Saturday 29 June 2024

Zulu War Column

Not much posted recently as I've had to have a bowel resection after a nasty blockage.  Very painful and a long convalescence. Feeling better now, but not over it yet.

We managed to play a Zulu War game today with the British pushing a column deep into Zululand.  6 supply wagons drawn by oxen were escorted by 8 British infantry companies, a unit of Natal Native Contingent, together with units of Frontier Light Horse, Natal Natives and Natal Police, all on horseback.  Si G drew the left flank with three units of infantry, a Gardiner gun and the mounted police.  I drew the right flank with three infantry units, an artillery piece and the mounted Natal Natives.  Mark was overall commander with two infantry and an NNC unit, plus a unit of Frontier Light Horse.

We got off to a quiet start making good progress.  On the approach to a drift, a small unit of Zulu warriors and rifles appeared on the left flank.  Si dealt with them, but two units of infantry were charged by Zulus with some loss of personnel.

The wagons took an age to cross the drift, but did so safely and the British were within sight of their goal at the far end of the table when Zulus appeared to their front left.  Over the next handful of turns, Zulu warriors appeared to the British front, then right flank and finally at the rear of the right flank.  My infantry and artillery formed a rough line while Mark's leading units and Si's left flank wheeled around the wagons to face the oncoming Zulus.  It was clear we had encountered an impi with the right horn to our front and the head and loin piling into our right and rear.

Good British shooting and artillery fire dwindled the Zulu numbers, bit not before the Zulus managed to charge home against Mark's infantry and then against mine.  Bayonets, with some guts behind them, pushed the charging Zulus back, but not before one of my infantry companies was very badly mauled.

Eventually, all the carts exited the board and the British forces formed a line which gradually fell back towards the target table edge.  Despite significant losses, British pluck had won through!

Thanks for looking.

Monday 5 February 2024

Battle of Montgisard 1177 Lance and Longbow Game Vapnartak 2024

 It was Will McNally's turn to organize the Lance and Longbow Society participation game at Vapnartak 2024.  As usual for Will, he opted for 20mm/1/72nd scale plastic figures.  With the smaller scale, the table could accommodate more troops, which helped give the table an "epic" appearance.

Will had chosen Montgisard 1177 as his battle, one I'd heard little about before, but turns out to have been a major Crusader victory, thwarting Saladin's plans for the next decade.  A small Crusader force managed to surprise the Muslim army, with the result that they had to stream out of camp without the usual preparation of donning armor and forming up in the usual way.

Rules used were Lion Rampant, with some adjustments usual for the L&L participation game, with the main difference being that Crusader spearmen could opt to kneel, allowing the crossbowmen behind to fire over their heads - very nasty.

Saladin's right flank and part of the centre, with tented encampment behind.

Turcopole skirmishers on the Crusader's right flank.

And again for some reason.

Part of the Crusader centre, spearmen backed by crossbowmen.

Bedouin skirmishers on Saladin's left flank.

Turcopoles and Bedouins skirmishing.


Crusader mounted sergeants and knights.

Askaris from the Islamic army.

Crusader infantry pushing forwards.

Turcopoles, the closest unit being close to exhaustion.

More Crusader infantry.

Islamic infantry following up behind their mounted troops.

Knights about to charge Islamic Askari.  The Askari have beaten up the mounted sergeants which have been pushed back behind the knights, so they are no move this turn.

During the course of the day I played in one full game, and a half game where we just played one wing and I was assisted by a lovely young lady of 7 or 8 with some deadly dice rolling.  I also watched another game when I was able to take these pictures.  Will's forces looked great and there were lots of nice comments from players and passers by.  Lots of nice comments about his scratch built tented encampment.

Link to Will's Blog

I was relatively restrained, a box of Deus Vult Mongol horse archers to be used as Steppe/Nomad light horse allies for my Late Romans, some Monks and Pagan priests for my Late Romans and sub-Roman Brits, a handful of Cataphracti to finish off a unit for WAB and some mounted horn blowers for my Late Roman cavalry, plus a box of dice.  A great day out in good company. 

Saturday 20 January 2024

Another Late Roman outing

So, Thursday evening saw another outing for my Late Romans.  This time they were venturing way beyond their comfort zone as a Western army somewhere in the deserts of the Middle East, taking on the Sassanids.

My army was pretty much unchanged from last time except units were equipped with leaders and standards.  This meant dropping a bolt thrower, a unit of Lanciarii and combining 2 shock cavalry units of 15 figures into a single unit of 12, to bring points down to 2500.

Si's Sassanids included four units of clibinarii with saves of 2+, making them hard to kill.  There were also two units of spears/archer combined infantry, a unit of horse archers and another of Iranian mounted javelin men.  The powerful clibinarii ate up points, but were the M1/Challengers of the day.

Opening dispositions with no terrain from the random selection.

Mounted javelins and archers.

Those naughty clibinarii.

My heroic shock cavalry and light cavalry behind.

Legionnaires and Cataphracts.

The Roman right with more legions, bolt throwers and a rather rash unit of lanciarii.

No more lanciarii and one of the legions taking losses from the bow armed light cavalry.

Cataphracts chased off the skirmishers and crashed into the Persian centre infantry.

Charge and counter charge resulted in lots of drawn melee, which continued through turns 2 to 5.  Sadly, some disastrous dice rolls in turn 6 on the Roman left saw the cavalry and a legion fleeing, leaving no choice for the rest of the army but to withdraw.  It was satisfying to despatch the javelin horse on the right flank.  Much like the Roman's historically, one learned the power of those heavily armoured Persian horse.  I may have to give my Cataphracts bucklers, so they too save on 2+.  I also need some allied Hun horse archers.

A fun game, more progress on the WAB learning curve.  Now to finish the Christmas assembly line of Gripping Beast Cataphracts, Victrix armored legionnaires, archers and slingers and some Foundry sub-Romans to double up as cheap pedyts.

Thanks for looking.

Saturday 23 December 2023

28mm WAB action Late Romans vs a barbarian conspiracy.

Thursday night club  action.  My 28mm Late Romans taking on Si G's central European Barbarian hordes using WAB historical ancients rules.

Four legionary units and Cataphracts in the centre, 4 Scorpions, a unit each of Lanciarii and shock cavalry on the left, units of shock cavalry, horse archers and Lanciarii on the right.

I didnt pay for leaders for the cavalry or standards for any of the units, which meant I was one down on each combat, wont make that mistake again.  Now to source some Hun allies for their Parthian shot ability.

Fun to play and the table looked great.  The Barbarians definitely had the upper hand after 5 turns.

Thanks for looking.