Preparations for Colours 2018

Once again Daren, Dan and myself will be flying the flag for the South London Warlords at Colours this year. As is our wont we will be putting on a 6mm game, this time set in WW2 and in particular the action around the Son bridge during Operation Market garden. As this one is going to be a large one we will be assisted by a few other clubmates we already have Bart on board but have realised that the 15′ length of the table means that we are going to have to rope in a few more!

Also as usual Daren has pulled out all the stops to model the terrain and we will be using his lovely collection of GHQ kit to try and make sure that XXX Corp can push through the ad hoc German defenders and link up with the American Para’s holding onto the bridge. Although everything isn’t quite ready yet we have done a couple of quick playthroughs of the rules (Micro Armour from GHQ) to acquaint ourselves with them again and to hash out any scenario specific bits that we want to bolt on to add a bit of flavour to proceedings.

So to whet anyone’s appetite that might be interested here’s a few pics of the practice games (as usual click on them to see larger). I’ll be adding another post once we have the full dress rehearsal in September with more details and pics.

 

Des’ Shed Game 3: Quatre Bras, GdB.

At the start of June Des had arranged another great day of gaming in his shed (with the added bonus of watching the Champion’s League Final after too). This time we would be tackling Quatre Bras. I reckon that this is a battle that might have been attempted by most Napoleonic wargamers at least once, as I think as it is just big enough/not too big for most rulesets to handle, it could go one way or the other and it has a nice variety of troops involved. In fact we had had a go at it at the club a couple of Christmases ago and then my French chaps had been thwarted in our attempts to gain the crossroads by stubborn resistance from the Dutch-Belgians that enabled the reinforcing Brits enough time to turn up and really spoil the day.

This time I would be taking on the mantle of the Jonny Cash of the Napoleonic world, the Duke of Brunswick, and would be in charge of that ‘great moving hearse’ that was the Brunswick contingent (as well as some Hannoverian types). My fellow allies would be Warren who would be in command of the Dutch-Belgians, and using his extensive knowledge of Dutch profanity to bring added realism to the role, and Paul who was taking the British units with all the sang froid of the Duke himself. We faced some stiff opposition with Andy, Martin and Des (when not wearing his umpires hat) taking control of the French. So after tea and coffees were dished out we made our way to the shed and were presented with a glorious sight as Des had really pulled the stops out setting the table for this one, it was instantly recognisable as the battlefield and looked bloody marvellous. One noticeable thing about the table set up was Des had included more ground North of Quatre bras than you usually see on a table which meant if the French took the village there was still room for the arriving allied forces to deploy from the march to counter the threat instead of being bottled up due to ‘edge of the world’ syndrome.

After a quick briefing about scenario specific rules (we were using a ‘joker’ system to either speed up Allied or slow down French formations as well as variable entry of units and we also agreed on being strict on using written orders too) and a quick get together to get plans sorted we got to it. Obviously there wasn’t much for either Paul or I to do for the first couple of moves as our commands were still wending their way south from Brussels or across from Nivelles but Warren was engaged from the off with his Nassauers in the Bossu wood coming under attack from at least a Brigade. Whilst this was happening the French were trying to deploy their other Infantry Divisions and Cavalry to engage the waiting Dutch infantry but were held up somewhat by Paul and Warren playing their jokers (we had one each and once played they would hold up an enemy Division for one move OR allow one of our Divisions to accelerate one move along the reinforcement schedule) but they had managed to move one command along the road to Thyle. As is his wont Warren decided that a forward defence was best and moved all of his lads forwards to try and delay the French as much as possible and as far as possible from the crossroads and pretty soon all of his Division was committed to action and were giving the French a tough fight ably aided by the authentic admonishments of their commander.

Meanwhile Paul and I had eventually arrived on the battlefield after being held up in a godawful traffic jam on the Chausee (we both were failing rolls to get our lads on table), and started moving off to the sound of the guns. We pretty soon received our orders from Wellington with Picton’s rascals being directed to the ridges just south of Quatre Bras to take up the defence from the hard pressed but still stubbornly holding on Cloggies. The Brunswickers were to move to the left and contain the French division that was heading to Thyle, I had delayed them with my joker but we had no units on that flank and it was looking a bit up in the air. The arriving cavalry of Merlen’s brigade were quickly dispatched forwards to aid their countrymen and Warren wasted no time in committing them to the maelstrom near Gemincourt.

Down in the Bossu, the Nassauers were finally near to breaking point after seeing off repeated attacks since the very start of the battle and break they eventually did but luckily for us the survivors managed to reform to the west of the wood and draw off at least some of the Andy’s lads from exploiting northwards to keep an eye on them. Another factor that aided the allies here was the time that it took Andy to get the remainder of his force moving along the track through the wood which would have caused us to be outflanked, luckily for us Des had confiscated his ‘Blue Dice of Doom’ earlier in the day and he was having a terrible time changing orders! Whilst the Nassauers were going through their trevails the constant pressure Martin had been exerting in the centre was finally beginning to tell and Warren was pushed further and further back, albeit whilst scoring victories here and there against the French invader.

Help was at hand however as Picton and his men had finished deploying and promptly stepped off to attack the French that were on the verge of breaking through, whilst fresh reserves of Netherlands and Hannoverian infantry were arriving along the Nivelles road that we started deploying across the north of the wood to stop Andy’s advance. The Guard Division was also near at hand too going into reserve around Quatre Bras whilst I had finally managed to deploy my lads across the stream from Thyle to shore up the left flank. Unfortunately it was at this point that we ran out of time and so had to leave things just as the battle was about to enter its second phase which I think, to be honest, would have been a tough ask for the French to gain a victory from. It seemed that the Allies had more fresh units than the French and with the potential of more arriving the pendulum would have definitely swung our way.

Again it was an absolutely cracking game and even though I didn’t manage to roll a dice in anger all day I had an absolute blast! The French were unlucky trying to change orders for some of their formations, apart from Andy’s lads on the right Des had problems with his Division once they had taken Thyle. Both of these delays granted the Allies just enough time to get reserves into blocking positions and things would have been very sticky for us if this hadn’t happened. Warren was definitely man of the match for me, holding off both Andy in the wood and the constant attacks of Martin in the centre he bought time for Paul and I to get up and bloodied the French’s nose enough to give us an advantage in any further fighting. As usual it wouldn’t have been quite as enjoyable if it wasn’t for the gents around the table, a pleasure as always sirs. Also, as usual many thanks to Mrs D. for the fantastic spread at half time and to Des for putting on another cracker and for the refreshments for the footy too. That there was the mother of all thunderstorms on the way home made it the perfect end to the day really (dirty cheating Spanish centre-half’s aside).

 

Des’ Shed Game 2: Dennewitz, 15mm General de Brigade

For his next big game at his shed, Des decided on getting his fantastic 15mm Napoleonics on the table and picked Dennewitz as the chosen battle to have a go at. I was well chuffed with his choice as the 1813 campaign is just fascinating and I was looking forward to seeing how this battle would translate to the table-top, not that I was worried it wouldn’t be much cop after taking part in the Dresden and Liebertwolkwitz games Des had put on at the club previously (see elsewhere on here).

Del and I would be in charge of the Allies which was great for me as it meant that I could take charge of the Wurttembergers and Italians again, 2 of my favourite forces from the period as they are just fantastic looking troops and aren’t too shabby when it gets down to the fighting too! We would be up against Martin and Andy who would be in charge of the massive Prussian wave that was about to break on us (Des was umpiring and helping out the Prussians later too) so a tough fight was definitely on the cards.

(As usual click on the pics for a better view)

The battle started with my Italians deployed over the stream facing off against Martin’s Prussians, I was tasked with engaging them to keep them away from Del’s French who strung out along the road, the Wurttemberger’s were being held in reserve. With Martin’s Teutonic horde a long cannon shot away the action on this flank started quickly and developed into an intense and interesting action. I advanced one of my Brigades and my Cavalry to take the fight to the Prussians and soon they were locked in a bitter struggle with the Prussians who stymied my advance as their blokes on horses with nasty pointy sticks caused me to keep some battalions in square until my cavalry could see them off. Martin then hit me with some infantry and soon the fight looked like it was going the Prussian’s way but even though I had a couple of battalions break, the rest managed to hang on and I launched some counter-attacks in that steadied the situation. I was quite pleased with how it had gone, Martin is a very able opponent and I still had an infantry Brigade uncommitted by the end of the day which I think could have made the difference if we carried on longer as I believe most of his force had been engaged and the fresh units might have just tipped the balance.

 

Over on my left Del had managed to shake his leading brigades out from their road columns and were advancing with proper Gallic gusto towards the advancing Prussian command debouching from table edge. As usual in these big games it is always very difficult to really gauge what is going on in other people’s fights but pretty soon Del and Andy’s commands were involved in a brutal fight for control of the centre of the field which swung one way and another all day and included a great whirling cavalry battle. Things then started to look grim as Des’ Prussian Brigade hoved into view deep behind our left flank. The Wurttembergers were promptly dispatched to deal with this new threat and they carried it out with aplomb, advancing with dash and had just started to get the upper hand when we had to stop.

It was a right shame that we ran out of time as the battle was finely balanced, we seemed like we were about to break the Prussians on our left flank and had some reinforcements entering the field but the Wurst-worriers also had some uncommitted reserves which might have turned up too. Having said that it was a cracking days wargaming and as usual thanks go out to all the were involved and three times three for Mr D for his great hospitality and for putting on such a splendid fight. Also apologies to the chaps for the tardiness in getting this posted which means I’ve been a bit sketchy on the details but hopefully the pics make up for that! If there’s anything I missed out let me know and I’ll do a quick edit.

 

 

 

 

Des’ Shed Game 1: WW2 IABSM

Back in December I was invited to Des’ inaugural big game in his new shed-o-war, that I haven’t posted about it yet has been bugging me so I’ll try and remember what happened to get something down at last. The game was a WW2 Normandy bash using I Ain’t Been Shot Mum by the Lardies and Des’ lovely 20mm collection.

I was in charge of the Canadian forces (the first mistake made by our side!) and I was ably assisted by Andy and Daren. We were tasked with advancing and clearing the immediate area to our front of some nasty Boshce that were led by Des and Ian. After a quick ‘O’ group with the chaps we decided that Andy would take the dismounted infantry company through the fields along the left flank supported by the flail tank. I would be in charge of the Recce detachments and would barrel up the road in the centre and scout the right flank, I was also in charge of the reserve of a tank Squadron. Daren would take another tank Squadron with a Kangaroo mounted infantry platoon along the right and would react to what the scouts found. The idea was to keep things as simple as possible and hold on to the reserve until either one of the two flanking groups were in dire trouble or to exploit any success that they had.

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12 feet of Norman countryside.

We got lucky with our 3 pre-game stonks setting fire to 2 of the buildings that we targeted, one of which being the church thus negating the use of its steeple to any Fritzy FOO’s, and Andy started things off by advancing down the left while the scouts cars nosed along the road in the centre and the right. Andy’s lads were quickly engaged after running into some enemy infantry and a fierce fight swiftly ensued and pretty soon it looked like it was time for an assault to go in to clear some of the Germans out. As the reserve Sherman’s were not being let go from the reserve (their card was not coming up) to support the impending attack Andy chucked his attached Sherman Flail into the fray and mighty impressive looking it was too as it churned its way through the hedgerow where the enemy lay. Unfortunately the attack faltered due to some heroic defending by the Landser (absolutely jammiest of jammy dice throw!) although they didn’t hang on too long afterwards and withdrew to the rear just as a couple of StuG’s opened up and dispatched the Flail.

While this attack was going on Andy was keeping more infantry located by the burning farmhouse pinned down in a firefight with one of his platoons which let the Daimlers work their way gingerly down the road onto the flank of the dug-in defenders. Unfortunately one of the cars was taken out by a German anti-tank weapon fired by the infantry but the survivor managed to get round the flank and revenge was served by brassing them up. The Jerries didn’t like this much and they soon broke and the left flank was looking open for the reserve tanks to start moving through with only the StuG’s seemingly in the way. However, things weren’t going so well over on the right.

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The Daimlers creeping down the lanes spent quite a while nosing gingerly forwards expecting any moment to be on the receiving end of general German nastiness in the shape of a Panzerfaust or ‘schreck. When it did come it was more of a massive clang as one of the cars was hit by some high velocity 75mm from a Panther hiding in a stand of trees. The surviving car was in somewhat of a pickle as it was immobilised with the next shot so decided to have a go back with its 2pdr and a seemingly one sided duel ensued. What seemed like a futile gesture on behalf of the recce types ended up being one of those great gaming moments as the German gunner couldn’t land a hit whilst the Armoured Car kept on hitting the target eventually causing enough shock to the Panther crew that it had to withdraw! The cheers of the watching Canadians were quickly silenced however when another Panther opened up knocking out the gallant Daimler, just not cricket really but medals all round.

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Panther ambush!
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Take that Jerry!
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Panther about to pull out.

While this was going on Daren had moved his armoured infantry up and they were cruelly ambushed by another German infantry platoon and pretty soon most of the Kangaroo’s were burning due to attention from the remaining Panther and Panzerfaustings although some of the infantry survived to fight on. A terrific close range firefight then ensued across the hedgerow which the Allies finally won thanks to the HMG’s on the surviving APC’s which tipped the balance and finally saw the German footsloggers break. Unfortunately we still hadn’t managed to get any of our Sherman’s into action yet and were unable to as we had to stop due to time getting on.

So at the end of play we had managed to break the initial line of resistance and force the German infantry to bug out but at no small loss to our own infantry and Armoured Cars, we still had 2 units of tanks that were uncommitted but still had a couple of Panthers and a couple of StuG’s to worry about and as we found out that the Germans also had a couple of Tigers lurking around the church we were sort of  glad that we didn’t carry on as we didn’t fancy our chances much! We reckoned a draw was a fair result, we broke into their position but sort of got stuck doing so.

It was a great days gaming and a cracking way to christen Des’ shed. Big thanks to him for putting the game on and a keeping us fed and watered all day and a massive thanks to Mrs D. for the fantastic lunch too. As usual cheers to the chaps for making a great day’s gaming better by being their usual fun selves, a pleasure as always gents. Stay tuned for the next instalment from chez Darkin as we grind our way through Dennewitz in 15mm.

 

Salute Swag

I forgot to put what I managed to acquire in my last post and as it is like a Wargaming Blog law to do so I shall rectify it straight away!

My major purchase was at Heroics and Ros (as usual), and mainly it was bits and pieces to round out my Alt-History Polish units now that I’ve eventually settled on a TO&E for them. So some Vickers Mk.1’s, Grizzly APC’s, some Fox’s and Ferret/Vigilant for some kitbashing. and some ARV’s and minerollers. I also got a bunch of T-62’s for my Soviet Tank Regiment as I’ve decided to go 3 platoons per company instead of 2 per company as in the rules as it was just bugging me, it’s just too restricting for the Soviet player and not ‘realistic’.

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Vickers Mk.1 – old sculpt but ok especially as no-one else does one
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Kitbash: Fox with a Ferret Vigilant turret posing as a Swingfire turret!

My ‘off list’ purchase with Andy and Ian was some of the new Sisu APC’s and a G.91. Both of which, in keeping with all of their new releases, are cracking little models. They will be soon appearing in a Baltic State’s armed forces pretty soon! Unfortunately I didn’t realise that the new Danish Infantry were available as I’d have had some of those too as I’m a big fan of the new sculpts. Yes they are a bit bigger than the old ones but are belting figures and great to paint and, if we are honest, the older stuff seems like its on its last legs.

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Sisu APC, love the tyres and open hatch on this.
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Fiat G.91 – sorry about the half arsed priming, just had some left on the brush!

I also bought an Austrian Infantry Booster pack from Baccus for some 6mm Napoleonic shenanigans that we have planned for later in the year. Nice figures and look easy to paint up so I’ll be looking forward to doing those sometime soon, and a bargain at 288 figures for £19.80.

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Lastly while with Comrade Noakesavitch at the PSC stand he chucked me a box of their new 15mm T-55’s that he picked up as his buy-4-get-fifth-free. Daren has some Team Yankee kit that he picked up a couple of years ago in a raffle at the club and although we have absolutely zero interest in those rules (and even less after Dan and I watched the game being put on at Salute – nice enough models but tanks jammed together in rows and M109’s and Rolands on the table, niet tavaritch) we are looking forward to the release of either ‘I aint been nuked Mum’ or ‘Battlegroup NORTHAG’ rules to get them all on the table. I also got to check out the Armies Army range as well and they are lovely too so worth investing at a later date in some of that kit too.

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Salute 2018

So Salute has been done and dusted again for another year and I’ve finally recovered. This year I have been on the committee of the South London Warlords and can tell you that the work done by people in their spare time to put this show on is quite fantastic, the planning taking all year and a hell of a lot of effort. If you add to this the efforts of all the members of the club, and the chaps from the Reading club who help too, that pitch in on the day and the day before (most taking time off work to do so) to get the traders and games in and set up on time, running the doors and info stand etc. I think we as a club can be very proud of our efforts.

So this year I was helping Phil judge the games and making sure that all the gamers had everything they needed before we started. This was great to do, as someone who has put games on at other shows I enjoyed going round speaking to the gamers and checking out the games (well 95% of them anyway, there’s always one or two) but it did mean that I was constantly walking round the show – I had done 26,748 steps by the end of the day! – and didn’t take too many photos.

Judging the games was a great thing to do, especially when we went round to hand out the prizes as it was fantastic seeing peoples reactions to receiving them. I won’t put a list up yet of who won what as I don’t think the club has posted it yet but will add a link once it has happened, there will be a shedload of pictures too so will make up for my paltry efforts. I can absolutely scotch one of the common misconceptions of the show as well after judging the games – 95% of all games put on by clubs or individuals are NOT sci-fi/fantasy, indeed we found it hard to come up with more than 4 for that category. Most of those types of games are the small demo games from the larger traders, it might just seem like there are more of them but, sorry, not true.

As for the standard of games this year, we thought (and it is a sentiment seemingly shared by a lot of people going by the blogosphere) that it was very good with a couple of real stand out, show-stoppers – Bill Gaskin’s AWI game and Ian Smith’s ACW fort game in particular – and some nice innovative ones – the RAF lads Toy Box fight, and the Salute Zombie ones for example – and on the whole you could tell that a lot of time and effort had been invested in putting the games on and we thank all involved for their work as frankly it wouldn’t be a wargames show without you! The spread of periods was nice too with everything from Ancients to Cold War on display, although strangely the WWI games were outnumbered by the Pirate themed games which was weird given the theme of this years show.

Before the pics a quick couple of things to answer comments on other posts.

Lighting: Yes it is murky, we all agree but it is beyond the control of the club and to try and put a stop to a growing internet rumour there is definitely no different lighting brightness depending on what you pay, if there was we’d pay for it to be brighter.

Why can’t it be 2 days?: I’ll refer you to the first paragraph for one. Also I think people forget that we are just a Wargames Club. The show is a mammoth task for a bunch of blokes that play with toy soldiers, none of us are professional events organisers and it is absolutely knackering and time consuming putting it on for one day let alone two. Add to that the costs to hire the venue for another day, and probably more importantly the costs for the traders and those putting on the games for a 2 day show and it is just not viable.

Anyway some pics of my favourite games at the show – sorry that I didn’t take pics of all of the I was completely done in and was finding it hard to concentrate on taking photos and some of the ones I took of the others were rubbish, as indeed were some of these ones!

First of all the venue on Friday afternoon, if you think it is big with everyone in it you should be there when it’s empty!

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Next up, ‘Twisting the Dragon’s Tail’ by Maidstone Wargames Society. Raid on Zeebrugge, 1918. Just cracking and a participation game to boot.

The Battle of Kawanakajima 1561 – Loughton Strike Force. For that miniature Kurosawa fix.

Berks and Bucks Occasionals – ‘Blood and Bridges’, brilliantly executed transference of the Cold War gone Hot boardgame ‘Eisenbach Gap’ board game to the tabletop in 1/200th-o-rama.

And last, but definitely not least, Ian Smith & Friends truly fantastic ‘Glory! from the Halls of Montezuma’. The details in the fort was remarkable and the rest of the table wasn’t shoddy either. Oh, and in 40mm too. There were people taking pics of this all day.