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Geschichtsmude

The Germans have a word for it, ” to be weary of history.” I was in conversation with Mr. James last night and it struck me this weekend how easy it would be to forget about wargaming during the Summer months. The sun, even here in Wales, has been oppressive. I’ve completely lost patience with playing against gamers with personality disorders and to add to my melancohly, it’s the birthday ‘season’ at Desperta Towers and that means cash! But, my regular reader knows, I could never lose  faith in our hobby.


The answer, like Boxer in Animal Farm, is to work harder, to put more in for to get more out. I call it the Five-a-week challenge. I aim to paint five 28mm figure every week minimum. I have found that doing batches of twenty four is just too much. The days of all day sessions are long gone and so five miniatures I feel is realistic. The first through the process are a bit of a cheat as I started them before the most recent heatwave. I hope you like these Forgotten and Glorious miniatures, the sculpting is brilliant. I love their faces and the animation. First to be finished are the high command, next will be the 14th Pennsylvania. Do let me know what you are currently working on and commit to the 5 a week challenge!

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Cry Haddock! (And unleash the Jumbos of war!)

Whilst the editor in chief is enjoying some quality time with his clan, the intrepid Mark Fry ventures to the West Country . It’s the hottest weekend yet in the glorious summer of 2017, it’s the weekend of Father’s Day and that means it’s time for Colin C to arrange for a Art de la Guerre competition, and Mr Fry has some rather nice new toys….

My Khmer Commander (‘you can never have enough parasols Pot’) leads his elite Guard spearmen in the attack on the Communal Italian centre

 

Yes folks, as promised your roving reporter (on a scorching June weekend) suffered the extreme heat at B.I.G (Bristol Independent Gaming) to bring you yet another hot off the press report of a cracking weekend of top-level LadG gaming*. This competition saw 15mm scale 200pt armies drawn from the Feudal Medieval era, fighting it out over 5 tense games. There were in the end c.18 players (with a couple playing a tag-team on the Saturday or Sunday keeping the numbers even) and we even had a few LadG ‘celebrities’ attending – such as Steve ‘the Hacker’ from Clevedon, Tim (BHGS Ranking controversy) Porter and the organiser himself, Colin (formally known as Prince) Cavanagh and several top-ranking central London LadG ‘professionals’, amongst others. In fact the event was even graced by a ‘royal visit’ when the ‘great Don’ arrived unannounced on the Sunday, passed amongst the players generously dispensing both rules adjudications and play advice, before departing as quickly as he arrived, for a Father’s Day nosh-up. “Gauwd bless’im!”

*readers will be sad to note that our illustrious editor (Digger Baldwin) was not in attendance as he had a pressing and highly important family engagement elsewhere (a special birthday party I gather).

So on to the meat of the event, and in the true spirit of what the organiser intended (c.C12th feudal medieval armies) yours truly opted to field a 9 elephant strong Khmer Empire army with Burmese allies. Needless to say I paid for my churlish bravado by ending up in the lower half (third quarter) in the final results but it was fun … although my last game against a certain Chris (controversy) Jackson was a bit of a challenge. For those what are interested & there were a few at the event itself, here is a look at my army list:

       

Khmer Empire and Champa, with Burmese allies, NB: Khmer elephants with light bolt-throwers mounted on them shoot as light artillery, but fight as ordinary elephants (outstanding!). And here it is fully deployed (in Game 2)


 

A full list of the Runners and Riders was as follows:
1. Colin Cavanagh – SSWG: 178 Anglo-Irish 


2. Mark Mainwaring – Cardiff: 146 Welsh 

3. Dave Allen – CLWC: 193 Ghaznavid 

4. Ian Mackay – CLWC: 184 Komnenan Byzantine 

5. Steve Price – Berkeley: 209 Teutonic Knights 


6. Steve Hacker – Clevedon: 181 Communal Italian 

7. Tim Porter – CLWC: 160 Rus 

8. Mark Fry – Berkeley: 167 Khmer Empire and Champa 

9. Hubert Bretagne – CLWC: 181 Communal Italian 

10. Jesse Schoor – CLWC: 178 Anglo-Irish 

11. Mark Clarke – Birmingham: 150 Viking and Leidang 

12. Ian Speed – Birmingham: 210 Samurai 

13. Phil Mackie – Devizes: 187 Later Crusader 

14. Chris Jackson – Cardiff: 187 Later Crusader 


15. Darrell Pearce – MKWS: 181 Communal Italians 

16. Harrison Pearce – MKWS; 181 Communal Italians 

17. Mike Bennett – CLWC: 193 Ghaznavid 

18. Dave Saunders – CLWC: 148 Feudal Spanish

Battle 1). against a Papal Communal Italian (with a Sicilian ally) – an army that I know well. The game started off badly for my opponent Darrell Pearce, as his ‘Brilliant’ allied Sicilian commander took one look at a wall of rampant Khmer elephants and went all cautious and unreliable. In fact, despite recovering his courage later in the game he should have stuck with his first instincts and legged-it, as I went on to crush all his Almughavars underfoot and give his papist paymasters a serious kicking as well. A 20-17 win to the Khmer.

Battle 2). against a Ghaznavid Arab and I was up against Dave Allen (a known tough opponent) – the Ghaznavid would have been my 2nd choice over the Khmer. I lost this game 20-16 as Dave smashed my weaker Khmer command, the one with the Elephant artillery – which he hit it with a mixed command of Elite elephants and elite MF impact – so out fought my ordinary MF spear & ordinary elephants in a straight fight. However I made one of his cavalry commands evade off table and then started to mangled his 2nd cavalry command with my Burmese combo of elite elephants & MF bowmen, I was also within 1 MU of his Camp, but I broke just before I could capture it.

 

Battle 3) – against a Komnenan Byzantine (a very interesting army) played by Ian McKay (another very experienced player). He chose his terrain very wisely – a gully and some woods – both of which totally buggers up the jumbos. He also dismounted 8 of his 10 Medium knights (as HF armoured spearmen) and dismounted 4 of his Byzantine MC (as MF Bowmen elite) – you get the idea. He also had a mobile command of 6 LC bow.

The battle was slow to start with as I advanced on his infantry (dug in behind the Gully & Wood) and we both headed for each others Camps (which we both captured). In the subsequent combats the HF spears held my jumbos and minced my MF spearmen – even when I was at advantage in the gully (very poor dice on my part – but being hit in the flank also didn’t help!) and the combo of his LC bow and MF bows just picked off my LF & Elephants on a targeted 1:1 basis. He also used his Brilliant commanders to great effect and was expert at dashing around dicing off casualties (a good bit of learning). We ended on a 20-6 result in Ian’s favour that didn’t really do justice to the close state of many of the melees (before rallying off).

A sorry state of affairs in Game 3 – as my army is the filling in a Komnenan Byzantine ‘sandwich’ Yikes!

 

So I went home still with some hope in my heart.

Sunday dawned, with clear blue skies over Bristol and another scorcher of a day!


 

Game 4) was against a Leidang Medieval Viking (with German allies) – so masses of HF spears and HF Huscarls. At least I didn’t need to worry about being out flanked this time. This was a fast & furious game against Mark Clarke (a true gent). As no terrain fell in the centre of the table, both of us just lined up & went for each other. The Jumbos did their stuff – even the artillery caused enough pre-melee casualties to pay for themselves. However, HF spear & also HF with HCW are tough opponents and even with 3 BPs on them these units fight back very effectively.

My MF spears – even on the ends of the lines – were my weak link and after some ferocious fighting I eventually lost 20-20 (with the Viking 3 BP off also breaking) – the last round of combat could have given it to either of us.
A critical moment as my combined MF elite spear and ordinary elephants hit the Viking line, which holds.
 

Game 5) against Chris ‘controversy’ Jackson and I knew this was going to be a ‘difficult’ sort of game, as Steve Price had played him in the morning and got him all excited! He was using a Later Crusader (apparently) – which in the right hands is a very tough army – especially as this was the Richard I variant with the mixed HF spear-xbow units. He had hordes of impetuous medium knights + HF spear + HF mixed spear-xbows + a couple of mounted Turcopoles. To make life even more difficult (for both of us) he chose to attack in the Desert – so the table was broken up with sand dunes, brush and impassable terrain (deep joy). I won’t bore you with the ‘dithering’ of his main battle-line as 6 mounted Medium knights did the hoki-koki and advanced and then turned around and headed back away from fast advancing Elephants; as I just flung my forces across the table at him. I had a slight ‘jolt’ to start with as my Burmese ally went all shy in game turn 1 – only to throw a 6 next go and proceed to charge forward and blow a nice neat hole in his over-confident infantry line. On the near flank my artillery jumbos were toughing up his elite knights and even killed off Richard I in melee (hurrah!). Then Colin called time and as we quickly counted up it became clear that whilst Chris had inflicted 6 casualties on me (1 dead jumbo & 4 other BP markers) I had inflicted 20 BP on him against his total of 21! So a very, very close draw! Maybe I should have asked for a recount (in the spirit of all such close encounters or asked for postal votes to have been disqualified … but that did seem churlish at the time). Leaving aside the issue that there were echoes of Pelennor Fields about it (his all white ghostly ‘Army of the Dead’ verses my Mumakils!) I am also sure we’d both forgotten that Chris’ mixed HF spear-xbows fight as mediocre in melee and he’d thrown a couple of 5s & 6s to save him from death against the elephant charges. Ah well … you live & learn.

 

        

Chris Jackson The King of the Undead (the way is closed, it was made by the dead & the dead keep it!)

Chris                   The King of the Undead

 

In summary – the elephants work very well. They are not so great once they get into melee, particularly with HF spear or worse against HF HCW (axes/polearms etc) and as you cannot rally-off casualties they are very vulnerable to archery – but I would most certainly use this army again. I need more practice with the Khmer but as it spans a period from 802AD to 1431AD it covers at least 3 LadG sub-periods. Also I need a ‘crib sheet’ on all the various Elephant rules – the fact that a Gully reduces them to a ‘0’ in combat and negates their impact ability was a very painful learning indeed.


 

It was a great event – many thanks Colin – I’ll be back next year as apparently Cry Handbags! (unleash the dobbins of war) will be back on the same weekend in 2018 – Colin was overheard to mention something about it needing to coincide with a very special birthday date …???)

 Mark is next to be seen at Devizes (Attack!) playing in the Flames of War (Early War) and then at Grimsby in September were we continue our 6mm Cold War Commander campaign and my trusty Danes, Dutch Marines and German paratroopers will be holding the Commie menace to account.

 

I thank yea!

Mark Fry

PS: some chaps from Central London Wargames Club came 1st & 2nd … “they comes down ‘ere, takin our trophies, drinking our beer, eating our curry and frightening our wimmin. I asks you!”


 

 

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Mr. Fry discovers………Valencia

FROM OUR VERY OWN FOREIGN CORRESPONDENT: Mark FryOur roving reporter brings you the very best in all things wargaming from abroad. Not for him the sordid fleshpots of Club 18-30, Mark appreciates the finer things in life (1830 BC!)

When our partner states in that special voice (you know the one I mean) that “we haven’t had a holiday in a while” you just know that something is going to have to be booked and booked smartish like! And so it was that we ended up with a weeks holiday in Valencia. Why Valencia you may well ask? Indeed that is a good question. Well, as far as my good lady was concerned, it is cheap (ish), warm and sunny (I can certainly vouch for that), it is not too “chavvy”, had nice food and a load of very fine modern art galleries and it is jam packed full of ‘culture’. And by Culture (note the capital ‘C’) there are 38 museums, endless medieval churches (+ a Cathedral), an venerated Madonna statue, a chapel of the (genuine) Holy Grail etc. etc. plus a nice fresh food market and a host of appropriate shops (Spanish shoes seem to be an item of interest this season).



But there is also a statue of El Cid and James the Conqueror (in the same square you understand), a horde of medieval and renaissance civic Spanish building – you know the type, impressive stone walls, massive doors, turrets, gargoyles (more on them later) and the usual heraldic painted beamed ceilings etc. Massive medieval gate houses, a C15th Silk Hall (with more gargoyles) and alongside this you have a bit of Moorish and even Roman heritage – i.e. interesting ways to torture your rebellious enemies are graphically displayed in the archaeological museum as Pompey’s troops taught the local Valencia Spanish that supporting Sertorious was not such a good idea after all (Edward II would have recognized the methodology!).

But did I say 38 museums dear reader …. well I misled you, there are in fact 39 and what a treat the 39th one is.


Yes folks, the L’iber Museo de los Soldaditos de Plomo is all its name suggests it is – a 1 million figure strong wargaming and model soldier museum (with c.90,000 on display). So as I packed the good lady off on a 2 hour shoe buying expedition with her credit card (mine safely stashed away in my own wallet you understand), I paid my discounted 3 Euro entry fee and entered the hallowed portals of this glorious establishment. 

The 3,000+ 15mm Xyston Gaugamela display was truly awesome but it almost paled into insignificance in comparison with the 9,500 piece 25mm MiniFigs diorama of the battle of Almansa (1707) from the Wars of the Spanish Succession or the 50mm Austerlitz, Waterloo and Retreat from Moscow scenes.
Needless to say I exited two and a half hours later (in a daze) to find my good lady seated at a pavement cafe opposite eating ice cream with a couple of bulging shoe filled shopping bags at her feet. All I bought was a 5 euro catalog (as an aid memoir) purely for research purposes you understand – but the inspiration will stay with me for ever – as will my admiration for a stunning collection of model soldiers and a thought provoking concept . A thoroughly worthwhile visit, even though it did cost in the region of over 300 Euros in the end to get in, in the end. That is accounting for the cost of shoe purchases, the dinner the night beforehand to ‘smooth the path’ and the cost of the ice creams and the 3 euro entry fee … but all well worth it I can tell you. 


“But what of those gargoyles you promised us earlier!?” I hear you cry … well here you go … don’t say that I cannot bring a culturally themed blog post down a level! Here you go … 


A wonderful Spanish holiday Ole!
PS … I almost forgot to mention there is actually a 40th museum – a local Army Museum – but I wasn’t going to push my luck by suggesting a visit to that as well – so we had a very ‘nice’ afternoon in the Silk museum instead (and acquired a very fetching rose pink silk scarf as a souvenir … lovely!) 


Mark Fry is a freelance journalist employed by the Despertaferres news media group. His specialities are rural issues in the West of Slimbridge and the furze growing industry of Lower Slaughter. He will hopefully being reporting from Cry Havoc LADG competition this weekend. Stay tuned for more from this master wordsmith…

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Open invitation

The Rebel

Dear Mike,
On May 22, 2017, a 22-year-old named Salman Abedi carried out a suicide bombing in Manchester, killing 22 and injuring 116.What Salman Abedi did is not the beginning, and it won’t be the end. There is a nation within a nation forming just beneath the surface of the UK. It’s a nation built on hatred, on violence and on Islam.

The mosque that Abedi worshipped at has its own Sharia court, it has a long history of giving a platform to some of the world’s most radical hate preachers. Speakers at the mosque have called for our troops to be killed, for apostates to bestoned and for homosexuals to be put to death. And the government and politicians refuse to take the necessary steps to keep us safe.

It has now been left to us, the ordinary people of the United Kingdom to stand up to hate, to unite and in one voice say ‘no more’.

That’s why on Sunday the 11th of June, we will stand together in Manchester in opposition to hate.

We will say ‘no more’, we will walk in silence through the city to honour the dead, we will rally to demand action, we will make ourselves impossible to ignore.

Meet at Manchester Piccadilly train station before 2 pm on Sunday, June 11, for a silent walk through the city, then join us in Piccadilly Gardens for a rally with speeches from Britain’s leading counter extremists.
We hope to see you there, please go to http://www.UkAgainstHate.com and RSVP for this important event. 
Yours truly, 
Tommy Robinson 
P.S. We will also be meeting in Sunderland on June 10 as part of our Justice for Chelsey campaign. RSVP for that march and get all the details by clicking here. 
The Rebel · Box 61056 Eglinton/Dufferin RO, 


Let’s Roll! Leaving Cardiff 9.00 am – e.t.a. 1pm. Back around 10pm. Welsh time.

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Bank holiday Blues…

 

The family are together, the election is being discussed……time to visit the man-cave. My regular reader will know that the boxes of miniatures are very much reduced. Two parcels are on the way so more room is needed. It was twenty years ago that I decided on a “basing style”. It was a bit OCD , or Maoist, at the time but I wanted every unit in the collection to be identically based. Twenty years on and the creamy yellow I decided on is beginning to grate. The answer is to be found in the massive sand box in my garage. Don’t ask me what is in it, it is the accumulation of cat litter, sharps sand, sand pit remnants and modellers scatter. Add the fondry trio of base shade and we have the new evolution. First up, basing my Scottish and French medieval command groups. 40mm circles give you just enough room for a small diorama. See what you think, I won’t be offended😤😁😡 The French and Burgundians are bound for eBay. My Scots and Spanish armies are nearly ready for there own page. Thanks for reading- have a great “what’s left of” the bank holiday!

A Florentine standard gets eggs thrown at it by irate republican boy!

 

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Almughavar command for sale!

Franco-Scottish command groups

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The end of the beginning…..

Despite thousands of calls and visits, I still can’t stop economising. My new army for Devizes is Early Byzantines. I could have just gone out and bought thirty pounds worth of Slavs but this is the new me. The old me got on the Aventine site and added slingers….and erm, javelinmen……and erm, rock throwing skirmishers. Well, somethings don’t change. The minis below were painted over twenty five years ago and now they are off to market. If one of my sons even mentions Age of Sigmar there will be trouble! Warhammer fantasy orcs if you are interested! Mention this blog and I’ll throw in some freebies!

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Concession-gate

Just what is it with some gamers? To some our hobby is a social thing, a chance to meet and swap ideas with like minded individuals. To others, it is a chance for sniping and talking under your breath. To an outsider, it must seem hilarious! But to the illuminati , the stakes are far too high for grudges not to be held and the atmosphere not to stink of last night’s fondue. I thought it was hilarious that Polish security guards had to be called to ETC Warhammer competition a few years ago. How I laughed when one of our own was involved what has been termed, “Concession-gate”

Note: this is not to be confused with dice-gate, List -gate, Commandpoint-gate and lift-gate😗. Three out of four also involving the same individual.


Third game of the Clevedon Clubs competition was the always genial Clarkey. Indonesian elephants and swordsmen were a tough opponent for Swiss pikes. The table was heavily covered with terrain in the centre. Mr Clarke put his allies on the coast and looked to be planning to attack on my left.


Now on previous occasions I have a tendency to be rash. If I attacked his left. Mark’s rough terrain troops could flank me. I decided on facing off the allies and centre, whilst looking for a weakness on his right.


Skirmishing continued for about an hour. The hand gunners proved to be a fantastic asset in the dual. Even naphtha throwers couldn’t deter the mountain heroes. Mark withdrew his skirmish screen.


The action in the centre was brief. I didn’t want to face medium spear in the rough terrain. Mark didn’t want to leave the jungle and face pikemen in the open.



Hint: a relatively new concept , in my wargaming at least, is that you do not always have to attack! Sometimes the defence is so strong that it would be foolhardy to advance. Clarkey doubted my negativity and we tried out the respective theories at the end of the game- Swiss pikes can’t cope with rainforest! 


Two draws and a victory put me in a good position at the end of the competition. My old friend Chris was being briefed by the refugee from Flames of War, Colin as I arrived at the table- what a treat awaited me! I knew Chris would be bringing a Free Company list. I knew that it was the product of much humbrol paint and plastercene.

Artists impression of Chris at work


And then it started. First, a refusal to move his troops to accommodate my waterway. Then an allegation of deliberately bending his pikes! Six calls to Mr Unwin for rules adjudication all went in my favour. Next an allegation that Unwin was being bribed, Big Don is called in to adjudicate for another three rulings.

Chris’ Knights skirted the forest but were met by pikes. The dismounted mercenaries came forward to be flanked by my right corps. The free company is an expensive choice and my target of levies and crossbow filler disappeared. The back of his side of the table was covered with troops, he conceded…….we packed up…….Don noticed that Chris wasn’t broken when we submitted the list- Chris claimed a draw, how I laughed!


Note to self- get the more “creative” player to write down his decision. 

It had been an excellent weekend. The standard of painting was a joy. My plan for the Swiss is to increase the number of halberdiers. Maybe a whole command of the Alp climbing Rambos. My thanks to all involved in the weekend. Fifth place out of twelve!😜