Please note I will not be hosting any Public events from 31st January 2023. Nothing too drastic from our side, just need a break.

I’ll be providing updates when we’re back, here and on my social media platforms.

Thank you for all the custom and friendship this has brought me to date.

I look forward to seeing you all again soon, both new and old customers.

Well the second day of Salamanca has concluded with a very grisly and bloody draw! Over to the far west of the Allied line the French Light cavalry division managed a sweeping outflank manoeuvre, decimating the Spanish battalions supporting the end of the ridge.

Spanish Battalion

One of our Connoisseur Spanish Battalions.

In the town of Los Arapile the British Garrison continued to hold out, sending the opposing French division back on to it’s starting lines. In the centre of the battlefield the British Divisions of Clinton and Hope took the initiative. After seeing their left flank become exposed, the French division assaulting the ridge retired for fear of attacks from the British cavalry. On seeing them falling back the British commander ordered a general advance all along the ridge. This action would take some of the pressure off of the British Guards division that had borne the brunt of the fighting the day before.

French advance

The French renew their advance.

The French divisions facing the Guards at the apex of the “L” renewed their assaults, trading volleys with the British Division that had moved in to replace the Guards. Over on the Allied left, Altens light division entered pushed forward to blast the French defenders of the dried riverbed. While Leith’s division pressed home a more determined assault in an effort to carry the position at the very end of the French line North of Calvarossa de Ariba.

The renewed assault

The Greater Arapile can just be made out in the left background, while the French in the foreground assault the British apex of the “L”.

There were fresh attempts from Soult’s light cavalry to break the beleaguered British infantry, but the Light Dragoons of the Kings German Legion drove them back on to the reserve divisions.

The top of the Greater Arapile

The twelve pound battery from Foy’s division dominates the Greater Arapile “.

Now that the Allies had finally begun to assault the tired French formations, it was the turn of the French to line out and pour volleys into the advancing redcoats! The French cavalry on the far right of the Allied line managed to get right around behind the Allied ridge, with no cavalry left in a functional state, three regiments of light cavalry had a free hand to terrorise the Spanish and Portuguese on this flank. Anson’s division of Light Cavalry marched the length of the ridge to deal with this threat.

Clinton and Hope's divisions

The British Divisions of Clinton and Hope advance down on to the plain to the south east of Los Arapile, previously held by the French.

The divisions of Clinton and Hope formed line of battle in effective range of the new French defensive line and traded volleys for over two hours! The troops on the apex began to feel the strain, two battalions of the Light Division were nearly caught by the Chasseurs of Soult’s division, only just evading their sabres by evading back through their own lines.

Part of the light division

Part of the Light Division moving into position.

Leith and the division opposing him wore each other into a bloody pulp, over fifty per cent of the divisions on both sides becoming casualties.

The fight for the stream

The fight for the riverbed hots up, with the French artillery suffering heavily, volleys begin to be exchanged across the stream.

By the end of the day, the British forces were beginning to give ground back toward their strating points leaving the French who had effectively suffered over thirty percent casualties, to retire.

Down on to the Plain

The view from the plain just to the south east of the Lesser Arapile, the French can just be made out forming battle lines in the distance.

The British were then in a position to withdraw back on to their supply lines and escape.

So a bloody draw was concluded.

A great weekend, lots of fun and a very different type of Napoleonic battle without the real battle cavalry that normally thunders upon the central European battlefields. The infantry play a far greater role, with volley fire playing a far more significant part.

I can’t wait for Fuentes de Onoro!

So the first day at Salamanca has been a success for the British, the French began their day historically with three divisions strung out on front of the ridge to the east of the Lesser Arapile. In addition to these they had a light Cavalry division as well as Boyers Heavy cavalry division supporting them. To the North east of these there are a further three divisions along with a light cavalry division. The British and Spanish were deployed inside this imaginary “L” shape, with the Guards division under Campbell at the apex of the “L”.

Guards at the Apex

British Guards Battalion advancing to meet the French threat.

Right from the off the French were very aggressive, assaulting the apex of the “L” shape of the British Line. In contrast the British defended the ridge doggedly with the British Guards division advancing in to the teeth of the advancing French divisions and dealing out a severe drubbing to the enemy. The first Battalion of British Foot Guard withstood shot and shell for eight turns, finally retreating once they were down to two figures. Once they had fallen back the supporting battalion were charged by a squadron of dragoons that had anticipated an easy victory over the unformed/pinned Guardsmen, however the resulting volley still took seven of the eight Dragoons out, very nearly killing Boyer!!

The assault on the Apex begins!

The French Divisions advance into the British firing lines!

The highland Brigade stood shoulder to shoulder with their English counterparts and meted out vicious retribution to the French men assaulting their position, these like the Guardsmen gave their ground only at the cost of Frenchmen. Finally below firty percent they retired behind the ridge of the Lesser Arapile to regroup and move to support the other Highland battalion now firing into the French mass.

The Light division

The British Light division engages the battery of Maucune’s division!

Over on the North East of the battlefield the stream separating the French from the British Divisions was duelled over, the Light Division engaging the French artillery and supporting battalions at close range. After nine turns the supporting division of Pakenham is now manoeuvring into position to attack the French to the east of the Lesser Arapile. Leith’s Division is making it’s way forward, clearing the small out buildings west of the dried riverbed. Aiming to stop the attempted French outflank to the North east of the British position.

The recipients of the Light Divisiona attention.

The recipients of the British Light divisions attentions, some veteran Polish troops.

At the western end of the ridge, the British Divisions along with the Spanish Division of De Espana are holding the Allied right flank. An earlier attempt by a French Light Cavalry Division to outflank their position being scuppered after some initial successes. The British light cavalry buying time enough for the Spanish to anchor the far right of the ridge and hopefully securing the wing.

British defend Los Arapiles

The fight over Los Arapiles begins!

The French Division outside the village of Los Arapiles is suffering casualties but holding it’s ground, while another pushes passed to assault the main ridge, where the British Divisions of Hope and Clinton have pushed forward to the front of the ridge to better engage the advancing French masses.

Another view of the Village

Outside Los Arapiles the punishment begins!

The battle still hangs in the balance, a lot to be played for….tomorrow is, as they say another day!

Soult's Light Cavalry.

Two cavalry regiments from Soult’s cavalry division.

More tomorrow!

Play testing the Flames of War proved to be a breeze, we made some amendments along the way. We decided that the aircraft needed a little something, so we decided that when a flight arrived from the Germans, we rolled to intercept as normal.

Let's get outta here, Schnell!

Here is an example of two French Fighters turning up to engage two German aircraft.

(You’ll notice from the photos that there are German fighters in the ground attack, this was some poetic licence on our part, they all performed as if they were Stukas for the ground attack, it just gaveus an excellent opportunity to mix the two for the pictures!)

Spitfires covering the advance ofthe British Armour.

Here is an example of two Spitfires patrolling after shooting down a lone Stuka flight.

If there was an interception this was then rolled as if it was a flight attacking, so the aircraft dice were rolled, the result being one to three interception aircraft.

French Interception

Two French fighters look to intercept a German Flight on ground attack.

The Allied player then rolled to hit using the skill of the air support, then a fire power test to finally destroy an enemy plane. So two planes arrive, two dice for the allies needing a 4+. Any hits were then converted to kills on a successful fire power test.

This reduced the number of German planes attempting the bombing run.

Preparing for the assault

German Gepanzerte troops move into a French village.

We also looked at Morale, one of the challenges for a game running for over two days is the fact that units may literally disappear when they are sufficiently damaged. This was diluted somewhat with a rule offering that any unit requiring a morale test would test as normal.

Panzer Division moving out to the assault.

German Panzer division counterattacking.

If there was a failure, the unit would double away in rout from the enemy causing the test.

Vickers Mk VI

Mk Vi Vickers scouting ahead.

As this is doubling, all rules for doubling would apply. Senior commands to the unit routing could then rally the unit in the morale phase of the turn in which they had routed, routs being conducted immediately and rallies being in the following “start” step. If the unit rallied infantry would then go to “pinned”, armour would go to “Bailed out”.

Moving into position

German infantry attached to 7th Panzer division moving into position.

More to come!

I have just got back from the Wargames Holiday Centres play test for our WWII collection. We have a weekend for France 1940 coming up in June and needed to get to grips with our spin on the Flames of War rules. In order for us to have these work over a weekend playing one of our huge battles, I needed to play test things. So we set up a fictional part of the battlefield, devised army lists for the French, British and Germans and let fly.

German infantry taking cover to support bailed out PZ IV

German infantry supporting, bailed out Panzer IV.

The results were exceptionally good, I admit we have tweaked the rules a little to allow us to maintain playability with some huge forces, failure of morale did not see units disappear. It did however see them doubling back toward their own lines.

British Infantry in cover.

British Infantry in cover.

We allowed rallying if a superior command from their formation was within range as well. This mean’t that units could fall back and have some possibility of staying on the table, albeit at half strength.

French infantry advancing.

French infantry advancing into the fray.

It’s been a long weekend though, so more on this in the week!

Matildas and Mk VI

Matilda Seniors with a burnt out MK VI

Recently at the Wargames Holiday Centre we’ve been working on our Marlburian period rules. These have been around for over twenty years and were drafted by my good friend Mike Ingham. Mike had a keen interest in the wars around this time in history and as a result decided to add this to the Wargames Holiday itinerary.

The Battlefield of Blenheim

The battlefield of Blenheim as the battle gets under way

Now with over six thousand figures in the collection we can quite comfortably offer the key battles surrounding the period, our choice for this year are Blenheim, Malplaquet, Oudenarde and Ramillies.

View from the Allied position

A view of the battlefield from the Allied position

During the last month we took an opportunity to work on these rules and hopefully improve on them. At present they are extremely playable but would they fully reflect the period. There is a lot of “formation depth” in this period, with Cavalry and infantry providing direct support for each other. This differs to the rules regarding Napoleonics, where the cavalry are not quite so affected by the movements of the infantry and vice versa.

Leib Battalions in one of the Villages.

Bavarian Leib Battalion takes up residence

Manoeuvre is fairly straight forward, troops can form column, a single stand wide by four or five deep, cavalry form double lines, line or single base wide column. Movement ranges depend on the formation.

Swabian Foot and their medium artillery.

Swabian regiments and their artillery support.

Our firing mechanics are quite straight forward, all stands roll one dice, the range determines the required “to hit” score on the die. Melee follows a similar mechanic with a die rolled for each stand in the melee. If the target is in hard cover, wearing cuirass or in open order (artillery) then a saving throw is allowed, generally a “six” or in the case of hard cover a “five or a six”, so fairly simple.

Swiss Mercenaries take up position in Hard cover.

A Swiss Mercenary battalion taking advantage of hard cover.

The troops of the period in our rules have national characteristics to take into consideration, for instance, the British, Dutch and Danish are “shock” cavalry, their infantry also have a better fire discipline and therefore will roll an additional die in firing. The other nationalities mounted troops are what we term “Firing Cavalry”. The shock cavalry have no firing capability, but have the potential to deliver a lot more damage on the first round of combat. The Firing cavalry have a shooting capability, denoted in the name and will fight less effectively in the first round of a melee with Shock cavalry. The casualties are removed as a base becomes marked off on the casualty charts, this is two figures in cavalry regiments and four in infantry regiments. The reduction in bases obviously affecting the fighting capability of the unit.

British Horse en-masse!

Regiments of British Horse, shock cavalry forcing their way through the French centre.

Melee is similar to firing, range bands provide hits on four and over, or fives and over at long range becomes sixes. Cuirassier have a saving throw in melee of a six.

A Wing commander in the British Lines.

Placement of Commanders, be they Wing, Army or local, can really affect the stability of your formations.

The performance of units can be further reduced due to “Disruption”, this reduces the amount of dice rolled per regiment and the factors are gained through a variety of means. Units doubling for instance, crossing difficult terrain or having routed and rallying.

Bavarian foot advancing in line.

Bavarian Infantry regiments advancing in line.

All units have a Morale rating dependent on their class. Morale is tested using the loss of casualties, a base and friendly routs etc. adding pluses to your morale score, an average die score is then deducted with Generals and support providing reductions in your score. The result is compared to the Morale rating of the tester, if the number exceeds this, the unit becomes “Shaken” a further variance will see the unit rout.

French Infantry with their supporting battalions.

A French infantry battalion, with supporting ranks.

The game really flows well and is extremely playable. I hope to present some battle reports in the near future.