Thursday, 31 October 2019

The perfect wargamer’s resource resource?

Laser cutters, large printers, reference library, study space, board games, 3D printers. Even a place to cut and sew your battle mats.

All within a superb example of contemporary architecture. Inside and out.

 That’s how to do public services.

Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Oxford in the Civil War - on the telly

Not sure when this was originally broadcast (as I type it's on channel 4Seven). It's available on demand (4 On Demand

Worth a look.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Lincolnshire Campaign II - the Battle of Clee Fields

The Eastern Association men led by Colonel Sydenham Hill, temporarily elevated to Major General, took the direct route from Boston via Spilsby, then on to Grimsby via Louth. One of the regiments of horse scouted ahead of the main body whilst the other (Hill’s) took the coastal road, along the edge of the marshes to procure mutton and salt. Crofton Park, Lt Col of Hill’s regiment of horse, found the locals a peculiar bunch and difficult to understand. ‘The spietch of the marsh fowk is base and nigh impossible to understand containing as it does many words of the old Norse tonge. They appear shy of strangers, superstitious and at first as children in matters of trade yet my quartermaster discovered the bargain he had made was not as good as he first thought.’

The Royalists, under command of Lord Beddington Lane (husband of the fabulously wealthy Lady Therapia Lane) marched from their assembly point near Gainsborough. Once across the Trent, they followed the old Roman road north to Scawby near Brigg, then headed east sending two troops of horse to keep an eye on Barton whilst the main force proceeded to secure the mouth of the Humber at Grimsby.

Hill, fearing that the Royalists had already got ahead of him veered off the Louth Road before Scartho and followed tracks heading towards the coast where he could camp on the higher ground above Grimsby. Hill’s regiment under Lt Col Park were dispatched on a circuitous route towards Itterby and Oole in the east in a kind of reconnaissance in force cum foraging expedition, whilst the infantry and small artillery train, trailed behind the other horse regiment via Humberston towards Weelsby and Clee. Unbeknownst to Hill, Lane had also decided to perform a wider sweep, south of Grimsby to head off the Rebels before they could approach the town. His main force was in the Weelsby area heading towards Clee whilst one regiment of horse scouting ahead had taken a wrong turning through the marshes to the east of the town (possibly misdirected by a local malcontent) whereupon they then turned south heading towards Oole on the track by the coastal marsh or Fitties. Ahead of the main column, the dragoon regiment had already secured the village of Clee where they were making themselves comfortable when Rebel flags were spotted on Beacon Hill above Clee. Almost simultaneously (according to letters written later by a captain of horse on the Weelsby road and the colonel of dragoons, who both heard the church bells of Saint Trinity and St. Mary the Virgin church in Clee) Rebel horse cornets were spotted on the road from Humberston.

Area of the battlefield

By the seventeenth century the village of Clee had a population of over 300, including Clee's nearby 'thorpes' of Oole, Itterby and Thrunscoe on the higher ground above the marshes which surrounded the old port of Grimsby. Since the silting up of the old haven around the turn of the 16th century, Grimsby's population by contrast had declined from its late medieval height of 2000 to around 650. Nevertheless, the port still provided a haven from the North Sea and was within canon shot of the roads which carried shipping up the estuary to Barton and Hull. Control of the area thus gave command of the southern and eastern approaches to the port and eventually to the seward route to Hull.

At the time of the Civil War enclosure was still 200 years in Clee's future, so apart from the immediate small plots surrounding the village, the area was dominated by the open field system. This meant plenty of room for manoeuvre for both sides in the coming battle.

Map from Alan Dowling's excellent local history book, Cleethorpes, Chichester 2005

The Battle of Clee Fields.

Orders of Battle

Royalist (Lord Beddington Lane)

Blue Regiment of Horse:  8 troops.
Red Regiment of Horse: 6 troops.
Dragoons: 6 companies.
Blue Regiment of Foot
Grey Regiment of Foot
White Regiment of Foot
Red Regiment of Foot
Artillery: 4 guns.

Parliamentarian (Sergeant-Major General Sydenham Hill)

Grey Regiment of Horse: 8 troops.
Buff Regiment of Horse: 8 troops.
Yellow Regiment of Foot
Orange Regiment of Foot
Brick Red Regiment of Foot
Tawny Regiment of Foot
Artillery: 4 guns.

Operational context. Map from early 19th century in Dowling. Local legend fails to tell of the despoiling of local sheep by dragoons following the battle, in an enclosure subsequently named 'Cruel Close' to the north of Clee village.

View west to east of the ridge south of Clee (centre left) Royalists advancing from Weelsby heading east, Parliamentarians on the road north from Humberston (right).

Hamlets of Oole (left) and Itterby (right) with the coastal marshes left. Hill's regiment of (Parliamentarian) horse led by Lt Colonel Crofton Park heading towards Itterby. Windmill by Mill Lane (later Mill Road), which runs towards where the modern cemetary is located. General Hill (bottom right of picture) is stood atop the Bronze Age tumulus - the locals have been burying their dead here at the highest point of the area for over 3000 years. No known resting place for victims of the battle have yet been identified.

Royalist dragoons occupy Clee

Parliamentarian cavalry heading towards the road junction fail to spot the deployed Royalist horse deployed ahaed and do not themselves deploy in time.

Parliamentarian foot and guns appear on Beacon Hill close to the ancient burial mound

Spying Royalist horse advance up the coastal route fom Grimsby, the Park's horse near Itterby deploy. The Cavaliers who had marched up the Grimsby Road are still riding up Old Isaacs Hill past Oole oblivious of the threat ahead.

Back at the junction of the Clee, Humbertsone and Weelsby roads, the Parliamentarian  horse charge the Royalist blue horse regiment. The Royalists seem to have more luck getting their orders through to their units (or are their officers just more obedient?), and they have the advantage of the commander being nearer the bulk of the army. However, in doing so Lord Lane has to abandon his left wing cavalry to its fate. The Roundhead general has chosen to position himself on the old burial mound so he can see the whole field and be fairly central between his two wings.

The Roundhead horse have been repulsed, unsurprisingly, but they rally in good order up the slope. Mindful of the danger, the newly arrived White Regiment of Royalist foot form a pike block. Three more regiments march east along the Weelsby Road. The Roundhead foot is still some way off, two regiments marching to join their horse, with two more being put into order to march from Beacon Hill in the distance.

Finally the descent from the hill commences

The left wing Parliamentarian horse has managed to best the Royalist blue regiment, which has split into two wings, one anchored on the pike block. The foot begin to advance to head off the approaching rebels.

View from behind the Roundhead foot towards the road junction. Roundhead cavalry top right.

The second Roundhead foot unit begins to march off the hill. Meanwhile messengers from Hill try to get all the guns to follow with mixed success.

Initial success for the Royalist horse by Itterby. The Roundheads led by Park, despite inflicting more losses, are repulsed. A Pyrrhic victory for the King's men. [I'm actually using mounted dragoons here for the Roundhead horse as I was short of cavalry].

Back in the west (Royalist left) 4 troops of Roundhead cavalry caught the Blue Foot in flank and rear and decimated them. Top left: the Royalist horse have engaged the other wing of the Roundhead cavalry regiment.

Another view of the same area, only slightly further north. Parliamentarian foot is engaging Royalist foot, foreground, whilst in the centre more foot and guns descend the ridge to attack Clee. Opposing horse (Blue Royalist) battle it out next to the road.

The first Roundhead foot attack Clee where the Royalist dragoons are ensconced behind hedges. The earthworks around Mordaunt Hall which can still be seen from Clee Road, date from after this battle and are believed to have been made a by the Roundheads during their leaguer of Grimsby.

Almost a battle on its own, the horse combat by Itterby has been renewed. The Parliamentarian's edge in numbers begins to tell and they flow round the flanks.

Evenly matched action in the west. Two foot regiments apiece.

Having finally seen off the half regiment of Roundhead horse west of Clee, the Royalist Blues rally and the nearby Parliamentarian foot form a pike stand as a precaution. Better to try to form up now than wait and risk being caught! Park's victorious Roundhead horse, top of the picture, pound down Clee road to give succour to the foot.

Alas! Both the remaining Royalist foot have been seen off following a brisk fire fight. The Royalist horse behind them have enemy foot and horse behind them and are in two minds what to do next. Lord Lane decides caution is the better option and orders an orderly withdrawal, managing to face off both horse and foot.

Reforming into line, the Parliamentarian foot face towards Weelsby, whilst the Royalist dragoons have decided to withdraw from the village and head across the carr towards Grimsby. Sydenham Hill has won a hard fought victory!

After their victory the exhausted Parliamentarians lay down where they stood. The Royalists fled north towards Grimsby via little tracks across the carr. Over the following days the Roundheads began to fortify Mordaunt Hall in Clee where Sydenham Hill set up his headquarters. Traces of the earthworks can still be seen to this day in the old 'donkey field.'

Gradually they regained their strength, strays and not a few turncoat royalist soldiers, returned to the colours no doubt in search of a good meal in this chilly coastal district. Lord Lane's bedraggled army coalesced around Grimsby, mainly on the site of the old Wellow Abbey, once they realised there was no pursuit. His Lordship negotiated with the Freemen of the Borough for entry to the town and for supplies (even a beaten army can be very persuasive). The Royalists' demands were moderated somewhat by Holles who had some interest in the on-going prosperity of his seat.

Over the succeeding two weeks both sides strengthened their respective positions, and earthworks appeared around the perimeter of Grimsby. A redoubt was built on the low rise of Holme Hill (really just an island as its name suggests) where two of six ships guns, recovered from a stranded Dutch vessel, were placed by the Royalists. Two more were placed at each of the main roads into town. Lord Lane hoped the effluxion of time and the approach of colder weather would force Hill to retire to the south. Urged on by entreaties from Sir Thomas Fairfax and the Earl of Manchester, concerned over the threat to Hull, Hill had other ideas. He energetically made sure the area was scoured for supplies and that his powder, shot and match were all replenished. Confidence began to rise in the Parliamentarian camp. They had seen off those idolators and the benders of the King's ear once already. They were sure they could do it again.

Could they indeed?

Little-known Lincolnshire campaign - Teaser

I knew 'Norris' from football. Specifically we met in Oxford in the early 90s. To clear-up any illusions about 'Dreaming Spires', it was in a pub in Oxford. By the station one wet evening after work on the way to a mid-week match.  Oxford 0 - Town 1 since you ask. Back then Grimsby Town were 'any good', gracing the second tier in English football for most of that decade. Norris, as you may have guessed wasn't his real name but for reasons not suitable for the politer corners of the Blogosphere, I won't explain how he came to be known by this appellation. Suffice to say that he was named by his fellow exiled-Grimbarians (yes that is a 'thing') after 'Norris the Rubberman' an emporium famed locally for selling Wellington boots, workwear and sports clothing. Our Norris was a bright bloke and a graduate of that fine institution Middlesex Poly (or as he used to joke 'Toothickfuh University'). He worked in IT for a local authority somewhere west of London. 

As well as liking a beer or several, and football of course, Norris was something of an afficianado of the English Civil War. Or 'know all' as some of the other deliberately loud and exaggeratedly northern exiles (accountants to a man) would have it.  Specifically, being a died-in-the-wool socialist, Labour man, Norris loved to talk about the Levellers and others of their ilk. But by the end of the 90s Norris had disappeared somewhat from the 'Exiled Mariners' boozy scene, and rumour had it that he had adopted a healthier lifestyle and was working in a City financial institution in some IT capacity. You'd see him in and out (the second Wembley '98 game being one that stands out) but he'd definitely moved on in more ways than one. Next I'd heard he had gone off to work for himself and had started up some internet-based financial service and was raking it in - never did understand the explanation of what the service was. Then by about 2005 I heard he'd sold up and retired (at a young age) and moved to a big house in the Lincolnshire Wolds. I saw him at the last Carnival Parade in Cleethorpes a few years later. I was looking up at the fly past of the Battle of Britain Flight when I heard a voice say 'Still into your military stuff then?' Norris then began to tell me that he had rekindled his love of the seventeenth century and was taking advantage of his leisure to research the subject. 'Got something that you might be interested actually. Some old documents I found in this house I've bin doing up ner Spilsby. I'll give you a bell. Gotta go now. Ta da.'

I wasn't that surprised that I didn't get a call. 'Same old Norris, full of sh*t'. He was one of those entertaining people you take with a pinch of salt, though that is where his similarities with our current Prime Minister end. About two years ago I got a letter from a solicitor in Louth (Lincolnshire, not Ireland) dated a couple of months before I received it. It had eventually found me after being forwarded a couple of times from previous addresses. Remarkable really. Unbelieveable you might say. The letter revealed that the solicitor wanted me to confirm I was the person his client thought I was and could I visit the office and answer some questions to validate who I was. Strange. I rang them up but the solicitor wasn't prepared to discuss the matter on the phone but would I be able to attend in person. Next time I was up that way I arranged to go down to Louth. It's always a pleasure to go to Louth. A pretty, town with well-preserved Georgian and Victorian buildings and a vibrant independent retail scene - independent because it missed all the previous trends in retail and somehow survived long enough to become very much 'on trend'. It's also a good place to spot proper joskins and chaps wearing red trousers.

To cut this rambling story a bit short, I was able to satisfy the legal-eagle that I was indeed Mr N.Danket, formerly of Cleethorpes and various places south of the Thames and one-time social aquaintance of his late client Mr Naurice l'Homme-Caoutchouc. I was then presented with an A4 sized envelope (not overly thick) which the solicitor explained was left for me by Mr l'Homme-Caoutchouc in his will. I wouldn't be human if I didn't secretly hope that it would be something valuable despite not being close to Norris, but the lawyer was quick to lower my expectations. It was, he said, a manuscript for a historical work his client had been toiling over following some 'original research into 17th century Lincolnshire'. I read Norris' covering letter (he'd evidently known he was on his way out then) in a cafe down Eastgate. 

I won't relay the whole thing, but just offer this brief extract. 'I know I said I would give you a bell years back, but life kind of got in the way. I won't give you the whole sorry, sordid tale, but by the time you read this I'll be having a drink in the Afterlife Arms with the Jarrow Marchers and Tolpuddle Martyrs. Hopefully. Pompey Chris will be able to fill you in more. If you're interested. Anyway, those documents I told you about were historical gold dust mate, and that started me on the trail and I decided to write up what I found. I'm sure with your historical interests it would be right up your strasse.' [Norris like to use this phrase, making sure he gave special emphasis on the first syllable to make it rhyme with someting you sit on]. I skimmed through the document and saw that there were no references or bibliography. Not a citation in sight. I'll leave you to judge the veracity of the contents.

So this is the story of the campaign in north eastern Lincolnshire in the second year of the Great Rebellion.

What follows is the little known story of a violent campaign in Lincolnshire. Not much is known about this campaign because it has been overshadowed by the story of the rise of Oliver Cromwell, who came to prominence the same year at Winceby. Historians of the Whig school overlooked it because it was something of a side-show to the tale of the Great Man Cromwell. It hasn't been helped either by the lack of accounts of the campaign, beyond a few scraps of records about fodder and purchases of clothing and a vague reference in the correspondence of the Earl of Manchester. That is until the discovery in Spilsby of a folio from Gervase Holles' An History of the Late War in England, previously thought to have been lost in a Dutch river by Holles during his exile.

In Autumn 1643 in an effort to stop the flow of food and munitions to the Parliamentary stronghold of Kingston-upon-Hull, the Marquis of Newcastle despatched a force of Northern Horse to meet up with foot regiments from Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire to seize the Lincolnshire ports of Barton and Grimsby.  The Royalist forces were guided in their endeavours by loyal Member of Parliament for Grimsby, antiquarian and man of letters, Colonel Gervase Holles. Holles' co-MP, the borough then having two seats in Parliament, Christopher Wray had decided to side with Parliament.

As well as securing the southern approaches to Hull, control of the Lindsey part of Lincolnshire would bring in extra revenue for the Crown from the rich agricultural lands, fisheries and salt pans on the coastal marshes. In those days because of sandbanks, ships travelling up the Humber had to sail much close to the Lincolnshire shore, and certainly within cannon shot of well-placed batteries. See map below.

This is indeed a map. From 90 years after the events depicted in the story, but well...

Independents in the area loyal to Parliament were passed rumours from their Yorkshire brethren. Word soon sped down the coast by barque to Norfolk much faster than man or horse could make the journey along the north side of the Humber from Hull and then back down the southern shore and down the coast to East Anglia. The local towns were veritable nests of Dissent. The small harbour of Immingham had after all been the original port of departure for the Puritan emigrants to New England.

Word soon reached the Earl of Manchester, and the threat to the cause posed by the incipient encirclement and loss of Hull was not lost on his Lordship. Four regiments of foot and two of horse and from Eastern Association forces in south Lincolnshire were soon rushing up the coastal roads.

They were destined to meet the King’s men at the heights above the ancient township of Clee.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

....and a parade

I didn't get any wargaming done (fell asleep after lunch) but I did finally get around to putting flags on my ECW horse and the rest of my foot.  Once I actually got cracking I had a burst of energy and got on with re-boxing my SYW figures.  This entailed lining more Fererro Rocher boxes with magnetic paper and putting magnetic strips on the bases of the soldier. I had enough for just the Prussians. To gets the Naps and the rest of the SYW collection done I reckon I'd need about 12 more of the FR boxes. Oh dear! I'll have to make one of those pyramids with the chocolates and play ambassador.

Late edit: Oh I nearly forgot to mention that the old Ikea boxes that previously housed the SYW Prussians were re-purposed for storing my woods (the boxes are slightly too shallow for the tallest conifers, but they'll bend a little as they're made out of 'bump' pipecleaners). Fortuitously they all just fit in the two boxes. This means I could get rid of the scruffy old cardboard boot box they were previously stored in. So an overall improvement in neatness - M.Foy would be pleased, if it wasn't for all the flock.

Later I decided it was time to get all of the ECW collection out and set them up on a 1-for-1 basis. So here they are: a regiment of foot about 500 strong, with forlorn hope and guns out in front, and 4 troops of horse on each wing (about 300 in total excluding command figures). There are several more command bases in the boxes - I've just laid out one per troop or company).

Pikes are laid out 9 ranks deep, shot 6, and horse 3 deep. The foot regiment is 76cm wide with 76 figures in each rank. Going by the vertical scale (10mm) these are widely spaced (say 5 foot something per man) due to the figures being on the chubby* side and there being space on each side of the bases. * Must be all those Ferrero Rocher.

There's some farm implement armed clubmen lurking behind with the carts

A good walk........

The weather was beautiful this morning when I got up. I was unaccountably in a good mood and not even dropping one of the two poached eggs on the floor derailed my glide into the day. I'd completely forgotten the Rugby World Cup was on - I'll watch if it's on when I turn the telly on, but it's not 'appointment viewing for me'. Sport's OK but it rarely gets my real interest unless my tribe is competing, whichever tribe that happens to be. I have to be engaged to really appreciate watching. And I usually have more than enough emotional turmoil with one particular band of unpredictable black and white striped heroes, to be able to cope with, oh, let's say England getting beaten at something as well. So I was chuffed to turn the telly on and see that well into the first half England had a healthy lead over the Aussies. Bar a scare before just before half-time, the lead just got bigger and bigger, in what looked to be a fabulous all round performance.

When that was over, the sun was still shining, and my wife and I went to Richmond Park (one of the reasons we were delighted to move back over this way four years ago). We walked at a comfortable pace from (for those who know it) Ladderstile Gate to Pembroke Lodge having a bit of a detour on the way. A nice pot of Earl Grey on the terrace overlooking the Thames valley and a lovely cherry scone (scon, scone, or even scoon?)  added to the sense of well-being. On the walk there we stopped by the hollowed out tree stump below, which looks like, well many different things.

Probably about 5 foot six high and maybe 5 foot broad

Inside it were fern leaves (put there by humans or animals or did they grow there?) and an array of interesting looking mushrooms.

Because of its greying, the stump look more like rock than wood. More coastal cliff than inland park.
On the walk back we went in the direction of Pen Ponds stopping short of there by a fenced off plantation where a group of volunteers were burning chopped down rhodedendrons as part of a scheme to re-plant the area with native species.

The scheme cleverly marketed as a way of burning calories! Hmm, food for thought.
You can probably make out the trunks of birch trees in the picture above, some of which had been cut down. Here's a shot without the fence obstructing it.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? Is it a wargamer's thing?

We walked on and came across this chap. I heard no bellowing, but it's around this time of year when they get a bit boisterous.

Unfortunately I only had a phone and I'm not the best at this photography lark.

Further along we spoke to a woman who we'd spotted earlier near Pembroke Lodge. In her hands she was holding a plastic bag containing old drinks cans and a litter grabber. Yes, another volunteer scheme. The park is not so obviously strewn with litter, especially away from the car parks, but anything is bad.

All in all we had a wonderful walk. It's great to hold the head uprights and look at something more than a few feet away for a change. And it's been weeks since we've done this. Due to her job requiring alternate weekends at work, my language lessons and our daugther's dance lessons, we don't get as much opportunity as we'd like. And since the evenings have got darker, weekdays after work are a non-starter until Spring. So we made the most of today and thoroughly enjoyed it.

A good start to the day. Just don't mention the football. La la la, I'm not listening.

Thursday, 17 October 2019

The First World War - PBS America

I've just watched an episode of a 10 part series on PBS America on Freeview in the UK. The episode concentrated on the early part of the war for the Ottoman Empire up to victory over Townshend at Kut on the Tigris.

Information on the series here

It's a good old fashioned blend of news reel footage, stills and quotations from prominent figures and more junior officers and rankers on both sides. Not a dramadoc scene in sight.  Also, there was an absence of that other bugbear of mine - the re-capping of what we saw just a few minutes before after every damned advert break.

Watching the whole series is a bit of a time commitment I cannot make since they are rattling through the 10 episodes in a few days. The one I saw ('Jihad') was episode 4. However, it gets the thumbs up from this corner of the metropolis.

Episode 4 covers the early attempts to 'set the East ablaze*'; the failed campaign against the Russsians in the Transcaucasian region and the subsequent appalling treatment of the Armenians; the German version of the Great Game and their mission to Afghanistan; the Allied failure in the Dardenelles; and finally British humiliation at Kut. Lots of scope in there for wargamers for both real and imaginary campaigns.

* i.e. the strategy of raising the muslim populations of the British and Russian empires, and neighbouring countries against their overlords. Shades of John Buchan's 'Greenmantle' (a rip-roaring story involving John Hannay, he of the 39 Steps).

Update: I saw episode 6 tonight: 'Breaking the Deadlock'. One of the themes was about the development of tactics on the Western Front. It stopped short of the German Sping offernsive of 1918 and the Allied follow-up. Interesting stuff, but obviously only a brief overview. Another theme was how soldiers on inactive sectors of the line would collaborate by avoiding unnecessary bloodshed, even sharing food. It quoted comments from British soldiers about the perceived differences between Prussian and units from other German states, notably Saxons. Of course Saxons, aren't they our cousins, us being Anglo-Saxons? Personally, I suspect things were far from as distinct as this, especially given the geographical spread and the different populations covered by the Prussian state by this point, where there was bound to be different levels of commitment and enthusiasm for the war. 

However, it reminded me of one of the war stories told to my O-Level* history teacher by his father who was in the Manchester Regiment in WWI. Mr Taylor senior told his son that they were well supplied with Tickler's Apple Jam, but there was such an abundance that they got bored with it and used to swap it with the Germans in the trench across No-Man's-Land. Each day they would throw over their tins of Tickler's Apple Jam (talk about product placement!) to the German trenches and in return the Saxons (let's call them Saxons) would throw over their sausages in return. No stereotyping there ;-) This went on for some time but unbeknownst to our brave boys, one night the Saxons had been replaced by a unit of Prussians. I'll let Mr T Jnr continue from here. 

"My dad said, 'one morning we threw over our tins of jam but in return we got a barrage of tater mashers**'. 
'What did you do then dad?'. 
'We filled our pants lad. We filled our pants.'"

Good old Mr Taylor told us this story enough times, I'm sure he probably slipped it in to a lesson on the rise of the Nazis, that we would fill in the punchline for him. He had a fund of stories which he would punctuate lessons with. The man had a stern reputation, he wouldn't accept nonsense but over time we came to appreciate his care that we should learn, first, the syllabus, but then importantly, something of history. So over 40 years since we heard those stories, and over a hundred since the events in them, they're still in the collective memory. Mr T helped cement not only facts in my head (History O-Level exams then were basically about regurgitating facts in essay form) but also helped cement my love of History. If I ever see the term 'Dreikaiserbund', or hear of the 'Treaty of Locarno' his face pops up. Can't say better than that for a history teacher.

* That's grades C-A* GCSEs for any relatively young folk, or grades 5-9 for even younger ones. I don't know what that equates to in the New World but these are public exams taken when you are 16 (generally). 

** Stick grenades.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Hexed up

Finally sat down today to sketch out some full-sized hexes on paper to see how my toys look. I sketched out hexes 12cm across the flats.

Unit of 4 troops. OK Space wise.
Battalia of foot. Still OK on space.
Horse in 'Dutch' order

Double-sized horse unit (8 troops) - looking too crowded

Now with added buildings - apart from the cottage, top left, these are the biggest toy buildings in my stock. The hexes are distinctly crowded.  H&R 6mm SYW infantry top right and bottom left; Pendraken ECW foot bottom right.
Famous historical buildings from Prague, Leuthen, Borodino and err...Grimsby (card model of Victoria Mills bought from the Fishing Heritage Centre about 10 years ago).

So hexagons 12cm across the flats are probably a tad too small for my toys if I want to add built up areas. A similar picture emerges with my woods. So I reverted to the Super-Fantastisch Hexagon Calculator mentioned in the last post. I found that hexagons slightly under 13cm across the flats were 15cm point-to-point (or 15cm along the long diamter). That'll do. It means slightly fewer hexes deep on my table top, but this will do for a few trials. I'll probably get some bigger boards.

I set-to mapping out a grid on my green felt cloth. This proved to be tricky. Partly because I'm an idiot who didn't use his brain so made a few errors, but also because it is a difficult thing to work with. I laid the cloth out on the living room floor rug which kept the cloth in place. When I got to 3/4 of the way through I had to move the cloth along but I don't think I had it so securely in place, so some of the hexes look a bit smaller. Ne'er mind. The great thing about hexes is they are just meant to represent the relative postion of playing pieces to each other so they don't have to be spot on. A properly accurate grid would look better (no pictures) but it does the job.

I'll crack on and convert my ECW rules first and have a trial game next Sunday as football beckons again - the Mighty [sic.] Mariners are at Stevenage, which is within my self-imposed travel-time limit of 2 hours. I will also have a re-read of Monsieur Foy's ECW Variant of Command and Colors, with a view to trying them out.

Before I go, I'll leave you with a face on shot of the Prague buildings (name escapes me) I bought on a work trip there a few years back. I love this model. Early Modern Mittel Europa at its finest. Just begging for a siege game.

H&R 6mm J├Ągers in front; Pendraken 10mm ECW foot to the right.

A bientot!