Sunday, 31 January 2016

Switzerland or bust

Saturday 30th January
        Lady Watson likes to get away for her birthday and this year was no exception but this year I was a bit self indulgent as we headed for Switzerland and the Jungfrau region.Which just so happens to contain the Schilthorn mountain which is topped by the Piz Gloria made famous when it was used in the film On Her Majesty's Secret Service.Now you know where my self indulgence comes from.
             We decided to come by train as it gave us the opportunity to see a bit more of France and Switzerland.This involved six trains of varying styles from high speeds to the mountain rack railways of Switzerland.We started off from Edinburgh on Thursday afternoon,stayed in London overnight so we could catch the first Eurostar to Paris which was nice and quiet.
The taxi trip was the usual Paris taxi trip driven by the usual one time racing driver.
A brief respite in Gare de Lyon was followed by a pleasant trip through the French countryside courtesy of a Tgv calling at Dijon(and not a jar of mustard in sight) and then on to Basle where we caught a connection to Interlaken.
By this time darkness had fallen and the rest of the train journey seemed uneventful apart from the mode of transport which was a rack railway all the way to the mountain village of Wengen where our base of operations where to be found-Hotel Edelweiss.This hotel was just as I imagined it would be with the large chalet look from the outside and the minimalistic interior look that I love about Central Europe.
            Since we had been traveling all day it was just a matter of dinner and the turning in for a good night's sleep in anticipation of the morning view from our south facing bedroom.
                Gute Nacht Von Wengen

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Scottish Battlefield Wargame show 2016

              A new one for the calender!

Boudicca's babes and more Belgians!

Wednesday 20th January

          Our trio of Garvald visits culminated in a VBCW game with four of us fighting over a coal mine in the outskirts of Berwick.Scremerston to be precise.Bill Gilchrist,Mr Ray Neal and myself met up with Colin Jack making for an adventurous evening.

                          Bill took his usual pride of place with the socialists who had aligned themselves with Mr Ray's Anglicans.Colin and myself took the part of the B.u.F with a mission to take the mine back into proper private ownership.
                           Mr Ray's miners had holed up in the mine and were prepared to sell their coal and their lives dearly.My forces approached the mine en masse with my artillery piece for support.This gun lasted for a whole turn before the crew were decimated by Ray's gun embedded on the back of a lorry. Not bad considering I had taken about six months to build and base it for it to be wiped out within five minutes of coming on the field.
                             The fate of my civilian militia went the same way after a few turns from fire from the revolting miners.
                               By this time Colin was moving his cavalry around the side of the mine only to be caught in a crossfire between the miners and Ray's newly arrived George Washington legion.
Colin's armoured car then moved to engage the red's armoured car that was heading along the road towards the beleaguered miners but being inexperienced kept to form by continually missing its target.No such luck when the target returned fire as it hit and kept on hitting the armoured car rendering it pretty useless.
My forces were facing stalemate against the well dug in miners so Colin moved up the ubiquitous Belgians.Maybe we should have a twin town in Belgium for Garvald.Colin left the room for a moment so I changed tack with his Belgians and had them engage Ray's fellow Americans which started off okay but brought into the line of fire of Bill's armoured car.Oops!This was the beginning of the Belgian end.
Ray then moved up a machine gun team crewed by females(welcome to a Colin Jack engineered game) which began a duel with Colin's female B.u.f squad-Boudicca's babes.This duel ended after a few salvos with the babes assaulting the machine gun crew resulting in a chick fight with the babes coming out on top albeit with only one of them left standing,a bit of a hollow victory.
Ray then brought on his command squad which consisted of a neat model T Ford with twin Lewis guns.
Bill meanwhile was slowly moving up his column of battle bus and steam lorry.His column was stopped by his armoured car which was now spewing steam from its engine as a result of a well placed antitank rifle shot.At last some luck, but this wasn't to last as my naval soldiers had decided to assault the well entrenched miners but ended up being wiped out.

Colin's forces were being whittled down with his Belgians cut down to a man,his Babes(sorry-babe)at a loose end and his armoured car about to be assaulted by the red coated squad from the steam lorry.

I went for one last hurrah with a last minute assault on the mine but my men weren't up for it mainly due to a combination of fire from both the socialists and the Anglicans so it was time to call it a night and head for the hills.
A very good game which brought me back into one of my favourite games and with the added bonus of finally fielding my own figures.Hopefully they'll improve with experience.
Participants for the evening-
Tim Watson-B.u.F
Colin Jack-B.u.F

Bill Gilchrist-Anglicans(but just a tad more socialist)
Mr Ray Neal-Anglicans(with American and French help)

Figures,scenario and scenery-Colin Jack
Figures-Tim Watson

To begin the evening we were served up a very nice Coq au Vin with a glass of crushed grapes to set the scene.Not a Belgian dish in sight!
Heading for La Suisse next week so I will be posting from foreign shores.Hopefully with some nice pics.Places on the agenda are the Reichenbach falls and Piz Gloria(hopefully I'll not need to escape from it on skis).See you when I see you.

Monday, 18 January 2016

If it's Wednesday this must be Belgium

Wed 13th Feb

         Nipped back out to Garvald this evening in spite of snow flurries and a wrong turning for a rerun of last weeks game but 26 years later.It involved another German invasion of Belgium but this time it involved German forces taking hold of Ursel airport and holding off the Belgians until reinforced.
               I reverted to the norm and took control of the Germans.Colin took the part of the Belgian defenders with the aid of some nifty Belgian armour.
               The plan as stated was for Germans to land by Ju 52 and to take and hold the airport building.
                I had at my disposal for the task an infantry squad backed up by a machine gun armed S.S assault squad. The "Tante Ju"(Ju 52) couldn't be put on the table but was replaced by a Henschel 123 for show purposes,so we had the assault squads coming from the edge of the table.They hurried towards the control tower.The defenders done some damage to my infantry but this just made them more determined to fire at and pin the defenders giving time for the assault squad to clear the building.
                Once this was done it left Colin with nothing to do until he could bring in some random reinforcements.This was be done as per last week with a roll of 5 or 6 but yet again they were nowhere to be found.
This gave me a chance to bring on some reinforcements which consisted of infantry squads supported by a couple of Panzer 38s and an armoured car.
King Leopold inspecting Colin's forces
Finally Colin's reinforcements arrived with King Leopold in tow,in the form of a T15 tank with some infantry in the form of Chausser Ardennais.The tank proceeded to inflict damage on the defenders of the control tower before I could bring up a Pz38 to deal with this T15,which it did after a couple of shots.This gave time for Colin to bring in more reinforcements in the form of an anti-tank team which proceeded to immobilise my leading tank.The tank remained there for the rest o the game,firing at and finally destroying the T15.
The antitank rifle also took some damage and ended up as a one man team which basically meant it had become a sniper  albeit with a powerful rifle. 
                                      Colin's reinforcements eventually all appeared including another T15 and a Vickers 47mm light tank this time with a half decent gun and not machine guns like the previous two.
This went straight into action against the immobilised tank but couldn' land the killer punch to destroy it.Colin's other T15 tank came round to flank the airport and engage the forces in the airport in order to relieve the pinned down chaussers in a nearby wood.The Belgian light howitzer came into action but found it hard  to hit so it had to move nearer the enemy to do any reasonable damage.This partnered with a medium machine gun  helped to whittle down my airport garrison,but help was at hand in the form of two halftracks full of infantry which finally appeared and disembarked with one section engaging the depleted antitank rifle team with the other section relieving the depleted squad in the airport building.
                                  I then decided to commit fortune to the wind by moving an armoured car round the Belgian flank only to be met by accurate fire from the remaining T15 which proceeded to decimate the crew of the armoured car.I was about to exact revenge with the other Pz38 when once again full time was called.
                                   A good experimental game by Colin who intends to use it in the future maybe at a game show.We discussed differences in forces and setup to see what could be improved for a future run through of this game.Hopefully this time with the "Tante Ju" on the table.

                 Figures,scenery and scenario-Colin Jack
                 Next week is back into VBCW territory wth hopefully my B.U.F and support getting a run out.See you when I see you.                                                               

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Where Belgians and goblins fear to tread!

Thursday 7th January

                         After suffering no game cold turkey over the festive season I decided with Mr Ray Neal in tow to venture into the dark wilds of East Lothian,casting aside floods,werewolves and goblins to head for the secluded hamlet of Garvald to indulge in an early First World War skirmish at the residence of Colin Jack.
                         Colin had devised a scenario involving early Germans against French and plucky Belgian forces.I took control of the Belgians,Colin took control of the French whilst Mr Ray was given charge of the notorious Hun hordes.The object was the taking and holding of a bridge over a river.

  Colin had included random reinforcements for the allies whilst the Boche had continuous reinforcements.This made for a rather eventful game.

                           As usual the opening moves meant a mad rush towards the bridge.The Boche had numerous units to start with whilst we started off with three units,local carabiniers,French cavalry and a natty medium machine gun towed by a dog team.
                           I quickly set up he machine gun in a building where it remained for the whole game unmolested by the Germans which was good as it was classed as inexperienced and would have ran at the first hint of trouble which was the fate of my carabiniers who after being shot at a few times decided to head for the nearest pub in search of some nice Belgian beer.

                           The Germans headed en masse towards the bridge with only some cavalry and the machine gun to fight them off.
                               Our reinforcement rule was that ours would appear randomly on a dice roll of a five or a six and consistency was kept up from the previous game blog where fives and sixes were nowhere to be found.This time we couldn't even blame Donald.

                               My plucky machine gun did cause some German jaegers to dig in,which they did for the remainder of the game and when a German unit made it across the bridge it was promptly charged by Colin's cavalry and made to head for the hills.I think that this was a calculated plan by Ray for just as the infantry disappeared a machine gun opened up on the cavalry causing a few casualties.To add insult to injury,just before that incident my newly arrived reinforcements on attempting to move towards the enemy decided that firing on the cavalry was the done thing due to bad command dice being thrown(double six).

    The cavalry retired behind a wood waiting for another oppurtunity to charge some unsuspecting enemy unit.I'm sorry to say the opportunity didn't arise.
   Colin's French marines finally arrived into the game courtesy of better dice rolls and they headed straight for Ray's forces who had made their way up the side of the river hoping to outflank our village.Both sides charged into one another for the possession of some buildings and piles of logs.Ray's forces came out on top due to the very basic close assault Bolt Action rules.
               Image result for belgian minerva armoured car 
Meanwhile on a good reinforcement dice roll I finally took possession of a rather smart Minerva armoured car.It motored into town looking for some unsuspecting German targets.It reached the end of the village where it engaged some Germans who had attempted to cross the bridge but were stopped by accurate fire from the machine gun.This combined with fire from the Minervas gun made the Germans go down and they remained there for the rest of the game preventing more troops from crossing the bridge.
 The game continued with both sides looking to control both ends of the bridge by the end of the game.Our side received more reinforcements in the form of some infantry and a French artillery piece which arrived in time for the final whistle.Meanwhile in attempting to command one of my previously mentioned units it once again rolled a double six making it yet again fire on the unsuspecting French cavalry which must have done a lot for French/Belgian relations.

                            The game came to an end with a slight German victory due to Mr Ray's infantry on the bridge digging deep to avoid Belgian gunfire.

                               A great game utilising some of Colin's unusual figures(Belgian carabiniers,armoured car and dog teams).


                               The Boche-Mr Ray Neal(he refuses to play French-must be an American thing)

                               Plucky Belgians-Tim Watson
                               French-Colin Jack

                               Scenario,scenery and figures-Colin Jack
                               My apologies for some of the out of focus shots as I didn't check them after I took them.

                               The game was preceded by a wonderful repast which Ray and I had wrongly thought had been prepared by Colin's culinary skills but were informed that it was down to combination of Lady Elizabeth and a slow cooker.

                               Speak to you all soon.