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  • A walk in the Sun
    a sense of the macabre there is a church in the town the walls of which are totally covered in human bones including a full skeleton or two Estremoz Campo Mayor is yet another fortified border town dominated by a powerful medieval fortress which by the time of the Peninsular War was outdated and vulnerable to attack from artillery In 1811 Mortier forced the surrender of a weak but brave Portugese garrison who held on beyond all reasonable expectation A few days later the French occupying force commanded by Latour Maubourg was suprised By Beresford who drove the French back into Spain and recaptured the town Unfortunately in discipline amongst the Allied cavalry so common in the period prevented this victory from becoming a triumph Still Campo mayor is an interesting place to visit quiet and comfortable with friendly locals I spent the night in a cork grove a couple of miles out of town and rose early the next day to complete the walk into Elvas about 15 miles away Elvas Fort Gracas overlooking the town Elvas was the Allied headquarters for the campaign against my next objective the Spanish city of Badajoz The defensive works are still very much intact and the town is surrounded by a number of outworks that crown the ring of hills A number of these are still occupied by the Portugese military and the arrays of ariels spreading over the stonework are testimony to this Elvas The aqueduct There is an amazing aqueduct at Elvas that took over a hundred years to build and was designed to provide water to the population of the town and its garrison when their demands overwhelmed the wells within the walls However impressive the structure was I failed to see how it might be defended from artillery fire if the outer forts fell meaning that the fortress would surely be doomed Elvas clearly indicating the extensive fortifications the aqueduct is on the left I spent the night in a reasonable hotel allowing myself the luxury of a shower and a decent meal I was struck by the differences between Spain and Portugal First the language although from the same latin base they sound very very different In fact the first time that I heard Portugese spoken it sounded like Bulgarian or Russian to my uneducated ears After a couple of days though I began to recognise the similarities with Spanish and was able to understand some of what was said to me although I had no chance in trying to speak and had to fall back on Spanish This does not go down well so always apologise the Portugese are fiercely proud of their independence from Spain and some will refuse to respond to the Spanish tongue Secondly and I do not feel comfortable saying this but Portugal felt well scruffier The streets tended to be more untidy less clean The houses less well tended the people less concerned about the way they dress Now for a dust coated sweat streaked travel stained Brit to say this must sound a bit rich and Portugal is economically a poorer country than Spain but still I offer it as an observation that reflects many contemporary Peninsular accounts Having said that I found the Portugese people open friendly and hospitable having the edge perhaps on my experiences in Spain generally Third and of primary importance Portugal is so much cheaper for the traveller on a budget especially if you buy food direcy from the farms you pass on route hint but make sure you have a ready supply of tummy treatment Cheaper food wine accommodation vital knowledge for the budget traveller Next day after a comfortable nights rest and a light breakfast I treated myself to a taxi for the short trip to the border There loading myself up again like a beast of burden I crossed back into Spain The border guards just waved me through after glancing at my passport and I trudge along the main road past the Coca Cola factory towards Badajoz reflecting as I walked on the human chain that stretched from Elvas to the siege lines passing ammunition for the big guns Just as I reached the outskirts of the town I was joined by two green uniformed gentlemen of the Guardia Civil I had noticed these two giving me the eye at the border crossing I can only think they were bored and decided to follow me because they took an uncommon interest in the contents of my Bergen that they emptied turned upside down and inside out Badajoz from the West the trees are within the castle bailey indicating the extent of the fortifications I suppose they were looking for drugs they were certainly convinced that i was on drugs when i told them that I was interested in history and that was why I was heading to Badajoz They simply did not believe me Badajoz they told me had no history and I should be heading for the Roman ruins at Caceres a World Heritage site that was not on My intinery Luckily I was able to point out to them the fort of San Christobal the outer slopes of which we were standing on the Roman Bridge with its intact tete du pont fortification and the Moorish castle After a five minute impromptu lecture they surrendered either convinced by my remarkable knowledge of Spanish history or deciding that I was a relatively harmless lunatic who it would be more trouble that it was worth to arrest Las Palmas gate from the Pharos bar Wandering into the city I was suprised at how busy the place was you have to remember that I had been trudging the rural backwaters for a week Badajoz was a very busy place with a pleasant enough Plaza Mayor housing a chunky cathedral Having found a pharmacy to buy ointment for My right arm which was swollen and somewhat septic with insect bites and sunburn handy

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/Spain2.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Oh how it grew
    With the show only days away problems began to grow as usual players suddenly became unavailable meaning desperate E mails to scarcely known potential players With two days to go three huge boxes of painted figures arrived only to find that in a maniacal brainstorm the painter had failed to glue the bases down in one of the boxes Consequently whole companies now had sergeants with walking sticks not halberds grenadiers had lost their bayonets and sparkling bare metal shone from beneath battered noses God bless Parcel Force and dumb painters I had the army lists to amend gliches to iron out the computer began playing up and the printer kept jamming oh joy And despite all our plans we set off late on the Friday far too late to set up and with a twenty foot table to decorate things did not look good for the morning Up very early skipping breakfast we off for the show after unloading the van Graham returned to the hotel for breakfast while I began laying out the terrain The scenario was a combination of General Braddock s disastrous attack on Fort Duquesne and the siege of Fort William Henry The fort that David Marshall was building was based on a small frontier fort not the major fortification defended by Colonel Munroe and his troops and would be held by a single weak battalion of inexperienced regulars civilians and militia It was under attack from a large force of French regulars four experienced battalions supported by numerous militias battalions de Marine and of course whole tribes of native American warriors The bastion and gatehouse The British also had a relief column of regulars rangers and colonial militia but they had to fight their way along a narrow wilderness road hacked through thick woodland and filled with hostile Indians and couerers de bois Because I am a devious character I had designated most of the British regulars as inexperienced the reasons being that historically they were not prepared for the sort of warfare in which they were engaged Their drill books called for firing in organised lines in the open During Braddock s defeat the redcoated lines stood a perfect target for the sniping hidden Indians and French while the colonial troops who took cover to fight back where literally whipped back into vulnerable lines to be slaughtered The English troops were like fish out of water or conscript GIs in Vietnam the woods belong to Magua Again in my corrupt and twisted mind I had decided that if the relief column fought its way through the French lost If the fort surrendered to French regulars then the result would be a draw if the fort fell to either militia or Indian attack then the British defeat would be total as the garrison would be massacred without mercy With the help of Steve Farren we managed to get the basic terrain completed and I have to say it looked tremendous masses of trees supplemented

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/ohhowitgrew.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • early picking up some bread cheese and wine for breakfast I set out from the city towards Los Arapiles the scene of the Battle of Salamanca Crossing the great Roman bridge I really did get a feeling if the history of the city and looking back the diorama was truly remarkable But any sense of romance was soon driven out of me when the sun grew hotter and I began to realise that my pack contained far too much for this campaign Contemporary Print Next lesson travel light three pairs of socks three of underwear two of shorts one jeans light shirts three or four light waterproof I had no tent just sleeping bag rubberised mat sleeping bag and a plastic sheet with bungee clips Do not carry a library One good guidebook I like the Rough Guide series copies of battle maps a really good map and compass and know how to use them Emergency first aid soap razor knife spoon and plenty of water and that is it Anything else and you will pay the price Oh and before you set out on your trip practice walking and break in your boots The walk to Los Arapiles took longer than I planned and when I arrived in the small village half the town came out to look at the mad Englishman trudging down the dusty street with his waterbottle banging on his hip The great thing is though as soon as you move up a slight rise you see the battlefield spread out before you you emerge into the valley between the twin hills known as Los Hermanos which dominate the battlefield I trudged over to the larger of the hills and clambered the steep frontage to the top Appreciating the difficulties of Pack s Portuguese whose assault on this position was driven off with great loss Hardly surprising as you need both hands to climb the hill and there is no cover to speak of Once at the top the features of the battle are clear the valley where the French counterattack almost swung the battle the line of march in the distance taken by the 3rd Division that blunted the French advance the line of La Marchant s charge that smashed it At the time of my visit the monument had been badly vandalised and the rear of the French hill had been eaten away by quarrying Even so I wandered over that battle site for during the afternoon and evening totally alone and picked up a number of musket balls from the edge of ploughed fields After a light meal in the village I walked in the cool of the evening towards the town of Alba de Tormes sleeping that night in a stand of trees The next morning I set out early reaching Alba in a couple of hours Approaching from the route taken by the retreating French army it is easy to see why Wellington was so angry that the Spanish garrison of

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/Spain1.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • Bizarre
    BUNK I would go further many rule writers have only the hastiest notion of how military forces actually WORK and despite cloaking their writing in historical background are far more interested in a saleable game Now there is NOTHING actually wrong with this but rulesets such as the DBAs Ms or Rs are now so far from the historical root that they bear only the vaguest resemblance in both visual and mental terms to that which they purport to represent Needless to say statements such as these need qualification and most of my strictures only apply to pre 1914 mainly because I don t playa great deal after that day everyone is so BROWN my dear no fashion sense at ALL The current fashion for depicting higher and higher levels of command with fewer and fewer toy soldiers and simpler and simpler rule mechanisms inevitably means that those of you who follow this path remove yourselves further from the historical root of the hobby While it is by no means necessary to have lots of toy soldiers for a reasonably accurate and enjoyable game and the two are NOT mutually exclusive perhaps it is time to ask of any or all rulesets exactly what THEY are trying to achieve To which of course the answer is SALES Obviously the one size fits all school of rule writing a la DBA R or M and Armati has VERY severe limitations in terms of identity with a pe od of history and while it is inevitable that we accept a certain amount of fudging to achieve our ends the current mania for dumbing down or perhaps you prefer simplification of systems has resulted in whole tribes of wargamers who have no historical knowledge to speak of and want none in case it interferes with their game To me this is a crying shame Why is it now so unfashionable to use your brain To actually give some study to that in which you are supposed to have an interest NOW here s a concept for you Historical Wargames that use some history think of it Nearly 6000 YEARS of human history to work with NAAA it ll never work Seven Years War British Horse Grenadiers recently released Old Glory In a recent conversation with the Editor of this August Journal it comes out the rest of the year too he opined that most wargamers don t read history anymore they use army lists He may be right but AAAAAARGH Let s face it idiot books sorry Army Lists can NEVER be the whole answer I m not expecting you all to line up for your Ph D shere but reading books doesn t hurt the brain you know honest To be a little fairer that ll be the day thinks you army lists do have their uses for the quick and simple games that is not garners They are also a useful starting point for the beginner The biggest problem with them

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/RandomS/Library/Copestake.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Excalibur
    understated reality All that said at the end of the day this is a game not a historical re enactment So once it begins anything can happen Format Game turn Options The intention is to turn this over fortnightly and entirely by Email viz 1 The Gamemaster sends the players a Situation Report 2 Players make any enquiries necessary then respond within 7 days 3 The Gamemaster work out what

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/FofS/excalibur.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • New Page 1
    This page uses frames but your browser doesn t support them

    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/FofS/Pages/Kingdoms.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • New Page 1
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    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/FofS/Pages/Counties.htm (2016-02-16)
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  • New Page 1
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    Original URL path: http://www.wargames.co.uk/FofS/Pages/Chronicle.htm (2016-02-16)
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