Thursday, April 26, 2018

Vale Rhoda

I'm deeply saddened by the news that Rhoda (Gill) Bennett has passed away.

Although only called Camp Cromwell from 2000, this wargaming group has been in continuous operation with some of the same personnel since 1972 when I set up a wargames room in the basement of my first house at Mt Stuart.   It's changed venues a few times since, but all those who were there particularly remember the time in the 70's at the second venue at Cambridge Rd, Bellerive with "those were the days" nostalgia.  And a big part of what made those days so special was Rhoda.   Recently divorced, with a Scot's love of a drink and a party, being the only female in a roomful of younger men was her idea of heaven.  But she was also a teacher with an interest in history and one of those rare women who took an interest in wargames.  Her two lovely little daughters never minded spending the night tucked up in the spare room at Uncle Jimmy's while mummy played (up) downstairs.  And when Rhoda was about, wargames night was party time, and she was the life of the party.

Here some scans of old pics from the Cambridge Road days:
Ms Tasmanian Wargaming 1976
Drinking the boys under the table
Game for anything
Well almost anything
A French tart at our WWII party

Dishing out a good Scottish bollocking

All the blokes in the pics are still part of the Camp Cromwell scene, even if some only via email and occasional visits.  After all these years we all still fondly remember Rhoda and the good times we had when she was around.  She was one of a kind - they broke the mould after they made her.  But nothing lasts forever, work took her up north, then ill health cramped her style.  She's been fighting a battle against MS for over 30 years and spent the last several years wheelchair bound in a nursing home.  Though the MS got her in the end, she has donated her body to MS research.  Typical Rhoda - the stubborn little bint wouldn't let mere death stop her fighting the thing that killed her.

Her memorial service is on Friday 4th May at 3.30pm at Millingtons Cornelion Bay.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Saltanovka 1812

The Battle of Saltanovka was fought on 23rd July 1812.  The Russians under Raevsky attacked Davout's advance guard.  The scenario is taken from The Clash of Eagles, Black Powder Supplement & fought using our Hail Napoleon variant of Hail Caesar.
The French have 3 Infantry divisions deployed on the left side of the table.   The Russians are advancing a division down each road & start with the first brigade of each on the table.  The French have a 4th infantry brigade coming on turn 2 & a cuirassier brigade on turn 3.  The Russians have a dragoon brigade coming on turn 4.  The location of the reserve's entry points on each side's back edge was determined in the council of war of each side but kept secret.
The Russian command team bring their infantry on as their artillery bombard the French.
The French command team.  Their infantry reserve is coming on behind their left.
The Russians have sorted their columns out to make a complete line with their dragoons coming on behind their left.  The French have advanced their right to the river line to meet them. 
The camera position has relocated to behind the Russian left.  On the now far flank the Russians are bombarding the French.  In the centre the infantry are in a shooting match across the river.  On the near flank 2 Russian battalions have advanced with unusual speed.
The French cuirassiers came on behind the French left & 2 regiments have dashed forward to curtail the Russian advance.  The Russians across the river have gone into square.
The critical move of the battle is on in centre where the French infantry have retired from the Russian musketry & artillery.  The Russian dragoons have moved to the centre & are advancing in mass though the infantry.  Davout has taken command of half the cuirassiers & is moving them to the centre to counter the Russian attack.
On the near flank the cuirassiers have failed to break the squares & have retired.  But the main event is the cavalry fight in the centre.  The ditches (brown strips) have inhibited the Russian's use of superior numbers & the cuirassiers have won the first charge. 
The cuirassiers lost a regiment, but broke 2 dragoons to stop the Russian cavalry attack in the centre. But Russian infantry have crossed the river in strength on the left of the cavalry & are advancing on a weakened French centre.

At 10pm after two a half hours of play we called time as is our custom.  The book doesn't nominate a  time limit but provides a VP scale.  The Russians are ahead on casualties & shaken units 15 to 9, but the two villages are 8 pts each.  The French have evacuated Fatova & the Russians can't be stopped taking at half of it in one turn - so 4 VPs each for that & 8 for the French for Saltanovka gives both side 21 VPs - so a draw on that criteria.   But the Russians have got footholds over the river & the French have few units left without high casualties, so the Russians are probably right to feel they have done well to have pushed the attack so far given their lousy command ratings. 


Sunday, April 22, 2018

More Musket Action in 18th century America

Friday afternoon at Camp Cromwell
JohnM's Brits are on the far side of the table, Jim's French on the near side.  The 3 houses are the objectives in a Key Positions scenario. 1,000 pts.

Both sided raced grenadiers up the centre to grab the middle house.  The Brits got there first.  Both side advanced their right flanks.
The French grenadiers drove the Brits out of the vital house to control 2 objectives. 
A British cavalry charge across the corn field caused Indians to flee then rode down two coys of French line infantry.
The successful British cavalry were disposed of by musket fire from the houses & the French grenadiers held onto the centre house - so the French won even though they had higher casualties than the Brits.

Sunday Afternoon at Good Games: War of Independance
Envelopment Scenario 1200 pts.
We tried a more open battlefield this time, with just a bit of close terrain on the flanks.
Chris is defending on the far side with the French/Americans.  Jim is attacking with the Brits.  All the Brits are in their first wave.  Half the French/Americans are in reserve. 
The Brits don't muck about - they advance on the whole front.
A French counterattack in the centre has knocked out 2 Brit infantry coys, but a cavalry counterattack took out one of the victorious French coys.  The mostly inexperienced American reserves are slow to come on to help their French allies.
That battle has developed into 3 different types of fights:  On the left - a fire fight.  In the centre - charge & countercharge.  On the right - Indians in the orchards v. Inexperienced line infantry.
The Brits are getting the upper hand all along the line.  
The last Americans have finally arrived, but it's too late. 
At the end, the Brits lost 5 units so the French have 10 VPs.  The Brits killed 9 plus have 6 units in the 2VP zone for 21 VPs & a clear win.  This game took us about one & half hours - a bit faster than usual because of the more open terrain.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Musket Action: French & Indian War

We tried a larger multi-player game of Musket Action with 3 players a side, 10x6' table & 1,500 pts.
British: Mark, Mike & Mitch.  French: Jim, Steve & JohnS.
We did a blind deployment.  The French on the near side of the table deployed to the right with their regular infantry on the open ground, Indians one each flank, Canadian militia in he orchard & Cavalry in reserve.  The Brits deployed their regular infantry in the centre with their cavalry on the left, artillery on their right & Indians in the woods on each flank.   
Both sides advanced their right flanks.
A British cavalry charge has destroyed French line coy.
The British right laps around the French left.  In the centre the British line engage the Canadian skirmish line.  
On the far flank the British Indians destroyed the French Indians & the French have had to leave a line coy to cover their flank.  The successful British cavalry troop has been broken by musket fire & the other has retired.  The British left has fallen back.  On the near flank the French are falling back.

At the end of turn 6 the two forces have rotated to face each other at right angles to the initial start lines.  The Brits have lost a cavalry troop & an Indian band.  The French have lost a line infantry coy & 3 Indian bands.  The Brits claim victory because they have broken 2 more units than they lost.  The French claim victory because both sides lost the same number of regular units, but the Brits have lost significantly more casualties.   A draw is a more disinterested description of the outcome.

The scenario wasn't as good as it might have been.  Blind deployment produced an unsymmetrical that made getting a decisive result in 6 turns difficult.  It's evident that having objectives can make a better game than just playing for kills.  It took us about 2.5 hours to play the 6 turns.  Partly this was because for most of the players it was their first game, but also the Bolt Action one unit at a time system slows down multi-player games as you can't have all the players of a side doing stuff at once.  In battles this size or bigger our BA doubles system with two command dice bags (one for each flank) would speed things up.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Operation Cromwell 2018.1: Bolt Action Tournament

16 players:
8 Axis: 6 German, 1 Romanian, 1 Italian.
8 Allied: 1 French, 2 Soviet, 2 British & 3 US.
6 players from Area 52, 5 from Good Games & 5 from Devonport Gaming Club.
Area 52 provided us with a great venue & returned the entry fees in prize vouchers. 
Many thanks to Andrew for his help.
The roster was made strictly Axis v. Allies, but also avoided matches between players from the same group.
There were 9 tables, 3 provided by the Devonport Gaming Club. 1 by Area 52, 3 by the Devenish bros, 1 by John Mumford & 1 by me, the TO.
The players made being TO a breeze - they all turned up on time & had a great attitude.

There are some detail pics of the figures & scenery posted on the Bolt Action Tasmania Facebook page.  The standard of modelling was as usual pretty amazing - so many great looking armies I couldn't possibly pick one out for a beauty prize.

The prize vouchers went to:
World Domination Prize for best Axis: Chris Mackonis
Fight for Freedom Prize for best Allied: Richard Harris
Banzai Prize for killing the most enemy but not winning: Sean Devenish
Peace Prize for killing the least enemy but looking great: Dennis Berwick
Bragging rights for best team: Good Games
Axis v. Allies: Axis well on top

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Musket and Bolt ACtion

Mark & Steve played a practice match for next Saturdays Bolt Action tournament.  Jim & Mike did Musket Action.

Musket Action:  Jim's Brits v. Mike's French: French & Indian Wars
The forces are 1,000 pts.  The Mission was to hold the hamlet or of that was still disputed to kilel at least 2 more enemy units than you lost.
The Brits are on the near side. 
The Brits plan was to grab the hamlet & hang on. 
The plan was to let them have it then blast them out of it.  
There was a lot of activity on the flanks but they were side shows.  The main event was in the centre where the bigger French coys overpowered the smaller British ones despite their greater number of coys.  away 
The French grenadiers stormed the house on the right. 
By turn 6, the Brits still held one house, but they had far higher losses than the French so Mike won his first game of Musket Action by a big margin.

Bolt Action: Steve's Germans v. Mark's Italians
1,000 pts, Sectors Scenario. 
Steve's Germans had the Italians beaten by the end of turn 5.

Monday, April 09, 2018

Practice for Operation Cromwell at Good games

Operation Cromwell 2018.1 is on next weekend & there were two practice matches at Good Games this Sunday.
Sean's Australians beat Chris' Japanese in a Meeting Engagement Scenario in the jungle.
John's Germans beat Rusty's US in a Sectors Scenario in Italy.

The event is looking good with 16 entrants - 5 from Area 52, 5 from Devonport Gaming & 6 from Good Games, 8 Axis & 8 Allies.  I've made an Axis v. Allies roster with no one playing anyone from their own mob.