Wargaming in Hertfordshire

Sunday, 30 March 2008

INTELLIGENGE REPORT - 1600 - 13th September

British and German battlecruiser fleets have clashed 25 miles north of Dogger Bank. Both sides have claimed to have sunk a number of Torpedo Boats, but now appear to have separated again. With the deteriorating weather reducing visibility it is not sure whether Beatty and Hipper will find each other again. From following the signal reports and intelligence sources, the plots below have been reconstructed. Reports from seaplanes and Zeppelins have been intercepted from the same area.

Bill Milater, US Naval Attaché, London

Sunday, 23 March 2008

INTELLIGENGE REPORT, 12:00, 13th September

Reports are coming of clashes between British and German light units in the Channel, as well as to the North of Dogger Bank. The British have claimed that their Torpedo Boats have scored a number of successes in the action north of Dogger Bank, even claiming to have damaged a Zeppelin, although similar Zeppelin sightings near Harwich may contradict such claims? It is thought that both sides have capital ships in the vicinity, so things look like escalating further in this sector. It appears as if the rumours of a British convoy from Norway were true, as a neutral merchantman reported seeing significant smoke, mid-way between Scapa Flow and Jade Anchorage.
The anchorage at Scapa Flow is reported as being empty, so appears that the Grand Fleet is at sea. With the confirmed sailing of the High Seas Fleet, from Jade Bay, it looks as if a major clash is increasingly likely, somewhere toward the Northern end of Dogger Bank.
The disturbing absence of reports regarding the whereabouts of the enigmatic Beatty has led to rumours of damage to his flagship, as a result of a mine or submarine attack.
Bill Milater, US Naval Attaché, London

Friday, 21 March 2008

Chicago Herald, 21st March 1929

3 of Chicago’s Finest Slain in Gunbattle

Today Chicago mourns three of its finest serving officers, brutally killed in the line of duty, facing down a major Gang turf war. Witness reports are confused, but it appears that gang boss “Bugs” Moran was seen, with rival gang boss deputy, “Fingers” Finigan, leaving the dockside branch of the US bank, carrying a large bag. Things were tense, as “Bugs” had his hoods waiting in cars outside the bank, while rival boss Frank Malone, drew up, with another load of hoods, on the opposite side of the street.
Despite the obvious danger, Detective Sean Fagen approached and challenged “Bugs” Moran and “Fingers”. All hell then seems to have broken loose. Clearly unnerved by first, , the appearance of Frank Malone and his men, then the escape of Babs Brennigan from the back of the van, then finally the challenge of the police, “Bug’s” henceman opened fire with his tommy gun, spraying Frank and his men with lead.
Jess James, “Bugs” Moran’s sidekick, then floored the accelerator of the Talbot van, sending it careering toward Detective Fagen and Officer Uno. As they scattered out of the way, “Bugs” leaped onto the running board of the van and Jess accelerated toward the police van and the waiting Officer Duo. Jess appears to have misjudged his run however and instead of striking Officer Duo, he glanced off the side of the police van, knocking Duo off his feet and dislodging the unfortunate “Bugs” Moran. Officer Duo wasted no time and after recovering his feet, sent blasts from his pump action, into the retreating form of “Bugs”, almost blowing him in half, as he tried to jump into the back of the van!
Officer Duo then calmly turned his attention to Moran’s thug, still spraying tommy gun lead, from the window of the Cadillac, toward Frank Malone and his men across the street. A blast from Duo’s pump action missed the thug, but wrecked the engine of the big Cadillac.

Meanwhile Officer Uno had sprinted after the scantily clad form of the retreating Babs Brennigan, manfully wrestling her to the ground. It is not exactly sure why Babs was running away from her beau, “Fingers” Finigan, by this time with Frank Malone, but there seems to have been some kind of communication breakdown. Frank was heard to yell “check out the dame in her underwear”, but the thugs thought he said “take out the dame, get her underwear”, and after exchanging puzzled looks, they discharged a fusillade of shots in her direction, causing her to flee!
“Fingers” Finigan furiously threw the cash bag at Frank and strode across the street, pulling out his .45 and aiming it at Officer Uno. Uno, calmly kneeling on the prostrate form of Babs, glanced between the approaching “Fingers” and the thug spraying lead from the big Cadillac. Unable to get a clear shot at the thug, Uno pumped a couple of rounds into the big Cadillac’s gas tank, sending it up in a ball of flame, killing the tommy gunner and knocking “Fingers” off his feet. “Fingers” struggled to his feet and with a murderous look in his eyes, advanced on officer Uno, yelling “get off my gal”, pumping round after round, into brave Uno. “Fingers” did not have long to gloat, because as he stepped up to the fallen Uno, Officer Duo blasted him in the back with the overworked pump-action. Having grabbed the cash, Frank and his men piled into their big delivery van and pulled out into the street. Detective Fagen, seeing Frank about to make his get-away, leaped into the police van and swung it out into the street, trying to block the path of Frank’s truck. However, Fagen had not seen Frank’s hoods in the big Duesenberg, and as he drove past, .45 slugs smashed into his body, killing him outright. Frank smiled and thought he had got away, but had not bargained on Officer Duo’s ubiquitous pump-action. As the van sped past, Duo calmly blew-out the rear tyre. The van ground to a halt, a short distance from Jess James’s Talbot van, now resting against the wall of the warehouse on the corner of the street. Jess had been aiming to head-off Frank’s truck, but a combination of a glancing blow from the huge Duesenburg, driven by Frank’s deputy, Curtis McElroy, and well aimed shots from Frank, had caused it to swerve out of control and into the warehouse wall. With the three vehicles now stationary, there followed a murderous exchange of fire, between Frank, Curtis and Jess’s men. Into this hell strode the fearless Officer Duo. Smashing the muzzle of his pump-action through the rear window of the Duesenburg, he blasted at the two thugs in the rear seat. Amazingly he only seems to have grazed both of them, and they turned their guns on him, cruelly cutting him down. Frank’s gang then turned their attentions back to Jess. Jess sensing the game was up, stepped from the Talbot and calmly walked through the flying .45 slugs, toward Frank in the truck. Frank smiled inwardly at such bravado, then emptied his .45 into Jess’s crumpling form.
This tragic shoot-out, here in our own fair town, clearly marks the end of a major chapter in the gang wars of Chicago, but it is with greatest regret that it has cost the lives of three of Chicago’s finest. Their names and deserved citations were honoured today, in a moving speech by Mayor Kevin.

Frank Moran – Colin
Curtis McElroy – William
“Fingers” Finigan – Kieran
“Bugs” Moran – Tony, “How many 1’s are on this d8?”
Detective Sean Fagen – Kevin, “Straight aces all the way”
GM – Phil

Rules: Savage World. Genre: 28mm Gangster skirmish.

Note: None of the Herald’s photographers were at the scene of the shootings. The pictures appearing above were wired to the Herald by freelance reporter, Colin Beermaker, using the new teleostereograph, the invention of Edouard Belin of Paris. Apparently these pictures were captured Colin’s telephonic device, by a process which completely mystifies the editor!?

NAVAL INTELLIGENGE REPORT - 0900 - 13th September

The weather here in London is improving, with visibility at about 12nm. It is believed that the High Seas Fleet sailed early yesterday evening, after minesweepers were seen at work during the day. There have also been reports of German light surface units off Great Yarmouth.
The British are clearly nervous, with a large critical convoy believed to be headed from Norway. Indeed the “Wobbly Eights” have been seen preparing to sail from the Thames and the British Battlecruisers were rumoured to have sailed at noon yesterday.
German submarine activity seems high, with sightings near Dogger Bank and radio transmissions detected and decoded, reporting capital ship sightings at 4E, 54.30N. Zeppelins have also been sighted.
Things seem to be stacking us for a major show-down in the North Sea, but curiously there are no reportings yet as to the whereabouts of the Fleet commanders?
Bill Milater, US Naval Attaché, London

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

WW1 Naval Game Intelligence Report

US Naval London Attaché Report 1
Since the indecisive battle at Jutland at the end of May, both the British Grand Fleet and German High Seas Fleet have been frantically repairing their ships in readiness for another fateful clash. During the action at Jutland, the British lost the battlecruisers Invincible, Indefatigable and Queen Mary, the armoured cruisers Black Prince, Warrior and Defence and eight destroyers. The battleship Marlborough was torpedoed. The Germans lost the pre-dreadnaught Pommern, the battlecruiser Lutzow, four light cruisers and eight destroyers. Despite claiming victory, Both Admiral Jellicoe and Admiral Scheer have been heavily criticised for the indecisive outcome.
Both commanders need a decisive victory, but for different reasons and both sides appear to be making preparations for a future clash.
Minesweepers have been at work clearing channels through Jade Bay, presaging a sortie by major elements of the High Seas fleet. The Germans have also warned the US government that its merchant ships should avoid the North Sea for the next few days due to an unusually large number of submarines deployed in the area.
The impetuous Admiral Beatty is known to be eager to exercise the seven British battlecruisers under his command, based at Rosyth.
The main British battle fleet of 33 dreadnought battleships based at Scapa under the command of Admiral Sir John Jellicoe with Vice-Admiral Walker as his 2nd in command, is known to be at a high state of readiness and may have set sail on a major exercise. It is also thought that a separate group of King Edward VII class pre-dreadnaughts have been moved to the Channel area.
A number of key dreadnaughts are know to be refitting, including the torpedoed Marlborough and the battlecruiser Australia recently damaged in collision.

The attached message was obtained via contacts in the Berlin embassy. This must be forwarded to Washington. It must not be transmitted with the above signal report.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Salamanca July 1812 - March 2008


Wellington was the British general to be feared. He could spot a defensive position usually a ridge, where he would position his troops on the reverse slope to protect them from French bombardment. The French would attack in fast moving columns protected by skirmishers, but Wellington would position his own skirmishers to counter their debilitating fire. The French column would get to effective range of the British, and deploy into line. However before the manouevre was complete the British would fire a well-aimed volley and charge in - scattering the deploying French.

Marmont was well aware of Wellington’s abilities. He was also aware that Wellington utterly relied upon his line of supply. The Anglo-Iberians did not live off the land but paid their way.

After following each other along the River Tormes in the hot summer of July 1812, near Salamanca, Marmont managed to cross the river unmolested. If he expedited his army he could out-flank the Anglo-Iberians. The ground around Salamanca favoured the French, gentle rolling grassland with almost no high ground. Specifically: no ridge. Better, Marmont does not even need to attack the Anglo-Iberians, he just needs to march to their Line of Supply and Wellington is forced to retreat back to Portugal.

The Battle March 9th 2008

The re-fight of the Battle of Salamanca starts with the French moving quickly in front of the British position. There are some features on the battlefield of tactical importance, a small hill: The Greater Arapiles needs to be occupied and the village of Los Arapiles will provide some flank protection for the French. Opposite the Greater Arapiles lies a smaller hill which the British have occupied. Los Arapiles is being attacked by the 4th Division.

The wargame begins with Marmont carefully directing Bonnet’s Division against the 6th Division. The British counter by directing Gardiner’s and Greene’s artillery toward Bonnet’s Division. Marmont is wounded instantly. The Light Division and Foy skirmish with each other. There is some desultory firing along the British front. Wellington quickly orders the 5th Division, Le Machants Cavalry, the 1st Division, and the 7th Division to attack.

The French, leaderless are thrown into confusion. Thomieres attacks the British LoS and deploys his Division. Maucaune tries to outshoot the 4th Division in Los Arapiles. Bonnet starts to trade skirmishers with the 6th. Boyer, Sarrut, Foy, and Ferey continue on their orders.

The British react by sending the 5th Division to Thomieres in a piecemeal fashion. Le Marchant saddles up his horses and readies himself for action, D’Urban likewise starts to sharpen sabres. Inexplicably Wellington ignores the 3rd Division with the most powerful Division in the army but prefers to dally with some German troopers about 5 miles from the action.

Thomieres organizes himself on Mount Azon on the British LoS. Maucune attempts to capture the village by a coup de main but is repulsed. Bonnet starts to move forward. Clausel is now in command, but the French chain of command is in disarray. Boyer with his cavalry, and the infantry Divisions of Sarrut and Foy continue to move to the enemy LoS.

Whilst Thomieres organized his artillery and infantry into cleverly designed kill zones the British 5th Division decided to check that kit was adjusted and webbing was whiter than white. The 4th Division begun to trade blows with Maucunes Division in Los Arapiles but the ‘City fighting’ ability of the French was showing its worth. The 6th Division readied itself to attack the French but began to realise that its guns so cleverly sited to wound Marmont were now vulnerable to a flank attack. Wellington had yet to lose an artillery piece in battle: today was not going to be the day. Wellington now sends an order to Packenham (with the most powerful Division in the army) and tries to get the Portuguese and Spanish reserve moving. The First Division, the Guards, bolt from their position to threaten the French.

Thomieres now has a particularly strong position on Mount Azon and starts to assault the disorganized 5th Division. Clausel, reorganizes Boyers Dragoons. Bonnet’s Division exerts more pressure on the 6th Division. Maucune succeeds in attacking the 4th Division in the village but the battle ebbs and flows. Foy starts to see success against the Light Division, primarily from his clever location of his artillery.

The 5th Division finally get themselves organized to inflict a volley fire on Thomieres Division. Le Marchant arrives with the Heavy Dragoons, but Thomieres clever disposition means that they are ineffective. The 4th Division are still pressing the bayonet in the village, but Macaunes veterans are easily holding the British. With the tactical nous of a rugby forward Cole continues to push forward from the front without a thought for using his superior numbers and outflanking Maucune. The 1st Division now race to confront Sarrut’s and Ferey’s Divisions who are both in March column – the worst possible formation. The Light Division starts to suffer from Foy’s well-placed artillery, and the Portuguese break.

D’Urbans cavalry are ready to help out the 5th Division, whilst Packenham (with the most powerful Division in the army) is left to make sense of Wellingtons orders (Attack the Arapiles. Lesser? Greater? Village? More clarification is needed.). If only Wellington had come over and delivered the orders himself.

The French reaction is brilliant. Thomieres attacks rather than defends and scatters Ellis’s Brigade of the 5th Division. The British run through D’Urbans recently arrived cavalry. Thomieres personally leads his infantry against this new disorganized foe scattering more horsemen. Maucune struggles against the 4th Division in the village, things are going against the French but their tenacity is keeping them in the village. ‘Anyway – isn’t Curto with the Cavalry and Taupin meant to have arrived by now? Bonnet is exerting pressure on the 6th Division, Clausel has got hold of the situation in the centre, his Division is now exerting pressure on the 7th Division. Wellington’s carefully sited artillery is now looking vulnerable. Sarrut is still strung out in march column with the Guards ready to attack them in the flank. Sarrut calmly deploys every brigade and artillery into line, none are left vulnerable to attack. Perhaps the moment to beat the French by this bold move has gone.

The 5th Division , Le Marchant and Durban finally organize themselves into an attack formation. Thomieres Division starts to disintigrate. Thomieres himself is killed by a Portuguese sabre cut. Maucunes Division is getting worsted by the British and requests help from Bonnet’s Division. The French reserve of Curtos Cavalry Division and Taupins Infantry Division are starting to look threatening. The British Guard volley fire against Sarrutts Division but the French hold firm. This fight will be decided by the bayonet. The Light Division continue to take casualties from the well directed artillery of Foy. Foy notices that his men are taking very few casualties and releases two regiments to attack the increasing isolated Guard Division. The artillery of the 6th Division is overrun, the Scots assaulting the Greater Arapiles break, the host of retreating men shake nearly every unit of the 5th and 7th Divisions.

Boyer delivers his cavalry charge into the flank of Wheatley’s brigade who immediately surrender. A third of the 1st Division is now in enemy hands. Can Anson ride up to rescue the remaining two thirds? In Los Arapiles Maucune gets shot and his Division starts to retreat from the village. Le Marchant and the 5th Division mop up the remaining elements of Thomieres Division on Mont Azon. In the centre Clausel is pushing the 6th and 7th backwards.

Curto wakes up to the danger as Le Marchant (now on badly blown horses) attacks him. Curto’s Cavalry force Le Marchant back and chase him to Lisbon. The remaining heavy cavalry have out-ridden their infantry supports and are badly mauled by Taupin’s infantry. Anson’s Light dragoons attack Clausel’s Infantry and Boyer’s Cavalry but are easily beaten off and retreat. The 1st Division is now completely isolated, and the King’s German Legion surrender, another 2,500 men in the bag. The 6th and 7th Division take heavy casualties and are forced off the Lesser Arapiles. Packenham (with the strongest Division in the army) arrives at the Lesser Arapiles to cover the inevitable retreat.

The French have won a magnificent victory.

Marmont (wounded), Thomieres (dead), Maucune (dead), Curto and Taupin – Peter Day
Clausel, Bonnet and Boyer – Chris Fitall
Foy, Sarrut, Ferey , and 15th Cavalry – Jim Cornish

Wellington, Leith (5th), Cole (4th) Le Marchant and D’Urban – Ian Rawlings
Campbell (1st), Clinton (6th), Hope (7th), Alten (Light) and Brock – Colin Brewer
Packenham (3rd), Sanchez (Spanish), Anson, Pack (Ind. Portuguese) – Seán Slater

Monday, 10 March 2008

Sunday 6th April
The game is based on a possible naval battle in 1916, involving over 200 ships.
Each player will command a portion of the fleet and will receive individual briefings and objectives. The initial map moves will be carried out before the Sunday. Small actions, if any, will be resolved by the umpire or fought on a Thursday. Players will write orders and receive sighting and intelligence reports upon which they can act.
Merchant ships, zeppelins, submarines, radio intercepts, minefields and aircraft will be represented.
This is the next large WW1 naval battle to be fought as a Sunday all day game. It is to be fought on April 6th. Please let Jim know asap if you want to join in.

Friday, 7 March 2008

A Day At The Races - Circus Maximus

Please Note: Engraving from earlier practice session as the scribe had his tablet stolen during the actual race.

A Day at the Races

Clearly anticipating the nature of the race to come, Speedus Sneekius sprinted away from the start line, skimming the outside wall all the way. Meanwhile havoc was being wrought behind him. First Bicarus, then Crassus, were weaving wildly about, looking for someone, anyone, to attack! Crassus nicked a couple of the other charioteer’s teams, before in turn, suffering the crushing attack from the scythe blades of Anon Too’s chariot, which cut all four legs from Crassus’s right-hand horse. This set the tone for the rest of the race, with chariots weaving back and forth alternately attacking and evading attack, while all the time, Speedus was steadily opening his lead, all the time skimming along the outside wall. Indeed some of the crowd began to wonder whether Speedus had a wheel stuck in gutter!?
The back of the field was very hotly contested, almost as if the race lead didn’t matter at all!? Crassus, having now cut his dead horse free, set off in true ‘Steptoe & Son’ style, lashing out at any passing chariots and indeed starting a small whip collection! Bicarus appeared to be a man possessed, darting from one side of the track, to other, attempting ram anything coming remotely within reach. Maximus seemed to be suffering from the weight penalty of a rather violent back-seat driver!
In a final attempt to close with Speedus, Colarnium was tempted into a rash piece of cornering and was severely punished, by a dramatic upending of his chariot. Colarnium, despite being dragged around the corner, succeeded in cutting himself free. However, as he rose to his feet, to the rapturous applause of the crowd, Anon Too callously ran him over!
The last leg of the race saw a very dramatic twist of fate. Speedus was dismayed to survey the motley crowd of chariots waiting ahead of him, all cruising up the last straight, just itching to try to stop his victorious sprint down to the finish line. Clearly something then snapped in Speedus’s head, as he found himself in the unfamiliar territory of the middle lane, going too fast. However, rather than brake, he lashed his team faster and faster. The resulting crash saw the chariot hurled almost 50 paces along the track! The crowd went quiet, “Speedus is done for” they cried. However, this crash was either a moment of madness or pure genius, as the startled, bloodthirsty backmarkers, were dismayed to see Speedus being dragged by his thundering team, straight past them all!. Indeed, so stunned were they, that not one of them could get remotely close to the dragged form of Speedus, as he swept onward, to the finish line, in this rather undignified manner! Speedus slithered over the finish line, very dusty, but suffering only a few cuts and bruises!! The most dramatic win in years, although the stewards are now looking into whether the deliberate jettisoning of a chariot should be an offence under the Circus Maximus racing rules!?

Colours & Drivers:
Green – Speedus Sneekius (Chris)
Purple – Aardvark Maximus (Chris)
Blue – Arsus Major (Sean)
Yellow – Colarnium (Colin)
Red – Bicarus Lotticus (Pete)
Black – Crassus (Jim)
White – Anon (Alistair)
Grey – Anon Too (Kieran)