Thursday, 17 March 2022

Weekend games planned for 2022

A lot of the inertia in posting on this blog in January and February was due to being involved with several wargaming buddies on what we could do at my den in Oakridge,  Gloucestershire this year as special events. It required a lot of emails, ideas, trials with game scales on paper, sketch maps , discussion of orbats /game balance etc and me doing formal maps from which to make customised table tops.  And we were supposed to be getting free of COVID weren't we?  So we tried to make games that will maximise the numbers we can invite. As we found in our 2015 Waterloo games -  in the space available that is  about 4 aside per day plus a couple of umpires.

Then the Ukraine crisis hit the World and we went into a temporary limbo; some of our friends are working long hours in the defence/security fields and we have to wonder still if we can go ahead as planned. But we can't let Mr Putin's desires stop us (yet!) so we are just carrying on planning and hoping for the best. So what are we doing?

The first weekend game is in late April and Ken Marshall is getting out his  Red/White/Blue Imagi-nation armies for our delight. Here are a few photos from what he laid on about 9 months ago - the battle of Stadl an der Mur. All the figures seen here are from Ken's super collection of 28mm Minden, Crann Tara and Fife and Drum miniatures.   




This year, as I have given him a clean slate Ken has come up with a sketch map and description which I have turned into this Photoshop map for a sculpted 8 feet x 6 feet terrain for his Battle of Madling

Ken says 

"The game is best described as a 1750s imagi-nation game. Saturday will involve light troops in an encounter type battle leading to a general engagement by the main armies. Depending on how the light troops get on, elements of the main armies may be involved late on Saturday but we'll know that on the day."  

The main battle is expected to take place on the Sunday. So we can accommodate a few players on the first day and more on the next. Rules, as usual, will be "Honours of War" and Ken may be supplementing his own collection from mine and those of Paul B so it should be a pretty sight. I'm hoping my Hanoverians will make an appearance as something!

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After that I'm giving myself a bit of a holiday and then I shall have an informal 18th Century game with Willz Harley who is coming to visit Oakridge for the first time in June. Willz is kindly giving me a lift on to the Wild Geese weekend at Kenilworth where he is putting on one of his fun games with, I believe, his superb collection of Spencer Smith 30mm 18th century figures.  One other treat talked about for that weekend was many of us sharing parts of our armies to refight the "iconic" classic Charles Grant wargame of Mollwitz.  We shall see......

Not long after that I shall have to get into making up the 12 feet x 6 feet table for the major game of the year.......

WATERLOO - D'Erlon's Assault on Mont Saint Jean

As I intimated late last year on this blog "JP" of Youtube fame is staging his own variation on the General d'Armee scenario of what some may consider the core activity of the Battle of Waterloo. In early afternoon on 18th June 1815, preceded by a bombardment of the grand battery of 80 guns, General D'Erlon, advanced with his I Corps up the long slope to Mont St Jean, only to be swept away by the Union Brigade of Heavy Cavalry and Picton's British infantry.

Obviously I am horribly over simplifying and we have come up with an extended scenario taking the section of the battlefield from just beyond La Haye Sainte across to the farms of Papelotte and La Haye so we can include the KGL Rifle battalions,  Life Guard cavalry, Cuirassiers, Hanoverians and Nassauers and the right flank French Cavalry Division. JP reckons there will be around 3000 Perry 28mm miniatures available over the three days we have to do the game in mid August. The vast majority will come from JP's own collection and Kevin East will add some of his too; JP bought a lot of Kevin's figures which followers of this blog will recall from our own Waterloos at 1:3 scale and Quatre Bras (see side bar links for a reminder). It will be fun to see them in such numbers on my table again.

Here is the table map I have come up with to help me make the terrain and for JP and Kevin to work out the scenario.

Apart from sculpting all the terrain, I have promised to make a scratch-built La Haye Sainte as we could not find something suitable ready-made as a compromise for the footprint in this scale. Should be fun and hopefully I can give some "how-to" tips on this blog in the Summer.

Here are a couple of the photos JP sent me while he was setting out his French infantry to test the frontage of most of D'Erlon's Divisions



If you want to get much more on this and hear from the man himself JP has put a very nice video on YouTube of his set up trial Preparing for this Summer's big game.

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Last year we had a very good outing with Guy's Jacobites at his "what-if" Battle of Brampton in November 1745.  Some reminders of that game:




Guy has since been painting more Highlanders and has uncrossed his eyes from tartan painting long  enough to give me his ideas on a scenario. To be fair he was limited in choice as I will have the 12 x 6 Waterloo terrain made and won't have enough time to do anything other than adapt it by the time of our mid-September two-day Jacobite game.

He has put it in the context of the next stage of his fictitious Jacobite rebellion. It is about the very end of 1745 and the Jacobite Army has reached Northamptonshire. Guy reckoned we could adapt Waterloo to the Althorp Estate just North of Northampton city.  I did some research on Google Earth and ground level photos for inspiration and he researched the history of the house and gardens.

This is what it is like nowadays





All very inspiring except that it turns out this lot was built around 1780. The 1746 buildings would have been the preceding dwelling and stables based on brick and half timbered construction. So I've got to do a bit of scratch building/card download conversion. The gardens were still formal but in a different place.  So I scratched my head a bit, took some ideas from Guy's brief and came up with this:

I'm really looking forward to seeing this one come together - only trouble is I'll have somehow to convert mid June Belgium into mid-Winter in Northamptonshire! Browner rather than green........and maybe a dusting of white stuff?

Guy has already put a lot of effort into the background thinking, he has about 2000 figures for us to use and has provided this foretaste for you, my beloved readers:

Synopsis of the run up to the Battle of Althorp

 

"This is the next battle in my fictitious Jacobite campaign. The Jacobite’s have successfully managed to evade the Duke of Cumberland and his forces which were mustered at Stone in Staffordshire. The Jacobite’s reached Derby and were having a council of war on 5th December 1745. Just before a decision was made to withdraw to Scotland a mud splattered messenger arrived with the startling news that a French expeditionary force had successfully managed to evade the Royal Navy and had landed at Boston in Lincolnshire.  Now much as the Jacobite’s were much taken with the local Bakewell tarts (the cakes….stop tittering at the back Gregg minor), the Prince ordered the army to move with haste towards Grantham with the intention of uniting with the French.

 

Unfortunately for the Prince there was a government spy in the Jacobite camp and the news was swiftly sent to both the Duke and the King in London. Upon receipt of the news, their forces set off from different directions along Watling Street and met at Northampton on Christmas Eve. The government forces from London had force marched the 75 miles and the Duke felt they needed somewhere to rest for a day or so. The Duke was informed that the Hon John Spencer, MP for Woodstock, was at home at Althorp House. He was a well-known gourmet and kept a good table so this was justification for the Duke to order the army to move to the spacious grounds and park land of Althorp which is about 6 miles northwest of the county town.

Boxing Day beckons. Regretfully the Duke’s cavalry pickets were having another off day (primarily caused by consuming too much ale and plum pudding) and failed in their duty as they were mainly posted to the north. The Jacobite army , which was now considerably strengthened by French units including an Irish brigade, cavalry and guns, had advanced southwards by Ermine Street to Huntingdon. There they were advised of the concentration of the government forces at Northampton. The Prince, under the guidance of the French officers, decided to try and outwit the government troops by approaching from the south and to cut their lines of communications with London. The Jacobites were in good order, if a little foot sore, but confident now they had the French in support and intended to bring the government forces to battle.  If they can destroy the government army then the road to London was open and……… "

I can hardly bear the excitement!! See you there, at least vicariously!

CG


19 comments:

  1. Lovely post and a great series of memories there as well Chris. Great plans indeed. I’m playing GdA Quatre Bras on Saturday with seven mates from the club popping over for the day, novices and experienced players alike. I very much look forward to seeing your D’Erlons attack.

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    1. Thanks Carlo, and me likewise your Quatre Bras

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  2. So great games you have lined up there Chris! Thanks for the wonderful eye candy photos that I enjoyed looking at. Fingers crossed old Putin doesn't put a spanner in the works for your games, ditto Covid. Sadly in South Glos we've had a 64% increase in cases in the past week:(.

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    1. Thanks Steve, glad you've enjoyed the pics so far! Yes the figures in the rest of Glos are up too but I'm trying to imagine it's all over really as far as anything life-threatening is concerned. As for Putin, who knows?

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  3. Sounds like a terrific scenario in the fictitious forty-five. Look forward to seeing more of this one.

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  4. Some super games in the planning Chris, look forward to seeing the results.

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    1. Thanks for commenting - yes there should be few good blog postings out of that lot.

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  5. Gosh - lots of interesting stuff planned. Keen to see how the battle of Althorp works out! Fascinating topographical reconstruction there too... :-)

    Cheers,

    David.

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    1. Thanks David. I will be putting you on the invitation list and see if you can make it. CG

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    2. Great; thanks, Chris. Would love to be there! :-)

      Cheers,

      David.

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  6. Sounds like a good year is in he planning

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  7. I'm really looking forward to seeing what you produce again this year Chris - the fact that you're already planning the years activity now is a lesson n logistics to us all!

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    1. Hi Kerry
      Yeah, some people think I'm a control freak, but I just call it trying to be efficient! My philosophy is that if you plan things you can give a lot more people what they want than if you leave it to chance and you have to disappoint some. Reality is that I had a 15mm Napoleonic game planned with a friend this week and now he has COVID!

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  8. I am excited too Chris, particularly about the game of the section of Waterloo!
    Loved the wonderful 'snaps' from past games to accompany this post, but I especially liked those photos of your little wargames HQ. It looks like you have room for extensive tables and good accommodation for participants (and their horses too)!!
    Regards, James

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    1. Thanks James, always wonderful to have your support. Right now I'm working on the first one - for Ken's game next weekend, and it's shaping up nicely. The room itself is not that large and the 12 x 6 only just leaves enough room around for the players, apart from all my books and figure cabinets. For the big weekend games Mrs G is gracious enough to let me put trestle tables in the open plan living area above and that is where the boxes of visiting figures are sorted, awaiting their various grand entrances! We have parking for 6 cars so the guest's "horses" are well catered for too.

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  9. Excellent SYW and Napoleonic eye candy Chris, thank you for the invites to your wargaming weekends but sadly it looks that I have family commitments over those periods. Looking forward to Kenilworth in June, we can have some good catch up time will driving up.

    Willz.

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    1. Thanks Willz, sorry you can't make but I will be in touch about June soon - I'm planning a game for you on a variation of my battlefield for Madling, soon to be blogged about.

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