Wednesday 30 March 2022
Tuesday 29 March 2022
Monday 28 March 2022
Sunday 27 March 2022
I've been chipping away at the horse archer blocks in between other things and they are starting to look not too bad. The next bit will be painting the riders using a simple basecoat approach in various bright colours, which I've already been experimenting with on a couple of blocks. I haven't started on the individual strips of horses yet, as I want to get the finish right on the blocks first.
Saturday 26 March 2022
I found this hardback in the local charity bookshop today and it looks really good, being a narrative style account of the Nonomhan / Khalkhin Gol conflict from the perspective of a variety of both the Japanese and Soviet participants. This is one of the conflicts that I'm really interested in and I hadn't heard of this book before, although I have read some of the author's other books including his account of the battles of Imphal and Kohima, which was excellent. I'll save this one for the Easter holidays in a couple of weeks time.
I've gone and ordered a starter pack of 1/4800th scale Anglo Dutch ships from Tumbling Dice after being very impressed by the fleets assembled by Barry Hilton on the Mad for War FB page. I thought these would be a good option for fleet sized actions using the appropriately named Grand Fleet Actions in the Age of Sail rules, which I've played before and really like, rather than for Mad for War for which I intend to use 1/2400th and 1/1200th scale models at a squadron level. I'm not sure I really need three scales but why not?!
Thursday 24 March 2022
Here's what I've worked out in terms of ship classification data for the Audacious class central battery ironclads, HMS Audacious, HMS Vanguard, HMS Invincible and HMS Iron Duke, based on relative speed, armament and armour distribution, using the system in the Broadside and Ram rules:
Type AS CS 3 MS 4 AF 5 DF 7 Notes: Ram Bow
Speed: 12-13kts, Armament:10 x 9'' RML / 4 x 6'' RML, Armour: 6-8'' armoured belt, 6'' battery armour, 5'' transverse bulkheads
This all adds up to a respectable points value of 15, which is pretty good for starters and comparable to the contemporary HMS Bellerophon in terms of armament and armour protection, if not speed.
Wednesday 23 March 2022
I have decided to revive my pre-dreadnought project for this year, swapping out one of my air wargaming projects to fit it into the workbench schedule. I prepared two fleets for this over the last year or two, one Italian and one French, but stalled at the painting stage for some reason. I will now bring this forward and aim to get both of the fleets painted up for Broadside and Salvo, possibly once I've finished the Parthian army for Strength and Honour. The thinking is that, as they are already assembled, based and undercoated, it is a relatively simple job to finish them off and actually play some games*. I'll have to jiggle some of my other projects around a bit but I reckon I can get this one sorted in fairly short order.
(*Mind you, I said that back in September last year too: Jim's Wargames Workbench: Pre-Dreadnought Project (jimswargamesworkbench.blogspot.com))
Tuesday 22 March 2022
I have a spare 15mm Peter Pig T-26 that I can gift to the Nationalists but I wanted to get hold of some more light armour to deploy in games. I've been looking for an affordable Panzer 1a but they have been difficult to locate for less than £6.50 (metal), £5.00 (resin) or too expensive due to the cost of postage and tax from the EU (Minairons). As a second best, I have found a QRF Panzer 1b for only £2.50 a pop, which is far less expensive and also suitable for the Spanish Civil War, although they were less common than the shorter hull Panzer 1a. I'm pretty sure that no one will notice the difference anyway?
Monday 21 March 2022
I had a cracking game of Broadside and Ram this afternoon on the trusty kitchen table, with a French squadron ambushing a Royal Navy coastal patrol off the North African coast in my 'What If?' 1870's war. The first three turns were tense but uneventful, as the Royal Navy squadron steamed at a leisurely pace past Cap Blanc, unaware of the lurking French squadron lying in wait behind the headland. The French commander, a wily old veteran, decided to wait until the lookouts on the Royal Navy warships spotted his squadron, releasing the ironclad ram Taureau to make the first strike.
In Turn 4, the lead ship of the British squadron, HMS Rapid, spotted the French ironclad flagship, the Flandre, signalling to the rest of the squadron before being ordered out of the way by the squadron commander in the flagship, HMS Caledonia. The British ironclads were ordered to full steam ahead, while the French squadron weighed anchor and moved to intercept, the ironclad ram Taureau also being set loose as an independent command with orders to strike a decisive blow against the perfidious rosbifs.
The two squadrons approached each other at maximum speed, with Taureau the first to open fire, albeit to no effect, being armed with only a single barbette mounted 24cm breech loader. It was not long before both squadrons came into range, however, with the Royal Navy ironclads cutting inshore of the French squadron, which had turned to port to cut them off. The Taureau meanwhile prepared to ram the British line, resolutely steaming at full pelt towards the Royal Navy squadron undeterred by shot and shell.
The first broadsides crashed out with the French coming off the worse, largely due to the superior armour of the Royal Navy warships. A broadside from HMS Prince Consort supported by the guns of HMS Rapid, scored a devastating hit on the French flagship, the Flandre, with a critical hit and a double six resulting in a massive magazine explosion, blasting the French ironclad to pieces in one fell swoop. At the same time, the Taureau slammed into the side of HMS Caledonia but failed to inflict anything more than a damage result, despite being reduced to silenced by the impact of her ram attack.
The Royal Navy had effectively won the game but the French now had to attempt to disengage, covered by the plucky Taureau which now rammed the next ship in the line, HMS Prince Consort. Once again the ram rolled low and ended up much the worse for wear, reduced from silenced to crippled and dead in the water. The two remaining French ironclads were now engaged by all three of the Royal Navy heavy hitters but the lead ship, Provence, managed to get away and escaped to the north, leaving the Revanche to face the music alone.
Now, HMS Prince Consort and HMS Ocean, moved to rake the Revanche, having already crippled her in the previous exchange of broadsides. Not able to raise steam or fire her batteries, the Revanche just had to sit and take the punishment, but by a miracle was able to avoid being shattered by successive British broadsides. In a twist of fate, the Revanche just managed to roll enough AP's to effect repairs and raise steam, making it to the edge of the table and escape, following the Provence in the wrong direction but at least away from the perfidious Royal Navy.
At the end of the game, the French had lost their flagship in a very impressive and no doubt very loud 'kaboom' explosion, with the two remaining ironclads both silenced and the Taureau crippled but still afloat. I decided that the brave crew of the Taureau would have surrendered and she would have been captured by the Royal Navy, just to rub salt in the wounds of the humiliated French. The Royal Navy ironclads were all damaged but otherwise fully operational, while the sloop HMS Rapid was unscratched, despite having been in the thick of the action.
I had forgotten how much fun these simple ironclad games can be and how the Broadside and Ram rules, with a few tweaks here and there, result in a fast moving game with lots of action. The scenario stood up well despite being written on the back of a metaphorical fag packet and would be ideal as a War of the Pacific game, with the Chileans and Peruvians taking the place of the Anglo-French antagonists. I may well give that a go...