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Sunday 18 September 2016

The Battle of Shyterly Moor- 1643 or 1978- take your pick.

 Saturday 17th October saw 4 T.W.A.T.S gather at our usual watering hole forthis months game. To whit you Gentle Author Floating Jeff, Mechanical Shaun and Andrew the Tekkie.
 I was in the chair  so decided to run and ECW game as I have lots of toys. Not least a bundle my wife Carole bought me for Crimbo a couple of years ago . These have featured on theis blog most recently in the post "Reconditioned Regiments" and also in my ECW article in MWBG some months ago as well as in other ECW posts here. .
 So it was about time they took to the field.
 Most of the models were Hinchliffe or Foremost but with several Garrison and some Minifigs gunners. The White Regt of trained bands were of course my single precious unit of  rare Les Higgins "Jason" 30mm figures- with a couple of Stadden to make up the numbers.(I totally forgot to bring the 7 figure cavalry unit of Jasons that I have. They will turn up next time.  A few Essex and some Old Glory were mixed in where they fitted in stylistically. Both armies were very shiny !
 As they were  mostly figures from the 1970s it seemed appropriate to run a game using 1970s rules so I chose George Gush's WRG set from 1976 . I used to play these quite a bit in the late 70s and had dabbled since but it had been at least 10 years since these had been used in anger,
 It was an intresting and entertaining experience.
 So here are the briefings for each side.

September 1643 or 1978 – take you pick!
Royalist Briefing
 Sir Geoffrey Riche- B’Stard.
Baron Firkham of Firkham Hall

Ye rebels have entered your lands intending to plunder monies intended for his Majesty (minus your cut of course !) You have therefore drawn together your forces to oppose them as they advance from the mill town of Utterly toward Firkham.
 You have drawn up your army on the edge of Shyterly Moor.
 Your army consists of.
 Horse and Dragoons.

The Queens Regt of Horse.
 A class HC ( C) Order Sword and Pistols
 9 figs
Sir Thomas Tyldesleys Regt of horse.
A class HC ( C ) Order Sword and pistols.
11 figs
 Lord Capels Regt of Horse
 A class HC ( C ) Order Sword and pistols.
11 figs
 Sir Haverage Dyce’s regt of Horse
A class HC ( C) Order Sword and pistols.
8 figs
Sir William Blackstone’s Regt. Of Dragoons
D class MC Order  sword  when mounted
 C class Open order musket when dismounted.
 10 figs

The Foote

The Kings Lifeguard of Foot
 Pikemen close order. HI C class
 2 sub Units each of  LI musketeers C class
16 pikes
32 muskets
Sir Charles Gerards Regt. Of Foote Bluecoats
Pikemen close order HI C class
2 sub units each of LI musketeers C class.
24 pikes
32 muskets
 Col. Mythical Smiths Regt. Of Foot Grey/Brown coats
Pikemen close order HI D class.
2 sub units each of LI musketeers D class
16 pikes
24 muskets.

The Ordnance.
 Heavy Guns
 2 gun models D class gunners.
 Guns may not be moved one placed. May only turn on their axis- which counts as movement.
 light gun
1 model D class crew
 May not move and fire
Light gun
1 model D class crew
 As above. Either light gun may be attached as sub unit to foot unit if desired.


Destroy the rebel scum! 

Parliamentarian Briefing 1643 or 1978 –take your pick!
Major-General Jasper Grasping.

That foul malignant Sir Geoffrey Riche- B’Stard has been raiding the mill towns of Utterly and Skintborough to extract contributions for the Kings evil counsellors.  Some of it was your money !!
 Therefore with the help of the Lord of Hosts you shall smite the malignants Hip and Thigh.

The Horse.
Sir Arthur Hazelriggs Regt. ofHorse.
 EHC close order sword and pistols C class
16 figs in 2 units of 8
Col Philip Twistletons  Regt of Horse
 HC (C ) Order sword and pistols  C class
10 figs
Col Edwin Cooke’s regt of Horse
HC (C ) Order Sword and pistols D class
10 figs

The Foote
The White Regt of Trained bands
Pikemen HI Close order C class
2 sub units of LI musketeers C class. Order
25 pikemen
 32 muskets.
The Green Regt of Trained Bands.
Pikemen HI close order Cclass
2 sub units of LI musketeers C class. Order
16 pikemen
24 musketeers
Col Edward Suren’s regt . of Foote
Pikemen HI  close order C class.
2 sub units of LI musketeers C class .Order
14 pikemen
22 musketeers.
The Utterly and Skintborough Commanded shot
Musketeers LI D class Order,
24 musketeers

The ordnance.
Heavy Gun
 1 model D class crew
May not move once placed except to turn on its axis- which counts as movement.
Medium Gun
1 model D class crew
May not move and fire in the same turn-
 Light Gun
1 model D class crew

Objective- Destroy the Malignants!! 

As we had not played this system for some years I decided on a simple encounter battle. I wrote the Briefing deliberately BEFORE checking out the rules to see if my memeoory was at fault- only with regard to artillery movement had I misremembered- Gush allowed artillery more freedom that I would have. For the game we went with Gush..
The armies deployed. Royalists on the right of the picture. Table approx 8 feet by 5 

The Battle.

Both sides  deployed  ignoring period formation. Foot mostly  2 ranks deep  instead of the deeper formations of the 17th century. The idea seemed to be to get the most firepower in. ,
 For the first 3 moves little occoured . Each Commander -Floating Jeff for the Royalists and Andrew for the Roudheads- ably assisted by Shaun simply felt at eah other rather gently. The Royalist Dragoons siezed a wood on the Parliamentarian left whilst twice their number of  Roundheads in the form of the Commanded Shot simply stood and watched. 
 A prolonged artillery duel ensued in the centre with the Royalists getting marginally the upper hand and causing moderate losses to the White regiment. However the Kings Lifeguard were far from unscathed as the duel continued Andrews artillery dice being marginally better- even with fewer guns.

Closer shot of the Roundhead deployment. Britain's trees once again do the business

 Finally Jeff got moving . The Queens horse charged Twistletons and routed it in short order- Jeff doing his dice thing as normal!! . The victorious Cavaliers then pursued into the somewhat surprised and stationary Curassiers and after a 2 move fight sent then on their way as well and being nutters pursued them from the field. Jeff's dice had scored again helped by a thumping slice of luck when Andrew's dice were the worst possible outcome and Jeff's the best with a plus 4 difference to the Cavaliers !! . Glum faces in the roundhead camp and dark muttering to boot !! 
Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Horse advance. Figures are  mostly retro being Hinchliffe from the late 70s but combined with a few Old Glory and painted as recently as early this year. 
On the Royalist left Dyce's and Capel's horse advance.. In the distance the Queens horse can be seen doing the Roundheads over good and proper ! 

 Left with little choice the Parliamentarians began a belated advance with the commanded shot entering the wood on the Roundhead left to search for the now dismounted dragoons. In the centre a firefight erupted which the  Roundheads had the better of but over on their right it all went very pear shaped very suddenly.
The roundheds begin to advance- Too little too late. 
 Surens Foot fired at Dyces horse- which drove them to a frenzy and they charged. They were however supported by Capels horse who hit the foot in the flank dispersing the sub unit of shot and smashing into the pikemen as they were engaged frontally. After some truly bum reaction test throws the whole unit fled pursued by the royalist horse. At this point Andrew and Shaun conceded defeat with 3/4 of their horse and 1/4 of their foot gone they had little option. So  we all had another pint ! .
The wheels come off AND it all goes very pear shaped for the Roundheads .... 

Post match analysis! 

Andrew had correctly predicted that "he was in for a right smegging" and so it proved.  Back in the day Jeff had been something of a competitor around the country and despite a decade or more since the last WRG game it was amazing how fast it all came back. Up to a point this was true for me as well.. Shaun has some experience with WRG too but only with the Ancients.
 However the Roundheads lack of aggression cost them the game at least as much as Jeff's knowledge and his uncanny ability to get good dice when it mattered (He throws bum dice too but somehow never at the tipping point as it were !!) .
 There is no doubt that these rules are not perfect for the ECW- I need to put in some period formation rules for a start/ However we will re-visit   them both for the ECW and  for other pike and shot sub-genres.  We may even visit the Ancients rules.
 Frankly I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the experience. I know its not fashionable these days but you actually have to think about what you do rather than simply roll dice or even pull them blind from a silly little bag like a poor raffle for a box of cheap whine ! (spelling error very intentional) 
A bit of showing off!.The Battle Magazine isd October 1978 and if you look carefully you can see the two units in the photo are now in my collection . 
Another this time matching the figures to the Asquith/Gilder Osprey on Naseby from 1978.

 Oh and the label "Retro- Wargaming" - well frankly "Old  School " reminds me too much of doddery old farts in cardigans with thermos flasks , smelling- as one blogger put it  of "Ralgex and Werther's origonals" . Not the T.W.A.T.S  style at all.
 As always thanks are due to Jean our  landlady for the splendid beef butties and acres of chips and gallons of gravy. Not to mention  more than a  few pints of Consett Brewery's splendid "White Hot" a light ale which is just the job for a decent seession.
 Next game will be sometime in October. I'll start thinking abut it once we get back from Donnington .

Saturday 10 September 2016

The Treadaway Conundrum.

It is now pretty common knowledge that John Treadaway has taken ove as editor on Miniature Wargames.  magazine.  Henry Hyde's tenure- whilst starting a tad shakily soon made the magazine my personal favourite,  on average, of the 3 glossies. WSS out shone it sometimes and WI out glossed it always but never had the style to treat its readers as if they were older then 14 so all in all it was the best of the 3 .
So Treads has a hard act to follow and frankly a bit of a poisoned chalice. He brings a good bit of experience to the table but knowledge which lies primarily in the Sci-fant arena. Now personally I' ll nerve be a fan of Fantasy gaming - can't see the point of all that Dwarf -fiddling and more importantly the po-faces of many of its practicioners. Also GW- especially 40k just turns my stomach it reads like  a game for nasty little boys who pull the wings off flies ....
However on the ups side Treads has a track record of fine looking sci-fant games in various sub-genres often - and this is much to his credit- avoiding the well trodden paths. Both in Mil -Mod and latterly in MW even though not a fantasy game at all I'd read Fantasy Facts as I do have a small interest in "hard SF" style games as occasional light relief from serious historical stuff.

 THE 69th Marine Independent Landing  Force.
I've no actual objection to sci-fant articles within the pages of the magazine though I do have a concern that- due to internal Warners politics it may allegedly  all be slanted towards  one company to whit Mantic games. Now my knowledge of this outfit is severely limited- to one meeting with one supposed  representative at the Scarborough show War Torn a few years back. Frankly he was full of s***. He promised but did not perform. Now I have no reason to suppose that this will happen in the magazine- or that this attitude is normal for Mantic but it does make you cautious.

So Treads has a serious conundrum to  solve. He has to bear with the sometime waspish attitude of historical wargamers to sci-fant ( guilty m'lud!) as well as the narrow minds of some of the "gamin' innit" crowd who can't see past the end of the currently fashionable overpriced plastic spaceship.
 Then of course he can only decide  which article to print from those he has to hand......
I await the first few Treadaway issues with interest.

Friday 2 September 2016

Reconditioned Regiments.

About a coupel of years ago I bought a load of ECW models from DC- he of Unfashionably shiny fame !  Some at least of these  had been Peter Gilders. Others had been Duncan MacFaralnes. I've been working through them giving them a bit of TLC where needed.
Most of these figures are at least 30 years old and knowledge then was a little more sparse than it is now, so which regiement is what can be problematic. Nevertheless I opted to keep them as stylistically close to the era they were made as I could.So I left the fictional- but very pretty hand painted flags where they were.
Colonel Mythical Smith's regiment of Foote. Garrison Pikemen Hincliffe Musketeers and Command. Beautifully painted but totally fictitious flags.
These units are of course products of their time (the later 1970's) so by todays standards are perhaps not as visually accurate as they would be if I made them now. .

A regiment of Greencoat foot.  .
The Greencoats seem to be parts of two smaller units as the 2 groups of pikemen do not fit together. Maybe in time I'll add to them or split them into 2 units. The important thing here for me is that I retain ther 1970s style.
 As it happens these lads and many others will be on the table for the next T.W.A.T.S. meeting  about a week from now.