Monday 29 August 2016

Military Odyssey 2016

On Saturday, with the weather staying fine and the heat and humidity of earlier in the week tempered a little, we decided to head off to Kent for the Military Odyssey living history event. The show is held at the Kent country show ground in Deitling but for various reasons we haven't been to this show for a couple of years. Odyssey is a multi period event with everything from Cowboys to Vikings to Napoleonic and WWII groups showcasing their geekdom.

The group Regia Anglorum practising a Saxon shield wall. 

And attacking a palisade...

30-40 reenactors put on an excellent display of battlefield tactics 

And the defenders showed how to send attackers packing!

This was by far the best display group at the show...they even had a full sized longship on its own beach. 

A large Tipi typical of those used by the Plains Indians of North America. 

A Greek/Trojan helmet from the collection of The Hoplite Association

Me and a very nicely restored M18 Hellcat...can I take it home please?

M35A1 Quad .50 Cal 2 1/2-Ton Gun Truck belonging to the Rolling Thunder Vietnam re-enactment group.

In the trading hall there were even a few models on display. 

Back outside I find a BMW R75 motorcycle and sidecar. The owner is in the process of restoring it so its not complete yet but he did say it was a wonderfully comfortable ride. 

Sd.Kfz. 251/7 Pionierpanzerwagen - This was an assault engineer vehicle which had fittings to carry bridge ramps on the sides (one can be seen on the ground beside the vehicle).

An Opal Blitz. These iconic vehicles can be seen being used throughout the war. 

A replica Sturmgeschütz part of the Second Battle Group display

An excellent display of LRDG Jeeps, part of the Desert Rats Living History Groups display.

Stripped down for desert running - The drum on the front is a water condenser for the radiator. Earlier cooling systems allowed boiling water to evaporate through a vent on top of the radiator. This device collected the steam, allowing it to be condensed back into water and returned to the cooling system...ideal for those long drives in the desert!

An SAS Jeep bristling with machine guns including a twin lewis gun. These were easy to maintain, quick to reload and could even be demounted and carried if necessary. 

An American Civil War group leaves the battlefield...

Looks like the Confederates won that round...
Another excellent living history event and a wide variety of groups make this a very family friendly day out. The show continues today (a public holiday here in the UK) but if you can't make it this is well worth putting in your diary for next year.

Thursday 25 August 2016

The Big '2 Million Hits' Prize Draw

BigLee's Miniature Adventures has reached a milestone I never thought it would achieve (not when I started anyway). A few minutes ago my Blog had its 2 millionth page view!

To see the number on the screen is mind boggling, especially as I started writing just for my own amusement. I'd like to pretend that I knew it would last and be as popular as it has, but the reality is that never in my wildest dreams did I think that a) I'd still be writing it seven years later or b) it would rack up 2 Million Hits! Thank you to everyone that has visited but especially those regular readers and contributors that make this such an enjoyable experience for me. 

As a huge thank you to all my readers and wargaming buddies out there I thought I would pull out the stops for a proper prize draw give-away. I've squirrelled away some cash and will be giving away £100 worth of vouchers across three lucky winners.
  • First Prize : A Warlord Games Gift voucher worth £50 
  • Second Prize : A Warlord Games Gift voucher worth £25 
  • Third Prize : A Warbases gift voucher worth £25  

The Rules: 
  • You must be either an existing follower of this Blog, or sign up as a new one, in order to enter. 
  • You need to leave a comment on this post to qualify. 
  • Only one entry per person, so multiple comments won't count as multiple entries! 
  • Each entrant may only win one prize. 
  • If you pimp this Give-away on your own Blog you'll earn yourself five bonus entries in addition to your initial entry but only if you post a link to it in a comments below (just to make it easier for me to verify). 
  • The closing date for entries will be 12:00 midday (GMT) on Sunday 4th September and I will post a final comment saying it has closed so that it is clear who got their hat in the ring on time and who didn't. 
  • All entries (including bonus entries) will be randomised to generate the winners using the list randomiser available on the website. 
  • I'll announce the winners in a separate post and will do my best to notify the winners in person where possible. 
  • The winners will be asked for their email addresses and full names so I can purchase their prize vouchers and have them emailed to the winners. 

Ok, that's it for now. All that remains is for me to say a big thank you to everyone for following my Blog over the last seven and a half years and to wish you all the best of luck in the competition.

UPDATE: 12:01 - OK folks the competition is closed. I'll make the draw shortly and post the results in a separate post later today. Thanks for all the entries, and good luck to everyone that took part.

Saturday 20 August 2016

Raid on Jakharrad

The Young Padawan and I managed to fit in another 6mm wargame today, this time playing a Flames of War battle set in the Libyan desert in WWII. I wanted to give my LRDG trucks a new chance to go toe to toe with the Italians to see what they are capable of. I soon learnt the answer was "quite a lot"!

The Setup
Three LRDG Patrols are converging on a target across the Libyan Desert. The patrols had traversed hundreds of miles of desert together but two days ago split up to approach their target from different directions. Their objective is an Italian held town, regional HQ and communications hub for forces in the area. If the LRDG can knock out their objective the Italian war effort in the area will be severely disrupted. 

Order of Battle
   Command Platoon
   3 LRDG Patrols 

Italian Forces
   Town Defenders
     Bersaglieri Company
     Rifle/MG Platoon (Dug in)
     Armoured Car AB41 Platoon
     Tankette L3/35 Platoon 
     Bersaglieri Motociclisti Platoon 

The Action
Initial Setup - The Italian HQ and hub of local telegraph lines - As the Italian player I made a quick map of the town and secretly positioned my troops in various buildings. 

Likewise the young Padawan, as the LRDG player, decided on her plan and wrote down where her forces would arrive. 

The only Italian forces visible at the start are a series of sentry positions (Dug in Rifle/MG units)

The Rifle/MG pits cover all the approach routes

The first LRDG patrol arrives outside the town.

The second patrol arrives from a different direction...but the third patrol hasn't arrived yet, presumably delayed on the long drive to their objective.

The LRDG open fire and even their limited rate of fire (reduced because of movement) begins to deal out alarming damage to the Italian defenders. The red markers show infantry units destroyed and will be removed at the end of the turn. 

Maybe I'm a little too confident in my Italian troops....

..on the other hand. I knock out one of the LRDG Chevy trucks, although the crew are able to leap to safety. 

Another Chevy truck goes up in flames...this time the crew are killed. 

My Bersaglieri infantry are able to return fire and knock out several LRDG trucks. Maybe this British attack was a mistake. 

The LRDG don't move next turn and so can fire at their full rate of fire.... fistfuls of dice are rolled and an alarming number of hits result, even against troops in hard cover. Infantry save on a 3+ but with so many multiple hits on each unit I still loose several teams. 

The same is true on the other side of town. I'm beginning to worry that this will be a very short game!

...and then the remaining LRDG Patrol arrives on the scene. Oh dear. My reinforcements have not shown up yet and I'm really thinking this game will be a British whitewash. 

Despite heavy losses the LRDG are now in a good position. The latest patrol to arrive have taken up position on a hill overlooking the town, eliminating the problems of line of sight. 

Italian casualties continue to mount and the HQ building begins to come under direct fire. 

At last Italian reinforcements begin to arrive. A platoon of AB41 armoured cars race across the desert and outflank one of the LRDG patrols. 

Meanwhile an L3/35 Tankette Platoon threatens the flank of the latest LRDG patrol to attack. 

Of course victory is predicated on my ability to actually roll to hit!!

Lots of LRDG Trucks are burning but enough remain to dish out a significant amount of fire-power. This battle is far from over. 

Or so I thought. A hard volley of gunfire takes out my Bersaglieri HQ units and without these the remaining infantry fail their moral check, drop their weapons and flee in all directions!! My only hope is that my Armoured Cars and Tankettes can finish the job and protect the HQ building. 

We relied heavily on a laser pointer to help with line-of-sight issues and it worked really well. Not that this was much consolation to my troops.

Well that's it, game over. With the Italian defenders killed or fled the remaining LRDG teams rain fire own on the town and quickly set the Italian HQ building ablaze. 

I'm sensing that the Young Padawan may be happy with that result! 

My string of defeats at the hands of my daughter grows every longer! My dice rolling was as awful as usual, whether it was to-hit rolls or saves. The Bersaglieri troops in the town had a big advantage, hunkered down in hard cover making them much harder to hit than if they were in the open. Despite this the massive fire power being brought to bare by the LRDG trucks (every one bristling with machine guns) meant they could quickly overcome local opposition before reinforcements could support them. The Padawan was lucky with her dice roles but in the end that's part of the game and no excuse for my loosing yet again! 

Thursday 18 August 2016

Seaside Gaming Loot

My two week summer holiday is rapidly nearing its end but while the weather stays nice we decided to get out and enjoy the sun. I suggested a drive along the North Kent coast with a stop at Rochester for some shopping before heading to the beach... The wife's eyes lit up but she should have known I had a cunning plan!

Rochester has several good second hand bookshops as well as a good game shop well worth a visit. Not a bad haul for a few hours shopping and it gave me plenty to read while we sat on the beach in the sun. 

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Last week while on holiday I had a chance to visit RAF Coningsby and take a tour of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight hanger. Unfortunately their Lancaster Bomber was out that day, as were several aircraft, but we still had a very interesting tour. 

The C-47 Dakota was manufactured in the USA by Douglas in March 1942

Inside the visitor centre

Our tour guide shows off various weapons found in the aircraft

This Hurricane Mk IIc first flew in 1944 and is believed to be the last Hurricane to enter service with the RAF.

Spitfire Mk XVI TE311, the latest addition to the Memorial Flight fleet.

Spitfire P7350 is the oldest airworthy Spitfire in the world and the only Spitfire still flying to have actually fought in the Battle of Britain. In the background are three AWACS Boeing 767's

The BBMF hanger...unfortunately rather empty as many of the aircraft were out when we arrived. 

One of the AWAC's (Airborne Warning and Control System) aircraft

RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire is the Royal Air Force’s Southern Typhoon Main Operating Base (MOB), home to two front line, combat ready squadrons

Looking back into the hanger at the Dakota...missing an engine which is currently being serviced.

On the way out are two of Barnes Wallis incredible Earthquake Bombs. The Grand Slam (the larger of the two) weighed in at 22,000 lb (10,000 kg). 
If you have a chance to visit the BBMF Visitor Centre its well worth a visit. The tour guides are very knowledgeable and friendly and being an active Air Base there is always something happening worth seeing.