26 December 2018

AHPC IX sets sail in the Nautilus!

Its finally here - AHPC Season 9 has begun! This year I wanted to submit an entry in the opening 24hrs. Naturally, I went with a relatively simple model: the central playing piece from VPG's solo boardgame Nemo's War:

I am a long time fan of Captain No-one and have been intrigued at the different ways he has been portrayed over the years.  In this very enjoyable game his technological marvel has been given a artistic makeover and I wanted to give it due tip 'o the hat.

I eschewed the traditional metallic and iron grey and instead adopted the serene underwater hues that this more organic looking Nautilus would acquire in her natural element beneath the waves...

VPG's artwork for Nemo's War
My Nautilus is also my opening salvo in the Naval themed side duel, "Engage the Enemy More Closely!"  So I am off the mark - only 998 more points to go!

17 December 2018

Dwarves and AHPC Preps

Its been a busy run up to Christmas and the end of the year.  After a number of deployments and periods at sea, I am looking forward to a good few weeks off at home with family and hobby.
Most of the latter right now is about preparing for AHPC IX - particularly the mass (for me) of 15mm DAK Infantry that will soon accompany my Panzers for games of Battlegroup Tobruk and Torch.  In the meantime, I have also been clearing the decks of some unfinished projects
I enjoyed completing this Dwarf Command Stand, comprised of old Grenadier models that I picked up at the MOAB Bring and Buy a few months ago. They really clicked together and I wanted to build them into a dynamic looking base. I quite enjoyed this project, which is destined for the Lad's Dwarf army.
BTW The F style rune is the one Gandalf carves into Bilbo's door, to lead Thorin's Company there in The Hobbit

I must admit that I was so over prepping models that I just had to paint something else - mea culpa!
Also from the MOAB Bring and Buy stand, this Chaos Dwarf Hero will join my evil Army, and mercilessly seek out the Dwarves of the above Command stand in battles to come!
Hammer time!

25 November 2018

AHPC 9 - Fellowship

The most exciting event on my annual Hobby calendar has been announced: AHPC 9!

This will be my 5th participation with a target set at 1,000 points

Why a thousand? Because Dux actual says:

I will also, for my sins, be undertaking the duties of 'duels wallah' (and I am open to bribes, naturally)

The banter, the eye-candy and the fun begin on 21 December!


11 November 2018

Lest We Forget

On this Centenary of Armistice Day I thank all those who answered the calls of their Nations to do their duty. I have recently been researching my great grandfather's service in the Great War, so my commemorative post on this day is a personal tribute to him.
My great grandfather James in his Leicestershire Regiment uniform
At the outbreak of war, my great grandfather James was a 32 year old former member of the Territorial Army (much maligned by Kitchener) who had served for six years with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment and discharged as a private soldier in 1908.  As per Imperial policy he was mobilised immediately on the outbreak of war but instead of joining the Reserve battalions of his Regiment (the 4th and 5th which deployed in 1915), he joined the 500 men of the regular army 1st battalion which was brought back from Ireland.  While there is no record of which Company James was attached to, the 1st battalion was assigned to the 16th Infantry Brigade, 6th Division, III Corps.  After concentration and training they entrained to Southampton and took ship to France on 8-9 Sep 14.

The 6th Division marched directly to Arne, arriving on the 19th where they were part of the Franco-British defence during the battle of Aisne - the "Race to the Sea".  As the Germans pushed further toward the channel ports executing the famous Schliffen Plan, the Division moved also.

16th and 18th Brigades formed the British line at Battle of Armentieres - part of the First Battle of Ypres - "Graveyard of the Old Contemptibles" - where they faced the German XIX Corps of the 6th Army. The 23-25th October saw fierce fighting with 16 Brigade taking the brunt of the German attacks at Armentieres. Commencing with heavy shelling, the Germans conducted a frontal attack on the British lines. The British were repulsed but later retook their trenches in hand to hand fighting, and later retired via night march to a secondary defence line to their rear. 
One of the documents the Imperial War Office was able to provide me  - the fire damage is from the 1940 Blitz
During this action the Division suffered almost 5000 casualties.  The 1st Leicestershire Battalion, which was engaged around Rue de Bois, suffered 47 KIW, 134 WIA and 106 Missing, including James.  He, was later reported by the Germans in captivity in a PWO camp in the Black Forrest.  This probably saved his life noting the very heavy casualties his battalion later suffered in 1915 at Second Ypres.  This is a picture I found on the Leics Regiment website (https://ww1tigers.com/index.html) with the caption:

"A very rare image of German soldiers and captured prisoner of war British soldiers including Leicestershire Regiment soldiers on the way to a funeral of their comrades 31/10/1914. Many thanks to Paul Loseby."
It is entirely possible likely, then, that my great grandfather James is in this picture noting the date of his capture less than a week prior and that these are men from his Battalion.

I remember my Grandfather telling me that the PWO camp was reportedly well run but poorly supplied. The prisoners lived on whatever they could farm and suffered badly from malnutrition (as did most of the German civilian population admittedly). He returned home after the war safely, nearly 100 years ago, and while his health was never the same he lived to the age of 65.
James was awarded the 1914 Star ("Mons" Star) with combat clasp, the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
Sadly the originals were lost over the years but I have had replicas made.
One Man’s story, like so many others, that must not be forgotten.  I also had two great uncles on my grandmothers side who served with the 4th Battalion of the Leicester Regiment on the Western Front from 1916-18 and survived. I look forward to learning more about them.

A recent acquisition of mine - the Cap badge of the Leicestershire Regiment
Regimental footnote
The Royal Leicestershire Regiment traces its origins to 1688 and can trace service in the 9 years wars, Wars of Spanish Succession and suppression of the Jacobite Uprising of 1715. In 1751 it was redesignated the 17th Regiment of Foot and served in North America during the French Indian War, accompanying General Wolf into Quebec, and also the American War of Independence.

From there the Regiment was deployed in more easterly directions: India from 1804-1823  (during which it received its famous Tiger emblem and nickname), the fledgling colony of New South Wales (where I now live) from 1830-1836, the First Anglo-Afghan War and the Crimean War including the Siege of Sevastopol.

In 1881 under the Childers Reforms, the regiment was renamed The Leicestershire Regiment, and comprised two regular battalions and two militia battalions. One of each served in the Boer war.
Over the course of WW1 the Regiment raised 19 battalions, loosing an aggregated 7,000 men in action over the course of the war. After the war the Regiment returned to its former size and in the interwar years participated in the Irish War of Independence 1920-22.

During WW2 the Regiment fielded 8 different battalions across different Infantry Brigades, participating in diverse theatres including BEF and Dunkirk, Tobruk, Greece, Malaya, Italy, Burma, Normandy and Arnhem. In 1946 the Regiment was awarded the prefix Royal, and the 1st battalion subsequently fought in Korea from 1951-52 including at the Battle of Maryang-San with Australian Forces.

British Army reforms throughout the Cold War were as unkind to the Royal Leicestershires as they were to many Regiments. In 1964, The Royal Leicestershire Regiment was amalgamated with Norfolk and Suffolk Regiment and the Duchess of Gloucester's Own Lincolnshire and Northamptonshire Regiment to become The Royal Anglian Regiment, incorporating the 4th (Leicestershire) Battalion. This battalion was disbanded when The Royal Anglian Regiment was further downsized in 1975.

In 1995, the Royal Anglian Regiment renamed its battalions and companies to better remember the rich history of its parent units. The 2nd Battalion’s 2nd company is now known as B (Royal Leicestershire) Company.  The dress uniform buttons of the Royal Anglian Regiment shows the Tiger originally from the cap badge and insignia of the Royal Leicestershire Regiment.

Regimental Battle Honours:

25 October 2018

AHPC Preps and off for a spell

The obscure SdKfz 254 Artillery FO vehicle
Recently I have been considering my options for the upcoming AHPC Season IX.  I have a number of bits and bobs to do but I always have a central theme. I also have a penchant for buying and prepping figures, and then completely ignoring them during the challenge as new projects begin and new interests are kindled. Oh well...
SdKfz 250/10 Command Recce vehicle sporting a 37mm anti-tank gun
This year I am hoping to bulk out my fantasy force a bit (and because they are left over from a previous AHPC) but my main push is my 15mm Afrika Korps, both for Battlegroup Tobruk and the later Torch period.  During AHPC VIII, I concentrated on the recce and light armour forces - this year I will add the heavier (its all relative in 41-42!) Pz IVs and a range of specialist vehicles. I have enjoyed finding the less common ones to really round out the force and give me a myriad of options.
WIP: SdKfz 251 Ausf C Platoon HQ vehicle 
But before all that commences I am back to sea for operational deployment and will return in December. In the meantime Reilly has just finished his Yr 12/HSC/SAT/A Level exams so I am hoping to tempt him back to some modelling and gaming before he starts University next year.  In the meantime these are now on my Santa list, along with the recently announced and long awaited SAGA Book of Battles.

and speaking of distracting new interests...

So...who else plans on participating in the forthcomingAHPC Season?
A very wise Dreadnought indeed!

19 October 2018

Orc War Pigs!

I recently painted these up for my mate Slowpainter John, to thank him for some figures that he donated to Reilly's Dwarf army. Plus...its Orctober!
These are BTD minis - a lot of fun to paint up I'm particularly pleased with how the metallics came out.  Unbased so John can match them to the rest of his Orc army.

Over a black undercoat, this was my progression of paints;
Using a heavy drybrush of the Dwarf Bronze, heavy shading followed by edge highlighting with the Glorious Gold

13 October 2018

Trench Clearance!

Our Centenary of Remembrance WW1 gaming continued this week with the Germans clearing out a French Trench system after a successful dawn assault, while a French rearguard desperately holds them off to buy time for the Regiment to withdraw.  I adopted a scenario from Too Fat Lardies' Stout Hearts and Iron Troopers supplement and kept with To The Last Man rules from last week.  I had the French start hidden and gave each team written orders to keep a few things hidden from eachother. It added a bit of tension which was fun.

The Germans moved up with their two squads and HMG team, while the French held their fire.  The Germans, unsure of what awaited them in the now seemingly empty French trenches, advanced cautiously, throwing grenades around corners (and taunting the French players to open up on them if they dare!).

 And when the opportune time came, the first French HMG team opened up!

 On the other flank, the veteran German squad found the trench ahead of them blocked by barbed wire and took the only option open to them- over the top!

The second French HMG team reveals itself with a burst of fire

The Bavarian infantry takes casualties but keeps pushing up
On the left flank the scene is mirrored, preventing the French HMGs teams from concentrating their fire. To their horror, the French discovered why the Colonial Tommies prayed that their gatlings wouldnt jam...
The HMG was overrun with minimal casualties.

While the other HMG starts to fall back under unyielding pressure
The veteran Bavarians, below half strength kept coming up. Some bayonet work saw men on both sides fall and in the end, against all odds with snipers taking pot shots at him as well, Private Stinky Pierre of the HMG squad escaped - the only survivor of the Rear Guard to report back to the Colonel. Had they bought enough time for the Regiment to prepare a secondary defensive line? Only time would tell...

05 October 2018

Trench Raid!

Some players get right into character to make the most of the experience
After a number of us scored some painted WW1 troops from the MOAB bring and buy, we were keen to throw down and get them onto the table.
French Infantry advance along the trenches
France, 1916. Sometime after dinner.

German Jager HMG team

Für das deutche Vaterland! 

The new stahlhelm proved most popular amongst the troops
 3 Central Powers players - all playing Germans, faced off against a tripartite Allied force comprising British, Belgians and French.
German Jaegers and French infantry go bump in the night. What followed was...messy

The objective - a German artillery piece in the centre of the Battlefield.
For the German players - deliver the change to the fire plan and defend the gun.
For the British - capture the maps (showing the locations of the other guns in the battery) and spike the gun.

We used "To the Last Man" rules which I may review later but suffice it to say that they provided a good set of tactical mechanics and were easy to pick up, but lack any army builder system or scenarios.  Which is fine in my book, and more importantly, we were playing fairly fluidly after a quick 20min skim of the rules.

What followed was mayhem, mills bombs and mirth. The terrain was awesome (trenches courtesy of Alan, who was sadly absent) and the effect were both very impressive and great to play on.

Noting that I will be deployed next month, this was unilaterally declared our Centenary of Remembrance wargaming activity.

More to follow!