Saturday, 19 August 2017

Forming Up!

Thanks to all who have commented on recent posts and supported this build-up to the Neerfuncken game at Partizan.

Sketch by Chris Gregg of Prussian Grenadiers forming up... rather like what will be happening in the village of Drau:

I'm all packed and about to load up the car.
Looking down the list of games for the show, I'm in auspicious company, and I hope to get chance to have a glimpse at the other tables. Judging by the preparations I've seen both on blogs/ forums and on facebook, there are going to be some spectacular games on show. For those who are going to be there, do pop by and say hello.

For those who aren't going to be at the show, here's a little taster of the game:

That's all for now folks!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Neerfuncken and environs

Here is the hastily sketched map that the commander of a French Hussar patrol took back to the high command...

All week labourers and engineers had been busying themselves on the outskirts of the town of Neerfuncken and the neighbouring village of Drau, renovating redoubts, erecting emplacements, and creating chevaux de fris. All manner of spare barrels, carts, tree trunks and other paraphernalia had been commandeered to bolster the defences.

And yet, there was a feeling of genuine optimism that the Franco-Astrovian incursion into sovereign Pils-Holstein territory would be turned back by deft diplomacy long before cannons came into range, and certainly before shots would be fired.

The cheery manner in which defence works were being constructed was therefore not altogether unsurprising, even though a fair degree of soldierly grumbling could be detected, intertwined with the gallows humour of men preparing for action.

News of the Prussian arrival meant that Pils-Holstein forces could concentrate their efforts on preparing Neerfuncken, while their allies would occupy Drau and make camp in the fields between the two.

Below: Prussian camp.

The age-old bottleneck between the rolling farmlands of Lower Holstein to the south and the northern heartland of the landgraviate had seen action in the past and was traditionally where Pils-Holstein kings down the centuries had set their main blocking force against French invasion.

The willowing wheatfields were golden, ripe for harvest, and locals had been busying themselves in preparation for work before the peace of this rural idyll had been disturbed by marching feet.

The unseasonal heavy summer showers had recently abated, leaving the Funckenbeck - a small brook that cut through the otherwise unremarkable landscape - swollen. Although only a narrow watercourse, it was a valuable natural barrier and could be relied upon to provide a significant obstacle to an invading force, particularly if the Neerfuncken-Drau line was well prepared.

South of Neerfuncken, a farmstead run by Mme Lillian Kraufurt, assisted by her niece, Morgana Feiling (newly returned from Boston), sat beside two bridges. To the north of Drau, Wim de Muller's mill turned effortlessly in the breeze.

All was quiet...  for now.

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Commanders- Heroes and Villains

Final preparations are done for my Partizan game...

Time to introduce and recap the protagonists in the Battle of Neerfuncken

Pils-Holstein and Prussia

Prinz Albrecht of Pils Holstein
King Ferdinand Adolphus' most trusted field commander, his "Uncle Albrecht".

Hans Karl von Winterfeldt
Commander of the Prussian contingent. One of Frederick the Great's most loyal generals.

Tessa Pepisa
Beloved of King Ferdinand Adolphus, and Honorary Colonel of the Pils-Holstein Light Cavalry Brigade.


France and Astrovia

Marshall Saxe
One of France's most famous 18th century generals. He is in command of Franco-Astrovian forces for the Pils-Holstein campaign.

Jean-Phillipe, Duc d'Orly
Commands the cavalry. A fictional character whose ambition far exceeds his ability!


Brigadier von Rankl
Commander of the Astrovian contingent.
Astrovia is also a fictitious country, but think Austria and you won't be far wrong.

All are gathering, with their respective forces, in the vicinity of Neerfuncken, a small town in Pils-Holstein.

Today, a patrol of Bercheny Hussars operating several miles ahead of the main French force, came within sight of Drau (a hamlet to the south east of Neerfuncken).
This sketch depicting the patrol is a beautiful piece of art by Chris Gregg which he produced for me a number of years ago (I have the full colour original hanging in my office):

Tomorrow, I'll be posting the sketch map made by the patrol commander of the town and its environs and providing a little more background to the area.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Winterfeldt is coming!

Professor Klickstich, trusted adviser to King Ferdinand Adolphus of Pils-Holstein, waited to be ushered into the state chambers to meet the King in person.
In his hand was a message from one of the cogs in what he liked to call his "machinery" - his network of spies, informants and intelligence gatherers.

He knew the French and Astrovian forces had successfully joined, and were at this very moment crossing into the southern reaches of the kingdom.
He also knew their objective: the town of Neerfuncken... the strategic gateway to the heartland of Pils-Holstein.

Ushered into the state rooms for his private audience, he bowed, and waited until he was entirely alone with the King.
Then, without a word, he handed the piece of paper to Ferdinand Adolphus.

Three simple words:

Winterfeldt is coming.

Above and below: Prussian commander for the Neerfuncken game - von Winterfeldt. Flag is hand-painted on linen.

And so, the hope of Prussian support was alive.
But, they would need to make haste to reach Neerfuncken before the enemy struck.
Neither spoke. Both knew.
Klickstich bowed gently, turned on his heels and made haste to ensure he gathered information about every inch of the enemy's approach...
Timing is everything, he thought as he sped away to his office...

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Defence of Neerfuncken

A few days ago, in the fictional state of Pils-Holstein, a brigade of infantry (comprising The Leibgarde and The Kronprinz Grenadiers) arrived in the town of Neerfuncken.

Today, 13 August 1747, the overall field commander of Pils-Holstein forces, Prinz Albrecht (the King's uncle... and affectionately referred to by the King as "Uncle Albrecht"), took the opportunity to pose for reporters in front of the town gates.
In a grave tone he declared, "We will fight them in the fields, we will fight them in the vales, we will fight them on the hills, in the towns and in the villages. We will never surrender! We will defend Pils-Holstein, whatever the cost!"

Quickly, the engineering staff officers began calculating fields of fire and considering appropriate positions to create a number of gun emplacements to defend the approach routes to the town.

By the end of the day, the company of sappers and a host of "volunteer" infantry, had erected several emplacements, including one to house the infamous big gun, "Der Grossenbomber".

At least for a while, the activity kept the troops out of the taverns of Neerfuncken. As night fell, however, many sought to forget the impending battle by succumbing to the pleasures of the town...

All of which is merely to say, preps for Partizan are going well! I'll do several updates this week in the build-up to the game. If you are at the show next Sunday, be sure to visit the table and say hello.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Horse Grenadiers

The build-up of forces for the Neerfuncken game continues apace.
Latest allied horse to arrive on the scene are this fictional unit: The Saxe-Coburg Horse Grenadiers.

Figures are conversions of some John Ray cavalrymen, with my Prussian Grenadier heads added.

Riders painted by Dave Jarvis.
Horses and basing by me, and the flag is one of my linen creations.

Nicknamed "The Villans" (for obvious reasons for those who follow football), they could become my favourite unit in the collection.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Forces mobilise

The Astrovian contingent is on the march, adding its strength to that of the French as tensions grow in relations with Pils-Holstein.
Here, von Rankl's Astrovian infantry brigade, supported by two light guns, and escorted by the French Hussars of regiment Nassau Saarbrucken, is crossing a stream en route to a rendezvous with the main French army.

Meanwhile, speculation is rife as to whether the Prussians will join the fray, and if they do, in what strength. The newly completed Hussars of HR1 (Sjekely) are certainly spoiling for a fight...

Other news:
Last week was on our annual pilgrimage to Harlaxton for Tai Chi summer school, which included weapons training using Broadswords! What's not to like?!!

Above: Our home for a week!
Below: wielding Broadswords!

So, I'm refreshed, renewed, re-energised, and currently engaged in the final preps for Partizan, which is almost upon us.
Expect a few updates leading up to the show as over the coming week I'll be building up to the battle with a little bit of scenario background to whet the appetite.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Now is the Winter...

The title of the post is nothing more than a reference to the fact that we recently went to see Richard III (the play) performed at Leicester Cathedral, wherein rest Richard III's remains...


An excellent production, by Antic Disposition Theatre Company. Highly recommended.


Latest preparations for Partizan have included a vignette of von Rankl, who will command the Astrovian contingent...


Figures are conversions, and flag is linen. Painted by myself.
I'm also working on a Prussian command vignette.

I've just finished the Prussian campsite (there are just a few figures to be painted and added to the scene).
The basing production line has been in full swing, and by the weekend should be complete.

I'm starting to put together Display material, such as handouts and the like, and suddenly started wondering "why bother?"
Do you like to take away information about the games you see at shows?
Or are you happy to simply see a brief description of what the game is on a display board by the table?
Or something more?
Thoughts welcome in the comments box below.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Grounds for a Fight

I've been working on the terrain for my display game for Partizan in August.
I wanted to create something that has base boards, hills, and stands of trees that all match.
I've never made terrain in this style before (using textured paint and drybrushing) so took a few risks, and through trial and error produced something which, though fairly basic, is to my mind appealing.
Here is just a quick sample image of a base board (with a small stream/ brook), a hill (adapted from  Last Valley hill), and couple of stands of trees.

And, just as I finished, official notification came through from the Partizan organising team, that I've been allocated a table. So, the game's afoot, and I've got loads to do - the basing depot on my workbench is now overcrowded with horse, foot and guns, amongst other items!

So, back to the storyline...
It's 1747, and in the peaceful Pils-Holstein town of Neerfuncken, tavern gossip is centred around the latest news from around Europe, brought by the merchants and travellers who have descended on the small town for the seasonal summer market.
Tipsi Pipsi has returned to Pils-Holstein, and far away in Astrovia the traditionalist lobby is calling for revenge for her defection. Rumour has it that Brigadier Von Rankl has been ordered to mobilise a strong brigade of Astrovian infantry to support a likely opportunistic French incursion into Pils-Holstein.
Ferdinand-Adolphus of Pils-Holstein is besotted at Tipsi's return, and some say he has taken his eye off the ball. But his trusty adviser, Professor Klickstich, has been busy activating his network of spies and messengers, appealing to Prussia for support. Under normal circumstances, Prussia would make it a standard policy to support Pils-Holstein, but as students of the 1740s will know, Prussia and France are allies in the War of Austrian Succession, and therefore Prussia would not openly operate against France.
However, our parallel world may prove somewhat different. Perhaps Prussian dark blue uniforms will
come to the aid of Ferdinand Adolphus.
Time will tell...

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Parissienne Walkways, Museums and Terrorists

Dianne and I recently had a few days in Paris.
The hotel we stayed in was right by Notre Dame, just across the petit pont. Beautiful.

Below: the view from our bedroom window across to Notre Dame.

Main items on the agenda for this visit were The Louvre and The Musee d'Armee.
I will let the pictures speak for themselves, so here is just a small selection of the dozens of photos Di and I took:


 And then it happened.
The terrorist attack at Notre Dame.
Fortunately we were having an afternoon cuppa in a café just along from the hotel, when all hell broke loose. There were sirens, armed fellas everywhere (in uniform, and out of uniform), and a whole commotion around the Cathedral.

Some nutter had attacked an officer with a hammer, and been shot for his trouble.
We were fine, although Di was a little shaken by the experience.
For a couple of hours we were unable to get back to our hotel because of the police cordon.
When we did, the place was surrounded by journalists as can be seen in the pics I took from our window.

All very dramatic.
The rest of the visit passed without incident, but I reflected on it all.

We had returned from the Musee d'Armee that afternoon, where deeds of gallantry and glory had been all around. Where men serving their country were depicted in paintings and commemorated for having marched, shoulder to shoulder, into a hail of musket-fire, or worse.

So, if a nutter with a hammer thinks he can strike a decisive terror blow against that tradition, against that nation, against that gallantry, then he, and all of his kind (whether armed with hammers, knives, assault rifles, or explosives in their vests) is seriously mistaken.

And as I pondered this, the next morning, sitting in the very same café as we had been in when the attack had happened the previous day, I exchanged pleasantries with a local man and his wife at the next table who happened to have dropped a coin which I picked up and returned. As he left the café, he simply said, "Enjoy the rest of your holiday in Paris" and smiled.

All back to normal.

And while little acts of friendship between nations, between individuals, continue, the pedlars of terror cannot win.

Above: back to normal, after the attack, early evening the square was open again.
Below: later on... across from Notre Dame.
Made me want to break out into La Marseillaise!!

Vive la France!