Sunday, 31 March 2013

Napoleonic French - Part 1

Decided to edge cautiously towards the current Napoleonic bandwagon.  Several players are looking at creating 28mm armies for both French and British participation, and I thought I might contribute a little.  My general fear of painting white means my plans are at best limited, and I only intend on collecting for one force, much too much painting of white for more than one.  I'm currently thinking of doing 3 battalions of French line infantry, with a CO and possibly a cannon battery.  I already own a box of Perry Miniatures 1812-15 line infantry, and have worked out I need just one more box to create my planned battalions.  

I'm looking at 28 men per battalion, with 24 men making up the battalion main, and an additional 4 models to be deployed if the unit deploys voltigeurs to its front.  They are mounted 4 to a base, with six 45mm wide by 40mm deep bases giving me a 270mm wide battalion.  This is slightly thinner than the others (plans for 300mm and 320mm I think) but this shouldnt cause a problem because we're using Blackpowder.  The first battalion is made, I now have to experiment with painting models sprayed white. 

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Saga - Welsh Vs. Anglo-Danish

A quick scribble following a Saga game last night.  My Welsh took on Lukes Anglo-Danish (to be called the Danes after this), with Luke looking to gain a victory after a Bolt Action defeat earlier in the evening.  The scenario rolled up was 'The Challenge' once more, and after my triple defeat by the invincible Chris last week, with my warlord dying in every game, I was very wary!

Battle: Luke clearly shared my fears, with his hearthguard racing forwards to protect his warlord from possible Welsh foul play, with his warriors and levy not far behind.  My own hearthguard (or Teulu) were also first on the scene.  I had borrowed an extra 4 models from Luke to make an extra point with a second hearthguard unit, and they followed on.  One lot of Danish hearthguard came a cropper trying to assist their chief in leveling my Warlord (thank the gods for those 12 wounds!), while the second lot were ambushed nicely by some of my warriors after trying a similar trick unsuccessfully.  Two hearthguard units down for 2 models lost and it was going nicely!

Sadly Luke hadn't forgotten the Welsh vulnerability to missile fire and his levy used their slings to take down a unit of my hearthguard.  I countered with my warlord (who was starting to feel the effects of Lukes deliberately inflicted fatigue, and was also losing the game on wounds lost).  The Warlord caused a bit of damage, which was followed up by the warriors who had ambushed the hearthguard, and who now knocked the levy out of the game - 5 fatigue for them!  With his other hearthguard unit subject of a bit of a hit and run by my own Luke was left with his big warrior units to fend me off.  My other hearthguard bunch evaporated, but a bit of taunting cost the danes some warriors, and the last Danish warrior lot were caught from two sides and disintergrated, leaving the warlord standing with Welsh troops all around him and no friends!  He threw himself at my warlord, but the dice failed him and he bounced off.  It was left to my warriors to (just about) finish him off with a stab in the back with a javelin - classy.

Post-script: 4 points seems a bit small, you lose one unit and suddenly its a max of 4 Saga dice and your in trouble and unable to get your troops to do anything.  On this occasion I split my warriors up into 3 units (6,5 and 5) which gave me an extra dice and a bit more flexibility which suited the Welsh style.  Although this did leave them unable to get stuck in effectively against the bigger Danish warrior units of 8.  I think a couple more purchases to take it up to 6 Welsh points will be needed.  The Danish levy once more gave me a nasty scare due to my poor (non-existent) armour, but at least my warlord didn't embarrass himself too much this time, partly due to Lukes dice failing at critical moments, especially his Saga dice not enabling him to get the killer combinations Chris was using against me last week.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Work In Progress......The Scenery Special!

Some of the money made from selling copious amounts of Games Workshop models in the last 6 months or so went on, instead of more models, scenery.  For me the battlefield has to match the troops being deployed on it, or the imagine is lost and your just playing a game over a folding table covered in polystyrene and wood, rather than a battle through forests and villages.  With the English Civil War, Wars of the Roses, and finally Saga all in 28mm scale I decided to expand my collection of scenery, most specifically buildings (of which I had few/none), and it all got out of hand, costing me more than I had planned for, and pricing other things out of the plans (sorry Soviet troops for Bolt Action – your relegated to the back!).  I set out all the ‘new’ bits I’ve bought since going to York a month or so ago, and put some notes below.

Firstly the bits that I’ve done little/nothing too – the  roads and fences, both purchased in York.  The roads are quite nice, and have already appeared a few times in different games.  The fences are more fragile, being made of loose twigs, and I decided to paint a layer of pva glue on them to give them a sold feel, which has worked nicely.

The Dark Age Village & Butter Market – the three similar sized dark age houses were very much an impulse buy to go with the new Saga purchases, but I feel they would also be at home up to the English Civil War.  They are resin and came painted to ‘factory standard’, which I’m happy with.  The larger building with a hexagonal room is from the same company (on eBay), and is something I kept thinking about buying.  It came painted, and probably best fits in with the RGMB buildings set which is the same manufacturer and colour, but looks ok on my battlefields.  Again its resin.

Church – the white building with a primarily brown/orange roof is the 28mm church I wanted when we went to York.  It’s a wooden MDF kit from a company (not 4Ground) which was a sod to put together.  The white colour scheme is based upon a picture of the Norman church of St Bartholemew in Goodnestone.  The lack of a tower is actually handy because it could be planted in an ancients game as a Roman building as well, and the strength of the white colour on top of a grey undercoat came out very well.  The experience of painting from scratch a wooden building was not an enjoyable one, and needed a varnish undercoat, then a primer, then the paint.  It is mounted on a plasticard base to make it a better footprint shape, and link to the other buildings.

The town house and blacksmiths – two buildings that come ready painted from Conflix, and I’d had for a few years.  However, the paint job was at best ‘ok’, while they were becoming chipped and tatty (the blacksmiths was in 3 pieces and required a repair), so I hadn’t used them in a while.  They were both based on plasticard, then touched up with Vallejo paints to get a better effect and hide the damage, I think its come out well.  Both are resin buildings.

The ruins – also conflix I think, they come in plain grey with green flock on their bases.  Inspired by an example I saw at Deeside Defenders I painted up two rocky outcrops and a building, and added some flock as well, and overall they are much more realistic and have more life to them.  A basic form of resin.

The Medieval Cottage – a job I’m happy with; the Perry’s plastic cottage placed on a wooden base, and given a garden surrounded by fences and with an animal pen and a pig muddy bit (the pigs are still in their packets).  A few more touches (old GW bits) like the toadstools, a rat and the axe give it more character, and again its usable from Saga to ECW.

The Figures – touching on these briefly, all but the boy on the wheelbarrow (an old GW bretonnian) are Redoubt Enterprises figures.  The pastor, woman and 6 sheep were bought to add colour to ECW proceedings, and having already had a few outings I think they do that.  The camera isn’t kind to them, or a couple of the buildings, which I’m quite happy with the detail on.

I did want to add a river, but couldn’t find one I really liked.  Future scenery plans include expanding the amount of roads available, possibly at Triples in May, and some more fences/hedges.  I also have those pigs to finish!  Finishing the buildings (that needed it – the church, medieval cottage, town house and blacksmiths) takes me to the below total.

Purchased: 174
Painted: 106

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Work In Progress.....

Lets make this brief, I’m thinking of getting some work done on some buildings tonight!  As noted in my Saga post my Welsh are complete following a period of sustained painting, that also saw me finish my 6 sheep, a pastor and a female figure, plus a small child with a catapult, for giving character to games in 28mm scale.  Also done are two rocky outcrops (small) and a resin building. This has improved my purchased/painted ratio no end:

Purchased: 174
Painted: 102

The remaining models have also arrived from Redoubt Enterprises; primarily civil war boosters, although also with some pigs, a couple of Ox to pull my 4Ground cart and a tavern owner to kick Lord Flasheart out every so often.  Next up I’m looking to put some time into painting up a couple of old Conflix buildings that will suit the Wars of the Roses onwards in 28mm scale, and perhaps the Norman church as well, although that is from scratch in terms of painting so is a bit hit and miss whether I actually get round to it.  After that I’m not sure, I’ll probably have to wait and see if any particular project appeals.

One day I might get another job and all this will grind to a halt.  Again. 

The last Redoubt Enterprises order - a group of ECW officers around a table, the pigs, ox, cart, piper and tavern owner.

The Welsh - pre basing and matt spray, sheep and pastor to the right.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Flames of War Battle Report - Breakout from Anzio

With an open gaming weekend at Deeside Defenders a few brave souls gathered to try another scenario, thought out in Petes car on the way to/from the club on a couple of Thursday nights.  Based in Italy, and looking for an alternative to a horde of German heavy tanks, we settled on Anzio, with the Yanks looking to break through the German lines, while the Jerries tried to hold on, and await the other 50% of their army in the form of reserves – representing the German counter-attack to drive them back into the sea. 

For the Allies: The British had to pull out, so the Allied army was an all American affair, with James fielding two companies; one tank and one rifle, while Luke fielded a large tank company.

For the Germans: A mix of branches of the Wehrmacht, with Phil going the Luftwaffe (Herman Goering Division – panzergrenadiers), Pete choosing an SS Panzergrenadier regiment, and me going for a Heer (army) panzergrenadier regiment.  As would be expected of us, we bickered throughout over virtually everything!  Following the ‘no heavy tanks’ rules, we had only 3 Tiger 1E’s (in Phils army, and in reserve), and 5 Panthers in mine, but had to be last to arrive from reserve.

The Mechanics – Six objectives were arrayed up the table, the side holding the most objectives at the end of play was to be the victor.We playing lengthways on a 12ft by 5ft table, with the Germans starting covering all six objectives with less than half of their forces.  The Yanks began 2ft on, and a scarce 18” from the first objective (and my troops!), they then had first turn, and the German re-enforcements arrived according to the FOW rules.  In terms of scenery we went very hilly to prevent easy lines of sight, and make it a bit more Italian.

The initial setup, with the Yanks nearest, and the German re-enforcements arriving at the other end of the table!

The 7,500pt American army.

The waiting German defenders.

The paricipants caught on camera, from the left; Pete, James, Phil and Luke.
The Battle:

The exceptionally large American army (all 7,500pts of it) began the battle with a charge forward on its left (Luke in gung-ho mode), and a more sedate advance on its right with James troops.  Luke instantly came up against a problem; my German infantry supported by 88mm guns, and a minefield, were in the village directly in the route of his advance, and were holding an objective.  He was light on infantry, and rather than assault with his tanks and risk losses he opted to try and soften up the target first.  This was partly successful, with the 88’s return fire ineffective, and the guns silenced before a platoon of American paras swarmed in to pushed the infantry back and eventually wipe them out.  James faced a similar scenario on the Yanks right, with Petes SS infantry in the way on a large hill.  The SS were in the open however, and chose to fall back to the road and a more defendable hedgerow in the face of the Shermans, yielding the objective on the hill early.

Pushing forward the combined American forces met a much more formidable opponent in the centre in the form of Phils Herman Goering panzergrenadiers.  Armed to the teeth with panzerschrecks and 3 PaK40’s the 2 Luftwaffe platoons were unwilling to give ground, even when the Luftwaffe CO was killed by a very fortuitous artillery shell.  Supported by the SS artillery and Nerbelwerfers they took a toll of the attacking tanks, with the Luftwaffe Wespes arriving from reserve to add to this artillery park at the rear of the German positions.  It wasn’t until the Heer platoon in the village fell back, and Luke launched a successful tank assault with Stuarts on the Luftwaffe’s flank that the first of the two platoons disintegrated, with the PaK40’s taken out by heavy fire from the Shermans at the same time.  The second platoon moved to fill the gap, but was caught in the open and wiped out by the tanks machine guns, leaving the central objective in the Americans hands.

The first casualties - caused by the Luftwaffe PaK40's in the centre.

Lukes army slows when faced by the Heer infantry and 88's.

The German pioneers making the best use of the road - 36" a turn!

The Americans come up against Phils Luftwaffe troops at the T-junction.

James Yanks taking a beating trying to get over the hill that the SS have retreated from.
Despite having assaulted, and now holding 3 of the 6 objectives, the Americans had paid a high price in vehicles, especially with Stukas roaming the Yanks rear areas as well.  They had deployed in quite a deep formation, especially James, and were struggling to get the remaining troops up to re-enforce their front line.  The Germans were also being re-enforced, although not too swiftly.  A Heer pioneer platoon hammered down the road in their trucks, covering the approximately 8 foot to their deployment area in a mere 4 turns (arrival to digging-in in a blink of an eye!), and now filled in the gap between the rapidly dwindling SS in front of Lukes troops, and the objective on that side.  The Heer artillery also arrived, and the heavy tanks; the Luftwaffe Tigers, put in an appearance, doubling down the road while being strafed constantly by the Yanks air force to no effect.

James pressed on over the hill the SS had retreated from, but found winkling them out of the hedgerows to be far more difficult, especially the infantry guns.  The Luftwaffe 88’s (3 in total) sitting behind the newly arrived Heer pioneers took a fearsome toll of the Allied armour on the hill, forcing it to go round the foot of the mound to stay out of line of sight.  Finally breaking through the hedgerows into the lane it still took a close assault by newly-arrived American riflemen to subdue the last of the advanced SS infantry.

German re-enforcements clogging up the road network.

More pain for James, but at least he finally clears out the hedgerows of SS.
Lukes advance down his left was hampered by another Heer pioneer platoon, this one holding a large hill and guarding the spotters for the Heer artillery and mortars.  He left a number of platoons raking the hill with fire (to no effect!), while sending several around to the left to race for the next objective, which was foolishly being guarded by just the SS and the Heer CO’s!  By fluke they had landed up in the same building, and were still there (obviously having a party meeting) when the Yanks light tanks arrived outside!  The Luftwaffe efforts to help the situation not being welcomed when their artillery hit both CO’s instead of the enemy tanks!  Luckily both survived.

The American advance down the centre had slowed to a halt, very much aware of the apparently unstoppable (if slow) advance of the 3 Tigers down the road towards them, as well as a third larger Heer infantry platoon guarding the middle objective and the road.  This meant the American armour stopped around the central objective they had pulled out of the cold dead hands of Phils Luftwaffe platoons, and became subject to an intense artillery bombardment as all 4 of the Germans artillery batteries set up and began hitting that area.

The SS Assault Guns retaking the right hand objective.

The end game picture from the German end.
The German re-enforcements, with the turn counter ticking quickly, now started to flood on, with Lukes advance tanks the main ones to feel their wrath as SS StuG’s and Panzer IV’s headed towards the SS and Heer CO’s position using the road and the fields.  They were backed up by a truck-mounted platoon of SS infantry, while the SS mortars and HMG’s followed the Luftwaffe Panzer III and armour car platoons down the German left to support the 88’s and Heer pioneer platoon there.  Lukes light tanks fell victim to a hail of shells from the StuG’s who reclaimed the objective , while the Tigers carried on past on the road heading for the American centre.  With time running out the American air force strafed the SS troops moving down the German left, destroying their trucks  in an effort to stop them re-enforcing the Luftwaffe 88’s position which James’ remaining armour was massing to attack.  The entire allied artillery power was turned towards the Tigers now, with the realisation that the battle would end in a 3-all draw unless the German heavies could force their way through to that central objective.  The lead Tiger fell prey to a big American shell, but the other two powered past, and with a last roll of the dice Phil stormtrooper-ed them within 4” of the objective, and contested it to win the battle for the Germans.

Phil's Tigers on their way to the tent that represented the objective, and too victory!
Post-Battle Analysis:

The scenario eventually came out quite even this time out.  The Americans took a lot longer than expected to break through the initial German line, despite its fragmented defence – caused by the constant good natured bickering between the German players!  This was partly due to the solid centre of Phils troops, combining with some hesitancy by James, and Luke not wishing to get his tanks bogged down in the village against my men.  When the German reserves began to arrive they turned the tide back, especially on the German right/centre against Luke, however if we had had the time to continue the Americans had more than enough troops left to balance that out, and throw it back, and nothing was a foregone conclusion.

There was a good buzz around the game, more often than not created by the Germans arguing, as well as the speed at which the re-enforcing troops in their trucks came hammering down the road, and one last laugh at my expense when my 700pts of Panthers failed to make it onto the table as time ran out.  A note on size and timing; we played 2,500pts a player, or rather 7,500pts a side (Luke and James splitting the points between them), and found this to play quite quickly.  A turn time limit was set as 25 minutes, but we rarely got within 5 minutes of reaching it, and played a swift 9 turns.  A worthwhile scenario and game, I think it might be Normandy next!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

English Civil War - The Battle of the Toupees

Firstly the scenario: for those interested we used the scenario in the Puke & Shotte book for the battle between the Swedes and the Imperialists (around pg 142), where the Swedes have to capture the building with the Imperialist gold train in it before turn 8 (and darkness).  They slightly outnumber their enemy, but have to attack, and the building with the gold in could be one of three, and they don’t know which one until they get inside!

For our game the Parliamentarians (and some Swedes) took the place of the Swedes, while my Royalists were the Imperials, and the gold is replaced by that most precious of collections – Lord Flashearts Toupee set!  Michael and Luke (Sir Michael de Blondeville and Oliver Cromwell respectively) commanded the Parliamentarians, Cromwell on their left, Sir Michael on their right, while I commanded the Royalists in the absence of Chris (stomach bug), Red (car bug) and Aidan (train bug).  It at least meant I got to field my entire army as the mighty Lord Flasheart, plus some traitorous Swedes who swapped sides for the evening.

The Battle:

Lord Flasheart committed his army to battle to save his precious collection of Toupees, not daring to imagine the harm it would do his, and the Royalist PR machine if the toupees were discovered, or worse, captured!  He had, of course, left them in the place he had spent the previous night, so that would be the Dark Age hamlet then.  The other two choices had been the farmhouse in the centre, and the manor on the right.  He looked across the battlefield, saw the Swedes and thought “Good, we’ll only have to fight Cromwell and his lot today, those Swedes are incapable of taking an order”.  At this point Sir Michael rolled 4 of less on virtually all of his command rolls, causing jaws to drop open.  He continued to do this regularly throughout!

Sir Michael wasn’t the only one quick off the mark; Cromwells ironsides and cuirassiers also leapt off the starting line, and were within 6” of the manor in turn one!  A one-sided fight ensued between Parliaments finest and Brigadier Wolfe’s Royalist horse around the manor, watched by the traitor Swedes within.  The ironsides were more than a match for the vaunted Royalist horse, and the brigade broke and fled.

In the centre the Parliamentarian foote closed with the Royalist troops around the farmhouse, and engaged in a close ranged musketry battle before Talbots pike (Royalists) charged the musketeers, and a Parliamentarian pike block charged the dragoons in the farm house, and a messy mass of melee erupted.  The Swedes far right (their horse) became distracted by a bunch of dragoons in a wood, and spent the entire battle trying to force them away, with eventual success.  That meant the horse were unable to assist the Swedes foote attack, which, supported by 3 cannon, massed for a move into the Dark Age hamlet.  Sir Hugh of Beeston (the left hand Royalist brigade commander), thinking to support the Royalist left and stall the Swedes foote, ordered the traitor Swede regiment on that flank forwards – blunder – charge!  Sadly not into contact, just into the open in front of the Swedes army.  Musketry erupted along the line as the Royalist musketeers traded fire with their counterparts, and came off generally worse against the tougher Swedes.

Back on the Royalist right and the traitor Swedes in the manor were in trouble; parliamentarian dragoons had taken part of the manor, and now the ironsides and cuirassiers were assaulting the walls.  The traitors pike was caught in the flank by horse and destroyed, while the musketeers manning the main wall suffered a similar fate.  The horse and dragoons then massed for an attack on the last of the traitors in the main building of the manor, long since abandoned to its fate by the Royalists who were keener to preserve their centre.  The assault went in and the manor was there’s – but no toupee!

In the centre the parliamentarian assault on the farmhouse continued, with a combination of musketry, close quarter fighting, and even a Royalist Saker firing grapeshot all being involved in a the melee around the building.  The Royalist units were eventually driven back or shaken while the parliamentarian pike regiment was joined by musketeers in assailing the farmhouse walls.  The dragoons inside thought this was a bit much to do by themselves and broke, with the parliamentarian musketeers occupied the building – no toupees here either!  This was, however, the moment when the Royalist army broke, of their three brigades the horse of Brigadier Wolfe had long since vanished, while the Bishop of Bath & Wells’ brigade of infantry, desperately trying to hold the centre, had been worn down by incessant parliamentarian attacks, and was spent as a force.  Only Sir Hugh’s brigade on the left had any strength left, not assisted by his traitor Swedish regiment, which once again blundered horribly when told to assault the Swedish flank!

All now rested on the battle for the Dark Age hamlet, which was obviously where a character of Flashearts nature would have spent the previous evening!  The Swedes had begun pushing in from the edge, scattering musketeers as they came, however in the centre they found the King’s Guard pike block, and it was time for a proper fight with the Swedish sending in their own yellow-coated pikemen to push them out.  It was their turn to fail however, with the King’s Guard standing firm, and pushing back and shaking the Swedish pike for no losses of their own!  Sir Hugh looked to finish the issue, throwing Hopton’s pike block forward to the right of the hamlet (to little joy against another tough-as-nails Swedish musketeer sleeve), and ordering the traitor Swedes to attack through the hamlet itself.  Needless to say they blundered again!  Musketeers from the King’s Guard had occupied the building where the toupees were located, and a last gasp effort was made by some Swedish commanded shot to push them out, but it was a very long shot which failed.  Darkness fell, and the Royalist army, battered, bruised, broken, had held on to whisk Lord Flashearts toupee collection to safety, and to claim victory!

The initial setup, Royalists on the right, Swedes top left, Parliamentarians next to them.

The results of the Parliamentarian first turn!  Swift moving.

The feared ironsides!  Even more so now they are nicely painted!

The ironsides charge towards the manor on the right.

The parliamentarian foote closes with the farmhouse and a  fight ensues!

The traitor Swedes blunder for the first of 3 times, and end up standing in front to take the sting of the Swedish firepower.

The traitor swedes in the manor, and in trouble.

The final major fight; the King's Guard (red) pushing back the Swedish pike (yellow).

Post-Battle Analysis:

Nothing is more scary that a Swedish army that can pass a command check, and Michael finally started to make them, and not just in ones or twos, but three moves at a time!  Luke’s horse were also as keen to join battle, hurtling down towards the manor and scattering my own horse with ease (ironsides are truly terrifying!).  They then proceeded to wipe out the manors defenders with ease.  The parliamentarian attacks on my centre also cost me a number of casualties, especially from close range musketry before the assaults went in, and the dragoons in the farmhouse, once the brigade was broken, hadn’t a good enough saving throw to survive. 

The Swedes on my left, however, and despite their swift movement, had been unable to commit enough infantry to the attack on the hamlet, while their horse was distracted trying to run down some more dragoons in a wood, and this lack of strength in the hamlet would cost them the battle.  Oh, and if anyone is considering using Michaels troops against him, think again – I issued his regiment with 4 orders, which resulted in 3 blunders!  Revenge, perhaps, for me knocking some of their number on the floor earlier!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Saga - The Welsh Warband

I’ve finished painting my 4 point Welsh Warband for Saga!  I had bought the Gripping Beast Welsh Warband boxed set, consisting of 33 models, because it fulfilled the requirements precisely of the welsh, while the plastic sets were too much armour and not enough bows to give the feel of a Welsh group.  The models themselves are all metal, and I actually got 34 (1 extra) in the box, including 4 hearthguard, 1 warlord, 16 warriors and 12 levy.  The casting is on the whole very good, though some hands needed a lot of clearing out before they could have weapons put in them, with a nice level of detail to match most out there. 

The models are on the large size, and, although I haven’t compared them properly yet, I expect them to be closer to Renegade Miniatures 30mm scale than Warlord Games 28mm.  I got more than enough shields and javelins in the box, but exactly 12 bows, which caused a problem when I broke one, and I had to press a warhammer Bretonnian spare into place, which actually worked nicely and give the model a more individual touch.

For painting I worked on one unit at a time – Warriors, warriors, Hearthguard & Warlord, Levy as it turns out – painted a reasonable amount of detail before using the Army Painted ‘dipping’ method, and basing them, unusually, with stone and flowers.  The flower packet I had bought for my Wars of the Roses troops a year ago at Tripples, but I’d never got round to it, and it looked good with the Welsh.  It’s the first time I’ve used stones on a base in around 10 years (since a previous incarnation of my 40k Imperial Guard army in fact!) because they used to fall off something chronic, but it had the best effect out of my various flocks available, and I think it gives the models character.  I might give them a coating of PVA glue at a later date if they prove unreliable.

Onto the pictures then; its only a 4pt army so far, I expect I’ll add an extra two points at some stage, probably in the form of another levy and either a warrior or a hearthguard unit.  Now I just need to find time to use them.  Oh, and a method to transport the models – metal javelins were NOT a good idea.

The models after being glued together.  The two barrels are for another project.  A number of the models were recipients of bits from my bits box, most notably the arrows in the ground and the Warlords 2 dogs.

After the 'Dipping' part of the process, so quite shiny.  The sheep and pastor are for my ECW games.

The Warlord and Hearthguard (and dogs).

Warrior group one - with yellow flowers to distinguish from group 2 who have white ones.

Warrior group 2.

The Levy.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Wars of the Roses Battle Report – In which Salisbury and Falconberg ruined the day

Two battles down, and having skirmished in the War of Spanish Succession, and pushed pike in the English Civil War, we had near 2 hours of gaming time remaining.  “Wars of the Roses?” ventured Aidan, “go on then” said I.  A third change of the scenery and model participants later and we were set for a pitched battle across the table with my Yorkists facing Aidans Lancastrians.  My central battle was lead by Edward IV, with the right by Salisbury, and the left were the mercenaries commanded by Falconberg.

It was a fast and furious game, noted for the many break tests, a number of blunders, and a bunch of sheep getting in the way of my troops.  Aidans left hand battle was first to move, swiftly taking the much prized pigs field (complete with pig and oodles of mud).  I couldn’t let this insult to a royal pig stand and sent Edward and his men in to regain the field, which they did through the use of archers as front line fodder, and the Lancastrians retreated.  Salisburys best efforts at manoeuvring onto Edwards right through the dark age village were worse than useless, and I recalled him to instead try and fill the increasing gap that was opening up between Edward and the left battle of Falconbergs mercenaries.  Needless to say he messed this up totally, spectacularly blundering and causing his billmen to fall back through his archers – disordering every unit in the process!

Falconberg pressed home his attack regardless, only for his pikemen to be decimated, and his bowmen to follow his handgunners in fleeing in very quick succession, and my left battle was gone!  I tried an ill-fated charge down the road with Edwards mounted men-at-arms, only for the opposing mounted troops to scatter mine, and return the favour which Edwards foot men-at-arms just survived, but Edward didn’t – second game in succession that I have managed to lose the heir to the throne!  It was almost all over, but there was just time for the Lancastrians to retake the pig field, shattering the archers I’d left there, and then the Lancastrian right, fresh from wiping the floor with Falconberg, then proceeded to do the same to the sluggish Salisbury, and my defeat was complete!

The full table, my Yorkists are nearest, all models from Aidans collection, and very nice they look too!

Lovely cow field and dark age hamlet, complete with high ranking member of government chatting up local girl!  The livestock and civilians really brought the days battles to life.

The centre of the Yorkist army and Edward himself.

The Yorkist central battle charges in to regain the pig field!

The Lancastrian right battle.

Salisbury making a hash of it near the hamlet and the sheep (who were the main constant between all 3 of the days games!)

The Yorkist mounted men-at-arms charge!

Salisbury takes 'making a has of it' to a new level - disorder and blundering all round!

The Lancastrian mounted men-at-arms repay the compliment, being wiped out, but killing off Edward at the same time.

Post Battle Analysis:

Poor deployment from me, spreading my army out too far and with the bowmen at the front blocking the billmen and men-at-arms from getting stuck in earlier.  Salisbury (with his command value of 7) made a hash of my right battle’s manoeuvring, and Falconberg went in unsupported and was rightly wiped out by superior numbers.  Losing Edward was the icing on a very entertaining cake, and Aidan’s command rolls (having been so woeful in the 17th Century) were average enough to press the advantage.  

Friday, 8 March 2013

The Battles of Whitemere & Helsby - English Civil War Battle Report

The last outing of Lord Flasheart and his brave, dashing and incredibly silky hair was way back on the 10th of February, where a misunderstanding between him and his ‘ally’ Lord Byron lead to a couple of punch-ups as Flasheart and his Royalist troops defended the honour of the A49.  Badly.

A scarce month onwards and the loveable rogue has been forced out of his cosy winter quarters (a tavern next to a brothel, backed onto by a church – with so much sin around you have to ensure your soul is safe).  He firstly marched southwards to the borders of Cheshire where rumour grew of the parliamentarian forces in Shropshire being about to mount a sortee.  Meeting them in the well known hamlet of Whitemere, and being assisted by additional local troops, a fight ensued.

The Battle of Whitemere:

The Parliamentarians seemed able to call upon not one, but two Oliver Cromwells, with Royalist paranoia getting out of hand with multiple sightings of the great man, but none of them true.  A combination of Andy and Dennis commanded a sizable Roundhead army in this clash at Deeside, Dennis leading the horse wing on their right, facing my own horse, while Andy commanded the two infantry brigades in the centre.  As the battle started, and with the number of troops being even I threw my horse forward hoping for an early piece of luck while the foote advanced in their favoured Terico formation in the centre.

My plan on my left worked so far as the enemy horse brigade was shattered and broken by my own horse’s attacks, but this left my own brigade also useless, and attention turned to the infantry fight.  My right flank saw the Dragoons move into the edges of the hamlet of Whitemere, and trade fire with two musket sleeves to little gain, while Talbots regiment (in the white) fired a single shot and refused to move more than a few inches the whole game – shameful!  In the centre Sir Hugh of Beeston, commanding the central foote brigade, blundered badly, and the three blocks of pike retreated back to their starting positions, leaving the musketeers to begin an uneven fight against three full enemy regiments of foote and two ordinance.

This fight went badly, especially when one of the enemy regiments moved around the end of my line and began to work its way through each my shotte sleeves one at a time with a push of pike.  In desperation to rescue a battle that was slipping away both Sir Hugh and Lord Flasheart cried “Follow Me!” and dragged the labouring pike blocks back into the fight to face the enemy musketeers.  However the damage they caused was too little, and too late as my musketeers, who had stood for so long trading fire, were too shaken and shattered to continue, and with the right flank (Talbot!) still refusing to move I called it a day and conceded the field.
My Royalists are to the right, with Dennis' horse facing my own on the far left, and the hamlet of Whitemere in the distance.
The horse clash while my foote advance - before they blunder that is.
Andy's pike begin to roll up my musketeer line.

The last Royalist charge, but it isn't enough.

The Battle of Helsby:

A scant 24 short hours later and Flasheart had force-marched his troops northwards to where Sir Stapleton-Smyth (Aidan) had crossed the river at Frodsham, and was moving his men towards the important centre of Chester.  This time Flasheart had a significant advantage in men (600pts to Aidans 500, and 16 units in a single brigade to his 12), and was determined to make this count by going on the offensive.

Advancing off the road and into the fields he sent Hopton’s (blue) and Talbots (white) foote to the right towards the village, the King’s Lifeguard (red coats) down the road in the centre, while Stradlings (blue also) and the dragoons secured the fields to the left.  Finally the three horse regiments moved to the left of Stradling in the open.  Stapleton-Smyth deployed his infantry regiments in the open ground facing Stradling, and his horse behind the village of Helsby, where his commanded shot and dragoons waited and sniped at the leading Royalists.  Flashearts advance is best described as slow and steady, with the Roundheads happy to hold position and wait.  With limited supplies of powder and shot there was little long ranged firing, and Stradling and the King’s Guard both struggled to get into position due to hedgerows and poor command checks.  No such worries for the Roundheads horse and Dragoons, who pulled a tactical fast-one by suddenly redeploying behind their foote, having moved from one flank to the other. 

The Roundhead foote now advanced upon the Royalist troops within the fields, who, with their pike blocks stuck in poor positions, were ill-supported to face this attack.  The Roundhead horse clashed with the cavaliers own, which Flasheart then sent the remains to the rear, having come off worse.  However, they had bought him enough time to get Stradlings men into position and secure the flank, and a trade of musketry brought an even distribution of casualties between the sides.  On my right Talbots regiment had been forced to turn inwards to cover the gap between the King’s Lifeguard and Hopton’s foote which pressed on towards the village under fire.  This attack on Helsby was sluggish, and it took a final effort by Hopton’s pike to make it within the village boundary, only to clash with some shaken commanded musketeers and flee the field!

Luckily the fighting on the left was going better, with the Parliamentarians suddenly unable to pass the most basic of command checks the Royalists were able to pick off their shotte sleeves, and pike units, with Talbot and Stradlings pike blocks pressing forward into their ranks.  Desperate counterattacks by the Roundhead horse nearly defeated Stradling, but the pikes prevailed over the armoured horse, and with few units not shaken or having fled Stapleton-Smyth retreated from the field.  

The full (and rather pretty) battlefield.  The Royalists are to the left, with Stradlings foote yet to leave the road.  Things to spot: 6 sheep.

The Roundhead dragoons being a pest early on.  Things to spot: 2 cows.

The Parliamentarian change in deployment, with the horse switching flanks and the Royalist horse coming off far worse. Luckily for Flasheart that Stradling has moved his foote into position.
Hopton's doomed (and embarrassing) charge into the village.

Post Battle(s) Anaylsis:

The first game was in new surroundings of the Deeside Defenders against Andy and Dennis, both new to Pike & Shotte, and using Dennis’ nicely painted army.  It started with an intro-game atmosphere, but I soon found I was having to work hard to get close to scrapping a result, with Dennis’ horse proving more than a match for mine, and Andy’s foote likewise – aided by a couple of blunders in the centre!  In the end numbers, and good tactics of outflanking my musketeer line, won them a well-deserved victory, pressing home their attacks at the right time while m pikes were out of position.

The second game was in familiar surroundings at Aidan’s abode, and thankfully it was on top of a table to prevent the rabbits getting their teeth into proceedings.  My significant superiority in numbers was always going to make it a big ask for Aidan to secure victory, but he still nearly did.  As my foote regiments fussed over hedgerows and getting their lines straight he redeployed his horse regiments, and with a bit more luck with his command rolls (they were shocking!) he could have pressed home his attack and I would have been reeling.  As it was I had the time to secure the flank, bring more pikemen in to assist, and slowly grind him backwards despite several desperate last charges by his horse into my pike blocks (which also nearly worked!).  It seemed I was never going to get near to the village however, and Hopton’s pike spectacularly (and very unexpectedly) imploded on the edge of it to end my hopes.

One defeat and one victory and the Flasheart bandwagon rolls onwards – next week it’s a trip to the RGMB looking for more glory.  Anyone interested in the campaign in general see here: