David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occassional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Battle of Coven Heath

Monday saw Phil and I dusting off my ECW collections for our regular game here in GHQ. As ever our rules of choice were my own  'A Crowning Mercy' (available exclusively from Caliver Books). The figures forming the collection are mostly from Foundry and Perry Miniatures, supported by Warlord Games and some Bicorne guns. As usually is the case Phil took command of the Royalists in his persona as Sir Marmaduke Robinson and I commanded the Parliamentary cause as the dour Obadiah Bykleigh. The battle, which you won't find recorded for posterity in the great histories of the War, took place on the nearby Coven Heath, bisected by the road from Wolverhampton to the nest of Royalist vipers in Stafford. The Royalists are advancing southward to teach their opponents a lesson in loyalty, or so they think...
The army of Parliament marches onto the table, the Horse concentrated on
the right flank. Its all Medium Horse, so will be at a disadvantage in combat.

The Royalist army has concentrated its horse on its left flank. Its mostly
Heavy Horse, with some Cuirassiers and one formation of Medium Horse.
It has deployed all its infantry in the centre astride the road.

The Parliamentary Horse knows t is outclassed so throws everything into the
attack. The tactic proved costly in losses but slowed the Royalist advance to a

The Royalists were unusually cautious in the early moves, allowing the
enemy t get around their right flank with a Folorn Hope, supported in due
course by a regiment of Foote.

The Horse swirled back and forth on the flank, but superior Royalist Horse
were beginning to tell and the Parliamentary Horse was being slowly pushed

The Royalist cente was a logjam of formations all struggling to get into
action,while on the right the Oxford Foote try to drive off the Folorn Hope.

The gallant exploits of the outclassed Parliamentary Horse allows Obadiah
Bykleigh to advance his centre and deny the enemy room to manoeuvre and

The Oxford Foote is shattered and flees to the rear opening up the right
flank of the Royalists to being turned. Sensing a possible opportunity
Obadiah Bykleigh leads his Lifeguard of Horse forward.

The Parliamentary army goes onto the offensive all along its front. The
Royalist Hose is too badly mauled to be an effective threat thanks to the
exploits of the gallant but defeated Parliamentary Horse troops.

The Royalists begin to give way protected by the remnants of their Horse.

Both armies are exhausted! Parliament holds the field but cannot pursue
the Royalists as they fall back on Stafford. In the end a strategic win for the
forces of right, truth and justice, but in game terms a draw!

We played seventeen turns in just over two and a half hours! Good going by any measure we thought.
The sacrifice of the Horse by the Parliamentary army meant that when needed later in the game the Royalist horse was too badly mauled to affect the outcome with its infantry were under growing pressure. We called it a draw in the end as the Royalists quit the field but the Paliamentary army was too badly mauled itself to follow up for victory.
Next up in GHQ  will be a VBCW game, the Battle of Bridgnorth Road, which sees the reactionaries of Tettenhall and their allies attacked by the Socialists of Wolverhampton in an attempt to drive a wedge between armies to the south and east which could threaten the safety of the Peoples' Republic of Wolverhampton!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

The British Army & Allies in the 1790's

I've been collecting illustrations of the uniforms of the British army and its Allies during the War of the First Coalition from 1792-95 and thought some of them might be of interest to others who are exploring this period for their wargaming. They are all found through internet searches and many may well be copyrighted so if any copyright holder does object then I will take them down of course.
Stating with several plates illustrating the uniforms of the British army ~


Light Infantry

Trent Miniatures do bandsmen and a drum major.

 The Hanoverian army ~

 Attached to the British army ~

By no means exhaustive, but enough to be going on with I hope. Now, back to painting Hanoverian Light Infantry stand-ins!

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

It's been slow going...

...on the painting front here in GHQ, but at last I have a few things to show. Firstly, the free figure from The Other Partizan which Laurence kindly sent me via Phil. He will be a member of the Mander family in our VBCW games at times ~

Next, five Footsore VBCW British Militia Command figures, four of which were in a goody bag Matt gave me made up of all sorts of figures useful to my ongoing projects ~

Next, a command base of two Trent Miniatures mounted British generals for my FRW project, sold as Moore and Dundas. They will command one of my two British brigades in our games ~

An odd Foundry SYW British officer to provide an extra command base for our game ~

Finally, a few FRW figures representing the very early Service de Sante, first seen in the 1793 Army of the North's campaigns. I reasoned that revolutionary France might not yet have the dedicated uniforms, so painted the stretcher bearers in infantry kit. They were part of a box of old figures I bought for £4 at Penkridge Table Top Sale in the summer, probably by Hinchliffe I'd guess. I replaced their heads with Trent Miniatures bicorne heads for a more period feel. The Vivandiere I left as she came out of the box. (There is also a surgeon at work, but he's waiting for a table and a pile of arms/legs!) Anyway, they will provide interest on the tabletop, so, 'They will do!' as Phil says ~

Hopefully the rest of September will see more progress on my accumulated stock of figures in the 'Lead Lump' for the FRW project. On hand I have Eureka Miniatures French Horse artillery limbers and caisson and Austrian Hussars; Trent Miniatures Lombards, which will become Hanoverian Light Infantry, and two regiments of unreleased Chasseurs, one of which I see as Hussars of the Damas Legion; and lastly, from Foundry a British Horse Artillery battery with mounted command.

The Hanoverian Light Infantry in question, the two figures on the left. Plenty to go at then, best get to it...

Thursday, 7 September 2017

"A desperate business, and no mistake!"

On Wednesday evening Jon and I settled down in GHQ for what has become our monthly game. We had agreed last time on an outing for my SYW collection, with Jon as Lord Walton once more taking the British command and yours truly as General de Bykli taking command of the French. I set out the table before the game with mostly open terrain broken by the odd copse of trees and a couple of fields, although a more heavily wooded area flanked one side of the table. As time pressure on Jon was a factor I took fewer pictures than I had intended, but I hope they give a flavour of the game. We used Black Powder rules without any modifications from The Last Argument of Kings ~
General de Bykli oversees the deployment of the French centre.
The Wild Geese and French Grenadiers move up on the right flank.
The Foot Guards move smartly to the British left flank to counter the French.
Meanwhile the French right has deployed ready to face the threat from the
British Foot Guards. The Hussars de Bykli drive off an attack by the British
Horse Guards.
Lord Walton advances his infantry in the centre as the artillery commence
The Foot Guards and the French grenadiers exchange volleys.
In the centre one French infantry regiment has broken but the French and
Swiss Guards march into the gap and steady the line.
The British Foot Guards exchange volleys with the Grenadier de France.
Both sides are taking heavy casualties and despite numerous Rallies
individual regiments begin to Break on both sides.

The French centre is broken and troops stream towards safety in the rear!
The situation at the end of Turn 9 ~ both armies are Broken and may not advance. The French, having one more Broken
brigade than the British quit the field.
Once again Black Powder proved itself equal to the task of producing a finely balanced game with numerous swings of fortune. Although ending in a draw, the French had the worst of it in the end, with one extra Broken Brigade leading them to quit the field. Lord Walton, wounded in the climax of the battle, was carried to the rear by his Aides as the French remnants retired in good order while offices struggled to bring order to the army.

Monday, 4 September 2017

1067 & All That!

Time to give my Normans and Saxons some tabletop time we thought when discussing the next game in GHQ after last week's epic Ancient battle over at Phil's Olaf'sHQ. The figures are bar three from Wargames Foundry and were sculpted for them by my son Matthew. I painted the Saxons and Phil painted the Normans for me, at "mates' rates" I'm pleased to say. (I'd definitely recommend his painting service to you, even at the full rate its superb value for money if you enjoy well painted units in your game!) The rules we chose were Lion Rampant from Osprey Publishing, in my view one of only two decent sets they've produced, the other being Honours of War. (You should be able to guess my view on Frostgrave and the like...)
I laid out the table for the game, with the Normans lead by Phillipe de Rawnsli, the newly created Lord of the Manor or Worsul, tasked with harrowing the small Saxon settlement near Penda's Ford, home to one Bicca, a stout supporter of the late lamented Harold and holder of the Manor of Penda's Ford, despite what that bastard from Normandy might say. I've taken a few pictures which I hope will illustrate for you the see saw nature of the game and a most unexpected outcome at the end ~
The Saxon defenders of home and hearth, the 'good guys'!

The b*stard Normans!

Norman crossbow unit, the Saxons really suffered from their fire in the early

The Foot Companions, the Hearth Guard, take the centre of the Saxon line.

The Lower Class spearmen move around the flank to attack the crossbows.

The Upper Class spearmen, much reduced by fire from the crossbows, are
charged by Norman knights.

The Upper Class spearmen are driven back and the knights also route the
Lower Class remnants just for good measure!

Norman and Saxon close for hand to hand fighting while the knights look on.

More Saxon Upper Class Spearmen route. Its not looking good for Bicca!

The Hearth Guard are thrown into the attack along with the remaining Lower
Class Spearmen. Its all or nothing time!

Its a stalemate, neither side can press home an advantage, and both withdraw
to tend to their wounds and plan the next phase...

Two and a half hours of harmless fun. What more could you ask for from a game? We felt we coped with the rules quite well, despite the long interval since they last had a run out. From looking a lost cause, the Saxons were saved by two Norman failures in Courage tests after the Leader's unit routed! Early in the game the Saxons were made to pay for choosing no missile troops, and indeed t as the Norman crossbowmen's threat which saved them from total defeat at the death.
Next up here in GHQ will be a Black Powder SYW game with Jon on Wednesday evening. I shall hope to have that up on the blog for interested readers by the weekend. Pop back soon to see how to went.