Friday, February 26, 2010

Raid on St. Michel - Game 3 - "The Battle of St Michel" did it remain peaceful??? Of course, it didn't.... read on for an account of the ensuing struggle!

This game is the third in the linked series of five games that make up the "Raid on St Michel" mini-campaign, so casualties and effects from the first two games have been carried over... rules used for the game were Will McNally's Seven Year War rules, modified for the War of the Spanish Succession (details of those changes are on my project blog).

So, once DG and I had worked out casualties and the saving throws from game two ( "Rear Guard" which you read by clicking here), I then added in the additional forces that come into play in this scenario (no extraneous details - you need to pay the purely nominal amount this excellent little booklet costs to get those!)

Having done that we ended up with the following - in this campaign the British fill the role of the Vereinigte Freie Stadte (VFS) and are the "invaders" - you'll note that some of the British units are carrying casualties from the action described in "Rear Guard"... We agreed between us before the game that DG could combine units if he wished, so he decided to move the remainders of Regiment Goor (who were badly mauled in the last game) into the Beinheim Regiment in order to build them up into a meaningful force.. as a reminder full strength units in my games are 5 points (6 for over strength), once you start getting less than 4 then it starts to affect firing, and of course morale, so overall it was a good move.. please click on any of the graphics for a more pleasing, and bigger, view:
The forces of Lorraine were played by the French, who for this campaign are the "invaded"... again - casualties are notable (though in both cases are casualties were slightly less than those suggested for the one of game in the book). As my last action I threw a dice and received a length of timber breastwork as additional defensive strength..
All in all then fairly evenly balanced in terms of points, but the British are right bu**ers when it comes to melee and shooting... I'm an adherent of national characteristics, so in a balanced fight, I would always expect the British to have a slight advantage - but that's based on my reading into the history of the time rather than rampant jingoism...!

Here then we have the starting positions for the game... the French forces are nearest us, table was 8' x 4'. Deployment area's were as per the book....

In the distance DG had organised his troops into two brigades of infantry, with the cavalry split between the two.

On his left, so further away from us in the picture, is the British brigade comprising all the regiments of British foot except Derring's, with two regiments of British cavalry in support. On his right was an Allied brigade comprising Dutch (2) Swiss (1) and British (1) regiments, most of his artillery, and the remaining regiment of British cavalry. In the centre, however, was not very much at all - one gun, a regiment of cuirassiers, and the wagons to (hopefully) take away the loot...

The British Brigade in all it's glory... Ingoldsby's and Howe's in the front, Meredith's and the Guards in the second rank..

I had the advantage of hidden deployment, as there were at least two hilly area's to shield my preparations from prying eyes... I'll be the first to admit that I had made my preparations primarily to protect St. Michel itself so all my artillery was either on the hill (left and right front edges), or guarding the entrance to the town (behind that timber breastwork). Of my foot, other than one regiment (Bourbonnais) on the hill top, along with one regiment (Agenois) protecting my left flank (you can just see them behind the barn in the next picture) there was just one regiment on the smaller hill to my right (Toulouse - just out of picture) the rest were hidden - five regiments of surprises was my ardent hope...

The cavalry were split equally between the two flanks as I figured those could be usable to protect both due to their manoeuvrability, again though, three of these were hidden - two squadrons of cuirassiers in St. Michel, another squadron of French horse hidden in the gullet behind the small hill to my right.. His deployment of the large British brigade opposite my right flank came as a bit of a surprise then!

So how did the game turn out - well it was a bit of a game of two halves as our soccer pundits are want to say... with a little bit of artillery naughtiness at the beginning.

The artillery naughtiness was over fairly quickly to be honest, with both my guns on the hill silenced after some typically accurate firing from DG! I have to admit to being a little downhearted at this point, as I'd just lost most pf my ability to hit at distance.. ah well, I ordered the Bourbonnais to lie down behind the wall, so that they got complete cover from the artillery (but couldn't fire back), and waited for events too unfold....

Right Flank - First Half

The first part of the game then started out with a strong advance by DG on his left flank with the British Brigade and accompanying cavalry.

Sensing things were going to get out of hand, and with only two regiments of foot to DG's four, I decided to pull them back towards St. Michel. I sent out my two French cavalry squadrons to cover the retreat - in the picture above the first of them has trotted out to face the British squadrons...

Cover the retreat?? How wrong could a man be.....!

So the first regiment (de Montreval) faces up to the British squadron and charges, while the second squadron lines up behind - and whammo... the first British squadron is sent reeling! The French squadron then halts, gives fire, causes the second British squadron to halt shaken, and in the subsequent morale check they rout and flee... two down and none to go!

Leaving the other squadron to pin the British infantry, I sent de Montreval round to the rear - a target rich environment if ever there was one - while in the meanwhile the two infantry regiments I'd sent to St. Michel were wheeled to face the other British regiments of foot. From a position of strength the situation had changed completely, and following some exchanges of volleys, further British retirements led to a collapse on this flank.

Left Flank - Second Half
On the left flank, after an initial advance, DG had been happy happy to halt while he focussed on the British advance.. in the picture following my artillery has been neutralised, he has halted his infantry and is pushing forward with his cavalry to try and hook around the barn, and my flank..
A quick volley from the Agenois regiment in the barn, and an advance from one of the foot regiments I had behind the hill saw off the British cavalry..

DG then unleashed his attack up the hill; lead by Beinheim's and Derring's they came storming up the hill - in the next picture Derring's face up Bourbonnais, Beinheim are about to enter the farm..

At which point the second astonishing event of the night occurred - not only did Bourbonnais hold, but with the Beinheim regiment having taken the farm house, Nivernaise threw all caution to the wind, attacked, and threw them straight out and down the hill..!

...and that was largely it for the Allies - de Montreval had routed the wagons, and got the central British artillery on the run, I'd unleashed my cuirassiers against the shaken British Brigade, and DG decided enough was enough and departed the field...

Post Match Analysis:
  • DG's plan was good, I'll be the first to admit that in this game the dice turned my way (for a change!) but everything hinged on the dramatic first successful charge of the French de Montreval cavalry - the rest was like a domino effect...

  • Next step is to roll some safety throws to see how many troops return to the colours - I'll do this is in the next few days
  • No glaring inconsistencies in the rules this game - we've been playing them long enough now that they play pretty much as we want them to... I will add an update to the rules to allow men to lie down for improved cover (I'd read somewhere in the week before of an account of Marlborough letting his men do this at Blenheim to spare them the worst of the enemy artillery barrage)
  • Tea on this occasion was PG Tips decaffeinated, of which two or three breaks were taken to consume, whilst friendly banter was exchanged, the loft ladder rebuilt (don't ask - at one point I thought we'd be stranded!), and Border Strawberry & Cream Shortbread eaten (very nice!!).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

George Nafziger collection...

I'm slightly perplexed as to why more people haven't mentioned this, but there was an announcement on the The Miniatures Page ("other hobby related forums are available"..) the other day, that the George Nafziger collection has been made available for free at the US Army's Command and General Staff College's Combined Arms Research Library website!

Now I know Rafa mentioned it on his blog [click here] but I've not really seen it mentioned anywhere else... I'm amazed.... this must be one of the worlds best known sources for orders of battle, and it's now available for free....!

The announcement can be found here:

The actual orders of battle can be found here:

...and to help you identify which one you want there is an index here:

...or try this one:

Someone has counted them and there are approximately 7000 documents there dating from the 1600's to the end of WWII.... astonishing...

As the website says

"The Nafziger Collection contains a compilation of orders of battle from 1600 to 1945 with over 7000 individual pdf files. It began with the author's interest in Napoleonic Wars, and steadily grew to other areas because of the gaming public's interest in these highly detailed historical orders of battle. Sources range from published works to actual archival documents, which represent the largest single source. Nearly all orders of battle break down to the regimental level. The availability of strength figures and artillery equipment varies from period to period.

This collection was provided through the generous donation of George Nafziger to the Combined Arms Research Library."

As one of my fellow gamers said on the The Miniatures Page, Nafziger deserves a sainthood! Now go and fill yer boots...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A warm and sunny morning in St. Michel...

...but can it last??

The sun rises over a quiet and peaceful scene... in the foreground the water ripples quietly over water smoothed stones...

..but dark clouds are gathering...

Rumours of war have been circulating for a week, stories of bloody battles and skirmishes on the frontier, and just yesterday evening tired and bedraggled couriers, riding sweat stained and hard-ridden horses were seen arriving at the town hall....

...and now the local garrison has mobilised..

...and seem to be paying particular attention to the treasury....

Quelle domage!! (As they say in all the best French language books).. it looks like the peace has come to an end....


I make no apology for totally copying the style of the esteemed Msr. Chevert (a.k.a Bill Protz) and his brilliant story board type games which can be found at the "Campaigns of General William Augustus Pettygree" blog.. when describing the start of this game - I suspect I won't be able to keep it up!

Stay tuned - however - as after something of a hiatus (both on this blog, and the campaign), DG and I got together on Monday evening to fight the third in the linked series of games that make up the "Raid on St. Michel", the mini campaign written by Charles Grant and Phil Olley.

As a taster for this, it was an absolute blinder with battle honours won by two regiments!


Apologies for the lack of posts in the last few weeks - although it's only February I think it safe to say that there may be a sniff of spring in the air (although that may be wishful thinking) as boating matters have begun to bite - delightfully - into my available time....

The mast went away this winter to have all the standing rigging replaced - this is a 10 yearly task, and by some strange case of serendipity, just after I'd arranged for this to be done, I found some old paperwork in the little pile that came with the boat that shows it was actually last done 10 years ago...

It's now back so the last two weeks have been involved with rounding up the innocent for a little mast lifting exercise - which was successfully completed last weekend. It looks like the rigging needs to stretch a little (being new, and made of twisted wire it does) as it was a tight fit - but the boat looks "complete" again...

Tick that one off from the 10 year plan then - that was the "big" project for this winter - next winter there'll be something else to do...

There's also been sailing club membership to renew, a new mooring to check (it was renewed by the club this winter), voluntary duties to perform (I was making cheese and onion toasties and Ploughman's lunches for a couple of hours last weekend, and I'm breaking up the old gentlemen's conveniences this weekend in readiness for new one's being built!) and boat insurance to source...

All of which is guaranteed to make you start thinking about getting back on the water, the current target for which is the first week of April - just 7 weeks away!

...and that's enough for now...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Black Sabbath...

Now I bet that picture takes (some of) you back... can you believe it's just had it's 40th Anniversary though??!!

This was their first album, "Black Sabbath" (by Black Sabbath) was released on the 13th February 1970... whatever did they start!

I can't tell you how many times I must have listened to this album while doing various bits of homework, "O" level revision, "A" level revision and the rest... even now I still have "The Wizard" and "N.I.B" on my MP3 player....

Happy memories, and happy birthday...

Here's my favourite - even now the lyrics make me laugh...

Misty morning, clouds in the sky
Without warning, the wizard walks by
Casting his shadow, weaving his spell
Funny clothes, tinkling bell

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Battery L 1st Ohio Light Artillery..

Just to let you know I haven't been completely idle in this fairly long interval between posts, can I now introduce you to the first Union artillery element, namely Battery L, 1st Ohio Light Artillery.. the poster by the way, is an authentic, actual, recruiting poster for the battery! Click on it, or any of the other pictures in the post, for a much larger view...

Like the other American Civil war units I've so far painted and researched, there is a pleasing quantity of information available for this unit, including a unit of re-enactors solely representing this battery!

The regiment came into being in 1860 under the Ohio Militia laws, and was commanded by Colonel James Barnett. It consisted of twelve batteries in total, and after doing their initial service in West Virginia the regiment was enlisted for three years service on September 3, 1861.

Each Battery in the regiment went on to have a separate history, as the regiment was split up amongst the various Union armies.

Batteries A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and M were with the Army of the Cumberland under Buell, where they served at Shiloh, and took part in the battles of Stone River, Perryville, Chickamauga and Mission Ridge. They also served during Sherman's Atlanta campaign, and with Thomas in the battles about Franklin and Nashville.

Batteries H and L (of which we have particular and most interest) were with the Army of the Potomac and fought all through the first battles (including Kernstown).

Batteries I and K fought both east and west, as they were transferred with Hooker's Corps to the west in 1863.

Battery L were commanded by a certain 44 year old Captain Lucius N. Robinson until he resigned on November 11th, 1862 (8 months after Kernstown and just two or three weeks before Fredericksburg), on account of physical disability. If you look on the poster you can see he was originally a Lieutenant.

He was superseded by Captain Frank C. Gibbs (a mere 26 - war is young mans occupation!) who commanded the battery until the end of the war. The battery comprised six 12pdr Napoleon's....

The following is excellent and is repeated verbatim - from this site

"From Dyer's Compendium


Organized at Portsmouth, Ohio, and mustered in at Camp Dennison, Ohio, October 8, 1861, to January 20, 1862.
Moved to Patterson's Creek, Va., January 20-27, 1862.
Attached to Landers' Division, Army of the Potomac, to March, 1862.
Artillery, Shields' 2nd Division, Banks' 5th Army Corps and Dept. of the Shenandoah to May, 1862.
Artillery, Shields' Division, Dept. of the Rappahannock, to June, 1862.
Alexandria, Va., Military District of Washington, D.C., to September, 1862.
Artillery, 3rd Division, 5th Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, to October, 1862.
Artillery, 2nd Division, 5th Army Corps, to May, 1863.
Artillery Brigade, 5th Army Corps, to April, 1864.
Camp Barry, Defences of Washington, D.C.. 22nd Army Corps, to May, 1864.
2nd Brigade, Hardin's Division, 22nd Army Corps, to July, 1864.
Artillery, 1st Division, 19th Army Corps, Middle Military Division, to August, 1864.
Reserve Division, Dept. of West Virginia, to September, 1864.
Artillery Brigade, Dept. of West Virginia, to January, 1865. 1st Separate Brigade. 3rd Division, West Virginia, to April, 1865.
Artillery, 2nd Division, Dept. of West Virginia, to July, 1865.


Advance on Winchester, Va., March 7-15, 1862.
Reconnoissance to Strasburg March 19-20.
Battle of Winchester [a.k.a Kernstown] March 23. [At Kernstown they were part of the Artillery Corps under Lt. Colonel Daum, in Brigadier General James Shields First Division of V Corps, Army of the Potomac]
Occupation of Mt. Jackson April 17.
March to Fredericksburg May 12-21, and return to Front Royal May 25-30.
Moved to Alexandria June 29, and duty in the Defences of Washington till September. Movement to Falmouth, Va., October-November.
Battle of Fredericksburg December 12-15.
At Falmouth till April. 1863.
Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6.
Battle of Chancellorsville May 1-5.
Gettysburg (Pa.) Campaign June 11-July 24.
Battle of Gettysburg July 1-3.
Duty on line of the Rappahannock and Rapidan till October.
Bristoe Campaign October 9-22.
Advance to line of the Rappahannock November 7-8.
Rappahannock Station November 7.
Mine Run Campaign November 26-December 2.
Duty at Camp Barry and at Forts Sumner and Kearney, Defences of Washington, till July, 1864.
Repulse of Early's attack on Washington July 11-12.
Expedition to Snicker's Gap July 14-23.
Sheridan's Shenandoah Valley Campaign.
Berryville September 3.
Battle of Opequan, Winchester, September 19.
Fisher's Hill September 22.
Battle of Cedar Creek October 19.
Duty at Winchester till December 28, and at New Creek till June 30, 1865.
Ordered to Columbus, Ohio, June 30.
Mustered out July 4, 1865.

Battery lost during service 1 Officer and 7 Enlisted men killed and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 15 Enlisted men by disease. Total 24."

Very pleased with these guys as the uniforms came up particularly well... hell... I even managed to get the stripe on the side of the trousers!

Figures are Newline Designs, and are 20mm. For this limber I tried the alternative basing method I mentioned in my last post, and rather than have the limber as one long base I split it into three - two pairs of horses, and then the horse and limber.. I think it works well and I may still go back and re-base the Confederate limber at some time.

The artillery is based so as to be able to remove the guns from the base - it was a bit of a close fit with these guys as I also painted up some barrels and a crate to add interest!