Tuesday 28 June 2016

Italian Allied Infantry

I've been painting again and this time I have added some more allied infantry to my Republican Roman army. I wanted these to look ordered and professional but with a variety of shield designs that stand out. These are regular sized units so will have a little more staying power than my small Roman units. Lets hope they give me the edge in my next battle with the Young Padawan!

As well as being very colourful they will add some much needed strength to my ranks.

Two Allied Infantry units. 

All the shields are hand painted using one of my water proof ink pens and finished with a 000 brush!

The rear of the units. 

I posted this picture earlier on Facebook. The pound coin clearly shows the scale to those less familiar with 1/300th or 6mm. 

Thursday 23 June 2016

6mm Italian Allied Cavalry

Time for my UK readers to take a little break from the constant Brexit / EU Referendum news. I have very clear views on the subject of our EU Membership - I cast my vote early this morning - but even a political person like me is getting a little sick of the interminable ill tempered 'noise' surrounding this referendum. I'm not going to hoist my political views on you (and with the greatest respect I have no interest in how you intend on voting... so no politics in the comments!) but I will say this, if you haven't voted yet get off your bum and do it now! Whichever way you intend to vote democracy is only strong when it is exercised. Right that's the soapbox bit done with, now onto something much more interesting.

In the early days of the Roman Republic, before the establishment of a permanent regular army, Rome extended and increased its military power by incorporating allied units into its armies. When Rome defeated a rival city or conquered a region one of the regular commitments imposed by treaty on the defeated was the requirement to supply troops. This arrangement contributed to the vast manpower available to Rome and in part explains how it was able to raise new armies even in the face of terrible losses.

My Roman army has struggled to defeat my daughters Carthaginian's and I think this is in part due to the lack of Allies in my line up. I have some Italian Infantry to work on soon but first I wanted more cavalry to call on. I have now completed two units of Equites Latini and two of Italian Light Cavalry. These are actually the same models painted slightly differently (chain armour for the Equites and leather for the Light Cavalry) and of course based differently.

Italian Light Cavalry
Equites Latini
The Equites Latini from another side
Both sets of units on the table. 

These took a while for me to complete but now I have my Mojo back I'm moving straight onto some infantry and I hope to have these to show off relatively soon. 

Monday 13 June 2016

Broadside 2016 Photo Report

Posties Rejects gathered in Sittingbourne on Sunday for the Broadside wargames show. Attending this event and putting on a Demo game has become something of a tradition for us and this was our fifth year at this event. The show seemed a lot busier this year and the hall was tightly packed with traders and demo games. We certainly felt very busy this year with a continuous stream of interested visitors asking questions and stopping for a chat.

The game Teviot's Last Stand was based on the Battle of Tangier (1664) in which the Governor of English Tangier (Andrew Rutherford, 1st Earl of Teviot) and most of his 500 man detachment from the Garrison were killed. They had ventured out to forage for supplies and building materials when they had encountered a force of 3000 Moroccan warriors. After a brief fight the British pursued the Moors straight into the jaws of a prepared trap. Teviot rallied his troops on Jews Hill but now surrounded by as many as 11000 enemy the British stood little chance.

About 8:30am and starting the set up the game

The British troops in position and about to spring the trap they have walked straight into. 

Plenty of Rejects (and a couple of mini-rejects) manning the game. From left to right, Ray, Postie, John, Richard, Ian and Dave. 

Ray used the Donnybrook rules for this game and despite the fact that most of us had never played we managed quite well. Here the Moors begin to advance towards the British.

One of my Musket regiments positioned themselves on the ridge and did a lot of damage to the Moors as the game progressed. They saw off repeated charges and dealt out a lot of damage with their muskets. 

The Moorish trap begins to close on the British who have occupies the edges of Jews Hill

The hill is now completely surrounded and the British are starting to loose men, a few at a time but every loss counts. 

The British perimeter starts to be breached.

The game is building to its bloody climax

The end was never in doubt but the British have held on a lot longer than expected and game the Moors a tough fight.

When we set up at the beginning of the day we honestly didn't expect the game to last more than a few hours and anticipated 'swapping ends' and playing the game again in the afternoon. As it was the British players (me and John) held on all day and gave the Moors a tough fight. Overall it was an enjoyable game, very visual and certainly a talking point for many of the visitors that passed by our table.

Elsewhere in the hall the show seemed very busy. I only had a few short breaks to get around and look at the other games, so I only took a handful of pictures. Here's a selection of what I took.

Overview from the balcony. There wasn't a lot of space left with every inch of floorspace being used. 
For my money one of the best games at this years show.  A WWII 20mm game set in the Philippines. 

Simon Millers To the Strongest adapted for a Fantasy setting...and the Big Red Bat also made an appearance. 

A bit of 28mm Sci-Fi from the Friday Night Fight Club.

A massive X-Wing game looking amazing. 

Skirmish Wargames with some stop-motion mythology 
I didn't get many more pictures because there was so little time. In fact I didn't even have much time for shopping we were so busy. This show continues to develop and felt very well attended and supported this year. We already look forward to next year and it looks like I have been nominated to put together a demo game for the Rejects in 2017. Postie may think better of that idea when he comes to his scenes, but just in case he doesn't I think it may be time for those 6mm LRDG desert raiders to see the light of day at last! 

Saturday 11 June 2016

Rejects at Broadside Tomorrow

Its that time of year again and tomorrow Posties Rejects will be putting on a demo game at Broadside in Sittingbourne, Kent. This year I haven't been able to take part in any play testing of our game for tomorrow so I won't even try to pretend I know what we are doing. All I know is it is set in 1664 Tangiers and uses the Donnybrook rules. 

I'm really looking forward to seeing the miniatures that Ray has painted for this game. I'm not sure exactly what units Ray is using but he has recently posted pictures of some figures for Tangiers here so I guess some of these will be on show. I'm also looking forward to having a proper first look at the rules we will be using. He has been raving about Donnybrook for ages, so its time to find out what all the fuss is about! 

Please swing by and say hello if you see us. We don't bite and we love a chin-wag!

The Rejects at Broadside last year.

Saturday 4 June 2016

Cassino : Portrait of a Battle

Cassino: Portrait of a Battle by Fred Majdalany has become a classic account of one of the bloodiest episodes in the Italian Campaign of 1943/44. His description of the fighting on this section of the Gustav Line is almost poetic in its prose and very clear in its description of what proved to be a bitterly contested and complex series of battles.

The allies had fought their way north against the deliberately stubborn fighting retreat of the Germans who held each mountain pass or ridge long enough to inflict the maximum casualties on the attackers before pulling back to a new position at the next pass or town. The geography of Italy makes ideal ground for the defender and by the time the Allies had reached the Rapido Valley they were already exhausted and battered. Now external political pressures urged the allies on against the German Gustav Line anchored on the town of Cassino and the Benedictine Monastery that overlooked it.

The line of mountains and hills that jutted into the path of the advancing allies was a natural defensive position. The town of Cassino sat astride one of the two main roads heading north towards Rome and the Monastery and surrounding peaks gave the Germans unparalleled lines of observation. They could see everything the Allies were doing and respond to it quickly and accurately. This made capturing the Monastery vital to the continued advance but it also meant overcoming the fact that each peak in German hands could provide support to the other. Any allied unit that moved in daytime would find itself fired upon from multiple directions and many New Zealand and Indian troops were lost in this inhospitable terrain.

Famously the second Battle for Cassino involved the controversial bombing of this Monastery. The destruction served little purpose in the end because the buildings were almost certainly not occupied by troops at this time and it was the surrounding heights - and the observation positions they afforded - that were of real value to the Germans. The civilian refugees and monks inside the complex were the main casualties and when those that survived fled, the Germans were free to occupy the rubble. The destruction of the Monastery was also a propaganda coup that the Germans were quick to exploit.

The third battle opened with the bombing of Cassino town itself. This was a purely military target, having long since been denuded of its civilian population, fortified and reinforced with pill boxes, bunkers and tunnels. An Allied assault on the town quickly followed the air attack but despite the intensity of the bombing the German defenders were stubbornly alive and still capable of putting up a stiff defence.  
"This kind of fighting has little coherence, no design that is easy to follow. ...it was a mosaic of grim little fights over small distances; a lethal game of hide-and-seek in ditches, cellars, craters, mounds of rubble, sewers, and fragments of buildings that resembled stumps of teeth..."

In the end the key to wining at Cassino was better weather, detailed preparation, careful deception measures and above all overwhelming local superiority of numbers. Two armies were tasked with breaking through the Gustav line while the reinforced Anzio beachhead further north would break out and trap the fleeing German divisions. Despite the planning and numerical superiority the 4th and final battle for Cassino was no pushover.
"Once it had started, it was no longer prongs and thrusts, pincers and penetrations, movements of divisions and corps. It was men. The compact design on paper was now a sprawling pattern of separate human ordeals... All battles are small groups of men fighting other small groups of men until one or the other can fight no more. The large offensive simply means there are more of these groups operating over a greater extent of ground."
As it was the planned 'trap' was not closed (General Clark decided the prestige of capturing Rome was more important than following his orders!) and just two days later the allies landed at Normandy and the emphasis had shifted to Northern France. 

This is a very well written book and very easy to read. Sometimes details can be a little lacking but in such a confused and chaotic battlefield its a wonder that anyone was able to make any sense of 

Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Odhams Press Ltd 1959
Language: English
Rating:      ★★★★☆