Saturday, January 30, 2021

Swedish Dragoons

A bit of a challenge to get the uniform details right and while they are supposed to be for the 1813 campaign, I think the figures are more representative of early times, possibly even mixing items from 1802, 1807 and 1811.  Still, I am happy how they have turned out.

The Vestgota dragonregementes

The Nyland dragonregementes

Something weird happened to the printed flag when I lightly varnished the figures.  It shows up worse in the photo than it does to the naked eye so I'll just live with it.  I've been printing flags and using the same varnish for a good while now and never noticed such an effect occurring before.  Odd.

I love the trooper's look of outrage as the officer waves his sword around.

The one pack of Old Glory Swedish cavalry provides both uniforms and so it is a bit of a challenge if you want consistency.  Thankfully that does't matter for me as the unit represents a brigade.

There is also an outraged trooper unhappy with a trumpet being blown in his ear.

Friday, January 29, 2021


Today we were able to bring five busy retired, semi retired and probably wannabe retired players together to play the boardgame Container.

The above image is from Boardgame Geek and shows all the component of the first edition game, which was the version we played.

It was the first time any of us had played this game, although we are all well seasoned boardgamers and had each read the rules through at least once and even watched videos (which seemed to be of variable value).

Player    Value of Containers    Stock in Hand    Cash in Hand    Total
Simon                    68                            6                        115            189
Russell                   78                            0                         19               97
Jeff                         52                            6                         28               86
Richard                  80                            7                           4                91
Mark                      10                            4                        128             142

A very interesting and fun game.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Carthaginians versus Late Imperial Roman (East)

In my first and last League game for this season, my well seasoned Carthaginians failed to defeat Brendan's Romans in his first game of BI in two years.  At least it was an enjoyable game.

My Carthaginians had the advantage in deploying second.

While I adjusted my centre right, both wings surged forward,
in a stroke of look my slingers took out the enemy horse-archers in their first volley.
The green tabs are aides-memoire for the Roman player

The Romans came down off the hill
as skirmishers did their thing, that is, skirmished.

One unit of Libyan skirmishers is lost,
but the other got a shot in against the Romans.

Well, all my charges went in,
but they failed to inflict a critical mass of casualties.
This became a trend.
Even though I had the weight of numbers (as in more dice),
I was unable to score more hits than my opponent.

A couple of bad Cohesion Tests and mounting attrition
and things are not looking good.

My commander and the veteran cavalry have perished.

We keep on fighting.
Again I have the numbers in the combats,
but not the luck to turn that to my advantage.

Finally the Numdians have broken through,
but the Gauls no longer have much fight left.

With the rout of the Gauls my army breaks.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

A Drop Too Many

Mike lent me this book to add a bit extra to the Holland'44 game we are playing.  It is by Major General Frost (as he became) of Arnhem bridge fame, although the book covers his wartime career which included time in the Middle East, active service in Tunisia and Italy, before the battle for which he is famous.

I really enjoyed it once I got used to his style.  I've noticed with a few books I've read by people actually involved in what they write about, rather than professional historians using first person sources, that they often have quite a challenging writing style.  Sometimes this is sentence structure, other times it is use of terminology or slang.  With this book it was just enough to make it interesting (as in you had to think about what you were reading), but also make it notable.  We can't all be great writers, but we all have a story to tell.  It is just that some people's stories are more interesting or relevant than others.  Major General Frost's is very much in that latter category.

His time in the Middle East, specifically Iraq, was very interesting, although I did find it mighty peculiar the attention given to the hunt.  The world has certainly changed and it is impossible to imagine the troops presently deployed to Iraq managing packs of hounds and taking off to hunt local wildlife.  LOL I might be wrong, but I hope not.

He returned to England and joined the airborne.  He makes frequent comments about what he perceives as the correct use of airborne forces (such as the seizure of Pegasus bridge on D-Day) rather than having them used a leg infantry (as what happened in Tunisia and Italy).  The amount of planning required for an airdrop was significant and in some locations the front was too mobile to allow this to happen.  Add in the weather and it would be a major challenge.

All in all an excellent read.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Two skellies in the garden

Not something you really want to find and definitely not The Flowerpot Men.

I now have five of these buggers, sadly I don't know the brand.  I like their attitude.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

World in Flames via FB - 11

Iran is finally conquered.  

Vichy is installed, just about everywhere!

Japan has a major offensive in China that is not very successful.

Attention now turns to the Eastern Med.

The Axis 3rd Impulse with the weather already rolled – 5, is clear weather in the Temp, rain in N Monsoon. GERM declares a combined and Italy a no cost combined as they are down to only .5 oil. With a Comb rather than Land the GERM is not going after the conquest of France – Vichy declaration it is then. The Italian NAV air flies to the Italian coast and searches, it is ‘just’ successful on a roll of 4, and aborts the French surface presence from the Italian Coast. It rebases a FTR from the French alpine borders ‘down South’ to ensure that any British CVs that want to interfere will have a least a chance of being sprung. The Germ sails its Tpt and Amph into the Baltic and embarks the Rome MIL and an AT Gun – destination Oslo. They adjust their land stacks to ensure there are no ‘freebies’ for low odds attacks by the French. Japan declares a Land Offensive and spends 11 O-points to assault Sian and break the impasse. A GS sees the Sian AT gun inverted for another +1, for a +10 attack. Declaring two assaults, one in the Southern Mtns and Sian, the Japanese launch their last offensive for the long summer of 1940. Either exhaustion, or poor coordination of the massed attacks – both fail in their objectives. The unlucky Japanese rolled a 7 on the +7 attack on the Chinese Mtn stronghold for his second ‘squiggly’ 14 – losing 3 units for only 1 Chinese, and worse, despite spending O-points on the Sian assault he rolled 6 on the +10 assault for another expensive 2/1 loss. Importantly the hexes are not taken, and the Chinese line is not dislocated. The Japanese is justifiably disappointed with the performance of his Army. This land war in Asia is becoming expensive and is distracting him from his naval building program as he is being forced to replace land units rather than build ships. It has not been a good night for Japan. The EOT roll of 1 is missed, as expected.
Allied 3rd Impulse and the CMWLTH desperate to conduct a Naval, is forced to declare a Comb instead as it must occupy an empty Cairo or risk conquest if the GERM ends the turn and wins the initiative. They sail their two fleets, Force H into the E Med led by the CV Ark Royal and Home into the W Med – the Home fleet is intercepted by a patrolling Italian SUB and rather ‘fight through’ the RN elects to go to the top box – the CMWLTH cannot afford to lose CVs on speculative rolls. In a surprise the Indian Div on board a CA in Force H invades Bardia as it is OOS and lands on the Italian aborted CA and tpt – the tpt is destroyed and the CA x managers to escape the Indian's surprise attack but is successfully intercepted by the combined French and British fleets and blown out of the water. The Indian Corps recently arrived on the Queens occupies Cairo to the welcoming cries of its populous. The French knowing that they risk little, take a land and launch their second C/atk against the GERM line attacking at a +6, the GERM elects a blitz and an average roll sees the GERM retreat a hex with the French all inverted – the last gasp of the French not so Grande Armee! The Allies fail to roll the EOT roll – 2 needed, Axis get a chance to re-establish supply to their Egyptian Exped Army. Russia moving units from Persia to Poland and adjusting his defensive line. China – moved a unit.
Axis 4th Impulse sees GERM declare a combined and Italy a naval. Italian supply convoys are sailed to re-establish the Italian convoy lanes – both for resources (Cyprus and Sardinia) and supply. The Italians have run out of oil, so the GERM lends a hand so that Italy can sail its multiple Convs and react its air if needed. The French fleet in the W Med fails to find the unescorted conv that has arrive in the E Med, and the GERM/ITAL Expeditionary Army is back in supply. The GERM Navy sails to the Baltic and embarks two Divs from Norway. The GERM launches a counter, counter attack against the French line that dared to attack them and rolled a nice 16 on a +10 blitz attack for a top of the table result to eliminate a French infantry stack. They finally Strat move a 6 factor FTR to Southern Italy to assist with securing the Med – letting everyone know that the big boys have arrived – Russia says thank you to Britain. EOT roll by the GERM of a 1 (3) needed and the turn ends, Part roll was another 7, same as last week, with no Partisan acty, again Japan breathes a sigh – he certainly didn’t want further pain this turn with more Chinese Parts turning up in his rear areas.
Interestingly, the S/O 1940 weather was all clear weather, replicating the excellent weather that the Axis had in S/O 1939. I suspect that the GERM will be well pleased if this trend continues during OP BARBAROSSA. Rebase, conquest, production and N/D reinforcement. Stalin announces the Persia is now welcomed into the greater Soviet bosom and has become a satellite nation. The occupying troops are now withdrawing by road (there is no railway) as they move West to the GERM/Polish border. GERM announces that they have accepted a mutual agreement with French Govt announcing generous terms and the establishment of the Vichy France. So convincing is Goebbels propaganda machine that all but French Equatorial Africa joins Vichy all but one! The Allies are more than a little ‘disappointed’ that De Gaulle’s promised Free French Govt is largely ignored and relegated to drowning their sorrows in the last of the Burgundy Reds in their now capital of Brazzaville. Even the US Senate is indifferent as the GERM player rolls a 9 on the US Entry for only 1 chit to the GERM/IT Pool. US Entry options deferred till next session as Roosevelt is again ‘indisposed’.
1940 N/D - CMWLTH picks up the dice as he is desperate to save Egypt, and surprisingly rolls a 9 to win over the Italian’s 6 roll to take the initiative, declaring that the Allies will take that. Weather is a moderate 7, snow in the Arctic and the Temp, rain in the Med and fine in the N Monsoon. The CMWLTH will take a Naval to finally extricate the BEF from Rouen and reinforce Egypt, but more importantly hunt the Italian supply convoys – although now the Italian NAVs have ftr cover.
Interesting review of the GERM player’s options with the fall of Paris on the first impulse of the S/O turn one, you would have assumed that the GERM would have started to STRAT move his Army to the Russian – Polish border to prepare for OP BARBAROSSA, but not a single unit has been railed East. Instead, they have been railed to the Med and Norway. One would suspect therefore that the collapse of Vichy and an attack into Spain to capture Gibraltar and seal the Med is the most likely course of action. This is supported by two actions; STRAT moves and builds. The STRAT moves have been all to the Med, 1 x HQ and 4 INF Corps and a FTR as well as to Norway (7 Corps) and with the builds, there are no GERM INF builds on the Axis build chart, rather a focus on ARM/MECH and NAV air builds. Only the GERM/Axis player(s) knows his plans, the Allies can only speculate, but it would seem that the lack of any INF build predicates a Spanish expedition rather than an underdone attack against Russia in 41, as that is always high risk. It is looking like the Allies will have some deep thinking to do in 41 to prepare for a number of interesting options open to the Axis.
Just as an aside the Vichy France rules are ‘clunky’ and even with a careful read through what happens to the variety of units, Free and Vichy is still not clear – we think we got it right, but who knows! It needs a simplified flow chart and an example or two.
Next week – a rest week – followed by the start of the last turn of 1940, which the Allies have won, rolling a 7 for Snow in the Arctic/Temp and rain in the Med. They will finally get a naval action and the BEF will be extricated from Rouen.

Friday, January 22, 2021

2nd Punic War Carthaginians versus Spanish Imperials

There are a few centuries between these armies and it shows.

I was the attacker, but didn't contribute to any of the terrain placement.  There is an impassable lake/swamp (that can be shot over - handy for those with artillery and muskets) and a wood. Oh, and a convenient table edge to snuggle up to.

Seeing how the enemy had deployed I tried for something different - an on table redeployment, to be achieved by marching up the right flank.  I knew it was going to be a challenge as there is no "face to the left" command.

Well, my deployment avoided the enemy artillery.
Their left flank is pinned on the table edge.

Into the woods!
At least I was advancing.

Turns out my skirmishers can't hurt the artillery,
either by fire or close combat :-(

Wood captured!

Both sides are redeploying.
It's not easy.

I get bold with the Numidians.

Well, the Numidians successfully charged home.
But they were devastated by one hit and a subsequent 6 for the Cohesion Test.
After that the artillery and musketry blew them away.

The Libyan skirmishers screen the deployment of the main force.
The Spanish skirmishers will be sent to deal with the musketeers threatening the left flank.

The Imperialist light cavalry tries to drive off the Libyan skirmishers,
Libyan spearmen get blasted and the chase is on to catch those musketeers.
(Whoops, my photoshopping missed a bit of table clutter)

It is taking forever to get the main body up.
At least it is now screened by the enemy cavalry.
The general with the Carthaginian cavalry turns round to go to the left flank.

Enemy light cavalry driven off (well they actually just retired).
Surely we will get into action soon?

Not yet...

The Carthaginians are slowly damaging the Imperialists, but sadly taking more losses.

The next turn saw further bloodshed, with the Carthaginians just not able to break any Imperialist units, while losing plenty themselves.  

The presence of the enemy light cavalry thwarted the charge of the Gauls, not that fighting pikes isn't hard enough.  The ability of stacked musketeers and artillery to interpenetrate each other and still fire can be deadly, even though in this game their aim was off.  However, mustn't complain about the rules, they are the Basic ones after all.  If I want more realism it means moving to Impetus Second Edition and that can be a stress to play on a Wednesday night.  However, once this league competition is finished I will give it a go.

On thing I do dislike is playing up against the table edge (which tends to be where all the clutter is).  It is artificial and worse, makes taking photos difficult.

Thursday, January 21, 2021


I was fortunate to be gifted a Welsh DBA Army as a bonus to some recent purchases I had made from the estate of a recently deceased gamer (amongst many other interests and achievements that I know he had in life).  While I had met him once or twice, I didn't really know him, but through some of his friends who I do know, I am very happy to have some of his figures in my collection.

While I like DBA, I haven't played for years and don't see myself playing again when I can play Basic Impetus to much the same effect.  The figures were based on thin cardboard that had badly warped and so they needed rebasing and that was what I did.  Very happy how they have come up and looking forward to using them in Tony's memory.  They will be joining other Dark Age troops that I have, but haven't quiet got around to organising yet.

All I've done is rebase them
and pose them around this lovely bit of terrain.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Red Eagle Whites Star - At the Gates of Warsaw

EDIT: The title of the game is Red Star White Eagle.  

Richard did warn me that this scenario favours the Poles.

The Soviet West Front was getting mauled,
but an offensive was launched by the South West Front.
It even looked promising.

Second Soviet turn.
The West Front is rapidly pulling back,
some trapped units are trying to breakout
(bad move as a retreat result meant they were annihilated).
More interesting, two units have broken through and will hopefully tie up lots of Polish units.

The South West Front continues its offensive.

The rapid retreat of the West Front continues.
Gaps are bad, but stacking units is the only way to form a defensible stack (or so I thought).

The South West offensive rapidly fell back after its lead units were wiped out
in a spirited Polish counterattack 
(only at 4 to 1, but the CRT can be very fickle),

Will the West Front be able to hold?
The river line and the cities are not very significant defensive positions.  
They give a -1 DRM and so heighten the risk of a poor outcome,
unless the attacker has the defender surrounded,
as a 1 at 5 to 1 or better always produces a retreat.

The Soviets have mandatory withdrawals from the South West Front at this time.
Just what they needed! 

The Poles start to break the West Front.

The West Front has collapsed.

Followed by the South West Front.
At this stage of the game I was just trying to defend the VP locations.
They can be easily surrounded and a 5 to 1 attack will produce at least a retreat and that is fatal.
The alternative would have been to keep on retreating,
although the Soviets were getting out run.