Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Wandering Around Ireland, Part II

Clarence Harrison - A little after noon, Barry, Bob, and I rolled into Londonderry proper. We passed through the walls at Ferryquay Gate and climbed a set of stone steps to the top of the wall in a drizzling rain.


The walls of Londonderry were built in 1613-18 and the entire circuit remains intact today. Of course there have been repairs and the original gates were enlarged to allow for modern traffic to pass, but you can still walk the mile (1.5km) trail atop the battlements. For the most part, the inner town retains the original street layout as well, serving as a fantastic example of a renaissance town.



Something that struck us immediately as we traveled south away from Ferryquay Gate was how steep the slope of the wall was. How many times as model builders do we take the time to ensure all of our fortifications are level? I was also struck by the fact that the top of the wall, at least in this section, was wider that some of the roads we'd been on!

Immediately south of the Ferryquay Gate stands the Artillery Bastion, with two fantastic field guns poised the defend the city.




Each gun is original, though the carriages are reproductions. Each bares a plaque stamped with information on the gun, including who provided the weapon to the town. The first demi-culverin above was provided in 1642 by the Worshipful Company of Salters and weighs over 2700 pounds (and we wonder why our wargame toys can't just be repositioned at the whim of their commander).


At one corner of the bastion, and at other points around the walls, was a tiny turret watchtower. A small plaque proclaimed these were constructed because soldiers complained about having to stand watch in poor weather. Bob and I thought they would be a fantastic bit of detail to add if one were to, say for instance, be building a model of the walls of Derry...



A second bastion, the Church Bastion, stands at the corner of the wall where the fortifications turn west. Looming behind the Church Bastion is the breathtaking spire of St Columb's Cathedral.



The spire on top of the tower wouldn't have been there in 1689. Barry and I were actually going to walk by after examining the exterior (heathens!), but Bob suggested we talk a trip inside. What a great suggestion that turned out to be!




Two wonderful ladies at the entry greeted us in the role of typical tour guides. Upon finding out I was from America, she took us forward to view a 48-star United States flag stored under glass. It use to hang among the banners in the cathedral but had deteriorated to a point that it needed to be placed in storage. It had been presented by the US Navy in 1945 to commemorate the US Naval Base that was in Londonderry from 1942 to 1945. Somehow I managed to not get a picture of it.


One of the flags I did get a picture of was a reproduction of flags from our period according to the official literature...

Two flags captured from the French on the 6th of May 1689 at the Battle of Windmill Hill. The poles and embroidery are original. The fabric has been renewed on four occasions.

Now, Barry and I were ready for this. The research we did for the Uniform Guides of the Siege of Derry didn't suggest any French were present in Ireland at the time. Barry asked about the origin of the flag and when the lady seemed unsure, she said she would get 'Ian' who would know more about it.

Shortly thereafter, our 'New Mate Ian' arrived and learned that Barry seemed to know more about it than he did. He was delighted to find how much interest we had in the siege and how much we seemed to know about the period. He excitedly started taking us to bits of the cathedral that were roped off to view plaques about the flags. He explained, they weren't sure the flags were yellow and may have been white instead. One plaque commemorated the restoration of French flags, but he showed us an older one that referred to them as Jacobite flags. He hadn't noticed the discrepancy before as was puzzled as to why the origins of the flags seemed to change.

In any case, he was now having as much fun as we were. He led us back to a room full of display cases and proceeded to open them and hand out the priceless artifacts for closer examination!



At the top, Barry holds the sword of Rev. George Walker and below I have Captain Adam Murray's (more on that later). There was also George Walker's Bible, Captain Murray's pocket watch, snuff box, and a brace of buttons from his coat, cannon balls, more swords, old maps - again, I got so enthralled I didn't snap more pics. We also got to hold the actual locks and keys used to secure the gates against the Jacobite attack - something even King James didn't get to do (pic below is from the web... I think Barry got a shot of the actual objects)!


How many people who visit the museum of St Columb's Cathedral get the chance we had? How many who visit ANY museum? Barry and Ian exchanged contact info (We sent him our PDF uniform guides and he sent us stacks of archive photos). I left feeling the trip to Londonderry had already been worth it. Great idea, Bob!

Back on the wall, we made the rest of the circuit. We also visited the Apprentice Boys' Memorial Hall (where we saw ANOTHER sword of Captain Murray - well, he probably had two) and the Tower Museum. These were worth the time spent, though not as good as our trip to the cathedral. Photography wasn't allowed so I didn't bother trying to sneak any photos.


We made a trip down into the streets to a cafe for 'tea' (I had Pepsi) and then headed south to Enniskillen. That night we met Clibinarium (the talented sculptor of Warfare Miniatures) for dinner. Not only did we have a great meal, we got to see the new sculpts for the upcoming GNW Russian artillery crews!


Next time, the three grenadiers (wait for it) travel south toward Athlone and Aughrim!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Campaign hard facts


For all you 'Stato' types out there (and in my experience that is most gamers), I have included the casualties from the main battles in the 1692 campaign season here. It will be followed by the Roll of Honour/Dishonour in a subsequent post.

As many of these units have gained experience and have featured in the 1693 campaign the information does have some gaming relevance.

Some of the players have I know, started to record the performances of their units - a subject dear to my own heart although in recent years my record keeping has been somewhat haphazard.

So here are the hard facts from the battles of Badon Hill and Ripon both fought in September 1692


Williamite casualties at Badon Hill



Dutch casualties at Badon Hill


Jacobite casualties at Badon Hill


Jacobite casualties at Badon Hill continued



Badon Hill summary



Williamite losses at Ripon


Jacobite losses at Ripon



Casualty summary for Ripon


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Wandering Around Ireland, Part I

Clarence Harrison - Now that the dust has settled and I'm back in some sort of routine, I've had time to sort through my pics and make some notes on my trip. Of course the first few days were spent in Dumphries at the the LoA Weekender. I'm going to leave the details of the games to Mr. Hilton as I was busy killing Jacobite horses (yes, I was playing on the Jacobite side) and like the commanders of the 17th century have very little idea of what was going on beyond my hill (though the Williamites might have won... Lord Galmoy survived despite my attaching him to every cavalry charge he was in range of). I will say I greatly enjoyed the weekend and it was fantastic to meet so many people I've only had contact with through the web.


There was a surreal moment Saturday night when the entertainment at the hotel turned out to be a Johhny Cash impersonator. I traveled 3500 miles to the Old Country and the locals packed the place to see a guy in a rhinestone studded jacket. He didn't even have bagpipes. Maybe I should have went out with Tam... ok, maybe not...


Late Sunday afternoon, we packed up the toys and Barry, Bob, and I made our way to the ferry bound for Larne, Ireland. On the way I learned that Bob can't hear sentences with the word 'truck' in them and 'ship-wit' doesn't only apply to 16th and 17th century sailing vessels. Light was failing as we slipped away from the brooding Scottish coast...


On Monday morning we set out for Londonderry, at points following the same route the Jacobites took as they marched on the town. A journey that took them weeks took us hours. Shortly after leaving Coleraine we were treated to a fantastic view of the Irish Sea before it narrows to become the Foyle River.


Barry climbed a hill to get a better shot and I trained my camera on him in case he fell down it (to make sure Bob and I could help him quickly, of course - no, that would NOT have ended up on YouTube... well, probably not).


Just before reaching Londonderry, we took a detour down to the Foyle River to see if we could find the area where the Jacobites placed the boom to block the river and cut off the town from naval support and supplies. Not only was Barry spot on (it's a bit like having Google in the car with you), we came out opposite Culmore Fort (at the base of the tower, just to the right).


A quick trip south, west across the first bridge we found, and back north and we were standing at the fort.


No gates, no barricades, no caretaker, not even a sign unless you count the 'Lough Foyle Yacht Club' one that now adorns the building. Not for the last time on this trip I was struck with wonder that such a historic building was simply sitting at the end of a common lane beside a residential district. In the US, they would have built a park around the place and you probably couldn't really get near it.




I took a stupid amount of photos of stonework with an eye to building a couple of castles for my table top collection. The place must once have had a wall and probably outbuildings because there was a fair size garrison stationed there in 1689 and they wouldn't have all fit in the tower.


Standing on the beach below the fort in the wind and the rain we had another stunning view of the Irish Sea, this time looking north along the route of the Foyle. Looking east, you can see how narrow the river is even at this point, Any ship braving this corridor would have been at point blank range for cannons along the shore.


As we turned south towards the town, we passed directly through the spot where the Pennyburn Mill would have been. Now it is the proud site of the Pennyburn Condominiums and a McDonalds.

In part II, we venture into Londonderry!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Unashamed Williamite Wars LoA nostalgia trip..

Glorying in the spectacle of the game...



I have hundreds, perhaps thousands of gaming images from our many years of gaming the Williamite Wars. Sometimes it is nice just to look and not necessarily to read. Not in chronological order (of the war nor of when they were played), here is a trip through the images if you need some inspiration...
1693 Drax, Battle for Britain campaign played in Dumfries 2017


1690 Scotland played in Derby in 2013 or 2014


1692 - Ripon, Battle for Britain campaign played in Dumfries in 2016



1692 - Taunton - Battle for Britain campaign - played in Dumfries 2016



1691 - Aughrim played at Derby in 2014



1689 - Killiecrankie played at The Goth in Prestonpans in 2016



1689 - Pennyburn Mill, Derry played at Historicon 2016



1690 - The Boyne played at Partizan possibly around 2009



1691 - Bloody Aughrim played in my wargames room in 2013



1690 - The Boyne played in Dumfries in 2014 or 2015



1690 small action played at Crisis,Antwerp around 2012 or 2013




1690 -First siege of Athlone played at Partizan in 2012 or 2013



1689 - small action play test for BLB 3 played in my kitchen in 2016



1690 - The Boyne played at Historicon in 2010 or 2011



1692 - Witney Battle for Britain campaign played in Dumfries



1689 Killiecrankie played at Perth Museum on 2008 or 2009



1691 Ireland game played at Derby in 2013 or 2014



1691 Ireland game played at Derby in 2012 or 2013



1690 - The Glen and Ireland scenario fought in Derby in 2012 or 2013



1690 The Boyne played at Falkirk in 2016


1690 Ireland - fought at Crisis Antwerp in 2011 - first appearance at the show



1692 - Badon Hill, Battle for Britain campaign played in Dumfries 2016



1693 - Spanish Town, Jamaica -Battle for Britain campaign played in Dumfries 2017

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