Sunday, 25 March 2018

Weekly Round Up #1

In an effort to bring some semblance of order to my blog, rather than blog bits of each separate project I'm working on I thought I would pinch an idea from other blogs I follow and start doing a weekly round up. Here's round up #1 

I've got the Hail Casaer Conquest of Gaul set quite a while ago on a whim. Haven't played it yet but me and my regular gaming compadre, Danny are working our way towards having enough troops to run the Britannia campaign from the supplement of the same name. Danny's way ahead of me in the preparation stakes but I'm getting there bit by bit. This is the latest lot that I have painted. Quite pleased with them. Just need to add the shield decals...which I am putting off as it looks way fiddley!  

Started work on my French deployment point for the Sharp Practice event at Britcon this August. As it is set during the Peninsular Campaign I thought a dead British rifleman and a vulture would be suitable :D

First of my Covenantors  for ECW Sharp Practice. This is a musketeer unit plus two leaders. They certainly are easier  to paint than the New Model Army figures. I hope to have the Covenantors done by the end of April for playtesting the pike and shotte version of Sharp Practice.  

I needed a wee project to break up the work load a bit and with the imminent release of the Too Fat Lardies What A Tanker rules I decided to put together and paint Warlord's Wittman's Tiger which I had bought a while back from Colonel Bill's'. It's a lovely kit but, as is often the case with resin kits, the flipping tracks were warped, and no amount of heating with very hot water would allow me to straighten them out. So I ended up just using Milliput to fill the gap and hope no one will notice or, at least, comment on it. 

And in a moment of serendipity I popped into my local Oxfam bookshop for a browse and fund these beauties. It's serenedipitous because I had been looking online for decent photos of Tigers in action and these beauties are chock full of them; happy days
I finally got around to tiling the roof on my Bastle House too. I'm still undecided ae to whether I should use Das clay to make more realistic brickwork or whether I should use cork matting cut to size. I may go with the clay as it might be the quicker. Either way I can't do anything til I get more PVA glue

And added tiles to the roof of my timber framed farmhouse from Sarissa Precision 

Lastly I hate to end my first weekly round up on a negative note but sadly, my Glenmorangie single malt has ran out.....whaaaa!! I'll need to  hunt about and see which supermarkets have it on special offer as I revere it's meddcinal qualities. okay, back to the hobby table;; pip pip

Friday, 23 March 2018

Between Ulm and Austerlitz; A Sharp Practice learning campaign

Yesterday my chum, Laurence, and I played a game of Sharp Practice. As Laurence is new to the world of Lard I thought best to throw him into the deep end right away and dive into a full blown campaign! However, for once, common sense spoke to me and, for once, I paid heed. Much better he learns the way of Lard the gentle way so we're doing a linked narrative campaign with Laurence taking the role of the dastardly Frenchies while I take the role of the noble Austrians and no worrying about casualties and reinforcements etc between games.. instead I can concentrate on developing the background to these chaps as they are all my minis and developing character for miniaturre heroes and villians is something that I really enjoy.

It is late October 1805, the "unfortunate" General Mack has surrendered his army too Napoleon at Ulm. Further east, the Russian General Kutusov,  commanding a mixed force of Russian and Austrian troops is pulling back in the hope of joining up with General Buxhowden who is advancing towards Austria with the main Russian army.
There followed a series of small skirmishes between the French and the Russo-Austrian forces, a few of which will be the focus of our narrative.
 Let us meet the heroes of these tales....

The Austrian leaders. L to R; Ensign Helmut Schiner,  Leutnant Stepan Krappe, Drummer Hans Solo, Kapitan Otto Traedor, Feldwebbel Karl D'Lippe. On horseback, Leutnant Gustavo Prime and his largely irrelevant bugler

The French; L to R Sgt Alex Craimontt of the Voltiguers, Sgt Baptiste Lebatard of the Dragoons, Leutenant Bernard Herge, Capitain Jean-Pierre Lefeu, Sgt Clovis Leclair, Drummer Max Volugme, Surgeon Alphonse Pied D'Athlete
It is a well known military maxim that an army marches on it's stomach and, being a nation that is know for it's love of a full stomach,, the French Grande Armee made great efforts to forage thoroughly when on the march in enemy territory. So it came to pass that the small Austrian hamlet of Eggentoste was visited by a foraging detachment of French under the command of Capitain Jean-Pierre Lefeu. Caught unawares, the locals were in fear of their lives, however help was at hand in the shape of  Kapitan Otto Trader and his men.

the farm of Hans Grubber
Capitain Jean-Pierre Lefeu urged his men to step out. It had been many a moon since he had enjoyed a decent meal and, now on the outskirts of Eggentoste, his dragoon detachment scouting reports of plenty of cattle, sheep and pigs in the fields of Eggentoste had proved accurate. If he hadn't been able to hear them above the noise of his mens chatter he could certainly smell them!! Sending the reliable Sergent Alex Craimont and his voltiguers around the flank of the town to "requisition" the sheep who were grazing there.....
Eggentoste receives a visit from a hungry group of Frenchies

"'Ja, definately zat vay, mein herr.."

Barely able to contain his anger and frustration, Kapitain Otto Tradoer's face was a deep red from the aforementioned emotions and also the effort with which he was rushing  his little column of men toward Eggentoste. Lt Gustavo Prime's Hussars, screening the remnants of the Austrian army's withdrawal had spotted a French column approaching Eggentoste.
A former prisoner of the French whilst serving in Italy, Tradoer had gained, through his knowledge of the French language and some very loud mouthed, bragging French officers, an insight into how they garnered their supplies whilst on the advance and had deduced that this was a foraging party.
He had sought out his battalion commander and had been granted permission, after some nagging, to ambush the French in Eggentoste.
Delayed by the time spent gathering his force, Traedor was already too late to spring an ambush on the French. Deciding to throw caution to the wind, he decided to meet the French head on and, who knows, perhaps garner something tasty to eat from the grateful populace of Eggentoste....

Otto Traedor leads his men through Grubber's farm
..whilst Leutnant Stepan Krappe and his men rush to secure the beef ration...sorry, Farmer Gruber's cattle
the Dragoons advance...but cautiously...

Craimont's gourmands use all the available cover to advance 

Capitain Lefeu sends a group on a flanking manouvre under Lt Herge
Lefeu's formation begin an exchange of musketry....

...with Traedor's formation. A slug fest ensued which the French got the better of...
The Hussar's sense a chance for some glory

Lefeu, seeing Traedor and his men pulling back, sends a group to take the pork ration in hand. The pantry was flling nicely

Ensign Helmut Schiner and his musketeers spring a surprise on the French voltiguers. Lacking imagination, both sides traded ball across the small back yard 
Batard's dragoons dismount to join the skirmishing

GustavoPrime and his hussar chase Lt Herge's command from their cosy bolthole

Capitain Lefeu leads his hungry Henris forward towards the beef choice as Traedor attempts to rally his men before having to swallow the unappetising fact that the French were gaining the upper hand. 

Leutnant Gustavo Prime urged his horse over another jump. The tired horse barely made it and Prime, glancing back to check to see if he was out of musket range, allowed the poor beast to slow to a walk. His men; dead, captured or scattered, Prime was alone. Ahead, he could see the some white uniformed Austrian infantry men disappearing through the farm gates but, beyond the, he could see no more of his fellow countrymen except those lying dead and wounded in front of the farm. Where had Kapitain Traedor and his men gone. Not long ago they had been beating the French and now the Austrians were gone...
A musket ball whizzed by, missing him by inches. Prime looked around in horror. From a nearby field, men in French uniforms were running towards him, shouting  at him and one another as they raced to capture such a valuable prize. Prime dug his heels into his tired horse's flanks and spurred the unwilling beast on in the direction of the farm. "Come on, Concorde, we must fly!!"

Post Script

That was quite an enjoyable little taster. The Austrians were winning on the right flank against the skirmishing troops, driving them back and wounding both NCOs. Gustavo Prime's rash charge undone them, though. Though they drove back Lt Herge and his men, those that were still alive, they had garnered a lot of shock themselves and a volley from Lefeu's formation had finished them off.  A couple of  painfully bad rolls on the Bad Things Happen  chart and it was Good Night Vienna for Traedor and his Landsers
I'll have to think up a suitable linked scenario or main course for our next helping of Sharp Practice. Till then, chaps, keep taking the Gaviscon (other indigestion remedies are available)...pip pip
General Jimbob

Monday, 19 March 2018

The Battle for Paps-sur-Mer

Bolt Action Batrep. British (1250 points v Germans (900 points) 

D Day, 6th June.  F Company, 1st Battalion Glendarroch Highlanders have landed on the shores of Normandy and are attempting to fight their way inland. Their first task is to clear the town of Paps-Sur-Mer. 

Captain Warwick Hunt slowly raised his aching head. Around him the sound of battle raged adding to the pain in his head. Looking around he could see the scattered remnants of his company, a few were obviously dead but of those who weren't, most were taking cover; only a few were firing back at the Germans. "This will never do Warwick, me old beauty' he though to himself "Time to earn your wages". Looking round he spotted an AVRE lumbering up the beach towards the town. "That'll do the trick" he realised. Getting up on his feet, he started to rally the men and urge them forward alongside the AVRE. Crouching beside it,  the men started dvancing into the town.....

Paps-Sur-Mer at the start of the battle
The German defenders swiftly recovered from the British preliminary bombardmennt

The Churchill AVRE advances down the street. Whilst the Germans had little that could damage it,  they targeted it with their Nebelwerfer. The AVRE was fine but one platoon commander was wiped out. Good shooting from the Krauts
One the other road the Glendarrochs were supported by  a Sherman V from the Ilse of Sheppey Border Mounted Rifles. Progress on this street was held up by an MMG posted at the far end

By now, Captain Hunt had taken control of the advance along the right side of the town. Having spotted a German position in one of the houses he had ordered the AVRE to fire on it but it missed. The defenders of the house, realising their danger, then sensibly got out of it as quickly as possible.

On the left hand street disaster struck the British as a lucky 81mm mortar round from the Germans landed inside the Sherman and destroyed it...bugger!! Still, it had taken out the MG before it bought a packet.
The Germans had both streets covered with small arms and artillery

Realising the German defences were spread thinly, Hunt started to switch the platoons advance to the left. The AVRE, meanwhile, had destroyed a squad in the town mayor's office

Leutnant Heinz Beenz leads the spirited defence of Paps-Sur-Mer. Alongside the squad in the garden is Beenz only anti-armour weapon, a panzerschrek

Leutnant Beenz being heroic

The deadly Nebelwerfer!

The British start to switch their axis of advance

Captain Warwick Hunt and his radio operator in action. The AVRE has just taken out the Germans in the mayor's office

The MMG position was swiftly reoccupied after the MMG team was wiped ou

On the left flank,  two of F Company's rifle sections hug the cover provided by the ruins of Paps-Sur-Mer. Disaster struck here too with another well placed mortar round wiping out the section on the left

In a desperate bid to distract or even damage the AVRE  Leutnant Beenz sends his armoured support, an SDKFZ 250/9 around the side of the church to attempt a flanking shot

easily the Germans most effective unit, the 8cm mortar crew. A Sherman and a rifle section both destroyed; the schnapps will  be flowing tonight in celebration!
Suffering crippling casualties, F Company's assault grinds to a halt.

Captain Hunt sent the word around to the remnants of 5 and 6 platoon to hold their positions. On the flanks either side of them, the rest of the brigade was making progress and the Germans were pulling back or being wiped out. There was plenty of fighting still to be done but for the moment, F Company needed to reorganise itself in preparation for the next battle

Post script. That was a tough encounter. It  all seemed so promising at the start; the  Glendarrochs had a good chance of getting into the Germans deployment zone with a numerical advantage and their armoured support. However two lucky mortar strikes and one nebelwerfer one hamstrung the British attack. Hats off to the Germans for such a solid defence.
The battle now moves inland with yet more deadly fighting as the Allies attempt to take vital real estate in the guise of crossroads and bridges from the Germans as well  as destroy their defensive positions inland.

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