Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Battle of Waynes Junction.. Part 1

So here we go as promised, the first part of a run through of the most recent battle that DG and I have been fighting in our ongoing American Civil War campaign [click here].. we started this battle on February 22nd - further evidence if any were needed of how slow virtual games across the ether can be.... don't get me wrong, any game is better than no game, but they aren't quick...! The game is not yet finished...

As per the last battle [click here] we also used Battle Chronicler for handling the movement on this game. There's been several upgrades and new releases of this brilliant (and free!) tool and I'd recommend it to anyone for either recording their own games, or using it as we do as a means to play a real game across email.

The rules were Regimental Fire and Fury, and the Battle Chronicler set up is "real" so that we can use movement rates direct from the rule book.

DG and I tend to exchange files once per day, but with three, possibly four phases per move, that's potentially 8 move files to complete a turn...

Terrain was as above (click on any of the pictures in the post for a bigger and hopefully clearer view), and as DG was already present he was allowed field works - hence the breastworks and redoubts on the hill! This was clearly going to be a tough nut to crack..

The objective of the game for me was to push DG out of the town whilst not taking too many casualties... (there were other tactical and strategic imperatives, but DG reads this blog so I'll not expound on them here!)

My forces were as follows:

Basically, a couple of brigades of infantry (all good, but small regiments with very little gap between good condition and spent) and this time some artillery. DG also had a couple of brigades of infantry but although they were more numerical his infantry tended to be poorer ('green' or 'trained' c/w my 'crack' and 'veteran' guys) my he was heavy on artillery though!

Deployment was as follows - me in grey - DG as Union largely in blue:

Only one of my brigades present at the beginning - the second brigade will enter from the top of the screen.. DG had his guys behind the breastworks on top of the hill - but look at that artillery dominating the battlefield...

As a campaign game the outcomes from this battle were more important for me than the more usual stand alone game - for those who haven't checked the campaign page (link at top left) I am playing the Confederates with the goal of entering Waynes Junction so as to gain the vital war supplies stored there - I then have to get those supplies back to my own territory but that's somewhere in the future...

You should also be aware that in campaign terms I have a clever plan (so clever that if you put a tail on it you could call it Reynard etc etc innocent smileys) to get me and the supplies away before DG knows what's up - full details on the campaign page, but it involves trains, and the station in Waynes Junction is key...

Move 1 (and I'm only showing the Confederate moves) - I need to find the supplies, the majority of the buildings are to the left of the hill, there's no way I can just wander up to them so I decide to repeat my previous tactics and attack from the right (my left) and roll him off the hill unit by unit, right to left... or that's the idea. Meanwhile I have the artillery providing enfilade fire..

Move 2: Give him the old "one two" - pin with my right, flank with my left - the flank attack starts. Second brigade (and you can just see 6th NC arriving top right of the picture) will be the reinforcement for the flank attack... 6th, 7th and 8th Louisiana have the honour of leading the attack. Was surprised how quickly I managed to close the hill...

Move 3: BANG! In goes the assault - all of the Louisiana regiments charge, and successfully push back their respective targets - gratifyingly the US artillery is gone! On the left of the battle DG has not stood still and has pushed forward two regiments to clear off the Confederate artillery...

Move 4: Union fightback on the hill, but the 7th and 8th Louisiana complete the 'swinging door' and ready themselves to take the 8th Ohio in the flank. To the north I've stopped the big flank move by the North Carolina brigade and directed them toward the main battle - doesn't look like I'm going to need them for the outflanking exercise, so decided to get them into the main battle as soon as possible...

You'll note that I've also secured the left of the battlefield and sent DG's 4th Ohio back where the came from..

Move 5: Consolidation and preparation for further advance

Move 6: BIG BANG - "at my signal unleash hell" [click here] - the door swings shut on top of the hill, and sends the 8th Ohio & 7th West Virginia reeling... at the same time the pinning regiments let out the rebel yell and surge forward.

You'll note that as I breasted the ridge of the hill further Union troops have appeared.. by this time I was so confidant I was just thinking "bring them on"!

Move 7: Keep on pushing - I have the momentum, time to keep up the pressure though DG is bringing up the New York regiments fast to stem the rushing tide of grey...

Move 8: Next big push (I don't remember it at the time but I'm clearly riding my luck) and the class of the Confederate regiments is driving all before them..

Move 9: There go the new York regiments - although I didn't know it the supplies are in those two blue roofed buildings between the road and the hill.

The 57th North Carolina are about to occupy the station - the plan seems to be working!

Move 10 & 11: All stop - the Confederate regiments are drained - time for more rest and consolidation but I have the objective.


Stay tuned for part 2....

Sunday, August 28, 2011

British & Hessian Regiments - part the third..

....next and final part of the second box of units - you're in for a treat, the "Royal Irish" might be the best fighting wargaming unit, but we start with my favourite wargames unit... probably of all the periods I play.....


23rd Foot (Royal Welsh Fusileers)

..a notable exception to the vast majority of the collection in that these comprise Front Rank figures. I saw them at a Salute (when it was still at Olympia so that must have been years ago!) and completely fell for the quality of the castings, and the sheer brilliance of the sculpts... they're bigger than the Minifgs, but not noticeably so when in a separate unit..

It was this guy following that sold me - of all the figures I've owned and painted over the years he is my absolute favourite, bar none - he sums up everything I have read and learnt about the British officers of these regiments, proud, haughty sometimes, incredibly brave most of the time, but ultimately commanding and demanding obedience...

The light infantry and grenadier companies of the Fusiliers saw action at Bunker Hill (losses to the Grenadier and Light Infantry companies were extremely heavy, the former only having five men left who were not killed or wounded. It is reliably reported by several sources that the regimental goat also took part in the attack, although whether or not he survived is unknown!)

The following year they were engaged in the Battles of Long Island, Brooklyn Heights, Harlem Heights, White Plains, and Fort Washington, they then took part in the Danbury, Connecticut raids in which as the rearguard, they distinguished themselves once more by holding off several determined attacks of overwhelming American forces commanded by Benedict Arnold. In 1777 the regiment took part in the battles of Brandywine, Germantown, and the capture of Philadelphia and the river forts protecting it. In 1778 at Monmouth Courthouse the Grenadier Company lost a third of its strength, but received the thanks of Brigadier General Sir William Meadows. In 1779 they were part of the force that captured several of the small Hudson river forts and joined a punitive expedition against the Connecticut ports of New Haven, Norfolk, Greenfield, and Fairfield. They moved south and took part in the siege of Charleston in early 1780. At Camden the "Royal Welch Fusiliers and the 33rd Regiment of Foot were able to turn the American flank resulting in a precipitous American retreat after forty five minutes of stubborn resistance. Pursued by the British cavalry, the retreat soon became a rout, with about 1,000 prisoners taken and about 900 casualties inflicted upon the hapless Americans". At Guilford Courthouse the Royal Welch Fusiliers had been in the forefront of the charges that broke through two successive American lines. The regiment lost a third of its officers in this battle..

During the siege of Yorktown, the Royal Welch Fusiliers held their redoubt against overwhelming odds, before surrendering with the rest of the British force.

I particularly recommend "Fusiliers" by Mark Urban for anyone with even the remotest interest in the war, or the regiment - a real nine out of tenner...

..by the way - don't give me any nonsense about them not wearing the bearskin in America, and that they'd left them in storage - we'll have none of that defeatist talk in my ranks..

Base no's 38 and 39.

71st (Frasers) Foot
First Highland regiment I painted, my reading indicated that they had decided to leave their plaids behind (no protection to the legs, and the heavy wool would not dry out in the wet environment), so I painted them in troo's.. back to Minifigs for this regiment - the sculpts have such charm, I especially like the faces...

The 71st was raised in 1775 specifically to fight in the American War of Independence. They served in both the Northern and Southern Campaigns, and at many major battles including Long Island (1776), Brandywine (1777), Savannah (1778), Briar Creek (1779), the Siege of Savannah (1779), the Siege of Charleston (1780), Camden (1780), Guildford Courthouse (1781) and the Battle of Yorktown (1781).

At Yorktown the regiment served with the 33rd and the 17th in the same brigade - as was common their light company was amalgamated into a combined light infantry regiment. The regiment was disbanded at the end of hostilities in 1783.

Base no's 40 and 41.

Hessian Grenadier Von Donop

See here.. http://steve-the-wargamer.blogspot.com/2007/07/fruits-of-my-weekend-labours-part-1.html

Base no's 42 and 43.

British 35th Foot (Royal Sussex Regiment)

See here.. http://steve-the-wargamer.blogspot.com/2007/08/updates-and-orange-lillies.html

Base no's 44 and 45


...and that brings the indexing of the British forces to completion - the rest can be seen on the project page [click here]

On a separate subject, I've just finished making some massive updates to the American Civil War Campaign Diary blog [click here] over the last few days, if you haven't been recently I've added click-able headers to help navigation within the diary - I've added the Battle of Rogersburg, plus the rest of Day 2 and the first half of Day 3.

Stay tuned for Battle of Wayne's Junction which DG and I have been playing across the ether for months now... hopefully (as it's almost over) this will be a rebel victory pour moi..

Friday, August 26, 2011

British & Hessian Regiments - part the second..

Just a final push to conclude my indexing of the hitherto un-photo'd American War of Independence regiments - this time the second box of British and Hessian units...

There's a lot of information on the units in this box so I've split it in two...

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this particular post - researching the history of some of the units in this box is what wargaming is all about.... inspiring


British New York Loyalist Artillery

As per the previous artillery entries, a fictional unit.

The gun is also 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, and this unit is fielded as light artillery. Base no. 23.

British 16th Light Dragoons

John has passed me a significant quantity of British cavalry, I used 12 of them to represent 3 squadrons of the 16th Light Dragoons, far too many and I've never used them all at the same time... in hindsight and with experience, a little judicious painting could have meant making one of the units the 17th Light Dragoons (the "Death or Glory Boys") & I may still do that.

The American War of Independence did not feature cavalry heavily, it was an infantry man's war, so usually I have no more than one, occasionally two, squadrons per side.

I still have a dozen of these guys un-based - I used some for the American's (repainted as a Continental dragoon regiment) and I used some of them for British officers...

Plate no. 90 in Mollo.

Base no's 24 to 29.

British Light Infantry

I was reaching the bottom of the box of figures John gave me by the time I got to these guys... they represent one of the composite battalions the British put together comprising the light company's of multiple line regiments. The British army didn't really have dedicated light infantry regiments until the Napoleonic Wars, but in the meanwhile, these, and also the similar composite regiments composed of Grenadiers, provided the British with a source of elite units for special missions (there were two such light regiments at Yorktown).

I've noticed that all these guys have the same coloured facings, so they were clearly the light company's only from regiments with those coloured facings!

Base no's 30 & 31.

British Royal Irish Regiment (18th Regiment of Foot)

...and by the time I'd got to these guys I reached the very bottom of the box, which is why it looks like this regiment is comprised of figures from two entirely different regiments!

A quick paint job gave both bases the same facings (dark blue), at a stretch the base on the left might be representing the grenadier company (ahem... ) but what is going on with those blanket rolls, and the utterly bizarre pose?? Not one of Minifigs' finest moments....

The 18th seem to have had a short and very inglorious war as despite their seniority, and although the regiment was present in Boston, where the grenadier company participated in the Battle of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill (its first formal combat in more than 50 years) the regiment was drafted into other regiments in Boston in December 1775 and at Detroit in July 1776.

So what we seem to have (in wargaming terms) is a real odds and sods combination of figures joined together for wargaming purposes - what we actually have is the hardest fighting wargame regiment in the British collection; whenever these guys have turned up on the table top they always seem to win! So much so I'm loath to paint any more figures to give them a little more uniformity....it might break the spell.... for those of you with long memories, and who read the Wargamers' Newsletter in the old days, these are my "Inniskillings [click here]"!

Base no's 32 & 33

33rd Foot

...and so with a bang and a crash we arrive in the "new" era - these were the first regiment I painted for the British collection - red coats of course because I was so short of them, and I continued to use Minifigs. By this point in time I had also settled on Yorktown as the source of my collection so I just painted the first unit on the order of battle that weren't present in my collection, and for which there was a flag on the Warflag site!

The 33rd were a veteran regiment - their history indicates they had a level of professionalism that was unequalled by any other regiment of the British Army for some time. It was because of this professionalism in the field during the American War of Independence, that the regiment was given the nickname 'The Pattern'; the regiment had the standard of soldiering which all other regiments should attain.

They had a long and very arduous war being present at the First Siege of Charleston, the Battle of Long Island, the Battle of Harlem Heights, the Battle of Fort Washington, Brandywine, Germantown, Whitemarsh (where they fought the Americans who had retreated from the fighting at Germantown), Monmouth, the defence of Newport and Quaker Hill, the Battle of Old Tappan, the second siege of Charleston, Camden and Guilford Court House (where they lost 11 killed and 63 wounded out of a force of 300 all ranks, having already lost 28 men in preceding actions - over 25% casualties). The 33rd also fought at the Battle of Green Spring.

At the Siege of Yorktown (their last engagement of the war) they served in the 1st Brigade under Lt. Col. John Yorke (of the 22nd Foot); their light company was detached to form a composite regiment in the Light Infantry Brigade under Lt. Col. Robert Abercromby (of the 38th Foot)...

Base no's 34 and 35.

17th Foot

"“His Majesty has been pleased to take very particular notice of the bravery of Lieut.-Colonel Mawhood, and approves the behaviour of the regiments under his command, especially the 17th, so highly commended by Lord Cornwallis.”

- Letter from Lord George Germaine, Whitehall, March 3, 1777"

..these were the second regiment I painted, also Minifigs. The 17th were in the same brigade as the 33rd at Yorktown (and their light company was detached to the same regiment as well)

The 17th landed in Boston on New Year's Day 1776 (though not all at once as a storm scattered some of their transports).

The 17th fought in all of the battles for New York City. After the island was secured, the 17th, as part of the 4th Brigade, was held in reserve during the Battle of White Plains and remained at the White Plains camp through the taking of Forts Washington and Lee and Cornwallis’s excursion through New Jersey. Their performance at the Battle of Princeton [click here] was commemorated in the addition of an unbroken laurel wreath to its insignia (and the message above from Germain). After Monmouth, they were on the New Bedford Raid, and Kings Ferry but were part of the british force that was surrounded and taken prisoner at Stony Point.

By early 1781, the regiment had been entirely exchanged and was on duty again in New York - records show 12 officers and 209 other ranks (always enlightening to compare actual numbers with the theoretical establishment..)

They were part of the last reinforcement to reach Cornwallis at Yorktown (the reinforcements comprised the 17th & 43rd Regiments of Foot, the 1st and 2nd Anspach Regiments, and detachments of light infantry, the 76th, 80th, Queen’s Rangers, Loyal American, and Prince Hereditaire Regiments, along with the Anspach Artillery).

Following the Battle of Green Spring, the 17th joined Cornwallis when he retired to Portsmouth and moved the army to Yorktown. On October 16, 1781, the 17th Regiment once again marched into captivity with Cornwallis’s army.

The only regiment I know with such a proud fighting record who were taken prisoner twice in the same war..

Loads more here (recommended!): http://www.hm17thregiment.org/History.htm

Base no's 36 and 37.


Stay tuned for part two....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Featherstone's Lost Tales" - Donald Featherstone

First in an occasional series where I review what I believe should be the 'must have' books in any wargamers library - we'll start off with quite possibly the newest one "Donald Featherstone's Lost Tales including Wargaming Rules 300BC to 1945"

This is published by the inestimable John Curry as part of his "History of Wargaming" project and is the first new material we've had from Don in some considerable time (and according to John there's more to come!)

So what do we get?? A selection of content, but by far the greatest is the rules which were those given out free to "Wargamer's Newsletter" subscribers. These are all written by Don except for a couple that were written by Tony Bath (Medieval & 1750 Europe) - for those of you who were bought up on "War Games", these are different rules to the one's included there, though the WWII one's do originate there. The Ancients rules, and a set for fighting the Gallic and Punic Wars are previously unpublished.

Reading these takes you right back - or it did me anyway - and if you have read any of Don's rules before then there are no enormous surprises. Firing/melee by groups etc etc. Having been playing a long American Civil War game with DG since January using "Regimental Fire and Fury" I can say that I spent more than a little time perusing the ACW rules in the book and still intend playing a small game just as soon as possible to see if they offer any possibilities.

The full set of rules are:
  • Ancient Wargames 300BC-500AD
  • Medieval Rules (Tony Bath)
  • God for Harry, England and St. George! (also Medieval)
  • English Civil War
  • 1750 Period in Europe (Tony Bath)
  • Napoleonic
  • American Civil War
  • Late 19th Century including colonial wars against natives
  • 1917 German West Africa (including rules for early tanks and armoured cars)
  • Simplified WWII Rules
  • Realistic rules for the Peninsula War
  • Realistic rules for the Gallic and Punic Wars
In addition to the rules (which, by the way, I may have had a part in, as I scanned all the Wargamers Newsletter rules for John Curry some time ago - this book was a freeby in return - thanks John!), we also have a couple of chapters on Don's wartime experiences - Don served with the 51st Battalion of the Royal Tank Regiment (who had Churchill's) through North Africa and Italy - one of the chapters is a short history of the battalion.

A short chapter (& fascinating - I hadn't realised how much of an influence HG Wells had had on Don's early hobby) on how Don came to the wargaming hobby completes the book.. .

Overall Steve the Wargamer rates this as a good eight out of ten - as the first new published material from Don in years, it deserves to be read!

Monday, August 22, 2011


Only £10 in my local Tesco at the moment - practically tore the shelf down I was in such a hurry!! smileys

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A slight diversion... Maunsell Navy Sea Forts

While doing the research on the last post about the Nab Tower I was interested to see that the unique "floating concrete base and sink it" technology for creating fortifications at sea was re-used in the Second World war... I think most people may have seen these (and to coin a phrase from Mr Kinch on the previous post, they are seriously batty - straight out of "War of the Worlds"): 
...lovely photograph, but they are the Army version, and I was more interested in these: 
...which are the Navy version. So the story goes, Maunsell was an architect and went to the MoD at the beginning of WW2 with designs for various forts. The naval fort design was the latest of several that Maunsell had devised in response to Admiralty inquiries. Early ideas had considered forts in the English Channel able to take on enemy vessels. The forts, built in the Thames estuary and operated by the Royal Navy, were to deter and report German air raids following the Thames as a landmark, and attempts to lay mines by aircraft in this important shipping channel. There were four naval forts: Rough Sands (HM Fort Roughs) (U1) Sunk Head (U2) Tongue Sands (U3) Knock John (U4) 

The design was a concrete construction; a pontoon barge on which stood two cylindrical towers standing 18 metres in height, 7 metres in diameter. Each tower had 7 floors of which 4 of these floors were used for crews quarters (the wall thickness of the reinforced concrete towers was 9 centimetres) on top of which was the gun platform mounting two 3.75-inch guns. In the centre of the deck was the officers quarters, medical room & kitchen. Mounted on the roof of this living area were two 40 mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns and the operations control room on the roof of which was 2 forms of radar. So basically a double Nab Tower with a single concrete float, but a lot more armament - but fundamentally the same design. Makes you wonder if Maunsell had studied Menzies original design... 
Everything was done in a rush - clearly invasion fever was at it's height - the towers were fitted out at the same time their crews went on board (about 100 men who lived in the legs). Like the Nab they were towed into position (with crews on board) and then sunk to rest on the seabed (with crews on board!) There were concerns that the same might happen as to the Nab (a list of 3 or 4 degrees) but this didn't happen. Rough Sands was the first fort and was sunk 11th Feb 1942 in 37' water. Following shows how they were placed...  
Interesting... but no more than a diversion!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I have been to... the Nab Tower

In my alter ego as a yachtsman I had cause to visit the Nab Tower last week on my boat [click here]... in light of the recent post by Bob Cordery [click here] (jealous? moi? Free Happy Smileys) where he also mentioned it, I thought I'd put a little post up with a more wargaming slant... always a pleasure when the two hobbies coincide, and this was one of those occasions......

The Nab Tower is located about 5 miles east of foreland (the easternmost point of the Isle of Wight) and although it is now primarily a navigation mark and lighthouse (it marks the start of the deep water channel into the Solent used by large ships going to the ports of Southampton and Portsmouth) it was originally designed as part of a First World War submarine defence.

In 1917 the British Admiralty, alarmed by the losses of allies shipping to German U-boats, planned a series of twelve giant fort towers, codenamed M_N, that would support steel anti submarine nets. They would be deployed from Dungeness to Cap Gris Nez, protecting the Dover straights. Guns mounted on the towers and surrounding mines would protect the constructions from enemy intervention and destroy enemy submarines (other accounts say only 8 towers were planned). The towers were to be 90ft high and 40ft across standing on an 80ft hollow concrete base that could be flooded to put it down into position. The design was by civilian designer, Mr G. Menzies (bit of a shame, I can't find out anything about him).

The towers were to be armed with two 4-inch guns with the idea of closing the English Channel to enemy ships. They accommodated 100 men & all their equipment

By the end of the war in 1918 only one had been completed, at a fantastic cost (at the time) of over two million pounds, and was located at Shoreham Harbour, awaiting deployment. Another part-built tower was eventually dismantled in 1924.

The picture shows the first two being constructed in Shoreham Harbour (just down the coast from me)

In 1920 The Admiralty offered the completed tower to be used as a lighthouse, to replace the Nab lightship which had reached end of life.

The completed tower was towed by two paddle wheel tugs to the Nab rock (see left!), buoyancy was provided by the honeycomb construction of the concrete base, creating 18 water-tight compartments. While dignitaries stood atop the tower (hah - no health and safety in those days! Free Happy Smileys), valves were opened to allow sea water to flood the vast tanks. As the tower slowly sunk to its resting place it began to list, leaving it with a 3 or 4 degree list that it still has today.

The Tower was manned as a lighthouse, and during World War II it also provided some defence to the Solent approach, and shot down several aircraft. The lighthouse is still functional but since 1983 it has been unmanned.


(two whom I need to acknowledge the photo of the tower being constructed - please contact me if you'd rather I removed it)

Monday, August 15, 2011

"On His Majesty's Secret Service" Allan Mallinson

The long wait is over (3 years!) and the latest Matthew Hervey novel, the eleventh, is set in the Eastern Balkans...

With no war on the horizon, Hervey's ambition's to finally command his beloved Light dragoon regiment are kicked into touch as the government of the day announces budget cuts that impact deeply on the army (sound familiar?? free smileys) and in particular his light dragoon regiment, who are to be reduced considerably, to the point where a colonel would be wholly inappropriate... as a sop, Hervey is offered command of a regiment of foot currently based at Gibraltar but while he makes his mind up is seconded as an observer to the Russian forces currently at war (Russo–Turkish War of 1828–1829) with the "sublime porte" (Turkey) in the Balkans.

Not surprisingly, Hervey and his compatriots are soon in the thick of it and despite being an impartial observer and a neutral, is more active than perhaps he should be.. directly leading to other possibilities for Hervey, and the offer of promotion and a command within the Russian forces. I get the distinct impression Mallinson would very much have liked to serve with a Cossack regiment himself as the parts of the book dealing with them are particularly good.

End to end excellent, and some very good news to finish - but I do wish I could give him a good slap and bring him to his senses with regard to the current Mrs Hervey!! free smileys

Steve the Wargamer rates this 9 out of 10 - if only because it allows for the possibility of improving on perfection!


Separately, the WWII re-basing project is complete, and has provided a welcome filip to the painting totals for the year - I thought long and hard about it but given the amount of effort that has gone into the activity (158 bases!) I felt it only right to give some token value to the activity - one point per base seems "right"...

I've also cleaned up and prepared the next American Civil War regiment - just need to undercoat them and get on with applying the brush... this regiment will represent Wheat's "Tiger" Zouaves, and I give due warning that I'm really not interested in comments and posts that the Tiger Zouaves were only ever company strength, not regimental, and that they didn't really have brown coathttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifs, etc etc etc. I'm a hopeless romantic, and no American Civil War project of mine would be complete without the little brown jacketed fellows.. besides, unlike the Union army, from what I can tell the Confederacy only had one regimental strength unit of Zouaves (Coppen's), and their uniform is just too similar to the Union regiment I've just completed, case closed... free smileys I only hope that when they are finished they look even half as good as these...

Newline figures (same as mine will be), painted by napoleonminiatures and very nicely too - I especially like the conversion on the straw hat...