Thursday, June 14, 2018


A ride on the Metro and then a bus journey: it was well worth the trouble to get to this museum.  The many layers of history, individuals making their mark and changes of style and taste means finding something that is "as it was" is not to be expected.  Instead the stories that a location tells becomes the attraction.

But with Malmaison restoration has returned the ground floor at least to close to how it was in the days of Napoleon and Josephine.

The stocktake in 1814 after Josephine died allowed the identification and subsequent recovery of much of the contents, even though it had been sold off.  Some was even retrieved from Soviet Russia in the 1930s

The overwhelming feeling was of peace and tranquility.

Modern gateway and ubiquitous security check.

The entry way had been styled as a military type tent.
Every home must have one!

The library with Napoleon's desk in the background. 
Feel the power!

Empress Josephine slept here

The music room.

Looking towards the music room,
from the room with all the portraits of the Sultans of Egypt.

Postcard of the cabinet room at Malmaison,
sent to the ANF HQ in York, WA.  

View of the chateau from the grounds.


Walled city from the 12th Century.  You can walk the ramparts which I found to be most satisfying. The south and east walls are clear and west wall not too encumbered.  The more critical north wall now has a car park in front and some tall plane trees.  This means the additional defensive structures have long gone.  This also applies to the wooden defensive structures that would have topped the city walls.

The tower is amazing.

The city was built as the French kingdom's first port on the Mediterranean and as such a few crusades left from here.  However it silted up in a hundred years and more critically became redundant when Provence and its port of Marseilles became part of France.  However it still served as a military base and sanctuary after that.

Looking north along the west wall to the Constance Tower.
There is a canal that runs past the west wall,
which if I understand correctly,
gave the port access to the sea.

The south wall

Looking west along the south wall

Looking north west towards the Constance Tower.

The east wall in the distance

South east corner tower

On the east wall there were lots of pock marks on the towers, 
as if they had been used for target practice.

Looking south along the east wall

The north wall. As the area at most risk of attack, 
there were other defence works here, 
but now covered by the car park and trees.

View north from the Constance Tower. 
There is another water feature I failed to capture in the picture, 
on the immediate left hand side

Another view from the Constance Tower, 
along the north wall looking east.

And that is the tour bus pulling into the pick up bay and the start of my mad dash back. 
Luckily I met no one coming up the spiral staircase during my descent, 
or at least I don't think I did.

Wings of Holes


Shot To Pieces

Back from four weeks holiday in France (it was fantastic, some related posts will hopefully eventuate) and first night back at the club, what do I find, my camera battery was flat.  No problem, I had a spare.  That was flat.  Switch to phone.  It takes two photos and then gives up (I'm due a new one).  That leaves me with the iPad.  It takes blurry photos which Mark B detects as not blurry but smeery.  He finds a lens cleaner and we are back in business.  All well and good except for some reason the photos seem to be upside down.  Merde !

I feel compelled to take the French side and command two Nieuport NL28s.

The key thing to note is they can take 14 points of damage.

My opponents are Mark B in the two seater and Stephen in the yellow bird.

I thought being in control of two planes would mean they are well coordinated, 
which is a bit of a cheat really.

But I started taking immediate damage (and had my guns jam).

Things are hotting up.

And cooling down...

And really hotting up.
Luckily my planes had gained a few metres of altitude in their Immelmann turns
 and so avoided a very nasty potential collision.

Remember, the damage my planes can take is 14.

More dog fighting.

Looping the loop etc.
One of my planes is now smoking.

Diving and heading for home.

My planes were on 12 and 13 points of damage.
The German two seater was on 15 (it could take 16).
Stephen got away with just a cowardly 6 points of damage.

I have my regular photographic device (and its spare battery) on charge, so hopefully normal viewing will return.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Burgundian Ordonnance 1471-1477 versus French 1494-1516

In the NWS Impetus League semi-finals, my Burgundians faced Richard's French.  Given the preponderance of Swiss Class A Fast Pike on the French side it was almost an historical encounter.  The pressure was on!

 My army deployed.  I went defender as I wanted to clutter up the front with some terrain.  
It didn't quite work out as I wanted it.  The disadvantage was then having to deploy first.

 Oh dear.  First activation role and the enemy commander gets to lock in his genius status.
Richard was the winner of last year's competition.

 End of first turn.  
It was going to be a slow and careful game...

 Second turn.  
The Swiss start to move (lower right hand corner).

 Turn Three.  
I discover that my artillery and crossbowmen will be unable to fire effectively on the enemy artillery.

 Turn Four.  
There is still much distance to go.

 Turn five.
I start to pull my crossbowmen back, putting my faith in the longbow.

 Turn six.
Normally something would have happened by now...

 Turn seven.
 We are exchanging long range shots to little effect.

 Turn eight.  
I have pushed my hand gun armed skirmishers out on both flanks.

 Turn nine.  
Action on my right.  
A Swiss pike block has peeled off and roughly handled my mounted crossbowmen.

 Bad omen.  My right flank commander is downgraded (to fair).

 Turn ten.
The Swiss pike shatter my longbow.
Will my knights be able to get round the flank?

 Turn eleven.
Progress on my left has been disappointing.
Meanwhile on my right the Swiss are carrying all before them,

Turn twelve.
Well, we fought well, but my right flank has broken before I could get the knights in.

It was getting late and as my prospects were not looking good, I was happy to conceed.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Songs of Drums and Pith Helmets

Regardless of how this game played I knew it was going to be a success as it meant that I finally got to use my new terrain mat, plus the some of the Mahdists that I had recently finished as well as some British opponents for them that had come into my possession.

I thought Songs of Drums and Shakos would be easy to adapt and it was except I couldn't find a point system.

There were two squads of British each of one officer and five infantrymen.  The officer was Q3 C2 Leader armed with pistol and sword.  The infantrymen were Q4 C2 armed with rifles.  The leader gave a plus one to Q if they were with one long.  The infantry didn't have to reload.

There were four mobs of Mahdists, each with a flag bearer, drummer and three to four swordsmen.  The flag bearer was Q3 C2 with the ability fervor (which allows a warrior to reroll one fail if they are in range).  The drummer was Q3 C1 and acted to extend the range to one long.  The swordsmen were Q3 C2 and armed with a sword which gave them a bonus in combat (+1 for better weapon).  All the Madists move fast (one long).

 The Madhists were positioned randomly based on a dice rolls (using the benefit of the 12x8 grid).
The British squads entered from each end and had the objective of meeting up in the middle.

 The Mahdists were quickly able to attack Mark B's squad.

 As controller of the Mahdists I kept them hidden as best I could by the terrain.

 Mark B's squad is being overwhelmed.
The red dots represent deaths.

 Simon's squad also came under fierce attack.

 After a gruesome death, the remnants of Mark B's squad flee.

Simon's squad fight valiantly on, but the Mahdists are relentless.

I had only given the force composition limited thought, but was basically happy with it.  Perhaps I had too much terrain that limited the British superiority in long range fire.  Often they were attacked before they could get a shot in, so maybe an overwatch action is required.

Regardless, it was great to get the figures and terrain into action.