Tuesday 30 July 2013

Operation Vijay

This was Bob Cordery's game about the Indian invasion of Goa in 1961, played at COW earlier this month.  Bob did all the hard lifting while I provided the toys and helped run the game.  A team of five players represented various elevated personalities in the Indian army, navy and air force while a further three flew the flag for the Portuguese Empire.
Speaking of flags, Bob had provided a couple as a rather atmospheric table covering.

The Indian team hard at work arguing over who was in command.
The Portuguese Governor General (centre) trying to figure out where Goa is.
Plans made, the players assemble for the invasion.
The Indians sent columns from the north and west, and had large naval forces standing by in support.
For the land forces I used the toys I had already prepared for various Indo-Pakistani games.
Given that the Portuguese had only six battalions of light infantry the
 Indian divisional-level assault seemed unstoppable!
Several bridges were blown up in order to slow the attackers.
Sadly the relief flight which finally arrived didn't contain the hoped-for Para brigade!

The Indian Air Force was much in evidence....
...while not to be outdone, the Navy floated up and down bombarding things.
Soon the noose tightened around the capital.
And the Admiral arrived in person to be present for the surrender.  All in all an very interesting game about a little known campaign.  Bob very kindly lent me his maps and briefings (and flags!) after the game so I will be running it at the Sheffield club in a few weeks time.  Book now!

Monday 29 July 2013

Pickett's Feint - Gettysburg part 2

The Confederate I Corps HQ.  From L to R, a Tradition cavalry officer, General Pickett (another Tradition casting) and Col. J Robertson (a plastic multipart Britains figure).  More on these chaps in a forthcoming post.  They are accompanied by A British observer, Capt. Widdrington.

A degree of hidden setup was allowed and this permitted the wily Confederates to indicate that the main effort was to be against the southwest of the Federal position (Round Top etc), by planting a number of CSA flags in the woods west of the Emmitsburg Road.  There are loads of maps on the interwebnet - you may wish to refer to this one: map. The main effort, however, was to be made in the north, with Longstreet occupying the Yanks' attention from Seminary Ridge while Pickett was to advance on Culp's Hill and try to flank the position to the east.  So much for cunning plans!
Above: Longstreet's troops prepare to advance while his guns pound the US positions.
A CS brigade on the move.
Culp's Hill looked like a strong position to assault!
Longstreet's forces all ready to roll.
Pickett's chaps put on a good show...
...not least for the benefit of the world's press.  
Well for visiting Forbodian photographer Mat Bradic.
Reb troops were soon on the way up Culp's Hill.  Most of my photos were taken from this location
 - it was a sufficiently busy game that I had little opportunity to roam the battlefield!
Confederate limbers were kept well spaced in case of incoming fire!
As Reb infantry closed on the Culp's position....
...one of the defending Yankee regiments was driven off.
Once the Yanks had realised the 'attack' in the south was a bluff, the remaining 
Confederate forces soon appeared from the direction of Gettysburg.
As my own freshly painted Reb regiment approached the wood it was 
engaged by my only slightly older US regiment!
Just when it looked as if we'd carry the Culp's Hill position the 
Yankees poured in reinforcements.  What would happen next?

Wet behind the ears

The second of the two units I was able to paint up in time for the recent Gettysburg game was this CSA infantry regiment.  While this would be their first battle, they were veterans in terms of the number of owners they've had!
They are very nicely detailed Conte figures originally bought by Bob Cordery in 2011.  Bob subsequently sent them to me and I toyed with various ideas for their use before giving them to fellow Sheffield Wargames Society member Tony C for  project he had in mind.  Nothing came of this (so far) and he gave them back to me earlier this year.  More time passed until the Gettysburg game loomed and I decided now might be a good time to paint them!  This turned into something of a last minute panic - the varnish was still very definitely wet when I boxed them up for the journey to Sandhurst!

Friday 26 July 2013

The Armies Muster - Gettysburg part 1

This even handed and completely unbiased report - which will run to 5 parts - is about a Funny Little Wars game based on a scaled down version of Gettysburg.  It was run by PW and took place in his garden at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, where he is Chaplain.  Pictured above is Meade's HQ and a brigade of Union troops.
Players were:
In the Blue corner the damn Yankee bluebellies - Anthony M (General Meade), Jack W and Brian C.
In the Grey corner the heroes of the Confederacy and champions of states' rights - John H as General Longstreet and your humble correspondent as General Robert. E. Lee.
Mr PW and Mr C provided most of the figures, with smaller contingents provided by Mr M and myself.
 Sorting out the toys before the battle!
 Part of my own meagre contribution - a Reb regiment together with artillery and my HQ.  
The British observer - one Captain Widdrington - can also be seen.
 My supply train and ambulance wagon.
 The US regiment I brought along was the subject of a previous post.
 The peaceful(?) town of Gettysburg.  
The railway terminated here, but for which side would this be the end of the line?
Part of my ghastly plastic 'wild west' train.  Bought for £10 in a charity shop.

Coming next - the opening moves.

The Blue and the Spray

I was recently invited to take part in a Funny Little Wars game based on Gettysburg.  As one hates to turn up empty handed I decided to cobble together a couple of ACW units.  Happily, as a number of my existing and planned FLW units use ACW figures I had enough 'in stock' to easily build a regiment for each side.
First up was a box of A Call To Arms US coloured infantry who got the shock of their lives by being painted as their manufacturer intended.  To the 16 figures in the box I added a couple of Timpo chaps (the officer and standard bearer) and a pair of Italeri figures.  After being cleaned and spray-primed, my usual toy soldier style paintwork was topped off with a coat of high-gloss outdoor varnish.
This all turned into a bit of a rush job - hence the dodgy photos.
The Gettysburg game?  It took place earlier this week.  More on that soon.  Much more...

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Engineers to the Front!

Among John's finds at Tankfest was this box of 54mm engineers, which he wisely bought with me in mind. They are nicely painted metal castings (marked 'Steadfast' on the bases) and the five figures are 'armed' with a variety of tools.  There is also a mule cart.  They need a wee bit of tidying up and will be rebased.  Not bad for £10!
I'll post more pics when work has been completed.

Monday 22 July 2013

More Naval Battles

While on holiday in Whitby last week I sloped off for a day to meet up with fellow blogger Stephen Beat. A jolly chat about toys was the main business of the day but as he lives not far from Peasholme Park in Scarborough we were overcome by the need to see the naval battle which has taken place there daily for 80+ years.  The ships are 20+ feet long (so I couldn't get any in the car...) and are 'driven' by their captains.
In the olden days the 'baddies' were of course the Germans.  Now, we have a generic enemy with a big bad battleship and a submarine who attack convoys.  Not German at all then...

My thanks for SB for allowing me to steal his photos - there are more on his Milgeek blog. 

Sharp dressed man

For my recent birthday, John Armatys presented me with this rather nice 54mm metal officer he had found at Tankfest.  I've no idea who he is - the uniform suggests cavalry officer but could equally well be cinema commissionaire!

I can see him becoming a staff officer in the Army of Imperial Tratvia as he looks easily capable of toadying to the Tsar.

Your suggestions for a name for this chap are invited....

Saturday 20 July 2013

Fletcher Pratt on Grass - part 2

As we join the action again gunnery has broken out - and the 3 V/W class DDs from Gibraltar have joined in by opening up at really rather long range.  This is a ploy best avoided as it annoys the umpire team by making them adjudicate ineffective shooting!
 The outdoor firing arrows are plastic plant markers - £3 for a big bag them- with ranges written on using an OHP pen.
Several hits were scored on the French cruisers - but mostly from small calibre DD guns.
As usual my collection of bespoke hand carved hit markers was in use.  Reds were hits, yellow misses and white torpedo hits.  And yes, to the untrained eye they can look a bit like plastic golf tees...
Before long there were a number of torpedoes in the water.  I marked these using 12in lengths of dowell - 
one for each salvo rather then one for each torp due to dowell shortages!
Even the mighty HMS Renown lumbered out of port to join in the fun.
Some of the ships were so bunched that a decent salvo of shells was likely to hit something!
A scrappy melee soon ensued!
There were a lot of torps in the water at this point....
...and some found targets.  One French cruiser went down while the rest decided to press on.  We decided that probably 1-2 CLs and 2 DDs were likely to have made it through, and Renown wouldn't want to mix it with all those big DDs!
So a pretty successful game and a further vindication of the F-P system.