Tuesday 17 July 2018

Crossbows for the Italian Wars

A few weeks ago I posted some pictures of my first Unit for the latest project here at YG, here is the second.

Using the same figures as my previous post, I.e. the 28mm Perry Miniatures Plastic European Mercenary mixed with some of the same companies metal range to add to the variety, I have added a unit of crossbows to the pike block I began with.

I have gone for the same general colour scheme as the pikes, that of the Swiss Canton of Lucerne. Basing wise rather than the 8 figures per base for the pike I have gone for a much looser 4 figures per base for these.

Base size is 60mm x 50mm and one of my plans for the Italian Wars Project is to use the same base size for everything, 8 figs for pike, 6 for Halberd or Sword and 4 for Shot and Bow. I plan to use the same base for order and skirmish order placing a small 60 x 15 base of Pavise in front of the above to indicate crossbows acting in closer order. It's a Yarkshire thing to save brass, no need for two bases when one will do !

Here are the crossbow figures deployed with their parent pike unit.

I am quite pleased with the start of the project and plan to do a small unit of Gendarme next.

Tuesday 10 July 2018

2018 Naval Campaign, Game 4 Rendezvous

Here we are back on the Blue gaming mat with Game 4 of our ongoing Naval Campaign, regular viewers will know by now we are following the sortie of Scharnhorst and Gneisenau into the Atlantic in early 1941, known as Operation Berlin. Links to the previous games are below,

Our first Game was a confused night action as the Germans broke out into the North Atlantic.


The second game saw the two German ships causing chaos amongst a Convoy with some U Boat support.


Whilst game 3 saw a very interesting encounter with a Danish Trawler


Team Germany
Historical Background

As the two sisters searched the seas for merchant ships and convoys to prey on, the risk of meeting a group of transports escorted by larger warships was always a risk, the biggest risk even though very small was locating a Convoy whilst it's escorts were in the process of changing. In early March 1941 this nearly happened so this is my what if scenario for that event.

Germans under heavy calibre fire
German Briefing

After three successful outings your powerful force has fallen on a Convoy of Transports, it looked like easy pickings and you moved in for the kill to save expending your stores of 11" shells.

A typical Atlantic squall had hidden the British Battleship escorting the merchants until it was too late and you are now engaged in combat, one old Dreadnought wont cause your two modern ships too much of a problem but there are other problems on the horizon. Survive until nightfall so you can use the darkness to escape.

British Briefing 

Even with the two German Battlecruisers loose at sea the convoys can't be stopped, the fragile war effort would fail without them. Your SL Convoy has been escorted so far by the British Battleship Barham (should be Malaya but I don't have the model).

Barham Group
The Convoy (use the reminants of the convoy from game 3) is going to be guided home by the HMS Repulse group and they have come to meet you. As the exchange is taking place the Germans are sighted heading straight for the Convoy. So far they have avoided ship to ship combat but today they have closed the range and shells are being exchanged.

Repulse Group
Also by pure luck a third group of ships lead by HMS Renown (see top photo) has been despatched from Gibraltar to search for the Battlecruisers and support the Convoy route. This group has an aircraft carrier, things are going to get interesting.

Carrier Group (should be Furious but again no model)
Set Up 

Apologies for the poor quality of the set up photo this week, after all this time I should know to check each photo for quality before moving on.

Anyway this slightly blurred off centre photo will have to do. Table is 12 x 6. North is to the right, East closest to the camera.

Germans are sailing ESE about 3 ft in from the western table edge, on the Northern table edge.

The British Line up as follows,

Repulse group heading NE with rear ship touching the South and East corner.

Convoy Group 1ft in from the western table edge heading East.

Barham Group heading ENE 6 inch in from the southern edge just in front of the Germans.

Renown Group heading NW on the southern table edge 12" from the eastern table edge.

Carrier Group is off table behind the Repulse group, we put it on table to show it's presence but the actual ships are out of range of the Germans.

Umpire Notes 

Unlike with the other games so far in this series no Umpire is required, there are no ships to id or Danish Trawlers to confuse the players, like in previous games, this is a straight up fight.

We determined that night would fall at the end of the gaming day (11am to 4pm with a generous break for Fish and Chips).

Both Germans engage the Barham, it was going to be a long hard day for the old girl.
How did we get on

Another fun day on the Blue baize and a day we learnt how powerful these German ships are, with Battleship Armour and modern guns, they might only be 11.5" but outrange the, what are really WW1 ships, they were facing.

Game carrier deck plan
Whilst the Germans engaged the Barham, ignoring the Convoy, the British returned fire, but with the Renown and Repulse closing range they could only bring limited guns to bear and at a range where they couldn't really do much damage.

The main response was taking off from the Eagle, it's a bit like a ballet using aircraft carriers in our rules but as deck officer for the day I managed to get the first wave in the air without issue.

Planes away
With our British planes missing in action we used our back up counters which came from the Victory at Sea rules, the die represents the number of turns left on table.

The first attack was a close run thing, German AA wasn't too effective and 11 aircraft managed to launch torpedoes but only one hit it's target and that exploded harmlessly against the belt.

A nervous moment for the Germans
Whilst the aircraft were returning to the carrier and a second strike was being prepared the two on one action against the Barham was really starting to hurt, Barham was in a bad way and lost 3 of her 4 turrets, limping badly and only a couple of good hits off sinking her escorts made smoke and she disengaged from the fight.

A badly damaged Barham retires from the action
With things going badly and with the two remaining British Battlecruisers no match for the German ships the British Admiral ordered the remaining aircraft to attack rather than waiting for the first wave to re arm and re group. The 6 fighters and 6 Swordfish made towards the Germans.

Round 2
Gneisenau was the target again, this time the AA was better and less than half the aircraft made their attack runs, sometimes however it's luck not numbers that makes the difference. Another torpedo struck home, this time there was a large explosion and a hole in the belt of the Germans Starboard. The ship was on fire, loosing speed and taking on water.

The above photo shows the carrier in full action, the second wave has just landed on the deck. The first wave is rearming whilst one flight of fighters waits in the hanger and one is in the lifts heading for the deck.

But even with that damage the British were not going to make any in road into the German ships and with the day ending and the British unable to mount a third air strike the Scharnhorst and her wounded sister were able to escape.

At the end of the game both German ships had lost just over a quarter of their damage value, mostly to hits on the deck and superstructure. Gneisenau had lost 5 knots of speed after repairs and both had secondary guns missing.

Barham however was a wreck, if she made it back to port she would be being repaired for a long time, Renown had also taken some hits losing around a quarter of its damage points as well but all her systems were active and she had only lost a couple of knots of speed.

A close encounter and all nicely set up for the final game where the British will throw everything at the two sisters to stop them from reaching home.

Friday 6 July 2018

Troops on Parade - WW2 British Desert Collection for 1940-41

Here is the start of a new feature here at Yarkshire Gamer and also on the newly created Yarkshire TV (pop down to The You Tube, subscription is free !), a review of the figure collections here at Castle R.

The 1940-41 British Desert Collection
All of us gamers will have projects tucked away in draws, box files and Really Useful Boxes around the house, every now and again they will see the light of day but even then it's rare that all of the troops get on the table at one time, so this feature is a poor excuse for me to get them all out on the table (as the Actress said to the Bishop !).

Can't beat an Old Cruiser
The whole exercise is certainly recommended by the Doctor, it was quite therapeutic sorting, what is one of the smaller collections, for the photo shoot. It also reminded me that when we started our Desert Project we were aiming for a single box of Perrys Miniatures and a couple of Tanks, as you can see mistakes were made.

Light Tanks to the fore
All the figures are 28mm with the vehicles coming from Blitzkrieg, Perrys, Warlord and Company B. The collection is to cover the years 1940 to 1941, so from the start of the war in the Desert against the Italians, through the arrival of the Germans up until the end of Op Crusader.

Above is a You Tube video of the whole collection with a bit of commentary from yours truly. I am still working on my technique for the clips but I am happy with the way they are evolving.

Infantry wise our homebrew rules have a British / Commonwealth Infantry Company as 3 10 units of 1 Sgt, 1 Bren and loader and 7 Rifles, with a 3 figure HQ, supporting 2" Mortar and Anti Tank Rifle.  There are 4 companies here or a full battalion, need to add a few more figures to the Battalion HQ but otherwise the Infantry is done.

Most of the vehicles are painted in some version of the Caunter Scheme, mostly in the more controversial (to some) blue grey version. The light and lens makes the colour very Blue in these pics but I actually use a mix of the Vallejo Blue Grey colours for the vehicles, so if you think they are the wrong colour please contact Vallejo not me 😁.

The camouflage or more correctly disruption pattern was in use for most of the time period that this army is designed to cover.

My usual light hearted tilt is reflected in the group, above is a photo of my Wind in the Willows inspired Matilda Tanks, eagle eyed folk may notice the PG Tips Monkey on the side of one of the Marmon Herringtons.

So a box of figures and a couple of Tanks has exploded into 42 vehicles and 160 ish figures, good job it's just a skirmish. And if you think that's gone wrong, below is my to paint pile.

Well I reet enjoyed that look at one of my more recent collections, I think next up will be my 15mm Napoleonic British Peninsula Army, my oldest, it will be interesting to see all that on one table (if it fits) and how it's developed since my first ever painted figures (still in the army) over the last 39 years.

Tuesday 3 July 2018

Battle of Bergen 1759 - The AAR

A couple of weeks back I put up a post outlining the set up and forces we were going to be using for our recreation of the SYW Battle of Bergen, so for all the background details click the link below,


French and Hanoverian Infantry fighting on the edge of Bergen
We use Die Kriegskunst rules and generally things went well. As fans of the other sets in the same stable it's an easy switch from those other rules to these without too much pain. There are a few things missing and they could do with the a 2nd edition, I thought it was a bit easy for Cavalry to get in melee vs Infantry Lines, love to hear what others think.

British Dragoon Guards (Blue Moon)
The game itself developed into 3 sectors roughly mirroring the wings and centre of the orders of battle. The Allies on their left struggled to get anywhere against the well organised defences around Bergen. The Hanoverian Artillery didn't make any headway against the French in the town and there just wasn't enough Allied Infantry to force a way into the town.

The start of the assault on Bergen
The French wait quietly in the hedges and walls of the town.
Lots of powder and sweat expended in and around Bergen but not much progress. It was however the first outing for my new 15mm hedges what I bought off the Fleabay recently. I never liked making terrain and just find it so easy to click a button on the web and feed my foliage habit.

Fighting around the town intensifies
But the French reserves move up and Bergen holds
At the other side of the table the French were hindered by their set up with a big chunk of infantry, mostly Saxon set up behind the woods, it took a while for them to get moving and they didn't take any meaningful part in the action.

Allied Cavalry move towards the "hole"
I was in charge of the Allied Centre Right and had decided on a zero subtlety tactic, form a hole in between the infantry of the wing and the centre, shove all the Cavalry through the big hole and try and break the French Centre.

And through they go
The Hanoverian Guard at the front of the Allied Centre took most of the French Artillery hits and the Cavalry were able to get out into the open and onward to the Warte !

Line up to charge
The Scots Greys and Inniskilling lined up against a French Cavalry Brigade to the left of the Warte which was struggling to get moving, the Dragoon Guards went to the right at another French Cavalry Brigade, this one fighting for space which meant it only had a one Regiment frontage. A unit of Hesse Dragoons had the "honour" of charging the Artillery covered Warte.

And in we go
All the charges were successful with the exception of the Hesse Dragoons who ended up with a bloody nose (and a few casualties), the melee phase was going to be interesting.

The French come out to play

The Allies respond
Meanwhile in the space between Bergen and the Warte, another Storm was brewing, 2 brigades of French Cavalry were heading for a gap which was starting to develop between the Allied Centre and Left. Thankfully the Allied Cavalry on that side of table got a shimmy on and started to fill the gap, but the French had the initial advantage in numbers.

Crunch !
Back by the huge protrusion that is the Warte, on the left the melee lasted two rounds with both sides reinforcing. However the addition of the Horse Guards swung it in favour of Ferdinand of Brunswicks boys.

The Inniskilling Dragoons do what British Cavalry do best, they pursued the remaining French off the table and are now somewhere near Denmark. The Horse Guards had a splash of mud on someones shoe and retired to reform, whilst the mighty Scots Greys rallied on the spot in a very nice position.

The Dragoon Guards beat the isolated French Cavalry Regiment, this led to a Brigade morale which the French failed leaving the British free to reform on the flank of the Artillery and Infantry.

Meanwhile the Hesse Dragoons rolled a super morale roll and remained in front of the guns locking them in place. Their carbines were ineffective but they stopped the Artillery firing at anything else or repositioning.

The chaos begins
Back towards Bergen the second Cavalry Melee started relatively quietly with an 18 figure Hesse Dragoon Regiment fighting 2 French 12 figure units one of which was Cuirass. It was a minor victory for the Hanoverians but not enough to break the French.

The Black Hole begins to open
Both sides chose to reinforce the melee, the French able to get a further two units in action to the Allies one, it took some working out, this time it was a minor victory for the French and we were back to square 1 !

And opens wider !
A third round was called for and more troops were added on both sides but this time it was a draw. We couldn't find anything in the rules that limited the maximum rounds of melee so we decided that 3 was a reasonable number (from some ancient old school rule set) so both sides retired to their own lines to reform and lick their wounds.

Now you see them

Now you don't
Returning to the Warte things weren't going well for the French, the rallied Dragoon Guards had been joined by a unit of Prussian Cavalry and charged two units of French Garrison Infantry, wiping them both out.

Whilst on the Warte the Scots Greys who had rallied on the flank of the French Artillery swept across the top of the hill taking the guns with them.

Scotland Forever
The Allied Right was very quiet, the light troops had pushed into the woods and were happily skirmishing all day with French units. The line infantry had secured it's flank against the wood and stood waiting the outcome of the Cavalry action.

The French did chuck some Cavalry units at the end unit, a 16 Figure Hesse Guard unit. A single unit was shot away relatively comfortably, however a couple of turns later a two Regiment attack was only just shot off, both units faltering.

For me a Guard unit, with no casualties, supported with secure flanks should see off Cavalry attacks without much of a problem, this was quite a close run thing, without good shooting dice and poor morale dice for the French it would have been very different. Any thoughts ?

Hesse Guard shoot off some French Cavalry
So with our gaming day drawing to a close we called it a day, the Allies had broken through the French Centre, however the French still had a considerable advantage in Infantry numbers. The Hanoverians had no chance of breaking into Bergen so we decided on a winning draw to the Allies.

Everyone really enjoyed the game, it was great to get a big chunk of my SYW collection on the table after so many years. It was also fantastic to get some proper old school gaming done, lots of units on a big table, reminds me of my youth !

The SYW collection is back in the box and we have our Naval Campaign to finish and WW2 Desert games to play but I feel a stirring, a big Napoleonic stirring ! In fact I feel an afternoon in the garden completing my Quarrie to General de Brigade conversion.

This is what gaming should look like !