Tuesday 31 July 2012

Solferino stalled

This game was run by Martin using some of his 6mm toys.   John led the decadent Austrians while I commanded the forward-looking French.  Above is an overview of the opening positions.  The table is about 60cmx60cm.
My brave lads prepare to crush the enemy.
Sure enough, Solferino (left) was soon mine!
Sadly the beastly Hapsburg-worshippers threw forward lots more troops...
...so that my garrison was enveloped...
...and the town changed hands again.  Merde!
I managed to push back some of the Austrians but was unable to recapture Solferino.
Happily things were better in the centre and right and I had the enemy under some considerable pressure.  A draw then.

Monday 30 July 2012

Flooring the enemy - FLW

This Funny Little Wars game was played at the Sheffield club last month.  Martin and I officiated while Lloyd and Steve commanded their own armies, aided and abetted by other club members.  I have captioned the photos as well as my memory allows.  Above are some of Lloyd's lancers seeking glory.  Or death.
An overview of the area to be contested.
Steve's cavalry and horse artillery in action.
The ruined farm was hotly contested.
Steve's steam tractor-drawn artillery in action.  Just wait 'till you see what's pulling his other gun...
Lloyd's chaps in the farm were brought under fire from several directions.  These chaps are the survivors from two 20-man battalions!
Steve's other artillery 'tractor'.  Amazingly it wasn't hit during the game. 

Sunday 29 July 2012

In the Navy

Now composed mostly of balsa scratchbuilds by John Hawes, my 1/1200 US fleet now runs to 48 vessels in all.  The Revell kits of New Jersey and a pair of carriers were built by me but the US destroyers I have previously amassed (see my earlier post) have now been passed to Ian Drury.
Battleship row - the 'big gun' navy is alive and well...
...but plenty of carriers (ten!) are available.

Saturday 28 July 2012

Holiday reading

During my recent holiday in Budapest I managed to get through three books.  The first was a bit obvious and has been on my 'to read' list for some time:
It is difficult not to feel a degree of sympathy for the position in which Hungary found herself in the 1940s.  This volume covers the siege of Budapest, together with other aspects of the war in as far as they impacted on the main story.  Although I was familiar with the 'broad sweep' of the campaign, Ungvary's text has added considerably to my knowledge.  Of particular interest to me were the many maps - especially the one which revealed the front line on 17 January 1945 to have been only a couple of blocks away from my hotel!  Recommended reading.
Next up was one of those impulse purchases from Amazon:
Written by a journalist, this book chronicles the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan from before the military deployment and is based on interviews with many of those involved.  A very readable account of a complex situation.
As well as actual history I read a fair bit of historical fiction and so I was interested to see this book (promising to be the first in a series) set during the English Civil War of the 1640s. 
Sadly I didn't care for it. It follows the well-trodden path of maverick hero who is both disaster prone and implausibly lucky, complete with pantomime villains (and heroine) in the background. I gather that the second book of the series is now in print and would be interested in the views of anyone who has read either of them.
I have another holiday coming up, so plenty more book to read!

Thursday 26 July 2012

Goodwood grounded

This was a game run by Martin using the Memoir 44 game system and his 15mm toys.  Typecasting applied, so pipe-smoking John led the Brits while I was the dodgy character replete with highly polished jackboots and duelling scar.
The Brits had many tanks.  Many many tanks.
Grim faced Landsers prepare to sell their lives dearly. 
The British tide soon rolled forward, and my detachment on the right of this frame came under pressure.
This was not an encouraging sight!
My armoured counterattack caused much consternation in the British ranks....
...and quite a few casualties!
The Tigers rampaged freely for a while - much to the relief of the beleaguered German infantry.
Soon the clump of Shermans had been thinned out.
I even managed to bring the new British garrison of the village under fire...
...and eventually cleared it.  The Panzers didn't escape unscathed however, and just when it all seemed to be going well for the Fatherland...
...the skies (inevitably) cleared and the Typhoons (my 1/144 scale model) swooped.  Bugger.
Happily my surviving Tigers managed to harass this infantry unit to death - clinching a great victory for the Reich!
An overview at the game end.  The panzers continue to roam freely in the middle while the British survivors skulk on their baseline.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

PVO Strany

I mentioned this game in my earlier post on COW and indicated that there was more still to come.  Here it is.  The game began (like so many others before it...) as a daft chat at the Sheffield club.  I will take this opportunity to shift some of the blame to my co-designer Martin Rapier.
The, er, 'concept' was to simulate the challenges of:
1. Getting a 1960s nuclear bomber to it's target unscathed (getting home and indeed the issue of whether there would be a home to return to is a different issue.  And possibly a further game...)
2. Detecting and intercepting a bomber in the days before reliable surface to air missiles.
Above is one of the protagonists - nearly as good as my own Vulcan - and below the enemy.
Regular readers may recall the construction of my MIG-21s a few months ago.  Getting the toy aircraft together was the easy part! 
The game was to involve the Vulcan with it's crew of three (pilot, navigator, flight engineer) moving along an umpire-determined route between various landmarks on the Knuston lawn.  These were given clever code names such as 'Big Tree', 'White Chair', 'Duck Pond' and 'Summerhouse'.  The final landmark was of course the target.  The RAF navigator was given the route.
There then followed the construction of a replica 1960s Soviet radar set.  For this I used the glass from a car wing mirror (Saab 9-5 if it's of any interest - aircraft heritage you see?) taped to the handle of a floor mop.  The Operator faced the building and could only 'look' at stuff using the mirror.  He then passed the information to the Ground Controller (call sign 'Big Ears') who had a radio link to the Fighter Controller ( whose call sign was inevitably 'Noddy') located out of sight deep in the building.  The FC had a radio link (on a different channel) to a pair of fighter pilots ('Green 61' and 'Red 66').  These could only be directed with reference to the landmarks.
The first radar team - Chris Perry and Nick Drage.

The Vulcan in flight.  Graceful, isn't it?

Nick gets to grips with his apparatus.
The first sortie ended with a successful interception of the Vulcan as it made it's final approach.  Exciting stuff!
The second radar team - Rob Cooper and John Bassett.  They looked very efficient...

...but it was all a facade.  The Vulcan had an uninterrupted flight and dropped it's nuke.

For the third and final game the Soviet Union was being scoured for manpower.  A measure of their desperation was the recruitment of Bob Cordery and Ian Drury as the radar team with Fred Cartwright as Fighter Controller.

The Vulcan pictured near 'Tree Stump'.  On this third mission, the brave boys of the RAF saw off two interceptions and reached the target.

The management at Knuston was worried (but not at all surprised...) at the mention of nuclear weapons.  So we used smoke grenades instead.  This time....

One of the Soviet teams.  Chris Perry (right) is typically looking the wrong way...

Our brave boys.  Flt Lt King, R; Sqn Ldr Armatys, J; Flt Lt Kleanthous, A.

Monday 23 July 2012

Assal Uttar - part 3 - pulverising the Pattons

We join the action again as Will has managed to line up a very intimidating quantity of tanks - 7 companies and infantry - 3 companies near the Indian central position.  Help!
I meanwhile had managed to rearrange the defenders - with the infantry in the village and the Centurions (with the Brigadier frantically trying to rally them) and Shermans flanking.
The onslaught wasn't long in coming.  The Pakistanis who had plodded across the fields piled into the Shermans and a messy melee ensued.
The Indian infantry managed to see off the Pak assault but the Sherman battalion was nearly wiped out.
The level of Indian casualties caused me a few worrying moments but the bulk of the enemy had been driven off.
The Brigadier was soon on the move again - this time to rally the few surviving Shermans.
The Pakistanis had suffered considerable losses....
...and Will concluded that his forces lacked the strength to carry the position.

Although I had run this scenario several times before, the most recent was about 5 years ago so I had no clear memory of what had happened in those earlier games (I'll look for photos).  Will took to the game with some enthusiasm and proved to be a worthy opponent.  He is welcome back any time!
Finally, I should point out that the scenario was adapted from the one on Bob MacKenzie's website.