Sunday, November 30, 2008

Campaign catch up... Move 58 to 67 (!)

17:00 (Day 3) to 02:00 (Day 4).....the usual reminder that the campaign map is to the left (click on it and any of the other pictures in this blog for the usual bigger view).

..yes, the campaign is still in flow, and after a slight hiatus for DG's absence on more important business, he and I are busily exchanging Berthier campaign files again, as both sides struggle to make an impact on the victory conditions set at the beginning of the campaign.

You may remember that at the Battle of Carnine, despite some appalling dice throwing, I managed to hold the British (just!) at what is now known locally as the "Night of the Long Knives" (as a result of the success of the British Dragoons that day)...

Having withdrawn to lick our wounds, both he and I are still encamped within the region of Carnine. I have pulled my units back north of the river, while he, as far as I can tell, is pulling back southwards.

I say "as far as I can tell", as to be honest I've lost contact with him - and my efforts to date have been concentrated northwards..

So, what have I been up to?

  • Well firstly, I have had my troops resting and recuperating following the battle - you may remember we discussed how we would handle casualty recovery in my post immediately after the battle (here) but since then - ever the tinkerer - DG came up with a more elegant mechanism which we have now adopted into the campaign rules..

    We dice for recovery of lost SP’s following any loss due to skirmish or battle. To determine how long before each SP recovered would become effective once more, throw 2D6 per lost SP and apply the following formula:

    Time (Turns) = 2D6 -Current Morale Value (CMV)

    • If the result is 0 or negative then the recovery is immediate
    • If the result is positive then the SP is recovered in that number of Turns
    • However, if the 2D6 is a double the SP is permanently lost ( a 1 in 6 or 16.7% chance)

    In summary, lightly damaged and/or units with superior morale are more likely to recover quicker than units that have been heavily damaged and/or with poor morale .

    An example to illustrate how this would work:

    Erbprinz Regiment has 1 SP left out of it’s normal complement of 5, it’s Morale = +2, therefore it’s CMV = 3 (ie. Strength plus Morale Benefit). It has 4SP’s to be recovered:

    • 1st SP 2D6(10) – 3 result SP recovered in 7 Turns
    • 2nd SP 2D6(08) – 3 (Double 4) result SP lost permanently
    • 3rd SP 2D6(09) – 3 result SP recovered in 6 Turns
    • 4th SP 2D6(07) – 3 result SP recovered in 4 Turns

    So an Elite unit that was damned near destroyed in battle has slowly recovered 80% of it’s strength, but in just 7 hours…

    23rd Foot It’s SP = 4, it’s Morale = +1, so it’s CMV = 5. It has 1SP to recover:

    • 1st SP 2D6(07) – 5 result SP recovered in 2 Turns

    Good, eh??
  • While the main body of my army has been resting, the artillery has not - DG made the mistake of leaving some of his scouting units on the road north of Carnine, and a couple of moves of artillery fire, whilst not managing to inflict any casualties (lighter artillery at long range), had certainly caused him to break camp and disappear promptly!
  • Then just to finish things off I sent the cavalry after him and in a couple of dashing hit and run attacks inflicted double points of damage (which he diced for using the above procedure) whilst driving him considerably north of where he is at the moment - and well out of recon range! On the way back - to add insult to injury, I also attacked his cavalry, which was on the hill just north of Carnine and drove them off with additional casualities...
  • Lastly, DG is on a roll, and then came up with the idea of reducing reconnaissance ranges at night.. this was one of those blinding "doh!" moments, and other than some discussion about whether we should also have a third setting for dusk (abandoned at the moment as perhaps a step too far) was adopted immediately. Our recon ranges overnight (21:00 to 04:00) are now as follows:

    Cavalry Light Infantry Line Infantry Artillery
    Night Time 1 2 1 1
    Day Time 9 6 4 4
So - where are we at at the moment?? See following:

...and more to the point - what are my plans for the future?? Increasingly, I am thinking about a breakout to the north, using my overwhelming number in horse to drive off DG's recon troops and deprive him of knowledge of where I am. On the other hand - the name of the game is defeating the British and I'm not going to do that by running away!

So how to "find, fix, track, target, engage" in modern military parlance?

DG outnumbers me, so I need to pick off what units I can, until he doesn't outnumber me. If he hasn't snuck off in the night - I think I'll start with the cavalry north of Carnine.. first step - "find" - more anon..

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Oasis at Sidi Rezeg

Last weekend DG was down for the Warfare show (see last post) so we took the opportunity to get a game on Friday evening, and for this outing, on the back of successive black powder battles set in the War of Independence and War of the Spanish Succession decided it was time to head back to the sands of Libya - this time carried on metal linked tracks rather than shanks's pony or the four footed beasts of the Camel Corps.. yes, it was time to re-visit WWII and "Blitzkrieg Commander".

I decided that given the last few games of Blitzkrieg Commander had been relatively small, this one would be considerably bigger, so I factored in about a 1000 points a side*. I also take the opportunity to slip in an aspect of the game that we hadn't tried until then, namely off board artillery.

* I'm not bothered about points based scenario's in the slightest, but when the game involves as many different armoured and infantry based elements as WWII games (can) do it's sometimes difficult to put together a balanced game. Blitzkrieg Commander has an interactive tool called "Battlegroups" on their website (click here)that allows you to put together balanced forces quickly. The tool also allows you to pick the theatre of operations, and the fate down to the month so that the two sides are historically accurate. The thing I like most about it however, is that it not only limits you historically to what equipment you can have (so no Tigers in 1941..) but when equipment is made available, it limits the amount of it you can have based on the same time frame (so no hordes of Tigers early in their deployment...) - it's a cracking little program which I've used lots!


Two heavy battle groups deployed on the flanks of their main armies had both been given orders to reconnoitre and hold the oasis at Sidi Rizeg, a small village deep in the desert. The oasis is the only source of water within a 100 square miles, and ownership of the oasis will give a significant logistical advantage to the side that holds it..


We diced for sides - highest chose.. DG won and took the British (he was as keen as I was to see how the artillery panned out..!)

British - DG:

C-in-C - Allied Command Base.
1Transport Unit (Trucks) - ATG
1st Infantry Company
3Infantry Unit
1Support Unit(MG)
1Support Unit(Mortar)
1Support Unit(ATG,2pdr)
1Transport Unit(Trucks/Half-Tracks)-for the ATG
3Infantry Unit
1Support Unit(MG)
1Support Unit(Mortar)
1Support Unit(ATG, 2pdr Chevy Portee)
Cruiser Tank Company -integral HQ
4Cruiser Tanks(Crusader2pdr)
Cruiser Tank Company - Integral HQ
3L Cruiser Tanks (A13)

German - myself:

C-in-C - Axis Command Base.
1st Infantry Company
3 Infantry Unit
1 Support Unit (MG)
1 Support Unit (Mortar)
1 Support Unit (ATG, 50mm)
1 Transport Unit (Trucks/Half-Tracks) - for the ATG
2nd Infantry Company
3 Infantry Unit
1 Support Unit (MG)
1 Support Unit (Mortar)
1 Support Unit (ATG, 50mm)
1 Transport Unit (Trucks/Half-Tracks) - for the ATG
Light Panzer Company - integral HQ
3 Light Panzer Unit (Pz-II)
Light Panzer Company - integral HQ
3 Light Panzer Unit (Pz-III short barrelled 50mm)
Italian Armoured Contingent - integral HQ
4 M13/40

The Table:

Having diced for sides we then diced for table edge I won and chose the right hand side of the table in the following pictures..

The oasis is in the centre of the table marked by the rocky out crop. On either side of this are the houses that make up the village.

All the hills are categorised as soft sand/hard going...

I'd arranged it so that both sides had a disadvantage in terrain on the shortest route to the oasis - DG on the left had a series of hills to thread through, I had some broken ground.

The Game:

Last of all we diced for who moved first - this turned out to be DG, so although I had the advantage of being able to deploy so as to face his forces as they entered the table, DG had the opportunity to move his forces on to the table far enough forward that he would be able to dominate my entrance to the table..

In terms of the table above, DG chose to use his right (ie. towards bottom of the picture) and centre flanks - with the A13's on his right, the infantry in the centre, and his Crusaders on the centre left. When I eventually managed to get on the table my plan was to face his A13's with my Pz. III's and one of the infantry company's, my other infantry in the centre, but I would try an outflanking manoeuvre with the Pz. II's and my Italian contingent.

True to form DG was most aggressive with the tanks, pushing them well forward, and fast... I was saved here by a couple of poor command throws which bought his tanks to a halt after a couple of moves. His infantry came on in two columns either side of the small hills between him and the village but made slow progress. Either way by the time he finished that first move the Crusaders were almost in the village..and his A13's were just past the half way across the board...

It was now time to bring my stuff on to the table, and it started to go rapidly downhill from this point...

In a hideous repeat of the last game it looked again like my dice mojo had departed and left for foreign shores never to return!

I bought my Pz. III's and one of the infantry company's on, and managed to get my infantry in to the rough ground before failing abysmally on the command roll with the ATG nowhere near ready to deploy. The Pz. III's opened fire on the A13's after they had entered but I only got one round of firing off before we failed another command roll (and this was with the benefits you get in Blitzkrieg Commander for German HQ units!) This was enough to brew one of the A13's...

In the centre, unlike DG, I had chosen to put one of my infantry company's in command of the C-in-C, he ordered them forward and I managed to get all my units on to the table, with the ATG deployed just to the left of the broken ground that has "Pz. II" written over it in the map above.. so far so good.

The Pz. II's also made good progress and started to open fire on the Crusaders (looking for flank shots and not getting them) but again failed command throws 'early'. The Italians made it on to the table and that was about it!

On the next turn DG "unleashed hell" with his A13's and brewed all the Pz. III's (gulp)
On the other flank the Crusaders had similar but not quite so much success - I had the advantage of numbers.. he still managed to destroy one of my Pz. II's.

Half way point then - and time for a much needed cup of tea... in terms of breakpoints DG was in the lead with five of mine to one of his and everything looked black and bleak for the Axis.

...and it was at this point my dice mojo decided to return from holiday refreshed and invigorated....!

For ease of reading it's probably easiest if I take each flank in turn from the point, so starting off with the my left flank, it was now my turn to unleash hell - and I threw everything at DG except the kitchen sink. I started concentrating my anti-tank fire on the A13's, one at a time, and in the first move after tea managed to destroy the second one - DG pulled back the remaining one to keep it safe but didn't quite manage to get it far enough back before he failed his command throw. Meanwhile with the Pz. III's destroyed I had spare HQ capacity so split the infantry company in two which allowed me to fire that half of the company separately. I used the extra firepower to start lobbing mortar shells at long range into DG's infantry, and in the same move also bought up my MG.

In the next turn DG failed to move the A13 (command blunder) and I managed to brew it - score 5 breaks to the Axis, three to the Allies. Then I turned my mortars and MG's on his infantry which were deploying into the village and destroyed a couple of them - and by that point it was all over on this flank as I started to move half my infantry company forward towards the village.

In the centre it turned into an infantry fight as you would expect - DG managed to get his infantry into the rough ground around the oasis, but as he deployed on the edge of the oasis I opened fire with my infantry and assets and successfully destroyed, or suppressed his units..

On the right the long attritional battle between the Crusaders and the Pz. II's and M13/40's, carried on. The exchange of fire was long and DG & I were similarly successful, him brewing an M13/40 while I managed to get one Crusader with the additional help of my infantry's anti-tank gun.

At which point DG finally managed to get his artillery spotter on to the table and successfully called in a 'stonk'...

Well - I for one was impressed, and I think DG was as well secretly. Part of the problem for DG was visibility - his spotter had no clear view of any soft targets, just the Pz. II's and M13/40's massed on my flank. The 25pdr is a howitzer as opposed to anti-tank weapon so any damage would be limited, but there was always the possibility of triggering a collapse of morale (called "fallback" in Blitzkrieg Commander). So the barrage was launched.. impact point was called, direction dice thrown, minimal deviation and then out came a quite unfeasibly large blast template (30cm square!). Every single one of those tanks was under it, but after DG had finished throwing dice, and I had finished throwing saves, the sole casualty was the truck that towed the anti-tank gun!

...and I think it safe to say that was about it - the remaining breakpoints went to me by way of another of the Crusaders, and then I started putting damage on the second infantry company, which resulted in the final breakpoints going to me.

See following for end of game situation:

Post Match Analysis:

  • Great fun as a game - even the beginning bit for me and the end bit for DG. I'm not afraid to admit that I waved my chubby little arms in the air at the end, but only because it was the first game I'd won in some time...
  • Blitzkrieg Commander continues to delight as a set of rules - we've enjoyed everyone so far - it has an option for an alternate move system to the one we were using and I think we might try that next time as given the variable length of the moves you can be sitting round for a long time taking damage when the other guy has the initiative. Basically you alternate commands until you've moved all of your commands and then the move starts again...
  • We discussed afterwards and agreed that one of the problems DG had was getting his infantry and support weapons into action quick enough - possibly as a result of those hills and the soft sand DG crept forward in column whereas I swept on in a loose line and deployed my support weapons as soon as I could. First lesson we took away was to remember that for the next game!
  • We think we probably didn't manage the FOO (artillery spotter) correctly, as DG had him in a command of his own - given his low command pips that meant it was difficult to get him going. We need to read the rules but our idea was to attach him to a command with higher pip's so that we could move him around quicker, but we would still have to use only use his own command pip's to call in stonks..
  • Refreshments this evening were suitably oriental being a bottle of "Old Speckled Hen" a fine IPA style ale that DG is partial too (and I never turn down an ale!) accompanied by some spicy nibbles (Jalfrezi mix). We then moved on to the PG Tips (decaffeinated naturally) and the emperor of dunking biscuits, the digestive (Tesco's own brand - they taste nicer in my view than McVities)

Warfare.. 2008

Just back from a truly splendid day at the Warfare show in Reading (ie. the show was splendid rather than the actual day, the weather for which was rubbish - cold winds and sleety rain!)

Warfare is a small'ish show when compared to Salute & Colours, but they still had approximately 70 traders there this weekend, a lot of happy people spending money (what credit crisis?!), some demo and participation games, but the raison d'etre for the show are the competitions (which I'm not really interested in though I notice that they still have a WRG 6t Edition competition - any list - and in 25mm! Now that's old school...)

From a purchases point of view the show was also a significant personal success - I managed to find everything on my list!

First off were the 'makings' for two regiments of foot for the War of the Spanish Succession from that new range of figures by Black Hat - I'd pre-ordered these so the first stop was to go and pick them up. A quick look through the box last night confirmed me in my view that these are going to make cracking little regiments, can't wait to get the paintbrushes out!

While I was there I also picked up some bottles of the new Coat d'Arms Super Shader which were mentioned on the Miniatures Page the other week. Super Shader is an acrylic version of the new army painter dip system. They are supposed to produce highlighting and shading when painted over a simply block painted figures and certainly the examples I've seen look good - I'm looking forward to trying it. Best thing is that being acrylic you can clean your brushes with water. I'm happy with blacks and brown's I've already got, so for a change I bought red/green/blue and yellow....

Next stop was Peter Pig to get some British Cavalry for the Sudan - these are to complete the unit that I showed pictures of a couple of posts ago. I picked up two bags of these as I already have enough dismounted cavalry and horse holders to make an additional troop, and this will give me enough mounted figures to finish the first unit, and provide mounted figures for the second unit...

Last stop was the Caliver stand to pick up some Vallejo "Wookstain" ink (yes it is called that on the label!), and I was done... a very successful day, with some money left over for incidentals and bargains. Being the second day of the show of course there weren't very many bargains to be had - the bring and buy had been well picked over, but I got a few more little 6mm dice for Blitzkrieg Commander (handy for tracking casualties) from EM4. I also pondered long and hard about a 15mm coach from Essex, suitable for my 15mm WSS Generals to receive their captured opponents in, but decided to wait in the end as I don't have enough victories to warrant the expense....

With that it was time to go and browse the games... Given this is primarily a competition event there weren't too many of these, but there were three "stand-out's":

In third place (and only because I'd seen it before) the guys from the GLC Games Club had brought along their "Battle of the Clouds" hypothetical American War of Independence game that I last saw at Salute in April - see the following as a reminder (click on any of the pictures following for a bigger view):

In second place was a game that I wouldn't normally have picked but it just looked really good.. it didn't have a name, but was a WWI game in 10mm using "Day of Battle", WW1 Corps Level, rules:

The aircraft made it for me.. lovely!

In first place however was a 28mm game put on by a group called the "Escape Committee". This was set in the Russo-Japanese War (1939), and represented a heavy skirmish somewhere on the border - lovely models and a clever use of the teddy bear fur...

I thought the little resin dice holders which you can see in the following were excellent - must get some!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Great and Glorious Days...

By way of a quick update to the Blog while I finish writing up an account of the most recent game that DG and I have just completed (a Blitzkrieg Commander game set in North Africa) herewith a quick review of the latest book I've just finished..

I have to say that I own quite a number of James Falkner's Marlburian books, not by accident but because I find him immensely readable. He has the happy knack of making the pages turn almost by himself! There are few military historians in this category, but he, Richard Holmes & David Chandler are in that select bunch as far as I am concerned..

Chandler and Falkner have a bit of a Marlburian niche, and of these two Falkner is probably slightly more "lightweight" than Chandler, but he is eminently readable for all that... (Holmes's "niche" is the British Army as a whole, I think - specifically from the foot sloggers view)

So what do you get in this book?

As a beginner to the period, then an enormous amount - this takes his earlier Battleground series books (on Blenheim and Ramillies) and adds meat to the bones of those.. with the addition of similar treatments for the battles of the Schellenberg, Malplaquet and Oudenarde, he has room not available to him in the Battleground books to put in a little more background information on the tactics, the strategy and the personal relationships between Marlborough and his contempories...

If you've had an interest for a while, read a few of his other books, even read a few other historians, then not so much. I guess I put myself in this category (though I'm not an expert), but I still picked up some interesting snippets.. for example, I wasn't aware that the French had formally adopted the platoon firing principle by 1708, but were using it in an informal way before then - it looks like I may need to revisit my wargame rules for the period to add a note that the positive modifiers I currently give the Allies may not be applicable after a certain period..

He also mentions the fact that at Malplaquet, the bloodiest of Marlborough's victories, a few of the eye witnesses he quotes had noted that the allied musket ball was heavier, so flew straighter, and hit harder.. also worth following up.

Finally, I don't know who does them for him - but the maps in Falkners books are lovely...

So - what's my view?? Steve the Wargamer rates this 9 out of 10 as an introduction to the period, and 7.5 out of 10 if you already have a reasonable knowledge of the period.. when I think back to the book that first got me seriously interested in the period, Spencer's book "Blenheim - Battle for Europe", then this is a much better book for doing the job... (by the by - also very cheap as it's been available for a while now)

I look forward to reading more of James Falkner's books...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Hirzel's Regiment

The paint brushes have been fairly flying this month, and another regiment now joins the ranks of my forces of the War of the Spanish Succession.. this time, so as to balance forces after the Champagne Regiment, it's another Dutch regiment - this time, Hirzel's.

Hirzel’s are more accurately known as Infantry Regiment 693a (click here) in the Dutch army – but like most armies at the time the regiments carried the name of their current Colonel.

The regiment was established in 1693, and like my previous post on Sturler’s (click here) comprised Swiss troops hired by the Dutch as a result of a special agreement/contract. The regiment recruited from the Zurich canton of Switzerland, and partly from Oost-Zwitserland (east Switzerland?).

The first company commander of the regiment was a gentleman called Hans Heinrich Lochmann (which explains why the regiment is referenced as "Lochmann's" in Charles Grant’s book) and the first soldiers appear to have been recruited from troops returning from France. It appears to me it must have been “messy” on the battlefields of the Spanish Succession, as the Swiss fought for both sides, and it must have been sad indeed to have had to fight against someone who may well have been a neighbour…

In 1701, one company was transferred to a newly established Swiss regiment known as Albermarle’s (Infantry Regiment 701d) but Hirzel’s lived on (under various colonels) until 1714 when it was permanently divided between the other Swiss Dutch regiments (mostly Albermarle’s).

The regiments namesake colonel was a man named Johan Caspar Hirzel. From what I can tell Johan was obviously a man of some importance – he was even mayor of Zurich for a short period (February to September 1669). His army career seems to have started as lieutenant colonel of Infantry Regiment 697B (another Swiss regiment in Dutch service known as Sacconay’s) which he was promoted to on the 1st July 1694. He also had an (older?) brother, Salomon, who also started his career in this regiment.Either way, it would appear Johan had an interesting time, as the regiment was transferred to the Republic of Savoy’s army in 1697 (Savoy being a Dutch ally).

Johan became colonel, and took over the regiment from Lochmann, on the 22nd February 1704. He retained the colonelcy until his death at the siege of Lille on the 23rd October 1708.

At the assault on the Schellenberg the regiment served in the first line under Lt General Goor (you may remember him from one of my previous posts - he was killed leading the assault) in Beinheim's Brigade of Dutch, Swiss/Dutch & Ansbach troops comprising the Heidebrecht Infantry Regiment, Stürler’s, Rechteren’s, Goor’s & Beinheim’s.

At Blenheim the regiment fielded 561 men and fought in the Centre division (commanded by Marlborough’s brother Charles Churchill). They were again in the first line (comprising infantry) in Lieutenant General Horn’s Division, brigaded with the same regiments that they had fought with at the Schellenberg (with the exception of the Beinheim’s). The brigade was commanded by Major General the Prince of Holstein-Beck, and was almost 3000 men strong – and that’s a big brigade!

Figures are 15mm Minifigs with the exception of the gentlemen representing Hirzel, and the standard bearer, who are from the little sample of figures that Mike at Black Hat (click here) sent me – they are from a new range, and they just have the biggest personality… very nice, I have ordered enough infantry for two regiments to pick up at the Warfare show in Reading this weekend.

The flag was from one of the gents on the "Warflag" Yahoo group (click here); this is the Yahoo group that supports the excellent Warflag site which is where I get most of my flags - many thanks Yves..!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Painting Totals software...

Just a short update on the software that I use to track my painting points as a couple of you mentioned them..

The application is called "Points Motivator" and is freeware available from here (click here). The actual download button is on the left at the top...

Once you've downloaded it there is a full suite of manuals and help pages - when I first set mine up though I had the use of an excellent little tutorial on Mike Cannon's webpages - it's no longer there, I'll drop him an email to see if he can make it available again, but in the meantime I've stripped down the files to the minimum and ZIP'd my installation here: (click here to download)

Once you download it to your machine, unzip the folders and then copy them anywhere you want to. Once you've done that go into the main folder and if you double click the pointsmotivator.exe it should start, with my initial set up. Just click "Dismiss" on the little window that comes up after you start the program...

If you think my points values are too high, or too low, then you can modify my settings by
  • clicking on the "item Definitions" option on the command line,
  • select "launch item definition editor" and when the editor opens,
  • click "File" and
  • "Open Item Definition File"
Just select the item you want to change and it opens on the right where you can them modify as you wish..

The definitions I use are stored in a file called "Painting Totals.itemxml" in the "UserItemDefs" folder... it's probably just as easy to open that file with Notepad or somesuch and modify them direct but I've not tested that...

If you want to add a new temporary classification - say for a one off painting project that you're not likely to do again, then click the "Quick Add New Definition" option and it's fairly straight forward.

If you want to add a new permanent classification (say you decided to add a category for painting 6mm's as you'd had a brainwave and bought two of the excellent Baccuss Army packs!) then you go the "item definitions" route previously mentioned but use the "add new item" button at the bottom of the editor.. for a clue as to what to put in the definition boxes, just have a look and see what I put in one of the other items.

Hope that helps - normal service resumed with the next post...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Champagne Regiment...

Have just finished another regiment...please click on any of the pictures for a bigger view.This regiment was among the most senior regiments in the French army, and was a member of that group of that group of regiments known as the “Vieux Corps”. Regiment Champagne could trace their regimental ancestry back to 1569 and the reign of Henry II (along with the Picardie & Piémont regiments). Altogether though there were six regiments considered “vieux”, these three, plus Navarre, de la Marine, Normandie.

The regiment was originally created from four company’s of the Royal Guard (Gardes du Roi) and as expected had a fairly eventful War of the Spanish Succession. The Champagne regiment was first mentioned in the battle of Dormans in 1575 and later on in 1580 at the siege of La Fere under Henri II. In 1595 the Champagne regiment was present at the siege of the castle of Beaune and the siege of Dijon.

In March-April 1691 the Champagne regiment participated in the siege of Mons with four battalions. In 1692 the Champagne regiment was on the extreme right near Namur. During the war of the Spanish Succession the regiment was first commanded by “the famous Blainville” (but he died in 1702)

At Blenheim they served in Bligny’s Brigade (Marquis de Bligny) where they comprised three battalions with one battalion of the Saintonge regiment. Bliny’s were in the division of Marechal de Camp Dorrington, in Lieutenant General the Marquis de Blainville’s Corps.

For the battle they were positioned in the village of Oberglau where they played a key part in in the repulse of the Prince of Holstein-Beck’s assault.

At Blenheim they were commanded by a gentleman called the Marquis de Seignelay (1683 - 1712) who had taken command of the regiment in 1702 (at the age of nineteen!) There isn’t much information on the man himself, but in the following picture the little boy on the left in armour is believed to be him.

The picture is titled the “The Marquise de Seignelay and Two of her Sons” and was painted by Pierre Mignard in 1691. The lady is Catherine-Thérèse de Matignon Thorigny, his mother. She had married his father Jean-Baptiste-Antoine (the Marquis de Seignelay) in 1679, but this was painted the year after he’d died.

His father (that's him to the left) was the eldest son of the "great Colbert" and immensely wealthy; in addition he was also the second generation of Colbert in charge of the French navy – reading Wikipedia and other sources, the family had immense power & “interest” in the court of Louis XiV and this (together with the money) may explain how Colbert junior found himself in command of a vieux corps regiment at such a young age.

In 1712 the regiment was taken over by the chevalier de Tessé which coincides with the death date of Seignelay – I’ve not managed to find out any information at all on his death but one is forced to the conclusion that he may have died in service. After much searching I found that the the regiment was present at the Battle of Denain and my guess would be that he may have died during that battle?

It’s also worth noting that another member of the Seignelay family took command of the regiment in 1762…

Figures are Minifigs 15mm, with the exception of the commanding officer who is one of the new range of figures from Black Hat - he's a little too old to represent Seignelay, but hey, the regiment is also wearing a temporary consignment of red stockings while their more likely grey or white ones are at the laundry!

Other sources:
Histoire de l'ancienne infanterie française

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sudan British Cavalry - part 1..

Apologies for the lack of posts recently - I can only offer the excuse that work and family have made life a bit busy lately... but it doesn't mean some stuff hasn't been going on in the background!

Without further ado then, please welcome the first bases in what will be a troop of British cavalry destined for the Sudan..

What you see here represents two thirds of the bases I need to represent a troop - specifically, the horse holders (that mark the point where the unit switches between mounted and dismounted) and the troop in dismounted mode forming a firing line..

I lifted my organisational elements direct from the old Peter Gilder rules that he described all those years ago in "Wargamers World" so in this instance the three bases represent about 60 men. Two or three troops would then represent a squadron depending on how strong the squadron actually was.

This troop is painted wearing grey frock coats and bedford cord trousers with puttee's - according to my sources (the excellent Perry site - click here) they would stand in quite nicely as the 19th Hussars but I'm increasingly happy with the idea of having imaginary unit names so I may add them to the roster as a fictitious unit along the lines of the North Middlesex Regiment who featured in the recent "Tarka" scenario

The figures are from the incomparable Peter Pig 15mm Sudan range.

Monday, November 03, 2008


..where did that week go?!

It's been half term school holidays in Steve-the-Wargamer's house so last week was pretty busy all round keeping the little heirs occupied... a trip to a local fun park to ride the roller coasters, and a trip to the zoo to see the animals (we like animals!) resulted in a significant lightening of the wallet, aches and pains (I'm too old for roller coasters!) and not a lot of constructive output on the wargaming front... but hey, there is more to life, and I did enjoy the time off...

Painting totals:

A good month (for me!) - feel free to click on any of the pictures/tables for a bigger view:, 77 points...!

Blog Totals:

I eventually spotted my error last month - no wonder I'd had such a load of visitors - I counted two months worth as one..!

The best news for me is the increase in hits on the Teaser page... the recent mention on the OSW group obviously had a positive effect (thanks Jeff!) but more importantly it's good to see that other people have the same view of the value of Charles Grant's work as I do...

Other stuff..

I've just finished reading the second in the (unofficial) series of books on the British Army by Richard Holmes (click here). "Sahib" is placed (in time order) just after "Redcoat" and just before "Tommy"... not surprisingly (the the title gives it away) this book is about the British army's presence in India from the Seven Years war to just before WWI.

I picked the book up ages and ages ago but had never got round to reading it as it is an absolute monster of a book (almost 600 pages) but was enthused to read it as a result of Bill Protz's photo montage on the adventures of Colonel Pettygree (click here) which is set on the Indian frontier...

I'm glad I did pick it up though, what a good read it turned out to be...!

India was seen by many as the training ground of the British Army due to the sheer number of expeditions, wars, incidents, skirmishes, relief columns etc etc that seemed to be going on almost permanently. The book covers off every aspect of what the British Army experience in India was like what it was like to serve there, how the troops got there, wives, families, the effect of the Mutiny, the relationship between the army and the East India Company both of whom fielded armed forces during the period, sieges, campaigns, cavalry, artillery, and so on and so forth...

An absolutely brilliant read - recommended to anyone with an interest in military history... Steve-the-Wargamer gives this a very good four out of five..

I've also just finished (this morning!) "The Wargame Companion" by Charles S. Grant, which has just been released..

I think this is probably bound for the "classic" wargame book lists as it is an absolute mine of information on the background to wargaming in the Grant household.. he starts off with the wargaming pre-cursor to "The Wargame" which was Amercian Civil War gaming, with some background & some game reports. The best bits are the previously unpublished thoughts of his father on rules design, and his overall approach to the game...

He then launches into the second larger part which is the background on the "The Wargame" - he describes the armies (Lorraine, the Vereingite Frei Stadte or VFS, and Peter Young's country whose name escapes me as it was very long and Germanic!!), the regimental histories, and also a number of the battles and campaign details. He describes in more detail a number of rules where confusion has existed in the past, but also gives additional rules that were never documented at the time for space reasons (sieges, fortress artillery, naval engagements etc.)... my favourite part of this section were the stories about the shenanigans Peter Young got up to (nocturnal visits to the wargame table, and introducing a young Charles Grant to King Edwards and whiskey!)

The last part, deals with "gubbins" or the minutiae of their gaming - terrain, houses, boats, how to write "Teasers", and best of all an entire Teaser to play at your convenience... with the latter there is definitely the germ of a scenario idea for me...!

Unashamedly recommended; Steve-the-Wargamer gives this a (queue fanfare) five out of five..

I have the day off tomorrow - work is due to start on the Sudan British cavalry, and for reading material I just picked up a copy of "Biggles in France" from the library... can't remember the last time I read Biggles!