Wednesday 12 June 2024

'Battle' In The Bocage - The Plan

Many years ago now I bought Kenneth Macksey's superb book 'Battle', a fictional account of an attack in Normandy around the time of Operation Bluecoat, but one based upon his experiences during WWII. It really is a great read and shows one all the preparation and effort that is required in mounting a hasty Battalion level attack.

I've been wanting to make a scenario from this book for quite sometime, but somehow I've never got around to sorting it out, until now. It seemed a perfect time in light of the recent D-Day anniversary and the fact that I wanted to christen my games room, with a period that is one of, if not my all time favourite, periods.

So last night I spent some time skimming through the book, making a note of the forces broadly involved, the terrain fought over, the objectives for the Attackers etc. Whilst a work-in-progress, I'm pretty sure I've got it more or less sorted now.

The book doesn't have a map of the starting positions and all of the terrain, but it does include one with the action well underway, as can be seen below:

Sadly the map is not very clear in the book, but hopefully it gives you some idea of the terrain.

The objective for the Attackers is to seize the farm (where the British C.Coy is on the map) as well as the ridgeline, broadly where the German 6th Coy is. Using the ever excellent WWII rules, BKCII, the British have 8 Turns to achieve their objective.

British OOB
1 x CO
3 x HQ's
1 x FAO
9 x Infantry (3 with PIAT upgrades)
2 x MG's
1 x 3" Mortar
3 x Shermans
1 x Sherman Firefly
1 x Sherman Flail
1 x Churchill Crocodile
1 x 25pdr 8 gun Battery (scheduled creeping barrage and FAO)
1 x 5.5" Medium Artillery Battery (scheduled on the farmhouse & counter-battery fire)
1 x Typhoon Ground Attack (scheduled)

US Airborne
1 x HQ
3 x Infantry (1 x bazooka upgrade)
1 x 81mm Mortar
1 x 75mm Artillery (scheduled)

German OOB
1 x CO
3 x HQ's
9 x Infantry
2 x MG's
3 x 81mm Mortars
1 x Jagdpanther
1 x Stug-III
1 x Minefield (unmarked)
1 x Command Post (the farm)

The farm is made of stone and has been turned into a defensive strongpoint, so 6+ to hit and a 4+ save.

Two German Kompanies are dug-in, with one in reserve. Those dug-in to the Bocage banks are classed as in hard cover, so 6+ to hit and with a 6+ save.

So with the Scenario and OOB basically sorted, next up it will be the game itself. This won't happen until next week at the earliest, but at least a start has been made.


Tuesday 11 June 2024

A Dream Come True!

Over the years I've been somewhat envious of those other gamers that have had their own dedicated wargames room. Maybe I need to get out more😉? So when our son left and moved into his own flat, SWMBO kindly allowed me to turn his old bedroom into my very own games space. Happy Days!

Now I suppose Estate Agents would call the room 'cosy', 'snug', 'an intimate space' etc, but in reality it is bloomin' small, no two ways about it, but still it's my room😊! Having recently redecorated the space and added in some storage, I now have enough done to actually start getting some games in. There is still more to do in terms of adding some posters, a few decorative elements, but these can come along as and when time and motivation allow.

So below are a few photos of the space, to hopefully give an idea of how my new games room looks:

The view from the door into the room. Folding chairs are next to my bookcase to try and maximise the space when it's not in use.

The main storage units along the wall, with the trestles which will support my boards when the room is set up.

The drawers contain all of my forces with some spare for future projects. For anything without flags, I can add another level inside each one, thus doubling my space.

My reference library, with everything quickly fitted in, but it all still needs sorting out so it is easier to find what I'm after.

The room 'in use' as it were, with a 4' x 4' table. In theory I could squeeze in a 6' x 4' one, but it would mean crawling under the table to get to the other side! So bigger games will still be played on the dining room table downstairs, but I reckon over 90% of my games will fit on this table or smaller.

I'm still getting used to the idea that I actually have my own room, as it still seems a bit surreal. The greatest benefit so far has been the fact that I have all my troops (well the based and painted ones) in one place, making it much easier to get stuff ready for a game as well as remembering exactly what I have, not something that was easy to do with the collection spread across a couple of rooms and 3-4 places within those.

I have a plan for the first game to be played in my new space, but still early days of prep, but hopefully next week once some family visits are out of the way over this coming weekend.


Thursday 6 June 2024

D-Day 80th Anniversary

On this most poignant day, it is hard to sum up the mixed emotions one feels as the ceremonies begin to mark the 80th Anniversary of D-Day. I was going to write more, but in the end I've left it to those more gifted than I:

The Soldier by Rupert Brooke
If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

The Kohima Epitaph
When you go home, tell them of us and say,
For your tomorrow, we gave our today.

The Exhortation
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.
We will remember them. 

Wednesday 29 May 2024

Cold War Wargaming - Some Thoughts

Dearest Gentle Reader,
and esteemed members of the wargaming Ton*. Whilst I have been pretty busy with my usual parent/carer duties, sorting our son's old bedroom out and turning it into my games room, plus trying to get some gardening in inbetween very variable weather, my old grey cells have been whirring away quite happily in the background. I have been giving plenty of thoughts to my wargaming and a somewhat realistic appraisal of my needs versus my planned projects, with the eternal squaring the circle that is required, as my ideas frequently outstrip my ability to realise them. I'm sure I'm not along in this!

Recently I have been giving some thought on how to get some Cold War games in, with relatively minimal effort and outlay. My initial idea was to go down the 'classic' 1980's route and in 6mm, which I've done before many years ago, but whilst I really enjoyed this, I fancied something different. To this end some recent Blog posts, listed below, gave me plenty of ideas on how I might approach this sort of mini-project:

Whilst these are all set circa 1948, I fancied something a little later, to give me a bit more leeway on background fluff and post-WWII kit too, but still keeping that 1948 vibe as shown on the Blogs. So mid-1950's sort of ticks all the boxes for me at present.

Fluff wise there is plenty to choose from, with Stalin recently dead and Kruschev going about the de-Stalinization of the Soviet Union; Korea is happening or recently finished and tensions could spill over into Europe; the Hungarian Revolution is in full swing; tensions in other Countries under Soviet control; West Germany has just been 'formed'. Well I think you get the picture, that there is plenty of stuff to hang a story and campaign on.

In a sense with potential settings sorted, my mind turned to what sort of kit I wanted to field with my WWII forces, to make it feel more like a Cold War game. In no particular order:

Jet Fighters 
Whilst propellor driven aircraft will probably make an appearance, I really wanted to get some MIG's in for, to me, that classic Soviet post-War fighter look. On the NATO side the Hawker Hunter appeals to me, but I'm sure some others might pique my interest...

I've always liked the T-54/55 and if I could, I would field a T-62, but this is way outside of my timeframe. Arrayed against them would be the Centurion Mk5, a tank that I had the Airfix kit of as a kid. Both sides would have plenty of WWII kit too, which adds a nice bit a variety to the look of the whole.

Whilst I would love to have an Attack Helicopter option, realistically this is not an option, but never-say-never! Most likely this would feature in a Scouting or FAO role and I'm sure I will take some liberties and bring in some 1960's 'whirlybirds' back to the 1950's just because I like the look of them.

AK-47's & SLR's
These infantry weapons certainly mark the transition to more modern equipment, but for ease of the potential project, I will stick with my existing WWII infantry. After all in 10mm you will barely notice the difference...

ATGW's & Recoilless Rifles
Whilst the Recoilless Rifles are available, it would be nice to have some ATGW's, but as per the Helicopter option, realistically they are not available. But maybe some experimental projects have been rushed through for battlefield trials...?

So there we have it. Plenty for me to be thinking about whislt I'm painting or sorting out the flooring. At least I know my existing 10mm forces will form the core of both forces, so I just need to add in some of the above to give it the feel of what I want. Time to start drawing up a shopping list.

* Unless you have watched the Netflix series, 'Bridgerton', this will mean nothing to you!


Tuesday 21 May 2024

A Partisan View - Part 2

Having posted all of the eye candy photos earlier, it's time to take look at what I thought of the show and my general experience of it. So in no particular order:

The Journey
I know this might not sound too linked to the show, but having spent the majority of my working life cycling to work and small local journeys, anything over an hour away seems a long distance to me! Fortunately Google maps showed me a variety of routes, all of which were just over 3 hours away, so not much different to when I take the rare trip to London. The A46 option was the shortest and setting off when I did, was a very quiet and leisurely journey, until the last few roundabouts which took some concentration! So now I know it is an easy show to get to and from, this has certainly become one I will attend on a regular basis, all being well.

The Venue
You can't fault the setting for the show, which has ample car park spaces and plenty of areas to take a break from the show. It reminds me somewhat of Colours in that regards, but nicer to be honest. The only downside I would say is that it got very hot and stuffy inside and they could have opened the doors at either end to let in some fresh air!

The Vibe
Well this has to be the friendliest show I've ever been to! The staff on the door were very cheerful, as were the Partizan staff in and around the hall. The whole atmosphere was very positive and everyone seemed to be having such a great time. Normally I come away from shows a bit tired, but not this one. Well done to all those involved for making it such a great experience.

The Senses
If there is a downer it is that the show is in some regards a victim of its own success, as there were so many people there (record numbers?), it did get very noisy very quickly, as well as rather hot and stuffy as mentioned before. I had planned on meeting up with Norm Smith (Battlefield & Warriors Blog) but due to said noise, neither of us could hear our phones ring, vibrate etc. First world problems and all that I know! Visually as well there is just so much to take in, so much so that it took me about 3 circuits of the show to make sure I hadn't missed any games, but even then I did miss a few that were tucked away in a corner, hidden by the visitors. I think if it had been a bit cooler, I would have stayed longer so that I could really appreciate all that was on offer. Maybe The Other Partizan in October might be better in that regards?

The Games
The show was always known for being a 28mm one, but nowadays they have a wider range of scales on offer, from the classic Kreigspiel board, through 6mm alll the way up to 54mm, so something for most tastes, which is what one wants from a show. The games ranged from one that you could easily put on at home and importantly if you're starting out, right through to the massive and spectacular ones, such as those by the Boondock Sayntes et al. 

The Inspiration
All of the games had something that piqued my interest, som emore so than others. So in this regards it works perfectly to give us gamers a often much needed shot of motivation and inspiration. I'm sure if time had permitted, I would have found more to inpsire me, but there was more than enough as it was.

The Demo vs Participation Offerings
A really good mix this year, but sadly for me I didn't have the time to try any out, which was a shame. All of the tables had someone willing to have a chat and nearly all had excellent signage as to what was being put on, so full marks for that!
variety of games and their standard, from entry level to the spectacular

The Societies
Again a good mix this year and with all of them ready and willing to have a chat. I enjoyed talking with the Northampton Battlefield Society about their exhibits of medieval weapons, expecially their arrows and hand weapons, all of which you were able to handle. Just holding a well balanced sword is quite enlightening and having used tools all of my life, you know how much impact this would have if it hit you, even if it didn't make a cut! The 21eme Regiment de Ligne were great chaps to talk to and a real laugh too, so this made it an engaging conversation, although I did feell for them wearing woolen uniform tops!

The Chats
As it was so busy I only managed to have a chat with Phil Olley about his game, which I'd been following the progress of on his Blog. Nice to have that chance and to talk about showing games that are accessible for newbies, but ones that can still look great and all on a 6' x 4' table.

The Traders
Well fingers crossed they had a good show, as with what appeared to be record numbers of visitors and the fact they seemed busy all day, it needs this to keep them attending shows. We all know some of the 'big players' have cut back or stopped attending, which is a shame but understandable, ditto some of the smaller players too. Pendraken have had to wait for years to get a spot and thankfully now they are a regular at this show, but they are the only 'small scale' trader that I could see. Now Baccus or H&R, which is a shame, as it would be nice to have a 6mm offering for us gamers to have a peruse of.
The Haul
I had no plans on anything I wanted to buy, so just went to see what was on offer and came up with the following purchase:

The ruined buildings are 6mm Battlescale ones that Pendraken also retail and I've been interested in for a while, so treated myself. Ditto the landing craft that are not always in stock on the Pendraken website, but seeing them in the flesh allowed my to choose the ones I liked. I'm not sure if my 10mm tanks will fit inside, but I have some 1:200 ones that should, just to give that look as they approach the beach. The Rapid Fire! scenario book ticked all the boxes for my France 1940 campaign, even though it doesn't come with a full OOB for each scenario, it is easy enough to convert it to BKCII or just use them as generic scenarios. Plenty of eye candy inside too.

The Best Show ?
Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but I think it safe to say that this is the best show on the circuit, or certainly one that is within relatively easy reach and accessible to me. Looking at the attendance I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this view! I know it will become a regular show for me and possibly The Other Partizan too. It does make you realise how lucky we are on our small island to have so many good shows to go to and some that are simply outstanding like this one!


Monday 20 May 2024

A Partisan View - Part 1

I've only ever attended the Partizan Wargames Show as part of a demo team, meaning I had very little chance to see the show, other than a quick lunchbreak whizz round. This year, somewhat at the last minute, I decided to see if the planets would align on the parent/carer front, to allow me to take a proper look at the show. Luckily they did and with the all clear to go on the Friday, I began to look forward to a nice day out.

Sunday came and I was awake with the dawn chorus and having braced myself for the journey (literally in the case of my back and knee) I was on the road by 6.00am. The traffic was very light after travelling through some truly beautiful countryside, I reached the showground just after 9.00am. A brief rest and refuel and I joined the queue at about 9.40am, which was already pretty long and was in the show just after 10.00am.

I'll leave my thoughts on the show, what I bought etc for another post, as this one is rather pic heavy (91). I took photos of the games I liked, missed a few but not many, and tried to give an impression of each, as time and space permitted. Apologies if any of the captions are wrong, but some of the games and clubs do not tally with the show guide, but hopefully that will not spoil your viewing! I've added comments as I saw fit.

Forest Outlaws - 1456 Siege of Budapest
Simple and very effective looking game. The bit of play I saw looked like it used the hexes for range, line of sight etc.

Steve Jones - 28mm AWI (Freeman's Farm?)

The Skirmish Wargames Collective - 54mm - 1930's
I just loved this game, which looked superb and naturally attracted lots of attention. So much to see and hard to get good shots as lots of people were playing the game or simply admiring the terrain, figures etc.

Loved the planes which just added to the overall look of the game.

Rubicon Models - 28mm Vietnam - Oscar Mike

Glasgow Wargames Club - 15mm - Breitenfeld 1631
Nice and simple and shows you don't need lots of fancy terrain for putting on a game, so showing a good entry level to our hobby.

Carpet tiles were used and very effective they were too.

Durham Wargames Group - 28mm - The Battle of Fulford Gate

Westbury Wargames - 28mm - Battle of Gabene 316BC

The Yarkshire Gamer - 28mm Italian Wars of Unification - Battle of Mentana 1867
Ken put on a great game here which garned plenty of attention. Nice to have a less gamed period on display.

I loved this raised building with vineyard and want to make something similar for my own games.

North Riding Wargames Club - 28mm Sudan

Barely Legal Wargamers - Battle of Carabobo June 1821 - South American Wars of Independence

WWII. Really nice terrain right across the board.

A railway embankment of some form has been on my 'to-do' list for many a year, but I know it will not look as good as this.

Boondock Sayntes - 28mm Indian Mutiny - The Battle of Unao 1857
Yet another stunning display from these chaps and even better than previous years? Also the game was actually being played, despite lots of people looking at all the details.

Loved this!

The water and ships looked great.

Derby Wargames Society - 28mm - Rome vs Sassanids 3rd Century AD

The buildings really caught my eye on this, although the figures were pretty lovely too.

Very British Civil war Forum - Poking the Polden
As always with the AVBCW chaps, so much quirky and whimsical stuff on show.

The Conquistadors
IIRC the chap said all the terrain, figures and ships were 3D printed.

The ships did look great.

Peter Dennis - 10mm Plexiglass
I can see the attraction of these, but the muted colours and clear acrylic edges don't work for me.

Phil Olley - Eastern Renaissance - 28mm - Action at Akshun - Winner of Best Demo Game
Having seen images on Phil's Blog, it was great to see it in the flesh.

The over sized flags really do work so well and really catch the eye.

1st Corps - 28mm American- Mexican War - Across the Rio Grande

A great looking game for sure, with the added bonus of a very effective backdrop photo to add depth to the table.

AWI - Guildford Court House 1781?

Chesterfield Old Boys - 1/35th WWII Skirmish

Bramley Barn Wargames Club - Rapid Fire ? - WWII

Simon Miller - 28mm ECW- The Relief of Norchester

The Bunker ? - Indiana Jones Style Game
Another one of thos egames with so much to take in.

The Gentleman Pensioners - Sharp Practice - Cape Frontier

War of 1812 ?

Harrogate Wargames Club - 28mm Modern South America

Mid-19thC Europe?

Morris and Chums - 6mm - Trojan War
This looked really effective and again with a nice backdrop.

League of Gentlemen Anti-Alchemists - Home Guard 1940

Worley Books - Kreigspiel
I just loved this!

John Kersey - 1/72nd - The Battle of El Caney 1898 - Spanish American War

21eme Regiment de Ligne - Soldier

21eme Regiment de Ligne - Officer

Northhampton Battlefield Society


All Hell Let Loose - 6mm - Bloody Omaha
A very impressive layout that was popular with gamers from the off.

Beautifully modelled terrain.

KB Club - Cold War/Modern

Anschluss Wargames - 12mm WWII - Kelly's Heroes Bank Heist
This really caught my eye as it was on a size board I could easily fit in at home and was in 12mm (close enough to 10mm) and packed full of detail and ideas.

I want to have a go at making smiliar fields for my games.

The Friends of General Haig - 10mm - The Battle of Aughrim 1691
These chaps had appeared in a wargames magazine some years ago, so it was lovely to see all the figures in action. All the models are from Pendraken.

Forlorn Hope - Battle Fleet Gothic
Not my thing at all, but the models were superb and big!

Sails of Glory - Napoleonic

A really nicely modelled island and fort.

Central London Wargames Club - Emperor of the Battlefield - Napoleonics
I think these rules are fairly new, as I saw them on sale and lots of people buying them. there was certainly plenty of interest in the game.

So I hoped you enjoyed the photos of the games that piqued my interest. Next up my thought on the show itself.