A bit of this and a dash of that

Oi! Time for another post. Jump to it!

Sharp Practice game May 2014

The Sharp Practice game pitting the rashness and enthusiasm of youth against the battle scarred and much honoured aged and embittered has been played sporadically over the last few weeks. The benefits of having The Bastion – the military simulation room – where the table is left up and not required for other purposes.

To recap the scenario is the brain child of The son & heir and is inspired by the events in Bernard Cornwell’s book Sharp’s Havoc. The action has moved from the Spanish Peninsular to Central Europe. Things have not gone well for the French and their allies so an escape route needs to be forced. The French have entrusted this dangerous exercise to von Peter himself and mostly Confederation of the Rhine troops – Saxons and Bavarians – with a single French battalion in attendance. The task: force a crossing via the bridge over river #1, through a barricade, cross the board to force a second river/bridge/barricade combination.

Prussian Landwehr guard the two crossings but are blissfully unaware of the excitement coming their way. Hauptmann von Scharf and his Silesian Volunteer Jagers are rushing to assist the defenders from one flank while the bulk of the Prussian reinforcements would arrive on the other. Hauptmann von Scharf’s mortal enemy the Frenchman Captain Henry has taken command of the Bavarian Light Infantry and if they can he and von Scharf will do their best to put the other ‘in the ground’.

A few images from the game to date. von Peter himself would <right-click> on the images and open them in a new tab or window to see a larger version of them … but that’s just him.

Sharp Practice 2014 1

Above: early in the game the first bridge and barricade have been claimed for the French. The sentries could have done better and they could have done worse but they’ve now done a runner.

A landwehr battalion had tumbled out of the buildings at the alert of the sentries and decided that the crack Bavarian lights and increasing numbers of French Germans swarming over the barricades were all too much and decided to retire down the road between the buildings. The Bavarian cavalry currently on that same road between the  buildings gave them little hurry up which is why the landwehr battalion can now be seen heading towards and crossing the bridge in the distance.

The son & heir is currently painting the two mounted figure command pack PC6 from Calpe Miniatures. The mounted officer on the bare Litko plywood base with the just mentioned retiring landwehr at the bridge is one of these mounted figures. His painting is complete. In the background just on this side of the second river is the second figure from the pack. We decided not to remove him for the bottle top on which he is being painted.

The Bavarian Light Troops – in green and wearing helmets – are holed up in the buildings just over the bridge. This was not the result of a cunning plan by von Peter himself but rather the vagaries of the game that dictated that three of the twelve light infantryman decided to do a spot of looting in the buildings. Captain Henry has taken the rest of the unit into the buildings to reclaim the three miscreants and add them back into the unit. Captain Henry can be seen taking a quick drink from his brandy flask to calm his nerves having taken a minor wound earlier from those pesky Silesian Volunteer Jagers.

Half of a Saxon battalion has foolishly bravely been sent to face off against the Prussian reinforcements coming in from the left of the photograph. They performed admirably … until the Prussians decided to swat them out of the game.

Hauptmann von Scharf and his Silesian Volunteer Jagers can be seen scuttling around in the shrubbery at the right of the picture as more French allied troops cross the first bridge in the foreground.

… and then some time passed by …

Sharp Practice 2014 2

Above: Prussian reinforcements are pouring in from the left. The skirmishing Prussian fusiliers have persuading the Saxon half battalion in the prior photograph to be elsewhere … in rather a hurry.

The Bavarian cavalry on this side of the river have just been persuaded to cease their retrograde movement and merged their two companies into a complete squadron. They have had quite a day with one company beating back some landwehr but then being too tired and disorganised to capture the opposing commander in chief who fought like a man possessed after an audacious attack. The second company managed to catch Hauptmann von Scharf and his Silesian Volunteer Jagers as they retreated to the second bridge and though they managed to cut down a jager and win the melee they were left so disorganised and weary that an immediate move to the rear was required.

The Bavarian light infantry are on the road to the second bridge leading on a French and a Saxon battalion. The red marker behind the light infantry denotes the fouling of some of the Bavarians barrels. Stoopid random effect tables!  8O)

Two units of landwehr supported by Hauptmann von Scharf and his Silesian Volunteer Jagers line the barricade across the far end of the bridge. Gulp!

A half battalion of Saxons cross the first bridge and are about to face off against the Prussian reinforcements coming from the left. Another Gulp! That’s it for the French reinforcements but there are plenty more vengeful Prussians yet to come.

 … and then some more time passed by …

Sharp Practice 2014 3

Above: in the distance the French battalion is on the bridge and fervently hoping that they get to move before the landwehr gets to fire again. The supporting Saxon battalion that was on the Frenchmen’s right flank and firing at the barricade’s defenders have taken a pasting in return and are now about to cross the bridge in the foreground of the photograph!!! though the CinC should be able to arrest their retrograde movement.

The Bavarian Light Infantry are trying to keep Prussians off the flank and rear of the French battalion while the Bavarian cavalry are moving up to the front.

Prussian Fusiliers move through the town on their way to the vicinity of the far bridge while in the foreground the landwehr prepare to bayonet the Saxons to their front. And another battalion of Prussians arrive on the battlefield on the right.

It’s all down to the French battalion and its charge over the bridge. A chance for them to be real heroes.

von Peter himself has been guilty of keeping his best general in the rear areas recovering units rather than having him at the front bolstering the attack. To some degree this resulted from his late appearance – the arrival of all units including commander types was randomised – but the fleeing battalion of Saxons in the last photograph will look accusingly at him as they wonder where he was when they were getting shot up at the front with no help from the brass.

A turn or so left in the game. May the best French side win!!  8O)

More Calpe Prussians

Continuing the unveiling of The son & heir’s resculpted Calpe Miniatures advancing Prussians. See Old News if this is all a bit of a mystery. Two more packs this time around.

The figures are presented as they arrived excepting the removal of the occasional ‘runner’ and the splashing on of a home made black wash in an attempt to accentuate the figure details. The usefulness of the wash varies markedly from figure to figure.

P5 Advancing command pack

Comprising a standard bearer, a drummer and an NCO so as to hold aloft the battalion standard, provide the cadence to keep the battalion in step and generally keep the men in hand should they get a little excited.

P5 Advancing command pack front

P5 Advancing command pack back

P7 Falling casualties

Who doesn’t like casualty figures and these falling casualties are just the thing to bring your battalions to life!  Ha ha ha.

The cavity at the bottom of the middle figure’s right arm is not the result of overly enthusiastic sculpting of a cannonball strike. A separate hand holding a musket is provided which is inserted and glued in place. von Peter himself suspects that the reason for this is to do with the difficulties of casting the figure if it were one piece but it has the added benefit of allowing the hand and musket to be glued in a variety of angles for that extra bit of variety.

P7 Falling casualties front


P7 Falling casualties back

For the record this three figure casualty pack helped to create a fourth casualty. To ‘wash’ the figures von Peter himself glued them to old paint pots using PVA/wood glue. Usually the bond created by the PVA glue is easily broken but this time around the figures seemed to like their bottles and didn’t want to be separated. So out came the trusty modelling knife to assist in the process. The first figure was removed after a little cursing and muttering. The second was then popped off by sliding the knife between the bottom of the figure’s base and the bottle top and deeply into the left hand index finger von Peter himself. Queue an immediate increase in the volume and rate of cursing and muttering. What a damnably stupid thing to do. Normally von Peter himself prides himself on doing the safe and sensible thing around sharp implements … but there are exceptons it seems.

Blood started to flow in impressive quantities and von Peter himself realised the true horror of the situation. It was late at night, von Peter himself was the only one awake and if help was required then Fraulien von Peter herself would need to be awakened. And the good Fraulien was having her pre birthday sleep!! Perhaps it would be better to bleed for a while and see how events panned out! And there was still a third figure to prise off a third bottle top so that the photographs could be taken! Oh the horror!!  8O)

The good news is that von Peter himself survived. At least to date. The finger is tightly bound and bandaged and is not yet as good as new. The photographs were taken and you are reading this dubious prose. Medals for gallantry are anticipated!

Work provides access to a military museum

Back in March von Peter himself was involved in a conference that was convened at the NZ Army’s Waiouru Military Camp in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. Not  surprisingly Waiouru Military Camp is VERY close to the township of Waiouru and on the edge of Waiouru is the National Army Museum. It has been a few years since the National Army Museum hosted a state visit by von Peter himself so when the opportunity presented itself for a quick visit that opportunity was snapped up.

There is quite a selection of displays to view covering the various wars that Kiwis have fought in and is well worth a visit. On the occasion of this state visit von Peter himself had his trusty iPod Touch to hand and used it to snap a few of the displays. Apologies for the quality of the photography. The venue has dimmed lighting which does not bode well for a strictly amateur photographer and his iPod Touch!

National Army Museum - horses

There is currently … or at least was … a display on New Zealand’s war horses. Apparently over 20,000 left New Zealand for the Anglo-Boer War and World War I and only 5 made it back! If the memory serves correctly the above photo is of a display replicating the results of rear area shelling in France during WWI.

National Army Museum loading landing craft

The above photograph would appear to be a scene out of World War II with the troops clambering down the side of their transport into a landing craft. Good luck on the beach lads! It can be viewed from a walkway looking down or from ground level looking up as per this view.

As always don’t forget that you can <click> on any image for a larger and clearer view.

Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

10 thoughts on “A bit of this and a dash of that

  1. Thanks for another enagaing post your Vonship. Unfortunately I still have many of the older Calpe Prussians to liberate from the lead mountain before I can even contemplate investing in the newer ones!
    The NZ National Army Museum looks fantastic! I’ve been to a few military and naval, and indeed Royal Marines museums in my time all around the world but its the first time I’ve seen a vignette of troops disembarking – most have been huge!

    • Hello Ralph

      I have nearly all the lead I need for my 1813 Prussian 3rd Brigade – and like you it is all the original sculpts excepting a battalion of landwehr which had the resculpt treatment a while back. All that is left to buy is a battalion each of landwehr and reservists.

      The benefactor of the resculpted figures is The son & heir. Bl**dy typical really! Undeserving ungrateful youth etc etc etc. 8O)

      von Peter himself

  2. I’m getting really jealous now, Peter.

    Firstly of your wargames room – I’d love to be able to leave a game up mid-play.

    But, more importantly, of your continuing experience and good times with ‘Sharp Practice’. I always thought this would be the perfect ruleset for my own style of gaming, and I still do. But sadly, despite painting numerous Big Man and making bespoke sets of cards, I’ve only ever had a couple of games, and so have never moved beyond being a total beginner trying to find his first steps.

    • Hello Roly

      Yes I am lucky having The Bastion and though it is a reasonable sized room it could be a little bigger to get an extra foot of width on the table and a few more feet in length!! 8O)

      We are enjoying our Sharp Practice games but we are still learning. We have very few dedicated big men, use our larger scale* game units to play with and have no bespoke card sets as yet.

      You are more than welcome to partake of a game at Schloss von Peter. We should have a coffee to make arrangements for war.

      von Peter himself

      * I’m never sure how to put this but I mean where units are battalions, cavalry regiments and batteries and players command a division (or two for extended play) of units.

  3. Who would have thought Sharp Practice could be so bloody! You are truly a martyr to the hobby, Your Vonship . However, I am now convinced that the Calpe figures are not Falling Casualties but are in fact, in the less popular Falling About Laughing pose, particularly the third one who appears to be wiping tears from his eyes!

    P.S. Remember to be nice when waving that finger now.

    • How very astute of you Davy. You are of course correct and I now look at the figures in a totally different light! 8O)

      It was such a silly thing to do. If nothing else it has opened me up to self righteous condemnation from The son & heir who I am always ‘instructing’ on the safe use of sharp implements.

      Please take extreme care with your craft knife. 8O)

      von Peter himself

  4. Thanks for another entertaining read and sorry to hear of the grievous wound suffered at the front. I have proceeded into ingest a conservative amount of bourbon in hopes of your speedy recovery.

    On the subject of smaller horse and musket type games, I have always wanted to set up a small characterful skirmish SYW game using my Wargames Foundry Prussians and Cossacks. Various raiding / rear area fights using some mounted and dismounted troops on both sides. Any recommendations for rules sets??

    • Welcome Jason

      I trust it was bourbon of the highest quality. I would hate to think that my recovery would be impaired because someone offered up the cheap stuff! 8O)

      The only rule set I have really played for smaller level games is Sharp Practice from Too Fat Lardies but with our experiences to date I would have no worries about recommending that you take a look.

      I would point out that Sharp Practice is more than a straight skirmish game in that most of the figures we use are not skirmishing but rather are formed. And it can be bought reasonably cheaply as a pdf.

      von Peter himself

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s