Colours 2019 Preview: ACW, Battle of Antietam. 15mm Fire & Fury.

I don’t know, you wait ages for some ACW action then…

A few weeks ago now I had the absolute pleasure of being invited round Andy’s to take part in a playtest of the Antietam game that he and a few of the South London Warlords are putting on at Colours this year. As I was supposed to be playing in Daren’s Kursk game I wouldn’t have been able to join them so jumped at the chance to have a go (even more glad now as we’ve had to call off the Kursk game so I would have missed it at the show!). As any of you might remember from the stunning Plancenoit game Andy put on I was dead keen to check this out, especially as we had been privy to snaps of the build from Andy over a good number of weeks as he made the terrain and it was looking ace.

The rules used for the game will be the new edition of Brigade Fire and Fury, which are great by the way, and the figures come from Andy and Des’ beautiful 15mm collections. I won’t bore you with a detailed AAR as this post is just going to be a feast for the eyes but it was a tough fight and you could see why it was such a bloody one historically. Doug and I, playing the Confederates, were gradually pushed back from the Western Woods and the hill by both weight of numbers and weight of shot (the massed Union guns were brutal!). However this came at a huge price to the attacking Union forces and when we finished the Rebel reinforcements were just arriving to knock them back again. Des was completely made up that his lads had made it to the Sunken Lane despite some accurate and deadly long range artillery fire from my guns but he didn’t manage to break into the position at the first go – again we had to stop just as things had got interesting!

It was a marvellous day’s wargaming and many thanks to Andy and Mrs. T for being such great hosts and Andy, Doug and Des for a great game. I’m sure it is going to be a wow game for all you lucky punters at the show!

All pics are clickable for a better view.

Ream’s Station: 15mm ACW Brigade Fire and Fury @ Martin’s no.2

A few weeks after the last big bash at Martin’s I had the pleasure of being invited round for a one vs one game. The battle was an interesting one with the Union set up in field fortifications having advanced to cut a railroad and awaiting the inevitable counter attack from the Confederates. I took the Union army and it was a really great days wargaming.

Apart from the forces in the field works I had a Brigade of infantry returning to my command and the possibility of some cavalry turning up later if certain things happened. I quickly decided on a nice simple plan. I was going to hold with my infantry and, if Martin did not swing round towards where they were stationed, I was going to move my cavalry on the extreme left of my position out of the works and combined with the Infantry brigade returning towards the same flank use them to try and roll up the Rebs as they attacked.

In the centre Martin chose the direct approach, and he wasn’t mucking about either, launching his troops into a charge without even trying to soften me up with artillery first. This bold style nearly paid off as the initial assault managed to destroy my forward battery and push back one of my brigades, however I did managed to hold the line and Martin’s lads were forced to retreat with both of us suffering quite a lot of casualties. It was taking him longer to get the attack going on the right and I had a chance to whittle the attackers down by fire before they managed to charge home and this attack failed to break into my positions and was repulsed with somewhat heavy losses.

Over on the left my mobile infantry brigade was moving into position to try and catch the assaulting Confederates in the flank when a Rebel Cavalry Brigade appeared behind them. Luckily my own cavalry had cleared the trenches by then and moved out to screen the rear of their footslogging comrades and pretty soon they were heavily engaged with their southern counterparts. I also decided to withdraw the remaining troops from the first line of works to the second so that the fresher brigades could take the brunt of any new attacks.

Martin was reinforced with a fresh Division of infantry and they were soon ready to get stuck in after the survivors of the first assault and their artillery had taken my defenders under fire with both sides dishing out casualties on each other. My outflanking brigade had their attack stymied by Martin redeploying a unit to counter the treat and were also seriously under threat of being hit in the jacksie by the chasing Reb cavalry which had brushed aside my own donkey-wallopers attempts to prevent them doing so.

The new assault from Martin’s good quality and large Brigades crashed into my defences and this time they were able to get a foothold in the position and combined with some deadly artillery fire falling on my supporting and outflanking units this time managed to take the second line of entrenchments, and soon a couple of my brigades were breaking and I decided that the gig was up and conceded the game. I did think after rebuffing the first assault I was in with a chance of winning, especially if my flank attack succeeded but unfortunately this ended up fizzling out and I was unable to hold against the second assault.

Big thanks to Martin for a cracking game as usual, always a pleasure playing against him as he’s a true gent, and I to get to use his lovely collection of figures too!

Game at Martin’s: Battle of Stones River, 15mm ACW BF&F

Back in May myself, Des, Andy, Ian and Doug met at Martin’s for a Brigade Fire and Fury bash in his lovely shed o’war. I must admit I was not familiar with this battle so was looking forward to it once Martin told us which one it was. Apparently he had put this game on at Salute 25 years ago but had not played it since so thought it apt to use as a training game for the new edition of the rules.

Morning cuppas consumed saw us in the shed being briefed on the ensuing battle. I was on the Union side along with Des and Doug, with myself taking Crittenden’s Corp, Des Thomas’ and Doug McCook’s. The traitorous Rebel’s were handled by Ian, Andy and Martin taking control of Polk and Hardee’s Corps. At the start of the battle the Reb’s were all, with the exception of a cavalry brigade, on table with a total of 5 Divisions that controlled 20 Brigades. We had 8 Divisions with 25 Brigades under command at the start of the battle plus a Cavalry brigade with a couple of Brigades off table so forces were quite equal to start off with but tipping towards a Union advantage later in the day.

The Confederates did have one advantage though. Apparently Rosencrans, commanding the Army of the Cumberland, had planned an assault on the extreme right wing of the Confederate positions near the fortified hill, however the Rebs had also planned an attack for an hour earlier and so were going to catch us off guard. This meant that most of our units were locked in place until certain times and Doug’s lads would have to roll to see if they were completely caught with their pants down and sipping their morning coffee or had managed to get into line when they were attacked. Apparently the General in charge of the right wing where the Southern onslaught would fall tried desperately to get Rosencrans to listen when he told him that he believed they were massing for a surprise attack along his front but he chose to ignore him and concentrate on his own plan. So things had the chance of going very wobbly very quickly and Des and Andy telling horror stories of when they had played the scenario before at the WHC didn’t help our initial morale!

With this information in place though we decided that we would carry on with our left wing attack with me committing 2 of my Divisions to it once they were activated whilst my 3rd Division filled in for Des’ one in front of the Rebel trenches in the centre so that he could move it across to assist Doug’s lads in what we were expecting to be a valiant but doomed holding action/phased withdrawal. Andy kicked things off in his usual laid back style smashing into Doug’s boys as they were having their morning coffee, but luckily for us the boys in Blue were quick to get themselves sorted out and they managed to survive the first onslaught quite well. This battle between Doug and Andy’s commands carried on all day see-sawing one way and the other but with Doug having to give ground constantly, albeit whittling down the attacking Confederates all the time.

As soon as his Divisions had been released and I had taken over the trenches in front of the Rebel position in the centre, Des launched himself at Andy’s troops too which managed to stabilise the centre of our line and also managed to blunt an attack from Ian’s troops as well. Again things turned into a right ding-dong battle here too and both sides lost a lot of troops. Our reserves had started to arrive though and we were confident that they could tip the balance and be used to launch a strong counter attack as the Rebs were quite worn out from attacking nearly constantly all day.

Meanwhile whilst all this was happening I had been slowly but surely making my way round the left flank to get ready to assault the Rebels on the hill (I did have a hard time with failed movement rolls and kept going half speed which didn’t help), I also made a bit of a grand battery and started shelling the bejeezus out of Martin’s lads that were dug in facing my lads in the trenches and the plan was to attack him as soon as my flanking force went in and the artillery had softened up the entrenched troops enough.

Unfortunately for me we ran out of time – it was the first real test of the new edition of the rules so time was lost in sorting out queries etc – but all in all it was a great game. The fighting was pretty intense and I loved having an ACW bash again and I must say I liked the new version of the rules. As usual it was a pleasure playing with the chaps and big thanks to Martin and Susan for the lovely lunch too!

Bijou rant 2

Dear internet,

It is Lose NOT Loose. The first is what you do when you don’t win, the second is the opposite of tight.

And if you start a sentence with the word ‘So’ read it back but without the ‘So’, if it still makes sense then delete the ‘So’. Try it out, please.

That feels better.

Joy of 6, 2019

Just a quick one as it has been a couple of weeks since the show and I’m sure everyone has read bigger and better reports from others but here’s a few thoughts on this years show.

The first thing that was obvious to us was just how much the show has grown since our last visit 2 years ago. I think I preferred the new layout and even though there were two rooms at least they aren’t lots of smaller ones like there used to be which cuts down the chance to miss something. As usual there was a real lovely vibe about the place and everyone was keen to share info on terrain and painting tips as well as generally just being friendly which is one of the great things about the show.

There seemed to be more traders this year too, and great to see Richard there with the Scotia kit. He very kindly indulged me by allowing me to look through some of the modern kit that doesn’t have pics on the website which resulted in a nice sized purchase (I’ll be posting about the swag in another post) and it was a pleasure speaking to him properly after conversing via email and messenger for ages. The only other purchase I made was for a few Swedish infantry from H&R, but I did manage to speak to a knackered looking Ian quickly at the end of the day (I hope that Andy’s wife is on the mend soon) and TOW mounted Land Rovers might be coming at last. Bart bought some fantastic looking French mid-C19th 3d printed figures from a Polish company -http://www.gmboardgames.com/blog/en/ – that really were spiffing, the horses were particularly good, which piqued my interest. If they do an Austro-Prussian range I don’t think I could have resisted and their metal ACW kit was really nice too so something to mull over for future projects (like they’re ever needed!).

The games were of the usual mixture of quality, range and period as in all shows and the two absolute stand out ones for me were:

‘Poltava’ put on by Per Broden and the Wyre Foresters club, for lots of ace pics check out Per’s excellent blog here: https://rollaone.com/2019/07/08/poltava-1709-at-joy-of-six-2019-the-grand-finale-of-the-towards-moscow-trilogy-tmt/. It was great to see the real thing after following the build progress on Per’s blog, this table truly was not only a masterpiece and really showed just what can be done in 6mm but an obvious labour of love. Bravo gents and thank you for sharing it with us.

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Coming a close second was Robert Dunlop’s WW1 Battle of Gnila Lipa from the Eastern Front. I’ve seen quite a few of Robert and his lads games at shows and I always love them. They are great for showing the vast scale of the industrial warfare that defined this conflict and always tempts me to have a dabble. I managed to have a good chat with one of Robert’s sons (sorry forget which one!) about the huge Marne game that they put on actually at the Marne a few years ago and he told me a story that made my weekend. Apparently they were able to point out to an elderly English chap the unit which his father was serving in and exactly where he would have been in the battle which apparently had a profound effect on him and he seemed to become more spritely as he followed the course of the action. Great stuff.

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Honourable mentions go to James Mitchell’s ‘Culloden’ which was a gem of a game9sadly my photo didn’t come out well enough, sorry!), Dan Hodgson’s Star War’s ‘Battle of Hoth’ (sadly only lacking in Pew-pew sound effects) and the Battle of Kolin 1757 put on by the Legion of Blokes which not only had great figures and terrain but truly inspired, hand-made, ‘table tidies’ to boot. Hat doffed gents.

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Our game went over quite well I think, it was the XXX Corp Hell’s Highway one we did at Colours in September, even though we didn’t get many quotes from A Bridge Too Far this time we still had a cracking time and ,weirdly, we even recruited a couple of new members for the club which was nice! Thanks go to Bart, Dan, Jonathan and Daren for making it such a great weekend and we already have plans afoot for next years game. The plan is to do a Western Desert dust up but swapping WW2 forces with Modern ones, so Caunter camo’d Chieftains and Challies with South Africans in Ratels vs Afrika Korp with Leopards and Marders and Italians with Centauro’s – watch this space…

Lastly a massive thank you to Peter and his Baccus crew and volunteers for the show for not only coming up with the idea for the show in the first place but making it such a success, here’s to many more.

 

Hello again…

Well another bit of the old ‘writers block’/lost mojo for blogging so I thought I’d just do a quick update to try and get the juices flowing again and to check in with anyone that still might be interested!

I do have a piece half written about a game back in May at Martin’s which was a lovely ACW affair and I’m due to take part in an Antietam game tomorrow so I reckon next week will be ACW week (there’s another game from Martin’s to write up as well). I’ll be whacking up a brief bit about the Joy of 6 show interfrastically too.

I know I’ve said it before but I really should get back in the swing of doing the Club Night write ups again, if anything they keep me writing and things posted. On the workbench front I have been slowly beavering away on painting some lovely AB WW2 20mm figures for Comrade Noakesavitch (a US platoon and support teams for Chain of Command) which has put the mockers on me doing much else recently but I’m keen to get back onto my 6mm Napoleonic Saxons – I want to finish off a playable force as soon as possible and will be investing the dosh from Dan’s figures into building a Prussian force as opposition. I’ll also be cracking on with some 6mm Modern stuff for my Alt-History project that has been sadly neglected for ages now (I am re-painting the Poles and have some new kit from Jo6 to get started on too).

In other news I have been over to visit Jonathan in France and we had a couple of big FFT3 games, one of which we tried out a random activation mechanism which didn’t quite work but I think I know why so will be doing a quick piece on that too – as the club will be closing for the annual summer break soon it is good to have something in reserve!

Anyway, enough of this drivel here’s some pics of Dan’s new Yanks (as it seems I’ve improved somewhat I’m going to have to re-do my own German figures now!).

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Napoleonic update

Right then, I thought I’d bung these up to try and keep me motivated about painting. Now done a couple more Saxon battalions and the Lippe-Detmold battalion and a Saxon battery. There’s a few skirmish bases and the limber for the gun near completion and I’m starting on a couple more Saxon Battalions today as well as the Anhalt Battalion.

I’ve made the Lippe battalion at ‘paper strength’ just because as that’s all they get so I thought sod it! Also it shows up nicely the difference between the two sized bases I’ll be using (still contemplating an even larger one for the massive Austrian jobs) and the difference between a 4 company battalion in column of companies and a 6 company one in column of divisions.

The plan is to finish off a Saxon Division, so 2 more Infantry regiments with a Light Infantry Regiment and 2 Grenadier Battalions with Artillery then I’ll probably do all of the Rhinebund Regiments just because I’ve always had a fascination with them for some reason. Then will be some Prussians which I have the figures for and have started on one battalion for a tester.

Cavalry will be a mixture of Saxon and Prussian lights to start off with.

Of course I can see this going out the window as I progress and I get tempted by other units (like the Lippe one!).