Monday, December 31, 2007

Review of 2007... line with some of my fellow Old School bloggers I thought I'd do a quick review of what I'd accomplished in 2007...'s the first time I've ever done this as I don't normally take a record of what I paint, but given I started blogging last March, and had posts going back to the beginning of the year, for the first time ever I had a (kind of) record of what I painted last year - to say the least I was quite impressed with my efforts - not quite the lazy so and so I thought I was...!

In 25mm American War of Independence I painted:

Saintonge (12 infantry - see picture)
Von Donop (12 infantry)
"Orange Lillies" (12 infantry - see picture)

In 15mm I painted (all infantry unless otherwise stated):

2 Regiments of Bavarian Cuirassiers (16 cavalry) -WSS
2 Regiments of British Cavalry (16 cavalry - see picture) - WSS
1 Regiment of Dutch Cavalry (8 cavalry) - WSS
1 Regiment of Dutch Infantry (24) - WSS
Egyptian Lancers (12 cavalry) - Sudan
Mounted Camel Corps (12 "cavalry") - Sudan
Dismounted Camel Corps (12) - Sudan
Kneeling Camels & Guards (6 +2) - Sudan
Dervish Cavalry (12 cavalry) - Sudan
British Infantry (6) - Sudan
Gun crews (18) - Sudan

Bagagge etc.

Camel Corps artillery - 6 camels/6 drivers/2 guns - Sudan
2 Krups guns - Sudan
2 limbers - 4 horses/2 drivers (for the Krups) - Sudan
2 ammunition wagons - WSS
2 Gatling guns and crews (6) - Sudan
Limbers for the WSS artillery (12 horses/6 drivers) - WSS

...which I make approximately 118 foot & 108 mounted - for a combined "Olley"* score of 334 points... not bad! J

* For reference Phil Olley is a noted wargamer (click on his name to go to his site) who came up with a points method of measuring painting output - basically 2 points for a mounted figure, or gun, or wagon, and one point for a foot figure...

..more on Warblington....

...I've just taken delivery of "The Civil War in Hampshire" by G. N Godwin, which I've had my eye on for ages at the Caliver stand at the various wargaming shows, but had not been able to afford it up until now. Just before Christmas though, I got lucky and managed to find it at a more affordable price on AbeBooks...

Like the recent re-issue of "The War Game" this book is also a 'copy' of the previous book, so the pages all show a scan of the original book/page - but either way it is immensely detailed, and more importantly has some more interesting information on Warblington Castle, the siege, and the other events of 1642 in the area...

Godwin writes that

~ Henry VIII conferred the manor/castle on Sir Richard Cotton - who was the controller of his household. His view is that it was Sir Richard who built the castle, which is Tudor in design (rather than earlier). So a Tudor style castle...
~ It remained in the hands of the Cottons until the English Civil War - which we knew..
~ Sir Richard received Edward VI at the castle in 1552, and records show that the castle was in good repair in 1633 - but shortly after "we know only of a ruined tower, a broken arch, and a few nondescript mounds, and remains of a moat". So we now know there was also a moat.. the interesting bits - and we almost have enough for a scenario.. J

Early in the war (January 1643) the castle (see right for map) had been occupied for Parliament by a Colonel Norton from nearby Southwick (he obviously did well in the war as he went on to be one of the signatories to the death warrant of Charles I!).

At this time the castle was described as being brick, faced with stone, about 210 feet square. "The whole was surrounded buy a "fosse" 10 feet deep"... "Before the northern angle appears to have been an entrenched camp of five acres".."surrounded by a bank nearly eight feet high, and a ditch similar to that around the castle".

Norton occupied the castle with a garrison of between 40 & 80 men (accounts vary, but some of these may have been from another local village - Hambledon) under the command of one of his officers.

The Warblington siege needs to be seen against the background of the much larger siege of Arundel - a noted Royalist stronghold - just a little further down the coast. This fight was only ever going to be a side show, and was basically Lord Hopton trying to distract Waller who was with the Parliamentary army before Arundel

Godwin quotes that in December 1643, Hopton had "sent dragoons to invest Warblington House where Nortons garrison was doing much damage to the country", further that "after a long siege and loss of more men than were in the garrison", he took Warblington Castle. All indications are that the castle only held out for a few days once surrounded.

It had also had no effect on the siege at Arundel which fell to Parliament after 17 days December 20th '43 to 6th January.

So we have a battlefield - the map below is my best guess at fitting the above (castle and camp) to a slightly larger scale version of the map above...

We also have an idea of the size of forces involved...

We know that the garrison was approximately 80 men; we know that the Royalist forces were big enough that they would take more than 80 casualties and still take the castle - safe to assume then that they must have numbered at least 250 men minimum, and were probably all dragoons. There are no references anywhere to artillery being available to either side...

Good progress and much more understandable...

Last of all (for this post anyway!) - Happy New Year - I'm solidly of the opinion that the world is divided into people who like Christmas, or people who like New Year - for the record I'm in the former camp! J

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Siege Train, or "Caught on the Move"...

As promised, a review of the game from last weekend, when my regular wargaming buddy DG and I got together for our last game of the year.

We'd decided up front that it was going to be Marlburian, it only remained to me to come up with a scenario.

I'd toyed with the idea of re-playing the Ambush scenario that I'd already played solo not so long ago, but in the end was much taken with the Teaser in this months issue of Battlegames (#10) - "Siege Train". In summary - and you aren't going to get all the details here, you need to hot foot it to Henry's web page and buy yourself a copy of the magazine, or preferably a subscription (there's a link to the left) - a convoy of siege and ammunition wagons is trying to get through to their own army, with a sizable convoy guard, and a nearby reserve. The enemy - in three bodies of troops - are trying to stop them. The kicker is that with the exception of the convoy guard, and the enemy advance guard, all other troops arrive on a randomly decided turn... which adds spice!

Without further ado, we diced for sides and DG got the role of defender/convoy commander, I was the attacker.

Now the logistics.. most of these are covered in the scenario, but I added some local rules to cover off the convoy itself. These were pretty much the same as when I played "Wagon Train" but to re-cap, there were eight convoy units in total (various limbers and wagons) as per the scenario, and they moved at "Heavy Guns" rate, ie. slow! Each convoy unit was deemed to be worth a number of strength points (4 each) and hits were inflicted in the usual manner for my rules, but with no morale effect. Once the unit gets to half points it moves at half rate. Once it gets to 0 points it is stopped. When a convoy unit is contacted by the enemy it stops for as long as the enemy is in contact, and all units behind throw 1D6 to decide what they do (as per the scenario description), I decided that Infantry or Cavalry can assist wagons by man handling them to overcome damage - a unit doing this needs to be next to the wagon for one move and can 'donate' strength points from their roster to the wagon roster (which represents the loan of man/horsepower)..

I slightly modified the victory conditions Charles gives, as I had an idea this was going to be a tough one so I allowed a draw with anything up to six units off the table – less than six was an outright loss – commander dismissed in disgrace!

The table was set out as follows:

At the top left you can see Schafenplatz, the river is crossable only at the bridges, and the ford. The convoy comes in on the bottom right, within the loop of the river.

OOB's for each side were as per the scenario with the exception that there was one less infantry unit per side (I didn't have enough to do the scenario as described). On the map above the enemy advance guard comes in at bottom right. The enemy main force enters bottom left and the convoy reserve is in the village; activation of both these forces is random, the mechanisms of which were exactly as per the article..

Having diced and noted all the arrival periods, we then started the game.

Following you can see the French advance guard (who were the attackers) and in the distance the convoy crossing the bridge and heading for the far (far) end of the table and safety..

The first indication that the game was not going to be easy for the British commander came when the French main force arrived on the earliest turn of the random range they were allowed - this is them filing in through the rough ground in the bottom left of the table. The artillery was never destined to come into action - even light guns don't move fast in rough ground!

There then followed some (very) sharp exchanges first at the bridge where the infantry of the French advance guard started exchanging fire with their British counterparts. The advance guard cavalry (Chartres) also contacted the convoy guard cavalry (Schomberg's) and in an ominous foretaste of what was to come comprehensively shattered the British cavalry driving them off in rout {rules comment: it was a delta 3 difference between the two sides which in the rules we use is a 2 strength point loss, and automatic rout}. Not the best start for the British..

Slightly later the British infantry (Orkney's) who have been exchanging fire with the French across the river (Bourbonnais), fail their morale (the first of many units to do this) and rout leaving the way open for the French infantry to cross the river.. The good news is that the British reserve in Schafenplatz have activated, and more to the point activated quickly - but the convoy is already under attack, and the back half has been forced to stop.

The reason for the convoy halt is that the French cavalry (Chartres) is now attacking it - the British cavalry from the convoy defence force continue to rout and cease to be an effective force {Rules comment: DG was really having a torrid time of it - in our rules we use a D6 to throw below the units morale strength to recover - the theory being that as a unit gets weaker, and it's morale therefore lower, the unit finds it harder and harder to recover. He threw 6 on a D6 in three successive turns for this unit of cavalry - meaning it continued to rout and take casualties for three turns after the original melee defeat!}

The French main force cavalry (Orleans and Weickel), instead of going with the infantry went south of the woods to tie up the British cavalry from Schafenplatz (Cadogan's and the Dutch Nassau Friesland).

First blood in these engagements go to the French, with Chartres fresh from their defeat of Schombergs managing to catch the Dutch cavalry mid-formation change (yes - it gets worse for the British - this was another failed dice throw!) and although the Dutch stand, they are swiftly dispatched in the next turn...

In the following picture, the British cavalry can be seen routing up the middle of the table, through the early arrivals from Schafenplatz. The French main guard has now exited the rough ground and the infantry is marching around/above the wood - my plan was to hook round either the wood, or the village, depending on what the British did with the convoy, and how my advance guard had fared.

In the following we see the British 1st Foot Guards (from the convoy) facing up to the triumphant French cavalry (Chartres) and forcing them away from the convoy - in the background Cadogan's are about to go in to their first ever skirmish with one of the French cavalry units (Orleans) - fingers crossed!

Just when nothing seems to be going right for the British commander, and in their first ever engagement, Cadogan's defeat the French cavalry regiment (Orleans) - their mere presence is enough to drive them off in rout {Rules comment: I failed the melee stand test badly!} Cadogans continue their advance and come up against the Bavarian cavalry - is it to be another repeat of their experience at Ramillies ("Big men mounted on big horses, they drove the famous Bavarian horse-grenadier guards off the field, capturing four of their standards")??

In the following (poor) picture you can see Cadogan's about to charge Weickels, Orlean's are in rout towards the bottom of the picture.

The writing was now on the wall, and all remaining British efforts were soon extinguished - the French infantry turned and moved south through the woods - I'd decided now was the time for the coup de grace, and that there was no point in waiting longer.

Chartres (the cavalry) attempt to charge home on the Foot Guards failed to engage {Rules note: Superior musketry from the Foot Guards caused a "shaken" morale result that effectively stopped them in their tracks} the other French infantry (Bearn) contact the convoy. In the meanwhile Bournbonnais attempts to cross the river while Ingoldby's are otherwise engaged (another failed morale test following some exchanges of musketry caused them to retire).

In the last passage of play in the game:

- the Foot Guards decided to try and drive off the cavalry at point of bayonet and are comprehensively "whacked" for their troubles (never a good idea to attack cavalry when you're on foot but there were precious few other options!), but,
- Ingoldsby's drive back the Bourbonnais in rout following a failed change of formation after they got across the bridge.. ouchh....
- Yet another failed morale test resulted in Orkney's ceasing to be a cohesive force

...and the results of that cavalry melee?? Unfortunately we were not to see a repeat of history - Weickel's stood, counter charged, and then drove Cadogan's off in tatters.... a brave but ultimately doomed attempt.

The British commander called a parley, and offered his sword in surrender, which the French commander (not quite believing the number of truly awful dice rolls in the previous 3 hours) gladly took..!

Post Match Analysis

  • After some discussion we decided to award the battle honours for this game to the French cavalry regiment "Chartres" - for their destruction of Schomberg's, then the Dutch cavalry, and then the Foot Guards. We also agreed there should be a mention in dispatches for Weickel (for the destruction of Cadogan's) and Ingoldsby's (the routing of Boubonnais)
  • We also discussed, as is our want, how we felt the game had gone - I was happy (naturally) with the way that my tactics had worked out. What had comprehensively won me the game, however, was the truly appalling British dice throwing - which was so unlucky that at times I did wonder if the loaded dice I keep in the back of the wargame cupboard had made their way on to the table... oops, shouldn't have mentioned them, should I! Luck is always present on the wargame table though, and true spirited gamer that he is, DG took it on the chin whilst promising me that the pendulum does often swing equally as hard in the opposite direction - not so sure I'm looking forward to the next game now! J
  • We also discussed scales, and fire effects, and mutually agreed that the modifiers for cavalry firing did need a slight tweak... in the rules we're using cavalry regiments represent about 3 or 4 squadrons - or about 400 men in campaign terms. Infantry represents a regiment of about 1200 men. While we didn't see a problem with the comparative difference in melee terms, where the weight of the cavalry man can be used to it's full and balances the difference in numbers, the actual number of carbines is a third of the infantry, and the current -1 modifier is not enough to reflect this. With effect from the next game we'll make it -2 . We discussed making it -3, but on reflection what I don't want to do is cause the French commander to always "act out of character" - to explain, my reading is that the French cavalry was always more likely to fire off their weapons before the charge, the allies were trained to do the opposite (in fact Marlborough took away almost all of their ammunition to ensure they always charged home with the cold steel!) In the rules we play, however, the "counter charge" is only available to French units that haven't fired - so there is a fine, and historical, decision to be made - fire and hope to stop the enemy unit in it's tracks, or charge home and hope that the bonus from holding fire is enough to help you offset the British/allied cavalry melee advantage... if we make the negative modifier too big that decision becomes a no-brainer (ie. that you would never do it), then the rules suffer as a consequence... so let's see how it goes with -2.
  • For those that are avid followers of this section of the analysis, the biscuits on this occasion were the emperor of dunking biscuits, the McVitie's Digestive. In celebration of the fact that it was Christmas however, we also deployed some shortcake biscuits coated in caramel and chocolate, and of course some luxury all butter mini mince pies from the grocers to the Queen, Waitrose. The tea on this occasion was big mugs of Twinings "Assam", (and next time DG, I promise less milk!) J

Christmas gifts and stuff.....

...and like a flash of blinding light there goes Christmas for another year... L

I don't know, you spend all month looking forward to it, and for me the two weeks leading up to it are the BEST time, and then it's here and it's gone....! what did Santa leave under this wargaming cove's (and I'm thinking of registering that as my trademark) tree?? Well the short answer is "lots" actually.. J was a good year on the wargaming/beer front - highlights were:

~ the new Osprey Campaign series on Philadelphia (American War of Independence)
~ a set of artists acrylics and a new set of brushes (always useful!)
~ "Rabble in Arms" by Kenneth Roberts (a novel set in the War of Independence) been trying to get this for years, but this year my wife was successful...
~ a selection of ales chosen by my Dad from the Scottish breweries - the first of which was imbibed yesterday evening and was truly delicious "Northern Light" is by the Orkney Brewery Company and is a lovely, refreshing, light coloured beer - just the job after the second roast dinner in two days...
~ the new album by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, "Raising Sand"
~ the DVD of "300" - slightly 'comic book' in look, but this is about Thermopylae so I can see me hauling out the DBA armies at some time! of all though, was the pile of Amazon vouchers; I'm already planning what to spend them on..... J all in all I have something to paint with, while listening to, and I needn't go thirsty either...

Other than that - the American Civil War project page is now launched - see link to the left. In addition - I've almost finished a write up of the game DG and I played just before Christmas, I'll post it in a couple of days.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas!

A Very Merry Christmas to all my regulars, and anyone else who pops in over the Christmas period.. one way or another 6000 plus of you who visited this year, and trust me, I'm amazed!! J

Being a predominantly wargaming cove, I couldn't pass the event without something a little on topic, so the Christmas card following is a German one from 1914, and is by way of commemorating the Christmas Truce of 1914 - it comes from this excellent site which carries the full, and amazing, story... quite astonishing

....the following picture is of German and British soldiers actually taken in no mans land during the truce... the truce lasted several days, and spread over 400 miles of front, songs and carols were sung to each other, food and other essentials swapped, and impromptu games of football (that's soccer to my US friends) played - but true to form the British soldiers had to come up with an excuse to losing against the Germans - one of them wrote home to complain that the team they had played against had comprised largely professionals from Bayern Football Club! Nothing changes.... J

I hope you and yours have a restful and enjoyable holiday period, with plenty of time for painting and pushing little lead men around the table - whilst not forgetting your families of course!

Friday, December 21, 2007

...end of the year, and time for a new look...

...being an endless tinkerer, I thought it might be time for a change of look for the Blog as I always felt the old template was a little "cramped", this one lets me streeeeeeeeeeetch myself out a bit... J

...I've also updated the links to the left - have added a separate list for the "resource" type pages, and I would urge you to immediately visit the country design site which is a huge amount of fun... it is fantasy based but I see a huge amount of historical possibilities. My thanks to Mike for the "heads up" on this site..

Monday, December 17, 2007

...and he's back again...

Hello to my regular readers, and a quick apology for the lack of posts over the last week or so... the season of festivities fast approaches, and as a Dad of two, all of a sudden my time begins to disapear rapidly, somewhat akin to a "black hole"

...just been away for a few days in Bath, which is somewhat of a tradition in Steve the Wargamers house... my wife and I get Garndparents to come and baby sit, and we slide off for a few days of drinking good beer, eating way too much, and finishing off the Christmas shopping... pure bliss, and this trip was no different....

..on the beer front the beer of the trip is always the
RCH "Pitchfork" brewed to commemorate the events of the Monmouth uprising (which I've written on before here), as ever this was delicious, and the "Old Green Tree" my pub of choice in Bath was also equally welcoming - and the good news is that they've also won an award ("Town pub of the year" in the 2008 Good Pub Guide)!!

..being a predominantly wargaming kind of a cove, the
trip wouldn't be complete without some form of military activity and this time it came courtesy of a little shop called "Bonapartes" that I always try and go to when I'm visiting.

Bonapartes is more military miniatures & models than wargaming, but he has some lovely completed models to look at, and sells paints & brushes, but my main reason for going is a huge second hand collection of books... this time round I purchased these two volumes... I was really chuffed to find them, and they're an excellent starting point for the newest (secret no longer!) project that I alluded to back in August.... I've started to build the project Blog and will announce here once it's published (Jeff, just one comment - man cannot live by Tricorne alone.... J) - I've just heard from DG that he's making one last visit to the area to see family before Christmas, and happily has time for a game, watch here for the report, but we're playing on Saturday evening, and it will be War of the Spanish Succession (with Blitzkrieg Commander/WWII for the first game in the new year) - I suspect it will be one of the Teasers, but to be honest I also like the look of the latest one in "Battlegames" issue 10....

....few other brief updates (told you I'd been busy, plenty to document no time to do it!) for the Marlburian forces Meredith's foot is now half completed and destined to join the British ranks - all I need is a couple of hours of painting time.. I've also taken delivery of a coulle of other wargmaing classic books, first "Wargames though the Ages : Volume 3" by Featherstone, but the other is the much discussed (on TMP and the "Old School Wargaming" Yahoo group) re-print of "The War Game" by Charles Grant (picture following is courtesy of the Ken Trotman site and will take you to the order page) - first impressions following a quickish browse are that it is very good - I've always wanted a copy but never had the lottery win to be able to afford it! I'll put up reviews of both at some point in time in the near future...

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Cadogan promised (and this is what the Internet is worth its weight in gold for), I've been reading further here and there on the background to the esteemed gentlemen who gave his name to that last unit of cavalry I've just painted..

The Cadogan family in question traces its descent from a Major William Cadogan, who was a cavalry officer in Oliver Cromwell's army. The Major's son (Henry) went into the law, and it was his son (also called William after his grandfather) who gave his name to the cavalry regiment.

The more I read about him, the more I understand how much Marlborough must have come to rely on him - along with Prince Eugene, it's clear that he was a critical and vital part of the success that Marlborough was to enjoy..

He joined the army in 1690 and first served in Ireland as a cornet of horse under William III, this was also the first time he served with Marlborough. He was present at the sieges of Cork and Kinsale, and by 1701 was a Major of the Inniskilling Dragoons and had caught the eye of Marlborough for his undoubted abilities..

In 1701, Marlborough appointed Cadogan to his staff following his appointment to command the English troops in the Low Countries - Cadogan's first job in this capacity was the complicated task of concentrating the grand army, formed by contingents from multitudinous states. He must have been successful in that role as Marlborough rewarded his services with the colonelcy of "Cadogan's Horse" (who are now the 5th Dragoon Guards).

As quartermaster during the campaign of 1704, he was one of the few entrusted with the truth of Marlborough's march from the Spanish Netherlands to the Danube at the start of the Blenheim campaign. He played a major role in the organisation of the march which, as well as the return march with its heavy convoys, he managed with consummate skill. In this campaign he fought at the battles of the Schellenberg where he was wounded and had his horse shot from under him (add "lucky" to "clever"!), and Blenheim, where he acted as Marlborough's chief of staff.

Soon afterwards he was promoted brigadier-general, and in 1705 he led Cadogan's Horse at the forcing of the Brabant lines between Wange and Elissem, capturing four standards (see my last post, "big men on big horses....", it raises the hair on the back of your neck!)

He then commanded the army's scouting party which located the French army on the morning of Ramillies, and acted as a senior messenger for Marlborough during the battle, recalling Orkney's British infantry from their diversionary attack so that they could assault the French centre around Ramillies itself. Immediately after the battle he was sent to take Antwerp, which he did without difficulty.

He was made major-general in 1706, and continued to perform the numerous duties of chief staff officer, quartermaster-general and colonel of cavalry, besides which he was throughout constantly employed in delicate diplomatic missions (so add "politican" to "lucky" and "clever"!). In the course of the campaign of 1707, when leading a foraging expedition, he fell into the hands of the enemy but was soon exchanged.

In 1708 he commanded the advanced guard of the army in the operations which culminated in the victory of Oudenarde, and was in charge of them when they established crossings over the River Scheldt. He later personally commanded the forces which broke through the French left towards the end of the battle.

On the 1st of January 1709 he was made lieutenant-general.

He fought at Malplaquet, and after the battle was sent off to form the siege of Mons and was wounded in the neck (to all intents this should have been mortal, but I think we may need to add "very" to the earlier "lucky"), but quickly recovered. During the breaking of the lines of Ne Plus Ultra, he again commanded the allied advance guard, and established a bridgehead across the lines prior to Marlborough's arrival with the main army.

After Marlborough's dismissal from his posts at the end of 1711 Cadogan remained with the army, but refused to return with it when Britain withdrew from war in 1712 (no surprise, and we should add "honourable" to the pot), going into voluntary exile with the Duke. His loyalty to the fallen Marlborough cost him, his rank, positions and pensions under the crown.

On his accession George I reinstated Cadogan.

His last campaign was the Jacobite insurrection of 1715-1716; first as Argyle's subordinate and later as commander-in-chief - not surprisingly, he was completely succesful.

In 1718 he was made Earl Cadogan, Viscount Caversham and Baron Cadogan of Oakley.

In 1722 he succeeded his old chief as head of the army and master-general of the ordnance, becoming at the same time colonel of the 1st or Grenadier Guards.

He died at Kensington in 1726.

...only one word to describe him really.... "outstanding".

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Cadogan's Horse..

Without any preamble let me introduce you to the newest regiment to join the ranks of my Marlburian British army (or perhaps more correctly, Allied army) ..

This is Cadogan's horse painted with their earlier buff coloured facings (according to Grant they went to Green later in the war).

Formed in July 1685 as the "Duke of Shrewsbury's Regiment of Horse" they were ranked as 7th regiment of horse in seniority. They saw almost immediate service in 1685 in Ireland, but were in Flanders for the War of the League of Augsburg by 1690, promoted to 6th in seniority.

They returned to Ireland in 1698 (garrison duty) before then returning to Flanders in 1702 with the Duke of Marlboroughs forces at the start of the War of the Spanish Succession.

Like Wood's these guys are also "serious stuff", they carry battle honours for all four of the major engagements (Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde & Malplaquet) but served throughout the war, not returning to Ireland until 1715 - thirteen years later!

Other engagements they were involved in, or at, include Venloo, Ruremond and the siege of Stevenswaert and the siege of Liege in 1702, Schellenberg and Blenheim in 1704.

At Elixheim (also known as Helixem) in 1705 they won great distinction at the forcing of the enemy's lines between there and Neerwinden. "Big men mounted on big horses, they drove the famous Bavarian horse-grenadier guards off the field, capturing four of their standards" (Cannon, Recorded History of the 5th Dragoon Guards) - stirring stuff indeed!

They were at Ramillies in 1706, then Oudenarde and the siege of Lille in 1708. 1709 saw them at Malpaquet, followed by the sieges of Tournai and Mons, but 1710 was perhaps their busiest year, with the sieges of Douai and Bethune, and further actions at Aire, St. Venant and Quesnoy.

The regiment became known as Cadogan's (as usual they were named after their current colonel) in 1703 following the successful campaign in 1702 that ended with the siege of Liege. Cadogan (or to correctly name him, William Cadogan, first Earl Cadogan) had done strong service for Marlborough, and the colonelcy of the regiment was Marlborough's reward for this.. he was an outstanding character so I'll save the information on him for a later post..

In the meanwhile - as is the vogue at the moment on some of the "old school wargaming" Blogs this is them, brigaded with the other regiments they fought with at the Schellenberg as part of Wood's Brigade under General Lumley..

In the front rank are Wood's on the left & Cadogan's on the right (both Freikorps 15mm), behind them are Schomberg's on the left and Lumley's on the right (both Dixon's). Just Wyndham's to go to complete the brigade...

The church in the background is a recent purchase from eBay and is made by a company called Kibri (a company specialising in model railway scenery), it's in N scale which is a little small, but I think it fits quite well...I still need to tidy it up and apply a little paint here and there, but I'm pleased with the look and feel which is nicely central european

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

...more on Warblington...

...a little more info has come to light, but before I launch into it, first off a small correction as it's been pointed out that I got my Mary's hopelessly mixed up in the last post - it was Mary Tudor who was the daughter of Henry VIII (later to be crowned as Mary the first), not Mary Queen of Scots (thanks to my missus, and also Will, for this!!)

...anyway - as promised, a little more info has come to light...

as we know Warblington .."was restored in 1514 to Margaret (Polk), countess of Salisbury, sister and heir of Edward, the Earl of Warwick, with other lands. She was living at the castle in 1526. She was a staunch papist, and from her house her son-in-law, Lord Montagu, and others sent frequent messages to their friends on the continent, especially to Cardinal Pole, using as an agent a certain Hugh Holland of Warblington, who had already been convicted of piracy" (! I'm guessing he was probably a smuggler rather than your actual yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum type, as there have been stories about the lane that leads down to the harbour from the town for some time as having smuggling origins which around here would have been brandy, lace, and other goods from France). "After her attainder in consequence of her share in these conspiracies Warblington was granted temporarily to William, Earl of Southampton, and to Sir Thomas Wriothesley, the King's secretary. In 1551 it was finally entailed on Sir Richard Cotton, knight, whose son George succeeded to it at his death in 1556. " (The coat of arms is that of the Cotton family - more on these guys later)

"George Cotton was living at Warblington in 1596, and died there in 1609 or 1610, leaving a son and heir Sir Richard Cotton. In 1635 a Richard Cotton died seised of the manor leaving a young grandson and heir of the same name who was a staunch Royalist." comes the first of the interesting stuff...

"In January, 1643–4, 'the strong house at Warblington' was captured by sixty soldiers and a hundred muskets, and Richard Cotton was obliged to compound for his lands. He is said to have bequeathed them to his only surviving son William, who died in 1736."

My reference quotes a letter from Wilmot, the lord-lieutenant of the Royalist forces, in which he states that 'he has not yet had a reply to the message sent to Arundel Castle' (then besieged by Sir William Waller), and that 'they have taken the strong house at Warblington … which commands a pretty port, and will be of good advantage.'

It's an ambiguous entry - he probably knew who he mean't - but safe to assume that the sixty soldiers and hundred musketeers were probably Parliamentary. Begs a few questions though - why does the source differentiate between soldiers and muskets? Perhaps the "soldiers" were pike? Or mounted troops?

Most of this post by the way, is from the following excellent source ''Warblington', A History of the County of Hampshire: Volume 3 (1908), pp. 134-139. URL: In the meanwhile, the search continues...


On a separate subject, I've recently completed loading the majority of the original JPG's of the "table top teasers", so that you can now see the original articles. There were a couple missing - I'll add these soonest. Next will be the PDF's...

Monday, November 26, 2007

..bits and pieces... Warblington Castle... certainly doesn't seem like a week has passed but the calendar doesn't lie; even so it doesn't seem like I have got very much done in the intervening period.

I failed significantly in my efforts to get any paint on metal; doubly frustrating as we had a quiet Sunday and I was sure I'd be able to weigh in on the next War of the Spanish Succession cavalry unit (which are going to be Cadogan's I've decided - buff coloured facings). As it turned out thought the weather was good so I ended up helping my wife chop out 8 large bags of dead foliage from the front garden - which I then took to the tip... only to find out when I got home that she had another 6 bags waiting for me! Ah well, I wouldn't have been able to focus on the paintbrush with all that activity going on downstairs...

So what have I done in the intervening period - well a little bit of everything really..

  • I'm reading an excellent book which I picked up at the library - "Band of Brigands" by Christy Campbell is an early history of the Royal Tank Regiment, detailing how they came into being, how the first tanks were developed, and about their early battles, first on the Somme (not wholly successful, but good enough to get Haig to order a thousand of them) and later, more successfully, at Cambrai. I can count on the fingers of one (maybe two) hands the authors of military history who for me have the ability to make me keep turning the pages (Richard Holmes, Mark Urban, John Falkner, David Chandler...........) and this guy has joined their ranks. Immensely readable, very enjoyable, and a real page turner... not my period vis a vis wargaming but a fascinating account and absolutely recommended to anyone who enjoys military history.

  • I also took delivery of broadband last week - a real first for me - but in addition to (successfully!) setting it up this allowed me to set off on my other main activity of the week. I cycle to work, and on a daily basis I pass this place which is called "Warblington Castle".. I've always been fascinated by it so decided to see if I could find out a little more about it. By way of an occasional series therefore (and I'll post more information as and when I find it), I can tell you that the ruins are all that remain of a large fortified house built by Richard Neville's (the Earl of Warwick, better known as “The Kingmaker” during the War of the Roses) granddaughter, Margaret Pole, who was Countess of Salisbury. It was built between 1515 and 1525, and was a moated house, with staterooms, a chapel, apartments, and an armoury surrounding a courtyard. Margaret Pole was responsible for the early upbringing of Mary (Queen of Scots) Henry VIII’s daughter. The King himself stayed at the Castle in 1526, but Margaret was a Catholic and opposed Henry’s plans to divorce his wife Catherine to marry Anne Boleyn - not surprisingly, perhaps, she was executed for "treason" in 1541 at the Tower of London. Apparently she was quite a feisty lady as records tell us she fought all the way to the block! In 1552 the Manor passed to the Cotton family, who were connected to the royal households of Edward VI and Elizabeth I (both of whom are believed to have visited the castle). During the Civil War the Cotton family supported the Crown against Parliament, and in 1644 after two separate sieges the castle was razed to the ground. All that remains is the single gateway tower in the picture.... It is this later period of the history that I'm most interested in, specifically the siege, and also a story about a running skirmish between Parliamentary and Royalist forces between the castle and nearby Havant (where I work)... as I say - more later, when and as, I find it... amazing what goes on in history just on your doorstep, isn't it?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Warfare 2007... here I am fresh back from Warfare which, for me at least, is the last show of the year - and how was, it you may ask?? (and to be honest, if you're not interested, this is the point where you go to the next Blog!J)

..well, in summary, I thought it was "OK" which on a scale of excellent to awful is on the right side of the halfway point, not excellent, and probably not as good as last year, but still well worth it and an enjoyable day out. I think they were missing a few traders which I would have hoped to visit and spend money with if they'd been there, so from a personal perspective that lowered the overall score, I thought that the display and demo/participation games were not really much to write home about. The show has always been primarily a trade fair & competition weekend, but they usually put on a couple of good display games, and with some exceptions those seemed to be missing this year... what did I buy? Well in the absence of Keep Wargaming (who in the UK carry Minifigs at the shows) I had to miss out on some new stocks of WWII 12mm to feed the "Blitzkreig Commander" fires, instead I spent the money on Stuart Asquith's new book "War in the Sudan 1884-1898: A Campaign Guide" at the Caliver stand (picture to the right) - I've been meaning to buy this for some time, but usually I've already spent my funds by the time I get to it - this time with no WWII to buy I had the cash.... I'll review the book more fully in a later post, but suffice to say that having had a quick flick through, and a light read, it looks to be the business and exactly what I was hoping for..

...following the recent success with Wood's regiment of horse, I also took a visit to the Freikorps stand and bought enough new lead to make up another two regiments of cavalry for the Marlburian forces, and with some spare cash left over, I also bought some cavalry from Essex. The Marlburian project, more than any of the others, seems to be one where I am buying figures from all over the place, but enjoying the whole process enormously! I'll update the project page with some comparison pictures soon, but I think that means I now have samples from about 6 or 7 suppliers for my horse.. 

..and that was it as far as purchases went - so what about the games? Not a lot of competition but my game of the show in the face of the far more professional Touching History game (of which more in a moment) went to the guys from the "Wildgeese and Galloglass Gamers" who presented the "Battle of Knocknanuss" for our delectation - a Warhammer ECW game in 25mm. I just thought it looked really nice... a real traditional looking game, actually being played, and which I for one would have been happy to join in on, and last of all in a period I've always liked... here's an overall view (apologies - not the best)
...and these are some closeups of a couple of the units in the game - I especially liked the infantry unit - blue coats, and very effective en masse...

..this was the Touching History game - as I mentioned above it would have been the winner but for the fact that this guy is a "professional" (J), and I have to say I thought the ECW game slightly edged it for me anyway...

..last time I saw him he was doing an American war of Independence game, this time he'd shifted periods to WWII - a strong allied attack on a German fixed position... the choice was interesting in itself as his web site indicated he was going to be bringing a new AWI game (something to look forward to at Salute perhaps!) By the way anyone interested should visit his web site for some mouthwatering pictures of all the projects he's currently engaged in.. inspirational stuff, and I hope the plans for a regular Battlegames article pan out...

..nice half track model - always had a soft spot for these in my own games...

..not really my scale, as I've always had a (totally personal) view that 6mm figures are basically just boardgame counters, and that's not why I wargame, but the MADGamers put on a demonstration game featuring the American Civil War battle of Shiloh in this scale.. 6mm is quite good for a game of this size - the figures were from Baccus so were good, but it was still not enough to persuade me to collect in that scale.. it was the paddle steamers that caught my eye in this game..

....last of all, you may remember way back around April this year, that I mentioned I'd seen a game at the Salute show representing a Spanish attack on an Inca city, complete with 4 foot high temple, sacrifices etc. They were also at this show so I got a few more photo's - a quite astonishing layout and it would have come higher up my list but for the fact I'd already seen it earlier in the year!

....and that's it for this post..

Friday, November 16, 2007 teasers added...

..just a quick update to let you know that the final Teasers have been added to the project page - many thanks to the various, and many, people who have assisted over the months and years I've been collecting these. I'm pleased to say I now have all seventeen posted.

Any broken/missing links are entirely down to me... so please let me know! One final word of appreciation to Mike for the suggestion on Box.Net - I've been looking for somewhere to store my files easily for ages and they were just the job! Thanks, Mike....

.. I have visitors down for the weekend so I'm not going to get any time for painting unfortunately. I'm cogitating on what unit to paint next - I know it'll be War of the Spanish Succession, and I know they'll be Allied cavalry, but not which unit - I'm deciding between Wyndham's and Cadogen's, as once I've pianted those I then have representation for all the regiments present in Wood's Cavalry Brigade at the assault on the Schellenberg.

...I do have Warfare to look forward to though, which is on this weekend. I'm going up on Sunday with my regular opponent DG and am looking forward to it immsensely, as yet again, as a result of all this painting, I have a shopping list.... more anon, and hopefully some pictures as I'm taking the camera!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wood's Regiment of Horse...

As promised, let me introduce you to the newest regiment to join the British ranks of my War of the Spanish Succession forces.. Wood's Regiment of Horse.

The regiment was first formed in July 1685 following the amalgamation of a number of separate cuirassier troops, and was known originally as the Earl of Plymouth's Regiment of Horse (following the usual practice of naming the regiment after the commanding officer).

During the Wars of the Succession they were called Wood's after their rather splendidly named commanding officer, Lieutenant-General Cornelius Wood.. I've not managed to find too much about him, I know that under his command the regiment captured a couple of Bavarian senior officers after Ramilles, that he was in charge of a major part of the allied cavalry at Malplaquet (according to Chandler), that he died in 1712, and finally that he is buried in Saint Leonard's church in Aston Clinton (4 miles east of Aylesbury on the London road).

"In this chapel is the monument of General Cornelius Wood, a distinguished officer in the reign of Queen Anne, who died in 1712: it is ornamented with a bust of the general, in white marble, surrounded with military trophies"..

The regiment itself were "serious stuff", and they carry battle honours for Blenheim, Ramillies, Oudenarde and Malplaquet! I haven't (yet) managed to find out too much about Wood's during this period, as they became the 3rd Regiment of Dragoon Guards in 1757 (3rd the Prince of Wales Own from 1761) so most information is from this period forward, but I have found that for the attack on the Schellenberg (which forms the basis for my project), they were brigaded in the divison of Lt.Gen Lumley, with Wyndham's, Schomberg's, Cadogen's and Lumley's regiments of horse - 10 squadrons of Britain's finest - under the brigade command of Wood himself.

For the Ramillies campaign they were brigaded with the 3rd Regiment of Horse (later the Bay's), Wyndham's (later the 6th Dragoon Guards), and Galway's (formerly Ruvigny's a regiment of French Protestants in the English service, later disbanded) under the brigade command of Brigadier-General Leveson.

The figures are 15mm, by Freikorps...very nice figures that take paint well I'll definitely be buying more.. I was particularly pleased with the grey, which I painted after seeing those splendid examples of such on Alte Fritze's blog (link to the left) ... and yes I do know that typically the greys were used by the standard bearers/trumpeters and such, but this is my regiment, and being a wargamer I have a slight thing about standard bearers for my cavalry regiments - ie. I don't have them as they just don't look right to me..

Saturday, November 10, 2007

...Camel artillery and limbers in the Sudan... promised some pictures of the recent Sudanese additions..

Firstly, the camel artillery train for the Desert column.. all 15mm - camels and attendants are Peter Pig, the screw gun is also Peter Pig but I had to cut the barrel away from the trail in order to make the 3 separate loads... quite pleased with the way these turned out, though the camels look a little top heavy! up, the horse drawn artillery - for the Egyptians, or the British - I have two of each to pull the two Krupps guns I have, so all options are available dependant on the scenario....

First the Egyptian artillery... limber/horses and crew from Essex, gun is Peter Pig: the British - details the same as for the Egyptian piece:

..lastly - the two together: post will feature Wood's Regiment of Horse..
...just a quick update to announce that there are some more new Teasers added to the web page (March/August and December '78)... I've also updated the way they are presented as it makes it easier to see which one's I have, which one's are on the way, and which one's are new... I can confirm however, that as a result of the recent influx, I now have the full series, and that there were seventeen Teasers in total.... it's a bit of a complicated piece of HTML so if anyone finds a broken link let me know..

..the poll has also come to a close and many thanks for those who voted - much appreciated - not surprising perhaps given the scope of the evil empire (Microsoft, not Games Workshop! J) the majority of people wanted WORD format so I've stuck with that... what I will do however, is put them up in other formats over time once I find a better/decent file hosting site...

...painting has gone on a storm over the last few days, and I can confirm that as soon as they're based, I'll be putting up pictures of the latest British cavalry to join the ranks of Marlborough's allied army - these are painted as a squadron of Woods horse - green facings - using the Freikorps figures I bought at the Colours show a couple of months ago...

..I'll also put up some pictures of the now completed artillery limbers, and the camel train... on the painting list is another squadron of British or Dutch cavalry to finally bring the allies up to equal strength with the French (after their recent acquisition of the two units of Cuirassiers); a herd of cows (15mm - found them in the corner of my waiting to paint box) which I have an idea would make a fine scenario; and a couple of small wagons (same scale and corner of the box)... and next weekend is one of my favourite UK shows - it's Warfare at Reading and I have a shopping list... definitely all fired up!J

Friday, November 09, 2007

Wesencraft review... promised, I've just finished reading the Wesencraft book I managed to get on eBay "With Pike and Musket: Wargaming the 16th and 17th Centuries" and decided to put up a review...

Book is 185 pages long plus 2 or 3 pages summarizing the rules described in the book.

The actual rules section of the book comprises approx. 50 pages, the rest of the book is about army organization (he uses a few sample armies of the period focusing purely on Elizabethan, Elizabethan Irish, English Civil War, and the New Model), and typical weapons of the period. The two chapters are interesting (I hadn't realized the importance of the halberd in the earlier par of the period) but pretty basic - no in depth analysis as you would expect in what is primarily a wargaming book - he does have a good and extensive bibliography for more detail on these aspects.

The rules are very interesting - considering that they were written in the mid-70's there are a number of concepts that are not unheard of in some of the more modern rules.

In summary:

  • Figures are single mounted
  • Movement is pretty normal and as you would expect
  • He deals with weather in some detail as given the armaments of the time it was important - matchlocks are particularly susceptible to wet… to track weather in the game he postulates a weather gauge. Throw a dice at the beginning of the game to decide the opening weather and then a dice throw each move will either move a counter up or down the gauge, or not - making the weather better or worse depending on where the starting position on the gauge is…
  • Movement is alternative - Mr Wesencraft explains in detail why he thinks it is the better approach and I don't disagree with him! Each move comprises:
    • Side A move
    • Both sides fire
    • Side B move
    • Both sides fire
  • Then we have a chapter on an element of gaming not touched on much at this time - Charles describes how each unit has an efficiency rating that effects how it will perform in the various actions it will take in the game (firing, melee, morale checks, etc.) The efficiency rating is diced for and kept secret from the enemy, and from that point is reduced as the game continues reflecting the decrease in efficiency of the unit. It can temporarily improve (eg. as a result of a staff officer joining the unit, being under cover etc.) but can also temporarily decrease (eg, by attack in flank or rear) or get permanently reduced as a result of casualties or running away from a melee… much food for thought in this chapter!
  • Then he explains the role of the staff officer (primarily efficiency improvement) and the standard bearer (also efficiency improvement - something for the enemy to try and capture as taking it away will result in an automatic deduction in efficiency!)
  • For infantry firing he uses a casualty table explaining why he doesn't throw a dice per man, or a dice per number of men - well explained… artillery strength is decided by number of crew (typically 3 crew men when full strength representing a battery of three guns) artillery throw one dice per crewman/gun - using the same table..
  • For melee he has a pre-melee reaction test for both sides - and when melee is enjoined he has a mechanism based on the efficiency of the unit, their weapon, and the number of figures, which then re-uses the firing table… very effective…
  • He finishes off with a section on how to work out which figures are removed as a result of a unit taking casualties, and a final chapter in the unit record sheet - which he then uses to maintain records for each of his units describing how they fought, what battle honours they won, etc. Really nice idea..

The rest of the book - 100+ pages! - is general descriptions of battles in the period, but described in terms of his rules, figure scales, etc. Irrespective of their historical context, there are some excellent sources of scenario's here, and it's worth reading them all for this reason alone!

... on the whole I would say this was well worth the money, and at the time must have been quite cutting edge in terms of some of the concepts he describes. It was a good read and I would still wholeheartedly recommend it..

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

..more new teasers added..

Just a quick update to let you know that I've added another couple of Teasers, head on over to the Teaser page to see:
  • The Playtest of Teaser #1 “The Bridge Demolition” from "Battle" – March 1978 (this one is particularly good for the 17th Century fans amongst us!)
  • The Playtest of Teaser #3 “Advance Guard” from "Battle" – July 1978

..bear with me - there's more coming, have to admit thought I'm enjoying reading them as I translate, so it's slowing progress a little! J

Tuesday, November 06, 2007 Teasers added to a new page...

...I've been a bit busy over the last few days, scanning and then translating the recent batch of "Teasers" but am happy to say that the first of the new batch (and one re-formatted one) are now on the Teaser page. I've also taken the opportunity to transfer the web page to Blogger (so you need to update your links, or use the link to the left)...

...for your reading pleasure then I can advise that you can now read:

  • June '79 (Military Modelling) - Playtest of the "Railway Incident" Teaser (which was featured in March 1979)...
  • September '79 (Military Modelling) - No. 10 - "Rear Guard"... "This month's Teaser centres round a blocking position occupied by a rear guard and provides the defender with the choice of a forward or a reverse slope position or indeed a combination of both..."
  • January '81 (Military Modelling) - Playtest of the "Peninsular Conflict" Teaser (which was Teaser No. 14 and featured in December '80)...

...I also took the opportunity to reformat the existing December '80 Teaser to make it a little more readable. Hold steady - there are more coming! J

...separately, the tricorne's I mentioned previously didn't quite make it to the painting table - they are undercoated, however. Instead I took the opportunity to finish off the Colonial artillery bits and pieces as they were ready & undercoated... a very pleasant afternoon ensued and I ended up with six baggage camels, and handlers...

...I've now modified these camels to act as the "limbers" for the screw guns, and while not strictly realistic (they're a little top heavy) they do give a good representation and I'm very happy with how they turned out. I also finished off some artillery limbers for the Krups guns...

My research has shown that in Wolsey's Desert Column, everything was transported by camel. For artillery, the Naval Brigade had one five-barrelled Gardner gun with four camels to carry it (one for the barrels, one for the wheels and elevating gear, one for the trail, and one for the ammunition). The Camel Battery of the Royal Artillery had three 7 pdr. screw guns - each gun, plus two boxes of ammunition, were carried on six camels with one native driver allotted to every two camels (courtesy "Savage and Soldier" & Wikipedia)

The picture is from the Redoubt website and shows their "Camel Train" (click to go to the page) - I only hope mine looks half as good!

Friday, November 02, 2007

..the end of the week is nigh...

..and so we reach the end of yest another week - I can't believe how quickly this year is going... what have I got to talk about in this post?? Quite a lot actually as it's been a brilliant week from my personal/wargaming perspective...

..first off, I was absolutely delighted to get an email from one of the guys on the Old School Wargaming group asking me if I'd like a whole collection of Table Top Teasers that I was missing! Silly question... J ...having almost bitten his arm off in the haste of my response, you can imagine how excited I was when I saw the big envelope yesterday, and when I opened it, it contained fourteen of the articles!!

I'll put these up on the page (and announce here) as and when they're posted over the next few weeks, but to say I'm "chuffed to bits" is a slight understatement....! The gentlemen knows who he is; my thanks for the kind help - it's fully appreciated.

...while on the subject - I've put a poll at the top of the page (my first ever) as I'm interested in knowing how people prefer to see the Teasers. When I started out I always assumed people would prefer WORD format so that they could easily re-use the text in the article for writing up battle reports, orders of battle, etc. The files also tend to be smaller, which makes for quicker downloads. I have in the past however, also posted them as straight scans ie. a graphic, or a picture of the page. I'm interested to know if I'm on the right track because if I'm not I'll change how I post them....

...second off - this week I bid for, and was pleased to win , a copy of Charlie Wesencraft's "With Pike and Musket" (pictured). It doesn't normally happen, as some eBayer more clever than me usually puts in a bid 2 nano-seconds before the end and trumps me, but in this case I was successful and have just stared reading it. The period he covers is slightly earlier than the War of Spanish Succession which is my main interest in this period, but none the less there's always something of interest in the books of the Old School "masters" and this one doesn't appear to be any different - I'll put up a fuller review when I've finished it...

..while on the subject & on eBay (and hopefully you'll have begun to see by now why it was a brilliant week!) I also got a copy of "Wargame Campaigns" by Charles Grant (the younger). When it first came out I had this book on loan from the library almost permanently - it still forms the basis for my genericic campaign rules, and I cannot rate it highly enough.

...second to lastly, I found a company on the web call em4miniatures (click on the name, to go their website) the day before yesterday. They're a UK based company that do a lot of wargaming supplies - I was looking for little dice as they're very useful when playing Blitzkrieg Commander for showing hits, morale state etc. Not only were the dice reasonably priced, but they also take PayPal. I'll advise further when I get the goods, but their communications were prompt so full marks so far...

...last of all - being a wargamer I'm fairly happy when I get a bargain and would direct people to this web site immediately if they feel the same way. The Wasatch Front Historical Gaming Society are an American group based in Salt Lake City - not only do they have a brilliant site (click to go there) they also issue a quarterly newsletter called "Warning Order" in Adobe/PDF format. Quite honestly it's of excellent quality and appearance (considering the price!) - full colour, graphics etc. What about the content though I hear you ask - well I've started with the latest (#19), and was equally impressed. I especially liked the article on "Command and Control" in wargames, and there was also a good article on "Campaigns" which has definite possibilities... Recommended - and the link will find it's way to my resources list soonest...

...and that's it for this post - the weekend beckons and I plan to get myself to my painting table - it's time for some more tricorne's to make it to the table. I'm also enjoying a re-watch of "Band of Brothers"... who knows may even get to do both at the same time!

Monday, October 29, 2007

...back from my travels...

I'm now back at my home computer after a week away.. always nice to get home and all that, but in this particular instance the family and I had a lovely break, staying with my Dad in Edinburgh.... so it wasn't quite as nice to be back as it normally is!

My wife and I have long accepted that at best we're "tolerated" when we go to stay with him, as really, we are but a means to an end, specificaly to transport his grandchildren to him! J The up side of this however, is that we are quite often told to make ourselves scarce for the day, so get to wander around Edinburgh, drink beer, chat, browse, and visit places safe in the knowledge that our two spuds are being spoilt rotten by their grandparents...

...and in this case, this visit was no different... so what were the highlights?? Well, on the wargaming front I wandered up to have a good look at the castle (picture above from the excellent undiscovered scotland site..)

I also got to visit Wonderland a huge model shop that I was originally tipped off to by Fire At Will - well worth a visit, but almost certainly of more interest to the plastic collectors amongst us than fans of the little metal men...

..other than that the other highlights were the beer (Caledonian "Deuchars" and "XP", Stewart "Cascade" were the best), the people (much more friendly than donw here in the south!), and the undisputed highlight for me as a Rebus reader was a visit to the Oxford Bar (his hang-out in the books) - fantastic (and the beer was good too, as you would expect!)

Having got back yesterday and re-read the part 2 write up, I was a little disapointed in the quality of my writing, so I have gone through and corrected/added/edited as appropriate - in my defence I was a little rushed and the PC in question was very slow!

Friday, October 26, 2007

..The Ambush Scenario - The Game - Part 2.. picking up where we left off last time... J

Move 5

Seeing the French withdraw, the British light infantry decides to quit the broken ground, and head for the slopes of the hill overlooking the valley. Their intention is to try and out-flank the American front line (shades of Thermopylae!). In the meanwhile, the remaining British cavalry (2/16th) decide that it's time they charged and approached the US cavalry with the intention of clearing them from the path of their advance. The British infantry continues to move up, with the 17th finally reaching the head of the convoy.

Position at the end of the British phase of move 5
The American cavalry fires ineffectively, but are roused and enthused enough by their previous success to stand to receive the British charge, but not to counter charge

For the American cavalry the melee is a disaster – they break and rout [rules comment: a bad dice throw by the Americans, with other modifiers, resulted in a 4 point negative difference to the British, so they broke, but also lost two points of damage. Not good when you’re only starting with 6 – that’s a 25% casualty rate!]

In their move, however, the Green Mountain Boys deploy into line behind the Militia with the intention of relieving them as soon as possible. Behind them the French are marching down the valley as quickly as they can.

Move 6

The British Light infantry reach the summit of the hill. On the road the cavalry seemingly incapacitated with the madness of their previous victory charge ahead with the intention of attacking the militia (all that stands between them and the bridge) but are repulsed! [Rules comment: amazing dice throw that shows even militia can put in a Guildford Courthouse effort when the need arises! They threw a 10 on 2D6 which with modifiers for target, and militia firing, was more than enough to cause the damage, and the halt!] In the background however, the British foot are drawing remorselessly closer!

In their move, the militia having successfully held the British cavalry are withdrawn through the Green Mountain Boys by the Americans. The Green Mountain Boys take their place in the line of the battle – the French regiment is now also within a move of assistance.

The American cavalry check morale and halt shaken.

End of move 6

Move 7

Both the British cavalry units have to check morale – the 2/16th rout from the casualties taken when the militia fired, the 1/16th recover from their earlier rebuff in the melee, and move back up towards the head of the convoy..

Time for a tea break…. which can also be taken even in solo games and which is vital to the cogitative processes of this wargamer at least... you'd be amazed at how many cunning ploys have come up whilst partaking of a cup of tea and digestive biscuit...J

After the break, with the road is too narrow for two regiments to attack in line abreast, the Welch Fusiliers take the lead (as you would expect!). The 17th, still in column, cross to the south of the road so that they can advance alongside them in column.. the 24th reach the edge of the hill above the Green Mountain Boys, who greet their appearance with a rousing volley that opens some holes in their ranks…

In the American move, the cavalry recover, and the Green Mountain Boys inch forward to close the distance, but remain out of musket range. The French finally reach the head of the valley which frees up the Militia to clamber up the slopes with the intention of driving the British light infantry away from their position overlooking the US lines.

The Militia almost accomplish this – the British light infantry, already having been shaken by the volley from the Green Mountain Boys, fire off an ineffective volley but in the ensuing melee just manage to hold their own with both sides withdrawing from the melee to regain their breath – the militia however have had the desired effect and pushed the British back away from their dominant position overlooking the road….

Move 8

In this move things start out well for the British but end disastrously.. the Light Bobs recover from their discomfiture (but not without having to withdraw in order to do it), and the British 2/16th recover and halt under the tender (and personal) remonstrations of their Brigadier…

Elsewhere, the Welch Fusiliers launch their assault and with steady advance come into musket range of the waiting Americans who unleash a veritable hailstorm of lead – the Militia and the Green Mountain Boys each inflicting casualties… the Fusiliers halt – visibly shaken…

Things can only get worse though, and in their phase the Americans assault in turn. In the face of the damage from firing, and the cold steel of the advancing Americans, the Fusiliers break and rout from the threat!! Things are not looking good for the British – with only the 17th between the Americans and the wagons...

Position at end move 8... the Fusiliers can be seen routing on the left - north of the wagons...

Move 9

The 17th move gamely into the pass – they’ve seen what’s happened to their compatriots but it is vital the wagons get through to the bridge.. behind them both the cavalry units form up in close successive lines looking to charge through the infantry to get at the Green Mountain Boys if at all possible… the British Lights move forward in support of the assault..

True to form the Americans open fire, with the Green Mountain Boys again causing damage and halting the 17th in their tracks – the militia are not quite as successful and hold the British Lights… the Green Mountain Boys then charge home and in a carbon copy of the previous engagement push back the 17th, and then rout them!!

Move 10

It was clear to even a tactical midget such as myself, that the British need to try something different – pushing their units piecemeal into the pass was not delivering results – accordingly they decided to attempt an attack via the hill slopes. Pushing their beasts to the limit the British cavalry attack, two regiments abreast, by deploying onto the hill slopes.

At the same time the lights come in on the flank of the militia – the Americans fire and hold both cavalry units, but in the ensuing melee the British lights break the militia – first blood to the British!!! (at last)…

End Move 10..

Move 11

After going at it hammer and tongs for the previous 10 moves the two sides draw breath and consolidate.In their phase the British morale checks are a mixed bag – the 2/16th break and rout again, the 1/16th withdraw to recover. The Welch Fusiliers recover and advance again into the pass, the 17th pass their check but halt shaken…

On the hill the Lights hold while their colleagues reorganise, but take further casualties from musketry.

The Americans attack to push the British Light infantry off the heights, but the British succeed in holding their position..

Move 12

British morale is now beginning to fragment and it is more and more difficult for them to put together a coherent assault – if it wasn’t for the importance of getting the wagons through Wade Smith would have withdrawn by now… things can only get worse, though...

In their morale checks the 17th fragment once again and rout – the 2/16th recover.

The Welch Fusiliers and the 1/16th again start to attempt something different…

In the American turn they again hold – they don’t need to do anything, so don’t! J

Move 13

The British realise they cannot win but in one final throw of the dice (quite literally! J) push their two remaining units into a desperate charge down the slopes into the American and French regulars – they are met by crashing volleys that hold them in their tracks, and in the ensuing phase are charged in turn.

They are too weak, and both units break and run… the British commander realises he cannot win and withdraws from the field leaving the victory, and the wagons, to the jubilant Americans….

Final positions..

Post match analysis

  • A good game and the solo mechanics worked really well - one the whole I was happy with the random element, as you were never quite sure when the ambush was going to be triggered. The 2D6 roll was geared towards getting a result where the ambush was triggered at the point the British were most committed.. so in hindsight I might remove the modifiers as the ambush was triggered quite early, which gives the british a much harder time of it..
  • The British attempted their usual full frontal assault (my fault!), but in this game, without the room to easily deploy flanks, all the Americans needed to do was stop them one unit at a time. The British tactics for this game were flawed, and if I were to play it again (which I will..) then I would be looking to do something a little different (so if you're reading this DG don't expect me to do the same again!J)
  • I evened up the sides for this game (in terms of points) as I thought the ambushers were a little outnumbered - as it happens I didn't need to, as the Americans strongest unit wasn't even engaged due to the limitations of the British tactical midget... morale of the story - don't tinker with a Charles Grant scenario, they're good enough!
  • Finally - for those who hanker after every fine detail, the tea was Twinings "Every Day", and the biscuits were Digestives from the Tesco own brand range - sacrilege I know, but I think they taste better than the McVitie's ones....J)
..and that's it for this post - apologies for the fragmented report - I'm away from my home computer at the moment so was grabbing some time as and when I could!