Thursday, 14 June 2018

Battle of Nyezane

Its been a few months since the Shed saw any action from the Anglo Zulu war so it was about time that the figures came out to play. The scenario we opted for is listed in the Warlord publication Zulu as the Battle of Nyezane – fought on the same day as the Battle of Isandlwhana.

The action centred on the British Coastal Column, under the command of Colonel Pearson, whose orders were to advance into the heart of Zulu territory. To do so they had to cross the river Nyezane. A single ford was available for their wagons and supplies. The book details this game as an encounter (more of a what if rather than a historic engagement) with 6000 allied forces up against twice as many Zulus. The premise was simple the British forces had to get at least 50% of their forces over the river to win the game – the Zulus had to inflict 50%+ casualties on the invaders.

The Battlefield running east west

The battlefield was set up across the whole table – once again my Dunelm throws came into play with the desert hills placed underneath to create a rolling terrain. A river ran diagonally across the board running south west to North east. This was bisected by one ford along the track that ran North South.

We agreed that the banks of the river would count as soft cover. Any unit shooting across the river would treat their targets as if in soft cover. This would certainly be to the Zulus advantage if the British never crossed the river.

The river itself was fordable to all units bar artillery with a six inch movement penalty. All ranges and movements were reduced by 1/3rd according to those listed in the BP rulebook

Finally we agreed that there would be no break point in the game – every unit on both sides would continue fighting until driven from the table, routed or shaken beyond the point they could recover.

The British would enter from the South, the Zulus from the North and Western edges of the table.

Another shot - you can sdee the ground is uneven
In terms of figure count the Zulus had about twice as many figures (approx. half of my AZW collection)

Four of us played the game splitting the forces equally on both sides – Mark and I would control the Zulus and Alastair and Anthony the British – Anthony was a first time visitor to the shed and I think he had some fun.

The scenario guide laid out both forces but having played the Black Powder rules a few times I decided to give the Zulus two more warbands than they were entitled to. We had some debate at the end of the game as to whether this addition created an imbalance or not. Personally I think the Jury is still out.

The British Forces were as follows

First Brigade
2 British Infantry Units (full strength)
1 7lb artillery piece
I unit of Royal engineers (small)

Second Brigade
2 units of Breech Loading armed NNC (I had to use my Boers)
1 unit of mounted NNC (small)
1 unit of Pioneers (small)

Third Brigade
1 naval Gatling Gun
1 7lb artillery piece
2 units of mounted infantry

A total of 12 units plus officers (ratings 9+) – approx. 140 figures

The Zulus had a total of 12 warbands (6 regiments) plus commanders (ratings 8+) – approx 288 figures  

The Ford
The game started with all the units off the table. The British could field up to one third of their units on the North bank of the river (the vanguard) with the remainder entering from the back edge near the track. Our brave British commanders decided that none of the troops would be foolhardy and cross the river in advance fearing that they might be cut off too soon.

The British started the game and with their 9+ commanders swiftly marched up to the riverbank.

It was time for the Impis to move forward. Each Impi could only enter on an odd number rolled on a d6, meaning the Zulus could only feed in troops as the dice were rolled. Unsurprisingly the wings of the Zulu army appeared first. Two warbands entered from the West and the North eastern edge.

Rather alarmingly for the Brits these units both thundered forward and could be threatening the allied forces the following turn.

The Zulu Left Wing almost engage
The British second turn saw them repositioning their forces along the southern bank of the river and opening fire with little effect on the lead elements of the Zulu army.

Defending the Drift

More Zulus march over the wills from the west in the dawn light

The right wing is now fully deployed and sweeping forward

The 33rd get ready to receive - a rousing song of Men of Harlech rings around the shed (yes we were playing the Zulu soundtrack)

The Zulu left wing is now fully engaged along the river - taking some serious casualties

Fighting is now extensive across both Allied wings with more Zulus pouring forward

Just when the Allies thought it couldn't get worse the centre loins advances into sight

The British are just holding on...

Not surprisingly the NNC (cunningly disguised as Boers) have no targets - the centre is yet to reach them

As the Zulus pour forward their ranks start to thin out but they are weariong down the redcoats

Soon a new attack is unleashed on the British Infantry - their left flank buckles and a regiment has fallen
This opens the door for the natives 

The end of the 33rd

Quite quickly the Zulus gain the upper ground and sweep across the this red line

Even the left flank of the Brits are now in trouble - their artillery being forced to retire

The last british regiment is about to get swallowed whole

Eventually the centre moves 

and advances into the heat of battle..actually it was all but over at this point

The victorious Zulus swarm forward

With a cry of Usuthu the centre crashes into the remnants of the mounted infantry winning the game

There will be some celebrations tonight

A most excellent game, fast furious and a rare win for the locals

More soon

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

More Progress on Khartoum

Good Evening Folks

I was fortunate to have a few free hours at the weekend to crack on with the Khartoum build, and I think it is coming along nicely.

Previous post here

All the buildings currently assembled have now been treated with their adobe covering and then painted up bright white acrylic. The final version will be a bit more dirty.

I have also added a number of domes to the building (polystyrene half spheres - dead cheap and can be found in your local craft shop. These were glued in place before being covered with the filler paint mix.

All the boards will eventually have a mix of desert sand base or paved stone (as per the first completed tile) - about half have now been done.

In total thee will be 16 boards - the last two will hold the market place - the buildings are on order from Sarissa.

Hopefully more progress in the next couple of weeks assuming the football doesn't get in the way

As requested here is a list and website of the building sources fort this project

Catch up soon

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Colonial Wars - Khartoum starts to take shape

Six months ago I was in the middle of painting my forces for the Sudan Campaign and rather foolishly I stated that I wanted to build Khartoum - I even made a start on the walls. You can read about it here...Khartoum build

So six months on and a fair bit of purchasing, the last few weeks has seen a steady stream of mdf buildings being constructed in the shed and tonight I can proudly show the start of something quite new for the shed. Like both my medieval & peninsular village this is going to be big.

The constructions will all be mounted on 30cm square ply tiles to allow a high degree of flexibility. Add in a few palms and we have a generic arabian city suitable for many genres..

A few shots...the walled city. Going to need more walls and a port is also on the agenda.

I can see this being used for Pulp, Fantasy and my Crusade games as well

Going to need a mosque - with minarets of course

The buildings in the centre of the town are quite modern - will be using these as the colonial offices, admin and governors residences. They will need walled perimeters

Amazing what a couple of palm trees can do...

So now the city scape is taking shape its time to focus on the buildings. Part of the problem with mdf is its flatness and lack of depth to the walls. The latter can be tackled with foam core (see below)

and the flatness can be addressed by creating a mix of paint, pva, sand and filler - just stipple it on.

All the buildings will receive this treatment and then be glued down onto a 30cm square board. The board then gets dressed with slabs and sand.

Once painted it all starts to come to life...

Better when you add some figures (afghans) and some plants

Thats the first tile of 16 done (and that is not counting the city walls)

More soon...

part 3 here

Friday, 25 May 2018

Postal Service - Action from the VBCW

A couple of weeks ago saw the shed return to the fields of England 1938 for a spot of VBCW (Very British Civil War) – I hastily set up the table as soon as I got home from work and started to think about the scenario we might play. 

Stop Press: Apologies for the delay in this post - it was written but I didn't press publish ;-)

It is my host opinion that the more effort you put into the games plan the better the result but what with a full weekend working out in the garden and my new job sucking up most of my weekly free time this was somewhat rushed. The game was called ‘the Postmans delivery’.

Anglican Forces (represented by the Cornish Workers alliance and the Postal Brigade) were issued with the task of delivering key war materials to allied forces  fighting around Guildford. Standing in their way were Fascist BUF forces. The Anglican forces had a simple job – get the war materials across the table (lengthways). Four postal trucks were available with only one carrying the delivered goods.  This was to be a straightforward push to line game with speed of the essence. Should the league not make the exit point by the end of game play or the postal truck carrying the goods destroyed then it would be a victory for the blackshirts.

First up a few picture postcards of the table . quite pleased with this one and the green throw from Dunelm looks fantastic

Initially both sides were relatively evenly split but the League would receive allied supporting members of the Royal Hampshire Constabulary (when Rolf arrived). The BUF forces (Mark & Alaistair) would dice for their entry point onto the table whilst the Cornish & Postie units would enter from the road at one end of the table.

The table stretched over 14ft and was crisscrossed with roads but only one of these ran the full length of the table. A singular choke point was created at the level crossing just outside the village of Little Snatch. We expected this to be a makjor point of contest and congestion.

The postal trucks themselves could elect to drive across country but hedges and railtracks could cause issues. Vehicles would bog down on a 1 or 2 (d6) traversing these. With such high odds of stranding the vehicle not surprisingly all transport used the roads.

The Following pictures were taken from the game

Fascist deployment begins - infantry head towards the crossing

The Postal Infantry arrive and head towards the town

Lead by 'Big Red' the posties tank the convoy sets off up the board

The BUF start to take up positions

The convoy enters from the right in the picture below

and here it comes...the Fire Brigade Union supporting the cPosties have brought along their armoured car

The Fascists now wait at the level crossing

Meanwhilst a second contingent of blackshirts set up at the farm further up the board

The convoy trundles forward - resplendent in their red vehicles

First contact - the BUF engage the enemy along the rail tracks

Only to be confronted by 'Big Red' and its supporting infantry - the BUF are driven off the hedgeline

The BUF send up an armoured car to wreck havoc behind the convoy - a young boys naval unit hastily deploy their gun

Retreating from their first line of defence the Blackshirts dig in again...

BUF Forces around the farm push forward

The Fire Brigade drive into town - securing the local post office

Whilst the infantry unit scamper through the terrace house gardens

The Posties push up the trail tracks

The Navy boys have done it - splash one BUF armoured car

A Postie truck races along the road - Bang ! - its taken out with an AP round

Local Bus services have arrived and two platoons of local bobbies evict the Blackshirts from the pub - clearly its closing time

The bobbies in blue push forward towards the station

Things are looking rather congested over the crossing

Big Red forces her way up onto the main road

More fascist push foward - Postie smoke is deployed to cover the advance

More smoke as the defending forces lay down significant fire

The convoy has stalled - as infantry plough forward to clear the defenders lines

Despite heavy artillery fire the defenders just wont be moved...the convoy retreats to fight another day...

Peace and calm returns to the country lanes of southern England

How did it play?

Well not surprisingly the Post did not reach its destination on time. The Fascist forces put up a stubborn fight around the town and by the time the evening ended it was clear that the Royal Mail would not accomplish their task.

Great game and more soon from this genre