A day of many parts

Today, despite being well into the second half of July, is dull and drizzly, following spectacular thunderstorms last night.

So I am confined indoors and catching up with several domestic and wargaming tasks.

I was inspired after listening to the latest Meeples and Miniatures podcast and after our recent fire to start documenting my wargame collection for insurance purposes.  It will be a long task.  It took me a week to collate from memory and photographs what we lost when the two sheds burned down.

Then I found a compiled list of unit values for Panzer Leader 1940 at www.imaginative-strategist.layfigures.com for use in my Operation Sealion games, which I began to incorporate into my game records.

Next task was the pile of ironing, helped along by watching a couple of episodes of “By The Sword Divided”.

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This is a BBC drama series screened between 1983 and 1985, like a sort of 1640s “Downton Abbey” which coincided with my early years of  English Civil War reenactment, and later episodes included some of my oldest – and in some cases sadly departed – friends as “supporting talent”.  The DVD series was released by the BBC in 2004.

Then I turned to some figure painting, namely the 1790s 6mm MDF soldiers from Commission Figurines.  These little “toy soldier” style figures are a little fragile, and because I expect them to be handled by small people I glue them in ranks of 3 to form blocks.

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During the course of this I managed to drop a paint pot lid onto the beige carpet.  I hope that after some immediate panic action and a steam cleaner I have (almost) got away with it.  Time for a second application of carpet cleaner now before the Memsahib sees it.DSCN0707

And it’s still only 1:30pm!  Plenty of time for more catastrophes before bedtime.

A busy man

Winston Churchill once said: “If you want something done, ask a busy man.”  Clearly this did not involve blogging. (A noticeable exception to the blogging rule is Neil Shuck of Meeples and Miniatures fame. He manages to keep up a daily blog, a weekly podcast and who knows what else in addition to a full time job, a family, a hobby and recently a broken wrist)

Anyway, back to me.  I have not posted for 6 weeks.  I have had plenty to do, but little time at the “real” computer, having spent a lot of time on the iPad and iPhone simply catching up.

So what have I been up to?

I will try to cover these activities in detail later with photographs, but meanwhile, here is the boring stuff.

I have been vainly trying to progress my “Operation Sealion” PBEM campaign, which is stagnating mainly due to the fact that I want to get all my models looking as good as possible on the table (shades of Peter Stringfellow?).

The next battle is the German assault on Brighton, which calls for a lot of railway track.  My blog followers will know that I normally use Hexon tiles for my gaming area, but extensively remodelled by me.  Well, this time I tried to mount the railway track by Irregular Miniatures and Leven Miniatures onto the raised rubber-ish roads produced by Total Battle Miniatures.  This was not successful because everything delaminated, and I am now remodelling all the railway hexagons, and, having spotted it while ordering more track I have a new railway station from Leven to paint.  I should mention that Leven have taken the trouble when asked to cast in resin a new 4-piece set of double rail track that will make a 60 degree curve specifically to fit a 10cm hexagon tile (2 inner curves, 2 outer curves).  I hope to see it on the website for general order soon.

In addition, this battle – without giving away too much to my German commander – needs a lot of British transport.  I have loads of 6mm trucks and lorries for 1944, but I want to get it right, so several packs of GHQ vehicles were ordered from Magister Militum, my UK supplier.

All of this stuff needs painting.

A failure to paint in time resulted in me not taking my semi-portable in-period wargame to the (bizarrely) 217th anniversary of the Battle of Marengo.  For wargamers, I am building armies from the Commission Figurines MDF range, but my figures are glued together in blocks for small people’s fingers to handle.  The project to create, initially French and Austrian,  armies for the French Revolutionary Wars is ongoing.

The trip to Marengo occupied much of my time, including all the necessary requirements of taking my dog camping in Europe and bringing him home again without quarantine. Superb driving over the Alps, including the St. Bernard Pass, last visited in 1989 in full Napoleonic kit for a reconstructed crossing by Napoleon in 1800.

Additional problems are having my car fixed after a sunroof motor failure (luckily it was a heatwave with the roof jammed open) and some kind individual ramming the rear end of my car in the Marengo car park.

We took our new caravan (collected the day after my return from Italy) to Wales for an English Civil War re-enactment weekend, and I am still resolving, and paying for, the failures of the vehicle.

I have also been instructed by my GP to have certain areas of my body checked for issues that affect gentlemen of my age, culminating – I hope – in an hour of MRI scanning this morning.

And so I am returned to the “real world” of painting, modelling, and hopefully actually playing some wargames, with a resolve to post more frequently in future.

 

 

Recent activity

So, what have I been up to since my last posting?

Apart from spending five days at Blenheim Palace for the horse trials (see facebook post from my dog:  https://www.facebook.com/paul.wisken.7/posts/953008101487847?notif_t=like&notif_id=1473884147211044), during which I drafted the rules for my new game “Bomber”,  I have been painting models and constructing terrain.

For Bomber I have been painting up 14 1/600 Lancaster bombers and some 1/1000 buildings.  At the same time I have painted 5 GHQ 1/285 Shermans and about two dozen 30mm Plastic Spencer Smith Grenadiers.  I also painted two regiments of 6mm MDF figures for ny “in period” Napoleonic games.

My new method of getting things done is to leave new purchases on the painting table until they are ready, even if I have moved on to a new interest while waiting for delivery of the models.

For the ongoing Operation Sealion campaign I have made some new hexagon tiles for the engagement at Postling (see the image with this post).  Several new hedged roads were needed for this scenario.

So, what for the future?

More MDF figures to be painted, mainly cavalry.  Bombers to be finished, and JU88 night fighters to be started.  many more 1/1000 buildings to be painted and based.  Rules for Bomber to be playtested.

A Blast from the Past

One of my roles in re-enactment is that of a pensioner of les Invalides at the time of Napoleon I.  It is a totally inaccurate representation as I still own two arms and two legs, and thus would be disqualified!

In that role I like to demonstrate, and to encourage visitors to play, a small game whereby I relive my past glories and try to rectify the errors of the past. This game has evolved over the years and is now played in a form akin to chess, on a card table ruled into 144 squares.  I can set up a fictitious battle or a stylised representation of any of the battles of “my youth”.

Today I played a solo game of an actual battle – or as near as I could represent it.  The original battle was fought between less than 700 troops, so it could be represented on my table almost on a 1 figure:1 soldier basis.

Here is the latest version of the rules, updated after this battle ton reduce infantry firing range.  The latest version restricts infantry shooting to one square range, but differentiates between moving to attack or shooting without moving.  Unlike many wargames, shooting without moving is less effective than when moving.  This is because the first reperesents trading volleys while the second represents a column attack.Battle Chess 1800

And here is the report of the skirmish at Rumégies in May 1792, played to the above rules. Rumegies 17920519

An interesting exercise, taking a couple of hours from start to finish including the reporting and photography, all done on an i-Pad in my ManCave.

 

 

 

Battle of Valencia 6 July 1808

This is one of those really annoying newspaper reports that gives no map and no pictures, just in the style of “The Times” in the early 1800s.

Marshal Moncey with 9,000 French approached the outskirts of Valencia with orders to take the city.

Don Jose Caro, commanding a militia force of 7,000 men defending earthworks to the north-west of Valenica, somewhat rashly decided to attack the French.

(The wargame was fought using the “Commands & Colors” system with house rules for roads, etc. and for the campaign rating of generals and unit commanders. The main rules amendment was that a cautious officer would refuse to move on a D6 roll of 1 and a rash officer would exceed his orders on a D6 roll of 6.)

From “The Trumpeter” 7th July 1808

The battle started with an advance in the centre by Brigadier-General Perdiguero with his 2nd Brigade.

On the French side General de Brigade Dubois attempted to advance on the right flank with 35eme de Ligne and 2eme de Ligne. His intention was to capture the village on the right flank. The officer of the 2eme being somewhat cautious decided to hold back and the 35eme advanced alone.

The Spanish retaliated by sending their cavalry to hold the village. The Valtueña cavalry entered the village from the south.

The French then ordered attack in the centre, hampered somewhat by the rugged hills. Two light infantry regiments (29eme and 41eme Legere ) struggled to move forward in the poor terrain while the 111eme de Ligne made no attempt to move.

On the Spanish side General Perdiguero advanced with the regiments Talamillo del Tozo, Valle de Tena and Alemanas. This was a somewhat foolhardy move, abandoning the defensive earthworks that had been so painstakingly constructed over the previous weeks.

The French struggled forwards in the centre, the 29eme Legere making some progress.

The Spanish abandoned the fortifications on their right, general Ribagorda ordering the regiments Vales, Valdeavero and Torres de Segre forward. This was countered by an advance through the woods by the French 2eme Brigade commanded by General Mousseaux-Neauville, who ordered three light battalions (38eme, 64eme and 62eme) to advance through the woods.

The French artillery, despite not having fired a shot, decided that this was the time to retire to the rear to replenish their ammunition, but at the same time their infantry advanced on both fronts. 24eme Legere entered the village on their right flank, while the 62eme and 142eme legere advanced through the woods on the left. Once again the 35eme Legere refused to move forwards.

The 24eme Legere drove the Spanish cavalry out of the village and took possession of the western side.

The Spanish now made an all-out push forwards. The regiments Pantá de Sau, Talamillo del Tozo, Valle de Tena and Valdeavero advanced on a broad front. None of these regiments were able to find a reasonable target so fire was withheld.

The French moved forward in the centre, the 41eme Legere driving the Talamillo Regiment back to the rear. The 29eme Legere also managed to score decisively against the Valle de Tena Regiment.

On the Spanish left an attack by the Pantá de Sau battalion failed against the village, but on the French left the 64eme de Ligne, 62eme Legere and 38eme Legere advanced through the woods. The 62eme came against the Spanish Valdeavero Regiment and destroyed them.

The Spanish response was an attack across the whole line with the Generals at the forefront. Panta de Sau attacked the 24eme Legere and the Torres de Segre regiment killed many of the 62eme Legere.

The French countered with an enveloping attack. On the right the 73eme de Ligne and 5eme Cuirassiers advanced, the Cuirassiers coming against the Andrés del Rio light cavalry and winning the fight.

On the left flank the 38eme Legere and 64eme Ligne advanced against the Vales and Valle de Tena regiments, forcing the Valle de Tena to retreat.

The Spanish now went on to a defensive footing standing and firing against the French attacks. Torres de Segre held off the 62eme Legere and the Vales regiment sored equally against the 38eme Legere.

The French now switched their attention to their left flank. The 64eme de Ligne, 62eme Legere and 38eme Legere attacked the Alemanes and Torres de Segre regiments, causing many casualties.

The Spanish made a limited attack across the entire front. The Almensa regiment drove the 29eme Legere back with many casualties, and the Torres de Segre regiment caused the 62eme Legere to retreat.

The French attempted to mount an attack on their left flank, but a party of guerrillas intercepted and killed the couriers with the orders.

In the centre the Spanish prepared a new attack. The Alamenes regiment fired at the 41eme de Ligne and inflicted several casualties.

The French replied on their left with considerable success. The 64eme de Ligne destroyed the Vales regiment, while the 38eme Legere forced the Torres de Vedra to flee the field.

The Spanish finally employed their artillery against the 5eme Cuirassiers south east of the village and wiped them out. The French attacked on their right towards the village. The 24eme Legere killed many of the Pantá de Sau Reiment and the 73eme de Ligne drove back the Andres del Rio cavalry. General Morera de Monstant was forced to flee.

The Spanish regiments Panta de Au and Torres de Segre recovered and were able to reincorporate many of their men who had run from the field, but the French kept up the pressure with an attack by the 41eme Legere against the Alemanes Regiment.

The Spanish made a desperate counterattack in the centre. The only success was the Alemanes Regiment against the 41eme Legere.

Against this the French made an all-out attack. The 29eme Legere attacked the Valle de Tena and the 38eme de Ligne and 64eme de Ligne attacked the Torres de Segre.

The Spanish line broke and retreated.

The Trumpeter 4th July 1808

Here is the latest published edition of “The Trumpeter”,  the newspaper that brings news of the goings-on in the Iberian Peninsula during the play-by-email campaign.

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Note: The map shown in this issue was created using the American Civil War board game “Battle Cry”.  The actual battle was fought on the wargame table but sadly no pictures exist.

Warfare 2015 – a shopping expedition

Back from the wargame show “Warfare” at Reading.

I bought exactly what I set out to buy, and then several other things caught my eye.

So the final haul was:

3 x Morris 15cwt Radio trucks and 2 x 75mm German Mountain Howitzers from Heroics & Ros for my Sealion campaign. (pre-ordered)

Army painter Satin spray varnish and two new brushes (pre-planned)

Four packs of green plastic bases made by Renedra Limited.  I have never seen these before but they appeared to be on every second trader’s stand throughout the show.  They are perfect for my 6mm wargaming and will save endless cutting of thin MDF. (Impulse purchase)

A whole lot of World war Two Infantry from Adler Miniatures to accompany my new GHQ tanks and equipment.  It’s looking like my entire WW2 stock will gradually be replaced with slightly larger, better sculpted figures. (Impulse purchase)

Three MDF 10mm Adobe Fort sets from LaserCraftArt.  These look like the solution for building city walls for my 6mm Peninsular war campaign.  About the right height with wide walkways for my 2cm bases. (Impulse purchase)

6mm Armoured train from Heroics & Ros bought second hand from Colonel Bill’s.  Planned for later purchase, but grabbed when available.

I ogled lots of other pretty things but thankfully the scale was too large.

There were some interesting demo games.  Unusual topics were Hyboria in the style of Tony Bath using similar flat figures (as seen in Donald Featherstone’s “War Games” book) and what appeared to be a snowball fight for Santa’s Grotto as a participation game for younger gamers.  The RAF Wargamers were playing an assault on a farmhouse (La Haye Sainte?) with on the sidelines a model film crew and first aid station.  I’ve played that before in 1830mm scale.

At 11:00 the entire show stood silent for one minute in tribute to the victims of yesterday’s atrocities in Paris.  A very good indication that most of us deplore actual violence while striving for it’s perfect representation in miniature.