Life and wargaming – an update

In addition to making a little progress on the longest running wargame move I have ever experienced – the Battle for Brighton currently set up in my cold, damp shed – I Brighton 18 0815 front lineshave had a few wargaming and other diversions.

The builders have finished restoring our house. Their company has closed the case. A pity nobody has thought to inform the scaffolding company that their decoration to our property is no longer required.
Just a bit more arguing with the insurer’s agents about replacing the gravel removed from the side of the house and maybe we can bring the caravan home.


The new man-cave…shed

is going to have a new roof, yes – already! Half of the second botched covering over the first leaky roofing blew away in the recent storms. I have hired a professional company (who re-roofed both my lost sheds) to torch on a decent roof. I do have electricity, and therefore heating, installed. When the wargame is finished I can continue with putting up shelving.

My hospital check-up revealed that my cancer was further advanced than the doctors or surgeons had expected. They believe they removed it all, but further tests towards the end of February should confirm or deny the fact. It is some relief, but still a nagging doubt.  Things in the underpant department are no longer as they used to be.

(No photo here. I think it may be inappropriate!).

So, back to the wargaming.
Projects that have emerged from my in-tray recently and been progressed:

1. Preparation of 3mm scale counter-mounted replacement gaming tokens for “Memoir 44” games, in particular Arras 1940. A lot of the infantry are on back order from Magister Militum, but most of the artillery and tank units are based, and some are painted. I have designed the bases to be used with “Memoir 44” and “Panzer Leader” rules on the same boards. I also have 3mm scenic models to be used with 3D terrain for World War II

new units

2. The naval Battle of Sevastopol, 1902. Part of my “Diplomacy plus” solo campaign and covered in this post.

3. Basing and painting my 2mm horse-and-musket cavalry units in preparation for the next campaign battle in 1702. Each unit needs three sets of bases: Deployed, March column and Routing. Each cavalry base is around 50 “figures”. Eventually this will represent a troop, but for the next game will be 1/3 of a regiment (maybe a squadron?).


4. Painting my bargain basement 20mm plastic 30 Years War figures in preparation to introduce the younger chaps in my English Civil War Society cavalry unit to the joys of playing with soldiers. I am developing a game on a squared card table that I call “Battle Chess”. It will be a bit like a table-top version of a re-enactment battle, but with dice, and the casualties will not be recycled! Rules to follow after play-testing. (No photo yet)

5. Preparing the 3mm models for the first engagement in my Operation Market Garden campaign. Gough’s jeeps against a similar number of obsolete armoured cars. The scenario calls for only 3 models on each side, but I have 15 of each – should I shrink the ground scale and quintuple the chaos? – answers on a postcard please (or reply to this post).

To be fair, most of the recent progress has been painting the black bits on all the models in preparation. By using the “next paint pot in the queue” method I don’t get so bored, even if every painting project takes an age to complete.




Health update – cancer surgery

Today I went for my six-week post-operation review.
One hour later than expected I sat with Mr Matthew Perry at the Royal Surrey Hospital.

They had successfully removed my prostate and surrounding lymph nodes at the end of November.  It appears that the size of the cancer in the prostate was larger than expected from earlier tests and scans, and that it had broken through from the prostate.

There is no evidence that it has spread to surrounding areas but it cannot be ruled out.

After a further four weeks I must have another PSA check.
PSA is a bit like carbon-dating. After the prostate ceases functioning, PSA degrades by 50% every few days and by 10 weeks should be down to 0.1.

If it is any higher or if other tests show a continuing growth we may be looking at radiotherapy.

I have to organise another blood test at my local surgery.
I believe the NHS now have more of my blood than I do.

Test results will be presented to me in about 5 weeks time.  So I have another month of fun and relaxation before I know the best or worst that can happen.  Oh joy!

The Battle of Sevastopol, September 1902

Part of my “Diplomacy plus” campaign.

Situation:  The Turkish navy has been ordered to move into Sevastapol harbour.  The Russians have been ordered to move into the Black Sea.

The two Russian battleships in the harbour at Sevastopol were ordered to break the blockade and move out to the Black Sea.  However, a Turkish squadron of three ships was stationed to the east of the port to prevent such an excursion. The Turks wanted to capture and use Sevastapol for their own expansion into eastern Europe.

The battle was resolved on a 6’ x 4’ table with a 6cm hexagon grid superimposed. The model ships were painted models from the “Axis & Allies 1914” game. The rules were locally adapted from the “Axis & Allies Naval” game for World War 2, and further tweeked as the game progressed.

The Turkish battleships Abdülmecid I, Abdülaziz I and Mahmud II were cruising southwards off the western shore of Crimea. The Russian battleships Feodor II and Boris Gudenov attempted to break out to the south-west.

On first contact the enemy, at long range for their main guns, could barely be seen through the telescope. Here is a sample the opening view from the bridge of the Abdülaziz I

The Turks, having spotted the Russians to the north-east, began to turn to engage. The Russians turned north-west to engage with their full broadside while attempting to escape to the west.
The Mahmud II and Abdülaziz I were within long range but failed to score any hits with their first volley. The Russian ship Feodor II returned the fire and scored 3 hits on the Abdülaziz I but caused no damage.

The Turkish squadron turned to the north-east while the Russians steamed north-west with all speed.
The Mahmud II engaged Feodor II with its bow armament, scoring 6 hits, but no significant damage. Abdülaziz I joined in with her forward guns but with 7 further hits did not damage the enemy ship.
Feodor II returned fire with a broadside. 9 hits were scored causing 1 damage point, reducing the capability of the Mahmud II.
(Rule. If the armour points of the ship are equalled or exceeded by the enemy hits in one firing, all the ship’s factors are reduced by 1).
The Boris Gudenov also fired a broadside at Mahmud II, scoring 12 hits with the primary guns and a further 3 hits with the secondary guns. Mahmud II sank with 100 of the crew. (Most of the rest made it to the shore and spent the foreseeable future in a Russian PoW camp).

The Russians continued to make all speed to the north-west. The two remaining Turkish ships turned north to intercept them.
Feodor II fired at Abdülaziz I and scored 6 hits. Superficial damage only.
Boris Gudenov also fired at Abdülaziz but scored a paltry 2 hits.
(Note. Although the combined firing would cause a damage point, each ship’s firing is decided individually. Let us assume that between volleys the Damage Control Parties have been active.)

Abdülaziz I fired back with the forward turrets against Feodor II, hitting 6 times to no effect.

The Turks moved north to intercept the Russians. Abdülaziz I turned north-west to engage the Boris Gudenov with her broadside. The main guns scored 8 hits and the secondary batteries a further 5. this was enough to send her to the bottom with 400 crewmen lost.
Feodor II returned fire with her stern guns. 3 hits were scored on Abdülaziz I, who continued north-west to intercept the Russian escape.
Abdülmecid I continued north, having been the southernmost ship at the start of the engagement.
Feodor II turned south-west to use her broadside against the enemy.
Abdülaziz fired a broadside and scored 8 more hits on Feodor II, sufficient to reduce her capability. However, still fighting, she returned fire and with 10 hits damaged the Abdülaziz still further.

Abdülaziz I crept slowly onwards to the north-west despite the extreme damage. At the same time Abdülmecid I, who had been out of the battle, closed quickly and turned north-west to use her broadside.
Feodor II could only move north-west at a slow rate.
Abdülaziz I fired another reduced-power broadside at Feodor II, scoring 9 further hits and leaving her dead in the water. Abdülmecid I added to the damage.
Before finally going down Feodor II managed to score significant hits on Abdülaziz I, crippling her so that she needed to be towed back to port by Abdülmecid I.

A Turkish narrow victory. 2 enemy ships sunk, one friendly ship lost, one badly damaged and one survived.

Start of a New Year

A new year is upon us, and what have I been up to?

The first priority was to deal with our insurance company’s building and repair agents about the appalling state they left the inside of our house when decamping on 22nd December. We managed to clean up much of the house and move back into our bedroom on Christmas Eve.
Immediately after Christmas we bought and built a wardrobe to replace the one the decorators destroyed while working in the bedroom, and at the same time supervising replacement of three windows and a door destroyed in the fire last July.

My friendly local builder came to apply another roofing felt cover to the leaking roof on the shed he had built. Like his previous efforts, this also leaked. I contacted some professional shed builders who have previously done excellent work re-roofing my (now burnt) sheds. With any luck I will have a dry workshop by the end of the month.

Next job was to install mains electricity from the house to the summer house at the back of the garden, and from thence to the workshop. I also installed an IKEA strip light taken from the old wardrobe into the summer house (unfortunately before checking that it still worked!!!).

With electricity installed it is now reasonable to return to the man cave to continue the Battle of Brighton (September 1940). I have some work to do in the shed to install shelving and sort out the mess of dumped stuff from the past few months.

On the health front things are getting back to normal. My post-op. review is due next week. I have been keeping a track of health and exercise records this year.

Walking record Jan 2018

On the wargaming front I have been making occasional progress with the Battle of Brighton, which has now been dragging on for over six months. I have also been working on some painting and basing of 2mm and 3mm models for other campaigns.
I am currently engaged in painting a batch of 2mm routing cavalry.

Painting 9 1 2018

In the background some A-13 British tanks in 1/285 and 1/600 scale for my 1940 games.

I have also been creating replacement gaming pieces for my 1940 variant of the game: “Memoir 44”.
My playing pieces are 3mm tanks, guns, trucks and infantry atop translucent 19mm square bases in grey (German) or green (Allies). They work reasonably well with the top-down view of the battlefield. I have also invested in two sets of top-down full colour card counters for “Panzerblitz” from Canada, which I can also use with the MM44 boards.

So far a busy week or so.

Wargamers Notebook Issue 5

Happy new year all,

Today I received my pdf copy of Wargamers Notebook.
In this issue I particularly liked:
1. Stokes’ piece on basing. I game mostly in 6mm, 3mm and 2mm. All my 6mm figures are gradually being rebased to 2cmx2cm on plastic bases from Renedra or 1mm MDF with slightly rounded corners.
I also have MDF sabot bases from Warbases for 3×2 bases with two 6mm dice holes for use with some rule sets.

In 3mm (WW2) I have two basing systems. The first is “realistic” 20mmx15mm with one vehicle or 2-5 figures per base, paint ed with “Basetex”. The second is for board game play (using Memoir 44) boards and tiles, where a model is fixed to a translucent 19mmx19mm plastic tile with the relevant statistics added on label tape.

My 2mm models (17th-19th century) are mounted on 6cm wide 1mm MDF bases with depths appropriate to the formation. I reproduce each unit in line, march column and routing. Infantry also have a square formation of about 2cm square.
Eventually I want my 2mm formations to be represented on a 1:1 figure:man ratio. At present I use about 1:3 or 1:9 according to the size of the battle.

2. Allan’s piece on configurable ships. I will probably never need the information, but what a clever idea!

3. John’s Statistical analysis. I write most of my own solo rule systems, and this is the sort of thing that needs to be understood.

I found Rhys’s article a little too profound and I will probably come back to it when I have more time, but it did remind me of an old quote from the distant past relating to the relationship between re-enactment and wargames: “Dressing up in armour and carrying a sixteen foot stick will not give you the experience of being a 17th century pikeman. But it will give you a better idea than NOT dressing up in armour and carrying a sixteen foot stick.”

I enjoyed Will’s battle report, even if the photo’s did show armour apparently advancing in the style of C18th cavalry; “knee to knee”.

Greg’s piece on Winter basing was also a good read, but maybe a bit too much detail for the smaller scales I usually model.

Great stuff guys. Keep it up. I may get to send you an article one day!

For more information about Wargamers Notebook contact  Greg Horne and Stokes Schwartz