Sunday 31 December 2023

A Cunning Plan (or two...) for 2024!

Another year down and first off apologies for the lack of Blogging - life, work and a surprising amount of wargaming (would have had a third game yesterday in five days if the bally leg hadn't given out!) have got in the way. 

Unfortunately George has been transferred to pastures new out of the area so a decided lack of Rampant games were played this year, but Andy has been a good chap trying out various 6mm rules with me (as well as accompanying me to Joy of Six), Phil and Jenny given me a regular Lard injection (along with Andy) and Jim provided me with a regular supply of prints for my 6mm AFV fix!

Looking back at A Cunning Plan (or two...) for 2023! I managed to hit a number of targets including successfully running my Valley of Tears game at Winter Wonder Lard III and painting up a Burgundian army used at two Never Mind The Billhooks events. I also painted up a 28mm WW2 Dutch platoon and supports for a Chain of Command weekend, started on my 28mm Indian Mutiny forces and painted some Jordanians for a Six Day War game I plan to run at Winter Wonder Lard IV. I also managed to get some 'O' Group  in with Andy using the 6mm US and German battalions I painted last year and have really enjoyed the games played.

So what are the plans for 2024? Well first off with the pending release of the Lardy Chain of Command supplement for the Far East. Phil and I have agreed on Burma in 20mm and initially I'm starting with Japanese and Phil the early war Brits, but I plan to follow that up with later war British (well probably Indians).

Also Phil related (as he got some 28mm Afghans for his birthday and Xmas) the First Afghan War using Sharp Practice is most certainly on the cards. I already have a stalled British army almost fully painted so that should be interesting...

There are a number of 6mm projects in development hell, but I think Crete 1941 using 'O' Group is most likely next as the Fallschirmjäger battalion is already based up and some of the scenery being used in my Six Day War game next month will work as well for Crete. I would also like to return to ColdWar '58 and look at various air options beyond the land based games I'm playing.

How well these plans survive... well we'll see but there are reasons to be optimistic. Of course no doubt something will come out of the blue (I had no thought of anything Dutch, let alone WW2 28mm Dutch  this time last year, but now proudly have a fully painted army!). Whatever happens I will try and be more diligent on the blogging front!

Hope you all have a great 2024!

Sunday 29 October 2023

Never Mind The Billhooks: Mister 2 Billhooks 2023

Following on from May's Mr BIG Billhook 2023 event down Bristol Independent Gaming, yesterday saw a second Never Mind The Billhooks day at BIG - Mister 2 Billhooks 2023! Despite only having managed to get one Billhooks game in since the last event I took my Burgundians along for a day out...    

Game One: as in May my first game was against Lloyd and his Lancastrians, though this time he said he'd learnt his lesson and equipped his archers with stakes to protect them against my cavalry...

To counter the stakes I decided to load my right hand flank with all my cavalry to try and get behind.

Which Simon Le Bon and his new painted Coustilliers managed to - charging into the flank of one of the Lancastrian veteran bow and breaking it...

And then straight into a second breaking that one too! So much for the 'curse of the newly painted unit'!

Lloyd's luck was such that firing his cannon for the first time it inflicted three casualties on the Burgundians but blew up as it did so!

By overloading my right flank with cavalry it did leave my left somewhat exposed and Lloyd took advantage of this. His Hobilars bounced off my crossbow in their first attack, but subsequently polished them off.

Then my cannon exploded! It had though already inflicted a large number of casualties on the Lancastrians.

Whilst Simon Le Bon and his men finished off the second unit of Lancastrian bow...

Charles the Bold, utilising a special event card that allowed for a flank attack to which the Lancastrian Men-at-Arms and bill could not turn to face, charged in. Despite inflicting 15 hits, Lloyd managed to save all the hits on his Men-at-Arms and only lost two Billmen. The Gendarmes bounced off!

To add salt to the wound, the Lancastrian Men-at-Arms then charged in on the stunned Gendarmes, breaking them and almost routing them off the table (which would have secured Lloyd a victory as Charles the Bold, my army commander, was attached to them).

Fortunately Antoine de Bourgogne, the Bastard of Burgundy, came to the rescue charging his Gendarmes across the field of battle to break the bow and bill who were causing problems on the Burgundian left.

And then the true hero of the battle, Simon Le Bon, and his Coustilliers, finished off the remnants of the Lancastrian bow, winning the battle for Burgundy!

Game Two: my second game was against Nathan who had brought the most interesting army of the entire event - a Teutonic Crusader army comprising entirely of five squadrons of Knights! Faced with such a mobile army I decided to anchor of corner of the battlefield with the bulk of my army, use longbow, crossbow and cannon to whittle the Knights down, then unleash the Gendarmes - well that was the plan!

Blimey, those Knights were quick! My Handgunners picked off one but quickly go out of the way.

In a clash of heavy metal the Bastard of Burgundy, Antoine de Bourgogne, charged his Gendarmes in on a unit of Teutonic Knights besting them in the melee.

The cheeky Simon Le Bon, having fled a Teutonic charge, did a swift about turn and charged his Coustilliers in on the flank of a unit of Knights!

Massacring them! (apologies for the blurry photo, I was a bit shocked by this success).

Nathan tried to charge down the Burgundian light horse but Le Bon and his men managed to evade the Teutons - just!

On the Burgundian right Charles The Bold and his Gendarmes were charged by another group of enemy Knights and were forced back right to the table edge - another half inch and they would have been routed!

Philippe de Clèves though ordered the longbow in has ward to fire into the victorious Crusader Knights, the arrow storm breaking them and winning the battle for the Duchy of Burgundy!

Game Three: my final battle of the day was against Colin who brought along an Italian army which had some interesting technological advantages compared to armies from a slightly earlier period like my Burgundians - like a non-exploding cannon! Unfortunately I did not have such technology and my cannon exploded in the first turn!

We had erroneously used too many terrain items and the three areas of marsh in front of my army extremely limited its manoeuvrability. However my Handgunners managed to inflict notable casualties on the Italian Stradoits!

The surviving Italian Light Horse attempted to charge down the Burgundian skirmishers, but they managed to evade the Stardoits.

Despite his heroics in the previous two games, Simon Le Bon and his Cosutilliers had a mare. Having managed to get behind the Italians, they charged a unit of Arquebusiers in the rear and failed to inflict a single casualty, bouncing off!

The Burgundian Light Horse swiftly retreated back to their lines and with time having run out we called the battle as a no score draw (neither Colin or myself had lost a coin).

Overall, a great day of Billhooks gaming, against three different and challenging opponents. Thanks to Mike Peters for organising the event and Jim and Ellen at BIG for hosting it. If you have been intrigued by late medieval warfare but not dipped your toe in, I would heartily recommend Never Mind The Billhooks, especially with a couple of boxes of Perry Wars of the Roses or Hundred Years War plastics giving you the basis of a viable army.

Thursday 26 October 2023

Sharp Practice: Attacco ad un Obiettivo!

Following on from our recent Sharp Practice AWI game, Andy and I returned to the Napoleonic period with a game set in 1813 Germany using the Attack on an Objective scenario from the rulebook. I dusted off my Kingdom of Italy troops whilst Andy brought his new Königlich Preußisches Freikorps von Lützow to the table. The scenario was simple, the Italians had to capture the Freikorps HQ building, the Prussians had to stop them!

The Italians stole a march on the sleepy Prussians with Captaino Rossi leading an attack column of Fucilieri straight towards the enemy building!

With Sergente Altobelli and his Cacciatori a Cavallo scouting the Fucilieri's flank...

And discovering enemy forces - Sekondeleutnant Carsten Horst with his Freikorps Hussars!

This did not stop the arrival for more Italians, Tenente Baresi commanding the green-uniformed Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera and Primo Corporale Zoff leading the white-coated Volteggiatori Fanteria di Linea...

With Tenente Baresi then deploying with a cannon of the Artiglieria a piedi.

However he soon found himself under fire from a group of Freikorps Volunteer Riflemen on a neighbouring hill commanded by Oberjäger Manfreid Mann!

Three Italian gunners fell dead to the accurate Freikorps fire.

The crack of rifle fire alerted the Prussians and Leutnant Hans Undnees swiftly deployed his Freikorps Musketeers in line to await the Italian attackers.

With a cry of Tally Ho! Sekondeleutnant Horst charged his Freikorps Hussars in on the Cacciatori a Cavallo...

Sergente Altobelli fell to a flashing Prussian blade and with two men lost on each side a second round of combat was fought...

Three more Cacciatori a Cavallo fell to the Prussian Hussars and the Italians broke, heading back to safety behind their infantry colleagues.

The battle had not started too well for the Italians, but it was far from lost! Tenente Baresi ordered his Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera to shoot at the Freikorps Volunteer Riflemen on the hill...

The Italian musket fire inflicting shock on Oberjäger Mann's men.

Elsewhere Primo Corporale Zoff  instructed his Volteggiatori to see off Carsten Horst and his Hussars...

Their first volley only inflicted some Shock...

But a second round of fire from the Volteggiatori...

Killed three Hussars...

Resulting in Sekondeleutnant Horst and the sole surviving man of his unit breaking and fleeing for safety.

On the Italian right Tenente Conte arrived on the battlefield with his Granatieri...

Whilst Tenente Tardelli fired his artillery piece!

Inflicting some Shock on the Freikorps musketeers.

Screened by the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera, Captaino Rossi ordered the Fucilieri attack column forward!

But what is this?! Fahnrich Rolf Undtumble commanding two groups of Tyrolean Jäger deployed into the woods on the Fucilieri's left!

Tenente Conte snapped his Granatieri into line and fired a volley at Manfreid Mann's Volunteer Riflemen...

Killing three and inflicting Shock on the survivors!

With the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera and Volteggiatori Fanteria di Linea covering the attack column, Capitano Rossi and the Fucilieri bore down on the Freikorps.

In an attempt to stem the relentless Italian advance, Fahnrich Undtumble charged his Tyrolean Jäger in on the Volteggiatori Fanteria di Linea!

Although the Italians are forced back with Primo Corporale Zoff knocked to the ground...

The Tyrolean Jäger paid a heavy price as both Fahnrich Rolf Undtumble and his subordinate Stefan Kuntz now lay dead on the field of battle!

Believing the Gods of War(gaming) to be favouring him, Capitano Rossi charged the Fucilieri in and although the attack column broke up (and a medic killed), two groups of Freikorps musketeers were beaten back.

The Fucilieri followed this up with a quick volley...

Breaking the Freikorps formation, one group running almost back as far as Berlin!

Whilst Leutnant Undnees hid behind a stone wall with the other group.

Tenente Baresi ordered the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera to charge the surviving Tyrolean Jäger, but came up short after the Jäger evaded.

Suddenly a pounding of hooves was heard as Sekondeleutnant Carsten Horst having taken charge of a group of Freikorps Mounted Jäger from Estandartenjunker Franz Fürzenmemories appeared out of the trees and charged the Italian Light Infantry!

But the Volteggiatori Fanteria Leggera were fleet of foot and managed to evade the German cavalry charge.

In the centre Feldwebel Willi Vinkle with the remaining two groups Freikorps Musketeers attempted to engage the Fucilieri in fisticuffs, but the German charge came up short...

The Fucilieri poured fire into the Freikorps and one group broke, breaking the formation. Tests on the Bad Things Happen table saw the German Force Morale plummet to zero handing victory to the brave troops of the Kingdom of Italy!

Another great game of Sharp Practice, it was good to get the Italians back on the table and inflict a defeat on andy's new Freikorps army!