Saturday, January 1, 2011

A DBA night!!!

A DBA night with Nick (my son... a wiley 'gamer with more than a few tricks up his sleeve...). We are considering entering the Woolston DBA Challenge, and so it seemed that a little practice was in order. So out came the Book 2 Spanish, and the Ottomans - admittedly Book 4, but so similar to a Book 2 Hunnic army we thought the mis-match was forgiveable.

The set up from the Ottoman side, with the Spanish having set up terrain, with plenty of bad going. Nick forgot the effect of bad terrain on command distances, and deployed his general out on his right, on the other side of a steep hill from his main Warband battle line.

My Ottomans went for the jugular, eyeing up the Warband battle line, leaving three light horse to hold up the Spanish General.

The Warband soon found light horse around their left flank, while the Ottoman General hit the Warband line frontally - a calculated risk on my part.

The Spanish left flank fell, but the general failed to punch through, and so found himself in a precarious position.

Nick was quick to take advantage - this might not go too well for the Ottomans.

Fortunately I threw high and Nick threw low, and my Ottoman general lived!!!

I wasn't one to let an opportunity go by, and pushed around the very open Spanish flank, hitting warband front and rear.

The Spanish line crumbled, and victory went to the Ottomans.

We played a second game which I didn't record. The Ottomans won a second time, but the battle went down to the wire.... it was a VERY close run thing.

The Undead version of Carruthers' great victory

Nick wrote up his own version of Major General Carruthers' great victory, in two parts:

Part 1

Part 2

And here are a few other random photos from the game..  can you put them into the chronologcal context of the game? Major Gneeral Carruthers would be most greatful, as everything is currently blurred by a strange alcoholic fog.. poor chap!!!!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Carruthers at your service Ma'am!!

Nick Grant and I have talked for quite some time about playing a Big Battle HotT game. We both have a British VSF army, and an army of the Undead, so the plan was to fight a double sized game with the two VSF armies arrayed against the forces of the Undead.

Who was sought out to command the forces of the British Army but Major General Carruthers, encouraged out obscurity and the clutches of numerous 'Mayfair Ladies' by offers which included a bin load of cash (and the chance to redeem his honour - after all only the previous evening one of those ladies had offered her honour, and he had honoured her offer, so all night long it was .... but that's a different story ..).

So Carruthers lead his forces, a vast array with a great aerial armada deployed on his left, and clanking steam powered behemoths scatterd amongst the troops.

Carruthers began by sending the aerial forces on his left to attack the right flank of the Undead.  The airboat accompanied by two smaller flyers lead out.

After much 'argy bargy' and general pushing and shoving (something decidedly un-British) the aerial battle had been pretty much won by the Undead dragon that had swooped out of the skies, leaving the entire British aviation service a series of wrecks littering the ground. Meantime a hideous UNdead God had appeard on the Undead left flank, but had apparently not liked the look of the British forces facing the remainder of the Undead hordes, and had frankly decided to leave them to it!!

The British left would have to be held by the British riflemen supported by the fiendish scientific magician and his Zap gun, and a clanking steam tank.

Carruthers pushed his right wing forward, expecting his riflemen, supported by groups of bayonet wielding Welshmen issuing blood curdling screams, his massed artillery, and a clanking robot, to win the day for him.

In the middle they were confronted by hordes of skeletons and spiders.. uurrrggghhhhhh!!!!

But these were stout men!!

The cursed dragon, fresh from its victories over the British aerial flotilla, soared over the heads of the British troops, but was brought down by a devastating salvo from the mad scientifist and his fiendish Zap gun!!

Meanwhile the Undead chariots advanced on the Undead left, but the British riflemen were waiting, shooting the chariots and their ghostly masters away!!

This demoralised the Undead left flank.

The Undead hero finally advanced on the Undead right, supported by his Grim Reaper minions, carving their way through the British riflemen, and demoralising the British left, so the score was even again!!!!

The Welshmen continued their relentless advance ... the sounds of sharpening steels scraping on bayonets could clearly be heard across the din of the battlefield (actually the clink of coffee cups, and slurping of Christmas mince pies, but you get the idea!!!!).

Back at the Undead Stronghold magicians were furiously trying to raise more Undead hordes to take to the battlefield.

The British set up devastating barrages of rifle and artillery fire, but twice the Undead Hero shrugged off the effects of the British bullets and shells (i.e. he threw a 6 to the British 1 two turns in a row - drats cried the British commander, Yay!! cried the Undead Hero!!!!).

Finally however the Undead hero fell beneath the hail of fire, as the terrifying Welshmen issued forth their blood curdling battle cry, plunging bayonets into the  ghostly skeletal forms of Undead magicians desperately trying to cast hideous spells of curruscating energy upon the daemon-like Welshmen!!

Finally the Undead minions fled the battlefield. Carruthers sat down amongts the piles of bones, pondering the good broth that his army cooks would brew this day from the battlefield spoils, dreaming of  honours and wealth untold, and a life of influence amongst the 'Mayfair Ladies'. His name would once more be spoken with awe and respect in Horse Guards!!

I'd have to say that doubling the size of the game, and playing on a 6'x4' table (bigger than we should have, according to the rules) made this a very different game from the traditional HotT games. It would have been even more spectacular had we played the full triple sized (72 army point) game that is Big Battle HotT. The game was thoroughly enjoyable, a great way to fill a holiday afternoon, and we'll be playing games of this size again!!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

One of those mad ideas .....

OK, so this may be one of those crazy ideas. We have a proliferation of those 'cheap as' shops here in Christchurch, and for some months I've been eyeing up these small mock tudor buildings that they have been selling for $3.90 each. They are garish, but I wondered whether, with a few coats of the Citadel washes (Badab Black and Devlan Mud) I might be able to tone the colours down and make some useful scenery for the ECY boys to battle around.

I thought that for $3.90 it was worth trying just one to see how they look. Here is the result. If there's anyone out there reading this, I'd appreciate some feedback. I'm still not sure.. maybe the buildings are a little too much of a toy caricature for serious historical 'gaming.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cross those Spanish off the 'To Do' list

Feeling very virtuous today, I've managed to complete another project that has sat half finished in boxes for too many years... the basing of the 25mm Spanish Peninsular War army, ready for the Volley and Bayonet rules. The figures were painted many years ago, before we knew about black undercoats, shading, washes and highlights. They are mostly over 30 years old, and so I guess are almost 'artefacts' in their own right. However they look great on the table, and 'en masse'  look just spectacular on the table. Add Spanish style buildings and you have the 'cats whiskers' as they say.

The single figures on the left are the 'command stands' ready to command divisions and corps. There is only one stand of cavalry here, the rest had already been based when I first acquired the figures.

Combined with the figures alreday based and there are now enough Spanish to create a 3000 point army for the Volley and Bayonet Road to Glory scenario system. My French now have a serious opponent!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Underground Warfare

"Underground Warfare 1914-1918" by Simon Jones (Pen and Sword, 2010, ISBN 184415962-0).

I've just finished reading Jones' account of mining in world war 1. This is a well written and entirely readable account of a little discussed yet absolutely fascinating aspect of the first world war. Jones begins with a brief exploration of mining pre 1914, and then begins a detailed description and analysis of mining operations by the French, German and British armies. There is a fascinating chapter on French operations in the Carency, Oise, Les Eparges and Vauquois sectors and I found myself fascinated by the incredible feats of endurance and persistence by miners of both armies at Vauquoios.

Jones then gives extensive conerage to mining operations on the Somme in 1916, and then Vimy, Arras and Messines in 1917.  He concludes with analyses of miners and technology, and tunnels and the infantry attack, before concluding.

In his conclusions, I thought the following was worth typing into this brief review:

... by mid 1917 the effectiveness of mining was becoming diminished by the use of in-depth defence by the Germans. Messines was a bite and hold battle, albeit on a large scale, which was a prelude to further operations in which mining could play no part. It was part of a process of wearing down the Germans and of convincing them that, no matter how they changed their tactics, the British had the will and the means to overcome their defences. The key to the operations which followed Messines, however, was the integration of artillery with infantry, tanks and aircraft - in short the all-arms battle - which restored a degree of mobility and momentum to operations. The invention of this type of battle was the military revolution that occured during 1914-18. Military mining was expanded by mass mobilisation and technology to a scale and intensity which was without precedent but, at the moment of its zenith, it had become obsolete. The scaling down of mining in 1917 by Germany and France, and subsequently also Britain, indicates that it did not have a role in future operations. The integrated battle was the key to breaking the deadlock of the western front, but mining served a purpose in rendering vulnerable powerful linear defence lines."
 Most importantly for me, Jones' account talks of a British (or a French, or a German) Army that was prepared to learn from its mistakes in order to meet the challenges of a new form of warfare, warfare waged within a new technological paradigm.

I would thoroughly recommend Jones' book.

Forcing the Uvarova

The vastness and the difficulty of the terrain through the Caucasus meant that by 1915 there were still avenues to be explored if victory wa...