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..
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Granprixian Invasion Plan (click to enlarge)
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.
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.
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.
cavalry (some 130 figures) also hastened the enemy’s decision to give up the fight and save themselves for another day.
march west to liberate Pescadrix.
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.
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.
Once we had breakfasted and returned to the land of the living, we set off in convoy (herding Iain between 2 cars to ensure he found the place) for Simon’s house near Lincoln. We were greeted by very nicely pre-prepared terrain, including excellent new home-made rivers, on Simon’s extended 8’x6′ table.
A very interesting (and entertaining, as it turned out) scenario had been prepared for us. We were to play out some post-Ayton 2014 action, with Gateway (Iain) and Altfritzenberg (Andy) forces making for their transport ships along the Granprixian coast following their defeat at the big battle outside the capital Pescadrix. My Medetians were trying to cut them off, while a small number of Simon’s Prunklanders were already in place as a (sleepy) garrison on the island in the river that the fugitives needed to cross.
We all got to bring our own figures to use, and it was good to see the various imagi-nations contingents together again. The 4 of us had fought opposite each other in 2 battles at Ayton with the big version of these forces so it was an opportunity for a re-match, and there was plenty to enjoy!
The table before the mayhem ensued:
There were lots of surprises in the scenario, and as usual the Sharp Practice rules threw up plenty of entertainment. Although new to the rules, Andy and Iain got on with them very well. We played a lot of turns, had a lot of laughs and banter, and got a result before it was time to go home.
I won’t try to narrate the battle and all of its twists and turns, but I’ve captioned the pictures I managed to take. Hopefully they do the game justice, because it was great to play in as well as being a visual treat..
Deploying off a blind, Iain’s Gateway dragoons made it to the bridge quickly. They just missed catching the sentry but had time to dismount and push the unattended cannon into the river. This was to be their high point in the game, and after this most of their actions should have been accompanied by circus clown music!
Alerted by the sentry just in time, the Prunkland Grenzers dashed out of the main house on the island, to take up a defensive position in the adjacent garden:
Troops were arriving on both sides of the river, racing in parallel towards the bridges. The Medetian Jager led the way, buying time for the rocket battery to set up on a handy hilltop with a very good view of everything:
Andy’s Altfritzenbergers decided to get across the river early, which involved coming at the Medetians head-on. Some very accurate (ie. lucky) fire made this a real challenge, however:
Up ahead, the bulk of my Medetians had made fast progress and were able to take the dastardly natives and corsairs (who had infiltrated deep onto the table from the start) by surprise:
Andy’s natives charged over the bridge but were seen off by the tough Grenzers. Their officer was badly wounded in the melee but his popularity meant that he was rescued and helped to safety:
As always, the first rocket wasn’t a great shot, landing behind the battery(!). The safest place to be is generally the target zone, as everybody knows:
After a volley or two it’s always best to follow up with the bayonet, and these Medetians did just that, dealing decisively with the corsairs and seeing them routed off the table:
Iain’s Gateway mob stormed over the bridge, or at least they would have if in front of them his dragoons hadn’t decided to dismount, mount, not move, and dismount again in successive turns. Answers on a postcard if anyone has a clue as to what was going on:
Hey, the rockets were getting more accurate. I’d like to reassure people that no enemy were killed by a rocket during the making of this game (sadly, one Medetian was however), although they did cause a fair bit of panic a couple of times when they zigzagged through a unit!
Late on my elite grenadiers finally arrived by boat and soon attracted enemy fire from a variety of sources, as well as a pretty determined cavalry charge by Andy’s lancers. Tough as nails, the grenadiers saw them off though:
The latest attempt to chase off the Grenzers saw a repeat of the charge of the natives – Iain’s commander was laid low and his men routed. Unfortunately, this chap was less than popular with his men and they were careful to leave him behind when they fled! The Prunklanders reloaded and left him groaning on the other side of the fence, where they could keep an eye on him:
More surprises arrived; locals with an agenda of their own – but who would they side with?
The Gateway traffic jam finally clears the bridge, allowing my grenadiers to pick off sufficient of Iain’s artillery crew to send the remainder packing. At least Prunkland might get a replacement gun at the end of the game! This was the beginning of the end, and the survivors would have to find another route if they were to reach the safety of their ships.
After having a very torrid time (a rocket came awfully close!), Lt Lamm scampered out of harm’s way and rejoined his men just in time to be captured at the end of the battle. At least he wasn’t shot in the back as he legged it into the woods having crossed the river alone (actually he had company for most of the journey but when he reached the far bank and looked behind him, he realised that another close call from a rocket had been the final straw for some of the Savage Swans and he was suddenly Billy von No Mates with a nasty looking bunch of Medetians coming for him!)
A well-oiled machine by the end of the game. Oh yes.
What a great game. Thanks to Simon for all the prep and hosting, and Andy and Iain for providing such good fodder, er, I mean company.
Roll on the next gaming weekend!
Ayton 2014 – What a way to fight a war!
What can I say? Once you’ve spent 12 months anticipating an Ayton wargaming weekend; planning, collecting and painting your forces, and looking forward to meeting up with good friends again, expectations are pretty high. Fortunately this year’s event, as with all the previous ones, hugely exceeded those expectations.
Although I’d promised myself there wouldn’t be a frantic rush at the end this year I was still finishing off the last of my new hussar unit, St Angelo’s Ghosts, on the Friday morning – just as I knew deep down I would be. Those Perry plastic French hussars do take some painting..! Fortunately I’d packed all the rest of the army a day or so before, so once the paint on the bases was dry I was ready to set off.
My journeys there and back were very easy, considering the first one was on a Friday afternoon before a bank holiday. I stayed at the Lodge which was very comfortable, and for some reason I had a suite including a full kitchen and four poster bed. Not bad for the standard room rate! Most people gathered at the hall from about 5pm onwards, which allowed time for the tables and scenery to be set up for the 2 opening battles that would be fought on the Saturday. It was also a great opportunity to say hi to everyone again, catch up generally and of course admire each other’s newly painted figures. To say there were some stunning units present would be an understatement – the photos of the event will do them better justice.
Everyone took pictures during the weekend and many have been posted on the LAW forum. They’re well worth a look. Mine are here for day 1 and here for day 2
Henry’s YouTube videos are excellent too, giving an overview of the final battle and capturing the atmosphere very well.
Here are a couple of tasters from the final battle just to add some colour to this post:
In brief then, our team of Simon, Paul, Ken and Dave M (and Peter on day 1 as the Duke) were invading Granprix to recover it for Duke Zigor. We even had a plan, worked up over the preceeding weeks under Henry’s umpireship. Opposing us were Mark, Iain, Richie, Mike, Andy (and Peter on day 2 as the King of Grenouisse). Due to the way the campaign progressed, we pretty much achieved our aim of approaching the capital, Pescadrix, from east and west simultaneously and this resulted in the 2 battles on day 1. There were also naval actions taking place off the coast and these has some impact on the success and timing of our amphibious landings. A final show-down between the 2 main fleets is to be played out by Henry who will hopefully let us know how things panned out. Hopefully we will be victorious!
On day 1 we clearly outnumbered our enemies in the east (things appeared more even in the west) but that didn’t prevent Iain and Andy fighting a tough defensive battle for the coastal village, inland hills and the plain between them. We prevailed however and pushed them back on the capital, following up for the big denouement before the city walls on day 2 (actually set 2 days later after some R&R and a brief march). Here, after a much harder battle, we were again victorious and captured the King to round off the liberation of Granprix in glorious style. I’ve written up an account of the campaign from the Medetian perspective for Henry and am happy to see what use he makes of it before posting anything in more detail here.
Despite winning the war however, the true highlight of the event was the social side with its cameraderie, fun and wargaming in the best possible spirit. Everyone was clearly there to ensure that their opponents got as much enjoyment from the games as they did themselves. I played against Andy and Iain on the 2 days and more pleasant, good natured, company you could not hope for. My allies, Paul and Simon, were equally enthusiastic and fun to play alongside.
There were also a few other games staged by members of the group who wanted to attend, but had plans of their own that they’d been working towards. Tim and Tim have got seriously into the world of proper toy soliders (54mm etc) and put on a couple of stunning games over the 2 days. Albions vs Europans in the age of empire was superb, as was Aussies vs Japanese in the Pacific. The scenery on both ocassions was excellent, fittingly so for the sumptious armies on display. Bob and Heather played a couple of good looking VBCW games too, with the usual interesting forces being deployed (it appeared to be police vs ladies). They were clearly enjoying themselves and everyone was welcome for a natter.
Of course no Ayton weekend would be complete without copious food (courtesy of the Dennison Arms) and copious beer (the social club next door to the hall this time), which was all consumed against the backdrop of very enjoyable wargaming conversation. Naturally next year’s game was a hot topic and I’m pleased to say that we’re returning to the 19th century for this one, and in rather hotter climes..
Thanks again to everyone for attending and putting in the effort and creativity, in particular Peeler for organising things again, and Henry for his fantastic umpiring and background work. All in all a superb weekend with a great bunch of guys. Roll on 2015!
More cavalry for the Medetian expedition to the battlefields of Granprix at this weekend’s Ayton event.
First off, some older cavalry which I’ve finally gotten around to equipping with lance pennons. This is the El Z’teeth regiment (RSM Ottomans) who fought in the sands of Byzarbia a couple of years ago. I contacted GMB Designs to ensure I got some pennons in red and blue (turned out the Silesian Landwehr Uhlans were what I was after). I touched up the white paper edges with appropriate daubs of Vallejo. They enhance the unit nicely and give them a little bit more uniformity – important now they’re off to war in Europe and everyone else is in serried ranks of splendour!
Then we come to a brand new regiment, the Saxon Rutowski Dragoons, who are in the pay of the Kingdom of Fleurie and who will be fighting alongside the Medetians in Granprix. These are Minden Miniatures Austrian dragoons, and lovely figures they are too. After talking with John Ray I came round to the idea of having some historical units among those of my imagi-nations, and this unit appealled both due to its interesting (but not necessarily glorious) history and its attractive colour scheme.
I have had these painted by the very talented James Roach of ‘Olicanalad’ fame, whose painting on his blog has always impressed and inspired me. James kindly fitted these in among other larger commissions he’s working on and has produced a fantastic looking unit. All I’ve done is base them. Little is known about the flag this regiment would have carried, so James created one based on his research and understanding of the Saxon army of the period. I’m delighted with it and hope the first picture does it justice. More unpainted cavalry will certainly be winging its way to Ilkley soon!
Obviously with all of these recent additions, I am going to be at serious risk of ‘shiny new unit syndrome’ at Ayton, but at least pretty much everyone else is too!
.. well, be carried more like.
As my figures almost always fight at home I’ve not had much need to prepare proper transport facilities for them. However, with the increased size of the force I’m taking to Ayton this year I needed something a bit better than just the usual boxfiles, bubblewrap and prayer – especially for individually based figures which will be vulnerable to falling over if not packed properly. Advice from other gamers (in particular Goat Major) led me to KR Multicases, who have a vast range of storage and transport packaging for wargame armies. Their stand at Salute was suitably grand but it was a bit crowded so I didn’t queue up for advice (also, I had no intention of buying anything there as I’d have had to lug it around for the rest of the day).
I did pick up a catalogue though and had a good look at the options before ringing the company last week. I spoke to a very helpful young lady who talked me through the different options and helped me come up with a useful mix of foam trays, all fitting inside a single touch cardboard case. Everything arrived a few days later and I’m very pleased with the quality and practicality of the KR stuff. I’ve gone for half-sized trays, in 2 different compartment sizes. This gives me plenty of flexibility for skirmishers, artillery crew, artillery pieces, scenery, dice and even cavalry. I easily managed to fill all the trays, which makes me think I might need to buy another case before too long!
All in all I’m impressed with KR’s products and service, and I think £25 is decent for something like this that’s going to last a long time.
Here’s a quick pic of some of the packed trays in situ.
With the big Ayton weekend galloping towards us, I’ve been hurrying to base some figures I’ve recently finished painting. So let me introduce Sebastiani’s battalion of converged Medetian Grenadiers, containing a company from each of the first 4 line regiments. This is a 30-strong unit of Huzzah Miniatures.
I’ve also added a unit of Wurttemberg Jager who are in the pay of Fleurie. These are Perry Hessian AWI figures which have lots of variety of pose. I bought a dozen on eBay which were made up of one pack of command and one of Jager. This meant I needed to convert one of the two figures carrying horns, as otherwise the unit would look more musical than martial! He’s not hard to spot, but at least I managed to arm him and paint him as just one of the guys.
Next up will be some cavalry, but with the need for some pre-game secrecy I may not post pics of them for a couple of weeks. Can’t let the despicable enemy (you know who you are) have too much information!
Now that we’re into April, the preparations are gathering pace for the multi-player 18th century game at Ayton at the start of May. There are 3 and a bit weeks to go, and painting still to be completed (and not just by me – I’m sure most of the other participants are feeling the pressure too). A little bit of time most evenings seems to be moving things on fairly well, but no doubt the final push will be just as frantic as last year!
Over the last week the momentum, and excitement, has started to build. Although local arrangements are mostly in the hands of Peeler (as he’s widely known), the game and background are the work of Henry Hyde, who is currently working feverishly at the multitude of tasks and communications a full-on unpire needs to look after. The volume of messages and intelligence reports that 12 players can generate is clearly enormous, but Henry is handling it with style and creativity, and there’s always a period flavour to what you receive back, and a sense that we’re involved in great events and embarked on a course that will re-shape history. Some of the general information/news items are being reported by Henry himself at Henry’s Blog but naturally most exchanges are private and bilateral with the unpire, unless players’ characters are understood to be face to face with each other in which case we can contact each other directly.
At the moment the 2 sides, one nobly seeking to recover the Duchy of Granprix which was lost to the dastardly invaders from Grenouisse in the 2011 game, the other seeking to hold onto these ill-gotten gains (you can guess which side I might be on!) are beginning to assemble and manouevre. Plans are being made, well sort of (due to the challenges of differing opinions and troubled communications), and there will be some pre-weekend campaign moves by land and sea which will hopefully set everything up nicely for some dramatic on-table action as the culmination of the story.
Orders of battle are of course secret too, and that’s where the painting pressure really comes in. No-one will want to take the field with fewer troops than they’ve previously committed to, as the only one to suffer will be themselves. I will of course post pictures of my recent additions soon, but have to be careful not to give too much away to any enemies that may be watching..