Thursday, July 31, 2014

Less than 10 hours! Bloggers For Charity 2014 Auction

The Auction ends today UK time. Bid early bid often 2014 AUCTION.  Especially Bid on lot 7b but pick up any of these Bargains!

Painted by yours truly and I will be disappointed if they don't get a least a little bidding action!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Knights of St. John Mounted Crossbow men

 The Final unit of my army mounted Crossbowmen. I really like these guys but I think they may have been put in my army set in error.   
The Knights army contains 4 units of Crossbows 2 are 4CB and 2 are 3CB neither is described as mounted.  As I got 8 mounted Crossbowmen and 6 crossbowmen on foot it seemed fairly clear which was which.
These figures looked like they have been crammed on to the base because they have... I may have s seek out some foot crossbowmen use as this element of my army and remount these on a base that fits them better.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Knights of St. John Crossbowmen

 The Crossbow was the wonder weapon of the Middle ages.  The Bow requires years of practice to master by comparison any man can be trained to use crossbow. Granted a trained man will serve better than an untrained man but any conscript could use a crossbow.
 These men are probably the more skilled variety probably mercenaries from Italy like the Genoese Crossbowmen
Crossbows were consider such a deviating weapon they were out load in warfare against Christians but as the Knights of St. John Historically fight Turks and others of the Muslim opponents that's not an issue... and the ban by Innocent II was largely ignored any way

Knights of St. John for DBA

 So we come to the knights them selves.  The Essex figures provided are pretty much generic knights and do not have the surcoat that was typical of the Knight of Saint John.

 That said I think I managed to convay who these guys are.
 The Generals stand show three knights in full harness of plate armor par excellence of the high Middle Ages and Renaissance.  Again nothing about these figures says "Knights of St. John" but they are well crafted and I realy like the detains on the armor.
On the Bright side the generic nature of the figures does mean I can adapt them to other armies.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hobby Bunker campaign (9) and Final

John and I met for our final battle of the Longstreet campaign. John came in with a one point lead in Epic points while I had won 5 of 8 battles.  It was as close as one could wish for a final game.  I won the scouting roll and my men seized the fords John would have to take them and the objectives from me...
 but with objectives at both sides of the table I had a lot of ground to defend and John had more troops.
 The river it self is impassible thought streams going north and south are not they are simply difficult going
 I've placed my artillery so I can hit John with 5 to 7 cannon when he emerges from the woods but he uses his own artillery to knock out the battery guarding the west most ford.  I keep my best troops the Trans-Mississippi regiment, the Georgia regiment (the now combined 17th and 20th Georgia) and the Alabama troops back while the Virginians and the cavalry hold the fords directly.
John has a regiment racing for the ford while I send the Georgia regiment dashing for the ford. The bulk of the union forces sticks to the woods threatening two center fords directly but also in a good place to move on the western and eastern most fords.
 John starts to emerge from the woods.. my men take aim but though I score many hits I can't confirm them..
 The race is on! Using the Quick step card I am able to reach the ford!
 Then I play Couldn't hit an elephant John loses 3 cards and can't execute his plans.. he hits me in turn with the same card... I have to choose between shooting and moving as I have but 2 cards left... I choose to shoot.
 and the Georgina's prove they are as adept with the spade as the musket digging in on the river bank!
 Artillery fire start to take its toll on the Yankees
 The 54th Mass is moving in on the ford.
 John is still slow to commit and until he does I cannot.  I do sen the Alabama boys up... the 54th is to large and scary.  My only reserves are the Trans-Mississippi troops.
 John has reduced my Georgian troops but they throw him back when he charges as its the only charge I gain an Epic point for standing off all attack but now john is starting to bring his artillery to bare.  Slowly men and guns are knocked out...
 I do my own damage but now 6 of my original 9 guns are knocked out...
 I send my cavalry over the river to give John a little something to worry about... they do nothing
 John presses on three fords at once.  The 54th is hit with canister and rifle fire shining it from 10 to 6 stands... other union units also suffer as my dice suddenly heat up. John has 18 loss now and the shatter point is 22 I role a 1... the game goes on! John is ready with a charge that will give him at least one epic point...
But I play the old rivals card stopping  the 54th in its tracks and leaving John short of the 10 stand charge he needs. John decided to conceded  at this point and I won the game and the campaign by 1 epic point! This was a great climatic battle my brigade held the line but John used a vary good strategy forcing me to defend at every point and using his superior artillery to advantage I lost 7 of 9 guns! The fords limited his ability to bring numbers to bare but he still used his more numerous forces to make me defend at every point.  If John had been just a little luckier with his dice (which were pretty good most of the game especially in counter battery fire) of if Had not had the old rivals card (and the patients to hang on to it) the could have easily been John's victory. I have thoroughly enjoyed this campaign and would love to try it again with some more players.   Of course history doesn't change... I may have bought the Army of Norther Virginia and Robert E Lee a few more hours of maneuver before they had to ask for terms but that is all... still I can retire to the life of southern gentleman and sell my memoirs in a few years when the political climate improves and I am sure  they will be popular.  John probably gets elected to the Senate... heck he might even give Grant a run for his money :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Last March

The column of gray and brown clad men trundle past their general as he paused by the cross roads directing their march along the proper road.  Some men called out or waved as they move passed and he acknowledged them with a nod and a word of encorgment.

No one cheered, he had never been a cheering general in any case, and after the months they had spent "below ground" around Petersburg only to be force out a last no one really felt much like cheering.

Men were deserting, even in his old brigade, men knew when a cause was lost and as much as he need every man he could hardly blame them for wanting to get home alive after so much struggle.  Every day fewer men answered call, some gone, some broken down, and some dead of too much marching on too little food.

He had been at a meeting of Corps commanders (his own "corps" was barely the size of a small division these days) the previous night. In theory  they were trying to break out of the closing ring of  Union troops and unite with Joe Johnson but really they were just trying to keep the army together and moving one day, and one fight at a time.

General Lee rides up (the men do cheer when they see him and he raises his hat in reply) and speaks "General Carriere my scout's report the enemy is a head of us somewhere do you have any definite news of him?"

"I am sorry General I do not.  I have a screen of cavalry a head of me but fear they are too few."

General Lee looks troubled "We cannot be cut off if you find the enemy in front of you break through if you can, but if he holds the position in strength then try to hold the road open so we may slip around him."

"Yes sir, I have issued those orders to my brigade and regimental commanders they understand what is at stake. I will break through if it is possible... if not we will buy you all the time we can. God grant it has not all been in vain."

"God grant it has not been in vain" repeated General Lee "and God Grant you find you way home again General. Save as many of are boys as you can, we will need them come what may." With that Lee spurred his horse and road off his aids training behind him like the tail of a kite. 

General Carrier stood there a moment longer before mounting his horse and turning to his aid "Well I had best go see what is ahead of us... this cannot last much longer."

John and I have our last battle of the Longstreet Campaign planned for Thursday July 24th (tomorrow night)  John has a strong army and a thin lead  in epic point going into this final battle.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Alien Dungeon Trenches WIP

I got these from Alien Dungeon as part of their All Quiet on the Martian Front on the left is the trench and bomb poof part of the trench set as the come out of the box.  It almost looks good enough to use as is but...
 not quite.  I primed black and they gave the dirt part a coat of Valspar English Tea Party that I got from Lowell on the clearance rack. I over estimated the amount of paint I would need but it will work for some other projects as well.
 I then used Vallejo leather brown on top of the dirt...
 and Vallejo natural wood on the support breams and duck boards
I plan to use these with FOW fortified companies and if it proves active in my area FOW Great War. Naturally they will also get use in the occasional All Quiet on the Martian Front.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Check your Six at 3 Trolls

As my lady was working today I was able to make my way to 3 Trolls for a rare Saturday morning game.  They were playing a game called Check your Six I was flying two Petes a Japanese float plane fighter defending a sea plane carrier.
The US is attaching from form two directions we choose to try and head off the Dauntless Dive Bomber hoping the Avengers would take too long to get in and get hits. My planes are the two in gray. 
Hear come the Avengers... seeming to have a free and clear run...
 I've got my eye on two Dauntless dive bombers...
But in turn turning in be hind them I find myself in the cross hairs (actually latter in the game it was remembered that a Dauntless with a bomb has only a range of 1 with its forwarded MGs, oh well)
At least this benefited my survivor. My dice rolling is terrible I got a few hits but never rolled enough damage to hurt a single US plane.
The US take a lot of hits but break through and land one torpedo on the Seaplane carrier they manage some damage but not enough to sink it so the day ends in a draw.  

More pictures here:Fencing Frog Gaming Adventures

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Great War by Flame of Wars my sight unseen take.

As anyone who any interest in History realizes we are fast approaching the 100 anniversary of the start of the Great War (10 days from the day the war began as of this writing).  I've had an interest in the Great War since reading John Keegan's excellent single volume history of that conflict.

A few month ago I like many other heard that Battle Front would be doing a Flames of War Great War supplement.  The news excited me though I was disappointed some time after to learn they would begin with 1918 not 1914.    I've looked at what has been released on the Flames of War website and the excellent information available on the What Would Patton Do Website. 

I will reserve final judgement until I actual get to play or at least read some AARs but over all I do think that Battle Front has again made a workable product.

There has been some griping about the "tank-fest" potential on the FOW 1918 yahoo group but I think its based more on fear than any actual knowledge.  Tanks were an important part of the battle plans in 1918 (as Phil Yates of Battle Front has said on the group, and bravo to him for joining the discussion) and they should be part of the Order of Battle. 

Lets face it tanks are fun and cool looking models are one of the reasons we play war games.  The tanks do look cool they also seem to be vary vulnerable and even subject to getting stuck and or broken down.  We probably will see tanks in every battle just like we see too many Tigers, Tank Destroyers and IS-2s  (just to name a few).  After all even if its ahistorical for every German Army A7V why shouldn't my army have one.

The initial armies are British (I would have preferred to see French but I can't realy fault the choice) for the Allies and the Germans for the Central Powers (any one who doesn't agree with that choice is silly).

1918 also makes sense from a business stand point for Battle Front as many Americans realy prefer to play Americans.  I do hope that BF will quickly follow on with French, Italian, Austro-Hungarian Empire and Turkish Army lists and that we will see them soon.  Followed quickly by 1914 because its the last time you could go to war dressed like this!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

B-52 Crash site

For their 45th Wedding anniversary (in November) my parents asked us to join them at a home they had rented for the week in Greenville ME near Moosehead Lake. By us I mean my brother, his wife, and son, my sister, her husband and daughter and myself and my fiancee. Its a lovely area if you into the outdoors or just relaxing.  We played many games of cribbage and Rummy and both my niece and nephew loved playing with the pirate ship I gave my nephew for his birthday. Ariana and I also took a few drives and one of them took us to the sight of a plane crash form 1963 on Elephant Mountain.
  The remains of this B-52 have been left (or returned to ) at this location as a memorial to the seven men who died (and in a larger sense to all who died in Strategic Air command during the Cold War.
 The Drive in is a little harry in a small compact car, a Jeep, SUV or truck would have no problem at all.  Even with my Camry it was no real challenge just one stretch that was a bit rough. Once at the parking lot you find the the debris field right away
 Plaque reminding all that this sacred ground maintained by the local RV association. The Following is taken form Wikipedia :
The crew's training mission was called a Terrain Avoidance Flight to practice techniques to penetrate Advanced CapabilityRadar (ACR) undetected by Soviet air defense during the Cold War. ACR training flights had already been made over theWest Coast of the United States on Poker Deck routes. This was to be the first low level navigation flight, utilizing terrain following radar, in the Eastern United States.[2][3]The crew, consisting of two 99th Bombardment Wing Standardization Division crews based at Westover Air Force Base,Massachusetts, and two instructors from the 39th Bombardment Squadron6th Strategic Aerospace Wing at Walker Air Force BaseNew Mexico, was briefed for six hours the day before the accident. They had the choice of flying over either theCarolinas or Maine.[2]The B-52C departed Westover AFB at 12:11 p.m. on Thursday, 24 January 1963, and was scheduled to return to Westover at 5:30 p.m.[4]The crew spent the first 95 minutes of the flight calibrating their equipment. Upon receiving updated weather information for both available routes they chose the northern one. They were supposed to begin their low level simulated penetration of enemy airspace just south of Princeton, Maine, near West Grand Lake. From there, they would head north to Millinocket and fly over the mountains in the Jo-Mary/Greenville area. They planned to turn northeast near Seboomook Lake and southeast near Caucomgomoc Lake to proceed through the mountains of northern Baxter State Park. After crossing Traveler Mountain, the aircraft was supposed to climb back to altitude over the Houlton VOR Station.[2]One hour later, around 2:30 p.m. the Stratofortress crossed the Princeton VOR, descended to 500 feet (150 m) and started its simulation of penetrating enemy airspace at low altitude with an airspeed of 280 knots (520 km/h; 320 mph). The outside temperature was −14 °F (−26 °C) with winds gusting to 40 knots (74 km/h; 46 mph) and 5 feet (1.5 m) of snow on the ground.[4][5]Approximately 22 minutes later, just after passing Brownville Junction in the center of Maine, the aircraft encountered turbulence. The pilot and crew commander, Westover's Most Senior Standardization Instructor Pilot, started to climb above it when the vertical stabilizer came off the plane with a "loud noise sounding like an explosion".[3][5] Having suffered severe damage, the B-52C went into a 40-degree right turn, with nose pointed downward. The pilot gave the order to abandon the aircraft when he could not level it.[2][4]Only the upper flight deck crew members of the B-52C have ejection seats that eject them upwards. The seats of the pilotcopilot, and electronic warfare officer (a navigator also trained in electronic warfare) function at any altitude, as long as the airspeed is at least 90 knots (170 km/h; 100 mph), which is the minimum required to inflate their blast propelled parachutes. The lower-deck crew members eject on a downward track. Hence, the navigator and radar navigator cannot safely eject at altitudes less than 200 feet (61 m). Spare crew members do not have an ejection seat at all. They must use parachutes and jump out of the navigators' hatch after the navigators have ejected or drop out of the aircraft's door.[5] The tail gunnerhas his own unique escape option: he can sever the tail gun and jump aft out the resulting hole in the rear.[6][7]The navigator, who was operating as electronic warfare officer, ejected first. He was followed by the pilot and the copilot; there was neither enough altitude nor time for the six lower-deck crew members to escape before the aircraft crashed into the west side of Elephant Mountain at 2:52 p.m.[4][5]The copilot suffered fatal injuries, striking a tree 1 mile (1.6 km) away from the main crash site. The pilot landed in a tree 30 feet (9.1 m) above the ground. He survived the night, with temperatures reaching almost −30 °F (−34 °C), in his survival kit sleeping bag atop his life raft. The navigator's parachute did not deploy upon ejection. He impacted the snow-covered ground before separating from his ejection seat about 2,000 feet (610 m) from the wreckage with an impact estimated at 16 times the force of gravity. He suffered a fractured skull and three broken ribs. The force bent his ejection seat and he could not get his survival kit out. He survived the night by wrapping himself in his parachute.[2][4]grader operator on a remote woods road witnessed the final turn of the Stratofortress and a black smoke cloud after impact.[2] Eighty rescuers from the Maine State Police, the Maine Inland Fish and Game Department, the Civil Air Patrol as well as Air Force units from Dow Air Force Base in Bangor, Maine, along with others from New Hampshire andMassachusetts and other volunteers went to work. Search aircraft were on the scene, but they searched too far south and east to locate the wreckage before nightfall.[3]After the crash site was located the next day, Scott Paper Company dispatched plows from Greenville to clear 10 miles (16 km) of road of snow drifts up to 15 feet (4.6 m) deep. The rescuers had to use snowshoes, dog sleds and snowmobiles to cover the remaining mile to the crash site. At 11 a.m. the two survivors were airlifted to a hospital by a helicopter.[3][4]
 Wreckage goes up the hill about 300 yards or so.
 Some parts are very easy to recognize like this landing gear
 I believe this was part of the fuselage probably the section just behind the cockpit.
 Official memorial to the fallen
More reminders of the sacredness of the ground and warnings not to salvage pieces.
The story of the flight. More images can be seen at Fencing Frog Gaming Adventures