The Battle of Hooks Farm, Woking

Saturday September 2nd saw the Battle of Hook’s Farm take place in the Woking between the forces of Army Red and Dark Green (in my side garden).

The game was played using the Funny Little Wars rules with 6 infantry, 2 cavalry and 3 guns aside for a total of 120 infantry, 24 cavalry and 3 artillery. Each side also had one sniper.

I umpired.

Anthony with the forces of Army Red deployed on their baseline.

The battlefield of Hook Farm, showing the farm, firefly church, the cottage and the hovel. A small stone wall provides some cover in the middle.

Brian with the deployed forces of Army Dark Green.

Army Red start their initial manouevres.

The catering corps observing the action

Army Red send a cavalry detachment to seize the farm.

On the other flank the cavalry dash towards the church

Army Dark Green advance more cautiously having refused one flank

Army Red advance in a steady line

Both sides cavalry contest the farm

First blood to Army Green as a well placed shell kills some cavalry

General view of the battlefield

Army Dark Green deploy the guns

And the artillery duel begins

Army Green advance to line the wall

Army Red Sniper hides by the Hovel

Slavs skulk in cover – unfortunately they were hit by their own guns just after this as a stray shell landed in front of the woods…

Forced into retreat by their own artillery…

The action hots up with a firefight developing

By firefly church the Red cavalry threaten the Dark Green heavy gun.

And over run it

Dismounted cavalry fight over the farm…

The game was fun and eventually, Army Red got the better of the firefight and having spiked their guns Army Dark Green withdrew from the battlefield. We were very lucky with the weather.

We played from 11am to 5.30pm with an hour or so’s break for lunch at 1pm and another short break for cake and tea…

19th Century Portable Wargame

I played another 19th Century game using The Portable Wargames rules this week. My hardback copy of the rules appears to have been lost in the post, so we played using the downloaded version. But, actually, we would have used that version anyway as I prefer it to the version published in the book. I will expand on that in a review of The Portable Wargame once I get a chance.

I chose Scenario 14 – A Static Defense from One Hour Wargames by Neil Thomas and we rolled up our forces from the same book, adding 2 infantry to the totals for a total of 8 units.

The game was played on a 4′ x 3′ mat with 4″ squares so I adjusted the map slightly to allow for the extra width over the 3′ x 3′ map in the One Hour Wargames book.

The scenario places the Red player (British played by Anthony in this case) in defence with the task of defending a hill and a town. They must start with hald their forces near each location and keep at least 2 units within 3 squares of the objectives at all times,.

The Blue Player (myself playing with German troops) has to take one objective and be the sole occupant at the end of the game on the 15th turn.

I added some extra cover to the map as we are playing a version of the Portable Wargame where a unit eiher dies or has to retreat if it is hit. If it can’t retreat then it also dies (as we shall see).

Unusually, Anthony and I both rolled a 1 for our force composition which gave as each 2 artillery, 1 cavalry and 5 infantry. We designated the rifle troops on each side to be elite, all other units were average.

The initial deployment – the Germans had to enter the table on the southern edge on turn one.

The British left wing defending the town with the general.

Defence of the hill.

The initial deployment of the German attackers.

The second turn saw an artillery exchange which destroyed both the German guns (as they were unable to retreat) and caused the British to lose one gun (as it couldn’t retreat) and one British foot unit was eliminated when the German gun overshot its original target.

The Germans advancing on the hill – the plan was a small nuisance force on the right flank and a main thrust at the hill.

Continuing to advance on the hill while the Bavarian unit threatens the town.

Germans advance on the hill fairly unhindered.

Just after this point the german cavalry were hit by artillery fire when the gun on the other flank missed the intended infantry target and hit the cavalry when they were unable to retreat.

The Bavaran infantry were able to extract revenge and destroyed the artillery the same turn.

The British cavalry finally move off the hill and get stuck in.

The Bavarians attempt to win the game all by themselves by finishing off the only British unit on that flank and taking the town. Sadly they pushed he British back but then failed to take the town and were destroyed.

On the other flank, this was the final result at the end of turn 15. The remaining German unit was unable to take the hill or force the remaining two British units from it.

It was a very close game with Anthony convinced he had lost about turn 8 when the hill looked likely to fall but his cavalry was able to survive a melee from two units and then turned that to their advantage to destroy most of the German attackers on that flank before being shot down.

Once again we managed a fun, very close game in just over 2 hours including set up and packing away – One Hour Wargames Scenarios with The Portable Wargames rules are proving a winning combination.

Return to the Portable Wargame

After the two games of the Airfix Wargame and some lunch we played a game of The Portable Wargame again, using my 4′ x 3′ mat marked in 10cm squares. We used my Little Wars revisited armies (with some Pathans standing in for Prussian levies).

The scenario we used was from Neil Thomas’s One Hour Wargames and was scenario 12: An Unfortunate Oversight which as the blue player attacking over a river through ford the Red player hasn’t discovered. We also used the random army lists from OHW but adding two infantry units to make the totals up to 8 units a side. The scenario lasts for 15 turns and who ever holds the hill uncontested wins.

Anthony rolled up 6 infantry, one poor unit and an artillery piece which were deployed like so:

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Defending the town as the Red player.

I rolled up 6 infantry, 1 poor infantry and a cavalry unit.

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I deployed on the edge of the table south of the river.

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There is a balancing act between using scenarios from one book and rules from somewhere else and we had already learned that you must have cover for the Portable Wargame. In PW the units can be killed in one shot while the OHW rules use attrition so units take hits but don’t immediately disappear. At first, I thought that the balance of the game was off as Anthony’s artillery piece killed my very slow moving infantry as it tried to cross the ford. I sent the cavalry on ahead with the general as an advance strike force.

We realised towards the end of the game that Anthony should have not been able to shoot across the river using direct fire as I was too far away and should have been using indirect fire on the ford itself…

When my cavalry unit finally manage to engage the enemy it proved its worth by wiping out an infantry unit and the artillery in one round and then turning on the other infantry to clear the hill. Unfortunately it was eliminated as it pushed the poor quality infantry off the board. Anthony had the foresight to have moved one unit from the bridge towards the hill and it came down to a melee on turns 14 and 15 to determine who would gain the hill, a struggle that Anthony won.

In the end, a very close game and a tense, interesting game to play. If I had been given artillery for the game I could have countered Anthony’s strengths, but then my superiority in cavalry meant I had more opportunity to outflank his infantry.

We will definitely be playing these again with Neil Thomas’s scenarios.

The Portable Wargame

I have become slightly fascinated by grid based wargames over the last month after re-reading about Bob Cordery’s The Portable Wargame and Bob’s postings about the Joseph Morschauser’s book on wargaming from the 1960s.

I picked up the Morschauser book and found it fascinating as a different style of wargame that didn’t really seem to catch on, yet one that reflects a lot of more modern gaming.

So, I bought a gridded mat and Anthony came round this afternoon to give the Portable Wargame rules a go. We used my Little Wars Revisited figures, using 6 figures for infantry and 2 figures for cavalry units and played a simple “capture the crossroads” game.

British and German forces lined up ready to deploy.

The deployment made.

Anthony commanding the British (as always!)

The German cavalry get stuck in.

We found the rules very enjoyable and a very elegant set that worked really well with 54mm figures. Both of us liked the look of the gridded game and plan to play again soon.

Boer Long Tom

A quick picture of the first casting and test assembly of our new Boer Long Tom 155mm Creusot gun for the Imperial Miniatures 54mm range. Shown here with a British Sgt Major for scale.

This will come with crew and I am hoping to have it available in complete form at the April Toy Soldier show….

Mike

All the Queens Men Price List

I have added a full price list to the Imperial Miniatures website listing all of the AQM sets we have available with prices. I’ll be adding sets to the online shop as fast I can photograph them but if there is anything you want to order from list then please just contact me.

http://imperialminiatures.co.uk/price-list/

I am expecting a large update of photographs at the beginning of next month.

thanks

Mike

FLW Game Report Army Red vs Army Khaki

This is a game that Anthony Morton and I played at the Guildford Wargames Club last week between my own Army Red and his Army Khaki. Army Red is made up of castings from my own Little Wars Revisited range of 54mm Toy Soldiers. Anthony’s Army Khaki is from AIP North-West Frontier figures and was also painted by me. I will eventually be painting up an opposing force of Afghans for use with FLW and TSATF rules.

The game was played on a 6 foot by 7 foot table with us playing down the length. There were two main farm buildings as objectives and a couple of woods and an outlying farm building. The farm was a 28mm EM4 Miniatures Farm which comes painted already. Being on the large side it worked well on a tabletop with 54mm figures.

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This is Army Red set up on their baseline.

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The following is Army Khaki:

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The opening moves saw both forces approach the closest objectives with Army Khaki’s cavalry on the left flank facing off Army Red’s lancers.

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Army Khaki started the game with both of their guns unlimbered on the baseline while Army Red pushed forward the light gun in support of the cavalry leaving the medium gun for use in counter-battery fire. After some ranging shots, the Army Khaki Medium gun was eliminated.

The Army Red Cavalry pushed forward.
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And the two cavalry forces met by the farm.

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Before the cavalry melee could start, Army Red’s sniper eliminated two of the opposing cavalrymen which swung the resultant melee in Army Red’s favour.

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Both sides continued a cautious advance.

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The Army Red Rifles unit eventually occupied the second farm building.

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After a fierce firefight between the rifles and two enemy units, the rifles were forced out of the farm and the Indian infantry were able to occupy the farm building.

On the same turn the second Army Khki gun was eliminated.

The game was declared at that point as a narrow draw.

Up and running again

I’ve had a few problems with WordPress recently which have stopped me updating the site but that is now fixed, so hopefully I can catch up on the excitement over the last month or so of my first games of Funny Little Wars and the FLW Centennial Weekend.

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This is a taster of Army Red laid out ready for a game.