Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Breeds Hill Earthworks

With the up and coming Bunker Hill battle I obviously needed some earthworks for the American forces to defend (hide behind). Having checked a number of scenarios and historical maps I felt there were two options a bespoke structure or something more flexible. As usual this second option is my preference creating some earthworks which could be used for anything from the dark ages right through perhaps to Operation Sealion ? I sketched out some ideas and got stuck in with card, foam block and glue.

Some thick grey card bases roughly cut and shaped, painted dark brown
Foam board cut into roughly square strips
The best glue to affix these is ‘No More nails’ so they need to be left overnight to dry properly
Then carve the rounded shape and attach some stick, these were from a modelling bag I bought ages ago but could be sourced in the garden just as well, I went for a mixed and fairly random look, these were stuck again with ‘no more nails’. Then PVA glue and some sand to cover the foam
Base coat of dark brown and then some lighter brown dry brushing.
A little scatter grass, above with the ‘log’ side
And here the soil side they work both ways, they may get some more grass in the future ?
The plan was to use the wicker baskets to fill the gaps, this means with ten pieces the whole can be arranged in a number of different ways, the above configuration being the likely set up for Breeds Hill, and I have enough to build two of the flèche to the north.

And now for something completely different some Early war German zombies 🤣 these are part of a totally random idea to create a parallel branch out from my operation Sealion campaign. Who knows where this madness will lead !

Thanks for looking 👍

Monday, 1 March 2021

AWI : Ambush at Brook’s Farm or A long way to Boston

Our third and final game in this mini campaign representing the earliest skirmishes in the American War of Independence. Having been given a bloody nose at South Bridge the British troops are formed into column for the long march back to Boston. Perhaps if they can get home intact the debacle at Concord will be forgotten and reputations maintained ?

The scenario was again written by Jonathan so check out his blog for the details. In simple turns the British must get across the table and will get extra points for units that escape the Colonials are intent on making this as hard as possible and will arrive from random directions. The British are tired it has been a long day . The ambush is set for close to Brook’s Farm where the road crosses a small fordable river.

As the British column, led by two combined units of grenadiers march slowly past the farm they are under close observation, the trees, woods and river make this an ideal location for ambush.
Tired the redcoats keep marching, just keen to get back to their barracks in Boston. Then up ahead the road looks blocked in the trees, their officer sends light troops off to each side of the main column
Suddenly shots ring out from the ploughed field killing several of the light infantry, The trap is well and truly sprung !
You would think they would have learnt their lesson but again the British underestimate the tenacity of the locals
Redcoats exchange fire with militia in the field who are eventually driven back
British skirmishers are sent forward to help clear the woods on the side of the road.
More militia start to fire from by the river at the leading grenadier unit, were they well aimed or lucky shots which ever several grenadiers fall
Despite this they attempt to charge home with their bayonets but they are too fatigued and fail to charge home, then up pop more militia across the river as well !
One good volley from the redcoats by the farm cause the first unit of militia to flee.
Some of the redcoats are so tired they fail several rally tests and slowly pull back rather than pushing forward
And then another volley crashes into the grenadiers across the bridge 
This is desperate fighting the British are regrouping and still have enough troops to push through
But there will be less grenadiers tonight back in Boston as the leading unit is wiped out 😢
The second unit is stuck by the bridge unable to make progress under fire
Even though the skirmishers in the long grass fail repeatedly to activate the militia by the road pour in effective volleys, things are desperate for the British when they roll a double six activation, this allows a random event and they roll up reinforcements and the newly mustered 17th Foot arrive to save the column. After some debate we randomise their location and they arrive from Boston, even better. The American commanding officer lets out an audible groan......
The 17th Foot arrive hotfoot to save the day 👍
Caught from behind, but unbelievably the poorly trained colonials calmly turn and fire two volleys into the new troops. They roll two ridiculously low morale checks and turn and run !!!!!! An audible groan from the British commander if he gets back to Boston alive there will be hell to pay !
The colonials are in charge now and although pushed back they continue to fight hard.
The British skirmishers attempt to pin down the colonials over the river
The rest of the British force is still trying to force a way across the bridge
Forced back and now running out of numbers they start to shift their advance to the left where the woods are more open
The skirmishers are across the river and fight a fierce  battle with American riflemen
The British try once again to cross the river
But they are now heavily out numbered
and finally the only unit across the river is the dwindling final group of grenadiers. As they slink off into the woods they are exhausted, it is not clear whether they make it back to Boston or not, the only certain thing is they are no longer an effective fighting force.

The Colonials then after a very slow start win out in this third battle, this was both tough and very hard fought on both sides, it appeared to be going the way of the British, who then lost heart, then cheered at the reinforcements only to see them run without firing a shot. Well played the Americans !

An excellent series of battles which really gave us a little flavour of these early skirmishes. Next up Breeds Hill ! What could possibly go wrong redcoats marching uphill into a hail of fire and gunshot.

Thanks for looking👍

Sunday, 28 February 2021

AWI 17th Foot Leicestershire Regiment

Working away in the background painting this week in preparation for a Bunker Hill scenario in a couple of weeks. I needed some Marines for the scenario and as it happens it appears they had a pretty identical uniform to the 17th Foot. So they will be duel purpose on the basis that I won’t play with marines that often ? I also had the 17th Foot flags available already. This was the last of my Perry British plastics although I do have a full unit of British Foundry figures and some recently purchased Hessians and jägers. The collection grows 😀

Our next battle planned for this evening is the third scenario in the mini campaign with the British looking to get back to Boston all looks quiet at the moment !
The weather has turned for the better up here so finally out for a cycle in the real world where it was warm enough to stop and take a photo 👍
Above the North edge of the Helvellyn Range and below the road dropping down to Ullswater

Thanks all I am off to make some earthworks !

Saturday, 27 February 2021

Spanish Civil War Game and Salamanca

 Phil very kindly invited me for a virtual game last weekend, they are fun to put on but it is nice to sit quietly with a cup of coffee and play as well, less to pack up afterwards. It also meant I got to command some of his lovely Spanish civil war collection. A period I quite like and has a slightly romantic feel to it, although as I already do Russian Civil War I don’t think I need a new 20th C project.

We had a fairly simple scenario and played using bolt action, I understand Phil normally plays nationalists so we swopped over and I could play as the ‘bad’ guys. The photos I have taken were captured screen shots so quality is limited, for a closer look check out Phils Blog NEWS FROM THE FRONT.

Lovely Spanish civil war set up, the objectives for my Nationalists is simple, kill as many revolutionary dogs as I can, get across the railway and if possible capture the Railway station. The set up was hard for the revolutionaries as they came on from a single corner, this put them at a bit of a disadvantage from the start. The nationalist force split into three from left to right, 3 infantry units supported with light machine guns look to get to the wall to cover any movement across the battlefield. 2 mortars get into the vineyard hoping to cover enemy on the bridge. The rest look to get down the right flank through the wheat field.
Covering fire across the railway into the woods. In the distance the revolutionary’s  spread across the table
If a plan is working stick with it !
Finally the mortars are in place and can open up but nothing hit initially, we have made it across the table to capture the railway station. Confidence is high so the left flank starts to advance as well, overwhelming the Revolutionary’s 
Final shot, the Pzl as drawn fire from the Revolutionary howitzer. In the end it was pretty much a sacrifice that needed to be made to protect the men but eventually it is hit and bursts into flames. On the left the gun crew and attacked in revenge and tackled in hand to hand combat.

We didn’t need an extra turn to decide the victor, the Nationalists had overwhelmed the Revolutionary’s on this occasion. We agreed the setup had been harsh for the defenders but it was a very enjoyable game and fun to play. Looking forward to the next and probably tougher context !

Also played the next Pennisular battle Salamanca phase one attack on the French left.
Thinking this was the rear guard the french attack only to find it was half of the British army !
The french advance down the left and the British counter on this occasion with a determined cavalry assault on the french. It turns out to be an even battle and no clear advantage is gained.
The french then turn to their right flank and wipe out the British rifles who had moved onto the hills
The overall position, french pushing on the right, stalled on the left, but the British ahead 4 to 3 so they send forward the Portuguese division
Nervously the french play a reform card allowing them to carry out a quick but significant adjustment to their battle line and focussing everything they have on the right
The french overwhelmed the British light infantry on the far right and have to flee, but they are still countering effectively with the Portuguese infantry in the centre, a very close battle with 5 to 5 and victory needing just 6 flags !
The french throw everything in the get to grips with the Portuguese high risk and are lucky not to be wiped out
The french lucky for a change are able to charge home with bayonets and rout the Portuguese claiming victory !

Two in a row for the french but it was the dice that helped in the final couple of turns.

Thanks for looking a unit nearly painted this week and hopefully another AWI outing. Lockdown is a real drag but hobby stuff is keeping me going, looking forward to summer and I am officially part-time now. Not certain my wife is as happy with that as I thought she would be, perhaps i should have said it would give me more time to do jobs around the house rather than painting soldiers 🤣