Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Partizan 2012

Colin Jack, Dave OBrien , Dave Imrie and I went down to the Partizan show at Newark this weekend.

Colin and I put on Colins unusual 1944 Canadian Arctic PP game that we presented at Skelp 2011 in Forfar last year.   Thanks to everyone who played and all the others who discussed the models.  Lots of interested comments on the Nazi Penquin score counters.

A deadly struggle over the nazi Flying Disk
 Dave Obrien helped the League of Augsburg put on their impressive Irish 1691 game and Dave Imrie had a good day selling his new range of 28mm Claymore Miniatures for the Battle of Otterburn.

The camp scene from the LoA 1691 irish game

Warwick at Sea - 28mm WOR naval PP game

Ally Morrisons WWI display - great details

The Perry Brothers WOR Hail Caesar game
 More photos are at my Flickr site.


It was a great weekend and we also visited Newark Air Museum - definately worth a visit if you like British jet aircraft.  This coming weekend I am at Wappinshaw in Glasgow presenting my 28mm version of the Battle of Oriskany 1777 for the SESWC.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spain 1813 - Capitaine Gerard regrets.....

This weeks game was a fictional 28mm Napoleonic Peninsular War game played with Black Powder.


British cross the Puebla bridge...
The Setup
It was a Donald Adamson scenario involving his hero Capitaine Gerard in which a British Force (commanded by myself and Colin Jack) advancing from Vittoria encountered a French rearguard force commanded by Hugh Wilson. The player briefings and orders of battle are given later. Donald provided most of the troops with myself provided the Puebla Bridge guard. The terrain set-up was provided by Hugh Wilson on his 12 ft by 5 ft table.
All the troops used the standard factors in the rules. The French infantry were reliable in attack column and the line British infantry had first fire. Veteran units were given the Crack special rule. We used the alternate move sequence with firing occurring after initiative moves.  Player briefings, scenario events and OBs are at the end of this article.  A map and more
photos with descriptions on flickr at

How it Played
My British infantry brigade advanced onto the table along the Royal Road while the flanking Light Brigade played by Colin came onto the table in the first turn just south of the Sacramento River. This meant that the 2 French reserve brigades could act immediately against Colin’s isolated force. The main action and excitement in the game resolved around this apparently unequal struggle.
The French attacked the Light Brigade initially with 4 battalions who closed quickly with the British and went in with the bayonet. Three of the French battalions were broken in the hand to hand conflicts (not much you can do when you roll 2 for the first break test and 4 for the supporting unit.) while the other battalion retired shaken and disordered.

First French attack goes in - En Avant mes amis...

A second wave of attacks by the French broke the British light infantry and a combined battalion but both the French battalions were broken by firing and fled the field. This left the French artillery and 2 battalions including the Royal Guard engaging the similar sized surviving force of the Light brigade from long range whilst the Swiss battalion had moved to the Los Mission Dos Putas Ridge as a distant support for the Puebla Bridge guard.
On their front the Bridge Guard had concentrated on the north side of the Puebla River. They allowed enough space on the north bank for the British to cross with 3 of their large battalions. The leading British battalion proved to be very poor shots - scoring 2 hits with 12 dice at short range - so the French held their position. Only as the game was ending did the British manage to redeploy to get 2 fresh battalions into action but their first volley of 10 dice proved ineffective! The cavalry brigade had by now crossed the river but never got into a position to unsheathe their swords.

French Bridge guard holds British....
The game ended when the Light Brigade making use of their horse gun and the superior range of their rifles broke both the French infantry units facing them in a single turn. Heavily outnumbered though they were they had broken 7 French battalions for the loss of 2 of their own. True hearts of oak…..
With the Royal Road cut behind them the French survivors would have to make their way cross country towards the beckoning Pyrenees.

British masses across the Puebla Bridge

French Briefing: General de Division Le Pard
It is 1813, and the British, Portuguese and Spanish are pushing north for the mountains and border with France. The French are fighting a glorious and bitter rear-guard campaign.
Your orders are to hold two key bridges over the Rio Puebla, and then over the Rio Sacramento. Your duty is clear.
You have positioned a small force, of two battalions, around the bridge over the Rio Puebla, together with your aide, the gallant Capitaine Gerard. They are ordered to hold the bridge until reinforcements arrive, which will be summoned by Capitaine Gerard.
Your main force is camped just south of the Rio Sacramento, east and west of the road by the bridge. You are clear that the Rio Sacramento not fordable for many miles. You are less clear about the nature of the Rio Puebla, and have therefore astutely retained your forces by the bridge over the Sacramento, until Gerard informs you of the position. You then plan to move forward to save the day when you know what threats you are facing. You will do nothing until you hear from the gallant Capitaine.

French OB
CinC Generale Etienne Le Pard 8

Brigade Auberge 8
Battalion of King Joseph’s Guards – small; veteran
Infantry de Griswald (Swiss) - veteran
34th Ligne
66th Ligne
Ft gun

Brigade Foix 8
16th Legere - veteran
23rd Ligne
29th Ligne
88th Ligne

Ft gun

Brigade Gris 8 at the Puebla Bridge
44th Ligne - veteran
46th Ligne - veteran

French Special Event
On reaching the house of the Fallen Women, Capitaine Gerard throws a dice.
1. Two of the whores offer themselves to the bold Gerard. Delay of D6.
2. One husky beauty leads the Capitaine to a boudoir. Delay of D3
3. Rides on next turn
4. Rides on next turn
5. Charms on the ladies with his ready wit. She tells him that a shepherd has reported a British force at point x on the map.
6. Having written a love sonnet to a dusky eyed beauty, she tells Gerard not only where the British are, but also the exact composition of the force.

British Briefing: Major General Hope
It is 1813, and the British, Portuguese and Spanish are pushing north for the mountains and border with France. The French are fighting a bitter rear-guard campaign.
You have an opportunity to punch through what your Spanish allies tell you is a thinly defended sector on The King’s Road – the royal road to France. Your orders are to seize two key bridges over the River Puebla, and then over the River Sacramento. Your duty is clear.
You approach from the south with one brigade under the somewhat foppish Brigadier Nicholas St Aubyn. The brigade is newly sent out from England with four fresh battalions. It is accompanied by a cavalry brigade of two regiments of dragoons, and a battery of foot artillery.
You have been informed by your Spanish allies that the Puebla River is crossable by ford a few miles to the west and east of the bridge. Unfortunately the Sacramento River is deeper and faster flowing, and thus not crossable for many miles. You send a brigade of light infantry and rifles under the irascible Red Rob Crawford on a flank march. The regiments are veterans but are supported by two line battalions that have been badly mauled in previous engagements and now form two composite battalions. They are accompanied by a troop of Royal Horse Artillery.

British OB
CinC Major Gen John Hope 8

Brigadier Nicholas St Aubyn 7
1st Foot (Royal Scots) - Large. Blue facings
28th Foot (Gloucestershire Regt) – Large. Yellow facings
31st Foot (East Surreys) –Large. White facings
37th Foot (Hampshires) – Large. Yellow facings

Brigadier Robert Crawford 9
60th Rifles - veteran
52nd Light Infantry – Small -veteran
1st Composite – veteran; 1 casualty
2nd Composite – veteran; 1 casualty

RHA gun

British Special Event
Before the game starts, the British throw a D6—this determines in how many turns the Light Brigade appears.
The British throw another D6. This determines where the Light Brigade appears between the two rivers.
East side of Board
1. Near (South) of ridge
2. On ridge
3. Far (North) side of ridge
West wide of Board
4. Near (South) of ridge
5. On ridge
6. Far (North) side of ridge
On throws of 1 or 4, the troops do not have to be put on table until they either go onto the ridge or go through the woods towards the bridge.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Somewhere in Manchuria 1930s 28mm T&T

This weeks game at the SESWC was something different - a 28mm Sino-Japanese War action.
Manchurian train with its railway guard troops.
The troops and scenario were supplied by Colin Jack. The action involved the ambush of a Manchurian Railways armoured train by a small force of Chinese regulars. A second larger force of lower quality Chinese troops aided by local bandits took up position in a nearby village through which any relieving Japanese force would have to come.

Chinese bandit cavalry wait to pounce...
The ambushers had the better luck during the initial exchanges of fire and when the relief force of Japanese army and naval infantry arrived in front of the village they also suffered heavy casualties. Later the luck began to favour the Japanese who launched a series of Banzai bayonet charges on the Chinese troops holding the buildings.

Type 89 supports naval infantry
Eventually the Chinese tried to assault the train but the Japanese defenders held on. Elsewhere, the relief force were sweeping through the village but their Type 89 medium tank was attacked by an improvised Chinese anti-tank weapon which scored a hit on the motor.

Chinese Mk1 anti-tank waepon in action.....is it a rickshaw or a wheelbarrow?
Victory was awarded to the Japanese players. We used the Triumph and Tragedy rules which gave a fast, fun game.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


This weeks big game was held on Saturday.  It was a 28mm refight of the 2nd Battle of Polotsk 18 October, 1812 played using Black Powder Rules.

swiss brigade defends the convent
Organising the game The game was fought at Hugh Wilson’s house on a 14ft by 5ft table that Hugh had set-up for the game. I provided the scenario and the figures.   To get the game to fit into the space available we used the battlefield from our 1st Battle of Polotsk but with 2 redoubts added to the French deployment area.  My thanks to Susanne for providing the French style lunch.
Their were 6 players and I umpired. Hugh Wilson, Dave Paterson and Olivier Lepreux were the Russian players. Ian Carter, Colin Jack and Jimmy Conquer were the French players.  I have added a special 2nd Polotsk page which gives more complete information on the game set-up, terrain map, rules used, the player briefings and order of battle.

Link to Flickr photoset of the game with further descriptions

SetupI based the OB on the troops I had available taking into account the proportions at the actual battle with the Russians having an infantry superiority, an extra cavalry brigade and more artillery.  The French army deployed with 4 infantry Brigades on the table with the heavy and light cavalry brigades and a Bavarian Brigade in reserve of table. The Russians deployed with 5 infantry brigades and their Cossack cavalry brigade on the table with the two combined Dragoon/Hussar  brigades in reserve of table.

View of the Russian centre with left wing beyond the stream

With the table effectively split into 2 sections by a stream running across it before the game started the 2 sides had to decide on which flank of their armies their reserves would be committed. The French command decided to commit their reserve light cavalry brigade on their right flank whilst the heavy cavalry brigade would support their centre. The Russian command decided to commit their 2 reserve combined cavalry brigades on their left and in the centre.
Terrain map with initial deployments - underlined units of table

These decisions left the Russian left with the  militia/depot infantry brigade, combined cavalry brigade and the Cossack brigade facing a French force of  their best Swiss infantry brigade and the light cavalry brigade. The Russian centre-right with 4 infantry Brigades and a combined cavalry brigade facing 3 infantry brigades supported by a heavy cavalry brigade.   The Russian plan was to attack in the centre towards Polotsk with 3 brigades plus cavalry whilst the brigade on the right covered this attack.  On the left their plan was to hold back with their militia brigade and harry the French with their Cossacks.  The French plan was to hold  defensively based on the line covering the convent, the 2 redoubts and the town of Polotsk.  At least that is what the French CinC Ian thought was the plan.

How the game played
On the Russian left beyond the stream the Russian militia brigade occupied a village whilst the Cossacks harried the Swiss based near the convent.  These tactics and the appearance on table of the combined cavalry brigade held the Swiss at bay.  They and the militia never exchanged a musket shot all day.  The French light cavalry eventually put in an appearance and engaged the Cossacks.  One Chasseur Regt retired from the field almost immediately - shaken so it could not return.  The other regiment broke a sotna of Cossacks and sweepingly advanced into the second sotna.  Amazingly the stationary Cossacks won the melee and forced the Chasseurs to retire from the field shaken so they could also not return.  The Cossacks did not have much time to celebrate their victory as they were broken on the next French turn by canister fire from the French horse artillery.  The Russian combined cavalry brigade had appalling command rolls and only achieved one positive action in forcing a Swiss battalion into square.

Cossacks drive back the Chasseurs a Cheval
On the other side of the stream the Russian juggernaut moved into action.  The right wing brigade quickly occupied the village on the river road and brought their artillery to bear on the French centre.  They were engaged at long range by the artillery from the Bavarian redoubt on the French left.

Bavarian redoubt opens fire
 The Russian centre left brigade moved slowly against the foreign brigade around the 2nd French redoubt.  Constrained into the gap between the redoubt and the stream the foreign brigade lost the Neufchatel and Josef Napoleon battalions to effective Russian fire only leaving the 2 battalions of the Irish legion holding on at the redoubt.

Foreign brigade moves forward briefly.....
Two Russian brigades supported by the reserve artillery and the combined cavalry advanced on Polotsk - it was the main attack.  To their surprise the French brigade holding Polotsk advanced to meet them supported by a regiment of cuirassiers.  The massed Russian artillery broke 2 battalions quickly and though the Cuirassiers forced the White Russia hussars to retire they were then broken by massed artillery and musket fire.  This left only 2 battalions, the lancers from the heavy cavalry brigade and their supporting guns to hold the Russian advance on Polotsk.

Russian masses move forward....
The French infantry had some success in melee breaking the Pavlov grenadier battalion - the best quality Russian infantry unit.  The lancers forced 2 Russian battalions into square  and one was broken by canister fire.  The other brigade became shaken and the lancers charged home on it.  The melee was drawn - the shaken square held on its break test while the lancers broke and fled the field.  The Russians broke the 2 infantry battalions - but the struggle for the town continued as Bavarians from the left flank moved into the town and some battalions from the reserve Bavarian brigade also arrived.  This did prove enough to hold the Russians and it was clear that they would take the town.

Twilight success - Bavarians storm Dvina village....
The Bavarians who had held the French left flank in the last turns decided to attack the Russian right flank brigade and in the gathering twilight managed to storm the village the Russians had occupied at the beginning of the game.  

It was agreed at the end of the game that the Russian successes in taking the town and in only  losing 5 infantry/cavalry units to the French 10  gave them a clear victory.  However the  late Bavarian success on the left at the river would enable the Franco-Bavarian army to successfully retire west across the pontoon bridges over the Dvina.  Excluding the lunch period it took us just over 5 hours to play out the game.