This last weekend saw a gathering of assorted denizens of the Loose Association of Wargamers forum and attendees of the annual Ayton games in Framlingham, Suffolk, the home town of Tim Hall. Tim organised the event, sorted the venue (the Crown) and arranged food on the day and pointed us all in the right direction for food and beer each evening! It was a most excellent weekend. The company as ever was wonderful and entertaining. The venue and food/drink most pleasant, and the gaming was exceptional.
On the first day Simon T (Goat Major) was introduced to DBN by Mark P (Peeler), which Simon is now contemplating dabbling in! I’ve played the rules now a couple of times and really enjoyed them. Well worth a look. Most of the rest of the group were playing the first part of what was to be a two day ACW games using Tim Hall’s outstanding ACW collection. We all joined the second, larger, day of this game on the Sunday. Yet again it was a great pleasure to play with Tim’s beautiful figures and see another victory for the Confederacy!
But Day One for me saw participation in an excellent 20mm WSS game organised by Iain Burt (Essex Boy) and using his beautiful collection of Les Higgins, Irregular and assorted conversions alongside the excellent collection of Gary Phillips. I contributed my one unit of the Savage Swans! Altogether it provided a excellent game and was a great show case for these lovely figures. Myself and Gary took command of the French forces, and Iain and Dave Hall (Word2Dave) took the Allied army. We were using Rank and File rules which gave good simple mechanisms that gave us a result for a big game in the one day. We managed at least a dozen turns.
At game start the table looked something like this. The Allies on the left and the French the right.
The French cavalry and a single infantry brigade had to secure the village and road junction and if possible secure the roads leaving the table.
In the centre was a major crossroads, again to be secured but with roughly equal infantry forces attacking a strong defensive position.
The right saw the main English contingent garrisoning a fortified town (again a victory target) and the high ground and woods to its left.
It was clear that assaulting the town would not end well for a stretched French army so it was agreed that pinning the town forces and assaulting the centre and the massed cavalry on the French right was the way to go. Victory there would enable the French to secure two thirds of their objective and then force a withdrawal from the town.
The Allied cavalry moved to attack the French right.
While the ‘Irish’ brigade (with my attached Swans) pushed forward to the next road junction and to protect the flank of the coming cavalry battle.
The English firmly ensconced behind their walls!
The defence of the main junction.
The Swans were placed second in line (I didn’t fancy taking them off too early in the game!)
The Bavarian contingent push forward against strong opposition.
Ignoring the fortified town the main French force descend on the Allied centre.
The great cavalry battle begins on the French right.
Iain Burt’s beautiful cavalry.
The attack on the centre continues.
The Swans finally enter the fray! The rule of the day was that you only knew the quality of your troops when they took their first morale test. And I only had a minor strop when I rolled a 1 making the green! However, their first volley was a cracking one! Driving back the first enemy line, only for them in turn to be driven back!
Meanwhile the cavalry battle raged on. With roughly equal forces regiment after regiment was thrown in, driven back. New regiments attacked and eventually the first regiments took their turn in the line again!
However, as time wore on the regiments began to look more frail. Except on the far right where the French soon came into the ascendancy!
The battle in the centre continued with the French struggling to bring troops to the fray through the dense terrain. The battle went to and fro with regiments on both sides gradually crumbling. However the Allies lost more officers and this soon began to tell.
The battle for the main junction continues.
While the French continue to bring pressure on the centre but now wary of their own flank as the English moved out of the town and onto the offensive!
The cavalry battle continued to move in favour of the French, helped by the infantry brigade that had pushed through he village and deployed on the other side to deliver withering volleys into the flanks of the Allied cavalry!
More of Iain Burt’s lovely figures.
The end is nigh on the right as the last Allied cavalry begin to crumble.
It was at this stage that we called time. It was only 4.30 and we had managed at least a dozen turns but it was clear that tactically it was a drawn game. Although the French were victorious on the right, in the centre both sides had pretty well fought to a standstill. As the forces stood there was no way the French could take the town but the eventual arrival of the victorious French cavalry would stem the arrival of the British troops. Strategically they had done enough to force the Allies from the field even if the field was still contested on the day.
It was an excellent game and playing with Iain and Gary’s collections was a pleasure. It was great to finally meet Gary and as ever, Iain and Dave were excellent opponents. As Iain has now done the standard bearers I need for my other planned units I shall soon be returning to painting more Les Higgins 20mm! And seeing the variety of figures in Gary’s armies has given me ideas for other units!
The second day (unfortunately without Gary) saw everyone join in the main ACW game. A pleasure as ever to play with Tim’s collection and entertaining to watch Iain’s masterful command and control as he led the Federal army to defeat!
I didn’t get much time to look round Framlingham until the final morning before we left. The castle is excellent and although we didn’t go in the walk around the curtain wall and the nearby mere is lovely.
And a nice church as well.
So, all in all and excellent weekend.
There are some pretty hefty galleries with more photos here:
The venue, the Crown Hotel, was most pleasant but the lighting for the WSS game was a little dull and the photos don’t don’t really do the figures justice. But my phone did a pretty good job anyway!
There are plans for another mini-gathering in the new year which will then be followed by the big Ayton event in May.
Looking forward to it all!