Wednesday, 25 November 2009


A short post, with reference to my photo in the previous post, about the "Airfix Cromwell tank on the bridge"... I did chuckle at the different thoughts & comments on it.. was it Airfix or Matchbox, was it a Cromwell, Comet or even a Sherman... do any of us have a decent memory these days? Well, clearly, I haven't..
I would agree that it was actually a Matchbox rather than an Airfix kit, on thinking of it after reading the Comments, which were much appreciated! .. BUT I would be sure that it was NOT a Sherman tank.. No, I definitely remember it being a or maybe a Comet...and then a chap, Richard, posted this Link to me at TMP..
Just shows you eh! But at least we now know.. :-)
Regards and smiles all round,

Friday, 20 November 2009

Duxford Imperial War Museum.

Back in the summer, after our visit to London, we stopped off at Duxford Imperial War Museum, just off the M11. Here's just a few pictures of what was on display, as there really was an awful lot of it, and I have to say, it is well worth a visit if you're ever down that way. The Title of this post is Linked to the Duxford Site.

Remember the Airfix Cromwell tank on a damaged bridge set? Well here it was on a 1:1 scale..

As said, this is only a very small proportion of the exhibits... but then, I don't want to be spoiling your visit...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Battle of Gazala, 1942

We had a Western Desert WW2 game a short time ago, at Chez Alex, with myself and Hairy Dave as the gamers. I was Gen von Peeler, with German and Italian troops, whilst Dave was Lt Gen The Honourable Lord of Hairytown, with the British side. This Post Title is linked to the rule set we used, Rommel's Battles, written by our Mr Alex Testo, (rules writer and hotelier extraordinaire), and all round good egg. He also supplied the playing pieces, being mostly 6mm H&R, which were a joy to see. Whatever happened to Heroics and Ros, anyone know? I miss them, I used to have loads of them, goodness knows where they went. Anyway, all we had to do was to turn up and play, with Alex as Umpire.
There were four Btns of armour per side, with additional artillery, anti tank guns, recce units and air support. For a Napoleonic gamer such as myself, it all sounded rather complicated, what with OP's, Recce units, C&C by radio and so on.... and to be fair, WW2 was rather more complex than horse & musket.. but these rules do make it easy to play, whilst maintaining the difficulties and extra dimensions relevant to the era.
So, the main part of this particular battle was to exit the opponents side with at least three non-shaken units, whilst stopping the other side from doing the same. We placed our units onto a map, and only put them on the table when the enemy actually saw them, hence the importance of recce units and Op's. One doesn't want to blunder blindly into a 25pdr's shooting gallery with one's armour. Like I did at one point...
The cotton wool clouds each represent a hit, each base can take three.

Each side has a FAC..a Forward Air Controller, to call in air strikes. If you get through, and if it's on target, it can be devastating. I think this British bomber was using large 'wallop bombs', judging by the number of hits it achieved.

Some British Valentine tanks take refuge in a dip in the ground, going hull down. Although small, this little models are really well made. The numbers on the base represent the attack/defence factor, and ranges for firing, which again makes playing this game easy to do.

A Regt of British Grant tanks scoots across a depression, going for the Italian flank.

Whilst a Recce unit calls in a Stuka strike..

..on some Honey's, and scores a few hits. I think the Luftwaffe only put in one appearance during the whole game, but it did a good job when it appeared.

After some close quarter tank on tank action, and after some hits from that 25pdr, some German units decide to race for the breakthrough to the table edge.
Whilst the other attack got bogged down slugging it out with Matilda's and artillery.
And, just at the point at which my units won the game, by exiting the table with no less than five unshaken units, my camera gave up. I could blame the fine desert sand getting into the camera's working parts, but it was probably just down to using cheap pound shop batteries. Here's a thought, cheapies just aren't worth the money, I'll stick to Duracell in future.
The game played really well, and had a lot of interesting ups and downs for both sides, such as the accurate 25pdr, and the German '88, which totally mullered an armoured car unit that nearly broke through. The way the air strikes and off table artillery was effective when used, did show the need to keep your own forces out of sight for as long as possible, and also to get your own OP's into a good position, whilst not putting them in harms way. Also, don't rely on an air strike coming just when you want & need one, because they sometimes don't.
Lots to think about, and it made a pleasant change to play a WW2 game, I haven't done one for a long time, I reckon we'll have to have some more soon.
Thanks to Alex and Dave for an enjoyable and pleasantly played game.
Oh, and I won! ( Which makes a change).

Friday, 6 November 2009

Wagram, GdB Game, London

This game was organised by the GdB Site chaps, (Post Title is Linked) and was held over the 31 Oct-1st Nov 09 weekend, at the Officer's Mess, Wellington barracks, London. A fine venue for a game, and myself & Hairy Dave trotted down there for it. At a conservative guess, there were 10,000 15mm figures on the table, which was around 30ft by 6ft (I think), and around 20 players. It was good to meet up with some old friends, as well as make new ones, and a happy time was had by all. We drove down South on the Friday, and after experiencing Southern traffic on the M11, we parked the car at Mr Brown's Woodford residence, had coffee, and were grateful for a lift to the Station from Gary. We tubed it into London, and were happy to find that our Hotel, St Ermin's, was literally 2 minutes walk from St James Tube Stn, what a bonus!
After booking in, a bit of dinner was had, and very nice it was too, but I hadn't realised that it was a "Nouvelle Cuisine" place.. so whilst it was good, there weren't much of it! Try as we might, we were unable to locate a pie shop.. so a few pubs followed, and the Hotel Bar was open till late... and after that, I don't remember..
Saturday morning, and we were up and at 'em, a good breakfast was had, and Wellington Barracks was only a 5 minute walk from the Hotel. Couldn't have been better placed really. This is what we saw in those 5 minutes..perhaps they knew we were coming..

We were shown upstairs to the Mess, and what a place it was. It had an uncompromisingly Military, Patriotic, Royalist, Traditionalist, and strictly no nonsense accepted, tolerated or displayed, sort of atmosphere to it. Wonderful!

God Bless Her!

Old relics, pictures and history filled nearly every space.
To the game...We had the Austrian Reserve Cavalry, four Regts of Kuirassier, two of Chevuleger, one of Dragoons and three Batteries. This made for a relatively easy but enjoyable game for us... shoot with the guns and charge with the cavalry, in between smoke breaks, and not too much of the mechanics and chart gazing that goes with having a Corps command. We did our best to wiggle whilst throwing our dice, hoping it would help. I don't think it did, but at least it gave other players a chuckle, as did our "Dance of The Utmost Happiness", conducted upon good dice rolling. Some general shots of the table...

Most of the figures were AB, and I have to say, of a high painting standard. These were part of our Command.

After a bit of mooching about, we deployed a close order battery to our left, and sent the chaps in for a ruck. There was a fair bit of hacking and slashing, and toing and froing, but eventually we routed off a couple of Saxon Cavalry Regts, and retired another, along with a battery. We realised that we were facing the Saxon Guard units.. and they hurt a fair bit, causing a number of casualties that we could not replace, whereas the French simply replaced theirs from this Reserve table.

Gaming finished about 6pm, and then we were off for pub grub, pies and liquid refreshments. It was really good to have a beer with decent folk, put faces to names, and generally yabber on about gaming, blogging, life in general and so on...our last pub was directly opposite Big Ben, which had a lot of Wow! factor for us Northerners, being more used to quieter places.
(Bryce, Martin & Mathew..good to meet up! Hope your livers have recovered..especially that Bryce bloke...)
Here's one of our best behaved moments, in front of Buckingham Palace..I'm glad to see that these photos prove that it was in fact a blurry night, and that it wasn't just my eyesight being wonky at the time.

The other gent there is Bryce, by the way, pleasant gamer, good painter and all round decent chap. Our worst behaved moments were not recorded. :-) When the pubs shut, the Hotel Bar was open till late, and my memory is again a bit hazy.. I do remember there being a Boddington's pump on the bar..
Sunday, and (amazingly) we were still able to get up, and after another fine breakfast, we packed our bags, and made our way to the Mess. The streets were strangely quiet, the silence broken only by our own personal breaking of wind and whimpering. Well, we aren't getting any younger, and the beer seems to be getting stronger. The game was afoot again, and one of our three Brigades had to be sent to our right flank, to offer support against masses of Cuirassier Regts. This was our Light Brigade, but with artillery support, managed to break a French square.

Our two Kuirassier Brigades were slowly whittled down, by superior numbers, and after putting up a really good show, decided to leave the table, following Brigade Morale check failures. Hey ho, we did our job of holding up that part of the French attack, and drew some of their reserves our way, thus allowing the main Austrian effort an easier ride. In all, it was a marvelous game, the terrain was good but practical, and it was a joy just to be part of it.
Around 4pm, it was all over, and it was decided to be a draw, which was far better than the historical result of an overwhelming French victory, so well done to us Austrians I say!After a swift pie munching session, it was onto the tube, coffee with the Browns, and a drive back up North, getting back just in time for beer at The Forge. Larverly stuff.
My thanks to the GdB team for the game, and to the Browns for the parking and facilities. There will be a fair few more pictures, over the next few days, on the GdB site Gallery page (see Wargames Links).