Thursday, June 28, 2012

Soviet artillery

The latest base completed for Jim's Soviet army is this anti-tank gun and crew. There'll be several more bases coming soon, with more artillery, forward observation post, command and more machine guns and infantry to come.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Scenario Scenery

When it rains, it pours!

Yesterday my Romans and Goths arrived and today my animals from Irregular Miniatures. Ordered in March and only just arrived, though I did have it sent by surface mail to reduce the cost.

I'll use these in scenarios where one side has to protect a supply column, or use scouting to find where the locals drive their herds over fords, for example.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Blog!

I've just published my first post on my new blog Romani in Tenebri. Go and take a look!

It's a work in progress dedicated to my Late Roman project. I thought that since this one is supposed to be mainly Napoleonic, I should not contaminate it too much with plans for other periods.

I always thought I'd be a one period kind of gamer, but as you may be aware, I've felt the siren call of late antiquity. In order to do justice to this blog, I thought it only fair to start a new one. Whether or not it goes anywhere, time will tell.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

300 Posts!

It's that one 3rd from the right, 6 rows back.
Yes, this is my 300th post!

Numbers 100 and 200 seem to have slipped me by, so I thought I should mark the occasion this time. I was going to just show some WIP of my Roman cavalry, but as this blog is supposed to be about my Napoleonic collection I thought I should do something relating to the topic.

It is high time to display my entire collection of Napoleonic 1/72 figures in all their glory and how better to do that than by having them face off against each other?!

My French and Allied contingent

Dragoons and French infantry

Legere and artillery line

Legere in skirmish order

Light cavalry


Line Infantry

British and Allies

Rifles taking on their French counterpars

Artillery and infantry on the ridgeline!

British infantry

Spanish infantry (This is how I'm going to use them from now on;: massed in columns!)

One big block of Spanish infantry!


Walloon Guards

Dragoons of Sagunto

Portuguese infantry

Highland general

Line officer


The thin red line: 3rd (Buffs) and the 71st Glasgow Highland Light Infantry

92nd Gordon Highland Regiment

The two armies facing off

Friday, June 22, 2012

(Audio) Book Review - All the King's Men

After listening to various podcasts (especially the American ones) I succumbed to the sponsor's  message and got my free download after subscribing to

I settled on 'All the King's Men' by Saul David, whose work on the Victorian era I'd read previously and thoroughly enjoyed. I don't know if it was the format, the narrator or the content, but I was left a little underwhelmed by the experience. It may be that if I'd read it myself I would have enjoyed it more, but I'm not convinced. Part of the problem is that the book bills itself as "The British soldier from the Restoration to Waterloo", but it is more a narrative of the so-called Long 18th Century, rather than a sociological examination of the redcoat during this period.

As a narrative history of the wars, campaigns, battles and personalities of the period there's nothing wrong with it and actually makes a fairly good tale, but the misleading subtitle left me feeling slightly cheated. That is more than likely not the author's fault, but detracted from what would have been an otherwise enjoyable experience.

As to the narrator, Sean Barrett (I'm sure I've heard him narrating a Sharpe novel in audio-book form), his stentorian delivery sounds more applicable to the stage rather than reading a non-fiction book. When he was reading first person recollections of events his acting skills and accents were suitable, but I found the rest of his delivery a bit artificial. Maybe  I've been spoiled by listening to too many podcasts where the presenters are enthusiastic amateurs who come across as friends chatting animatedly to you about their favourite topic. I found the experience less than what I'd hoped for. Maybe it's a format that lends itself more to fiction?

Anyway, the book itself covers the history of the British army from the time of the Restoration all the way through to the fall of Napoleon. During this time the army was led with varying degrees of success by leaders including the best two generals Britain and possibly the world has ever known; Marlborough and Wellington. Besides the unfortunate events of the American Revolution, the British army didn't suffer any major defeat during this period. The author compares the tension between the maritime vs. continental strategies that dominated the period and (not surprisingly) concludes that the maritime supremacy that Britain gained during this period resulting in the great 19th century empire was the result of all the hard-won victories gained by the army, not the other way around. Because Britain fought mainly the French, they could attack them in their colonies, but also as part of a continental coalition, thus being able to exact better terms once the post-war spoils were divided compared to what they would have gained if they had concentrated solely on colonial and naval warfare.

In all, it's a fairly standard narrative military history of the period, understandably focussed on the big events and the stand-out personalities of the period. 

I might try and find a hard-copy version of it at some stage in the future and re-read it to see if I enjoy it any more than I did listening to it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Spanish Cavalry Save the Day (....nearly!)

Another game, another loss! I really should stop playing with my Spanish army(or play a bit smarter by bunching a brigade of  them in columns and only using them as a reserve.)

Anyway, my newly minted Dragones del Sagunto survived the games as one of the few units left standing, so that was a victory of some sort, I guess......What? Stop rolling your eyes, you lot! I've got to get it where I find it!

In a 1200 pointt game against Garry's French I set up my British on the left flank and the Spanish on the right. I had the Walloon Guards and the converged grenadiers on the right flank as that's where I expected the worst to come. The theory was right, but the practice left a little to be desired as the Walloons acted like recruits and failed to form square as the Vistula Lancers came bearing down on them.

I desperately tried to hold on after the Walloons got squished by sending the British guns and 2 infantry battalions to bolster the Spanish, but  my luck wasn't with me as it was last game and Garry's tactical nous didn't let me get away with wishful thinking. 

The Anglo-Iberian army

Dragones del Sagunto on debut!

The British contingent

Allies win the initiative and move first!

The 3rd  Foot (Buffs)

The British line from the left flank

The plan was to let Garry come over the terrain obstacles to impale himself on my bayonets, but he didn't read the script, damn him!

All he sent were his legere.

The cavalry just glared at each other most of the match...

...while the bulk of his infantry were facing my Spanish brigade (fancy that!).

"OK compañeros, time to form square!"
"Ah, mañana, Coronel!"

So, the Walloons on the right are supposed to form a square to anchor the line, while the grenadiers in column are supposed to come up in support.

Things don't look too bad at this early stage.

The Spanish guns even manage to inflict some damage.

It still all looks impressive.

 "Eh, Coronel... about that square...."

92nd Highlanders move to the right to bolster the Spanish line...

... and the Saguntos move up in line to support (too close as it turns out)

The Walloons again fail to form square at the crucial moment, and despite taking flank fire from the square as they charge...

...the Vistula lancers crush the Wallons and then send the Saguntos reeling!

The new Spanish right flank!

Garry sends artillery and infantry to threaten the Spanish flank...

...while I send the Gordons to threaten  his lancers

The square shakes out into line to refuse the flank, while the grenadiers move up to cover the front

The perilous Spanish position. Not fatal if only I can bring up support before the hammer falls.

Here they come: the 50th Foot and the British foot and horse artillery

Garry charged out of the woods to be met by a volley from the grenadiers.

We both rolled appallingly badly, but Garry came off worse after losing casualties and charging from a wood.

That didn't matter as he had more options up his sleeve!

The Gordons fired on the Vistula lancers' flank and sent them retiring to a more central position. Decent of them eh, what?

The British arrive on the Spanish flank to try to bolster the defense. Shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic?

The rfles were moved to try to add a little disorder to Garry's columns, but Garry didn't hang around long enough!

Dramatic shot of defiant Spaniards and plucky German riflemen

Another dramatic shot of doughty Scots in closed column "see you, Jimmy!"

Saguntos lurking for an opportunity.

All the riflemen did was get in the way when Garry charged, resulting in a fleeing, broken grenadier battalion...

...and another broken line battalion...

...closely followed by a third retreating line battalion!

The Spanish guns were next in Garry's sights.

Spanish gunners stood to their guns and took a French casualty with them...

....but they couldn't stand!

On the left flank, Garry marched a closed column up to my cavalry, who stood there picking their noses after failing to take an opportunity charge, then fired on them causing a casualty.

After asking for a divisional morale check on my Spaniards, who only had one battalion in good morale, I rolled a one! they spat tobacco juice on French boots and rolled up their sleeves and said "Is that all you got, señor?"

British guns got to work on the French flank. Too little, too late!

I was hoping to snatch something from the situation

The Saguntos had a nice gap to work with, but...

...Garry had the last word! A regimental charge goes in.

Garry rolls 6...

...and I roll 1! Can't get worse than that!

"Sálvese quien pueda!"

Garry ends up too close for the Saguntos to be able to effectively charge!

Another charge gets rid of a British battalion, with the Buffs next to go, and it's game over!

The Saguntos, the 50th and the 92nd are the remaining formed units left on the field

¡Hurra por los Dragones de Sagunto!

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