Tuesday 29 August 2017

Battle of Neerfuncken at Partizan

I'm sure you've probably seen lots of pictures of some amazing games at The Other Partizan. It's taken me a while to come round after what I can only describe as a complete buzz following the show. It was fantastic to be part of such a high quality event in terms of the games being displayed, and I'm grateful to all those who came to the table and chatted and those who have commented on the masses of Facebook traffic hitting the various groups on that particular social media platform.

In fact, Facebook in particular really lit up with photos and commentary. In the run up to the show, the Saxon Dog painting group, run by David Imrie of The Bodkins, was awash with images showing preparations for their Crecy game, and also for Ian Smith's 40mm Napoleonic display. And afterwards there was a fair clamour about my own efforts too which was very gratifying.

The game itself... well it was ambitious to think that I would get chance to play it all the way through, but I did get a few moves done amongst the chattering with the steady stream of visitors to the table.
One incident worthy of specific report during the game was the first dice roll... Der Grssenbomber, with French infantry columns in its sights, misfired! (Dianne threw a 1!!) It was out of action for a few moves, but once repairs were carried out, guess what... another misfire! Eventually, the piece did unleash a considerable barrage upon the advancing French battalions however. Elsewhere on the table, there was tough fighting around the village of Drau, and the cavalry massed on the flank came to blows, with the Pils-Holstein horse managing to resist the French attacks. And so it proved to be all along the front, with the French and Astrovian infantry failing to make a breakthrough.

I'll let the photos do the talking...
starting with an overall view of the table. Dianne insisted I posed in shot.


Bill Gaskin was a frequent visitor to the table, and it was good to chat about all sorts of things. Here, he is (below) photo-bombing the scene!

Other visitors to the table included Dave Jarvis who had painted so many of the Prussian infantry figures on show. I was pleased he got to see them, flagged and based, in full battle array. He seemed to enjoy the sight. You can just see his purple shirt in the corner of the picture below as he inspects his brushwork on the Prussian infantry.

Above... (picture courtesy of Dianne) - Peter Nicholson of The Iron Brigade (maroon t shirt on left) also made a trip south and it was great to catch up with him. His compatriate and fellow Iron Brigader, Kevin Calder, also turned up. I  had heard excellent things about Kevin's new ACW rules, Bonnie Blue Flag, and had bought a copy from Dave Ryan earlier in the day. I managed to convince Kevin to sign them for me too!

Dan Falconbridge (above), editor of Wargames Ilustrated, spent a fair amount of time at the table too, taking pictures and also doing some video footage (which shows the windmill sails do go round!), and an interview with me for the Wargames Illustrated video show report which can be found on youtube. I have seen the video - it was on facebook - but I can't now locate it. Once I find a link, I'll share it on this blog.

Finally, it would be a real omission not to mention the organisers of the show. In the run up to the event, in the setting up on the Saturday afternoon and early Sunday morning, and in their care and attention to detail throughout the whole day, they were so professional and spot on. Tricks was in Canada for the actual show, but I know how much work he puts in beforehand to ensure the show is a success. Lawrence was just superb all weekend, and my thanks and appreciation go out to him. Not only that, but apparently all the games get put in a hat for a prize draw, to express the organisers' thanks for the hard work put in by the display teams. A really nice touch. Especially as I won it... £75 worth of vouchers to be spent with traders at the show. Not to be sniffed at! Most welcome. Thanks lads!!

Most importantly, as we were packing up, a young lad passed the table with his dad, and I overheard him say, "This is the best game, Dad" as he perused the troops gathered around Neerfuncken. Now, it doesn't matter which game he thought was the best. What matters is that he had enjoyed the show, been exposed to the historical side of the hobby, and that the efforts of those who put on games, whether me or anyone else, might result in that young lad having a lifetime of enjoyment from this wonderful hobby.
And, that's what it's all about...

Saturday 19 August 2017

Forming Up!

Thanks to all who have commented on recent posts and supported this build-up to the Neerfuncken game at Partizan.

Sketch by Chris Gregg of Prussian Grenadiers forming up... rather like what will be happening in the village of Drau:

I'm all packed and about to load up the car.
Looking down the list of games for the show, I'm in auspicious company, and I hope to get chance to have a glimpse at the other tables. Judging by the preparations I've seen both on blogs/ forums and on facebook, there are going to be some spectacular games on show. For those who are going to be there, do pop by and say hello.

For those who aren't going to be at the show, here's a little taster of the game:

That's all for now folks!

Thursday 17 August 2017

Neerfuncken and environs

Here is the hastily sketched map that the commander of a French Hussar patrol took back to the high command...

All week labourers and engineers had been busying themselves on the outskirts of the town of Neerfuncken and the neighbouring village of Drau, renovating redoubts, erecting emplacements, and creating chevaux de fris. All manner of spare barrels, carts, tree trunks and other paraphernalia had been commandeered to bolster the defences.

And yet, there was a feeling of genuine optimism that the Franco-Astrovian incursion into sovereign Pils-Holstein territory would be turned back by deft diplomacy long before cannons came into range, and certainly before shots would be fired.

The cheery manner in which defence works were being constructed was therefore not altogether unsurprising, even though a fair degree of soldierly grumbling could be detected, intertwined with the gallows humour of men preparing for action.

News of the Prussian arrival meant that Pils-Holstein forces could concentrate their efforts on preparing Neerfuncken, while their allies would occupy Drau and make camp in the fields between the two.

Below: Prussian camp.

The age-old bottleneck between the rolling farmlands of Lower Holstein to the south and the northern heartland of the landgraviate had seen action in the past and was traditionally where Pils-Holstein kings down the centuries had set their main blocking force against French invasion.

The willowing wheatfields were golden, ripe for harvest, and locals had been busying themselves in preparation for work before the peace of this rural idyll had been disturbed by marching feet.

The unseasonal heavy summer showers had recently abated, leaving the Funckenbeck - a small brook that cut through the otherwise unremarkable landscape - swollen. Although only a narrow watercourse, it was a valuable natural barrier and could be relied upon to provide a significant obstacle to an invading force, particularly if the Neerfuncken-Drau line was well prepared.

South of Neerfuncken, a farmstead run by Mme Lillian Kraufurt, assisted by her niece, Morgana Feiling (newly returned from Boston), sat beside two bridges. To the north of Drau, Wim de Muller's mill turned effortlessly in the breeze.

All was quiet...  for now.