Tuesday, June 21, 2011

'Nuff said..

Positively the last post on the subject, but I thought you might appreciate a quick view of the New York regiment parading their new colours (which have only recently recently been found, lovingly folded and preserved in a blanket box belonging to the widow of the last commanding officer of the regiment)...

It's all good fun... Free Happy Smileys

Saturday, June 18, 2011

British & Hessian Regiments - part the first..

By way of a change - some British troops this post - or more specifically Hessian troops - John loved the German troops (I think he was a fan of Frederick) so I had a lot of German troops to sort through...

Rogers Rangers - 1st & 2nd Battalion

A bit of an anachronism to start the British roll... At the end of the French and Indian War, my research indicated that most of the Rogers Rangers soldiers had returned to civilian life, but at the outbreak of the American War of Independence, former Rangers were among the Minutemen firing at the British at Lexington and Concord. After these events, Rogers offered his help to Washington, but Washington refused, fearing that Rogers was a spy. Infuriated by the rejection, Rogers joined the British, where he formed the Queen's Rangers (1776) and later the King's Rangers. These guys are those very early forerunners of the Queens Rangers... and yes I know they aren't wearing the correct uniforms for the Queen's Rangers - they hadn't arrived yet...smiley emoticons Base no's. 1A, 1B, 2A & 2B

Brunswick Jaeger's - 1st, 2nd & 3rd Battalion

Based on plate no. 126 in the Mollo "Uniforms of the American Revolution" book. During the American Revolutionary War, Landgrave Frederick II of Hesse-Kassel and other German leaders hired out about 30,000 of their conscripted subjects as auxiliaries to Great Britain to fight against the Americans. The gentlemen depicted here were subjects of Duke Charles I of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel a blood relation of George III; and the first ruler to sign a contract to send troops to North America. The contract was approved by the duchy’s Landstands (parliament). "The money received was invested for the general good and the interest was still helping to relieve the tax burden on the general populace of the region in 1918!"

The corps of 4,300 men (176 officers, 389 NCO's, 102 Drummers, 3372 soldiers and 261 servants) received their pay direct from the British government – at the higher rate paid to its own troops – and all equipment was purchased in Brunswick in order to support the local economy.

Theoretically there were only a company of these troops, but I had enough to make two and a half battalions, so if needs must they can also fill in as Hesse-Cassell Jaegers when the need arises. Lots of this information from the Perry website - well worth a read.

Base no's. 3 to 7

Brunswick Battalion von Barner - 1st & 2nd Battalion

More Brunswickers. Plate no. 127 in the Mollo book - and along with the Rangers these were some of the the easiest units to identify. This regiment comprised picked men, and was classed as light infantry (though I have them based in close order).

They were commanded by Major Friedrich Albrecht von Barner. This was a newly raised Battalion of Chasseurs (Jaegers) supplemented by light Infantry from other Brunswick Regiments. They arrived in Quebec in Sep 1776 with the 2nd Division and became part of Burgoyne's army. Fought in the battles of Ticonderoga, Hubbardton, Freeman’s Farm, Bemis Heights, and Saratoga. Base no's. 8 to 10

Infantry regiment Erbprinz

The elite of the elite, and therefore guaranteed to get trounced on every table top outing! smiley emoticons.. Based on plate no. 138 in Mollo. Specifically the plate shows the grenadier, but early in my research I missed the fact that the rest of the battalion would have worn the tricorn... ("Composition – one grenadier and five musketeer companies [24 officers and 522 combatants]; this unit is often wrongly described as being all grenadiers." from the Perry site)

In retrospect I should have chosen them to represent Grenadier Regiment von Rall (or at a pinch one of the Fusilier regiments with their slightly smaller mitres); they may still do if I can summon up enough nerve to have a go at the red stripes of the von Rall trousers! Base no. 11 & 12

Regiment Prinz Ludwig - 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions

One of the sadder stories to come out of my reading for the war - identified from plate no 125 in the Mollo. This four squadron regiment of Dragoons arrived in Quebec without their horses, but with all the equipment to make them mounted once horses were sourced... they never were and the regiment served on foot throughout the war.

"The only German auxiliary cavalry regiment to serve in America, the regiment was 336 men strong and was part of the 1st Division, arriving in Quebec in June, 1776. They did not bring their horses with them, hoping to procure them in America. Very few horses were obtained, only enough for small units to act in patrol work, etc. The remainder of the regiment fought in infantry. Their heavy cavalry boots were exchanged for long overalls made from striped ticking material, but much of the remainder of their cavalry dress was retained. They were another of the regiments taken into captivity at the surrender of Saratoga as part of General Burgoyne's Army, although many men were exchanged, escaped from captivity, etc., to re-form the Regiment around the detachment left in Canada." from here

Base no's 13 to 20

New York Loyalist Artillery - Medium

An entirely fictional unit, and one of three artillery pieces on the British side (same for the Americans). I suspect I picked New York because of the brown coats, but I have no idea who these guys were actually painted to represent..

Base no. 21

New York Loyalist Artillery - Light

As per the previous entry, a fictional unit.

The gun by the way is one of the only plastic pieces to survive the first awakenings of the project - I have no idea what kit it came from though I think it might have been Revell - perhaps an ECW or 30 Years War set, as the gun is slightly old fashioned, but ideal in size for a smaller calibre artillery piece..

Base no. 22


..and that's more than enough for now - more later....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New York Regiment

There's been a (fairly) good level of conversation about this particular regiment, and who they are meant to represent....

Ray started off the discussion by suggesting that given the base number on the figures (FSW16 - "French Fusilier (Campaign Dress)") they were probably supposed to represent a unit of the Compagnie Franche de La Marine.

Now I'll admit that at this point in time I had no idea who the Compagnie Franche de la Marine even were - but I know a whole lot more now... smileys.

In summary, they were a body of troops sent to the French overseas territory of 'New France' ("The possessions of France in North America from the 16th century until the Treaty of Paris in 1763...... At its greatest extent it included much of southeast Canada, the Great Lakes region, and the Mississippi Valley. British and French rivalry for control of the territory led to the four conflicts known as the French and Indian Wars (1689-1763)". From the Free Dictionary)

The first three Compagnies Franches de la Marine were sent to America (or rather New France) in 1683. The force was expanded, and by 1757 had 40 companies of 65 men each, scattered across the various settlements in New France. Originally the units were fully recruited from France, but over time they were eventually manned by recruits from New France itself.

"Marine" comes from the fact that although these troops were infantry first and foremost, because they were based overseas they came under the control of the Navy Department - and that made them Marines..

A close look at these figures will show that the coat is not a uniform coat as such - there are no lapels, or turn backs - it represents the fact that the summer campaign dress of these units would have been just the long sleeved waistcoat (normally worn under the coat) along with gaiters or leggings... typically these leggings would have been American Indian style buckskin, but black was known - the picture to the left is a modern day re-enactor, but he's close to what my unit represents - the white gaiters he's wearing would have been unusual...

Most of these units would also have worn a soft cap rather than the tricorn - but it's not beyond the realms of reason to assume some units would have done (and the re-enactor is!)

History advises us that the Compagnies disappeared after the fall of New France (1760 after Wolfe took Quebec).

So what of my little regiment?? The Wiki article makes mention that some compagnies were joined together into battalions to serve alongside regular troops in defence of Montreal and Quebec - what could be more natural then, than one such regiment fleeing south with their families after the defeat at Quebec, seeking to live in America rather than be subject to their victors in their own land?

Who cannot then blame them, if they then take up arms against their old persecutors upon the start of the War of Independence? I suspect a new flag is in order for this little regiment though, to remind them of their illustrious history...smileys

Further reading:

For a re-enactors site (I have a deep, and probably unfair, mis-trust of re-enactors..) this is very good - http://www.preciouscreative.co.uk/galmarpg1.htm

Wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compagnies_Franches_de_la_Marine

Uniform and history: http://www.militaryheritage.com/c_franch.htm

Sunday, June 12, 2011

American Regiments - part the first..

More than time (I thought the other day) that I catalogue the American War of Independence collection in the same way I am the Marlburian armies.

The thing is of course that when I started putting these armies together it was way before I even had a blog (some would argue it was probably even pre-interweb smileys), so I never got round to it, but one of my joys is to do the research behind each regiment that I represent on the table top. There are too many regiments in the AWI collection to go into great depth on each, but in this, the first of an(other) occasional series I hope to provide potted histories of the regiments serving on each side... this is the first episode and features the first of the American regiments.

First off - some general information....
  1. This collection started with the kind gift of a quite astonishing number of painted figures by the late John "Lofty" Corrigan. When I got them they were in a big box, with no identification, so I started out by sorting them into groups, I then went to my trusty copy of Mollo and tried to find the "best fit" for each unit. I know that the scholarship of the Mollo book has been questioned in more recent times, but I love it, and when I had my first American War of Independence collection back in the mid-70's I used it extensively - so when the time came to start up again it was the first book I bought...
  2. When I first started the project I bought a set of rules called "Minuteman" and based all my troops to play that rule set - I had a pretty quick falling out with them, but luckily found a set by Will McNally free on the web that used the same basing, so stuck with it - all these figures are based on 5cm squares - either 6 infantry (line), 3 infantry (lights), 2 cavalry, or one gun - two bases make a battalion/squadron (except artillery)..
  3. They were all Minifigs as they were John's passion...
  4. Click on any of the pictures to "embigen" them...
Green Mountain Boys - 1st & 2nd Battalions

I had enough figures for two battalions of these guys - plate no. 18 in the Mollo book looked close enough... they came from New Hampshire, and were involved in the taking of Fort Ticonderoga and later the invasion of Quebec, and battles at Hubbardton and Bennington in 1777. There seem to have been two battalions, one commanded by Seth Warner and the other by Ira Allen. Mollo at least believed there were enough of them to comprise one battalion of 500, so two battalions is probably a bit on the high side... the flag is almost certainly not correct (see the Wikipedia article for the correct one), but will do until I get round to re-flagging them. I use them as line infantry, better than militia but not classed as Continentals - totally evocative and they clearly caught my eye when I was first organising the regiments as they are base numbers 1, 2, 3 & 4.

Massachusetts Militia - 1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions

Three separate battalions of plain vanilla American Militia of the type most would recognise - plates 4, 5 & 6 in the Mollo book... At the time it was fairly clear that I liked to group figures together - if I were to re-base these guys (which I think I will eventually) I'll mix them about a bit, or perhaps put the guys on the left in the first picture, in the second row behind the firing guys... base numbers 5 & 6, 13 & 14 and 15 & 22.

1st Rifle Regiment

Plate no 40 in Mollo - I treat them as Militia if I use them in my games but in reality they were the 1st regiment formed by Washington in the new Continental Army - apparently created from Hand's Pennsylvania Rifle regiment these guys have rifles as opposed to muskets. Base no's 7 & 8

New York Regiment

Fictional I think - I have no idea who these guys were painted to represent - I think I chose them based on plate 52 which shows an Amercian infantryman in a uniform with dark blue breeches - if any of my readers has an idea, send them in via a comment! smileys According to the base numbers he is from the Minifgs Seven Years War range, and is a "French Fusilier (Campaign Dress)" Base no's 9 & 10.

9th Pennsylvania Regiment

Based on plate no 71 - though Mollo shows them with the light infantry cap as opposed to tricorne, but as Mollo stated there was only one mention of the cap in the regimental returns I thought it would be safe to give them tricorne's. This regiment served all the way through the war until it was disbanded in 1781 on the orders of Washington according to Mollo - but Wikipedia says that "On 22 July 1778 the regiment was re-assigned to the 2d Pennsylvania Brigade. It was consolidated with the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment on 17 January 1781 and re-designated as the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment and concurrently furloughed at Trenton, New Jersey.The regiment would see action during the Battle of Brandywine, Battle of Germantown, Battle of Monmouth and the Battle of Springfield". Base no's 11 & 12.

1st, 2nd and 3rd Battalions Philadelphia Associators

John had painted loads of these guys, which were a total mystery to me as I'd never seen that style of headgear before. I thought they looked closest to the figures depicted in plates 93 & 94, which were from the 1st Battalion "Philadelphia Associators" at Valley Forge. Mollo indicates there were four battalions, who were eventually amalgamated into the 3rd Philadelphia Brigade under Cadwalader in 1777. They eventually consisted of five battalions, earning honours in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown. The hats are not right, but the uniform colours are correct as Mollo indicates they were uniformed in brown with different coloured facings for each regiment. Base numbers 16 & 18, 17 & 19 and 20 & 21.

Maryland State Marines

Another guess - clearly these look nothing like plate no. 150! I'm guessing that when I divided the units these guys were moved to the American side in order to make up numbers. They are clearly marines, or rather sailors, John's tastes were eclectic! Either way, in my American army they form a battalion, and a weak (one base) battalion of state marines - these guys formed sterling service in the recent action in the Plattville Valley. Base no's 23 and 24 & 25.


...and there endeth the first box - stay tuned - another four to go... smileys

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Medusa - Hammond Innes

…I picked this up a few weeks ago from the free lending library in our local village hall (my spuds go their for dance classes on a Wednesday evening)

Hammond Innes is one of those authors who seems to have gone out of fashion, a bit like Alistair Maclean, one of that bunch of authors like Ian Fleming who put out thrillers by the hundred in the 60's and 70's, but went out of favour in light of turgid pot boilers by the likes of Lustbader, Cussler and Patterson... out of favour maybe but they were old fashioned story tellers who wrote page turners... and so it was with this one with an additional benefit...

This was a cracking read - in summary, an elderly, all but retired, Royal Navy frigate is brought back into service and given into the command of a highly strung commander (with a background like his turns out to be you can kind of understand it!), and sent into harms way in the Mediterranean at the height of the Cold War... it's a good read... lots of action, sailing, well drawn villains, mercenaries, Libyan tankers, and a communist inspired revolution on Menorca (or Minorca - take your pick)

I like it because the action is set quite close to Fornels (near the capital Mahon) and a large number of years ago I went on a windsurfing holiday there!

Good wargaming potential too - the island is in the grip of a populist left wing socialist party, it's not that many years since Franco died, Minorca is a long way away from the government centre of power, and then the moderate but strong willed mayor is assassinated - immediate power vacuum, and also wargame possibilities.. smileys

A group of mercenaries is landed on the island to take it over, the complication is the Royal Navy Frigate on the harbour - what would you do if you were the frigate commander??? A Warsaw Pact fleet is cruising nearby, an American carrier group is also in the area, tensions are high, are the Libyans involved? Brilliant fun - chance cards to cover unforeseen events, hidden movement, umpire controlled... and set it in Napoleonic times, with the required change of enemies...

Hexes... grids....

Second of a very occasional series of posts on things that I (personally, ie. me only Free Happy Smileys) finds slightly strange and bizarre in this wonderful hobby of ours.... second off then.... hexes...

When Featherstone, Grant, Bath, Young and Lawford bestrode the world like the wargaming behemoths they were, did any of them discuss the facing opportunities, or other benefits, presented by having a hexagon based wargame table, as opposed to offset grid, or grid based game?

Did any of them wax lyrical about the fact that a hex or grid based system allowed for far more accurate movement measurement, or firing range?

Did Lawford and Young converse late into the night on how "the primary advantage of a hex map over a traditional square grid map is that the distance between the center of each hex cell (or hex) and the center of all six adjacent hexes is constant" (I nicked that from Wikipedia by the way... it's far too clever for me.. Free Happy Smileys)?

Did Featherstone and Bath opine that "by comparison, in a square grid map, the distance from the center of each square cell to the center of the four diagonal adjacent cells it shares a corner with is greater than the distance to the center of the four adjacent cells it shares an edge with" (errr... ditto...)?

No they didn't... and the reason they didn't is that they knew that all of these problems can be overcome by only playing your free form, ruler & measuring stick driven, games with like minded souls who don't "pinch an inch" at every turn (or phase Free Happy Smileys)!

Fellow gamers - break your restraints - consign the hexes to the board games and PC's where they belong - all true gentlemen gamers would only converse long into the night about what sand to use on their sand-tables, and what brand of plasticene is best for terrain effects....

(Errrrrr... all of the above is yours entirely in jest of course.... the game picture is purely illustrative and to my eyes looks a really nice set up* - more details here... http://thediceiscast.blogspot.com/2011/03/commands-colors-ancients.html)

* If we could ignore the hexes... Free Happy Smileys

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Book bargains and stuff...

Lest you think all is quite here in the Steve the Wargamer world, think on... it is NEVER quiet in Steve the Wargamer land as he is the sole male (apart from Harvey the cat), in a household of four females - two of them teenagers... makes for a busy life.... in between trips to the supermarket (they eat a lot), taxi services, and other family activities however, some wargaming related activity has been taking place... more so as the weather in the UK over the last fortnight has been particularly unsuited to sailing thus allowing more time in the Loftwaffe (the scene of some of my greatest triumphs, etc etc Free Happy Smileys)

On the wargaming front:

~ the WWII re-basing project proceeds apace.. there's only so many pictures of units being re-based you can safely expect your readers to look at though... this activity has now been ongoing for a few weeks - but then I was quite surprised at how many bases I had to actually re-base. Anyway - the British are done, as are the Germans - I've now started on the Italians - after them there's just the transport to do and they're all done... I think I'll celebrate with a game once they're done...

~ the ACW campaign is also progressing - DG and I are still playing out the Battle of Waynes Junction (the second battle in the campaign) and I would say that at the moment it's still hanging in the balance - I have to win the battle however, or I lose the campaign objective... once the battle is over, I'll bring the campaign diary blog up to date...

~ whilst out shopping last weekend I happened to browse through the selection at our local discount book shop - you know the kind of place, new books, but at a fraction of the price - where I was more than happy to pick up a copy of the following:

So what you're thinking - there must be a million books like that... well normally I'd agree, but in this case the book really is a cut above the rest due to the quality of the illustrations - outstanding maps, and uniform/equipment illustrations....

...Amazon has the book for £15, I got the book for a nerve shattering £2 - well worth it!! Free Happy Smileys