Sunday, 28 February 2010


Two games recently, Grand Alliance and AWI. Both losses, but that's just the way of things. I did not take any pictures of the recent battles, but these are three from the archive. They are of a Grand Alliance campaign in the fictional county of Kelhamshire, which took place a few years ago. Most of the troops belong to the collection of my long time wargames opponent. A very generous individual who has hosted hundreds of games and introduced me to several new wargaming periods.

The first photograph shows the English and Scots Williamite forces advancing against the Irish Brigade. The second is the Hessian and Dutch attack on the French holding the Jacobite right. The final picure is of the German allied cavalry advancing to the attack.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

All at Sea

A bit of a change this week. The battle was a scenario from the Russo-Japanese war and involved the manoeuvrings following Tsushima and leading up to the siege of Port Arthur. As the Japanese commander my task was to cover a minelaying operation in a strait. My opponent needed to stop the minelaying and keep the strait open.

The minelayers were of course my weakest ships and needed to be protected from enemy fire so when the Russian scouting squadron made straight for them it necessitated some raid manoeuvering. Fortunately, (for me), the scouting squadron comprised the enemy's weakest ships, so their rapid advance proved their undoing; all three going down under heavy gunfire. Though, as the Russian admiral said, sinking at least put out the fires which were raging onboard.

The Russian light cruisers 'death ride' bought time for their heavy units to enter the fray and also upset the initial Japanese plan. The Russians had gambled on sending their cruisers through a narrow strait, taking the risk of grounding, in order to pose a threat to the Japanese flank. This had the additional effect of threatening the minelayers again who had moved there to keep out of harms way. They had to resort to full speed to change flank and take cover behind their battleships.

As time ran out a Russian victory was adjudicated, although they had lost 3 ships to none of the Japanese, they had delayed the minelaying and kept the strait open.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Prague saved !

We have finally concluded the Seven Years War game begun on New Year's Eve. Frederick was once again trying to capture Prague. The Austrians had managed to change position to thwart his flank march so once again the blue-coats had to advance into a storm of shot and musketry.

The lack of reconnaisance meant that initial attack became ensnared in marshy ground and suffered heavy casualties. The grenadiers on the right flank began to push back the Austrian light troops who opposed them, but were unable to bring them to combat. Casualties mounted as the Croats took advantage of the cover and sniped away at the advancing lines, always hovering just outside charge range.

The main Prussian attack against the Austrian left seemed to be progressing well, a foothold was gained on the ridge, the first line of defence had been broken and the Guard were poised to press the advantage. It was at this point Prussian musketry, traditionally their strength, lost its potency. The Austrian battalions more than matched them shot for shot and once the artillery joined in the advance was stopped. There was no choice but for the Prussians to retreat.

Over on the left a typically inconclusive cavalry duel had resulted in stalemate, though that was only due to some Herculean efforts by the Prussian Garde du Corps. In a particularly fraught episode Frederick instructed his reserve to "disperse those enemy skirmishers advancing towards us". They were in fact his own light troops, whose identity was no doubt mistaken due to the smoke of battle. Small comfort to the troops involved, but I think the true story will remain hidden in the war archives for years to come. At least Frederick hadn't fled the field as he had at Mollwitz.

Visited the Vapnartak show at York last weekend. This is one of my favourite shows, with plenty of trade present and an always stimulating choice of games from local groups. The "Pentland Rising" game particularly caught my eye. The Bring and Buy seemed to be doing good business judging by the scrum around it.