Sunday, 21 February 2021

More Sikh Wars off the Workbench

I have a bunch more figures off the workbench and finishing another couple of units off for the British this time. The Wargaming butterfly currently satisfied to flit from one unit to another in this project rather than project to project so getting a decent ammount completed, it cant last.

The first one to share with you is this British Officer, a Perry Miniatures British Auxiluary Legion commander from their First Carlist War range.

The time line is about right for these figures and this uniform is a good fit for the Sikh Wars project.
I do like this blood bay colour of the horse too, just the sort of hunter an officer might have brought from home with him to India.
This latest bunch of Sepoys finishes another battalion for me, a mix of Iron Duke, Foundry and a Perry Napoleonic Plastic standard bearer with head swap I particularly like.
The light company in green might be slightly early, they had green faced black uniforms by the mutiny and were starting to move over to rifles too, but they look nice and are very simple to paint.
A close up of the redcoats gives a good view of the head swap for the plastic standard bearer. The head is from one of the Foundry Sepoys.
The left end light bob is Foundry, the other three are Iron Duke/ Empress. Lovely figures which work well together.

A bunch of mainly Muslim irregulars will fill out the ranks of my Muslim hill tribes, a real mix of makes here. I particularly like the officer.
This Perry plastic Afghan has had a Sikh head put on so he can mix in with my other Sikh irregulars.
This Iron Duke figure will be joining others to make up a unit of Bahalwalpur matchlockmen.
These three metals are all different makes from left to right Studio, Foundry and Perry. All fit together nicely enough.
These four Bengal Light Cavalry bring this unit to a full complement now too, its a lovely colour scheme.
All Iron Duke / Empress figures with the exception of the lighter horse which is Mutineer Miniatures.
Talking of finished units here is the Sepoy unit glued to bases ready to flit over to York for basing.
The last couple of Afghans gives me the figures for a command base of Muslim hill tribes.
This is the second regiment of Bengal Light Cavalry finished, bit more of a mix here, they are nearly all Iron Duke with the exception of the Officer, a Wargames Foundry Indian Mutiny figure, the horses however are a real mix. More detail when they are back from the basing department.

So good progress, the collection will look much fuller post lockdown than it did pre-lockdown for sure. Now we just need to get to a point where we can get them on table.

Stay safe and I will see you soon.

Tuesday, 16 February 2021

Sikh Wars gets a Rocket

 Whilst I have not seen images of Rockets for the Sikh Wars I have seen a couple of references to their use by the British, in particular Flashman refers to them at Ferozeshah and thats good enough for me.

Of course nobody does a Sikh Wars rocket and crew but the Perry's British Auxillery Legion rocket from the First Carlist War range is perfect.

I also took the opportunity to try something slightly different with the light box, suggestions were to leave the internal light off and light it with LED's externally only and use a blue back ground, so I have both blue and white here, have to say not a fan of the blue but the external light seems to have worked.
The only minor change to the figures is to give the crew white cap covers for their forage caps except the officer, the uniforms are literally identical to those in use in India so this works really well.
I was tempted to have a cloud of smoke and a rocket leaving the launcher but I was concerned I wouldnt make a good enough job, the figures are lovely so I decided not to detract from them.

I am still experimenting with the long dry grass, clumps like this at different legnths I think work a bit better than previous efforts, I like the effect but will continue to improve on this with practice I think.

The rules for rockets are super eratic and they rely on luck far more than anything else on table, both Black Powder and Sharp practice which I will use these with have fun rules for rockets but as you may have seen from previous battle reports they can also be very frustrating for the user.

I will try the blue background again with redcoated Sepoys to see if that works any better.

I took the opportunity to get a few snaps of this base of Sikh irregular cavalry too as I based it at the same time as the rocket.

Again the white background seems to work really well and sets off the colours, even the pale ones.
The blue again whilst working just doesnt seem as nice to me.
Both figures are Wargames Foundry from the Sikh Wars range, with the trumpeter riding a Polish rennaisaince horse for variety.

So continued progress and focus on the Sikh Wars project and I continue to surprise myself by being able to stick with it for so long without getting distratced by other pretty things that "need" painting like the Jacobites, Elizabethans and Russian Civil War. I will eventually get around to finishiing those Great Northern War Swedes too. Promise!

Stay safe, see you soon.

Thursday, 11 February 2021

Workbench update for Sikh Wars

 A bunch more figures off the workbench this week. Really pleased with the progress over recent weeks. Mainly regulars to start completing or partially completing some units for basing.

Regular readers will know that the butterfly in me has a tendancy to flutter from one project to another so its nice to see this project getting lots of attention and progress even if it is bits of units here and there.

First figures are Bengal Sepoys, all three Foundry from the Sikh Wars range and very nice too. This takes this unit well over half way, I will add a couple of Iron Duke flank company figures to this.

This senior officer will command one of my Brigades, he is a Perry First Carlist War British Officer and fits in really well.
The frock coat is typical but most officers would have worn forage caps for comfort, this Shako though adds something a little different to the figure.
As I already have two figures painted for ths units of Bengal Native Light Cavalry these Iron Duke figures take the unit over the half way finished mark. One rider in this pack comes with a turban oddly, with all the rest in forage caps, clearly he needed a head swap so I swiped an Indian Mutiny gunners head, the buglers horse is from Musketeer miniatures the other three are Iron Duke/Empress.
These Irregulars are Skinners horse and again I already have two so another unit over half complete. I had a little fun with these, most were donated by chum Chris Charlton (Cheers Chris) they were however not quite the correct figures for skinners, rather than replace them with the correct figures I greenstuffed sashes for them which I think look quite nice.
The lance armed Sowar is actually an old wargames foundry figure I picked up, again the addition of a greenstuff sash and I am really happy with him, the shield just adds to the irregular look. 
These seven Sikhs finish off the latest battalion of Sikh regulars. Happy with these. Nice and bright but contrast with the other unit colour schemes.

The full battalion will wing its way to the basing department when lockdown restrictions permit me to see my daughter again. Hopefully there will be lots of based figures coming back to West Yorkshire to photograph and share with you at the same time.
The first Bahawalpur regiment is also complete and ready more the trip to York for basing.  The end result here is exactly as I had imagined with a variety of shades of colour but still general uniformity across the unit.

Hopefully the next workbench update might see a finished Cavalry unit, maybe even two!

Stay safe.


Thursday, 4 February 2021

The 2nd Battle of Mt Hermon 1973 AAR

I was saving this post from back in October until we could play day 2 but decided this is still a few months off so I would share it with you.

As restrictions had eased back in October we decided it was time for a game, although back on now as this was played quite a few weeks ago, Richard and Andy of Legendary Wargames made their Wargames cabin available and Rich Croisdale created a scenario around the 2nd Battle of Mount Hermon in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Not a period I know loads about, however early in the campaign the Syrians captured this defended observation post in the Golan Heights from the Israelis in the first battle, in the second the Israelis were trying to re-take it.

The terrain looked fantastic and the collections are also great, I was looking forward to the opportunity to get my Israeli Paratroop Brigade on table for the first time in some years.

The Israeli's would start from what I guess is the west and have to cross the river at the choke point of the only bridge with a light armoured column.
The post itself was pretty well defended with dugouts, tunnels and pill boxes.

A small town sat at the foot of the mountain on the Syrian side.
Two batteries of Syrians guns were already set up at the far Eastern end of the table.
I began preparing my forces, getting the Huey's on their stands ready to pounce on the Syrians.
This gunship is Richards and would support my choppers.
Richard H's light armour was also getting organised.
I opened the box to get my Paras out, I have to admit I let out a few expletives, Elizabethan Irish were not going to help me take the heights in 1973. Bugger, I had picked up the wrong box. Nothing for it I had to borrow Richards British and hope nobody noticed.
Move one our plan was fairly straight forward, the first Para battalion would drop onto the farms and orchards at the foot of the mountain to clear the way for the column to pass through and give it some support as it pushed up the slopes. Fortunately these were just the right distance for me to land in one move from the table edge and pile out of the choppers. I asked if anyone could play ride of the Valkyries as we flew in but nobody seemed that interested. Please yourselves!

Not so great was that the roads were mined and I managed to land a chopper on one of the mines, taking one of my rifle companies straight down to half strength, not a great start. Chris C had occupied one of the orchards with a company of elite Syrian paras and these also gave another of my companies a hard time inflicting more casualties. The upside was that when he came to drop artillery on us we were just outside extreme range.
Move two and as the battle raged at the foot of the mountain and Richards column raced to cross the river my second battalion dropped straight onto the post at the top of the mountain, audacious and unexpected we managed to drop the battalion with minimal casualties and some of the bunkers being empty we were straight into cover for about half of the unit.
Two companies however would start the next move in the open moving to storm the enemy emplacements and heavy casualties were to be expected.
In one move we had discovered where all of Chris's troops were posted, however as they were all elite, in cover and ready for us that only helped up to a certain point. As the Syrian turn started my Paras braced for a kicking.
Not to be outdone the Syrian Paras had their own helicopter landing, this had been pre-planned and was to land at the other end of the post form my troops which was only a minor relief given we would now be outnumbered two to one with the Syrian armour ahead of our own and climbing the slopes to relieve the garrison.
On the road from Damascus a great big column of Syrian armour is speeding towards the sounds of firing. My poor Paras are going to be in a bit of trouble very soon.

The Israeli colum is not quite so far advanced, I just hope we can hang on long enough to keep the road open. Its going to be close.

What remains of my first battalion of airborne are clearing the orchard and putting some fire into the trenches on top of the mountain.
Rich brings on a battalion of infantry to support the units on the further road, whilst Andy advances his own Syrian armour and foot a bit further up table
My gunship supports the fighting in the orchard but then scoots up the mountain to support the attack here and also to keep moving!
The fighting is close quarters and viscious with both sides elite paras there is nothing in it and the grind each other down.
The last of the Israeli column is on table and speeding to support the beleagured Paras.

I look with despair at the Syrian choppers piling onto the mountain top post, fortunately for me their DZ is pre-determined and it will take another move for them to get stuck into my guys, still its looking ever more grim.

As the Israeli column climbs the slopes of Mount Hermon the pill box fires and heavy damaged a scout car, a return shot from my recoilless rifle scores a six and the shell goes straight through the slit and destroys the pill box. About time I had some luck!

The casualties start to pile up and I am still not able to break into the gun pit, I draw a close assault leaving me on the outside with no cover and Syrian Paras all over the place.

Around this time we did get an airstrike which destroyed a Syrian Troop carrier and most of the occupants, for some reason I failed to get shot of this, I was probably a little bit excited!
The fighting in the rough ground at the edge of the mountain is particularly brutal and close quarters.

The Syrians are closing in on two sides and my Paras having lost of 20 casualties now have to take a morale test which they pass. The Syrians are also close to a test.
Finally however the Israeli column is near enough to start lending some support and clearing some of the trenches, the super Shermans pile off the road and open up on the remaining Syrian Paras of the original Garrison.
Two more entrenchments are cleared and the Syrian Paras will now also need a morale test, however the Syrian armoured support has also just turned up and its becoming a little bit of a carpark.
On the plain below a battalion of mechanised Israeli infantry with more Centurian's turn up to support the small holding force.
The Israeli Paras pass another morale test and the armour starts to deploy on side of the hill, the Syrian Paras in turn then have to take a test which they too pass. It really could go either way.
The Southern slopes have now been almost cleared but the Syrian reinforcements are all over the crest and through the post with the remaining Paras clinging on by their fingernail.
AT this point the days gaming draws to a close with both initial forces battered and reinforcements for both sides starting to run into each other the scene is set for great second day of gaming. on the plain below the mountain both sides sit behind opposing hills ready to push forward, who will jump first? Tune in next time to find out. (Whenever that ends up being)

 Great game designed by Richard Croisdale and hosted by Andy and Rich, very much looking forward to day 2 and hoping to remember to take my Israelis! 

It may be a little time before we get to finish the second half with Lockdown and Tier 3 restrictions, let you know when we do though.