And Now For Something Completely Different…

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“I’m Leaving on a Jet-Plane…”

Well, it’s time once again to leave soggy Wales and head off to warmer climes for a while.  Here are some of Nelson’s holiday snaps from his visit to the same resort in 1797.  He came away from his visit 50% armless, but with any luck I might be able to get 100% legless…

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Black Cat v White Tiger: The 1st Battle of Bishenpur (Imphal 1944)

This game was our ‘Battlefront Big Bovvy Bash’ game at The Tank Museum, Bovington in 2011.  Most of our Bovvy games have been set firmly in the NW European Campaign, but we have gone ‘off-piste’ a couple of times – to Angola in 2008 and India/Burma in 2011, as shown here.

The full scenario can be found on the Battlefront: WWII (Fire & Fury Games) website’ Scenario Page.

The outline scenario is that in March 1944, the Japanese 15th Army in Burma launched its main offensive, Operation U-Go, into India with the intention of surrounding and then destroying the Commonwealth IV Indian Corps at Imphal before pushing on to cut the supply lines for US-Chinese forces in Assam and the associated USAAF air-supply effort to China over the ‘hump’ of the Himalaya.  From there the Japanese could then go on to threaten the major Allied hub of Calcutta and indeed, all of India.

The Japanese 33rd ‘White Tiger’ Division was tasked with providing the southern pincer to the operation and over several weeks pushed the Indian 17th ‘Black Cat’ Division back up the Tiddim Road (the only all-weather road in the region) until they finally arrived on the high Imphal Plain.  Most of the plain is filled by Logtak Lake, with Imphal city at the northern end of the lake.  On the western side of the lake lies the small town of Bishenpur, which sits on the point at which the Silchar Track (one of only two Allied supply-routes into Imphal) enters the Imphal Plain and joins the Tiddim Road.

While a strong force infiltrated through the western mountains to cut the Silchar Track, the rest of the Japanese 33rd Division pushed forward onto the flat, open paddy of the Imphal Plain.  At night they would infiltrate into villages and quickly fortify them against Allied counter-attack.  These villages stood like islands among the paddy; often built on platforms of high ground, thick with tree-cover and surrounded by flood-banks and thick hedges, they soon became veritable fortresses.

The Japanese had taken the village of Ningthoukong on 22nd April and all attempts to re-take it were repulsed.  The Japanese then took Potsangbam on 29th April and now directly threatened Bishenpur.  By this time the Japanese had cut the Silchar Track by destroying a critical bridge, so Bishenpur no longer had that strategic value, but it was still a major bastion for the Allied defence of Imphal and had to be held.  To that end, the Japanese needed to be pushed back from Bishenpur and that required a further effort to recapture Potsangbam and Ningthoukong…

On 8th May 1944, a major assault was launched by the Indian 32 Brigade, preceded by massive air and artillery preparation and supported by the tanks of 254 Indian Tank Brigade.  The defenders, being a regimental-sized group formed by the 2nd Battalion of the 213th Regiment, the 4th Engineer Battalion and supporting elements, dug in deep and prepared to give their lives for the Emperor…

1. As dawn broke on 8th May 1944, the villages of Ningthoukong and Potsangbam, on the western shore of Logtak Lake, a few miles south of Imphal, were subjected to an intense bombardment by B-24 Liberator bombers of the Allied Strategic Air Force, followed up by three squadrons of Indian and RAF Vengeance dive-bombers. In game terms, the Japanese defenders were subjected to three waves of four Vengeance dive-bombers. However, as we only have one Vengeance model, Hurricanes and Thunderbolts acted as ‘stand-in’ Vengeances.

2. The intense air attack goes in on Potsangbam, successfully eliminating several bunkers in the western fringe of the village, plus most of its anti-tank defences and a 105mm artillery FO. However, two Vengeances are shot down by accurate Japanese 13mm AA fire.

3. With the air attacks nearing completion, the guns of the Bishenpur ‘Gun-Box’ open up with HE and smoke to support the attack on Potsangbam by the 9/14th Punjab Regiment.

4. An RAF Dakota makes a much-needed supply drop to the beleaguered garrison of Bishenpur.

5. Dug in deep behind minefields and barbed wire, the Japanese, stunned by the ferocity of the air and artillery attacks, await the Indian attack.

6. Keeping well spread-out to minimise the effects of Japanese artillery, the 9/14th Punjabis advance across the open paddy to Potsangbam.

7. The Japanese are defending in great depth and even the smallest hamlets have platoon-sized outposts. Here we see the garrison of Awang Khunou.

8. The Lee tanks of 3rd Carabiniers move forward to support the Punjabi attack. However, their movement through the village of Chothe attracts Japanese 105mm fire, which causes little damage to the tanks, but smashes down onto the defenders (4th (Sikh) Bn/12th Frontier Fore Regiment) and the Punjabis moving forward through Chothe.

9. The armoured column, including a Valentine Bridgelayer tank, moves past Chothe and the Sikh defenders of Point 2614.

10. Overall view of the opening stages of the battle.

11. The second infantry battalion involved in the attack – The 1st West Yorkshire Regiment, marches up through the Bishenpur Box.

12. Another air-strike goes in on Potsangbam. The Japanese defence is disrupted even further, but a third Vengeance goes down in flames.

13. As his forward positions come under attack, Major Isagoda, commanding the 2nd Bn, 213th Infantry Regiment, orders his supporting battery of 320mm Spigot Mortars to open fire. The battery’s transport elephants look on, seemingly nonplussed by either the bombing or the spigot mortars! Please note that due to an administrative/geographical cock-up, the flags indicating the objective location ‘East Potsangbam’ should read ‘South Potsangbam’ similarly, ‘West Potsangbam’ should read ‘North Potsangbam. The same error occurred with the objective flags for Ningthoukong.

14. In Ningthoukong, the unengaged reserves wait in their trenches and bunkers, along with Colonel Taguchi.

15. In Awang Khunou, a Japanese 20mm AA gun scans the sky for Allied aircraft.

16. Meanwhile, back in Bishenpur, the gunners of an Indian Mountain Battery and their supporting Sikh infantry receive a nasty surprise! A ‘gun-busting’ party of Japanese engineers has infiltrated through the wire and minefield under cover of darkness and is already on top of the sleepy defenders. In game terms, there was no defensive fire for the Sikhs – we went straight to close combat.

17. In the first clash, two of the three Sikh infantry sections defending the perimeter were wiped out by the Japanese sappers. The third Sikh section beat off their assailants, but the supporting FO team was wiped out in a concussive detonation, as the attacking sappers blew themselves up along with the observation post. As the surviving sappers drove on to the guns, they cut down a further two Sikh infantry sections and the Sikh company command post. Two charges were then made against the gun positions themselves, but the Indian gunners valiantly beat them off in hand to hand combat, before finally finishing them with point-blank 3.7-inch HE fire. Havildar Ferrore Singh was nominated for the VC for defending his gun in the finest traditions of the Indian Artillery.

18. Closely supported by a half-squadron of the 3rd Carabiniers and preceded by smoke, the first Punjabi troops break into the Potsangbam position.

19. However, two heavy machine guns are dug in to the rear of the forward trenches and these guns take a heavy toll of the Indian attackers.

20. As more Punjabi troops are fed into the attack, the Japanese artillery fire intensifies, thinning out the ranks of the reinforcements. Meanwhile, the second half-squadron of the Carabiniers moves forward with the Valentine bridgelayer, with the intention of bridging the Potsangbam nullah and opening up a route for the tanks and the 1st West Yorks to work around the western flank of the village.

21. As the HMGs keep the Punjabis pinned in the outer trenches, Major Isagoda organises a counter-atatck with his attached company of engineers and pushes the Punjabis back out of the village.

22. Japanese reserves begin to move up. The 33rd Division Tankette Company leads the 11th Company of 3/214th Infantry Regiment through Ningthoukong. Their mission is to take the village of Kha Aimol, in the foothills of the western mountains, and to hold it as a western bastion of their defence line in the plain (it’s also worth 1 VP!).

23. Colonel Taguchi also orders a second engineer company forward from Ningthoukong, to reinforce Isagoda’s beleaguered position at Potsangbam.

24. As the battle for Potsangbam intensifies, the Carabiniers, with the bridgelayer, reach the nullah and prepare to drop the bridge across it. However, to their rear the 1st West Yorks are suffering casualties as they attempt to follow up through Chothe, which is still under artillery fire.

25. The Japanese tankettes turn off the Imphal-Tiddim road and head west towards Kha Aimol.

26. As the Punjabis suffer in the trenches, the Carabiniers are reluctant to get embroiled in the closely-vegetated and fortified terrain of the village.

27. The Royal Artillery and Indian Artillery Batteries renew their efforts in response to the increasingly desperate Punjabi calls for support.

28. A traffic-jam of truly monumental (indeed, military) proportions begins to emerge as the 1st West Yorks attempt to march south, but are blocked by the delayed Punjabis to their front, exacerbated by sporadic artillery fire at the head of the column, around Chothe. The 92nd Field Company of the Bombay Sappers & Miners also approaches the Bishenpur crossroads from the Silchar Track, creating a huge concentration of Allied infantry. But it’s ok, as there is absolutely no way that the Japanese could possible spot them…

29. Covered by the Lees, the Valentine extends its scissors bridge across the nullah.

30. Yet another Vengeance dive-bomber screams down out of the sky, to exact revenge upon the Japanese AA gunners.

31. Reassured by the promises of reinforcements, Major Isagoda masses his remaining infantry and engineers for another counter-attack on the Punjabis in western Potsangbam.

32. As a Punjabi assault pioneer team enters the fight, a 2-inch mortar team launches a desperate assault on one of the troublesome HMG positions!  Don’t mess with angry 2-inch mortar teams… In our games, 2-inch mortar teams seem to have mystical qualities of luck and almost always beat far stronger units in hand-to-hand combat…

33. A fiendish new weapon of war makes its presence known as a Lee tank is blown to smithereens by a direct hit from a 320mm spigot-mortar round!

34. The RAF radar detachment at Imphal reports hostiles approaching…

35. The Japanese Army Air Force in Burma is throwing everything into one last roll of the dice: as Ki-43 ‘Oscar’ fighters engage the Spitfires high above the plain (and are cut to pieces), the remaining force of Ki-51 ‘Sonia’ light attack bombers make a run down the Manipur Valley. Their primary target is the Bishenpur Gun-Box.

36. Close-up of the formation leader.

37. As the Carabiners’ tanks cross the new bridge, the leading elements of the 1st West Yorks fight their way through traffic jams, artillery and Punjabis to follow them.

38. Stuart tanks of the Indian 7th Light Cavalry also now arrive to add their weight to the attack.

39. Elements of the 1st West Yorks avoid the chaos of Chothe altogether as they attempt to comply with their orders.

40. The Bishenpur crossroads is still looking no less crowded as 92 Field Company waits patiently for orders.

41. The tiny Japanese garrison of Kwa Sipahi meanwhile, wonders why they’re being ignored. Was it something they said…?

42. In Potsangbam, the Punjabis continue to grind forward, inch by painful inch.

42. Vengeance dive-bombers and Hurricane IIc fighter-bombers, flying from airfields in India, as well as tactical airfields only a few miles away at Imphal, continue to keep on the pressure.

43. The reinforcement company of engineers reaches Major Isagoda’s command post. However, their march has not gone un-noticed…  A FO situated on the high ground just beyond the tanks in the distance, is already calling for every gun in the Bishenpur Gun-Box to engage massed Japanese infantry in the open…

44. The wrecked bridge at Potsangbam. Just in front of it is the 13mm AA gun that during the early stages of the battle, claimed three Vengeance dive-bombers.

45. At Awang Khunou, a Japanese truck (a GMC 2.5-tonner captured from the Chinese) hides from the marauding Allied aircraft.

46. Having been spotted by the Carabiniers while making their dash to Kha Aimol, the Japanese tankettes are subjected to long-range fire from the Lees.  The leading tankette is suppressed, but the second tankette continues its dash unmolested.

47. The Lee gunners correct their aim and try again…

48. Chaos reigns as the Punjabis attempt to continue their attack and the 1st West Yorks attempt to pass through them… all under Japanese shellfire.

49. A Hurribomber also has a crack at the tankettes, but has little more success than the tanks. Going almost unnoticed, the infantry of 11th Company, who have been ordered to support the tankettes, decide not follow the example of the tankettes in presenting themselves as sky-lined targets. Instead, they sneak up the Ningthoukong nullah.

50. The Bombay Sappers & Miners continue to wait patiently for orders to move forward… Surely the Brigadier hasn’t forgotten about them?!

51. In a desperate attempt to regain the initiative, given the stagnation of the battle in Potsangbam, Brigadier MacKenzie orders a two-pronged assault on the Japanese outpost at Kwa Sipahi. The Sikhs of ‘D’ Company, 4/12th Frontier Force Regiment form the northern pincer of the attack. They are to move forward from their defensive positions at Khoijuman at once. Their positions at Khojuman will be occupied by two platoons of 1/4th Gurkhas, transferred from the Gun Box.  Covered by smoke from the 2-inch mortar section, the leading two platoons of ‘D’ Company break cover and dash forward to the Bishenpur nullah.

52. The western pincer of the attack on Kwa Sipahi will be formed by 92 Field Company, supported by the tanks of 7th Light Cavalry and the battalion mortars of 4/12th FFR. However, as they move through the crossroads, they form the greatest concentration of targets seen by the Japanese to date and instantly attract the attention of a battery of 105mm howitzers. However, despite much disruption, no casualties are actually caused and the Indian sappers press on to Kwa Sipahi.

53. At Potsangbam, the lead elements of 1st West Yorks are finally across the nullah and begin to work down the southern bank. More West Yorks troops work their way up the nullah itself and infiltrate into the position that way.

54. Major Taguchi, initially jubilant in seeing the column of reinforcements marching towards him is horrified to see it cut to ribbons in front of him by the massed British and Indian artillery! Only half of those badly-needed men make it into the Potsangbam perimeter.

55. Air raid sirens suddenly sound around Bishenpur! The formation of Japanese aircraft finally appears over the Gun-Box and is immediately subjected to intense AA fire from two sections of Bofors guns and a section of 3.7-inch Heavy AA Guns, as well as anyone else who can point a rifle into the air! In a phenomenal display of dice-rolling, Richard rolls four 10s in six dice; shooting down two of the five raiders and Disordering a third.

56. To the cheers of British, Indian and Gurkha soldiers, two Sonias come crashing down in flames.

57. The survivors press home their attack, but do little damage beyond disrupting the activities of the 25-Pounder battery present in the Gun Box.

58. The surviving aircraft, one of them trailing smoke and oil, turn away from the target area. They would return…

59. The Gunners climb out of their air-raid shelters and breathe a sigh of relief as they clean up the mess left by the Japanese aircraft.

60. The Japanese tankettes, having run the gauntlet along the paddy-dyke road, finally reach the safety of Kha Aimol and gloriously seize 1 VP for the Emperor!

61. They said they’d be back… The Bombay Sappers & Miners foolishly let themselves be caught in column as the Japanese aircraft return to strafe the road. Amazingly, no serious casualties are suffered!

62. The Bombay Sappers & Miners in close-up. The .30 Cal AAMGs mounted on the supporting Stuart tanks managed to throw off the aim of the Japanese pilot sufficiently to reduce the effectiveness of his attack.  On the right of the Sappers, a company of the 1st West Yorks was also strafed by the returning Japanese aircraft. However, this again caused no serious damage.

63. Screened by smoke from the battalion 3-inch mortars, the Sikh ‘D’ Company presses home its attack on the north-eastern corner of Kwa Sipahi.

64. The Sappers lick their wounds and press on against the western side of Kwa Sipahi.

65. In Potsangbam, the Punjabis continue to grind forward in the continuing, desperate battle of attrition. The Japanese defenders are now seriously thinned out, but the MG Company (now lacking their company commander, who died leading a counter-attack) continues to hammer the Punjabi attackers.  The Japanese AT/AA Company commander also dies for his emperor in a heroic counter-attack.

66. The assault presses home on Kwa Sipahi as the surrounded Japanese platoon desperately defends its bunkers against attacks from all sides.

67. Seizing the initiative, a detachment of Sikhs, with a troop of Stuarts, attempts to establish a second foothold in Potsangbam.

68. Assaulted by Sikhs and Sappers, the Japanese defenders of Kwa Siphahi sell their lives dearly.

69. Allied air reconnaissance spots a new threat: The Japanese 14th Tank Regiment, having finally traversed the hellish Tiddim Road, arrives on the Imphal plain. However, having left the 5th Company (comprising Type 01 Ho-Ni 75mm self-propelled guns) behind as a rearguard at Fort White and having suffered numerous breakdowns, the ‘Regiment’ is now reduced to a mere company in strength. At the head of the column is the much-reduced 6th Company, comprising Stuart tanks captured from the British in 1942. Following behind is the 1st Company, comprising Type 95 Ha-Go light tanks.  [Note that in reality, the 14th Tank Regiment didn’t arrive at Imphal until the 3rd Battle of Bishenpur over a month later, but we decided to include them for a bit of extra spectacle… It is the Tank Museum, after all…]

70. Bringing up the rear of the column are the 2nd and 3rd Companies, plus the Regimental HQ, all equipped with Type 97 Shinhoto Chi-Ha medium tanks. A few of these tanks have been upgraded with armour plate taken from Stuarts wrecked in 1942.

71. Passing through Ningthoukong and Awang Khunou, the column turns off the road at Upokpi, intending to meet the British tanks on the open paddy-plain.

72. A Hurricane IIc circles high over the plain, waiting for targets to be identified to him by the Tactical Control Parties on the ground.

73. The commander of 14th Tank Regiment hopes that by putting his Stuarts at the head of the column, the British will be fooled into holding fire…

74. As the Japanese tanks press optimistically forward, 3rd Carabiniers wait, covering the flank of the continued assault on Potsangbam.

75. 11th Company finally catch up with the tankettes at Kha Aimol, securing the Emperor’s great victory! Banzai!

76. The rest of 11th Company hurries across the paddy fields.

77. The Sikh-sneak flank attack approaches Potsangbam. All that awaits them is the lonely FO for the ‘Mega-Mortar’ Company.

78. The Japanese garrison of Kwa Sipahi, beset on all sides by Sikhs and Bombay Sappers armed with flamethrowers, makes its last stand. The fight is brutal and brief.

79. Having been relieved by 11th Company, the Tankette Company is now free to leave the cover of Kha Aimol and join the attack of 14th Tank Regiment. However, the company soon suffers losses to long-range 75mm fire from the Lees of 3rd Carabiniers.

80. Despite the heroic sacrifice of the 33rd Tankette Company (or perhaps because of it?), the 14th Tank Regiment seems reluctant to exchange fire with the Lee tanks of 3rd Carabiniers and instead ‘assesses the tactical situation’ (i.e. hides) from Upokpi.

90. The lead Ha-Go picks off an unwary section of Yorkshiremen as they move around the southern side of Potsangbam, but otherwise the 14th Tank Regiment remains curiously un-engaged, despite the urgings of Colonel Taguchi.

91. On the northern side of Potsangbam, the Sikhs successfully breach the defences and establish a foothold in the defences. However, one section of Sikhs is beaten off by the heroic mortar FO!  With Kwa Sipahi now securely in Allied hands, the rest of the Sikhs move south to reinforce the foothold and the Bombay Sappers & Miners follow.

92. Pushing down the southern side of Potsangbam and down the nullah, the 1st West Yorks reach the demolished bridge and knock out a 37mm anti-tank gun and one of the anti-aircraft guns situated there. The last remaining defender in this corner of the strongpoint is a solitary section of engineers, but they will soon be overwhelmed. On the northern bank of the nullah, the MG Company maintains its incredible defence.

93. As the Sikhs push into the northeast corner of Potsangbam, Isagoda rushes his last remaining troops to that corner of the perimeter.

94. Finally spurred into action by Taguchi’s encouragement, abuse and downright threats, the 14th Tank Regiment (aided on the flank by the survivors of 33rd Tankette Company) launches a charge reminiscent of the charge of the Takeda cavalry at Nagashino… with much the same result…

95. Though the RHQ, 2nd & 3rd Companies (with the balance of the regiment’s medium tanks) remain intact, the 1st and 6th Companies, together with the 33rd Tankette Company, are exterminated.

96. As Japanese engineers attempt to dislodge the Sikh incursion into a Potsangbam, a Vengeance dives in to provide support.

97. As the last Japanese defenders cling on to their trenches, the MG Company continues hammering away to the bitter end.

98. The remnants of the Japanese reinforcement engineer company launch a desperate counter-attack against the Sikh foothold.

99. The 1st West Yorks finally overwhelm the defenders south of the river, but the Punjabis have suffered catastrophic casualties.  Potsangbam has been recaptured, but at considerable cost, while the Japanese still hold Ningthoukong.

100. The 2011 team photo. From left to right: Mark Davies, Steve Uden, Paul Davison, Phil Shield, Ken Natt, George Gass, Gary Loosen, Andy Parkes, Richard de Ferrars and Martin Small.

101. Gary had forgotten that we were in India this year and was completely unaware that he was being stalked by a very large Hunting Tiger…

102. Overall view of the table. Richard de Ferrars (on the left) describes the game to our friend Trevor Body, formerly of Redoubt Miniatures. Trevor was the first of dozens of people over the weekend to ask “So is this the battle with the tennis court?”. I think our next Burma game will have to be ‘The battle with the tennis court’ if nothing else, but so we can say “Why yes, yes it is.”

Game Notes

The game was mostly a joint-effort between myself and my good friend Martin Small, with the Punjabi battalion being supplied by Andy Parkes and the Gurkha company by Edward Sturges.  The models were from a variety of manufacturers – mostly Peter Pig infantry, but the Sikhs, artillery and Indian sappers are by Flames of War. The vehicles and guns are a mix of Flames of War, Skytrex, Peter Pig, Quality Castings and QRF. The aircraft a mixture of the scratch-builds mentioned above, plus repainted plastic and die-cast toys and beautiful models by Armaments in Miniature (the Hurricanes and all but one of the Sonias).

The buildings were mostly scratch-built by Martin, as were the Japanese spigot-mortars, the magnificent Valentine Bridgelayer, the beautiful Vengeance dive-bomber and one of the Sonia bombers.

The trees are do-it-yourself models by Woodland Scenics (I’ve got around 200 of them here to build… 🙁 ).

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: WW2, Bovington Show Games, Burma Campaign, Games, Scenarios, World War 2 | 6 Comments

A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire 1938: Armour of the Fish Guards

Hello. This is Huw Puw, reporting once again for The Fish Guardian.

This week I’m reporting from the bustling metropolis of Fishguard; not so much ‘Land of My Fathers’, but more ‘Land of My Aunties’…

Regular readers will remember that in my last dispatch I was still assigned to the Army of the Republic of Cantref Cemaes, chasing fascists up hill and down ladies’ outfitters.  It was fun for a while, but frankly I needed a break from the endless death, destruction, cross-dressing and startled bleating from surprised sheep.

Imagine my relief then, when my editor replied to my request, “Stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, Puw!”  He clearly meant Fishguard, so I packed my bags and set off for home.  Ah, Fishguard, Fishguard; so good they named it er, ‘Fishguard’…  Yes, it’s a strange name.  Were Fishguard’s founding fathers guarding fish?  If so, from whom?  Or were the fish themselves the guards…?

The ‘White Eagle’ Flag of the FWA

I digress.  So, while heading for home, I passed through the village of Dinas, now turned into a military encampment by the Free Wales Army (FWA).  The men of the FWA’s senior regiment in the area, The Fish Guards, looked resplendent in their smart green uniforms, though their general demeanour seems to be of Blackshirts who’ve eaten a bit too much Cawl and whose shirts have turned green in the wash…  Strangest of all is their stylised ‘White Eagle’ symbol, emblazoned on their flags and armbands, which looks like a slightly limp asterisk.

I digress again.  One of the Fish Guards’ officers recognised me – he’d led the FWA platoon that fought alongside Cantref Cemaes’ 9th Regiment at Penclippin Farm.  After the inevitable moment where he clearly knows me, but I neither know nor care who he is (it happens a lot), he invited me to come and see the latest new wonder-weapons that would win the war for the FWA.

I could hardly contain my excitement…

Just as I got my camera out, an armoured column came rumbling along the road.  The FWA’s ‘Glyndwr’ Light Tank came first, which I’d seen before.  However, The FWA have clearly been taking notes during their attachment to the Army of Cantref Cemaes, as trundling along the road behind it came yet another wheeled and turreted armoured box – a design theme that seems universal to all armies in the current round of unpleasantness.  I pretended to look interested as the FWA officer told me that the excessive height was in order to enable it to fight over typical tall Pembrokeshire hedgerows…  Ingenious.

Based on a Thornycroft parcel van, the thing is called ‘Jemima Fawr’ (‘Big Jemima’) and is named for the Fishguard ‘heroine’ of 1797 (a feminine noun doesn’t really seem appropriate for that six-foot cobbler and pub bouncer who beat l’escargot out of twelve French soldiers single-handed).  Not to be confused with the Republic of Cantref Cemaes’ ‘Jemima’ Light Tank, which was named after a duck.

The dull, grey, mottled paint-scheme is, I presume, meant to reflect that dull, grey, mottled landscape (and indeed people) of the landscape around Fishguard.

The Jemima Fawr’s armament is apparently a Vickers machine gun in the front, with another machine gun in the turret, allied to a 4-INCH(??!!!) gun.  I think he must be exaggerating…  My Aunty Dilys tells me that it’s not uncommon for men to claim that they have four inches when they actually have two…

Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing it fire it’s main armament – especially if they don’t tie it down and chock the wheels first…

However, the best was saved for last…  Being towed behind Jemima Fawr was the ‘Mabinogion’ Mk I Mobile Gun Emplacement.  This has been designed with the FWA’s fortress doctrine clearly in mind.  As is well known, the FWA at Fishguard has established a string of defensive positions from Wolf’s Castle to the Preseli Hills that they have named the ‘Mabinogion Line’.  However, they ran out of cash very quickly, so the ‘Line’ is more of a ‘Dotted Line’…

The Mabinogion Mobile Gun Position is therefore an ‘ingenious’ solution to the problem: If there isn’t a fortification in front of the enemy, you bring the fortification to him!

Brilliant…

The Mabionogion has a single crewman, which I imagine makes it easier to identify bodies than in a tank and provides them with a handy, ready-to-deploy coffin.  The Mk I shown here is armed with a 37mm gun, which is apparently capable of penetrating even the toughest Blackshirt’s black shirt.  The Mk II is apparently armed with a machine gun.  I’m further told that the Mabinogion is based on a Danish design.  The Danes have apparently developed these in response to the growing threat from Herr Hitler’s Germany.  If they’re as good as the FWA claim, the Danes should have no trouble at all in repelling a German invasion…

This is Huw Puw, reporting from Fishguard for the Fish Guardian, signing off.

 

All the models shown are from the collection of my good (and much-abused) friend Martin Small.  The Jemima Fawr was converted by Martin from a plastic Thornycroft parcel van model (he didn’t tell me who made the original model).

The Mabinogion is completely scratch-built and really is based on an actual thing he saw in Copenhagen!

The Glyndwr was built by someone in eBayland.

Posted in 28mm Figures, A Very British Civil War, Painted Units, VBCW Welsh Nationalist | 4 Comments

“A Game of Two Halves”: The Battle of Cedar Mountain, 9th August 1862 (Fire & Fury 2nd Edition)

Last weekend we had another all-day gaming session at the Carmarthen Old Guard and Alan, Andy and I once again decided to do an American Civil War historical refight in 10mm with the superb Fire & Fury 2nd Edition rules.  I’m still building up my armies, so the choice of historical scenarios is limited by what I can field, but the Battle of Cedar Mountain from the Fire & Fury 1st Edition ‘Great Eastern Battles’ scenario book fitted the bill.

On paper the Union Army at Cedar Mountain doesn’t look like it has the slightest chance of winning, as it’s outnumbered 2:1 and is attacking!  However, a lot of the Confederate Army starts the scenario detached or on the march and are exhausted following a long march in searing heat.  The Union Army meanwhile starts with a massive artillery superiority and the element of surprise…

The Battle of Cedar Mountain was the first major battle of the Northern Virginia Campaign (a.k.a. the Second Manassas or Second Bull Run Campaign) of 1862: With George McClellan’s Union Army of the Potomac bottled up in the Virginia Peninsula following his disastrous Peninsula Campaign, Robert E Lee decided to strike north towards Washington.  In the meantime, the Union had ordered John Pope’s Union Army of Virginia to strike south from Manassas, to threaten Richmond and thereby take the pressure off McClellan.  However, the Confederates were quicker off the mark and before Pope’s army could concentrate, Thomas ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s 24,000 men were already advancing north along the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, driving back Pope’s cavalry picquets and making a bee-line for the huge Union depot at Manassas Junction.  The only Union force in position to oppose Jackson was Nathaniel Banks’ II Corps of the Army of Virginia, which was positioned south of the town of Culpepper Courthouse.

However, the weather was scorching and the Confederate troops suffered in the heat as they marched north.  The Confederate generals were also suffering, as Jackson was being characteristically secretive about his plans.  Consequently, as battle was joined along the Cedar Creek, an indecisive artillery duel commenced between Winder’s and Ewell’s Confederate Divisions and the Union II Corps while the confused Confederate commanders waited for detailed orders to come from Jackson.

However, Nathaniel Banks was about to seize the initiative in spectacular fashion: as the exhausted and bewildered Confederate troops settled into their new position, Crawford’s Union infantry brigade burst like a tidal wave upon Winder’s Division, rapidly rolling up the flank and forcing Jackson to draw his sword for the one and only time of his Confederate career as he tried desperately to rally his men.  It didn’t help matters that General Winder had also been killed by Union artillery during this moment of crisis.  All seemed lost, but then A.P. Hill’s ‘Light Division’ arrived and first halted, then drove the Union troops back.  Ewell’s divisional also came down from its dominant position on Cedar Mountain and drove into the Union flank.  Jackson had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, but would our game repeat or change history…?

Order of Battle, II Corps of the Union Army of Virginia – Brigadier General Nathaniel P Banks (1 Corps Leader)

Williams’ Division (1 Leader)
Crawford’s Brigade (E): 12 bases [12/8/5, Crack, Rifled Musket]
Gordon’s Brigade: 13 bases [13/9/6, Veteran, Rifled Musket]

Auger’s Division (1 Leader)
Geary’s Brigade (E): 7 bases [7/6/4, Crack, Rifled Musket]
Prince’s Brigade: 9 bases [9/7/5, Green, Rifled Musket]
Greene’s Brigade (E): 4 bases [4/3/2, Veteran, Rifled Musket]

Cavalry Brigade
Bayard’s Cavalry Brigade: 8 bases [8/6/4, Experienced, Breech-Loaders]

II Corps Artillery Reserve
1st Battery [Experienced, Light Rifles]
2nd Battery [Crack, Napoleons]
3rd Battery [Crack, Heavy Rifles]
4th Battery [Experienced, Napoleons]
5th Battery [Veteran, Light Rifles]
6th Battery [Crack, Light Rifles]

Order of Battle, Left Wing of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia – Brigadier General Thomas J ‘Stonewall’ Jackson (1 (E) Corps Leader)

Ewell’s Division (1 (E) Leader)*
Early’s Brigade (E): 11 bases [11/10/8, Crack, Rifled Musket]
Forno’s Brigade*: 18 bases [18/14/9, Veteran, Rifled Musket]
Trimble’s Brigade (E)*: 13 bases [13/10/7, Experienced, Rifled Musket]
1st Battery* [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Napoleons]
2nd Battery* [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Napoleons]
3rd Battery [Experienced, Napoleons]

Winder’s Division (1 Leader)
Ronald’s (Stonewall) Brigade: 7 bases [7/6/5, Veteran, Rifled Musket]
Garnett’s Brigade: 6 bases [6/5/4, Green, Rifled Musket]
Taliaferro’s Brigade (E): 9 bases [9/8/7, Green, Rifled Musket]
1st Battery [Experienced, Light Rifles]
2nd Battery [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Smoothbores]

A P Hill’s ‘Light’ Division (1 (E) Leader)
Branch’s Brigade†: 13 bases [13/11/9, Experienced, Rifled Musket]
Archer’s Brigade†: 13 bases [13/10/7, Veteran, Rifled Musket]
Thomas’ Brigade: 13 bases [13/10/7, Crack, Rifled Musket]
Pender’s Brigade†: 13 bases [13/10/7, Crack, Rifled Musket]
1st Battery† [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Smoothbores]
2nd Battery† [Veteran, Mixed Rifles & Napoleons]

Scenario Notes

* The bulk of Ewell’s Division (except for Early’s Brigade) is positioned on Cedar Mountain and Ewell is reluctant to move off this key piece of terrain until the rest of Jackson’s force arrives and the Union positions are positively identified. These units will therefore remain in position until Turn 5 (1900hrs). Note that Early’s Brigade plus one battery has already been moved to reinforce Winder and may be moved as normal.

† The bulk of A.P. Hill’s Light Division will arrive as reinforcements on Turn 1, in March Column at Point A. The artillery batteries are at the back of the column. Note that Thomas’ Brigade is already on table.

Leaders marked with ‘(E)’ are Exceptional Leaders.

The Union army will be considered to have suffered Heavy Casualties once it has lost 18 troop or battery stands.

The Confederate army will be considered to have suffered Heavy Casualties once it has lost 37 troop or battery stands.

The scenario starts at with the Union 1740hrs turn and lasts for eight 20-minute turns, ending with the Confederate 2000hrs turn.

The last two turns (1940hrs and 2000hrs) are Twilight turns. Maximum visibility will be reduced to 48cm (24 inches in the standard rules) during the 1940hrs turn and then to 24cm (12 inches) during the 2000hrs turn.

Note that these unit ratings are drawn from the original 1st Edition ratings, with the 2nd Edition’s ‘Army Generator’ used to plug the knowledge-gaps.  Note that the morale ratings, especially for the Confederates are weighted downward due to the extreme heat that affected both sides, but especially the Confederates due to their hard march.  Units will therefore reach ‘Worn’ and ‘Spent’ state very quickly, so the players need to pay close attention to their unit labels and Victory Point objectives.

Each square on the map is one foot when playing at our reduced scale for 10mm figures.  20mm in our games is equivalent to a game ‘inch’ (i.e. reduced by 1/5th).  The table should be 6×5 feet when playing with normal Fire & Fury scales.

Special Rules

Crawford’s Charge

During Turn 1 only, Crawford’s Union Brigade may make a Double-Quick move in order to charge Garnett’s Confederate brigade. Crawford does not have to roll on the Manoeuvre Table for this turn only. Garnett has been taken completely by surprise and may not fire or claim the +1 Favourable Ground combat modifier for occupying woods.

Union Withdrawal

Union units may at any point in the game, exit the table at Point B. By doing so, they will not count as having Quit the Field for the purposes of Confederate Victory Point (VP) calculation (though withdrawn Worn and Spent units will still provide the Confederates with VPs as normal).

Victory Conditions

The winner is the side which has accumulated the most VPs by the end of Turn 8. VPs are earned at the following rate:

1 VP Each Worn enemy brigade.
1 VP Each wrecked or captured enemy battery.
1 VP Each killed, wounded or captured Corps or Division Leader or exceptional Brigade Commander.
2 VP Each Spent enemy brigade.
4 VP Each enemy brigade that quits the field or is destroyed.
2 VP (Union only) When one more unspent Union brigade occupies the Key Position, namely the crestline between X & Y, at the end of each Union turn.

The above list is taken from the original scenario, though having played it through I would retrospectively suggest a 5 VP penalty for an army that reaches its Heavy Casualties limit.

Terrain

The map above is a simplified version of the original scenario map.  The original scenario maps are often quite difficult to recreate if you don’t have access to ‘Geo-Hex’ type terrain, which can accurately model contours, so I’ve done my best to redesign the map to a more ‘typical’ (at least for us) wargame table of flat terrain with a few isolated hills… In reality the hill in front of Ronald’s Brigade is a higher hill and the two ridges are spurs extending from that hill.

Woodland – All woodland is classed as Rough Ground and conveys a +1 Favourable Ground combat modifier and a -1 Partial Cover shooting modifier.

Rivers – Both forks of the Cedar Creek are classed as Rough Ground. The two minor tributaries of the Cedar Creek are classed as Broken Ground. Units in March Column formation may cross rivers at full speed via one of the bridges or at Broken Ground speed if crossing the Cedar Creek at Major’s Ford. Troops defending either type of riverbank gain a +1 Favourable Ground combat modifier.

Roads – Units in March Column formation may gain the Good Road Bonus when marching on the Orange-Culpepper Road or the north-south road that runs parallel to and to the rear of the Union lines. All other roads are classed as Open Ground.

Farms – The farms are all simply decorative. They do not block line of sight and may not be occupied. They may be moved for game purposes.  Note that the valley between the two armies was heavily planted with corn and wheat, though these have no effect in this scenario.

Hills – Troops defending hills gain the +1 Favourable Ground combat modifier. Crestlines are marked by fences.

The Game

My apologies for the poor quality of these photos – the room is quite dark and lit with spotlights, which makes photography tricky!

Above: The battlefield as seen from the south, looking from Cedar Mountain and the Slaughter house, across the Cedar Creek and up the valley between the opposing armies.

Above: The bulk of Ewell’s Division (Trimble’s Brigade, Forno’s Brigade and a pair of batteries) is deployed on the Cedar Mountain, which dominates the surrounding landscape.  Ewell is quite comfortable in this position and as a consequence, won’t come down off his hill until Turn 5!

Above: The rest of Ewell’s Division; namely Juball Early’s Brigade and a third battery of artillery, is stationed on the right flank of Winder’s Division, directly opposite the Union army.

Above: To Early’s rear, the first brigade of A.P. Hill’s ‘Light’ Division (Thomas’ Brigade) has just arrived and has moved into a reserve position on the rear slope of the spur.

Above: To Early’s left, Taliaferro’s Brigade forms a long line as far as the Newman House, where Jackson and Winder have their headquarters.  Winder’s two batteries take up position along Taliaferro’s front and have already engaged in a duel with the Union artillery opposite.  North of the main Orange-Culpepper Road, Garnett’s Brigade occupies a somewhat exposed position forward of the main line, on the corner of the woods.

Above: On the extreme left flank of the Confederate army, Ronald’s ‘Stonewall’ Brigade occupies an isolated position along the edge of the woodland.  This poorly-chosen position meant that he was unable to support the rest of Winder’s Division, but it did mean that this brigade escaped the worst of the disaster that was to befall the division.

Above: The Union line as seen from the north, looking south toward Cedar Mountain.  On the extreme right flank of the Union II Corps is Williams’ Division; Crawford’s Brigade has spotted an opportunity and is already pushing forward toward Garnett’s exposed Rebels on the other wise of the wheatfield.  To Crawford’s rear, Gordon’s Brigade is moving up through the woods to cover the right flank, while Bayard’s Cavalry Brigade is in reserve. On Williams’ left, the bulk of Auger’s Division is also moving forward; Geary’s Brigade is just south of the main road and Prince’s Brigade is on the left flank of the advance.

Above: To the rear of Auger’s Division, six batteries of artillery pour a colossal weight of fire on to the unfortunate Rebels.  Greene’s tiny brigade meanwhile guards the left flank and watches for any movement from Cedar Mountain.  However, Greene is already coming under fire from Ewell’s artillery, positioned high on the slopes of the mountain.

Above: With a huge cheer, Crawford’s Brigade rushes forward with bayonets fixed, to engage Garnett’s Brigade.  The shocked Rebels are too surprised to effectively return fire and Winder’s artillery similarly fails to have any effect.  The Union artillery support however, is devastating; damaging one Rebel battery, silencing another and causing casualties on Taliaferro’s Brigade.  Crawford’s men fire a volley as they go in, causing significant casualties to Garnett’s Brigade at the worst possible moment… As the charge impacts, Garnett’s Brigade completely disintegrates as panicked rebels throw down their arms and stream past Jackson’s headquarters! [In game terms, there had been a truly astonishing display of dice-rolling, with a difference of 15 points between the winning Union and losing Confederate rolls!  Garnett’s Brigade was instantly annihilated]

Above: On the Union left flank however, Greene’s Brigade is suffering under long-range fire from Cedar Mountain and very quickly loses 50% of its strength.  Greene even has a horse shot out from under him, but soon recovers and ordered the neighbouring battery of heavy rifles to engage the artillery on Cedar Mountain.  The Union heavies successfully silence Ewell’s guns for a while and win Greene a reprieve, but for how long?

Above: Jackson attempts to regain the initiative by launching an immediate counter-attack against the advancing Bluebellies.  Early’s Brigade, with Thomas in support, wheels downhill in an attempt to engage Prince and Geary among the corn.  Taliaferro meanwhile launches a charge past the Newman House, in an attempt to drive off Crawford.

Above: However, all the confederate artillery on the spur has been silenced, damaged or driven off and the unchallenged Union guns shred the rash Confederate advance.

Above: Bayard’s Cavalry Brigade moves forward to perhaps exploit Williams’ success.

Taliaffero’s men fight hard in what is an even fight, but are eventually forced to give ground and fall back behind the Newman House.  Drawing his sword for the first time during this war, ‘Stonewall’ Jackson seizes a Battle Flag and rallies the wavering brigade.  The cry goes up “Jackson is here!” and Taliaferro’s men throw themselves once again against Crawford!  Crawford has a brush with death as one of his aides is shot along side him.  However, the Rebels are once again hammered by artillery and the Rebel Yell dies in their throats as they are pushed back once again.

Above: As Winder’s Division crumbles in the face of the determined Union assault, hope arrives in the form of A.P. Hill’s ‘Light’ Division!

Above: Pender’s brigade of veterans leads the Light Division onto the field, followed by the brigades of Branch and Archer.  However, these men are exhausted by the heat and hard marching.

Above: A.P. Hill can’t arrive soon enough, as joined by Geary’s fresh brigade, Crawford renews the assault on Taliaferro. Knowing that they can’t possibly hold for much longer, Winder orders his gunners to save the guns before drawing his sword and joining Jackson in the melee.  North of the Newman House, Ronald’s ‘Stonewall’ Brigade attempts to come to Jackson’s aide, but they are intercepted by Gordon’s Brigade and are thrown back into the woods with heavy casualties.

Above: The combined weight of Crawford’s and Geary’s Brigades is just too much for Taliaferro’s Brigade to withstand and like Garnett’s Brigade, disintegrates into a panicked mob.  The Rebel artillery batteries, unable to extricate their guns from the dense woodland, are also overrun and captured by Crawford’s jubilant troops.  Jackson this time is unable to save the situation and along with Winder and Taliaferro, is forced to flee along with the mob!  Jackson and Winder both have horses shot out from under them, but manage to escape on foot.  With Jackson missing, the Confederate Army is surely lost…

Above: As a jubilant Banks moves his headquarters forward to Jackson’s former position at the Newman House, the sight before him chills him to the bone; the road from Orange County is filled with advancing Rebel troops!  Heedless to the danger, Crawford and Geary push on into the woods, throwing back Thomas’ Brigade.

Above: The High Tide Mark – Crawford’s rampage finally comes to a halt on the far side of the woods as the enormity of the situation dawns upon him and Pender’s newly-arrived Rebel brigade prepares to charge!  It was at this point that Alan (playing Banks) had to leave for work and left the Union army in my capable hands… What could possibly go wrong…?

Above:  Meanwhile, on the far side of the woods, Gordon’s Brigade continues to push back Ronald’s ‘Stonewall’ Brigade with long-range musketry.  [Note that Gordon’s Brigade included a single company of Zouaves – Collins’ Zouaves d’Afrique.  This unit eventually went on to be expanded into the 114th Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, which I just so happened paint recently.  This therefore gave me the perfect excuse to get them on the table… Even if Zouaves did only form a tiny portion of Gordon’s Brigade… 🙂 ]

Above: Back in the woods, Crawford decides that discretion is perhaps the better part of valour and withdraws his over-extended brigade back toward the Newman House.  However, A.P. Hill is keen to take revenge for Winder’s crushed division and with sabre drawn, leads Pender’s Brigade in a wild charge through the woods.  However, the charge quickly bogs down into a melee and the Rebels eventually get the worse of it, falling back in the face of stiff opposition by Crawford’s veterans.  However, Crawford’s boys are now starting to weaken…

Above:  As Pender’s Brigade, accompanied by A.P. Hill, takes on Crawford in the woods, Branch’s Brigade marches to the right flank to reinforce Thomas and Early.  Archer meanwhile deploys his brigade defensively, supported by two batteries of artillery, just in case Pender should be unsuccessful and/or Gordon’s Zouaves or Bayard’s cavalry get around the flank.

Above: Having beaten back Thomas’ Rebels, Geary pulls back to the Newman House.  Encouraged by Williams, Crawford also attempts to withdraw through the woods, but A.P. Hill and Pender aren’t going to let him get away that easily and charge again!  Again, the Rebels are held off, but at a cost.  Crawford’s Brigade is now starting to buckle and requests urgent assistance from Bayard and Gordon.  They should REALLY be starting to withdraw, but Crawford’s plight persuades them to come to his aid…

Above: Back at Hudson’s Farm, an increasingly worried Greene pleads with Banks to provide him with some more artillery support, as that huge mass of Rebels on Cedar Mountain isn’t going to stand still for much longer!  Banks agrees and sends three more batteries to his position.  However, disaster strikes as Greene is killed by a direct hit from a Rebel gun firing from Cedar Mountain!  Dismayed by the loss of their leader, Greene’s Brigade disintegrates, leaving the gunners to fend for themselves.

Above: Responding to the threat posed by Ewell’s Division on Cedar Mountain, Prince’s Brigade begins to pull back through the corn to defend the gun-lines and the army’s line of withdrawal back to Culpepper Courthouse.

Above: Branch’s Brigade marches down the Cedar Creek to relieve Early, who is still holding out at the southern end of the spur.

Above: Bayard’s cavalrymen dismount in the woods to provide support to Crawford’s right flank.  Gordon is also moving forward on Bayard’s right.

Above: Jackson finally finds himself a fresh horse and urges Thomas to recapture the Newman House.  the Rebel Yell is heard once again as Thomas’ men throw themselves at Geary!  Banks now realises his fatal mistake: in moving the guns south to face Cedar Mountain, the Rebels no longer have to worry about Union guns sweeping the crest-line south of the Newman House.  Thomas’ Brigade is completely unmolested as it charges Geary, who finds himself outnumbered 2:1 and is forced to give ground… The Union army has lost control of the key terrain!

Above: In the south, the Union gunners are dismayed to see the huge mass of Ewell’s Division moving down off Cedar Mountain, aiming to roll up the Union left flank.  After firing a few desultory rounds, the four rifle batteries withdraw, leaving the two 12pdr Napoleon batteries to irritate Forno’s Louisiana Tiger Brigade as it attempts to ford the Cedar Creek near Crittenden’s Farm.

Above: But what happened to Winder? After finding a fresh horse, General Winder rode north in search of the last remnants of his division; the Virginians of Ronald’s ‘Stonewall’ Brigade.  finding them broken and fleeing, Winder managed to rally them and bring them back to threaten the right flank of Gordon’s Brigade.

Above: Banks’ II Corps now rapidly starts to collapse.  A.P. Hill leads Pender’s Brigade in yet another charge through the woods.  This time, despite the support of cavalry breech-loaders, the Union fire fails to halt the Rebels and Crawford’s gallant brigade is finally thrown back!  Even worse befalls Geary at the Newman House, as a fresh assault by Thomas completely overruns the Union position.  Geary himself was last seen attempting to rally a knot of men around the house, but was reported missing along with most of his men.  His body was later recovered by the Confederate troops. and buried with honours by Jackson.

Above: Juball Early’s Brigade, having weathered the storm, now re-occupies its former position on the crest of the spur and is soon joined by Jackson and some fresh artillery from A.P. Hill’s Division.  Branch’s Brigade meanwhile streams past as they move forward with Thomas to finish off Auger’s Division in the cornfields.

Above: Prince is unable to withdraw his brigade fast enough and is soon caught by Thomas and Branch with his back to the stream.  Nevertheless, they manage to inflict damage on Thomas’ Brigade and perform a fighting retreat across the stream and back up through the cornfields.

Above: Auger, distracted by the plight of Geary’s and Prince’s Brigades in the valley, makes a truly fatal error… His position in the valley means that the bulk of the artillery finds itself without orders and unable to unlimber in order to face the tidal wave of Rebel infantry coming from the south!  Auger then compounds this error even further by forgetting to move said artillery out of harms way!  Trimble’s Brigade is swift to take advantage of this schoolboy error and overwhelms the nearest battery of 12pdr Napoleons.  A breakthrough charge then sees the second battery captured!  Auger moves up to the crest, but it is too late to do anything other than order the gunners to escape with their guns.

Above: With casualties rapidly escalating, the Union army collapses!  Bayard’s cavalry are swiftly defeated by Pender and mount their horses in order to escape further retribution from the vengeful Rebels.  Gordon’s Brigade also turns about, aiming to beat the Rebels to Culpepper Courthouse…

Above: As the sun starts to set, General Auger escapes with the artillery train, but Prince’s Brigade finds itself trapped in the cornfield and surrounded by the brigades of Thomas, Branch and Trimble.  They attempt to continue their fighting withdrawal, but are quickly outflanked and annihilated.

Above: As the sun sets, the guns on Cedar Mountain finally fall silent.

Above: As the sounds of battle diminish, General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson regains his original position near the Newman House and gives thanks for the day’s victory and thanks that General Banks has ‘snatched defeat from the jaws of victory’!

In conclusion, the Union side actually won the game ‘on points’, but I don’t think there’s a cat in hell’s chance that this could ever be considered to be a victory!  They had earned 8 VPs for Garnett and Taliaferro having quit the field, 4 VPs for Early and Ronald being Spent, 2 VPs for Pender and Thomas being Worn, 2 VPs for capturing two batteries and a further 8 VPs for having occupied the spur for 4 turns.  A total of 24 VPs.  The Rebs on the other hand, had earned 12 VPs for Geary, Greene and Prince having quit the field, 2 VPs for capturing two batteries, 2 VPs for Crawford being Spent and 2 VPs for having killed Greene and Geary, for a total of 18 VPs.  However, the Rebels had also inflicted Heavy Casualties on the Union army and had cut them off from their line of retreat.  I think therefore that the VPs for this scenario need a little work, as it definitely did NOT feel like a Union victory! 🙁

Thanks once again to all at Carmarthen Old Guard, especially to Alan and Andy for making it such a good game.

Posted in 10mm Figures, American Civil War, Fire & Fury (Brigade), Games, Scenarios | 9 Comments

Stalled Projects #1… The War of Spanish Succession in 28mm

Like most wargamers, every so often I get a rush of blood to the wallet and buy a new army (ARMIES in the most catastrophic cases) and start an entirely new project.  In fact, every wargames project starts in this manner, but some are less successful than others…

One such failed project is my 28mm French Army for the War of Spanish Succession

My good mate Jase was back from New Zealand for a few weeks and we went to the ‘Colours’ show at Reading and happened to linger a while in front of the Front Rank Miniatures trade stand…

Those Front Rank Spanish Succession figures looked utterly gorgeous…

Within minutes we’d spent all our cash on lead and were heading back to Wales, considerably poorer.  However, as soon as we got home the figures were under the brush and the first units were looking absolutely spiffing…

Did I say that he was back for a few weeks from New Zealand…?

Well that was a bloody silly idea… How in the name of all that is holy were we meant to have a game?!

Well anyway, I managed to paint a cavalry brigade and an infantry brigade and every so often the mood makes me take the brush to them for a bit more work, but that soon passes…  Maybe one day I’ll finish them off…  They are VERY nice figures…

Above: The 1st Battalion of the Bourbonnais Infantry Regiment.  At the Battle of Blenheim in 1704 [edited: NOT 1715, you idiot!], this regiment fielded two battalions as part of the Marquis de Nangis’ Brigade of the Marquis de Blainville’s Corps, along with a battalion each from the Foix and Agenois Regiments.

Above: The Bourbonnais Regiment in close-up.  Note that this regiment was simply dressed in plain grey/white. The colour of French uniforms was actually the colour of unbleached wool and is theoretically white, but is often depicted as grey.

Most French infantry regiments had a distinguishing facing colour visible at the cuffs and/or distinctive stocking and/or waistcoat colours, but many were simply plain white/grey and Bourbonnais was one of these regiments.  To get this colour I used a light grey (Humbrol 64) as the base colour and used the translucency of Humbrol’s white paint to get the grey show through – I didn’t mix up a grey shade.

Above:  A close-up of the command group of the Bourbonnais Regiment.  The regiment’s button & lace colour was yellow/gold and the drummers wore the ‘Royal Livery’ of dark blue with red facings, waistcoat and stockings, with white & crimson patterned coat-lace, which is repeated on the drum-belts.

Note that some of the Front Rank French officer figures are modelled with waist-sashes, which while common among other armies as the mark of an officer, weren’t officially a part of a French officer’s dress.  However, I had to paint them somehow, so went for white with gold tassels, which was officially the pattern for the cravats attached to French regimental flagstaffs.  I used cream as the base-colour for the sash, to give the white top-coat a subtly different shade, hopefully suggesting silk instead of wool.

Above: A rear-view of the Bourbonnais Regiment.Each French infantry battalion carried two colours; in the 1st Battalion one would be a King’s Colour, which was normally a white cross on a white field (yes, really…).  The other colour was a Regimental Colour, which had a white cross with corner panels in various colours and designs.  A regiment’s 2nd, 3rd and subsequent battalions each carried two Regimental Colours – only the 1st Battalion would carry a King’s Colour.  Very occasionally a regiment might have a design (such as fleur-de-lys or a latin motto) repeated on both the King’s and Regimental Colours.

Note the grenadiers on the right of the line, with their leather grenade-haversacks.  This was the age of grenadiers actually lobbing grenades – after this period hand-grenades went out of fashion for another 200 years and the term ‘grenadier’ was simply an honorific for an elite soldier who guarded the flank of the line.

Above: Soldiers of the La Reine Infantry Regiment.  At Blenheim this regiment fielded three battalions and formed a whole brigade in its own right, that of the Marquis de Buzancois, part of the Marquis de Rosel’s Corps.

The facings and stockings of the La Reine Regiment were red, while the waistcoats were dark blue with white lace piping around the seams and button-holes.  Buttons and lace were silver/white.

The soldiers shown on the right are the regiment’s Grenadiers.  Later in the 18th Century, French Grenadiers would be easily identified by their tall fur caps, but at this time they wore cocked hats like the rest of the battalion (the whole Grenadiers du Roi Regiment did wear fur caps at this time, however).  Grenadiers were distinguished by their moustaches, the additional lace on their coats and their grenade-bag and associated cross-belt.

Above: The de Levy Cavalry Regiment.  At Blenheim this regiment formed one-third of Massenbach’s Cavalry Brigade (alongside the de Royal and de La Ferronaye Regiments), which formed part of the Marquis du Bourg’s Corps.

This regiment had grey/white coats with red facings and gold/yellow buttons and lace (this was a VERY common uniform combination for the French Army of this period).  Shabraques were most likely red, edged yellow, though one source suggests yellow edged red.

Above: The de Levy Regiment’s command group in close-up.  Note the exquisite modelling that Front Rank put into these figures – particularly the texture of the officers’ wigs, the creases of the cloth and the details of lace, buttons and buttonholes.  The quality of casting also equals the quality of modelling. Note also that the officers’ coats are open to reveal breastplates rather than waistcoats.

Above: Another view of the de Levy Regiment, showing the regimental Guidon (cavalry colour).  All the flags shown here are by GMB Designs.

Note that French cavalry tactics of the period emphasised the use of massed volleys of pistol-fire at short-range, hence my choice of pistol-armed figures.  The French cavalry generally did not perform well and generally suffered at the hands of cavalry trained to deliver a full-blooded charge with cold-steel, such as the cavalry of Sweden, Prussia and Great Britain.

Above: A rear-view of the de Levy Regiment, showing the details of the trumpeter’s uniform, which was the livery of the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief, the Duc de Levy.  Note the ‘false sleeves’ on the back of the coat; these were a common feature of cavalry trumpeter’s uniforms throughout the 18th Century.

Above: The de Royal Cavalry Regiment served in the same brigade as the de Levy Regiment above.  Note that these regiments were usually very small; normally only two squadrons apiece, with no more than 240 men.

Above:  The de Royal Regiment’s uniform was dark blue, faced red with gold/yellow buttons and lace. Quartered black & white hat-cockades are also described for this regiment.  Shabraques were probably dark blue with aurore (i.e. pinkish yellow-orange) edging, though black edging is described in one source.

Above:  The de Royal Regiment’s trumpeters wore Royal Livery, which was very much like that of infantry drummers described above: dark blue with red facings and crimson & white patterned lace.  This regiment’s trumpeters are also recorded as having crimson & white hat-feathers, as shown.

Above: A rear-view of the de Royal Regiment, particularly showing the back of the trumpeter’s coat.

Above:  “All For One And One For All!”  These fine fellows barely need any introduction: they are of course, the legendary King’s Musketeers Regiment (Les Mousquetaires du Roi) of ‘The Three Musketeers’ fame.  Although this regiment barely left the confines of Versailles during this entire period, it was seeing these figures that made me HAVE to build this army and they were consequently the first unit I painted.

Above: Thanks to the BBC, people nowadays expect to see these chaps wearing strange leather fetish-wear, but in reality they wore this spectacular uniform of red coats with blue tabards emblazoned with a sunburst, cross and fleur-de-lys.

The term ‘Musketeers’ confuses a lot of people, as it suggests that they were an infantry regiment.  In fact they, along with the single squadron of Horse Grenadiers, were the ‘Dragoon’ (i.e. mounted infantry) element of the King’s Household Troops (La Maison du Roi) and as a result were issued with infantry-style muskets for dismounted work, as well as pistols and swords for mounted shock-action and they also had drummers rather than trumpeters.  The French Army of this period still used Dragoons primarily as mounted infantry, using horses for mobility but fighting primarily on foot.  However, the majority of armies were increasingly using Dragoons as shock cavalry and the Mousquetaires du Roi also tended to be used as shock cavalry on the rare occasion they appeared on the battlefield.

Above: The Mousquetaires du Roi had two squadrons, though these were much stronger than those of the line cavalry, roughly twice the strength, in fact.  The squadrons were defined by the colour of their horses, with the senior squadron being the ‘Grey Squadron’, and the junior squadron the ‘Black Squadron’.

Above: The Grey Squadron had gold/yellow buttons, coat-lace, hat-lace and shabraque-edging.  Tabards for both squadrons had silver/white lace edging and crosses with gold/yellow fleur-de-lys, though the sunburst behind the cross was different for each squadron; the Grey Squadron had a red sunburst, edged white.  Note that drummers’ tabards were very heavily decorated with strips of lace.

Above:  A rear view of the drummer, showing the details of the tabard.

Above: The Black Squadron had silver/white buttons, coat-lace, hat-lace and shabraque-edging and gold/yellow sunbursts on the tabard.

Above:  A close-up of the right-hand side, showing the details of kit.  Note the powder-flask, suspended by a crimson & yellow cord.

Above:  Close-up of the left-hand side.  I should note here that when painting black horses, I always highlight them with a little red-brown mixed into the black.  For tails and manes I highlight with a very dark grey.

Anyway, that’s it for now.  My next instalment will be our latest ACW game – a refight of the Battle of Cedar Mountain, 1862.

Posted in 28mm Figures, Eighteenth Century, Painted Units, Stalled Projects, War of Spanish Succession | 9 Comments

“And Sheep May Safely Graze”: The Action at Penclippin Farm – A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire 1938

Hello. This is Huw Puw reporting once again from the front line for The Fish Guardian.

This week I find myself back in West Carmarthenshire. Having survived the ‘glorious victory’ of Titley Junction, the cross-dressing remnants of the ‘Twm Carnabwth’ Regiment were eventually relieved by a unit of the Welsh Republican Army. We then made our way back to the Republic of Cantref Cemaes for rest, reinforcement, reorganisation and retail therapy.

However, there was no such rest for me! My editor had clearly heard of my survival in Herefordshire and made sure that I was sent on the first available suicide mission. So it was that I soon found myself squelching down the soggy valley of the river Tâf with the reassuringly male soldiers of the 9th ‘Hywel Dda’ Regiment.

However, that reassurance was to be short-lived. All armies have needs and none more so than the resource-starved Army of the Republic of Cantref Cemaes. We needn’t go into details, but the ‘Hywel Dda’ Regiment clearly has a great need for livestock… One can only hope that as good chapel-raised boys with a love of their Mams’ traditional cooking, they like a lot of Cawl

The objective for this dubious raid was Penclippin Farm, in the hills north of the royalist stronghold of Whitland. This farm is known to be the family seat of one Captain Gough, a loyalist officer with Colonel Foley’s Loyal West Carmarthenshire Greenjackets. Unlike most farms in the ‘Landsker’ borderlands between English-speaking and Welsh-speaking territory, Penclippin had not yet been picked clean by raiders from both sides – mainly due to the strong protection afforded by the Greenjackets and the proximity to the strong garrison at Whitland. Thus its booming flock of prize sheep is a rich, yet well-protected prize.

The 9th ‘Hywel Dda’ Regiment also had a few scores to settle, as many of its men are from the Tâf Valley and Whitland area, with units raised in the nearby villages of Login, Llanglydwen and Glandŵr. The regiment is named for a local hero, the ancient King of Deheubarth and author of the ancient Welsh system of laws, Hywel Dda (‘Hywel The Good’), whose court was at Whitland.

Also joining us for this raid were a motley bunch from the Free Wales Army, calling themselves ‘Y Gwarchodwyr Pysgod’ (‘The Fish Guards’). A more disreputable bunch of cut-throats it would be hard to imagine if I hadn’t already met the ‘Daughters of Rebecca’… These lads were VERY keen to get their hands on the sheep, yet when asked, none of them knew a recipe for Cawl…

Above: Lt Col George Bankcroft advances on Penclippin Farm with one of his own companies and that of the Fish Guards. Two of his companies, led by his 2IC, Major ‘Slaps’ Lewis, advance down the eastern bank of the river. Their woolly quarry is soon sighted…

Above: Thanks to alert patrols and their network of Mams who know and see all, Captain Gough’s ‘A’ Company of the Greenjackets has already set up defensive positions at Penclippin Farm and has called for reinforcements from Whitland.

Above: Lt Col Foley, CO of the Greenjackets, has rushed to the scene with his Headquarters Company and ‘B’ Company, as well as an officer of the local St John’s Ambulance Brigade. He has sent word to the Whitland garrison to send relief forces at once.

Above: How green is your valley? This one is pretty green.

Above: A relief column appears, marching through the shattered village of Cwfelin Boeth.

Above: Captain Alison de Carnelle’s Foot Hussar Company of the Slebech Castle Ladies’ College Cadet Corps, supported by some light armour, is on its way to support the Greenjackets. However, ladies only run when playing hockey…

Above: On the Welsh left flank, the Login and Glandŵr Companies advance.

Above: Reaching the crest of the hill, the Login Company spots its woolly prey. However, the Glandŵr Company unwisely shows itself on the riverbank and is immediately taken under fire by the Greenjackets’ ‘B’ Company.

Above: The cadets continue to march in a ladylike manner, without showing too much ankle… The armour presses on impatiently.

Above: Lt Col Foley meets up with Captain Gough at Penclippin to gain a personal appraisal of the situation. As the bullets start flying, Lt Col Gough’s group scarpers for cover.

Above: The Greenjackets’ ‘B’ Company continue to fire upon the raiders along the riverbank.

Above: The sheep, startled by a group of Welshmen with a determined look in their eye, panic and flee for safety!

Above: However, the sheep soon encounter more Welshmen lurking in the bushes at the bottom of the hill and scurry back up the slope!

Above: With the sheep trapped, the Login Company advances to round them up. On the river bank, the Glandŵr Company becomes more generally engaged with the Greenjackets, but gets the worst of the firefight.

Above: Meanwhile, back at Penclippin, a fierce firefight soon ensues between the Llanglydwen Company and ‘A’ Company of the Greenjackets, defending the farmhouse. The Fish Guards advance, but stay hidden to avoid scaring the sheep. The secret weapon is brought forward – Rocsi the Wonder-Dog!

Above: The humanity! As if this civil war weren’t horrible enough, a Morris Man capers from one of the farm-buildings and calls to one of the Greenjackets as if he recognises one of them! Horrified to be thought of as Morris-men, the Greenjackets temporarily panic, but are soon brought back to their senses and proper military bearing by the stirring sight of the Regimental Colour. War is hell…

Above: [The Morris Man appeared as the result of a particularly hilarious random-event card.  He would appear from a random building and then caper around in a random fashion, forcing morale tests on anyone he came into contact with as he attempted to ‘out’ them as a fellow Morris Man.  War is indeed, Hell.]

Above: Spotting a suitable phone box, I moved forward in order to phone my editor with a live report of the day’s action.

Above: To the Greenjackets’ enormous relief, the Morris Man capers off in search of new prey…

Above: Worried by the distant sound of engines and the rattle of tracks, Major Lewis deploys a ‘Boyos’ anti-tank rifle team…

Above: Ignoring the raging firefight around her, Rocsi successfully rounds up the sheep, along with the Morris Man.

Above: The armour pushes forward, but the Cadets continue to proceed in an orderly and ladylike manner.

Above: Lt Col Foley and Captain Gough watch the Morris Man disappear into the distance. Captain Gough is doubly relieved, as he was terrified of having his shameful secret revealed and being ‘outed’ as a Morris-dancer in front of the men…

Above: I conduct a live interview with one of the Greenjackets “Excuse me, but what is your opinion on the morality of Morris Dancing between consenting adults?”

Above: My interview is rudely interrupted by an armoured car roaring past.

Above: “Captain Gough! Is that you? I didn’t recognise you without the bells, hankies and whiffling-stick!” It’s no good, the Morris Man is back and has outed Captain Gough. Recoiling from the whistles, cat-calls and titters of his men, Captain Gough staggers away from the battle, a broken man.

Above: “Quick boys! Let’s get these girls away and then we can have first dibs!”

Above: As the Login Company covers the theft of the sheep, the Boyos team opens up on the Royalist tankette… And misses.

Above: With the defenders of Penclippin Farm thoroughly suppressed by fire from the Llanglydwen Company, Rocsi herds the sheep back to Welsh lines. The Greenjackets, now alerted to the theft, open fire speculatively on the hedgerows to their front.

Above: The Cadets’ armoured car, spraying machine gun fire, moves somewhat rashly to outflank the Welsh line.

Above: The rest of the Cadets are still in no such rush however, though wisely give the Morris Man a wide berth, as he capers off toward Whitland.

Above: Despite suffering some casualties from the armoured car’s machine gun, the Fish Guards gamely return fire with a volley of Molleston Cocktails (named for the Pembrokeshire village where petrol bombs were first used against Royalist tanks). One finds its mark and disables the armoured car, forcing the crew to bail out.

Above: Inspired by the sacrifice of their armoured car detachment, the Cadets hitch up their skirts and risk showing an ankle to the uncouth soldiery as they step up the pace.

Above: “Excuse me, but is it true that you’re here to give relief to the Greenjackets?”

Above: The Morris Man dances off into the distance. His body was later found face-down in the Tâf, with a service issue Webley bullet in his back.

Above: Lt Col Foley manages to calm Captain Gough and settle his nerves with a tot of Pimms. “Christopher old chap, don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me. Goodness knows, when I was in the Sudan, a chap would do anything to stay sane and Morris, while being an unnatural act abhorred by God, wasn’t unknown. Heaven forbid, at least it’s not Jazz.”

Above: True to form, the cads and bounders known as the Fish Guards, machine gun the armoured car crew as they make good their escape.

Above: The depleted Llanglydwen Company lays down covering fire as Rocsi and her woolly charges make good their escape.

Above: The Boyos team doesn’t get a second chance as the tankette returns fire with twin machine guns, instantly eliminating the threat.

Above: Horrified at the loss of his Boyos, Major Lewis orders the Login Company to disengage.

Above: The surviving armoured car crew make good their escape.

Above: On the other side of the river, the survivors of the Glandŵr Company withdraw northward up the river.

With casualties starting to mount and with the approach of Royalist reinforcements, Lt Col Bankcroft ordered the regiment to disengage and withdraw with its woolly captives. The raid had been partially successful, though had undoubtedly inflicted damage and not a little embarrassment on the King’s forces. The men had definitely earned their ‘Cawl’…

This is Huw Puw signing off.

This was a game played at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire. The rules played were ‘Went The Day Well’ by Solway, with some minor modifications for sheep-rustling (!).

The figures are mainly by Footsore Miniatures (formerly Musketeer Miniatures), though the ‘Cadets’ are by Hinterland Miniatures and the Morris Man is by Gripping Beast Miniatures. Most were painted by me, though Martin Small painted the Fish Guards.

The Huw Puw figure is a bespoke figure, sculpted and painted for me by Martin Small. He’s based on the John Sparkes TV character of the same name.

The armoured car is a Morris CS9 by Warlord Games, while the tankette is by Empress Miniatures. Crew figures by Hinterland Miniatures.

Buildings are laser-cut models by 4Ground Models. All other scenery is from the collection of the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire and was built by Al Broughton.

My apologies for the poor quality of photos this time.

Posted in 28mm Figures, A Very British Civil War, Games | 8 Comments

Bloody Antietam (The Afternoon Battle), 17th September 1862

 

Sorry for the slow rate of blog-posts just lately!  My excuses are many and varied, but the main reason is that just lately I’ve been ill with Manthrax (like Man Flu but even worse) and ‘between computers’!  Sorry!

Anyway, friends will know that I always try to have at least one epic Big Christmas Game during the Chrimbo Limbo period between Christmas and New Year and this year was no exception.  However, this year’s game would be somewhere new – the Carmarthen Old Guard Wargamers’ club.  The subject matter would also be relatively new – 10mm American Civil War, fought using Brigade Fire & Fury 2nd Edition rules.   I recently ran the First Day at Gettysburg scenario again at Carmarthen as a taster and the lads were very interested in doing some more ACW over Christmas.

But what battle to do?  My collection is still fairly limited, despite recently doubling my stock of Rebs and I struggled to find a scenario that would fit my collection.  However, the Afternoon Battle sub-scenario for the Battle of Antietam in the 1st Edition Fire & Fury Eastern Battles scenario book seemed to fit the bill.  Note that for 10mm figures I scale everything down by 1/5th, so 1 inch in the rules = 2cm on my table (i.e. double all ranges in the rulebook and express them as cms instead of inches, so 12 inches becomes 24cms).

I had to adapt the orders of battle for the 2nd Edition.  This basically involved me using the 2nd Edition ‘army generator’ mechanism, though weighting the dice-rolls slightly to reflect the relative experience and fighting qualities of the opposing sides (the Rebels at this battle being generally very weak but veterans, while the Union IX Corps was strong but inexperienced).  Some brigades, particularly on the Union side, also had reduced morale due to the casualties suffered during the morning’s assault on the Rohrbach Bridge. The resultant orders of battle look like this:

Elements, Confederate I Corps (Longstreet)

D.R. Jones’ Division (1 Leader)
Kemper’s Brigade (E): 3 bases [3/-/1, Veteran, Rifled Muskets]
Garnett’s & Evans’ Combined Brigades (E): 4 bases [4/2/1, Crack, Rifled Musket]
Toombs’ Brigade (E): 3 bases [3/2/1, Veteran, Rifled Muskets]
Drayton’s Brigade: 3 bases [3/-/1, Veteran, Rifled Muskets]
J.A. Walker’s Brigade: 5 bases [5/3/2, Crack, Rifled Muskets]
Artillery Battery [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Napoleons]

Elements, I Corps Artillery Reserve
1st Battery [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Napoleons]
2nd Battery [Crack, Napoleons]
3rd Battery [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Napoleons]

Elements, Confederate II Corps (Jackson)

(Arriving as Reinforcements on Turn 2)

A.P. Hill’s Division (E) (1 Leader)
Pender’s Brigade (E): 4 bases [4/3/2, Crack, Rifled Muskets]
Gregg’s Brigade (E): 8 bases [8/6/4, Veteran, Rifled Muskets]
Archer’s Brigade: 3 bases [3/2/1, Crack, Rifled Muskets]
Branch’s Brigade: 5 bases [5/4/3, Veteran, Rifled Muskets]
Brockenbrough’s Brigade: 4 bases [4/3/2, Crack, Rifled Muskets]
1st Battery [Experienced, Mixed Rifles & Smoothbore]
2nd Battery [Veteran, Light Rifles]
3rd Battery [Experienced, Light Rifles]

Union IX Corps – Burnside/Cox (1 Corps Leader)

1st Division – Wilcox (1 Leader)
Christ’s Brigade: 9 bases [9/7/5, Green, Rifled Muskets]
Welsh’s Brigade: 11 bases [11/9/6, Experienced, Rifled Muskets]
1st Battery [Experienced, Napoleons]
2nd Battery [Veteran, Light Rifles] (positioned east of the creek)

2nd Division – Sturgis (1 Leader)
Ferrero’s Brigade (E): 10 bases [10/9/7, Experienced, Mixed Muskets]
Nagle’s Brigade: 8 bases [8/7/6, Green, Rifled Muskets]
1st Battery [Crack, Napoleons]
2nd Battery [Veteran, Light Rifles] (positioned east of the creek)

3rd Division – Rodman (1 Leader)
Fairchild’s Brigade: 6 bases [6/4/2, Veteran, Mixed Muskets]
Harland’s Brigade: 11 bases [11/10/8, Green, Rifled Muskets]
1st Battery [Veteran, Napoleons]
2nd Battery [Experienced, Light Rifles] (positioned east of the creek and off-table)

4th Division – Scammon (1 Leader)
Ewing’s Brigade: 6 bases [6/5/3, Experienced, Rifled Muskets]
Crook’s Brigade: 12 bases [12/9/6, Green, Rifled Muskets]
1st Battery [Veteran, Napoleons] (positioned east of the creek)

IX Corps Artillery Reserve
1st Battery [Veteran, Light Rifle] (positioned east of the creek and off-table)
2nd Battery [Veteran, Light Rifle] (positioned east of the creek and off-table)
3rd Battery [Veteran, Light Rifle] (positioned east of the creek and off-table)

Elements, Sykes’ Division, V Corps (Unattached)
Lovell’s Brigade: 7 bases [7/5/3, Experienced, Rifled Muskets]
1st Battery [Veteran, Napoleons]
2nd Battery [Experienced, Light Rifles] (positioned east of the creek and off-table)
3rd Battery [Veteran, Light Rifles] (positioned east of the creek and off-table)

N.B. Leaders marked with ‘(E)’ are rated as Exceptional.

All Confederate brigades start the game in single line, while A.P. Hill’s brigades will enter the table on the south-western road, in march column.

All Union brigades start the game deployed in supported line.  Lovell’s two off-table batteries are deployed just off the north-eastern corner of the table, so measure all ranges and lines of sight from there (they are positioned on a one-level hill).  The remaining four off-table batteries are deployed on a one-level hill, approximately 1km east of the Rohrbach Bridge, so measure all ranges and lines of sight from the point at which the eastern road leaves the table and add 24cm to all ranges.  No batteries deployed east of the Antietam Creek may be moved.
The scenario lasts 8 turns, starting with the Union 1530 turn and ending with the Confederate 1900hrs turn.  The last turn for both sides is a Twilight turn, with maximum artillery range being reduced to 48cm.

To win, the Union player has to end the Confederate Turn 8 occupying at least one of the eight ‘garrisonable’ city-blocks of Sharpsburg with an unspent brigade.

However, thanks to considerable command disagreement and inertia, only Rodman’s and Wilcox’s divisions are free to manoeuvre from the outset.  The remaining forces (Scammon’s division, Sturgis’ division and Lovell’s independent brigade) will be released if there is an unspent Union brigade occupying a city-block of Sharpsburg at the start of a Union turn.

Above: An overview of the battlefield at 1530hrs: Having taken the Rohrbach Bridge following a bloody assault during the morning, the Union IX Corps has finally established a strong bridgehead east of the Antietam Creek.  In front of them stands D.R. Jones’ weak division, manning a pathetically-thin line east of the city of Sharpsburg.

Above: The Union left (southern) flank (Ewing’s brigade of Scammon’s division).

Above: Rodman’s division, in the Union centre.  The larger brigade is Harland’s, while the smaller unit is Fairchild’s brigade, which included the 9th New York Zouaves.  As we were slightly short of Union infantry figures, I confess that I used the Confederate Tiger Zouaves (with a suitable Union command stand) to represent this unit, as they wore a very similar uniform of blue jacket with red trim, topped off with a red fez and blue tassel.  However, the 9th New York Zouaves had blue trousers, while the Tigers had blue & white striped trousers, as shown here (what the heck…).

Above:  The Union IX Corps viewed from the rear, looking toward Sharpsburg.  The bridge in the foreground had been the scene of bitter fighting during the morning.

Above:  On the Confederate right flank stands Toombs’ weak brigade and a supporting battery of artillery.  Toombs had been instrumental in defending the bridge during the morning’s battle and was only forced out of position once the Union forces discovered a ford that allowed them to outflank his position.  Toombs’ infantry are concealed in a cornfield, which at this time of year is fully-ripe and much taller than a man.  The cornfields block line of sight (reducing visibility to 2cm), though are removed once a unit has trampled through them in line or supported line formation.

In the Confederate centre, Kemper’s and Drayton’s brigades, with a second battery of artillery, take cover behind a low stone wall on the forward slope of the ridge.

Above:  On the Confederate left, the remaining two batteries occupy dominating positions on Cemetery Hill, with Evans’ brigade (actually a combined unit formed from the remnants of Garnett’s and Evans’ brigades) deployed in support on the rear slope.  Walker’ brigade meanwhile, guards the western approaches to Sharpsburg.

Above: Rodman’s division surges forward in an effort to eject Toombs’ and Kempers’ weak brigades from their strong position on the ridge.  Fairchild’s Zouaves in particular, are eager to carry their bayonets to Kemper’s Rebels!

Above: After a surprisingly tough fight, Fairchild’s Zouaves are only able to push Kemper’s boys grudgingly back from the stone wall to the crest of the ridge.  In the foreground, Harland’s assault stalls in the face of intense artillery fire from Toombs’ supporting battery.  

Above: In the distance, Welsh’s brigade makes heavy going through the small patch of woodland on Fairchild’s right, while Christ’s brigade by contrast, ignores the threat of the guns on Cemetery Hill to launch a bold direct attack on Sharpsburg.

Above: A short while later, Kemper’s and Toombs’ brigades have been destroyed and Toombs himself is mortally wounded and carried from the field.  In the distance, Welsh’s brigade destroys Drayton and the ridge is completely cleared of Rebs.  However, Christ’s brigade suffers heavy casualties during its assault and is routed.  The Union artillery exacts vengeance on Walker’s brigade and crushes it.  Evans now finds himself leading the last remaining brigade of Jones’ division and withdraws from Cemetery Hill, hoping to mount a close defence of Sharpsburg.  Only A.P. Hill can now save the day…

Above:  In the nick of time, A.P. Hill’s division streams onto the field…

Above: Rodman’s division might have taken the ridge, but both brigades are low on ammunition and now find themselves under fresh assault by A.P. Hill.  The corps commander rides forward to encourage the men, while in the distance Welsh leads his brigade on to enter Sharpsburg!

Above:  With Welsh’s brigade having gained a foothold in Sharpsburg, the rest of IX Corps starts to move forward to exploit their success.

Above:  In the foreground, Ewing’s brigade moves forward to Snavely’s Farm, but comes under fire from newly-arrived Reb artillery.  In the distance, Harland’s green troops might have taken the ridge, but now come under pressure from Hill’s veterans and look set to lose what they have gained.

Above:  Branch’s Rebel brigade, accompanied by two batteries, takes up position along the stone wall opposite Ewing.

Above:  On the ridge, the Rebel brigades of Brockenbrough and Pender take Harland to task on the crest of the ridge.

Above:  Fairchild’s Zouaves find themselves in an even worse situation, as they have now broken through Kemper’s brigade and its supporting battery, only now to find themselves isolated and unsupported on the reverse slope, faced by Gregg’s far stronger Rebel brigade.  Already weak, Fairchild’s brigade is rapidly crushed by enemy fire and is soon annihilated.  General Rodman attempts to rally them, but falls to a shot through the head from a Rebel marksman.

Above:  Despite sudden reverses on the ridge, Sturgis’ division (Ferrero’s and Nagle’s brigades) forms columns and marches forward eagerly into the fight.  Crook’s brigade meanwhile, struggles to extricate itself from the woodland along the banks of the Antietam.

Above:  Finding himself facing superior forces, Ewing takes cover behind the stone wall at Snavely’s Farm.

Above:  But what’s this?!  It seems that despite being securely positioned within the houses of Sharpsburg and being accompanied by their divisional commander, Welsh has suffered a crisis of confidence and has ordered a withdrawal, which has turned into a panicked rout from the town!  Evans’ men send them on their way with a large volume of fire and Archer’s newly-arrived brigade takes advantage of the vacuum to occupy the buildings so recently vacated by Welsh!

Above: Wilcox manages to rally Welsh’s brigade and throws them once again into Sharpsburg.  Lovell brings his brigade down from Cemetery Hill to support the assault, but all to no avail!  Welsh’s men are cut to pieces by musketry from Archer and Gregg, while Lovell’s assault is halted by Evans and his supporting artillery.

Above:  In the meantime, a general assault on the ridge starts to develop, as Ewing, Nagle and Ferrero roll forward, supported by Crook and whatever artillery can find the range.  However, Rodman’s division has now completely disintegrated and the few survivors are streaming back across the bridge, taking the divisional artillery with them.

Above:  Branch’s Rebel brigade and its supporting artillery is being thinned out by long-range Union artillery and can’t hope to hold against the coming assault, but it all serves to draw Union forces away from the main prize…

Above:  A.P. Hill has learned from Jones’ mistakes and keeps Pender’s, Brockenbrough’s and Gregg’s brigades well behind the crest-line (marked by the fence) rather than expose them to the superior Union artillery power.

Above:  Evans’ and Archer’s men occupy Sharpsburg and jeer as Welsh’s brigade flees back up the road to the bridge.  However, Lovell’s brigade is rallying behind the Lutheran church and steels itself for a second assault… It’s now all-or-nothing, as the sun is setting…

Above:  Evans’ stalwart artillerymen load their guns once again and wait for the renewed assault on Sharpsburg…

Above:  Lovell surges forward once again, but runs into a storm of flying lead and steel.  His charge is halted and the survivors go to ground as darkness falls.  The assault on Sharpsburg has failed.

Above:  As fleeing Union soldiers head back to the bridge, Cox orders Sturgis’ fresh division to form the rearguard as IX Corps starts its withdrawal across the Antietam, leaving over a quarter of its men lying on the field of battle…

Thanks to all at the Carmarthen Old Guard for an excellent day’s wargaming!  Well done to the Confederate players for their remarkable victory against considerable odds and well done also to the Union players for actually achieving a result that was slightly better than the historical outcome!  It was a superb game and was on a knife-edge right down to the last roll of the dice!

It’s nice to reach the end of a scenario for once… And all done in under five hours. 🙂

Posted in 10mm Figures, American Civil War, Fire & Fury (Brigade), Games, Scenarios | 7 Comments

LANDJUT 1984: The Defence of Gnissau

The Warsaw Pact’s Northern Front crossed the Inter-German Border two days ago, rapidly breaking through the forward units of the German Schleswig-Holstein Territorial Command, annihilating the 81st Heimatschütz Regiment and surrounding the 71st Heimatschütz Regiment in Lübeck.  The Danish Jutland Dragoons however, along with German and British reconnaissance elements have fought a succession of sharp rearguard actions against the advancing Warsaw Pact forces, allowing survivors of the mechanised 51st and 61st Heimatschütz Brigades to disengage and fall back to the main line of resistance on the Kiel Canal.  Scattered German Home Guard units meanwhile, are mounting ambushes everywhere, making the enemy pay for every inch of German soil.

The Heimatschützen’s sacrifice has allowed time for NATO’s LANDJUT Command to crystallise a main line of resistance along the Kiel Canal.  The German 6th Panzergrenadier Division is on the right, with its flank resting on the Elbe and covering the main approaches to Hamburg.  The Danish Jutland Division is on the left, holding a wide swathe of land across Schleswig-Holstein, with its left flank resting on the Baltic and the British 1st Infantry Brigade is in reserve.  The line is spread very thin, though gaps are being covered by the ubiquitous local Heimatschütz platoons and the line should soon be strengthened by the arrival of the US 9th Motorized Infantry Division, which is presently unloading at Hamburg.  However, the 1st Jutland Mechanised Brigade is still forward of the canal, forming a bridgehead to allow German units and the Jutland Dragoons to withdraw across the canal.

On the right flank of the 1st Jutland Mechanised Brigade is the 1st Battalion of the Funen Life Regiment; a mechanised infantry battalion equipped with M113 APCs and Centurion tanks.  They are dug in around the village of Gnissau, which is situated on a low ridge, overlooking a wide valley and flanked by low, wooded hills – it looks like the ideal place to blunt the Warsaw Pact’s spearhead:

Order of Battle for 1st Battalion, Funen Life Regiment

HQ & Support Company
1x Commander
1x M113 Command APC
2x Land Rover with TOW ATGM
2x M150 TOW ATGM Carrier
2x Recce Infantry (LAW)
2x Recce Land Rover (LMG)
2x MO-120-RT Towed 120mm Mortar (off-table Organic Fire Support)

‘A’ Company
1x Command Centurion Mk 5/2 105mm Main Battle Tank
3x Centurion Mk 5/2 105mm Main Battle Tank

‘B’ Company
1x Commander
9x Infantry Squad (2 with Carl Gustav 84mm MAW and the rest with M72 66mm LAW)
1x MG3 General Purpose Machine Gun
4x M113 APC
1x M125 81mm Mortar Carrier (Organic Fire Support)

‘C’ Company
Same as ‘B’ Company

‘D’ Company (Understrength)
1x Commander
7x Infantry (3 with Carl Gustav 84mm MAW and the rest with M72 66mm LAW)
1x MG3 General Purpose Machine Gun
1x M29 81mm Mortar (Organic Fire Support)
4x Unimog 4×4 Truck

‘A’ Battery, 6th Battalion, North Jutland Artillery Regiment (off-table Direct Fire Support)
2x Forward Observer (on table attachment)
2x M113 APC
3x M109 Self-Propelled 155mm Howitzer
1x Hamlet MANPADS Team (Redeye) (on-table attachment)
1x Land Rover
The rest of the artillery battalion (two more batteries) is available as General Fire Support.

Attached From The Royal Danish Air Force
1x Forward Air Controller
1x Land Rover
On a successful roll for Close Air Support, roll again to see what arrives: 1-2 = German Alpha-Jet, 3 = British Jaguar GR1, 4-7 = Danish Draken, 8-9 = Danish F-16, 10 = US A-10 Thunderbolt. All are armed with mixed bombs and rockets.

In terms of Troop Quality, all Danish elements are classed as ‘Experienced’, except for the reservists of ‘D’ Company, who are ‘Trained’.

Rapidly approaching from the south are the leading elements of the East German 28th Motorisierte-Schützen Regiment Wilhelm Florin, which is the spearhead unit for the 8th Motorisierte-Schützen Division Kurt Bürger. The regimental reconnaissance force has identified NATO defensive positions around the village of Gnissau and the regiment’s 3rd Battalion has been ordered forward to mount a hasty attack.

Order of Battle for 3rd Battalion, 28th Motorisierte-Schützen Regiment Wilhelm Florin

HQ & Support Company
1x Commander
1x BTR-60 PU Command Vehicle
3x 9K111 Fagot-M (AT-4 ‘Spigot C’) ATGM Team
1x BTR-152 APC
3x AGS-17 Plamya 30mm Automatic Grenade Launcher Team
1x BTR-152 APC
4x M43 120mm Mortar (Organic Fire Support)
4x GAZ-66 Medium Truck

7th Company
1x Commander
1x 9K32 Strela 2 (SA-7 ‘Grail’) SAM Team
1x 9K115 Metis (AT-7 ‘Saxhorn’) ATGM Team
9x Motor Rifle Infantry (3 with RPG-7 & the rest with RPG-18)
4x BTR-60 PB APC

8th Company
Same as 7th Company

9th Company
Same as 7th Company

Understrength Regimental Tank Battalion
1x Command T-55A Medium Tank
9x T-55A Medium Tank

Attached Elements, Regimental Anti-Aircraft Company
1x 9K31 Strela 1 (SA-9 ‘Gaskin’) SAM Vehicle
1x ZSU-23-4 Shilka Quad 23mm Anti-Aircraft Vehicle

Attached Elements, Regimental Anti-Tank Company
1x 9P148 Konkurs (BRDM-2 with AT-5 ‘Spandrel’) ATGM Vehicle

Attached Elements, Regimental Pioneer Company
3x Pioneers (1 with RPG-7 & 1 with Flamethrower)
1x BTR-152 APC
1x MTU-54 Bridgelayer
1x IMR Engineer Vehicle

Attached Elements, Regimental Artillery Battalion
1x Forward Observer
1x 1V18 Artillery Command & Observation Vehicle
3x 2S1 Gvozdika Self-Propelled 122mm Howitzers in Direct Support
The whole battalion (two more companies) is available for three rounds of preparatory barrage.

Attached Elements, Frontal Aviation
1x Forward Air Controller
1x BTR-60 R975 Forward Air Control Vehicle
On a successful roll for Close Air Support, roll again to see what arrives: 1-2 = MiG-17 ‘Fresco’, 3-4 = MiG-21 ‘Fishbed’, 5-7 = Su-17 ‘Fitter’, 8-9 = MiG-27 ‘Flogger D’ & 10 = Su-25 ‘Frogfoot. All are armed with mixed bombs and rockets.

In terms of Troop Quality, all East German elements are classed as ‘Experienced’.

Above:  Lieutenant Colonel Simmondsson deploys the defenders as ‘hidden unit markers’, which include a proportion of dummy markers, as per the original Battlefront: WWII rules.  Each ‘Manoeuvre Element’ (i.e. Company) gets issued a number of dummy markers based on the Troop Quality of the unit – better units get more dummies, as they are assumed to be better at camouflage and creating dummy positions.  It’s a simple system that negates the need for a map and umpire.  Obsersteutnant Marx then deploys his troops and plans his preparatory barrage.

Above:  Going by the deployment of NATO positions, the western side of the battlefield appears to be more weakly defended, so Marx deploys the bulk of his force there, aiming to swing around the wooded ridge and assault Gnissau from the west.  The tank battalion leads, with the Motor Rifles following close behind, mounted in their thin-skinned BTR-60 PB carriers.  The supporting artillery proceeds to hammer the wooded ridge (they have three turns of pre-planned fire with the whole battalion – one battery is then available in Direct support thereafter, along with the Motor Rifle Battalion’s own 120mm mortars).

Above:  On the right flank of the attack, the Motor Rifle Grenade Launcher Platoon takes up position within Strenglin, ready to provide fire support to the attack or discourage a counter-attack from the east.  On their right, AT-4 Spigot ATGM teams set up their weapons in a small wood, strengthened by a detachment of vehicle-mounted AT-5 Spandrel ATGMs and a Forward Air Controller.  Hopefully this will be enough to blunt any NATO counter-attack from the east.  To the rear, the air defence detachment watches the skies.

Above:  The East German 2S1 122mm artillery battalion does good work on the ridge and disorders or suppresses almost the entire Danish ‘B’ Company (mech infantry).  Further out to the west, the German T-55s are most surprised (and relieved) to discover that the bulk of NATO positions there are actually dummy positions!  Nevertheless, in front of the ridge a T-55 is destroyed by Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifles, while another T-55 is driven back.  NATO artillery also now starts to fall among the East German APCs…

Above:  Despite being suppressed by artillery himself, the Danish Forward Observer times his defensive fire mission perfectly, dropping 155mm rounds in the midst of a Motor Rifle Company just as they were dismounting from their APCs in preparation for an assault on the ridge.  An APC and a rifle squad are eliminated and most of the rest are disordered.  The T-55s will now have to fight through the wood without infantry support!

Above:  With the East Germans threatening to turn the Danish right flank, the CO calls up an air-strike and a flight of RDAF F-16s screeches over the battlefield…

Above:  However, the East German air defences are awake and alert and quickly turn the F-16 into a fireball!

Above:  Suddenly, disaster strikes the Danes!  With Warpac artillery landing in and around their foxholes, T-55s rampaging through the position and the Company Commander being pinned down, panic suddenly rips through the Danish ‘B’ Company and the majority of them flee from the ridge, accompanied by their attached Forward Observer.

Above:  Only a single infantry section remains on the ridge, resolutely holding its position against the invaders.

Above:  A hedge at the foot of the rear slope unfortunately impedes the Danish retreat.

Above:  The East German assault now seems unstoppable.

Above:  At Strenglin however, the East Germans suffer a bloody nose as Land Rover-mounted Danish TOWs knock out a German ATGM vehicle and the Forward Air Controller’s vehicle.  Thankfully the FAC survives and starts calling for some airborne vengeance…

Above:  From their position the East German ATGM teams are able to spot the Land Rovers, but don’t want to give away their position by firing.

Above:  But not to worry, as a Soviet Frontal Aviation Su-17 ‘Fitter’ soon arrives and easily avoids the paltry AA fire that the Danes are able to throw up.

Above:  Somewhat unwisely, the Danes have packed a small wooded hill with assets – as well as the two TOW Land Rovers, there are also two recce Land Rovers and a Forward Observer with his M113!  They all fit neatly under the Su-17’s bomb template…

Above:  The air strike results in the destruction of the Recce Platoon, who had the misfortune of being parked next to the TOW Land Rovers.  Unable to resist temptation, the East German ATGMs also fire at the Forward Observer’s M113, which was spotted when it fired its HMG at the Su-17.  The M113 is destroyed, but the Forward Observer survives and the ATGMs soon become targets for 120mm mortars.

Above:  The Danish right flank is now completely overrun.  The Danish ‘B’ Company managed to rally at the hedge-line and has occupied a small built-up area next to the road, but they can’t hope to hold out for long against this onslaught.

Above:  ‘B’ Company does what it can to rally, but some elements are still stuck on the wrong side of the hedge!  However, the first T-55 to emerge from the wooded ridge suddenly explodes as a TOW missile finds its mark – but from where?!

Above:  Back on the high ground at Gnissau, the Danish CO personally directs the fire of two dug-in M150 TOW Carriers and begins to organise a counter-attack.

Above:  Ignoring the threat of ATGM fire from Strenglin, the Centurions of ‘A’ Company burst out of their camouflaged positions in front of Gnissau and wheel to the right, aiming to strike at the right flank of the East German tank battalion.

Above:  In the distance, the Danish ‘C’ Company, mounted in its M113s, follows the Centurions in a counter-attack against the East German right flank.  In the foreground, the reservist ‘D’ Company gets out of its foxholes and moves forward in support.

Above:  Having successfully run the gauntlet of fire from AT-4s ATGMs and AGS-17 grenade-launchers, the Centurions successfully reach the eastern end of the wooded ridge.  In the foreground, the Squadron Commander with one of his Troops engages the T-55s on the northern slope to take the pressure off ‘B’ Company’, while his other two Troops head around to engage the BTRs south of the ridge.

Above:  Unaware of the approaching Danish tanks, the East German Pioneer detachment moves forward in support of the attack.

Above:  The view from the wooded ridge.  The dismounted East German Motor Rifle Company is still struggling to move forward following its hammering by NATO artillery and the tanks on the ridge are still unsupported… The Danish counter-attack might just work!

Above:  The commander of 7th Company frantically attempts to get his men to redeploy to face the approaching enemy tanks, but his lads are shaken and move sluggishly in response to the threat.  The panzer crews are made of sterner stuff, however and a single T-55 platoon moves to meet the Centurions.

Above:  The Tank Battalion and the 8th and 9th Motor Rifle Companies charge on, aiming to overrun ‘B’ Company and Gnissau, regardless of the puny tank threat.

Above:  However, Captain Bigglesson’s F-16 appears just as the East German air defence unit is re-locating to a safer location.  The 7th Company’s deployed SA-7 ‘Grail’ SAM team fails to dissuade the Danish aviator and he successfully destroys a BTR-60 belonging to 9th Company.

Above:  Meanwhile, Lieutenant Maverikski’s Su-17 returns to club baby seals and ignores the Centurions to finish off the Danish Land Rovers before returning to the People’s Mess for a samovar and Order of Lenin.

Sadly that was where we had to leave it.  As it was a club-night, we only had 3 hours or so to do the game, so it was probably ‘a little’ ambitious! 🙂  Nevertheless, it was a very entertaining game and game concepts were play-tested, which was the primary objective.

Rules and Models

The rules are Battlefront: First Echelon, which is my Cold War adaptation of Battlefront: WWII by Fire & Fury Games.  In these rules, each vehicle or heavy weapon represents 2-3 real ones and an infantry stand represents a squad/section.

The Danish models are mostly by QRF, with modelling and conversion by the talented Martin Small and painting by me (the infantry are QRF Israelis, painted by Martin).  The F-16 is a 1/100th scale die-cast toy by an unknown manufacturer, repainted by me.

The East Germans/Soviets are from a mix of manufacturers, painted by me:  The infantry are East Germans by Team Yankee.  Most of the vehicles are by Skytrex, with the Shilka and engineering vehicles by QRF.  The Su-17 is by QRF, with conversion (wings swept forward) by Martin Small.

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: First Echelon, Battlefront: WW2, Cold War, Games, Scenarios | 6 Comments

French Napoleonic Reinforcements

Since getting back into my first wargaming love of Napoleonics in 2015, thanks to our Waterloo Bicentennial games, I’ve been steadily working my way through the lead-pile.  In 2015 this stood at around 2,000 unpainted 15mm AB Figures Napoleonics.

Thanks to painting 1,000 or so figures for Waterloo and around another 2,000 since, I’ve now managed to reduce my pile of unpainted AB Napoleonics to… around 2,000 figures…

I really need to stop buying more… 🙁

One of my major objectives after Waterloo was to build up sufficient French and Austrian forces for the 1809 Danube Campaign.  The main task was to paint LOTS of Austrians, as I only had a small Austrian army in my collection, but I also needed to expand my French army in pretty much all areas.  I’ve also been expanding my Young Guard for later campaigns, so I’ll cover those in a separate piece.

Note that all of my troops are organised for Napoleon’s Battles rules, whereby each unit represents a brigade or large regiment and each figure represents about 100 men.  Rather than trying to represent every uniform present in a brigade (which I’ve seen done, but looks messy), I paint a single battalion or regiment from that brigade to represent the brigade as a whole.  Unless otherwise stated, all models are by AB Figures, sculpted by Tony Barton and painted by me:

Above: The 9th Light Infantry Regiment.

Above:  The 10th Light Infantry Regiment.  At first glance these look exactly the same as the 9th, though there are subtle differences in cuff detail, headgear, epaulettes and gaiter-trim.

Above: The 7th Chasseur a Cheval Regiment.

Above:  The 4th Cuirassier Regiment.  I have actually cheated here slightly, by painting them in their 1810 uniform with ‘aurore’ (pinkish-orange) facings.  Up until 1810 the Cuirassiers only had scarlet or ‘jonquil’ yellow facings.  Scarlet was worn by the 1st to 6th Regiments, while jonquil was worn by the 7th to 12th Regiments.  In 1810 that changed to scarlet for the 1st to 3rd, aurore for the 4th to 6th, jonquil for the 7th to 9th and pink for the 10th to 12th.

The trouble with Cuirassiers in historical refights is that they were generally either completely absent, or they were ALL there en masse (along with the brigade of Carabiniers)!  So you need a ton of the things for those relatively rare moments where the Reserve Cavalry Corps is committed.  This is my sixth and final brigade of French Cuirassiers.  In 1809 all the Cuirassier and Carabinier brigades were very strong, so I’ve also been painting up extra bases of Cuirassiers for my pre-existing units.

Above:  The 5th Hussar Regiment.  All the French Hussar regiments have gorgeous uniforms, but the 5th has to be my favourite of the lot.  However, while the basic uniform details of sky-blue breeches, sky-blue dolman, white pelisse and yellow braid is easy to discover, exact details of headgear and trumpeters’ uniform are much harder to find!  Note that Tony Barton generally depicts figures in ‘field dress’, so the Hussars are wearing their pelisses as jackets, instead of slinging them over the left shoulder as a cape.  I think this is a shame, as I’d like to see the contrasting colour of the dolman.  ah well…

Above:  The 5th Hussars again.  I must admit that I’ve cheated here slightly, as I’ve depicted them in the uniform recorded for 1805-1808, which featured sky-blue shakos with black trim and trumpeters in scarlet uniforms with white shakos and yellow plumes.  By 1809, the shakos for the rank and file had changed to plain black and the trumpeters were wearing ‘reversed colours’, with sky-blue shakos and white plumes.  Note that as with all AB Figures cavalry in ‘charging’ poses, they often benefit from a bit of arm-bending, so that some are pointing their sabres at the enemy.  Some careful plume-bending can also look good, as here.

Above:  The 1st (Polish) Light Horse Lancers of the Guard.  In 1809 these were actually simply ‘Light Horse’ and didn’t become Lancers until a year or so later.  However, AB don’t do the correct figures for 1809, so these will do for now, as we need them for subsequent campaigns.

Above:  One of the Lancers had a mis-moulded lance, so I decided to convert him into an Eaglebearer with the help of a drill, some brass wire and the Eagle cut from a spare infantry Eaglebearer.  I think he looks rather nice and I now wish I’d done the same for the 2nd (Red) Lancers! 🙁

Above:  For some reason I had a load of spare Guard Lancer officers knocking around, so I painted some as Duchy of Warsaw generals and this one specifically as General Krasinski; some time commander of the 1st (Polish) Light Horse Lancers of the Guard and latterly a Guard cavalry brigade commander.  Even as a general, he typically wore a sumptuous version of the full dress ‘gala’ uniform of the Guard Polish Lancers, as shown here.

Above:  For the Italian theatre of the 1809 Campaign and for the Battle of Wagram, I needed a model for General Grouchy, in his role as commander of a corps of Dragoons.  Grouchy has in latter years attracted something of a bad reputation, thanks to Bonapartist propaganda slating his performance as a Marshal during the Waterloo Campaign.  However, in earlier campaigns and particularly in 1809, he proved himself as an extremely capable cavalry commander

 Above: Prince Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy.  Although not a Marshal of the Empire and having almost no military experience, Eugene, as Napoleon’s adopted son, was given an independent command as commander of the Army of Italy.  After a shaky start, Eugene surprised everyone by not only defeating an Austrian invasion but also then pursuing the Austrian army back into Hungary before joining Napoleon at Vienna and playing a decisive part in the subsequent victory at Wagram.  He also proved to be a very popular civil governor of northern Italy – sometimes nepotism works!

Above:  Eugene is frequently depicted in a Marshal’s-style blue uniform, heavily laced with gold and with white Marshal’s ostrich-feathers edging his hat.  However, I’ve depicted him here in the green uniform prescribed for him as Viceroy of Italy.  I’m not sure if he was actually wearing this in 1809, but this seems to have been the uniform he wore at Borodino in 1812 and it does mark him out as a commander of Italian troops.  With him is an Italian staff officer (green uniform, faced sky blue), an Italian line infantry colonel in regimental uniform and a French staff officer in a sky blue concoction of his own (based on a uniform worn by Baron Lejeune).

Most of these models come from the AB Figures Napoleon & Staff set.  Had I realised it at the time, I could also have included a Mameluke manservant, as according to a painting on the wall at Fontainebleau Chateau, Eugene had a Mameluke manservant, just like his step-dad. I have a spare Roustan from the Napoleon set, so will add him at some point in the future!

Above:  Lastly, we have Marshal Bessieres, resplendent in his typical uniform; the ‘undress’ uniform of a Colonel of the Guard Chasseurs a Cheval.  He is escorted by a pair of Guard Chasseurs in full dress and a dismounted Chasseur officer, in undress like his boss.

The Bessieres figure is actually one of a set of Marshal Murat figures by a talented new sculptor from Estonia called Sho Boki.  Although Sho Boki’s sculpting isn’t quite up to Mr Barton’s standard, he is rapidly catching up with the great man and his models fit in with AB Figures extremely well.  The two Chasseur escorts are taken from the AB Napoleon & Staff set, while the dismounted officer figure is actually an officer of the Sailors of the Guard (I had one spare) and his horse is taken from an AB French ADC set.

Anyway, that’s it for now!  🙂

Posted in 15mm Figures, Napoleon's Battles (Rules), Napoleonic French Army, Napoleonic Wars, Painted Units | 4 Comments