A Skirmish in Angria: Close Little Wars rules

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It has been a few weeks since I ran a solo game bigger than sword fighting and Bartitsu duelling. I feel that I have neglected my Peter Laing figures of late.  To be fair  I’ve been busy making the fortified Signal Tower as well.

I wanted to get a quick evening game in, based on the Bronte family’s  Imagi-Nation of Angria, having read more of Charlotte Bronte’s Tales of Angria and the Oxford Companion to the Brontes. Both these books are slowly helping me work out maps and scenarios based on more of Bronte’s fictional realms or paracosms.

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Turn 2 – Angrian 5th Infantry supported by Dragoons cross the river to rescue the waggon from MacTerrorGlen’s Scottish troops. Ashantee bowmen line the rock opposite.

Small Angrian Skirmish Scenario:

By March 1836 – half of Angria is “in possession of our foes”.  

During 1835-37 The Second Angrian War, Civil War  between Angria and the Verdopolitan Union is happening at the same time as the Ashantee threat.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1/

Early 1836, Angria, Western Central Africa: A group of invading Ashantee bowmen, part of Quashia Qamina’s forces, have discovered an  abandoned Angrian supply waggon and remain in ambush on the rocks overlooking the crossing.

They are backed by a small sword and musket group of Sir Jehu MacTerrorGlen’s rampaging Scotsmen and Highland Warriors, led by one Captain Scotte,  who are aiming to capture the river crossing and loot the abandoned  Angrian supply waggon.

Location: The river crossing eventually feeds into one of the many tributaries of the River Olympia or Calabar, running down to the sea.

This waggon was part of a supply column along one of the many roads to the regional or provincial capital of  Adrianoplous, all aid and supplies to The Duke of Zamorna. Zamorna is fighting to protect the Angrian province (that he is named after) against this invasion of Ashantees and MacTerrorGlen’s unruly Scots.

A rebellious and unruly kilted Highland Regiment in Africa? Many of the original settlers of the Bronte’s fictional realm of GlassTown and Angrian area of West Africa were of Scots, Irish  and Yorkshire origin.

Coming to recover the waggon of supplies are Angrian forces under the Blood Red banner of the Rising Sun. These include a dismounted group of smart red-coated Angrian “Dragons” or Dragoons, along with some men of the “Fighting Fifth” (or “Filthy Fifth”),  the  5th Angrian  Infantry Regiment in homespun and motley campaign dress, led  by a young Lieutenant called Prunty.

The scruffy nature of the Angrian Regiments on campaign in the ‘East’ in the Angrian Civil War is reminiscent of Confederate Butternut Infantry towards the end of the American Civil War. Their scruffy dress is commented on by one of Charlotte Bronte’s cynical narrators in the smart Regency Colonial society of the  cities.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1/

The Angrian dragoons had dismounted, leaving their horses up the valley and with the 5th Angrians in two groups were scouting the river, half their number in reinforcements a mile or two behind.

D6 dice rolls saw these troops delayed arriving, until the 5th and 6th turn in area 5 and 6 on the Angrian baseline.

The turns were short and brutal, mostly involving fast melee, using the Kaptain Kobold modification or  d6 dice version of Gerard De Gre’s Lunge Cut and Stop Thrust melee or duelling rules.

1-2   Attacker Hit

3    Both Hit

4   Neither Hit

5-6   Defender Hit

Melees occurred from group stage in adjacent hexes or who have charged into their opponents.  The Pell-Mell, Hell for Leather pace of the game meant that there were few casualties from rifle or musket fire, many more from Highland claymore, bayonet, short sword and rifle butt (and no doubt boot and fist).

Turn 1 and 2 saw rapid movement through the cluttered terrain towards the first shots and melees of Turn  3.

Turn 3 saw 9 Angrian troops and 12 of MacTerror Glen’s Scots killed, mostly when the Highland  claymore warriors  charged the Angrian troops.

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At the start of turn 4 (as shown in photo by a d6 Turn Dice)  the few Angrian infantry over the bridge are outnumbered by Scots.

By Turn 4, some of the outnumbered Angrian forces on the board retreated to await their reinforcements (D6 dice roll 1-3 Retreat, 4 Stay, 5-6 Advance).

This didn’t stop one party of three Angrian 5th Infantry being surrounded and outnumbered on two sides by Scots around the bridge. Luckily supporting fire from the Angrian command party and standard bearer picked off two further Scots musketeers.

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Engaged on both sides by Scots, this small cohort of Angrian 5th Infantry are wiped out.

In Turn 5 the advancing Scots moved into Melee with the Angrian Command and Colours party, leading to a doubly fatal duel between Highland claymore against Angrian officer’s broadsword.

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Angrian Officer Lieutenant Prunty charges down the hill to engage with his  Highlander enemy in a fatal duel.

Thankfully the rest of the Angrian Dragoons and Fifth Regiment arrived in Turn 5 and 6. Just in the nick of the time …

These Angrian reinforcements pushed back and  pursued the last of MacTerrorGlen’s troops and the Scots command party and colours back over the bridge. They made their last stand outside the crossing hut.  The  Scots colours were lost when the command and colours party decided to fight to the finish  (dice roll d6 roll 1-3 surrender, 4 – 6 fight on).

Throughout the early part of the battle, the Ashantee Bowmen on the high ground rocks were out of range and sight of many of the Angrian troops. Overall they played very  little part in the whole battle, not even firing many volleys of arrows before they were engulfed in melee. Their officer or chief Khla managed to escape to carry on the invasion  with the other invading Ashantees under Quashia  Qamina.

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Ashantee bowmen move into range of Angrian troops.

At the end, the Angrian Armed Transport Corps hitched the abandoned supply waggon to their horses and slowly dragged this back up the valley to where the dismounted dragoon horses and horse holders would provide further armed escort back to Adrianopolis, Zamorna or Edwardston as needed.

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Detail of map of Angria by Christine Alexander (Oxford Campanion to the Brontes)

Discarded weapons and the captured colours of MacTerrorGlen’s Scots are sent back onboard the supply waggon as victory trophies to inspire the flagging Angrian forces.

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The remaining two Angrian  Dragoons, Angrian standard bearer and drummer remain behind in the bridge crossing hut. Suitably armed with discarded carbines, muskets and ammunition, they make themselves  busy fortifying this outpost and guarding the crossing  until further Angrian reinforcements arrive. Burying the dead will have to briefly wait, but not too long in these African “Yorkshire Tropic” climes.

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The Rising Sun banner of Angria flies victorious over the captured river crossing hut as the surviving Ashantee officer flees on the opposite bank.

Arise Angria! Raise the Blood-Red Banner of the Rising Sun! Huzzah!

Figures and Terrain 

All the figures are from  the sadly now discontinued Peter Laing range of 15mm figures.

The Ashantee bowmen are from the Ancient Egyptian range  (Nubian Archers F452 and their officer F453 Nubian Spearman).

MacTerrorGlen’s rogue Scots troops are from the Peter Laing ECW and ’15-’45 ranges. I especially like his kilted Highlander charging with Claymore (F1006) and small shield but his Highland musketeers ( F1008) are fine figures too.  https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/more-peter-laing-scots/

 

The “Angrian Dragons” are ECW dismounted dragoons firing, F515, one of my favourite Peter Laing figures.

The homespun 5th Angrian Regiment in campaign dress are the ACW butternut infantry advancing F3012, along with the Boer Rifleman advancing at trail F622.

I quickly made and  coloured an Angrian flag and added this to one of the Boer figures to make a standard bearer.

The Heroscape hex terrain terrain on my two portable gaming boards tries to create  that curious mix of European and African or Yorkshire Tropical that exists  in the Bronte’s limited but imaginative view of the world outside their native Haworth and Yorkshire. This was backed by PECO Scene Backgrounds Medium SK 44 Country with River with its great view of mountains and stone bridges over streams and slightly incongruous European stone farm houses, obviously in the Yorkshire / European influenced Angrian settler style.

Pine trees, impassable rocks, a raging stream or river form all part of a rugged and Romantic, almost Gothic landscape of hills, fields and  craggy mountainous peaks of how the Bronte children  saw Angria (West Africa). This fits well the restricted routes and impassable labyrinths of trees, logs and rocks that suit Donald Featherstone’s original Close Wars rules for forest skirmish that I have tweaked for hex board or garden games. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

The waggon was an underscale diorama piece from the 54mm Safari figures Wild West Settlers Toob. Its  eventual escorts were Peter Laing Boer War cavalry M603 or M605 Imperial Yeomanry figure.

Post-mortem:

This was a great fun game for an evening. Using the Gerald De Gre duelling rules in Kaptain Kobold’s simplified dice version for the first time as the Melee section with the rest of the Little Close Wars rules led to quick fast and murderous melees.

The look of the board / game?

I like the portable hex game boards but I would like to flock or sand more of the Heroscape hex pieces, and glue and flock some of the pine tree bases permanently to hex bases.

Part of the early evening was spent tidying up the portable game boards, removing the temporary masking tape letters and grid numbers and sanding the edges before rewriting them in a neater fashion. Eventually I think I will wood stain the outer edges and possibly acrylic paint (sap green) the inner sections  of game board that show up as bare wood in the middle and edge. Hopefully they will look less intrusive but still allow each board to be used separately.

Outcome:

A swift outcome of a minor skirmish in the Angrian Civil War, a minor victory in a disastrous campaign.

This campaign led to Angria’s defeat at the Battle of Edwardston 26 June 1836, which saw Zamorna exiled and Angria savagely occupied by Ashantee and MacTerrorGlen’s forces throughout the rest of 1836. Angrian troops fight on in the hills.

Victory does not come until Zamorna returns and leads his forces to victory at the Battles of Leyden,  Westwood and Evesham throughout 1837.

Hopefully Charlotte and Branwell Bronte would approve, their imaginary worlds having been sparked by a gift from their father of a box of toy soldiers.

Read more at the other Bronte 200 inspired blogposts at: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/30/charlotte-bronte-as-gamer-1

Blogposted by Mark, Man of TIN, 20th May 2017

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Peter Laing 15mm WW2 Skirmish

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I wanted in this skirmish games to get a motley collection of Peter Laing 15mm British and German infantry into action, WW2 figures bolstered by late war WW1 British and German Infantry in steel helmets.

I wanted to fight another skirmish over the hex terrain portable game board that  I had laid out for the American Civil War skirmish a few weeks previously.

I also wanted to test out a platoon level infantry scrap with few heavy weapons and almost no vehicles using a mash up of Donald Featherstone’s ‘Close Wars’ appendix rules to his 1962 War Games with a few additions from his simple WW2 rules in that book.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/ww2-platoon-level-close-little-world-wars-rules/

A lucky find of some Peter Laing WW1 / WW2 figures (lots of Sapper figures) amongst a job lot of 15mm WW2 figures of various manufactures gave me just enough for a small platoon level skirmish. Sappers and others  had rifles added by me from finely carved slivers of wooden coffee stirrers.

This gave me a scratch force of British infantry:

Three 5 man sections of pioneers or sappers with rifles and shovels (handy in a scrap!)

1 light mortar team (2 men)

1 Light Machine Gun (Bren Gun) team

1 motorcycle despatch rider

A  light 2pounder anti tank gun team with three men emerge in Turn 5. A spare Bren gunner was also found to join the British several turns in.

Versus a much larger but slightly lightly equipped German infantry group:

A larger infantry force of German infantry consisted of:

Three cycle reconnaissance troops

1 German despatch rider

Five x 5 men rifle squads directed by  1 officer with pistol

1 light machine gun (MG34) team of two men

1 light mortar team of 2 men

Officer and two rifle men

The game was played solo over two evenings with a skirmish figure scale of 1 figure = 1 man.

Arrival of different sections and weapons at a different times and locations was staggered by dice throws d6. The two board(s) being roughly marked with 6 by 6 squares A  to L  and 1-6, arrival of different sections was diced for using 1 d6.

Indirect artillery fire could be plotted in using this grid system and dicing to see which turn this lands but none was used in this game.

The Germans started with their reconnaissance troops (3 rifle equipped bicycle troops) in place at the river crossing and to the North a British 5 man pioneer unit of sappers and officer and the Bren Gun team on the board.

Dice thrown at start of each move to see who moves first, other side second, first side also fire first, other side second – highest score wins first move.

To speed things up, no casualty savings throws were used after Melee.

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Aerial reconnaissance view recording troop positions, end of Turn 2 (see dice)

In Turn 1, Germans moved first and shots were exchanged without casualty between the British motorcyclist and the German cycle troops who were behind the cover of the stone farm walls.

In Turn 2, the British despatch rider was not so lucky!  In turn the first British  rifle volley brings down one German infantryman.

Playing solo, deciding which of the two possible British infantry targets the German troops fire at is decided by dice throw: roll 1 to 3 aim at Bren gun team on left, 4 to 6 at British infantry on right.

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Dismount, aim, fire. Peter Laing 15mm British despatch rider spotted by German bicycle troops (unknown manufacturer, but good fit). Walls from N gauge model railway suppliers.

The terrain is the same portable hex wooden box lid territory as used for the American Civil War skirmish, but with the house location moved and a small wooden hut used instead.

The high rocks and the forest either side of the river are deemed impassable, the river unfordable. This concentrates the efforts into dominating the crossings and the ground between them with all available firepower.

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Peter Laing British WW2 (and a non Peter Laing British officer) fire at the German officer and infantry at the other bridgehead leafing to 1 German infantry  casualty in Turn 2.

 

The Peter Laing WW2 German officer and infantry  with rifles are really WW1 Germans with steel helmets.

Turn 3 sees more infantry on each side appear on the game board. Line of fire is checked with a reversed Lionel Tarr style periscope (from another appendix in Featherstone’s 1962 War Games).

Turn 4 sees the British  move first and a further British  rifle squad appear near where their despatch rider was killed. They close in melee with the German cyclists and two are killed for the loss of one British infantryman.

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Turn 5 sees more German troops emerge onto the board. The German motorcyclist emerges onto the board only to be blocked and killed in melee with three British Infantry.

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One of the British Bren Gun team is hit – I diced quickly to see if another nearby British soldier could help man the gun and it to remain operational. It did and brought down a German infantryman, as did the light field gun. Fortunately for the Germans the British light mortar team is just out of range.

In Turn 6 the German Light Machine Gun MG34 and light mortar teams (each of two men) make it onto the Board at G and J on the German / South side of the river.

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This mortar team in Turn 7 take out one British infantry, whilst melee and rifle fire take out 3 German infantry and 2 further British.

The forest, impassable scrub, rocky ridge and river crossings continue to create safe spaces or bunchings but once the mortars come into action, lobbing their shells over trees and obstacles etc, these safe spaces are no more.

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British 2 man mortar team in the foreground. Turn 9

The British field gun is a board game piece from childhood.

In Turn 8, this gun begins to damage the hut and the Germans inside it. Melee, mortar and rifle fire  brought down 8 German infantry including their officer and 3 British including their officer.

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Turn 9 – stalemate.

By Turn 9 , a stalemate has set in – the British mortar team from behind cover takes out the German Light Machine Gun team. Positions are consolidated. Both sides have lost their officers.

If the German infantry remain in the cover of the hut, they will eventually be killed by the 2 pounder which is just out of rifle range.

The British bridge position is now covered by one British mortar team and two Bren gun teams.

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Sketch map round about Turn 10. British left /west , Germans to the right / east

In Turn 10, the German mortar team move closer towards the British position whilst four German infantry take cover behind the stone wall to give themselves a better field of fire onto the British dominated bridge, should anyone try to cross it. Many of the German and British troops  are now out of sight of each other and out of rifle range.

A lucky ‘counter battery’ hit by the British mortar team on their German rival reduces the last opportunity of the Germans to dislodge their opponents without a fatal rifle charge.

Turn 12 – the German infantry dice to advance or stay put. They stay put but a further German infantryman in the hut is then killed by 2 pounder fire.

By Turn 14, one of the British mortar team is hit crossing the British sector bridge. The last German in the hut retreats over the German bridge behind the stone wall.

Turn 15 – no movement, just British gun and mortar fire.

Turn 16 – The 5 Germans behind the stone wall must decide what to do as they are now within British mortar range. 1-2 Advance, 3-4 Retreat, 5-6 Stay Put. They roll d6 – advance.

3 Germans killed are crossing the bridge under rifle and gun fire; the bridge is destroyed (d6 1-3 destroyed, 4-6 intact). In the return fire, a further British infantryman is hit.

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A view from the German position back down the valley to the British field gun, annoyingly just out of rifle range. The bridge destroyed by field gun fire and the hut damaged by gun fire. Time for those last two German soldiers to slip away out of range and await reinforcements?

Turn 17 – German infantry retreat behind wall out of rifle range, their bridge blown.

The game is at an end, nominally a British victory but  all depends on whose reinforcements turn up first.

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Sheltering behind the rocks: the British position, tucked out of rifle fire range.
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The British final position looking up the valley towards the abandoned German line. Mixed Peter Laing and other 15mm WW2 figures.

Play testing these Close Little World Wars rules

The increasingly dominant force in this game were the heavier weapons – mortars, light machine guns and the light field gun. It would be interesting to play / replay this game at rifle squad level without (some of) these other weapons.

This and the restricted terrain created the shape and the pressures of this solo game.

Posted by Man of TIN blog, October 2016.

 

WW2 Platoon Level Close Little World Wars rules

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Peter Laing WW1 and WW2 infantry figures.,

 

Close Little (World ) Wars

Recently I have been improvising a WW2 platoon level version of Donald Featherstone’s ‘Close Wars’ rules. These were originally written as an appendix in his book War Games (1962), as suitable rules for 18th Century redcoat versus tribal natives in a cluttered forest or wooded terrain.

I have been looking for very simple platoon level WW2 game rules, suitable for Peter Laing’s limited 15mm WW2 range, which were designed to give “a most satisfactory infantry action game”

Bolt Action they may not be, but it is interesting to look at the background logic, assumptions, simplifications, mechanisms and whys or wherefores involved to make suitable rules and weapons ranges for your style of game.

These simple rules could be used with WW2 infantry action in wooded or cluttered terrain, where vehicles cannot easily  follow such as Normandy ’44 bocage hedged terrain (but without armoured vehicles) or early 1939-40 infantry action, the Bicycle Blitzkreig, the withdrawal to Dunkirk etc.

An Operation Sealion invasion of Britain scenario (1939 /1940/ 1941) is also possible with the few WW2 types that Peter Laing made. (I’m source some of them could double up as The Warmington Home Guard as required.)

Once artillery, heavy machine guns, vehicles and other long range weapons are introduced, the distances and ranges  become too big for the smaller game boards and tabletops I work with.

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Reference to weapons ranges and other scenario rules (buildings, street fighting etc) as situations emerge can be made to the ‘Simple WW2 rules’ that Donald Featherstone includes  in his 1962 book War Games; the Close Wars rules are an appendix to this book (shown at end of blogpost).

Using 20mm plastic figures with a wider range of troop types available gives the possibility of an interesting jungle action of cluttered terrain which could be played with a box of Airfix OO/HO Australian / Gurkha infantry or  US Marines and a box of Japanese infantry. Get those palm trees out to replace the fir trees.

1 figure = 1 man in skirmish rules.

Small numbers, small tables, short actions or games time = my style of usually solo game. 

Aims or Victory Conditions

The aim of each force (as set out in Featherstone’s Close Wars rules) unless otherwise described is:
1. to seek out and destroy their enemy.
2. Alternatively, to get at least 50% of your troops to the opposite enemy baseline

However for each game, you can set your own scenario end or Victory Conditions.

This usually involves fighting to the last man, but occasionally involves rescuing or escorting to safety civilians, stretcher bearers or  secret plans.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

WW2 Peter Laing figures

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/22/peter-laing-ww2-figures/

WW2 Infantry Movement Rates

Infantry on foot move 6 inches per move or 2 hex / squares.

Uphill  – moves up (opposed or unopposed) hills count as 1 hex / squares or half  rate move e.g. 3 inches.

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Peter Laing 15mm WW1 despatch rider.

Motorised vehicle e.g. motorcycle despatch rider moves 12 inches per move or 4 hex squares off-road (Plus 3 inches / 1 hex on road).  Bicycle moves 12 inches on road / 4 hexes, 9 inches / 3 hexes  offroad.

Stretcher bearers move 1 hex per move. They are not armed.

Difficult Terrain
If deemed passable, fording streams take 3 inches or 1 hex to cross. Fording places or bridges can be marked out.

Bogs and marshes (if deemed passable) at half speed eg 1 hex square per move. Other impassable features you can introduce include marked minefields.

Moves on clear paths or roads (if they exist) have 3 inch extra or 1 hex extra BONUS per move.

Crossing walls, fences etc or other barriers – as required, throw dice 1-3 yes, 4-6 no; takes 1 hex of a move.

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Firing (if range of fire clear)
Range of  LMG  light machine guns (Bren Gun, MG34) – 12 inches or 4 hexes; throw 1 dice for LMG, full score counts as hits.

Rifles have a  range of 12 inches or 4 hexes. Throw one d6 dice per firing man: 6 scores a hit.
If firer is under cover or in buildings, 5 or 6 scores a hit on enemy.
SMG or Submachine Guns (Sten, Tommy, etc)  – 6 inches or 2 hexes; SMG – half dice counts as hits.

Pistols  have under 6 inches or  1 hex range. Throw one d6 dice per firing man: 6 scores a hit. If firer is under cover or in buildings, 5 or 6 scores a hit on enemy

HMG (e.g. Maxim gun) – 18 inches or 6 hexes; Featherstone has a Mitrailleuse rule for ACW throw dice 1 to 3 entitles one dice for hits. 4 to 6 entitles 2 dice for hits.

WW1 / WW2 Maxim / heavy machine guns had an effective firing range of up to 2000 metres (effectively 48 inches or 16 hexes) which is too much for our space.

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Peter Laing 15mm British and German light mortar carriers.

Mortars (2 inch or 50 mm / 60mm)  require 2 man crew – target range from 1  hex to 3 hexes. Burst pattern for 50mm mortar is 3 inches or one hex. Roll d6 – if 3,4,5,6 hit  target hex; all in nominated hex counted as hit.

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Peter Laing German infantry WW1 rifleman, officer, grenade thrower and WW2 machine gunner and light mortar man. (Figures: Man of TIN collection)

Grenades – treat as mortars but with one hex throwing range /burst pattern; all in that square /hex counted as hits. Roll d6 – if 3,4,5,6 – all in nominated hex counted as hit.

Casualty Savings Throws

For each man hit, throw a casualty saving throw.
If fired on, each casualty has a d6 thrown for him. 4,5,6 wounded and carry on. If 123, casualty is  dead.
If casualty under cover, 3,4,5,6 wounded and carry on 1,2,3 dead (except for mortar fire where use above as if not under cover)

You can choose to dispense with casualty savings throws if you wish, after firing and /or Melee. This gives a faster game.

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This handy light gun with Peter Laing crew was an old board game piece from my childhood.

Light Field Artillery

To check line of sight / range of fire, the Lionel Tarr reversed periscope can be used for fun to get you down to table top toy soldier eye level.

2 pounder anti tank gun with crew of 3 (British QF) using Featherstone rules counts as LMG throw 1 dice, full score counts as hits.

2 pdr gun if hit by mortar: 10-12 knocked out, 9 knocked out for 2 moves, 8 knocked out for 3 moves.  Crew? Casualty savings throws.

Taking Turns

Turns consist of four sections:
a) First side moves (possible melee)
b) Other side moves (possible melee)
c) First side fires
d) Other side fires

Throw dice at start of each game turn for each side to see who moves first.

Variations on this include: 1st  side Move, 2nd side Fire , 1st side  Fire, 2nd side  move.

Melee 

This is the ‘Bish Bash Am-Bush’ bit! Assume each man has something to fight at close hand with (pistols, clubs, rifles, bayonets, entrenching tools, fists or boots, etc)

Remember – We are playing 1:1 scale, each figure represents one man.

Melee is joined when one group of figures invades or faces the other square / hex.

You can add +1 to d6 throw for attacking side  (if you choose / remember / can be bothered.) This is what Featherstone calls impetus bonus.

Choose pairs (of attacker vs. defender) and throw 1 d6 for each man involved.
Attacker can have  the + 1 added to their d6 dice throw (if you choose / remember / can be bothered).
Highest score wins, loser can throw casualty saving throw* to see if killed 1-3 or only wounded / unharmed 4-6
Continue until each man has been involved in melee.

“Usual dice saving throws for melee Casualties”  – Donald Featherstone.

* Or not if you want to speed things up. 

Melee Morale Test (if desired / wanted / can be bothered)
At end of melee session, throw d6 for each side to see who wins melee morale test and who loses and retires 1 hex backwards. Some Featherstone versions times the dice by number of each side to come up with a post Melee Morale score.
Then d6 again for losers to see if routed:

Throw 1-3 in rout, unable to fire or move further that round, effectively in modern games terms “pinned”. Roll again next move to see if still routed and retreating. A suitable coloured marker can be added to remember this.
or throw 4-6 in good order, retreat only one pace / hex.

Movement and ranges

The original ‘Close Wars’ appendix rules by Featherstone has a Redcoat Infantry man in the French and Indian Wars travelling at 9 inches in loose formation (under 3 figures) or in formation (over 3 figures) 6 inches in cluttered terrain. Natives carrying less and living off the land etc moved 9 inches.

In cluttered terrain, I assume that a heavily encumbered infantryman in WW2 is still carrying about the same amount of stuff and moving at the same speed as his ancestor in the 18th Century. Hopefully his boots and field rations would have improved though!

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I take each 3 inches to be a Heroscape hex square.

Featherstone has  a ‘Rifle’ range  in his simplified WW2 rules and in Close Wars appendix rules both as 12 inches (which I take to be about 4 hexes) so assuming 500 metres to be 12 inches or 30 centimetres / 300mm, this gives us a rough working scale of a 3 inch hex equals 125 metres.

1 inch equals 42 (41.6) metres

1 centimetre equals 17 metres (or 16.666 metres)

More in our blogpost  Researching WW2 equipment  ranges, matching the limited weapons ranges shown in the Peter Laing range to the rules.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/researching-ww2-equipment-for-rules-and-ranges/

It is possible to scale this set of rules and ranges up to 54mm skirmish games by simply doubling the ranges etc set out above. This would allow the use of 54mm  Airfix, Britain’s Deetail or Pound Store plastic figures; I intend in better weather in future to try these Close Little (World) Wars  rules outside as a garden game fought “on the  beaches and on the landing grounds …” Sorry, on the flower beds and garden terrain. Could be fun!

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The original and best …

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(Mostly) Peter Laing WW2 and WW1 figures in my recent  WW2 skirmish game.

Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, October 2016.

 

 

Close Little Space Wars

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They may be Airfix but …Space laser swords and space blaster pistols?  What would Donald Featherstone think?

As a further insult to Donald Featherstone’s Close Wars appendix rules to his 1962 book War Games, I have scaled these up to 54mm and taken them outside to a bigger outer space and another planet, the far off galaxies or planets of Yarden. How will they work out?

Previously on Man of Tin blog we have featured my hexed up version of these Close Wars  rules:

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

Rainy day?  Crowded alien planets work quite well on your tabletop (if forced inside by British wet weather) using different borrowed pieces of your Yarden (Yard / Garden). Fake plastic or real plants, rocks, stones etc create a sense of a cluttered planet / terrain etc.

As a child growing up in the 1970s, life changed around about 1977/78 when Star Wars came out as a rival to Airfix, Weebles, Cowboys, toy cars, Knights, Busybodies Etc.

This is primarily a ground troops / infantry based space game without much in the way of space vehicles or larger laser cannons, otherwise the ranges become toooooo big!

Create your own big laser cannon range and dice hit rules as needed.

Imperial (Earth) measurements and Earth GMT time will be used throughout (with Metric for those as likes)

Weapon Ranges

Space Laser blaster pistol – 12″ or 30cms

Space Laser blaster rifle – 24″ or  60 cms

Space laser bow – 12″ or 30 cms

Space Laser swords – melee weapons only. 

Space Laser spears – 6″ or 15 cms

 

Movement ranges

Natives / Aliens / Savages  – 18″ or 45cms

Space Infantry (<4) – 18″ or 45 cms

Space Infantry (groups of 4+) – 12″ or 30cms

Astromech droids 6″ or 15 cms.

Humanoid Robots – 9″ to 12″ 22 to 30cms

Hover Infantry on Space Bikes – 36″ or  90cms

Star Crawler vehicles, lunar buggies – 24″ or 60cms

Usual Melee Rules. Usual hit d6 Dice throws. Featherstone savings throws if you like them.

Add other rules, weapons and characters as you see fit.

Mark up a garden cane with 6″ intervals or use a metal retractable ruler as needed.

Find some knee pads or a garden kneeler if playing outside.

Before you play, some essential research for your Close Little Star Wars:

a) watch movies and TV, from Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Flash Gordon (Black and white 1930s) or the colour movie 1980, choose your favourite. Flash, ah-ah! 

b) find some suitable plastic figures, raid the pound store for suitable plastic figures. Read our previous blog posts  and Pound Store Plastic Warriors blog for conversion possibilities.

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Space Marine / Police with laser blaster rifle?

Track down the very scarce 1981  Airfix Space Warriors, they’re now in the V&A museum of childhood collection as toys of their time http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O41122/space-warriors-space-crews-airfix/

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There’s the very odd Britain’s 1980s metal based Star Guards range with vehicles and aliens. There are more recent 54mm Star Wars Command plastic figures that were cheaply available c. £4 a box   in branches of Wilko (2016). Some good deals on the eBay / Amazon / internet too!

Pound store fire fighters and their equipment make good space stuff.

Alternatively you could upscale the rules to use old or new 10″ Star Wars play figures (buy bundles of the more battered ones on EBay) but the fiddly weapons tend to get lost in gardens. The Playskool Heroes Star Wars series for younger children have weapons moulded on.

Hopefully H.G. Wells, father of modern science fiction, would approve of this futuristic version of Little Wars.

Let play commence in a galaxy / planet / garden “far far away …”  in my next blog post.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/in-a-garden-far-far-away/

Posted by Man of TIN blog, September 2016.

 

 

 

 

Peter Laing WW2 figures

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I only bought these four sample 15mm World War Two figures from Peter Laing back in the 1980s and now wish I had bought more.

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Peter’s range was very limited, British and German infantry and some American infantry which I never bought.

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Peter Laing WW2 British Infantry Rifleman advancing F2001 and Bren Gunner F2004, German infantry machine gunner F2016 and 50mm light mortar man F2017  (Photo / figures: Man of TIN)

These Peter Laing metal 15mm figures had to compete for my limited pocket money with the burgeoning and cheaper 20mm plastic figure scene (Matchbox, Esci, Atlantic, erratic Airfix) in the 1980s. I wish now that I had chosen differently, although my love of cheap plastic figures still extends to Vintage Airfix, Britain’s Deetail (not so cheap), Atlantic Wild West figures and pirated / pound store plastic warriors.

Luckily I am now collecting and painting my way towards Peter Laing WW2 infantry tiny skirmish games “at platoon level … To give a most satisfactory infantry action game” as Peter Laing describes it in his catalogue.

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Peter Laing 15mm WW2 British Infantry Ammo Carrier (F2006)

I have been lucky enough to spot some distinctive Peter Laing WW1 and WW2 figures in job lots of other 15mm figures recently.

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Peter Laing WW1 Stretcher bearers (A743)
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Peter Laing’s charming and spirited WW1 British Despatch Rider (A742)
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Peter Laing WW2 British Infantry Rifleman advancing, painted and unpainted castings (F2001)
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Peter Laing WW1 British Infantry sappers and shovels SH (Steel Helmets) digging (A744?)
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Bolstering my Peter Laing WW2 German army platoon with WW1 German steel helmet figures: WW1 German Infantry with rifle advancing F743, WW1 German Officer with pistol F744, WW1 German with stick grenade F745.
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WW1 British Sapper A744, British kneeling gunner with shell in Steel Helmet A718 , WW2 British infantryman Ammo Carrier. Cheap plastic gun from a job lot bag. Bit big for my platoon level game rules!  (Figures / photo: Man of TIN)
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Peter Laing WW2 British Infantry Ammo Carrier (F2006) and WW2 British 2 inch  mortar man (F2005)
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Peter Laing WW2 British Infantryman Ammo Carrier F2006 and WW1 British kneeling gunner with Steel Helmet A718. Simple plastic artillery game piece from long forgotten board game makes good little field gun or anti-tank gun.

As far as WW2 rules go, I have always opted for bits from Donald Featherstone / Lionel Tarr’s simplest WW2 rules in Featherstone’s 1962 book War Games. I look forward to a “mash up” with his Featherstone’s Close Wars Rules appendix to War Games. https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

As Peter Laing didn’t make vehicles for WW2, I intend using the troops as he intended “at Platoon level” wood field and forest bocage bolt action and bayonet game version on suitably cluttered terrain hex boards of my usual Little Close Wars games.

The bulk of the WW1 Peter Laing Germans in my collection are wearing Steel Helmets and carrying rifles, so will easily suit. A couple of Peter Laing WW1 maxim guns F746 and loader gunners  F747 will pass muster for German Machine Gunners with Steel Helmets.

These rules for natives versus troops will require a little  alteration to incorporate machine guns, light mortars, small field guns and motor cycles! No natives but plenty of awkward terrain and no vehicles. Still an infantry slog!

The various WW1, native  and late Colonial figures I have would also make an interesting African campaign:

” Few collectors seem interested in World War 1 , although there is much of value to be found in the battles of 1914 and 1915, before the war bogged down in a mass of trench warfare – a fascinating little campaign can be made of the German East Africa fighting in which natives can be used.” Donald Featherstone, War Games (1962) , p. 20.

These figures came with a small online job-lot  of what may be Peter Pig 15mm WW2 figures, some of which are similar in style and scale to Peter Laing figures. There are a number of peaked cap officers, some French resistance ladies and some paratroops with bikes to add some variety. It may be possible to mix a few of these in as needed with the Peter Laing figures. Peter Laing purists, look away now!

I even have a few surviving unmade card sheets of John Mitchell’s card buildings to make up to match Peter Laing’s catalogue suggestion that “these items can be used in conjunction with John Mitchell’s building sheets … to give a most satisfactory infantry action game.”

A lovely couple of posts on the  Tims Tanks blog about meeting with Peter Laing and showing some of his WW1 / WW 2 range.  I too found Peter Laing was always very helpful, encouraging and efficient dealing with young gamers with small pocket money orders by post. Often Peter included a free sample figure or two from his new ranges to offset breakages and postage costs – and no doubt to tempt more purchases.  Smart marketing!

http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

http://timstanks.blogspot.co.uk/2015/07/peter-laing-15mm-miniatures.html

Note some  interesting post blog comments (June 2016) that the elusive Peter Laing moulds may have turned up in the collections of the late John Mitchell with many Peter Laing figure fans interested in re-establishing these ranges. Me too!

But which ones would you produce or buy first?

Blogposted by Mr. MIN, Man of TIN, July 2016.

Peter Laing figures in carpet forests

 

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Amongst my Peter Laing scrapbook of magazine articles (this one from  Military Modelling September 1983) is this lovely article by Andy Callan about War Gaming The Maori Wars.

I loved Andy’s use of carpet offcut forest undergrowth for the New Zealand scrub, probably why I kept this article.

Good to see over 30 years later that Andy Callan is still producing simple interesting rules, ranging from Miniature Wargames magazine articles  in the 1980s  through to most recently his one sheet simple rules for Peter Dennis’ new Helion Publishers Wargame the English Civil War paper figures. http://www.helion.co.uk/published-by-helion/battle-for-britain-wargame-the-english-civil-wars-1642-1651.html

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Sadly I never bought any Naval Landing Party figures or tribesmen from Peter Laing, as pictured in the article, I was mostly buying Peter Laing’s English Civil War and Medievals with my schoolboy pocket money in the 1980s. Luckily I have now tracked down some lovely Peter Laing colonials over the last few years.

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Maybe in my am-bush version of Featherstone’s Close Wars rules (two page  appendix to his 1962 book Wargames) there is future space for some carpet forest  terrain on my Heroscape hex bases.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/close-little-wars-featherstones-simplest-rules/

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If you want Andy Callan’s  whole rules, track down a copy of  Military Modelling September 1983 through online magazine auction sites.  All I wanted to do was share the atmospheric Peter Laing figures pictures and the lovely carpet forest.

Even this simple set of Andy Callan rules were a puzzle to me in places then but they really do suit the unusual type of Maori fighting.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/23/close-little-wars-scenarios-and-inspiration/

For more about the Maori Wars see Ian Knight’s Osprey book. https://ospreypublishing.com/the-new-zealand-wars-1820-72

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Posted by Mr MIN, Man of TIN, July 1916.

How to Feed Toy Soldiers

 

imagePicked up in a second hand bookshop years ago is an illustrated copy of this E. Nesbit Short story The Town In the Library, first published in 1901.

How to Feed Toy Soldiers …

This out of print 1987 Macdonald / Beehive Books edition of the Edith Nesbit story has interesting illustrations of toy soldiers by illustrator Shirley Tourret who died in 2007.

Some of the aspects of the story are an interesting and magical realist mixture of kaleidoscopic Chinese puzzle ‘box inside a box’ / ‘world inside a fantasy world’ of Lewis Carroll and H.G. Wells Floor Games and Little Wars. It is the familiar floor world of Wells’ Little Wars world of the Edwardian Nursery.

Two children Rosalind and Fabian are quarantined at home with measles on Christmas Eve. They are forbidden to open the top drawers of a bureau / desk but of course do and discover their Christmas treats and toys including blue and red toy soldiers.

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The short story from Nesbit’s 1901 book Nine Unlikely Tales is played out amongst buildings and forts made of books, in a H.G. Wells style but ideas of scale are played around with throughout the story and the children appear to shrink into this world or town inside their house’s library.

The blue toy soldiers appear out of their wood and straw box in a novel and exciting way – abseiling down the wood shavings to the floor below, a decorative feat in full Napoleonic gear.

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Thus is nicely pictured by Shirley Tourret with the soldier climbing down  the side of the text to the book’s floor.

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A similar abseiling paper soldier was recently featured in an innovative and imaginative 2010 art residency Remnants by Su Blackwell https://www.bronte.org.uk/contemporary-arts/artists-in-haworth/su-blackwell  at the Bronte Parsonage Museum, depicting the heroic characters leaping to imaginative life of the Bronte children’s juvenilia (Angria, Gondal and Glasstown) – see Pinterest,  http://www.bookarts.uwe.ac.uk/pdf/papermodels/blackwellcs.pdf or Su Blackwell’s website for more of  the images.

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Su Blackwell’s Remnants exhibition 2010 inspired by Bronte juvenilia at the Bronte Parsonage Museum. Photo: Su Blackwell website.

Captured by the blue toy soldiers, the children are persuaded to feed them their Christmas treats in a novel and unusual way. “I suppose you know how tin soldiers are fed?” Edith Nesbit / the narrator asks:

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The children are rescued by the traditional red coated heroes (Nesbit’s story was written in 1901 at the height of Empire after all) which Shirley Tourret depicts in almost 18th Century uniform and head gear. They are nicely portrayed amongst a battlement of books.

All very H.G. Wells and Little Wars …

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The story cleverly ends with the two children reappearing in their real nursery / library proper sized again but suffering from the fever of oncoming measles. So was it all a feverish dream or was it?

The book is an interesting mix of period uniforms, and absurd ideas for gaming scenarios such as the blue Napoleonic troops abseiling in full dress and shako.

The figures are stiffly posed in a toyness fashion when glimpsed as toys in some pictures but within the world of the bookish “Town in The Library” of the title and the children’s feverish imaginations the Toy Soldiers appear more animated, alive and human. This is cleverly distinguished in Shirley Tourret’s illustrations.

A sad postscript

The things you learn whilst exploring the world of toy soldiers.

As well as finding out about illustrators, you discover interesting things about the authors too.

Exploring Edith Nesbit’s life on Wikipedia, I found that Fabian and Rosamund the two children in the book are named after her own complicated family of birth and adopted children including a son Fabian, who died aged 15 in 1900, the year before this story was published in 1901.  She also was one of the nine founders of  the socialist Fabian Society in 1884 with her husband Hubert Bland, and her son Fabian was named after the society.

Nesbit’s children were Paul Bland (1880–1940), to whom The Railway Children was dedicated; Iris Bland (1881-1950s); Fabian Bland (1885–1900); Rosamund Bland (1886–1950), to whom The Book of Dragons was dedicated; and John Bland (1898–1971) to whom The House of Arden was dedicated.

Her son Fabian died aged 15 after a tonsil operation; Nesbit dedicated a number of books to him: Five Children and It and its sequels, as well as The Story of the Treasure Seekers and its sequels. Nesbit’s adopted daughter Rosamund collaborated with her on the book Cat Tales. (Wikipedia source: E.Nesbit)

At least Fabian lives on through this story.

Blogposted by Mr MIN, Man  of TIN, September 2016.