Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Tanks for the memories.

Back to Bovington for 'Warfare through the ages'.

 Kicking off with a train cancellation, nevermind, only one change and 30 minutes added to the plan... detraining at Wool at about eight thirty and then just a couple of miles to camp.
Shock and consternation of the evening was..  NO BEER TENT.. however as proper troopers we all pitched in and supplied more than enough between us even if it was a mix of brandy, rum, beer, wine and Napier's gun oil. We had a sing song but why was everyone else so quiet?  Next day we had a complaint about the evening and again when we got up.  45eme, last ones to bed and the first ones out of it! 

I was on sentry duty when the event opened at the side entrance, I quite enjoy this, it's difficult to go wrong! People seldom stand and ponder the world going by without looking at a phone or searching for pokemon but sentry duty feels like your doing something whilst.. not really doing something.. just keeping your eye on things and nodding good morning.

Our first official group activity of the day was the parade and we formed up at one in full kit and marched over in the sun to be told we were early, despite what our paperwork said. no matter. All the groups marched through the arena and we learnt that the English civil war started because Oliver Cromwell really, really didn't like Charles I being King. Wow. No one knew that, it was even a new one on the English civil war reenactors. Also the British, just the British, won the battle of Waterloo.. oh and here come the vanquished French! (and neither us nor the British were in Waterloo campaign kit). Who writes this stuff?

The first days battle saw the French with the artillery on the redoubt behind us and a few cavalry repel the British advance, they came forward, led by the 60th rifles, and were stopped at a breastwork and trench that we went forward to secure, driving them out.  It was fun leaping into the trench and scrambling up the other side.
The co-operation between us and the cavalry was really good, getting them to charge and force the men into square (Huddle) whilst we marched on them and opened fire. I actually got to fire off all my rounds.

I like multi-period events, always something more to see, and talk about.. the American civil war guys provoke conversation on 'Whose side are you on?'  I certainly lean towards the Union and everytime someone in the group shouted 'Vive L'Confederacy!'  I kept sturm and waited for the Union guys to come by and shouted for them instead. I've heard of ACW guys who carry on like the war isn't over yet! They seldom seem to mix in the bar.

Speaking of bars, there was one on the Saturday but it was sadly a mediocre affair of Fosters/John Smiths and strongbow which seldom got busy unlike last year when it was the social hub of the event.
Still that night at camp there was an outbreak of spontaneous morris dancing that will not be forgotten in a hurry. We won't let the newly re-named 'Maurice' forget.

On Sunday after the parade I got to try out my game of Gluckhaus that I'd made after Bretten, and it seemed to go down quite well despite it's game of chance simplicity. In the first game I was 'The house' instead of playing and when someone throws a total of four on two dice the house/landlord gets the coin, I never thought it would add up to much but I can see how a soldier running the game could pocket a fair bit without being out of purse, the house always wins! Although I believe it was John and then Tasha that cleared the table. 

Second battle and we had a bad feeling about this.. the cavalry were on the British side today and we began firing from the palisades, one of us got slightly deafened, you can forget that there is a cone of percusion/noise that goes outwards from the musket.. in ranks you don't notice but folk were twisting sideways to fire or being behind others. The blast from my own musket certainly varied as I had ended up with a mix of big and little cartridges from a PFfffft to a WHhuMp!
There was some confusion as we fell back, must form on the drummer! but it is easy to think 'I was next to Jim and stand by him only to find out that Jim is already in the wrong place.. or half the unit is reforming five feet from the other half.

We then got attacked by the cavalry, and intermittently shot at.. time to die with a scream!  Then lying on the ground I realised the cavalry were coming back round to attack, would they see me in time?  I shouted 'Man on the ground' but one of my comrades did the same and they galloped passed, still a new experience seeing horses pound by from between the grass stalks.

The weather had been lovely, bar a bit of overnight light rain, and some of us went for a last beer (even if it was Fosters) before the close of play and stowing of the camp, and folk talking of when and where they will be seeing each other next.
For a few of us it is the campaign weekend in France in a fortnight, must put some string and brown paper on the shopping list...

Vive L'45th!

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