Where did February go?

Since my last wargame posting I have finished the game that was in progress as part of the Market Garden campaign.
By the parameters of the game the British won, with two thirds of the 7th Hampshire’s moving off the board to the north. However, The Germans are holding much of the town of Oploo in strength and the British have a regiment of field artillery ranged in and the remains of the 1st Worcester’s as protection. Reinforcements are arriving, but once again XXX Corps advance was stalled for four hours.

I have also been preparing for the Donald Featherstone Tribute Weekend at the end of March at the Wargames Holiday Centre. We have received the rules (“Will Victoria be Amused?”) and the “General Idea”. This year it’s an expedition up the Nile fighting the Mahdi. The game appears to be very much a rôle playing exercise with all players against a randomised enemy.  Our game provider, Steve Thompson, has gone to incredible lengths with production of model soldiers, boats, buildings, dogs, crocodiles, etc. , not to mention producing a game character sheet and back story for every officer!

I decided that we needed to try out at least the basic rules, so I ordered a load of 20mm plastic figures and gave them a basic undercoat. Unfortunately on the first solo test I ran out of enemy on turn 2! (Half the order of Mahdists had not yet been delivered).
So I quickly took some “top-down” photo’s of what I had available, stuck the results onto vinyl floor tiles to make some units and we set to.
Large warband We found that this is not going to be easy.

Of course, I now have lots of half painted plastic soldiers for a scale and period that I don’t normally game, so they have gone into the painting pile.

One model has been completed, and the umpire has already written extra character rules for the pair of characters:
The Right Honourable Sir Armstrong Whitworth C’nardley-Stannde with his servant/gamekeeper and now batman, Gordon Bennett.
Sir Armstrong Whitworth CNardley_Standde
These were created from a mix of body parts found on eBay. I needed riding legs and a bewhiskered face resembling my own, and ended up with a pack of two Lancers and a pack of two steampunk adventurers.   With my painting skills, or lack thereof, I used basic block painting followed by a coat of Army Painter dip and then a matt varnish spray.  It has been touched up in detail  since this photo’ was taken.

Apart from that I have achieved very little in the past couple of weeks, apart from some gentle gardening in the ridiculously fine weather we have been enjoying in Britain. So kind of Europe to let us share some of the warmth before we drift off into the fogs of isolation.

Market Garden – Wilhelmina Canal

Attack on the Wilhelmina Canal
18th September 1944

09:30
A Squadron of the 2nd (Armoured) Battalion Irish Guards, under temporary command of the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, advanced to cross the bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal at Son. They were followed by infantry companies of the Grenadier Guards in armoured half-tracks.

18 sep son 001

As the first tanks began to cross the bridge there was an enormous explosion and the lead tank tumbled into the canal. The bridge was wrecked.

A radio message was sent immediately to HQ 2nd Irish Guards advising them of the situation and requesting that they should force the railway bridge crossing and then move east towards the main “Club” route to clear the enemy from their defensive positions north of the canal.

As the first tanks crossed the rail bridge, one was knocked out by a 50mm AT gun of 59th Infantry Regt. The Irish Guards turned on the enemy and soon removed the problem. At the same time the US parachute infantry securing the bridge removed their guns to allow free passage for the British tanks.

18 sep son 003

The Grenadier Guards, having orders to clear the approach road for the Royal Engineers Bridging Column, moved to their right and debussed south of the canal, taking up defensive positions and establishing their mortars for a potential assault. One company moved left to assist the tankers of 2nd Irish Guards.

The 2nd Battalion Irish Guards pushed eastwards along the north canal bank, encountering small pockets of German infantry and pushing them away from the canal, but without inflicting serious damage. The Germans pulled back to establish defensive positions further north.

18 sep son 006By 11:00 the Irish Guards had reached the main road again. An alternative route towards Arnhem had been secured, but the diversion would have consequences for supply unless a new bridge could be established in place of the one that had been destroyed.