Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A blast from the past - Fisticuffs 2008!


A chance post from a mate on the wargames website in my thread about Tigers triggered fond memories about a Wittmann scenario we played at the Fisiticuffs show in 2008. My thread on the forum is banging on about Tigers, and that perhaps they're not quite the mechanically hopeless overrated junk that many self appointed experts maintain they are, and Rod suggested I should do the Wittman/Northants Yeomanry/Sherbrooke Fusiliers scenario. You know, the controversy over who bagged Wittman...


But of course I realised we'd done that with the Royal Signals Blandford Garrison wargaming club back in the day. Colin, Steve, and a few 'army brats' Steve had taken under his wing as part of his resettlement training as a teacher are shown here, along with yours truly who still hasn't recovered from putting up the table and scenery in record time after a breaking the land speed record with a drive from Plymouth to Weymouth of 2.5 hours! ( I'm allowed to say 'army brats', I was one, and believe me its a term of endearment - these lads put up with a lot, moved around all the time, dad's away deployed most of the time, bad housing...so people tend to pitch in if there's something on they might find interesting.) Whilst these lads don't look too hp at the moment they soon cheered up and had a great time, whizzing around looking at all the games and stands...They even rolled dice with us now and then!


Fisiticuffs has always been a great show, and has gone from strength to strength, so that these days, to put into perspective for my Aussie mates, its about the same size as MOAB in South Sydney. Martin Goddard and the Weymouth Levellers work hard to put on a friendly but interesting weekend, so, if you get the chance when in the UK, go along and say hi to Martin from me!


I can't remember too much about the scenario, obviously we wanted to represent all the protagonists claiming Wittman's scalp, the Sherbrookes;


RAF Tiffies;


And of course the Northants Yeomanry, of which Firefly gunner Sergeant Joe Ekins was officially credited with the kill.


Sadly no longer with us, Joe's final words on the debate sum up the bloke:

"It doesn't matter who got him, the important thing was he is dead"


Of course the tankies were supported by, or supporting, infantry.


Anyhow, for a game organised between soldiers returning from operational deployments and with me at sea, we did ok, and Martin and the judges seemed to think so too:


I honestly can't remember what the outcome was, but some of the photos suggest it was all quite bloody...


I suspect, apparently unlike in reality, it was Biggles & Co who bagged the hun...


Pip pip!


Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Waterloo 200 Practice game - the East...

Jim's Papelotte model, still a work in progress apparently, although it looks pretty speccy to me already...
On Sunday the Hall of Heroes Waterloo 200 project team met up for the second of our practice games getting ready for our Waterloo Mega game next year. We will be using Black Powder rules, which should allow us to finish the game in a weekend... 
 
Looking West from the Easternmost of what will be four 12 foot tables - another one to the South will hold Plancenoit

That mega game will be played out over five 12 foot x 6 foot tables, totalling a playing area of 360 square feet of terrain, using about 5,000 28mm model soldiers.
 

But as you can appreciate, that will take some time to get right. Hence the practice games! Which are fun in their own right!


So this practice game was all about the area between the Brussels road and Frischermont, roughly in the area of the black diamond, shown in more detail here:


The blue lines show where the table edges are. We decided to combine the farms of Papelotte and Smohain into one complex, to account for the fact that 1/56th model footprints don't really match our ground scale well.


Jim did offer to cut it down to size, but I think you'll agree that would be a shame, and the net effect on the battle and tactics should be about the same.



After all, we are only representing about 2/3rds of the units present historically, so one or two missing farms should be ok! Below is Jim looking understandably proprietorial, but being a perfectionist he still wants to add a few finishing lowlights and highlights, washes and whatnots. All that stuff good painters do apparently!



You can also see the makings of a French Grand Battery, and below, and it was one of the objectives of the game to see how effective they were against the Allied infantry who were in the shelter of the reverse slope, and exercising the 'Lie Down' special rule from Albion Triumpant Vol 2....



The answer was - not very - 3 casualties from 5 batteries firing all day! Back to the drawing board on that one!



However their threat did effectively keep the best part of the Anglo Hanoverian 5th Division lying down all day, and occasionally disordered, so I suppose they were worth their rations!


The strange thing about organising a big game is that when you get to the point of rolling dice you realise you haven't had time to come up with a cunning plan...


Which was fine for me and my camarade Vic, as we were French, so we thought we'd just 'come on in the same old way...'


I do like my French attack columns, me! 


And you can never have too many! And with the Pas de Charge special rule from AT2 when in column they get a plus 2 to their command roll... 


Which means that they can get into action pretty fast...


Unless of course I'm the one rolling the dice - this brigade blundered 3 times in the course of the game, moving first to their left, then to their right, and then retired!


I'm not sure if the Allied players cooked up a plan - Terry's clearly not prepared to divulge anything to Vic, but another object of the game was to give them the opportunity to figure out their command structure in terms of their Prussian players - would they give them a Anglo-Netherlands Brigade to keep them busy early on, or have them twiddling their thumbs until the Prussians came on in the afternoon....



But judging by the look on Mark's face he wasn't given much time to plan the Prussian advance onto the field either...


So anyway, Vic and I decided that he'd take his Imperial Guards off to the Eastern Table to hold off the Prussians once they arrived, and I do my Attack Column thing on the Western table.


Taking the Papelotte Smohain complex was the first order of business, and at least one Brigade got there fast, and was predictably beaten back with heavy losses by the defending Nassauers, God bless their green uniforms.



Eventually, however, the rest of the Corps made an appearance...




So that first one half...



And then the other, was taken.


On the other table Vic was moving forward to establish a tenable position. Forewarned is forearmed - maybe the Prussians aren't hightailing it off to the North East after all?


The Allies decided to commit the British Heavy and Light Cavalry on the Eastern table, much to Vic's consternation! (Vic is the gent suitably attired in French Blue on the left) (Regulars to my blog will know that the gent with the cup of tea always to hand is my fellow pommie Philip!)


Nonetheless, Vic did well, seizing La Haie, then promptly forming squares:
 


Over on my table the Allied team were regrouping after the loss of Papelotte, clearly expecting an assault on the ridge itself. L-R, Rob, Bryan, Terry and Jim.


As I had limbered up the Grand Battery to go and support Vic against the Prussians, they obviously felt able to move forward to present an active defense.


Havoverians on the left, to the right the Camerons are backed up by the 32nd Foot (Cornwall).
So forward went the French assault columns, buoyed by their initial success...


With the rest of the Corps moving up behind to exploit any breakthrough...



However, supported by devasting artillery and closely supported by the 42nd Black Watch, the Dutch line held firm...


Over on the Eastern table, the massed British cavalry had kept the route clear for the Prussians to deploy...


And so the Black Flags were hoisted high and the Prussian steamroller moved on table...



The French team had to be content with capturing Papelotte and La Haie.


We have now played two practice games, covering both West and East, so the next practice game will be a grand affair, on five tables, allowing the rest of our toy soldiers to see the light of day:


Eight months to go until the great weekend, and as we packed up we felt that we were on track for a truly spectacular Waterloo 200 commemorative weekend in June 1815 2015!