Sunday 31 May 2015

Vive L'Empereur: Line Infantry (2)

After varnishing and basing the first batch of French Line Infantry figures in my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures, I decided to move onto a second batch.

There are six bases of Line Infantry in this batch of figures, each base having three figures.

I now hope to move on to varnish and base the French Light Infantry. There are as many of them as there are Line Infantry, and these will also be done in two or more batches.

Saturday 30 May 2015

Phil Dunn's Your World at War

I ordered this book from the 'History of Wargaming' Project last week, and it arrived a couple of days ago. It was written Phil Dunn (one of the founder members of the Naval Wargames Society) and edited by John Curry, and was published in 2015 (ISBN 978 1 326 24464 4). The book has a long but very unambiguous subtitle, namely RULES FOR GLOBAL WARGAMING CAMPAIGNS 1939-45 INCLUDING NAVAL, LAND AND AIR OPERATIONS.

The book's contents include:
  • Foreword by John Curry
  • Phil Dunn's Your World War Game
  • Introduction to the Rules
    • The Campaign Rules
    • Pre-game
    • Sequence of play
    • Air staging phase
    • Naval Phase
      • Land Units Travelling by Sea
      • Naval Combat Rules
      • Air Attack on Naval Units: Carrier Strikes and Land Planes v Naval
      • The Scapas
      • Ports AA
    • Land Phase
      • Invasions
      • Supply to Land Units
    • Air Phase
      • Attack Shipping
      • Ground Support
      • Air Superiority
  • Your World War Standard Scenario
  • The Battle of Britain (1940)
  • Operation Seelöwe (Sealion)
  • Select Bibliography of Wargaming Books
  • Appendix Map Sections for Standard Scenario
Like many wargamers I have often wondered what it would be like to fight a global-scale conflict ... and this book provides the tools for me to do so.

Friday 29 May 2015

Vive L'Empereur: Line Infantry (1)

After varnishing and basing the French Imperial Old and Young Guard figures in my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures, I decided to move onto the French Line Infantry. There are quite a few of them, so I am doing them in batches.

There are eight bases of Line Infantry in the first batch, each base having three figures.

Thursday 28 May 2015

Nugget 281

I collected the latest edition of THE NUGGET (N281) from the printer this morning, and I hope to post it out to members of Wargame Developments later today or early tomorrow morning.

This issue contains the final, pre-programme details of the numerous sessions that will be taking place at COW2015 (this year's annual Conference of Wargamers) in July as well as the most up-to-date list of attendees. It also contains a request for any final payments to be made as soon as possible.

I will upload the PDF versions of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT to the Wargame Developments website later today, and they will then be available for members of Wargame Developments to read online or to download and print.

IMPORTANT: Please note that this is the eighth issue of THE NUGGET to be published for the 2014-2015 subscription year, and that members who have not already re-subscribed can still do so if they want to. This can be done by visiting the relevant page on the Wargame Developments website.

The password to open the online PDF version of THE NUGGET and THE NUGGET COLOUR SUPPLEMENT will be sent by post and email to members when they re-subscribe.

Tuesday 26 May 2015

Vive L'Empereur: The Young Guard

Having varnished and based the French Imperial Old Guard figures in my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures, I decided to move onto the Young Guard.

There are seven bases of Young Guard Infantry, each base having three figures.

Monday 25 May 2015

I have been to ... the World War II Event at Dover Castle, Kent

Sue and I are members of the National Trust and English Heritage, and have been members of both organisations for quite a long time. Now that we are retired, we hope to spend more of our time visiting the various places that these two bodies help to maintain ... and yesterday we visited Dover Castle.

Sue had spotted that English Heritage was hosting a World War II event at Dover Castle over this Bank Holiday weekend, and we decided to go yesterday (Sunday) as we expected that it to be less crowded than it would be on the Bank Holiday Monday. It took us less than ninety minutes to drive to Dover, and after parking in one of the nearby overflow car parks, we arrived at the entrance just before 11.00am. Thanks to having bought tickets online before we left home, we were able to avoid the queues at the ticket office and walked straight in.

We entered the Castle via the Constable's Gate ...

... and turned right towards the sea. As we walked along the pathway towards the NAAFI Restaurant, we had a magnificent view over the port and town of Dover.

Away from the ferry port, we could see a cruise liner moored alongside the Cruise Terminal. (The ship was the AIDA Sol).

A number of re-enactors had set up displays next to the path. They were from a group called Das Heer and represent member of the 27th Infantry Regiment of the 12th Infantry Division.

We decided to have a drink outside the NAAFI Restaurant, and whilst we were there we had to opportunity to spend some time looking at a group of re-r actors who were depicting life on the Home Front during the Second World War.

We had intended to visit the wartime tunnels and the Operation Dynamo exhibit, but the queue was so long (it was estimated that we would have to have queued for between one and two hours to get in) that we decided to move on towards the Admiralty Look-Out and Coastal Artillery Fire Control Station. Along the way we were passed by a group of re-enactors dressed as members of the Essex Regiment.

We also passed a statue of Admiral Ramsey (the man who organised and commanded the evacuation of Dunkirk and helped to plan Operation Overlord) that was situated looking out across the English Channel ...

... and a 3-inch anti-aircraft gun.

The Admiralty Look-Out and Coastal Artillery Fire Control Station was very impressive, and made an interesting comparison with similar German bunkers we have visited on Jersey.

The view from the top of the building was very impressive, and it was interesting to see the White Cliffs from a somewhat different angle from normal.

We then made our way up the steps towards the old Officers Mess ...

... and along the roadway that passes around the mound on top of which is the church of St Mary-in-Castro ...

... and past some old artillery casemates.

Das Heer was mounting a display in the natural amphitheatre between the Great Tower and the church mound. They demonstrated the various weapons used by the Wehrmacht...

... and despite warnings a lot of people were taken aback by the noise generated by blank-firing weapons.

Another re-enactment group was also present at the display but we're not taking part. They represented the French Army, and included members who were dressed as North African troops.

We retraced our steps around the church mound, and made our way through Peverell's Gate ...

... and into the area that is usually used as a car park for Disabled Blue Badge holders. This contained a number of stands and exhibits, amongst which was an RAF exhibit that included a replica Supermarine Spitfire.

We then walked back past The Constable's Gate towards the entrance to the Medieval tunnels. Two re-enactment groups were situated there, one of which represented the Essex Regiment ...

... and the other recreated the German Home Front.

As it was past midday and the Castle was getting increasingly crowded we decided to call it a day and return home. A minibus took us back to the car park just in time to see a Hawker Hurricane perform a display overhead. (It was actually a Hurribomber as it was specially equipped to act as a fighter-bomber rather than as an interceptor.)

Our journey home took just over ninety minutes, and both of us felt that the event had been very interesting and very entertaining ... and an excellent way to spend a sunny Sunday.

Sunday 24 May 2015

Funny Little Wars battle

Yesterday I had the opportunity to take part in a FUNNY LITTLE WARS battle in central London. It was originally planned to fight the battle outdoors, but thanks to some inclement weather it took place in a large carpeted room instead.

Paul acted as umpire and the two sides (Army Red and Army Dark Green) each had two commanders. Mike and Andrew commanded Army Red, and Tim and myself commanded Army Dark Green. (It should be noted that half of Army Dark Green were actually Scottish troops who were more than willing to serve under the Cross of St Andrew, as were the Royal Marines who served as the crew of one of Army Dark Green's field guns. It is not for nothing that the Royal Navy has the nickname of 'The Andrew'!)

Army Dark Green defended a town and its outlying hamlets. The main body of their troops (two battalions of the Black Watch, a battalion of Tratvian infantry, two Tratvian machine gun detachments, two Tratvian medium artillery guns, and two field guns (one crewed by Tratvians and one Royal Marines) were in positions within the town and three small pickets of three men each (two drawn from the ranks of the Gordon Highlanders and one from a Tratvian Cossack unit) were deployed where they could give warning of any enemy attacks. A Tratvian assassin was also concealed somewhere on the battlefield ... but nobody (except the Tratvian commander) knew where.

The town.
Another view of the town.
A view of part of the country over which the battle was fought.
The old factory.
The battle began when Army Red decided to attack the town from two opposite directions.

One half of Army Red advanced from the left ....
... whilst the other half moved forward on the right flank..
Although one might have thought that this pincer movement would have been intended to overwhelm the defenders by making them split their firepower, it didn't. In fact it proved to be a double-edged weapon, especially when the artillery of one half of Army Red started overshooting the town and began hitting troops in the other half.

The pickets proved their worth, and managed to hold up the Army Red advance on one flank and cause Army Red to concentrate their fire on an empty building on the other flank.

Army Red's Riflemen engaged the Army Dark Green picket in the Old Factory ...
The pickets were eventually destroyed ...

... and eventually wiped them out.
... but in moving to attack them Army Red became exposed.

One of Army Dark Green's Black Watch battalions deployed to meet the advancing Army Red troops.
Army Red's mighty cavalry force moved forward ...
... supported by infantry and artillery.
Army Red was poised to mount a major attack on the town.
Army Red's artillery fire was very effective, and tore holes in the ranks of the Tratvian infantry.
On one flank the Tratvian infantry and machine guns and Royal Marine artillery managed to cause so many casualties on an Army Red cavalry unit that it had to retreat ...

Army Red's cavalry commander learned the hard way that attacking steadfast infantry and machine guns ...
... was an easy way to empty the saddles of your own cavalry ...
... and cause them to retreat!
... and disrupted the units through which it had to pass. Their machine gun detachment also proved to be very deadly, and depleted the ranks of one of Army Red's infantry battalions. On the other flank an entire regiment of Army Red lancers were shot from their saddles when they rode across the front of one battalion of the Black Watch in order to charge the other.

The Army Dark Green defenders prepare to see off another Army Red assault.
By this point in the battle the entire Army Dark Green was visible to the commanders of Army Red.
The Army Red lancers prepare to charge the battalion of the Black Watch who are not behind a wall. Now you see them ...
... and now you don't! Yet another lesson in the vulnerability of cavalry to close range rifle fire.
In the end numbers began to tell, and although Army Red's artillery fire managed to destroy their main objective (Army Dark Green's HQ ... which they were supposed to capture!), the day ended with a depleted Army Dark Green still holding the town.

The town at the end of the battle.
This was a fantastically enjoyable way to spend a Saturday afternoon. The company was excellent, everyone enjoyed themselves, and the rules (which included a couple of tweaks regarding artillery ammunition) worked extremely well. My thanks go to Paul and his wife for providing the venue and the afternoon tea, and to my fellow 'generals' for being all-round good chaps.

Here's to the next time we meet!