Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Parliamentary Cuirassiers... Essex, Bedford and Balfour's detachments

Of all the cavalry types deployed in the wars, the cuirassier would have been the most expensive to raise, and as a consequence there weren't very many of them, and even fewer regimental strength groups ..

What was more likely was that maybe a troop within a regular cavalry regiment was equipped as cuirassier, or maybe a detached troop served in it's own right (Kings Lifeguard comes to mind here)..  its entirely possible that officers, professionals, and those who could afford it might have worn full cuirass within a regular cavalry - but there were very few full regiments - in fact the only one I can think of is Haselrige's Lobsters [clicky]....

If I want to deploy cuirassiers then (and who wouldn't? it's like having an ACW project without zouaves, or a Napoleonic project without the Old Guard ), there has to be a bit of a fictional element involved, but in this units case at least, more than a little historical basis in fact...

So as we have read previously [clicky] Sir William Balfour had detached his troop of cuirassiers to serve in Essex's cavalry reserve, also in that ad hoc unit were Essex's own cuirassier troop under the command of Sir Philip Stapleton, Reid also believes that a third troop of cuirassiers, those of Essex's general of horse, Bedford, were also present...  Reid notes that all three troops were large (he calls them "oversized") so that is enough for me to represent a regimental strength cuirassier regiment to serve Parliament as part of the forces present at Edgehill!

So what of their performance at the battle?? Very good I would say... As we have read previously, the Parliamentary horse on the flanks of Essex’s army had been driven off comprehensively, but the cuirassiers in the reserve, remained on the battlefield, in the second line, behind Meldrum’s infantry brigade.

When the Royalist infantry advanced, they charged, and while Sir Nicolas Byron’s brigade held, Feilding’s brigade of Royalist foot was handled roughly (Feilding and two of his colonels, Stradling and Lunsford, were captured, though Fielding was later rescued on the battlefield). Carrying on through the infantry, Balfour’s troopers then overran the Royalist heavy guns, but possessing no nails, they were unable to spike them so instead cut the traces on the guns (stopping them from being moved) and fell back to their position in the second line.

Drawing on the initiative that the cuirassiers had given him, Essex launched another attack on Byron’s Brigade, this time with Robartes’ and Constable’s regiments of foot, supported by the cuirassiers and the foot regiments of the Lord General and Brooke. The attack was successful, and drove it back, breaking up its ranks.

Good result all round..

Peter Pig 15mm figures, painted April 2020


Friday, April 24, 2020

DBN French camp anyone?

DG and I are playing a DBN game at the moment (I blame that Lee Gramson [clicky]!) because against all sense I am contemplating another project, and DBN would allow me to contain it within manageable levels..

Steve the Wargamer started his wargaming life with two projects, one was 20mm/HO/OO WW2 North Africa, but the other, earlier ,was Napoleonic - the first regiment I ever painted was the Airfix Highlanders... after that stupidly large numbers of (unpainted) Airfix French and British fought many battles across a largely unadorned dining room table using the rules from "Wargames"

Cut forward to Warfare in 2013 [clicky] (and 2016 [clicky]) and my game of the show was a Napoleon in Egypt set up - I was hooked..

No it's not a fantasy game - they really are Napoleonic French on camels what is NOT to like? 
So IF I was to pursue this to the logical conclusion, DBN requires each side to have a baggage/camp marker, and IF I was to do a Napoleon in Egypt DBN project, then this would just have to be the model/basis for the French camp, it's stunning..

The Egyptian Expedition Under the Command of Bonaparte, by Leon Cogniet, painted on a ceiling at the Louvre, 1835

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

John Belasyse's Regiment of Foote

Flag image from
Wargames Designs [clicky]
Another regiment joins the Royalist forces of the English Civil War...

Belasyse's were 505 strong at Edgehill (according to von Arni, Scott and Turton - "Edgehill 1642: The Battle Reinterpreted") and possibly/probably traced it's origins to the regiment commanded by Henry Belasyse (John's elder brother). This regiment had been paid for from royal funds granted on the 14 July,  and transferred to John Belasyse in August 1642 and could therefore claim to be one of the first regiments raised in Roylist service.

The Yorkshire soldiers were subsequently brought up to strength with recruits raised in Nottinghamshire to a total of around 1,000 men (from "The Battle for London" by Stephen Porter, Simon Marsh)

Courtesy/copyright "All The Kings Armies" by Reid
In terms of their part in the battle they were arrayed in the second line (as per the above) but were part of the general advance of the Royalist infantry that took place after the successful, but tactically foolish,  charges by their horse on either flank.

As we have read in the other unit histories posted so far, the Parliamentary infantry brigade of Charles Essex broke and ran as the Royalist infantry advanced. Young has them as a single line of foot as the second lines had come up to plug the gaps between the three front line brigades.

The account in Young is awe inspiring...  6,500 Parliamentary foot came to push of pike with 10,500 royalist foot, and our boys in the middle of it. In the end thought the fighting was fierce, shooting at point blank range, both sides fought each other to a standstill and withdrew to draw breath, at which point control shifted to the Parliamentary cavalry who effectively rescued the day.

Belasyse’s brigade counter-attacked the Parliamentary left to buy time for the army to establish a new line along the stream that flowed diagonally from Edgehill toward the Parliamentary left flank. Belasyse, who led the charge himself wielding a pike, was wounded in the head as a result, but his action saved the army from complete destruction.

Belasyses (and others) remained on the field until the end of the day providing a rear guard and protection to the Kings artillery.

So why did the Kings foot not carry the day given their strength superiority??  Young puts it down to two things..  one they were arrayed (as we have previously mentioned) in the Swedish model which had fewer ranks than the Dutch style the Parliamentary foot had adopted - so they lacked weight/heft in comparison. Young also quotes Clarendon etc. that indicated the Kings infantry were not as well equipped as the Parliamentary foot - with a lot of them carrying no more than cudgels, and fewer muskets.

At the time in question little or nothing is known about uniform - the next year while in garrison at Oxford, they may have been supplied with either all red, or all blue suits of coats, breeches and montero hats in July 1643 along with the other Royalist foot regiments then in Oxford. Given the colour of the standard, I have chosen to depict them in this earlier phase of the war wearing the same blue they might have been re-equipped with in Oxford later...

John Belasyse, First Baron Belasyse of Worlaby,
1636 by Van Dyck
Belasyse's are said to have carried a blue flag with white grenade or hawk-lure design, which was captured by Essex's army. I've not managed to find any research on when this happened, or where..

Figures are Peter Pig predominantly, but there are two or three vintage (and one newer) Minifigs among them... painted April 2020..

  • Edgehill 1642 - Peter Young
  • Edgehill 1642: The Battle Reinterpreted - Eric Gruber von Arni, Christopher L. Scott, Alan Turton
  • "All the Kings Armies" Reid 
  • "The Battle for London" by Stephen Porter, Simon Marsh

Thursday, April 16, 2020

"Battles with Model Soldiers" - "Game 2" - Setup and Game was this version
I had on almost permanent loan from
the library as a much younger
Steve the Wargamer; now in my
Back in the day I was glued to this book almost as much as I was "War Games", an absolutely pivotal moment for me was the chapter 'Three Basic Battles' where Don played a simple game three times, each time introducing new troop types.. seems stupidly simplistic now, but at the time, for me it was exciting stuff - it showed how a wargame worked, what the thought processes were, and what was being done - sounds stupid I know, but back then not a lot of us knew what a wargame was, or how it was done..  55 years later and I'm still here... 

So it was that in March 2010 I played Game 1 [clicky] as I was right at the beginning of the American Civil War project, and these three games had featured American Civil War forces, it had seemed like a good idea to use the scenario as a simple play test of the 'Regimental Fire and Fury' rules I was proposing to use for the project..

Fast forward (or rather slow forward given it's taken 10 years!) and in the interim I came to the conclusion that I simply couldn't devote the time and energy required to learn how to play 'Regimental Fire and Fury' well ..  they are a lovely set of rules, but simply too complicated for my tastes..  every unit had several moral grades, several strength possibilities, several choices of armament - just too much to keep track of, and I don't play often enough not to have to re-learn the rules every time I play them.

So I tried Ross McFarlane's [clicky] "Hearts of Tin" a few times (I like them), but then a year or two ago DG and I were playing one of the One Hour Wargame scenario's and we decided to use the rules direct from the book - after the game we had one of our usual excellent back and forth's about how we could 'improve' the rules, and as a result now have a set that I like very much... at their heart they have a dice driven activation mechanism, that with one small change, also makes them excellent for solo games..

...and then a recent post by Norm [clicky] finally stung me into action.. time to play game 2!!

Game 2 then - same battlefield as Game 1, just add cavalry for this game.. Union at bottom, Confederates at the top..  a lone Union supply wagon realises they have got caught up in the middle of something they don't want to be mixed up in... 

End Turn 1 (in each case following):

Infantry have deployed to march column to allow quicker movement. The Union cavalry are better placed to occupy the wall and have darted forward..  the wagon is legging it...

End Turn 2:

With the benefit of a better initiative the Confederate cavalry has reached the wall but currently still mounted... the Union cavalry opens fire but at that range have little chance of doing any serious damage...

End Turn 3:

Confederate cavalry have dismounted into the shelter of the wall - both sides are attemting an outflanking manoeuvre..

End Turn 4:

Fire-fight! Neither side can summon up the enthusiasm to charge home... Union shooting is good..

End Turn 5:

That Confederate outflanking manoeuvre is looking good - in the meanwhile though the lead continues to fly with varying levels of accuracy..

End Turn 6:

The Confederates have drawn off at least one of the Union regiments but can they take advantage of it?

End Turn 7:

Fire-fight.. the Confederate zouaves have broken and run..

End Turn 8:

The departure of the Confederate zouaves triggers an advance by the Union infantry regiment, funnily enough the Confederate infantry do the same - in a one on one fire-fight with a zouave regiment they are already disadvantaged (I give zouave regiments a +1 on firing)

End Turn 9:

The Confederates know they've lost - this was about the sixth or seventh turn in a row where they lost initiative..  the Confederate cavalry pull back before they are broken..

End Turn 10:

The Union cavalry mounts as faces off - not as stupid as it sounds as the two units were within a point of each other in terms of strength.

End Turn 11:

It's not obvious but there has been a fierce cavalry melee in this turn - both sides have inflicted casualties, but neither have inflicted enough, and so have withdrawn to draw breath

...and at that point the Confederate commander ceded the day, and the battlefield, and withdrew...  a fun little tussle!

...and just for fun, and because the battlefield was already set up I also played a "Game 4" with two infantry and the artillery...  there's a surprising amount of fun to be had on a four foot table and just a small handful of units...   given we're on lockdown, and I'm working from home, it's also nice to just swivel my chair round and do a game move when I feel like it!
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Friday, April 10, 2020

5th Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment

"No, thank God; the brave 5th Ohio is still standing its ground and holding the rebels!" 
General Sullivan - Kernstown

I seem to be unusual among my wargaming brethren in that rather than my production ramping up in the current enforced lock down times, it seems to have dropped off..  I'll be the first to admit I find the whole situation unsettling (you'd have to be weird to think otherwise) but with a house full of people I find it very difficult to be selfish enough to bugger up off to the loft and pick up a paint brush and leave the rest of them having to cope with grandson..

For my mental stability however, with the Tesco shop done, I hence'd myself off to aforesaid loft and applied brush to metal so as to complete these lads..

So the usual background and history, which for this regiment was plentiful - they were very much considered to be veteran by the end of the war, and there is a considerable amount of written evidence on the web..

The regiment was first organised on April 20th 1861 at Camp Harrison near Cincinnati , and were mustered into the Union army on May 8th - they signed up for (the usual for then) ninety days, but almost unanimously signed up for three years service at the end of June. Their commanding officer was Colonel Samuel H. Dunning, second in command was Lieutenant Colonel John H. Patrick (that's him - top left).

In July they left camp by rail and crossed into Virginia where they were attached to the brigade of Brigadier General Charles W. Hill, and in November they experienced their first real action at French Creek where Companies A, B and C killed six or seven Rebels and lost one man killed.

In December while the regiment were on picket duty near Romney they were attached to 2nd Brigade, Lauders’ Division, Army of the Potomac

1862 started off with a bang for the regiment (literally), as on January 6th-7th they were a part of the forces involved in the skirmish/battle at Blue’s Gap where Dunning led an attack on a camp of 1,500 Confederates about 16 miles from Romney. The advance for this began at midnight in a driving snow-storm. It captured the Confederate outpost line and and advanced to within a mile of the Rebel camp before it was detected. Climbing a steep mountain side, the men drove the defenders from their earthworks. Twenty Confederates were killed, and two cannon and a number of prisoners were captured. In addition a mill and outbuildings were burned. The regiment returned to Romney immediately after the fight, having marched a total of thirty-four miles in winter, and fought and won a battle in the middle - good work by any account!

Throughout the rest of January and into February the regiment continued to patrol and picket, until on March 7th they advanced on Winchester where they were attached to 2nd Brigade, Shields’ 2nd Division, Banks’ 5th Army Corps, and Dept. of the Shenandoah.

At Kernstown (a mere couple of weeks later) the regiment was placed in support of Daum’s Indiana Battery. The 5th Ohio continued in support of the battery until later afternoon, when Companies A-E were ordered forward under Colonel Patrick into the open. The 84th Pennsylvania [clicky] on the regiment’s right was forced to fall back (its Colonel - Murray - was killed trying to rally them). The 5th Ohio, though, maintained the close range fire fight. After four of the 5th Ohio’s colour bearers were shot down Captain George B. Whitcom grabbed the colours and shouted, “Boys, keep the colours up!” before he was struck over the eye and killed - those words became part of the regimental badge, and are on its monument at Gettysburg.

When reinforcements came up in the form of the 14th Indiana [ckicky], the Union line advanced and drove the Confederates from the field. The regiment lost 47 casualties in the battle, and after the fight the regimental colours were found to have 48 bullet holes, and the national colours ten......  😲

Dunning resigned through injury in the following August, and Patrick was promoted to replace him. He was in command of the 5th at the Battle of Cedar Mountain, missed the Battle of Antietam due to illness, and commanded at the Battle of Gettysburg. From November of 1863 until January of 1864 during the Atlanta Campaign he commanded the First Brigade of the Second Division of the Twelfth Corps. Patrick was killed at the Battle of New Hope Church, Georgia, on May 25, 1864, struck in the abdomen by an artillery shell.

Figures by Newline Designs 20mm painted March/April 2020