Exploring the Seven Years War

Finally, after quietly sitting in the lead mountain the first of my Seven Years War Austrians have taken the field against Frederick the Great.

The Seven Years War is an interesting period and one which has appealed as a miniatures project for many years. However, stirred by my visit to the battlefield of Kolin and Hapsburg Vienna a couple of years ago I finally made some progress. Yes, its hard not to be taken by the period with so many fine statues of those great Austrian generals proudly marking the tenacity of Austria to Prussian aggression.

Fortunately one of my regular opponents had previously completed a significant proportion of a Prussian Seven Years War army in 6mm. However, with no period opponent these Prussians were used to represent the Prussians in 1806, a role that they have fulfilled diligently for many years.

I have of course posted previously on painting the Austrians However, if you are interested there is now a selection of photos and description of our first 6mm Seven Years War engagement fought using Volley & Bayonet, you can find it here.

Reflections & the Year Ahead

Here we are at the beginning of another year. As always it’s a time to look back at the past year and for many of us to ponder what this year may hold. For some readers 2019 will have had a number of challenges and several hardships. I can only hope that your friends and family have been able to rally around and your gaming has provided some enjoyment.

For me the past year has certainly been busy, on both a personal and professional front. Yet, from a wargames perspective it has been rewarding with much painting, organising and gaming.

Game wise I again have again been fortunate with a number of regular opponents and regular games across most of the periods I’m interested in. These have ranged from small games such as the Wings of War game shown above, my last game of 2019, to larger multiplayer events. I find myself pondering what form the larger games could take during the year. It will be interesting to see if what eventuates in this space.

My painting projects have burst into life this year and some are almost complete. I have for example made significant progress expanding no less than three 6mm armies for use with the WWII Spearhead rules. Of the three Spearhead projects the Soviets were certainly the largest and while not complete, the back has certainly been broken.

In addition I’ve  painted some long overdue 15mm DBA armies which have languished unpainted for far too long. In particular the Gauls who have been campaigning against all manner of historical opponents. Further, additional options have been completed allowing the expansion of a couple of Macedonian Successor armies.

Finally I started my latest project an Austrian Seven Years War army in 6mm, for use with Volley Bayonet. The figures, like the other painting projects for 2019 have drawn mostly on existing figures in the existing lead mountain, providing something of a positive feeling of progress.

I’m rather hoping that 2020 will be equally rewarding on the painting front though of course, only time will tell how much further progress is achieved in further reducing the backlog.

I trust that 2020 is kind to you and your family and that you have many hours of enjoyable reading, painting and socialising around your gaming table.

DBA Excursions

As many readers know I enjoy the DBA rules and as such they are a staple of my normal week of gaming. For me they provide a great opportunity to move some miniatures around the table, indulge in my interest in Ancient and Medieval wargaming and equally importantly, allow me to forget about some of the other challenges of my week.

The Christmas period has provided an even greater opportunity to play some DBA games often with our son but also with other locals. Over the last week we have found ourselves immersed in the Punic Wars, fighting civil wars in Japan, campaigning in the New World and exploring Dark Age Briton. A true kaleidoscope of warfare.

However, we have also been campaigning in South East Asia. In particular the Sultan of Malacca opened up a new campaign against Sumatra. While recording all these engagements is impossible a few photos and a report of a recent action in the steaming coastline of Sumatra can be found here.

To the Ostfront

This year has seen considerably less Spearhead games than I would have liked. In part this was due to moving house and all that comes with that. Christmas holidays have finally allowed me the opportunity to deploy some miniatures.

But which armies should we use? Well, having made significant progress this year on painting a good number Soviets I was particularly keen to use them. Given I have been painting both early and late war formations even then the choice was not straight forward. The Soviets certainly have have some interesting early war vehicles and within Spearhead provide some command challenges. But the appeal of T-34s in the late war rolling forward is also appealing.

After some discussion we finally opted to use two armies from 1944. The T-34s would soon be moving across the table as, most likely, the Soviets would be on the offensive. But of course, what is likely can’t always be counted on. Instead it was the Soviets who were on the defensive and the Germans were conducting a counterattack.

If you are interested a few photos and something of a summary can be found here.

Christmas Bells

A regular event here is the annual “Snoopy’s Christmas” Wings of War evening held just prior to Christmas. It’s a great way to finish the gaming year and now something of a tradition. Therefore on Friday evening a group of us gathered to once again test our skills in the air. The colourful biplanes and the odd two seater was unpacked and the missions determined.

Our first encounter was a simple dogfight over the Western Front in the mid war period. Unfortunately the details the combats are now lost to time. For my part I fielded an Albatross D.III and was supported by another Albatross and a Fokker Dr.I.

Our second scenario was a balloon busting expedition with the allies fielding a rocket firing Nieuport 16 supported by a Sopwith Camel and rather colourful Spad XIII. The Nieuport is an interesting machine. The standard armament is a single Lewis machine–gun, set in a difficult to reach position over the upper wing but when used in balloon busting missions it can also be armed with four Le Prieur rockets on each side. There are of course a few special rules to consider when using rockets.

The Germans would be defending the observation balloon with an Albatross D.Va and a Fokker D.VII. The ensuing game was full of confusion as allied aircraft spent much time avoiding the massive balloon while try desperately to pour fire into it.

Despite a couple of failed attempts to fire the Le Prieur rockets the Nieuport pilot finally managed to launch the rockets and destroy the already heavily damaged balloon. Below, the Nieuport pilot prepares to unleash his rockets.

Finally, we finished the evening with an enjoyable late war dogfight with a mix of aircraft taking to the sky.

These included a Breguet 14, a Spad XIII and a Sopwith Snipe while the opposing them were a hopelessly outclassed two seater UFAG and an Aviatik D.I. of the Austrian-Hungarian airforce.

Above the UFAG gets a parting shot from the tail gunner on a Spad. Below the much dreaded Breguet.

The UFAG C.1 pilot, while dishing out some damage to the Breguet, was finally shot down leaving the Aviatic pilot to finally make a break for home. 

With that we finished another excellent evening of Wings of War and Snoopy’s Christmas celebrations for 2019.