Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fusilier Regiment Erbprinz joins the ranks..

This unit has been awaiting completion since I got the figures through a private sale back in 2008.. (sorry for the delay, Jim! )

They were partially painted so in this case only required some touching up - some blue ink on the coats, flesh wash, re-painted the gun barrels, and I decided to colour the wigs a more natural colour as I assumed they would soon have "lost" the originals on campaign...  that and a base makes all the difference...

I've taken a bit of a liberty as this regiment became a musketeer regiment in about 1780 (so just before the Yorktown campaign which is my "timestamp" for the AWI project) but as I had the fusilier figures, and the uniform colours were correct for Erbprinz, I decided to go with it anyway...

This regiment was one of four fusilier regiments (the others being von Ditfurth, von Knyphausen and von Lossburg) from the German state of Hesse-Kassel. They were also known as the Prince Hereditaire Regiment. I have not managed to find any difference in function, or equipment, between the fusiliers and more normal musketeer regiments other than the distinctive fusilier cap..  any difference would have been lost in time, traditionally the fusiliers would have been the men who guarded the artillery - I suspect like many regiments they would have guarded the outward signs of their difference jealously, and hence they were still wearing their caps in America..



Each Hesse-Kassel musketeer or fusilier regiment had five line infantry companies and a grenadier company of about 135 men each; the grenadier companies however, were detached before leaving Germany and were formed into four composite grenadier battalions.

The Regiment arrived in America in August 1776 and saw it's first action in the New York area. The regiment arrived in Virginia in March 1781 where it was under the command of British Major General William Phillips. When Phillips died, the unit was temporarily under the command of Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, who was commanding troops in the British army by then.

A week later the unit came under the command of Cornwallis during the Virginia and Yorktown Campaigns.


As above the field strength of the fusilier and musketeer regiments were supposed to be around 500-600 men, but during the Siege of Yorktown Erbprinz consisted of approximately 400 men - during the siege they lost an estimated 23 killed, 57 wounded and 16 missing. The regiment was commanded throughout by Lieutenant Colonel Mathew Fuchs.

My reading/research would indicate that by the time of Yorktown, the fusilier regiments Erbprinz and du Corp, and musketeer regiment Trumbach, were superior in quality to the other musketeer and fusilier regiments from Hesse-Kassel. They were better trained and had higher morale.

The figures are Minifigs 25mm - and splendid they are! Base no. 48 & 49.. and coincidentally the 60th unit in the American War of Independence project!

The fusilier regiment as they would have looked prior to being designated a musketeer regiment and painted by the inestimable Mr Troiani


NB. As per my previous post [click here] this regiment will replace the existing unit with the same august name - the old unit will become either Grenadier Regiment von Rall or one of the other Fusilier regiments; in the previous post I said I'd need to summon up enough nerve to have a go at the red stripes of the von Rall trousers - following the recent successful experiment with the Tiger Zouaves and a fine drawing pen however, and I think I may have the tools at hand...

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Battle of Sawmill

Time I think to let you know how the Battle of Sawmill Village turned out... this was a scenario from Charles Grant's "Scenarios for Wargamers" (scenario #41 titled "Chance Encounter")

In essence two roughly equal sized forces approached a village in the centre of the table from opposite diagonal edges - the mission was take and secure the village in order to win.

The following shows my interpretation of the map in the book:


Sawmill Village in the centre - a barn just to the right (that's south) of the village and the church wood west of the village. The entry points for each side are the corner nearest (bottom left), and the opposite diagonal corner...

In rules terms all slopes (including the flat surfaces on top) "were gentle slopes"; all woods (that's the trees on the extended bases, rather than the individual ones) were "open"; fields had no terrain impact/effects...

We diced for sides and I got the French, we then diced for entry point and I got the corner nearest the church...

Orders of Battle:

As mentioned above the two forces were roughly equal - I allowed 14 units each, plus one medium artillery piece - the 14 units could be anything from all the units painted to date, but no more artillery.

As the French, I would say that I was already at a disadvantage - the British and Dutch infantry get firing bonuses (simulating platoon firing), the British cavalry get melee bonuses (simulating their effectiveness as shock cavalry) - but knowing DG as I do, I decided to go for a force that included all the cavalry I had, as my plan was to get to the village first, occupy it, and then screen off either approach - I was guessing DG would go for a force heavy in infantry, and cavalry are real infantry killers (providing they close in the melee!)....

My force therefore comprised the following:


Seven squadrons of cavalry - two of them heavy (cuirassiers) - and seven of infantry... my entry order of march was as per the bottom..

DG, as I guessed, went for a  force strong in infantry:


Each side was only allowed to enter in column of march up to two units wide - it would therefore take two or three moves to get all units on the table..  units could deploy on their second move...

Only question was whether my plan would work!

The Battle:

Started off much as I'd planned...  French entered with all their horse...

A bucolic scene somewhere near the Rhine in 1704 - a merchant and herdsman heading for markets to the south of Sawmill Village spot the approaching troops and speed up...

I pushed forward as fast as I could, when the artillery arrived I sent it straight up the hill for maximum visibility and range....

First brigade (cavalry) deployed east, second brigade moves toward the village..my C-in-C oversees activities...


..meanwhile DG is bringing his troops on as fast as they can - he is slightly perturbed at this stage by the amount of French and Bavarian horse flesh on display..


He pushes his cavalry north - sweeping round the large hill between him and the village - at this stage my plan was looking good - three of my cavalry squadrons were holding all four of his squadrons..  meanwhile the second brigade was taking up position either side of the village while the foot advanced rapidly to occupy the village (which for this game is represented as a built up area the size of the tile the houses are standing on)

Merchants wagons continue speeding southwards!
...and it was at this point that my plan started to fall apart...

...spotting that DG was having a lot of problem manoeuvring in the limited space on top of the hill I decided to have a go at causing him some discombobulation by charging with a couple of squadrons of cavalry... in the first of the evenings devastating volleys his infantry just ripped me apart like a hot knife through butter...  (DG had these 'devil dice' with him on the night - seemingly incapable of throwing anything but 5's and 6's!) in short order both squadrons were basically rendered irrelevant - and that was my cavalry advantage gone....

On top of the hill one squadron has routed (red pin) - the second squadron has taken it's place and received more of the same (shaken - yellow pin)
I had assumed this was such a good plan that I had also bought up the cuirassiers for a little more of the same - on the plus side I had occupied the village...

Cuirassiers stand ready at the bottom of the hill
The Cuirassiers charge....  and get the same treatment as the other cavalry (yellow pin - shaken again!) - I even had my infantry ready to take the top of the hill once the cavalry had done their job....   no such luck - with two further devastating volleys the cuirassiers were also sent packing...

There comes a time when you realise that the evening is not going to go your way - this was it!
DG was now free to bring his cavalry round the hill and take mine on - he now had the advantage in numbers - four fresh squadrons versus three plus a half strength one...

Massive cavalry melee which the French held their own in whilst knowing the writing was already on the wall
...and then he bough down those masses of infantry - gulp...

Grand assault - 1
..different shot of the same assault..


...and this was DG's own picture he was so proud! Awe inspiring shot though...



...and that was it - the French recognised that even though they held the village at the moment - they could not prevail - and the British would eventually have to take it....

DG's plan was to hold back the infantry while he finished off the French cavalry - he could then swing his cavalry round and just roll up the French line - leaving the village until last if required...  couldn't argue with his plan....   or those devil dice.... so I conceded.

Post Match Analysis:

  • It was one of those nights where the dice just couldn't do any wrong for DG - hugely demoralising for yours truly - it's a game but you like to think that you may get some even breaks and I got few to none.... 

  • I think it's important not to over-react when deciding changes to a scenario based on a whupping as comprehensive as this... undoubtedly DG had some lucky dice throws (and I've had games like it in the past), but, ignoring the chance element, I would still recommend that the French get some kind of benefit, or bonus, to balance out the undoubted benefits the British/Dutch get in firing and melee. For the next time we play this scenario (and we will, as it is deceptively simple) either give the French another couple of units, or for that game only cancel out the British/Dutch bonuses...

  • I thought long and hard after the game about where my tactics had gone wrong and came to the conclusion it was with the commitment of the cuirassiers to the fight on the hill... up until that point in time, the use of two squadrons of cavalry to cause an untold amount of discombobulation was a good gamble - I failed in the face of those dice throws, but reinforcing the failure by throwing in the cuirassiers was not a good gamble...  I should have pulled back and conserved my strength. DG played the long game and won a convincing victory....

  •  Refreshments on the evening were down to DG who bought some beer from a local craft brewery... all I can say is that i9t was a very definite highlight of the evening - and I've had two or tree other beers to sample through the week as well - thanks very much DG!




Until the next time!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Warfare 2011

Fresh back from the yearly trip to "Warfare", and time I think to report on how the show/day went...

All in all I'd say that this year was very quiet - it's something I've notcied this year, as both the Reading & Newbury shows are slightly unusual in the UK in that they are two day affairs. Given the choice, DG and I will always pick the Sunday, in my case at least, that's the day the family are least likely to be doing something on so it's easiest for me to get away. In the case of Colours and this weekends Warfare though, it was noticeably less busy...  still a buzz, but not grooving and a shaking like it normally is...  economic effects??  Who knows - I do wonder about the economic viability of two day shows in the current climate...  the traders are not going to turn up for two days if no-one is buying on the second day...  it did seem to me, by the way, that not a lot of cash was changing hands - purely a perception....

So what did Steve the Wargamer buy???  Not a lot really - I have enough stuff to be going on with so I was there mostly for a good mooch around

I pre-ordered three unit bags from Newline Designs (who are having a rather awesome 25% off sale running up to Christmas!) so I picked those up and saved myself the postage, they will re-stock the lead piles nicely, and will eventually end up as three new regiments, four if there's enough figures lying around to make a scratch/"scruffy" Confederate regiment...

On almost the same subject I also picked up some Vallejo paint - a butternut & a better shade of grey for the Reb infantry, and I also cracked and bought a Yellow of quite outstanding custard propensities...  I don't have much luck with yellow (in acrylics I understand it's a difficult colour to get to work) so I'm hoping Vallejo is better - I'll advise when I've had time to test....

Last of all I also picked up some more copies of "Practical Wargamer" - at only 10p a copy it would have been foolish not to...  I've almost set in my mind to try and collect a complete print run of this much missed, wholly underestimated, periodical...   just wish someone would do that on CD or DVD.

...and that was it.... so ignoring the figures, I spent exactly £5.65 - rubbish!

...and so the the games.... Warfare has never been what I would call a "demo show" - it's primarilly a competition weekend - but they do have the occasional jewel (remember Blenheim from a few years ago?? ...who can forget!), this year though was a little light, and I could only consider two of them as particular favourites.....

In second place was this little set-to by the guys from Tiny Terrain Models a 15mm Blitzkreig Commander Game based on the 101st Airborne drop on the Cotentin Peninsular at night on D-Day..


Deceptively simple terrain - loved the windmill...


..also loved the bocage - really claustrophobic effects...

Overview from the other end..
..lovely game - loads more details and pictures here [click here]

My winner was this game - a huge 20mm set-up based on a fighting withdrawal to a steamer, somewhere in the Far East, at the start of the Japanese invastions of WWII.

I leave you to guess what first caught my eye... 




Loved the storage tank - guessing it was once a childs sand bucket...!

Lots and lots of detail everywhere you looked...

Little do those vehicles know that the Japanese are already ahead of them...
...and there you have it - another Warfare come and gone - next stop Christmas, and then Salute 2012!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Warfare on Sunday...

...oh yes!

My favourite show of the year, DG is coming down, Sean at Newline Designs is having a 25% off sale - what's not to be happy about!

Suffice to say I pre-ordered three unit bags from Newline ("Infantry in Kepi, Shell jacket, Marching") to fill the currently empty "to paint" boxes for my ongoing American Civil War project.. they may also get me to pick up a paint brush again - not a good painting year... so far...

With DG coming down we will also take the opportunity to slip in a game on Saturday evening...

Once again the drums and fifes will ring out along the Rhine, as the forces of the Duke of Marlborough (DG) seek to stymie the dastardly French (me)... I've combed the "Scenario's for Wargamers" book and have decided on the "Battle of Sawmill Village" scenario....  I will of course post here once it's complete...

Looks to be a good weekend coming up.... !

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Battle of Waynes Junction... Part 2

Continuing the account of the battle which I left at move 11.

=====================================


Move 12: Last efforts - I need to defend what I've taken, and the objectives/features that are key to my plan - that's the left of the battlefield.

The Louisiana Regiments have done their work and it's time for them to rest, but not before I send the 6th Louisiana to attempt a little naughtiness on the exposed US artillery...


Move 13: ..which works! Go the 6th!

On the left of the battle I continue to make (small) gains...


Move 14: The 6th are on fire.... Battle honours are deserved by all the Louisiana regiments, but especially the 6th - who have now charged the flank of the US artillery and sent them packing!

On the right of the battlefield DG attempts a little of his own "shut the door" with the 126th New York - I move one of the two now rested Louisiana regiments to cover, with the 21st North Carolina as support


Move 15: That's it as far as I'm concerned - no immediate threats and it's time to dig in and wait for DG to retreat... Famous last words...

Two of my regiments are sent packing - not through any action by DG just casualties and poor dice throws results in them withdrawing... on the right that New York regiment is beginning to be a bit of a pain...


Turn 16: The 21st North Carolina have halted...  the 57th have "retreated" themselves into a position where they are no longer a viable unit... time to "hunker down" as my US colleagues would say


Turn 17: The Confederates are  a spent force - only the 6th North Carolina and the artillery are still a cohesive force, and as a campaign game there are a lot of hours until night time..

In the face of a slow advance by the Union 126th New York I cover with the 21st NC and 8th L - elsewhere I fall back on the supply sheds...

Throughout all of this the Confederate artillery maintain a healthy fire and cause some discomfort to the 7th West Virginia..


Turn 18: "Come and get it if you think you're hard enough".. those New York boys seem a little hesitant...


...end of this post - I hadn't realised when I said 'game over' that as a campaign game there were no victory conditions - I have another 7 turns to hold out - I leave it to you to imagine how I felt about that...!