Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hornblower in the West Indies... a review

Chronologically, and rather sadly, this is the last book Forester wrote about Hornblower...  Forester wrote the whole series somewhat out of order, but if you order them by the period they depict, then this one set in the 1820's marks the end of Hornblower's career - my thanks to Wikipedia for the content of the following....

The one's in bold are the novels that I read - there are a number of other short story's that he also wrote, which are difficult to get hold of as they were published in various magazines and periodicals of the time....  the last book Forester wrote was "Hornblower and the Crisis" which was unfinished, as he died during the writing of it - I've read various reviews, and like the last Aubrey novel, which was also unfinished, I chose not to read it...

UK Title
Story Dates
Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
Jan 1794–Mar 1798
Hornblower and the Hand of Destiny
Oct 1796–Dec 1796
Short story
Hornblower and the Big Decision
Short story subsequently published as Hornblower and the Widow McCool in Hornblower and the Crisis
Lieutenant Hornblower
May 1800–Mar 1803
Hornblower and the Hotspur
Apr 1803–Jul 1805
Hornblower and the Crisis
Aug 1805–Dec 1805
Novel (unfinished) plus Hornblower and the Widow McCool and The Last Encounter
Hornblower and the Atropos
Dec 1805–Jan 1808
The Happy Return
Jun 1808–Oct 1808
A Ship of the Line
May 1810–Oct 1810
Hornblower's Charitable Offering
Jun 1810
Short story that reads like a chapter of A Ship of the Line
Flying Colours
Nov 1810–Jun 1811
Hornblower and His Majesty
Short story
The Commodore
Apr 1812–Dec 1812
Lord Hornblower
Oct 1813–Jun 1814
Hornblower in the West Indies
May 1821–Oct 1823
The Last Encounter
Nov 1848
Short story subsequently published in Hornblower During the Crisis

Returning to the subject however, Hornblower in the West Indies is not a single story, but rather a series of novella's all linked together (similar to Mr Midshipman Hornblower). It is set against the background of his command of the West Indies station (ie.the Caribbean  across to the coats of South America), with a squadron consisting of three frigates and fourteen brigs and schooners. In the book he fights pirates, stymies an attempt by veterans of the Imperial Guard to release Bonaparte, captures a slaver under trying circumstances, gets involved in the revolution lead by Simon Bolivar, and at the end survives a hurricane on his return home...  lots of action and Hornblower shows no signs of easing up on himself - he continues to be one of the most self critical hero's of any book in English literature. I prefer the single story format, but this is a fitting end to a fantastic series ...  very recommended....  8/10

Sunday, January 27, 2013

You clear orfffff.....!


...bugger 'orf!! Can't you see your upsetting my lady-ship?
 ... some supernumeraries join the ranks of the War of the Spanish Succession project - I had no idea who made these figures, but they have the look of Peter Pig about them.... and sure enough I found some pictures of them on the web to confirm my initial [clicky here] prognosis wouldn't want to upset those ladies would you! let's see - who would I be frightened of more?  Old fat bloke waving a cross at me, or pulchritudinous wench waving firearm probably loaded with old nails .....  errr.... no contest!

"I say ..  stay away from my church you.... you.... wuffian!"
So...  figures are 15mm Peter Pig, and I think they came as part of a donation from fellow blogger Sir William The Aged (of Wars of Louis Quatorze fame)... either way, thanks Sir William - it's taken me a while but I am getting through them!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dorrington's Regiment

Labelled "Walsh" but clearly
Dorrington's from the standard.
Picture courtesy the
Vinkhuijzen collection of
military uniforms 1700-1720.
Louis XIV.
Another regiment joins the ranks....

In May 1690 five Jacobite regiments were sent by King James II from Ireland to France in return for a larger force of French infantry who were to fight for him in the Williamite war in Ireland (which ended with the Battle of the Boyne). These five Jacobite regiments, comprising about 5000 men, were largely inexperienced and the French immediately disbanded two of them. The remaining three regiments however, (Mountcashel's, O'Brien's and Dillon's) were formed into the Irish Brigade.

When the war in Ireland finished, under the terms of the Treaty of Limerick (1691) a separate force of 12,000 Jacobites were allowed to go into exile in France (the event we now know as the "Flight of the Wild Geese"). These troops were kept separate from the Irish Brigade, and were formed into King James army in exile (they may have been his army but they were paid by Louis).

In 1697 the Treaty of Ryswick ended the Nine Years War allowing Louis to  re-organise these Irish troops, and Dorrington's regiment came into being from the former 1st and 2nd Battalions of James's Royal Irish Foot Guards - one battalion of which had come to France following that Treaty of Limerick, and one battalion who had already been in French service.

The regiment (as was usual in those days) was named after it's lieutenant-colonel, a man called William Dorrington, and to remember their regimental ancestry during the whole of their existence the regiment continued to wear the scarlet and blue uniform of the ‘King's Own Foot Guards’.

There's not much about Dorrington on-line but I have managed to find out that he was appointed Colonel of the the Foot Guards by James following the defection of the previous colonel (the Duke of Ormond) who went over to William in April, 1689.

He distinguished himself at the Boyne in 1690, was appointed Governor of Limerick in 1691, and promoted Brigadier about this time. He was then taken prisoner at the Battle of Aughrim, and ended up in the Tower of London but was exchanged and returned to France (where he still retained his Colonelcy of the Foot Guards.

In 1704 he was promoted Lieutenant-General, and served in Flanders and Germany till 1710. Ruvigny's Jacobite Peerage mentions that he was made Earl of Macclesfield in 1715 for his participation in the attempted Jacobite restoration of that year (the First Jacobite uprising) and then died in 1718 unmarried.

As was also typical during those days, Dorrington was merely the founder - as a Brigadier he was unable to command the regiment on a daily basis, and this responsibility was given to a man called Michael Roth.

Roth started his military career in 1686 as lieutenant in the same regiment as Dorrington (ie. the Irish Foot Guards) under the command of Ormonde. When Ormonde went over to William, Rothe was promoted captain in the command of the first or King's Own company. He served with the regiment throughout the Irish campaign of 1689–91, fought at the Boyne (1 July 1690), and after the treaty of Limerick the regiment (and he) elected to enter the French service. They set sail for France in the autumn of 1691.

  • In January 1692, the regiment was incorporated with the Irish Brigades in the service of France, and was stationed in Normandy as part of the army destined for the invasion of England (which never happened - hurrah for the British Navy again! ). 
  • In 1693 they saw active service in Flanders under the Marshal de Luxembourg. 
  • In 1694 they served with the army of Germany, and in 1695 with the army of the Moselle. 
  • by an order dated 27 Feb. 1698, Dorrington's regiment was formed and Rothe was made its lieutenant-colonel by commission of 27 April. 
  • Roth was promoted colonel in May 1701, the regiment served during that year with the army of Germany under the Duke of Burgundy and Marshal de Catinat. 
  • In 1703 they joined the army of Villars in the Vosges, and took part in the capture of Kehl, the storming of Hornberg in the Black Forest, the combat of Munderkingen, and the first battle of Hochstadt (a French win)
  • In 1704 they served under Marshal Marsin, and "shared in the rout of the French at Blenheim", where the regiment managed to escape being captured. 
  • Roth was promoted to brigadier 18 April 1706, the regiment was again attached to the army of the Rhine under Villar, and were present during actions at Drusenheim, Lauterburgh, and the Ile de Marquisat
  • In 1707, under the same general, they were at the carrying of the lines of Stolhoffen, and actions at Etlingen, Pfortzeim, Winhing, Schorndorf, at the defeat and capture of General Janus, and at Suabsgemund, and Seckingen. The regiment wintered in Alsace. 
  • They continued with the army of the Rhine under Berwick until June 1709, when they were transferred to Flanders and fought with distinction in the battle of Malplaquet. The regiment was engaged in the centre. When the left of the French army recoiled before the tremendous fire of the British right, Villars brought up the Irish brigade to its support. Rothe and Cautillon led a successful charge, crying ‘Forward, brave Irishmen! Long live King James III!’ Thirty officers of his regiment were killed. Now if that doesn't want to make you paint up the whole Irish Brigade I don't know what will... 
  • Roth was appointed major-general 29 March 1710, and he was 2-i-c to de Vauban in the defence of Bethune against the Duke of Marlborough, where he so distinguished himself that Louis XIV, by brevet of 15 Dec., named him for the next "Commander of the Order of St. Louis" that should become vacant.
  • After serving another sixteen months in Flanders, Rothe obtained this honour on 9 April 1712, and served during the following summer at the taking of Douay, Quesnoy, and Bouchain. 
  • In 1713 under Villars they were at Friburg and Landau with the army of the Rhine. 
  • Upon the death of Dorrington on 11 Dec. 1718, and by a commission dated the following day the command of the regiment was transferred to Rothe, and hence became known as the ‘regiment of Rothe,’ (a name which it then bore for forty-eight years until the regiment was renumbered when it was taken into Revolutionary French service under Napoleon).
  • After service with the regiment in Spain he continued colonel-proprietor of his regiment until May 1733, when he made over the command to his son. 
  • He died at Paris, in his eightieth year, on 2 May 1741. 
Another, relatively, unknown giant in history - absolutely fascinating, and such lives they lead.....

Either way... 24 figures comprising mostly Dixon (99% of the firing figures - there are a couple of infiltrators in there whose make I don't recognise). The standard bearer is Black Hat I think (may be Minifigs), the Roth figure is a Freikorps Dragoon, a bit martial for an officer figure (with the musket slung over his shoulder!), but I love the figure and came to the conclusion that any man who lasted as long as he did would have been well armed! The flag is home drawn (copied), found a nice flag on the web and then used the Warflag site as a template to get the right size... and yes before you say it, I do like my flags big, actually...

Roth and the boys prepare to subject more mischief on the forces of Queen Anne

Finally, and somewhat appositely, I have completed the re-work of the War of the Spanish Succession Project blog comments are welcome as I have spent the time trying to make the blog clearer and more easy to read (light backgrounds larger/darker fonts) - if it doesn't work tell me why....  in addition all time dependant data has been brought up to date (prices updated etc)...   enjoy!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Zvezda 1/100 (15mm) Pz 38(T).. completed

Also at last!

The Panzerkampfwagen 38(t) was a Czech tank design - the 38 came from it's year of starting production, and the (t) stands for tschechisch, the German word for Czech.

The 1938/39 German take-over of the Czechoslovak state resulted in the tanks being incorporated into the German Army and PzKpfw 38(t)s were built under German supervision and saw extensive service in Poland, Norway, France, the Balkans and Russia. 

The Panzer 38(t) was a conventional pre-World War II tank design, with riveted armour and rear engine. The riveted armour was largely un-sloped and varied in thickness from 10 mm to 25 mm in most versions.

The two-man turret housed the tank's main armament, a 37 mm Skoda A7 gun with 90 rounds stored on board, the turret was also equipped with a 7.92 mm machine gun that could fire independently or co-axially. The driver was in the front right of the hull, with the bow machine-gunner seated to the left, manning another 7.92 mm machine gun.

By 1942 it was a bit long in the tooth (the armament was deemed too light and the small turret didn't allow for up-gunning) so like the Pz II it was relegated to other duties, and was also used in a reconnaissance  role. Like the Pz II, the chassis was used as the basis for the Marder III and Hetzer tank destroyers.

By the end of the war 1,411 had been made so it was clearly no slouch..  it was always a mystery to me why the Germans had ordered so many, clearly it had something going for it, and my research would seem to indicate that the primary benefit was mechanical reliability. "In the opinion of the crews, the drive components of the 38(t), engine, gear, steering, suspension, wheels and tracks were perfectly in tune with each other. The 38(t) was also considered to be very easy to maintain and repair" (from Spielberger, Walter J. (1990). Die Panzer-Kampfwagen 35(t) und 38(t) und ihre Abarten (2nd ed.). Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 3-87943-708-4)

I can't help thinking that at a time when the Pz III was not yet available, a tank with a 37mm gun would also be highly prized.

Picture courtesy

NB. Apparently the British Army trialled one in 1939 and rejected it!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zvezda 1/100 (15mm) Pz II.. completed

At last!

Took me far too long, but post Christmas ennui struck, work has been mental, blah blah blah...  no excuses...

Once again a nice simple paint job, very similar to the Hanomag [clicky], early war German crosses, plain dark grey overall, followed by a dry brush of the same colour with just a tadge of dove grey in it so as to provide a highlight. Bolt gun metal (my trusty Citadel paint pot must be 15 years old now) for the tracks, and then a careful wash of chestnut ink on tracks and exhaust for rust, completed by a dry brush of mud brown on running gear and mudguards..

The Pz II was designed as a stop gap due to delays in production of the Pz III and Pz IV and by 1940 it was the most numerous tank in the German Panzer divisions involved in the invasion of France.

It was superseded by the Panzer III and IV in 1940/41 and after that it was used purely for reconnaissance. By the end of 1942 it was largely removed from front line service, tank production ceased in 1943, but the chassis was used for a variety of self-propelled artillery such as the Wespe and Marder II.

Alongside the Pz38T (next post!)

Ausf (or type) A, B, and C had 14 mm slightly sloped armour on the sides, front, and back, with 10 mm of armour on the top and bottom; some model Cs were given increased armour in the front.

As for armament most versions of the Panzer II were armed with a 2 cm KwK 30 L/55, a few later versions used the similar 2 cm KwK 38 L/55. This was a cannon based on the 2 cm FlaK 30 anti-aircraft gun, capable of 600 rounds per minute from 10-round magazines - a total of 180 shells were carried. It also had a 7.92 mm MG 34 machine gun mounted coaxially (ie. firing at the same target as the main gun)

Love this model - very simple, very nice, and just makes me want to get the WWII skirmish figures out for a game!

Last of all a real one on the western front in 1940..  Pz I behind.. gives a good scale with the guy on the back as to just how small these tanks were..

Picture courtesy Bundesarchiv Bild website

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Blog revamps...

First post of 2013, 549th overall, and a brief update to show I'm actually quite busy at the moment!

First off, interest has been registered on various sailing forums, and details of boats are beginning to flow - now it's just a matter of sorting the wheat from the chaff!

Second off, work has started on a revamping all my blogs/project blogs to make them slightly more readable intuitive...  I've done the Teaser page, also The War of the Spanish Succession Page (which I particularly like) but I'd be interested in your views...I'm trying to major on clear text and format. In addition on the Spanish Succession Blog I've done a major check and update of prices and web links to bring them up to date...

Picture courtesy Wikipedia

Third off - on the painting table at the moment are an under coated battalion of Spanish Succession infantry destined to become either Dorrington's (Colonel Lord William Dorrington; formed from the former 1st and 2nd battalions of James II's Royal Irish Foot Guards) or Clare's Regiment (Colonel Comte de Clare; formed from O'Briens Dragoons and other Irish Exiles in 1690) - yes, more Wild Geese to join Lee's Regiment. Not decided which yet, but does it matter given the inherent romance and glory......??! 

' War battered dogs are we, fighters in every clime; Fillers of trench and of grave, mockers bemocked by time. War-dogs hungry and grey, gnawing a naked bone, fighters in every clime, every cause but our own. ' (from "Clare Coast" by Emily Lawless)

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

That was the year that was... 2012

...errrr... anything you like......
...and so another year disappears down the pan...

It seems de rigeur among the wargaming bloggerati (gliterrati??) to put up some kind of view of how 2012 was, and what your plans are for 2013, so why on earth should I want to buck the trend...??

I've got to say it wasn't a stand out year, but it was better than 2011... painting totals for the year turned out at 120 [click here], well down on 2011 but as most of that year was the WWII re-basing project, and very few/no new units, this year was considerably better. My favourite new item this year was the American Civil War signalling edifice [click here] shortly followed by Lord North and Greys regiment [click here]

Eighty five posts this year (c/w 93 in '11) which is pretty good (and like last year I'm still surprised I was so prolific - it didn't seem like it at times!)

Seven table top games this year (compared with four last year) which is somewhat better - as part of his ACW campaign you can also add in two massive virtual games that DG and I have been playing all year (Waynes Junction finished in February, and we then moved on to Stewart Springs which has just finished today, having started in July!) so it's been an OK year...  working long hours I find it very difficult at times to summon up the enthusiasm to set the table up.. much easier to open a beer, light a cigar, and read a good book!

Games this year were:
  • "Operation Cornichon" - the WWII Skirmish Campaign comprising 3 linked table top teasers:
    • Game 1 - "Attack on the Camp"
    • Game 2 - "Holding Action (1)"
    • Game 3 - "Reinforcements in Depth (2)" I switched to using the "Rate of Fire" rules I picked up at Salute for this game
  • "Wagon Train... Redux!" - the John Corrigan Memorial Game for 2012 - American war of Independence Teaser action - a win for me in what was a bit of a lop sided game...  sorry DG!
  • "A funny thing happened on my way to the redoubt....." - my solo re-fight of the same game and who could have foreseen what was quite possibly the most bizarre a set of circumstances that the humble D6 has ever perpetrated in a single game...  great fun....!
  • "Hearts of Tin" trial game - ACW action using Ross McFarlane's home grown rules...
  • Raid on St. Michel - Game 5 - "Heading Home" - which completed the St Michel campaign and a win for me....

Three brilliant shows though - Salute, Colours and Warfare - I read some fantastic books (and started the review page [clicky]), started the virtual Kindle library [clicky], had a damn fine holiday, and enjoyed some good sailing [click here] which altogether made 2012 an overall good'un...

I don't make New Years resolutions (it's a hobby, not a job so why pressure yourself further??) what I'd like to do is:
  1. a little more painting (I want to finish the Pz II and the Pz38T, and then balance the WSS forces with some opposition for Lord North and Greys Regiment)
  2. the same number of table top games as last year if not one or two more...
  3. new year new look - watch out for a change to the look and feel of the blog in January - I'll also freshen up all the project blogs as I go through the year......
  4. BUT....   the main priority at least for the first half of the year, is to find a replacement for Papillon [clicky]....
All the best to you and yours for 2013....!