A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire: The Manor Park Raid

With Lord Tenby’s Royalist Administration forces engaged in the north of the county against increasingly belligerent Anglican League and Welsh Nationalist forces, the south of the county had almost been forgotten by the Royalist Administration. With the south relatively quiet, Regular and Territorial forces had been stripped from the lines facing the Albertine ‘Pembroke Protectorate’ to bolster the ‘Landsker Marches’.

However, Prince Albert’s forces had not been idle.  Under the leadership of the capable Sir Charles McKay-Price and aided by reinforcements and resupply from Canada, they had slowly been building their strength in preparation for a major offensive against Lord Tenby’s forces.  Nevertheless, the Protectorate Army was still some way from being a competent field force and so it was left to the more capable elements of the army to conduct raids, fighting patrols and spoiling attacks against the Royalists.

With manpower being steadily stretched by demands from the north, significant gaps had opened up along the Royalist ‘Jameston Line’ (which stretched from Carew on the Cleddau Eastuary to Manorbier on the south coast).  Instead of a continuous line of trenches, the ‘Line’ was little more than a straggling line of fortified outposts, connected by strong patrols of cavalry, armoured cars and motorised infantry.  While the Albertines did not yet have the strength to directly take on these fortified positions, they were able to infiltrate relatively strong forces under the cover of darkness or the reasonably regular South Pembrokeshire sea-fog.

And so it came to pass that Sir Charles received intelligence that a Royalist VIP was due to visit the local BUF Headquarters at Manor Park; a large mansion-farm on the Carew-Tenby road, approximately 2 miles behind Royalist lines.  With luck, it was reckoned that a sizeable force might be infiltrated under cover of darkness to assault Manor Park, destroy the headquarters and capture or kill the VIP.  Major ‘Skip’ Broughton, of the Freshwater West Australian Light Horse, was appointed to command of the operation and under his command were placed the Pembroke Post Office Lancers and a company of The Duchess of York’s Own Highland Volunteers.

As predicted by R(P)AF Pembroke Dock’s Meteorological Section, a sea-fog rolled in during the night, enabling the force to infiltrate between Royalist strongpoints. As the bulk of the force moved into its assault positions, the Highlanders marched further into enemy territory, to set up an ambush position on the Tenby road, with the intention of cutting off any escape by the VIP.

As dawn broke, all was ready and the attack was mounted.

Manor Park, looking west toward Carew and Pembroke.

In the courtyard we see the VIP consulting with the local BUF staff – it’s the notorious Baron Kylsant, Marcher-Lord of Narberth and ‘Butcher of the Landsker’.

Manor Park, looking East toward Tenby. The BUF are completely unaware that Albertine Highlanders are lurking in the woods at the top of the picture.  However, the Albertines are equally unaware that a Royalist field gun is deployed behind Manor Park (roughly where the sheep are in this photo).

Looking north toward Redberth, the Albertines are also unaware that BUF outposts are deployed along this sunken lane.

The attack begins. In the foreground are the territorials of ‘D’ Company, 4th Welch Regiment.  Beyond the road are the dismounted Freshwater West Australian Light Horse, while the Pembroke Post Office Lancers split into two Troops.

In the centre, the Light Horse deploy their Vickers MG Section to cover the road.

Major Broughton and his guidon-bearer move forward.

On the left flank, ‘A’ Troop of the Lancers move forward to support the Light Horsemen.

Resplendent in their purple ‘kangaroo feathers’, the Light Horsemen move forward through the hedgerows.

An Australian blows his thing.

As the Australians cross a field, a unit of BUF open fire from the sunken road.

The clock starts ticking now that the BUF are alerted to the enemy presence.  Royalist reinforcements will soon start to arrive, so the Albertines need to complete their mission in the shortest possible time.

The Australians and BUF trade fire with each other, with light casualties being suffered on both sides. Men on both sides scramble for cover as bullets find their mark.  The Lancers move forward in support, firing from the saddle as they do so. A saddle is emptied by BUF bullets, but the Lancers press on.

On the Albertine right flank, ‘B’ Troop of the Lancers moves forward, covered by the Territorials.

The Territorials haven’t yet spotted any enemy, but don’t like the look of that hedgerow in front…

With trumpet blaring, the Post Office Lancers add a degree of tone and class to the battlefield as they dash forward.

With the Australians now suppressed by fire from the hedgerow, ‘A’ Troop of the Lancers attempts to seize the initiative and launches a reckless charge on the BUF!

However, the Lancers’ gamble pays off, as the BUF are also suppressed by Australian fire. They completely fail to cause any casualties on the charging Lancers and as the Lancers charge home they break and run!  Blackshirts are quickly lanced, ridden down or captured by the victorious Lancers.

Meanwhile, on the other flank, ‘B’ Troop of the Lancers dashes across the field to the sunken lane.  A volley of shots rings out…

As the Territorials suspected, a second unit of BUF Militia is lurking in the lane.  The two sides trade shots inconclusively across the field.

The BUF Militia Commander and his 2IC leave Manor Park to tell his men to keep the bloody noise down…  Just in time to witness one of his units being ridden down by Lancers!

A St John’s Ambulance officer attached to the BUF, looks on in horror as the Lancers complete their annihilation of the BUF.

“View Halloo!” Spotting the BUF officer and his friend, the Lancers charge off in hot pursuit, though the officer manages to dash back into Manor Park, while the NCO hides in the phone box.

The St John’s Ambulance officer sneaks off, hoping that his black & white uniform will enable him to hide among the cows…

Major Broughton moves forward to rally his men and get them moving forward again.

Having seen what happened to their comrades on the right and not wanting it to happen to them, the remaining unit of BUF leg it as fast as their hairy little fascist legs will carry them back to Manor Park.

The Territorials set off in hot pursuit!

‘A’ Troop charges on up the road, unaware of the fugitive hiding in the phone box.

The Blackshirts scarper, with the Lancers hot on their heels!

The BUF officer bars the gate, while one of his staff officers frantically looks for an escape route.  A BUF signaller, calling frantically for support, finally manages to make contact with a friendly unit!

Captain de Carnelle’s Company of Cadets has heard the call and has withdrawn from the front line near Carew.  The young ladies arrive in rear of the Australians!

The Lancers reach the lane, but their horses refuse to tackle the steeply-banked hedges! The BUF make good their escape and barricade themselves inside Manor Park.

‘A’ Troop of the Lancers meanwhile, runs into trouble as a previously un-located BUG heavy weapons detachment opens up on the horsemen.  Amazingly, no casualties are suffered by the ‘Lucky Lancers’.

Another heavy weapon joins in – this one an 18-pounder field gun belonging to the 2nd Haverfordwest Volunteer Horse Battery RA.  Still the Lancers suffer no casualties!

With the battle intensifying around him, Baron Kylsant makes good his escape in a convoy of staff cars with a motorcycle outrider.

The Haverfordwest Horse Artillery have traded their horses in for a commandeered tea van…

The Duchess of York’s Highlanders, waiting in ambush positions, spot te approaching convoy…

A Highlander NCO orders his men to hold their fire until he gives the word.

However, a Highlander fires on the horse gunners and the ambush is compromised!

With the ambush detected, Baron Kylsant attempts to escape across the fields.  Meanwhile, fortune favours the ‘Lucky Lancers’ once again as the BUF machine gun jams!

However, Captain de Carnell’s Cadets are now engaging the Australian rear.

A cadet sharpshooter takes aim at the exposed Australian machine gun team.

Another cadet rushes forward to engage the Australians.

As more cadets move forward, one takes a tot from her hip-flask to steady the nerves!

A cadet seeks a target among the hedgerows.

A cadet readies her rifle and prepares to engage the enemy.

Major Broughton’s men turn to face the new threat.  With the ambush blown, the time has come for his force to scatter and infiltrate back into friendly lines. Baron Kylsant has escaped justice this time, but his time will come…

This game was played at the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire.

The Albertines in this game are mainly from Al Broughton’s collection: the Australian Light Horse are now long out-of-production Battle Honours figures, the Territorials are from Great War Miniatures and the Lancers are from Empress Miniatures’ Anglo-Zulu Wars range.

The other figures are from my own collection: the BUF and Highlanders are by Footsore Miniatures (formerly Musketeer Miniatures), the artillery are by Renegade Miniatures (which seem to be now out of production), the ‘cadets’ are by Hinterland Miniatures and the staff group is a Spanish Civil War staff group by Empress Miniatures.  The cars are by Sloppy Jalopy (drivers by Empress Miniatures) and the livestock is by Redoubt Miniatures.

The scenery is mostly from the club collection and was mainly built by Al Broughton.  The farm is a very nice pre-painted set by EM4 Miniatures.

Rules used were ‘Went The Day Well?’ by Solway Crafts.

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A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire 1938: The Army of the Pembrokeshire Protectorate

As recounted in my short history of the beginnings of the Civil War in Pembrokeshire, the south-western peninsula of the county, centred on the towns of Pembroke and Pembroke Dock and with extensive military infrastructure, was the first non-Welsh Nationalist Pembrokeshire district to rebel against the King.  The forces of Prince Albert, the Lord Protector, were very quick to react to this rebellion and a detachment of the Albertine Western Blockade Squadron soon arrived to reinforce and reassure the rebels, closely followed by an Albertine Canadian Infantry Brigade Group and thus this rebel territory fell into the Albertine sphere of influence.

With the arrival of strong Albertine forces and supplies, the Albertine Pembrokeshire Division rapidly expanded into a force of two infantry brigades:

Forces of the Albertine Protectorate of Pembrokeshire

General Headquarters, Protectorate Forces (Pembrokeshire)
HQ at Defensible Barracks, Pembroke Dock

1st Pembrokeshire Protectorate Brigade – Brigadier Sir Andrew James DSO MC*
1st (Pembroke) Rifle Volunteers (Prince Albert’s Own) – Lt Col Sidney Jones MC
2nd (Pembroke Dock) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col Sir Gareth Hogmanay Beamish OBE
3rd (Cosheston & Carew) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col Adrian James CFM
Princess Elizabeth’s Own Highland Émigré Volunteers of Canada – Lt Col Alexander Goldie TD

2nd Pembrokeshire Protectorate Brigade – Brigadier, Sir James Ackland
4th (Castlemartin & Angle) Rifle Volunteers (Lord Cawdor’s Own Angle & Castlemartin Cyclists) – Lt Col, The Hon. Jason de Beauharnais Evans VC
5th (Pembroke Irish) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col Robert Wright
6th (Pembroke Foreign Legion) Rifle Volunteers – Lt Col, Conte Diego Manuel Garcia d’Arretano
Queen Mary’s Own Rifle Volunteers of Canada – Lt Col Molson Labatt

GHQ (Pembrokeshire) Artillery – Colonel, Sir George McGeary CRA
405 Field Battery (Pembroke Yeomanry), The Pater Artillery Volunteers (4x QF 18pdr) – Major Ronald Watts
4 Field Battery, Canadian Artillery Volunteers (4x 18pdr) – Major Douglas Butt
185 (East Blockhouse) Coastal Battery, The Pater Artillery Volunteers (2x 9.2-inch & 2x 6-inch) – Major, The Hon. Vaughan Austin du Fresnoy
186 Anti-Tank/Light Anti-Aircraft Battery, The Pater Artillery Volunteers (2x QF 12pdr on improvised mounts & 12x Lewis AA Mounts) – Major Samuel Spiers

GHQ (Pembrokeshire) Troops
The ‘Cumby’ Battalion, Royal Marines – Lt Col Edward Owens RM MC ChLdH
‘A’ Squadron, Castlemartin Yeomanry – Major, Sir Terence Meyrick, Bart.
Freshwater West Australian Light Horse Squadron, Royal Australian (Protectorate) Air Force – Squadron Leader Alistair ‘Skip’ Broughton RA(P)AF DFC
The Pembroke Post Office Lancers – Major Terence Gwyther
The Pater Tank Corps – Major Mervyn Evans MC
1st Field Company, Royal Pater Engineers – Major Charles George Gordon

Royal (Protectorate) Air Force – Gp Capt Arthur Harris R(P)AF AFC
210 Squadron R(P)AF – 12x Short Singapore – Sqn Ldr Christopher Jones R(P)AF DFC CFM*
228 Squadron R(P)AF – 8x Supermarine Walrus – Sqn Ldr John Evans R(P)AF
R(P)AF Pembroke Dock Ground Defence Flight – Flt Lt Martin Griffiths R(P)AF

Notes

1. ‘D’ Company, 4th (Volunteer) Battalion, The Welch Regiment (Territorial Army) was based at Pembroke Drill Hall.  As the local Territorial Army infantry company, one platoon of ‘D’ Company had naturally been called out to assist the police in maintaining order at a large public meeting that was to take place at the Great War Memorial on Castle Hill, Pembroke.  However, the BUF also decided to impose their version of the ‘King’s Peace’ and a massacre was the result.

One of the first to fall was the Territorial platoon commander and his incensed men were quick to return fire on the BUF.  Civilians were armed from the Drill Hall’s armoury and the BUF were soon driven from the town. ‘D’ Company then moved quickly to secure the locality: The Defensible Barracks was seized in a bloodless coup as they were joined by ‘A’ Squadron of the Pembroke Yeomanry and the men of the local Coastal Artillery Regiment, Royal Marines Detachment and Royal Dockyards Police. Most of the Officers and Airmen of RAF Pembroke Dock also joined the coup, though the Loyalists made a stand at the depot of the 2nd KSLI in Llanion Barracks. Nevertheless, the loyalist positions at Llanion were quickly overrun and the rebels consolidated their position in the south-west of the county. Within a week, an Albertine brigade group landed to reinforce the rebels, who quickly declared for Prince Albert.

Despite the switch of allegiance, the men of ‘D’ Company are proud of their regiment and have retained the old title. Perhaps in a vain hope that the rest of The Welch will join them against the King? They continue to wear their old Service Dress uniform and insignia. The only variation on Dress Regulations is the cap-band, in Albertine Purple.

[Models are Great War Miniatures, painted by Al Broughton.]

2. 405 Field Battery, 102 (Pembroke & Cardigan Yeomanry) Field Regiment, Royal Artillery has been expanded and split into two parts since the mutiny: The most experienced horsemen in the battery, along with the most promising new volunteers, have been returned to their pre-1922 role as cavalry and designated as ‘A’ Squadron, The Castlemartin Yeomanry.  It was fortunate that throughout the 1920s and 30s, the Battery (always referred to as a ‘Squadron’ by the old hands) continued to parade on horseback and compete in cavalry skills such as tent-pegging.

3. The remainder of 405 Field Battery, plus some new volunteers, continue to operate as a Field Artillery Battery.  They are equipped with WW1-vintage 18pdrs, though they have recently been motorised with Morris CDSW 6-wheel tractors.  However, the guns retain their iron-shod wooden wheels, so the tractors cannot exceed 6mph when towing the guns.  This means that they travel no faster than a horse-team on a road, but are much more efficient at cross-country movement, having the power to pull the guns out of boggy ground with ease.  The Battery Staff are mounted on horseback, with a horse-drawn Battery HQ radio wagon and office caravan, though they also possess an Austin 11 fitted as a Light Recce Car with radio for Forward Observation work.

4. The Pater Artillery Volunteers, a 19th Century volunteer regiment disbanded in the 1880s, has been resurrected to take control of 405 Field Battery, 185 Coastal Battery & 186 Anti-Tank/Light Anti-Aircraft Battery.

5. 185 (East Blockhouse) & 186 (West Blockhouse) Coastal Batteries, situated on either side of the mouth of the Milford Haven Waterway and completely dominating sea access, both consisted of 2x 9.2-inch and 2x 6-Inch Guns, emplaced in open, half-moon concrete revetments, served by underground magazines.  However, both batteries are completely indefensible from the landward side and the decision was therefore taken to withdraw the personnel of 186 Coastal Battery across the Haven.  The magazines at West Blockhouse Battery magazines were then blown up along with the guns, in a colossal explosion that has left a series of massive craters scarring the flank of St. Anne’s Head.  The new AT/LAA Battery has been given the old 186 Battery designation and is manned by the former coastal gunners.

6. The newly-formed Anti-Tank Troop of 186 AT/LAA Battery has been formed around two ancient naval 12pdr guns that once formed part of the Chapel Bay Battery, but were moved a few years ago to create a Training Battery at East Blockhouse.  This type of gun had been used successfully on field carriages by the Royal Navy during the Boer War and its time has come once again.  There is ample ammunition for these weapons and the RAF and REME mechanics at Pembroke Dock have excelled themselves in building two new, split-trail gun-carriages for these high-velocity weapons.  Trial firings of these weapons against warship armour-plate has clearly demonstrated that they are more than capable of defeating even the most modern of tanks.

7. The Pater Tank Corps has been formed from six Carden-Loyd Carriers captured at Llanion Barracks, two redundant RAF Rolls Royce Armoured Cars and a Mk V ‘Male’ Tank that was previously used as a war memorial in Pembroke Dock’s Memorial Park.  Mr Mervyn Evans, a former SNCO of the Machine Gun Corps (Heavy Branch) and Royal Tank Corps has been maintaining the Memorial Tank all these years and despite 20 years of children climbing on it, has kept it in fighting condition.  As the most experienced tank-soldier in the Brigade, Mr Evans has been awarded an Emergency Commission with the rank of Major and has been appointed to command the new Pater Tank Corps.  The RAF and REME have provided mechanics to refurbish these vehicles and to keep them in action.

8. The two regular Albertine Canadian battalions landed after the declaration for Parliament and the Lord Protector.  They have been split between the two brigades, in order to provide each brigade with some regular backbone.  A third Canadian battalion, plus supporting arms, has been sent to shore up the Bishop of St David’s forces in the northeast corner of the county.  However, aside from the field artillery, much of the Canadian motor transport and heavy equipment is still somewhere in the North Atlantic.

9. The ‘Pembrokeshire Foreign Legion’ is formed from assorted foreign émigrés, seamen and adventurers who have volunteered for service.  Thus far only two companies have been formed, but every ship that makes it through the blockade brings with it adventurers, mercenaries and volunteers from the Empire and beyond.  The battalion is commanded by the Count of Arretano, who is a refugee from Spain, presently resident at Orielton House near Castlemartin and who was an officer in the Royal Spanish Army before he was forced to flee with his family when the Anarchists seized his estate in northern Spain.

10. One company, commanded by Major Louis-Philippe de Guédelon Jones, is formed from a community of French onion-sellers.  The French onion-sellers have resided in the town for decades and most are now about as French as roast beef.  Nevertheless, they persist in wearing the obligatory berets and stripy shirts and speaking in outrageous accents.  Their ability to balance gigantic loads of onions onto bicycles has military use and they have therefore been turned into a bicycle-carried Vickers MG Company.  The French are mortal enemies with the Breton onion-selling community of Haverfordwest (who have now declared for King Edward) and onion turf-wars were common before the Civil War.

11. The ‘Cumby’ Battalion of Royal Marines is formed from the original Pembroke Dock RM Detachment, expanded by the addition of what Royal Navy personnel are present in Pembroke Dock, plus local Royal Marine and Royal Navy Reservists, former members of the disbanded Royal Dockyard Police, volunteers from the Merchant Navy and some ex-Royal Marines.  The battalion is named for Captain William Pryce Cumby RN, a former Captain-Superintendent of the Pembroke Royal Dockyard and who, as First Lieutenant of HMS Bellerephon during the Battle of Trafalgar, took command of the ship when the Captain was killed.

12. 4 Field Battery of the Canadian Volunteer Artillery is fully motorised with 8cwt cars and 15cwt trucks and is equipped with modern 18pdrs, fitted with pneumatic tyres.  They are not therefore speed-restricted like those of 405 Field Battery.

13. The RAF order of battle is largely conjectural, as the bulk of the heavier flying boats were badly shot up by Red forces from across the river before the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Protectorate and the People’s Republic came into force.  Several flying boats were burned and/or sunk at their moorings and most of the rest were damaged. Life on the river also became pretty lethal for the small RAF tenders servicing the flying boats.  Thankfully the Reds didn’t have anything heavier than MGs, so didn’t manage to do any more damage – they were also discouraged once 405 Battery’s 18pdrs started firing back from the Defensible Barracks.  To be on the safe side in case the MoU breaks down, the surviving flying boats have been taxied into the shelter of the Pembroke River, out of sight of the Reds, though only the lighter Walruses can operate from there and the heavier Singapores still need to take off and land on the Haven proper.  The RAF ground-crew have therefore moved everything they can from RAF Pembroke Dock, south to Pennar, where they have established a temporary base.

14. The old ‘RNAS Pembroke’ airship station at Carew-Cheriton had recently been re-commissioned by the Air Ministry for use as an RAF airfield for conventional aircraft.  However, while land has been purchased from neighbouring farmers, the field is still not large enough for modern aircraft and nothing heavier than a Tiger Moth can yet operate from there.  It is also dangerously close to the front line for comfort.  Another site, at Angle, has also been bought by the Air Ministry and has been surveyed, though work has not yet begun to clear hedgerows and grade runways.  However, Angle could be an excellent alternative site to operate Walrus amphibians and would enable the operation of land-based aircraft.

15.  The Albertine Pembroke Post Office Lancers had their origins in the ‘Volunteer Craze’ of the late 19th Century, when mounted postmen volunteered to supply a whole troop of the Pembroke Yeomanry.  The volunteer fad died with the Great War, though much of the mail in Pembrokeshire continued to be delivered on horseback. A few of the old veterans decided to revive their old cavalry skills and before long, the posties were competing once again in ‘tent-pegging’ (i.e. an old British cavalry exercise – attempting to spear a wooden tent-peg at the full gallop while remaining mounted). This was embraced enthusiastically by the younger postmen and the Pembroke Post Office Tent-Pegging Display Team were soon a popular sight at carnivals and fairs around South Pembrokeshire. New ceremonial uniforms soon replaced the standard, relatively plain blue & red Post Office uniform.

With the sudden descent to war, the tent-pegging display team soon became the Pembroke Post Office Lancers, volunteering en masse to defend Pembroke (and the Albertine cause by default).  Their smart uniforms were also an extremely effective recruitment tool and the Lancers quickly found their ranks swollen to full Squadron strength.  Their uniforms retain the blue, red and brass Post Office theme, though with the addition of smart-as-carrots pith helmets which are festooned with spare elastic-bands in the finest traditions of the Post Office (you never know when they might come in handy for parcelling up loot or prisoners).

Aside from a few Great War veterans and a few former Yeomanry and Territorials in the ranks, the Lancers have little in the way of infantry skills, so they are retained as shock cavalry and reconnaissance troops.

The Post Office Lancers formed part of the Albertine contingent sent by sea from Pembroke Dock to reinforce the beleaguered Bishopric of St Davids, where they fitted in well with other cavalry contingents outfitted in Ruritanian uniforms. They fought well in their first engagement at Robleston Hall, charging fearlessly in the face of stiff enemy opposition and blunting the Royalist offensive there, pausing only to carry out the day’s 2nd Collection at Dudwells Sub-Post Office.  However, they suffered heavy casualties, as nobody likes a show-off; least of all BUF Vickers Machine Gun teams…

So despite their detractors and accusations of being a throwback to Queen Victoria, the ‘Parcel Force’ as they have become known, have proved their worth on the battlefield. They might be silly buggers, but they’re sill buggers with style, panache and bulging sacks.

[The models are sculpted by Paul Hicks for Empress Miniatures’ Anglo-Zulu Wars range, painted by Al Broughton.]

16. In 1936, the Royal Australian Air Force purchased a number of Saro London flying boats from Great Britain.  RAAF personnel were then sent to RAF Pembroke Dock, to train on the new aircraft, with the intention of forming a brand-new RAAF flying boat squadron at Pembroke Dock, before flying their new machines back to Australia. However, the war intervened and the aircraft were not even delivered to Pembroke Dock. The Australian aircrew, finding themselves marooned in the midst of a war on the far side of the globe and hearing the trumpet’s call… found a superb surfing beach at a place called Freshwater West and set up camp there, well away from the Poms and their stupid war.  However, the Main Street Massacre changed all that.

It came to pass that some of the Australian officers were relaxing in the King’s Arms on Pembroke Main Street, enjoying a few quiet pints and looking forward to a few loud ones.  Squadron Leader ‘Skip’ Broughton was just lifting a foaming pint of “Feelin’ Foul” to his lips (‘Felinfoel’ isn’t a name that comes easily to Englishmen, let alone Australians) when a volley of shots erupted in the street outside!  A bullet smashed the window, then smashed Skip’s pint before passing through his hand and lodging in the dark oak panelling of the public bar!  Squadron Leader Broughton stood, ashen-faced, dripping with blood and beer as the other Australians looked on in shock and horror. “Strewth, Skip!  The bastards shot your pint!”  Unaware of the screams and incessant gunfire outside the smashed window, the Australians stared dumbstruck at their stricken leader and his former pint.  Then, as one man, the enraged and dripping Australians charged out into the street.  Someone was going to pay!

Having joined forces with the people of Pembroke against the Blackshirts (and by association, the King), the Australians have nailed their colours firmly to the Albertine mast.  There are no aircraft to fly, so the Australians have turned their hand to horsemanship (already a well-honed skill among many of them).  The Australian airmen’s natural dash and initiative has made them excellent light cavalrymen and the Freshwater West Australian Light Horse Squadron has been rapidly incorporated into the Pembrokeshire Protectorate forces.  Some wags insist on referring to them as ‘Air Cavalry’ – a clearly ridiculous name that will surely never catch on…

 

The FWALH’s old RAAF uniforms have now been almost completely replaced with khaki and brown leather cavalry equipment drawn from local Yeomanry stores, as well as with dashing Australian Light Horse-style hats run up with a local milliner and decorated with a band of RAAF blue serge and ‘Kangaroo Feathers’ in Albertine purple.

The squadron’s guidon is emblazoned with the Prince of Wales’ Feathers (commemorating Wales, not the Prince!), a boomerang and the motto ‘Ne Solliciti’ (‘Worry Not’).

[Models are Battle Honours (I think), painted by Al Broughton.  The guidon was painted by me.]

Posted in 28mm Figures, Campaigns, Painted Units, VBCW - A Very British Civil War, VBCW Albertine | 2 Comments

“Glory, Glory Hallelujah!” (Part 3): The Union XI Corps at Gettysburg

Since starting my 10mm American Civil War project last June, I’ve been building up both sides, using the order of battle for the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg as my immediate ‘to do’ list.  In Part 1 of this series I looked at the Union I Corps, which marched to the aid of Buford’s cavalry on the morning of 1st July 1863.  In Part 2 I looked at Buford’s 1st Cavalry Division, which was the first Union formation to engage the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia at Gettysburg.  In this article I’m looking at the ‘unlucky’ Union XI Corps, which consisted mostly of German-speaking immigrants, was the next to arrive at Gettysburg (after I Corps) and which had something of a controversial history.

General Louis Blenker

The XI Corps had a somewhat complicated origin, but its story began with General Louis Blenker’s Division of German immigrants, which was raised in 1861 and initially formed part of the reserve of the Army of the Potomac before being sent west to join General John Fremont’s Army of the Mountain Department.  Unfortunately, Blenker got lost on route, his command ran out of supplies and discipline broke down before they finally reached Fremont’s army.

The German Division was soon committed to battle against ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s army in the Shenandoah Valley without adequate food, shoes or tents.  To make matters worse, the locals despised them due to their looting during the march and the attitudes of their English-speaking comrades were little better.  As a consequence, the German brigades performed poorly at the Battles of McDowell and Cross Keys and their initial strength of 10,000 was soon whittled down to 7,000 men.

General Franz Sigel

On 26th June 1862, John Fremont’s Army of the Mountain Department was re-designated as the I Corps of John Pope’s Army of Virginia.  Fremont, who outranked Pope, was outraged and immediately resigned his command.  General Franz Sigel was appointed to replace Fremont as commander of the new I Corps and the morale and fighting spirit of the German troops under his command seems to have immediately improved.  The corps was in the thick of the fighting at the Second Battle of Bull Run (aka Second Manassas) and suffered heavy casualties, but didn’t break.

With the merging of the Army of Virginia into the Army of Potomac, there couldn’t be two I Corps in the same army, so Sigel’s ‘German Corps’ (commonly known as ‘Dutch’ – a corruption of ‘Deutsch’) finally received the title of XI Corps on 12th September 1862.  However, with the appointment of General Joseph Hooker to command the Army of the Potomac in February 1863, major disagreements between Hooker and Sigel led to the latter’s resignation and command of XI Corps passed to General Oliver Otis Howard.

General Oliver O. Howard

The loss of Sigel was keenly felt by the Germans, who made up around half of XI Corps (13 out of 27 regiments) and this was exacerbated by Howard’s appointment of the unpopular General Devens to replaced the wounded General Schenck as commander of the 1st Division, as well as Howard’s evangelical Christian fervour, which alienated the anti-clerical Germans and the religious Germans (a mixture of Catholics and Lutherans) alike.

Then came XI Corps’ worst disaster; the Battle of Chancellorsville.  Late in the day, just as XI Corps was settling down into bivouacs, the right flank of the corps was struck by General ‘Stonewall’ Jackson’s Confederate Corps, which had achieved a remarkable flank march, to strike the exposed flank of the Army of the Potomac.  To make matters worse, having placed his corps in this exposed position, Howard then chose that moment to absent himself from his headquarters.  Outflanked and leaderless, XI Corps was rapidly rolled up and routed from the field.  Somewhat astonishingly, Howard kept his job; his failure was mitigated by being out-foxed by the Confederacy’s greatest general and by the fact that ‘Stonewall’ Jackson had been killed in the very moment of defeating XI Corps.  However, his failure to admit fault only made his German troops despise him even more.  To make matters even worse, he appointed General Barlow to replace Devens as commander of the 1st Division; Barlow proved to be a martinet and a petty tyrant, who openly despised the ‘Dutch’ and who immediately stamped his authority on his new command by arresting the popular Colonel von Gilsa for allowing his thirsty men to fetch water!

General Howard’s Headquarters

Two months later, Howard was still in command of XI Corps when it arrived at Gettysburg on the morning of 1st July 1863, marching to the aid of Reynolds’ I Corps.  However, Howard was then shocked to discover that with Reynolds’ death, he was now in command of the Army Wing (I Corps, XI Corps and XII Corps) and therefore the battle.  Command of XI Corps now passed temporarily to General Carl Schurz, commander of the 2nd Division; leadership of which now passed to Brigadier-General Schimmelfennig.  Leaving Von Steinwehr’s 3rd Division in reserve on Cemetery Hill south of the town of Gettysburg (a fortuitous decision), Schurz marched the rest of XI Corps north to shore up the flagging right flank of I Corps, which was coming under pressure from Ewell’s newly-arrived Confederate II Corps.  Schimmelfennig’s 2nd Division was on the left, linking with Wadsworth’s Division of I Corps, while Barlow’s 1st Division was placed on the right with instructions from Schurz to refuse the right flank, in order to avoid another ‘Chancellorsville’…

However, Barlow had other ideas and, seeing an area of high ground approximately 500m forward of his position, he took it upon his own initiative to advance his division to that location (which was subsequently immortalised as ‘Barlow’s Knoll’).  So instead of refusing the flank, as ordered by Schurz, he had now advanced the flank…

The highly experienced General Juball Early, commanding the 1st Division of Ewell’s Confederate II Corps, wasted no time in taking advantage of Barlow’s fatal error.  Barlow’s Knoll was swiftly envaloped by superior numbers and Barlow’s division was crushed and forced to retreat back to Cemetery Hill, suffering even heavier losses than the entire XI Corps had suffered at Chancellorsville.  Among the casualties was Barlow himself, who was left for dead on the battlefield, though later recovered from his wounds as a prisoner of war.  With the right flank now completely exposed, Schimmelfennig’s Division was also forced to retreat, followed by the entire I Corps; all of whom now rallied on the solid position formed by Von Steinwehr’s Division atop Cemetery Hill.  This position was then further reinforced by Slocum’s XII Corps, which took post on the right of XI Corps, around Culp’s Hill.

Shamefully, Howard later pinned the blame for the retreat on to I Corps and Abner Doubleday, who had taken command of I Corps, following the death of Reynolds.  General Meade, a long-time enemy of Doubleday, wasted no time in sacking the blameless general and the truth of Howards’ actions, when revealed, only led the rest of the army to despise XI Corps and the Germans even more.  Nevertheless, XI Corps solidly defended Cemetery Hill against Ewell on 2nd July.

After Gettysburg, the 1st Division (now commanded by Schimmelfennig) was split off from XI Corps and the rest of the corps was transferred along with XII Corps to Hooker’s command in Tennessee.  There the XI Corps partly redeemed its reputation and earned praise for its actions, particularly for their magnificent bayonet-charge at the Battle of Wauhatchie, though ‘s£!t sticks’ and the reputation for bad behaviour remains to this day.

Above: The entire XI Corps, deployed for battle at Gettysburg.  The three divisions are identified by their headquarters flags emblazoned with the Corps’ badge of a crescent-moon (which like all the corps badges of the Army of the Potomac, was adopted on 21st March 1863).  As for I Corps, the corps badges were colour-coded by division and the colour of the badge displayed on the headquarters flags and the men’s caps indicated the division to which they belonged: red = 1st Division, white = 2nd Division & blue = 3rd Division.

General Francis C Barlow

Above: The 1st Division, commanded by Brigadier General Francis C Barlow, is identified by the red crescent-moon badge on the divisional headquarters flag, as well as by the red badges (dots!) on the forage caps of the men.

The division’s 1st Brigade (shown above on the right) was commanded by Colonel Leopold von Gilsa and consisted of 1,138 men belonging to the 41st, 54th & 68th New York and 153rd Pennsylvania Infantry Regiments.  This equates to five bases for Brigade Fire & Fury.  Von Gilsa’s Brigade suffered 530% casualties (dead, wounded and missing), equating to 47% of the starting strength.

The 2nd Brigade (shown above on the left) was commanded by Brigadier General Aldelbert Ames and consisted of 1,341 men of the 25th, 75th & 107th Ohio and 17th Connecticut Infantry Regiments, equating to seven Fire & Fury bases.  Ames’ Brigade suffered 780 casualties, or 58% of its strength.

General Adolph von Steinwehr

Above: The 2nd Division, commanded by Brigadier General Adolph von Steinwehr (a former officer of the Prussian Army), is identified by the white crescent-moon badge displayed on the (blue) headquarters flag and on the men’s caps.

The division’s 1st Brigade (shown above on the left) was commanded by Colonel Charles R. Coster and numbered 1,215 men (6 bases) from the 27th & 73rd Pennsylvania and the 134th & 154th New York Infantry Regiments.  Even though the 2nd Division was in reserve on the 1st July, the brigade suffered 600 casualties or 49% of its strength – mostly during Ewell’s assault on Cemetery Hill on 2nd July.

The division’s 2nd Brigade (shown above on the right) was commanded by Colonel Orland Smith and consisted of 1,640 men (8 bases) belonging to the 55th & 73rd Ohio, 33rd Massachusetts and 136th New York Infantry Regiments.  Of all six brigades, Smith’s Brigade suffered the least, with 350 casualties, or 21% of the brigade’s strength.

General Carl Schurz

Above: The 3rd Division, commanded by Major General Carl Schurz (a former Prussian revolutionary), was actually commanded at Gettysburg by Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig (another former Prussian revolutionary and a communist to boot), commander of its 1st Brigade, due to the temporary elevation of Schurz to command XI Corps during the battle.  The division became broken up during the confused retreat through Gettysburg and Schimmelfennig was forced to hide in the town for several days to avoid capture before rejoining his division.  However, this story was later ‘spun’ as yet another example of ‘Dutch’ cowardice…  The division was identified by its blue crescent-moon badge, which on uniform caps would be coloured sky-blue in order to contrast with the dark blue of the uniform.  On (white) headquarters flags the badge was dark blue.

General Alexander von Schimmelfennig

The division’s 1st Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General Alexander Schimmelfennig (shown above on the right) was the strongest in the corps, with 1,685 men (8 bases) drawn from the 45th & 157th New York, 74th Pennsylvania, 61st Ohio and 82nd Illinois Infantry Regiments.  The brigade suffered a massive 815 casaulties (most of them being captured) or 48% of the brigade’s strength.

The division’s 2nd Brigade (shown above on the left) was commanded by the Polish-born Colonel Wladimir Kryzanowski and numbered 1,420 men (7 bases), made up of the 58th & 119th New York, 75th Pennsylvania, 82nd Ohio and 26th Wisconsin Infantry Regiments.  The brigade suffered 670 casualties at Gettysburg, or 47% of its strength.

Above: By this stage of the war, the Army of the Potomac had removed artillery batteries from divisional control and had massed them all in the Corps Artillery Brigades and the Army Artillery Reserve.  The XI Corps Artillery Brigade was commanded by Major Thomas W. Osborne and comprised five batteries: Battery I/1st Ohio Artillery (6x 12pdr Napoleons), Battery K/1st Ohio Artillery (4x 12pdr Napoleons), Battery I, 1st New York Artillery (6x 3-inch Ordnance Rifles), Battery G/4th US Artillery (6x 12pdr Napoleons) and the 13th New York Artillery (4x 3-inch Ordnance Rifles), for a total of 16x 12pdr Napoleons and 10x 3-inch Ordnance Rifles.  In Fire & Fury, each model gun represents a ‘battery’ of eight guns, so the above boils down into 2x 12pdr Napoleon models and 1x 3-inch Ordnance Rifle model, plus crews and limbers.

Models & Painting

All the figures and gun models shown above are 10mm models by Pendraken Miniatures.  The buildings are a mixture of Pendraken and Timecast Models.  The terrain-cloth is by Tiny Wargames.

All painted by me using Humbrol enamels.

Posted in 10mm Figures, American Civil War, American Civil War Union Army, Fire & Fury (Brigade), Painted Units | Leave a comment

‘Going Dutch’: Building a Cold War Dutch Battlegroup (Part 3)

Following on from my previous updates in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, I’ve recently added a few more bits and pieces to my 15mm 1980s Cold War Netherlands battlegroup for the (under-development) Battlefront: First Echelon variant of Fire & Fury Games’ Battlefront: WWII rules.

In these rules, each model vehicle or heavy weapon represents 2 or 3 actual items and each infantry base represents a section/squad.  My 1980s Dutch organisations can be found here and they’re almost completely drawn from the 1980s Netherlands order of battle presented on Hans Boersma’s outstanding website here.

A sincere Dank je wel must go to Hans, Bart and Wout for putting me straight on all my mistakes areas for further research in previous articles!  It really is most appreciated and I await your corrections for this nonsense… 😉

Above:  I’ve finally completed a full Tank Squadron of Leopard 1-V main battle tanks.  As discussed in Part 1 and in my Beware of the Leopard! article, I’m using the Team Yankee Leopard 1 plastic kit, which has the advantage of being able to swap the turrets around (with the help of magnets) and using the same hulls for Dutch, German and Canadian Leopards.

Note that this is NOT a depiction of a tactical formation!  This is merely a load of models bunched together for photographic purposes! 🙂

Though it has to be said that my tactical formations are little better… 🙁

Experts in AFV recognition will no doubt note that the Team Yankee Leopard 1 model lacks the hull stowage bins that were a feature of the Dutch Leopard 1-V (see the photo at the top of this article). Sharing the hulls also means that I can’t apply nation-specific decals such as the ‘NL’ national marking that can be seen on the top photo. However, that’s a compromise that I’m willing to accept for the sake of saving money and associated marital bliss…

If you want a 100% accurate Leopard 1-V including stowage bins, QRF’s metal model of the Leopard 1-V is the way to go.  QRF are also the only source for the earlier Leopard 1NL model

Above: At the start of the 1980s, Dutch Tank Squadrons had an HQ of 2x MBTs (Leopard 1NL or Centurion Mk 5/2) and three Platoons of 5x MBTs, equating to 1 model tank for the SHQ and 2 model tanks for each Platoon, as shown here.  All Tank Battalions had three identical Squadrons, regardless of their affiliation to Armoured or Armoured Infantry Brigades.

As Tank Battalions began re-equipping with Leopard 1-V and Leopard 2A4 during the early to mid 1980s, the organisations changed markedly:  Tank Battalions of Armoured Brigades retained the three-Squadron formation, though Tank Battalions of Armoured Infantry Brigades moved to a four-Squadron formation.

Within each Squadron, the SHQ was reduced to 1x MBT and the Platoons were reduced to 4x MBTs apiece.  While the number of MBTs within a Platoon had reduced, the number of Platoons within each Squadron increased from 3x Platoons to 4x Platoons.  However, in the case of Tank Battalions of Armoured Infantry Brigades, only the A & B Squadrons had four Platoons.  The C & D (reservist) Squadrons kept the three-Platoon structure.

In game terms, this revised organisation gives me something of a dilemma with regards to the tank-to-model ratio, as the SHQ only had 1x MBT, which doesn’t warrant a model in its own right.  If the Platoons were 3x tanks apiece (like Danish or West German Squadrons), then some of the ‘loose change’ can be absorbed into the SHQ to justify a separate SHQ model.  However, there is no ‘slack’ in this organisation, so the Squadron in game terms consists of 6x or 8x tank models, depending on the squadron type (I need to paint one more…).

Above: Here we see a combined-arms Tank Squadron Team, consisting of a Tank Squadron minus one Platoon and reinforced by an Armoured Infantry Platoon in YPR-765 PRI, an anti-tank section with YPR-765 PRAT and an attached artillery forward observer in YPR-765 PRCO-C5.

As discussed on Hans Boersma’s site, the Dutch experimented with various variations on the theme of mixed Company Teams and Battalion Battlegroups.  However, these tactics were difficult to achieve for an army with short-service conscription and little in the way of a long-service professional officer and NCO cadre (doubly so with the reduced Squadron HQ establishment in the new organisation).  Nevertheless, they did persevere and mixed Teams/Battlegroups would have been formed in wartime, with varying levels of success.

It’s interesting to note that the West Germans and French (and some others) took a very different approach, organising many of their battalions as permanent combined-arms units.  However, having to establish permanent infantry/armour units in peacetime led to its own challenges – primarily in terms of cost and logistics.

Above: The Royal Netherlands Army was not a great user of the basic M113 armoured personnel carrier (though many of its vehicles such as the YPR-765 and M113 C&V were mechanically identical).  However, Dutch Armoured Reconnaissance Battalions and Armoured Engineer Companies used the M113A1 as their primary armoured personnel carrier.  The Recce Battalions also used the M106 107mm mortar carrier variant.

Above:  The vast majority of Dutch M113s simply had the basic commander’s cupola fitted.  However, I found one photo of a Dutch M113 in the field with the ‘ACAV’ cupola fitted, so used that as an excuse to fit this entirely atypical bit of kit… 🙂

I should add that I’ve given the commander a khaki beret, as this is for my Armoured Engineer detachment (I await correction…) 😉

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: First Echelon, Battlefront: WW2, Cold War, Cold War - NATO Armies, Painted Units | Leave a comment

Some M48 Chaparral SAM Vehicles (Butler’s Printed Models)

Last September I posted here about my first experience of 3D-printed models (SKOT APCs from Butlers’ Printed Models).  Since then on the Cold War front, I’ve been working my way through the stack of unmade plastic kits and unpainted lead and resin in my ‘to do’ mountain, so hadn’t bought anything more from BPM.  However, as my US Cold War battlegroup was growing, I had a need for some M48 Chaparral SAM vehicles to provide a little close air defence for my Yanks.  Team Yankee produce a pack of four resin & metal Chaparral models, but I only needed an absolute maximum of two vehicles, so decided to give BPM another punt.

I’m pleased to say that I absolutely was not disappointed!  The BPM Chaparral is if anything, even better than the SKOT.  In the photo above, the cleaned-up model is on the left and the ‘unclean’ model with all its supporting printing-structure is on the right (plus three separate pieces at the front).  Behind are a Team Yankee M113 and Leopard 1 for scale – the M48 Chaparral was based on the same chassis as the M113, so should have exactly the same ‘footprint’, which I’m pleased to report that it does.

Note that one missile-rail section has a sighting/tracker unit box situated between the two missiles. This should always go on the left-hand side of the turret, as shown in the assembled model above. I of course, completely failed to notice this and glued one of them the wrong way around…

I’m also pleased to report that the model is almost completely absent of ‘stepping’, which is a fairly common criticism of 3D-printed models.  There is a some stepping on the curved rail-things at the front of the vehicle that obscures the divisions between the rail-things (what are they?  Stowed tarpaulin-supports perhaps?), so I used some black lines to create the impression of rails.

Note also that the kit is modelled in the ‘buttoned up’ configuration, ready to fire.  In order to drive the vehicle, the crew would have to open the hatches on top of the cab – it isn’t possible to model the kit in this configuration without some serious conversion-work.

My Cold War collection is painted and organised for 1984 (ish), so the standard paint scheme for all US Army in Europe (USAREUR) was the US Mobility Equipment Research & Design Command (MERDC) camouflage scheme in ‘Winter Verdant’ colours of Forest Green, Field Drab, Sand and Black.

MERDC camouflage was designed to be of a standard pattern on all vehicles of the same type and the colours would (theoretically) be changed, depending on the terrain and season.  In practice however, USAREUR tended to stick with Winter Verdant colours all year-round and the Summer Verdant scheme (replacing the Field Drab with Light Green) was only seen on reinforcement vehicles from the USA during REFORGER exercises.  That said, vehicles were usually adapted during snowy conditions to the ‘Snow, Temperate with Trees’ MERDC scheme, by painting over the Field Drab with whitewash or some other water-soluble white paint that could be washed off again when the snow melted.

A US-based Chaparral in ‘Summer Verdant’ MERDC camouflage, with Light Green replacing the Field Drab of the ‘Winter Verdant’ scheme.

All US military vehicle types had standard MERDC painting-patterns produced for them, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find the pattern for the M48 Chaparral, so I had to assemble the pattern from as many photos as I could find.  That said, many of the actual vehicles were painted differently/wrongly in any case, probably due to bored soldiers failing to follow the instructions, or local orders removing some of the colours (the Sand element was commonly deleted for some reason).

You will find various paint-guides for MERDC camouflage on the web, but my own preferred colours are:
Forest Green – Humbrol Enamel 116 US Green (highlighted with a touch of white mixed in)
Field Drab – Humbrol Enamel 29 Dark Earth (highlighted with a touch of white mixed in)
Sand – Humbrol Enamel 72 Khaki Drill (highlighted with quite a lot of white mixed in)
Black – Humbrol Enamel 33 Black
Light Green – Humbrol Enamel 80 Grass Green

To finish off, I painted the MIM-72 missiles in US Olive Drab (Humbrol Enamel 155) and the gunner’s canopy and track-guards in black.  The track-guards were then highlighted Humbrol 67 Tank Grey and the whole model was lightly dry-brushed with Humbrol 72 Khaki Drill before being sprayed with matt varnish.  Last of all, the gunner’s canopy was given a coat of Humbrol Gloss-Cote.

All in all, this is an excellent model – highly recommended!

Just pay attention and stick it together correctly… 🙁

Posted in 15mm Figures, Battlefront: First Echelon, Cold War, Cold War - NATO Armies, Painted Units | 4 Comments

“In Dixie Land I’ll Make My Stand”: Building a 10mm Confederate Army (Part 2)

Pender’s Division at Gettysburg

As discussed in Part 1 of this series, I’ve been building 10mm Confederate and Union armies for the American Civil War, using the orders of battle for the first day of the iconic Battle of Gettysburg as my immediate ‘to do’ list.  On that day, elements of the Confederate III Corps encountered the Union 1st Cavalry Division near the Pennsylvania town of Gettysburg and the battle rapidly sucked in the rest of the III Corps, as well as the Confederate II Corps and Union I Corps, XI Corps and XII Corps.  Over the next few days the battle would suck in the rest of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac.

Major General Pender

Following the initial clash between Heth’s Division and Buford’s cavalry west of Gettysburg, General A. P. Hill, commanding the Confederate III Corps, ordered the rest of his Corps to march to the battle.  Next in the line of march after Heth was the 3rd Division of III Corps, commanded by Major General William Dorsey Pender.

Like most Confederate generals, Dorsey Pender was a pre-war U.S. Army officer, having served initially as an artillery officer and then as an officer of the 1st U.S. Dragoon Regiment.  Resigning his commission in 1861 to join the Confederate cause, he briefly served as an artillery officer before being appointed as the Colonel of a succession of North Carolina infantry regiments.

Major General Pender

Serving with distinction during the Peninsular Campaign, he was promoted to brigadier in June 1862, in command of a brigade of North Carolinians in A. P. Hill’s famed ‘Light Division’, where he won a reputation for aggressive and decisive action on the battlefield, as well as for being wounded in practically every battle he participated in.

In May 1863 Pender briefly took command of the ‘Light Division’ when A. P. Hill was wounded at Chancellorsville.  Following A.P. Hill’s elevation later that month to command the new III Corps, Pender was the natural choice to become one of his divisional commanders and was therefore appointed to command the corps’ 3rd Division.

Arriving with his division at Gettysburg on 1st July 1863 in support of Heth, Pender somewhat uncharacteristically decided to halt his decision and observe developments from the Herr Ridge.  When Heth’s first assault failed in the face of stiffening resistance from the Union I Corps, A. P. Hill ordered Pender to support Heth’s renewed assault.  However, Heth refused the offer of assistance and launched his second assault unsupported.  This assault also failed, with Heth being wounded in the process.  Pender was therefore ordered to make the third assault, which went in at around 4pm and proved to be extremely bloody; Scales’ Brigade in particular was almost completely destroyed by Union canister fire.

Nevertheless, Pender’s assault (assisted in no small measure by the arrival of Ewell’s II Corps on the Union right flank) succeeded in dislodging the Union troops from their position and pushed them back through Gettysburg itself, to Cemetery Ridge.  It was there, on the next day of the battle, that Pender was seriously wounded by a fragment of Union shell.  Pender died on 18th July 1863 of complications resulting from that wound.

Above: Pender’s Division at Gettysburg consisted of four brigades: Lane’s, Perrin’s, Thomas’ and Scales’, as well as a battalion of artillery.  Starting the battle with 6,736 effectives, it suffered 2,101 killed, wounded and missing, or 31% of its strength over the course of the battle.

As with Heth’s Division, I’ve gone for the same pose-type of figure for the entire division (in this case advancing poses – Heth’s are all firing & loading).  The reason for this is that I painted the division in three batches – the first batch in dark shades of grey, the second batch in light shades of grey and the third batch in ‘butternut’ – and then mix them all up before basing.

Above: Colonel Abner Perrin’s 1st Brigade comprised 1,886 men, equating to 9 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury.  Raised entirely in South Carolina, the brigade consisted of the 1st South Carolina Rifles Regiment and the 1st, 12th, 13th & 14th South Carolina Infantry Battalions.  This brigade lost 595 casualties or 32% of its strength at Gettysburg.

Above: Brigadier General James H. Lane’s 2nd Brigade consisted of 1,738 men, equating to 9 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury.  The brigade was one of two North Carolinian brigades in the division; consisting of the 7th, 18th, 28th, 33rd and 37th North Carolina Infantry Battalions.  Lane’s Brigade lost 705 men, or 41% of its strength at Gettysburg and suffered the highest casualty-rate of Pender’s four brigades.  Lane took command of the division when Pender was wounded on 4th July.

Above: Brigadier General Edward L. Thomas’ 3rd Brigade was the weakest of Pender’s four brigades, numbering 1,330 all ranks and equating to 7 bases in Brigade Fire & Fury.  This brigade was raised in Georgia and consisted of the 14th, 35th, 45th & 49th Georgia Infantry Battalions.  Thomas’ Brigade suffered the lightest casualty-rate at Gettysburg, losing 270 men or 20% of its strength.

Above: According to most sources, Brigadier General A. M. Scales’ Brigade had 1,355 men present at Gettysburg, which would normally equate to 7 bases for Brigade Fire & Fury.  However, the Fire & Fury 1st July scenario pegs the strength as 9 bases.  I’m not sure why there is a discrepancy, but I’ve gone with the published scenario strength.  Scales’ Brigade was all North Carolinian and comprised the 13th, 16th, 22nd, 34th & 38th North Carolina Infantry Battalions.  At Gettysburg it suffered 490 casualties, equating to 35% of its strength, based on the 1,355 figure.  Most of these casualties were suffered during the initial assault on McPherson’s Ridge on 1st July, when the brigade was shredded by Union canister fire.

Above: Colonel William T. Poague’s Artillery Battalion in reality consisted of four batteries: Wyatt’s Albermarle Va Battery (1x 12pdr Howitzer, 2x 3-inch Rifles & 1x 10pdr Parrott Rifle), Graham’s Charlotte NC Battery (2x 12pdr Howitzer & 2x 12pdr Napoleon), Ward’s Madison MS Battery (1x 12pdr Howitzer & 3x 12pdr Napoleon) and Brooke’s Warrenton Va Battery (2x 12pdr Howitzer & 2x 12pdr Napoleon).  In Brigade Fire & Fury, each gun model equates to a ‘battery’ of eight guns, so a gun model usually represents two Confederate four-gun batteries.  This mess of calibres (6x 12pdr Howitzer, 7x 12pdr Napoleon, 2x 3-inch Rifle & 1x 10pdr Parrott Rifle) boils down in game terms to one battery of 12pdr Napoleons and one mixed battery of Rifle/Smoothbore.

Models

The figures are all 10mm Pendraken ACW figures, painted by me.  The buildings are a mixture of Pendraken and Timecast Models and the cloth is by Tiny Wargames.

 

Posted in 10mm Figures, American Civil War, American Civil War Confederate Army, Fire & Fury (Brigade), Painted Units | 2 Comments

The Battle of Brandywine, 11th September 1777

Up until the 2000s, all of my wargaming stuff, aside from a small sci-fi collection, was 15mm or smaller.  In 2005 or thereabouts, my mate Jase Evans had been badgering me for a while to ‘do something in 28mm’, but neither of us had a clue as to what.

Then, as so often happens, several things came together as ‘enablers’: First my mate Mike Hickling (who then ran AB Figures here in Wales) gave me two packs of Foundry 28mm American War of Independence (AWI) figures – one of British infantry and one of Rebel infantry.  I like the look of them, so bought a few more packs from Foundry to make them up into full wargames units.  Second, another mate who goes by the nom-de-guerre of ‘Eclaireur’, had just released a new set of rules called ‘British Grenadier!’, which had been developed from the ‘General de Brigade’ Napoleonic rules.  Third, the Perry Twins (who had originally modelled the AWI figures for Foundry) at that moment decided to release the first of their superb AWI range… Within six months we’d spent a fortune and painted around 35 wargames units…

I must confess that I haven’t touched my AWI collection for a while now, but we did do some epic games from 2005 to around 2013, including some mega-games with ‘Eclaireur’ and friends at the National Army Museum.  The first of the AWI mega-games was the full Battle of Brandywine.  This battle appears in the British Grenadier Scenario Book #1 and can be played as two separate scenarios – Knyphausen’s frontal assault against Washington’s army across the Brandywine river, or the flank-attack by Cornwallis’ Elite Corps against Washington’s right flank at the hamlet of Birmingham.  These are scenarios I’ve played a few times and Cornwallis’ flank-attack is a particular favourite – probably because it allows you to get all those elite troops on the table and requires very little tactical finesse! 🙂

British Order of Battle

C-in-C Major General, Earl Cornwallis (Excellent)

Advance Guard Brigade (Under Cornwallis’ Direct Command)

Cornwallis

16th Light Dragoons – 8 cavalry (Line)
Hessian Jaeger Corps – 12 rifle-armed skirmishers (Elite)
Light Company, 42nd Royal Highland – 4 skirmishers (Elite)
1st Light Infantry Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)
2nd Light Infantry Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)

Guards Brigade of Brigadier Edward Matthew (Average)
1st Guards Battalion – 18 figures (Elite)
2nd Guards Battalion – 18 figures (Elite)
Guards Light Companies – 6 skirmishers (Elite)

Grenadier Brigade of Brigadier William Meadows (Average)
1st Grenadier Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)
2nd Grenadier Battalion – 24 figures (Elite)
Royal Artillery 6pdr Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Reinforcements – Turn 2

Hessen-Kassel Grenadier Brigade of Colonel Emil von Donop
Grenadier Battalion Lengerke – 24 figures (Line)
Grenadier Battalion Linsing – 20 figures (Line)
Grenadier Battalion Minningerode – 18 figures (Line)
Hessen-Kassel 4pdr Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Reinforcements – Turn 3

Brigade of Major General James Agnew (Average)
33rd Foot – 16 figures (Elite)
37th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
46th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
64th Foot – 18 figures (Line)
Royal Artillery 6pdr Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Optional Forces (Present but not historically engaged)

Brigade of Major General Charles Grey (Excellent)
15th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
17th Foot – 16 figures (Line)
44th Foot – 12 figures (Line)
55th Foot – 12 figures (Line)

Rebel Order of Battle

C-in-C Major General John Sullivan (Poor)

(Lieutenant General George Washington (Excellent) arrives to take over on Turn 6)

Sullivan

Brigade of Brigadier General William Woodford (Average)
3rd Virginia Regt – 6 skirmishers (2nd Line)
7th Virginia Regt – 20 figures (2nd Line)
11th Virginia Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)
6pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Brigade of Brigadier General Charles Scott (Average)
4th Virginia Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)
8th/12th Virginia Regts – 12 figures (2nd Line)
Grayson’s/Patton’s Regts – 16 figures (2nd Line)
3pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Washington

Brigade of Colonel John Stone (Average)
1st/3rd Maryland Regts – 16 figures (Line)
5th/7th Maryland Regts – 8 skirmishers (Line)
3pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Brigade of Brigadier General Phillippe de Borre (Poor)
2nd/4th Maryland Regts – 16 figures (2nd Line)
6th Maryland Regt – 6 skirmishers (2nd Line)
German Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)
2nd Canadian Regt – 18 figures (2nd Line)
6pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Brigade of Major General William Alexander (Average)
3rd/6th Pennsylvania Regts – 16 figures (Line)
9th/12th Pennsylvania Regts – 20 figures (Line)
Spencer’s Regt & New Jersey Skirmishers – 14 skirmishers (2nd Line)
3rd New Jersey Regt – 16 figures (2nd Line)

Reinforcements

(Starting on Turn 7, flip a coin for the arrival of Weedon’s Brigade.  It will arrive automatically on Turn 9 if it has not already done so.  Muhlenberg’s Brigade will arrive one turn behind Weedon)

Brigade of Brigadier General George Weedon (Average)
2nd/6th Virginia Regts – 20 figures (2nd Line)
10th/14th Virginia Regts – 18 figures (2nd Line)

Brigade of Brigadier General Peter Muhlenberg (Average)
1st/5th Virginia Regts – 12 figures (Line)
9th Virginia Regt – 20 figures (2nd Line)
13th Virginia Regt – 9 skirmishers (2nd Line)
6pdr Artillery Battery – 2 model guns (Line)

Above: On the Rebel right flank, Woodford’s Brigade takes up position along a road and fence-line, with Scott’s Brigade in support.

Above: On the Rebel left flank, De Borre’s and Stone’s Brigades also line the fence.  In the foreground are the 2nd Canadian Regiment (in brown coats with white facings) and on their left are the German Regiment (in blue coats with red facings).

Above: Cornwallis’ Elite Corps marches onto the field, no doubt slightly disappointed that Washington has already turned Sullivan’s wing to face the new threat.  Note that at this time I’d only painted one British Light Battalion and insufficient skirmishers, so the 2nd Light Battalion here is represented by the Queen’s Rangers (in green coats) and the Light Infantry Company of the 16th Light Dragoons (in Tarleton helmets).  The 42nd Highland Light Company is represented by the Highland Company of the Queen’s Rangers.

Above: As Conrwallis’ troops close with the Rebel line, they suffer a storm of shot from the thick Rebel skirmish screen, which is amply supported by artillery.  However, in the British centre, Meadows’ 6pdr battery and Von Donop’s 4pdr battery are finally coming into action to support the attack.

Above: On the British left, Cornwallis’ Advance Guard has pushed back Woodford’s vastly-outnumbers and outclassed skirmishers and is closely engaging Woodford’s main line.  Just out of shot, the 16th Light Dragoons look for an opportunity to turn the Rebel flank.

Above: On the British right, Meadows’ British Grenadier Brigade leads the way, with Von Donop’s Hessian Grenadiers in close support.  The Rebel artillery fire is strong in this sector of the battlefield, so the British Grenadiers deploy into open order.  This tactic will lessen their impact when they meet the enemy line, but it will hopefully allow them to close with the enemy without suffering catastrophic casualties (the British Army has learned a lot since Bunker Hill!).

Above: The view from the British right flank, looking toward the centre.  Note that as with the Light Infantry, I had only painted one Grenadier Battalion at this point, so a battalion of the 71st Highlanders was acting as stand-ins for the 2nd Grenadier Battalion (nearest the camera).

Above: Scott’s Brigade, on the extreme left flank of the Rebel position, pours fire into the British Grenadiers.

Above: In the centre, the Hessian artillery provides close fire support as Matthew’s Guards Brigade charges home on Alexander’s Rebels in front of Birmingham.  In the distance, Cornwallis two Light Infantry Battalions also charge the Rebel line and Agnew’s Brigade moves up in support.

Above: The assault by 1st Guards Battalion falters as it runs into heavy fire from elements of Woodford’s and Alexander’s Brigades.  The Light Infantry do what they can to distract the enemy artillery, but skirmishers can’t stop canister fire… Nevertheless, the 2nd Guards Battalion stands ready to renew the assault and Agnew’s Brigade has also now added its weight to the attack.

Above: Despite taking heavy losses during the assault, Meadows’ British Grenadiers break Stone’s Brigade and storm across the fence-line!  Seeing his left flank about to be rolled up, Washington gathers together two battalions of Alexander’s Brigade and launces a counter-attack from Birmingham.

Above: Not to be outdone, the Hessian Grenadiers launch their own assault on De Borre’s Rebels.  However, the German Regiment (some of whom are former Hessian soldiers) hold firm and repulse the Hessian attack.

Above: The 2nd Light Infantry Battalion, attacking into the muzzles of the guns on the left of the 2nd Guards Battalion, fared little better than the Guards and was beaten off with heavy losses.  However, Agnew’s Brigade was soon able to renew the attack and keep up the pressure on the Rebels.

Above: The long view from the flank.

Above: Another view of the same situation.  In the distance, a third battery of artillery (belonging to Agnew’s Brigade) has now deployed to join the other two batteries in pummelling the Rebel centre.

Above: Another view of the situation, this time from the Rebel centre.  In the foreground, the 2nd Canadian Regiment was starting to suffer under the fire of the massed British and Hessian Batteries and would soon break, followed by the rest of De Borre’s Brigade.

Sadly I didn’t take any more photos of the game, but it continued in much the same vein, with the British failing to make much headway in the centre.  However, the British and Hessian Grenadiers continued to roll up Washington’s left flank, pushing as far as Birmingham.  On the opposite flank, the Light Infantry Battalions, 16th Light Dragoons and Hessian Jaegers finally managed to turn the Rebel flank and Washington was forced to order a general retreat.

Models and Terrain

The figures shown above were mostly from my own collection, with some from the collection of Jase Evans.  Models were a mixture of Perry Miniatures and Wargames Foundry, with a few rebel skirmishers by Eureka.  Flags are by GMB Flags.  All terrain was provided by Martin Small.

The game was played in Martin’s shed, so space was limited – ideally the table would have been 5×7 feet, but on this occasion were were squeezed into 6×4.

Posted in 28mm Figures, American War of Independence, British Grenadier! Rules (AWI), Eighteenth Century, Games, Scenarios | 2 Comments

‘Brown Squadron’ X-Wing Campaign: Game 1 – ‘Graduation Day’

Yesterday I detailed the rules I use to create a cooperative campaign for X-Wing: The Miniatures Game (1st Edition).  Over the last couple of years, my young Padawans have taken on the role of pilots in the Rebel Alliance’s Brown Squadron, fighting against the Galactic Empire’s presence in the Outer-Rim backwater system of Treveen.

This scenario was shamelessly ripped off from the excellent Yarkshiregamer Blog and the scenario map below is his.

Mission 1 – Graduation Day

Pre-Mission Admin

As discussed in the campaign rules, each player starts with a Rebellion Grant of 22 Galactic Credits (GC), which is enough to buy a basic fighter with some upgrades (or a B-Wing heavy fighter with no upgrades whatsoever).  The players therefore start the campaign deciding what ships and upgrades to buy:

Pilot ‘Boba Feck’ purchases a Z-95 Headhunter (12 GC) and gets 10 GC cashback.  He buys a Pilot Skill (PS) upgrade to PS2 for 4 GC and a Shield Upgrade modification for a further 4 GC. He then banks the remaining 2 GC.

Pilot ‘Wraith 7’ purchases a T-65 X-Wing (21 GC) and gets 1 GC cashback.  He grabs the Integrated Astromech modification (free) and spends his remaining 1 GC on an R4-D6 Astromech.

Pilot ‘Garf-i’Eld’ purchases a T-65 X-Wing (21 GC) and gets 1 GC cashback, which he spends on a standard R2 Astromech.

Pilot ‘Qui-Gon Rum’ purchases an A-Wing (17 GC) and gets 5 GC cashback, which he spends on Homing Missiles.

Mission Roster

Boba Feck (PS 2) – Z-95 Headhunter – 0 missions – 0 kills –  Shield Upgrade Modification – 2 GC banked

Wraith 7 (PS 1) – T-65 X-Wing PS – 0 missions – 0 kills – Integrated Astromech Modification, R4-D6 Astromech – 0 GC banked

Garf-i’Eld (PS 1) – T-65 X-Wing – 0 missions – 0 kills – Shield Upgrade Modification, R2 Astromech – 0 GC banked

Qui-Gon Rum (PS 1) – A-Wing – 0 missions – 0 kills – Homing Missiles – 0 GC banked

Briefing

Congratulations on graduating as a new fighter pilot and welcome to Brown Squadron here in the Treveen System!  As you know, the Treveen System is something of a backwater of the Empire and has minimal garrison forces.  With a little push, the Rebellion could gain ground here.

So to today’s mission: normally you would walk out to your new ship.  However, we are presently short of ships, but as it happens, the Empire has a depot for captured military equipment on Treveen 6 and it’s only lightly guarded.  Our agents working in the depot have prepared ships in accordance with your preferences and all you have to do now is to steal them from under the Imperials’ noses.

Other Rebel forces will distract the occupying forces whilst you are dropped into the depot by assault shuttle.  Get to your chosen ship, get it started and get out of there!

Good Luck and May the Force be with you.

Set Up

Set up as shown above, using a standard 3′ x 3′ space mat.  Brown Squadron sets up within Range 1 of one board-edge, while the Imperial Garrison Squadron sets up within Range 1 of the opposite board-edge.

Empire ships are randomly allotted based on number and type of Rebel ships, using the method described in the Campaign Emperor’s section of the campaign rules.  In our game this amounted to three Academy-level TIE Fighters (PS 1), a Scimitar Squadron TIE Bomber (PS 2) an Avenger Squadron TIE Interceptor (PS 3) and a TIE Fighter piloted by the Imperial ace known as ‘Backstabber’ (PS 6).

Special Rules

Starting your ship – During the Planning Phase, roll 1 attack die per level of pilot skill plus one (i.e. a PS 1 pilot rolls 2 dice and a PS 2 pilot rolls 3 dice).  Hits are accumulated and carried over into subsequent turns and you need 5 accumulated hits of any type to start your ship.  The ship may then move during the turn in which the engines started.  If not done by turn 4, the ground-crew droids will get the ship started for you during that turn.

Targeting ships on the ground – An attacking ship must be within range 2 in order to engage ground-targets.  Each rebel ship is in a bunker and gains 3 extra hull-points while on the ground.  However, they have no shields while on the ground.  Critical hits have no effect if they are hitting the bunkers’ three hull-points.  Rebel ships on the ground do not use their Agility rating, but instead simply defend with 2 green defence dice, regardless of ship-type.  Rebel ships can’t fire or use actions while on the ground.

Force Field – The Empire have set up a planetary force field so no ship can jump to hyperspace until the start of turn 6 when a bomb pre set by resistance fighters on the plant will blow the generator.  Use the tracking tokens to keep track of the turn.

After-Action Report

Above: The Imperial ships close in fast, keen to attack the Rebels while they’re still on the ground.  Boba Feck’s Z-95 is first out of the traps, closely followed by Garf-i’Eld’s X-Wing.  Wraith 7 and Qui-Gon Rum finally manage to get their ships started just as the hangars collapse around them under a hail of Imperial fire!

No Rebel ships are damaged on the ground, though Qui-Gon’s A-Wing is raked by ‘Backstabber’ and the TIE Bomber as he climbs away.

The Imperial TIE pilots manage to pull up out of their attack and turn to pursue.  However, the TIE Interceptor pushes his luck and only just manages to avoid smacking into the planet (i.e. flying off the edge of the board)!

Above: Despite being damaged, Qui-Gon bravely turns his A-Wing back into the fight, followed by Boba’s Z-95.  They engage in a head-on duel with the TIEs.  Garf’s X-Wing (here on the right) turns back to flank the pursuing TIEs and concentrates his fire on the TIE Bomber.  However, Wraith’s X-Wing (on the left) is being badly shot up by the TIE on his tail.

The news comes through that Rebel resistance fighters have now blown the planetary shield generator – all Rebel pilots now start spooling up their hyperdrives, though it’s slow work…

Above: Qui-Gon’s A-Wing suffers badly in the head-on pass against the mass of TIE Fighters, though manages to give as good as he gets.  As he dodges through the Imperial formation, he lines up on the TIE pursuing Wraith.  However, he fails to notice the TIE Interceptor (at the top of the picture), which has finally managed to turn back toward the fight and is about to re-engage…

Boba Feck meanwhile makes the first kill; downing one of the TIEs.  Garf’s X-Wing meanwhile (here on the left), continues to chip away at the TIE Bomber.

Wraith (here on the right), already in trouble, now finds himself head-to-head with ‘Backstabber’, who rakes his X-Wing with accurate fire.  Wraith loses his R2 unit as the plucky droid sacrifices himself to keep the ship flying.  The R2’s sacrifice soon pays off, as Wraith’s return volley finds its mark and blows Backstabber’s TIE apart!  The other Rebel pilots can only look on in envy as Wraith collects the huge bounty that had been placed on Backstabber’s head…

Amazingly, Wraith quickly follows this up with further success, as he destroys a second TIE!

Above: The TIE Interceptor finally gets back into the fight and fires an accurate volley into Qui-Gon, as he flashes across in front of him.  The A-Wing disintegrates, though Qui-Gon manages to eject safely and is eventually picked up by a rescue team.  The TIE Interceptor quickly loops around, though not quick enough to stop Boba raking him.  Boba also executes a hard turn, lining up for another shot before the hyperdrive kicks in.

The TIE Bomber is also suffering heavy damage, thanks to Garf’s incessant fire.  However, the wily bomber pilot has one last trick up his sleeve and deposits a proton bomb right in the middle of the dogfight, before accelerating away and looping back at maximum power!  Wraith, Garf and the TIE Interceptor all get a face-full of protons as the bomb detonates.  This is too much for Wraith’s poor X-Wing, which finally gives up the fight, just as the hyperdrive is about to engage!  Wraith thankfully manages to eject and is later smuggled back to Rebel lines by the local resistance.  However, his bulging wallet goes down with the X-Wing!

Above: Garf is quick to exact revenge for Wraith and destroys the TIE Bomber as it attempts to turn back into the fight.  Avoiding fire from the last surviving TIE Fighter, his hyperdrive finally engages and he jumps out, followed by Boba’s Z-95.

With the escape of half the stolen ships, the Rebellion has won its first victory in the Treveen system!  It is only a small victory, but it has given heart to the Resistance and as the Jedi Masters would say, “From little Nerfling-podules do mighty Nerf-herds grow.”  Wise, if incomprehensible words, indeed…

Post-Mission Admin

Pilot ‘Boba Feck’, having survived the mission intact and killing a TIE Fighter, has 10 GC to spend (8 GC bounty, plus 2 GC banked).  He buys a pilot skill upgrade to PS3 for 6 GC and Cluster Missiles for 4 GC.

Pilot ‘Wraith 7’, despite having shot down two TIE Fighters (including the ace ‘Backstabber’) and having earned a pot of cash, was sadly shot down and therefore lost his loot.  However, he ejected safely and earns a 2 GC bounty for contributing to Brown Squadron’s successful completion of the mission.  He uses his Rebellion Grant to buy another T-65 X-Wing for 21 GC, receiving 1 GC cashback.  He once again installs the free Integrated Astromech modification and spends his 3 GC on the R5-D8 Astromech.

Pilot ‘Garf-i’Eld’, having destroyed a TIE Bomber and survived intact, arrives back at base with 9 GC bounty.  He uses 4 GC to increase his pilot skill to PS2 and 4 GC to install a Shield Upgrade modification.  He banks the remaining 1 GC.

Pilot ‘Qui-Gon Rum’, having ejected safely, earns 2 GC for completing the mission.  He uses his Grant to buy another A-Wing, receiving 5 GC cashback.  He buys Proton Rockets for 3 GC and a Stealth Device modification for 3 GC.  The remaining 1 GC is banked.

Posted in 6mm Figures, Campaigns, Scenarios, Science Fiction, Star Wars, X-Wing: The Miniatures Game | Leave a comment

‘X-Wing: The Miniatures Game’ Cooperative Campaign System

“Just me, the boy and the two droids… No questions asked…”

Until now this blog has been, if not 100% historical, at least loosely based on history.  However, I have to admit that I do occasionally like to dabble in a bit of Wookiee-bothering…

A couple of years ago, OC Domestic and I were on a pub-crawl with friends in London and we stopped in a pub that happened to be next-door to a Waterstones bookshop.  I had a £20 Waterstones Christmas voucher burning a hole in my wallet, so I ‘nipped in for a quick one’… The military history section was rubbish (it always is these days), but on the way out I noticed a box marked X-Wing: The Miniatures Game going for £20 in the discount corner and including two very nicely-painted model TIE Fighters and an X-Wing!  I’d not heard of the game before this point, but it looked like it might be fun, so bought it.

The rules were read through an alcoholic haze on the train back to our friends’ house and my mate Howie and I had a trial game the following day (post-hangover)…  One game turned into two games… Howie downloaded the X-Wing Sounds App onto his phone and we had a third game with sound-effects!  🙂 The wives shook their heads in pity…

I was hooked…

But it wasn’t just me… I tried it out with my young Minions (now re-designated Padawans) and they quickly became hooked as well…

I freely confess that I then went a bit nuts buying ships… With a few months the three starting ships had become 30+ ships, including a couple of whopping corvettes, a freighter and an inflatable Death Star (thanks Martin!)…

So I buy the odd ship now and again… I can handle it… Can’t I…?

I was immediately tempted to create a campaign in order to have a purpose to our games beyond the standard points-based pickup games and the Padawans were very enthusiastic. As luck would have it, ‘Yarkshiregamer’ had already done most of the work for me and all his original campaign rules and scenarios can be found on his blog here.  As he freely admits to having ‘borrowed’ it from someone else, I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever in shamelessly ripping him off!  Thanks Yarkshiregamer! 🙂  Joking aside, Yarkshiregamer’s blog is excellent, so go have a look.

Having blatantly copied Yarkshiregamer, I have since edited and refined the rules quite a bit, so here’s my version of the campaign rules:

Jemima Fawr’s X-Wing Campaign Rules v1.18 

“Here goes nothing…”

The campaign players will take the role of newly qualified pilots in the Rebel Alliance, fresh from bulls-eyeing womp-rats on the farm back home.  They must start from the bottom and work their way up to better ships, upgrades, fame, fortune and Twi’Lek handmaidens…

There will also be a Campaign Emperor (and Servants of the Dark Side) who will act as umpire and play the Empire ships.

Each player in their first game is given a Rebellion Grant of 22 Galactic Credits (GC), with 1 GC equating to X-Wing unit points.  The player may then pick any of the basic Rebel fighters listed below.  The selected ship starts the game with no upgrades and the lowest Pilot Skill (PS) of 1.  Any surplus GC left over after buying the starting ship is converted into ‘cashback’ GC, which may be banked or spent on upgrades.

Ordinarily, there will be a ‘campaign admin phase’ between each mission, when the pilots first collect their bounty and bonuses (if any) for the mission just flown and then spend their cash on ships, weapons, upgrades, pilot training, crew, etc.

Ship Type – Basic Cost – Cashback

Z-95 Headhunter Starfighter – 12 GC – 10 GC
HWK-290 Hawk Light Transport – 16 GC – 6 GC
RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptor – 17 GC – 5 GC
BTL-S3 Y-Wing Starfighter – 18 GC – 4 GC
T-65 X-Wing Starfighter – 21 GC – 1 GC
A/SF-01 B-Wing Heavy Starfighter – 22 GC – 0 GC

Earning Galactic Credits

“If money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive!”

As you progress you will hopefully earn Galactic Credits and will be able to buy bigger and better ships from Crazy Mark’s Pre-Loved Quality Starship Emporium (see below). However, if you lose your shiny new E-Wing or YT-1300 in combat, you can only get a “free” replacement from the list of basic ships above.

The way around this is to take out an insurance policy: The Rebel Alliance will always give you 22 GC for a new ship and so long as you have enough spare GCs in the bank, you may pay the difference to upgrade to the ship you just lost.  If you don’t have the cash you’re back in the basic category.  You CANNOT buy different ship types this way.

So for example, if you just lost an E-Wing (worth 27 GCs), the Rebellion will give you 22 GCs for a basic ship that you can then top up with the difference of 5 GCs from your bank account to get a replacement E-Wing.  You can’t instead buy yourself a YT-1300 (also worth 27 GCs) as an alternative – you have to save up for a different ship from scratch.

If you find yourself flush with cash, there’s nothing stopping you from having more than one ship and simply taking the ship best suited to a particular mission on any given day, while leaving the spare in the hangar.

Galactic Credits are earned in the following ways:

Event – Bounty

Surviving a mission with a working ship – 1 GC
Hitting an enemy ship – 1 GC per round in which hit inflicted
Hitting a friendly ship (e.g. with bombs/mines) – Lose 1 GC per round in which hit inflicted
Destroying an enemy ship – 1 GC (in addition to the 1 GC for hitting)
Destroying an enemy ship with a better pilot – 1 GC per pilot skill difference
Completing a mission – Gain GC Bounty as per mission briefing
Being hit by the enemy – Lose 1 GC per round in which hit inflicted
Being shot down – Lose all GC gained during that mission

Sadly you will get shot down; some more than others, so there is a mechanism for this:

Roll a red hit die when you are shot down.  A critical hit meaning the pilot has passed on. He has shuffled off this mortal coil.  Bereft of life he rests in peace.  Struck down, he will now return more powerful than you can possibly imagine…  Yeah, like that worked for Obi-Wan…

Any other result means that the pilot has survived and now needs to get down to Crazy Mark’s Pre-Loved Starship Emporium for a new ship.

All upgrades mounted on the destroyed ship are automatically lost along with the cash bonuses accrued and ‘in hand’ during the mission, but you do get to keep your GCs already in the bank before the mission started.  Your pilot, if he survives, will retain his Pilot Skill, any additional Ace Pilot Skills (see below) and/or Élite upgrade cards.  You will still be entitled to receive the mission bounty if your squadron completes its mission.

Some ship types may be upgraded with additional crew-members.  If you have additional crew on board, they may be killed (or survive) in the same manner as pilots.

Making The Jump To Hyperspace

“Oh yeah? Watch this…”

When you complete a mission objective or simply need to escape destruction, you will need to engage your hyperdrive and make the jump to light speed.  To do this, use the following procedure:

1. Attempting to make the jump to hyperspace must be declared immediately when you reveal your manoeuvre dial.

2. No attempt may be made if there is an ‘Ionised’ token on the ship at the start of the turn (two tokens in the case of Large ships).  This will suspend the process for a turn.

3. Roll two attack dice.  Add an extra attack die if your ship is equipped with an Astromech droid.  You will make a successful jump if you roll two Critical Hits.

4. If you are unsuccessful, any Critical Hit rolled will carry over into the next turn.

5. On the second turn, roll two attack dice as before (+1 for any equipped astromech) and add additional attack dice equal to your pilot skill halved (rounded up).

6. On the third turn of trying, you will automatically succeed in making the jump to hyperspace.

7. When successful, the jump to hyperspace is made in the End phase of that turn.

Ace Pilot Skills

“The Force is strong in this one…”

At the start of each scenario, the pilot with the most kills is designated as the Squadron Leader and is given the Initiative Token.  Once per game he can re-roll any roll (i.e. re-rolling ALL dice rolled by one person at one moment) by handing the Initiative Token to the Imperial side.

Pilot can gain Ace Pilot Skills from their campaign kills.  These skills take effect during the post-mission admin phase (i.e. a pilot doesn’t suddenly acquire the Ace Pilot trait immediately upon making his fifth kill – they have to wait until the end of the game for it to take effect).  The Ace Pilot Skills are listed below:

5 Kills: The pilot becomes an Ace.  Once per game you can perform an action when you have a stress token.

10 Kills: The pilot becomes a Double Ace.  Once per game you can treat a red manoeuvre as a white or a white as a green.

15 Kills: The pilot becomes a Triple Ace.  Once per game you may change a blank to a Hit or Evade.

20 Kills: The pilot becomes a Quad Ace.  Once per game you may perform 2 actions in the action phase, you also become a priority target for the enemy, if you are in range 1 or 2 of the enemy with another friendly ship the Empire must target you.

25 Kills: The pilot becomes a Quint Ace.  Once per game you may perform a K turn but choose if it is at 1, 3 or 5 after you reveal your dial. Roll 1 attack die and take that damage (no mods or re rolls).

30 Kills: The pilot becomes a Hex Ace.  Once per game when you receive a critical hit you can take the next three cards from the damage deck and pick the one you want.

40 Kills: The pilot becomes a Top Ace.  Once per game you can change your dial (after you have revealed it) to any manoeuvre on the dial.

Crazy Mark’s ‘Pre-Loved’ Quality Starship Emporium

“The best deals in the galaxy and no Jedi mind-tricks!”

Once earned you can spend your hard earned GCs on shiny stuff during the inter-mission admin phase:

To gain a Pilot Skill (PS) level you pay the bank twice the desired PS level (max PS increase 1 per mission).  For example, an upgrade to Pilot Skill 3 will cost you 6 GCs (3×2=6).

Upgrades cost 1 GC per unit point written on the card.  For example, an R2-D2 upgrade (4 unit points) costs 4 GCs.

Used goods (ships or upgrades, but not Crew or Élite skill upgrades) may be traded in for 50% of their value (rounded down).  So if you want a basic E-Wing at 27 GC you will get 10 GC for your battered old X Wing and will then need to find 17 GC from somewhere.

To gain Élite upgrade cards you must be at least Pilot Skill 3.  You then have to buy a Pilot Élite Upgrade slot for 5 GC and then pay for the upgrade.  Élite upgrades may not be traded in – if you get a new Élite upgrade, the old one is lost (unless you buy it again).

Cards that are discarded during the course of a mission (such as Proton Torpedoes) are not lost.  You get them back for the next mission unless the ship is destroyed.

You can transfer upgrades from 1 ship to the next but you can only upgrade a ship in line with its upgrade bar.  You will have to trade in any upgrades that cannot be fitted to the new ship.

Ship – Cost – Trade-In Value

Z-95 Headhunter Starfighter – 12 GC – 6 GC
HWK-290 Hawk Light Transport – 16 GC – 8 GC
RZ-1 A-Wing Interceptor – 17 GC – 8 GC
BTL-S3 Y-Wing Starfighter – 18 GC – 9 GC
T-65 X-Wing Starfighter – 21 GC – 10 GC
T-70 X-Wing Starfighter – 24 GC – 12 GC
A/SF-01 B-Wing Heavy Starfighter – 22 GC – 11 GC
E-Wing Escort Starfighter – 27 GC – 13 GC
BTL-S8 K-Wing Assault Starfighter – 23 GC – 11 GC
U-Wing Assault Transport – 23 GC – 11 GC
Auzituck Gunship – 24 GC – 12 GC
Scurrg H-6 Bomber – 24 GC – 12 GC
ARC-170 Starfighter – 25 GC – 12 GC
YT-1300 Transport – 27 GC – 13 GC
YT-2400 Transport – 30 GC – 15 GC
VCX-100 Transport – 35 GC – 17 GC

Campaign Emperor’s Notes (Not to be read by pilots)

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this…”

I suggest limiting the available pool of ships and upgrade cards to those immediately available in the players’ collections.  You can find all the cards and ship-stats on line, but proxies and everyone maxing out their upgrades soon becomes rather tiresome.  It’s much more fun if resources are limited and squadron pilots have to negotiate and horse-trade to determine who gets which ships and upgrades.  It also encourages players to get their own models (though they can only actually use them if they earn them through the campaign system).

As the players get more experienced, it may be wise to inflict a ‘weapons shortage’ and make pilots permanently discard a torpedo/missile/bomb card as they use it.

I find that it’s easier to keep a track of GC bonuses if you keep a pot of poker-chips or similar to hand and award them or take them back as GCs are earned or lost.

Scenarios

Have a look at Yarkshiregamer’s blog for a huge list of scenarios, as well as the scenarios supplied with the basic game and the various ship upgrade packs.  However, I tended to find that after a while, the results of one scenario would provide inspiration for me to write a whole new scenario from scratch, continuing the narrative from what happened in the previous game, so our campaign totally diverged from Yarkshiregamer’s campaign.

The whole point of this campaign is primarily to provide interest and inject fun into clubnight games over and above the usual points-based competitive play.  There doesn’t necessarily have to be any sort of back-story, but it does add an extra dimension if you do.  I will shortly be posting reports of our games and the chronicle of the Rebellion’s Brown Squadron in the Treveen System.

Imperial Squadron Creation

Once the Rebel pilot roster is determined for a mission, you’ll need to create an Imperial squadron to oppose them (flown by yourself and any spare Servants of the Dark Side who aren’t otherwise involved in the campaign).  Sometimes the Imperial force will be determined by the scenario, but use this method to create generic squadrons:

Allocate 1x TIE Fighter per rebel player.  Most of these will be PS1 ‘Academy’ TIE Fighters, but make every third TIE Fighter a random named Ace or higher-quality Squadron Pilot (I just get the pilots to pick random cards from the TIE Fighter card deck).

Note that as the campaign progresses you will need to beef up your TIEs with a higher proportion of Squadron Pilots and Ace Pilots.

Allocate Speciality Ships; 1 for every 2 Rebel Players.

For each Speciality Ship roll 1 d10 and add 1 to die (per PS level) if average PS skill of Rebels is more than 2.  Then consult the cart below to see what type of speciality ship you get.  For the pilot randomly pick a pilot card from those available for the ship type.

Modify this list to suit your collection of models.

1-3 TIE Interceptor
4 TIE Striker with Adaptive Ailerons Title and Lightweight Frame Modification
5 TIE Advanced Prototype with 1x Concussion Missile
6 TIE Advanced with TIE x/1 Title, Advanced Targeting Computers System and 1x Concussion Missile
7-8 TIE Bomber with 1x Proton Torp, 1x Concussion Missile and 1x Proton Bomb
9 Lambda Shuttle with Weapons Engineer, Anti Pursuit Lasers Modification and Sensor Jammer System
10 TIE Punisher with 1x Flechette Torp, 1x Proton Torp, 1x Cluster Missile, 1x Assault Missile and 2x Proton Bomb
11 Guard TIE Interceptor with Shield Upgrade and Targeting Computer
12 Roll 1d6 again:

1-2 TIE Defender with Heavy Laser Cannon and Ion Pulse Warheads
3-4 TIE Phantom with Flight Instructor, Stygium Particle Accelerators and Advanced Cloak
5-6 Firespray-31 with Heavy Laser Cannon, Seismic Charges, Expose, Homing Missiles & Mercenary Co-Pilot

Note that named ace pilots can only appear once in the same game and will be permanently removed from the campaign if they are killed, so make a note of any Imperial Ace pilots killed.  A few named Ace pilots appear in different ship types, so if a named Ace is killed flying a TIE Interceptor, that pilot can’t later turn up flying a TIE Defender.

Version 1 or Version 2…?

“Jabba no Wanka!”

In the last year or so, X-Wing 2nd Edition has appeared…  The unutterable bastards…  I have no intention of spending a fortune on conversion packs and I don’t do competition gaming in any case, so will stick with 1st Edition.  Feel free to use this for either version – it should work just fine with 2nd Edition.

Have fun and may the Force be with you always!

[Edited to add: As an example of how the campaign system works in practice, our first campaign game report can be found here]

Posted in 6mm Figures, Campaigns, Science Fiction, Star Wars, X-Wing: The Miniatures Game | Leave a comment

Happy Birthday Jemima Fawr!

It’s party-time here at Fawr Towers, as this blog is one year-old today! 🙂

During the past year, this blog has received over 20,000 hits from sufferers of insomnia seeking a cure for their affliction; no doubt with a very high success rate!  OK, we haven’t exactly gone ‘viral’ and probably not even ‘bacterial’, but I do take great satisfaction in knowing that this blog has at least gone ‘fungal’.

There’s still a lot more to write about and now that the weather is improving (the Welsh rain is now precipitating vertically instead of horizontally), I can finally go outside and photograph all the models I painted during the winter.  There are also tons of ‘blasts from the past’ in terms of game reports, scenarios and other odds and sods, so watch this space!

At the moment I’m painting lots of 15mm Cold War Canadians, Soviets and Americans for a forthcoming show demo-game based on the Cold War classic ‘First Clash’, some 1/100th South African aircraft for another show demo-game recreating the controversial Cassinga Raid in Angola, circa 1978 and a section of 28mm ‘Old Girls’ for the Slebech Castle Ladies’ College Cadet Corps, who will shortly be marching to Newark for our big ‘Very British Civil War 1938′ game at Partizan 2019.

I’m also really enjoying the 10mm American Civil War project that I started last June – going with 10mm really paid off, as I was quickly able to get some large armies on the table and refight some historical battles in a very short time-frame.  Fire & Fury 2nd Edition is also a really great set of rules and even though I keep getting my arse handed to me, I’m really enjoying the games.

So thanks to all of you who are daft enough to follow my wargame-witterings and apologies to all those who went on to the web to research Wales’ greatest heroine, only then to end up falling down this rabbit-hole of idiocy…

JF

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