Bit of a Catch Up

Although there’s been no blog activity for a while, there have at least been some hobby goings on.
Not much was actually getting finished so I wasn’t taking many pics, but there has been some gaming, and progress on a number of projects

The best of the gaming was a weekend in Newcastle with Andy hosting an excellent ACW game using his newly re-based collection and Fire & Fury rules. He’d devised a scenario and set up the terrain too. The game took place in meeting room upstairs at a commercial stables, which added to ambience!

It was an encounter battle which 5 of us played to an entertaining draw. Plenty of flank attacks, charges and counter-charges as the advantage swung back and forth. Plenty of beer was had on the 2 evenings as well, which with the excellent company made it a very good time all-round.

 

 

 

 

I’ve spent some more time evolving my 15mm fantasy dungeon game, which is pretty much sorted and has seen some solo and 2-player games recently. Now I’m just having fun adding the odd monster, character or dungeon feature, plus some background fluff and additional rules that come to mind.

 

 

This year’s Ayton weekend (coming up very soon) calls for Lion Rampant forces from anywhere between 1100-1500, so I’m taking a very early Medetian force from their Normans-in-Italy era. It will be supplemented by Saracen auxiliaries, together making a standard 24 point retinue.

I’ve painted 6 knights (Conquest plastics) and 30 Gripping Beast Arab foot, leaving 2 units left to finish before the end of the month. I’ll try to get the whole force together for a pic soon.

I’ve tried yet another method for making islands for my scratchbuilt naval games, this time it was 6mm blue foam (painted green and gridded to match the sea boards) on thin card (painted sandy for beaches). With the odd building, tree or airfield they should look OK.

Two prototypes:

Maybe they’ll be the start of an overhaul of my islands in general, or I’ll just add them to the pile!

I just need to get back into the routine of updating the blog now, so more soon hopefully!

The Battle of Mingen 1759

Last weekend four of us from the LAW forum, who all live reasonably close to Newark, got together for an eclectic 18th century bash. John (LT) very kindly offered to host us when our plans to play at Wargames Foundry fell through, and his custom-built gaming conservatory (with 12’x4′ table) was an excellent place to play a game. He kept us going with endless tea and coffee too!

As it was Purps’s idea in the first place, he did the planning. He collated a list of what units people could contribute and prepared an interesting scenario based on Minden, but suitably re-named. It was to be a first run out for all of us with the Honours of War rules from Osprey. They proved to be relatively simple to pick up and gave a good, fast-moving game that produced believable outcomes and events.

When the armies were placed on John’s teddy bear fur table covering, along with some suitable scenery, I think the overall effect was very good.

My troops, moving forward to take up defensive positions before the enemy got too close:

 

The overall table, defenders on the left:

Purps’ Prussians heading to defend the wall. They were to deliver a very un-Purps-like ‘none shall pass’ performance:

No detailed battle account, but in brief – Simon and John attacked with a variety of dodgy invading foreign-types, while Purps and I tried to hold on to the two villages. Somehow we managed this, although it was a very close run thing. We had cavalry charges (one of which was successful – unfortunately against me), heroic musketry, some BUA fighting, and some artillery barrages that did a bit of damage (well lots – to Purps).

Below, Purps’ Frei Korps looking good coming up the road, until all the enemy artillery targeted them and sent them packing on the first turn. Another new unit consigned back to the box before they’d got stuck in.

Something no commander ever wants to see. I underestimated how far Simon’s cavalry could move (damn those Dashing Generals, with their chance to roll those hoity toity double moves!) and was caught in column of march. Scratch one battalion:

At the same time Purps was about to be hit by this lot:

But he saw all the horsemen off in brave style, and was then hit by this lot who had benefited from a couple of double-moves to get round the flank:

Which he also, just about, held off to help us win the battle. ūüôā

Medetians and allies, standing their ground:

 

And dithering back and forth:

I was sending them to support Purps’s left flank, which failed to move for the first 5 turns (he rolled a 1 each time!). When he finally got going he flung his newly-painted hussars into range of 4 artillery batteries, and back in the box they went. Two months’ work followed by one blunder. Very funny, so I abandoned him and marched this battalion back to the ranks again.

The game, and the whole day, was great fun all-round, in excellent company.

We’ve got some other ideas for games we can play as an occasional local group, so hopefully there’ll be more to post soon.

Big Battle Weekend – Punic Wars with To the Strongest

On Saturday four of us (Goat major, Essex Boy, Count Belisarius and I) played a big 15mm Punic Wars game at Wargames Foundry’s premises near Newark.

We planned the weekend months ago, and more recently did the final prep to ensure we had everything we needed on the day – scenery, tokens, army rosters, and so on. As these things tend to, it came around very quickly at the end but fortunately there was little last minute panic painting to do (except for the Count of course!)

We chose the Punic period because 3 of us had suitable figures (most of which hadn’t seen the light for day for a lot of years), and To the Strongest because it offered a relatively quick-play experience and, being grid-based, wasn’t going to be fazed by mild variations in people’s unit basing.

 

We collated a list of available figures and drew up two armies, each about 550 points in game terms. As a first go with the rules (apart from a solo test game I played a while back) this was rather ambitious, but we wanted a bit of a spectacle and the look and feel of a big battle. Hopefully the pictures give the impression that we achieved this.

 

You do need quite a few bits and pieces to play TtS – playing cards, activation markers, ammo markers, as well as a gridded battlefield. We chatted through all this beforehand and were able to turn up with the right items on the day. We used two 6’x4′ Mat-o-War cloths, foliage clumps placed at 6″ intervals, and some other scenery, then deployed the armies and got stuck in.

Inevitably we were playing more slowly at the beginning than we were by the end, but we soon got the gist of things and enjoyed the way the rules worked.

EB and I drew the Carthaginians, with their various Spanish, Numidian and Italian allies (plus some elephants of course). GM and CB each had two Roman legions, plus hordes of Gauls and other allies.

 

 

Naturally everyone advanced and got stuck in, infantry in the middle and cavalry on the flanks. 4 or 5 hours of play later we hadn’t quite got a decisive result, but we had had a lot of fun. Elephants had rampaged back through friendly troops, generals had died and hat-tricks of aces had been drawn (an unlikely occurrence but repeated several times – mostly by the unlucky GM). By the time we had to stop and pack up I had a slight positional edge over GM’s Romans/Gauls, and hadn’t committed many of my doughty African Spearmen, while to my left EB and CB had fought out a fairly bloody draw. A close thing all-round then, and a very enjoyable day.

 

 

 

 

 

Great company as always and the game was played in a friendly spirit all-round. We had a good night out in Newark too, with a few ales and an excellent curry.

There are some tentative plans for games next year, which will hopefully happen. It’ll probably be mine and Simon’s turn to travel, if EB and the Count can get their gaming spaces sorted!

Big Weekend at Frammie

We (members of the Loose Association of Wargamers) returned to Tim H’s very pleasant home village of Framlingham this weekend. We were last there for a wargaming session in 2014, time has flown! Ten of us gathered on Friday evening, got quickly caught up and enjoyed a good curry and a decent amount of beer. The banter was lively and continued throughout the weekend.

There were some very good games put on, two on each day. I was crap with the camera and only managed a few pics (my apologies to Tim for not getting some of his excellent FIW and Sci-Fi – both in 54mm!), but others did a lot better and Andy’s blog is a good place to visit to see a lot more –¬†here

When Alex and Peeler offered a big DBN game of Vittoria I volunteered like a shot. They made a custom battlefield in the last week or so, especially for the game – a brilliant effort. Alex was Wellington and Peeler took the part of the King Jerome. I took the part of ‘Daddy’ Hill and Gary got the late arrival columns under Graham and Dalhousie. On the other side of the table were Simon and Andy as the two French sub-commanders. The scenario was an interesting one, with the French deploying in their historical ‘caught on the hop’ positions and the allies piling on the pressure and trying to close in from various angles.

Alex setting up on Friday:

Saturday

The start of the battle, with my command aiming straight up the road and looking to get around the French flank on the slopes to the right.

The first of Andy’s rearguard are dead and we’re on our way, albeit a bit slowly due to being unable to make additional/march moves.

Mid-battle – Dalhousie has arrived on the other side of the river and Hill and Wellington are chasing the fleeing Frenchies up the valley:

 

Gary did very good work trying to storm over the bridges, taking big casualties but dealing the same out to the waiting French. The fighting intensified on the river line, but was petering out on the other flank as we failed to pursue as fast as Andy routed. The highlight was Alex canistering Andy’s command figure with a deft bit of horse artillery work – a quality moment (for us) and I was forced to drive my battery over the remains as we intensified the pursuit. In the end, we didn’t get as far up the table as we would have liked but we did bring the battle to a successful conclusion a couple of turns from the end by destroying the requisite number of French elements.

As always DBN provided an excellent big battle experience and the game was a pleasure to participate in. Thanks to Andy and Mark for the effort that went in, and for everyone for the great spirit in which the game was played.

Sunday

The second day’s gaming involved an excellent fictitious colonial game set in the pre-pith helmet era. This was all Paul’s creation – terrain, scenery, most the of the figures, the plot and even a full set of rules. Very very impressive stuff all-round. We were 3 a ‘side’ (there were some cunningly conflicting player objectives) and each of us had an interesting force with its own background and characteristics.

I got sailors (for which I got to provide most of the figures) and there were forces of sepoys, jungle-loving natives, semi-regulars and fanatics from various factions. None-the-wiser we all got stuck in and Paul ran the game from a nicely illustrated set of cards he’d made. The rules were simple to learn and we could focus on the action and the fun. There were events to keep us on our toes too, such as tiger, snake and monkey attacks!

As you’ll see from the pics it was a lavish affair, and kept us occupied, and laughing, well into the afternoon. By the end, Alex’s regulars had been wiped out in the jungle in their own special ‘Nam by the local savages, Andy had been wiped out by Simon’s accurate muskets and bayonets and I had been finished off by Simon’s backstabbing ambush. He declared innocence, it all being a big misunderstanding, and so on. Yeah, yeah. Simon and Gary were the ones to achieve their missions in a thoroughly entertaining game. Thanks again Paul – awesome!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And so, a long drive back home on Sunday and now I’m already looking forward to the next get-together – November’s ancients bash in Newark.

 

Leipzig DBN Refight

A bit late in posting about this, but never mind…

Over the first weekend of October I was fortunate enough to take part in a multi-player refight of the Battle of Leipzig 1813. This was put on by Alex Testo, who is one of the original authors of the DBN rules and who runs a very nice hotel in Scarborough. October being closed season, Alex likes to arrange a big game for people to come and play, and to stay in residence over the weekend. I attended the Gettysburg game a couple of years ago and when I heard about this year’s subject battle, I signed up immediately as it’s one I’ve always been fascinated by.

 

In the end there were 10 players (some of whose names I’ve forgotten in the intervening weeks – sorry) who assembled on Friday evening to receive a warm welcome from Alex and his family, an introduction to the custom-built table, the rules and the background to the battle itself. Then off for an excellent fish and chip supper, followed by some social time over a beer or two, during which we divided into two sides/teams to look over the table and forces, and make some plans for the battle.

Some of the armies, laid out by Corps:

I fancied playing on the French side and duly became that dashing fop, Murat. Our leader was Phil, who made a fine Napoleon (or possibly Custer), and our plan was reasonably historical – to hold Blucher in the north and try to bash the Army of Bohemia among the high ground and villages in the south. I had the left flank, from Liebertwolkwitz onwards, to defend against hordes of Austrians, Russians and Cossacks.

We hid the whole army behind the high ground and villages, leaving only 2 artillery batteries in view. The enemy didn’t seem fazed, and deployed in strength pretty much everywhere.

 

 

Needless to say, a 2-day multi-player wargame is about as difficult to accurately recount in detail as a real battle, so I won’t be attempting this!

The gist is that there was hard fighting everywhere, with the allies trying to take Mockern in the north in the face of desperate defending by the French. There were cossack shenanigans all over, trying to get behind the French into the baggage and to occupy objectives (fortunately I dealt with the attempt on my flank).

 

Mockern as the storm approaches:

The big fight was around Liebertwolkwitz, stretching away to both to me on the left, and the Imperial Guard on the right flank. Everyone seemed to have good and bad turns, and the combat swayed back and forth around the villages and ridges. The Guard went in, and a lot of it went down, but not before taking a lot of Prussian and Russian Guard with it.

 

 

The Austrians under Simon tried to swoop on Lindenau to block the French escape route, but they seemed to be walking in treacle and took an age to deliver their assault. He took the gibes well though ūüôā

Leipzig and its garrison:

 

I got hold of the Reserve Heavy Cavalry Corps (lots of tough elite Saxons, etc) and managed to crush much of the enemy’s right flank, shoring up my own position at the same time. That was a lot of fun, and a highlight for me!

 

 

 

 

 

At the end there was a very fine line between winning and losing, and it came down to a couple of key combats to see which army would reach its break point first. The French just fell short, and Napoleon would once again have to retreat over the river to live to fight another day.

 

 

All in all it was a brilliant weekend, with very good company and an excellent game that played out so well. The social side was very good too, including some beer and curry on the second evening, and lots of banter throughout the two days. Thanks go to Alex and family for putting on such a great event, and I look forward to another one of these weekends next year hopefully.

Lion Rampant Game Day

Last weekend saw a dozen gamers gather together from far and wide (Scotland to Essex anyway) to celebrate Goat Major reaching extreme old age and to play some games of Lion Rampant.

The venue was Foundry’s premises at East Stoke Hall, and they generously laid on some superb terrain tables for us to use. Even if you don’t collect their figures it’s a great place to visit, as their ranges are extensive and go on for room after room. The recent addition of a huge display cabinet with thousands of beautifully painted figures is a real treat too. I have to admit that their old fantasy ranges got me interested, with a Frostgrave project to get back to sometime..

We had a great day, with 3 x 4 player games in the morning, using scenarios from the rulebook and card-driven random player activations. It worked very well and the guys on my table (Iain, Andy and Dave) had a lot of fun watching Iain hide (but win..) and Dave/Buff get massacred. The boasts element of the game is interesting and adds some characterisation and storyline to the on-table action, beyond just going for the objectives and killing the enemy. Not having painted my own retinue yet, I was very grateful for the loan of a lovely Wars of the Roses force from Gary. It was a small, tough, force of 4 x 6 point units and was interesting to use. That said, even a small force can be difficult to do anything with if you fail your first activation roll..

GM had worked up an interesting back-story and we were all fighting for either the King or the Usurper, as well as for ourselves. Scores were kept (I scored a net zero in the first game once I’d deducted unfulfilled boasts from the tax points I gathered!) and added to a scoreboard where both individual and team progress was recorded.

Some action from the morning game I played in:

 

 

After lunch we put all the tables together and set up for a big 6 v 6 bash, with players’ positions drawn randomly along their faction’s baseline. We had 3 objectives to fight for overall. There must have been over 500 figures in use, so it was a BIG skirmish game, but actually it played very smoothly and I think it demonstrated the flexibility of the rules. We reverted to IGO-UGO, with each side of the table taking its turn before swapping back to the other side.

Inevitably the game provided some excellent moments and a lot of entertainment, and after a couple of hours we had a result (by which time there were far fewer figures on the table). Scores were counted up (I scored about 8 this time, which at least contributed something to the Usurper’s side which I was on) and individual and team winners were declared.

Somehow Iain, who’s courage and parentage have since been extensively (and quite rightly) questioned on the LAW forum, won the Best General award amid great mirth and mockery. All’s fair in war and wargaming though, so well done Iain. The Usurpers won the overall campaign though, so a new and enlightened era was heralded.

 

Then we packed up and went off to warm ourselves up (it had been a cold day!) with a beer and curry night in Newark. All in all an excellent day with a lot of fun, good company and good gaming.

I like the Lion Rampant rules and the games they generate, and it’s very easy to pick up and get stuck in. I have the Normans in Italy retinue planned, and intend to switch my 15mm Dark Ages collection to this as well in the future.

Ayton Day 2

Clear-headed and mentally razor-sharp military geniuses prepare the table and their respective battle plans for the big ‘off’ on the Sunday; it was to be a mighty clash:

 

Below – our glorious campaign organiser (and all credit to him for that, because it was excellent). However… to think that we put this man in charge of our vulnerable left flank after its initial commander had to depart.. Well, we got what we deserved.

It may look impregnable, but Iain found it’s weaknesses. Unfortunately he was in charge:

Paul deployed a colourful array of troops:

Simon’s massed Sepoys got to build a nice long wall to defend:

Meanwhile, at the other end of the 30 foot table, the Medetian army (and navy) deployed to defend the 3rd key position.

 

Our side’s collective failure on Saturday meant that we had to hold all 3 key locations throughout the Sunday battle. The loss of any of them would mean defeat. From left to right our line was; Pete, Paul, Simon and me. We set out our defences and loaded them with men. Our combined reserves were to be a shared resource. After a quick rendition of ‘Men of Harlech’ we folded our arms and waited.
It was time for the enemy to arrive..
Andy setting up the Savage Swans and their colleagues for another long march. He had a hell of a battle with Paul’s lot and neither side seemed to yield an inch all day (apart from when Andy’ units fled).

To borrow from old Nosey, trying to tell the story of a wargame with thousands of figures and 180 square feet of table is like trying to tell the story of a ball. It can’t be done. So, some general snippets and pics..

Medetian light troops deploy to strengthen the extreme right flank as Bob’s forces appear in the distance.

Paul’s (the other Paul) asiatic hordes drove a wedge between Simon and me, so we tried to plug the gap with reserve cavalry.

General shot of the battlefield after an hour or two.

Buff somehow steered his unsteerable giant nellies right across the table and through my decoy Chasseurs. We killed 2 out of 3, but were swept away. Heroic stuff but bloody.

Al Cekic killed men in pith helmets and then targeted the behemoths, before all its crew were shot down:

The Medetian Navy says ‘none shall pass’, although in an Italian accent:

The Medetian Army says ‘watsa matta you, hey, gotta no respect?’ Or something similarly argumentative:

Our light cavalry arrive to save the day and close the gap:

 

Mehicans swarm forward, the only manoeuvre they’re taught:

 

Zap guns zap Andy’s troops. Hopefully they got the Oompah band.

Allies discuss battle plans. Long story..

The light cavalry rescue goes wrong, a lot:

Fortunately the Medetians were blazing away and seeing off their attackers:

Although the Grenadier Guard was called on to fill a dangerous gap at one point:

With the Medetians holding firm and dealing with all-comers on the right, and events too painful and inexplicable to photograph taking place on the right, Simon had to hold in the centre against enormous odds as Paul’s masses closed in:

I believe he did so by the thickness of a cartridge case, but boy was it close:

 

In the end, we’d lost one and held two positions, so our evil plan was undone and we’d have to make peace or slink off to plot a dastardly return. One day, Phetaea will be ours, all ours!

Great fun.

Ayton Day 1 – The Other Game

There were farsands of ’em, but they still couldn’t win.

The other table on Saturday saw a massive clash as the Phetreaen rebels attacked at the Pass of Ishta, and the Convent defended by the savage nuns of the local order (don’t ask). Technically these rebels were my allies (although I doubt they’d have approved of our plans for a general take-over and massive canal project) so I was wishing them well, but a victory with heavy casualties wouldn’t go amiss..

Mwahahaha, etc.

Simon and Pete took charge of a LOT of natives, everything from Arabs to Zulus, and, well, charged forward – as you do. They even got to recycle dead units I think, and you’d think that would be enough. But no, they couldn’t quite break their opponents, or capture their objective buildings either. There was no shortage of effort though.

I didn’t spot the Lucozade bottle when I took the pics, sorry.

Gary provided a Zulu horde to bulk up the rebels:

Simon tried repeatedly to capture the convent, scaling the walls each time and duking it out with the tough old dears inside, only to be chucked back out each time. Every time I wandered past looking for a cup of tea or a bit of cake, there they were, clinging to the outside of the building like a zombie horde, but the defences were just too tough.

It was a tremendous looking battle though..

Many Mexicans fought, and quite a lot died. But there was no huge massacre to repeat the scenes of two years ago. I guess the rebs didn’t have enough artillery for that!

Mexican horse artillery – are they leaving their mates to get slaughtered??

The Mexican lancers even reached the enemy this time – nice one Ken!

So, on two battlefields the combined forces of rebellion and capitalist imperialist oppression (that’s us) had failed. Oh well, it would all be settled at the capital on Sunday.

The ACW – In a BIG Way

Alongside the two campaign-related games, there was also a fantastic 54mm ‘toy soldier’ ACW game put on by Tim H and Tim W. I popped over as often as I could to keep up with progress, but am ashamed to find I only took one picture, early on the first day. Sorry guys, it wasn’t through lack of appreciation.

The figure collections only came together this year I believe, yet there were very large Union and Confederate armies marching towards each other for a big clash. The variety of poses, and the overall sense of motion and activity in the figures, made it a wonderful spectacle and the players seemed to enjoy themselves immensely.

Day 2 report to follow..

Ayton 2015 – Another Superb Wargaming Weekend

The May Bank Holiday weekend has, for the last 4 years, meant a game and beer-fest get-together of LAW forum members at Ayton in Yorkshire. This year’s event was a morphing of some of the events and forces from previous years, resulting in a fictitious late 19th century colonial clash in the deserts of Phetraea (next door to Byzarbia for those who’ve heard of it!)

Most people arrived on the Friday for what was to be a couple of day’s battle, following a lead-up of a couple of months of pre-game campaigning, mis-communication and dastardly deeds between the players, all very well run by Iain.

It was a brilliant weekend, with excellent gaming and great company as always. The result never really matters (good job too this time!), just the taking part and contributing to the culmination-of-the-campaign narrative. Thanks to everyone for making it such a good time, and it was nice to see a couple of unexpected faces who made last minute efforts to get there.

Even more importantly – get well soon Peeler, you were very much missed over the weekend.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s event, and the one after that which we’ve laid tentative plans for too.

I’ll post pictures of day 1 here, and of the other tables, and day 2, on a couple of other posts to keep things manageable.

Day 1 – The Battle of Leptis

We shouldn’t have fought a battle here at all, but I’ll not knock a man when he’s down. Too much. Let’s just say that Lord Peeler must have been several sheets to the wind when he dillied and dallied and thought this was the capital, forcing Iain to divert some of my force to Leptis to help bail him out. Still, we had to fight somewhere. ūüôā

Here, then, is the Saturday table. My Medetians attacked alongside Peeler’s troops (ably handled by Phil as an emergency stand-in). Our objectives were the two buildings beside the harbour and the railway respectively, although the enemy (Andy and Gary) began mostly deployed in the town of Leptis which they’d fortified before our arrival.

 

Phil and I agreed a plan, which Peeler and I had discussed the day before, and set out to keep the enemy busy on the left and in the centre with light troops and the odd probing attack, while Phil assaulted at full strength along the railway on the right. We managed to draw out most of the enemy reserves by the end, and I had some sneakiness planned for the left flank for late in the game, by which time hopefully Andy would not be expecting anything…

Needless to say my ‘surprise’ dawn attack was anticipated and interrupted by Andy’s American Indian natives who popped up as we approached the first bit of high ground! At least they didn’t all drop out of a single tree this time.. Undaunted, we charged in, had an inconclusive melee where both sides fell back, and managed to snatch the position when Andy failed the Indian’s control roll.

 

 

The Cossack skirmishers snuck about and hid a lot, but did some fighting before the end.

Al Cekic (‘The Hammer’) lined up on the harbour building and did a bit of damage to the Altfritzenbergers, but it was a tough nut to crack.

After some delay while we sorted ourselves out, the first attack went in, but although the Sepoys did their job and soaked up enemy firepower, they couldn’t break into the building and both they and the regular unit in support were forced to withdraw to avoid being wiped out. This upset timings for a later co-ordinated attack somewhat but at least we were keeping Andy occupied while Phil tried (repeatedly) to storm the railway station and the train parked inconveniently in front of it.

My Jezzails spent the bulk of the day sniping at Andy’s guys, mostly ineffectually at the harbour garrison (although we did whittle them down a bit), but also had some fun winning a long range duel with some artillery and forcing them to re-deploy out of sight.

Finally, with only a couple of turns remaining and completely out of the blue (for Andy, at least) my floating reserve arrived and charged into the harbour. There must have been a haze on the river or no lookout, or perhaps it was just Iain’s sense of mischief! My naval battalion leapt from the boats and assaulted the building while the Byzarbian Queen pounded and gatlinged the nearby enemy artillery.

It was a lot of fun, but despite the worried looks on the defenders’ faces, it was not to be. We couldn’t force our way in and took a lot of casualties charging back in again a second time, and that was that. Unfortunately Phil had been unable to take the train station either, despite many assaults, so the attacks came to nothing in the end.

 

 

 

Fortunately we’d already arranged (in the campaign phase) for both the road and rail bridges to the north to be blown by saboteurs on the enemy’s arrival (although we’d hope it would be after we’d already passed) so we still made it to the capital first, taking the scenic route by boat – although presumably it took a few trips!

This meant we’d at least be defending in the big battle on day 2, but what of our allies on the other table…?

 

100th Post! A Belated Account of Ayton 2014

I’m quite pleased to have made it to a hundred posts. You’re never sure with this sort of thing if you’ll keep it going or if it will just fizzle out. Anyway, it’s been fun so far so I’ll see if I can get to 200.

I didn’t have much new to post about but then, with Ayton 2015 fast approaching, I realised that I never did share my account of the Ayton 2014 campaign, other than with Henry Hyde. So, here is the official Medetian history, not too biased I hope, but naturally concentrating on my perspective of the pre-weekend planning and the on-table events themselves..

 

Ayton 2014¬†‚Äď Grenouisse Ascendant (but not for long..)
 
The Medetian Experience
 
The Plan

General Barolo, on finding himself appointed to the role of the Duke’s Chief of Staff, set about making the best of this dubious honour. Reining in some of the more impetuous allied commanders (Borscht and Darien
particularly) was the first priority so that a discussion could take place
about plans and timings. A conference was duly called and hosted by General Hauptzeige in the Governor’s Palace in Castell Sebastian. Numerous ideas were put forth, although geography, initial deployments and limited campaign time clearly suggested a two-pronged invasion, from the east by land, and from the west by sea.

With the Duke absent, the fact that the conference generated a reasonably
coherent plan, with everyone more or less in agreement, was a welcome surprise. That the various contingents’ own intentions (some of which were already being implemented!) were largely incorporated in the combined plan was no doubt the reason for such co-operation.

In short, the aggressive Borschtians, already occupying the
island off the Duchy’s southern coast, were to invade Granprix from west of the capital and its river lines. The Prunkland bridging column, kindly loaned by Hauptzeige, would go with them to assist in their advance east, and the doughty Wheyeydians would take ship to land in their support. Subject to what opposition they encountered, they would attempt to approach Pescadrix from the west and hopefully draw off a proportion of the defenders’ strength.

The eastern pincer would be a larger affair, with the main army departing Kap Ludwig and marching straight for Pescadrix, intending to smash through any opposition it encountered. The Medetians would lead on the
coast road, with light troops covering the hilly right flank where enemy advanced forces might be lurking. The rest of the main army would follow closely, consisting of the infantry and light troops of Darien, and the army of Prunkland, who would be last to depart. The Granprixian forces under the Duke would land by sea further along the coast and thereby link up with the main army, creating a combined (and hopefully unstoppable) force of over 2,000 figures.

The Darien cavalry, a mighty host in itself, would leave early and make its way north west through the hills and forests, aiming to cut the road north of Pescadrix and sever the enemy’s communications with Grenouisse. This force would then move south to close the net around the capital and hopefully re-join the main army for a final show-down close to the city. This part of the plan was altered mid-campaign as the cavalry column
would not have arrived in time, so instead the Darienite cavalry marched to the right of the main army and was close enough to be able to make a crucial contribution to both battles.

Substantial naval forces would carry out a number of¬†operations, including escorting the Borschtians, Wheyeydians and Granprixians¬†to their landing sites, scouting the enemy coast for activity and defences,¬†covering the main army‚Äôs left flank from enemy naval intervention, and keeping¬†an eye on things back at Castell Sebastian in case a coup de main was attempted by anyone (‚Äėfriend‚Äô or foe). The weather was, as always, unpredictable but in¬†the main these activities were carried out without too much mis-hap. Naval¬†clashes took place, and a major battle is understood to have taken place late¬†in the campaign, of which reports have not yet been received.

Many plots, intrigues and subterfuges were also planned during this period, and some were even implemented; a most interesting time it certainly was! General E Pickled, apparently dithering to and fro on the coast road, was shot and wounded in the arm despite his cavalry escort, leading to suggestions that his own side might have been responsible. The true motives of the Darienites and their Inquisition were suspected by many among the Duke’s allies, and efforts were made to observe their actions and restrict their access to the Kap once the army had departed. Prunkland in particular was sensitive to the risk of a coup in Castell Sebastian when the campaign was occupying our attention, and contingencies were put in place to defend against dastardly actions from disappearing cavalry columns, disguised infantry, mischievous feathered natives and sneaky naval forces.

Map of the
Granprixian Invasion Plan
(click to enlarge)
Key:

Purple ‚ÄstMain Army; Medetia, Prunkland and Darien main force
Green ‚ÄstDarien Cavalry (although in the end they didn‚Äôt travel this far to the north)
Grey ‚Äst Duke Zigor and his Granprixians
Red ‚ÄstBorscht
Orange –¬†Wheyedia

The Campaign Itself

Somewhat amazingly, due to a combination of a reasonably straight forward plan, some curious enemy dispositions, a bit of luck, and a tremendous fighting spirit, the invasion proceeded very nearly as intended.

The enemy were unable to strongly oppose the main army and fell back before it, abandoning prepared positions without a fight. The army marched forward cautiously but in good spirits, eager to get at the enemy.
Granprixian guerilleros were encountered, providing intelligence, confirming that the enemy were out of position guarding against non-existent threats to the north west, and offering assistance in the coming fight. Both were welcome. Some naval skirmishes took place off the coast but, coming as they did after the key landings, without serious impact on the land campaign.
Finally, after a sedate march through the gentle Granprixian littoral, we found an enemy army that was ready to give battle.

First Battle

The enemy (the armies of Gateway and Altefritzenberg) took up a strong position anchored on the coast and village to their right (Gateway), with wooded hills and earthwork fortifications to their left (Altefritzenberg),
and with their combined cavalry in the plain between. Granprixian forces were assigned the extreme left of our attacking army, aiming to capture the village and had assault troops, led by their Grenadiers, literally advancing along the beach. The forces of Darien, Prunkland and Medetia occupied the centre and right of the army, with their units intermingled to give best advantage. A very strong cavalry force (largely from Darien) deployed to the right of the Granprixians, opposite the enemy cavalry. A mighty combined battery dominated the centre, and both close order and light infantry faced the hills and woods ready to advance and throw the enemy from them.

In short, the battle for the village was one of tough fighting and attrition, decided only when the enemy army retreated. Some local guerilleros also swept in by boat behind the Gateway line, intent on causing mischief and
confusion. Meanwhile the grand battery pulverised the enemy positions, and some of their cavalry, forcing the Altefritzenbergers to make the decision between being destroyed in place or advancing to their doom. They bravely chose the latter and, by coming to grips with our infantry down the slopes, actually protected themselves from much of the artillery’s fire. The skirmishes among the woods and ponds were prolonged, but a strong column of Medetian battalions, led by the Bravence Regiment, was pushing forward inexorably on the extreme right flank and when the enemy facing them finally broke, the end was in sight.

News of our large flanking movement to the north made by the rest of our
cavalry (some 130 figures) also hastened the enemy’s decision to give up the fight and save themselves for another day.

The true glory, however, was won on the plain where massed cavalry fought out a tremendous battle of charge and counter-charge. Splendid and in significant numbers though they were, the Gateway regiments, supported by those of Altefritzenberg, were no match for the seemingly endless hordes from Darien. Light cavalry soaked up the charge of the first Gateway wave, and the Darien Cuirassiers’ counter-attack was devastating. Three regiments fell to them in one turn, and in the confusion the legendary General E Pickled was cut down and ridden over while his cavalry fled. Rumours of his death were exaggerated and he has since retired to his estates. His cavalry Brigadier was captured in the same melee.

Although further Gateway battalions and batteries deployed to cover their cavalry’s rout, they could only serve as a rearguard while the rest of their battered army left the field to our victorious troops. Casualties had been mercifully light, and we needed only a day to re-group and resume our
march west to liberate Pescadrix.

Second Battle

After a day’s rest a short march took us to within sight of the ramparts of Pescadrix, our final objective. The army pivoted on its left flank, which hugged the coast, and swung around to the north of the city, penning the enemy back against it. Our naval scouts informed us that our Borschtian and Wheyeydian allies had fought an indecisive battle to the west two days before and had re-embarked on their ships to land again between the
enemy and the city. General Barolo sent them a message urging them to send a force to approach the city from the west and capture the main bridge over the river.

The enemy again entrenched and made use of what buildings they could in their defences. The Gateway forces deployed in front of the city while to their right were the Altefritzenbergers behind what earthworks they had prepared in time. The enemy right flank hinged on the customs house, which they’d fortified, and bent back to end literally in the surf. A buzz went through our army when it was revealed that the dastardly King Raoul himself was commanding the Grenouissian troops on that flank.

Fittingly, it was the army of Darien, whose priests had recently ex-communicated the King for his un-Christian ways (and, perhaps, for not granting Darien some Granprixian land in exchange for turning a blind eye) who opposed the Grenouissians. Once again massed cavalry would thunder across the plains.

In the centre, to Darien’s right, were the Prunklanders, ready to descend from the hills and capture the customs house in conjunction with their Darien allies. The right flank of our army was held by the forces of Medetia, with infantry and cavalry (including some regiments borrowed from the rest of the army) facing off against their counter-parts from the Gateway Alliance. The forces of Granprix itself had marched on a wider arc to the north and were due to come down the main road later in support of the Medetians.

Our battle plan was to pin the enemy in front of the city while rolling him up from his right flank, along the coast. Again, despite suffering setbacks and significant casualties, this plan was successfully executed, culminating in the capture of the despised King by Darien’s cavalry as his right flank collapsed.

Again a grand battery from Prunkland and Medetia covered the centre, smashing enemy units at will once it had won the fierce counter-battery duel with which the battle commenced. While the Darien troops swept across the plain, driving back the Grensouisse cavalry and assaulting the customs house, Prunkland supported them and held the centre. The Medetians engaged their Gateway foes and, while the light infantry fought each other to a standstill, the cavalry (led by Prunkland’s finest Cuirassiers) repeated the trouncing of the Gateway mounted arm that they suffered in the first battle. Three fine units were routed and a beautiful standard was captured. With things looking bleak for Gateway, their artillery, supported by the numerous heavy guns on the walls behind them, prevented a general collapse and took a heavy toll on our forces. The Medetian Weissach Grenz, El Z’Teeth Lancers and Rutowski Dragoons were each destroyed trying to come to grips with the Gateway batteries, sacrificing themselves to save the rest of the army from the murderous close range fire.

A cavalry thrust from the Wheyeydians on the other side of the river almost made it to the bridge, but a sudden sighting of Hunmanby’s landing on their southern flank drew them off before they could imperil the Gateway left flank and threaten the city. In their place came Granprixian fanatics and more guerilleros, braving artillery fire from the walls as they swept downstream in their boats. Despite losses they captured the bridge and landed beneath the walls themselves, opening fire on enemy troops there.

Final charges and last stands on all parts of the western battlefield saw dramatic and heroic actions on both sides, but when news of the King’s capture spread the heart went out of the enemy and the fighting began to
die down. Gateway and Medetia commanders signalled a tacit ceasefire and the brave defenders began to withdraw into the city, where their fate would no doubt be decided by diplomats eager to extract what advantages they could in the peace negotiations.

The word is that Raoul might be ransomed, but what was not in doubt was that Granprix, and in particular its finest jewel Pescadrix, would be returned to Duke Zigor. The army was victorious and, despite the sadness of its losses, the celebrations would reverberate for days!
So ends the account by General Barolo of the liberation of Granprix, this year of Our Lord, 1748.