Thursday 21 December 2023

A Very British Christmas War

 Afternoon All & Festive Greetings

On Monday the Shed welcomed eight players for a bit of VBCW mayhem using Bolt Action Rules. It was an opportunity to layout my interwar British terrain and get some of my armour onto the table.

As opposed to a conventional rectangular table we created an L Shaped table with the British Fascists defending the British Pie Factory (BP). Opposing them were a ragtail mob of Anglican League, Royal Navy and Communist Partisans. Alastair, Mark, David and Tony would lead the attackers and I gave them 30% more forces.

Defending the factory from forward positions were Sven, Vince, Reese and Myself. 

Simply put the attackers had to seize the factory so the Mince pies could be distributed across the good and equal of Britain. As mentioned we used Bolt Action rules but modified the turn sequence with the use of a deck of playing cards.

In remembrance of my late father in law who sadly passed away after a long illness the scenario was fought out in his honour and places named on his behalf

Suffice to say the game was great fun and everybody got into the spirit of VBCW madness. 

No full Battle report today but lots of great photos...

Above - the left wing of the table complete with railway line and the Village of Little Crompton

Below - The Pie Factory and The church of St Geoffrey's

Below the right wing featuring the canal alongside Mustard Manor and the village of Greater Crompton

A shot across the table...

The British Pie factory

Approach to the pie factory from the level crossing

The defenders move out from the factory lead by Big Red

Vince's facists take position on the pub roof

More BUF defending the canal bridge....

The Naval Barge gets in behind the defenders...

Mustard manor seized by the Anglicans after a furious firefight

The BUF cluster around the Garage - for once the fuel depot did not explode !!

Defending the factory

The Anglicans force their way up over the Bridge with a borrowed french char tank

The attackers take the rail embankment

Defending Greater Crompton

The Communist assault Little Crompton driving back the defenders

With the factory in site the Communists have won !!

A last ditch stand at the crossing

The Pies are free !!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

See you in 2024  

Friday 15 December 2023

Shed Wars 12th Birthday & Annual Roundup


Afternoon All

Delighted to report that Shed Wars is now 12 years old and as the blog approaches its teenage years I am delighted that it is still going strong with more posts, hits and comments than ever before. Indeed I can announce that over 2 million views have now been reported on the site since its birth and with growth of over 7% this year I can only hope that as I post more content growth will continue.

As has been the case on previous years I usually use the blog's birthday as a round up of the previous years activity and comment on next years plans. This post will be no different although the year has been dominated by one major event. This was of course our house move (and shed displacement) at the back end of 2022. We have now been in the new home since Xmas of 2022 and although the building renovations are yet to start I can assure you that Mrs Shed and I are still delighted to have made the move and are still very much in love with our little bit of leafy Surrey.

The refurbishment of the new shed dominated the first part of the year and it is staggering to look back on the transformation of my new man cave - both internally and externally.

External views when we arrived

Outside has been repaired and given a new coat of paint. Landscaping and a new terrace sometime in 2023

This is what we were confronted with when we moved in - an old office. Once emptied its true potential could be imagined.

But before renovations we had to move in my wargames collections

The finished article with an 18ft table

The cupboards at the back hold all my figures and all the terrain is stored under the tables

So aside from some serious shed painting it wasn't until September that I was able to return to figure painting. 

Picking up where I left in October last year I managed to crank out another 850 Hoplites bringing the total to 1000. Current focus is to complete my Greek Army before turning my attention to Successors and Persians.

Although not shown I did manage to paint up a few more Saracens, Crusaders, Normans and English Civil War figures to complement my existing collections. The ultimate goal will be to have around 2000 figures in each focussed period.

2023 was also a momentous year for my hobby plans. With the new room kitted out I decided that I would endeavour to share my passion for this hobby with other likeminded souls (aside from my regular gamers). The Shed Wars Experience was launched in July and for as little as £40/day visitors can take part in my epic battles. All the details are on the website HERE.

In time the new home will have a number of airbnb style units for gamers to stay over and enjoy long weekends in the company of Eric the Shed ;-)


To support the launch I invited wargames Illustrated to come down and enjoy the hospitality of the Shed - a grand day was had by all as I put on a ficticious epic battle set in the Wars of the Roses. The Lancastrians were commanded by none other than Billhooks author Andy Callan who also graced us with his presence.

A grand time was had by all and following a few inquiries I hope that we will see further guests joining us in the New Year. The diary of planned events for 2024 will be up on the website soon but I am always open to impromptu bookings and ad hoc events from individuals and clubs around the country or abroad. 

As soon as the shed was finished back in the spring I was keen to get the gaming back in motion and this year has seen somer truly wonderful games set out on the new larger table. These includfe in no particular order...

A zulu invasion...

A refight of Salamanca....

Big Billhooks.....

A refight of the Battle of Arsuf...

Most recently ....Pirates

Dark Ages - Normans v Saxons

The Battle of Hattin

and loads more besides....

Since our move to the outside of the M25 I have not seen many of my mates who I used to regularly play with in the old shed and once the roadworks are finished on the A3/M25 Junction I do hope that they will visit more frequently. Said Roadworks are adding almost an hour to journey which should only be 25mins ! For the record I do miss you guys...

For those who live on the outside of the motorway thank you for your continued support and welcome to the new chaps. The shed now regularly hosts six on a Monday night and for the vast majority of gamers fun is had by all. 

I wish you all a very Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year.

As for next year a large amount of my time will be focussed on the grounds and house build BUT this should not prevent me from continuing to devise new scenarios, add to my figure collection and build more terrain.

Current thinking includes...

Completing the Greeks, Successors and Persians

Starting on the American war of Independence

Refighting the battles of the Barons war (Lewes, Ely etc)

Starting our efforts to refight all the Battles of the Peninsular War

and following up on our Batytle of the Five Armies hosting the Battle of Pelonnor Fields.

Thank you all for reading this blog, your comments are most welcome and I wish you all the very best for 2024

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Battle of Etchingham 1066

 Afternoon All

Monday night saw a full house in the shed and it was determined that a Dark Age Bash was in order using Hail Caesar. An entirely ficticious battle was created - to be called the Battle of Etchingham

In an alternative timeline William the Bastard and Harold Godwinson didn't meet at Senlac Hill in 1066 but further north at the village of Etchingham. This small hamlet straddled the London Road between the capital and the south coast. In our ficticious game Harold has drawn his forces up across the road as William approached. 

Each side has approximately the same number of units (about 36 aside) drawn up into six commands and each player would command two generals. Vince, Alastair and myself would gallantly lead the Normans, whilst Mark, Tony and Sven would cower behind their Saxon shields

With time limited (3 hours) the game would be fought until one side lost more than fifty percent of their force (unit count) and to help speed things along any shaken unit was removed from play immediately rather than leaving these weakened units on the field. 

The table looked pretty fantastic with over 1700 28mm figures on the table. This included almost 200 Norman horse.

Virtually all my Dark Ages are plastic with figures sourced from Conquest, Victrix and Gripping Beast

One third of the Norman horse advances

The game can be best described in five phases - each potentially impacting the course of the battle.

Phase 1: Norman deployment and First turns.

With the Saxons already deployed in line the Normans were given free rein to deploy their three Cavalry divisions and three infantry divisions. We elected to weight our centre and left wing with the heaviest horse knights and disperse the foot across the line.

Another third...swinging onto the Saxon left flank

With deployment complete the Normans kicked off proceedings and whilst the foot surged forward the all the cavalry remained rooted to the spot. We didn't worry as the Saxons then began to make a right old mess of their command structure. Feeling that their line was too spread they elected to close up ranks. Subsequent rolls meant half the army moved - several new gaps appeared and to complicate matters their right wing blundered with units retreating off table and disordering the rightwing in their departure.

The Normans failed to capitalise on the chaos as units refused to charge in - this allowed the bulk of the Saxon line to achieve the tighter look they wanted and more importantly go into the inpenetrable shield wall

Phase 2 - The Normans charge !!

With a cheer the Norman horse and foot charged into the Saxon line along their centre and right wing.

It was brutal, attritional and tough work to manage so many melees across the table

At first the Normans began to make headway on the Saxon right wing with Knights pushing back and bloodying the flank defenders

The centre saw foot and horse crash into each other and again the Normans had the edge. Our Saxon friends were looking a bit downbeat and muttering that their deployment had been unfair...war is not fair and I should add that I had just as much chance as playing Saxon as I did playing Norman.

Were the Saxons going to capitulate that quickly?

Phase 3: With frustration the Saxons charge.....

Fearing that they had already lost the Saxons decided that they would charge to their front across the field. If they were going to go down they would fall bravely. Note: at this point the Saxons had only lost three units (out of 36) and most of their force was otherwise unengaged. 

The two armies crunched together.....

Phase 4: The Brutality of Dark Age warfare revealed....

Across the field the two armies smashed into one another - with every unit most likely supported to their rear and potentially sides we had a scenario where virtually every unit on the table was fighting simultaneously. Typically the Horse did well in the initial charge but then started to falter as hits piled in, better armoured warrriors despatched lighter troops and the shield walls were all powerful.

As the fight progressed Norman casualties began to pile up alongside the Saxon defenders. With an hour to go there was nothing between the two sides and it could still go either way.

Phase 5: The endgame

As the clock ticked down the larger number of armoured Saxon foot began to tell. With their right flank just holding they surged forward on the left and in the centre.

Disrupted by continuous attacks the Normans were pushed back with units falling on a continuous basis. Their vaunted cavalry having little ort no impact on these English men.  

As the clock reached 10 a cheer rose from the Saxon ranks they had broken the Norman army - two hours earlier they were bemoaning their position and the numbers of Normans confronting them..

An epic and exhausting battle....

more soon