A Tale of Two Skimishes

Alan K updates us on the club’s two visits to the the Skirmish wargames show in 2018.

As I was putting together the forces for our game at the next Skirmish show (the Second Battle of El Teb, 29 February 1884) I realised that I hadn’t written anything about our two visits last year.

For the first show we had decided on a 28mm Vietnam scenario based on a hastily mounted search and rescue operation for a downed helicopter crew. But as we watched the weather forecast steadily worsen (an interesting contrast to this year) with snow expected it was touch and go whether we might attend at all. In the end we decided to brave it and the snow turned out not to be anywhere near as bad as we had feared. Unfortunately it did have rather a chilling effect (sorry about that) on both the traders and visitors.

In any event, we arrived well in time and set up the game with the crashed chopper over to one side and the landing zone (LZ) over toward the other. The players took control of the small US unit designated to search this area and were duly landed at the LZ. The Viet Cong (VC) and other random encounters were all handled by the FNG rules from Two Hour Wargames.

Between the LZ and the main search area was a fast flowing stream crossed by a single ford on the main route to the nearby village. The players seemed reluctant to use the ford and so decided to cross the stream. Unfortunately the first man lost his footing and if it had not been for some quick reactions on behalf of his squad mates he might have drowned. Of course all the commotion attracted the attention of a lone VC who began taking pot shots from cover at the US troops in the open.

After dealing with this initial threat the Americans advanced and began to make their way slowly through the long grass towards the jungle encountering more VC emerging from cover or well concealed spider holes and always keeping an eye out for booby traps! The US forces made slow progress taking a few casualties before being assaulted by a larger VC force. Having seen them off they finally located the chopper crew and withdrew to the LZ for a dust off.

Our second visit to Skirmish later in the year was another 28mm affair but this time winding back to the Great War. In this case our game was set early in the war, featuring a certain Erwin Rommel and taken directly from his own account of the action in his book Infantry Attacks. In his own, admittedly potentially self-aggrandising narrative, after advancing west from Hill 325, Lt. Rommel stopped his platoon in cover in a field and took a scouting group ahead. Making use of cover and the foggy conditions, they passed one farm and found their way close to the Mussy-la-Ville road. As the scouting team approached they spotted a couple of French squads relaxing along the road. Rommel decided to attack rather than wait to bring up the rest of his platoon. Surprised by Rommel’s bold attack the French put up little resistance and then surrendered.

In our scenario the player who took Rommel was somewhat less bold and when he encounter the French decided to fall back and gather his platoon before attacking. Unfortunately for him that meant another French squad had arrived before the Germans returned and they had more of a fight on their hands!

Men at Arms on the March

I finally managed to get my first Wars of the Roses units done. Here we have the Men at Arms getting ready to go up against fellow club member Stephen. For my units in this army I wanted a real mixed up, unevenly distributed look. I’ve never liked the standard number of figures evenly spaced DBA style units. Despite 35 years in this hobby this is my first historical army and I’m clearly not a purist! But I’ve done some research, read several books and listened to a podcast on the history of England during this period, so I’m definitely putting the effort in.To get a good mix for the units I used miniatures from Peter Pig, Lancashire Games and Essex Miniatures (plus some others I’ve forgotten). I even chose some miniatures from the early 15th century to represent a few of the less wealthy lords and knights, still using their grandfathers armour.
Another thing I decided to do was not to  chose a side in the conflict. It was clearly a messy affair with allegiances changing as the conflict went on (or even during a battle!). Add that to the fact the armies had identical troop types I went for removable flags for the units and commanders. In the first picture the units are representing Sir Thomas Neville but after a quick swap they are now in the service of Lord Dudley.I think this system will work quite well and I intend on making a collection of flags, so regardless of who my opponent turns up supporting, I’ll be able to pick an opposing lord!