Yes, we are back home but after three trepid days and a long delay in our outbound flight (thanks Easyjet!!!), the Spanish Salute-raiding party arrived in a relatively bad state. In addition, my desk at the office seems to have missed me soooo much on Friday, that I found a twofold ration of daily work when I hit my chair on Monday.
So first, apologies for the lack of news, I know many other bloggers have already published lavishly illustrated entries of their Salute adventures, but I'm no there yet. My camera memory card is about to bust, and therefore I need sometime to organize, edit and polish several hundred pics taken at Salute, Bovington, the National Army and the Imperial War Museums respectively... not to mention the expected photo avalanche when my traveling mates discharge their own memory cards in our shared Dropbox facility purporsely created for this trip
Enough excuses, and now a few comments and impressions for this first entry narrating our adventures in the "Perfidious Albion" last weekend. Over the next days I'll post some more specific entries in the blog and of course lists and lots of (hopefully) nice and mouth-watering pics of our tour around the museums.
...hopefullly arriving to the Excel Centre on time fro Salute 2012. A fairly and decently large representation of our club (10 people according to the last roll-call) is flying on Friday morning for a full 3-day wargaming bash in London. Our plan is to go from Gatwick directly to the Bovington Tank Museum, hit the Salute venue on Saturday morning; and between the afternoon and Sunday morning pay a visit to the National Army Museum and/or the Imperial War Museum.
This is the official agenda of the group, ambitious but probably achievable. My own personal agenda includes meeting face-to-face some of the bloggers whom I'´ve building relations over the past two years in the blogsphere, like Sidney Roundwood, the now almost-mythical Fran a.ka. "The Angry Lurker" (a guy with over 1,000 followers!!!) and his arch-enemy Ray Roussell :-), of the Rejects Group, among many others.... and of course I will not miss the call made by Richard Clarke, the man behind the TooFatLardies, to share a beer at the Fox around noon.
So don't be shy and if if you see a group of guys there, NOT speaking English, wearing dark blue pullovers with a yellow logo of a dragon in the front, please stop us and ask for Annibal Invictus.
This Sunday we played AIRCAV, the scenario 9 of Surf's Up, the companion book to the Vietnam-era rules Charlie Don't Surf of the TooFatLardies factory. This is probably a most typical wargame scenario for this period, where an heliborne US platoon must land in a village in an enemy-held area to evacuate the civilian population, depriving the Vietcong forces of new cadres as well as much needed food and other staple supplies.
The US player has some strong pre-game fire in the form of an aerial napalm attack, an artillery battery barrage and a smoke curtain laid out by a helicopter to protect the landing zone. In the map below I have marked all these actions.
A couple of nice little surprise were awaiting at home, the two latest works of the Historire & Collection Napoleonics books, dealing with the Chasseurs à Cheval and the Guides & Guards of the great headquarters. To start with, back in December I made a brief review of the Cuirassiers tome, and all I said about the latter are 100% applicable to these two new additions.
The Chasseurs à Cheval is the first of three-part series and covers the period of the Revulationary Wars to the eve of the First Empire. As usual this book is short in words (some interesting introduction pages and notes of the changes introduced with each different new regulation) and looooooong in colour plates, covering with outstanding detail the uniforms of every single unit of this corps, including the overseas regiments in the Americas and other French colonies. Detailed OOBs (from the official regulation, not the actual on the battle fields) are also covered in the book.
The Guides & Guards is a very intresting tome, focused on the lesser well known and generally neglected byt the wargaming-related literature units that undertook the security functions of the great French commanders and their headquarters. The most popular and well knonw of these units are the Guides attached to the Imperial Hedquarters, but the books covers probably every possible unit, from Itally until the Cent Jours period, through Italy and the Peninsula. A real gift for any Napoleonic aficionado, it will not help putting on the table any large unit, but will for sure inspire adding that original model to enhance your command and HQ bases... and see how your gaming mates go green of envy!!
I cannot recommend more these books, a 10 on 10 mark. Real added value for any Napoleonic era library and significant superior price-to-value that any tome of the Osprey range.
We have a most talented and entrepreneurial friend and gaming mate at our club, who is now pondering to move professionally in the wargaming scenery business. A few weeks ago I posted a battle report in which we used one of his first products, the "war mat", a sturdy clothe mat simulating grass with different colour tones and felt lengthes (it was again used in the last WW I game as you can see in the photos posted with the batrep).
Last Sunday he brought his latest creation, the first test model of a typical South-East Asia farmer hooch that of no doubt will be extensively used in the future to beef-up the village areas in our future games with Charlie Don't Surf. This is an area in which surprsingly there's not much choice in 28mm and those models available are pretty expensive (Grand Manner or Aechitects of War, for example)
On Sunday we continued training Alfredo, our new apprentice, in the dark arts of Through the Mud & the Blood, the platoon-sized WWI wargaming rules of the TooFatLardies factory. I choose the second training scenario of the companion booklet Stout Hearts, after the successful training game that we played 3 weeks ago.
This second scenario is a classical assault on a two-line trench position defended by the Germans (1 HMG and 2 rifle sections). The British player commands a full infantry platoon (rifle, Lewis gun, bombers and rifle grenadier sections respectively) with a moppers-up section following the main force; the objective is to secure the position, consolidating the flanks to avoid surprise German attacks, and to dislodge the HMG entrenched in a bunker.
A new period is brewing in my wargaming circle, the Seven Yeras Wars and Frederick the Great, played with Maurice the recently released work of Sam Mustafa (known for his popular Napoleonic rules-set Lasalle).
I have not played it (...yet?...) but I have a lot of trust in my gaming mates who have decided to start testing this set... and their first asessment is: very good... but no, I WILL NOT start another period, NOT at all... I have a strong will and I´ll surely RESIST the temptation...
In the meantime, I leave you here from some photos from the battle played this morning at our Club that probably help you understand why I'm NOT playing this period
Who would have guessed that the pre-summer weather we enjoyed until last week was to turn to gray, overcast and stormy? Even snow fell in the nearby mountains, almost for the first time this year. So, what best plan for the Easter holidays than to stay at HOME, reading Matterhorn (a most excellent Vietnam war novel), eating some torrijas (our Spanish typical seasonal Lent sweet)...
A good kick-start for my Easter Holidays (extending from Thursday to Sunday here in Madrid), TooFatLardies has just released the first handbook of its IABSM company-sized WWII wargames rules called the "Battle for Liberation", covering the main armies of the Western Front from 1943 to the end of the war.
The book has a beautiful lay-out and is highly informative, including all the necessary information to compose the key forces for a game (companies and armoured platoons), attached support elements, very useful advice to build the card deck for each nationality and some interesting historical background. Being a shameless fan of the TFL factory I cannot recommend more both the rules and this first handbook, although the latter may be of great assistance too for other non-TFL mainstream WWII rule-sets (...and at GBP10, a fraction of the price usually charged for their supplements).
Following the conclusion of the great Stalingrad campaign, some of my wargaming mates have launched a new project around the Colonial Wars in Sudan. Not a topic of my personal interest, I decided not to join the campaign this time. However, I have received some photos from the first battle played on Friday night that I think are worth sharing in my blog.