Tuesday 16 July 2024

Re-Visting the Sikh Wars Project

 For some time we have been talking about  progressing the Sikh Wars project.

In terms of figures its maybe 2 thirds or even 3 quarters complete, as a big project that does mean lots left to do. I have not been able to muster much enthusiasm for the project, mainly due to an inability to find rules we were happy with. We have used Black Powder which works but is too vanilla for most of us, Mad Dogs and Englishmen seemed to offer something better but had some areas we were unhappy with. We finally agreed we would need to write our own and pinch the elements from other sets we liked.

The arrival of Helions Khalsa book for my birthday got me a bit enthused to re-visit this, great book so far, I may review on here once completed. So I have started work on the rules and also made some inroads into the lead mountain. A few examples below for you.

There are a mix of manufacturers, regulars here will know I like that, particularly with irregular troops. The troops are also intended for different units, a Pathan tribal unit and a Sikh one.

All three Pathans are plastics, with the outer two being Wargames Atlantic and the middle one Perrys, particularly like this figure, the flag comes with the plastic box set. 

The Sikhs are a mix of metals and plastics, left to right plastic Perry with WW2 Sikh head, Metal Foundry, Plastic Perry leader again with WW2 head, Foundry metal and finally Old Glory metal. I love the old Foundry figures, the leader is quite nice but chum Chris pointed out he has Zombie eyes so I may need to re-visit this one. 
I have a few Sikh cavalry to finish, maybe 20 or so. These Armoured Gorchurra are the first of a last unit of 10, hopefully.
All Foundry figures, lots of bright colours on these lvoely figures.
To give you an idea below are my irregular horse, armoured, un-armoured, Sikh and Muslim (armoured units are the four on the right). I have perhaps 3 units to finish this lot off assuming I don't go off on one and buy some more!

Second rules playtest to follow soon, I will keep you updated and as always thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday 10 July 2024

First Play Test of Sikh Wars Rules

 With a pretty large Sikh Wars collection its been important to find rules we like that give us a flavour of the period. Sadly thats been tough.

So in the end I have decided to write my own, leaning heavily on the things I like from other sets.

Very early days but last night we had our first play test and despite some obvious gaps they worked ok. At least enough to stick with them and make some changes.

For our Game weak Brigade of Company infantry and another of cavalry would be supported by native allies.

1st Brigade would be a unit of British Light Dragoons and a Unit of Governer Generals Body Guard with a Bengal Horse artillery 6 pounder.
2nd Brigade One unit of Bengal European Infantry and one of Bengal Native Infantry with a 9 pounder field gun,
3rd Brigade 2 regiments of matchlock armed native foot and 2 Zamburek Camel Guns
4th Brigade Two warbands of Pathan native foot
5th Brigade One warband Pathan light horse, one samall unit of armoured Pathan Nobles.
The Sikhs have similar numbers of troops.

1st Brigade 1 Regiment of Sikh Currassier and 1 of Sikh Dragoons with a horse artillery gun
2nd Brigade 3 Battalions Sikh regulars with 1 Field gun
3rd Brigade 1 regiment of Matchlock armed foot and 2 warbands of Sikh natives with one very large gun
4th Brigade 2 units of armoured warband cavalry and 1 of unarmoured warband cavalry supported by 2 Zamburek camel guns.
Initiative is decided by cards randomly drawn for each command but we can just as easily roll for initiative. Each commander has a rating which allows him a number of orders and a number to beat in order to have his orders followed. I have kept it simple, Good 5, Average 4, Poor 3.

Each troop type has a grade between 2 and 6. This is used both in melee and morale to help dictate outcomes. 

I have split troop types into European, European Trained, Native Trained and Warband to give us a framework around which to build the strengths and weaknesses of the differing troop types available to commanders. There are suggested troop gradings within each of these but of course there will always be exceptions which are easily catered for.

Firing and melee is by by base. European troops have 3 actions where native troops have 2. This allows the Queens troops to be more manouverable and fire quicker as they did historically having the enhanced training and percussion muskets.

Warbands are tribal groupings or levies which operate in more of a mass than a formation, they have a bonus for movement and dont need to change formation as they "flow" around the battlefield. 

Zambereks, a range in between muskets and light guns, they only get one firing dice per base regardless of range as they didnt use canister.

Tribal Warbands will be two bases deep to represent how they fought with the better armed and armoured more motivated warriors at the front, typically a 5 base unit will have 3 bases at the front and 2 behind, Only the front bases can fre and engage in the first round of melee.
British Light Dragoons, 3 actions and usualy level 5 troops.
These matchlock musketeers are trained but not to the same extent as those troops in British and Sikh pay that have been drilled by European Officers, as such they will be either lvel 2 or 3 troops.
OK so thats the premise, how did it play?
To start with everyone got moving straight at the enemy, as moving straight forward does not require an order there was very little stress on those parts of the rules as we closed.
I was pretty focused on monitoring the game and addressing rule questions so missed quite a few Photo opportunities, However first to close to combat where the Sikh regular Dragoons and a warband of Pathan tribal cavalry. Each side had the 3 bases in contact giving them 3 fighting dice, they gained an extra dice each as they were charging/counter charging the Dragoons had 3 dice for troop quality the Patahsn 2. So the Sikhs fought with 7 D6 and the Pathans with 6. Both sides needed a 6 to inflict a casualty. The Pathans won the first round of Melee but the Sikhs passed their morale taking the melee into a further round when the next card came out for the troops involved.
My Pathan infantry bowled up the hill and unleashed a short range volley at the Sikh regulars, the two units each having 3 bases at the front able to fire giving me 6 firing dice, As they are at effective range I need 5's to hit and score 2 hits, Chris needs a saving throw of 6 to save them but isnt able to. I have not removed a base in casualties so they have no need to test for morale..

In Chris's turn his return volley also has 5 dice needing 5's, he fails to roll any.
Next turn and my small unit of Armoured Pathan Warband charge into the melee with the Sikh Dragoons. as the second round of melee all troops from the units involved may fight. I have the advantage in numbers now but Chris;'s quality counts and he inflicts three casualties to my 2.

My Pathans are class 2 they need to roll a 5 or 6 on either of two dice to stand, they fail and retire dis-ordered a full move. My Pathan Noble Cavalry are class 3 so get 3 dice and pass. The Noble Cavalry do get a saving throw in Melee due to their armour, needing a 6 on a D6, they achieve this . Next round it will be 3 bases of Pathan Nobles against the remaining 4 of Sikh Dragoons.
Chris's Currassier advance in support of the Dragoons, but I wonder if he might just sweep them into the Pathan foot.
Theres always one! Chris manages to save his Cavalry with a host of 6's. Melee I dont normally allow a saving throw, except for armoured cavalry and troops defending an obstacle. Clearly this armour is pretty damned good on the Sikh Cavalry.
The big gun fires a long range shot at the Sepoys but misses, this will be soemthing of a theme.
Chris's warbands get going, I have given warbands and skirmishers an extra action of movement to allow them some flexibility not afforded regulars trying to stay in formation. Their downside being only the front ranks are immediatly involved in any fighting. I see these like any other tribal society where the best armed and most enthusiastic warriors lead from the front with a tail of less enthusiastic followers behind.
Chris Warband cavalry are also closing with the company horse on our right. Very colourful these chaps. Again extra movement action to allow for their lack of formation and the better troops to the fore.
Steve advances the Light Dragoons steadily waiting his moment to pounce.
Steves Zambureks unlimber next to the village and open up on the Sikh artillery inflicting one casualty. A nuisance these camel guns.
Steve charges the Sikh light cavalry who use their ability to fire a hasty shot and evade, needless to say with Matchlocks from horseback they miss entirely, we make some amends to the evade here to avoid the Sikhs being automatically caught. Chris then throws in his armoured Sikhs who give a good account of themselves

The Light Dragoons win but take 25% casualties and have to spend a turn dis-ordered in order to reform. The commander will need to have an order passed but as he his level 4 that should be easy enough.
In the right centre of the Sikh line the Sikh regulars charge the Pathan Warbands. The Pathans are narrowly beaten but hold their morale and go into another round of melee next time. The Sikhs had the dice bons for bayonets but as they didnt use them I probably need to remove that and replace it with aggressive or similar.

The Sikh Curassier charge the end of my Pathan Warband connecting with 2 bases. but the Pathan hold them off. inflicting heavy casualties. We decide at this point that once a unit passes its charge test any foot charged by horses that is not in square must test for beign charged to see if they stand.

The Cavalry melee on the British right intensifies, one warband of armoured cavalry retreats after losign a base of troops but the other holds and inflicts a base of casualties ont eh Light Dragoons.
In the centre the Sikh irregular warbands charge the village and the Sepoys, the unit facing the Sepoys is driven off with heavy loss but the one charging the natives matchlocks in the villages closes to contact, They are held by the Matchlock men but not driven off.

At this point we run out of time and raw the game to a close. Another half an hour or so might see us come to a conclusion. The British irregulars did well as might be expected. The Pathan irregulars maybe a little better than might have been hoped for. Overall not bad though.
The huge melee on the British and allied left would eventually swing for the Sikhs no doubt but had provided some good entertainment.
The Sikh dragoons were eventually destroyed by the remaining Pathan Noble cavalry, although they were in turn down to 50% strength.
Quite a few things to amend but the basic premise stood the first test and it is worth pursuing. Working through the changes and hopefully another run through very soon.

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday 3 July 2024

More Poles in 1919 Uniform

So I am finding that despite my gut injury, dislocated finger and broken glasses I am making some progress with the Poles.

Firstly a gun, a German 75mm with a crew of Woodbine Turks with a mix of Woodbine and Studio Siberia heads. 

Happy with this one although the gun is a little light , I may consider a wash to add some definition. Otherwise happy with this.
As with the other troops so far these are a mix of Studio Siberia and Woodbine miniatures. Despite the size difference I am really happy with the result. The Officer is Siberia and troopers are all Woodbine Turks in this shot.
Again mainly woodbine, the guy at the back with the grey coat is Studio Siberia. The head mixes work really well I feel.
Lastly a command group, both Studio Siberia figures, flag is from flags for the lads. Particularly like the officer.
The flag I understand is somewhat speculative but based on period paintings. Anochronistic but adds something I think.
To add to my armour I got a Laffly White Armoured car, this one is painted in French cammo and was commissioned with Richard Croisdale who does a fab job with vehicles.
The Poles will have 3 or so armoured cars, much more than the Russian forces I usually allow.
Just 9 more Poles to finish this battalion. Very good progress, hope to have this completed by the end of July.

I hope to have more for you in due course, the project is moving along at a decent clip now. As always thanks for stopping by.

Sunday 23 June 2024

Completed 40mm Peninsular Spanish and Hessians

Finally got complete basing on the units I have been working on. The first are these Green Faced Spanish all Perry Miniatures.

The majority of these were picked up part painted by Tony Runkee, probably part of an unfinished commission for Ian Smith. Given the issues I have had with my stomach it was a god send to have a bunch of part painted, and beautifully painted figures at that, Spanish for me to finish off. I could still make them mine with some adjustments and painting the faces but with 70-90% painted on them I didnt need to do too much to get them done. As he had only used those in coatees I added a couple of waist-coated regulars I painted from scratch to flesh them out.

I already have a mounted officer in green facings, again part painted by Tony, and this will give me 2 completed 40 man regiments in 40mm, each with 3 command figures.
I am really happy with the end result on these and the overall look of a unit on campaign. Also a big thanks to Steve Shann who helped me out with the initial basing, so I did the final layers of painting and grass's so it still matched my own basing. Cheers Steve!
Whilst working through these I also finished of my Spanish gun and crew. Two Perrys gunners compliment three First Legion gunners. These started life as French gunners but with head swaps for Spanish Bicornes I think look quite nice. I do like the gun with the fancy scroll work too.
A few more pictures of the Spanish and those lovely flags, these are I have found out by Mark Allen. Beautifully done.

Also complete are these lovely Hessians.
Another chunky 40 man unit with three leader figures. I am very pleased with how these guys came out.
These are nearly all 3d printed Piano Wargames printed for me at 40mm by Paul at Sabotag3d. I think he did a great job.
The three leaders were the first printed figures which are slightly large but work really well as individual leaders. I may add a mounted officer at some point.
A couple were printed without heads to allow them to have bonnet de police added as the right hand figure here.

I may at some point consider getting an STL file for skirmishers to add a light company, but for now that's the Hessians done.

Thanks for stopping by.