Tuesday, 20 March 2018

WMMS 2018

Although the weather did it's worst the show went ahead.  Some of the traders didn't make it, but  a good selection did and there were several interesting games to look at.  With my principal interest being in the Horse and Musket era those games dominate the following photographs.

The Phoenix Society did this 25mm Napoleonic game, with some very nicely painted figures

A very eye-catching game was a Russo-Japanese Naval game, which I think appeared at Derby last year.

The Cheshire and Staffordshire club put on Guildford Courthouse.

Wyre Forest Gamers did well to put a game on at all.  Their terrain was snowed in, as were a good percentage of the figures, nevertheless they managed to stage a Jacobite Wars scenario.

The Oudenarde game was in 10mm (I think), but looking at the painting alone it would be difficult to tell.

There was also a GNW game using Prince August figures (a particular favourite of mine)

Also in small scale was this Varna game from Kallistra

Finally from this period was a Peninsular game

There were modern games, I particularly liked this Far Eastern scenario with a Japanese landing in China.  It was nice to see the beach uncluttered with armoured vehicles as so often happens in D Day games.

I do hope that the poor turnout due to the weather doesn't prevent the organisers from putting on a show in 2019.  Alumwell has had (at least for the last three years when I attended), a good range of games and traders and is a friendly local show.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Some more new recruits and a good read

With the weather being rather adverse last week Steve and I didn't meet up for our usual game.  However, I did manage to get some 'brush' time to finish off two small units of Janissaries, the first installment of what I hope will be a large force of Ottomans.  The figures came from ebay and are some vintage castings from Hinchliffe.  As with my Muscovites I will add in some TAG and Warlord command figures as I go along.   After stripping the figures back, the paint went on quite easily and although some modern figures are thought to have more animation, I prefer these 'old style' castings.

Steve and I have decided that for our Eastern Renaissance armies, the single weapon units will be 12, 18 or 24 strong, whilst the combined units (eg Soldatski) will be 16, 24 or 32 strong.  As the individual orta seem to have been quite small (although there were  over 100 of them according to the Osprey volume on them), the 12 figure unit was chosen, though they can be combined with others to make larger formations.

The colour scheme is based on the illustration from the front cover of the Osprey volume

I have also managed to finish a book I started reading over Christmas, 

The book covers the period from 1618-1918 and is an excellent read.  Most of the books I have read on the Napoleonic period (with the exception of Gunther Rothenberg and John Gill) tend to portray the Austrian army as hopelessly outclassed and being bundled from one defeat to another.  Bassett gives the reader an Austrian perspective which resets the balance.  It is not a quick read, over 500 pages, but it is well worth it.  My mint paperback copy came from a National Trust secondhand book shop for the princely sum of £3.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

On the steppes once more

Our most recent game was a return to the Eastern Renaissance and the continuing 'bickering' between the Muscovites and Cossacks.  I set up a fictional scenario with a Muscovite force moving to meet a raiding Cossack force.  Unusually, the Cossacks had forsaken their normal defensive tactics and met their opponents in the open.

The Muscovites had 6 units of noble levy (3 on each wing), with infantry, (3 units of Soldatski and 2 of Streltsy), plus artillery, (2 medium guns) in the centre.  Alongside the general were a unit of Reiter and his own bodyguard. Opposite them, the Cossacks deployed in a similar way, Four units of cavalry (2 per wing), with 3 units of Moloisty and two of musketeers, plus two light guns in the centre.  On the Cossack left wing were some woods and a small village and the Cossacks had placed a small unit of musketeers in the woods to fire on the flank of any passing enemy cavalry.

Muscovite infantry

Streltsy and artillery
Noble cavalry on the Muscovite left

Cossack infantry prepare to advance
The battle opened with a fairly rapid advance by the Noble levy on the Muscovite right.  Fire from the woods thinned the ranks a little, but not enough to cause the Muscovites to halt.  The remainder of the Muscovites were far more reluctant to move forward, particularly the Reiter and bodyguard; hardly the example the general would have wanted them to set.

For their part the Cossacks advanced slowly, keeping their line.  When in range the musketeers began to fire volleys at the Muscovite infantry inflicting significant casualties.  They were joined by the light artillery, which quickly found the range; unlike the Muscovite gunners, who failed to register a hit for some time.  The first clash came close to the village where the opposing cavalry met.  It was a rather one-sided affair, despite the numbers being equal.  The leading Cossack unit routed back and the Noble Levy swept on to melee the supports; pushing them back as well.

The Noble Levy prevail
On the opposite flank the Noble Levy at last began to move forward, but were unable to make their numbers count.  A stalemate developed with first one side being pushed back and then the other.  Valuable assistance was given to the Cossack cavalry by a unit of musketeers who fired volleys at the Muscovite cavalry.

In the centre, the slow advance of the Muscovite infantry continued, their ranks thinned by the Cossack volleys.  Seizing the initiative the Cossack infantry charged and a fierce melee took place in the centre.

Battle is joined on the Cossack left centre

And on the right
The two streltsy units fared badly, even though they had the berdische axe, and they both routed.  However, the Soldatski stood their ground and pushed back the Moloisty.  Again the light artillery intervened.  Their fire dissuaded the Soldatski from following up, giving the Moloisty time to recover. 

A unit of streltsy rout
On the Cossack left matters had reached a critical stage.  One unit of musketeers had gone to the aid of the Cossack cavalry and they with one of the light guns held off a combined attack by a unit of Soldatski and cavalry.  The cost to the Cossack cavalry was high, with the remnants of both units fleeing from the field.

The end for the Cossack left wing
A new left wing was formed from the musketeers and a unit of Moloisty, and with the pressure lessening in the centre, the Cossack commander thought he may have a chance of victory.  However, the Muscovite artillery now began to make an impact.  Their fire slowly but surely ground down the Cossack infantry, weakening them to such an extent that a renewed attack by the Soldatski, supported by the Reiter and bodyguard began to push them back.  It was at this point that the Russian left wing cavalry charged towards the centre, scattering a unit of Moloisty which tried to hold them back.

The collapse of the Cossack left
With the Cossack right wing cavalry eventually being driven off by their opponents, the day was lost for the Cossacks. 

Sunday, 25 February 2018

Short break

Five days on the east coast, in February?  We must have been mad.  When we arrived at Whitby, it looked like a bad decision.  Rain and thick fog the order of the day.

The view from our room
Happily, things brightened up considerably the following day and we had sunshine for the remainder of our stay.

Down by the harbour is Battery Parade and in recognition of it's former purpose a 12lb naval gun is on display.

By the beginning of the 20th century the battery was long gone.  In 1914, the Germans found the town undefended when they bombarded it.  [details here] .  A memorial to the event can be found on the cliff top.

The clock on the mantlepiece and the cat silhouette by the window are nice touches.

We had a trip over to Pickering and visited the parish church.  On the walls of the nave can be seen some wall paintings dating from the mid 15th century.

S George

Martyrdom of St Edmund
If you haven't visited the North Yorkshire coast already there is plenty to see.  However, if go in any season other than summer be sure to take warm clothing, (even in summer it is a good idea to have some with you).