Monday 29 October 2018

Hail Cid Valencia AAR

I had a day off today and went over to Chris Flowers for a game of El Cid using the Hail Caesar rules. Jerry Miller kindly organised and umpired the game so I got to play with the collection for the first time!

The game would be heavily influenced by the film and about half of the players were either El Cid first timers or Hail Caesar first timers.

I was given command of the Moors with Malcolm and Mike on my flanks whilst opposite me Richard, Chris and Brian would command the Spanish Christian forces.

At one end of the table were the walls of Valencia and at the other a monastery, clearly the Cids first task would be to rescue Sofia Lauren from the Monastery and then it was just a question in my mind of when the Christian Knights would debauch from the City and if Alphonso would arrive with further reinforcements. I wasn't a million miles away from the truth as it goes.

A level of minor confusion was added by the presence of at least 8 El Cid model figures on the table, only one of them of course being used as the man himself.

It was to  be a large game, I have a fair number of troops, but Jerry's megalomania has really kicked in with this collection and the volume of quality troops he has got to the table in only a few months is quite astonishing.

As it happens we only used about 3 quarters of our combined forces for the game.
Just one of the many El Cid's on table this is the Gripping Beast one

The Christian Forces were as follows.

Rodrigo Diaz Commanding rating 8

El Cids bodyguard 2 units of light horse
Valencia Garrison 4 x unarmoured foot, 1 x archers, 2 x crossbows
Asturian Light Horse x 4
Asturian Knights x 4
Leon armoured foot x 3
Leon unarmoured foot x 3
Leon slingers x 1
Leon crossbows x 1
Catalan Armoured Foot x 3
Catalan unarmoured foot x 2
Catalan Slingers x 1
Catalan Archers x 2

Alphonso's Royal Knights x 4 may or may not turn up (Of course they did!)

Each section of the army had its own commander with a rating of 8.

The Moorish Forces were:

Commander Ben Yusuf rating 8

Cordoba armoured foot x 2
Cordoba Unarmoured foot x 2
Cordoba Archers x 1
Cordoba Crossbows x 2
Cordoba Light Horse x 1
Cordoba Armoured Horse x 3
Cordoba Light Horse Archers x 3
Berber Light Horse x 6
Berber unarmoured foot x 6
Berber archers x 4
Black Guard Foot x 6
Black Guard archers x 3

Three commands all rated at 8.

All of the skirmishers for both sides had the MARAUDERS rule allowing no deductions for being outside command radius.

The Knights had the LANCE special rule, reducing saving throws of the enemy by one, the horse archers had PARTHIAN SHOT allowing a closing shot before they evade. Berber and Black Guard foot had LONG SPEARS negating enemies charge bonus and making them a little tougher. Odd units also had STUBBORN or TOUGH FIGHTERS, but as predicted before we started we all forgot to use these last ones.

Overall the forces were balanced. The Moors had one extra unit and slightly more missile troops, this was more than balanced by the quality of the Christian forces, particularly the Knights.
The first moves did not bode well for the Moors, we had decided to engage the Christians as quickly as we could suspecting that reinforcements were pending. Unfortunately the foot had other ideas, both Malcolm and  Mike's foot divisions failed to move at all and my Black Guard only managed a single march. This was made slightly less frustrating as the Christians had their own issues getting their foot moving forward.

The next two moves Malcolm blundered with the same unit and in both cases got a headlong advance meaning he had 2 units of foot charging off ahead of his cavalry, the rest bumbled along sedately whilst Mikes Berbers refused to move at all for a further two moves. My Black guard continued a steady advance in the middle with the horse archers scoring first blood in the game with some long range archery at Brians leading Knights.

I must just mention the above model, the photo does not do it justice, this is a conversion of a Warhammer unit that Jerry put together as Ben Yusuf himself with his slave guards. Very nice!

As the forces closed on each other El Cid had ridden to the Monastery, rescued Sofia Lauren and belted back to take command of his forces. No issues with command roles there!
This particular El Cid sculpted I think by Mark Copplestone appeared on table at least three times
The first melee of the game came as El Cids bodyguard were released by his return to the army and charged Mikes light cavalry. A balanced fight with each commander winning one melee and losing the other. Unfortunately for Brian, Mike had three more units in support and was able to feed them in once the moved passed to the Muslim turn and see the Christians off. One unit broken each and one unit of Christian light horse retiring at full speed behind the heavy Knights.

The Black Guard now occupied the centre of the table with their right flank anchored on an impassable marsh and skirmishers thrown out and causing some pain and frustration to Brians Christian Cavalry.

However at the same time King Alphonso turned p as predicted with a further force of 4 units of armoured Knights.

Mikes great block of Berber foot was still sat on the base line practically but his cavalry had now driven back Brians light cavalry and was harassing the supporting Knights.

I had pulled by my light cavalry back to fill the gap that was starting to open up on my left as Malcolms foot charged forward after their blunders and his cavalry engaged with the Christian hordes now pouring out of Valencia.

Alphonsos newly arrived Knights charged Malcolms exposed Andalusian foot and forced them back whilst Brians Knights charged the Black guard with slightly less positive results. Brians Knights retired after losing and inflicting about equal numbers of casualties. In my go my archers went back forward to harass Brians men only to have him charge me again and force half of the Black Guard back one move.

Mikes Berbers finally got going and made tree moves all at once followed by another 3 from memory whilst the cavalry melee under the Walls of Valencia started to drag units from both sides in as reinforcements and Malcolms forces were gradually pushed back.

As we called a halt to proceedings it was again clear that the game had a long way to go. The Christian right under Richard and Chris was pushing Malcolm back giving his Andalusians a mauling, meanwhile on the other flank two great blocks of untouched Berber foot faced Brians also untouched infantry and were gradually turning the Christian flanks so eventually a battle set up to play across the length of the table would entirely swing into a game across the width with the Christians under the walls of Valencia.

The Christians were doing marginally better but there was a huge amount left to play for. The Christians claimed victory but we were not so sure.

A cracking game with the three who had not played before being converted I think.

Thanks for reading and please return for our next thrilling instalment.

Thursday 25 October 2018

An Eclectic Workbench Update

So I am having fun with painting just now rather than focusing on a particular project. It has the advantage of allowing me to finish off odd half painted figures and still let me feel like I am achieving something.

As you can see the mix of projects is as about as eclectic as it gets.

Wars of the Rose men at arms. Both foot and mounted, always wanted to do some of these in the full plate white armour since I watched Excalibur years ago. Forgive the blury first image. These are lovely scults and simple to paint being nearly all steel. Plenty more of these to do but for now happy just to enjoy painting them. Couple of choices in terms of gaming. I can either build a small Lion Rampant force for skirmish type games or I can join Kens "The Yarkshire Gamers" latest venture and do a contingent for the italian wars. I can always decide after I have painted a few more I suppose.
Another of the Studio Siberia Cossacks, this will be the first of the Shkiro's wolves unit. 7 more to paint for this unit to be done. Quite a different style of sculpt but they fit well with Copplestone.
An irregular horseman for my stalled Sikh Wars Project. I am not too worried about the project it will get going again when other projects near completion, it was always goign to be long term.
Just to confirm that I have not forgotten about the Swedes, here is the officer for one of my last two units, probably be for the Sodra Skanska regiment.
This Gallowglass is the latest addition to my Elizabethan Irish range, I think this will give me 9 so 3 more is the first Irish unit finished.
An FT17 speed painted to get it on the table for our recent Russian Civil War game, happy with how this has come out despite using a load of wet and druy brushing techniques to get it done quickly.
One of the Plastic Warlord guns for the potential late 17th century project we are looking at. I will do another in red but this one in plain wood makes it much more generic for use in various armies across the period. Shame about the mould line.

Before I got around to posting this I had a few more bits of the workbench to share too. These Saxon Dragoons leave me over half finished for the Kurprinz regiment for the Great Northern War Saxon army.
Another irregular for the Sikh Wars, this is a Perry Afghan who will become a Muslim Hill Tribes horseman in terms of the Sikh forces.
I have even managed to paint something for the retreat from Moscow project, this Russian officer will be a command figure for one of the Genadier units, ideally for use in both Sharp Practice and Black Powder games. I have a few more Russkies on the workbench to follow soon.
These three Russian infantrymen will allow me to finish my first company of 8 Grenadiers for the retreat from Moscow project. Lots more to do on this but I am happy to paint the odd figure as the fancy takes me. At some point I will decide to make a serious effort with this again and anything I paint now will just give me a headstart.
This Bolshevik infantryman is quite nice with his belt of ammo and red hat ribbon, another Studio Siberia creation I have painted hisi uniform slightly different colours too so the next unit can be  a little less regular.
On the table being finished off as we speak is a further Russian Grenadier, a White Russian officer and a handful of Irish Kern. I have made a wee start on the next unit of Swedish dragoons but I dont feel any pressure to really push on with these just yet. I think the Irish will be my focus for the next week or so. I have a week off prior to Fiasco so may get a few of the Kern and Gallglsss finished to clear the decks for the new Perry figures. The next game might encourage me in one direction or another as far as the Great Northern War stuff is concerned.

And just as I was about to post I thought I might give you a sneak preview of the Irish coming off the workbench, Should be passing these to the basing department soon and have  aproper post with lots of pictures to share.

Thanks for reading. See you again soon.

Saturday 20 October 2018

Russian Civil War Game AAR The Railway Bridge

So full disclosure, having spent about 3 hours putting the first version of this post together with about 30 or so nice photos I somehow managed to delete the lot and cant get them back. Aaaagggghhh!!!

Thanks to chum Chris Charlton I do have a few of his pictures to share for what was a great fun game.

When looking at the scenario I wanted to try something that captured the flavour of the period. There were some key characteristics of the Civil War in Russia. The vast distances involved meant that railways were the best way to move troops around, rivers were natural barriers and used for defences and wide flanking moves by cavalry were a common tactic.

With all this in mind our game was to involve a White regiment defending a railway bridge over a river. 3 regiments of Bolsheviks were arrayed against it supported by a large regiment of cavalry and supporting arms.

Meanwhile another regiment of white foot and a large force of Cossacks had crossed the river up stream and outflanked the reds hoping to to trap and destroy them against the river.

 The forces involved were as folows.


Bridge Defence
1 Regiment of Infantry, 4 x companies of trained foot. 1 x Machine gun and 1 x artillery in trenches.

Outflanking Force
1 Regiment of Infantry, 4 x companies of regular foot, 1 x machine gun and 1 x artillery
1 regiment of Cossacks, 4 x Sotnias of trained aggressive troops
2 x sotnias of Asiatic Cossacks, trained aggressive, one armoured car and one Tchanka MG Cart

1 x regiment of Infantry
1 x sotnia Cossacks
1 x FT17 Light Tanks

In Support

1 x Neuiport Fighter Biplane.

1 x mixed Assault regiment 2 companies of 9 sailers, regular and aggressive plus 2 companies of regular siberian rifles plus one naval machine gun
2 x regiments of Militia each having 4 companies of 8 figures plus one machine gun
2 x field guns
1 x large regiment of 6 Sotnias of 8 trained cavalry
1 x armoured car
1 x Sopwith Camel  fighter on a roll of 6 on a D6

I had envisaged that the Assault regiment, supported by the first Militia regiment would storm the bridge and stand a reasonable chance of taking it. The second regiment of Militia would hold their flank against the advancing regular white foot whilst the Red cavalry would take on the White cavalry and we would have 3 balanced fights.

Needless to say what actually happened was nothing at all like that. I really miust be clearer with objectives.
The assault regiemnt started well advancing towards the bridge to take on the garisson and takign the odd casualty from the artillery. The red artillery supporting their advance with suppresing fire on the white MG.

The Militia however decide that discretion is the bettwe part of valour and dig in around the village, whilst the red cavalry peel 2 sotnias off supported by the armoured car to face the 6 Cossack sotnias and send the other 4 forward to support the assault on the bridge.
The white response is for the flanking foot to start to march towards the bridge to reinforce the defenders whilts the Cossacks line up for a one sided battle with the red cavalry.
As the assault regiment closes on the bridge John throws his first Sotnia of red cavalry at the Cossack regiment, at this stage he gets a lucky break and roles a six for airsupport. The Sopwith Camel dives onto a Sotnia of Kuban cossacks and inflicts 4 casualties which also supresses the unit for a full turn. However with the bonus of aggressive and supported by other units the white cossacks drive off the badly mauled reds.

A second move sees the the red followed up and destroyed, John throws his last unit of cavalry in and this also is driven off. His armoured car inflicts some casualties but is ultimately swamped by two Sotnias of Asiatic cossacks.
The red assault regiments have now however closed with the bridge defenders. The naval infantry at the front inflicts heavy casualties on the defenders but is driven back in disarray,the following move and the remaining assault troops close ont eh defenders. The front three units of whites are defeated but there are virtually no reds left and certainly no fresh troops to exploit this sucess. Richard has brought a unit from the other side of the bridge which is ensconced in the village and 4 more units of whites are closing on whats left of the assault troops.

The red cavalry in the mean time have crossed onto the flood plain next to the river ready to support the badly battered assault regiment. At this stage the White airplane arrives and creates havoc with the first Sotnia of reds, as they advance across the plain the second unit is decimated by machine gun and artillery fire and John decides to save what troops he can from the attack.

As the cavalry ride back through the militia in the village I reminded of the scene in the fiilm Zulu. You know the one where the British defenders cheer the arrival of colonial cavalry which then rides straight past them. The poor old militia sit in their trenches and watch the red cavalry retreat off table leaving them to their fate.

The Cossacks meanwhile have cleared all in front of them but have 2 Sotnias hors de combat. They now charge a stray Militia unit outside the Village which should be a simple victory to them, lots of poor dice later the slightly damaged militia retreat leaving the Cossack Sotnia under the guns of the rest of the regiment in the village. Oh dear!
But this is a phyric victory, the Militia company is finished off and the Cossacks close the trap around the two Militia units. Reinforcements in the shape of Caucasian cossacks and an FT17 arrive and clatter over the railway bridge and the the two regiments of white infantry prepare to march forward out of their trenches. The militia re lookign at each other wondering when the next train will be along to pull them out. Fat chance comrade!

So despite doing entirely differently to expected a fun game for all players. It cemented the rules a bit more in my head and I do like them. Keen for another go in the near future.

The Caucasian Cossacks and the FT17 are newly painted so more of those in another post.

Apologies again for lossing all of my wonderful phtos of this game but Chris's pictures are still nice, cheers Chris.

See you again soon.