Hill 60- Outskirts of the Ypres Salient 1917

The Crater at Hill 60

As part of the opening moves of the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917 miners detonated a massive explosion under the German position on Hill 60 ( as depicted in the recent movie). Now this hole has to be seen to be believed!
The Crater

Pointe du Hoc....not in scale but for real!

Now I know that I have dedicated this Blog to the Brothers and our gaming but I thought many of you might be interested in a place I recently visited- and it's why I haven't blogged for a while. I was lucky enough to get to Europe recently and visit the Normandy beaches...and my first stop was Pointe du Hoc. So I hope you'll all forgive my departure from the regular stuff!

This is Point Du Hoc, just near Omaha Beach in Normandy...captured on the 6th of June 1944 by the 2nd Ranger Battalion under Colonel James Earl Rudder. Of the 225 men, 90 were still on their feet when they were finally relieved 2 days later.

The remains of an Ack Ack mounting


Force on Force: Modern Skirmish- Bundeswehr vs the Taliban

My son ( Nick Junior) and I decided to put his new 28mm Eureka Miniatures Bundeswehr through their paces recently. The task was simple for the Germans- a routine patrol through 'pacified' territory with the usual 'hearts and minds' visits- knocking on doors and being nice. Well in this scenario, each building that the Germans went to a D6 was rolled. On anything but a '1' all was okay. But eventually the dreaded single digit put in an appearance ( it wouldn't have been much of a game if it didn't) and this indicated a weapons cache.

 German Patrol No1 approach the house where the stashed weapons were found. Tail End Charlie watches the patrol's rear.

Marlburians Again!!

The usual collection of rogues and scoundrels assembled amongst the flotsam and jetsum of my gaming room (read: garage) for a nice little stoush with the 28mm Marlburians. This particular action saw a French force holding a central village awaiting the arrival of their Bavarian allies. The French were being attacked by a combined Dutch and British force, with a flanking Danish/Austrian force attempting to cross a river and turn the French position. If it sounds messy- it certainly was with enough twists and turns to keep us at the table until very late!

The Deployment

Spanish Civil War

Many years ago I bought some Spanish Foreign Legion figures from FAA  ( now produced by someone else but I cannot remember who!) and painted them up. I added a few militia units and then put them in a cupboard for 12 years! Well about 3 years ago we played a game using Flames of War. I wasn’t quite happy with the game and they went back in the box. Phil encouraged me to give them another try as he had some figures too (in fact lots!) and late last year we gave the Spanish Civil War another try using a set of rules called Triumph and Tragedy (T&T). Surprisingly the game went well and Phil decided to expand his collection.  Last week both our piles of metal were put on the table and we used T&T for a game!

The Table- Nationalists to the right (naturally)- Republicans to the left.

Another trial of Napoleon at War.

Four of the Brothers assembled amongst the flotsam and jetsam of my games room ( read : garage)  to continue with our trial of the new Napoleon at War (NaW)rules. Now I must confess I have begun to really like these new rules even though a year ago I rebased my large Ottoman army for Lasalles only to find that the Brothers recently switched to NaW . They are fast, bloody, not too complicated and produce an enjoyable game. My main complaint is that they are appallingly written with bits and pieces everywhere that require a bit of cross referencing  and looking back and forth through the rules. But no matter, when the game starts it flows easily and there are some really interesting little nuances in the rules.

The Initial Deployment

The Marine Commandos are here!

No not the ROYAL Marines Commando....I put the Bootnecks in a past blog. This time it's the Compania de Commando Anfibios (Ca Cdo Anf)- the Argentine Marine Commandos. - and I intend to make them double up as Marines that fought at places like Mt Tumbledown as well.

Armed with the FN FAL and Sterling SMGs

Bundeswehr and French Foreign Legion

My son and I have obviously gotten into Force on Force from Osprey and Ambush Alley games in a big way. We recently ordered more troops from Eureka Miniatures to add to our Taliban and US Marines. Nick (junior) ordered the German Bundeswehr and I couldn't resist the Foreign Legionnaires with their FAMAS rifles. I ordered them with  berets (painted green for the Legion- red is for the other French paras) rather than helmets because I prefer the figures with the berets rather than the helmets.

The Bundeswehr

Pachyderm Pandemonium on the Po

Or Romanorum adepto suum anus vulnero

A report from one of the Brothers: Paulus on the Po!

 It was a cold winter’s dawn but what the Carthaginians thought would be a token Roman force turned out to be a “table bending” tonnage of lethal metal.  Carthage called up all the Allies and all the Barbarians they could lay their hands on.
The Roman Van was certainly impressive.  Cohorts in depth always mean business and they ranged across the central battle field of the Po River Valley as far as the eye could see.  Hannibal and Hasdrubal both vied for command but in the end controlled the wings as Lachlanabal took command while they quibbled.

Napoleon at War (NaW): New rules trial!

Some of the Brothers have been playing the new rules 'Napoleon at War' ( NaW)and I was invited over to Ross' place for a run. It was a quiet one with Ross, Nick (senior) and myself. As a trial, the forces were kept to a minimum ( 1 Brigade of Infantry, 1 battery of guns , and a Brigade of cavalry). Ross devised a simple scenario- clear the opposition away -and the game was on! We were using Ross' very nicely painted 15mm Poles for both sides..

The deployment- Ross on the left, Nick and I on the right.

Oversized Force on Force: A full day's game

A friend of mine, Spyros, came over during the school holidays with his son Evan for a game. Spyros is a very serious gamer and his collection of World War II and modern stuff is enormous. His Force on Force terrain is actually pretty spectacular and so we combined all of mine with his for a game that involved my son Nick, and two of Nick’s friends- Jack and Connor and Spyros and Evan.
The Mission:  A combined US Marine and Bundeswehr ( German Army) operation was designed to flush out  a high value target (HVT) - the local insurgent leader. Evan and Jack played the Bundeswehr . Nick was the US Marines and Spyros, Connor and I were the Taliban. The Bundeswehr's job was to move from one end of the table to the other, take out the target and then arrive safely at the US Marine compound.

Overview- impressive stuff!

Empress Miniatures: SAS Sniper Team

My son ( junior Nick), was very keen on the Empress Miniatures SAS sniper team, so a small order for the said team and the SAS squad was entered via email, and a couple of weeks later duly arrived and he set to work to get them ready for the table! I think he did a great job - for a 13 year old!
The finished product

Force on Force: Modern Skirmish- A Coalition setback

The Brothers assembled recently on a cold winter's night. We were down on numbers, only Paul, Ross, Phil, Nick (junior), Richard and myself gathered to pit some US Marine fire teams and a covert SAS team against a small pocket of Taliban insurgents.

The Location: a Village called Wadifakawi located on the Afghan/Pakistani border.
The Brief: The area had been cleared of enemy insurgents over a year ago but intelligence reports have determined that there has been unsual activity of late. An SAS team was inserted into the Pakistan side of the border to observe the town. They regularly sent reports that weapons were being stockpiled by small numbers of enemy insurgents. Due to the politically sensitive nature of the border region, no air support could be used or heavy vehicles. ( this made it easy for the umpire, yours truly,  to introduce the Force and Force rules to the Brothers!)
The Center of town: the DSHK 12.7 mm behind sandbags - the building was where the weapons cache had been hidden

Royal Marine Commandos: Falklands 1982

I recently bought a magazine celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War and found myself wondering about gaming possibilities. Now if you are like me and follow Rusty's 'Hurry up and Wait' Blog ( see the list on the right hand side) in which he is recreating the whole war in miniature you would be aware that there are some great gaming possibilities. So, inspired by some magazines, Rusty's Blog- and some great miniatures from Gripping Beast's MO-FO range-  I painted up 20 Royal Marine Commandos. They turned out better than I expected...my camera wasn't up to the task of photographing the detail in the camouflage.....then again maybe there was no detail to pick up! Next, Argentine Marines!

Glenshiel: The Fourth Battle of the Rebellion of the '15

The heralds have proclaimed it across the British Isles...the Rebellion is over. But it was very nearly a different story. Both armies had assembled near Glenshiel in the western Highlands and it was do or die for the Scots. But the high drama continued amongst the commands of both sides and there were some VERY surprising developments that left the Hanoverians angered and the Jacobites stunned and feeling betrayed.....


The Aftermath: The Battle of Edinburgh

Well all of Europe was stunned to hear of the victory by  the Duke of Argyll over the Jacobite forces. Stunned because the Jacobite Juggernaut had been gaining a fearsome momentum that threatened to not only toss the Hanoverians out of Scotland but looked like an advance into England could also be on the cards. The French were involved, the Hanoverians were on the back foot and there was some serious factionalism in the High Command of his Britannic Majesty's forces! Now, that said, the combined Dutch/British force pulled off a remarkable victory and King George I's  government managed to produce a diplomatic coup by having the French Government sign an alliance...while French troops were on British soil!!

Force on Force: Modern Skirmish game.

My son (Little Nick) has always been a big fan of computer games like Battlefield and Call of Duty Special ops and those sorts of games- principally those with more modern settings. So my journey was on to find something like that for the table top. Last year we went to MOAB, a convention here in Sydney and there was a display game (I can't remember by whom) of the game  Force on Force by Ambush Alley games and published by Osprey. Well he and I played the Vietnam War scenario and we were hooked. We bought a copy of the rules from the War and Peace Games stand and then a whole stack of modern US Marines and Taliban from Nick Robson of Eureka Miniatures. Within a few days we had them painted and ready to go. Since then we've played quite a few games.
US Sniper team on Over watch

Latest addition to my Marlburians- The Garde Suisse (Swiss Guard)

As most of the Brothers know, my obsession over the last 6 years has been my War of the Spanish Succession Collection. It has become pretty extensive over that time and we've had some great games- as well as our recent Jacobite Rebellion of the '15 campaign.

Richard's Late Imperial Romans

One of the Brothers, Richard, has begun assembling a Late Imperial Roman Army for Impetus- much to the dismay of the Armatans (see previous blog- Battle of Asculum March 2012!). Anyway, he has photographed a couple of the units and I put them on the blog for the rest of the Brothers to admire! The figures are Armorum and Aquila Minaitures. Check the link under "Essential Supplies". Enjoy! Richard probably spends more time painting a single figure than anyone else that I know....and the results are always impressive! - he has a real gift for blending shades and a real feel for the paints and colours that he used. Nice one mate!

Our Rebellion of the '15: The Heralds Proclaim a Hanoverian Victory!!

T’were a sad and sorry day for the Jacobite cause at the last Gathering of the Clans….er sorry…I mean : the Brothers . We assembled, once again, amidst the wargame detritus and debris and the understated elegance of my garage (read : Man Cave) to determine the fate of the Rebellion of the ’15, Scotland, The British Isles and the course of European and possibly WORLD  History. Well I may be overstating the case – it may have just been to push little toy soldiers around a table top and hurl abuse at one another- of which more later on. Anyway enough small talk and poor displays of alleged wit- but suffice to say that the Duke of Argyll has redeemed the Honour of his Family Name, and his Clan, in the eyes of his nation, his king, Western Europe, God and…….ooops sorry I’m waxing lyrical again. Well he won.

The Battlefield: Hanoverians on the left, Jacobites on the right.

Rebellion of the '15: Prelude to our Battle of Edinburgh

After the defeat at Braemar, Argyll retreated to Perth, where he was greeted by General George Carpenter, 1st Baron Carpenter, who was advancing through Perth with a Regiment of Foote (Harrison’s 15th) a Regiment of Horse (Montjoy’s 3rd) and a Squadron of Dragoons (Stairs- The Inniskillings (6th) ) and a battery of Medium guns.
These went some way to making up the losses from Braemar.  Argyll continued to retreat to Stirling and with the addition of the garrison there (Egerton’s -36th Foote) decided to leave his troops to await the Jacobites while he went south to face the Court of Inquiry. 

Clansmen from the Macdonalds of Clanranald
 Meanwhile the Jacobites had two sets of reinforcements......

The Court of Inquiry- The Duke of Argyll under investigation.

In our very unhistorical campaign, after the Battle of Bramaer, the Captain General (the Duke of Marlborough), ordered a Court of Inquiry into the conduct of the battle. Marlborough, not at all happy with the defeat, or Argyll, decided it was time to remove his senior commander in the Highlands. The Court’s vote narrowly exonerated Argyll by a vote of 2-1. The dissenting vote being Marlborough himself.  The reasoning of the Court in deciding in Argyll’s favour was that if he was removed the Hanoverian cause may lose the crucial support of Clan Campbell (Argyll was a Campbell). And more specifically his written orders from the Duke of Marlborough expressly ordered him to advance against the enemy (which he did) engage the enemy (which he did) and defeat the rebels (which he didn’t). Two out of three ain’t bad!  Stay tuned for the Battle of Edinburgh!
Above and below: Marlborough- the Captain General- restores the command to Argyll

First World War Trench Action

This game was played in late 2011 and used Phil's and my figures. Mine are the original Wargames Foundry range and Phil's are Renegade Miniatures which are a little bigger and chunkier  but are very  nice  (and well painted).

The game was played on an 8'x 5' table.- lengthways. The scene was 1918 and the German Storm Troopers had to cross a thinly held line of trenches and establish themselves in the town beyond. The trench system was held by British troops who were waiting on reinforcments from the Australian Division to the rear. .......

Plane Reconnaissance over the village

Battle of Asculum 279BC: The Impetii in Goulburn

The Brothers were dedicated disciples of Armati  for our Ancient games for nearly 15 years and then a heresy reared its ugly head in the last year or so with the arrival of Impetus. Two Brothers became immediate converts but despite their crusading with  missionary zeal they were unable to win over the other Brothers who refused to apostasize. This has led to some interesting times and discussion over the last 12 months and suffice to say that the Brothers, when it comes to ancient rules, are divided into two fervent groups- The Armatans and the Impetii. .........
In an attempt to spread the heresy, Richard and Ralph (aka The Impetii) travelled to  Goulburn a week or so ago and played with a couple of the lads down there: David and Richard.
They fought the battle of Asculum 279 BC using Impetus - Republican Romans under the command of Consul Publius Decius Mus and the combined Tarantine, Oscan, Samnite. Epirote forces, under the command of the Greek king Pyrrhus of Epirus.........

The Battle of Braemar: Our second battle in the Jacobite Rebellion of the '15

The Table before the Deployment

After Deployment: Jacobites on the Left, Haonoverians on the Right

The Brothers assembled on Friday evening to continue the current campaign. The Jacobite Commander, The Earl of Mar, (Paul) had taken to his camp tent with a case of the virulent Flux (or was it the Pox?) and his second in command  The Laird of Borlum- (Ralph) stepped up to take command with  his trusty subordinates  Geoff ( as Rob Roy McGregor) and Richard ( John Cameron, Chief of Clan Cameron).......

Battle of Braemar :The forces prepare in the Jacobite Campaign of the '15.

The forces have assembled and some interesting developments have taken place in our campaign as the second major engagement  is about to take place (next Friday in fact). Clan Campbell has joined the Hanoverians and the forces of the Duke of Argyll have been bolstered by a clan regiment. The Old Pretender has brought two veteran regiments of foot (loaned from Louis XIV) with him to further his cause and has managed to reconstitute a number of his mangled clan regiments from the last battle.The Royal Navy reports that a French naval squadron has evaded their blockade of the coast and is headed to Scotland with troop reinforcements for the Rebellion. They won't be in time for this battle, but will be available for the next one. The Hanoverians are raising more Regiments and have called on their old allies the Dutch to commit a brigade to help quell those pesky Highlanders!  Argyll is under pressure from the Captain General and Master General of Ordinance- The Duke of Marlborough ( yes THAT Marlborough) to smash the rebels before the situation gets out of hand. ...........

The 'Old Pretender' confers with an officer.

A Jacobite Campaign- First Clash: 'The Battle of Dundee'.

We started a campaign that was loosely based on the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715. Ross played the Hanoverian commander, The Duke of Argyll. Paul was the Earl of Mar who raised the standard of Rebellion at Braemar in September 1715. The Rebels (Paul, Chris, Ralph and Richard) were initially successful in capturing a number of towns with little or no opposition. Aberdeen, Forfar, Dunblane, Montrose, Dundee and Perth all fell in quick succession.
The Mapboard!

They passed by Fort William, but due to the lack of siege guns, made no impression on the fortifications. They then moved south and unable to take Stirling due to the garrison of redcoats they fell back to Dundee  by mid November (campaign time), all the while gathering clansmen to their cause. By the time they clashed with the Redcoats , they had 11 Highlander clan regiments, 3 small units of Horse, a light gun and one Lowland regiment that was equipped with Pike and Shot.
The Jacobites deploy- the Left. More units would arrive to the right and
 the woods harboured two Highland units in ambush.

The Hanoverians (Ross, Phil, Nick)had assembled a small force (5 Battalions of Foot and 3 Squadrons of Dragoons) at Newcastle and advanced into southern Scotland. The Duke (Ross) withdrew the  small garrisons from Fort Augustus and Fort William to meet up with the garrison of Stirling and the advancing force from the south. When the total Hanoverian forces assembled in Stirling  6 Foot Regiments and 5 squadrons ( 1 dismounted) of Dragoons as well as one battery of guns and a battery of the newfangled Coehorn Mortars were mustered. The Duke then ordered them in pursuit of the Rebels and in the second week of November (campaign time) they met the sizable Jacobite force just  west of Dundee.......

Hannibal ad portas- Hannibal at the gates

I got an email early in the week before our end of the month fight challenging my Romans to a showdown. The opponents were to be Nick's new Carthaginians and in line with his determination to have more figures in the world than anyone else - he also supplied some more Romans. Nick's Carthaginian force was still too big so we called in some of Ross' veteran Legions to help. Well, Nick got his troops packed and sent to my place in a fleet of road trains- he always does things to excess and as the Band of Wargame Brothers assembled for the end of the month meeting in the understated elegance of my garage - we had an historical rematch- Carthaginians vs Republican Romans.  Seven of the Brothers assembled and four played the Romans - Ross, Roger, Geoff and myself as C in C. Hannibal was played by Nick. Paul and Phil were his subordinates....

Republican Romans

A few years ago in 2008, Nick M handed me a box full of lead and said 'You can have these!' There was half a ton of metal and loads of figures. They sat in my garage for two and half years and then one day I sorted then out. There were enough figures to complete a Republican Roman army for Armati! So now four years down the track the figures are painted and ready to fight! With the inclusion of an HCH elephant from Essex Minitures ( Hi Ray!) I had a Core army and 96 bonus points. Now it's time to find an opponent!

Battle of Rorke's Drift in 28mm!

Well the Friday night game came around and it was the much anticipated 28mm Rorke’s Drift. It was a good turnout  with 9 of the Band of Brothers in attendance. One popped his head in to say hello but went home early due to illness. He should have stayed to defend the hospital! Of course most of us have seen the movie Zulu far more times than we’d care to admit and I went to Youtube and had the theme tune and some Zulu war chants open and playing alternatively to set the mood!
Half of the Brothers had already decided which side they wanted be on. Chris said ‘I ‘m a Redcoat- don’t argue and do be quiet, you’ll upset the lads - there’s a good gentleman.’ In fact for the whole night he continued to finish all instructions, questions or requests with ‘there’s a good gentleman’. He ended up as CSM Bourne. Ross was Bromhead and Nick was Chard- who was there only because he came to build a bridge.

                                                                 THE IMPIS ARRIVE

The Zulus were commanded by Richard and his offsiders were Roger and Geoff. Paul and Phil also took the side of Cetshaweyo’s impis. And I was umpiring. For further atmosphere, Nick and Chris suggested that all the Zulu players should play just wearing loin cloths but Ross said that, given our rather stout physiques, that was a disturbing mental image. So for atmosphere we stuck to the theme and warchants.


Initially the action pretty much followed the historical version with the Zulus launching attacks against the hospital and the mealie bags to its front. Ross, in command of that sector put up a very stout resistance and the troops in and around the hospital took a terrible toll on the attackers who proceeded to climb onto the roof. At the back of the hospital, some of Phil’s Zulus broke down one of the doors only to find that it was a dead end and insultingly failed to knock down any more before they became casualties. The Zulus then set fire to the thatched roofing. Rather than attempt to stop the flames, the British cleared the intruding Zulus from the roof (they couldn’t do that AND put out the fire) and by then it was too late and Chard (Nick) reluctantly gave the order to evacuate the, by now, fiercely burning hospital.

It was at this point that an enormous cheer went up from the Zulus as they inflicted their first casualty on the Redcoats. There were pats on the back and some cries of 'Usuthu' and 'Zulu' as Roger took the honour of killing the first redcoat. In the next melee Roger killed two more and was being hailed as the next recipient of the Cetshewayo Cross (the Zulu equivalent of the Victoria Cross) as he proceeded to storm the barricades in front of the burning hospital. In fact by turn six, 84 Zulus were dead and 5 men of the 24th- all courtesy of Roger’s troops. But the pressure was building.


The barricade in front of the hospital became the main focus of the Zulu attack and Geoff’s Zulus accounted for two more redcoats as the hospital roof caved in killing another five who had been forgotten inside! There were cries of ‘Shame!’, ‘Scum!’ ‘Irish building standards!’ and ‘Disgrace!’ hurled across the table by the redcoat commanders. This was accompanied by the jeers and cheers of the Zulu players- the impartial umpire, yours truly, of course said nothing- only to be accused of bias against white men (by Chris), against black men ( by Phil ) and against all humanity by Paul who claimed that I was making the rules up and pulling clauses out of my nether regions.





As the pressure built up on Ross (Bromhead), Chard (Nick) decided to withdraw his portion of the defenders to the redoubt and Ross exclaimed in exasperation ‘What the #$%@ are you doing?’
Nick responded by saying he was moving his troops back because ‘We’re gonna watch!’
Richard cheered, nudged Ross in the ribs and said “You’re f&a*%d now mate!’
Ross merely shook his head and soldiered on.
Things weren’t going the way either side had planned and the British were being forced back and many Zulus had entered the compound. But at horrendous cost. By turn eleven, 12 redcoats were dead but the Zulus had suffered just over 200 casualties.










As the casualties mounted the evening wore on and when the Zulus had lost 293 man and the 24th Regiment had lost 16 we called it a night. It was a great game and the clock beat us rather than one side beating the other. The after game brief revealed that the Zulus couldn't coordinate themselves to hit several places hard. The redcoats were happy with their efforts although many blamed poor dice rolling on wet powder!! So to the rousing tunes of 'Men of Harlech', it was agreed that a rerun was in order- but that's another blog.