Monday, 31 December 2012

It's all Greek to me - The Christmas game

Philip of Macedonia, father of that most famous of Irishmen Alexander the Great, sent out invitations to king Agis of the Lacedaemon city of Sparta (on the west coast of Scotland) to have a punch up to celebrate the great nibbles festival held each year between Christmas and Hogmanay. Both sides prepared their Billy's for action. Peanuts, crisps, sausages and drinks stacked high and kettle loaded and ready for brews.

Phil had quite a contingent of heavy cavalry on his right flank.
 The units were quite unusually spread.
 The main battle lines were solid infantry for 15 feet....
 Phalangites in their deep ranked pike blocks...
 ...flanked by allied Hoplite's and preceded by Javelins...
 ... slinger's and Peltasts...
'Dig that crazy horn, man!'
 ...and a jazz solo trumpeter.
 The rules system was Armati (so, role well and live!) which was well known to Alexander.
 The allied cavalry (in the Costa del Sol sombreros) were no real match for the Macedonian heavies...
 ..although the Spartan cavalry won the dog meat handicap...
 Macedonian allied Hoplite infantry (of the Greek Union of Drapers) edged forward not keen for the head on clash.
 Equally, the Spartan army held back hoping the phalanx line might become disordered on the slope of the gentle hill in front of them. But it didn't happen. The Spartans should have thrown everything into the initial assault utilising their heavy infantry advantage...
 The Spartan right wing cowered before the mighty light infantry?!!!
 Meanwhile, the Phalangites got bolder after the news of the Macedonian cavalry filtered through to them.
 The heavies had taken the enemy in the rear...typical Greek tactic...
 ...surrounded them and done them to death. Alexander's been shown which end of the sword is pointy and there's no stopping him now...
 Biff...
Bash...
 Bosh...End of Spartan allied cavalry. Alexander has read the rules and is winning the battle for his father.
'Ok, complex manoeuvre. Turn, two, three and pivot, two, three and stretch and  kick and smile two, three, four...'
 Hello open flank! Not to panic. It's defended by the captain of the dance aerobics class.
 The main battle line hasn't met and it look suspiciously like it's all over.
 Still, never say die...just let it happen.
 Phil gets a move on.
 Sparta still hesitating...
 Phil gets the forward slope...
 Finally, Spartan flank begins its move.
'Advance...pelmets'
 Drapers get excited...
 Spartan allies having second thoughts...
 ...but the line's now moving so off we go...
 The clash happens in the worst place for the Spartans as the Macedonia's have the 'uphill' advantage (another Greek tactic)
 ...careful, you'll have someone's eye out with that...assault and battery begins in earnest.
 The end of the Spartan line cannot keep the cavalry at bay.
 At the other end the line fractures as it tries to conform to the enemy advance...
'Er, don't look now but I think we're being followed by blocks with numbers on.'
The Spartan line is annihilated on the left and the victory points pile up for an ecstatic Phil's 18 to 4 victory. He slaps his body guard on the back knocking him into some horse manure but nothing can spoil his victory. What's a little dung between friends? (it's a Greek thing...like shamrock, you know, good luck) Surely nothing can go wrong now. What a year 336 BC has been. His daughter is getting married and he fancies going to the theatre... 

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Father Christmas and the Slay Belles: A True Story


The blizzard of paper shredding subsides, hoof beats and ho-ho-ho's fade into the distance and excited squealing's pass into hushed oh and ah. Yes the fat guy with the beard in an ill fitting suit has done his work for another year...but enough about my wardrobe...My Mum (God bless her cotton socks and Valium) sent me a cheque; her card simply read 'keep them marching'. Message received and understood ma. My Mum-in-law took me to the model shop and push cash into my sweaty paws....enough said.

Trampling children and slimmer adults underfoot I slashed my way to the wailing wall at Jamieson's Model Shop in Glasgow...so called, well, because...so much stuff...so little time...whaaa!
 Bought this artillery. Russians can never have enough artillery.
 Smashing little 37mm AA gun, and I'm drooling on my keyboard.
 My first Caesar figures. I'd seen other peoples' and on the brilliant Plastic Soldier Review site (a 'must visit' site if ever there was one) but now I have some of my own. No sprue, surprisingly, but a bag containing the figs...nice idea..saves leaving the odd part behind.
 ...and the star of the show Pegasus Miniatures, two-in-a-box KV1's. Peachy, just peachy.
Choice of turrets, beautifully moulded, quality plastic and clear instructions. What more could a megalomaniac, obsessive, overgrown 11-going-on-53-year-old want?

More!....more!....MORE!

Thanks Mum's

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pacific 1943 - A Quick Banzai

 It's morning and visibility is restricted by early mist. A squadron of four destroyers of the IJN patrol the New Georgia Sound off the south coast of Santa Isabel in the Solomon Islands....deck hockey is in progress.

They cruise along at 18 knots in no wind. Two 5 inch destroyers lead 'Asagiri' and 'Sagiri' followed by two six inch destroyers 'Minegumo' and 'Kasumi'.
 The formation is in staggered file. The captains team lose the inter-squadron deck hockey championship and the entertainments officer is ritually beheaded by the purser...all good clean fun.
 While the party atmosphere continues the asdic and AA over watch keep their eyes peeled for trouble. A couple of months ago the Japanese fell back from Guadalcanal and the USN is very active in this area.

 This day the IJN is tasked with patrolling to the eastern end of Santa Isabela followed by a sweep out to sea on their way back.

 They are just passing the 'half-way-down-the-island' mark when they spot a small tsunami coming out of the mist....(I must get that fixed)
 ...nothing these ships can't handle...
 Suddenly they are cleared for action as a squadron of three flights of B25's swoop down for a bomb run (leading look out ritually beheaded).
 Supported by a Grumman Hellcat flight...someone has seen the Japs approaching...
 The B52's drop a large wooden block which misses the squadron completely...

 Lead bomb aimer get a size 10 boot up his backside...and a stoppage of his gum ration.
 Jap AA opens up and is rapid and accurate...
 The bombers start to take heavy casualties...
 ...and are driven off eastwards back to their base.
 Near miss, but no damage, but this is not the bombers but a US Fletcher class destroyer appearing, as if by magic, out of the mist ahead.
 Asagiri replies but it's a miss.
 The top cover appears...and so does the rest of the US flotilla.
 Four Fletcher class destroyers and a cruiser appear and start swapping shells. 'Asagiri' is hit and is dead in the water. Damage control parties fight to save the ship. 'Sagiri' swings past the stricken vessel and tries to cover her presenting a broad side to the enemy.
 Zigzagging, the point US vessel swings away from nearly grounding...
 The rest of the squadron come up in support.
 The IJN squadron goes to full speed ahead for a nautical banzai charge...
 The cruiser hangs back leaving the action to the destroyer screen...
 ...while she looks after the transports landing a Regimental Combat Team (Infantry Brigade) onshore.
 The damage control parties aboard the 'Asagiri' do sterling work and make two knots (in reverse) making smoke...(chief engineer ritually beheaded...for reversing)
 US cruiser makes speed to assist...
 At this point in the game everyone went nuts and all decided to fire torpedoes.
'It's you.'
 In the middle of the action a 3rd rate deck hand won the lottery and punched the XO for joy.
 Everybody was kungfoo fighting...
 The IJN had the skill (according to me and Ross san) or luck (according to hop-a-long Colin and Buffalo Billy) in launching accurate torpedo fire this day.
 Three US destroyers were sunk and one damaged for one IJN destroyer sunk and one damaged...
 The cruiser peeled off...
...as the transports had done the job landing the troops. The IJN couldn't follow up their local victory so the commander committed Hara-kiri in celebration.

Stewart's fast play Naval rules gave a good feel to this game and we're all looking forward to a rematch...maybe Narvik 1940.