Monday, November 30, 2020

More officers... and wet palettes...

Royalist Officer of Horse c 1643
by Chris Collingwood [clicky]
- splendid!
Just to prove it wasn't just a flash in the pan, I can confirm that paint brushes continue to be wielded in earnest in the loft-waffe - this time on some further officer material for the ongoing English Civil War project..

The rules I am using, would have these as brigade and higher command - they can be used to improve morale of units that require it, and if the going gets really dicey you can use them to improve combat throws for units in melee..  the downsides of which one doesn't want to contemplate...

So three figures - undercoated/primed some considerable months ago - and grabbed so as to keep the paint mojo working (it worked by the way - bear with as the next post will show further more considerable fruits of said labour)..

I have also been interested in recent video's and postings about a thing called a "wet palette" and despite having been in the paint butchery game for 45+ years, I have never used one - but I can advise that these were the first figures painted using said wet palette...  and mightily impressed I have been..  

Mine is a home made affair, and constructed using the same method I saw in a video I was watching (this one [clicky]).. One flat/sandwich type, air tight box (in my youth we would have called them Tupperware) - in the bottom put three or four thicknesses of kitchen towel - wet them down so they are wet rather than floating, put a square of baking paper over the top, then use the baking paper as you would a normal palette...  you'll find (hopefully) that the paint stays fluid and workable for longer, I did, and it is brilliant to be able to just go back to a colour you have used 3 or four layers ago and still be able to use it whereas on my old palette (a saucer) it would have dried...   NB. Acrylics only of course

Anyway - here's the first one (following) an officer of the Commonwealth in half cuirass, and wielding what I believe to be a baton..  he's better armed than most so clearly may come from money

Next - my favourite of the three - the sash is close enough to red or orange I can use him for both sides

..note the gold leaf on the saddle cloth to indicate he is gentry.... I have no idea if red/orange feathers were available - but it looks good...!

Finally a Royalist in purple..  I also broke the habit of a lifetime and put some blazes on these horses - I've always liked Lee's (of a Napoleonic Painting Therapy blog) [clicky] horses and he does this quite a lot so I thought I'd have a go...worked well, and enlivened what would have otherwise been a fairly featurless set of bays..

Last of all a group shot..  next time these guys meet it will be across the table..


So, three mounted figures, Peter Pig, 15mm, painted November 2020.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Iron (& cotton & timber) clad reinforcements..

As mentioned in the last post..  reinforcements have arrived to bolster the forces of the US and Confederate navies courtesy the Peter Pig "lockdown/COVID sale" (it's a dark cloud that doesn't have some kind of silver lining, etc etc).....

The fleet in its entirety steaming majestically into the distance.. 
Small gunboat - following - this one represents the USS Fuchsia [clicky] but in my games will swap sides as and when the scenario requires it - the linked article is worth a read as she had a very interesting start in life...  the actual Fuschia was armed with a 30-pounder rifle and a 24-pounder howitzer - small but punchy...  and unlikely to be that heavily armed in Confederate service!
Proof it any were needed that RO-RO ferries are not a new concept..  this is the double ended paddle ferry that represents the Commodore Morris [clicky] though again she will serve both sides as the need arises...  proof if any were needed that both sides would use anything to project their power into the various rivers and tributaries of Virginia and the southern states ...  so an innocuous ferry boat from New York is enrolled in the US navy and given a 100-pounder rifle, a 9 in (230 mm) smoothbore gun, and four 24-pounder howitzers - and that is quite a punch!  Little or no armour though...
Next - following - this ship represents the USS Tyler [clicky] which was a timberclad* warship in the service of the US navy...  armament was a 32-pounder gun, and six 8 inch (200 mm) guns...
*there were not many of these in the war - they were built by the Union as a stop gap to cover their shortage of ironclads, take one basic paddle steamer and cover it in wooden armour..  5 inch thick, and oak planking over the paddle wheels.

...thought this was very good..  clearly washing day... 


Next, and last, the one I like the best - she represents the CSS Governor Moore [clicky] a cottonclad* paddle steamer armed with two 32 pdr rifled cannons..
* lots more here [clicky] but in essence, due to their lack of resources, the Confederate navy would use whatever they had to hand, and being cotton producers they used compressed cotton bales as an "armour". 'Five hundred-pound cotton bales were placed, on their sides, three bales high, with another row of bales lying flat behind the first row; these bales served as platforms for sharpshooters'. 

My reading would indicate that the cottonclads tended to be fitted with rams to make up for the lack of gun armament...  they would also have a large contingent of riflemen/marines to enable boarding..  going to add an interesting feature to games!

Further reading:

Monday, November 16, 2020

John Corrigan Memorial game 2020 - "Attack on a Prepared Position" - Game

...and so to the game report which was - as one of the commenters to the last post mentioned - a hard nut to crack indeed for the defender...

I think most people interested in military history would be aware of the maxim that as an attacker you need a least a two to one superiority when attacking a fixed position, but in this case/scenario it's a difficult proposition for the defender due to the amount of ground they have to defend*..

 Scenario specifics:

  • Rules were the Will McNally free one's available here [clicky] but with some amendments as documented on my project page (link over on the side there)
  • Blue (defender - DG) will be the Americans, Red (attacker - me) the British/Hessians
  • Hidden deployment is available to the Blue player if he wishes with a maximum of one unit per wood. We played it that the red player deployed first, then the blue player deploys any units he wants to, but deploys the rest on a map and reveals them as and when he felt that they would be "discovered". For the woods we agreed units could remain hidden until the red player has one of his units in contact (ie, base edge on the wood edge) at which point the wood is considered “scouted” and any hidden units should be deployed.
  • Hills - the lower/single slopes were classed "gentle", the upper/secondary slopes "steep". Woods are classed as “open”.
  • Game length - 12 turns (which is 8 infantry moves in line from one end to the other plus 50% as per the scenario guidance)

So having mentioned forces then, the orbats were as follows:
 
Defenders:

  • 1 Light Infantry unit
  • 3 Line Infantry units
  • 1 Artillery unit (we agreed "Light" for both sides)
Attackers:
 
..this was also my order of march for entering the table, going front to back, from the right to the left..
  • 2 Light Infantry unit
  • 6 Line Infantry units
  • 1 Cavalry unit
  • 1 Artillery unit

The Game:

First contact (following) - about move two I think - my scouting dragoons have uncovered Americans (light infantry) in the woods).. I'm bringing up my lights to support the cavalry. On the other flank I have sent my other unit of lights to scout the other wood...


Couple - maybe three? - moves later (following) and the American lights have retired from the woods so I have pursued with my cavalry with the intention of 'handling them roughly' only to be met by a volley consisting most of bent nails and scrap iron..  first blood to the Americans, and the cavalry retire wounded to the woods... 

The other woods have proved to be clear of enemy, and a general advance is underway - both sides have deployed artillery and are popping away at each other at extreme range; DG has already scored a hit on my artillery (dice and yellow pin to denote "shaken")


Later - I would think 4 or 5 moves - it is beginning to get a bit hairy..  the cavalry recovered and charged again but as you can see were repulsed (shaken but still on 5 so no additional casualties) their place has been taken by the lights who are bravely charging up the hill to get at their American opposite numbers. My regulars are shaking out in to line for the inevitable close assault. On the other flank the lights have hot footed forward with the intention of taking on the American artillery..


Schwerpunkt (following)..  again, a few moves later - going to guess around move 8 or 9..  all American forces are now deployed in plain sight. From the left, my lights have pushed back the American lights who's place has been taken by a battalion of Green Mountain Boys who are already taking a bit of a licking..  at the bottom of the hill the Hessian Erbprinz grenadiers are about to amble up the hill (they're pretty, but as useless as they are magnificent looking! ) The cavalry have regrouped and about to charge the American regulars in the middle (purple dice) who have already seen off those British lights. On the far right, my assault columns are forming..


End game - following - move 11...  on the far right the last remaining American foot battalion has seen off one attack  (the Brunswick regiment moving away with the red pin is routing) but the second regiment following up closely behind see's them defeated and retiring off the table..  a British win, though Pyrrhic to say the least..

Post match analysis:
  • * An extra unit for the defenders would make this a slightly more balanced game I think..  maybe dice for it using a D6 (1,2 Regular Infantry; 3,4 Lights; 5, Cavalry; 6 Artillery)
  • Game  turn length was about right - I only won this on the last, or last but one, move..
  • Zoom was excellent - no glitches at all - once we got the sound and microphones working it was all pretty seamless and I guess we played for two or more hours, with no timeout (which may have been because there were only two of us - Zoom may have a 40 minute limit for multiple participant calls if you are using the free version??) Technically, I had an HD quality camera mounted high over the table (which showed the whole table bar two or three inches on the attackers edge), plus an older non-HD camera on a long lead for any closer shots, pls the camera on the lap top..  for the next game I'll get another HD quality camera for the close ups, as the old one had poor  picture quality. One thing I noticed with Zoom was that the picture quality overall was far better than Skype.
  • I think the best bet for the defender in this scenario, is to deploy forward of the ridge line so that the ridge can be used as a fall-back position.. deploying directly onto the ridge doesn't leave much room for retire/retreat/recovery
  • Battle honours for this game go to the American lights (the heroes of Carnine [clicky]) who performed valiantly!
  • ...and finally.. Cheers, John! ๐Ÿ‘
Bear with - next post will be the newly painted American Civil War ships (and DG and I have already committed to a Zoom game featuring them next month - date/time to be advised..

Thursday, November 12, 2020

John Corrigan Memorial game 2020 - "Attack on a Prepared Position" - Setup

Right..  enough of this Covid nonsense, time for a return to the table, if only via Skype Zoom..  

As we haven't played "face to face" yet this year, DG and  I have firm plans to meet upon the field of Mars on Friday at 1, for the very much overdue, but not yet too late, '2020 John Corrigan Memorial Game' (which is the the 9th one we've played..)

For this game the period is a given, since the game is in memorial to John (known to the Royal Marines as Lofty C), and he was the one who singlehandedly started me off in the American War of Independence period with the gift of a huge number of ready painted 25mm Minifgs that were surplus to his requirements, but which he thought I'd like, given that I was just starting in the period..  diamond geezer..  he loved to paint, and those little metal men have walked the table many, many, times.. so here's to you, John..

Scenario for this game is a new source for me, "Scenarios For All Ages" by Grant and Asquith, a book I have had many years but not yet dipped in to..  usually I would pick the next one in the One Hour Wargame book, but the scenario there was not particularly suited to this event, and call me on the spectrum if you like, but I want to do them in order rather than pick another! ๐Ÿ˜€ So this game is scenario #1 - 'Attack on A Prepared Position'..  in summary, a numerically superior attacker is looking to force his way through the defender, who also has a series of hills/ridge as a tactical defence ..


I found this map on the blogosphere/interweb, so feel slightly less guilty about publishing it here, but there is a link above should you want to buy the book, and I recommend you do...  very little of what Grant and Asquith wrote is not worth owning, in fact I can't think of anything..

So the attacker comes on the table from the bottom (south of the A-A line), the defender can deploy anywhere north of the line, including in the woods if he so wishes..

That translates on a 4' x 4' table to the following..  the A-A line for our game is south of the woods..


DG has thrown the bones for us, and will play the American defenders, I will be the Anglo Hessian attacker..

Bring it on..  ๐Ÿ˜€

Saturday, October 17, 2020

"Duel Under the Stars" - a review..

An interesting departure from the main stream this one - being the autobiography of a German night fighter pilot in WW2 flying Me110's - in fact as the title says more a memoir than an autobiography, since the book deals solely with the authors service in WW2 and we don't learn much else about him. 

Not a long read, it covers his service from the beginning of the war in northern German to the end where his squadron was based in Hungary, and then withdrawn to Germany. 

He is "famous" for having caused a bit of an international incident when he was shot down and had to force land in Switzerland where he and his crew were interned for a week before being exchanged for some British officers...  he mentions that the moment the Gestapo found out he had been interned, his family, and the families of his crew, were imprisoned and questioned...  it took Goering to get Himmler to release them...  nice to know the people at home have got your back!

I hadn't realised up until I read this book what a menace the German night fighters were to the British bomber crews, in the to and fro tussle over technology, these German night fighters at some periods  of the campaign were hugely successful..  Johnen himself reports shooting down sometimes two or three bombers in a single sortie.. you think flak was the main problem for the British crews, but I've changed my view, the constant edge of worry on whether you were being stalked by radar by another plane armed with multiple cannon, including the fearsome Schrage Musik [clicky] (upward firing twin cannons) must have been terrifying..  only the increasing use of night fighter Mosquito's armed with better radar, and speed, saw the end of the Me110 night fighter dominance..

Not a Nazi (or he doesn't come across as one), but clearly a loyal and patriotic officer with not a little skill (he ended up with 34 victories, ranked "ace", and with the Knight's Cross). 

Sobering..  the bravery of  him and his fellow aircraft crew fighting at this time in the face of almost limitless Allied superiority in both material and technology is worthy of huge respect.. worth a read...   Steve the Wargamer rates this one as 8 out of 10..

Johnen's Me110 pictured in Switzerland after his arrest/internment