Friday 24 June 2016

Enough is enough.

I wasnt going to comment upon the referendum and its result, purely because we wargamers should be more interested in wargaming or three dimensional games, or whatever is the name for playing with toy soldiers nowadays. However having watched and listened to the news, read the comments on the Guardian and now read some of the posts on various wargaming blogs I have decided to have my threepence worth;
   I am immensely proud of the people of the British Isles who went to the polls last night and voted to leave the EU. It is a giant leap in the dark, and would have been very easy to take the easy option and vote to stay in the EU. I would argue most of the 17 million plus voters did so after some careful thought about what the risks are for voting out.
 Today like all the other people who voted out I have been accused of being, old, racist, selfish, ignorant, Little Englander, hateful,liars, stupid, a baby boomer who took everything and left nothing for the future, etc, etc;
Oh and apparently 75% of the youth of this country were betrayed because they voted to stay in Europe?
 well one question I would ask is how do they know that, considering the voting slip is meant to be an anonymous document, but of course that cant be a lie, because the leader of the Liberals, and a keen remainer said it. He also asked for a second Referendum! clearly he cant grasp the concept of people power.
 Perhaps if the remain campaign had offered up some positive arguments as to why we should stay in Europe, people would have supported them, instead all we got were the negatives of what could happen should we leave. Apparently immigration was too complex an issue to discuss, and if anyone attempted to talk about the elephant in the room, a scream of RACIST would be leveled at them, the final nail in the coffin for remaining for me was the unedifying sight of Eddie Izzard beret and all, burbling on like a demented old maid, but not actually saying anything about the most important decision this country had to make in 100 years.
 So please all you remainers, you weren't cheated, or lied to, I wasn't influenced by some giant News International Conspiracy, I dont hate foreigners, and sit in a White Van planning some lynching, I merely recognised that enough is enough, I love my country and know it has many faults, but clearly courage is not lacking when the chips are down.

Monday 20 June 2016

Sojourn nearly over.

  Late May and June have been extremely busy times for me, both in a wargaming sense and from a social point of view, so what has suffered has been my ability to update my blogs regularly.
  I can only apologise for the lack of posts, and hope by the end of this week to be back in the saddle as it were, health permitting.
  I cannot complain as I have been lucky enough to have experienced several things that I otherwise wouldn't have done. One, was two weekends ago when I attended the AMG 2016 weekend at a hotel in Warwickshire with 20 other wargamers from all parts of the United Kingdom.
The AMG stands for A Military Gentleman, a lavish book created by John Ray,containing images from his beautiful collection of 30mm SYW wargaming figures, and by owning the book one is entitled to be a member of the forum on the internet.
 Several wargamers who were there have already recorded their views and respective images from the weekend. I thought I would come from a different angle regarding the whole event.
  For me the forum has allowed me to come into contact with some very talented wargamers who possess a lot of enthusiasm and knowledge of not just the Seven Years War but also wargaming in general.
 I was unable to attend the first meeting of the AMG due to holiday commitments, so this year was my first opportunity to physically meet fellow members and get to know them through playing wargames, eating, drinking and talking, [which in my case is usually gibberish].
 The last couple of years I have attended several wargaming events meeting wargamers for the first time to play a game and as I have always been a people watcher, and take great interest in how people behave in various social gatherings, I think a wargaming weekend is a great way to suss people out.    This is nothing sinister, but I just find meeting people very interesting and enjoy seeing how they behave and react to being with other total strangers playing in what can be a competitive wargame.
  I was not disappointed in that it was a great weekend with a group of 20 other wargamers from all walks of life intent of having a good time, the only complaint? that it had to end.
 Perhaps that was just as well, given just how tired I was after helping oversee the re fight of the Battle of Soor twice, staying up drinking until late, and talking the hind legs of a donkey.
  I found it very interesting how other wargamers interpreted Honours of War, which were tested very thoroughly during the refights, and frankly stood up well to the test. To fight the large battle to its conclusion twice with wargamers who in the main had never used the rules shows how good the rules are, well it does for me anyway.
 The weekend took its toll on my health in that I have ended up with another bout of bronchitis, not helped by a trip to Munich straight after the weekend, which entailed some heavy drinking at more late nights [ 60 is the new 40 apparently? ]
 Anyway back to the weekend, was it worth it? definitely. Would I do it again? most certainly.
 What can be a better way to wargame,than eating, drinking, talking and playing quality wargames over a whole weekend.
 As for the refight of the Battle of Soor, well the Austrian/ Saxons wargamers, played a blinder on both days, with comprehensive victories, especially on the Sunday when the devastating use of a well timed flank charge by Austrian cuirassiers against the Prussian infantry caused the collapse of their attack in the centre.
  A detailed account of both battles is on Colin's, blog, Carry on up the Dale, but who said history is written by the victors?



Tuesday 7 June 2016

More SYW Saxons, etc.

 The months of May and June have played havoc with my painting programme, and to be honest when the sun actually shines it can be difficult to sit at my painting table.Anyway I finally finished a few figures for my Saxon contingent. The infantry are from the Eureka 28mm range, which are expensive but are very good figures. Again I painted the figures in the pre 1756 uniform, with coloured trousers.

  This Hinchlffe cuirassier unit are more figures from my secondhand store, which I have repainted as Saxons, still one of my favourite wargaming figures.

 Finally a company of French Garde du Corps supplied by Graham at Crann Tara Miniatures, a lovely figure, with only another 18 to paint up.

Monday 6 June 2016

I have returned from the Colonies.

 Well Im back.......... Suffering badly from jet lag I have returned from my wedding anniversary celebrations in New York and Washington DC.  I have always enjoyed going to New York and this time was no different. Washington was enjoyable in a different way, and I enjoyed the experience for many other reasons.I think between the heat, humidity and walking I will need another holiday to recover.
 Except this next weekend, is a SYW wargaming weekend for me and Colin with members of the AMG group down at Kennilworth wherever that is. So no rest again.

Being a retiring type I had some very interesting discussions with quite a few Americans about the elections this November, I know you shouldn't drink alcohol and discuss politics at the same time, but I did enjoy chewing things over with locals in both New York and Washington. The consensus is dont write Trump off as a loud mouth idiot, he is beginning to look like a winner. I've already been down to Ladbrokes for a sly tenner bet.

Anyway I was lucky enough to be taken to Gettysburg by my wife whilst we were away and the visit got me thinking quite a lot. I am no expert on the ACW period although I have fought quite a few battles in the period over the years, so I do know something about it.

I was very impressed with the whole battlefield experience at Gettyburg which has been very well preserved by some active history buffs and the government. I was lucky enough to be given a tour with a battlefield guide who really knew his stuff, and was very interesting, even my wife was impressed. I was also given a tour of the town of Gettysburg, and one of the houses used by the rebels during the second and third days of the battle. There is also a first class museum at the battefield, full of weapons and ephemera, all it needed was a wonderful model of one of the incidents from the battle to finish the place off.
 I know quite a few wargamers will have been to the battlefield, so will know what I am going to say.
   Why is it that our American cousins succeed in preserving their history and provide a first class service in its presentation whilst here in the United Kingdom there is next to nothing to tell the wonderful history of our nation?
  Clearly there is a very active movement to preserve the battlefields in the USA, and also a genuine desire by the local and national governments to present the areas in their best light, so what happened to us? I am not just talking about the battlefields, as I took a Capitol Hill tour, including the senate house, which was very very popular, and I found it not only instructive but actually quite moving, as the whole thing drove home the importance of using a persons vote. The place was mobbed with schools and colleges taking the same tour, and yes I know the majority will look on it as a skive, but some will take an interest. So what about the mother of all parliaments then? and dont get me started on why the USA have created a moving and informative history of the 9/11 atrocity but there is no record of the attacks on 7/7 in London.
 This morning [ 03.30] whilst in a jet lag attack I began thinking about which battlefields should get some loving and a full makeover before they are full paved over. If one took a battle from each period in British history would there be enough left of the fields  to create an interesting and historical event?
  Surely the battlefield at Hastings is still recoverable for one, then Marston Moor is another, Towton and Bosworth are two further battlefields that were extremely important and deserve the Hollywood treatment. Regarding the English /Scottish Wars, there is Flodden, The Battle of the Standard near Northallerton, and Pinkie Cleugh.
 In Scotland the Jacobites have invested heavily in Bannockburn naturally, but what about Homildon Hill, Falkirk, Prestonpans etc.  Even if only five or six were preserved and invested in, at least we could tell some of the history that made this country, and create some jobs for some people. Just a  thought.

Anyway back to reality.
Looking across at the Devils Den from Little Big Top. I was surprised just how small the Den actually was. 

                                            Again a view from Little Big Top.
 Little Big Top dominated the left flank of the Union battle line, and was a formidable obstacle to the rebels. I would have hated to have been a poor rebel attempting to make their way up the slope towards the rocks, they must have been very brave men. Although I havent included an image, the hills and woods where the 20th Maine fought would have been a bugger of a place to take, it is a credit to both sides that they fought so fiercely amongst the trees and rough ground.

A view from the rebel side across the ground that Picketts division was expected to advance, they aimed at the small group of trees to the left, a tad on the clear side for me with little cover from the Union guns. Although it is less than a mile to the Union side, I would have been bricking myself if I had been a rebel in Picketts division. One large board in a snake fence in front of the rebel advance, was recorded to have over 650 holes in it, no plus one for soft cover then?

Everywhere one looks on the battlefield there are original artillery pieces with reconstructed carriages, it does add to the whole event.

Also on both sides, Union and Confederate there are plaques commemorating both regiments and brigades that fought in the battle. Having now been to the battlefield I can understand why Robert E Lee thought he could win, well to a certain extent anyway. He ran out of luck however when his men failed to push the Union on the first day, again when the Union managed to invest Little Big Top just as the rebels were approaching the summit and finally on the third day, when although the Union line was extended his artillery barrage failed to soften up the centre. Personally I would have done a Longstreet and buggered off on the afternoon of the first day, and gone looking for a bigger hill, but a fantastic experience, and a credit to the USA.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.

My 6mm Napoleonic set up.
Austria 1809.

Austrian Hussars

Austrian Hussars
Hinchliffe figures

Austrian Grenzer

Austrian Grenzer
Austrian Grenzer

Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2013
Smoggycon 2013

Smoggycon 2012

Smoggycon 2012
Smoggycon 2012

Smoogycon 2009

Smoogycon 2009
My French getting another beating