certain members were exiled when the fighting got too bloody. I have speculated on an exiled Capuleti founding a condottieri company and passing this on to his decedents.

Sound familiar…well you may recall some of this from your high school English class.   The Bard changed the names and I toyed with the outcome a bit but there you go.  And that gives us the Michael York link, via the Zefferelli Romeo and Juliet (IMHO it kicks the tights clad butts of all other R&Js).  It’s long clip but it’s a great fight scene and easily the second best part of the movie. And yes the Capulet livery was the influence, Montecchi's swordsmen will be in various shades of blue.

Friday, April 3, 2015

AHPCV Italian Wars Genoese Crossbowmen

I am continuing the catch-up on posts to the Painting Challenge.  Here is a set of 8 28mm Crossbowmen for my Italian Wars project using Perry plastics (the European Mercenaries plus maybe other bits via the Foot knights).  I have given them a Green theme and will be fielding them as French, or possibly Genoese.

Once again I love the poses and the variable combinations of torsos, head and arms that cane be formed.  It is nice to have the shot figures in a variety of loading and shooting poses.

Also I've included a shot to supplement my earlier post today as It think it has a better view of the flags.  The orange banner came out especially well IMHO.