Thursday 28 July 2016

6mm Ancient Baggage Vehicles - Carts

My latest painting project sees me depart from military units and try my hand at some civilians. These are assorted Baccus 6mm figures of Carts, Wagons and foot civilians. The models are deliberately generic so they could be used with most armies of the period and can be used to represent camp followers or refugees. They don't really have a 'role' as such in the To The Strongest rules but I'm sure I can engineer a scenario where they come into play. Maybe they could be used to represent an army camp while on the march, and cost victory medals if lost in the battle? I'll give this more thought and try to work them into a future game.

The models are multi-part with the wheels requiring a little 'finesse' to make fit. Once glued to the base the models become a lot stronger.  

I have more wagons to paint soon and expect more civilians to follow. 

Sunday 24 July 2016

War and Peace 2016

Regular readers will know that I enjoy visiting Living History events as much as museums and game conventions. The War and Peace show in Kent is one of the largest events of its kind spanning five days and thousands of exhibitors and their vehicles. So on Saturday I and my family headed down the M20 (somehow avoiding the traffic jams) and basked in what will probably turn out to be a short lived British summer. Unlike previous years I didn't walk around the whole site but stuck relatively closely to the main arena.

A row of impeccably restored vintage Jeeps 

The headlines on the BBC would suggests that the whole of Kent was gridlocked due to problems at the Dover crossing but frankly we didn't see any sign of this at all. Our journey was trouble free and the only congestion we encountered was a little bit of a queue entering the car park to the show. Similarly we waited until after 6pm to leave and avoided getting caught up in the rush to exit that happens at these sort of events. Frankly I have never understood why visitors are in such a rush to get home. The tickets aren't particularly expensive, but they aren't cheap either and I always take the view that I want the maximum time on site for my money. This is particularly true for an event like this as its impossible to get round in a single day so no matter how late you stay there is still plenty of new stuff to see.

Studebaker M29 Weasel (American)

Mk 1 Carrier (British)

SdKfz 6 Kettenkrad

M113 APC (American) a stalwart of the Vietnam War 

OT90 (Russian) and still in service today

Hensel - A German prototype that never went into production and one of  kind

Centurion ARV (British) - Armoured Recovery Vehicle

Centurion AVRE (British) - Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers

Normandy Veteran Don Shepard being driven around the arena

The big Re-enactment Battle - British Paratroopers dig in and prepare to defend their positions

A British Achilles tank destroyer - This was a British version of the American M10 but sporting a British 17pdr gun.

A British 17pdr Anti Tank Gun being set up

BOOM! Its kicks up a lot of dust when fired....

....a LOT of dust!

The Achilles

The Centurion AVRE crushes an illegally parked car! 

Its a pity I didn't have more days to visit but I have to say I was absolutely knackered by the time we got home. My old body was protesting, loudly! Despite being the coolest day of the week so far it was still very hot and there is little or no shade to rest in. The arena was very dusty which makes for some excellent photos but meant I went home with dust in places I never knew I had! 

Monday 18 July 2016

The Battle of Aliso - 9CE

Legate Lucius Caedicius
Another weekend and another battle with Romans, but this time it's an 28mm Imperial period battle. Set about 9CE (or AD in old money) this battle follows on from the disaster of the Teutoburg Forest where three whole legions were destroyed by Germanic 'barbarians'. Fired with blood lust the Germans have pressed on and encountered a Roman outpost.

Order of Battle
Germans (Surjit & David) 
  Army c/o Arminius
     Army Standard Bearer
     2x Warband (Fanatics)
     2x Warbands
     1 Javelinmen (Skirmishers)
  Chieftain 2
     3x Warband
     1 Archers
     1 Javelinmen
  Chieftain 3
     3x Warbands
     1 Archers
     1 Javelinmen
  Chieftain 1
     Cavalry (Nobels)
     2x Cavalry 
  Sorceress (Witch)

Romans (BigLee)
  Legate Lucius Caedicius
     Army Standard Bearer
     3x Legionaries
     1x Auxiliaries
     Legion Cavalry
  Centurion Primus Pilus
     Auxiliary Cavalry
     2x Ballista
   Watchtower Garrison Archers

The Action
The Germans are coming! A massive barbarian hoard emerges from the gloom of the forest

Meanwhile a relief force rushes to their aid...but can they arrive in time.
Posties rules allow for one or more 'free' moves for the Romans. Basically the higher the roll the better and in true wargaming tradition, I rolled a one! I would be getting no free moves. At this point I should have pulled back my units around the watchtower and consolidated my position further back, giving my forces time to regroup as a single force. But I was confident my hardened troops could hold on long enough for the reinforcements to arrive.

The forward Roman forces look across to the Romans on the edge of the forest. 

The full 6x12 table was used for this game. 

Why do I look so happy? The fool. 

The Germanic tribesmen surge forwards. My Auxiliary Archers deal out a lot of damage but the distance is closed far too quickly. 

My Heavy Cavalry and the German Cavalry slam into each other. Despite the difference in numbers the melee is a draw. But with my unit being so small already it is reduced to just one figure and the unit is removed. 

German Skirmishers start to close in on the troops around the watchtower. 

My Archers are forced into melee where they drop their bows, draw their Gladius
and act as heavy infantry. 

Barbarian Warbands start to wrap around the flank of the Romans. The marsh restricts movement but doesn't prohibit it and barely strops the German advance. 

More warbands emerge from the forest. The Romans on the hill are starting to wonder why they were not pulled back! Note the Roman Archer unit has been wiped out and no there is a gaping whole in the defensive line. 

Onwards sweep the barbarian hords

The Auxiliary Spearmen on the hill are hit by two Warbands. Only lack of space stopped Surjit from throwing in a third unit. 

Finally my reserves have advanced down the road and are starting to reach the battle. But by now the swarming \Germans are pouring across the hill and all I am doing is reinforcing a defeat. I effectively admitted defeat at this point. The battle was lost but it was still early, so I decided to play on a few turns just to let events unfold and give the German players a game. 

The Barbarians close in and their Nobel Cavalry prepare to charge a fresh Auxiliary unit on the hill

Slam! Amazingly this was another draw but the German Cavalry were able to pull back in good order. 

The Nobel Cavalry try again, but this time Legate Lucius Caedicius has joined the Auxiliaries. 

The Barbarians have swept around and completely enveloped the Romans. 

Two fresh Legionary units arrive but now they are just lambs to the slaughter. 

The Romans go down fighting non the less. 

The Barbarians are an unstoppable force... well not stoppable by this numpty General! 

Another disaster! A combination of factors came together to make the outcome almost inevitable. First I fluffed the 'additional movement' dice roll for the Romans. If I had had two or three extra moves I may have been able to get the two halves of my army together before the Germans hit. Secondly I should have pulled back off the ridge as soon as I fluffed that roll. Fighting where I stood meant the Germans could destroy me piecemeal and my reserves were just fed into the meat grinder. 

Saturday 9 July 2016

A Punic War Cavalry Clash

The Young Padawan and I have had my 6mm Punic War figures out again for another game using the To the Strongest! rules. This time we decided to scale things back a little and rather than playing a full scale game we just concentrated on a clash of Cavalry. The idea behind this was to give us both a chance to practice movement and manoeuvre of these units and experiment with different formations. It also meant we were able to wrap up a game (including setup and packing away) in under two hours. 

The Setup
A large Carthaginian army is in the area and is being sought out by an equally large Roman force. In a heavily wooded and hilly area cavalry forces are scouting for any indication of the other side. The Roman commander in charge has been ordered merely to locate the Carthaginian's but sensing an opportunity to make a name for himself (and improve his political career) he is determined to deal a swift blow to the enemy. 

Orders of Battle
Roman Scouting Force (Commanded by Biglee)
   General Mounted, Detached, Senior
     Equites Romani  
     Equites Romani  
     Equites Extraordinarii
   General Mounted, Detached
     Equites Latini
     Equites Latini
     Allied Light Cavalry Light
     Allied Light Cavalry Light 
   70 Points

Carthaginian Cavalry (Commanded by The Young Padawan)
   General Mounted, Detached, Senior
     Punic Cavalry
     Punic Cavalry
     Punic Cavalry
     Punic Cavalry
   General Mounted, Detached
     Numidian Light Cavalry
     Numidian Light Cavalry
     Numidian Light Cavalry
     Numidian Light Cavalry
69 Points 

The Action
Opening positions... with both sides deciding to split their commands in front of two of the three river fords. 

I had the Stratagem Card "This was, Effendi!" which meant that that one entire enemy command was moved back one box from its start positions, in this case off the edge of the table. They one pair of units were able to move back onto the table in the first turn but the other pairing rolled a 1 on activation and were left off table until the next turn. An early psychological victory for the Romans.  

The Padawan daringly moved her light Cavalry across the ford in the path of my Equites. Lots of Javelin throwing later this Numidian unit was lost. 

At the other end of the table the Punic Cavalry force their way across the ford and a bloody melee begins. My Allied Light Cavalry (just about visible in the top right of this picture) can do nothing but watch and played little part in the rest of the battle. 

With the first Numidian Cavalry unit destroyed the Roman Equites move forward. However my dice throwing (and Javelin throwing) was off target and I failed to exploit the position this turn. 

This overview shows both fords being also shows my daughters worrying need to line up all her dice with the same number facing up....!

I don't know what she's laughing about, her army isn't doing too well. 

Somehow the Carthaginian's squeeze another cavalry unit across the river and I begin to worry my defence is about to crumble. One bad save roll and I could be in trouble here. 

Meanwhile the Carthaginian general decides - belatedly - to use her light cavalry for hit and run attacks on the open ground on their side of the river. Some very well handled manoeuvring later and the Numidian units have quickly prepared a 'trap' for the Romans if they dare to cross the river. 

With my Equites now facing just three light cavalry units I decide to pull away the veteran Extrodinarii and send them to support the battle on the other side. I'm worrying that I am about to loose control here. 

Meanwhile I manage to sweep away the Numidian's on the ford and open the way for a crossing. The Numidian units on the hill prepare for a hit and run move but unfortunately end up having hit nothing and are left in a precarious position with an exposed flank. I send one of my Equite units across, hit the Numidian's in the flank and swiftly eliminate the light cavalry. 

My Equites have crossed one ford and am in a position to sweep around and hit the Carthaginain's at the other ford in the rear. Its game over and at last I have won a game! 

At last a victory for the Romans! I ran through all the units before the game began but ultimately The Young Padawan's inexperience counted in this game. She had 8 units to my seven but more of hers were Light Cavalry so she needed to use them in hit and run attacks. Instead she used the Numidian Light Cavalry to cross a ford right into the path of my heavier cavalry. By the time she realised her mistake I had already started to cause casualties. Having said that her Punic Cavalry were giving me a run for my money at the other ford and the situation looked worryingly dodgy there for a while.

Once again a great game with good rules resulting in a lot of laughs. Not a bad way for a dad to spend an afternoon with his daughter.