Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, with a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Hooptedoodle #383 - License to Kill

 I'm still coming to terms with the changes in US politics. I feel that I have spent enough time, words and worry on the former President, so I offer this farewell thought. Maria Muldaur sings Bob Dylan's song. 

Right now, to me this feels kind of holy. I'll say no more on the topic.

Tuesday, 19 January 2021


 Moving swiftly on (before I get a glimpse of Mr Trump's pardons and have an aneurism), here's a workmanlike wargaming picture. My original reasoning for my WSS basing scheme was that, since the units only have 3 bases and they'll be doing some Old School tactical manoeuvring, I wouldn't bother with sabots, though I've become very used to using them of recent years.

After just a few test games, I confess I have changed my mind. Sabots there will be. They will not be magnetised, and - since my cunning WSS base sizes give a standard footprint (approximately) - I have adopted a one-size-fits-all plain sabot. Current thinking is that sabots will be a resource for the battlefield, and will be issued when needed. My Napoleonic units each have their own magnetised sabot, and they spend their lives on them, so this is a conscious departure from my standard system.

Because the sabots are a bit long and narrow, I was worried that 2mm MDF might warp if painted on one side only. I ordered in some samples from Uncle Tony Barr at East Riding Minis, and am pleased to find that they give no problems, so a bigger order will be on its way.

 Here's a quick photo, to give the idea. These should save time and broken bayonets.

Infantry and cavalry in line or column of march - even one of my strange limbered batteries 


Oh yes - dondaine. One of the many French nursery rhymes my mother taught me when I was an infant was En Passant par la Lorraine, a lengthy tale of a peasant girl who may or may not have captured the heart of the King's son (the song has a quirky, uncertain ending) through her fetching appearance, complete with clogs. This song contains the chorus hook-line:

avec mes sabots, dondaine,
oh! oh! oh! avec mes sabots

I have never been able to find out what dondaine means - and still haven't really got to the bottom of it. I am assured by one of my French relatives that in fact it means nothing - it is just a song-filler expression (equivalent to "tra-la-la" or, I suppose, "hey-nonny-no"). That's kind of an anticlimax after all those years of wondering, but I guess life is a bit like that.

If anyone knows different, please shout.

Here's a noble rendition of the song - just to prove it exists. I am confident you will not last to the end of the clip, but - take my word for it - this version only uses about half the verses my mother taught me. Obviously French kids had a good attention span in the days before Instagram.


Thursday, 14 January 2021

Hooptedoodle #382: Boomerwaffen - not front-line troops?

 This is a very upsetting time, all things considered, and the world does not require yet another smart-ass to try to say something clever or amusing about the tragic horror-show at the Capitol last week, but there is an aspect of the event which everyone seems to have attempted to avoid noticing; so, being naturally stupid and tactless, I thought I'd mention it. 

As I understand things, one protestor was fatally shot by security personnel, one policeman died from injuries received in the conflict, and a further policeman has subsequently committed suicide. All this is very sad and regrettable, and there was mention of three more protestors who succumbed to what were described as "medical emergencies". Again, I was very sorry to learn of this, but I was vaguely interested (not morbidly, I hope), wondering whether this was some kind of woke euphemism for "died of teargas" or similar.

Apparently not. It does shine a light on who these people were who forced their way into the Capitol on 6th January. There were guys climbing up buildings and getting into fist fights and so on, which is what we might expect from urban terrorists, but it is very obvious from the photos that many of them did not look like the sort of assault troops you would hand pick for your Forlorn Hope. Not grenadiers. A pretty high proportion of Mr Trump's enthusiastic followers are, to be blunt about it, elderly or overweight. Frequently both. I deeply regret that anyone should have been hurt or killed at all, though it could be said that they shouldn't have been there - if you stand in the middle of the highway, you will probably suffer for it. One lady died, they think, because she was trampled in the melee. One 50-year old man died of a stroke at the scene - his friends said he was very excited by the events of the day. 

One 55-year old, known to have a history of hypertension, had a fatal heart attack. He is quite an interesting fellow; described by his family as a good man, who would never have harmed anyone, he seems to have had a tendency to post pictures of himself on Parler (now defunct, of course), wielding his automatic rifles, and proposing that like-minded citizens should be prepared to take back their country with guns.


Didn't work out too well, did it? These people were obviously just not up to being commandos. If the Proud Boys and the Bikers for Trump and all the rest of the Boomerwaffen are going to commit to doing this sort of thing on a regular basis, they had better make sure they have paramedics with them, to look after the "medical emergency" casualties. Or maybe they could discourage their more frail colleagues from coming along.

Once again, I am at pains to emphasise that I do not wish to judge or disrespect any individual, so please don't bother flaming me, and I am sorry that people died or were injured, but Darwin is never far away if you look out for him.