Monday 28 October 2019

More Sharp Practice with Tomahawks

Chris Flowers had missed the last two games of Sharp Practice using Steves AWI collection (and latterly the Indians Steve is painting for Chris, Shhhh dont tell him) mainly because he was on one of his many exotic holidays. As he will be on a different holiday next week in a hospital bed having his knee done we decided another game to let him get a feel for it was in order.

This time I would command some Natives and fight alongside Chris against Mark. Steve was Umpiring again to make sure we had the rules right.

A fairly open table again 6 feet deep and 4 feet wide.

Chris commanded a group of 24 Militia and 12 Indians, I had the other 12 Indians and 8 Jaegers.

Meanwhile those damned rebels under Mark had a formation of 24 Militia and another of 16 Militia along with a 6 man militia skirmish unit and another of riflemen.

52 Yankees vs 56 Tories and Indians.

The Rebel skirmishers deployed already on table behind the fences everything else would be activated through the deployment points. Our objective was the supplies in the barn.
Move one and the Tory Militia, Jaegers and the first group of Indians got forward really quickly, the Yankee militia advancing a little more slowly towards the fenced orchard in the middle of the table.

Shots are exchanged and first blood goes to the Jaegers, however with three flag cards on the bounce coming out the Jaegers are then forced to charge the rifle armed skirmishers, they only get half way and take a battering.
Chris's militia are hanging back behind the crest of the hill waiting for their Indian allies to arrive. Four turns of the Tiffin card and they are still nowhere t0 be seen, along with the smaller rebel militia group.

After much moaning Steve checks the deck and realises he has forgotten to put the number 5 cards in for these two units. Much grumbling but perhaps they might join the game now.
My native warriors are pushing down the left flank against the militia skirmisher with some ineffective long range musketry going on. My Jeagers are having the worst of a firefight with the Yankee riflemen and everyone else is steadily plodding forward.
At this point Marks firing suddenly takes a turn for the better and 3 of my Indians are cut down with three points of shock added, a level one leader my Indian chief is unable to remove the shock.

Meanwhile the other group are still off table working themselves up to join in the action.
Marks main firing line is now in position and his smaller militia force is on table and moving up. His rifles slip to the flank to support the militia skirmishers and the first devastating volley from the Militia knocks absolute lumps from my Jaegers.
Next move and Chris's Indians are finally on, however another volley into my Jaegers sees them reduced to two men, my Indians are blasted again by the militia and put me down to six men with 9 points of shock and a wounded leader. I cant activate them now until I roll a 5 or 6 to put him back in the game. The best I can do is push over the commander in chief to remove shock from these guys and the Jaegers.

Chris's Indians bypass mine and get stuck into the Militia whilst his Tory militia marches over the hill and angles itself to volley the rebel militia where it cant return fire. With two almost destroyed units though its all feeling a bit too little too late.

Thursday 24 October 2019

Winter War Bolt Action

Chum Chris has been slowly building the forces to fight the Winter War of 1939 between the Russians and Finns. With enough for a small game he asked me and Mark to bring the snow mats to the Garforth club for a game using Bolt Action.

The game being restricted by the figures and vehicles available, the Russians would suffer with a lack of infantry but a surfeit of armour. The Finns had the reverse issue with limited anti tank capability.
The Russians were advancing across a frozen lake with tree cover around the edges the Finns were dug in on the treeline at the edge of the lake.

I commanded the Finns, they had 2 rifle units with a command base, a medium machine gun and a bofors anti tank gun along with a Vickers 6 tonner light tanks in support.

Mark with the Russians had 2 rifle units also supported by a medium machine gun, command unit and light mortar. Their vehicle support consisted of 5 light tanks (3 T26 and 2 T37) a tankette and an SU12 truck mounted howitzer. One of the T26's had twin MG turrets rather than a gun which did not bode well for my Finns.
Most of the vehicles have been painted by Rich Croisdale and a fantastic job he has made of them. I particularly like the Finnish Vickers 6 Tonner in winter cammo.
The Finns deployed first from left to right with an infantry unit, the command, the anti tank gun in an emplacement, the next unit of foot, the MG, the tank and a sniper on the extreme right.

I had no idea where the Russians would come from but in retrospect i could have guessed Mark would not storm up the middle but would use the cover on the flanks.

Mark deployed one unit of foot with the MG and 4 tanks on his extreme right where he had most cover. The other tank along with the tankette the SU-12 the other infantry, mortar and command deployed on the extreme left of the table.

This left me a dilemma, I didn't have enough anti-tank capability to hold both flanks, half my infantry were in the middle where I couldn't use them and the right was held pretty much by a tank a sniper and an MG.

The firing started with my anti-tank gun hitting one of the light tanks causing superficial damage and setting it on fire, which effectively just pinned it for a move. I had better luck firing my extreme left infantry which killed all the crew of the Russian MG.

On my right the tanks and sniper fired and did no damage, the rest of my force remained on ambush orders. In retrospect I should have shifted my centre infantry company right to support that very thinly held flank.

The Russian armour returned fire as the infantry tramped forward and did no damage to start off.

The  Finns in the centre waited for a Russian charge over the ice which never came. Mark had realised early with little infantry and facing little anti-tank capability his best bet was to stand off in cover and take chunks out of the Finns with his armour.

Gradually my Finns began to be worn down by the tanks fire with little opportunity to respond.
The SU-12 moved up and despite taking fire from both the Vickers and the Sniper went into action.

Shot number two and 5 hits are scored on the sniper. Oh dear, the right flank just got a little thinner.

This galvanised me to re-enforce the right and the centre unit of Finns begins to make its way over to support the Vickers.
Seeing their chance the Russians on my right break cover and begin to advance. At last a target I can do something about.
On my left the machine gun tank in particular is taking lumps out of my Finns who are not dug in and the infantry force is becoming very much reduced.
On the right withering fire from the MG cuts down the Russians who are forced to drop to cover in the open. Mark however starts to range his mortar into the MG.
The anti tank gun is blazing away but the return fire is reducing its crew every turn.
Finally a good hit on a tank and it brews up, the newly painted crew legging it off over the ice.

The Russians on the right are decimated and going no further but the mortar finally hits the MG and puts it out of action. A consolation prize and the Vickers takes out one of the T-26's but with the MG gone and the anti tank gun down below half crew its time fr the Finns to pull back.
I concede to the Russians, Mark had played his hand well.

A lopsided game but we had used all the figures available so far for this beautiful collection. It looks great and with a few more figures will provide a really excellent game.

Monday 14 October 2019

A Couple More Buildings

I got around to the last two of my Hudson and Allan buildings, using the same method as the Inn.

A small village house and a slightly more substantial building.

I went for the soft amber colour I used on the Inn, I like this, its a rich colour and think it brings the buildings to life.
This first small house is one of my favourites of the whole set, I really like all the details in the woodwork and windows. Lots of character.
Again I used natural sunlight on a bright sunny day to picture them, we don't get it that often in the grim north so taking full advantage.

I have to be honest that this slightly bigger building I don't like quite as much, I think it has a little  less character than the first one.
I have painted the roof a brown to represent wooden roof tiles rather than slate.
The moulding around the door frame is a Little poor, perhaps this is just an old mould now, it doesn't spoil the model but is noticeable. I suppose if I had worked a bit harder on it I could have repaired it but I don't think it looks too bad.
My favourite part of the second building is the chimney as I think the stone work came out quite well.
That's all the Hudson and Allan buildings I have so far but I am keen to get some of the highland stone crofts, these will be ideal for the Border Reivers, the Elizabethan Irish and my forthcoming new project for 2020.

Thanks for reading see you all soon.

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Ebor Lard II Part 2 The Virgin and The Rearguard

So having finished off the Trumpton game, we retired to the bar area for sandwiches, a very nice lunch indeed and we re-convened for the afternoons entertainment.  Mark would be playing the Indian Mutiny game and I was playing the Mexican Adventure.

This is a historical period I have always fancied and read a little bit about, the lack of figures has been my main reason for delay. Gringo 40'S have some gorgeous figures but its a limited range and the figures don't mix well with other ranges be very big. Richard who ran this game had overcome this by converting Perry Plastic American Civil War figures and I have to say the effect was very good indeed.

Zoaves for the most part need a different paint job to become Turco's. The Contra Guerrilla's needed a bit more imagination but a soft fez head added to a US cavalryman looks great, with the same approach for the Contra foot. The Liberals are all from the Mexican range from Foundry as are the Legion skirmishers.

Richard explained the premise of the game really well, giving us a brief historical background followed by a tablet presentation with maps on the strategic situation we found ourselves in.

The Conservatives and French had pinned the Liberal army against the see in the North East and hoped to envelope and destroy them.

In the meantime an irregular force had sneaked through the Conservative lines carrying something precious on a mule train, this force was followed by Contra Guerrilla's intent on catching it.

The Liberals would break camp and try to break out whilst a small rear guard held a ridge to allow their escape.

So the scene was set, I was the Liberal regulars with the job of holding the ridge, Grant had the French regulars who needed to push me off. Steve led the Liberal irregulars with the precious cargo and Jeremy had the Contra Guerrillas. Forces were as follows.

Grants French

A formation of 3 x 8 Turco's
One skirmish unit 6 Foreign Legionaries
One Gun and 6 crew

Jeremy's Contras

A formation of 2 x 8 foot
One unit of 8 Cavalry
One small mountain gun and 4 crew

My Liberals

A formation of 2 x 8 State Militia
A formation of 3 x 8 Regulars
One unit of 8 Lancers

St eves Irregulars

Skirmishers 2 x 6
Militia one unit of 8
Mule train

For more detail see the Liberal  briefing sheets below, sorry it seemed a bit like cheating to photograph the briefing's of my adversaries.

Deployment for my Liberals would be around the crest of the ridge, Steve was just outside the village, Jeremy would be straight opposite Steve and Grant opposite me.
My stuff is first out and I deploy behind the hill where I am safe from artillery, as Grant points out, just like Wellington. The foot are actually just behind the crest but the hill is steep so I stick them at the bottom to stop them sliding and getting damaged.

Steve is next and quickly deploys into the village, his objective is to climb the church tower and unfurl the banner. If this seems familiar well it was lifted by Richard straight from Sharpe's Rifles, the difference bring that the inspiration for the banner is in fact a real banner the Banner of the Virgin De Guadeloupe.

The Contra push straight into the other side of the village whilst their cavalry cut right looking for ground that will suit them better.

Lastly the French pile on heading straight for the ridge with no messing about. The game is afoot!
It takes another two or three goes through the pack for the French and Contras to get themselves forward, I keep my troops safe behind the ridge whilst Steve deploys into the houses of the village and tries to batter down the door of the tower and Jeremy occupies houses to fire into the irregulars.

Finally its time to deploy onto the crest and now I need to hope my card comes out first.
Jeremy gets his mountain gun into a good spot to cover the village only to find that the wall is too 
high to fire over and he must move it again.

His Contras are however now in position to fire at Steves irregulars.
The Turcos fire first and the shock is already starting to pile up on my Militia.
Fortunately the next card is my regulars and we volley the gun and the Contra Cavalry, Grant manages to save all the hits on the gun but we put 5 shock on the Contras which will hopefully come in handy later.

Next out is my lancers and they pile forward into position to charge the Contra Cavalry, I am hoping to reach them before the legion can get to the edge of the wood and fire into me.
This turns out to be a poor plan, the Contras have repeating carbines and fire a devastating volley into me, followed by the gun and then to finish things off the Legion skirmishers. Its all I can do to hang on to the cavalry at all.

However my regulars are able to fire again and this time the gun takes some hits as well as the Contra Cavalry.
The return fire from the Turco's again causes significant shock on my state militia who are already starting to look shaky.
In the village the mountain gun is now in position but Steve is working hard not to give Jeremy any targets and the church tower door is beginning to splinter.
My cavalry have withdrawn and so have the Contra Cavalry so its now a slogging match between our infantry and the Gun, as its behind cover this is really difficult to hit. We are doing damage but the damage on the state militia is mounting up quicker an they are on the verge of breaking. My consolation is that the gun crew is starting to take casualties too.
Finally Steve batters down the tower door, streams up the steps and unfurls the banner of the Virgin De Guadeloupe. I hadn't known it to start with but the sight of the banner immediately lifts all shock from the units that are able to see it (pretty much everything except my cavalry) the State Militia which had looked on the verge of collapsing is now back in the game. For me we are only half way through but this is probably a game changer fro the Conservatives, I don't think they can come back from this. Fair play though they are determined to try.
Grant re-aligns his Turco's so all three units are firing at the two State Militia, and whilst these fellas have no shock they do have 4 casualties already. My regulars now only have one target left unless they move, the gun.

I get some furtherluck here as the guns hits with 5 dice but I manage to save the whole lot. The return volley from the regulars takes the gun crew down to just two figures so it will now take three actions to re-load, essentially they cant fire for another two turns.

The Militia fire into the Turco's and Grant returns my favour and saves the lot. Within two moves he has piled the shock back onto the state militia and first one then the other breaks.
I re-align my regulars and I can now hit the Turco's as well as the gun.  Steve's Militia have lined the edge of the town and are firing in to the urco's flank.

Jeremy's Contras are still pretty much intact and nipping at the heals of Steve's irregulars but they cant undo the damage done by the banner and the Turco's are now starting to take too much damage to stand a chance of capturing the hill, the Conservatives accept defeat at this stage and we all shake hands after an action packed and fun game. Thanks very much gents for a fantastic afternoon.
Every one packs up and prepares to re-convene at the pub for a curry, unfortunately Mark s driving and has plans so we need tO get off and say our farewells to a great bunch of guys.

Mark has had an equally entertaining game of Indian Mutiny which he regales me with all the way home, below are a few of his snaps of the game.

A thoroughly enjoyable day all round we will definitely be returning next year, a massive thank you to John Savage for organising it and for all the guys who put games on, the level of work put into the games was phenomenal, cheers.