Friday, 18 August 2017

Mapledurham at War

A change to my usual postings, last weekend I went to a WW2 reenactment at Mapledurham near Reading. http://www.mapledurham.co.uk/mapledurham-at-war/
Broni was booked to sing with her vintage duo, the Lu La La,s and managed to get a spare entrance ticket for the Sunday so I went along. It was a fun day, with lots of reenactors, period music, two battles and demonstration of amphibious vehicles in the mill pond. Also more jeeps that you could shake a stick at! Particularly interesting were some of the talks given by reenactors of interested groups of visitors, especially that by a fallschirmjäger on German grenades and mines, with an impressive amount of kit!

If the Mill looks familiar it was used for scenes in The Eagle Has Landed and more recently was the gunpowder factory in the BBC's Taboo series.

As a picture is worth a thousand words.....






















Friday, 28 July 2017

EN GARDE - KIDNAP

A scenario for almost any setting. A lord's daughter is being escorted home by her brother and two of his closest companions. On a particularly lonely stretch of road the coach suddenly loses a wheel and is forced to stop. The occupants climb out to examine the damage and realise that it was caused by a cunning concealed trap, dug into the road.  Suddenly a gang of ragged-looking ruffians emerge from the trees.........

The Escort
Brother (Leader): Rank 4, sword
Companion 1: Rank 4, pistol and sword
Companion 2: Rank 4, pistol and sword
Driver: Rank 2, sword

The Kidnappers
Leader: Rank 4, sword
Deputy: Rank 3, pistol and sword
Ruffian 1: Rank 2, sword and buckler
Ruffian 2: Rank 2, sword and buckler
Ruffian 3: Rank 2, sword and buckler
Ruffian 4: Rank 1, matchlock and sword
Ruffian 5: Rank 1, halbard

Our game was set in the English/Scottish border country towards the end of the 16th century.

The table set up.

 Another view.

 The Lady and Escort.

 The Scottish kidnappers.

 The trap is sprung!

 The first moves. The two English companions fire, killing the matchlockman before he gets off a single shot and the halberdier charges forward.

  As the rest of the gang advance, the brother and driver engage the gang's leader who bravely (foolishly?) leads the attack.

 Whilst one companion guards the rear of the coach, the other moves up to aid his lord.

 The Scottish leader takes a light wound (yellow marker) in payment for his rashness in leading his men from the front. As the melee expands the English driver is also wounded.

 In the meantime the Scots halberdier closes with the last Englishman whilst his superior tries to get a clear shot.
 The halberdier is cut down and the Scots deputy fires, wounding the Englishman.

 Disaster for the English player (me!). A Scot falls, but both the English leader and the driver are killed in a single round of combat.

 The last surviving Englishman is surrounded by enemies as a Scot grabs the girl and knocks her unconscious with his sword hilt.

The last Englishman fights on bravely, but can do nothing to stop the Scot escaping with the prize slung over his shoulder.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

TUDOR VILLAGE FOR EN GARDE PART 2

Here's some photos from the game I played with Colin. He took the English, trying to escort the Arch Deacon of Carlisle across the table, whilst my Scots were trying to kidnap him for ransom. It was a fun game, but once the fighting started we realised that we had spookily matched up exactly the same figure types! Colin had sent his leader down one flank with 2 rank 2 sword and buckler men, my leader was on the same flank with the same companions. He had sent a matchlockman out on the other side of the village to try and outflank me, I'd done the same. He used his rank 3 deputy and his halbardier to rush the churchman down the centre road, I'd put the same in reserve to block the centre road!

It was evenly matched, with various minor wounds on both sides, until I cut down the English  rank 3 swordsman. The prelate made a run for the end of the village, with my veteran in hot pursuit. I caught up with him right at the table edge and knocked him unconscious, hoisted the churchman over my shoulder and legged it out of the village.









Tuesday, 18 July 2017

TUDOR VILLAGE FOR EN GARDE

I've just set up for the first outing on my new gaming mat with En Garde. It's the new Open Field mat from Ceri Design http://www.ceridesign.com/

I'm really pleased with the look of it, I think it's an improvement on their previous design. I also picked up some of their cobbled roads and fields, which work well. So here is a sleepy little village, somewhere on the English/Scottish border, just before the Reivers come to town.

I'll try to post some pictures of the table in use later this week.











Friday, 7 July 2017

I tried a 3-player scenario for Osprey's The Pikeman's Lament. I've played the rules several times now, but Mark had only played it once before and it was Henry's first time.

The premise is a group of German mercenaries in Polish service have decided it's more profitable to make off with the Polish pay chest, rather than actually fight to earn their pay. A Polish company of mixed troops have set off in pursuit and cut the mercenaries off from their escape route. However, at this moment a Ottoman raiding party shows up. It's a basic scrap over the loot!

The treasure is in a wagon which starts off in German hands. To move the wagon (6") a unit must be in contact with it. If the unit in contact retires or routs the wagon remains in place. The Germans want to get the wagon across the table from the north edge and off the middle of the south side. The Poles start in the SE corner and the Ottomans in the SW corner, they need to get the wagon off from their respective corners.

The Forces

Poles
1 x Winged Hussars - Elite Gallopers
1 x Dragoons - Dragoons
2 x Cossacks - Raw Gallopers
2 x Musketeers - Shot

Germans
2 x Cuirassiers - Elite Trotters
1 x Pikemen - Pike
2 x Musketeers - Shot

Ottomans
1 x Janissaries - Forlorn Hope
2 x Musketeers - Shot
2 x Tartars - Dragoons
1 x Balkan Foot - Commanded Shot

Unfortunately the game was so interesting that I forgot to take any photos after the initial set-up!


                                               The table viewed from the West

                                               The German Mercenaries


                                                         The Ottomans

                                                               The Poles

It was a game of strange dice throwing. A lot of double 1s early on meant several retreats and one of my Polish shot units were called away in turn 2! The Ottomans, on the other hand, rolled a lot of double 6s and ended up with 3 heroes, 2 of which were in the janissary unit as well as the officer, so their morale was very hard to break.

Initially The pikemen advanced, protecting the wagon whilst the Poles and the eastern half of the Germans rushed towards each other and the Ottomans and the rest of the mercenaries hung back (failed command rolls). The Poles moved a unit of shot into a wood to cover their flank against the Ottomans, sent the Cossacks off to try and flank the wagon, whist advancing the other shot and dragoons in front of the hussars. At this point my cunning plan went up in smoke as the screening shot promptly disappeared (double 1 activation again!). The Cossacks were eventually destroyed by a combination of  cuirassiers and a unit of shot well placed on a hill. Rather than get shot to pieces the Cossacks made repeated charges, but the cuirassier's armour was too much for them and they only killed a couple of the enemy for the loss of both units.

The Ottomans finally got moving and managed to catch the other cuirassier unit in a crossfire with the janissaries and both Tartar units. However the combination of good German armour and poor quality Turkish gunpowder meant it took that several turns of shooting to whittle the cuirassiers down to half strength. In turn the Germans made three successful caracole attacks against a unit of Tartars, but each time either failed to inflict casualties, or else the Tartars morale held, so they were unable to charge home. Right in the centre the Polish shot and a couple of Ottoman units spent their time exchanging gunfire with very little to show for it.

In the centre the pikemen braced themselves to defend the wagon, but a combination of shooting from the Polish Dragoons and an Ottoman shot unit, plus the charge of the Winged Hussars, swa them routed. At this point the dice gods turned against the Mark and in no time, all he had left was a two-man cuirassier unit, which included his officer. I had an intact unit of dragoons, a unit of shot with one casualty and my officer, the only survivor of my Winged Hussar unit! Henry's Ottomans looked horribly healthy, one unit of Tartars was down to half strength and he had lost half a dozen or so infantry from various units, he hadn't lost a whole unit yet.

My officer rushed forward as the Ottomans closed in and grabbed the wagon horses, leading them off under intense (but inaccurate) fire. Luckily I managed to get my dragoon behind him just before the Tartars could reach the wagon. All that remained was for my dragoon and shot to hold off the Tartars and remaining cuirassiers for a couple of turns to allow my office to get off the table with the loot!

A great game which everyone enjoyed. The Ottomans poor early activation and rubbish shooting made it look like it was going to be a two-way game at first, but once they got going they nearly swept the board. It was only luck (and the good armour of Elite Gallopers) that allowed my officer to grab the loot and escape.

Next was lunch, with a cold beer in the sunny garden, followed by a fun game of En Garde. Happy days!