Friday, 30 June 2023

Marston Moor

 We've done Marston Moor before, but Russell missed out so John A put it on again. Russell is fairly familiar with the battlefield as he used to walk his dog over it!

The scenario is using Johns Pike and Shot Squared rules, run remotely over Zoom using Powerpoint to display and manipulate the toys.

I honestly can't remember who was who, I'll hazard a guess that me, Pete and Russell were Parliament and Tim G and John B were the Royalists. Something like that anyway. I do recall that I had Cromwells contingent as a subordinate commander, as I've played this one a couple of times before.

Prince Rupert is commanding the Royalist forces (blue) at the top, Parliament is in red at the bottom. My boys are the two lead cavalry on the left and the two infantry units on the left in the front rank. They are rather better than the raggedy Covenanters who are tagging along.

Rupert has a forlorn hope lining the hedge in front of us. The Royalists are outnumbered, but their troops are rather better.

First thing was to get out superior cavalry numbers into action. They moved up and shook out into line on each flank. The Parliamentarian infantry moved up, although a couple seemed to get left behind. Not sure what happened to them.

Ruperts infantry advanced over their Forlorn Hope, reabsorbing them and the infantry exchanged astonishingly ineffective musketry while the cavalry action got underway.

The first Royalist horse on the right break, but one of our chaps is routed too. Over on the left it is honours even. Our infantry are starting to win the firefight, although the second line has adopted a very exciting echelon sort of formation. 

The Royalist rear line isn't quite sure which way to go, and Rupert has got his reserve cavalry tangled up in an inconvenient enclosure.

Rupert had to take a break and John took the opportunity to show off his new Russian churches. Very nice indeed!

Back on the moor, Parliament is getting the upper hand. The Royalist cavalry is largely broken, and their infantry is looking very shaky.

The Royalists begin to collapse.

As the last of their cavalry routs, the few remaining Royalist infantry are looking distinctly isolated. Time to march back where they came from.

This is a tough scenario for the Royalists, but I do think they can win it, even if the odds are long. In this game they would have been better waiting for the Parliamentarian infantry to charge them, but there isn't much they can do about the cavalry imbalance apart from try and gain local superiority and beat them in detail.

Anyway, having unwisely offered this opinion, we swapped sides and did it again! This time Russell was Rupert and I commanded the Royalist infantry.

This time we let them come to us.

The Parliamentarian infantry took some losses from the Forlorn Hope as they advanced, while the enemy cavalry formed up on each wing.

Our infantry just held their ground, shooting away, although I re-aligned one of the second rank units to better cover the left flank. As we had local cavalry equality on both flanks, we charged. What else is Royalist cavalry going to do?

The cavalry battle began to go our way as they tardy Parliamentarian reserves moved up the far left. Their infantry overran the Forlorn Hope and ran straight into our infantry line. Personally I'd have rallied before advancing. 

We broke both the Parliamentarian cavalry on the right, and even Cromwells cavalry were forced to withdraw on the left. Most of the first line of Parliamentarian infantry were also broken now, and their second line was far too back to support.

Unfortunately the enemy reserve cavalry on the left managed to flank charge our victorious horse, breaking one of them. Still, this was looking much better than the same stage in the previous battle. 

Our infantry busily set about rallying while our cavalry re-focussed on the left flank. Cromwells cavalry were slowly reorganising.

The reserve line of enemy infantry now moved up.

And another firefight erupted.

At end game it was looking awfully like a draw. We still had our original five infantry left, plus three cavalry. Fairfax was down to four infantry and five cavalry, and Rupert was still in the field. Not exactly a shattering Royalist victory, but certainly much better than the previous three times we've done.

We were trying out some rules revisions in this game, particularly around interpenetration and cavalry pursuit, and I think the changes worked very well indeed. This felt much more 'in period' than some of the previous outings, which were still a bit Napoleonic for my taste. So much so, that I was inspired to have a think about retrofitting them to the Thirty Years War. Main challenge is how to model a Tercio and other large infantry formations, but I have some ideas.

Thursday, 29 June 2023

Revell Paratroops

 Along with the Commandos, I need a British Paratroop brigade for the Sicily game. I did have some Airfix Paras in stock, but then I acquired some Revell ones second hand and the Airfix figures are just awful in comparison, so Revell it was. 

1st Parachute Brigade for Megablitz. Three parachute infantry battalions, Brigade HQ and a jeep and trailer for hauling supplies (and the HQ) around. 

The Para battalions. I used a mix of different figures, but vaguely representative of a rifle section with one SMG, four rifles and a Bren gunner. The figures are much more "modern" than the Airfix ones, with deep engraving, and reasonably accurate equipment although the guys are all in very light order. No small packs or entrenching tools. 

Brigade HQ, a very dynamic officer and his rather static ADC. He is actually wearing a parachute pack! Or maybe it is a man pack radio. Perhaps I should add an aerial. 

I did the DPM the same as my 15mm figures, sand base with brown and then green to get the tone.  I just ran a bit of ink around the webbing but not onto the smocks. Some of the helmets are scrimmed and some aren't, and I didn't notice they had very fine helmet nets moulded on until I drybrushed them. 

Yes, I know it is a postwar jeep, but it was in the bits box and only needed minor repairs (some of the wheels had broken in half). I think the trailer is from the Hasegawa jeep? Anyway, it looks good enough and rounds the unit off. 

Tuesday, 27 June 2023

I have been to....Newark Air Museum

 Taking advantage of the recent good weather, Tim organised a trip to Newark Air Museum with him, myself and Diego. It wasn't even a museum I knew existed, despite having gone to Partizan next door for years! I think the planes are hidden from view from the wargames show by the car auction site in between.

Anyway, the museum is quite small but packs in tons of stuff (mainly Cold War era jets) and is very reasonably priced to visit.

Wooo! A beautful Vulcan. As I've often remarked, these used to fly low over out house in the 1960s, en route to and from RAF Woodford near Manchester. 

And some payload. In front a Yellow Sun H Bomb, with a rather measly yield of 500kt, and behind a Blue Steel standoff missile which I can still recall hanging off the bottom of the planes. 

The collection boasts no less than three Canberras. This one has rather an ugly extended nose cone.

A Shackleton, these used to fly over the house too. What a fab planes, I do like the contra rotating props.

A Hastings transport plane. Amazingly this huge plane has a tail wheel. 

Dassult Mystere IV

A slightly tatty Puma under restoration. 

And a beautiful Buccaneer. A huge aircraft, how it ever landed on a carrier is beyond me.

There are two main aircraft sheds and one smaller engine shed. The larger sheds are stuffed with real planes and lots of models. These are all 1/144th scale WW2 bombers.

A Saab Draken.

A a Taylor JT1 micro plane. It is so small it is almost a scale model. The museum had a number of micro planes, including a Flying Flea. This one does at least look fairly air worthy.

An Avro Anson is behind, so you can see how small the Taylor is

This is a LINK D2 Trainer for instrument flying training. The whole thing is mounted on a sort of hydraulic platform.

RAF WW2 Bomber memorial. Large scale models of the main types and bits of real planes on the adjacent display.

A section of tail from a WW1 Pfalz.

And a prototype Bouncing Bomb, this one recovered from the test range at Reculver.

There was a lovely reproduction of an Anderson Shelter outside, complete with a small shelter for the hens.

Another pointy nosed Canberra, this time in an exciting all black colour scheme. This example used to fly out of Boscombe Down doing hush hush things

A beautifully restored Lightning trainer. The top of the fuselage has been widened to take a two seater cockpit, hence the slight Bulge which is visible. 

A Hunter in need of a bit of TLC. When my father was in the RAF he was stationed at West Raynham, a Hunter station.

And a lovely Gannett.

A restored Meteor night fighter trainer. Possibly the ugliest plane in the collection! The double extended nose (radar dome and back-back two seater cockpit) just looks very odd. There was also one of these at RAF West Raynham, which my father said was used as a liaison plane. Sadly it crashed on a mission flying a spare part to a grounded Hunter, killing both the pilot and engineer.

A Lockheed F-80 clone, a T33, supplied to the French Air Force as military aid. This one is in very jazzy USAF colours.

A very well restored Mig 27 'Flogger'.

A Bloodhound and control vehicles. Awaiting restoration.

A Sea Harrier.

Gloster Javelin. This plane is huge! These also operated out of West Raynham (in fact this particular plane was stationed there). My father recalls one going into a flat stall and crashing after performing illegal low level aerobatics. "A dreadful plane" was his verdict. 

Saab Viggen in jazzy Swedish camo.

There is a section on the evolution of aerial navigation. One of the items featured was a Slide Rule, which I do dimly remember how to use, however this one is in Russian!

The Sea Harrier again. What a lunatic decision to scrap these.

Supermarine Swift and Hawker Hunter side by side.

Another night fighter Meteor. The special types were later replaced by general purpose aircraft. 

RAF armament down the decades. Fromt top to bottom: Browning .30 cal, Browning .50 cal, Polsten 20mm, Rarden 30mm.

Rapier towed AA system.

The Buccaneer from the other side.

Zpu towed AA gun.

A Bristol Hercules engine in the engine shed. This powered a wide range of types including the Wellington, Stirling, Halifax and Beaufighter. 

A standard Meteor parked next to a standard Canberra.

Another view of Blue Steel and Vulcan.

Westland Wessex in need of some attention (there is a much neater one in Air Sea Rescue colours in one of the sheds).

A missile armed wheelbarrow(!).

That was a great day out, highly recommended if you are in the area.