Warton Wargamers

Warton Wargamers


Bosworth turned into as much of a disaster for me as it did for poor Richard III. My opponent went down with a severe case of dysentery and couldn’t make it, my back up commander was busy house painting, this is now the second time we have attempted to refight this battle. I felt compelled to do something as it had been advertised in the Warton News part of the Lancaster Guardian, Carol I believe badly needs stuff for this little piece, and I had put a notice on the PO window. You didn’t need to be a wargamer, just come and have a look at a wonderful spectacle and listen to a bit of history about Richard’s last day. When I was a lad, eyes to the sky, I would have been camped out like the release of a new iPad to see armies of miniature soldiers, but I suppose things change and they are not as interesting as the latest signing for Manchester United and maybe, possibly, those guys are warmongers, look at all the weapons. Whatever the reason this will be my last despatch from the front, after today I have a notion this may also not get any attention, the wargaming will continue of course, it will never end, there is always another army to paint, campaigns to win and rules set to digest or some accessory which just needs to be had, like chickens and dogs for the streets of my Western town. My thanks to the Village Society for letting me use the site for the past two years or so.

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A bucket load of blood spilled this month. One Dark Age campaign came to an end with a British victory, and another started with me as the Saxons, it has started well as I have already won two raids and accumulated a hoard of gold, which I suspect will be spent making my leader a Warlord. In our other campaign, I still hang on, despite expecting to be defeated and lose my last province the campaign continues. I was beat, but I managed to inflict such heavy losses on the Saxons besieging Camulodunam (Colchester) that they had to retire when my relief force next arrived. We are now locked in a series of battles over the city. We have also managed some Old West action with a couple of bank robberies, including a refight of the Northfield, Minnesota raid by the James-Younger gang. Most of the gang went down in a hail of lead as they tried to escape down main street, only two robbers managed to get away, minus the loot. Next month we should be fighting Bosworth, something we have wanted to do for some time, we now have the most up to date information on the new site and much more. This presents some problems for a wargame refight, but we will try anyway. I have the last of my citizens to paint up for my town and have just taken delivery of some new Arthurian figures who will become Romano-British nobles as I am not overly keen on the figures I have, I also intend to add some kneeling armoured infantry to some of my British Warrior Groups, I could not resist the new figures.

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JULY 2013

Two games in one day, the first was a refight of the battle of Edgecote 1469. The Yorkists had an uphill struggle to win this one but they made a brave attempt, despite an arrow storm they managed to close with their enemy but, sadly depleted by casualties , they could make no headway against the Lancastrian lines, within a short time the field was littered with Yorkist dead and the survivors fled for the rear. Our second game was another historical refight, this time the Dalton gangs raid on Coffeyville in 1892 when they tried to rob two banks on the one day. Having been spotted by the alert citizens the robbers fled with their money towards their horses which had had to be tethered in an alley some way from the banks. The townsfolk gave chase and for a time it looked like the outlaws were going to make a clean getaway. Fate however, turned against them, despite two of the robbers mounting and escaping, the other three were gunned down in a hail of lead, one being blasted from his saddle, as the local sheriff and townsfolk closed in. The main haul of $21,000 was left behind in the blood stained earth.

Our next meet should be in September, we have a lot of games to fit in and not enough time, the month could see a new Dark Age campaign, more Wild West action or more from the Wars of the Roses as we have a new player building up a Lancastrian army.

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Warton Wargamers

JUNE 2013

As I predicted the Gods did indeed desert me, I lost the battle, the city fell and a civil war broke out, the Saxons took two of my three provinces and my leader was exiled. The only bright spot on the horizon is that my new general is very rich, this will allow me to field mercenaries in the next battle and even the odds, I have to win this action or I shall lose the campaign. The British have won in the other campaign and we will be starting a new one where I shall take the part of the Saxons sometime in July. We have been eagerly awaiting the next supplement to our Dark Age battles but it would seem that we will not see it until later in the year, so we have decided to add another period to our list. Again it is a small scale game and only requires at most a dozen figures each, it will be based on the Old West. Cowboys, Lawmen, Desperado’s and Outlaws will take part in gunfights around our miniature town. The photograph is an example of what we are preparing. July should see both Dark Age battles and hopefully some Western gunfights, a refight of the battle of Bosworth is definitely on the cards for August. The Old West may become the game of choice for the remainder of the year but I also hope to get my medieval Scots and English out on to the field of glory.

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APRIL - MAY 2013

Not a lot of fighting during the past weeks despite this time of year being the traditional start of the campaigning season for non modern armies. Only one small battle in which the Saxons had to capture a Romano-British Noble for ransom, they actually managed to do this but their army fell apart in the very last minutes of the game allowing the Noble to make his escape, this was a very hard fought battle with a very lucky outcome for the British commander. One of our members has almost completed his own Romano-British army and I look forward to commanding my Saxons against it, I am generally an aggressive player and like to attack, so the Saxons should suit my way of fighting. The rest of the time has been spent building up my 28mm terrain pieces and I now have the beginnings of a walled town (see picture), I am still awaiting delivery of some tents and three ships from the USA, the ships will be used by Saxons and other raiders, so a hard time coming up for the British. We have one more battle to fight this month as once again I try to relieve a town before it falls to the invaders, however I feel the gods are about to desert me in this one.

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Until the weather hit we managed at least two gaming sessions a month, all set in the Dark Ages as our armies grow in numbers, as I expected my Saxons are now complete and it only remains for me to paint up some spare units and characters i.e. villagers, livestock and religious leaders, both pagan and Christian. Over the past months we have had raids on churches and farms, leaders have been captured and ransomed for large sums, two fully fledged battles complete with mercenaries, a city laid under siege and that siege broken by a relief army days before it would have fallen to the Saxon curs. We have two campaigns, one in which the British are ahead and the other finely balanced between Saxon and Briton but with the British having to pull out all the stops to remain a fighting force. Plans for the rest of the year involve learning a new set of rules in order to refight the battles of Robert Bruce and Edward I and a refight of the Battle of Bosworth 1485. The latter is planned for the 24th August, two days after the actual battle, we may get a chance to allow people to drop by and witness a large game in action and explain the other periods we play.

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Well we now have all the terrain pieces we need for the new game and have managed to have another battle despite everything. The Saxons under Saebert the Bearded a womaniser from a poor family led his men on what he presumed would be an easy target, an isolated farm on the border of Caeseromagus. Unfortunately for Saebert the British had had warning of his attack and were occupying the farmstead as his troops swooped, this proved crucial as the game unfolded. With the farm being defended Saebert and one of his hearthguard units identified and attacked the British lord, Tribune Ambrosius, along with his own bodyguard. In a sharp fight Ambrosius was slightly wounded but his men took horrendous casualties, however as he was on the verge of victory Saebert found himself attacked in the flank by warriors from the farm, his own men having been reluctant to assault the shieldwall defending the buildings. The hearthguard broke and Saebert suffered a minor wound during the retreat. Ambrosius now moved into the farmyard to bolster and lead his warriors, his bodyguard retreating to lick their wounds. The fighting in the farmyard increased as the newly formed shieldwall advanced, soon the Saxons in that area were running for the rear. Meanwhile Saebert had returned to the fray and moved on the British Levy, just as he broke their shieldwall he noticed that his men to the south of the farm had been attacked and swept from the field. It was time to go.

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It now became a race to see if Saebert could successfully leave the area the way he had came, some excellent shooting by his archers gave the British pause but eventually Praefectus Constans found himself in a position to block Saebert, his rash decision to attack only resulted in a light wound for himself and death for his men. After this the British watched warily as Saebert and his remaining men withdrew. The result of the raid was a draw, although Saebert left with nothing casualties had been heavy on both sides, this didn’t suit Ambrosius who desperately needs money. We are now running two Dux Britanniarum campaigns side by side. I have now started painting the ‘extra’s’ for the British while awaiting a hoped for Christmas delivery of Saxon warriors, I hope to have a full complement of Saxons by Easter at the latest.

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This month we started our Dark Age campaign, I am defending the cities of Bath and Gloucester and the surrounding area from Saxon raids from the south east, it is March 550 AD and most of the east and south have fallen to the barbarians but they want ever more and now threaten my borders. I have completed my basic Romano-British army and they were all present as I attempted to stop a Saxon warband make off with a herd of cattle they had stolen. The dumb beasts slowed the Saxons down somewhat and this allowed me to marshal my forces and attack the raiders piecemeal as they tried to sneak past my troops. My best soldiers got bogged down fighting in a wood and took a surprisingly long time to destroy two groups of the thieves, despite the presence of Tribune Constantine the Romano-British Lord. British archers arrived to help and their barbs caused the Saxons to break, the Levy meanwhile took up a blocking position, ran off the enemy archers and disordered the Saxons so much that more of the barbarians fell and the cattle were recaptured. The Saxons took heavy losses from which it will take at least two months to recover, Romano-British losses were light and therefore things on the border should be quiet until at least June 550AD.

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With the festive season almost on us and visitors expected at Casa Anderson our next official outing will be January, as ever we will find time to encourage new recruits if such exist. This time lapse will also enable me to complete my Romano-British forces by adding cavalry and mercenaries. We have also covered most of our terrain requirements with wagons, carts, livestock, watchtowers, churches and farms. After Christmas I intend to continue painting 28mm figures from the Dark Ages and will likely build my own Saxon army, although rules and information are due shortly for Picts, Irish and Scotti, these last three are ‘raider’ armies and are a bit light for my play style, also they do not have nice big shields and flags/banners, both of which I like painting. So, we settle down for a quiet period, sharpen our swords and spears, check our equipment and await the return of those bloodthirsty curs.


As usual when I start a new period I need to know something about it, I won’t just drop an army on the table which conforms to whatever rule set I am using without being able to answer at least the most basic questions of who they are and why they are fighting. To this end I find myself looking for books on pre-Roman Britain, a period of which to date I have only a passing knowledge of, but this will change over the coming months until I get to the point where I can bore people, once you get there you know you have made it.

As I mentioned before we were to play Dux Britanniarum a rule set which was full of concepts which are utterly alien to the way I have played my wargames for the past 45 years or so. The rule book is big, glossy and at the first reading gives the impression it is very pleased with itself, not like a normal rulebook which was a surprise to me, it also sucks you in to its world, it not only offers a set of rules but a way of life, it is a campaign system with a set of wargame rules tagged on not the other way around which is more usual. Despite my enthusiasm for painting my new army there was no way it was going to be ready for our first try of the rules, we therefore beefed up my forces with press ganged Vikings from Glyn’s Saga troops, what Saxons he has already completed and my small token force of Romano-Britons.

The game was a Saxon raid on a small farmstead, the barbarians advanced swiftly and were almost upon the objective before the main British force under Tribune Constantine ‘The Able’ arrived. Constantine’s Companions under his friend Maximianus’ command had hurried forward but on seeing the numbers of the enemy descending on the farm, wisely held back. As the Saxons broke down doors and ransacked the interiors, the Romano-British levy troops hurried forward intending to trap them in the buildings, where their numbers hopefully would be a hindrance. Old Octavius misjudged this fight badly and his Milites suffered horrendous casualties from the veteran Saxon elites commanded by their Lord along with his towering champion. The rest of Constantine's force advanced more slowly than their lord would have wished, but eventually caught a group of Saxons isolated from the main body and took their revenge for the loss of the Levy. At this point the right flanks of both sides had been devastated and the Saxons had found no loot in the buildings they had entered, the Romano-British on the other hand looked unlikely to beat the remaining Saxons without losing a great many troops, if indeed they could do so.

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We had been gaming for just over four hours, in that time we built up our characters for the upcoming campaign which we intend to start next month, used them in our trial raid and learnt the basics of the game. We also learned that we could not just throw men into action and damn the consequences, because although we did not finish the game I worked out roughly that both of us would take two campaign months to replenish our ‘moderate’ losses, I was very close to suffering ‘heavy’ losses due to the damage taken by my impetuous use of the Levy. Glynn’s equally mistaken advance had also cost him dear, clearly more thought is required in gaining the raid’s objective rather than killing everyone in your path and suffering for it. The command and control activation, which is again based on cards and the status of your noble or nobles worked very well, I was expecting not to like this, but my fears were groundless. Once the action starts it is pretty short, sharp and nasty, Nobles are especially effective in combats.

I have only fought my first battle and already I am looking to building up more armies, British and possibly Saxons or ‘Raiders’ the latter being either Irish, Scotti or Picts.


Well, once again we ventured to sea. This time a famous Confederate blockade runner the A.D.Vance (geddit?) had run aground just outside the port of Charleston with a highly valuable cargo. Two Union vessels were despatched to either capture her or sink her, two Confederate vessels set out to stop this. The Yankee ships were too cautious in their approach while the Rebs came on at full speed, to make matters worse the blockade runner managed to free herself from the shallow sands very quickly and turned for the port and safety between the oncoming warships. Both Yankee vessels seemed at a loss and both suffered from being rammed, guns were dismounted, rudders and paddlewheels smashed while both started to fill with water, soon fires also spread inside both ships. The USS Indianola’s crew could not continue the fight and also save their vessel so they lowered their flag and surrendered, the USS Fort Hindman was a blazing wreck and her crew took to the water and abandoned the floating torch. A sad day for the Union. Having discussed a new rule set dealing with warfare in Britain set in the period after the Roman Legions had left and the island become a battleground of warring factions, one possibly ruled by the legendary Arthur, I have decided to once again take up my paint brush and jump into a new wargaming period. I have also chosen to be a Romano-British warlord as my friend has already started building a Saxon raiding force, this game only requires around 40 figures for each side so not a huge strain on my wallet, albeit they are 28mm and absolute wonders of the sculptors art. They are around £1.50 - £2 for an infantry figure and almost treble that for the eventual cavalry I shall obviously need, oh and there are leaders, heroes, commanders, mercenaries, priests, monks, buildings, wagons, carts etc. then I might buy my own barbarians, Picts or Welsh, wargaming is a way of life, not a hobby, and I might need a larger wallet. We are going to have an introductory game next month by press ganging a bunch of Vikings to pretend they are Romano-British, I might even have one of my own units ready by then. I look forward to preserving British civilisation from the barbarians, hopefully I will do better than the original Romano-British.


This month finds me all at sea, it was a hard decision on whether to do WWI Naval or American Civil War Naval, the latter won. My ships have not been out of harbour for some time and the game stuttered at times while we looked up rules and checked mechanisms, but all in all it turned out an excellent afternoon. Two Confederate warships, CSS Gaines, a paddle steamer and CSS Bragg, a ram, were making a reconnaissance up the Yazoo river when they met two Yankee ships on picket duty, USS Rhode Island, a paddle steamer similar to the Gaines and the smaller USS Itasca, a steamship. Both sides closed rapidly and soon both were under fire, a lucky shot beheaded the river pilot on the Rhode Island and while the crew searched for a replacement the ship failed to manoeuvre and sailed a straight course into the enemy. The CSS Bragg, having only a small number of guns had to close the Rhode Island as fast as she could to use her armoured bow and deal the Yankee gunboat a mortal blow, this she failed to do, but only just, she turned and pursued while her cotton bale ‘armour’ kept her relatively safe from shellfire. Cotton bales were lashed to Confederate ships to lessen the effect of enemy shells and were surprisingly resilient. Meanwhile the Rhode Island received a full broadside from the Gaines at point blank range and suffered a magazine explosion which ripped her apart and she swiftly sank. The Gaines in turn took a broadside from the passing Rhode Island which holed the hull and set her afire, despite the best efforts of her crew the fire could not be quenched nor the inrush of water halted, so they eventually abandoned ship and left her to her fate. The Rhode Island’s crew were not made of such stuff and having one paddle wheel out of action and after having put out two fires and plugged a hole in her hull turned for home. Her parting shots however holed the Bragg’s hull and also started a fire, finding themselves overwhelmed by the damage the Bragg’s crew abandoned ship. The action was declared a draw, the Confederates had lost both ships, the Yankee’s one, however the remaining Union vessel left the scene badly damaged and without knowing the eventual fate of the Bragg or the Gaines. The game proved such a success that we will be returning to ACW Naval in September, both sides no doubt eager to put up a better show.

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Well, the ‘summer’ has caught up with me, so with holidays and visitors landing on my doorstep the ‘real’ wargaming has taken a back seat, at least for now, that would not stop me introducing new people to the battlefield but my organised games are on hold. I have just started playing ‘Wargame: European Escalation’ on my PC, it is a computer wargame which deals with a hypothetical war between Nato and the Warsaw Pact between 1975 – 85. The game is at platoon or individual vehicle level and you can play either side, mixing the different allies or remaining all one nation i.e. British or Polish. This is one of the very few wargames on a computer which is really a wargame in the sense that miniature gamers, like me, can play and enjoy it without moaning, well, almost. About the only other one I can recommend is Company of Heroes, but if you don’t really care about realism in your wargames then there are a score of them out there, the Total War series for instance.

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JUNE 2012

A weekend of wargaming, a refight of First Bull Run during the American Civil War, a game which lasted 13 hours over two days. The Yankee’s have stolen a march on the Confederates defending Bull Run, but they have to be aggressive and destroy the small amount of Rebs in front of them and take the important Henry House hill to the south, which dominates the battlefield, before Confederate reinforcements arrive to shore up the defence. Just in front of Henry House hill though is Bucks hill, already occupied by Reb troops in a blocking position, however the Reb commander did not feel that the hill was worth defending and abandoned it. This allowed me, as the Union commander, to place four artillery batteries which swept the forward defences on Henry House hill, not before I had also made a bad decision which almost lost me a full brigade. As Union troops arrived from the north the pressure began to tell on the uncoordinated Rebel defence, hampered as they were in their movements by the guns on Mathew’s hill. The battle was halted at this point and we retreated to the pub. On the Sunday morning we picked up from where we had left off, at a critical juncture some Rebel regiments fled to the rear leaving a large gap in the middle of their defence. Union troops poured into the gap and then put pressure on both ends of the Confederate line. Slowly but surely the Rebs began to give way. Despite more reinforcements arriving from the south the soldiers seemed to sense all was lost as unit after unit refused to stand in line and fled for the rear. Despite trying his best the Confederate commander had to eventually concede defeat as the Union were left masters of Henry House hill.

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This was a refight of a battle, which, if the Union had won in 1861, would probably have seen the American Civil War end in a matter of months, however the reality of a Confederate victory against the odds ensured the war lasted years and not months.

For my part, fighting against a very capable opponent, I made one bad mistake on Bucks hill early on and advanced a brigade which suffered needless high casualties. Thankfully my opposite number did not take advantage of this and the brigade survived, but took no further part in the action. My only other disappointment was on my extreme right flank, where the commanding officer of a very large brigade was killed and replaced by a complete novice, this meant that it took twice as long as it should to attack in that area, I also lost a division commander at the same time, who was replaced by the idiot who lost his brigade on Bucks hill! I cannot end without mentioning one small Confederate battery which suffered throughout the battle but remained unbeaten to the end, I had to virtually swamp it with infantry and dismantle the guns with screwdrivers to stop them firing.

I believe the end of July will be our next big game, I am thinking of bringing my WWI fleets out of storage for some naval action, a few battlecruisers and their escorts duelling in the North Sea. I also want to refight Bull Run again at some point in the coming months, but this time I will try and hold Henry House hill instead of attacking it.

APRIL 2012

Virginia, May 1864, outside the town of Newmarket in the Shenandoah Valley. A Union army under the political general Franz Sigel, a German, has advanced in dribs and drabs to the outskirts of Newmarket, a rapidly raised scratch force of Confederates under John Breckinridge has marched to confront them, about noon the first shots are fired as the artillery of both sides open up. The Union side have to hold their ground while the rest of their army arrives from the north before they can attack Breckinridge, the Rebels have to advance quickly and defeat Sigel piecemeal. I was the Confederate commander and duly sent my boys forward at a fast pace, while moving three gun batteries into a better position to annoy the enemy on their hill, the guns did great execution amongst the Federal troops and before long many were running for the rear. Confederate sharpshooters added to the mayhem by targeting Union gunners. The first Federal reinforcements to arrive, a cavalry brigade, being raw recruits and badly led, advanced against a prepared position and were destroyed by Rebel cavalry and swept from the field, many being captured. The Confederate infantry advanced to take the Union high ground ably supported by their artillery, which then moved forward to form another gun line closer to the bluecoats. The Union forces found themselves out flanked and squashed into a ‘killing ground’ by early afternoon, by which time their commander ordered a withdrawal. The Confederate artillery had been well handled and had performed brilliantly, as had the sharpshooters and contributed much to the victory, the Union on the other hand lost at least four stands of colours and hundreds of men captured, along with ten cannon left on the battlefield.

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Newmarket entered into legend due to the use of cadets average age was seventeen, on the Confederate side from the Virginia Military Institute, a famous military school. Their part in the actual battle was exaggerated of course. If you have ever seen John Wayne in ‘The Horse Soldiers’ the VMI were the inspiration for the schoolboy attack in the movie. Franz Sigel was sacked after this battle, but he should have been sacked back in 1861, he owed his position to political friends and the large German community in the States at the time. In the accompanying picture the two stands of Confederate troops on the lower left with the white headgear and drummer holding his hat up are miniature VMI cadets.

I have several clashes coming up between the Gray and the Blue in May and June, but this time against veteran generals with long experience of these kinds of battles. I still have time to introduce newcomers so give me a ring.


Well, at long last I managed to play out this scenario, I have been waiting weeks to get everyone ready, no new volunteers which is a shame. Anyway, the British had to escort two bombers to a bridge deep behind the front line, the Germans needed the bridge to enable their troops to continue retreating from the Allied advance. During WWI Scout was the name given to single pilot fighters, a Fighter was normally a two seat interceptor, a ‘Harry Tate’ was a recce aircraft an RE.8 formally, an SE5a and Snipe were late war British Scouts, I am sure most people know that a Fokker, whatever the number is a German Scout.

Four scouts, two bombers and a reconnaissance plane crossed the lines early in the morning to be met by four German scouts, all Albatros Dva’s, a scout a bit long in the teeth near the end of the war but still capable of handing out punishment to slow flying bombers. As the Germans closed on the bombers one SE5a piloted by an ace took a severe beating, losing the ability to turn and taking engine damage which caused him subsequently to take little part in the running fight. ‘B’ Flight leader 'Chippy' Towers got mixed up in the bomber stream despite being ordered not to and caused havoc as the large ships spent more time dodging his Snipe than shooting at the enemy.

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After this 'Chippy' ended up at the rear of the British force and took no part in the defence of the bombers, who by this time had a flock of Albatros on their tails, it was now that the bombers rear guns started to jam which meant they took heavy damage and dealt out very little, very soon smoke and flames streamed from damaged engines and dead pilots lay across their controls. One brave SE5a pilot stood alone and doggedly followed the Boche pack and eventually shot down two of them. Meanwhile the 'Harry Tate' along hopefully to film a successful attack had to break formation and join the lone defender against the Hun. On reaching the second leg of the action both bombers were still in line but desperately wounded. A second wave of Boche Scouts now fell on them and very soon both bombers fell from the sky, one being blown apart by a well aimed anti-aircraft round, just as it was positioning for a bomb run. it was now 'Chippy' turned up and a large dogfight ensued, two Fokker DVIII's were quickly shot down and this left only two Fokker DVII's and a badly damaged Albatros in the air. The Germans had won, and although their Scouts suffered badly, five out of eight were shot down, the bridge remained intact.

A great game, some really bad luck on the bombers part as they were either dodging friendlies or unable to shoot due to jams. Oh yes, and 'Chippy' is now CO of a stores depot in the Outer Hebrides! Our next large game will be in April, a refight of the battle of New Market during the American Civil War, there may be some smaller games before then.


Several months of hard campaigning finds the armies of the pretender Warbeck and Henry VII facing each other from two slight ridges. Henry has three even Battles with some artillery in the centre and a small group of cavalry on his extreme left, his plan is to hold his ground and let the enemy come to him, he has delegated the command of his army to George Talbot, 4th Earl of Shrewsbury. The Yorkists too wanted to act with caution, however their left hand battle was given most of the superior troops and an extra contingent, this Battle was to advance quickly, engage, and defeat those opposite then turn on the Lancastrian centre, while the rest of the army held their positions. Sadly this elite unit got off to a bad start when the Howard brothers refused to move, eventually however they set off minus John Howard who steadfastly remained static for the whole battle. The Lancastrian left suffered even worse, with a full contingent under Sir John Savage running from the field never to return. At last, true to plan the Yorkist left met and defeated their opposite numbers although they lost Sir Francis Lovell to a well aimed bill stroke, but they did manage to capture Lord Grey as his men were pushed back then routed.

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Throwing caution to the wind Shrewsbury ordered a general advance, but this was thrown into disorder, especially on the far left due to several commanders refusing or delaying their movements. The Yorkists now pushed their right forward against a crumbling Lancastrian army. Lady luck had come down for the House of York as panic spread through the Lancastrian ranks and men looked to the rear, dropped their weapons and fled. During the battle itself there had not been a great deal of fighting, but there was great slaughter in the pursuit as the Yorkists wanted to put an end to the Lancastrian ability to survive this third combat for the throne. Postscript: Poor Perkin Warbeck did not live to enjoy his victory, he was found dead the morning after the battle with a broken neck, he is said to have fallen off his horse during a drunken prank while celebrating. The aging Sir John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, as the next in line to the dead Richard III was declared king. Henry on the other hand was dragged from his refuge in a peasants hut and despatched by his pursuers, the first and last of the Tudors!

So ends a trilogy of battles based on an historical event, thoroughly enjoyed throughout and it was wonderful to see such colourful soldiers in large numbers deployed on the tabletop. Our next plans for the Wars of the Roses may involve some refights of known battles eg. Towton, 2nd St Albans, Bosworth etc., as our armies grow in numbers anything is now possible.

A date has already been set for February, the 25th, and it is planned to play out a British bombing raid on a railway bridge behind German Lines in 1918. We have four players at the moment but would welcome anyone else who would like to come along so that we can put more aircraft into the air. The basics of the game can be learned in minutes so do not be put off.


I hadn’t planned anything until January but last night an opportunity opened up for a quick game, this is where Wings of War comes into its own, it takes five or ten minutes to set up. I had recently finished another set of aircraft and decided to try them out.

A British Short seaplane has had to ditch and the crew await rescue. A Felixstowe flying boat has spotted them and has the room for the extra crew, however so has a patrol from Nordeney air station, two Hansa-Brandenburg W29's.

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I was the British and decided to be bold and land the Felixstowe first, pick up the downed crew and then take on the Hun. Sadly the pilot overshot the Short and then, mixing up his port from starboard, flew away from it trying to manouvre the beast round to a better landing approach. The W29's had a field day shooting up the Short with almost no return fire, circling like sharks they made short(!) work of it.

As the Short disappeared below the waves the Felixstowe finally arrived, guns blazing, it was now the German's turn to become confused and this left only one W29 in close proximity to the Felixstowe long enough for it to be shot down.

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The second W29 decided he wanted revenge and duelled with the giant for a short time until he saw the futility and limped off home. A sad day for both sides but a German victory in that the Short crew had not been rescued. The British got their revenge in the second game set in mid-1916 as two Sopwith Pups duelled with an Albatros DIII and a Fokker triplane belonging to the brother of the famous Manfred von Richthofen, oh, and if you watch the film ‘Red Baron’ over Christmas, enjoy the aerial scenes and take the rest with a large pinch of salt.

The plans for January are supposed to include the final battle in our Wars of the Roses trilogy, however I would also like to fit in another American Civil War battle and if Christmas goes to plan I shall have some large German and British two engined bombers to try out over London and the Western Front.


This month we took to the air over the Western Front. The main reason was that I wanted to try out a new model, the Short 184 float plane, a larger model then my usual Scouts and two-seaters. The game was based on a bomber returning from a raid into German territory, flying slowly because of a damaged engine, this of course made it a target for any Boche airplanes in the area.

Just before reaching the Allied line the bomber was jumped by two fighters, an Albatros DIII and a Pfalz DIII, both fairly decent aircraft armed with two forward firing machine guns, the poor Short only had a single rear gun so was powerless if attacked from the front. The Germans however decided to attack from the rear and easily managed to stay on the bomber’s tail. As the bullets began to sing through the fabric of the Short a nearby allied scout joined the fray, a Sopwith Camel from a Royal Navy air squadron, who had managed to get behind the Germans. Sadly for the allies the guns on both the Short and Camel began to jam, leaving them unable to defend or attack, also both planes were being engulfed by engine fires. The Short crashed in no man’s land and the Camel decided discretion was the better part of valour and headed home, no doubt to have a word with the armourers about his defective ammunition.

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The second game was for fun and involved a German observation balloon which had slipped its moorings and was wandering over the front blown this way and that by the wind. The Germans wanted to bring it down before the Allies captured it and the French wanted the glory of shooting it down, so whoever shot it down won the game. Unfortunately the balloon proved a hard target as no one knew exactly which course it would take and both sides only managed a few shots into it which failed to light it up, they then decided to attack each other and whoever survived would go after the elusive balloon.

The French lost as their Nieuport 17 quickly fell to the guns of a black triplane and their Spad XIII limped back to base heavily damaged. No one managed to get the balloon! The final battle of our Yorkist campaign will now take place after Christmas as the Lancastrian commander wants to add a newly painted Henry VII to his army along with some mounted men-at-arms, perhaps Henry’s presence will halt the decline in Tudor arms which has resulted in the victorious Yorkists approaching the capital.


Apart from some small aerial actions its been a while since I had a proper battle due to my hosting visitors from abroad for most of the year.

At last we have managed the second round of our Yorkist struggle to regain the throne. This is a series of three battles where the Yorkist Pretender Perkin Warbeck must win each one in order to advance on London and gain the throne, he has already passed his first test by winning the initial fight. A field somewhere to the south of Pontefract, a dull grey day and both armies face each other, their ranks swollen with new recruits, the Yorkists after the success of their first victory and the Tudor/Lancastrians pulling out all the stops to bring the rebellion to an end. Henry Percy, Earl of Northumberland now commanding the Yorkist army put all his best troops on his left and the Scots mercenaries in the centre, the right was to be lightly held and hopefully not become engaged until the others had won the battle with a swift advance.

The Lancastrians did the same but were spread out more than the Yorkists who kept their array tightly formed. The Lancastrian plan went awry from the beginning as their centre Battle threw caution to the wind and ran forward eager for combat, disobeying all attempts to stop them. This gave the Yorkists the opportunity to amend their plan and overwhelm the rash enemy before the others could interfere.

The desperate fighting led to the demise of a number of Yorkist leaders, Sir John De La Pole and the Scots leaders Stewart and Grant all fell to hammer blows while they managed to bring down Stowe and Bould on the opposite side, nevertheless the Lancastrian centre fell apart and fled the field. Meanwhile the Yorkist right came under attack and despite holding the high ground they gave way to the superior forces facing them losing Sir John Touchet and Sir James Harrington, while the unlucky Sir Thomas Scrope was dragged from the front line and captured, later to be executed. At this point Percy and the Scots had rallied and were returning to the fray, seeing all was now lost the surviving Lancastrians left the field.

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This battle was a far tougher struggle than the first encounter and the high casualties on both sides confirmed it as such, despite losing more leaders than their enemy the Yorkists are preparing to march on London in the sure knowledge that their second victory will bring even more recruits to their banner. It is unknown though whether the excellent Scottish troops will continue south or return home, especially now that their leader lies dead. Henry Tudor of course will have to call on those of his subjects who remain loyal to bring their retinues for a final conflict before he loses both his throne and his life.

The final battle may have to wait until next year, the Lancastrian commander wants to paint more troops to add to his army, some cavalry and maybe some continental mercenaries while we also want to fight some naval games during the next couple of meetings.

Don’t forget if your interest is aroused then contact me.

JUNE 2011

Due to my Lancastrian opponent being unable to finish some new figures we were unable to fight our Wars of the Roses battle this month. Instead we played some Wings of War, a game using miniature 1/144 model airplanes based on WWI. WoW is what is known as a ‘beer and pretzels’ game, it is not serious, but is a lot of fun and a great way to chill out and as long as you bring your own beer you do not have to wait until the trip to the pub!

The scenario for the game was that a two seater aircraft doing a photo recce behind enemy lines has been forced down, the pilot expiring on landing. This aircraft has some valuable pictures onboard and was seen to go down by friendly aircraft, therefore the camera must be retrieved, which will mean the remaining crew member, the observer, dismantling the camera from its mount and a friendly aircraft landing and picking it up.

The aircraft forced down was a French two seater, a Breguet 14, the first aircraft on the scene were French, two Spad XIII's and one Nieuport 17, the Boche arrived in the shape of a Fokker DVII and a Fokker Dr.I, the famous triplane. The Nieuport landed close to the two seater while the Spad's went for the Germans. The camera mount had been damaged and was proving a struggle to free. The Germans managed several runs on the grounded planes, forcing the observer to take some shots at them and heavily damaging the Nieuport. A lucky shot blew the DVII out of the air just as a Pfalz DIII and another triplane arrived. Another Nieuport turned up for the French. The grounded Nieuport pilot gave up waiting for the camera and only just managed to get his shot up crate back into the air and head for home. By now the Germans had lost two more aircraft and the French one of their Spad's, however the second Neiuport was now on the ground and getting ready to receive the camera while the remaining triplane attempted to limp home with flames coming from his engine. The observer of course wasn't too happy to get left behind as there was no room in the Nieuport for him and the camera, but no doubt he would receive a medal in due course for saving the camera.

Overall a convincing French win, however they were lucky in that the DVII, an excellent fighter aircraft, took a hit which caused a catastrophic explosion early in the game. The Germans continued to have bad luck as one of the one of the triplanes and the Pfalz caught fire which although they were extinguished caused severe damage to the aircraft.

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A photo of an earlier game, not the one described here but it shows the type of game.

MAY 2011

On Saturday 14th May the lead elements of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia met troops from the Union Army of the Potomac, the Rebels consisted of four brigades from Hood’s division while the Union force involved men from both the First and Eleventh Corps.

The Federal forces were led by an experienced commander and a newly promoted general while the Rebels were led by a veteran of many battles. Sadly for the new recruit the main Confederate attack led by the elite ‘Texas’ brigade assaulted his position which quickly crumbled, wiping out three complete regiments while forcing his remaining troops to flee for the rear. It almost looked to the Union command that it was time to find a white flag, however a series of wild charges on the left of the battlefield swept away half the Confederate army, at the same time some of the fleeing Yankee regiments were persuaded to return to the field. The fortunes of war had reversed themselves and the Union had grasped victory from the jaws of defeat, but only just in time.

As the smoke slowly cleared and the last cracks of musketry died away, it was time to retreat to a local tavern where the victory libation was bought by the defeated commander, and the good natured ‘recrimination’ phase began, with shouts of “at least my guys didn’t run” and “why didn’t you move those guns” etc. etc. The next action will take place during the Wars of the Roses as Yorkist Rebels with Scottish help meet a Lancastrian army as they attempt to remove Henry VII from the throne.