Saturday, 26 May 2018


Tom made a welcome reappearance at the club recently, having got a new job which left his Wednesday evenings free. He brought along a set of gladitorial combat rules he'd written for us to try out. Tim, John and me took various heavily armoured chaps, whilst Jerry (ever the rebel) took a pair of lightly armoured but more nimble characters.

Here we are scattered around the beermat arena. The Emperor can be seen lurking in the distance. My chap has a little red dice next to him.

Amongst the various more conventional actions available to our heroes (charge, throw spears etc) are some more entertaining ones such as showboating for the crowd and taunting enemies.  Whilst Tim entertained the plebs with impressive displays of sword whirling, I managed to very successfully taunt one of Jerry's characters who came rushing towards me. This was all very jolly as moving around in all my armour was liable to make me tired, whereas if the enemy came to me...

My characters various vital statistics. He was called 'Fulbert' and the various numbers covered things like skill at arms, endurance etc. He also had various special skills, mainly relating to how he used his armour and shield.

Battle was duly joined and we slugged away. An excellent opportunity to stress test the combat rules as we had a multi-figure engagement and wildly different basic skills, weapons, armour etc. After several rounds of combat with the advantage swinging either way and the crowd cheering, both sides broke off exhausted and it seemed a good time to break for a washup.

It was a good session and most of comments were around streamlining some of the mechanisms and clearing up some ambiguities in the rules. Many thanks to Tom for bringing it down. I'm afraid I don't know what make the figures are, but they were very pretty.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Bush Horizon

Nick brought a new version of Bush Horizon along to try out. This covers bush wars in Africa, with a lot of the  mechanisms based on Command Horizon. The company sized elements are made up of bases of varying types (infantry, tanks, support weapons etc.).

This scenario was a standup fight for control of a railway station. Our chaps bore a distinct resemblance to a motor rifle battalion and set off in textbook formation.

Our objective.

As our chaps were riding APCs, and the enemy were walking, we unsurprisingly got there first. Our dismounted infantry occupied the station and started shooting at the other lot, with rather mixed results. (The big puff of smoke is a bad thing).

Our tank company went left flanking, while some enemy lurked in a nearby village.

Over on the other flank, the UN tried to intervene, and were engaged by our support company.

Once it became apparent that the enemy weren't go to take the station, we had a washup about the revised mechanisms and a useful discussion about some of the mechanisms and the scope and feel of the game.

Saturday, 5 May 2018

I have been to.... Australia

We recently went to Australia for my niece's wedding, and as we were there, took some time to travel around the country. I am sure my loyal blog readers aren't particularly interested in pictures of the Sydney Opera House or Great Barrier Reef, but I did see a few things of historical interest in Brisbane.

The Australian Army treated us to a flyby from a group of Blackhawks.

A German 77mm gun, now outside the Queensland parliament building.

The highlight though was visiting HMAS Diamantia in Queensland maritime museum. She is a River class frigate, commissioned in 1945 and fitted with state of the art (for 1945) radar and sonar.

The paint had faded a bit in the tropical sun, and it was a miserable wet day so I had the ship to myself. It was fantastic, just like being in the Cruel Sea.

Forward 4" gun.

Radar array.

Bofors gun in front of the bridge. The ship had quite a hefty complement of Oerlikens and Bofors.

ASDIC office. The radar, sonar and wireless offices were all jammed in behind the bridge and in the 30 degree heat, were stifling. I can't imagine what it was like to be on duty in them. 

Rear Bofors mount. There were a pair of these on the rear deck.

Depth charges, both rail and mortar deployed.. The ship was also fitted with Hedgehog on the foredeck but this was removed after the war.

The working parts for the 20mm AA in the armoury (I'd noticed the 20mm guns were missing the shooty bits when I was on deck!).

Rifle rack. No. 4, SMLE, Martini Henry and Jungle Carbine. Sadly the actions were all welded up.

Engine room.

Starboard turbines opened up.

Rather swanky showers. 

Rather less swanky loo.

Boiler. Sealed off due to asbestos risk.

Officers mess.

Warrant Officers bunks (fitted post war). Very like those in the Kelvedon Hatch nuclear bunker.

A small display on the Royal Marines.


Contrasted with bunks.

Highly recommended!

That is the closest I'll get to being on a WW2 small ship, and it was really very atmospheric. I could almost see poor old Commander Erickson on the bridge. So that means I've done a sub,  a 'destroyer', a cruiser and a carrier. I just need to find a complete WW2 battleship somewhere to complete my personal game of Battleships (there are several in the USA). I think handling various bits of blown up WW1 battlecruisers and dreadnoughts doesn't count. 

Oh OK then, a few holiday snaps.

Yes, there were snakes. I met this ones living pal when I was out running. A brown snake, evidently highly venomous and aggressive!

More hazards. Dangerous cliffs this time,

Very beautiful though.

And crocodiles. The saltwater ones like eating people.

Mmmm. Advice in Cairns was not to walk from the airport to the town. Because of the Crocs.

A Wombat. This is what they do most of the time.

Very cute (and not dangerous).

Monday, 30 April 2018


John wanted to try out Brown Bess in an eighteenth century context, so put together this scenario covering Dettingen during the War of the Austrian Succession.

Tim C and I took the Allies (British, Hanoverians and Austrians) while Jerry took the wicked French.

The battlefield from the French side. The Allies are hemmed in by the impassable River Main on the right and forested hills on the left while the French have a nice stream to defend. To add to the misery, the Allies are cut off and trying to break through to restore their supply lines. Not a happy situation!

The French deploy. They clearly didn't get the memo about defending the stream, and (as in real life) are all set to attack the Allies with their outstanding cavalry massed on the right.

The Allies are more conventional. Infantry in the centre, cavalry on the flanks. The columns are the Austrians deployed in reserve. I had the right flank (mainly Hanoverians plus a couple of Austrian units including a brigade of Cuirassiers).

The French cavalry dash forth, led by the Maison du Roi. Our chaps move up to meet them. Very unfairly, the French have a gun on the far side of the Main where we can't get to it.

Over on the right, my chaps take advantage of a lack of enemy cavalry to ride along the front of our line. Well it seemed like a good idea at the time and will look great in the film.

A bloody melee ensues on the left. Sadly for us, the French are all cuirassiers. Luckily our gun managed to get off a volley of cannister before the French closed, which emptied a few saddles.

My chaps join in the fray, as a French cavalry unit peels off to meet them. Again, our centre battery manages to knock a couple of hits off the French before they close, which really helps.

The line will advance! The infantry on both sides start to advance to support the cavaly action. The French refuse their left flank, covered by a square, pinned by my reserve dragoon brigade.

To everyones amazement, we finally push the French cavalry back and plug the line with infantry. The allies success was soley due to that inital cannon shot which slightly weakened the French before contact. Both sides horsemen regroup as they are all a bit ragged now. Sadly George of Hanover died in the melee, so no George II.

The infantry lines close and fusillades of musketry ring out. In the centre my Austrian cuirassiers are still slugging it out with the French. It turns out the Allies musketry is rather better than the French.

Outgunned, the Swiss launch a desperate infantry assault, but are shot down by with withering platoon fire. It was very glorious though.

The tide has turned in the Allies favour and the French realise they can't win the infantry fight, so begin to fall back. We called it a day at that point. A very close run thing.

This was really good fun and the rules worked well. There were a couple of oddities around interpenetration and the duration of cavalry melees which we came up with some amendments for, but overall it felt right and produce the historical result. It also looked really nice. Good stuff.