Sunday, 29 January 2017

The Battle of Horn Street - Operation sealion

Yesterday I nipped over to Penrith to to play a Bolt Action game in the dungeon. The Germans (me) were advancing on invasion day to take a key crossroads on the A20. Go here for the build up and more info on Matt's brilliant campaign.
It was a large engagement with over 20 units per side and the better for it.

The initial German deployment. I have a strong mixed force of infantry, paras, tanks and artillery. My spotters in the church tower can call in a Stuka to give one ground attack. The artillery and my panzerjaeger will take up position on the hill to the top and provide fire support for the battle. The aim is to cross the railway line and take the crossroads

The Brits, with a strong AT force advance down a narrow road towards the crossroads 

The crossroads and town, currently unoccupied, although the home guard have just arrived and taken up position in the houses facing the railway line The British have a tank force that will enter from turn 2 along the road at the bottom of this picture.  

As the town was effectively unoccupied, only some useless home guard my plan was to charge down the main road with paras and tanks and then advance down the flanks 

I decided to try and cause chaos early and called up my airstrike on the lead Bren gun carrier of the AT column. A direct hit takes out the Bren and blocks the road. This would mean the AT wold take ages to set up.

The advance begins with a unit of Paras leading the charge

The Brits still fannying about with the AT

I'm over the bridge and charging to the house with some smoke as cover, mortars are good at this. The PzII will be hit next turn and effectively block the bridge for a short while isolating the lead units

Cool shot down the road

The Brits have reached the town

My Paras have reached the edge of town and are preparing the kick the home guard out of the nearest building. The PzII has been shoved out of the way by the PzIV. 

Infantry are advancing towards the town at the top to dislodge the home guard. Supporting fire from my artillery and machine guns can't dislodge the home guard from the furthest building and withering fire from them has halted this flank advance. Somewhere in the sky is a Gloucester biplane trailing a line of smoke as it limps home

The British tanks advance as to the Germans. In the centre the paras have take the house and withstand 2 assaults before being kicked out. But by now more support has arrived and the Germans take back the house and hold it. Both front tank forces are now flanked and should be being wiped out by each other. In addition the Brits are under fire from the Pzjgr and the Germans  from the British AT line. All the shots from both sides were rubbish and only 2 tanks were destroyed during the whole battle, the smoke at the bottom hides a burning Vickers tank.

The Germans try and advance again. A chance event has caused the home guard to retreat but I can't get past the 2 Bren carriers

I now hold the house at the crossroads with all the Brit infantry dead or on their way home. The PzIV has moved out of shot of the AT line but with its back to the A9 and the Matilda. It's track is blown off but it can still fire. I have an AT section in the pillbox. I own the crossroads

The British AT line, utterly ineffective.
The Brits are not destroyed but with only tans and AT guns left are going to struggle to take back the crossroads. A victory and the conquest of Britain continues.
This was a great game with over 20 units per side. After 8 hours of gaming the victory was mine. I don't normally play the attacker and it was a good change. The stand out units were the paras who entered the town and held off several attacks before being destroyed, Iron crosses to be awarded postumously and the home guard who held a flank on their own despite intense artillery bombardment and being outnumbered 3 to 1. They deserve a pint.
Matt's report can be found here

Monday, 23 January 2017

Persian Army 1807

Regular visitors will know I've become a little obsessed with the Persian - Russian war between 1804 and 1813, due to my reading of The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk. I've been buying some Perry Napoleonic Russians and I have a lot of Afghan type figures that I can use but I was without any Persian Regular Forces known as Sarbaz.


Westfalia do some really nice regular figures but I was feeling cheap and bought some renaissance Persians from Old Glory. Generally I like Old Glory stuff and the figures I got were great but the uniforms and equipment were wrong. The infantry were wearing frock coats, were wearing puttees, all had swords and had a variety of fashionable head wear.

I could modify the hats, swords and boots but the frock coats would be a proper nightmare. Luckily they can be used as Persian Militia (see above). However I still had no Regular Persians. It was time to break out the casting kit and make some.
I make simple bodies and legs and then add heads and arms from the bits box, who hasn't got thousands of these. I made the body from a plastic zombie body and used milliput to make the trousers into pantaloons and some webbing.

The webbing broke off in the mould but not a disaster. I used the model to make a plaster mould and melted some of my collected swarf (11g per figure) and managed to cast 20 figures.

After cleaning up I added ACW arms and musket and a Dervish head

 I then added the relevant hat - Kadjar

I had previously converted the Old Glory figs to militia.

Finally the  Persian Zembouraki Camel Artillery which the Old Glory figs came with Wheelock muskets but needed light cannons. Luckily I had some of these from my Pirates.

Camel gunners post conversion - I have 6 of these and have fitted 3 with cannon.

All I need now are some bases to put the figs on, I've run out.

I'm off to Matt's next weekend to play a game in his Sealion campaign a,nd he is putting on a demonstration game at Dumfries in March where I will play. Really looking forward to that. In February I am at another gaming day with the Old Guard in Northallerton. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll be playing a Zombicide game by Google hangout with Simon (BlaxKleric) as a spin off from the painting Challenge. That should be fun although i've never played Zombicide, but have been reading around it. Overall very busy, which is nice but it means I can't go to York in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

The Great game

I'm currently reading The Great Game by Peter Hopkirk about spying in the NW frontier and it is a fantastic read full of daring do and great battles. Like all true wargaming butterflies I got the bug to play. I've got loads of figures for the late 19th Century stuff but the thing that really pushed my buttons was the Russian / Persian wars of 1807 - 1827. These looked at great chance to play large scale skirmishes. So I went shopping

I have loads of irregular Persian troops, Afghans and the such, but no regulars. The only real source is Westfalia but these are a little expensive for a flight of fancy (£9 for 6 infantry and £14 for a single camel gunner). So I went looking and Old Glory had what I thought were suitable figures at less that £1 for infantry and £24 for 6 camel gunners. So I bought them. Unfortunately they aren't right. The infantry will be a tough conversion to regulars but an easy one for militia - only hats need doing. The camel gunners weren't armed with 1lb cannons but with wheelocks. Luckily I have some swivel guns that will convert them nicely. probably a score draw on success.
To fight them I needed some Russian Napoleonic troops so off to Perry for some infantry, some Cossacks and an artillery piece. These will work straight from the box with forage caps instead of shakoes.

Next some Perry some Madhists to complete the collection for now.

Finally I gave my first public lecture on Thursday, The Newcastle University equivalent of the Royal Institute Christmas Lecture to a room of 200 children and parents. I really enjoyed it.

The bags are field geology kits that I gave out - bribery and 100 new geologists in 5 years

To close i bought this yesterday from the cool independent record store - Germ Free Adolescents by X-Ray Spex which got me thinking about other great songs from my youth especially this one

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Challenge update

Normally I wait until I've something non Challenge related to post but I'm a bit sleepless so this is a review of my latest submission. I was a paint bomb of over 400pts,
The main part was 28 Persian and Afghan cavalry that I bought with my prize from last year's challenge. The prize was a £75 gift voucher from Westfalia and the figures are great

Persian Lancers

Afghan Cavalry

and some more
These will be used in my generic african and NW frontier battles. I'm currently reading a book called The Great Game, bought from Diplomatist Books, about spying in Afghanistan, and these useful for that.
Next up a set of Zulu war figs 

Natal Carabiniers - a mix of Rapier and converted Northstar British

Dismounted by Rapier

Field gun

Heliograph - Black Tree Design

Rocket - Black Tree Design

Next some Gauls for an upcoming game of Impetus with the Old Guard wargames group

The legendarily terrible Wargames Factory Plastics

And now for some more random stuff

Robot German machine gunners for Konflict 47. 

Lastly a steam tank for my VBCW miners by Ironclad. Changed the gun to a 30 cal

Work tomorrow but hopefully I'll start the battle that has been laid out all week on Sunday

Saturday, 7 January 2017

More Mail and a change of plans

So the plan was to fight a battle today, table set up, figures ready, story sorted. But then post and facebook got in the way. All really good so no complaints. I'm still affected by the Christmas virus and run down, so things are a bit of a drag at the moment.
First up the post came today, 3 parcels

Chinese militia for Back of Beyond - Northstar

Yetis to scare the Chinese - Northstar

Detectives, need a couple of these for the challenge and my painting duet with Edwin

Oil Derricks - ebay. useful post about 1880

The Great Game - Diplomatist Books - Edwin

Diplomatist books again 

Edwin was generous to send me a handful of skulls - much appreciated

I've been hanging about with the Old Guard Wargames Club and had a great games day the other week. We are having another games day and I'm playing Impetus with my Romans. Never played it before and have to spend some time rebasing the legions. That will be this afternoon,s job. A slackers work is never done.