Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Peter Laing Machine Gun Cyclsts

      At the Duchy of Tradgardland blog, tradgardland.blogspot.com the most recent posting had a post card and several illustrations of the 26th Middlesex cyclists. What really caught my eye was that in two of the pictures were that the cyclists had a machine gun deployed ready for action. The machine gun was on a carriage with what looks like bicycle wheels. And while searching for more pictures, I did come across a picture of a machine gun being towed behind a bicycle (unfortunately I didn't bookmark the page).

   As I have mentioned in the past among my favorite Peter Laing figures is the Victorian Parade cyclist figure. I have tried to mold these figures in the past, and after seeing the Tradgardland blog,  another attempt at this mold might be in order.  I also thought of a Peter Laing machine gun model which I really had never had much use for; until now.  I do believe this machine gun and the cyclist figure could make a reasonable war-game unit.  It also reminded me of another Peter Laing bicycle figure that Ian Dury gave me of a WW1 Belgium cyclist. These figures would be well suited for Little Wars type of games.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Raid on a Stockade

       Trying  to squeeze in a game, I finally made use of  C.S Grant & S.A. Asquith's  "Scenarios for all Ages", using scenario 27 "Raid on a Stockade".  And I actually read through the scenario and followed  many of the suggestions, which, of course, made for a good game.

        "The situation along the Shiak-Brookshire border continued to deteriorate. Both sides were mobilizing their militia, and Brookshire spies  were reporting that the Shiak army was building supply depots along the border. The Brookshire command decided to try to disrupt the Shiak plans by raiding the depots.  The command turned to Lt. Col. Barnaby, the hero of the Battle of Wormy ridge.  Barnaby puts out the call for volunteers for the raid. Response is luke warm, until he mentions that since anything found is to be destroyed anyway, any volunteer could take what he could carry.  He quickly had all the men he needed., which he formed into a "Ranger" unit."

      The men in Barnaby command didn't have time for niceties such as uniforms. They crossed the border and closed in on the largest of the supply depots, which was guarded by 4 militia units.
The garrison has sentries on each of the walls; Barnaby has his forces surrounding the post.

The Stockade (an old Atlantic model fort).

Barnaby with some of his Rangers.

Another shot of the Rangers in the woods.

The sun is just rising when the Rangers start their advance.

Ranger approach from the west.

The sentries must be dozing as one Ranger unit reaches the palisade unnoticed.

Finally the sentry on the east wall sees the advancing troops and fires on them, rousing the garrison.

Captain Collins, commander of the stockade, quickly deploys his units. He notices that there is no assault from the south, and the attackers from the west are still have a lot of ground to cover, so he concentrates on the attacking force from the east.

Another shot of Capt. Collins troop deployment. His militia wore their dress uniforms to war!

The Rangers kill two militiamen with their fire, while a third Ranger scales the palisade and engages a militiaman in hand -to-hand combat. (Hand-to-hand combat was by rolling two dice; high roll wins.)

The militiaman won the fight, and pitches the body of the Ranger back over the palisade.

The militia fire kills two Rangers, and two other Rangers break and run.

The Rangers on the north wall lose another ranger and another retreats.

The Rangers close in from all sides and pour fire on the garrison.

 Barnaby chose his Rangers based on their marksmanship, and that skill is coming into play. The militiamen lose three more men.

Capt. Collins redeploy his men. There main pressure right now is on the north  and southeast part of the garrison. Capt. Collins can be seen in the north-east corner helping with the fight, the militiaman  in the middle of the eastern wall can fire on either of the Ranger groups.

The militiamen direct their fire on a group of Rangers working around the south, and kills three out of four!

The Rangers have now closed on the stockade. Col. Barnaby and his bugler join the Ranger who just lost three of his friends.

The Rangers shoot down the two militiamen on the south-west corner of the stockade.

Two militiamen from the south-east corner start moving to protect the exposed south-west corner.

On the north wall the militia are still holding their own.

The Ranger scale the palisade in two different places along the west wall. In the "Scenarios for all Ages" they suggested rolling for each figure and needing doubles to succeed in scaling the walls. It seemed to me they weren't facing any opposition and would have no trouble scaling the palisade. And so for each man in the group I rolled two dice. In the north-west corner I rolled 8 dice and got the equivalent of three doubles. On the south-west I rolled 6 dice and got two doubles.

The end of the next turn. The militiamen are still hitting the advancing Rangers, and the militiamen on the south wall kill one of the Rangers who scaled the wall, but the militiamen have also lost three men.

The Ranger on the south-west wall jumps down and opens the gate of the stockade. The Rangers on the North-west wall starts working their way around the cat walk. Notice Col. Barnaby's group along the south wall and another group of Rangers making for the open gate.

Col. Barnaby and his group fires on the militiamen on the south wall, killing both of them! The Rangers on the north wall have killed another militiaman and another Ranger has scaled the wall and gotten between the last militiaman on the north wall and Capt. Collins. The Rangers in the south-east corner have shot down another militiaman.

Capt. Collins, finding himself with only two men left, decides to surrender. Collins is brought down to meet Col. Barnaby.

A shot of Victor and Vanquished; Col Barnaby and Capt. Collins.

For rules I used "Horse &Musket" by Chris Salander, which appeared in MWAN 102.  They are good rules to use for skirmish games and seem comparable with Bob Condrey's Memoir of Battle rules.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Paper or Plastic?

     My wife for the last few years have been trying to get me to buy a reading tablet (Nook of Kindle). I don't know if this was for my benefit or if she was tired of books and magazines scattered around the house.  I have aways put it off. However, before going on vacation my brother gave me his old Kindle Paperwhite. After using it I was hooked. What's more easy than just downloading books wherever you happen to be? What's more the likes of Osprey is making their books available on Kindle.  Once I found out that other Kindles could do other things besides just download books so I upgraded to a Kindle Fire.

    And while I am happy with the purchase, I find myself trying to decide which books to buy in paper form and which ones to download.  Now one Osprey I came across was "Lincolns 90 Day Volunteers", which, dealing with militia, was a must have and so downloaded it to the Kindle. I am happy with the purchase, but in the future I will buy Ospreys and other uniform books in paper form. (By the way one BIG drawback on the Kindle copy is that there is no direct link to the uniform plates. Might I suggest to Osprey that for now on they have the plates listed in the table of contents with a direct link to them.) Books that will in all probability be a one shot read will be a Kindle purchase.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Wlid Geese Hostage Rescue: The Downside of Solo Gaming

    Since coming back from vacation I have been spending  time researching the small wars from the time of my birth (1961) through Desert Storm. One period that has always interested me is the period of mercenaries in the Congo and Biafra. I think this is due from watching one of my favorite movies over and over, "The Wild Geese". It's really not a great movie but the underlining theme of the comradeship of the men is what makes the movies for me.

    I have some Peter Pig figures which I bought years ago for a "Wild Geese" game which I never played, until yesterday.  As mentioned before, my war-games were getting to be the same old game over and over, and so, using Charles Grants' books of  scenarios for wargames,   I came across several hostage rescue scenarios; perfect for the "Wild Geese"!  Obviously the scenario had to be changed from the movie, as in the movie they snuck into the camp and gassed the garrison; that wouldn't make much of a game.

    " The "Wild Geese" were put on standby for early deployment. Their mission, to save Julius Limbarni from being executed by General Mandosa was being moved up. The "government source" had new intel that Mandosa was dispatching his personal guard, the "Simbas", to pick up Limbarni for the village he is under house arrest, and bring him back to the capital where Mandosa can torture him before executing him.  The "Wild Geese" will parachute near the village and move in to save Limbarni. It is not known where in the village Limbarni is, so the village will have to be searched. The local militia will not kill Limbarni, as they will be the ones tortured in his place by the Simbas."

     The location of Limbarni was marked by a folded piece of paper with a "X" in it. while placing them I lost one piece of paper but that shouldn't be a problem............

The "Wild Geese" are on the top and sides of the board; 4 guards from the militia guards their billets, and the "Simbas" are on the bottom awaiting activation. The Simbas could start rolling for activation after the shooting started, on the idea the militia would start radioing for help once the shooting started!

From the Simba viewpoint.

The guards rolled to see if they saw the approaching mercs; three guards are dosing but the fourth sees and opens fire, killing one mercenary.

The mercs quickly close in and kills the guard.

On the other side of the village, the militia inflects heavy losses on the mercs and push them back.

The militia push back another team. The "Wild Geese" are facing more determined resistance than planned.

The mercs force the militia to retreat and clear the first building: no Limbarni! They manage to secure the house across the street and find nothing (not even a piece of paper).  Here's where having an opponent comes in handy, as they would have pointed out that there is no way of knowing if Limbarni is here without checking the other houses, thus defeating the purpose of the papers in the first place.

On the west side of the village the mercs start making some headway....

.... and while clearing the house find Linbarni handcuffed to a bed in the back room (thereby solving my problem of the missing paper!).

The Leader of the merc band starts leading Limbarni to the pick up site; the other two fire teams form a blocking force. The Simbas are on the move and closing fast!

The last of the militia counterattack to block the mercenaries in the east side of town (one militiaman can be seen in the upper left corner) while the Simbas close in from the south.

The Simbas are closing to reinforce the militia.

The militia manage to kill a couple of the mercs and force them to retreat.

The mercs counterattack; they eliminate the militia, thus opening a line of retreat for the rest of the force.  Notice the fire team at the bottom right trying to hold back the Simbas.

The Simbas launch a vicious attack, killing four mercenaries.

The rearguard force back the Simbas, but lose more men. The rearguard to the right is wiped out. However, Limbarni  reaches safety (the upper left of the picture). 

The last of the "Wild Geese" make good their escape.

The rules used were Bob Condrey's Memoir of Battle: Modern.  I ignored the grenade symbol as I feel in makes a game too bloody and the losses pile up too fast.