Friday, August 14, 2015

Great Northern War Expansion?

Almost before I've got started I'm already considering the possibility of expanding the project beyond the original (sketchy) proposal.
One of the reasons I like the early 18th century is the endless possibilities of interaction between the two major conflicts during the years 1704-1712.  The War of the Spanish Succession, for my project at least, centers on the battles in western Europe, whilst the Great Northern War is fought in eastern Europe by and large.  However, within that we have the Danes fighting in both conflicts, the Imperial forces facing the possibility of Turkish invasion and, the smaller German states fighting for the highest offer.  Throw in the Saxons, who were courted heavily by both England and France to join their respective causes before Augustus threw his lot in with Peter against Charles in Poland (and got thrashed for the privilege).
But more than that we also have both Charles XII and Peter the Great fighting the Ottoman empire before the end of the Great Northern War.  Indeed one could make an argument for a Swedish Turkish alliance against Peter after Poltava.
Warlord Games have had the above figures for a while I believe but they continue to add to the range.  The temptation to get some and create a small (do I do anything "small" I wonder) Turkish force is getting harder to resist.
My quandary is whether the dress of the Janissary corps changed significantly between 1648 (the end date on the Warlord Games box) and 1712 for me to worry about?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

War of the Spanish Succession website

Most of us are no doubt aware of the terrific resource for the Seven Years War that is the Kronoskaf SYW Project.

What you may not realise is that there is now a sister site for the War of the Spanish Succession.  It's in it's infancy at the moment but it is shaping up to be a something quite special in the same way that the SYW page has become.

Currently it is accessible by subscription only but this is only $20CAD or about £10 for a year.

The subscription link is within the page on the above link (top of the page n the news section)

Monday, July 13, 2015

And Another Month Slips By

So June and half of  July slip by in the blink of an eye. 
With so much happening outside of any wargaming it is a bit of a surprise that I've managed to get anything done on the paint table.  Nevertheless there has been activity and whilst painfully slow it is progress all the same.
For a while now I've been looking at my Ramillies project from a purely French point of view.  All the new figures over the last few years have been for that Alliance in a bid to try and stem the growing numbers of opponents from my fellow gamers at the Grimsby Wargames Society.  We started this thing with English & French.  Then the Imperialists turned up and now the Prussians.  When it was just the English facing me I tried to balance the table a little by creating a Danish force. 
Now little used it has given me the opportunity to provide a game with both sides coming from my collection.  In order to make them larger games I've decided to add a few Dutch battalions to the Danes (and we always need more Dutch - a nation under represented in our combined collections so far).
So the first battalion has been finished.
 This battalion is all from Front Rank with flags from the ever excellent Maverick Models.
 I've chosen to have them in a firing configuration.  Normally I don't like it because of the muskets overlapping the leading edge of the base.  So this time they've been based on deeper bases and in two ranks to represent the platoon firing used (Grimsby club convention that makes the game flow nicely).
 Bases are from the terrific Warbases and are 60x60mm.  Being a thirty six figure strong battalion meant that to keep it simple it had to be six bases of six.

Two months ago was the inaugural "A Military Gentleman" game at Partizan.  As part of that I agreed to provide a number of command stands for the game.  That opportunity allowed me to revamp a number of my older command figures into a common style and size.  So here are a few of the nine that I did.
 Above the mounted figure and the officer waving the sword are from Front Rank with the sentry a Dixon figure.  Dixon are, for me, a bit of a mixed bunch.  There are some lovely figures in their range and then some with awkward design flaws (hunchbacks, gorilla length arms, banana hands).  But their standing sentries are quite delightful if a little small.
 Above the mounted officer id from Foundry and the two foot figures Ebor.  Ebor is a range I really like and will be ordering considerably more of once the lead level in the big blue box reduces below the overflow level.
 Officer and cornet from Front Rank and the trooper is from the "I haven't a Clue" range made by "Ask me another".  However, the Trooper is quite superb.  I particularly like the sculpting of the horse although not visible in this photograph it is a really nice pose.  This group lead the Bavarian contingent in my collection.
 Flag from "Flags of War".  Mounted figure Front Rank all other Ebor.
Front Rank, Ebor & Dixon combine to provide a "They're Over there Sir!" picture.
Finally a little fun.  "Madam I find you a trifle under dressed for today's affair".  The servant, who is holding a coat for the lady exposing more than is appropriate is from Foundry.  The lady in question one of the "Belt Fed" girls from Colonel Bill.

So next on the table will another Dutch battalion this time from Ebor.  It just may take a while to appear on the table top.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

What Day is it?

You know very well what day it is.  As historians and wargamers we are all aware of the significance of today.  The sacrifice and heroics that were shown on all sides.

You'd not know of course if you looked at the TV schedules for the five main channels. Not a single one has any commemoration programme of this momentous battle.  I think we'll be lucky if it makes the top five news stories on the main news broadcast.  Disappointing is too light a word for it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Quatre Bras - Grimsby Wargames Society Action 13th June

What do you do on a cold and wet Saturday in June?
You go to the Grimsby Wargames Society and join half a dozen like minded souls to refight the action at Quatre Bras.  
Using their extensive collections Andy & Mark organised the table and troops so that players arrived and could get straight into the game.  They had decided to start the battle around 3pm - the time that Ney finally roused himself sufficiently to try and force the cross roads.  As a consequence the infantry were deployed and the horse in reserve.
 An overview above Jerome's formation looking across Foy & Bachelu with Pire in reserve.
 Bachelu deployed one of his brigades to attack along side one brigade from Foy.  The markers in mid-stream show the area of the stream that was deemed impassable.  As a consequence Bachelu sent his other brigade out to the extreme right to cross the stream further down. and to try and turn the Allied flank.  Whilst this ultimately failed it did force the Allies to draw in a large part of their reserves as they arrived to this section of the battlefield during the game.
 Foy also attacked alongside Jerome with more success.  The Dutch-Belgians holding their original positions put up a stubborn defence but were ultimately defeated.  Unfortunately for the French that defeat came at the point when the British Foot Guards had arrived and were in a position to utterly defeat all three French foot brigades facing them in a single then.
 Pire's cavalry.  Lots of light cavalry that were reluctant to move.  Five successive morale tests to get them to move delayed any impact they were to have.  In the end they moved forward at around 7pm real time which was sufficient for the Chasseurs to ride down a Brunswick battery (but being so badly shot over that regiment were forced to retire) and to utterly defeat the single squadron of Brunswick Uhlans (not led by the Duke this time).  Too little too late.

Quatre Bras is a surprisingly difficult battle for the French to win despite what may be read in some of the Anglo centric histories about the heroic efforts of the boys in red.  But that it is not to say it is not unwinnable.  The French had their chance on Saturday and it was the valiant efforts of a couple of batteries in the Allied lines adjacent to the woods that turned the tide in their favour.
Facing almost the entire right hand brigade of Jerome's division, these batteries repulsed the French attack.  Had they failed then the morale status of the allied brigades they were attached to would have been precarious and probably forced the two Allied brigades from the table.  At the point the Allied reserves newly arrived consisted only of the Brunswickers - not enough to repel four brigades of French foot heading for the crossroads.  But the Allied foot stood firm and gave the Allies the time they needed.

Superb day and much fun was had.  My thanks to Mark & Andy for organising it.  Thanks also to my gallant commanders of Ron (Bachelu) and Mike (Jerome) - I took Foy and the overall command.  Congratulations to the opposition of Chris, John & James for putting up such a sterling effort to thwart the French.
 I'll leave you with some photographs of really bad close ups of some really beautiful 15mm figures in Andy's collection.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Post Partizan Painting

Since the show in Newark painting has been a little slower than normal but it has taken place.
Nine more figures to add to the nine painted pre Partizan for the planed Dutch brigade to go alongside my Danes.  The Dutch brigade will be four or five battalions (I can't remember whether I bought two or three Ebor battalions to go along side the two Front Rank units I swapped for some painted metal at Newark last year).
 The first battalion to be painted are all from Front Rank.  Giving them a red cuff against the grey coat makes them suitable for a number of battalions and the final designation will be determined when I find some flags that I like (and you thought I had a plan).
 I've chosen to have them in firing positions for a change so the figures are a mix of firing poses, at the ready and standing, so there should be some movement in the unit rather than the stoic pose I prefer for the French in my collection.
I wanted the grey to stand out from the French and so have chosen a slightly darker grey than I use normally.  Using "Miniature Paints" (rapidly becoming one of my favourite brands) I've base coated with dark grey and then highlighted with mid grey.  Unfortunately it looks just like my French colour scheme.  Oh well.
The one thing I don't like is the flesh.  I opened a new pot of flesh wash from "Cote d'Arms" and it is rubbish.  Too thin by half.  So I think I'm going to adding some GW Dark Flesh to the pot to improve the pigmentation.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Partizan & A Military Gentleman After Action Report

There are times when a piece of writing comes along and captures exactly the flavour of the day.  The following was written by Neil Cogswell and ......well read it for yourself.

Report to Maréchal le Marquis d’Aulley

During the action on the 31st of May near the village of Ligny I had the honour to command the division in the Right Centre of your line.
Pursuant to your orders this division advanced in three lines to the right of the village of Ligny and engaged in an intense fire fight with the Prussian forces opposite. Those Prussians were commanded by General von der Raÿ himself and engaged us closely disputing the passage of the stream. Initially our attack was successful shattering the Prussian regiment next to the village, but those broken troops were instantly replaced and the pendulum of fortune swung to and fro. In these circumstances I consulted Colonel de St Paul (lately a volunteer serving with the Austrian army) who was attached to my staff.
Colonel St Paul had taken a wider view of the developing action and advised me that he considered that the Prussian commander had made a fatal error in his dispositions; he observed that the Prussian line was divided in two by the village of Ligny. Instead of being a strong point St Paul contended that this village was a potentially fatal weakness; he believed it to be without a garrison.

St Paul maintained that, earlier in the action, a regiment of jäger had deployed forward from the village and then moved to their right. There they had caused some discomfort to the division on my left commanded by General du Gan but not without receiving casualties themselves from musketry and artillery fire. Now, as General du Gan regrouped before renewing his attack, those jäger had taken a new post in front of the village whence their long range fire could incommode my attack on the right. St Paul maintained that there would be no other Prussian troops in the village – or none that were sober anyway – and begged me for a single regiment that he might drive those ruffians away, seize the village, and thereby smash the Prussian centre. I gave him Royal Italian from my second line for this purpose.

St Paul took command of Royal Italian just as it came level with the road that leads directly up to Ligny. St Paul assumed that road must inevitably lead to a ford that would negate the inconvenience of the stream. And so it proved. St Paul ordered the regiment: “By the left, by company, left form!” Each company of the regiment wheeled on its left flank marker thereby forming a column of companies. St Paul now ordered “March!” and the column drove down the road like a bolt from a crossbow into the heart of the Prussian position.

As expected the already weakened jäger fled into the buildings; the threat of bayonets held no appeal to them. As Royal Italian crossed the ford faces appeared at the windows of the houses. A Prussian prisoner who had fallen behind as the jäger retreated growled: “My colleagues are under cover and resting their rifles, now you will discover how foolish your rash attack is.” St Paul replied: “Their weapons are already foul from firing further impeding their already pathetic rate of fire; whilst a rifle is useful for the unsoldierly activity of sniping is an irrelevance or encumbrance in close quarter contact.” And so it proved. The volley from the houses touched barely one man in thirty of Royal Italian whilst the carefully preserved first volley from the rapidly deploying leading companies laid low almost half the defenders irrespective of their skulking. With the cry: “Vive le Roi! Victoire!” the regiment surged forward.

Surely there could be no opposition. The jäger must have lost more than half their strength during the battle – no troops could stand that; if they had not quit the village they would be in hiding in the cellars. But opposition there was. Had there been other troops in the houses? Had the dead risen? And how desperate was the opposition as Royal Italian forced their way into the houses!

Surely too late, von der Raÿ gathered whatever reinforcements he could find and hurled them into the opposite end of Ligny. St Paul growled: “Those reinforcements are the remains of two regiments broken by fire in the plain on either side of Ligny. If they enter the village their officers will instantly lose whatever control they had managed to regain since their previous defeat and the soldiers will either take the opportunity to hide or to desert; they will behave just as they did at Hochkirch and Maxen. Worse still, the Prussians within the village will be without unified command and those with a mind to fight will as likely fight each other.” In this view St Paul was confounded. General von der Raÿ himself must have intervened; only his charismatic leadership could have controlled those diverse elements. The Prussian reinforcements came forward through the village just in time to prevent the surviving jäger being overwhelmed; the struggle became intense. Royal Italian had now lost perhaps one man in ten whilst every Prussian they killed seemed to be replaced by two.

Finally night fell and the Prussian army began its withdrawal. The strike against Ligny had failed to break the line though it had taken a miracle and the personal courage of General von der Raÿ to preserve the Prussians.
Sire, I have the honour to be
Neil de Barbegris