Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Workbench update

So,trying to overcome some technical issues as my work laptop now blocks all blogs after recent hacking of the NHS. This post isp artially a test of the tablet donated by the finance department.

The good news is I am making progress again on the Great Northern War.

 The camera seems ok its actually the lighting thats poor for both the saxon horse and foot.
I have also made progress with the Russian Civil War collection.
 In this first picture 5 figures finish off a unit. The two at either end from a new private range from Russian gamer Leonid. They fit really well with copplestone although both make the Tsuba officer look small.
In this second picture the three figures also finish off another unit. The smaller figure to the left is a WWI footsore officer.

So this has proved quicker just need to decide if the camera is up to it and if I can get on with the smaller screen with no proper keyboard.  Perhaps try it with a larger post after I load up the last of the swedish guard next.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

RCW General Drozdovski Regiment

The basing department has put a couple of units over the line for me, here is one I did from scratch over my minor recent Butterfly period, which I am still partly caught up in.

The Drozdovski were initially a regiment of officers without their own units, eventually developing into their own division. Many early Civil War White units were filled with officers fighting as troopers as their own units had mutinied at the end of the Great War.

It is likely that most did not have the black uniforms depicted in many of the images available, but I do like this uniform so decided that some of my unit would have elements of this. So the commander is all in black but his troops have a mix of Khaki, black and even a couple of officers blue/grey sharovari trousers. I am quite pleased with the overall effect.

The figures are mainly Tsuba Miniatures by Paul Hicks with a couple of Copplestone additions. These sculpts are just lovely and the peakless caps particularly useful for this unit.

Its been a while since I painted any Russian Civil War figures and our recent game has inspired me. As my units are now typically 8 figures strong and for my old rules often were in 12's I am taking the "spare" 4 figures and adding to them to create more units. Its a quick way to get a few more on table.

Next to share will be the last of the Swedish Guard's and some Sikh Cavalry.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

AWI Playtest British Grenadier

So I had a great game at wargaming chum Dave's just over a week ago. Apologies for the delay in my report, laptop issues!

For the most part we have used Black Powder fro the American War of Independence, I like the flexibility and speed of the games and they do feel like they suit AWI. However we have used them for a number of periods and Dave was keen to try British Grenadier which he had played before with varying degrees of success.

So Dave invited Howard and I to try a game using his fantastic collection. Howard and I would command a British Brigade each trying to catch a retreating Patriot/Rebel army. Dave would play the American forces who had turned to fight a delaying action.

We played on a  12 by 5 feet table forces were:


Howards Brigade
4 battalions of foot (Including one of guards and one of loyalists
1 company of Jaegers
2 field guns

My Brigade
4 battalions of foot including one of Hessians
1 company of light infantry skirmishers
1 lights gun
2 troops of loyalist cavalry


Defending the road:
One Brigade of four Continental Regiments
2 Field Guns

Hiding in the woods to the left:
Brigade of 4 Militia regiments
Light gun
Company of Rifle skirmishers

Hiding in the wood to the left
Brigade of 4 Continental regiments
Company of Rifle skirmishers

So 12 regiments of Americans essentially ambushing 8 battalions British.

 The British were designated in loose order and moved on the roll of 2 average dice. Picking up a disruption point on the roll of a 2. Hessians moved on 2 d6 as close order troops picking up disruptions on a 1 or a 2. So average movement of about 8 inches a turn. Musketry range is 12 inches.

The first thing I found was that moving in column did not seem to have any benefits at all So I quickly stopped.
Units can take up to 3 disruption points. In terms of casualties the first three can be taken as disruption points before figures are essentially removed. This means keeping DP's down is really important. You can remove a DP by doing nothing for a move. You can remove two if you do nothing and attach a General. This all feels very realistic, dressing ranks and filling gaps. It does however also have the effect of slowing down an already quite slow game as players try to keep DP's to a minimum before they get into musketry range.

The British spent about 45 minutes advancing steadily and taking small amounts of DP's from movement and the American artillery before the American ambush revealed itself and advanced from the woods. From my brigade the fusiliers got a good roll and advanced to musketry range. Unfortunately DP's from firing and movement meant they failed to go in on their charge and the closing volley from the continentals in front of them forced a retirement blocking the Hessians behind them from any movement.

The skirmishers on both sides moved into a long musketry duel which lasted the whole game as both sides forces were whittled down. The rest of the foot and the cavalry manoeuvred to get into strike range where cold steel could potentially carry the day.

The British foot were taking heavy casualties on the left from Dave's militia , with the guards being forced to retreat due to mounting casualties and a morale test, heavy casualties also in the centre from his guns. On the right the first troop of cavalry managed to charge the flank of a continental regiment and our first melee ensued. We were now about 2 hours in.

The continentals were able to perform an emergency manoeuvre to turn and face the cavalry charge but could not get a volley off in time. The melee resulted in a  retreat for the continentals and the cavalry pursued, however with three DP's they would not be allowed to charge again and finished their compulsory pursuit 3 inches in front of the continentals who would be able to fire at them next turn. Oh dear.

Mean while int he centre a musketry duel saw both sides start to take heavy casualties. The British Highlanders charged a continental battalion and forced it to retreat, whilst the second battalion of highlanders charged the guns with predictably bloody results. I wont do that again!

 The second troop of cavalry charged the flank of a second regiment of continentals with almost exactly the same result except the cavalry were able to avoid a disastrous pursuit. We were in amongst the rebels but making heavy weather of doing anything meaningful to them.
At this point after about 4 1/2 hours of gaming we called a halt and took stock.

It had taken a long time to come to grips and despite 4 melees and numerous bloody firefights every single unit was still on table. The Americans had 3 units retire and the British 2, but all were still on the edge of the fighting and available to be rallied and rejoin.

This left us in a quandary. The game had played well, felt fun and realistic, but took far too long to get to grips and simply did not give us a result. All Dave's previous games had the same outcome. Our experience of Black Powder had been pretty much the opposite, less period flavour but quick movement and a result in 2-3 hours for big games, so what to do?

We have decided that another game is in order and we want to consider some alterations. Start closer, increase movement, increase firing ranges. Nothing dramatic, just 2-3 inches on each and maybe starting a foot closer. This perhaps being the best way to see if we can bring the British Grenadier system to a point where we can achieve a result in an evenings gaming.

We intend another game soon and I will share the results, In the meantime the basing department has been for a visit and I have some goodies to share so watch this space.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

GNW Swedish Femanning Regiment

So again I decided to base a unit myself the basing department is far too busy enjoying herself and receiving Theatrical Plaudits for her performance in "Not a Game for Girls" this weekend.

I should also apologise as I meant to load a battle report for our recent play test of "British Grenadier" AWI rules, but had a lot of technical issues with the computer and struggled to upload all the photos, hopefully have this for you soon.

This unit represents any of a number of Femanning Regiments, although the flag is I believe Upplands. There were at least two units in this colour scheme at Kliszow in 1702.

We explained that the recruiting process in Sweden required each large farm or village to provide 2 soldiers in return for a degree of tax relief, in times of war a third man might be raised and a new third man regiment raised or Tremanning. Femanning was a fourth regiment raised on the same principal. There were many of these raised to counter the Danish invasion of Scania.

This regiment is made entirely of Ebor Miniatures http://www.eborminiatures.com/ , I do like these marching figures, that and the Grey faced yellow add a contracts to my charging boys in blue. The flags are from the excellent Warfare Miniatures http://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/shop/products-cat-16.html.

 These two shots give you an idea of how I use the space on the deep bases, in particular the outer bases with their virtual third rank.

This takes me to twelve battalions of foot, which was my original target, so really pleased with that. Six units of horse so a way to go to reach my target of ten. All that said already have a couple of units of foot to paint so my target may just have increased slightly!

I hope to have the battle report for British Grenadier in the next few days but until then, thanks for reading.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

GNW Swedish Bremen Dragoons

Hi, so finished these a couple of weeks ago, but with the basing department in the final rehearsals for her Performance as part of a professional Theatre Company in York of "No Game for Girls" I have bitten the bullet and decided to base a couple of units myself.

So no comments please about how much better her basing is!!

I have gone for the Bremen Dragoons, they are one of the few with facings other than blue or yellow and did fight in a number of engagements making them a really useful unit.

These are Ebor Miniatures, the Drummer is one of Nicks optional figures and is a nod to them being Dragoons rather than Horse, although the Swedish Dragoons performed the same shock function as horse. The flag is from Warfare Miniaures.

 I missed my usual plan shot from above showing the slight v formation but I think the above gives you a bit of an idea of this.
 And the below close up gives you a nice view of the detail on the figures.
I have a unit of Swedish foot almost based so will drop these on soon, the basing department will be back in full swing in a couple of weeks when the play is finished.

Thanks for reading, new post probably in the next few days.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Workbench update, back to being a butterfly

I have not had an update on Great Northern War for a few weeks. I have still been busy, indeed I have two extra units painted, but after getting the Swedes to a point where the Foot are almost there and the Horse are waiting on the next release from Warfare (hopefully in the next few weeks) I have allowed my inner Wargames Butterfly a little bit of release and here are the results so far.

After returning from Krakow it only seemed right that I paint some 1919 Polish Legionaires. I had the idea I could et enough done for the game planned last weekend. When I realised this was not going to happen I parked the rest of these guys for the moment.

 I decided I could finish off some more GNW stuff so I painted the ensign for my next unit of Saxon Horse. I got the other 8 primed but the butterfly took over.
 So next onto a unit of Swedes, a Tremanning Regiment I had made a start on. Really pleased I managed to stick with these until painted. I think they are going to look really good once based and mixed in with all the blue faced yellow units.
In preparation for the release of Warfare's Swedish Horse here are 4 Troopers for the Livonian Adelsfana waiting for the other 5 of their comrades to be released. Grey faced yellow again being a changes to all the blue.
 At this point the Butterfly really started to take over. Sikhs I thought, but only managed one before being distracted.
Then I thought El Cid would be a nice change, I started with 4 Muslim cavalry, then moved on to 2 Christian foot and back to the Muslims for 2 spearmen and a Nubian. The, yes you guessed it I got distracted.

I returned home form the Russian Civil War game on Saturday enthused with revolutionary fervour and immediately started to analyse what I needed.

Now I know needed is a relative word in our hobby so let me expand. When I first started this collection they were individually based in units of 10 or 12. Having moved to Triumph of the Will I need units of 8 typically. This means that rather than paint new units I can take to spare figures left over as the start of a new unit. So I then found I had 9 Tsuba Miniatures 1904 Russians who looked ideal for one of the colourful regiments with their peakless caps so ignoring all the easy to finish units I ploughed straight into the Drozdovski  Alongside these I finished off a unit of Reds with the figures for their command added a figure to a unit of dismounted Far East Cossacks.

You can tell that the original figure to right was mounted without removing the penny he was mounted on! Not helped by the Footsore officer being slightly smaller anyway.

 I am particularly please with the Drozdovski figures and I ma on with my next unit of White Russians. I have also ordered a few more from Leonid, a gamer from St Petersburg who has produced some figures of his own to compliment Copplestones range. There are pictures of his figures on the Lead Adventure site.

So that leaves me with a significant volume of painted figures, I now just need to basing department to come home and get stuck into them so I can share the finished product with you.
So that's it for now, not sure whats next at the moment but watch this space.  Thanks for reading

Saturday, 3 June 2017

The East Ablaze a Russian Civil War game in the far east

For today's monthly game at the barn I was asked to put on a Russian Civil War game.

I decided something a bit different was in order and went for the Civil War in the Russian Far East.

The story of Baron Von Ungern Sternberg and his invasion and occupation of Mongolia in the 1920's I the sort of story that people wouldn't credit as fiction. A psychopathic Baltic Baron and leader of the Russian Asiatic Cossack division who took his men plus odds and ends of the retreating Siberian Russian army into Mongolia where he was hailed as the Buddhist God of War and the reincarnation of Genghis Khan. Raising the Mongol tribes and defeating two Chinese armies he occupied Mongolia and commenced a brutal and bizarre reign of terror before taking his rag tag army to invade Russia where it was promptly ambushed and defeated in a forest just over the border.

This seemed the ideal battle for me to put on for our small group of gamers.
 Above is the table before the troops are positioned.

 Here he is charging across the steppe. The bloody Baron.

The Whites start the game strung out down the road into Siberia surrounded by a forest, their forces consist of:

4 units of 7 Mongol cavalry
3 units of 8 Cossacks
2 units of 8 Lancers
3 units of 9 White Officers
6 units of 8 line foot
2 MG's
2 Field Guns
1 Tchanka

The whites have no vehicles at all and no air support.

As they near the end of the forest they are confronted by Red troops dug in around a Buddhist temple and small settlement with a gun an MG and 4 units of Veteran troops.
Red forces consist of:

Blocking Force
1 MG
2 units of 8 Siberian Rifles Veteran
2 units of 9 Red Sailors Veteran

In ambush behind the forest
5 units of 8 Red Foot
3 units 8 Red Horse
2 units 7 released POW's
1 unit 10 Checka
1 Gun

Off Table
5 units Red Foot
3 Units red horse
1 armoured car
1 aeroplane 

We were using Triumph of the Will rules by Two Fat Lardies. Each turn Richard C threw 2 D6. On a 1 or 2 we got a unit of foot, 3 or 4 horse, 5 the armoured car and  6 the plane (a sopwith camel) The roll of a D10 determined where all but the plan came on.

The Whites quickly determined that a rush on the village and temple was suicidal, so leaving both their guns and the Tchanka with two officer units to hold the gap in the forest they turned the rest of their army to try sweep around the right flank. The ambushing red army set off for the same gap in the forest.

The three units of quickly became entangled with the Mongolian horse who had the aggressive bonus to their dice, a series of very bloody skirmishes left one unit of Red cavalry destroyed and the other two very badly mauled, my complete inability to roll a six was met with much hilarity except from my partner in crime Richard who left me in no doubt as to what the Checka would do if I couldn't roll better. Fortunately the Mongolian unit ended up sat in front of the advancing red foot who quickly finished it off.
With the roll of a six it was now time for the Whites to feel some pain as the Sopwith Camel strafed their cavalry virtually destroying another units of mongol cavalry.

With the roll of a six it was now time for the Whites to feel some pain as the Sopwith Camel strafed their cavalry virtually destroying another units of mongol cavalry.

A series of bloody skirmishes then followed seeing the red cavalry and the majority of the Mongol cavalry destroyed along with a unit of Red foot.

Being a civilised lot it was now time for Lunch and we sat outside in the Glorious sunshine at the barn. Thanks very Chris!

After 30 minutes of sunshine and politics we were back to the serious stuff of shooting at each other.

At the far end of the table the Polish Lancers charged the Cheka rated as Militia with predictable results. With a big hole in the line the Poles swung onto the next unit of Red Foot who put up slightly more resistance before being over run in turn.

 Further over the bloody melee in the centre continued as both sides were worn down. The last unit of red cavalry seeing off the third unit of Mongols before being shot down in turn.

There were now remnants of various partially destroyed cavalry units blocking up the space and adding very little value to either side.

Whilst the Poles had been systematically destroying 2 units of foot and 1 of horse they had of course been taking the odd casualty. Hit in the rear by artillery and the front by musketry from the remaining red foot both units were down to just one man each.
 In the centre the timely arrival of the Sopwith again stabilised the situation for the reds and virtually destroyed another unit of White Cavalry.

The red cavalry reinforcements had now arrived and a brave (some might say suicidal) charge by the last Polish lancer was finished off.

With all the reinforcements on the game had now devolved into a stalemate. The best troops for both sides were facing off out of range of each other either side of the gap near the temple. Neither side willing to take the large casualties that frontally attacking a bottle neck covered by veteran troops, machine guns and artillery would inevitably bring.
 In the centre both sides had plenty of foot left, but the reds were too mauled to press on and the Whites too few troops to break through.
 On the left equal and undamaged forces faced each other but again neither side could gain an advantage. In the end the Whites would be forced to retreat in good order back into Mongolia, whilst the badly mauled reds although having stopped the Whites invading Siberia would be unable to follow up until fresh troops arrived.
All in all a fun game enjoyed by all, especially me as I actually got to play.

In reality in this battle the White forces were badly defeated and the retreating army began to disintegrate as it retreated back to Mongolia, eventually leading to the capture and execution of the Bloody Baron.

For those who want to know more about Ungern Sternburg, Peter Hopkirk's fine book "Setting the East Ablaze" is good introduction. For more detail you can try James Palmer's "The Bloody Red Baron". I also enjoyed two memoirs involving Ungern Sternburg. Dmitri Alioshin's "Asian Odyssey" is the memoir of a Russian Officer forced to fight in the Bloody Barons army and contains detail of some of the atrocities that is not for the faint hearted, finally "Of Beasts Men and Gods" is a memoir by a Pole trying to escape the "Bolsheviki" Ferdinand Ossendowski who also runs into the Baron as he makes his way home and relates some of the bizarre goings on in Mongolia at this time. The last two are I think out of print but available if you look hard enough.

Well that's it for this write up, something a bit different I hope you enjoyed.

See you soon and thanks for reading.