Thursday, 30 May 2013


Just returned from a few days away.  Our short break seemed to coincide with a return to the wet weather, but it did at least give us an opportunity to visit the RAF Museum at Cosford.  With four hangars to visit, there is plenty to see.  The exhibits cover a wide range of planes, from the experimental to the main stream.

This Fairey Delta took me back to the days of 'Look and Learn' and the science stories looking at high speed flight.  Next to it was the Bristol type 188 which looks like science fiction rather than science fact.

WWII is well represented, there is a Catalina

and also a Messerschmitt Me 410A (Hornisse), which in addition to forward firing guns has two rearward facing heavy machine guns in remotely controlled barbettes.
One very unusual machine was this FA 330 Bachstelze.  It was labelled 'light reconnaisance'!
There is a truly massive hangar housing the 'Cold War' collection, and all the space is needed, because it houses examples of all three V Bombers, the Valiant, Victor and Vulcan, in addition to many other planes and armoured vehicles.  Unfortunately it is difficult to get a clear view of some of the planes, especially the ones suspended high up near the roof.  The English Electric Lightening is displayed vertically.

The fourth hangar, "Hangar 1" has examples of transport aircraft and also rockets, including the V1 and V2, plus the radio controlled Fritz-X.

So, if you are travelling near Telford and you have the time, the RAF Museum is well worth the visit.  There is a charge for parking, but entry to the museum is free.

Sunday, 26 May 2013


With the Napoleonic game at Gauntlet due in early July, I have taken the opportunity to paint up some Prussian units.  Six battalions have joined the ranks, including some Guards, which will come in useful for the Leipzig scenario.

There have also been some recruits to the 17th century Polish cavalry,  two units of pancerni,  and they now have a commander.

All the flags are homemade, based on  designs from a Polish heraldry site.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Triples 2013

Once more we ventured across the Pennines in search of wargames shows; the venue this time was Triples in Sheffield.  No Lance and Longbow game this year, so I had ample time to wander around the show to look at the games and trade stands.  The shopping list was fairly short as I had pre-ordered some medieval 'bits and pieces' from Essex, (many thanks for the excellent service, chaps).  These will aid the completion of the armies for the Deepdale game in June.  I also purchased some 15mm command figures to make up some more divisional command stands for the Napoleonic game at Gauntlet in July.

There was a strong Napoleonic emphasis amongst the demonstration games with a Peninsular skirmish, Ostrowono, Gross Beeren and Lutzen all making an appearance.   Gross Beeren was put on by the  'Like a Stone Wall' group;  who like most participants were happy to suspend the game to chat about the figures and rule mechanisms they used.

Lutzen was a 15mm game using the Age of Eagles rules put on by the 'Company of Veterans'.  Again they were happy to chat about the rules and their preference for that particular set over 'Shako'.

The Ilkley Lads had a very nice Cerignola game, with impressive scenery and Swiss pike blocks.

There was also an excellent 'Sudan' game with a railway train and steamer.

However, the game that really captured the imagination was 'Funny Little Wars' by the Mirfield Rifle Volunteers in aid of the British Legion.  This used 54mm figures in the tradition of H G Wells and even had participants firing cotton buds (matchsticks were a little too dangerous for the figures) from the field guns, any figures knocked down by the buds were casualties.  Edwardian costume and period German helmets completed the effect.

Monday, 13 May 2013

White Plains part 2

The attack on Chatterton's Hill now began in earnest.  The brigade holding the position had been weakened by sending one battalion down to cover the retreat of the militia brigade.  Encouraged by the fire of the British skirmishers this battalion had been swept up in the retreat of the militia and had sought refuge in the woods behind the hill.  The skirmishers followed the retreating Americans and the line battalions now concentrated on assaulting the hill.  The lack of a wall on the American right flank now caused problems.  The Americans had had no problem with British fire from  the front, but now they were also subjected to volleys from the flank.  With no protection from this direction losses began to rise.  Seeing the wall of bayonets advancing towards them the morale of the right hand American battalion broke and they too sought the protection of the woods behind the hill.

Fortunately for the American brigadier there was a transverse wall on the hill and he redeployed one of his two remaining battalions to line this in preparation for the expected British advance.

In the centre Clinton was slowly assembling his battalions ready to attack the right flank of the American position in White Plains.  He was hampered by fire from the American artillery and also the fire of the American defenders. He was constantly employed rallying his troops as they fell back under the American volleys.  However, he had positioned his cavalry on the road, ready to exploit any shakiness in the opposition line.  To his right, Archer's brigade was exerting real pressure on the American position. The Hessian fusiliers had now crossed the works driving off the militia who attempted to attack them, began firing on the defenders of White Plains.   Their supports were now crossing the works and the artillery was moving at its best speed towards that flank.

Brown's battalions crested the brow of Chatterton's Hill and were met by a volley from the defenders. Undaunted they stopped, fired a volley and continued their advance.  The right flank battalions of Brown's brigade now advanced and began to fire at the battalion lining the wall.  Flinching from this flanking fire and eyeing the advancing bayonets the Americans decided it was time to take to the woods as their comrades had done and soon all resistance on the hill ceased.

Howe sensed that a major victory may be within his grasp; with luck he could 'net' a substantial part of the American force if Brown cut the road behind White Plains.  However, Clinton's men were almost 'played out'.  Their advance had slowed as officer casualties mounted and they were passed by Brown's grenadiers who swept forward towards the American held works.  A volley from the grenadiers drove off the artillerymen who were attempting to withdraw their guns and a second forced the battalion holding the works to withdraw.  As the red line of grenadiers flowed into the American position there seemed to be no opponents left to dispute possession of White Plains.

Brown's success had not been duplicated by Archer.  He had seemed to be on the brink of victory as his fusiliers moved against White Plains; but the American commander called upon his last reserves to oppose him.  The fusiliers were stopped and then driven back by volleys from a militia unit.  The supporting battalion was fired on before it could deploy and had to fall back to reform. A third battalion was also stopped in its tracks by accurate fire from the defenders.  Suddenly the pressure on the Americans eased and, taking the opportunity the order to retreat was given.  The British pincers failed to close and so  the Americans were able to slip away.  On the road Clinton's cavalry commander fumed as the order came to hold his position.  Surely, now was the time for the cavalry to advance and turn retreat into rout.    

Clinton explained to Howe that is brigade was in no shape to advance and Howe confirmed the order to halt. 

Although the British had carried the position two of their three brigades required time to reorganise. For the Americans Two brigades has been driven from the field and a third was in a bad way; Washington felt fortunate that he was able to withdraw unhindered.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

White Plains 1776

This is one of the early battles of the AWI and there is an account of the action and a sketch map on the British Battles website.  Historically the attack on Chatterton's Hill encouraged an American withdrawal before the main British force under Howe could come into action.  Our scenario envisaged a co-ordinated attack using Howe's main force.

The four American brigades were deployed as follows, two in White Plains, one on Chatterton's Hill and  the fourth, a small militia brigade, in front of the hill to delay the anticipated British attack.  As usual, we used the Patriots and Loyalists rules.  The British were in three brigades.  Brown's, the largest was on the left, tasked with capturing Chatterton's Hill.  Clinton's small brigade was in the centre and would render assistance where required.  Archer's Brigade was to occupy the attention of the Americans in White Plains and  then pin them in place whilst Brown and Clinton moved on their flank.

The American Position

The American militia did their job well.  Two of Brown's battalions were driven back by enemy volleys and it was only once Clinton's men had secured some fields on the militia's flank that they were forced back.  In the open the Americans suffered heavy casualties from British volleys and in spite of the valiant efforts of their brigadier they were forced to fall back and rally.  The Chatterton's Hill position looked very strong, but, the light infantry skirmishers noted that the  wall did not encircle it.

Chatterton's Hill
  Brown therefore began to move even further to his left to strike this open flank.  All these delays disjointed Howe's plan.  Archer was advancing at a steady pace, but even so he was exchanging volleys with the defenders of White Plains long before Brown and Clinton were in position. This absence of pressure from the centre enabled Washington to move units to threaten the flank of Archer's advance.

Archer's advance nears White Plains       
 The two units on the left of Archer's brigade now felt the full weight of volleys from front and flank plus the attentions of Washington's artillery.  They tried to stand their ground, but inevitably, they had to fall back to rally.  However, the right hand column, led by the Hessian fusiliers seemed to have a charmed life.  Advancing steadily, halting and firing volleys and then resuming the advance, they neared the barricades near White Plains.  The German's steady volleys drove off the American defenders and Washington's left flank seemed to be in peril.

This was where our first day's gaming came to a close.  The British had made progress on both flanks, but the American position was just about holding.  Would the British, having taken casualties, still have the strength to carry the hill and town?