The SAGA of Olaf King of The Hebrides

Born at night in Tempest tossed seas far from land, I have travelled on epic journeys in my trusty Birlinn ‘ Nathair Mhara’ visiting Russia and Rome. Whilst visiting Iceland I received a gift of a rare white Gyr Falcon which was to be my daughter’s dowry. This was stolen from me by that treacherous thief De La Rue with whom I at feud, it is our way of Islands for settling scores I will search until I challenge him and my blade will run crimson with his blood. I am a hero of Sagas and oath sworn to Rognvald of Orkney and Norway, so if you cross me I will come silently through the black skies, seaspray and hail. My brave warriors, who live and die by the truth of the axe will leave your cowed men hiding their shields waiting for the final blow and the silent darkness. We will drink much ‘uisge’ and epic tales will be written of our deeds. Meanwhile I bide my time searching for the chess pieces lost in a winter storm. I vow to defend our Celtic ways against the incursions pillage and raping by the Danes from Ingerland and the Northmen from Francia!!

Our 2018 Show Game – Zeebrugge Centenary

The MWS show game for 2018, now in the final stage of preparation will commemorate the centenary of the naval assault on Zeebrugge on 23rd April 1918 – St George’s Day.

You can see it at the Cavalier Show at the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on 25th February.

It will feature a recreation of the assault on the Zeebrugge Mole focussing on a scratchbuilt model of the attacking Cruiser HMS Vindictive at 25mm figure scale.  Look out for more about how this game was put together.

There was so much bravery shown by the men of the ships that assaulted the Mole under a continuous storm of fire that VCs for two members of the naval crew (one officer, one other rank) would be awarded through a special ballot of all the officers and men who took part.  Two VCs were also awarded on the same basis to the Royal Marines.

Every member of the crews was thus deemed eligible to receive the VC.

Vindictive’s commander, Acting Captain Alfred Carpenter, pictured below with one of the ships cats, was the officer the crew chose. He also received special advancement to the rank of Captain.

Able Seaman Albert Edward McKenzie pictured above, a volunteer chosen from the crew of the Battleship, HMS Neptune, was the other rank the crew chose.

Carpenter’s Victoria Cross medal citation perhaps speaks best to his qualities:

… He set a magnificent example to all those under his command by his calm composure when navigating mined waters…. He showed most conspicuous bravery, and did much to encourage similar behaviour on the part of the crew, supervising the landing from the “Vindictive” on to the mole, and walking round the decks directing operations and encouraging the men in the most dangerous and exposed positions. By his encouragement to those under him, his power of command and personal bearing, he undoubtedly contributed greatly to the success of the operation.

McKenzie was a member of the storming party, landing with his Lewis Gun into the storm of fire, advancing down the Mole with his CO (Arthur Leyland Harrison) who with most of his party was killed. He was severely wounded and after his Lewis Gun was wrecked had to fight his way back to the ship in hand to hand combat, with only a pistol, a bayonet and his boxing skills. Whilst recovering from his wounds he died in the Spanish Flu epidemic.

Photos courtesy of the IWM on-line archive

The Road Goes Ever On and On…

… but it does seem to reach the end eventually.

Tony F has an update on one of his To-Do list projects, completing his Scouring of the Shire hobbits which were started last year:

This only involved 12 figures, eight of which were already part-painted, so it wasn’t much of task, but it’s done at last. The final four figures were the hero hobbits, Pippin, Nine-fingered Frodo (yes, his tiny left index finger is missing), Sam and Merry, all on ponies (I already have foot versions). Pippin and Merry are wearing their uniforms as Heroes of Gondor and Rohan respectively.

In wild celebration I then went off and painted some elves – Elrond Half-Elven and his sons Elladan and Elrohir (who don’t get a look-in at all in the films, but in the book were present at the climactic battle at the Black Gate). Master Elrond in his Last Alliance armour is a really nice figure – I’m not quite so sold on the poses of the two junior elves, who are a bit two-dimensional, but the sculpting is nice.

The SAGA of Uhtred Beornson

A hard land needs a hard lord, Uhtred Beornson is such a lord. Having inherited the settlement of Elmslac and surrounding lands from his father, a prosperous land and renown great hall has attracted many fearsome retainers to bolster Uhtred’s household since the great battle at Stamford. But with the disaster down South and the loss of great King Harold the relentless march of the hated Normans, burning and savage destruction of the land, signals the time for noble warriors to muster to Uhtred’s banner as the Bastard himself resides in York.

The SAGA of John le Roche

From the town of La Roche-Guyon in the bishopric of Rouen a young man of noble birth and manner was sent to Rome to be tutored in the finer arts of manliness and Godliness. It was during these formative years that he attained a Noble Mien and the favour of God’s representatives in the Holy See. On his return from the grandeur that was Rome he sought neither property nor wealth but the honour of being a Godly man, such a reputation being worth more than gold and land. He set sail from Normandy with his supporters to the island realm across the narrow sea to seek glory for God and to bring any heathens (and any who needed correction) to the true faith. His name – John Le Roche.

The SAGA of Andraes Vilhelmsson

I am Andraes Vilhelmsson, son of Vilhelm Vilhelmsson, son of Vilhelm Johanesson, loyal liegeman of our late King Harold Godwinson.

For many years I have honed the craft of war-leader, as I honed the edge of my great axe, in the service of our beloved King, winning many victories in his name and gathering many of the finest warriors in the land to my household.

I live to avenge Harold’s death at the hands of that upstart Duke of Normandy, Guillaume the bastard and his henchmen.

And if the curse of Norman boots trampling our land and traditions was not enough we must suffer the deprivations of bands of barbarian Welsh and Gaels raiding our farms and hamlets.

The SAGA of Owain the Cantankerous

Owain the Cantankerous, son of Owain ap Gruffyd, son of Owain the Red who saw angels, son of Madoc ap Llewelyn, son of Llewelyn Maredudd is a bondsman of Bishop Dyfan of Bangor.

Owain is the chief of Melynbryn village which has been in his family for five generations. Under King Gruffyd the family prospered. However, after Gruffyd was killed by earl Godwinson, Owain’s family fell on hard times and lost a lot of their land and inheritance to the English.

Things barely improved with the arrival of the Normans. With the establishment of the earldom of Chester the kingdom of Gwynedd has come under frequent raids.

This has left Owain angry and bitter. Bitter with the English who stole his family’s money, and bitter with the Normans who continue to plunder his lands.

Age of the Wolf

We’ve been playing Saga at MWS for some years now.
When the Age of the Wolf campaign pack came out we decided that we had to give it a go. So we have 6 players in the campaign, as follows:

  • Tony Gibbs – Normans
  • Jeremey Claridge – Anglo-Danes
  • Stephen Tucker – Welsh
  • Andy King – Anglo-Danes
  • John Le Roche – Normans
  • John Lambert – Norse Gaels

With that selection of armies it looked about right for England in the immediate post-Conquest period, so that’s the background behind the campaign.

Each warlord will write a piece about their warband, and as the campaign progresses we’ll also post tales of their exploits – and I’m sure you’ll get two different stories from battling leaders. You can use the SAGA:Age of the Wolf category on the blog to follow the campaign.

It also goes without saying that we’ll post lots of pictures. If you have any questions then don’t hesitate to ask.

Revolt in the Regency Isles

The guns have fallen silent now.

The bodies of many a sailor now reside in Davey Jones’ locker.

In our game of Fighting Sail we had a fleet of pirate ships, sailing under a French letter of marque, led by Mark ‘Black Ned the Nobbler’ Harris and Bob ‘The Scourge’ Collman harassing the British colony of the Regency Isles somewhere in the Caribbean. Coming to the colonist’s rescue were two flotillas of British ships under the command of Tony ‘Admiral Dalrymple’ Gibbs and Stephen ‘Barely Able Seaman’ Tucker.

This was the first time any of us had played Fighting Sail. It falls very much in the ‘game’ category rather than ‘simulation’ and for a non-naval man such as myself that is a positive boon.

It’s a very simple game. Good navigation rules (according to Mark, and he’s the club’s naval man) and bloody and brutal cannon rules.

In our game the privateers came out from the islands and confronted the British. The British fleet had larger vessels and engaged the pirates with cannons. The privateers steadily swung their ships around, but not before Bob accidentally engaged one of his own ships with a broadside.

In the end it would be a British victory – those damned pirate dogs turning sail and making off to whatever rum-soaked hole it is they came from.

Fighting Sail proved to be a very enjoyable game. If you want to have fun, want to feel like you are playing a sailing game, but not of a mind of having to know how to actually sail a ship to be able to play a game then it I’m sure you would also enjoy it.

We’ll certainly be playing it again.

If you have any questions then please ask.

Rebel Rescue

A Star Wars X-Wing Scenario

Danor Jax had only ever wanted a quiet life. He had reluctantly joined the Imperial Information Office largely because it was steady work and they let him do what he loved, working with data streams. His had been a quiet life monitoring the equipment at the communications relay station and operating the cryptographic decoders when the need arose. That all ended when Darth Vader made a surprise visit to the station. Watching his senior officer being choked and then thrown into a bulkhead using the force should have made Danor cower out of fear. But that day something in Danor snapped, the Empire and all it stood for came into sharp focus and he knew he had to do something about it. As soon as the dark lord had departed Danor downloaded and decoded as much Imperial data from the streams as his AJ^6 headgear would accept and ran away to find the rebels.

The trip to Tatooine had been long and arduous but when Danor finally made contact with a Rebel agent he was elated. The agent had slipped away to arrange for Danor to be picked up and his data downloaded. Danor sat quietly in a cantina in Mos Eisley trying to avoid being noticed when a rough looking Rodian approached him. It turned out that his absence had been noted and with his access to sensitive data streams the Empire had started a manhunt. The Rodian promptly marched Danor at blaster point out of the cantina and along to his ship.

Having made contact, indicated the enormous value of Danor’s information and arranged for him to be collected, the Rebel agent was returning to the cantina and spotted the Rodian and Danor leaving. With too many Sandtroopers around to allow him to intervene, the agent contacted the approaching Rebel ships and told them the situation as the Rodian’s ship blasted off.

Wedge Antilles easily spotted the bounty hunter’s Firespray-31 on his X-Wing’s scopes but he also saw the orbiting Gozanti-class cruiser and its four TIE fighters. Forming up with his accompanying Y-Wing Wedge sent Biggs Darklighter and his X-Wing with Roark Garnet’s HWK-290 on a different course, avoiding the Gozanti but coming around to cut off the other routes of escape.

When Gozanti’s captain was informed of the appearance of the X-Wings he ordered it out of orbit on a course to intercept the bounty hunter and for the TIE pilots to scramble their ships.

Wedge and his wingman swung around to intercept the TIE fighters whilst Biggs and Roark moved to intercept the bounty hunter.

The Rodian spotted the HWK-290 and X-Wing approaching and veered to the right. Meanwhile two TIE fighters had detached from the cruiser and were speeding toward the rear of Biggs and Roark. Fortunately Roark had equipped the HWK-290 with an ion cannon turret which was a surprise to the pilot of one of the TIEs when all his systems shutdown and he began to drift.

The remaining two TIE fighters had also detached and made straight for Wedge and the Y-Wing with the laser turrets on the Gozanti also blasting away at them for good measure.

So two dogfights ensued with TIE fighters trying to outmanoeuvre the rebel craft. Unfortunately the less agile HWK-290 came under some heavy fire and with his shields down and having taken some heavy damage Roark had to withdraw. The loss of the ion cannon was a serious blow to the rebels but with a barrage of fire they dispatched two of the TIE fighters and gained the upper hand.

Unfortunately, the wily bounty hunter had slipped through both dogfights and with the rebel ships too busy to intervene, managed to dock with the Gozanti to transfer his rebel captive.

With this dire turn of events, there was only one option for the rebels, to attack the cruiser itself!

The three rebel ships made multiple runs as the cruiser and despite the heavy laser fire from its turrets managed to land several good hits.

With the prisoner transfer complete and sensing the increasing panic of the Imperials the bounty hunter cut his negotiations short, rushed back to his ship and released the docking clamps.

The remaining TIE fighters were desperately trying to protect their mothership but Biggs downed one of them and the other was damaged by Wedge. With Gozanti’s shields down, the Y-Wing making another run at the aft section with its proton torpedoes and did some serious damage.

Whilst the rebel ships focussed on the cruiser the Rodian made the jump to light speed and his next assignment.

His ship rapidly coming apart at the seams the cruiser’s Captain offered to trade his prisoner for safe passage and the rebels accepted.

Danor was saved and the battered X-Wings and Y-Wing jumped away to safety.