Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Royalist Reccon section WIP : VBCW

After a busy weekend terrain building I thought I would try something different. I picked up the two variations of the 1st Corps motorcycle sidecars at the last show I went to. These are going to form part of a large mobile Royalist army invading the NE for our next VBCW battle. They might also find their way into a Sealion battle.

These are really nice models and look the part but.........I have to say they are possibly the hardest figures I have ever had to put together. My usually reserved British approach forbids me from complaining and whilst the individual components are lovely they simple haven't been built to fit together. Although you can't see them these are only working by the addition of 4 or 5 extra pins which had to be added and as for the machine gun they have simply included a version from a different set so you have to cut it down significantly to get it to work. So I guess the lesson is really nice models, will look great when finished, but a big challenge putting them together. Next time I bump into 1st Corps at a show I'll be offering some constructive feedback ๐Ÿ˜€

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Modular Arab Village : IHMN

I have found the secret to painting figures is little and often but for terrain you sometimes need a big push to get stuff done. I have been planning for ages, in my head at least, an Arab village. With some time off last Tuesday I got stuck in, and with some disasterous diary planning over the weekend I have had no battles in the dungeon so inbetween household chores I have managed to get the village finished.

The plan was to create a flexible Arab 'style' village  which I aim to use in a wide range of games. IHMN with Colonel Cavendish in Zanzibar, for Saga C&C crusades. It might serve as a Persian influenced Hellenic settlement, and would definitely serve as a modern setting either for WW2 (not really planning this at the moment) or even ultra modern SAS types games which I do fancy....and of course anything in the Back of Beyond

So here it is in its various guises..........spread out as individual buildings it will just about cover a 3x 3' table.
You can alternatively have three larger dwellings.......
Or at a push a massive 'palace'
My plan when I am bored....will be to construct a larger central building with a large dome and for a true colonial settlement I would need a central western style government building, but that is for another day. Here is the whole with some palm trees I bought ages ago for the project, cheap but effective. I was also thinking of knocking out some simple walls to match so I could create more enclosed gardens and spaces etc. Oh and a well ...and a market........
Roy before you say anything I think I do probably need some camels now ๐Ÿ˜€

Thursday, 20 October 2016

We March Against England : Operation Sealion

Oh look what the postman brought. Had forgotten I had preordered this which is literally out today๐Ÿ˜€

He also brought me some flowers which were an impulse off eBay as I realised 1938 and 1940 Britain would have had more flowers..

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Battle for Alston Moor : VBCW

The Alston Valley is a hot bed of revolution and anti-establishment feeling. It is a place where making a living is hard and for most this has in the past required working for others and making other men rich ! But people's loyalties have changed much since the start of civil unrest. The valley is now under the general control of the Alston Socialist Alliance and other left wing elements whose military arm are collectively known as the Workers Brigade. These groups are only loosely affiliated when it serves their joint purpose, although they agree on a few key principles. This Country would be great again if it was run by the workers for the workers. They hate the King, they hate government and they hate the church, all of whom are considered the 'establishment'.

The villages in and around the valley are home to agricultural workers, miners who work the mineral deposits in the area. Disaffected servants and others who have escaped the yoke of servitude to build an independent workers state. They are generally poorly armed as they have, as yet, been unable to build firm links to any national parties or organisations. They do occasionally get hold of guns or armoured vehicles when they trade their agricultural or mineral deposits to nearby factions.

Up until now they have been content to make small local raids in search of weapons and as they have become increasingly militarised, replacing the traditional Sunday church worship with military style parades and weapons training.

One of the parades through the village centre
The Alston Moors Mounted Brigade, farmers and ex gamekeepers on their own or stolen horses
Last in the column, mainly due to its cumbersome nature is an ancient field gun, originally sent to the area as scrap metal, the foundry workers have brought it back into serviceable condition, but they haven't fired it in anger !

So it was on this uneventful Sunday morning that the Archbishop from Hexamshire had roused his congregation and led them across the Moors to attack the Village, his Serman that morning had aroused such excitement that a significant contingent of the Anglican League had followed, 'hell bent' on re-establishing good Christian values in the valley and also stealing what ever valueable commodities they could find.

Our battle takes place on the edge of Alston, with rough ground leading past the mines onto the moors themselves. (Ed note... We played Bolt Action rules with about 15 or 17 units per side we had some special rules for unique units. The objective was to hold the middle ground, the Anglican League would enter from the moors and the ASA would start in parade formation in the village, the battlefield is 8 foot long and 5 feet at its widest)
View form Alston village up towards the moors (this is a couple of turns in but is the best overview shot I took)
As soon as the alarm is raised the parade breaks up with units rushing to and fro. The gunner immediately unlimber the 60 lb artillery piece but it take them a full turn to load it. Who know if the'll manage to hit anything ?
Other units from the Workers Brigade move out of the village towards the mine owners house, which is now used as the Miners Benevolent Home. In the foreground a mortar has been set up and they start to ineffectually fire smoke up the valley.
The Alston Mounted Brigade scout forward towards the mine office (white building)
Anglican League troops are pouring into the valley, under the commanding presence of the Archbishop who is accompanied by a reporter from the local paper.
Even the cricket team have been shamed by the Clergy to break their first innings and join the battle, secretly they are hoping to complete the second innings in Alston where they believe they have a decent square.
Take aim FIRE.....a tremendous flash and "CRUMP" (had to get that in) from the village signifies the first live firing of 'the gun' at this range they can't even see where it lands. Little do they know that their first shot is an incredibly lucky shot completely destroying the motorcycle recon unit. Those not killed outright were so dazed they were simply stumbling about for the rest of the day dazed and deaf ! One up to the workers !
The Alliance also has one small and almost obsolete tank, which trundles forward
The workers have generally banned all sports in the valley which have any links back to the old establishment ways. Preferring instead pastimes more in keeping with their local traditions. One of these which has found favour with the mining communities is pigeon fancying, and through diligent breading and training they have developed the birds to carry small bombs which can be dropped on any potential enemy. It is of course an unreliable weapon and they don't hold much hope of hitting anything !!!!!!!!!!!
The Alliance have move any machine guns they have up to the front to provide a defensive line, whilst the cavalry continue to scout near the mine office.
One unit of miners advances forward into the allotments
The lucky shot.........reload

Rather than a frontal assault the League are looking to use available cover in and around the mine workings.
Before pushing forward the miners check out their prize birds, once they are assured of their security they move on
Foolhardy cavalry exposes itself to enemy fire and takes a number of casualties, in the distance armed monks run down the hillside
Overview of the battle of Alston Moor
The servants and gamekeepers who have formed their own irregular unit make their way across rough ground towards the old mine owners house.
Things are getting up, the cavalry have chosen to pull back but one of the miner units under the close supervision of the mine foreman are rushing forward under the cover of smoke from one of the mortars
Anyone for Cricket.......not likely a sport clearly played by toffs and public school boys, used by the establishment to subdue the workers across Great Britains' overseas colonies.
The workers have moved their banner nearer the front to encourage greater morale and remind people what they are fighting for.
The Renault tank has been brewed up by accurate anti-tank fire.....actually not very accurate as they took several shots to hit it, missing completely on one occasion and hitting the building instead !
Truck which had held a machine gun has now been blown up as well, luckily the gunner has been thrown free and although pinned he is unhurt.
One of the Anglican Leagues powerful artillery pieces causing havoc in the valley.
In the centre of the battlefield the workers are holding but things do not look encouraging. A smoke bomb is obscuring part of their view and they are unattached from a heavy machine gun on the Rolls Royce Armoured car.
And then out of the smoke they hear a scream...probably akin to the ACW rebel a hail of bullets and gun fire the ladies of the Hexamshire WI charge forward. All neatly dressed in blue they put down a devastating volley. No man can stand this kind of punishment for long ๐Ÿ˜•
There is only one hope and the cavalry muster for a WW1 type charge, with nonchalant ease the Ladies reload and let rip cutting the horsemen down as they charge.....such nice horses too such a shame.
The Archbishop has now pushed forward, the mine office has changed hands several times and has seen some of the fiercest hand to hand fighting. Currently held by the Monks. He is quietly confident and dictating his victory sermon the the reporter. A small blob a pigeon poo lands at the reporters feet to which he exclaims "that was a close one " a few seconds later a 2 lb bomb dropped by a pigeon hits the Archbishop directly on the head. An almost impossible shot.
Well I wasn't expecting that ...........and the reporter for the first time in the day starts to question if there really is a god. It may be too late to effect the outcome of the battle but it did make the miners cheer๐Ÿ˜€
With one more turn the workers attempted to snatch the objectives but this was really only a piric victory as they had taken far more casualties and would need to fall back.
The banner still flying in defiance of the WI luckily the game ended before they could do anymore damage !
One unit of miners had spent the entire game in the allotments ? Either pinned down or perhaps they were protecting the pigeon loft
The heroes of the day !
After the battle the monks are supervising the sad task of collecting the body of the Archbishop this will make the front page !

A fantastically fun game played in true VBCW style. Lots of highlights some of which I didn't capture on film. The WI were fantastic, initially they wouldn't  move as they had received bad news in the post, then they stopped to have cream tea and cakes and then they charged devastatingly into the fray. But apparently all Anglican League armies in the future will carry millet to protect them from pigeon bombs.....not sure if this will work as it might attract the pigeons instead. More of the battle will no doubt be expolored on Martin's Blog....see blogs I follow ๐Ÿ˜€ we just need an excuse for another battle.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

German Reinforcements: Operation Sealion

I have been trapped in the middle of nowhere on a course all week. With some long evenings I brought some figures to make. After three evenings work I now have two more infantry units and  a MG34 machine gun team. Both units have a machine gun as well.....all I need to do is paint them now !

Battle for Botolphs Bridge : Operation Sealion

We played another Operation Sealion game this weekend. Part of what attracts me to the open ended narrative campaign is it gives me a structure into which I can plan and play lots of different scenarios. As well as some bigger battles I want to be able to play some smaller games where time is tight or where I can introduce new or different people to the campaign.

Anyway onto the battle........ Whilst the Battle for Hythe raged and the Germans sought to establish a bridgehead around Hythe other elements of the 17th Infantry Division have landed slightly further west. They are heading inland from Dymchurch to secure the left flank of the Bridgehead. Their ultimate aim once the Birgdehead is secured is to push towards Lympne airfield and to knock out gun emplacements along the escarpment which forms the northern edge of the Romney Marsh. One key crossing is Botolphs Bridge and a small reconnaissance force has been sent to capture the bridge intact. They are hoping to be supported by paratroopers landed earlier in the day but it is not clear if this support will arrive or from where. The British defenders  have blocked the bridge and are rushing any available reserves to the area.
Botolph's Bridge with the pub at the crossing, the British have heavy machine guns in both pillboxes German recon forces enter from the basline, paratroopers will enter as reserves from turn 3 from a random corner the other side of the bridge.
Small infantry squads break cover and attempt to rush towards the bridge under cover from MG34's, scattering the sheep. But the defenders are waiting and prepared immediately slowing the German advance.
Despite this one group are able, with some luck and " courage" to reach the first bunker, they are able to dispatch the occupants quickly but when they look around their are not many of their comrades remaining.
Oberleutnant Crumptz....has moved into the open ground to encourage the infantry to get moving, they are in danger of getting pinned down in the open
The British have managed to bring up some reserves including a small unit of bicycle riding infantry who have taken up a defensive position along the hedges hoping to hold the Germans back.
The situation for the attackers is getting desparate the infantry on the hill despite the Oberleutnant's encouragement are either pinned down or out of the battle. The unit at the pillbox are ok but casualties mean they are not really and effective strike force. But suddenly shouts in German can be heard coming from the other side of the river, and gun fire the Fallschirmjager have arrived. If he had more time the Oberleutnant would undoubtedly have muttered "about time"
Fallschirmjager who have dropped inland make it to the battlefield, their key objective to link up with regular forces moving inland and secure key bridges and crossings before they are blown.
The fire fight at the bridge continues.......the German Infantry don't have the strength to storm the bridge or the time to remove the barrier. The armoured car adds heavy support and machine gun fire but the British infantry squad has rushed onto the bridge.
The German paratroopers can be seen closing in at the back of the pub although they are partially hidden by drifting smoke laid down earlier in the battle.
(Missed a photo here with all the excitement) the British squad on the bridge has come under devastating fire from all the German troops those not killed have been forced to flee by the Germans by the pillbox finally pushing forward onto the bridge (mindful of the time pressure to capture the bridge 6 turns !) The Germans similarly come under intense fire when they make it on to the bridge, and although they take cover they are wiped out. Luckily Oberleutnant Crumptz is on hand to single handedly rush the bridge in the final turn.
Sadly this was to prove a suicid mission ...........What Herr Crumptz hadn't realised was the bag still contained one last order dice for the Morris Armoured car, this was the final dice to be pulled and allowed it to fire directly at him, and even though he was a lone figure in hard cover they managed a single hit. So with the final roll of a single dice the fate of the battle was resolved he was killed and the British were able to blow the bridge. This would give the Germans considerable delay moving forward. There are other bridges they can capture and they can bring up pontoons (further scenarios for the future๐Ÿ˜€) but for now the pace of the advance has been slowed.

A fantastic game literally decided on the last roll of the dice. I am going to write some more scenarios some hopefully slightly smaller still than this one which I can pick up and play......