The society have been running quizzes every few weeks to enable members to keep in contact; most of these have been posted to the blog for those who were not able to join in, and for our non-member viewers. There were a few set by Peter from last year that didn’t make it onto the website, here’s the first of them. Answers in a few days. AK.
Q01a What was the name of the disastrous battle in the early 1stC AD in which three Roman legions were destroyed
Q01b Give the date (within 5 yrs), and/or one of the commanders
Q02a Identify this WW2 aircraft
Q02b What was it’s nickname
Q03a Name this character from The Lord of the Rings
Q03b Where was his home
Q04a Name the Avalon-Hill boardgame which covers major ship-to-ship combats from the age of sail?
Q04b When was the song “Hearts of Oak” made popular? Give the war and/or year.
Q05a What was the first major battle of The Hundred Years War which saw widespread use of the longbow
Q05b How long is it generally agreed that the war lasted
Q06a General Sherman said “…the man must be stopped…even if it takes 10,000 men and bankrupts this treasury…”. Which Confederate general was he talking about?
Q06b Which post-war organisation is this person said to have helped to found?
Q07a What is the official name of this branch of a fictional military force?
Q07b What is the name or number of the planet to which they accompany Ellen Ripley
Q08a Which 17thC French engineer gave his name to an entire system of fortifications?
Q08b What is the term for a covered trench heading towards the enemy, which gave rise to specialised engineer units of the same name
Q09a Although imitated later, the 18ft pike was the favoured weapon of mercenaries from which country during the early Renaissance Wars?
Q09b Before embarking on their lucrative & violent career as mercenaries, how did they contribute to the unification of France under a single crown?
Q10a Which war was expected to be so short that troops would be “…Home before the leaves fall from the trees…”?
Q10b Who is credited with saying that
Q11a What is this Napoleonic soldier commonly called
Q11b Which nationality originally supplied the 2nd ‘Red’ Lancer Regt?
Q12a In 2012, the MWS put on a game featuring the daring WW2 attack on which bridges
Q12b Who was the actor who played Major Howard in the film ‘The Longest Day’, and why was he a good choice
You can play games with sides who have equal points and just happen to turn up and have a smack up in the middle for no particular reason only so many times.
So to create a bit of variety I decided to make some objective markers so that games can have a bit more variety and meaning.
Of course, you can use simple tokens, or even dice, to be objectives. But I decided to make some sci fi themed objectives.
These are made from a variety of bits – some from odds and ends out of the spares bag, some from other household items, and some from good old fashioned modelling and sculpting.
This first one is a comms station. The core is a bit of balsa. This was then skinned with Miliput and some details etched in. When the putty had hardened I gave it a quick whizz on some fine wet and dry paper to smooth it out. The radar dish was from the spares bag. I’ve no idea where it came from – I have a few of them, so must have ordered them from somewhere but for the life of me I can’t remember ever buying them.
The next one is a supply cache. These bits are all from the spares bag. The gas cylinders were freebies with an order from Scotia/Grendel. Not sure who the crates are by. I must confess, I wanted more ‘sci fi’ looking crates, but I had none and wasn’t in the mood to make any – I just wanted a fourth objective marker and wanted to throw it together sooner than later.
The other two are what we’ll call ‘gubbins’. Or ‘tech’. Or something like that. They were made from oddments I had around. The cylindrical one is made from a sewing thread bobbin. It has a couple of round slotta bases stuck together on top, half a bomb from a Stuka model on top of that, and I glued some plasticard to the barrel of the bobbin. The other one hasn’t had so much done to it. It was a weapon pod that came from a toy spaceship bought in The Works. I just put it on its end and then some plasticard bits to cover the slot where it attaches to the model.
On to the painting.
The two ‘tech’ objectives were given a once over with grey and then a dark brown wash. They were then dry-brushed with grey that had a little bit of brown added to it (to take off the harshness of the grey). I went down quite light with them. I wanted the blue sections to represent internal lights and power generation. So a royal blue base, and then taken down with pale blue and a final white section. To try and give it a glowing effect I dry brushed the surrounding parts of the model with one of the paler blues to represent the light reflecting on the surfaces and glowing.
The comms station was a simple paint job – field green. I decided to do the cylinders on the supply cache in different colours to represent different contents. For no reason that I can think of I just went with white crates. Glad I did because I think it looks good.
The models were decorated with some spare decals and the computer screens were found on the internet, printed off, and glued in place (I’m sure you can identify the X Wing targeting computer).
So that’s it – some objectives for scenario games.
Stephen gives an unredacted report on a Black Ops mission…
Thought I would have a game of Black Ops.
It’s been a while since I played it and having enjoyed it before I decided to have another go.
I decided not to use the stealth rules and have a simple encounter game – just to refresh myself with the rules and because I just wanted a simple face-to-face scrap.
Each side had 75 points. On one side was a group of droids and on the other a section of special forces troops. The game was simple enough – seven turns to see who can cause the most amount of damage. Both sides comprised a leader, a heavy weapon, and 5 troopers.
I used my smaller (3’x2’) board and set it up as a huge junkyard/recycling plant with loads of cover. The humans deployed in 3 groups (two lots of 2, and one lot of 3) and the droids deployed in 2 groups (one lot of 3 and one lot of 4).
Due to the amount of terrain both sides managed a couple of activations before shots were fired. The humans, deployed on a wider front, managed to get some troops around the flanks, forcing the smaller droid unit with the Leader into the middle. However, the large droid unit had deployed on a different flank and their numbers looked strong against the 2 man human team facing them.
The humans came up through the parking lot and took fire from the droids. No casualties this time – the blasts struck the assorted junk and barricades. Locking and loading, they took up their positions and returned the gesture – one of the droids went down so it was first blood (Ed: oil?) to the humans.
The droid leader had found himself in a difficult position. With two of the droid troopers (one of which went down under fire) he was taking crossfire as one human team took up position behind a large piece of junk and another team edged around behind some trashed vehicles. Then, bang! Down went the droid leader.
And then in the following round, down went a couple more of the droids. I wasn’t convinced this was going to last 7 rounds. That said, the droids had managed to squeeze themselves into a good position and it was hard to see how the humans could advance on them without taking casualties. So a firefight ensured with both sides digging in.
This firefight didn’t last long though. One the human teams took a casualty, and then so did another.
With the human position suddenly weakened the droids were able to move up and advance on the humans, despite having taken more casualties and losing their leader.
The game was starting to change. The droids managed to hit another human and down he went as well. On one of the flanks the humans had made good headway, but they now needed to fall back and consolidate or they would be picked off. The human leader ordered his men to take cover behind some barrels and crates. The droids moved on them, and a lucky shot took out the human leader! Just two troopers left.
Then crafty shot from one of the human troopers dropped a droid and he rushed round, to outflank the final droid. As he did, his colleague put in a fresh clip and with gun at his hip, let rip and down went the last droid.
Victory went to the humans. Just.
Black Ops is a great game. Once the shooting starts it can be quite deadly. A modelling project for early 2021 is to make some sci fi themed objective markers.
Marcus reports on a Dreadball game with some teams he prepared earlier …
Recently you may have seen that I have been painting up some new Dreadball teams. I am a notoriously slow painter (this is partly because I don’t have a dedicated painting/modelling area), but I did promise a report on the game, so while the second coat of varnish is drying on the Nemion Oceanics, I broke out two teams I painted a while back: The Kalimarin Ancients (alien crustacea) and the Z’zor (alien insectoids) for a game with Son Tzu.
A bit of background. Dreadball is a sci-fi sports game from Mantic games. I envision it as a bit of a cross between American football, there is a lot of rough stuff, notably slamming, and basketball. As can be seen from the picture above, the game is played on a broadly rectangular pitch composed of hexagons. In fact the pitch actually looks more like one hexagon that has been stretched lengthwise. There are three strike zones in each half with the target hex at the furthest extremity from the centre. The two closest to the centre line can generate scores of one point from any hex except the furthest from the target, from which two points can be scored. Similarly, with the remaining zone, the hexes are worth three and four respectively.
A typical team has three types of player; Guards, who don’t hand the ball but are good at blocking and tackling; Strikers are good at stealing, passing and scoring; Jacks, do a bit of both. However, not all the teams have all the players.
In common with many games, each player has a stat-line. The stat line features values for movement, strength, skill, armour and speed. The stat line values give a target figure for a success on a D6. A number of manoeuvres are available to the player, some of which may depend on a test against these values with a varying number of dice depending on circumstances. These include shooting, passing and slamming; a kind of tackle that you can do on opponents whether they have the ball or not. Often, if you double the target number, or for opposed rolls like a slam, double the opponents successes, you gain a positive result. These include a free move for a double on picking up the ball, additional fan checks on scoring (which may yield extra coaching dice) and temporarily or permanently removing an opponent from the field. Coaching dice are one use dice which may be added into any test at the players discretion, but are then lost.
Each player turn is called a rush in which the active player gets five actions. Players can add actions through the use of cards, which opponents might also use to interrupt the rush. Cards can also introduce random events. None more frustrating when having orchestrated a four point shot, you find that your opponent lays “The ball shatters” just when you are about to shoot! Finally, there are a number of special rules relating to individual players or teams.
In this game the Kalimarin Ancients have two types of guard; one good at holding opponents to make slams even nastier. They don’t have any jacks and are probably one of the better teams. The Z’zor have the usual mix, although both teams have a special MVP (Most Valuable Player, of star quality)
The set up varies at the players discretion but six players is the maximum legal number of players on the pitch. Note the word legal, it is not uncommon to sneak on extra players and if you can get away with it…
Scoring works on a net basis. If one team scores a 3 pointer and the other team replies with a 2 in their next rush, the net score will be +1 to the first team. Play continues in the manner of a tug of war in an attempt to either reach +7, when a team wins outright, or to have the best score after 14 rushes.
It was the Z’zor rush first (rush is a term from American football for your “turn” or series of plays during which you retain the ball). A striker picked up the ball launched down the centreline easily, but lost the ball on having to evade around an opponent twice. Unfortunately for the Z’zor, losing the ball so unexpectedly ended their first rush. Son Tzu, who thinks of himself as something of a genius, picked up the ball with a throw of 555, resulting in an extra action for the player in possession (three successes against his skill stat. Only a double is required to give an extra action).
Moving down pitch, with his second normal action he moved another player with a sprint action (double move value but each facing change also counts as against the move total as well as hexes moved). A 6 hex pass to the sprinting player, passing the throw and catch skill checks, and the Ancients are in the near three point zone, and score, (the 4 point hex being currently blocked). He picks up some fan checks. (Three can be traded in for coaching dice)
On the third rush the Z’zor pick up the ball which scattered into the Ancients half. A sprint up the field by a guard results in a slam on the second action in an attempt to clear the 4 point strike hex.
With a 5 dice check at 3+, surely the way ahead can be opened up? The 5 dice yield a paltry success, against the defenders roll, with the two guards squaring off. In the meantime the Z’zor take an action to slam a pesky striker in their own strike zone; but this time a glorious 5 successes is answered by the Ancients 4, so the striker is only pushed back. Unfortunately however, this left the defender out of position…But at the other end the Z’zor striker goes for a 3 pointer, scoring easily with 2 successes. He picks up a fan check for the extra success too. It’s all square!
Rush four, and the Ancients gain possession again, slicing down field into the now undefended 4 point zone. An Ancients guard attempts to put a put a Z’Zor out of the game, but falls over in the process. However, using a card from his hand for an extra action, the Ancients are able to move up and make a point strike, with two successes on a 551, and gains fan checks for that double.
At 4-0 to the Ancients, it’s not looking too healthy for the Z’zor, but a single strike in the 4 point zone can level things up. Having picked up the ball again, he Z’zor look to open up the 4 point zone, but 6 successes (any 6 rolled “explodes” to add an extra roll) are met by an opponent slam-back and another 6! Foiled. The Z’zor MV, Ludwig, uses a card to get into the zone and go for the 3 point strike, but requiring 4 misses on a single dice with a 3! The ball scatters off the strike zone…
…from where the Ancient’s pick up the ball deep in their own half. A scything move of a sprint followed by a throw and a catch with just one success by a striker sets up a chance. The striker evades successfully and makes it to the zone, but loses a dice for moving and shooting in the same action, making a 3 point attempt; Good enough for a sudden death victory, on 3 dice with a success on 4+.
Rolling a 621 the Ancient’s just manage a score for the win.
So another lucky win for Sun Tzu, confirming his own opinion that he is the greatest. My dismal performance at this game continues. Surely I can do better? Will the newly painted Nemion Oceanics or the anarchic (read cheating; maybe that is the right style for me?) monkey team that we have named the Golden Banana’s prove my salvation? The Oceanics are now painted despite my glacially slow painting skills. The Banana’s are well on the way…or maybe I should just break out Red Alert again?
In the meantime here is an action picture of the completed Oceanics posed with a robot team; the Chromium Chargers including MVP DBR7 “Firewall”.
Stephen takes a break from his War of the Roses games to revisit the American Civil War…
I fancied an ACW game, and since I had a scenario for Chickamauga already written out for play at the club (whenever that will be) I decided I’d have a solo game and give it a go.
I don’t have enough models to do the whole of Chickamauga so I decided to concentrate on one small part – the Confederate attempt to outflank the Union left on 19 September. This would be a challenging battlefield – nearly all wooded! Normally a piece of felt on the table indicates woodland, but not this time – the felt indicated open spaces. Everything else was woodland, so would be difficult going and all engagements would be at close range. So a potentially deadly battlefield (as indeed it was, both historically and in my re-fight).
The objective was simple – the Confederates had to get a brigade on the opposite side of Lafayette Road and take fewer casualties than the Union. The Union had to stop them. During the course of the battle fresh brigades would arrive on both sides.
Let’s see how it played out…
The Union won the initiative in the early rounds, allowing them to dictate the course of the battle. I pulled Croxton’s brigade back – he was on his own, far forward, at the junctions of Alexander Bridge Road and Walker’s Road and staring down two Confederate divisions on his own. But on the next turn I realised I’d made a mistake – an uncontested advance is just what the Confederates wanted, so I decided to push him back forward to stall the Confederates and to bring up Baird’s Union division and Turchin’s brigade (and feed in the rest of Reynold’s division when it arrived). This would hold the Confederates back.
Up on Reed Bridge Road Pegram set up his artillery and got his cavalry ready for a charge against the Union line. In hindsight I should have dismounted the cavalry, but I was carried away by the romance of a cavalry charge. Whilst the cavalry got ready Pegram’s artillery started a duel with the Union artillery to soften them up before the cavalry went in with their sabres.
Confederate corps commander, Leonidas Polk, along with Cheatham’s division arrived on table in the area of Alexander Bridge Road, meaning that flank was heavily loaded against the Union. Liddell’s division led the Confederate advance and with bayonets fixed and a wild rebel yell they charged Croxton and Turchin. Surprisingly, they were bounced back – the Confederate charge didn’t go in.
Inspired by the infantry’s zeal the Confederate cavalry did likewise, and charged in. The effect was just the same – repelled by the Union line.
Meanwhile, to the south (the Union right flank) Baird’s division still moved up slowly. This was caused by the need to keep the artillery in line with the foot brigades.
Further south, as the rest of Reynold’s division came on, they found themselves all that stood in the way of two aggressive Confederate divisions.
Wilder’s cavalry brigade launched a daring and foolish charge against the Confederates – outflanked and outnumbered they were shot down and cut down.
It started to dawn on the Union that the right flank was looking very weak with not much (a lone artillery battery) between the confederates and Lafayette Road. Further north, Brannen’s division held firm against Pegram and Forrest. Pegram’s cavalry had taken a mauling so were pulled back and Forrest’s infantry were pushed forward.
Baird’s slow advance actually paid off here because he hadn’t moved too far forward and was able to pull back Starkweather’s brigade and an artillery battery into an enfilading position to try and do something about the Confederates who realised how close they were to victory with little to stop them securing Lafayette Road with a mad dash.
Starkweather’s repositioning proved successful. The Confederates had used Wright’s brigade to screen Jackson’s brigade’s dash for the winning line. But Wright took a hell of a pounding and paid the price – his brigade was obliterated and routed off the field. Sure enough, Jackson had made it to Lafayette Road, but the Confederates had taken quite a few casualties and lacked the oomph to assert control over the road.
In the end it was a historical outcome – the Confederates moved on Lafayette Road but didn’t have the manpower to completely take it. Further north, the Union troops held firm and stopped Forrest’s advance. Neither side could really claim a convincing win at this stage (the full battle went on into the 20th Sept and would ultimately be a Confederate victory).
Stephen continues his refight of the Wars of the Roses…
This is the second battle as part of my plan to re-fight all the major battles between York and Lancaster.
On to Blore Heath we go! Like before, this will be done using Basic Impetus. It’s worth saying a bit more about these games. The idea is they can be played by anyone at home who has limited space – table size for all these battles is just 3’ x 2’.
For anyone interested in having a go themselves then here’s the order of battle I put together for the game.
This one was always going to be difficult for the attacker. To reflect the difficulties faced by Lord Audley’s troops I classified the stream as Difficult Going. In addition, the archer’s stakes cancel out the attacker’s Impetus bonus, and the Yorkist’s will also get a bonus for defending the hill. It’s not going to be easy for the Lancastrians.
I decided not to waste time rolling for initiative for the first couple of turns, not until just before the two sides got into bow range. At which point initiative was rolled for because then it would be important.
Audley moved his forces forward. The infantry all moved in good order, keeping their line intact. This meant they had a few turns coming under telling bow fire.
The cavalry initially held back, unsure where they would be needed. In the end, the currours started wheeling and moving to the Lancastrian left, where they could support the infantry attack on that flank. I nearly turned the mounted knights that way as well, to load that flank for a hefty punch. But I could see it would cause a traffic jam, so I hung them back and decided to keep them in the middle where they could support the infantry there. That would prove to be a lucky decision.
It wasn’t looking good for the Lancastrians. Moving in slowly, against the Yorkist archers, had the inevitable effect. I wondered how long it would take and if the two sides would even come into melee. On Audley’s extreme right flank the levy spearmen had slogged forward against the archers on the hill, taking damage as they went forward. By the time they had splashed through the stream, hiked up the hill, and finally got into battle, they were all but spent. The archers dropped their bows and pulled out swords and mallets and finished off the spearmen.
The Yorkist archers were proving very effective. Not only had the levies been shot away, so had the Lancastrian centre – the billmen took a heck of a pounding as they progressed. Fortunately, Audley had held back his knights in the centre, and as the bills were dispersed, he drew his knights into order and got them ready to charge.
It had been a reversal of fortunes on the left. Here the Lancastrian archers had engaged Salisbury’s dismounted knights on the hill. It was obvious they couldn’t stay there, with arrows falling on them. Although their armour protected them from the worst, it was still a steady drip of casualties. There was only one thing for it – Salisbury himself took control and ordered his knights to charge down the hill in a counter-attack.
This wasn’t the only charge being made by knights. With his knights now all lined up, Audley gave mis men the order to charge through the stream and up hill against the Yorkist archers.
The wise money would have bet against them prevailing – through the difficult stream, up the hill, and then fighting across stakes. Historically, this is what did for Audley and how he lost the battle. But what can you do? Such a valuable asset to the army can not be left behind – at some point they have to go in, and it’s never going to be good for them under these conditions. However, the God of Battle (the dice) can be fickle. And fickle they were. Although the knights lost a lot of dice with all those obstacles in their way, they still made a good roll (4 of 6 dice rolled 6s) whilst the archers couldn’t hit a barn door (not a single hit!).
This would prove to be the decisive action of the battle – the Yorkist knights charging the Lancastrian billmen, and the Lancastrian knights charging the Yorkist archers. Whichever was successful first would win the battle.
That honour would go to the Lancastrians.
The Yorkists held the right flank…
…but the Lancastrians held the centre and left flank.
In the end Audley won the battle by the narrowest of narrow margins – there was just one point in it!
As Pyrrhus once observed, ‘Another victory like that and we are done for.’
Here are the answers to Mark’s fiendish quiz. The best score when Mark ran this quiz on the 18th was 11 points, did anyone do better?
1.a. This is the cap badge of the famous Tyneside Scottish regiment, an honour title held by a variety of British army units since 1914, excluding the current holder, how many units have held this title, bonus point if you can name them?
3 – Durham Light Infantry, Northumberland Fusiliers, Black Watch
1.b. Which regiment currently holds the title?
Royal Artillery (204 battery)
2.a. Name the weapon.
2.b. This weapon was mainly used during which WWI offensive?
3.a. Which 100 years’ war battle does this painting represent?
3.b. Genoese crossbowmen are said to have led the French assault but where quickly beaten back by English/Welsh longbowmen. The Genoese are said to have been wiped out to a man, but not by the Longbowmen, what happened to them?
Overrun by French knights
4.a. Can you name the maker and mark of this tank?
Vickers-Armstrong Mark E
4.b. This tank was built for the British army but was rejected by Army Command, odd as the tank was highly advanced for the time, the Russians bought a large number and used it as the basis for their infantry support tanks, such as the T26. Why did British Army Command reject this tank?
It didn’t have a 3 man turret, which was a requirement at the time.
5.a. Can you name this aircraft?
Boulton Paul Defiant (The aircraft pictured is the only complete original aircraft remaining and was restored at the Medway Aircraft Preservation Society (MAPS) at Rochester Airport between 2009 & 2012, link)
5.b. The picture shows this aircraft in night fighter livery, while the aircraft was a reasonably successful night fighter, it was very vulnerable to attack from enemy fighters, why?
It had no forward facing machine guns.
6.a. The Siege of Newcastle took place during the first English Civil War in 1644, the city eventually fell to a Covenanter army, with the Royalists holding the castle keep in the centre of the city and surrendering under favourable terms, on 26th October 1644. How long did the siege take to the nearest month?
8 months: February to October 1664
6.b. This wasn’t the first time Newcastle had been besieged by a Scottish Covenanter army, can you tell me in which war this previous event took place?
The Second Bishops’ War 1640
7.a. Can you tell me the official German name or designation of this infantry support tank?
Sturmpanzer 43 or SdKfz 166
7.b. What nickname did allied intelligence use, bonus point if you can tell me the German nickname?
Allied intelligence: Brummbar (Grouch), German nickname: Stupa
8.a. This is Sergeant Edward Stanley Dixon of the Tyne Electrical Engineers (TEE), he served with the TEE throughout WWI returning to Gallowgate in 1919, where he went on to play professional football scoring 50 goals for his club. Which club did he play for?
8.b. The TEE’s primary role was coastal and AA defence, however a few did serve on the Western Front, famously earning the nickname ‘the suicide brigade’, why?
They used oxyacetylene search lights to search for raiding parties in no-mans land.
9.a. This is a picture of Lord Collingwood, another famous son of Newcastle, he regularly served with and succeeded Nelson and led one of the British lines at the battle of Trafalgar, the other line being led by Nelson in the Victory, what was the name of Collingwood’s ship?
H.M.S. Royal Sovereign
9.b. Which nations fought in the battle?
British, French and Spanish
10.a. This special edition of a very famous Newcastle beverage was produced to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the battle of Otterburn. Which year is the battle said to have took place?
10.b. The battle of Otterburn was fought between a Scottish army lead by Sir James Douglas and English army led by Sir Henry ‘Hotspur’ Percy? It is claimed that Douglas previously took something from Percy as they fought next the Newcastle City Wall, what did Douglas take from Percy?
His pennon (blue lion rampant)
11.a. This is a picture of Housteads Roman fort, what is it’s Roman/Latin name (latest interpretation)?
11.b. When did building begin on the stone version of the fort?
124 AD, allow 5 years either way.
12.a. This is a picture of the last HMS Newcastle (not including the forthcoming type 26 frigate), what Type of ship was she?
Type 42 Destroyer
12.b. How many royal navy ships have borne the name Newcastle, and when was the first Newcastle launched (bonus)?
There have been 8 ships bearing the name H.M.S Newcastle, the first launched in 1653.