Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Camsix .. Move 13

The battle is hotting, so without further ado let's push on. As usual, click on any picture for a bigger view....

The following should help with identifying units referred to:

Move 13:

The first part of the move (that is with the the American's as the moving player, the British as the firing player; in the second part of the move we swap over) saw the 4th Mass. Militia, shaken, bloodied, but on the right side of the river at last...

Elsewhere however, with a regiment of shaky looking Highlanders just to their front, the troopers of Lauzun's Hussars look to their sabres, push their side plaits back and out of the face, and calm their sweat laden horses for another charge.. (curious fact - apparently hussars would weight the plaits with pistol balls to make them hang straight...)

...but first the British firing - and to show you how the rules work I thought I'd give you the full mechanics of one of the exchanges.... so, starting with the cavalry squadron on the far side of the river who were firing at the 4th Mass. Militia we see the following - in our rules (which you can obtain from the link on my AWI project page, or direct from here, oh, and they're free... ) all damaging hits are scored on 7 or more thrown on 2D6, they cause strength points to be lost and the unit taking the damage to become "shaken"; less than 7 won't cause damage but may still cause morale to worsen depending on the strength of the unit being fired at...

..so here we have a squadron of British Dragoons - two start with they throw 8 on 2D6, a good start, but they then modify this with the following.
  • They are slightly understrength (as a result of previous casualties) so they subtract 1 - if they were greatly understrength it would have been more
  • They are also "shaken" so subtract another 1 ... so we are already under the magic "7"
  • The game is being fought at night so before the game DG and I agreed some blanket rules to cover this - amongst which was an automatic -1 on firing for everyone.. so there goes another...
..which gives an end result of 5 - not enough to inflict physical damage, but what about their morale? When I check the strength of the 4th Mass. we see that they are on 4 strength points - 5 is greater than 4 so the 4th Mass become shaken. As it happens though they already are shaken (from the canister in the previous move) so the end effect is none...

..elsewhere, the other British firing was largely more effective with the Royal Sussex despite being shaken inflicting casualties on the 2nd Battalion of the Bourbonnais and the Royal Irish doing the same to the 1st New York.

The good news (for me) is that those shaky Highlanders couldn't aim straight and failed to hit Lauzun's, but unfortunately the Welch Fusiliers did... no charge for them this move then..

In the next phase of the move DG became the moving player and his first task was to check morale for those of his units that are shaken or routing... universally the results were all good, so all that hard work by the Americans in the previous firing phase was set to naught. Worse still DG announced a charge by Fraser's (the previously shaky Highlanders, now looking decidedly irritated) on Lauzun's Hussars.

Not before I get to fire however... American firing was effective (yee haa!) the artillery inflicted further damage on the cavalry across the river, the other artillery doing the same to the grenadiers of the Erbprinz. The 2nd New York also causes further damage to the Royal Sussex but in perhaps the most important exchange, Lauzun's fails to inflict any damage physically or morale'wise on Fraser's so the charge is on...

In their morale test (to stand the charge) Lauzun's hold firm (brave boys!) - in the ensuing melee however, despite being under strength, surely tired, and meeting the charge at the halt - they win!!! Hurrah! If it wasn't 30 years too early the Marseillaise would surely have rung out..

With the rout by Fraser's - the move comes to an end;...


Stay with us for move 14...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Camsix update.. moves 10 to 12

You may remember from the last post that I'd left the situation in our ongoing campaign game at move 9, and with DG's forces moving inexorably towards my outnumbered position and from both sides of the river... as usual, click on any picture for a bigger view....

Time then to catch up on the latest moves, and perhaps to give more news of battle honours won!

The following should help with identifying units referred to:

Move 10:

Probably the last of the "manoeuvre moves" as DG was aligning himself for his attack - a fairly unique move as there was also no firing... During my move I finally realised that there was no way I could leave my militia across the river in the face of such numbers, whether they were in a house or not, so made a break for the bridge.. I could have done with doing it a move earlier but had no idea so many of DG's units were still this side of the river.

Elsewhere, the other militia unit and the artillery deploy on the river bank to cover their retreat (I still have to get across the bridge yet and that involves a deployment to column in the face of the enemy!). Lastly, the second of the two French Battalions moves back from the earthworks to conform on DG's move towards the bottom of the map and cover the gap left by some of my units having to cover the river bank.

Move 11:

No firing but the 4th Battalion of the Militia make it to the bridge - have to cross it yet though! In his turn DG's units face front and start to advance, in addition DG launched a cavalry charge with his cavalry at Lauzun's Hussars.

True to form my firing was about as successful as ever (not a good game so far!) and the Rhode Island artillery failed to inflict casualties, while the New York Artillery was out of range.

Lauzun's fired, but failed to stop the ensuing charge by the 2nd Squadron of the 16th Dragoons.

So here we were... a full squadron of Britain's finest, with fresh honours recently won (see the this post) facing up to a depleted squadron of France's finest, only recently recovered from a mauling.... I have to say I didn't hold out much hope but a miracle was about to occur!

In the following test "to stand the charge" Lauzun's held, and engage the British cavalry (first hurdle overcome), but then in the melee, despite the charge bonus the British lose to the French and retire shaken and with casualties!



Move 12:

Across the river the 4th Massachusetts Militia (MM4) deploy in column to cross the bridge, and by the end of the turn they are half way across - so far so good... elsewhere the first of the two French Battalions faces about to move towards the American right, I'd decided that they were too valuable resource to be left as isolated as they are...

In the centre, the 4th Mass. Militia are in column cross the bridge...

The British firing phase bore out my worst fears for the 4th Mass. - canister at close range causing the first casualties and those militia guys are looking shakey..

Elsewhere - despite being "shaken" (our rules work on three morale states "good", "shaken" and "rout" in that order) the British cavalry recently 'handled' by Lauzun's, fired as I had declared another charge on them by Lauzun's.. this was ineffective so that was one charge due to go home! In the ensuing test "to stand" though, the British cavalry break and rout.. strike two for Lauzun's!

In the British movement phase the whole of the DG's line moves forward.

In the foreground, running from left to right along the British line, we have the Royal Irish, Erbprinz, and to their right the Royal Sussex - facing the Royal Sussex, and behind the earthworks, we have one of the two French Battalions flanked by the Rhode Island artillery


Opening fire the New York Artillery on the riverbank finally opens up it's score with damage on the British cavalry on the far side of the river - up until then they had been looking like a concern to the 4th Mass crossing the bridge so that was a good result.

The other artillery (Rhode Island) fired on the British infantry assault causing casualties to the Royal Sussex (the 35th Foot, and my local county regiment).

Lauzun's, fresh from their efforts against the British cavalry have been somewhat overawed to see that Fraser's Foot (the 71st) have changed facing so as to charge them - the concern is not enough to shake their aim and a hurried volley thins the ranks somewhat (and more importantly causes Fraser's to become shaken - and therefore "not interested" in charging home! Strike three to Lauzun's... )

Stick with me for move 13 which will follow shortly... and those battle honours??? I bet you can guess who'll get them, but read on for confirmation....!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More pictures from the Camsix front...

..and in an effort to show that some figure wargaming does actually take place in Steve the Wargamer's (slightly hot and stuffy) loft - some more pictures of the current battle that DG and I are playing via the auspices of the Battle Chronicler* program..

First of all then an overall view of the engagement around Camsix - this shows the river (impassable along it's length), bridge, and the village either side.. click on any picture for a larger view..

A closer view of the village from the British perspective - in the foreground the 35th Foot (Royal Sussex Regiment) on the right, the Infantry regiment Erbprinz (centre) and the Royal Irish Regiment prepare to inflict their worst in the face of the American artillery and one of the two French regiments..

...and how they look from the American perspective..

Next, two views of the hot fighting on and around the bridge.. on the bridge, the 4th Battalion of the Massachusetts Militia (carrying the battle honour they won at Carnine) are crossing the bridge with the British hot on their feet..



Lastly, New York's finest wait the imminent arrival of the British..

Hope you enjoy the pictures - all figures are from Minifigs with the exception of the Sussex Regiment who are from Parkfield Miniatures. More anon!

* Users of said product need to hot foot it to the web site immediately as version 4 is now released!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

A nice find at the British Library...

On one of the Yahoo groups I'm a member of, I found mention of this little snippet - the British Library has just announced that it has made available millions of articles from 49 London, national and regional newspaper titles (UK only) dating from between 1800 and 1900. They believe that they have over two million pages - and all are fully text searchable with keywords in context visible in the results list with loads and loads of illustrations, maps, tables and photographs from the time...

Now as any confirmed Colonial gamer will tell you, the "Illustrated London News" with it's articles featuring those fantastically evocative pictures (engravings??) by Richard Caton-Woodville [click here] (see following) and other illustrators of the time (an example from one of the articles in the archive is include above and to the left) are the very stuff of why we wargame this period..

..it was pictures and illustrations from the newspapers of the time scattered around some of the wargame books by Donald Featherstone, and especially in Wargamers Newsletter, that first provided the embers of what was later to be my Sudan project, and now it's possible to search the original newspapers.. on-line and from the comfort of your favourite browsing position.. now if that isn't enough to stir the cockles of any jaded Colonial wargamers heart I don't know what is....!

As a (considerable) taster of just how brilliant this resource is - check the following link which is to the
The Penny Illustrated Paper and Illustrated Times of Saturday, August 26, 1882 [click here]; an edition subtitled "Pictorial Chronicle of our War against Arabi Pasha" - brilliant stuff!
Now there is a downside of course - not all the newspapers are free to access, at the moment only the "Penny Illustrated Paper" and "The Graphic" are free of charge, but there's more than enough there to keep me occupied... for the more serious student there is an option to buy a 24-hour pass or a seven-day pass for what I think are very reasonable amounts... (and there's a comment that the whole collection is free to access for people in UK higher and further education, and also in some UK public libraries which might be worth checking out at a later date...)

Either way - an astonishing and delightful resource - I can see many "wasted" lunchtimes browsing the newspapers for articles of interest!

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Another sailing snippet - the girls and I went out for a very exciting sail on Sunday - a beautiful day but pretty windy so it marked a nautical first for me in as much as it was the first time I had reefed the main, and that it was also largely succesful!

According to my local weather station [click here] winds during the time we were out were a solid force 4, gusting 5... and I can confirm it was lively enough that we decided to have a run into my local fishing village (Emsworth) rather than head towards the sea. A lovely run, but very busy, followed by a pretty hairy beat back to the entrance of the inlet where are mooring is, dodging two lines of moored yachts end to end, and what seemed like a hundred thousand other boats going about their business - all very exciting, but nothing was hit and no animals were hurt while completing this exercise!

Distance: 5 miles (60 miles year to date)
Wind: Light (Force 4 gusting 5)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Bad-a-bing...

One of the chaps at work gave me the heads up on a new (to me) mapping site on the 'interweb'.. Bing Maps [click here]

Some of you will have read the previous posts where I've extolled the virtues of Google Mapper for helping out with battlefield visits, and this site is similar in terms of the usual satellite imagery, what it has however is two extra invaluable functions for the wargamer..

The first is "birds eye" view - now this is a satellite view, but the view is offset slightly so that you are looking down on the map as if from the side... have a look at the following and you'll see what I mean (oh, and as usual, click on the pictures for a bigger view):

That's a view of the English Civil War battlefield of Lansdowne - the monument [click here] is the one erected to commemorate the heroism & death of Sir Bevil Grenville and his Cornish pikemen at the battle. Gives a whole new perspective when you see ground offset like that - dips and rises become more obvious...

Having played around with it it's clear that the birds eye view is not available for all maps - it only seems to be available for some area's - but well worth checking for....

The other option however, is called 3D. You have to install a little application as prompted by the web page (I'm guessing it's some kind of Java thing) but once you have it you can then look at maps in 3D - like this - this is the same view as the previous - the green circle in the middle is the monument:

..so what you say - that doesn't look much different to a normal satellite image - but then with the 3D maps you have the ability to tilt the maps, and if you change the perspective on the previous view so that you are looking at where the monument is from behind it, and then tilt the view of the map, you can see this:

..and all of a sudden a dry old photograph suddenly starts to show the contours, and all the books you've read describing the valour of the Cornish regiments as they fought their way up the hill become clearer....

Trust me there's nothing like going to 3D, tilting the battlefield site over, zooming down to ground level and then moving over the map to see all the "lumps and bumps" that affected the commanders on the day.... not as good as actually visiting a battlefield, but definitely a help for those battles you're never going to be able to get to..!

For any wargamer preparing for a battlefield walk, or to re-fight a battle on the tabletop, Steve-the-Wargamer rates this little site 8 out of 10...

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Lovely trip out on the boat last night, and a chance to finally try out the new jib... just a short trip as I had to go after work, but oh my, what an evening... it's been scorching hot this week in the UK (unusual to say the least) but an hour or two on the water was enough to restore Steve the Wargamer's equilibrium ... a pleasant hour and a half's sailing in light winds ensued, followed by a half hour drift back to the mooring in an absolutely flat calm, warm and balmy evening - a can of Bass in one hand (which had hung over the side for the previous hour to cool ), and a cigar in the other... absolutely magic - one of those evenings where you can hear people talking, miles away...

Distance: 4 miles (55 miles year to date)
Wind: Light (Force 1 gusting nothing!)