Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Sturler's Regiment of Foot...

Herewith some pictures of the latest regiment to leave the painting table and march to the sound of Marlborough's guns.... these guys represent Sturler's Regiment, a Swiss regiment in Dutch service...

..another picture - I quite like the commanding officer - fitting him into the stand was a bit of a squeeze but the effect I think is quite good.. the figures are all Minfigs, with the exception of the officers horse, which is Dixon. The flag is from the excellent Warflag site...

...as those of you who know me from previous posts, one of the joys of the hobby for me is the research into the history of the regiments our little metal men are representing, in this case I have found this wonderful website (click here), and with the help of Babelfish (because my Dutch is not brilliant!) have discovered the following.

The regiment was officially titled Infanterie Regiment 694a or 2e regiment Swiss of Bern - but like most regiments of the time it was better known by the name of it's colonel, who in this case was a man called Vincent Sturler. He was promoted to full colonel in February 1702 (he had been lieutenant colonel up until then), and to brigadier in 1709, whilst remaining in command of the regiment until 1722 (when he retired). I notice that there are a number of other Sturler's mentioned in the returns, so it looks like it was a family calling..

The regiment was recruited from men in the Bern, Neuchâtel, Waadt/vaud, Schaffhausen and Appenzell-Ausserrhoden cantons of Switzerland as a result of agreements between the Dutch Staten-Generaal (or government) and the governments of the relevant Canton. The agreements allowed the Dutch to recruit, equip, and pay, men from the canton to serve in the Dutch forces - my assumption is that this provided a useful form of employment for the Swiss, and resulted in a flow of income back to the Canton. The first regiment of Dutch Swiss was recruited in 1693, and was followed by five others, Sturler's was the second and was eventually disbanded in 1796.

Sturler's was in the 15 battalion contingent sent by the Dutch under the command of Van Goor, as a result of the Wesel conference in 1703 which agreed to send assistance to the Empire.

Following some scuffles with the French commander Villars (pictured), where the Dutch troops received the commendations of Louis von Baden, Van Goor and Sturler's were eventually ordered north.

In the Danube campaign (1704) Van Goor's battalions (including Sturler's) were with Von Baden at the start of the campaign while three others had joined Marlborough on his way south. In June all the remaining battalions were transferred to Marlborough's army and so the Anglo Dutch army was formed.

In the attack on the Schellenberg on 2 July 1704, Van Goor got the command of the Infantry that performed the first attack. Sturlers were in Beinheim's Brigade as part of this attack. Van Goor commanded the infantry from his horse and was killed by a shot through his eye almost instantly (his tomb is in the church of Nördlingen).

Sturler's went on to server under Major General the Prince of Holstein Beck at Blenheim, where they were in Horn's Division, in the first line.

..with a history like that, I expect great things from them on the tabletop!

...book review - Airfix Guide to the English Civil War..

..just a short update by way of a review of one of the recent purchases..

This book is number 28 (the last one) in the Airfix Magazine Guides series edited by Bruce Quarrie. The book was written by George Gush (author of "Rennaisance Armies 1480 - 1650" and who also wrote the WRG "English Civil War Rules")and Martin Windrow (who is better known for his books on more modern periods of warfare - especially WWII and Vietnam), and is 64 pages long...

The first four chapters take up 40 pages and offer a potted history of the war (cause, and timeline), and a summarised overview of the three main troop types infantry, cavalry, and artillery divided up into weapon and equipment types, and organisation and tactics. The section is pretty brief, as despite the fact that it is 40 pages long there are a large number of illustrations from drill books etc. some of which cover double pages... from my perspective, there wasn't a lot of information here that hasn't been written elsewhere and in more detail, but then that isn't the puprose of the book so is probably a little harsh - I did think that they could have cut back on some of the pictures.. for example, there is a two page spread from one of the 17th century drill manuals showing the sequance of movements for a musketeer to reload, but given the level of detail in the book, then a one page spread might have been better, with a concomitant increase in information??

Chapter five has hints and tips on wargaming the period so is the key chapter for me - it covers off

~ the manufacturers,
~ the required numbers of figures for a typical game (using the WRG 1:20 scale),
~ idea's for converting other Airfix figures (WWI Americans are best apparently as you can paint the puttee's to look like civil war era loose stockings, and they also have a wide brim hat...!)
~ quickly touches on campaigning - deals with march distances in a short paragraph
~ availability of rules

..before finishing off with a game report using the aforementioned WRG rules, with rules clarification throughout. I thought this was the nest part of the book, to be honest - it's always good to see events described, and the rules that caused the action. He finishes off this section with the army lists from the game, and some other sample army lists for the period (being WRG these are pretty heavyily comprised of "EHC, 'C class', pistol, close order" type comments!)

Chapter six was written by Martin and covers off the possible conversion options offered by the Airfix 54mm Collectors Series kits on musketeer, pikeman & cavalryman. Hints and tips on making the models, and two conversions - this section is more for the modellers than the wargamers..

Last of all there is a reasonably comprehensive appendix covering rules, books, societies, and other sources of information for the period... a lot of it now out of date unfortunately but the book list is good.

In summary; a handy little introduction that I'll keep in my book collection, but only because of it's classic hobby associations... very top level, little detail, but a nice little game description.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

...by way of an intermission... part the deux..

....as I was cycling home last night I had an idea about getting more out of Project Gutenburg - see last post (the cycling home bit always works; it's the rush of oxygen to the brain after a day sat at the desk!) The 'problem' with the site is the sheer number of books they have online, and figuring out where to start, but they do have an excellent search tool so the idea is to do with that - here's the results/method...

...first, do a subject search on "war" (no quotes required) - it comes up with 640 odd titles - most of which will be of no interest, but there are some very interesting possibilities including officer training manuals, numerous military histories, and military biographies...

...if you do a search on "Marlborough" it comes up with the Henty book, but I'd also forgotten "With Marlborough to Malplaquet" by Stead and Strang - I've been looking for a reasonable priced version of this for ages, and Gutenberg has an HTML version with coloured illustrations (of which the picture featured is one)!

...I also tried "tactics", "battle" (that's a good one), "military", "wars" (plural - in fact try an 's' on the end of any of them), "regiment", "brigade", "infantry", "cavalry" & "artillery"; try also the names of any battles that you are particularly interested in ... in fact anything vaguely war-like!

There's quite a lot of books on the American Civil War, the War of Independence, and especially the Great War (WWI), both fact and fiction.. either way, hope that gives you some idea's, but I would recommend all old school wargamers read a short story that I found by Saki, called The Toys of Peace - very funny!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

...by way of an intermission...

...and because the year started so well on the painting front you can guarantee it's going to slow down a little this is a kind of "catching up post", just to let you know that the mental clocks are still ticking... J

...first off I've added some resources links to the War of the Spanish Succession project - this is not the only thing happening with regard to that project but is probably the most tangible as I've not had much time at the painting table since the "birth" of Meredith's. Suffice to say however, that 24 Minifigs infantry are currently attached to the painting sticks and undercoated, and are just awaiting some spare time to start applying paint. This unit is destined to join the Allied Army as one of the other Dutch infantry regiments that was present in Beinheim's Brigade for the assault on the Schellenberg. This brigade comprised 6 battalions of Dutch, Swiss/Dutch & Ansbach troops - I have already painted Beinheim's own regiment, this next one is most likely to be Sturler's Regiment (Swiss Dutch) as I have a handy flag source (Warflag comes to the rescue again).... if anyone reading this has ANY sources for flags for the other regiments in the brigade however, please feel free to contact me via the comments! For reference these were Goor (Dutch), Rechteren (Dutch), Hirzel (Swiss/Dutch) and Heidebrecht (Ansbach)

...separately, as a wargamer you can never have too many books, and via various means and sources I have taken delivery of the following within the last week...

"The Airfix Magazine Guide (#28) to the English Civil War" (George Gush and Martin Windrow)

"Wargamers Guide to the English Civil War - 2nd Edition" by our very own "old school" colleague Bill Protz and dating back to the early 70's - this in particular looks to be good value as it is chock full of information as well as a comprehensive set of rules...

"Uniforms of the Civil War" by Philip Haythornthwaite - another one of my favourite historians; this is also very good and will join the the two volumes on Infantry and Cavalry uniforms that I bought at Christmas as the basis for my painting activities in this sphere - one I decide which rules to use! It also reminds me of the Mollo American Revolution book - same series I think...

I also have on order - waiting to be delivered these two volumes:

"ENGLAND UNDER QUEEN ANNE:BLENHEIM" by G M Trevelyan - this was following a recommendation on GrimsbyMariners blog (link to the left) - I look forward to reading this - even more so as it is a second edition dating from 1930 (there's something about old books!) and has the fold out maps of the campaign which some of the newer paperback versions may not have (not sure)

...the one I'm looking forward to the most however, is "GIANT OF THE GRAND SIECLE: THE FRENCH ARMY, 1610-1715" by John A. Lynn - what I was looking for was something that covered the French army as well as Chandler - the book is huge (almost 700 pages!), has had good recommendations elsewhere, so I decided to take the plunge and blow some of the Christmas vouchers... I'll give a more comprehensive review once I've read it, but have to say the bedside table is currently groaning with a pile of books waiting to be read that is two and a half feet high so it may be a while! As a taster however the contents indicate that the book covers off Administration, Supply, Commissariat, Command (Regimental and Higher), Army Composition, Recruitment, Discipline, Morale and Motivation, Weaponry and Tactics and Positional Warfare

Last of all - not sure if you have heard of Project Gutenberg (click here)? either way - you need to know. The site is dedicated to publishing as many books as possible online, and totally free. No catch but obviously the books have to be a bit old in order not to fall foul of copyright injunctions, as a starter for ten, however, I would direct you to the following (wargaming inspired) authors:

G. A. Henty - I read loads of his books when I was young - of particular interest to me though are "The Cornet of Horse A Tale of Marlborough's Wars", "With Frederick the Great
A Story of the Seven Years' War" and "With Kitchener in the Soudan A Story of Atbara and Omdurman" - excellent reads one and all...

H. G. Wells for "Little Wars" and "Floor Games" (which also appear to have audio versions I must check out)

Under Churchill (as in Winston) they have "The River War - An Account of the Reconquest of the Sudan", the "The Story of the Malakand Field Force - An Episode of Frontier War"

...and many more - well worth visiting!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

..so we shall fight in the shade..

"Our arrows will blot out the sun"... "Good, then we shall fight in the shade"...

I got "300" on DVD for Christmas and finally got chance to watch it this morning, it's one of those films that the ladies in my house were not really keen to see, and having watched it, the severed limb quotient is high - not to mention the gallons of fake blood, so it's probably a good thing that the two youngest females didn't see it anyway!

Wikipedia tells me that the quote above is from Herodotus who wrote "Dienekes, a Spartan soldier, was informed that Persian arrows would be so numerous as 'to blot out the sun', he responded with a characteristically laconic remark, 'So much the better, we shall fight in the shade.' "

...and what about the film?? Well it's based on a graphic novel by a guy called Frank Miller and the director has managed to give the whole film a slightly stylised, slightly comic book, feel - all the Spartans have eight packs (rather than six) for example. It doesn't detract however, it reminded me of "Gladiator", and I was wholly into the film - until the Persians turned up on the scene!

..unlike most wargamer's I'm happy (enough) to let Hollywood have it's wicked way with history as I understand it's about entertainment, but the Persians are depicted in the film as being one of Sauron's auxiliary armies fresh out of Mordor.... trolls, chains, whips, armoured rhino's, piercings, you name it, they had it....

...so overall?? I thought it was entertaining, I might even watch it again.. the single best bit of the film from a wargaming perspective was when the first Persian attack went in and the Spartan shield wall is pushed back under weight of numbers, and you could imagine what it was really like to be in the phalanx... For the rest?? Sheer (enjoyable) hokum, with various Spartans leaping "Troy" like into the air.. buckets of blood, mounds of severed limbs, but what were they thinking of with the depiction of the Immortals?! Having said all that, there's also a real desire to start painting Spartans immediately (!)... so I would say 3.5 to 4, out of 5...

Separately, and on a totally separate war, I was browsing the "League of Augsburg" site (click to go there) and found reference to a film called "The Sovereign's Servant" which is a Russian film released last year, and based around events in the Great Northern War... the following is a clip from the film on YouTube and is their depiction of Poltava - if you like it there are another couple of clips there from the same sequence (just search on Poltava).

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Church and Staff Officers...

Enthused by the pictures of the superb scratch built church at Leuthen on Altefritze's site (this is it here, magnificent isn't it?!)...



..I decided to go for a complete re-paint on the Kibri church that I bought on eBay recently... this is mine in it's "before" guise.... (as always - click on any of the following pictures for a bigger view)



...and this is it "after".. J





I'm quite happy with how it turned out. As I say, the new scheme was entirely inspired by AlteFritze's paint job, the church is on a far smaller scale though! (if you want one by the way, I happened to notice that there was one up for sale on eBay - click here - nothing to do with me, I just like the model!)



I also finished up those staff officers I needed for my Marlburian forces - being officers in this period they're kind of 'multi-denominational', so I'll be using them for either side. These figures are predominantly Minifigs, with the exception of the mounted officer who is from Dixon Miniatures.





So how am I doing on the 2008 painting total??? Well I started off with 17, add 24 for Meredith's, and then add 12 for these guys (10 foot and one mounted), and I'm going to claim a couple of points for the church - which brings me to 55 points... crikey - not bad for mid-January!!

PS. Big thank you for taking me through 7000 visits.....amazing!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Wednesday was good....

...and why you might ask?? Well, two things mainly, and proof if any were needed of what a good bunch wargamers are (I'm sure there are probably some that buck the trend but I've never met one), and what a brilliant hobby this is for sharing information, and helping each other out...

Some of you may be aware of the Table Top Teaser page I host, you may also be aware that I have a disclaimer at the top of the page as I've been concerned for years now about issues of copyright etc etc, and because I didn't want to be in a position stealing someones intellectual property. Writing is hard enough work as it is, without someone else giving it away for free..

With the recent posts from Charles (Grant) on the Old School Wargaming group however, I no longer had any excuse and with some trepidation wrote to ask if he minded me hosting the teasers - the excellent news is that he has very kindly given me permission, so the Teasers can stay - thanks, Charles! He also advised me that there is going to be a special Teaser in the forthcoming "The War Game Companion" that he is currently working on... one to watch out for.

Separately, John Preece also responded to my email with agreement to allow me to post the "Action in the Plattville Valley" picture (that's it on the left) - that picture takes me back almost 30 years, and is the single reason for me starting to think about the American Civil War as a potential new project - cheers, John!

I'll put some pictures of those recently completed Marlburian staff and brigade officers soon - they were finished on Wednesday, but I just need to base and spray protect them... I've also finished off the paint job I promised on that Kibri church that I bought on eBay, & mentioned a few posts ago. In the end I went for a total re-paint as I'd been enthused by the very striking pictures of the church on the AlteFritz blog in his review of the Leuthen game - some pictures of that soon as well...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

One to look forward to....

..I've just spotted that one of my favourite historian's, Richard Holmes, is due to publish a book on Marlborough this coming May - one to watch out for definitely... you can click on the picture to take you to the page on Amazon describing the contents.

It's always been a source of mystery to me as to why as a nation the British don't seem to revere/respect Marlborough as much as they do Wellington, or even Cromwell. As a nation we seem to have a much better knowledge of a whole host of foreign military leaders, while very few people seem to know anything about Marlborough, or the fascinating period of military history that he dominated for over 10 years.... very strange.

Here's hoping that this book, and (holding breath), perhaps an accompanying BBC series (please!!) will go some way to changing that...... either way, BBC series or not, this one is already sitting in my Amazon basket.

The painting table beckons this evening - I have enough Marlburian units now that I seriously need to consider adding some extra staff officers, so that's what I have in plan for tonight... some pictures anon.

Separately, the eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted a couple of new blogs added to the "Blogs of Note" list

~ Scott Robinson's epic blog featuring his Wars of the Deluge project (Polish and Russian Renaissance armies of quite stunning beauty - winged hussars, pancerni, and cossacks coming out of his ears...) and..

~ John Preece has also started a blog featuring his project to build a Marlburian army based on the "old school" Les Higgins 20mm figures. These are lovely, lovely figures. I think I would have been sorely tempted if I had started my Marlburian project from scratch. By the by, John also has a copy of a picture of the "Action in the Plattville Valley" from Don Featherstone's "Wargames" that is the single source of my enthusiasm for the new American Civil War project - I've emailed him to ask if I can also post a copy here, fingers crossed!

Last of all - I noticed the other day that I've just gone through 100 posts on the blog - doesn't time fly....!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Meredith's...

....keeping up the forward painting momentum, may I present to you Thomas Meredith's Regiment of Foot, the latest English/British unit to join the ranks of my Allied War of the Succession armies...


..one of the things I find most enjoyable about this particular project is tracing the history of the various regiments I'm painting - and this one was no different as after many amalgamations, and name changes, this regiment eventually became the Royal Hampshire Regiment (The Tigers), and are my neighbouring counties own regiment...

The figures are 15mm (of course) and by Warrior (with the exception of the grenadiers, who are Minifigs, and the officers who were Dixon). Overall the Warrior figures sculpt and quality is good, little flash, not cartoonish... They're the first figures I've painted, and were completed fairly quickly and easily.. as mentioned on the WSS Project Page the only thing that lets them down is the tricorne which is sculpted very small, and looks like a pork-pie hat! The wagons by the way are also newly completed, and join the commissariat for my WSS armies..

Just a little bit of history, the regiment was formed in Ireland in 1702, they served throughout the War of the Succession in Holland and Germany, and were present at all of the major engagements - in 1882 they were presented with battle honours for Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde & Malplaquet.

At the Schellenberg the regiment was brigaded with the 1st Guards, Orkney's Regiment & Ingoldsby's Regiment under the brigade command of Fergusson, in the division of Lt. General Goor - their completion, means I can now field the entire brigade...

The Schellenberg was their first major engagement and the "action had cost Meredith’s 14 officers and 80 men killed or wounded"...

For further reading I would recommend this page, but especially this page. This page is good for some background on Meredith himself... he was a captain in Schomberg's horse up to 1694, and at the age of only 36 was Adjutant General of the Forces in Ireland - another interesting character from the period!

Friday, January 04, 2008

...first painting points for 2008...


 ..absolutely brilliant day in the loft yesterday - it's nice and quiet this week as we all seem to be recovering from Christmas & New Year, I have a few days off, so decided to use the quiet time in front of my painting table finishing off some projects from last week and clearing some of the pile of undercoated lead that's been sitting round for far (far) too long...

...without further ado then, to the the left and below is the first piece of WWII painting I've done in ages; ready for the next Blitzkrieg Commander game perhaps! Either way, here's some aerial artillery for the Afrika Korps. You can almost hear the air sirens.... this is made by AIM and is N scale (10 or 12mm) to support my Minifigs N scale WWII troops.....


Bit of a cheat, but I also finished off some "supplies" for my 15mm War of the Spanish Succession forces - not sure who the manufacturer is of the following, but an army cannot march on bread alone so here's some 'meat on the hoof'.........



So - 12 cows, 3 herdsman (all one point each), One Stuka (at 2 points) - I make the starting total for 2008 to be 17 points..