Friday 23 June 2023

Bolt Action in Sicily, Peninsular Dragoons and lots more Panzers

We have had a few busy days recently and our normal rhythm was disrupted when our daughter managed to end up in hospital. Nine stitches later, which have now been removed, and she is absolutely fine. But this crashed some plans we had for last week. Things back to normal this week before a number of holidays which are planned over the summer. There is a danger all this activity might impact on my hobby time and gaming ?

Anyway a mixed post today to catch up before we head to Wales for a week away.

First up George came up for a battle in the dungeon. I had originally planned a larger Ancient game but with my planning time limited I swopped to a simpler Bolt Action game using my Sicily collection. This saw the Americans defending against a German assault to capture three objectives. Just to give some variety and get the battle into action quickly we used the Chain of command patrol phase. This worked pretty well getting the Germans into the assault much quicker. Vehicles were brought on along roads from the baseline. Onto the action.

The two forces were quite different to hopefully ensure an interesting battle, the German force is dominated by Infantry
Some limited artillery but importantly one of the 215th Pamzer Battalion Tiger tanks, we had some special rules for this as they notoriously broke down on Sicily 
The Americans have a more mixed force with a Sherman an M8, mortars and a number of heavy machine guns
The Germans all deploy during the first turn, the infantry including some Fallschirmjager , the plan if you can call it that was to go for the two side objectives and leave the centre alone ?
GI’s in the farmyard 
Not surprisingly the Germans start taking fire immediately some units get pinned but generally the rest are able to keep moving
Knowing that the Tiger would be both scary and hard to knock out it came on immediately and headed down the road to the right
It starts taking fire from the Sherman but they miss as the Tiger takes aim ! It of course hits the Sherman but I roll a 1 for damage so fails to knock it out.
Having rolled really badly at the start George got the first activation dice next turn after some debate he gave it to the Sherman rolling a 6 to hit then a 6 to damage and another 6 to knock out the Tiger !!!!! dismay on the German side 😢
Anyway the battle goes on the Germans are able to respond knocking out the M8 with a direct hit from their mortar. The infantry despite the heavy fire is closing in on both objectives on the flanks. But the rocky outcrop where the objective is sitting is very exposed to enemy fire
We are close to the end of the battle
The Germans get close to both objectives knocking out pretty much all the American infantry but are not able to close for the win.
The GI’s holding the centre can sit pretty watching the Tiger burn in the distance. A fun game, bolt action giving enough challenge without too much complexity, nice to get the Americans on the table again, it does make me think a slight expansion to the force is due at some point. Either some more infantry or perhaps some Paratroopers
Weather in the UK has been unbelievable over the last couple of weeks and although I haven’t charged any photos this was just to show I have been out cycling.
Tanks tanks tanks ! 
Around Christmas we picked up an painted some British for the Western desert campaign. Although the force has only been out a couple of times there are plans to have a bigger battle. At the time I started looking at picking up some German panzers to supplement the force I already have and so they could support Steve’s Italians. Retailing at £90 the flames of war Afrika Korps box set seemed a good place to start if expensive. Searching Amazon you could get the box for around £60. I thought I would wait. Checking in every few weeks the price has gradually come down. Last week it hit a new low at £45 with free postage….this was too good a bargain to miss so I picked up the set, it works out at just over £2 per item a real bargain.
…and some painting in the background I have been working on some British Heavy cavalry
British heavy Dragoons, I gave these the 1812 helmets but the next unit will probably have the forage hats provided.
They are the warlord figures and thankfully the swords are a good thickness. I still need to get a couple more for the second unit so will hopefully pick these up cheap somewhere.

Well that’s the update for now, lots going on, I am taking some painting with me to wales in case it rains and hopefully get a battle with command and colours.

Thanks for checking in


Thursday 15 June 2023

52nd Oxfordshire Light Infantry : Peninsular War

A few family commitments this week but I have managed to finish off the next British Peninsular regiment. 

52nd Oxfordshire Light infantry,
 these are are the rest of my Victrix infantry painted up, I only just had enough to complete the unit so have had to hide a couple of figures on the back row. I now need some Portuguese Cacadores to complete the light division.

A few more Sicily holiday photos

We spent a day in Catania, some parts of which are nice others less so. The medieval castle which is the only remaining building from the period the rest having been destroyed in a major earthquake in the 1600’s it is now a museum and art gallery.
Catania also has a WW2 museum. To be honest it was slightly disappointing mainly consisting of photos and pictures, however a few interesting items, some artillery
A couple of interesting planning maps
And a collection of weapons.

That’s it for now thanks for checking in 👍


Sunday 11 June 2023

Shenandoah Valley Campaign 1862 : Battle of Kernstown

I have had my eye on playing the main battles from Thomas Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah Campaign for a while. Several of you out there in the blogosphere I know have played many of the battles so there is plenty of information to develop suitable scenarios for my 28mm collection. The plan is to play the six main battles, Kernstown, McDowall, Front Royal, Winchester, Cross Keys and Port Republic using as close to historical setups as I can manage with my collection. The main challenge will be Winchester which was as far as I remember a much larger engagement but I will deal with that later. Each battle will have its own victory conditions and we will keep a ‘football league’ type scorecard for the overall campaign. With the weather hot and sunny this weekend we kicked off the campaign with the Battle of Kernstown, March 23rd 1862.

As very brief introduction to the battle Jackson is probing north with a view to capturing the strategically important town of Winchester. As his divisional cavalry probes north he believes they have surprised the Union forces in camp and he orders an all out advance believing the Union troops to be retreating. However they aren’t retreating and instead Shield’s Division moves to a strong defensive position on a prominent hill overlooking Pritchards Farm. Rather than assault directly the confederates attempt to outflank the position but are blocked by more Union troops coming from the rear. In the end stalemate develops with both sides giving their best but not scoring a decisive win.

A nice map poorly copied from the internet showing the six battles with dates.
Lucky lots of info on all the battles and useful maps here is the one I have used mainly for our Kernstown battle
And the setup, we join the battle as Fulkerson’s Brigade  advances toward Pritchard Hill they have realised that the Skirmishing on the valley turnpike was just that and the Union forces have stolen a march with Kimball taking up a strong position on Pritchard hill already, Garnetts brigade who are close behind them have been diverted left to try and outflank the hill. Asby and his 7th Virginia Cavalry are still skirmishing over the river along the turnpike. For the Union Sullivan is marching down the turnpike. Burk for the confederates and Tyler for the Union will arrive on a randomised roll somewhere close to sandy ridge. The objectives for the confederates is to break through and get as many units off the table and/or take Prichard’s hill. The Union must stop them.
Garnetts Brigade marching past the Opequon Church, Kimballs brigade can be seen up on Pritchards Hill
The 7th Virginia cavalry skirmishing up the turnpike
Union forces on Pritchards hill
Battle starts on the right
Although historically they were a bit further back we had the Confederate Chew artillery on the table just behind Kernstown itself
Garnetts brigade hurries off to the left. Slightly fearful the Union reserves might not arrive we adapted the rules such that any confederate troops reaching the line of the stone wall would trigger the arrival of Tyler’s brigade
Cannon open up from Pritchards hill
Fulkersons Virginians can be seen just over the bridge opening fire on Kimballs brigade
By some trick Burk’s confederate brigade roll a six and arrive second turn making the Union General very nervous 😀 nothing between them and the baseline !
With the arrival of Burk further left Garnett starts to order some of his regiments  to turn off the road and advance towards the base of the hill.
You can now see firing starting all along the line
Sullivan is determined to drive away the cavalry
“Double time double time lads”
The rest of Garnetts brigade turns up the Middle Road, this will force the Union to spilt any reserves and make them very strung out
Some of the cavalry pull back over the bridge
With the confederates pushing forward Tyler’s brigade finally arrives
Just as the confederates reached the road
As the rebels push left Kimball and Sullivan push towards the river realising they only have limited confederates in front of them.
Cavalry pulled back to hold the bridge
Nervous of a major drive by the Union to take Kernstown itself and outflank them the confederate general places these 33rd Virginian infantry in the church yard where they will stay the whole battle holding the flank 
Some of the confederates pushing through the trees on sandy ridge take a battering and are forced to temporarily pull back
Forming out into line to fire !
Union troops are now at the bridge which we can’t afford to lose
Tough fighting on Pritchards hill forces several on the Union regiments to pull back but they are able to regroup 
Caught in the flank by fire from Pritchards hill these confederates are done for pulling back at double speed
A huge gap has opened up in the Union reserve line the confederates just need to push forward !
A shot looking down the battlefield, the confederates have numerical superiority at this end but can they make it count ?
With some disorder on the hill and the day getting late a unit of Rebels charge up the hill, but the Union manage to turn the guns and catch them with grape shot they rebels are decimated 🙁
Close now to the end of battle, the Union have pushed hard at the bridge and Kernstown but they are held back
The church providing a bastion for the defenders, the centre of the battlefield is strangely quiet 
At the stone wall the confederates haven’t quite made it, they are breaking over the wall and have significant advantage.

Another fine battle, ultimately we gave the win to the Union as neither of the Confederate objectives had been reached. However with a greater kill rate and a clear advantage  the battle wasn’t a complete flop for Jackson. The Union get three points for the win and one for the casualties they caused, the Confederates get two for the greater casualties. So the campaign stands as follows.

Next up McDowell although this won’t necessarily be played straight away. This battle has made me realise I do need to paint up a few more ACW troops when I get a chance. Having played three excellent big games in a row I am feeling a lot of love for my wargaming collections at the movement ☺️

Thanks as always for checking in. No games for the next week as I am busy with other stuff, but hopefully some painting and some interesting trips planned, and I need to sort out a battle for George ?