Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Work in Progress

With the lead pile levelled and no plans to order any more figures until at least the end of September, I have turned my attention to a few items of scenery for our upcoming annual wargames week.

First up is a set of  plastic wattle fences from Renedra. These I bought for use with the Dark Ages project, but they will also have a role with the East African and various Eastern European villages I have done of late.  When I broke the fences from their sprues and glued on the stands they looked too straight...too regular. So I decided to take some of the longer pieces and bend them a little to soften the lines. I like the result. I painted them black, then drybrushed them with brown and then several lighter shades.

Second was a piece for the East African game. It is a rocky outcrop in the jungle with a pond in the centre that flows out with a small waterfall. This will go together with the several dozen jungle pieces already made.

Finally there are two African huts (and the full set below). I still have at least four more of these to complete.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Sunday's Game - the Crimean War

Today's "regular" game has seen the Crimean War armies out of the boxes for the first time in a year. The game was pretty much a repeat of scenario used for the Napoleonic game of two weeks ago whereby both sides were attempting to control roads on opposite sides of  very difficult hill. The terrain was the same as that game, with the western European building replaced by some more eastern types and a number of the woods removed.

Please note that I have made little attempt to organise the images in this post into any sort of chronological order.

The armies were large. The Russians had two full infantry divisions - 32 battalions and six batteries - and a cavalry division of 4 line and 4 cossack regiments supported by a cossack battery. The Allied army could count, 11 British, 13 French and 6  Sardinian infantry battalions, 5 British and 3 French cavalry regiments plus 5 British, 3 French and 1 Sardinian batteries. So in all 62 battalions, 16 cavalry regiments and 16 batteries. The majority of the figures are Great War Miniatures, with some with some Foundry and Perry to make up differences. The rules were the usual house rules, as published on this blog. 

The Sardinians began the game in position, occupying two small redoubts with a bersagleri battalion in each, and four battalions and a battery in camp at the foot of the hill. The rest of the armies were to deploy more or less diagonally opposite of each other.

The Russians had the first move. One division went left to secure the hill while the other one swung wide to the right to move around Allied left. The regular cavalry went to the right, while the cossacks operated on the left.

For the Allies the Sardinians  abandoned the redoubts and redeployed across the base of the hill. The French held the right where they could extend beyond the Russian left, while the British secured the left.

Things developed slowly as both sides found the going slow on the steep hill. First blood was spilled when four large Russian batteries opened on Cathcart's British Division. The Russian bombardment continued relentlessly here and in the space of two or three turns most of the division was cut to shreds.

The Russian infantry on the left secured the crest of the hill, but weren't keen to push across it in the face of British rifle fire. 

The French pressed forward relentlessely. Their cavalry drove back the cossacks, then dared to attack three Russian batteries frontally. It was a risky move, but the failure of one Russian battery to cause any serious casualties allowed the French cavalry to get amongst two batteries and drive the gunners away.

As the French infantry began to dominate the Russian right, the Russians on the hill moved forward against the Sardinians. They drove off the first Sardinian line, but could not drive the supports. The Russians desperately needed to steal the initiative and if they were able would be able to sweep the hill clear... But to wasn't to be and there the attack stalled. The Russian infantry on the right finally got going and drove back two battalions of the Guards. The Light Brigade attempted to intervene, but this was no position for cavalry and it achieved little

But the end was nigh on the Russian left. The French had the better numbers and despite a couple of spoiling attacks by two battalions the Russian line began to crumble. 

Here we ended the game. The Allies could claim victory, having gained the road on the Russian right, while defending their own road.

It was an excellent day of gaming. We had played for maybe six hours in a wet and windy day.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Project Management

Following from Nate's challenge on his Natholeon's Empires blog, here is my "project  statement" for the next year and a bit.

Prussian Napoleonics 
Two regiments (12 figures each) of cavalry 
1 horse artillery battery (1 gun four crew)
Target completion date - late October 2017

War of 1812 American  infantry brigade
Command group (1 mounted and 1 foot figure) - Completed
5 infantry battalions (24 figures each)
1 foot battery ( 1 gun. 6 crew)
Target Completion date - November-December 2017

Crimean War
The Heavy Brigade (5 regiments, 6 figures each)
Target completion date - December 2017

French in Egypt
9 infantry battalions (18 figures each)
2 cavalry regiments (9 figures each)
1 dromedary regiment (9 figures)
3 field guns with 4 crew each
6 mounted generals
Start date - December 2017
Target completion date - March 2018

Ottoman Turks (as opponents for French in Egypt and Russians 1807-1812)
Composition unknown
Start date - March 2018
Target completion date - June 2018

Great Northern War
Composition yet to be decided, but probably
12-18 battalions (18 figures each)
10 cavalry regiments (9 figures each)
6 guns and crews.
12 generals 
Start mid 2018
Target completion date - end of 2018

French Napoleonic Army 1812
Composition unknown
Start - sometime between now and end of 2018

I have absolutely no doubt that there will be something else that will crop up to take my fancy before the end of 2018 and result in an unplanned project.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

The Petrograd Hussars and the Completion of the Russian Napoleonic Project.

Although the dragoons were the most numerous of all the Russian cavalry types in the Napoleonic Wars nothing speaks of eastern European cavalry more than the hussars. There is something inherently romantic about hussars, especially Russian hussars. Any mention of them sets my mind racing with those spectacular movie scenes with the dashing hussar officers at the grand balls in the St Petersburg palaces. 
When I came to add a regiment to my Russian Napoleonic army, choosing which hussar regiment to do was never really an issue. It was always going to be the Petrograd Regiment and there were three reasons. First, it was the regiment I painted way back in the 1970’s for my original Russian army and sold some time in the 90’s. As I have mentioned before that 1970's army, made up from Hinchliffe figures, provided the inspiration for creating this one. Second, it was the regiment in which Nicolai Rostov served in Tolstoy’s War and Peace – and who can forget the imagery of that charge after Kutuzov (or was it Bagration) ordered “...send in the Petrograd Hussars”? Third, it was the uniform - green breeches and dolman, turquoise facings and pelisse, yellow braid and red houndstooth edging on the shabraque.

As usual these are the Perry figures. In service most units dispensed with the shako plumes and the pelisse, but what is a hussar without the plumes and pelisses? So my hussars are in full dress.

So the army is complete…well maybe. There may be a "need" for a few more units (perhaps some in the 1809 uniforms since many units did not receive their 1812 issue uniforms until as late as 1813) and maybe some limbers and supply carts at some time in the future, but for now at least it is finished.
And the final count:
1 High Command Group (8 foot figures)
1 Infantry Division command group (2 mounted figures)
3 Infantry Brigadiers (3 mounted figures)
8 Musketeer Battalions (192 foot figures)
4 Jäger Battalions (96 foot figures)
1 Artillery Commander (1 mounted figure)          
2 Field Batteries (16 foot figures, 4 guns)
1 Position Battery (8 foot figures, 2 guns)
1 Cavalry Division command group (2 mounted figures)
2 Cavalry Brigadiers (2 mounted figures)
2 Cuirassier Regiments (24 mounted figures)
2 Dragoon Regiments (24 mounted figures)
1 Hussar Regiment (12 mounted figures)
1 Horse Battery (8 foot figures, 2 guns)
All in all that is:
328 foot figures
70 mounted figures
8 guns
Laid out in their Divisional Review they look an impressive force.

The Infantry Division, the artillery, two musketeer brigades and the jäger brigade (rear)

The First Musketeer Brigade

The Second Musketeer Brigade

The Jäger Brigade

The divisional artillery

The Cavalry Division, the cuirassier brigade (left), the horse battery and the dragoon brigade, with hussars attached (right)

The Cuirassier Brigade

The Dragoon Brigade

The high command group
But they pack away neatly into four plastic drawers...

...that in turn slide into a stacking case.

This week also sees the finish of the base for the Russian winter church, the completion of which closes out another project.