Monday, 28 November 2016

Crisis 2016, and the field of Waterloo


Over the last few years, I’ve made various trips to wargames shows in the UK and Europe. I don’t always blog my photos from these trips, not least because I’m using Twitter a lot more for posting daily updates. However, Twitter’s not the easiest platform to find anything on – whereas with a blog, I think you can find things a lot more easily through the indexing. 

With that in mind, here’s some of the action from the TooFatLardies’ recent trip to Waterloo and Antwerp in early November. In short it was a cracking weekend. Rather than drive straight to Antwerp for the Crisis 2016 show, we stayed a night at the Hotel 1815, on the site of the Waterloo battlefield. 

So, with that introduction (and well aware that looks at anyone else's holiday snaps is sometimes as dull as watching paint dry), here's my photos from the couple of days we spent in Belgium.  Apologies, my friends, if you doze off... 

Starting with a fine guide to the battlefield (regardless of whether you agree with the arguments concerning Wellington, Blucher and Gneisenau...)


.. and on to the field of Waterloo itself, trampled only by us and thousands of Belgian school parties and battlefield enthusiasts for hundreds of years ... 



The 1815 Hotel was a strange place.  We were refused alcohol in their (empty) bar on account of already having eaten dinner. We enjoyed a quiet drink on the steps of the hotel kitchen, instead.  The hotel did have curious portholes in the bedrooms allowing us to catch fine views over Wallonia on the early Friday morning.


We took the opportunity on both the Thursday and Friday to explore the battlefield, Plancenoit village, Hougoumont and Papelotte. There’s a lot to be said for walking a battlefield, as I’m sure you know. You get a feel for the ground, the terrain, the slight (or steep) folds in the ground which you feel could cause havoc with a column of heavily equipped infantrymen, such as these roads near Papelotte.


You can walk into a village and realise, as we did at Plancenoit, why the imposing church became such a tough and difficult objective for the Prussians to capture, surrounded by steeply dropping narrow roads and pathways.





There's ample time to observe the local architecture (or point out the 18th century brickwork) ... thanks Nick.




Terrain which seems at first sight to be flat, reveals itself with undulations and folds in which cavalry squadrons could reform and or conceal themselves.



Above all, you get a sense of the land, especially when a battlefield such as Waterloo is largely untouched by the following centuries.  Horses grazing just where French and Prussian cavalry vedettes would have clashed, about a mile from Placenoit, was a lovely sight.


It’s a very interesting battlefield, all the better for providing surprises about a battle I thought I knew reasonably well.

Then, after Waterloo, on to Antwerp. As cities go, it’s high up on my list of favourites. Perhaps it’s because I’m always in the company of great friends, and having fun.



Or maybe its because the good people of Antwerp are a friendly bunch, confident in the beauty of their city, its heritage and sense of style (as well as its prosperity). 





Perhaps its also the fact that I enjoy reading of the history of the city and the Spanish Netherlands in general (as readers of this blog will already know). It was a lot of fun to come across a statute of the great Flemish painter David Teniers the Younger on one of the walks we took on the Friday afternoon before Crisis.

Just wandering through the city is a feast for the eyes, and other senses, including wonderful buildings, fine chocolatier and great beers.




On to Crisis itself. It’s a fantastic wargames show, highlighting some of the best games on the “circuit”, remarkable painting, and great imagination. Crisis is all the better for attracting great European wargamers, including many old friends and faces from the UK. Here’s just a selection of the fine games.














And after all that, the fine people at the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp presented Rich and Nick with a fine trophy, now hanging as a chandelier in Lard Island, no doubt.


A great weekend.  A huge thank you to the Tin Soldiers of Antwerp, who work hard to produce such a fine show year after year.  And thanks also to the various bloggers and readers who came and said hello during the weekend.  

Roll on Crisis 2016 next year!


And, next on the blog, some more 2mm Thirty Years War-themed posting, and news of what I'm thinking about for Curt's 7th Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge!  Catch you all soon!



29 comments:

  1. Ah so that was where you stayed. We staged our refight of Waterloo in the conference room of Le 1815 on the 17th June 2015. They could not have been more obliging, and the food was excellent. You obviuos ly had a different experience.

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    1. Rich's verdict on the hotel was a lot more colourful than mine (and can be found on Twitter). I am sure that the fact that we went for dinner at the (great) Italian down the street, and then rocked up at Le 1815 at 10pm requesting a few more beers, didn't help things. In that regard, we were quite likely the agents of our own misfortune! However, the bed was very comfortable, and I loved the porthole window - so definitely not all bad!

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  2. Wonderful pictures, thanks for sharing!

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  3. Great stuff, thanks for sharing.

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  4. Looks great. I'm thinking of going next year

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    Replies
    1. Hi Martin - its definitely a good trip. Well worth the journey!

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  5. Went last year to Crisis and did a 5-day tour aorund: Waterloo, Arnhem (including Overloon tank Museum), Bastogne, the Peiper route in the Ardennes and the Brussels military museum. Worth attending the show (a great show indeed, liked Crisis more than Salute) and do some battlefiled tourism.
    Incidentally, didn't you visit the Waterloo Museum???

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    1. Hi Benito - that tour sounds wonderful. We've not ventured as a club to Arnhem and Nijmegen, but hopefully we will do one day. Likewise with Bastogne and the Bulge. We didn't visit the Waterloo Museum. We did discuss doing so, but it was great weather and we decided to do the battlefield walking (which did, at least, give us a healthy appetite for a couple of fine dinners on the Thursday and Friday!)).

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    2. Well you can easily get to Leopoldsburg and then drive the 30 Corps route on the slightly upgraded road through Valkensward.

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    3. Excellent suggestions, Graham. I'll be back for more directions if we ever travel that way! Thanks again!

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  6. A splendid post Sir, I find almost anywhere in the world is improved by good food, good beer and good friends.

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    1. Michael, so true. Indeed, I should have just had that as my blog post instead of the waffle I came up with!

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  7. most envious. I must get to crisis next year!

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    1. You'd love it, Dave - Crisis, and Antwerp, are definitely your kind of places to visit.

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  8. Excellent write-up. Add me to the list of folks who'd love to be there next year!

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    1. Thanks Peter - hopefully, I'll see you there!

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  9. Great pics! Looks like you all had an excellent few days!!! We've gotta make it to Crisis one day??

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  10. Damn I have missed meeting you at Crisis yet again this year! Oh well there's always next year!

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