Sunday, 22 October 2017

New Toy

Just a quick post.

I've been thinking about replacing my kit lens (18 - 55mm) for some time, but couldn't decide what to get.

Yesterday I took the plunge and got a new lens to replace it!

Went with the Canon EFS 17 - 55mm f2.8 lens since I'm using a crop sensor camera (Canon 7d mk2).

Immediately after purchasing, I popped up to Auckland Domain to have a wander through the Winter Gardens & Auckland War Memorial Museum to try it out.

So far, so good :-)

Thursday, 12 October 2017

New Zealand's Darkest Day

George Edmund Butler's watercolour 'Bellevue from Gravenstafel', shows the hill on which 843 New Zealanders died as it appeared circa 1918.

Image courtesy of the National Collection of War Art, Archives New Zealand. Reference: AAAC 898 NCWA 431
"On two days in October 1917, in the farmlands of Belgium, New Zealand suffered two of its greatest tragedies. On 4 October, 490 New Zealand servicemen were killed. Eight days later on 12 October there was an even greater loss. Of 3000 casualties on that day, more than 840 young New Zealanders lay dead or dying in the mud and uncut wire before the village of Passchendaele."

Excerpt taken from here.

In New Zealand, the battle of Passchendaele is less well known (along with most of the NZ involvement in the Western Front) as focus is always around Gallipoli. The number of deaths eclipse those from any natural disasters or other events in our history.

With it being a hundred years later, I figured I would complete a short post about it as remembrance.

Further images can be found here and more detail on the battle here.

I am currently researching and trying to understand my Great Uncle George Chappell's involvement in the war.

He'd signed up as a Private in May 1917 and arrived in Europe in July 2017. From what I can decipher of his records - arrival was at Sling Camp where he would be part of the reinforcement force.

Unfortunately these battles look like the reason why he was then sent to the Wellington Infantry Regiment in early November 1917 for active service.

Reading the NZ history, this was a relatively quiet period due to the mauling the Division had taken in Passchendaele with 3 weeks out of the line before moving into the Polygon Wood area for the winter.

He was back in London in March due to bronchitis / pneumonia (arriving the same day as the Germans commenced the Spring Offensive in 1918).

From here, its gets a little tricky to decipher the movements. I can see he was on board the hospital ship "Maheno" in August 1918 and (I think) eventually back to NZ in October 1918 (dates seem to match for when "Maheno" was back in Auckland for repairs). I can't quite figure out movements between March and August.

He was later discharged from service due to illness contracted on active service. Unfortunately I can't decipher what is written as the cause, but we believe it was both through surviving gas (contracting a form of tuberculosis) and some physical wound.

He was 38 years old on arrival at the front. The same age as me...  On return, he had a career in the railways and lived until 1977 (just over a year before I was born). Not a bad innings in the end.

Lest we forget.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

One last crack

And thus ends our grand Napoleonic campaign. For now. 

The Fizzer at Granja de la Abundancia (scenario from the Vol. 1 Albion Triumphant).

Both the French (Dallas & I) and British (Paul & Lee) would have to march onto the table to begin the battle. Off course, things started well with the majority staff ratings of 7 immediately causing difficulty! 

Very little movement... or no French infantry willing to arrive for a couple of turns!

But, troops do eventually start to arrive. Mon dieu! What are the British doing... their march flanks are exposed. Huzzah! Charge! Luckily Lee knows how to roll saves. What should have been a brigade broken remains in the fight.

The damage is done though. The French pincer starts to close and more British break. 

With that - victory for the French.

Bit of a tough one all round and many lessons learning from all I feel. Staff ratings of 7 certainly made for a different game...

5 from 5 for the French. I've been on the French side 4 times.... not that I'm insinuating anything :-)

Batailles magnifiques et superbes miniatures.

The obligatory pre-game drinks....

Lee étant un coq

I didn't really capture the right photos to outline this as a proper AAR, so just enjoy the pretty pictures of some amazing miniatures.....

Unfortunately a read of the rulebook the following identified the "Free Move" rule. Whoops... would have a made a difference.

I think we were also too used to the regular large movements we had been getting in the last few games.... but of course staff ratings were 8 or 9 then!

The British really couldn't combine and make their firepower work. It allowed the French to again break them apart piecemeal.

All good fun, but time for a break from Napoleonics. Let's see what next week brings!

Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Only Way To Game

This is the only way to game....

Shots of rum and glasses of red wine preceding the start of our latest Napoleonics game.

Rather appropriate based on some pre-gaming day talk...

It's becoming a bit of a habit.... and just because you need something to listen to whilst reading this :-)

Anyway onto the game report. To mix things up, the French would be advancing lengthways towards the British who were tasked with holding a crossroad. One British Brigade would already be at the crossroads, whilst the rest would move up from reserve.

The 95th Rifles had the rather risky task of skirmishing well ahead of the British line to try and slow the French advance. The forces line up....

French forces
British forces

And with that, it was game on. The French Infantry Brigades advanced at the double ignoring the Rifles. They would be left for the French Old Guard.

Things are going well.... until the first "blunder" that is. One of the French Cav units gets a little carried away and ends up charging the British Cav. They off course oblige with a counter-charge.

 And end up breaking through into more of French Cav. Things are not looking good!

At least the French Infantry are starting to get stuck in now... no mucking about. Straight into combat.

The Old Guard arrive to start dealing with the 95th.

And British Cav charge! Leaving the French Cav somewhat ineffective for the rest of the game.

At least the French right is doing some real work...

 The French left on the other hand... well, they're getting a bit of a pasting.

The battles ebb and flow... more British reinforcements arrive (KGL disguised as Russian infantry).

More French columns hit home. The Old Guard should make short work of the 95th right...? Right!?! Nope.

The French left starts to crumble...

But the British left crumbles first.

And with that, the British concede. The retreat is called leaving the French with the crossroads. A very narrow win.

Some early blunders by the French commanders and a rather unusually high proportion of 6's by the British kept the game close.... On review, not sure there is much the French could do different.

Great game and great company. As always.

Roll on next Friday.