Sunday, September 30, 2012


This weeks big game was held at Hugh Wilsons house on Saturday.  It was a Spanish civil War game based on the siege and relief of Oviedo in 1936.  It gave Colin Jack and I the chance to get our rarely used 20mm SCW collections onto the tabletop.  Colin Jack and I provided the figures, buildings and defences while Hugh Wilson provided the rest of the terrain.  I provided the scenario and acted as the umpire.  We used the Triumph Tragedy rules with an amended initiative system.  Thanks to Suzanne Wilson for providing us with a Spanish inspired lunch….

Oviedo and some of its formidable defences
The game was along a 14ft by 5ft table.  Oviedo and its defenders 3 under strength brigades occupied the last 3ft of the table.  The Nationalist relief column initially of 2 brigades with another 2 due to enter later was at the other end of the table.  The rest of the table was held by the Republican forces made of 9 brigades of anarchist, trade unionist and loyalist militia.
Dave Paterson played Colonel Aranda the commander of the garrison of Oviedo with Dave OBrien and Mark Taylor commanding the relief column.  Colin Jack commanded the republican blocking force of 2 brigades, while Donald Adamson commanded the main assault on the town with 6 brigades and Hugh commanded a diversionary attack with the weakest brigade on the Republican left.

Additional equipment, special characters and air support were all controlled by a set of chance cards of which we drew 3 or 4 each turn following turn 1.  Before the play started we drew 4 cards from a Republican subset to add some variety to the militia forces.  These gave the Republicans another 75mm gun, more dynamite bombs, an anarchist leader to inspire a brigade of the blocking force and El Toro - an improvised armoured tractor.

Militia at the wire...
How the game played

Around Oviedo
The Republicans attacked the left side of Oviedo’s defences with a massed assault by 6 brigades.  The brigades attacking over the open flat ground were initially stopped by the barbed wire and the effective fire of the Nationalist machine guns which pinned their raw troops.  The brigades attacking along the ridge at the edge of the table where there was no barbed wire succeeded in overrunning the left most entrenchment held by  a squad of falangists.  It was retaken almost immediately by a police squad acting as a reserve for the defence.   This success did not last for long as it fell again soon after to another militia brigade stiffened by some asaltos who had joined them (another chance card).   A socialist hero joined one of the brigades facing the wire and with the defences breached on the ridge the nationalist line was rolled up as the Republicans stormed over the wire. 
The diversionary attack on the right of the town by an under strength anarchist brigade succeeded beyond any expectations as it got thru the wire and routed the other falangist squad holding an entrenchment.  
The Nationalist commander withdrew his last surviving units from the outer defences into the town hall to make a last stand.    Only at that moment did some succour appear firstly in the form of a nationalist fighter which made a completely ineffective strafing run and secondly by the garrison managing to a refurbish a Trubia tank which rolled out of the barracks towards the town hall.   Things still looked very bad for the garrison…….

Last minute air support as El Toro creeps forward below..

Trubia speeds to support the last stand in the city hall
Blocking Action
The relief column started with the Galicia infantry and volunteer cavalry on the table.   They made steady progress against the militia who had been deployed in depth holding strong buildings.  The Galicia under Mark forced the militia unit holding the first hamlet on the road to flee and then when in the open they were ridden down by the cavalry under Dave O.  The Galicia then attacked the impressive church dominating the road from its hill.  As the Galicia fired at the church the militia defending it were suddenly attacked by a fifth column of priests, nuns, civilians and guardia who had been in hiding in the crypt.  (another chance card)  The clerics were defeated and surrendered to the militia.  One can only imagine their fate.   The volunteer cavalry overran the Republican gun supporting the blocking force and swept on further to overrun the gun supporting the attack on Oviedo.   Who dares say that cavalry has no future role in modern warfare.  The Galicia eventually stormed the church.  The motorised Legion 5th bandera arrived but its early advance was disrupted by a bombing raid by a Republican Potez bomber.  However they pressed on and supported by a FT17 that arrived they took the 2nd hamlet on the road.  At the end of the game their advance squad was approaching the last blocking position on the road.

Militia surrender to Volunteer cavalry

Volunteer cavalry overun the blocking force gun...
We declared the game a winning draw for the Republic - they had not quite achieved their objective of eliminating the garrison but with a mass of raw troops they had achieved more than anyone had expected.  Col Aranda (Dave P) blamed the relief columns obsession with capturing the church for delaying their advance on Oviedo.

5th column emerge from the crypt...Arriba Espana
More photos and descriptions at

Here are the player briefing notes and Order of Battle for the game. 

The Rebels did not consider Oviedo, capital of the province of Asturias, as a likely place for a successful right wing revolt, and initially it was considered a lost cause for the uprising. The town was the center of the Asturian October Revolution of 1934, and became an ongoing hive of revolutionary activity since the election of the Popular Front government earlier in the year.
The garrison commander Colonel Aranda was reputed to be a freemason and a Republican, and got along well with the local Republican officials; in addition, the Falange distrusted him.  Aranda declared that he would be loyal to the Republic when the rebellion started on July 17, and he convinced the civil governor and the union leaders that all was calm. So satisfied were the authorities that 4,000 miners left by train for other parts of Asturias and Spain to fight in the growing conflict. Aranda secretly called in Civil Guard and Assault Guard personnel from all Asturias to concentrate at Oviedo. He had gained a reputation in Africa of being a top strategist, and after the miners left, he declared for the rebellion on July 19. The Falange, Civil Guard, and Assault Guard immediately rallied to his side.
Aranda easily took over Oviedo as the republicans panicked, and the rest of Asturias became hostile toward him. Between the two large zones, east and west of Oviedo, Aranda was landlocked and surrounded in the town.  The Popular Front parties and their allied Anarchists began besieging Oviedo on July 20 but there was no serious action until after the fall of the Rebel holdout at Gijon in mid August. 
As the Republicans pressed their final attacks which had started on 4th October, the Nationalists held on grimly, ready to make their last stand. In the distance, they could hear the relief column of the Army of the North attacking. Help had arrived, but would it be in time?

Victory Conditions: The Republicans are the attackers. They must eliminate the rebel garrison before it is relieved. Nationalist must avoid conditions.

Nationalist Notes
Though well supplied with rifle ammunition ( a million rounds at the beginning of the siege) the garrison is running short of MG ammunition.  Its usage needs to be recorded.  The Nationalist player gets 6 d6 worth of bursts from MGs.

Republican Notes
Your forces are mainly made up of workers militia stiffened by a few Assault Guards who remained loyal.  You are mainly armed with rifles but the factories of the industrial zone are working on improvising heavier equipment for the siege.  The Republic’s airforce is active in the area and controls the sky.  It has been bombing Oviedo since September.  The rebels held up in Oviedo must be running low on supplies and it is known that typhoid has broken out in the city.

Milan Infantry Regt
 2 squads of 10 figures TRAINED
 1 MG
Civil & Assualt Gds
 2 squads of 10 figures VETERAN
 1 MG
 2 squads of 10 figures RAW
 1 MG
Plus support
Field Gun      TRAINED
1 MG             TRAINED

5th Bandera of the Legion
 3 squads of 10 figures ELITE
 1 MG
Navarese Requetés
 3 squads of 10 figures VETERAN
 1 MG
2nd Galician Regulars
 3 squads of 10 figures TRAINED
 1 MG
Combined Cavalry
3 squads of 10 cavalry figures TRAINED
Battery of 70/19 mountain guns        TRAINED
Armoured car of the Assault Guards  TRAINED

1st REPUBLICAN Militia Column:
3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
2nd REPUBLICAN Militia Column:
3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
3RD  REPUBLICAN Militia Column:
3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
1st ANARCHIST  Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
2nd ANARCHIST  Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
3rd ANARCHIST  Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
1st CNT Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
2nd CNT Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
3RD CNT Militia Column:
2 or 3 squads of 10 figures RAW (dice for 2 or 3, dice for MG on a 4,5,6)
Battery of 75/27 field guns RAW

Saturday, September 22, 2012


This week game at the SESWC was a 28mm Napoleonic Peninsular War game played with Black Powder.   It was based vaguely on a rearguard action by Marshal Ney’s 6th Corps at Redinha on 11 March 1811 during the retreat from Portugal.

The fight in the cornfield - Irish column vistorious....
The Setup
I provided the scenario and Angus Konstam provided the pursuing Anglo-Portuguese forces whilst I provided the French.  We played down a 8ft by 6 ft table.  We used full scale movement and the revised sequence of play.  The French had three 3 battalion infantry brigades, a 2 regiment Chasseur a Cheval brigade and a single gun.  The Anglo-Portuguese had two 3 battalion British infantry brigades, one with a detachment of riflemen, a 4 battalion Portuguese brigade with 2 rifle detachments,  and a cavalry brigade of British Light dragoons and KGL Hussars.  Each of the allies had a gun.
Myself and Mr Ray commanded the French with 1 brigade and our single gun holding the farm and the line of the stream to its left, 2 infantry brigades were held back in reserve in attack columns and behind them were the chasseurs.  Angus deployed the allies with their cavalry on their  right flank, a British brigade in the right centre and the Portuguese commanded by Bart on the centre and left.  The remaining British Brigade was held of table intending to advance down the road - this was commanded by Campbell when he arrived later.

French army deployed - 1 brigade forward others in reserve

The allies took the imitative as the attackers and Angus sent his light cavalry across the stream on the allied right flank whilst the 1st British brigade engaged the French centre, Bart engaged the farm with his skirmishers and sent 2 battalions across the stream on his  left to outflank the French line.  The battle developed in these 3 sectors - the cavalry action on the allied right, the fight in the centre across the stream and the action around the farm with the flanking attempt.

The cavalry action - after much delay I managed to get the Chasseur brigade to move forward and take position on the French left on windmill hill were they observed the British light cavalry crossing the stream.  The initial charges saw the engaged regiment from each side retiring from a draw.  Then the KGL Hussars charged the other Chasseur regiment who counter charged and drove them back.  The Chasseurs then made a sweeping advance into the already shaken British light dragoons who could not react to the sweeping advance and broke them.  The KGL retired back beyond the stream and I followed up over the stream with both my regiments hoping to flank the allied army but the final charge ended in a draw with both sides retiring yet again.

British cavalry about to cross the their defeat.

In the centre - the British quickly lost their gun to lucky or skilful shooting by the single French gun.  The British moved forward  to the stream and silenced our French gun.  The French Irish legion battalion holding the road broke the British battalion facing it with their first volley!  Angus crossed the stream with his remaining 2 British battalions and charged a French battalion - who broke the lead British battalion in the melee.  The British survivors threatened by the arrival of French reserves withdrew back across the stream and waited for the arrival of the 2nd brigade under Campbell who moved forward and continued the action in the centre.  Eventually Campbell attacked across the ford into the by now shaken Irish battalion but they drew the melee.  The shaken British battalion retired back over the stream but the plucky Irish broke and fled.

British charge French as reserves move up

Last fight of the galant Irish - drove back their opponents but broke
The farm and allied left - Bart screened the farm with his skirmishers and crossed the stream to its right with 2 battalions while holding 2 battalions back as a reserve.  We countered by moving 2 battalions from our right wing reserve brigade to engage them.  Our other battalion of the Irish legion charged and after 2 rounds of melee broke a Portuguese battalion.  They then engaged the other forward Portuguese battalion in a long indecisive fire fight.   With the game running down the reserved Portuguese battalions attacked the French infantry holding the farm but were held in a drew.

Portuguese flanking move across the stream....
The allies lost 3 battalions and a cavalry regiment whilst the French lost 1 battalion and still held the line of the stream at the end of the game.  It was a great game - lots of moves and action in the 2 hours we took to play it. 
More photos and descriptions at

Friday, September 14, 2012

Borodino - a bit of a fleche

This weeks game at the SESWC was a long delayed Napoleonic game using the Black Powder Rules for Dave Imrie who had only used the rules in an AWI game previously.  It allowed Dave to put his impressive Russian Grenadier Division onto the table top.

Russian grenadiers...URRAH!
The Setup
The game was fought across a 8ft by 6ft table. We used the 66% movement and range version of the rules.  The table represented part of Borodino near the Bagration fleches which we represented with 2 redoubts.

The terrain on the table was open ground except for woods lining the southern edge of the table.  The Russians had 2 brigades each of 4 battalions of grenadiers and a cavalry brigade with a large cuirassier regiment and a Don cossack regiment.   Dave deployed a grenadier brigade around each of the fleches/redoubts with the cavalry split between the flanks.  A battalion and a gun occupied each of the redoubts

Garrison of a fleche - we counted them as 1 gun and a battalion
My French force comprised two 5 battalion infantry brigades each with a gun on the table with a chasseur brigade and a mixed curassier and lancer brigade in reserve of the table.

I made all the commanders 8s for this game. 

How the game played
Dave stood on the defensive and I threw an infantry brigade against each of the redoubts.  My initial attack on the redoubts proved a disaster as the first 2 battalions to charge in broke when suffering artillery hits.  Eventually I got a battalion to charge into the left hand redoubt but after 2 rounds of combat it broke and a supporting unit followed it from the field. 

Attack on a fleche - right hand unit broke to the artillery fire...
Dave had moved his cuirassiers to support his centre and I decided to attack them using my more numerous cavalry who had arrived on the table.  I ordered the chassuer brigade to charge and they blundered and retired from the table.  I immediately ordered the cuirassier lancer brigade to move to fill the gap left by the chasseurs.  They blundered and also retired from the table!  My dice were 6, 6, 2, 6, 6, 2.

The unfortunate dice - its a blunder of the table
This left me with 5 infantry battalions and 4 guns on the table.  Dave then decided to go over to the attack and charged 2 of my guns with his cuirassier regiment.  My guns scored 3 hits and the cuirassiers broke when they tested for the artillery hits.  That single success was the last action of the game……

It was a good game and took 2 hours to play.  The game was characterised by amazingly poor break tests dice rolls, truly appalling musketry fire, very good artillery fire and  excessive blunder rolls!  Dave is away to build some more realistic fleches for a bigger version of the game....

Friday, September 7, 2012

Battle of the Yellow Sea 1904

My game this weeks at the SESWC was a naval game - the Battle of the Yellow Sea in the Russo-Japanese War 1904. Colin Jack supplied the 1/3000 models for the game and we used Angus Konstams 8ft by 6ft sea mat.

Bart and I commanded the Russian fleet of 6 battleships and 4 protected cruisers. Colin Jack, Mr Ray and Campbell commanded the larger Japanese fleet of 4 battleships, 2 armoured and 8 protected cruisers. We used the simple Perfidious Albion rules.

Russian Fleet
The action started with the Russian fleet engaging the Japanese battleships and the 2 armoured cruisers. The 8 Japanese protected cruisers arrived on the table later. Our early battleship advantage proved illusory as only 3 of our battleships had first class guns compared with all 4 of the Japanese - our other 3 battleships with their second class guns proved ineffective. The Japanese battleships generally also had heavier armour than the Russians.

Japanese fleet
In the long battleship action my flagship the Pobieda suffered most damage - losing a turret, suffered 2 engine hits, multiple fires and the conning tower with the squadron commander was destroyed. Our cruiser squadron steamed to delay the arriving Japanese protected cruisers but 2 of them succumbed to the heavier guns of the Japanese cruisers.

My squadron led by Pobieda....