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 🤣


Friday, 19 February 2021

AWI Officers and Command and Colors update

 With last weekend taken up playing the Al Andalus game I have made slightly underwhelming progress on the painting front. But preparing for up and coming AWI games I have completed a couple more officers one of each, I do need to think about some officers on foot for Bunker Hill !

Colonial General
British Mounted Officer
Also did the extra gun crew I need for Bunker Hill, these have been painted fairly simply so at a pinch they might just appear on either side 😬 Their Howitzer is on the way this evening .

We have also managed to keep our Command and Colors games going as we work through the Pennisular Campaign the seconds part of Bussaco and the Battle of Redinha
Bussaco (Ney’s Assault), the British again in a strong defensive position
The way the cards fell the French only option was a strong assault down the left flank with Marchand, this was almost successful but ultimately very costly
The British stick it to the french with bayonets drawn and then consolidate in the central village
Next attempt the french go down the right (I’m nothing if not persistent!)
This attack is almost close to being successful and at this point the game is very close with only one banner between us.
Ultimately though the french on the right become isolated and are shot down, another good and close battle, won by the British 
Then we played Combat and Redinha 12 March 1811
I actually forgot to take any early photos (I had been drinking 🤪) so we are well into the battle here, the french hold the plateau north of the Town, at this stage again another very close battle the British initial assaults have been beaten back, the french are consolidating in the centre
This was a particularly close game and both french and British are very weakened with almost no full strength units left, a pincher assault on the remaining British light infantry actually clinched it in this one
Finally redressing the flow the french win 6 to 5

Still enjoying these games and we plan to continue through the whole scenario book before I make up the Prussians! And just as a teaser all this Napoleonic gaming, seeing other people’s active blogs has inevitably had a very bad influence on me. !!!!!!

More to come on the future KBO


Monday, 15 February 2021

Al Andalus : Battle of Molina de Segura 1020

Not a historical battle but part of my loosely organised ‘campaign’ focussed on Al Andalus between 900 and 1100 AD.  I was looking for another opportunity to get a slightly larger battle on the table, so decided for this battle to run it with two remote generals, avoid too much Fog of war but set them some clear tactical challenges to make them think before they committed to their plan.

Thanks here must go to Norm and Jonathan for stepping up to the invitation. It can be hard to command a remote army where you have little sense of ownership and limited ability to control the tactical decisions, turn by turn, hopefully they enjoyed the game as much as I did, constructive feedback welcome :)

So onto the is the pre- battle information they were sent.

The year is 1020, the Iberian pennisular once ruled over by the great caliphate of Córdoba has now broken into a number of smaller Kingdoms or Taifa. These petty kingdoms are almost constantly at war over land, borders and resources. The previous ruler of the Taifa of Valencia has recently died. To the South the Taifa of Denia now ruled by the once enslaved Mujahid ibn Yusuf ibn Ali (Mujahid) is keen to take the opportunity for a land grab. He has led a raiding force north into arid mountainous valley of the Segura River. An area at this time with only small villages and settlements. But he is making for the larger city of Orihuela. The new ruler of Valencia  Abd al-Aziz ibn Amir (al-Aziz) must protect his Kingdom but also build his reputation, he has marched South from his capital to intercept the invader and throw him back. (Whilst the battle is fictional the geography, time a characters are real)

Both armies have arrived during the hours of darkness in a narrow arid valley near the village of Molina de Segura. The two commanders aware that the enemy is about but unable to see them due to the darkness have ordered their troops to encamp in formation ready for battle early in the morning. There is likely to be limited time in the morning to redeploy before the expected battle.

Both armies were predominantly Arab based, although both have hired mercenaries to support their cause. The two generals were then provided a map of the terrain as below and their order of battle. They had to deploy for battle without knowing where the enemy were, but would be allowed to see the enemy at sunrise before their force was ordered into battle. As well as baseline deployment i gave the added spice of a couple of deployment option to throw the enemy from the start. Mujahid (Denia) would attack from the south (left) and Al-Aziz (Valencia) from the north (Right) below.  
Victory would be earned with simple points based system for destroying 1/3 or 1/2 of the enemy and capturing the River Hill in the bend of the river.
Sunrise on the day of battle and the two forces awake to find the enemy in position, it was immediately interesting to see the care and thought that had gone into devising their battle plans. Looking from the NE across Orange Grove Hill. Both sides recognised their cavalry would be better placed at this end of the battlefield with the slightly more open ground. Mujahid has been able to deploy a unit in advance in the walled field.
Al-Aziz as massed his infantry by the bridge and is determined to hold the hill, he has been allowed to place in ambush a single unit in the olive grove
....and also to place a single unit on the River hill itself, he chose his crossbowmen but they are isolated and exposed
From behind the Denian lines
Mujahid has positioned his extensive cavalry and camelry ready to sweep across the Orange Grove Hill
His Slavic mercenary warriors are over the river by the village
Mujahid with his Heavy Cavalry body guard
The battle then begins i had planned for a minimum of eight turns with the options for darkness then to fall on a D6
Al-Aziz rushes to cross the bridge
Mercenary heavy spearmen advance to hold the gorge 
The Slavs advance behind mounted crossbowmen 
Light horse disrupt the advance and the light Denian spearmen perhaps having had a bad nights sleep in the field are the first to break
Mujahid throws mercenary Christian knights to break through the gorge but they are turned back
Black Camel riders, playing as heavy cavalry have broken through and crashed into unsuspecting lightly armoured archers who are immediately disordered , but they don’t break !
Across the bridge the Spearmen have been ordered to fan out
Mujahid has cleverly massed all his archers in the centre and they turn the sky dark with arrows quickly wiping out the crossbowmen on the hill before they had a chance to fire a second volley
Of course we all know horses hate camels so they must test before they charge, needing anything less than a 10 both units of Valencian Cavalry fail to charge in the same turn !
Luckily the Valencian Archers roll tremendous low morale tests and stay in the fight, they can’t really damage the camel riders but they can hold them up
A second charge goes in on the gorge but the heavy spearmen like so many ‘Spartans’ hold the narrow gap
Eventually the second unit of camels makes its charge and there is a swirling mounted battle around the back of the hill
The Slavs attempt to contest the bridge 
And the spearmen come under heavy fire from the archers on the hill. Would have been nice to see a unit of cavalry sent across the river to chase them off but they are all engaged to the east.
The leading unit of Slavs has been chased off and the unit in the olive grove has ambushed the mounted crossbowmen
One unit of camel units  has been trapped
But more cavalry is now being directed up onto the hill
Eventually even the heroic archers are broken. The horse archers are ordered to disrupt  the advance and slow the out flanking move as much as possible.
The Archers now start to split their fire, but the Slavic spearmen are heavily outnumbered and cut down
The flank is turned and the potentially the way to the rear of the enemy.
This is the situation after 8 turns so darkness could now fall at anytime, the Black guard spearmen have retaken the hill for Al-Aziz and finally the archers arms are tired and their arrows start to miss their mark.
The unit of the battle the heavy mercenary Spearmen have been fighting a withdrawal action pulling back from the gorge and repulsing everything thrown at them 
Mounted crossbowmen can do little other than target from long range and this has little effect
Some very lucky morale tests keep the Valencia infantry in the battle
Darkness has nearly fallen but the Denian cavalry is now right over the Orange Grove Hill and threatening the enemy rear 
The Mercenary spearmen hold one more turn, but even ‘Spartans’ eventually die when heavily outnumbered
Darkness finally falls the black guard have held the hill and the arrows cant shake them off, all of the Valencian spearmen have been weakened and don’t have much fight left but they haven’t fled.
The flank and rear of the Valencian army is now open and with 1 or 2 more turns an attack up the rear of the hill could be mounted and the enemy potentially cut off or completely wiped out, but crossing the river in the dark is too dangerous
A shot looking down the battlefield as darkness falls.

After all this blood Al-Aziz had killed 5 of the enemy 12 units and held the Hill, Mujahid had killed 7 of the Valencian units so a draw with 3 points apiece and I didn’t need to fudge it.

A really enjoyable battle, from the planning where i tried to create a number of tactical challenges requiring he generals to think carefully where they would attack and where hold the line. I thought I would share a few thoughts on how the battle unfolded for both sides

The blocking of the gorge by the Mercenary Heavy infantry was inspirational they completely blocked that quicker route to the rear and saw combat almost every turn but clung on. Al-Aziz getting across the ridge gave him some protection from being outflanked which as an obvious option. The massed archers in the centre from Mujahid was nearly a battle winner, whilst the dispersed archers on the other side were either wiped out or had little effect. The Slavs were a bit unlucky to end up outnumbered. The Heavy Arab warriors seen on Orange grove Hill in the last photo never really got into the battle and might have been better placed charging across the river. The camels who named to hit the archers were again unlucky as the archers really should have crumbled and fled rather than holding for 3 or 4 turns !

So the game provided a wonderful tonic for these annoying times, using KoW it was actually quick to play as the rules are quite brutal at this scale. The planning and set up took much longer....and I haven’t tidied up yet.

back to a bit of painting now, although i have some more ideas in my head for remote games

Thanks for watching :)