Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Battle for Britain Part 8.. In the North, it's complicated

Right Lads! Where are we stashing this blagged gear? The story from the North

After a short interlude of news and other stuff we are back in 1692 Britain and joining the confused commanders about to do battle for their chosen King and take control of Britain...

In the three weeks running up to the weekender I sent campaign summaries to the commanders. The idea was to get everyone in the groove and thinking about their troops, alliances and approach. Of course we are all busy and in some cases I was not even sure whether people were receiving, never mind reading the chutney I was turning out.

As it happened, after a relatively slow start the responses and suggestions started. So, here is a very brief weave (not necessarily in exact chronological order) of what was happening.


The frontier between the armies ran very roughly along the modern Scottish Border. Above the line the Marquis de St Ruhe was overseeing the rough treatment of the populace of Lanarkshire, Ayrshire, Kirkcudbrightshire and Dumfriesshire with haughty Gallic disdain. Two regiments of dragoons had exported, in a particularly French way, the concept of Dragonnades somewhat in the way America has given us Disneyland in modern times.

St Ruhe's Enforcers at work in South West Scotland

The Calvinist inhabitants of the South and West were experiencing the burning of Kirkcudbright, internment, the massacre of civilians for failing their religious beliefs GCSE and general rough handling from St Ruhe's Toughs. This harassment was so extreme that even St Ruhe's Scot's allies found it objectionable. Despite entreaties from Dundee himself, the French commander ignored all demands to desist. French troops massed around Dumfries and were unsurprisingly signally unsuccessful in recruiting any native Scots to King Louis's colours despite offering financial inducements!

Public executions were carried out by both sides for various crimes real or imagined

Dundee had challenges of his own. The 2,000 or so clansmen under his command thought all of their Christmases had come at once. They had three months to run riot (which they did on both sides of the border). They stole more sheep, cattle and farm animals than everyone else put together (mostly, I believe, to eat). Ignoring all pleas to 'leave it alone' they conducted uncoordinated military actions poorly and were a general nuisance to friend and foe alike. Cameron of Lochiel managed to be caught with his trews down at a lady's country estate near Berwick and was thrown in the town's gaol by the Danish garrison. Legend has it that it took seven men to capture Lochiel and the sergeant in command lost his nose when the Highlander bit it off.

Two well armed French Privateers bombarded Berwick more than once

A bombardment of Berwick town by French privateers damaged the gaol but an assisted escape attempt was bungled and the lusty Lochiel languished on stale bread and water. His eventual 'escape' appears to have involved a commercial transaction although such skulduggery cannot be verified.

Where his impoverished retainers obtained a large sum of cash is uncertain. Dundee himself was approached for the £3,000 in English coin by Lochiel's officers three weeks before his release but the  commander was not able to raise such a sum. Curiously, in Glen Trool forest about ten days before Lochiel's repatriation, the Marquis de St Ruhe's treasure wagon was ambushed by persons unknown and an undisclosed but massive sum in English coin, ducats and livre stolen.

Lochiel's Laddies were very keen to see their Chieftain sprung from Berwick Gaol.

The perpetrators were not apprehended and the escorts never found. St Ruhe reported the loss of £6,000 to Louvois demanding reimbursement from Versailles. Rumour of £5,000 being taken at Glen Trool circulated rapidly through the Jacobite army. Dundee received a request for £3,000 from Lochiel's officers to spring their chief and a further tale has it that an unnamed Danish officer trousered £2,000 in order to leave a certain postern gate ajar in Berwick on the night of the breakout.

The Marquis de Ruvigny, defacto commander of the military area in which the town of Berwick lay, is said to have received a donation of £1,700 Scots from an unnamed source two days after Lochiel reappeared with his regiment in Hawick.

 Just WHO did hit St Ruhe's Pay convoy.. tantalizingly out of shot to the left.. The Perps

This story could only be pieced together by examining the brief's of St Ruhe, de Ruvigny and Dundee, something that no single player was able to do. Where the 'missing' £4,300 English went (please refer back to St Ruhe's claim to Versailles and then on to de Ruvigny's surprise windfall) is anyone's guess. Did St Ruhe pull off an insurance scam by robbing his own trayne? Did he overestimate the actual amount taken in order to fleece Louvois? Did Dundee's Highlanders actually turn over their own allies? Were said Camerons pocketing a tidy £3,000 and then trying to get it again
from their 'mark' Dundee before winning major Brownie points from their fearsome chief? Why was the Dane paid £2,000 and not £3,000? Were the Highland Laddies pulling off yet another switch? What happened to the £1,100 which went missing before the paltry cash  sum in Scots money reached De Ruvigny? Danegeld or dodgy Huguenot clerks?

Is this a lesson in accountancy, a shortcut to scamming or a wargaming campaign?

Men of this ilk found Border Law was the only show in town from June till August

In summary, the activities between June 18 and August 12 1692 along the Northern frontier were totally in keeping with Border tradition going back several centuries - robbery, blackmail, murder, extortion, rape, rustling, raiding, double dealing and rank stupidity. By August 12th the Jacobites felt strong enough to push against the military positions along the Esk river on the Solway Firth - the phoney war was over and the shooting war began.

Monday, December 5, 2016

500 not out! LoA blog's 500th post

Luddite? You bet!

This blogging lark crept up on me. I am mostly definitely not the most social media savvy person on the planet and actively steer clear of Friend Face (IT Crowd reference!), 'The Twitter' (as articulated    - BBC Radio 4's Today programme), Insta-grab, What's Occuring or whatever the non Welsh version is called... well, you get the point... I pretty much reject all these faddy technologies outright and only use a computer because it is easier to carry that a small suitcase of notebooks.

Life on the road makes for plenty of blogging time.

I do however possess that good old fashioned characteristic of dedication to the cause. Combining that trait with the now dated form of technology you behold on screen and we achieve the 500th post on our blog which started, well, I'm not sure when but between four and five years ago. With all the other periods on my gaming radar I have surprised myself with the discipline prevailing for such a sustained span of time sticking with blogging the later pike and shot period alone (more or less).

I have loads to share that I have never had time to blog about... Caen Museum Normandy.

I've never got round to blogging about these....

Or these....

Or these....

Or these.....

I never realized I had so much to say! Well, some that know me well will shake their heads in disbelief  at this seeming lack of self awareness yet I have enough to recognize I am not short of an opinion or two (although I am physically, short).

Anyway, to mark the 500th post here is a look back through the archive and links to five memorable pieces - one for every century of blog posts.

Memorable because I either enjoyed writing them, enjoyed the responses to them or just liked the subject.

Final Report From the Front Line - Waterloo Part 6

A Shot in the Dark - Will We Get Any Replies?

Defensive Behaviour - Building Fieldworks

Glorious Obession, Part 1 - War Diaries

A Swedish Wedgie

It is my intention to 'Carry on Blogging' (and as a Carry On nerd for 48 years I know my meat from my two veg Ahaha!) much in the vein of the last 499.

That pistol is the only small calibre weapon in the picture

You can anticipate a mixture of boyish enthusiasm, exasperation with the species, what I think passes for sarcastic wit, admissions of stupidity, crimes against pedantry, pot-shots at the Wargaming Fashion Police, some Marlbritis (I have a bad case right now), pokes at the latest gaming fads and flashes in the pan (what a super applicable metaphor for wargamers) and general observations on hobby life which may or may not chime with your own thoughts and views. I promise to do that with my tongue pressed firmly in my cheek and a twinkle in my rapidly degenerating eye.

Cheers!.. my personal quest for this kind of pub measure continues unabated (Solihull 2016)

Thanks for sticking with the Blog over the years, it is a rather super way to keep in touch with the Brotherhood of Wee Sodjers to which we all pledge allegiance ...

See you in #501 soon

Friday, December 2, 2016

GNW Russian infantry defending - Code R10

R10 GNW Russian infantry defending
I have been eagerly awaiting this code getting into production and that should happen over the next couple of weeks. We had a few challenges with the models making sure they moulded just as we
wanted them.

The poses and animation are very pleasing to the eye. I always imagine what a unit will look like together. I am already painting a quantity of the pre production masters in order to get a unit finished over the next week or so.

The sculpting is very crisp. The models are very smooth to paint with some nice large surfaces on the coat to create a nice big pool of colour.

As always, the bayonet frog and scabbards are plug ins.

I will let the models do the talking here but in my head I also see them as a unit of Saxon Guard infantry as well as being traditional Russians!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

New Warfare products - just in time for Christmas!

OK So we have a mix of great stuff on the run up to Christmas!

Some of it is available right now for shipping, some is to advance order as we'll have limited stocks for the first couple of months and we're giving our customers a chance to 'bags it' early.

Firstly let's introduce the new counter sets designed by the Harrison Brothers! The test sets we took to Historicon were a real hit and we sold out of pretty much everything during the convention. I brought some sets for personal use back to the UK but whenever we've used them, gamers have asked where and when they can get them.

I have limited stock of all pieces (Hurry! Get yours HERE) so here they are;

Order markers each set contains x 3 of each (18 pieces) @ £9.50 per set

The order markers feature outlines of some of Clarence's comic artwork featured both in BLB 2nd edition and the forthcoming BLB 3rd edition.

The second pack has some really nice markers for handling morale states and disorder.

Each pack contains x 3 of each  (12 pieces) @ £9.50 per set

The third gaming aid is a nice 'wheeling marker' which some take a little of the headache out of tricky manoeuvring.

The useful and attractive wheeling template @ £4.50

Everything is made from laser etched MDF. The size relative to 28mm miniatures can be seen in the photos.

Next.. the SA3 Swedish artillerists firing is now available make the total available for use as artillerists or engineers 15 models.

They look great mixed with a model from SA1 serving this light gun

Here they are:
SA3 Swedish artillerymen firing gun

The ramrod holder on the left in this set is replaced by an entriely new figure crouching and holding his hand to his ear!

Next we have the long awaited Mounted Dragoons in hats and Mounted Dragoon Command in hats. These are available for pre-order with the hope that we will ship before Christmas but if not, early in January 2017. 

They are covered by the Christmas discount offer. There is a limited stock order for the first production run so its over to you....

In addition, the matching French Dragoons and French Dragoons Command are also available for pre-order over the same timescale.

And the good news does not stop there. There will be an imminent release of code
R10 GNW Russian Infantry defending, some examples here:

It may be that about the same time we have the following codes available which have not yet even been previewed on the Blog:

R09 GNW Russian pikemen in kartuz ready
R12 GNW Russian musketeers in tricorne marching
R13 GNW Russian pikemen in tricorne marching
R14 GNW Russian Command in tricorne marching
R17 GNW Russian Grenadiers is fur trimmed mitre ready

There will be a slight delay in the commercial release of our Swedish and Russian Cavalry whilst we solve a couple of issues.

Monday, November 28, 2016

BLB GNW game - variations on a theme

Russian Battering guns pound the 2B BuA hamlet between turns 1-6

When Bob came over on Sunday for one of our rare games I decided to smooth out the last couple of amendments to the new version on Beneath the Lily Banners with some revisions to both hard cover target and SHAKEN rules.

The Russian Army

I had been busily basing more Russians for the GNW during the previous week and decided it would be a nice chance to get the GNW stuff out and rehearse for TACTICA 2017 in Hamburg.

As a variation on a theme I thought it would be a bit of wheeze to have a large Russian force attempt to storm a weaker Swedish army intent on defending its position.

To add extra spice I change three important things:

The Swedish infantry had no pikes - they were entrenched and defending so I assumed all pikemen had been sent to the rear.

We gave the Swedes no cavalry! - this was quite radical and I wondered if we'd gone a bit too far!

Finally, the Swedes were given a fair amount of artillery - three light guns and a field gun.

We also placed a 2B Built up area as a forward defence for the Swedes.

Wot? No pike? No Cavalry? and.. Swedish guns

All of the Swedish infantry battalions were of 12 models (except the BuA garrison), had no pikes and were graded as Veteran with two battalions of the Guards and one of Guard Grenadiers graded as Elite. The garrison had 18 models and attached to one of the light guns was a 6 model detachment of infantry. All Swedish units had flintlock muskets.

Russian left with the Guards who died to a man in front of a Swedish battery

The Russians had ten battalions of 18 models - six were Drilled, the Preobrazhenskoi Guards were Drilled Elite, three were Raw, all had flintlocks and one battalion was All musket.
In addition the Russians had a two squadron Dragoon regiment (Drilled) and a two model Battering gun detachment.

The first attack by a brigade that was to reform twice to deliver the final attack

The kicker proved to be the randomization of commander quality. The Swede was Inspiring and the Russian a Plodder.

Over the 22 turn game the Russians failed to get any movement seven times and on at least a further six turns their movement was 25%. The Swedes coasted to 100% movement for between a quarter and a third of the turns!

The Russian right wing

The game unfolded in an intriguing way. The 6 x 4 table meant that the Russian heavy battery was within short range of the BuA right from the start and pounded it mercilessly. I sensed Bob's trepidation of impeding disaster as the guns minced the garrison for the first three turns... how wrong those gut instincts can be!

The first successful object of Russian attention - the village with Veteran garrison

Devastated by two battering guns at close range, garrison reinforcements are sent

The garrison about to flee, the Swedes pushed more infantry forward to stop the rot

The Swedes charged panicking the 1st Battalion

Village empty, Swedes thrown back but Russians take a wobble

Having used the battering cannon to support my infantry in chasing the garrison out of the village (in fact annihilating them) the attack I was teeing up on the main Swedish line had to be reformed twice before a final depleted and desperate assault by three battalions almost carried the breastworks before collapsing completely.

The first attack on the centre develops well

Another view with Dragoons and Foot checking against the Swedish left redoubt

Another shot of the Russian right with some venerable Dragoons painted 20 years ago.

From the 'mighty' army which lined up so handsomely at 1330 hours, only three battalions stood before the breastworks at 1700 to try and assault a Swedish force hanging on by its collective finger tips. Having got one battalion over the breastworks, supporting charges failed to carry the day and the Russian attack collapsed leaving a single intact battalion in a Mexican stand off with a hungry looking unit of Swedish Grenadiers  on the Swedish extreme right.

A collapse of the first attack - domino effect.. so frustrating!

Most of the day's casualties came from the devastating artillery fire of three light and one field gun  on the Swedish side and the two Battering guns on the Russian side.

Two Russian battalions died to a man less than five inches from the Swedish line having never fired a shot - The  1st Battalion of the Preobrazhenskoi  Guards and the 1st Battalion of the Novgordskoi Regiments both went down without faltering.. what a waste!

Nearly there on the Russian left - the Swedes are exposed

This almost worked but the battalion was raked by flanking light artillery fire

Total Russian losses (mostly from artillery it must be added) were 97 models whilst total Swedish losses were 48 models - almost exactly half. The total Swedish strength was 84 models and 4 guns whilst Russian strength was 192 models and 2 guns. Only a single squadron of dragoons and one battalion plus the guns were left in good order on the Russian side by the close of turn 22.

The reformed brigade lines up for the final attack

High water mark the Swedish gun position was overrun in this charge

second charge goes in against the Life Guards

If only this charge has gone in!

So near yet so far - the Swedes are triumphant - well done Toggy!

We were averaging 4.5 turns per hour or 13 minutes per turn. Interesting, because it was not a small game. Someone asked us at Crisis why BLB took over 60 minutes per turn.. answer.. I don't know! Maybe the person running their game had not read the rules!

Toggy and I concluded the following:

1. Having a Plodder for a Commander is not good for an attacking army - we are very bright chaps!
2. Swedes can use artillery very successfully!
3. Battering guns within close range of a BuA is definitely the way to go!
4. BLB III is very intuitive and runs even more smoothly than BLB II
5. We need to game more often
6. Always keep your camera charged! - had to resort to iPhone for last few shots!

Although I did not apply all the GNW amendments and special rules the game played fast, smooth and was exciting. We both commented that until the last turn it was anybody's to win.

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