Thursday 6 October 2022

Cotswold Wargaming Day 2022 - Fourth time out and getting bigger

 This year Keith Flint had organised the annual get together of "Cotswold" wargamers on 25th September, so I'm a bit late! Rather too much real life going on at the moment to find time to process my thoughts and my photos. I think my son's wedding is reasonable for part of the excuse!

CWD takes place in Northleach, not far from the A40, but I put Cotswolds in inverted commas as this informal gathering to play wargames of all periods has extended, through the influence of Keith and the various participants, to attract both visitors and game organisers from far afield mostly in the South of England. Apart from we participants from various points of the compass in Gloucestershire I encountered gamers from at least Wiltshire, Hampshire, Devon and Cumbria (yes that's a loooong waaaay North). In fact I'm indebted to Steve Johnson, who lives South of Bristol, for stopping on his way through Cirencester to pick me up.  There were 33 people there this time playing 9 games. The original idea I think in 2018 was mainly to try something different put on by "neighbours " but it has morphed into a mixture of that - turn up and take your pick- and also groups of friends having a planned game. In one case it was an opportunity for a pair to meet up at a neutral venue for a game put off by COVID since 2019!

There was one game I really would have liked to try but it was full (the organiser and his mate!) so I was very pleased to accept the kind invitation by my friends JP and Kevin to have another go at a big Napoleonic with General d'Armee rules and a table groaning with superbly painted Perry Miniatures. 

The quality of all the games was at the higher end of the spectrum, and as a guy who spends two weeks custom creating his battlefields I was quite envious of the scenic cloths being rolled out and a game being laid out within an hour. There is quite a different wargaming philosophy at work here, and followers of my blog will know I'm a great fan of the back story and pre-planning and preparation to get as full an experience from the days' gaming as possible. But I'm happy to give that up for a day to see how the other half plays and obviously get as much enjoyment from this method as I do from mine. In addition I got to meet and talk to a few old acquaintances and make some new ones. Not bad value for a fiver - thanks Keith.

Busy people setting up before 9 am

As I am late, and others have done full versions, I'll keep this simple and hopefully my readers can enjoy my photos and then move on to any or all of these blogs to get more photos and more detail if required.

Keith's "official " report.  Keef's Blogspot

Steve J's account   Wargames with Toy soldiers 1685 -1985

Stuart of the Cirencester Wargames club.  Cirencester Wargames Club


Willz Harley had once again come all the way from Ivybridge, Devon to put on an 18th Century game with part of his wonderful classic Spencer-Smith 30mm collection. He was presenting his version of the old favourite, Charles Grant's Mollwitz, between the Austrians and Prussians in 1741 using his "Imagi-nations" countries to represent them. Willz has his own simple rules for this so it was a welcome return to the "good old days" of wargaming. Regular readers will recall I played this battle at Kenilworth in June. Scroll down this link to see much more info and more pictures of Willz' armies Wild Geese Wargamers

Willz explains a point to Michael R, his opponent for the day. I presume Michael had a good time as he went home with one of my favourite Hussarettes!

Simple order writing - a classic element of Willz' game

Towards the end  - Are those the "Austrians" rampaging through the centre ground?

Well deserved Winner of Best Terrain award was Ian Bailey's beautiful American War of Independence game using "British Grenadier" rules and superb armies of mostly Perry and Wargames Foundry 28mm figures. It was apparently a fictitious scenario.

I was told the terrain mat is a large piece of green fleece material that had had pieces clipped shorter with scissors and judiciously coloured. I loved this.

"Wargamer Stu" and the Cirencester Club put on a large late 17th Century game. Troops by Richard Grey  (whom I was pleased to see back into wargaming after quite a few years) and Nigel Vye, representing the 1689 Battle of Warcourt between Allies and French. Totally outside my historical knowledge but it looked beautiful and kept a lot of players busy all day.

Sharpe Practice - Peninsular War game.

I'm afraid I don't know anything about this other than a lot of effort has evidently been taken over the terrain and 28mm figures. Visually very attractive.

The Ancients Room

Or, The Desert Room, as some had nicknamed it.  Two very ancient games using desert terrain and very nice 28mm figures.

One, by Stuart Surridge, was based on the Battle_of_Kadesh (Egyptians versus Hittites 1274 BC) using the Infamy ruleset

Interesting camp complete with prisoners being mistreated!

Of course chariots - the best bit about Ancient Egyptians in my opinion

Very impressed by the dry wadi

The other one by Tim Cull of the Farnborough Wargames Society had required a lot of personal research and consequently plenty of what-if conjectural ideas. This was set before much recorded history, around 1600 BC, and called "The Destruction of Yamhad" and took place in very approximately the same region as Qadesh but much earlier. I was told it was a pursuit game in two parts, Keith's blog has more pics.

Lots of chariots evident in this one

Steve Johnson played his old mate Dave Fielder in a mid-19th Century Imagi-nations style battle, part of an ongoing war  in which they have both created armies in 10mm. This was played with Black Powder as a basis on Steve's beautifully made terrain. As he is a retired product designer and professional model maker he always presents a neat and artistically original tabletop.

There was a small World War Two game in "20mm", notable for Russians using original Airfix kit Churchills. Yes I also remember assembling the 60-odd bogie wheels for the tracks when I was a kid, it nearly put me off AFV modelling for life! ("Why did you become a Horse and Musket specialist Chris?.....Well, I think it must have been due to the PTSD from making difficult Airfix tank kits, doctor!")

Last but by no means least was JP's 28mm Napoleonic game, the Battle of Mockern,  using Perry Miniatures painted by himself and by Kevin East.

JP has done his usual excellent video of the day here

As I alluded above this was a turn-up-and-play game so Kevin had laid out the French under JP's instruction, and JP and Charlie were setting out the Prussians and Russians. So, in the nicest possible way, as I know the outcome, I can say with all honesty I did not have anything to do with the dispositions or forces! Had things turned out differently I daresay I'd be trying to take some of the credit! Those who follow JP's videos will sympathise if I say that my French Division was up against Charlie's Prussians, and his dice rolling is infamous so I was half defeated before I started.

Put simply, Kevin and I were told our French, from Prince Eugene's Army of Italy Corps, had to hold the two villages and buy time for Napoleon to organise his lines round Leipzig. We could see we did not have any strength anywhere sufficient to attack, and most of my infantry were poor quality anyway.  We had a brigade of Cuirassiers in reserve and a free hand in when and where to bring them on.

From the start things went pretty badly, and, as I hope becomes clear from the photos our opponents had no shortage of artillery, large cavalry regiments and lots of skirmishers, all match-winning elements if used together.  Charlie and JP know what they are doing (and our friend Paul B from Cheltenham put in a few morning hours to help the Russians too) and our game was punctuated by the odd success but mostly disaster. If it had been a rugby match with points scored for enemy units in distress I think you could say about French 5, Allies 10.

Just relax and enjoy the visuals - that's what I did ........

Prussians and Russians being deployed

French left flank

French centre and right

French reserve heavy cavalry trying to get to the front

French right flank sizes up the many Prussian cavalry opposite...

.....which promptly attacked....

.....with success.....

JP kindly let me keep the fleeing ones on the table rather than drop them on the floor!

Prussian cavalry charge on.....

..........seeing off one regiment of my cavalry but are held up by my squares

Not looking too good for us is it Kev? Charlie has everything under control

All those blue dragoons have broken a French battalion and I will have to move fast to get that battery out of their way

Russians make a measured column assault while leaving lanes for artillery support - the remaining  Chasseur regiment looks a bit sick

The battery gets away with the intention of unlimbering on the high ground behind

View from behind the French left

Musket fire from the village and artillery fire from bottom left of this picture have seen off the blue Dragoons

Charlie continues to roll double sixes to order.......

.....and hammers the oncoming French cavalry threat

But now Charlie has classically used his Lancers to pin the squares while he has brought up infantry to attack them

On the left a major firefight; but the grey smoke indicates loss of fire discipline for Kevin's French

Those terrible Russian cannon........

My battery redeployed on the hill only to be overrun by successful Prussian infantry who had destroyed  a square and broken through

The French defence has split into pieces and the next battery is about to be attacked in flank too

Kevin's heavy cavalry succumb to all that artillery fire and, although we try to move the Italian brigade to the right to shore up the flank it is evident all is lost

The French left flank is barely holding on

Young Charlie celebrates a well deserved victory
 for the Prussians and Russians

Thanks for letting me play with your toys JP, that was enough pleasure in itself. I console myself by realising that, after 57 years as a wargamer, my role has become to give the youngest generation the satisfaction of a good victory!

There was the usual prize giving. The Stuart Asquith Trophy for Best Game and Caliver Books for various other "Bests" on the day . Caliver had kindly given books so that all the game organisers could get an extra reward for their effort too.

And, as usual, Keith kindly made a table available for me to show off some of my military art.           Sad to say goodbye to one of my favourite Hussarettes, Amélie, who was abducted and taken to the cold north lands! The spoils of war........ (a reminder here of Amélie)

Thanks to everyone for all their effort to make another memorable wargames day out in the Cotswolds of Gloucestershire.