Friday, March 27, 2020

On the creative use of junk...

In common with several billion of the planet's population, we are now in 'isolation'. There is a much nicer word in Te Reo Māori.. Rāhui. Sounds much nicer than 'isolation', or 'quarantine', but anyway, in amongst the challenges of leading a school remotely, I have some time finally to do some hobby work.

This project began a couple of weeks ago when I discovered the following 'bits' in the waste bin in our technology room. Students had been using our laser cutter to cut disks from mdf, and these were the waste product. They captured my attention immediately, although i wasn't sure quite what for. Home they came, and have sat on the work board for a few weeks.

With a little time now in hand, I then added these bits, a couple of spare painted zombie figures holding severed heads, and some grey Dacron, and just began 'playing'.

This is how I generally approach these creative projects. There is never a 'plan', I never start with sketches, I just sit bits and pieces together, I 'fiddle', trying one thing against the other, to see what captures my imagination.

This is what came out of the exercise.

Perhaps it might be called a 'furnace of tormented souls'. I imagined it being a part of the Undead army for HotT (Hordes of the Things'), perhaps a stronghold, maybe a behemoth, or simply a piece of terrain. Either way, I am pleased with how it came out, a nice little addition to the table top.

Here are some additional photos.

Stay safe and well, everyone.

As we say in New Zealand:
Kia tau te mauri
Kia kaha

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Les Guerillas.. Spain 1809

Four bodies swung from gibbets as if the hot Spanish wind had rocked them to sleep, whistling its sweet lullaby through the branches of the nearby trees. A dust cloud wafted in the breeze, raised by the thousands of French boots, lose leather soles flapping with each lift, creating a chattering counter-rhythm to the cadence of the march.
"Merde, les guerillas", and a gaunt French Grenadier hawked and spat at the feet of the swinging corpses as he marched past. Empty eye sockets, surrounded by parched brown skin, leered at the passing soldiers, taunting them at every step. Marching and fighting on empty stomachs was not the work of the Emperor's finest,  nor was fighting without ball and powder. But fight the would, even in this hell hole called the Iberian peninsular, this hades called Spain.

Keith, Andy, Richard, and I,  had gathered for a Volley and Bayonet game using my 25mm armies., with an Anglo--Spanish force pitched against a French force. The armies were each of 3000 points, compiled using the Road to Glory scenario system, then tactical postures of each side determined using the scenario cards.

Initial deployment, the Anglo Spanish on the left, the French on the right

The British right woing

French line infantry brigade

The British right was supported by the Spanish cavalry. The commanders shed these cavalry out to threaten the French left

The French left deployed in a defensive posture, the extreme left refused

The French centre with two devisions deployed one behind the other. The centre was to see the hottest action, the French disadvantaged by the river that divided the centre, limiting the French ability to deploy and manoeuvre

The Spanish, with the plan to hold up the obvious French attack against this flank, while the British cut through the centre

The British Guards have attacked in the centre, bouncing a French brigade

A second British division in reserve

Spanish reserves join the fray
French recruits (poorly trained troops) advance to threaten the flank of the British attack

The French attack on their right makes contact, starting the process of pushing the Spanish left backwards

A wider view of the French right attacking

The British reserve division advances to counter the French threat to the flank

The Guards attack again in the centre

The French right attack continues to roll on forward

The French centre has been driven back by the British Guards

Some of the French centre troops having fallen back under the pressure of the Guards' attack, the division exhausted

More French pressure on their right, French cavalry starting to push pas to threaten the Spanish flank and rear

The Spanish left is being forced back

Spanish troops supporting the British in their attack on the centre

Table top view of the French left

The French counterattack on their left centre, ably supported by the remnants of the plate of savouries

The British reserve counter attacks

The French centre also counter attacks against the Guards

The French right hits the flank of those Spanish supporting the British attach. The French brigade however fails moral, and is drive back

The French continue to dispute the high ground seized by the British Guards

The poorly trained French division counterattacks the British reserve - and drives the British back

The French right is continuing its relentless push, but the Spanish use the terrain to good effect to delay the French

The French counter attack against the Guards is driven off.... the battle has reached crisis point

The French cavalry then strikes at the flank of the Spanish centre, and routs and drives back the infantry and the artillery supporting the British. However the French centre is in such a parlous state it will be difficult for them to hold against the Guards whose advance seems relentless. There were more photos of this stage of the action, but photographic incompetence meant I blurred them.. they were not of good enough quality to add here. The sight of French dragoons charging two supported Spanish artillery batteries, routing one and forcing the other back, was a sight for wearied French eyes.

The almost routine failure of the French in their attacks (plenty of 6s on morale, and plenty of dice that were NOT 6s in the attacks) might well have reflected the impact of constant guerilla raids, depriving the army of much needed supplies. However there can be no taking away from the skill of Keith and Andy as they fought a great battle.

And wow what a game... lots of theatre, lots of cinematic moments...and a minor victory to the Anglo-Spanish under the scenario system. 

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Saarbrucken beckons ..

The Prussian 3rd Army march towards Saarbrucken had begun with little incident. It was one of those hot August days, the weather of 1870 seemingly no different to any other year. The Bavarian divisions had taken the lead, deploying to the left of th main axis, while a Prussian Corps had kept to the main axis. Behind marched more Prussian infantry, and the army cavalry reserve of two divisions with cuirassier, uhlans and dragoons.

This set the scene for our latest Franco Prussian War game, the first to feature full armies. The scenario was set using the Volley and Bayonet Road To Glory scenario system, the armies comprising 4300 points. The game was played using our 6mm Heroics and Ros armies, and the Volley and Bayonet rules system

The battlefield looking south west from behind the advancing Prussian forces. The Bavarian corp has shifted to the left of the axis of advance, the centre of two Prussian divisions. The third corp and the cavalry reserve have just arrived, bottom right

Seeing the French refusing their right, the Bavarian on the left advance to apply pressure on the French as they withdraw, shifting forces to their right

The advancing French

French in position opposite the Prussian centre and right

The Prussian centre, one division holding the hight ground lower left in the photo, while a second division has pushed forward into the forest. The strong artillery force dominated the centre, bringing fire on the French infanty on the edge of the forest top left. This forced the French infantry to withdraw inside the forest, blinding them, and reducing their fire superiority against the Bavarian Podewil armed infantry.

The Prussian 3rd Corp advances, 

The Prussian right is filled with the Prussian arrivals, one of the Prussian reserve cavalry divisions seen lower right

The other reserve cavalry division (complete with horse artillery support) supports the Prussian centre. hey were to play a decisive role later in the battle

The Bavarians on the extreme left push across a difficult (marshy banked) stream to threaten the French right

French forces refusing their right and shifting the French axis of attack towards th Prussian right

The Bavarian advance

The French left wing attack against the Prussian right builds

With the far left Bavarian division across the river and advancing, the second Bavarian division now begins its advance. The plan was to coordinate the attacks of the two divisions.

The Prussian right deployed in defence, with a strong artillery position supporting both infantry divisions right and left of it.

Close up of a part of the Prussian right

The Prussian centre

The second Bavarian division advances

French infantry launch an attack against the Prussian right. While the main attack is repulsed it drives the Prussians deeper inside the forest

French forces seen in the distance gather ominously against the Prussian centre and right

Prussian centre still holding

French forces continue to redeploy from the right to their left, to add to the Pressure on the Prussian right

Prussian right wing forces have been bounced back in some disarray after the French assault 

Only one Prussian stand remains in position n the right, the French continuing their relentless pressure

The Prussian infantry advance and retake their position on the right

The second Bavarian division advances into the forest on the left (now the extreme right of the French deployment. In the confines of the forest they are not at a disadvantage with their Podewill rifles versus the dreaded French Chassepot

The same flank, showing the 1st Bavarian division re-organising ready to advance directly against the French right. The 2nd Bavarian division can be seen at the extreme right having advanced into that forest.

One of the Prussian cavalry divisions re-deploys further left, anticipating action. They are lead by the Cuirassiers.

The size of the growing French attack against the Prussian right can be appreciated in this photo

A second French assault against the Prussian right

French artillery and a Mitrailleuse battery deploy against the Prussian right

That Bavarian firefight inside the forest, to the left in this shot

The French assault on the right bounces a Prussian infantry brigade back again...

The Prussian right wing division pulls back deeper into the forest

Meanwhile, sick of sitting on the hill taking long range fire that it was unable to return, the Prussian centre right advances against the French Mitrailleuse and artillery

The Prussian centre now advances in support of the Bavarians (at the top of the photo. The extreme left wing Bavarian 1st Division has advanced across the stream and is engaging in a firefight with the defending French right

Close up of the Bavarian pressure on the French right

Infantry from the French centre launch attacks against the Bavarians (centre left) and the supporting Prussians (centre right) of the photo

The Prussian cavalry advance to a better position from which to support the infantry

More French pressure on the extreme Prussian right .. casualties are mounting on the Prussian division

The advanced Prussian infantry division has gone prone to reduce casualties.,. but it's damned hot work

The Prussian centre still holds

The French attacks against the Bavarians and the Prussians in close up

The Bavarians attack the extreme French right (a withdrawn flank)

The Prussian infantry, and a cuirassier brigade, attack the French that had prevously attacked the Bavarian flank. The Bavarians in the forest also assaulted the remaining French infantry in the forest

The French infantry in the forest rout, carrying away other disordered French defending the right flank. The cuirass have routed the French infantry and broken through to their supporting Mitrailleuse battery eliminating that too. The entire French right flank has crumbled

At this stage we'd run out of time, but the French position was now untenable. The right was gone, and the centre was seriously threatened. From the Prussian perspective this was just in the nick of time, as the pressure on their right had almost pushed it to breaking point. Both Prussian infantry divisions were close to exhaustion.

This was as mentioned the first 'full sized' game, and what a cracker. It had drama and tension, as the battle evolve din a way that we'd not seen before. Interestingly the French had suffered 22 casualties (strength point boxes .. each box represents approximately 500 men when composing units, and 250 casualties, for those not familiar with the rules system) while the Prussians had suffered 33, quite a disparity. We continue to learn more about the subtleties of Volley and Bayonet in this sub period, subtleties that make it play significantly differently to the other sub-periods covered by the system. It is these nuances that make the system so appealing.

When is the next game?

On the creative use of junk...

In common with several billion of the planet's population, we are now in 'isolation'. There is a much nicer word in Te Reo Māor...