Club Night 24/04/17: Return to Chukkawanna Creek

After the exertions of Salute it was nice that Philip was putting one of his Plains War games, they are always fun and nice and straightforward, just what knackered wargaming types need!

The scenario was a unit of Cavalry with an Infantry company attached was tasked with escorting three wagons across the table. Unfortunately for them an Indian village was present near the ford and they would not look kindly to the transit of said wagons. Myself and Terry took the side of the US whilst Dan and Stephen took the Sioux (Dan had to apparently as they are ‘Red’ Indians and I think he was still smarting from our defeat in the Salute game). Philip also told Terry and I that if we wanted to steal the pony herd near the village and burn the village down ‘in the best traditions of the service’ then that would be ok too. In between us and the creek though were a number of places where the pesky Indians could spring ambushes so we had to be somewhat careful.

 

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Dan wondering where to deploy the Hinds! Each of the dice is a possible ambush position.

 

A simple plan was hatched. Terry would take the more experienced troops, the Crow scouts and the infantry with the wagons and head straight for the ford. I’d take the 3 greener troops and aim for the village to the right of Terry’s troops hoping to spring attacks from the potential ambush positions there and hence reduce the numbers attacking him. This didn’t really work as we wanted to. It quickly became apparent that there were a lot of Sioux across the creek and they started moving towards us in a fantastic looking wave of horses and feathers. Pretty soon Terry seemed in trouble with the bulk of the Indians taking on his forces which were slowly being whittled down, helped a lot by the very faulty cartridges that his lads were using that meant nearly every time he fired he caused no casualties (he rolled a quite incredible 5 1’s on the trot using different dice too!).

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I seemed to be doing better on my side of the field, although I didn’t have as many bands to face so managed to outnumber one to soundly beat it eventually. However after seeing off the Crow Scouts and one of the Cavalry troops the Indians transferred a couple of bands over to take my lads on, pretty soon one had been routed off and another wiped out. With Terry’s column also virtually wiped out or skedaddling too the game ended in an overwhelming victory for the Sioux.

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Many thanks to Philip for putting the game on, it was tons of fun and even with Terry’s awful shooting the game wasn’t a complete walkover for the Indians – the rules worked really well and the game felt right.

 

 

Salute 2017

I was picked up by Daren at 7 a.m. yesterday and I wasn’t feeling too great to be honest as my blood condition had chosen the past few days to be a complete bastard and make me feel shite so I was hoping that I would be able to last the day. A quick and easy drive across the water into Docklands saw us parked up right near an entrance to the Excel centre in about 20 minutes and so we were at our assigned table before 8 which was good. Dan arrived shortly after us and between the three of us we pretty soon had the game set up and we were munching on much needed Bacon baps and wondering where on earth the 4th member of the team, Tommo, was!

Tommo arrived at about 9 and after some much deserved ribbing he took over command of the NATO forces ready to cover the evacuation of the supplies at the Neustadt rail depot and to defend the river crossings from the Soviet breakthrough force collectively led by myself and Dan. I won’t go into the details of the game itself as it is still too painful! Suffice to say that the addition of 2 FV438 Swingfires, Warren’s brutal use of concentrated artillery and aggressive use of the Jagdpanzer Kannone’s ensured that what was seriously looking like a NATO defeat at one point ended in a defeat for the glorious Red Army.

It was really cool engaging with the people in the show who stopped by for a butchers or a chat about what we were doing. I didn’t hear a negative comment all day and there were some really nice things being said about the game with a lot of justifiable praise going to the excellent terrain made by Daren. Thanks to everyone that stopped by, we hope that you enjoyed it. One person said it was ‘elegant’ which I thought was really nice and completely understood where he was coming from and some lads from Germany took one look and said ‘is this game set in Germany’ which has got to be good! I did end up drawing people’s attention to the river though, I don’t think people realised that it was set between two tables which was a shame as I think it really is quite ingenious.

There was one interesting theme I noticed whilst talking to people, the younger punters were the ones that asked ‘is this Team Yankee’ whilst the older ones were happy that it wasn’t. There were a few people that mentioned that they might get their old collections out again which was nice and we also converted at least one chap to 6mm Cold War gaming, he re-appeared at the table with a great big smile on his face blaming us for the fact that he’d just spent £40 at H and R!

I got to meet a couple of people who said that they’d stop by which was cool too, really good to put faces to names and I got a chance to pop over to Baccus to talk about the Joy of 6 and grab some fliers but we didn’t get a chance to have a good look around the show ,which was a bit of a shame, as we were too busy running the game and chatting to people but from what I saw it looked like it was a good one. I did get to stop Richard from Too Fat Lardies as he walked past before the doors opened to say thanks for ‘Chain of Command’ and to have a quick chat about what is planned for it in the future, which was nice. Loot wise I just picked up some kit from a very busy Andy at Heroics and Ros and got a chance to have a look at their new Cold War infantry figures – I’ll definitely be putting in an order for some Brits and East Germans very soon. The day went very, very quickly and it was a great blast, apart from feeling knackered I even managed to head out for a beer and a curry with some of the other Warlords so my worries about staying the course earlier on were unfounded.

One last thing: I have to say many, many thanks to the three other chaps involved. Warren played a blinder and was a pleasure to play against as usual although he did pick on my lads quite unfairly! Dan was great to have as a teammate, apart from the many laughs our collectivism was unflinching even in defeat. Last but not least, Daren, who not only worked really hard making the game possible by his great terrain building skills but umpired the game too, we even forgave him for saying ‘we’ when referring to the Brits!

Gents it was a pleasure and a privilege, bags of fun was had and I am already looking forward to June and the Joy of 6.

Here’s some pics…

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Salute Game run through.

Yesterday saw myself, Dan and Daren meet up bright and early at the home of the South London Warlords to have a run through of the game that we are putting on at Salute this weekend. The game is set during the Cold War and sees an outnumbered British force holding a collection of river crossings in the face of a Soviet tank heavy force.

The rules we will be using are GHQ’s Micro Armour ones so the scale is 1:1, all the vehicles are GHQ and, bar most of the buildings, the terrain is hand made by Daren and it is quite something!

I won’t go into detail about the game as it was just a practice to see if everything was working ok and if the force balance was right but Comrade Noakesavitch and myself succeeded in breaking through to bring peace, prosperity and freedom to the poor oppressed workers of some more of Germany by the use of overwhelming numbers and firepower!

We have decided to add a randomly arriving force of FDR Leopard 1’s that have escaped fighting to the flank to bolster the NATO defences (there are already a platoon of JagdPanzerKannone available to the Brits) as well as a couple of FV438’s that I found in my leadpile as the 5 Chieftain’s currently assigned just weren’t enough! We have also decided that the point of the scenario should be the evacuation of the supplies from the rail depot by a convoy, hence why the crossings haven’t been blown yet.

It should be a cracking game so please stop by at table GG05 and have a look and a chat.

Any way here’s a lot of pics to give you an idea of what is in store, I might not get to take many on the day so there’s quite a few. First up some of the action then a slideshow of the terrain (you can click on the pics to see them bigger).

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Getting ready for Salute

It is a week until Salute and I won’t be working there this time or visiting as a punter because I am helping put a game on. It will be a 6mm Cold War affair with a Soviet force trying to bounce a crossing over a river line that is defended by a joint British and West German Territorial force. To say I am excited about it is a bit of an understatement, I can’t wait!

We are due to have a full run through of the game on Monday down at the Warlords and I will post some ‘taster’ snaps afterwards as it does promise to be a belter! This is due to the fantastic efforts of the good Bombardier, Daren, who has turned his considerable talents to making some truly fantastic terrain (some of which can be seen elsewhere on this blog) and it will include his terribly ingenious ‘sunken’ river.

For my part I’ve only had to paint 25 T-62’s and 5 JagdpanzerKanones plus knock up a few log bunkers and dug-in bases and write up the background which doesn’t feel like much compared to what Daren has turned out! We will be using the MicroArmour rules by GHQ, to which Daren and Dan have added some great touches (for example the Soviets have to write a Fire Plan that will be hard to adjust once battle is joined) and all the vehicles will be GHQ. You can find us on table GG05 so stop by and have a chat if you are passing.

Trip to Aspern and Essling

On Sunday whilst in Vienna I had arranged with the Mem that I could nip out in the morning to either visit the museums in Aspern and Essling OR the one in Deutsch Wagram. I went for the shorter journey just across the Danube from where we were staying and decided Aspern and Essling it was. These museums are only open on Sunday’s from 10-12 and from April-October, so as I would be there on the first day of the season I’d pop over the Danube on the U-bahn and have a look.

Sunday morning saw me up early and out at 8 as I wasn’t sure how long it would take for me to get there as I had to take a bus at the end of the tube journey. My plan was to go to Essling first, check out the museum which is in the Granary and then bus it back to Aspern next – I was also thinking that I might be able to squeeze Wagram in too if I had enough time or if the missus wanted to get out of the city for the afternoon (it was a glorious day and I thought this might be on the cards). The journey on the U1 line was nice and quick and upon leaving the station at Kagran jumped on the 26A Bus to Bad-Enzerdorf for Essling. Aspern and Essling are both now suburbs of Vienna so one had to try and imagine the terrain without the buildings but one thing that is noticeable is how flat it is – really, really flat. This explains the ferocity of the Artillery fire mentioned in accounts of the battle, there’s no elevations to shelter behind if you are in the open, it must have been brutal.

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Near the Granary, the whole area is like this…
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… it goes on for miles.

I arrived in Essling early and, thankfully, finding an open café plotted up until opening time at the museum. I have to admit I was quite excited heading round the corner towards the Granary as I have been reading ‘Thunder on the Danube’ again before I left so was eager to see this famous building ‘in the flesh’. I arrived about 9:55 and started taking some snaps of the truly impressive building, it is massive and you can completely see why it was so important to the battle it would have dominated the area at the time. I finished taking the photos and began to get an uneasy feeling as I noticed that the door to the building was still padlocked and it was now about 10 o’clock. By 20 past I had decided that whoever was supposed to be opening up wasn’t and so I headed off to Aspern in the hope that that was open and to ask why the Granary wasn’t!

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The short trip to Aspern on the (thankfully) very regular 26A over I was relieved to see a sign outside the museum stating that it was open. However, the much vaunted ‘Lion of Aspern’ statue was encased in a large wooden shed, so again disappointment. The 3 volunteers at the entrance to the large shed/outhouse type building that was the museum assured me that Essling was open and called the guy there who apparently had been there since 10, I was feeling quite miffed by this time as you can imagine!

It took me about 10 minutes to check out the displays in the museum which contained a large collection of musketballs, shrapnel from shell casings, canister, roundshot, assorted swords and hangers and the odd rusty musket barrel. There were a few articles of clothing and the walls were covered in prints of the battle and uniform plates but all in all it left me cold. There was no description of the battle that I could see, no maps and if you didn’t speak German no information from the volunteers. I realise that it is entirely volunteer run and so probably badly underfunded but you would expect that one of the most important battles of Austrian history that actually ended in a victory and is on the doorstep of the capital would warrant some sort of government assistance.

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Assured that Essling was indeed open and disappointed in what I had just seen I, yet again, jumped on the trusty 26A and headed back. The granary is huge once you get up close to it and the walls are bloody thick but, again, disappointment is the first thing that hits you upon entering. I was expecting the museum to take up at least half of the bottom floor but it was sadly not the case, probably about a third if that. The room is nearly filled by the diorama of the battle which is actually very impressive with tons of figures – 8,000 plus apparently – and some nicely modelled terrain. The tardy volunteer chap did explain some salient points of the battlefield but as the language barrier was up he didn’t attempt any more than that, which was understandable but I appreciated the effort. There were a couple of display cases and a map of the battle in the entrance part of the space but again, it was all slightly disappointing probably not helped by me having to stand around like a lemon outside earlier.

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I headed back to Vienna to meet the missus as she wanted to go to Schonbrunn and felt quite disappointed. I think I spent more time on the 26A than I did in the Museums and think it is a shame that they aren’t funded so that they can be improved, I can see why they don’t charge for entry due to their size which must affect what they can do and I appreciate the effort of the volunteers who run them. Oh well, next time we visit, Sunday will definitely be spent in Wagram, at least you can get an idea of the terrain more there.

 

 

 

Likes?

Why doesn’t anybody like me!!!

Excuse the teen-like wailing but I have noticed that no-one hardly ever hits the like button at the end of posts. It is extremely satisfying when I am told either by message or in person that someone has liked what I have written but every now and again it would be nice to have someone hit the like button too. Helps keep you wanting to post and doesn’t feel like you are shouting into the void.

Museum of Military History, Vienna

I’ve just spent the past 5 days in Vienna with the Mem and a fantastic time was had by us both checking out the beautiful architecture and fantastic art on offer not to mention the wonderful cafes and lovely beer and wine. I had been once before but the missus hadn’t and as she is an artist checking out the galleries was a priority mission of the trip (and one appreciated by myself too), but as she is also a decent human being I was allowed to check out the fantastic Army Museum. I was extremely happy about this as when I visited last time the halls containing the Napoleonic kit was closed for renovation which was a complete bunch of arse!

One of the great things about this museum is that it was purpose built within the Arsenal complex and the buildings are truly magnificent, as befitting something erected by the Habsburgs I suppose. After proceeding through the gate like entrance to the Arsenal you make your way through a courtyard and back out into the open to be confronted by the Museum itself. There are a great number of cannon displayed outside and there are a Saab Drakken and Tunnan posted at each end of the building too. I was eager to get a closer look at the Drakken as I have one for my Cold War Austrian force and was taken by the small size of the plane, it has always been a bit of a favourite of mine and looked better in the flesh very sleek and ‘sports car’ looking if you get my drift (I was also happy that my paint job was pretty close too!).

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Entry into the museum is a quite reasonable E6 and another E2 buys you a sticker which allows you to take photos, genius idea this as they know us geeks just have to take pictures so generates a nice extra bit of cash for the museum. Unfortunately for me my phone had not charged up fully so I had to limit the number of pics I could take and some of the ones I did take weren’t of the best quality but there are still quite a few. So with entry sorted we made our way upstairs and into the grand entrance hall to the exhibition halls. Unfortunately my phone’s camera was unable to capture the magnificent friezes painted on the ceilings and over the doors well enough but they are nearly worth the visit in themselves. First stop was the 30 Years War period hall which had lots of stabby weapons and early firelocks on display, in particular a beautiful pair of Wheelock pistols, and some great information about smiting the Turks and the siege of Vienna (naturally) but I didn’t take any snaps here I’m afraid as I was saving battery for later on.

Through this hall to the end of the wing was the hall displaying the period of the great ‘Succession’ wars through to the Seven Years War. There were some great trophies on display as well as uniforms and drill manuals – my missus was particularly taken with the illustrations in these books and the flags. Again lots of arms on display too but it was here that I did start to get slightly annoyed that there wasn’t any information in English, a few lines might have been useful for those who choose not to use the audio guides.

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After this it was back across the entrance hall into the ‘Hall of Revolutions’ which covered the period between the French Revolutionary Wars and the Seven Weeks War of 1866. I was like a kid in a sweet shop now as there were cabinets of Napoleonic goodness all around and, rather impressively, a captured French Observation balloon! I geeked out completely for the next half hour or so and seem to have some sort of obsession with hats going by the photo’s I took! Again everything was displayed very well with uniforms, arms and accoutrements in abundance along with captured standards (that ran the decreasing scale from French Imperial Eagles to 1864 Danish company fannions the further you went through the hall!) but information about the wars and political situations seemed to be lacking but that might be due to my lack of German. Anyway it was worth the 13 year wait to see this part of the collection as the plusses outweighed the slight minuses, I only wish I had taken some more pics of the later uniforms.

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One thing these uniforms showed is that if I do any Austrians or Saxons in the future, definitely don’t do the tunics and trousers white as they are distinctly a more creamy colour as opposed to the whiteness of the belts and straps although the better quality officers ones are whiter. Now some more pics from that hall of flags and other bits and pieces.

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After the more colourful and splendid exhibits of this hall it was time to return to the first floor and look through the 20th Century halls, the first part of which is some uniforms from the early part of the century then down a slope to be confronted with this…

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This innocuous looking car is the very vehicle that Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in and so the whole sorry chain of events that subsequently turned into one of the greatest calamities that mankind has ever unleashed started on that green leather seat in the back. Made you think.

In a cabinet just behind where I was standing to take this photo was the bloodstained uniform of FF, which seemed a touch macabre. The First World War exhibits are quite extensive with some large pieces of ordnance in but I didn’t spend much time in here, the car did it for me to be honest.

Across into the next hall was the period of the Inter war years with a nice display about the very brief civil war in Austria in the 20’s, again sadly no info in English, and then the Second World War is covered before the final hall that is given over to the Austrian Navy.  I skipped most of this as I had seen it before and the lack of info was annoying me now and as my phone was about to run out of juice I was saving what was left to take some snaps in the tank park at the back of the museum.

This very nearly didn’t happen as for some reason the small space where the roughly dozen post war vehicles are parked was closed until the 1st of April, the next day! I managed to spot a couple of gents strolling around amongst the vehicles though and I tried to get them to allow me in for a few quick snaps but I wasn’t allowed but one kindly agreed to take some for me. He asked if there was anything in particular I’d like photos of and I said the SK105 and the Saurer APC please – I had already noticed that I’d have to paint all my Austrian kit a lighter shade but some close up pics would be nice so here they are. Unfortunately no pics of the APC but that SK105 was the only Austrian AFV to have fired a shot in anger whilst on UN duty in Bosnia.

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So that’s that, a great way to spend the morning whenever you are in Vienna and all for about a fiver. I’ve got a smaller post about my quick trip out to Aspern and Essling to do next but need a bit of a rest!