Thursday, 31 March 2016

Easter Greetings!

I'm more than a bit late in blogging this, but it has been a busy, busy time. Between Thursday, March 24 and Sunday, March 27, I was involved in 5 worship services (including one in the German language) and preached at four of them (although not the German one.) Monday was a day off for me, but I was struck with insomnia on Easter Sunday night which did not help at all. My wife has been incredibly kind, cooking some favourite meals for me, all while suffering some eating problems herself. My daughter took us out for sushi for lunch yesterday and it was delightful!

In any event, I'm adding one of my favourite Easter hymns as a celebration. The poetry is quite old, dating from the 8th Century of the Christian era. It says all I'd wish to say for the festival.

Come, ye faithful, raise the strain of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought forth Israel into joy from sadness;
Loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke Jacob’s sons and daughters,
Led them with unmoistened foot through the Red Sea waters.

’Tis the spring of souls today; Christ has burst His prison,
And from three days’ sleep in death as a sun hath risen;
All the winter of our sins, long and dark, is flying
From His light, to Whom we give laud and praise undying.

Now the queen of seasons, bright with the day of splendor,
With the royal feast of feasts, comes its joy to render;
Comes to glad Jerusalem, who with true affection
Welcomes in unwearied strains Jesus’ resurrection.

Neither might the gates of death, nor the tomb’s dark portal,
Nor the watchers, nor the seal hold Thee as a mortal;
But today amidst the twelve Thou didst stand, bestowing
That Thy peace which evermore passeth human knowing.

“Alleluia!” now we cry to our King immortal,
Who, triumphant, burst the bars of the tomb’s dark portal;
“Alleluia!” with the Son, God the Father praising,
“Alleluia!” yet again to the Spirit raising.

Words: John of Da­mas­cus (675-749) 
              trans­lat­ed from Greek to Eng­lish by John M. Neale, 1859.
Music: St. Ke­vinAr­thur S. Sul­li­van, 1872

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

... And saved the sum of things for pay.

After the ACW bash-up I just blogged about, the next week saw Martin L and I playing Pike & Shotte with our Thirty-Years War armies - French vs. Swedes. In the real world, the French bank-rolled the Swedes late in the TYW, but we like our armies too much to be held back by reality.

I had two brigades of infantry, one native Swedes, guards and veterans all, and a second of German/Scots mercenaries. I made sure I had plenty of artillery, lots of light guns to back the infantry. Two cavalry brigades rounded out the force - cuirassiers, harquibusiers, Swedish light horse (stripped down cuirassiers in reality) and Finnish Hackapelli. Martin fielded a similar force but most of his horse were heavier than mine and his infantry was a match for mine with salvo fire and fielded as large units.

Martin's French and mercenary cavalry

My Hackapells, light horse, and cuirassiers.
The command is designated by round bases; makes it easier to pick them out when deploying from the box.

The Swedish brigade - Yellow Guards followed by the Green and Blue regiments

Scots and German mercenaries with harquibusiers in the background

More French cavalry... a hateful bunch all around.

Martin's Croats serving as true light cavalry

Martin's French and mercenary infantry.

Swedish battalion guns

Almost "at push of pike"
The Yellow Guards, filled out with some red-coated Scots pike, lead the way.

The Hackapells do what they do best - "Hack 'em down!"

Some of Martin's infantry turned my flank and attacked the light artillery.
Wonder of Wonders! The gunners beat the musketeers in hand-to-hand combat and the second gun's blast
of hail-shot sent them running! I've never seen the like... nor had Martin!

All sorts of cavalry have at it on the Swedish right flank. The French got the worst of it this time.

Another view of the Swedish infantry advance.
I was advised to be more aggressive with my infantry, so I tried,

Hackapells and Cuirassiers take on the French heavy horse.
If I recall correctly, I came out alright.

French light guns and Dragoons
The Green regiments has moved through the Yellow Guards who had suffered badly
from French musketry and artillery.

The Scots and Germans have lost a sleeve of musketeers but the rest stood firm.
As mercenaries, they all had to take a break test when one unit ran... and they all passed!
"These, in the day when heaven was falling,
The hour when earth’s foundations fled,
Followed their mercenary calling
And took their wages and are dead.

Their shoulders held the sky suspended;
They stood, and earth’s foundations stay;
What God abandoned, these defended,
And saved the sum of things for pay."
- Epitaph for and Army of Mercenaries --- A.E. Houseman

the grand mix-up in the battle's centre
At the end of things, Martin actually conceded the field. Being a gentleman, I permitted him the honours of war and let him march off with flags flying.

Two weeks of winning! I'm not sure I can deal with this. Of course, the next week, I had the stomach flu. Go figure.

Gustav Adolph, the winner of the day!

Another view of the Swedish Brigade
At another table, Wayne and Kevin were play-testing a game for the up-coming Hot Lead convention.

The Canadians advance toward the German trenches.

There's a lot of barbed wire our there!

Canadian grenadiers prepare to throw.

An interesting day all around.

A LARGE Game and a good one.

I've been out of circulation for a bit, dealing with three things - the stomach flu, a serious head cold, and the season of Lent. As a pastor, it gets quite busy. If you add illness to the mix, it doesn't get any better. So I've had little time and less energy to blog. Because of that I'm "behind" in battle reports.

About three weeks ago, we played a huge game of American Civil War using the Black Powder rules. I find these rules to be quite playable for the period and I'm looking forward to Warlord Games ACW supplement, which the rumour mill reports is coming out before long. Warlord's website has been teasing us with hints of the internal art work. Well, I know I'm going to buy it when it come available.

The game had eight players. I actually ended up on the Federal/Union side along with Martin L., Ralph (who supplied all the figures and the bulk of the terrain) and Graeme. The Confederate side was run by Martin J. (of J&M Miniatures), Jakob, Barnaby, and Bear (who got to push his beloved Rebels on the table.) I had the far left flank of the Union army with a three regiment infantry brigade supported by a cavalry regiment and a unit of skirmishers/pickets. I faced Martin J. who had a similar force with maybe an extra infantry regiment.

I should mention that two other games were going on at the same time. A game of Napoleon at War was held in one corner and another corner saw a game of Muskets & Tomahawks for F&I. It was a very busy day and the library likes it that way. It helps with their numbers... and funding.

The battlefield, with your humble blogger on the far right... checking his phone for messages from the high command.

Muskets & Tomahawks with lots of musket fire

Graeme observes the Rebel advance.

A lovely little church in the wild wood... perhaps a Dunker church?
I'll be honest. The game was hard fought. Martin L.'s troops were hammered by Jakob until they broke. Ralph didn't fare much better. Graeme held on in the face of Bear's aggressive moves. The oddest thing about the game was that I won my end of it. My cavalry defeated Martin J.'s and my infantry eventually came to hand-to-hand with his and beat him! I actually felt bad! I'm used to losing so actually winning was a new thing to me. I hope to get used to it.

Martin L's brigade advances with the elite Zouaves in the van.
A Rebel regiment stands it's ground.

I think these troops and battery were under Ralph's command.
He has an incredible collection!

Toward the end of the game, my Bluecoats assaulted the Confederate over a rail fence.
The Rebels broke and ran.
The stand holding the die and a casualty figure is Ralph's brilliant way to keep track of casualties on the unit.
Graeme's Union Cavalry

My cavalry after sending the Confederate cavalry packing.
The Rebel cavalry officer shadowed my horsemen but could do nothing but hurl insults.

Confederate Picket and artillery

The Federal troops advance.

Another view of the advance. I have yet to figure out what state Ralph's troops are from.
The flag here is the issue regimental one.
My cavalry support my  infantry attack with useless pistol fire.

Meanwhile, back in the corn crib...

My pickets guarded my right flank, behind an rail fence and in some rough ground.

Meanwhile in the French & Indian War, French regular infantry advance.

British regulars head into battle.
The cotton balls shows that the unit has fired.
The green glass markers shows how many action the unit has left that turn.

Grenadiers! Hat-men! Ti-cats!

La Belle France's native allies own the woods.

Lunch time! Pulled pork sandwiches from the laundromat across the street,
The sandwiches are really quite good! There used to be a Polish deli over there as well and I mourn that business's passing.

A few more random photos to round out this blog entry.

Ralph's "grand battery"

The French attempt to cure Napoleon's "Spanish Ulcer."
Napoleon at War rules being used by Cecil and company. 
Muskets & Tomahawks is card-driven.
I usually don't care for card-driven games but I like this one.

One of my regiments in support of my pickets,

Things got blurry on the other end of the table.

... and in the F&I as the French light infantry advance.