Sunday 31 July 2016

But I don't Do 40K anymore ! : AAR

Well at least not for ages. Prior to my American adventure we got the trusty Space Marines out against the evil tyranids. It has been a long time, two rule sets in fact, but that might just be GW milking the market. Anyway we played I think 7th edition and had a great time, my spaces marines are somewhere between Marines and Blood Angels but played here as basic marines as I couldn't remember half the rules.

Needless to say we had great fun the tyranids came swarming across and it looked all over then the marines regrouped and heroically won through. I have ordered the mini rule book and we will be playing again. (ed in fact we already have but I am as usual behind on posts)

The initial charge from the xenos tyranids an ancient dreadnought stomps out to meet them have no fear landraider rumbles forward as well this is going to be easy .....
Oh landraider blown up first turn 😬
Regroup space marines lay down heavy fire......
Predator tank sets to with auto cannons and heavy bolters.

I didn't get that many photos, and one or two of the tyranids aren't painted, but then if you look closely a lot of the Marines aren't quite finished either.....but it is my hobby and we had fun. The Emperors children won through in the end exterminating the xenos vermin !

As I was packing up next day I did a rare thing and got all my Space marine stuff out.. I guess about half is fully paint a quarter half painted and then the final quarter just started. If we play more I might even get some more finished off.


Thursday 28 July 2016

American Adventure : ACW / Historicon Road Trip the final post.......

I thought I should post a few final comments on my trip just in case somebody lands on the blog with an interest in visiting some of these battlefields. I also needed to put up a picture of the stuff I picked wouldn't have been a Wargames show if I didn't buy anything !

First up the trip

Not the best map I know but this covers all the main battlefields I visited.....

1. Harper's Ferry
2. Antietam
3. Third Winchester
4. Kernstown
5. Cedar Creek
6. New Market
7. Cedar Mountain
8. Fredricksburg
9. Chancellorsville
10. Wilderness
11. Spotsylvania
12. Cold Harbour
13. Gaines's Mill
14. Petersburg
15. Malvern Hill
16. Yorktown
17. North Anna
18. Manassas

Here are most of the things I bought, I tried to pick up bargains which were cheaper in the US rather than UK but I was obviously limited by carrying stuff back. As you can see I also picked up other bits, the Stonewall Bust from his house in Winchester, and a couple of battle maps to go on the wall in the Dungeon. I didn't pay $20 for the ACW infantry.

So that is pretty much the trip, a fantastic time, I have learnt masses and have far more respect for the ACW than I did before. The battlefields in the majority are well preserved and Virginia is beautiful although the major cities like everywhere have areas of poverty. Historicon is an aquired taste, I would definitely jump at the chance to go again but distance and logistics make it unlikely for a while. I may just think about some of the other big shows in the states though 😀. Even with a terrible exchange rate it didn't feel that expensive and when you can fill your car for $20 ! Travel with a car is very cheap.

So what next...........that is for another post, normal Wargame blogging from the dungeon will resume.

Monday 25 July 2016

American adventure day twelve : Manassas

So I got to the end of my trip and I deliberately left half a day to cover the two Manassas battlefields before getting my flight back from Dulles Airport.

Being close to Washington, Manassas I guess is probably one of the top battlefields visited which is reflected in the quality of the facilities etc.... For those that don't know it was the first major battle when all concerned realised that a single battle wasn't going to see the end of the war. Famously the gentry from Washington came out by carriage to watch the battle but when the Union forces lost and retreated...then fled ......... it caused near panic.

Henry Hill scene of the most serious fighting, the Barn in the distance rebuilt is quite famous for the first civilian casualty of the war.
Standing like a stonewall.
Confederate gun line looking roughly NW to Henry hill.
The Stone House used as a hospital and past which the Rebels initially retreated.
Matthew Hill in the distance where from where the rebels retreated back to Henry Hill.
A second larger battle took place again over almost the same ground where Stonewall Jackson famously defeated the Union a second time to protect the rail junction at Manassas.
The second battle is less well preserved and harder to follow on the ground covering a larger area.

Chinn Ridge a union strongpoint.
The unbuilt railway cut where Jackson's men fought back the larger Union attacks. Much of this area now overgrown with woods.

Sunday 24 July 2016

American Adventure day eleven: Independence at Yorktown !

The main reason I had gone south from Richmond was to visit Yorktown as from my brief bit of research Virginia didn't see that much AWI fighting it being focused further south or further north. Yorktown is part of a wider park covering Jamestown as well but I really only had time to visit the main battlefield. Strangely this is the only park I had to pay to enter ? It saw some Civil War fighting as well but this wasn't really covered either at the visitor centre or my guide book.
A captured cannon on display in the visitor centre. They also have various field tents but you can't really photo these.
One of the main French gun batteries.
Scene of the capture of Redoubts 9 and 10 which led to the end of the battle.
Redoubt 9
Following the driving tour you get to the surrender field where there is a fantastic display of captured cannons, each engraved as below 😀
I then headed north and stopped in at North Anna battlefield, this was an important battle in the 1864 Grant campaign but it just goes to show that not all the battlefields are visited that much. Some well preserved trenches but the whole battlefield is heavily wooded so it is very hard to get a clear picture of what happened.
There are some good noticed boards to tell the story
Some of the earth works in the woods !

In passing I stopped off at the house where Stonewall Jackson died, it is beautifully well preserved and was very quiet when I visited.
It contains various original items including the bed and the clock.

Saturday 23 July 2016

American Adventure day ten : Petersburg to Colonial Williamsburg

Three more days which I need to post now.......

If I am honest whilst the history was great Richmond wasn't the nicest of places to stay, basically a big city so I moved down to Petersburg......which wasn't much better. But it meant it was really easy to visit the predominantly siege based battlefield where Grant made his final push towards the Confederate capital at Richmond just 20 or so miles north.

It is quite a big area which saw fighting over a 9 month period and one of the most desparate and sad events of the whole war at the infamous crater.

FAmous but apparently ineffective mortar (replica) known as the Dictator which fired a couple of hundred shells at Petersburg
Possibly the best collection of cannons I have seen anywhere if you want to know your cannons this is the place to visit😀

Plenty of locations around the site where they have pictures taken at the point where you are standing I particularly like, this as they give a real feel for the ground, obviously more taken here as the battle was predominantly a siege with massive fixed earth defences on both sides.

One of the batteries has been reconstructed and give a great feel for what the others would have looked like......
Fort Steadman scene of one of the last Rebel counterattacks, the fort was taken and then recaptured with much fighting and loss of life.
A quiet and sad spot the crater, just to the right in the pictures looks slightly innocuous but I found it quite a sad place. I can remember which film it is but I know this has been dramatised.
For those that don't know Pennsylvanian miners on the Union side dug a 500 m tunnel under the Rebel lines and blew the fortifications up, just as the Brits and Germans would do 50 or so years later. Here in a classic mess up the Union soldiers rushed forward into the crater only to find they could really get out many were slaughter including many newly recruited Black Soldiers, Petersburg being one of the first location they saw action. As the story goes some of the Union troops to save themselves from retribution from the Rebels turned on their own Black troops.......a sad place indeed.

So then I needed a route to get me to Williamsburg where I was planning to stay the night, this took me to the Battlefield at Malvern Hill. A much earlier campaign 1862 I think. Accordingly to the blurb one of the most completely preserved battlefields anywhere, mainly due to the relatively small scale and geographical limitations on the field.
The Union gun line this time drawn up in a defensive position, with open fields in front and excellent fields of fire.
From the other end of the battlefield the Main confederate gun line, whilst Lee is regarded one of the best Generals of the time this was not a master piece, his strategy to pound with guns and then send waves of infantry to attack front on the Union held ridge line. It didn't work.

FInally to Williamsbrug, this is a very popular destination for Americans with Jamestown and Yorktown close by, there are a mix of traditional historical attractions together with amusement park etc. The Williamsburg Colonial Village is very pleasant for and evening stroll......where period buildings have been kept, some renovated and anything new removed, this gives I guess a very close representation of a 1750-1780's town and it is well done, loads of people in costume. As it happened I arrived just when Washington was testing/drilling his troops for the crowd. I didn't shout out God Save the King ! It may not have been well received.

American Adventure day nine : "On to Richmond"

Sorry this post got deleted somehow so I have reposted....

Having spent several days in and around Fredricksburg which I would recommend to anybody, it was time to travel further south and in the words of the North "on to Richmond". It isn't that far so after a gentle start I headed for Cold Harbour a grim defensive battle fought by the Confederates with the Union throwing away troops in poorly co-ordinated frontal attacks. Grant admitted this was one of his biggest and needless mistakes of the war.
Some of the trenches built by the Confederate forces, having been given too much time by Grant's army.

Effectively this shot is taken from the union position with the Rebels just at the other end of the sunny trees. At the time it was an open field and the union forces attacked across 'no mans land' in a precursor to WW1 type battles.

Back in time then to Gaines's Mill fought in 1862..... A really nicely preserved but fairly small battlefield. A Union victory as the rebels attempt to destroy the remnants of an escaping Federal army which manages to get away. Should you ever visit watch out for midges down by the River !

The top field confederates attack union position this time up hill and into the face of a strong position along the line of the wooden fences.
Finally I visited the Museum of the confederacy which is attached to the Confederate White House in Richmond. This served as the Confederate centre of power during most of the war and where Jefferson Davis lived. The museum has some really impressive exhibits and many famous captured Confederate flags. Well worth a visit.
There were many more artifacts in the museum in.culding General Lee grey Cowboy style hat. JEB Stewart's field kit etc etc....

Friday 22 July 2016

Historicon : some of the other games

I didn't put all the photos in the previous posts so here are just a few of the other least the ones I took photos of....l can't remember what they all were.

American civil war Carnage and Glory
Charge of the light Brigade BIG!
Massive medieval battle

Took this shot at 10:30 in the evening when I was going to bed.
Beautiful WW2 in 28 mm
Possibly the largest ancient, Roman and Gauls I think, game ever the shot doesn't do it justice it is about 25 feet long !!!
Lots of naval games, serious guys looking at mainly blue cloth
Some sci-if but not that much
This was just the main hall with games insight or so other rooms as well.
Not everything perfect but people were having fun gaming

Finally I think Austerlitz in lovely 6 mm