Sunday, July 29, 2012

Per Mare, Per Terram

Here's the completed Royal Marines battalion. I deliberately kept it small, as they wouldn't have been able to field a full infantry-sized battalion except in the most exceptional circumstances, such as a large fleet's entire complement of marines.

I might have to boost it by a couple of figures in the interests of a good game, because it wouldn't make much of a scenario if they copped too many casualties in their first combat, broke and ran. That hoary old chestnut of historical accuracy vs. playability!

I'm planning to rate them the same as British Light Infantry in our home-brew rules, ie. fairly tough-nuts to crack, but as there's so few they'll have their work cut out until support arrives.

I've got some secret plans to make the landing work if met by over-aggressive French players, but don't tell anyone!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Napoleonic Cavalry Charge and Other Stuff

Apparently this video has been kicking around various forums (fora?) for a while, but it came to my attention courtesy of Robert (Benevolent Chastiser of Serfs) of La Bricole forum and Serrez les Rangs blog fame. It shows a recreation of a Napoleonic cavalry charge performed by the cavalry of the French Republican Guard circa 1970 (when your humble correspondent was but a wee babe in arms!).

There is a commentary, but it's in French so some of my francophone friends might be able to tell me what is said! It's a very interesting view of how a cavalry charge may have looked from the start. I was impressed by the noise of the trumpeters, as I never really really thought of the volume generated, but I suppose that's accurate as they trumpet tunes indicated various commands that needed to be heard by everyone.

I also liked the aerial shots showing how ragged the line becomes once full speed was reached.

Speaking of La Bricole, there is now another painting challenge being run; this time to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Salamanca. The form it takes this time is to create a small vignette of command figures or morale markers etc. I still haven't entered, but may still yet dive in with a command stand for my Naval landing party!

Another member of the La Bricole family, Kawe (aka Schrumpfkopf of Grossbeeren 1813) has started an online shop selling quirky 28mm figures for wargaming, dioramas etc. He's bypassed the usual infantry marching, charging, firing etc. to concentrate on the more unusual, including Prussian medical services (including ambulance), French engineers in full armour and kilt-clad Highlanders showing everyone what's under their kilts! All the figures are sculpted by the talented and prolific Paul Hicks.

Click the image below to go to the store. There's also a link in the sidebar in the retailers section.

Good luck with the venture, Kawe!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Royal Marines Officer

Here's the officer of the Royal Marines landing party. 

He's from the lovely HaT Peninsula British Infantry set. I've painted him up based on the image from Mark Adkins' masterful Trafalgar Companion. It shows him wearing blue over-all trousers rather than the usual infantry white.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Pirates in September - Royal Marines

As the club is holding it's 2nd annual Pirates in Septemeber meeting soon, I've decided to restart my Royal Marine and Royal Navy landing party so that I can host a scenario that's been kicking around the inside of my skull for the last year or so.

As those of you who may remember, I had a go at scratch building a boat for this scenario, but ran out of puff getting all the figures ready before the first Pirates meet last year. This year I intend to be ready!

Here's the last 2 Royal Marine infantry figures on their way to be completed. I've got an officer and a command stand to go, then finish the redoubt/fort that is the object of the scenario.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Scenario Scenery #3 - Ox Wagon

Finished varnishing and basing the wagon tonight. 

It's still a little on the damp side, but I thought it looked good enough to post!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

NWA Open Day- Games 2012

Yes, it's on again! This time I'm spruiking it a little earlier than last time. Hopefully some of my Antipodean followers might be able to make it this time if they're in the area!

Below is the text from the club's newsletter regarding the line up so far. If there are any updates I'll post them here as well. Traders have been invited but not confirmed as yet, so I'll post a list of those definitely coming once the list is finalised

The NWA Open Day – Games 2012 – will be held on Saturday, 4th of August, 2012, at the Croydon Uniting Church (Tallent Street, Croydon – Melway Map Ref: 52 K2).

Doors open to the public at 10.00 AM and closes at 4.00 PM. Admission FREE!

Games that will be presented on the day (confirmed) will be:
·        Borodino 1812 (Cold Steel 28mm)                              Mike Goldyn & John Waligora
·        Waterloo 1815 (FoGN 15mm)                                      John Shaw
·        Legends of the Old West (28mm)                                 Darren Paterson
·        American Civil War Skirmish (28mm)                          Charles Csabi
·        Stalingrad WW2 (Book of Armaments 20mm)            Stephen White
·        I-48 Stalingrad (I-48 WW2 Skirmish 28mm)                Brendan Day
·        Lord of the Rings (LotR 28mm)                                     Jeremy Shannon
·        Victorian Sci-Fi (Gaslight 28mm)                                 Neil Hughes
·        Super Heroes (Super System 28mm)                          James Wright
*     Kokoda 1942 (Crossfire 15mm)                                  Michael Stringer

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Scenario Scenery #2 - Ox & Wagon

This is the latest WIP in my non-combatant figure collection; an ox cart and driver. I intend to use it in scenarios as an objective marker for scenarios. I also have a couple of barrels that fit nicely in the wagon on their sides or upright.

All that remains is a coat of varnish and basing and it'll be ready to join the mules and sheep!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Soviet Command and Forward Observer Bases

 More Soviets for Jimbo!

Yes, there is slow movement on the Eastern front. I've got another artillery base and a heavy machine gun base to come next, then another LMG, more infantry and mortars and an AA base.

The command figures are Plastic Soldier, but the observers are metal of a make that I can't remember. Jim'll let us know I'm sure!

His stipulation for the observers were that they should be based in a mini-diorama, behind some sort of cover. I've arranged them behind an earth bank and bush with a shattered tree. Hope that suits Jim!

'Berlin's that way, you clowns!'

'Hmm, I'd better give him something for his blood pressure'

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bloody Friday 13th! #2, ...or, Does the Devil Use PayPal?

In an attempt to get the monkey off my back, I chose to field 1200 pts of my French forces against Tim's Spaniards and Pete E.'s British. In what should have been a hard-fought, but inevitable, French victory against the Spanish, I went down in an ignominyus....ignuminus....bloody shameful defeat all (well, mainly..) due to being abandoned by the Dice God! 

I have stolen the crown from King Robin as the player with the worst dice Mojo! I'm thinking of putting my soul up for sale on Hell-Bay so that I can get some Satan-assisted dice rolls at crucial moments. 

And to top it all off, the camera batteries died just when the action started in earnest and I didn't have any spares!

So to the shameful story; I placed the majority of my infantry facing Pete's British, intending to sit on the defensive with a line from the woods on the left to the town in the centre, while on the right flank I intended to go on the offensive with a combined arms attack on the Spanish left. When Tim placed some of his light infantry in the church on the flank of my Italians that slowed things down while I got some infantry from the left wing to deal with the guerillas and to deal with church. Tim's cavalry also lurked in the rear threatening mischief too. I was in two minds as what to do in the central area and consequently exposed my forces to Tim's artillery unnecessarily.

Tim's initial deployment. His strategy was to expand as far as he could to deny me a flank

My initial deployment on the left facing the British. I left the BUAs vacant too long. If I'd occupied them from the beginning I could have avoided some of the nastiness that followed!

My right wing advances. The Italians breast the hedges followed by a battalion of Westphalians and French legere. My light cavalry and horse guns advance in the background

Pete advances. If I'd been able to take the BUA on my first move he'd have faced flank fire immediately. Even if I'd occupied them the next move I could have flanked him. I was worried about weakening my infantry strength by locking at least one battalion in the buildings in the event he advanced on my position. 

Tim's first move was to put EVERYTHING in sqaure!

Guerrillas form ready to give fire on my advancing Italians 

The battalion on the left of the guns were in closed column and were supposed to deflect any charge by Pete's  cavalry; good plan, but not so well executed! The battalions on the right were beginning to move in the direction of the BUA, but  indecision turned them elsewhere!

Guerrillas jump out from behind the hedge; BOO! Italians not impressed

The cavalry on the hill lock down the Spanish infantry while the horse guns maul the nearest square.

The legere battalion lurking in the woods on the left flank especially to dissuade this sort of British move! 

Italians formed in closed column as Tim moves his cavalry forward, out of frame,  while the guerillas continue to buzz around

My horse guns and their targets on my right flank

The legere form into line on the left flank while my guns spray the highlander column against the BUA.

I detached one of the infantry battalions from the left hand brigade to clear the guerrillas  from the Italians' flank

I moved the legere on the right flank forward and skirmished the rear of the column for the same purpose

The square at the foot of the ridge would just not die! They stood firm  and took a pounding until the Westphalians marched up and persuaded them to vacate the ground with a volley from the head of the column,
Tim's light infantry occupy the church ...

...and present a problem to my forward progress while firmly in the Italians' left flank!

Clearing the guerrillas took more than merely the skirmished elites from one  battalion; fruitless exchange of powder , just wasting cartridges!

My gunners fired 3 shots at the highlanders causing 3 casualties and a failed morale check in response to 30% casualties! HUZZAH!

After this, the batteries died and Pete's cavalry charged (I don't think it was cause and effect, though!). I'd advanced the guns slightly, along with the flanking battalion on the right. I still was under the impression that my left hand battalion in closed column was guarding the whole front against cavalry attack, but found the hard way that Pete's cavalry in line covered a narrow enough frontage to completely miss the closed column!  The artillery stood to their guns and fired, inflicting a casualty, while my infantry tried and failed to form square. Both guns and infantry were defeated in the consequent melee, forced to retreat with heavy losses.

Meanwhile Pete brought up his infantry into line in the woods and engaged my legere in a firefight, which I lost  courtesy of my brilliant (not!) dice rolling, forcing them back. I managed to bring another infantry battalion around onto his victorious line's flank and fired on it, forcing it to retreat in turn.

After Pete's glorious charge, I moved some of my remaining infantry to threaten his cavalry's flank, forcing him to retire back to where he started. It was now I was persuaded of the efficacy of occupying the BUAs on his flank and proceeded to play on the flanks of his artillery and cavalry forcing them to move out of range. His highlanders tried to move through the BUAs but got a dose of flank fire causing a second morale failure and retreat!

After that surprising recovery, it was the right flank where everything went pear-shaped. My Westphalians took the role of the go-to guys after my Italians got bogged down with cavalry in front and infantry in the flank of their approach. The cavalry were being pushed back by some gutsy moves from a couple of Tim's squares, so I thought it was time for the Westphalians to do some square bashing in tandem with the horse guns. The plan was for the infantry to get rid of the squares in front, allowing the hussars to pour through the resulting gap to crush the Spanish cavalry who would be left unsupported. So far, so good. As with all plans, reality soon throws a spanner in the works. And what a spanner! I roll a one and Tim rolls a 6; meaning my charge bounces off his square... off his Spanish infantry square! The shame! :*(

Tim's cavalry do not throw away the chance they were handed and charged in smacking my Westphalians (who failed to form square), then following through to catch my flat-footed Chasseurs a Cheval in the flank (smashing them) and continuing on to roll up my line of elite legere infantry. None of this was inevitable, mind you. If I'd been able to have any semblance of cooperation from my dice, it may not have been so earth-shatteringly bad, but if I needed to roll low , I rolled high; if I needed to roll high, I rolled low. It didn't matter whether or not it was a d6 or a d10, whether I changed the dice or not; whatever I rolled was the polar opposite of what I needed. And so when it came to rolling for my divisional morale check, guess what? That's right; I failed it!

All this was attended to with growing disbelief and hilarity by all who witnessed my ineptitude with the dice, including myself (well, you've got to laugh or else you'd have to cry...or fling the dice out the nearest window and stomp all over your soldiers bellowing primordial screams of rage...yes, Nurse, I'm fine... That twitch? Oh that developed after last Friday's game...[starts rocking back and forth, clutching knees, huddled in corner]... all I needed was 3 or above... is that too much to ask?)

So, I have one soul (slightly crushed) neatly packaged in a bubble-wrap envelope addressed:

C/O B.L.Z.Bub
Infernal Dice Division
9th Circle of Hell

I just hope that dice mojo is transferable via PayPal.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guess Where I've Been?

I finally managed to get myself to this magnificent exhibition last night. With la petite Rosbifs at their grandmother's for the last few days of the school holidays, Madame Rosbif and I went to the National Gallery of Victoria here in Melbourne  for a bit of a date night and to absorb some French culture and history.

It certainly didn't disappoint! It covers the period from the last days of the Ancien Regime to Napoleon's exile to and death in St Helelna, with each period illustrated by paintings, etchings, period artefacts and video installations. Each room is devoted to one particular period such as the Revolution, Directory, Egypt campaign, Consulate etc, etc. with a wealth of objects and images illustrating each. 

Obviously my favourites were the last couple of rooms which covered the Empire period from his coronation to his downfall. It holds a wealth of items from uniforms and weapons belonging to such luminaries Ney, Davout and Massena, to jewellery belonging to Joshephine, Hortense and Marie-Louise, Napoleon's travelling toiletries kit, Eugene's diamond encrusted signet ring etc. etc.

The chap on the right was included in the exhibition. Image from Musee de l'Emperi (Salon-de-Provence

Murat in all his tight pants glory! Painting by Gerard

If you're a Napoleonic buff here in Australia, or can afford a trip here, you can't miss this amazing collection of paintings and artefacts here all under the one roof at the same time. Come and see it while you can 

Below: Two short films from the exhibition website presented by the curator of Versaille

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

British Bollix Big Battle....

Another British/Iberian game, another loss!

This time my Spaniards survived more or less unscathed; it was my handling of the British that let me down. 

In a three-handed game, I took on Robin and Ian with my whole Anglo-Iberian force, plus 2 highland regiments borrowed from Quinny. Ian brought his 1/72 French out of retirement for the match, so at least on that flank it was a battle of equal scale proportions for once!

Ian played the game perfectly after not playing for a long while (it helped that he'd sold his soul to the Dice God beforehand; more on that later!). His massed regimental charges were the perfect way to take on the British in line. I made a basic tactical error in not giving the flank facing Ian an artillery battery and also had my cavalry too far forward to be of any great assistance to my infantry, while Ian played a perfect all-arms attack.

Robin held the French left flank and used his cavalry dominance to hold that flank, but intimidated by the extra highlanders, kept a low profile until just before the game finished

Ian's magnificent 1/72nd French army;
 mainly HaT and converted Italeri with Zvezda guns.

Anglo-Iberian forces

Robin's Minifig French

My right wing including Quinny's ring-ins

The French won the initiative on a draw when we both rolled a 1. Consequently, they managed to seize all the ridges before I could, dammit!

Ian seizes the ridge with villages and farmland

He signalled his intentions early!

My left wing tried to anchor on the woods

The Spanish center faced a relatively quiet sector , which was how I hoped it would stay.

Spanish view of the village

The British deploy into line. It didn't stay that neat for long! 

Spaniards hold the center

First contact! Even though vastly outnumbered, the 5/60th hold their own in an inconclusive skirmish combat

Robin placed his artillery exactly where I planned to place it and brought up a lot of cavalry and infantry to support it. My foot gun battery did sterling work on his infantry, forcing one battalion to retreat after inflicting many casualties. However, my horse gun battery was wasted, stuck behind the ridge with no viable target to fire at. If only I'd put it on the left flank (or won the initiative roll!).

Robin's forces facing my British and Spanish

Robin's line being harassed by the 95th Rifles with the guerrilleros offering distant encouragement!

Robin's artillery fire on the light dragoons

He rolls a 10 and injures the General!

He takes his moment and charges, while I meet him in a counter-charge!

Despite his numerical superiority and the addition of his general, the result is a draw!

On the left flank, Ian cunningly moved his Chasseurs 'a Cheval just out of my light dragoons' charge arc to charge my light infantry, who easily formed square in time. That left them vulnerable to the infantry and artillery and also denied the infantry line on their right their support when the inevitable French massed charge went in.

Light infantry form square and see off the Chasseurs while the light dragoons look on

The lonely infantry line now face a massed regimental force gearing  up for a charge

My brave Glaswegian Highlanders holding steady in square

British being annoyed by tiralleurs before the charge

The 50th Foot attempt to get in position on the French flank without excessively exposing their flank. 

Ian's charge goes in! My infantry fired and knocked off a couple of figures, but.... the pre-melee morale check, Ian rolls a 6....

....while I ...didn't! (This was the first of three 6s in a row Ian rolled for pre-melee  morale checks, hence my suspicion about putting his soul on the market to Beelzebub and his minions)

The square puts in some flank fire as the massive column follows up on their victory, to no avail.

The 50th Foot tried shuffling further into the woods, but their flank still flapped in the breeze, offering a  tempting target to Ian's lancers.

I roll the dreaded 1 in response to Ian's 6!
Bye-bye 50th Foot!

92nd Gordon Highlanders suddenly feel warm equine breath down their necks!

I reshuffle the deck chairs to try to keep things going another couple of turns.

My Glaswegians are charged again, but this time fail to form square. Adios  muchachos!

Lancers push forward and the highlanders are dispatched in another lacklustre die roll from the British!

My Spanish light infantry and Walloon guards move in to plug the gap.

The British go into square while the Valencia Light Infantry in closed column withstand the victorious lancers

Robin's massive dragoon formation charged my lone dragoon unit who  crumble under the weight and flee! Crap dice rolling doesn't help either!

In a last hurrah, Ian comes off the hill to charge the Walloons.

In a reversal of fortunes, I roll a 6...

...and Ian rolls a 1!
Why couldn't that happen when it mattered?!*^%$@#!

Despite the Walloons' stout resistance, my left flank was crumbling and there was no way that I'd be able to plug the gap with Ian's reserves pushing  forward. While Robin had cleaned up my dragoons he could have held my highlanders in square while his infantry and artillery pushed forward to deal with them properly!

As the day was drawing to a close, I took the opportunity to admit defeat and congratulated my worthy foes on a game well played.

A massive game with almost too much happening on the table to take note of, but it was played with a lot of bonhomie and a good time was had by all. If I played for a win each game, I think I would have given up a long time ago!

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