Wednesday, 7 December 2016

"To Britain's Shores" - Chapter 15 - St. Cuthbert's Hol(e)y Relics

"Right. Off your rear ends, the lot of you."

Here we go again. I get to my feet - Odin's beard, but I'm starting to get stiffer as the years go by - and head over to pick up sword, spear and shield from where I've propped them. "What is it this time?"

Aelfric grins, that teeth-bared wolf-smile of his. "The Britons are apparently making ready to receive another of their holy relics. A handful of their unarmed holy men and a dozen men to guard it on the old road."

Ecgwene joins us. "What are we waiting for then?" 

Too keen by half, that lad.

Aelfric's right, anyway. A little knot of men and pack-mules are making a slow and steady pace along the old road, and we find them maybe four hundred paces from safety. He's getting a little keen, though, giving the cluster of Britons led by that Lord we had as a guest - Geraint - the charge. They peel off from the monks to head him off...

Ecgwine heads after the monks, and makes rather quick work of getting the mules off them and heading back away. Lad is definitely guilty of over confidence there, though - he has no respect for that hat short Lord of theirs who comes after him with his men, quite prepared to turn his back as they retreat with the treasure. I learned his name the other week - I think it was Lavinia who found out -  'Maximus Minimus', the Great Little Man. Evidently somebody has a sense of humour, anyway. But, to be fair... he may be short, but he's no coward, and he and his men aren't about to let Ecgwene away without a fight.

Meanwhile, we're facing off against Geraint and that Praefect of theirs and their hearth guard, me and Aelfric side by side as we have been for what seems like years now. It's a back and forth rough-house of a fight, and for all we give a good account of ourselves, in the end they push us back. Out of the corner of my eye I see Ecgwene's men likewise retreating without the monks' goods...

"If," I observe drily to Aelfric, "Your next words are 'that went well' again, I may do something that I regret later."

My reward is a bark of laughter, quickly suppressed,  as the Young Wolf removes his rather rent mail shirt, then eyes it ruefully, "No. Overconfidence is just as bad as being fat and lazy. Ecgwene needs to learn that." Quietly, "Mayhap you should have a word in the ear of that woman of his."

I snort. "I suspect she's telling him that without any need for words from me."

He sighs, lets the mail fall to the floor with a growl of frustration. "Damnation. They are growing more skilled in our ways. These defeats are growing costly." 

Indeed they are: once again the women are moving among our wounded, and once again there are far too damn many of them for my liking. I sigh, look across at him. "What now, then?"

The Young Wolf shrugs. "We heal." A pause, and then a chuckle, an echo of the teenager I first met nearly a decade ago, "Who knows? We take up boar hunting for profit for a while?"

[OK. Now I'm caught up barring Monday's game. Watch this space!]

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Dux Britanniarum update

Just wrapped another Compendium playtest with Andy Hawes.

Guess that one works, then! Holy.... deleted.... Batman. I don't think I've ever had one that tense, or that dramatic, especially given that (not counting a unit-vs-critter fight) there were precisely two combats, lasting a total of three rounds between them.

Also? There was Significant Death. Fans of the Linnius Chronicles will want to watch this space. 

However, it has been brought to my attention that I have failed to make an in-character record of the last scenario, the Pilgrimage, so that will have to come first, before Godric and Lavinia tell the tale of the boar hunt.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Keeping the printer busy....

Just about to queue this lot up for a print run.

  • 9 x CMP 3 tonners
  • 1 x SdKfz 9
  • 1 x SdKfz 11
  • 1 x Horch 108 staff car
  • 1 x Steyr 1500 staff car
  • 1 x Opel Blitz
  • 1 x Dodge WC63 ambulance

Total print time: just over a day at 200 micron layer height.
Total filament cost: £7.71

Almost all from:

1:100 Tanks by m_bergman

Published on April 13, 2015

Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial - Share Alike

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Battle Report - 14 Nov 2016 - IABSM "Out Of The Frying Pan"

Another club Monday playing IABSM, this time with Carl, AndyMac and AndyB - we seem to be on a bit of a roll, which is good as it means the rules stay fresh.

The astute will notice I need to buy more roads.
As I'm probably writing the scenario up for the Lardies' Xmas Special, if Rich will have it, I'm not going to go into too much detail: apart from that, I was busy playing the Germans, so I didn't get many photos.

In short summary - it's Normandy, on the border between the British and American sectors, and an American company have gone and got themselves trapped (and well beaten up) raiding a German command post. Due to a German counterattack, the Americans can't send help, but (somewhat to their chagrin) the British can.

Sadly, the Panther is already toast.

The counter-attacking Germans are veterans, and well commanded, which makes an interesting distinction from the Americans (well-commanded but short in numbers and ammo) and the British (minimal commanders).

Low spot, from my point of view, were letting the German Top Ace get side on to an unspotted bazooka after his first action, which was probably a major contributor to the Germans not really winning at all.

Also? I must remember that all HE heavier than 2"/50mm mortars auto-pins.

The scenario did, however, seem to work, and we'll try it again in a couple of weeks just to see if it's balanced enough when the German CO isn't being an idiot :D

Friday, 11 November 2016


For the Fallen: I know the next verse is the popular one, but I still find this one more moving:
They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
Robert Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

In these present times, I'd also add one of my favourite verses from one of Mark Knoplfer's finest, the evocative "Brothers In Arms":
There's so many different worlds
So many different suns
And we have just one world
But we live in different ones..

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Where do I get my explosion markers?

A couple of folks, both online and at the club, asked where I got the explosion markers from.

Well, they're from Small Terrain on eBay - pre-painted and worth it.

I know I could make my own, but frankly, for a tenner?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Battle Report - 7-Nov-2016 - IABSM "The Biggest Bloomin' Convoy..."

Having printed a positive fleet of US trucks (both WC63s and deuce-and-a-half's), I figured it was time to get them on the table.

Sadly, I've failed to find my partial sheet of Allied stars, and the new delivery from Dom's Decals is still in the post, so they had to go on the table merely painted without decals, but hey....

Ok... so. This was always going to be a bit one-sided, but we figured it would be fun...

Allies (me and TomG):
  • one American infantry company in trucks in convoy, plus two deuce-and-a-halfs carrying Budweiser, Coke and cigarettes :D
  • a troop of 5 M4 Shermans for convoy defence
Germans (AndyMac and Carl):
  • one understrength infantry company
  • 4 AFVs
    • 1 Panther
    • 1 Panzer IV
    • 2 Stug III's
  • 6 blinds (3 x platoon, 2 x company support, 1 x AFVs) + 4 dummy blinds
Woods by me + Woodland Scenics
Roads by S & A Scenics
Hedges/bocage by (I forget)
Mat by Deepcut Studios
The deployment rules were:
  • The convoy enters bottom left: it moves on the Allied Blinds card, and may do nothing but use all its dice to advance at full speed down the road, until such time as any part of the convoy successfully spots a non-dummy German blind (or obviously gets hit by something by surprise!). At this point, the unit in question plus the units either side get their cards in the deck. On subsequent Tea Breaks, the next units down and up the convoy get their cards added (plus anything else that spots anything as before) [1]. 
  • The Germans get to choose from the top left or bottom right corners to deploy - they may bring blinds on anywhere on the edge of the table within 2' of the corner they choose.
And off we went.

I make that about four feet of convoy...
The Germans went with the top left corner deployment option, allowing them to take advantage of a couple of woods for cover. They also had the considerable advantage of several goes through the (minimal) deck where only the Axis Blinds card came out.[2]

Eventually, at the point the whole convoy was on the table, a Panther appeared down the side road to the left of the convoy, and all hell broke loose.

Two shots, two trucks destroyed, most of the HQ section of the company spilling out onto the road. Fortunately? This included the HQ section's bazookas.

Explosion markers by someone off eBay :D
Unfortunately, one of them didn't survive the attack, and the remaining one couldn't shoot for toffee. That and the one round that hit clanged off the front armour of the Panther. 

Cards start being added to the deck, infantry start spilling out of the trucks and finding cover. Usefully (again), this included the 2 platoon's bazooka. It got a shot at the Stug which had immobilised one of 1 platoon's trucks further back down the convoy, and again there was a resounding clang of bazooka round off Sch├╝rzen.

About this point the Shermans managed to spot some German infantry (actually the 81mm mortar section) in the woods at the top end of the road, and began to do something useful. Sadly the Sherman in the middle of the convoy cops a point blank flank shot from the other Stug, and brews up (cries of 'Ronson' round the table!). 

Slowly but surely the US start to mount a fightback. More infantry deploys off the trucks, and a firefight ensues at the head of the convoy between 3 platoon and the German mortars, while the two lead M4s breach the bocage (and avoid getting stuck), and exchange fire with one of the Stug's and machine gun fire with an infantry section. The Stug gets a lucky shot which takes out one of the Shermans (sadly the tank section command).

At the rear of the column, the other two M4's likewise find a way across the bocage, and engage in a much more productive duel with the Panther and the Panzer IV. One of the M4s takes an engine hit in the first round, but the Panzer IV gets a direct hit and is KOed. Next round, both M4s pile in on the Panther, which is flank-on the other side of a bocage hedge, and one lucky shot wreaks carnage in the turret and knocks it out.

Meanwhile, a German infantry section close-assaults across the bocage, and drives off the remains of the Allied HQ section. 

And that's pretty much where we left it. Consensus was, we think, that the Germans had done what they came for, and (being down to two tanks) now would be a good time to bail, especially since the US infantry were starting to deploy and defend the convoy. 

In summary - what a blast :D TomG's first game of IABSM, and he is completely hooked!

[1] This isn't quite how we played it, but how we'd do it in hindsight.
[2] I know some people play without a Tea Break until non-blinds cards are added. We never have - it adds to the fog of war, and that's a win over the rather frequent appearance of the Tea Break card: statistically it all evens out in the long run, but makes for interesting fun in the short term.
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