Monday, 21 November 2016

It's Official - Painting Challenge Announced

Last night it was made official: Curt's worlwide reknown Painting Challenge is ready to be launched on the night of December 20th. This is the seventh year in a row and from looking from the sidelines many years, I decided to take the challenge in 2015... and will no doubt repeat this year.

I'm looking to reach a modest target (500 points) but considering that most of my paiting time is concentrated in the Christmas break and how slow painter I am, is more than a challenge to me. Time next weekend to plan my project, but likely a mix of Napoleonic and II WW themes.

Good luck to all participants (this year is looking to be massive...) and will be updating my progress here as it goes.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Back to Chain of Command: Red Counterattack

Following many months of playing Napoleonics, today I returned to my cherished IIWW Chain of Command. I was offered to play the second scenario of a small mini campaign set at Kursk. This was a Red Army counterattack to the advanced elements of the Gross Deutschland division.

Our forces comprised a SMG platoon (reinforced with an additional SMG squad and a lend-lease Churchill) and 2 platoons of T-34. The victory conditions for the Soviets were to exit the northern edge of the table (see the map) with at least two AFV. The stream was hard going for the tanks, subject to a double bogged-down roll if attempting to cross; thus the only safe place to ford the stream was through the bridge.  

This game was played with the "Big CoC" system that allows multiplayer games with Chain of Command.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

"No Pasarán!" 80 years later

80 years ago today, the Battle for Madrid had reached its climax. Nationalists troops had taken Casa de Campo, crossed the Manzanares river and were fighting in Ciudad Universitaria looking to reach the center of the capital city. On this same day, the first units of the International Brigades paraded through the Madrid streets (the photo above illustrating this blog entry), moving right straight into the front line.

Despite 2016 marking the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, no major public or privately sponsored events have been scheduled and the memories of those years continue fading away in the collective consciousness of the Spanish society. I just wanted to make a small reminder that our grandparents were kiling each other in a cold November morning like today, not so long ago...

For those with the ability to read Spanish, I recommend this issue of the Desperta Ferro ediciones magazine on the Battle of Madrid. Otherwise you can follow the campaign we played in 2014 with Chain of Command; the full campaign details are also available in the TooFatLardies 2014 Christmas Special.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Back in the Saddle

You may have noticed a drop of the blog’s activity lately.  Nothing to do with my health or loss of gaming mojo… in fact the result of the biblical-scale club’s premises flooding last June, forcing its closure and hence resulting in a very low wargaming activity…  I managed just a few games in a friend’s house over the summer and September (see my previous post from late August).
Not having much to comment, I have been investing most of my gaming  time in painting my Napoleonic figures and reducing my lead pile. Those who follow my Twitter account may have seen my progress in that front!
The good news are that I may enter now into a more active wargaming phase, as the club doors opened again just yesterday; so hopefully I’ll be playing most of Sundays from now on, as in the past.

The grand opening
I went to visit the premises only today… by the way, throwing my first dice in weeks, with three games of Command & ColoursAncient played this morning (great, fun game for Sunday morning or a casual match any afternoon!!).
Salivating after many months
The new refurbished site is wonderful, we have gained in terms of light, quality and safety too: taking advantage of the disaster, the club “junta” decided to undertake a safety study and adapt the place to the local regulations. This means also that we can now organise public events too, hopefully attracting additional membership.
Kudos also to my fellow club colleagues comprising the “Junta” and its President Tomás (aka the KlubFuhrer) for the way they have managed this most unfortunate event and how they have put back in operation the club is a reasonable timeframe.
Returning to the gaming activity, what is the pipeline in the short term?
I guess mostly Napoleonic, but I’m afraid that not a lot of Sharp Practice. The rules are great indeed but have not captured the imagination of my gaming group as Chain of Command did.
And the main reason is the game scale: playing skirmish games in the FIW or AWI period is OK; but frankly speaking, when moving into the Napoleonic period, one wants to see large masses of men, horses and guns moving in a table and this is an experience that Sharp Practice cannot provide, they are not designed for large scale battles.

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Sharp Practice: Encounter at Guareña River 1812

The following is a scenario for the popular skirmish rules in the black powder era Sharp Practice published by TooFatlardies in the context of the Salamanca campaign in 1812 won by Wellington's allied forces.

Before the actual battle of Salamanca (or “de los Arapiles” as it is known in Spain) was fought, on 21st  of July 1812 the British and the French armies spent several weeks following closely each other looking to exploit a moment of tactical advantage to defeat the enemy in force.
Since the end of June 1812, the theatre of operations had moved north of Salamanca, to the Duoro river line where both armies try to outmanoeuvre the enemy during several weeks.
Marshall Marmont finally caught Wellington out of step in a faint move in which the French crossed to the southern bank of the river, posing a flanking threat to Wellington and also potentially cutting the line of retreat to Salamanca and further afiled, to Portugal.
On July 17th, Wellington ordered the army retreat towards Toro; the objective was to move from there via the north-south road that links this city with Salamanca. The retreat continued during the 18th reaching by mid-afternoon the line of the Guareña stream, a small tributary of the Duoro. The British crossed this small river unopposed and formed a line along the west bank, supported on the village of Vallesa on the right.
Considering the position sufficiently secured and the late hour (around 4PM), the British were ordered to prepare the camp for the night.
However the French thought differently and spotted a good opportunity to cross the Guareña at a lightly defended position on the left of Wellington’s line. This move if correctly executed will allow a flank attack on the British and allied forces.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Sharp Practice: The Battle of García Hernández

The Battle of García Hernández took place on 23rd July, 1812 the day after the victory of Wellington at Salamanca.
The defeated French army left the battlefield covered by General Maximillien Foy’s 1st Infantry Division, a fresh French force as it did not have an active role in the main battle. Foy`s forces comprised two brigades with two regiments each and artillery.
Foy’s also got a light cavalry force reinforcement commanded b y General Jean-Baptiste Curto, with 2 squadrons of the 3rd Regiment d´Hussards, two squadrons of the 26th Regiment de Chasseurs and one squadron the 28th Regiment de Chasseurs.
According to French sources (but not mentioned in the British reports) the cavalry rearguard also comprised elements of the Division de Dragons commanded by General Pierre Boyér, in charge of protecting the artillery train retreating ahead in the north.
In the British side, Wellesley took personal command of pursuers, forming a group with the 1st Infantry Division, the Light Division, the light cavalry brigade of General Anson and the heavy cavalry brigade of General Von Bock (1st and 2nd  KGL Dragoons Regiments), the latter being part of the reserve division the previous day.
At dawn of July 23rd, both Anson and Von Bock initiated the persecution.

Sharp Practice Corunna Campaign Errata

As you probably know, the 2016 TFL Summer Special released yesterday includes the full Corunna 1809 campaign for Sharp Practice that we´ve been designing, testing and playing over the last two months.

Alas, when I downloaded the issue, I discovered to my horror that my eagle eye failed to spot several mistakes in my latest revision of the article just before publishing. So here are the corrections in case you are interested in taking note:

  • In page 13, the note with an asterisk about General Colbert should be deleted, it does not apply to the 4th scenario.
  • In the same page 13, in the British reinforcement table, the Marksman Thomas Plunkett should also be deleted (again it does not apply to the 4th game of the campaign).
  • Less important, the photos posted at the end of the article are from Cacabelos not Bembibre.
Sorre for the inconvenience.

Also worth noting that we introduced a British "Rifle Column" organisation in the artcile. But recently, we have realised that the brunt of the fighting was in fact undertaken by the light infantry with the support of Rifle companies distributed among the main British force.

Therefore, if you like a more historically accurate approach to the campaign, we would suggest using the Light Column Force of page 98 of the rules instead, as the backbone of the British forces for the campaign.