Thursday, 21 July 2016

1st Brigade, 6th Infantry Division in 6mm

Although I haven't had much time recently to do any painting, I did manage to finish off another French 100 Days brigade. This is the 1st Brigade of the 6th Infantry Division. The Division was commanded by Prince Jerome Bonaparte, non-other than the brother of the Emperor Himself. The 1st brigade was commanded by Baron Bauduin, who was killed during the campaign and was made up of the 1st Light and 3rd Line regiments (according to centjours).

The 1st Brigade is also over strength, as usual, represented by five battalions instead of four.

The brigade was heavily engaged at Quatre-Bras and also opened the day at Waterloo with a diversionary attack on Hougoumont. However, this turned into a day long slog, but only once did the French force the an entrance into the Châteaux.

As I said, things are a bit busy here, what with the impending house move and other life obstacles, so my painting will take a back seat, for the foreseeable. I'll post when I can, but output may be a bit patchy!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Joy of 6, 2016

I have just returned from a couple of enjoyable hours at the now annual Joy of 6 convention, run by Baccus and The Wargames Emporium in Sheffield. Each year the show gets bigger and bigger and this year was a bumper event. I have dumped all the photos I took. I apologise for the quality, the light in Sheffield Hallam University doesn't lend itself to good photography on a bright sunny day, plus they were all taken on a camera phone. anyway, on with the pictures.

This is the main hall, overlooked from the stairs entrance, the dominating board is the First Day of the Somme game at the bottom:

And a better picture of the entire board, a good looking game, my only criticism is the lack of support and communication trenches... But I think that would have cost a bit too much.

The Deeside Defenders had a refight of the film 'The Bridge at Remagen'. An interesting concept for a game!

Back to the First of July, this was the southern portion of the battlefield.

And the northern extent. It was nice to see the names of places I am very familiar with on the Somme, including many I have actually excavated!

The Cold War Commanders had a Cold War game called 'Red Effect'. Another large table.

I tried to get a decent picture of the Mailed Fist's game of Britannia, but the light reflecting off the Roman fort made it difficult!

Nearby was the MAD Gamers with the Battle of Dresden:

And the Leicester Wargamers with their refight of the Battle of Ligny.

My second favourite game today (after the Somme) was in one of the ante-rooms and was the Imperial attack on Hoth from The Empire Strikes Back.

This was massive and included the Rebel base and transports.

Along with the attacking AT-ATs (MicroMachines, if anyone is wondering).

Even the Imperial landing force was present.

Next door was the Battle of Endor, complete with the Death Star!

Even more AT-ATs were present:

As was Darth Vader:

Three of the ante-rooms were open and full of games, in one of the others, there was the Legion of Blokes and their game of the Battle of Wilton.

Waterloo was also present with Lee Sharpe & Ian Willey's Hougoumont game.

An excellent looking game and inspiring for future Blucher games.

There was also a couple of games of Saga in 6mm put on by Per Broden.

Andrew Brentnall's The Battle of Pharsalus.

Commission Figurines had their MDF Napoleonic figures battling it out:

Leeds Wargames Society staged a ground attack game from WW2:

And more Ancients in the form of DBMM from the Milton Keynes society:

Meanwhile, in true cinematic style the Remagen game was having an interval!

The light had improved for me to be able to take a photo of the Roman fort displayed by the Mailed Fist.

Another WW2 game was the Battle of Ponyri, by the Luton Lancers.

Lots of tiny SDKFZ 251s.

In the same room was Break The Line, by David Elks & Tim Rodgers.

And the RAF Cranwell gamers with their Battle of Skalitz.

And finally, my haul. I bought myself about £20's worth of 2mm houses from Brigade. I was thinking of redesigning my Blucher buildings to represent a larger collection of structures than the usual sized 6mm buildings. 2mm buildings seem about the perfect size to create an urban spread:

Watch this space for how they turn out. So, all in all another great Joy of 6, and a demonstration of how diverse 6mm gaming can be. I hope this show gets bigger and bigger as it seems to be doing.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Baron Campi's 2nd Brigade, 5th Infantry Division in 6mm

The second brigade of Bachelu's 5th Division of Napoleon's army was commanded by Baron Campi and was formed of the 72nd Ligne and 108th Ligne Regiments. Like the first brigade, this was a pretty standard French infantry unit.

However, they saw action both at Quatre-Bras and later at Waterloo, being involved in the fighting at Hougoumont.

Baron Campi was also wounded during the campaign along with four of his battalion officers, showing the amount of action they were involved in.

This is the second of eight infantry brigades for II Corps (less than I thought!), so it's a quarter of the way through the infantry already!

Things have slowed down a little with the painting, I was busy most of last week at the Western Front Association's York conference, but I am trying to get as much done as I can before we move house and everything is put on hold for a while!

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Baron Husson's 1st Brigade, 5th Division in 6mm

In recent days I turned my attention from the First World War and back another hundred years to the ongoing 6mm Waterloo project. I made a start on the French II Corps, a daunting task in itself, but I began with Baron Husson's 1st Brigade of the the 5th Division. The Cent Jours website tells me 1st Brigade comprises of 2nd Light and 61st Line regiments. However, Mark Adkin's Waterloo Companion goes further saying that the 2nd Light were transferred on the 10th of June to 6th Division and were replaced by the 3rd Line Regiment.  Taking my pick, I went with the 2nd Light being part of the unit as it meant that I could paint half of the figures in blue trousers.

This was another standard French infantry unit, the division fought at Quatre-Bras and lost about 1,500 men.

5th Division was a veteran unit which had fought in Germany and Russia.

They formed part of the right hand flank of the French army during Waterloo, west of the Charleroi Road. Some of the division tried to advance against Hougoumont, but were driven back by artillery fire.

Every great journey begins with a single step and creating II Corps is no different, this is the first of about ten brigades. 

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

1st July 1916 Square Bashing AAR

As I said in a previous post, this Saturday saw a Square Bashing refight of the 1st of July 1916 offensive on the Somme, between myself, Ninjasaurus Rex and Dean. Square Bashing is perfect for the massive proportions of the attack and this scenario included the attacks on the fortified villages of (left to right in the picture below) Serre, Beaumont-Hamel and Thiepval. Ninjasaurus and I took the British attackers, which consisted of:

1 x HQ (Free)
10 x Regular Infantry (400 Points)
3 x Professional Infantry (165 Points)
4 x MGs (80 Points)
Total = 645 Points

And Dean controlled the German defenders which had the following:

1 x HQ (Free)
6 x Regular Infantry (240 Points)
2 x Professional Infantry (110 Points)
5 x MGs (100 Points)
Total = 450 points

The British objective was to capture three of the four objectives, three being the villages and the fourth being Hawthorne Crater on the German front line.
Dean rolled for his pre-battle depletions, only losing one MG and forcing a Battalion into the reinforcement pool. Otherwise he had an almost full defence force, this was not looking good from our side of the wire... 

The Germans stayed true to their 1916 defensive tactics and piled everything into the front line trenches. Dean gambled that a strong defence on the front would blunt an attack, but would it work?

The first move saw a general advance against the German line, fortunately my units in the woods passed their roll to leave the terrain square and everything went well. For now. We also rolled for our asset which was a shock attack (the blue counter). In hindsight, a barrage would have done us well at this point...

This is where things went pear-shaped immediately. Despite killing half a base of Germans their guns cut down my attackers in front of the Apostle Copses.

My right flank was also faring badly, being unable to gain a foothold in the German lines, despite having a bonus from the asset and Higher Command orders.

Meanwhile on the British right flank the advancing infantry were caught in a German point barrage, Ninjasaurus' men were in the open and totally unprotected!

The effect was pretty devastating and caused massive casualties.

On the left, all my attackers failed their morale tests and were driven back to their start lines to lick their wounds.

In the same morale phase the British right panicked and three whole battalions routed off the table! If it wasn't already looking grim, we had just lost a sizeable portion of the army due to one artillery barrage!

In a reassessment of our strategy, we decided to concentrate all our force on the German front line and Ninjasaurus moved his professional units into position to help the assault there.

So by the end of turn two, there had been no British gains and the Germans were still in possession of their line and looking as menacing as ever.

The next move saw us using a Rolling Barrage from our assets, helped by the addition of a spotter plane over the battlefield that we had brought in earlier. It was aimed at the German front line but fortune was against us as it fell over the target in the row directly behind the front line. Not a single German unit was affected by it! What a disaster!

Despite this setback, faint heart ne'er won fair maid and all that, so we launched another infantry assault in an attempt to dislodge the Germans.

Ninjasaurus attacked with his depleted units on the right flank, but again, these attacks only saw more British casualties.

On my left my professional unit had failed their roll to leave the safety of the copses and the attack was desultory and uncoordinated as a result.

With the German turn came the inevitable barrage, this time a rolling barrage which hit our back line and all the troops that had fallen back from the previous turn's attacking.

On the right, the British came under rifle fire which only added to the mounting casualty list.

Another German point barrage brought more death to the soldiers in the copses.

We had no options but to just keep trying to break the line and whittle the defenders down, however the British attack was getting smaller and smaller with each attempt.

More disaster on the right as the field was covered with the dead and dying British attackers, with others falling back.

The left faired no better, but we were slowly killing Germans.

The Germans had another trick up their sleeve in the form of a gas barrage. This was designed to cut off any retreating British units, but also caused casualties to the ones on the start line. It also had the added effect of forcing our Higher Command off the board temporarily.

We were in a tactical pickle and the only way of dealing with it was the keep trying to reduce the numbers of German defenders, the machine guns were not allowing it though and nothing was achieved except more British dead.

Things were now desperate on the right flank, most of the attacking force was either dead or had routed.

Then the gas began to drift, causing more casualties amongst the units.

As the defender, Dean rolled the countdown dice for the last time and brought the game to a close. This was the state of play at the end.

In not one place had the British been able to get into the German lines or passed the third row. Two things were at fault, I think that the tactics we used should have been better thought out. We frittered away chances with penny-packet attacks that stood no chance and in a refight, I would try to punch through the German line at one point, rather than all along the front as we did. It needed a hefty blow to smash through machine guns in defence but we were unable to deliver it. Secondly, the dice were against us, this sounds like a bad workman blaming his tools, but we have never seen so many 1s and 2s being rolled as we did in this game. 

Hindsight is always 20/20 vision and on reflection the British failed to use our assets to good effect. We should have called in a rolling barrage or point barrage immediately, to soften up the defenders, instead we wasted two turns adding a fighting bonus and aircraft. Dean's effective use of artillery really helped him and it should have been advantageous to the attackers as well. We did no better than the British attackers on 1st July 1916, except that elements of the 36th (Ulster) Division managed to get into the German lines at Thiepval, but other than that it was a historical outcome. 

The day was finished off by playing Tanks, the new tank skirmish game released by Battlefront and based on the computer game of World of Tanks. Dean had bought a copy as it was cheap and wanted to see how it played.

I grabbed some scenery and we played the first scenario of Barkmann's corner, with one Panther (me) against two Shermans (them). In conclusion it was an easy game to learn, I liked the dice pooling element and we fought to a satisfactory conclusion of one Sherman to one Panther lost. It's a knock about game and something that we'd play after another larger game, but not the main event itself.

And speaking of panthers, here's a gratuitous photo of my black cat, trying her best to kick my First World War figures off the table. 

Thanks for reading!
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