Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Encounter at Altekirche

Just a little table set up.
No guessing which game it's based upon.

The Pils-Holstein force will arrive from the northwest corner, and the French force from the southeast corner.

The Pils-Holstein forces, under Brigadier Maximillian von Bruch
  • Leibgarde Infantry Battalion
  • Oldenburg Infantry Battalion
  • Kurtz Jagers
  • Light gun

The French force under The Marquis de Genitalia
  • Auvergne Infantry Battalion
  • Orleans Infantry Battalion
  • Arquebusiers de Grassin
  • Light gun

Check back for reports in a few days...

Friday, 19 June 2020

The Oldenburg Regiment

One of my favourite units from all those listed in Charles Grant's book 'The War Game' is The Oldenburg Rgt.
And I've always fancied doing them for the Pils-Holstein army for my mid-18th century campaign.

And here they are! All painted, based and flagged by me. Figures are my own range, not commercially available.

Below, Oldenburg supporting other battalions of the Pils Holsein brigade (The Leibgarde and The Kronprinz Grenadiers).

I was privileged to play with the original Oldenburg unit when doing games with Charles S Grant for the various publications I helped with over decade ago, notably, The Wargames Companion and The Raid on St Michel.

I was recently searching through an old hard drive and came across all the photos I took back then. Here is one of those photos - you can pick out the original Oldenburg regiment advancing up the Lobosch Hill during our refight of Lobositz, where young Charles (Charles M) took command of them, and they performed magnificently.

I was surprised when I first discovered that the originals wore green coats. I had always assumed that most of the VFS army was in blue (an erroneous assumption made from looking at the old B/W photos in The War Game!). 

My version pays homage to the originals, for even though mine wear the dark blue of the Pils Holstein forces, they have green lapels, cuffs, and turnbacks. The flags have a style similar to the original as you can see... I have two flags for my battalions, so it made sense to have one with black/red quarters and one with white/end quarters, both with the arms of PH in the centre.

They may get a game very soon...

Meanwhile, last weekend's Virtual Wargames Club was again well attended...

With the usual breakout rooms chatter, the show n tell, and presentations from a number of members on current projects, it provided hobby inspiration and painting momentum. Join us if you'd like some of the same... see the details on the right.
All the best...

Thursday, 11 June 2020

An International Brigade

The Virtual Wargames Club is very international, with members all over the globe, and I love the different perspectives that are shared in our 90 minute 'meetings.'

Last weekend, we had two members deliver short presentations on aspects of the hobby, as well as the usual show n tell session - a chance to share pictures of what people have been working on through the week.
We also have hot topic discussion groups and give everyone a chance to have a say and get to know each other.

Here's last week's gang arriving ... 

We have 26 members at the moment, including a few new members this week, so it's growing steadily. If you want to join, just email me (see deails on the right side of this blog).

One of the interesting things is the wide experience of the group. and one member was even able to give simple advice on how, with one click, the changes that blogger is about to introduce can be overridden so that blogs can remain using the existing system. Very useful for a luddite like myself!

In oither news, I am nearing the 'home straight' in my painting of a new Pils-Holstein unit. Just final bits on muskets to do, then it will be basing and flags. So I should have something fresh to show next week!

Until then, stay safe...

Thursday, 4 June 2020

News and Perspectives

There's a lot happening at the moment, and I count myself lucky that I can enjoy time with my hobby, as well as all the other things in life.

On Monday, as lockdown restrictions here in England eased, I decided that a 'day out' was in order...
I chose to visit somewhere that I haven't been to for decades, but which has fond childhood associations; namely, Burton Dassett.
This is a picturesque spot in south Warwickshire: unspoilt rolling hills, with fantastic views.
For the first time in 3 months, I paid actual cash for something (ice cream!)… and no jokes about moths and my wallet... and it felt like normal times again!

There's also some history to the place:

It is a natural defensive site... with the hills forming a fortress like enclosure, each acting as a bastion against any enemy attack. I was intrigued by the discovery of the 6thC Saxon graveyard, and started to imagine a hillfort type action in early Mercia...

I suppose that had something to do with me recently having received this book direct from the author who still had a couple left in stock...

Thanks James Morris.

On the way to Burton Dassett, I also stopped off to take a couple of photos of our local windmill... well, you know me and windmills.

above and below: Berkswell Windmill, in glorious sunshine.

Meanwhile, I have a fair amount on the wargames workbench, including a new battalion for the Pils-Holstein collection, which should be finished within the next week or so, at which point I'll share pictures.
I'm also working on a game for the Northleach show/ open day, assuming it will go ahead as planned. Fingers crossed.

And, I'm holding off on buying figures for my autumn/ winter project. This will be an army of around 120 figures (a WAB ancients army). I'm itching to get started to be fair... The clue as to what I'm looking at is contained earlier in this post, and you don't have to be any sort of super-sleuth to work it out!

Oh, and yes, amongst all that, I've just published another book (nothing to do with wargaming, but it's on amazon, and a search under my name will lead you to it).

This weekend, we have the Virtual Wargames Club again... Saturday at 1700 UK time.
Last meeting was the best yet, I think, and it's growing steadily all the time, with wargamers from Sydney, Manila, and many parts of the US joining us Brits and sharing hobby news and plans. The contribution from members means it's relatively easy for me to simply rock up and enjoy, once the tech side of things is set up.
So thanks to all the members... see you Saturday.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Fifth Meeting

Tomorrow sees the fifth meeting of the Virtual Wargames Club... a little venture that began on Saturday 2nd May, and has progressed to the level that I'm now curating a whole load of photos from the members who each week regale us with tales of lockdown painting and gaming.

Turning these pictures into slideshows for all to see during the meetings is great fun, because I get a real sense of the breadth of this hobby...
This week we've got everything from ancients to Stalingrad, and all stations in between, including some naval stuff too.

We also have a member each week describe their own painting methodology. Last Saturday, Paul (of Grimsby Wargaming) shared his tips for maintaining his high quality output, in the huge quantities he does. We all learned a lot... 

This week, I can tell you that, amongst other things, Chris Gregg's description of how he has created the most amazing model of Stalingrad promises to be a real highlight... with plenty of pictures, including some stunning comparison shots showing old photos of the city and his model version. Brilliant. 

So, if you'd like to join our growing little band of virtual members, drop me an email (details are on the right of this blog).

Many of our members are regular bloggers (links to their online journals are to the right hand side), and yet many members are not bloggers at all.
Some members are very confident in sharing their painting, modelling and gaming pictures, others are fine with taking more of a back-seat and just simply enjoying the chat.
All levels of contribution are most welcome.

It's a real opportunity to connect with wargamers all over the globe.
We've got members from Manila to Michigan, Dundee to Dallas.

There really is room for everyone... or 'zoom for everyone'.
And if you've never used zoom before (where have you been this past 10 weeks?), you'll receive full instructions in advance. It's really simple, and enjoyable... stay as long as you like, pop in for a few minutes, or join us for the full 90.

Look forward to seeing you: Saturday at 1700 UK time.

All the best

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Action Report

Thanks to everyone who commented on the deployment for Saturday's game in the previous post.
The game itself was hugely enjoyable...
I made sure that I wrote notes as I went along, even down to every dice roll, primarily to keep a full personal record, but also to enable me to reflect on tweaks needed to the rules on reflection.
You will be relieved to know that I am not going to reproduce those notes in full here... but will contain myself to just a few of the pictures of the game's key stages. I am sure you will get the idea...

First, a reminder of the deployment:

Below: Alt-Braunschweig Regt approaches the enclosure. Time to get the flock out of here!

Below: First shots. The Pils-Holstein light gun opens up, narrowly missing Picardie regt.

Below: the firefight for the enclosure begins.

Below: In full swing... volleys break out all along the line.

Below: the Grassins are in the enclosure, Alt-Braunschweig having routed, but rallied on the other side of the wall.
Meanwhile, in the centre, The Holstein Hussars have charged the light gun and Picardie.
Having chased off the Jagers, the Chevaliers de Rouen are reforming beyond the farmhouse. 

Below: The Grassins take some punishment and rout from the enclosure.
The firefight in the centre has resulted in Normandie and Picardie retiring.
On the French left, the Chevaliers de Rouen charged the Leibgarde and the light gun. The Pils-Holsteiners held, and were then reinforced by the Kronenbrau Kuirassiers. The destruction of the brave Chevaliers was merciless.
And so, the French staff decided to call it a day.

The Casualty Return

In the end, the French decided to retire from the field, after a very hard-fought and close run thing.
The full casualty return is as follows:

  • Picardie - 15 casualties, ended the game retiring in good order.
  • Normandie - 22 casualties. shaken, but retiring in good order.
  • Royal Ecossais - just 4 casualties. Ended the game in possession of the enclosure, but ordered to retire at dusk.
  • Arquebusiers de Grassin - 5 casualties. In rout!
  • Chevaliers de Rouen - wiped out in a desperate melee, involving the enemy Leibgarde, Kuirassiers, and Jagers!
  • Nassau Saarbruchen Hussars - zero casualties! Ordered to retire from the field, covering the infantry withdrawal.
  • Ligth gun - crew wiped out, gun abandoned.

  • Leibgarde - 11 casualties. Morale ok. (They claim to have taken the colours of the Chevaliers de Rouen as they threw five 6s out of 20 dice in the final melee, wiping out the French horse)
  • Kronprinz Grenadiers - 7 casualties. Morale ok.
  • Alt-Braunschweig (Prussians) - 11 casualties. Morale ok (although at one point they were broken and routed out of the enclosure under heavy fire form the Grassins and Royal Ecossais. They soon rallied and returned to the fray, defending the eastern wall of the enclosure).
  • Kurtz Jagers - 2 casualties. Morale ok. despite being driven off by the Chevaliers de Rouen, they were able to seek refuge in the woods (2 pairs remained in the farmhouse). They returned to join the final big melee on the right flank.
  • Kronenbrau Kuirassiers - 1 casualty. morale ok.
  • Holstein Hussars - 9 casualties. they took a battering in a melee with Normandie, the light gun and Nassau Saarbruchen. However, their morale never broke (very lucky dice!) and the small residue of the fine regiment retired in good order.
  • Light Gun - crew wiped out.

Overall losses:
French - 46 infantry, 10 cavalry, 2 gunners

Pils Holstein - 31 infantry, 10 cavalry, 2 gunners

Game Notes and Mechanics

The game was played on a 6x6 foot table.
  • You will note in the photographs that there are sundry 'super-numeries' (officers, drummers, sergeants) hovering around the fringes of the units. They are simply there for aesthetics and play no part in the game.
  • The eagle-eyed will notice red beads which represent casualties. Because the figures are multi-based, these beads simply slot over the figures' bayonets when a casualty is inflicted. It's a simple system.
  • The coloured counters represent states of morale. For example, yellow for shaken, red for routing.
  • The rules in use are my own.
  • Terrain is scratch-built, with trees and stone walling from Last Valley.
  • The farmhouse was scratch-built by me, and has a lift-off roof to allow figures to take position inside.
  • The figures are my own range, and include painting by myself, James Brewerton, Mark Allen, and David Jarvis. The flags are by myself and Mark Allen. All figures based by me.
Right, that's it from Kreuzung Bauernhof.
Back to the studio!

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Time for Action - and so it begins

When on operational duty, Maximillian von Bruch seldom slept well.
The dawn light had woken him early, one of the few perils of campaigning in the spring-summer season. At least he had enjoyed a hearty breakfast as all around him the drummers of his infantry battalions were beating to quarters, and a general striking of tents and bivouacs was being overseen by screaching sergeants as the army began to make ready to march to battle.

As Brigadier of the Pils Holstein infantry, today he would be taking orders from Prinz Albrecht who took overall field command.
Accompanying his two Pils Holstein infantry battalions (The Leibgarde and the Kronprinz Grenadiers) were the Kronenbrau Kuirassiers, and already they were readying their mounts and making final preparations before the march.

They would be joined by a Prussian infantry battalion (Alt Braunschweig), as long as Tipsi Pipsi and her Holstein Hussars had found them and led them to the correct rendezvous point.

Halting only to pose for the obligatory pre-match team photo, the Pils Holstein command staff began the day with an air of confidence...

ADC Lord Fulchester (a Briish Major on secondment to Pils Holstein); Prinz Albrecht and standard bearer; Maximillian von Bruch; Tipsi Pipsi and her ADC, Major Ligue.

Across the fields, and also marching to battle were The French...

ADC Captain Soutair of the Lancers de Saxe; Prinz Maurice de Saxe and standard bearer; The Marquis de Genitalia (commander of French infantry); Brigadier Jean d'Arfeld (commander of French cavalry)

And so the armies arrived at the place of battle, near a crossroads.
Here is the deployment map and a few images of the armies lined up for action...

May their dice roll high!