Well here we are once again, bewildered and wondering “Where the hell did that year go?!”
I hope that wherever the last remaining reader of this blog is, they’re enjoying themselves and not sitting in work on the night shift, trying to paint Seven Years War Brunswickers with one good eye…
It’s been a good year for me on the wargames front. I managed to get lots of wargaming done, almost all of which involved cocked hats in one way or another; either displayed on the troops or being beaten into one… Sometimes both. This year I returned to being something of a ‘promiscuous wargames-slut’, wargaming at lots of different clubs and with different groups of old and new friends, especially at my ‘Alma-Pater’ in Pembroke Dock, the Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire (WASP).
Aside from the open day of the Haverfordwest Gaming Club I didn’t manage to get to any wargame shows this year (again!), but that was largely down to work shifts coinciding with the dates of shows I wanted to attend, so there’s not a lot I can do about that (as if I’m ever going to leave a reasonably well-paid job that allows me to paint figures on their time…).
I did however, manage to get to a military history lecture at the Bloody Awful National Army Museum in London last week. This was by Dr Alistair Massie on the subject of General Ligonier and his quite astonishing political and command problems leading up to the Battle of Rocoux in 1746. This had all the potential to be a very dry topic, but it was superb; both informative and entertaining. This inevitably tied into the release of his snappily-titled new book ‘Great Britain and the Defence of the Low Countries 1744-1748’, which of course I then HAD to buy (so expect more War of Austrian Succession scenarios…)!
The most entertaining part of my trip to London was queuing up outside the lecture theatre next to a group of lovely ‘Chelsea Ladies Who Lunch’, who attend all the free military history lectures at the museum. I heard the following conversation;
“Well you see Deidre, the Tiger, while having excellent firepower and armour protection, was completely over-engineered and a nightmare to maintain in the field.”
“Why yes Angela, the Germans would have been far better off using their resources to build far more tried-and-tested medium tank designs such as the Mark IV. What do you think, Sandra?”
“Well I’ve always thought that the simplicity of maintenance of the Sherman, enabled British squadrons to turn up daily with a full squadron of tanks, when the Germans could only field platoons after the first day of any given battle…”
I definitely want to go to more lectures if they’re going to be there… 🙂
Anyway, how did I do on the painting front during 2023? I only started seriously counting everything when I did my annual review of 2021. That was the year in which I was really getting back into 15mm SYW and had planned a large 10mm ACW demo game, so had stacks of motivation to paint. I therefore managed to do rather well, with 963x 15mm Foot, 114x 15mm Horse, 17x 15mm Guns, 588x 10mm Foot, 82x 10mm Horse, 21x 10mm Guns and 13x 10mm Horse-Drawn Vehicles. The value of models painted amounted to £1,080.23 at 2021 prices.
2022 wasn’t quite so good. Some big demo game plans were cancelled and my painting was fairly aimless. I also got bogged down in painting 28mm AWI figures, which seemed to take forever. It still wasn’t a bad year though. Total painted 15mm figures: 308 Foot, 274 Horse & 19 Guns. Total painted 28mm figures: 90 Foot, 5 Horse & 1 Gun. Total monetary value of painted models at 2022 prices: £737.60.
So here’s what I painted this year. Most of the pictures will link you to the relevant article, but I’m still catching up and some units don’t have an article or even a decent picture yet!
Once all the troops had been finished for Kolin, I had a brief return to Napoleonics, starting with the sudden urge to buy and paint the brand-new Russian Mounted Jäger (or Chasseurs à Cheval if you prefer) that had been released by AB Figures:
While rummaging around in my Napoleonics collection, I discovered that my Swedish artillery and corps commander had disappeared from their box. They must be long-gone, so I cobbled together a Swedish corps commander from some spare figures and bought some new artillery from Old Glory 15s:
With that brief flurry of Napoleonics over, I got back to expanding my SYW armies. The Reichsarmee was within sight of being finished, so I set myself the target of refighting the Combat of Strehla, which featured 90% of the Reichsarmee. After re-flagging a few of my older older regiments with some lovely new flags by David Morfitt and Frédéric Aubert, I cracked on with painting some Imperial Auxiliary Regiments:
I also needed a few new Prussian units for the Combat of Strehla, namely the first few units of Kleist’s Freikorps, along with ‘Green’ Kleist himself. I haven’t done a blog-article about these yet, as I’ve only painted half of the Dragoon Regiment, half of the Hussar Regiment and the Jäger Companies. Kleist’s Freikorps did get to be rather large and I’ve still got the second battalions of those regiments to paint, along with the ‘Croat’ Regiment, the Uhlan Regiment and the corps’ artillery. I’ll hopefully finish those units off in 2024, but in the meantime, here are the finished troops:
Then it was time for More Reichsarmee Units! Here are the Kurmainz Regiment. Kurköln Regiments and the Kurpfalz ‘Effern’ Regiment:
And then Yet More Reichsarmee Units! Here are the Württemberg Dragoons, Sachsen-Gotha Dragoons, Pfalz Leib-Dragoons and the Pfalz-Zweibrücken Infantry. I also painted a stack of artillery and grenadiers for all the different contingents:
With the Reichsarmee finally finished, I decided to make a concerted effort to expand my SYW French and Anglo-Hanoverian-Allied armies, which I started in March 2021. I had enough of both sides to play a random ‘pick-up’ game, but not enough troops of the right types to do any historical scenarios. I therefore picked a couple of modestly-sized historical battles, intending to use their orders of battle as my target for painting. I wasn’t too bothered about matching the exact list of regiments, just so long as the mix of unit-types was ok. The first task however, was to fix an earlier mistake I made with the French artillery (giving them red gun-carriages instead of light blue) and then I needed to give each side some light troops:
For the Allies, I got a bit carried away with light troops, painting the entire Légion Britannique, including all the skirmisher options and the massed dragoon squadrons! I think it was the bizarre array of uniform colours that appealed to me, but they take a starring role in our refight of Warburg. The red and blue-coated skirmishers can also do double-service for generic army picquets:
Having already painted plenty of British and Hanoverian troops, it was time to expand one of the major players in the Allied coalition; the Landgraviate of Hesse-Cassel. I had previously painted a solitary Hessian regiment, but I’ve now added another three regiments, as well as Dragoons, Horse, position artillery and battalion guns:
For our refight of the Battle of Clostercamp, I wanted more ‘bog-standard’ grey-coated French Infantry regiments, so that we wouldn’t then have to rely upon using my red-coated Swiss and blue-coated German regiments as proxies. I therefore added another eight battalions from the Mailly, Vastan and Aquitaine Regiments. You can NEVER have enough French infantry… However, I still haven’t profiled these units:
Another French unit that we needed for Clostercamp was the spectacular (and huge) Gendarmerie de France. This is the first of two exceptionally-large French cavalry regiments on my immediate ‘To do’ List; the second being the Royal-Carabiniers, which I’ll be painting in 2024:
For Warburg I needed to double my contingent of Swiss Infantry, so I added another four battalions; two each from the Diesbach and Castellas Regiments. However, once again, I haven’t profiled these units yet:
I actually painted two units of Hanoverian Cavalry in 2022, but never got around to profiling them on the blog. However, I recently added a third unit, so thought it was about time I did a blog-post:
For Warburg I needed to massively expand my contingent of British Cavalry, so painted another 36 figures, equating to three regiments of Dragoons, one of Dragoon Guards and two of Horse (6 figures per regiment). Again, my apologies, but I haven’t yet profiled these regiments:
I needed to paint a second regiment of French dragoons for Warburg and with Christmas approaching, it HAD to be the Mestre de Camp Général Regiment:
I also managed to get Johann Fischer and his Chasseurs à Pied finished in time for the game. I will at some point in the future, have to add some skirmishing Chasseurs à Pied and the squadrons of Chasseurs à Cheval (we had to use proxies in the game):
And to finish off the year, I painted the very first units for my SYW Brunswick contingent; the ‘Imhoff’ Infantry Regiment and a battalion gun. OK, I haven’t QUITE finished them yet, but I will have by midnight tonight, so I’m taking that…
So the totals for this year are: 752x 15mm Foot, 234x 15mm Horse and 26x 15mm Guns, for a total cash value of £919.40 at 2023 prices. Not bad at all! 🙂
As mentioned above, it was a pretty good year for wargaming, 🙂 though a VERY bad year for actually writing up my games (or winning them)! 🙁
We started in spectacular style in January, with a massive refight of the SYW Battle of Kolin at Phil Portway’s house (also including Andy James and Rob Pritchard), which again tested Tricorn to its absolute limits as a rules system with which to play large 18th Century battles (and I’m pleased to say that it passed the test – especially as I was for once on the winning side):
In March, I had a pick-up 28mm AWI game with my new chum Kirk French, using his wonderful collection of 28mm Front Rank figures and Eclaireur‘s British Grenadier! rules, though sadly I have thus far failed to produce a game report (sorry Kirk). Claims that I didn’t write it up due to my complete trouncing are entire unfounded…
The above game was in preparation for a much larger (and much-postponed) refight of Cornwallis’ attack at the Battle of the Brandywine (below) with Kirk French and my old mate Anthony Oakley. Again, I have completely failed to produce a game-report (yet), so no spoilers, but suffice to say that I was once again left wondering if this is perhaps the hobby for me…
In April, we went back to the Seven Years War. As I’d finally finished painting the Reichsarmee, it was time to get it all (well, nearly all) on the table with the Combat of Strehla. Andy James and Kirk French led the Reichsarmee to victory against my Prussians…
A few members of the Carmarthen Old Guard had been asking about playing the ACW 2nd Battle of Murfreesboro (Stone’s River) on the terrain I’d built for Warfare 2021. This is definitely a full two-day game, so I booked the hall for a whole weekend in June. However, a few of the lads had never played Fire & Fury, or had never played the 2nd Edition, so in advance of the big game, I set up part of the table as a small club-night training scenario. This was a ‘what-if’ scenario based on the situation of the northern flank at Murfreesboro. This assumed two counter-factual things: 1. That the Union side had not cancelled their flanking attack and 2. That the Confederate General Breckenridge actually did his job that day. Again, I haven’t written up this small game (sorry), though I really should write up this small scenario:
Following the trial game, we set up the full scenario and played it over a whole weekend in June. This time I actually managed to play… And got a kicking… Again, I MUST get around to writing up the game! I’m actually going to be setting the game up again in February for some more friends and that might be the last outing for Murfreesboro:
In August, my old RAF mate Bruce was down in Pembrokeshire with his family. Back in our Officer Cadet days, Bruce and I were often the only ones left on camp when everyone else went home for the weekend (New Zealand and Pembrokeshire being equally difficult to reach from Lincolnshire) and games of Risk, Diplomacy, Junta, Turning Point: Stalingrad, Air Cav and Empires in Arms were cheap entertainment. He then joined W.A.S.P. when stationed down here during his pilot-training and ended up marrying a Pembrokeshire girl, so is a frequent returnee to this neck of the woods. Anyway, his lads are now teenagers, so it’s about time they were led astray by lead soldiers… So the Murfreesboro mini-game got another run-out at his in-laws house:
In September, a local club, the Haverfordwest Gaming Club (HATS), was having a club open day. We’d never been there before, so Andy James, Kirk French and I decided to put on a refight of the SYW Battle of Clostercamp. This time, I once again managed to avoid defeat through the medium of umpiring:
In October I went back to the Haverfordwest Gaming Club again for yet ANOTHER run-out of that Murfreesboro mini-game; this time with Andy Williams. The photo below shows my ‘brave’ attack with my pioneer brigade, through a ford, uphill against an entrenched, elite enemy with absolutely zero artillery support. And I lost! Can you believe it…?
In November I was back at W.A.S.P. and had my first Tricorn game with Gareth Beamish since the 1990s. It was Gareth who first turned Shako into Tricorn, so it was great to play a game with him again. The scenario was the War of Austrian Succession Battle of Mollwitz. Once again, I’ve completely failed to write up the game (yet), but as in the actual battle, my Prussians did better when the King wasn’t there…
Then Gareth Beamish put on a brilliant 6mm Samurai game, utilising his spectacular 6mm collection and his Tenka-Fubu rules. This time I didn’t lose and with my record, forcing Gareth into a grinding, attritional bloodbath is something to be proud of!
In December I did a re-run of my Combat of Zinna 1759 scenario with Al ‘Skippy’ Broughton. As in the previous game against Andy James, the scenario was a proper nail-biter, though this time with victory going (undeservedly) to my Prussians, thanks to some very lucky dice-rolling by my solitary dragoon brigade and some very unlucky dice-rolling on Al’s part, when rolling for army morale, just as his cavalry was about to roll up my left flank. I’m not proud, but I’ll take that one… Sadly, having taken a couple of photos at the start of the game, I completely forgot to take any more, so there won’t be a game report:
Finally to round off the year, we refought the SYW Battle of Warburg, which was a great game, in excellent company. My thanks to Al Broughton, Kirk French, Bruce Castle, Mark Castle, Tane Castle, Dave Llewellyn and Gareth Beamish. Commiserations to Andy James, who once again pulled a sickie (get well soon, mate). The game-report will be on here soon and no spoilers, but once again I was left wondering if this really is the hobby for me…
There were some other games throughout the year, but they were mostly board-games and I didn’t bother photographing those! I lost them for the most part…
Aside from the painting and the wargaming, I also posted some profiles of my 28mm AWI collection, featuring some units painted 15-20 years ago, as well as some painted in late 2022, starting with the British Elite Corps:
Then some Rebels:
And some More Rebels:
Then there was the Grand Parade of the completed Reichsarmee:
On the scenario-writing front, I’m afraid that this year it was all Seven Years War and War of Austrian Succession. I wrote scenarios for the Battle of Mollwitz 1741, the Combat of Pretzsch 1759, the Combat of Strehla 1760, the Battle of Warburg 1760 and the Battle of Clostercamp 1760.
I had hoped to post a load of scenarios, orbats and profiles from other periods, but never got around to it! So my apologies to the ACW, Napoleonic and 20th Century enthusiasts. I’ll try to do better in 2024 and I’ve already made a start on writing up the above-mentioned Murfreesboro mini-scenario, as well as my megalomaniacal scenario for the colossal Battle of Bautzen 1813, which we did as a demo-game in the mid-1990s. I’ve also found a forgotten Normandy scenario that I’d never got around to publishing on the Fire & Fury Games (Battlefront: WWII) page, so that will also be here soon, along with another flurry of WAS and SYW scenarios for Tricorn, some of which are already written.
Additionally, I’ve recently found a load of old photographs, including our 1999 AB Figures Mega-Game of the Battle of Eggmühl 1809, so I’ll get those scanned in and posted up (once I’ve photoshopped Dave Brown out of most of the shots):
I’ve also recently started a Franco-Prussian War of 1870 campaign via e-mail, so expect some reports from that once it gets going. It would also be nice to do some Napoleonic games again, as well as some ACW battles other than Murfreesboro!
And perhaps this will finally be the year that I finish the 255th Indian Tank Brigade article and fix the blog to restore the sign-up function… 🙁
Anyway, Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that you all have a wonderful 2024 (unless you’re Russian, obvs)!