Tuesday, June 29, 2021

The 1st Battle of Pine Ridge Fork

 When the news reached the Origawn Provisional Government that the Dominion had launched an expedition against the Q'ree, they had ordered General Lannigan to launch an attack into Dominion territory to draw off some of the pressure on their allies. When the Origawn cavalry reached Pine Ridge, they found a scratch force of Dominion infantry and artillery blocking the ridge. Lannigan ordered an immediate attack! 

Grey's Brigade, supported by cavalry and artillery, attacked up the North Road.

Along the North Fork,  Colonel Nolan's Black's Black Hat Brigade attacked on the far right where Dominion cavalry had arrived to extend the line while General Strombecker led his men straight up the road to deliver the fatal blow.

Just as the Dominion line began to waver, the 5th Royal Scots arrived, pipes wailing and deployed at the double, filling the gaps. The fight was on!  

The fighting was prolonged and bloody but at last the Dominion troops were forced back off the ridge. The Grey Horse were around the enemy line and poised to cut the mainroad but the obstinate garrison of an old stone house still blocked the North fork.
One more push should do it, but already the sun was sinking toward the horizon.

The final charge was heroic and  seized the fork and the ridge but it didn't break the Dominion  line. The road forward was still blocked as the light faded, and the attacking army which had marched hard and fast to get here and had also suffered tremendous casualties. There was nothing to do but fall back, regroup and try again another day.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Now the Hurleyburly's Done

Now the battle's lost and won, ....

... a battle report will follow, maybe even tomorrow!

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Please Stand By

Not much hobby time today but Sunday looks promising.

The armies are nearly all on. An hour, two at the most, of hard fighting should decide it!

Friday, June 25, 2021

He's Back! The Brigadier Is Back!

The table has been reset with the troops returned to their 4 infantry/3 cavalry companies/squadrons and a few turns played using an updated version of the Square Brigadier.

The Faraway Field Force artillery's first two salvos unexpectedly broke the Black Horse and laid low their Colonel

Then I had to nip off for my 2nd dose of vaccine but, hopefully, play will resume on Saturday.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

The Jury Is In And The Word Is:

"This isn't the Game you're looking for!

Minnow delivers the verdict.

Time to reset the table, shuffle the troops back into to units of 4 infantry/3 cavalry, and break out the old Square Brigadier again.


Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Back on Plan

I'm not a big planning guy, nor one for measuring progress, but I'd started to notice an alarming drop in my enthusiasm for certain favourite games and the smack of a recurrence of a trend towards tedious conformity, so action had to be taken as my annual 4th of July review approaches and some course corrections applied. 

But that's for another post!  This is just another quick teaser for the game underway on my table.

to be continued.....

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Sometimes It Rains

Don't want those shiny uniforms getting muddy, now do we?

The table is set. 

Come the morning, let battle commence!

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Ambush at White's Farm

I had hoped that the Newport News would cover this action but their usual correspondent was not present and it seems that none of the officers present were able and willing to write an account while the photographic record was totally inadequate to work from. However, I will do my best to give some account.

(Please click on the pictures to get a larger version which allows you to see the figures, especially when screened by grass!)

As the Northwest Mounted Rifles approached the farm they were met by a hail of bullets.

Quickly they dismounted in the open and returned fire as best they could while the column behind deployed and moved to support them. 

Unseen by the Dominion troops, more Kree warriors were working their way around the flank.

One group of Kree managed to silence the gun momentarily but the Director-General's Bodyguards came quickly to the rescue and a hail of shell and bullets forced the warriors to retreat back up the gully.

Eventually, heavy casualties caused the Mounted Rifles and Victoria's to pull back but the regulars from the garrison at Fort Henry took their place supported by the DGBG while the artillery rained shells down on the farm. The artillery fire in particular was instrumental in forcing rebel units to pullback.

Eventually Colonel Ross led the Pioneer company forward with cold steel and the the Rebels broke. 

This impromptu scenario saw a column of  4 infantry companies plus a field gun and 1 unit of mounted rifles tasked with establishing a post at an farm on a wagon road.  They were opposed by 5 units of irregular mounted rifles, some in hard cover, the rest concealed in the bush. The infantry were 6 strong, the rest 4 strong.

The rules were also impromptu. They were simple and filled just over 1/2 of one side of a piece of paper and had the sort of feel I wanted with units being composed of individuals and being pinned by fire but there was too much dice rolling and the fire was too deadly so that I had to halve the number of dice almost immediately. They need some work before I'll be ready to share.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Looks Pretty Quiet....

Its June and the campaign season in the NorthWest has begun. Colonel Ross has been ordered to take a patrol as far as White's Farm and establish a post to secure the wagon road that passes it.

"Constable Smith! Ride back to the Colonel and let him know that I've had a good look through my fieldglasses. There is no sign of hostiles but I am leading my patrol of Mounted Rifles down to the farm for a closer look."


Don't miss tomorrow's episode!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

The Scenic Route

One of the best things about early retirement has been the luxury of time, especially hobby time. Time to explore options and test out proposals and theories and time to backtrack and try and try again. A luxury not usually available in war or the workplace.

The Oerberg army ready to see action again.

When it comes to a wargame, how a set of rules reflects the history is only one facet. Various other considerations such as the feel of the game, how emotionally, intellectually and visually engaging the game is as, how practical it is in existing circumstances, and so on are also important.

To cut this short, I've decided that on my smaller table with the hex grid, using smaller forces, I can go back to individual figures like I wanted at the start.  

Monday, June 14, 2021

Coming A Round

My Oerberg Pioneer unit was hastily paint converted from ACW figures a few years ago in order to increase the number of infantry  in the unit from 8 to 12 when using different rules. 

Since the setting is now the early 20thC rather than the 1870s as originally planned, I decided that they could use a uniform touch up. I  trimmed the trouser legs on the sappers into boots and painted all the leather dark brown instead of black.
Oerberg  Combat Pioneers with new boots and bases.
 That part was purely for the look but I also rebased them back onto their old washer-bases. Now that the armies and table are smaller than they were,
it  is easy to manage stable individuals and the single figures makes it easier  to take photos that give a feel for what's happening in pictures of a game. 

Since most of the figures are still on temporary foamcore bases, I'll  probably rebase more of them from time to time.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

May I Break In?

The border clashes between Oerberg and the Dominion's Kapelle Territory continue to flare up from time to time.  

In a dawn attack, three squadrons of mounted rifles, supported by a Pompom gun and a long range battery, seized a strategic rail junction near Belmont Station with the intent of wrecking the two lines. 

The garrison turned out smartly both in the town and in farm across the river which was being held by two companies of the Royals. A returning patrol of Lancers was sent to support the battery on the hill. The Oerberg artillery proved as deadly as ever, blowing the Lancers off the field but the mission was a long way from done.

The Mounted Frontier Police made a dash at the entrenched battery but were thrown back by a hail of shellfire and the fight bogged down into firefight between dismounted Oerbergers and the Railway Police, both supported by artillery, while the Oerberg Sappers moved closer to their goal. 

By the time the Sappers had blown a section of the river line, the Oerberger fire had driven the Railway Police back to the safety of the small town. It seemed like another bad day for the Dominion but at the last minute, the Armoured Car arrived, gun blazing. It was momentarily driven back by the Oerberg artillery but returned to the fight, driving the cavalry back and then gunning down the Sappers before they could blow the main line. There was nothing for the Oerbergers to do but cut their losses and retreat before more Dominion reinforcements arrived.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Meanwhile, Back At The Station.

Its been a couple of busy days, just not busy gaming or blogging. It won't  last but here's a few shots of the the table while we're waiting. 

Railway guards stand to arms.
Oerberg Sappers advancing to the rail line with a packmule laden with explosives.

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 7, 2021

Into the Valley

Warily, B company drove into the valley, keeping a close eye out for a Rebel ambush.

Suddenly the side of the hill erupted with fire. The tank and Recoilless Rifle returned fire while the infantry debussed.

#4 Platoon spread out, took what cover they could find on the edge of the road, and began a lengthy firefight with the Redcap trench. 

The Rebels were dug in and well camouflaged. (There are bits of 6 visible in this pic).

Seeing how ineffective #4 Platoon's fire was, #6 Platoon, straight out of training and eager to show their fighting spirit, didn't bother stopping to shoot but stormed up the hill with bayonets and grenades, into a deadly hail of bullets at pointblank range.  

With the 4th and 6th platoons and the HQ squad decimated, Major Hastee ordered a retreat and began composing a report in his head about how they had been ambushed by larger numbers of well equipped and entrenched Rebels. 

Rebel Ambush party: HQ + Mortar+ 2 platoons @ 6 soldiers inc 1 w bazooka. All entrenched in the jungle on the hill.

Gov't Patrol: HQ + SP Recoiless Rifle, M3 76mm Tanks, APC w lmg, 3 platoons of infantry.

Simple One Page Rules written up the evening before with fixed move, roll to hit then roll to pin or kill/wound. They were OK with a reasonable feel, but a bit boring at times with too much die rolling for a small quick game, sometimes being very deadly  but usually indecisive as each side fired and ducked by turns, requiring too many turns with too much die rolling for such a simple encounter between small forces. Needs some thought. 

The disputed territory just beyond the ambush site. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

UN Ordered Out

Today, a United Nations standing patrol in the Little Plumtree Valley, was ordered out by a Ducal officer claiming that the Rebels had been breaking the treaty.

The Ducal Captain orders the UN advisor to withdraw while members of the newly raised 3rd Battalion move out on their first patrol.

Stayed tuned for updates as they happen.

A closer look at some of the new recruits.


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Tomorrow's Forecast

Sunny with a chance of Soldiers.

I sure  hope they're right!

Friday, June 4, 2021

Another Fallen Hero

 Word has spread quickly about the death of Duncan MacFarlane, founder and one-time editor of Miniature Wargames and Wargames Illustrated, both magazines with the pull to appear in magazine stalls and hobby shops even in obscure corners of the Commonwealth.

In those days before the internet, such magazines, including the Courier over here, were vital sources of inspiration,  information and advertising for those of us in the boonies with little or no access to relevant shops and shows/conventions, slogging it out with a handful of comrades in arms.

I didn't make the front cover but didn't care.

I can't pass on any anecdotes, the only time I met him was when I found myself scanning the same publications as him at a stall at Historicon, read his nametag and exchanged a few words. But he stands high in my regard, not only for his magazines  but because he was the first editor to publish an article by me. (#23) 

The article included a set of rules so he probably has a lot to answer for to other gamers, but if it wasn't for Duncan and then Dick Bryant, this blog probably wouldn't exist.

Thank you Duncan, may you rest in peace.

All Quiet on The South Kapelle Railroad Line

Just another warm, sleepy, afternoon for the border guards at Poplar Grove Station.

Wait a minute! Whats that on the crest line across the river? Is that.......?

Yup, thought so! 


Thursday, June 3, 2021

Books Are Dangerous

After 5 consecutive French Rev games, I  decided it was time for a break but I've been too busy since then to even decide what to play or paint. 

I like listening to ebooks, especially when my hands are busy and my brain isn't,  so I started in on Bradford's The Great Siege of Malta 1565 thinking it might get the juices flowing.

Converted Meisterzin British, original homecast Turk, Irregular Jannisary, converted Prince August French.

Yeah, ok, I'm not sure how I went from Malta 1565 to Acre 1799, but its all good. 

For most of this century, some prototype Turks and some samples for a possible 1529 siege of Vienna setting, or some of the coastal raids on Italy, have been hanging around. Last year I finally sat down to see what would be involved, and how it would fit in to my plans. The result were the conclusions that it was never going to happen, but some skirmishes might be possible, and that I still missed my 15mm 1790's Turkish army. 

Recently I've been looking at my handful of Turks and at my French Rev forces and day dreaming. Tonight I decided that it was time to stop thinking and start doing! I'm not planning on a scaled down siege of Acre but some MacDuff skirmishes with small forces clashing over some village, mountain pass or an oasis, (...maybe one with a small fortified town...),  THAT sounds doable and potentially fun. 

While the body works

The mind will wander. 

I do try though to not imagine my stacks of winter firewood as revetted entrenchments while I  work. 

This chore is almost done but many more  remain. Luckily the showery weather forecast for tomorrow is favorable for an indoor game. 

If not, then it should be favorable for the first outside game of the year!