Damn, another wargame project – Illyrians and the Great Revolt!

Yes, the bay is there – faintly visible. Invisible is the Bataan peninsula and other landmarks at the mouth of the bay

I’m sitting here, suffering with that most horrible of diseases, man ‘flu, looking out over a hazy, smoggy Manila Bay with a coffee and listening to the wireless playing Christmas Carols (it is the ‘ber months after all). I am also reading Jason Abdale’s recent work, The Great Illyrian Revolt concerning “Rome’s forgotten war in the Balkans AD 6-9” (review to come later – Mal’s review is here).

So as I am reading I am also thinking, “hmm, I am repurposing some Early Imperial Romans to DBA use, and they will make two armies”, followed by, “the Illyrian Revolt Abdale is talking about occurred just before the loss of the four legions in the Battle of Teutoburg … hmmm”.

So I started thinking, here is an excuse to buy some more wargame figures (like a wargamer needs an excuse!). Better, I can double up armies. The Illyrians are basically a loose style (Auxilia) within DBA rules so may need a little tweaking to start to get some historical balance. They also fought themselves as much as external enemies but those external enemies included Romans and Greeks so they fit well with the figures I have painted already as well as the future plans (the Peloponnesian Wars one in particular).

In addition, I could add to the Illyrians a couple of German armies for an additional enemy for the Early Imperial Romans.

Image taken from http://home.exetel.com.au/thrace/illyria.htm

As to the look of the Illyrians, I will need to do some more research, always a good thing, but I am thinking from what I have read recently, perhaps a little Thracian like, with some southern Italian, and Greek Thureophoroi rolled in. One of the neat things about the Illyrians will be the ability to raid my spares box and drag out a few of different types of figures to mix it.

The clothing colours of the Illyrians are described as broad, colourful  vertical stripes.

The illustration the the left is from the Warlords Games website, a firm who offers Illyrians in 28mm size, although they are currently out of stock.

My forces will be in 6mm size – probably from Baccus and Rapier as both those ranges are close in size. So yes, just what I need, another project. I think I will stop weighing the lead pile and simply measure the number of incomplete and unstarted projects to estimate the future lifespan of the wargamer!

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Little Wars TV – D-Day Wargame – Rommel Rules

I do love the Little Wars TV YouTube channel, the guys are like so many of my mates from various wargame clubs over the years and in different countries, where winning is not as important as the game and fun was the target of the game. Little Wars TV recently decided to re-fight the first couple of days of D-Day, given that it is the 75th anniversary this year. The re-fight was controlled using modified Rommel rules (thanks guys, I am now considering getting yet another set of rules). For previous World War 2 games they have used Fistful of TOWs.

Part 1 of the two part video covers the objectives for each side, the landings and the drive inland from the beaches.

The second part covers D+1 – where the Allies will attempt to consolidate and meet their objectives and the Germans will attempt to both prevent the Allies reaching objectives but also achieve some objectives of their own.

Well worth watching these and as I mentioned, this has reawakened my interest in trying out Rommel as a set of World War 2 wargaming rules. I would also strongly recommend a visit to the Little Wars TV website to both see what’s new and interesting, grab some free stuff and check out their other videos. Thanks guys, love your work!

Another Project – World War 2 French in 6mm

In November 2017 I added a small World War 2 force of Belgians to my Blitzkrieg Commander armies. Looking for some additions to my collections (it’s not like I have nothing left to paint however), I thought that as I had acquired the figures for a Cold War Commander French force, it would be neat to have the same for World War 2. This has also led me into a lot of reading about the French in World War 2. I must admit that I only had the old stereotypes in mind – dodgy commanders, no radios, poor quality weapon systems etc. I am rapidly rethinking those as I read and understand more.

The first thing I did was to try and understand French Infantry and Armour organisation during that period. So far my searches of this across the Internet have not been as fruitful as I had hoped. However, I think I have enough information now to move forward a little.

A French infantry company

My infantry organisation for the French for Blitzkrieg Commander is based around an infantry battalion consisting of three companies of 12 elements to the company. Each element/base (Section above) will have about 5 or 6 figures on it and represent a section. Three sections to a platoon, four platoons to a company, three companies to a battalion.

For armour I am assuming five Renault R35 tanks to a tank platoon or three of any of the other types. I am not certain currently how many platoons work up to the higher organisations so any advice will be greatly appreciated.

So, what did I purchase? To make up a chunky force, I purchased from both Scotia Grendel and Heroics and Ros. I am looking at one company of Infantry (so 36 elements/bases) plus heavy weapons etc. Several platoons of armour, both light and heavy. Two or three batteries of artillery and a few aircraft thrown into the mix for the some variety. So, I purchased the following:

Quantity Item Manufacturer
2 Citroen Kegrese SPAA Scotia
3 Laffly S20TL Command Scotia
2 Peugeot 402 staff car H&R
3 Latil M7T1 Field Car Scotia
1 Infantry (50 figures) Scotia
1 Infantry with Command (50 figures maybe) Scotia
3 Infantry (50 figures each packet) H&R
1 Heavy Weapons Packet Scotia
1 Heavy Weapons approx. 50 figures H&R
12 French gun crew kneeling (5 figures each) H&R
4 Panhard AMD 178 A/C Scotia
2 Laffly V15R Recce Car H&R
4 Char B1 Heavy Tank Scotia
6 Char B1 Heavy Tank H&R
6 Somua S35 H&R
3 Hotchkiss H39 Light Tank H&R
6 Renault AMC 35 Light Tank Scotia
5 Renault Ft 17 H&R
2 Laffly W 15 TCC tank hunter + 47mm (Portee) H&R
3 105mm Schneider 1913 gun H&R
3 75mm field gun H&R
2 French 47mm AT H&R
4 French 25mm AT H&R
2 Twin 13.2mm AAMG Scotia
6 Tracked personnel trailer H&R
6 Lorraine 38L APC Gun Tractor H&R
1 Horse Drawn 75mm Gun (3 teams each of 4 horses , 1 limber, 1 gun) H&R
3 Laffly W15R prime mover H&R
6 Citroen 10cv C4F 4×2 1000kg truck H&R
6 Citroen 45u Heavy Truck (Covered Top) Scotia
6 Renault ADK Truck (Covered Top) Scotia
1 Liore Et Olivier Leo 451 H&R
1 Martin Maryland H&R
1 Breguet 690/1 H&R

In addition to the above, I also purchased a 47mm FRC A/T Gun from Scotia for my Belgians along with the following buildings, also from Scotia:

  • Church
  • Ruined Cottage
  • Barn
  • Small Cottage
  • Ruined Barn
  • Stone bridge
  • Stone farm

The cost for all these models and buildings came to £108.50 (not counting postage) – slightly more than my July wargaming allowance*. Now I am waiting their arrival so that I can add them to the painting queue. The Scotia order is somewhere in customs I believe at NAIA airport. The Heroics and Ros order was only made on 3 August (hmm, maybe within August budget then 🙂 ) so I do not expect that for at least another four to six weeks. The delay is not the at the Heroics and Ros end, their turnaround is usually quite good, but rather parcels working their way through the Philippine Postal Service.

Looking at the list of figures above, perhaps I should have calculated these things ahead of time, I think I need another three artillery pieces and I maybe have enough infantry for one more company of infantry (4 companies instead of three).

Hmm, maybe a slight over achievement.


* I must admit that I also spent my June and May allowance and half my August allowance at the same time and, as a result, have a number of other batches of figures and a couple of board games on the way. Now will be a period of painting to reduce the size of the painting queue a wee bit, as well as catch up on reading some books.

Bavarian Army – Napoleonic Period

Note – I started writing this on October 22, 2010. I guess this is a typical wargaming project, one that starts with a rush then slips to a back shelf as something new and shiny flashes past only to have the interest rekindled when looking at old notes. Of course, I have a number of other projects on the go currently that will prevent the Bavarians leaping t the top of the pile but soon (which in wargaming term could mean sometime in the next 27 years!

Bavarian Infantry from Baccus 6mm (https://baccus6mm.com/catalogue/Napoleonics/Bavarian/)

In my Napoleonic painting and wargaming project, I have decided to concentrate essentially on the Germans – the Prussians and the Confederation of the Rhine along with the Duchy of Warsaw for additional flavour and colour (yes, the Duchy of Warsaw is Polish but is attractive as an ally/opponent). The Bavarians contributed the largest part of the forces of the Confederation of the Rhine as one of the founding members of the confederation in 1806. They came to Napoleons side in the wars after the Austrian general Mack invaded Bavaria as part of the Ulm campaign.

Bavarian chevaux leger from Baccus 6mm (https://baccus6mm.com/catalogue/Napoleonics/Bavarian/)

It occurred to me at the time, and has me thinking again about the Bavarians, I have a feeling that the usual wargamer’s megalomania will start to surface as we want to increase the size of what we are doing to recreate bigger and bigger things. The Battle of Ulm comes to mind as one of those things to recreate. Basically it was the culmination of skirmishes and manoeuvring over a period between he French and the Austrians. That wonderful mine of misinformation, Wikipedia, has an article on the Battle of Ulm. Of course, to do that I would need to model around 150,000 French soldiers in the French army at the time as well as about 75,000 under the command of Mack, the Austrian army facing them. To make it interesting, I could add the Russians that were marching to join up with the Austrians. I then start to think about the Battle of Leipzig – see what I mean about megalomania?

I digress. The Bavarian Army was part of the Confederation of the Rhine. In fact, prior to the formation of the Confederation, Bavaria was an Electorate (a term I will explain elsewhere and at another time, probably about the time the 30 Years War starts to intrigue me again). Sorry, more digression. At the time the Confederation of the Rhine was formed Bavaria became a kingdom and was a founding member of the Confederation. I’ve listed the members in a previous post.

Bavarian artillery from Baccus 6mm (https://baccus6mm.com/catalogue/Napoleonics/Bavarian/)

So, the Bavarians were something to add to my 6mm collection. The nice thing about the Bavarians is that they fought together as a single group, for example being VI Corps of the Grande Armee in 1812. Whilst they had Bavarian commanders, perhaps the most famous and successful Bavarian commander was the French marshal, Gouvion St Cyr. The Bavarians sent around 33,000 troops with Napoleon in the invasion of Russia, around 4,000 returned. The Bavarian corps of 1812 therefore seemed the best to model as part of my project.

The Organisation of the VI Corps at the time is shown below. The Bavarian Order of Battle 1809-12 reflects that Organisation fairly closely, without the other German troops. In Germany in 1809 its Commander was Marshall Lefebvre, the Duke of Danzig. Initially, in Germany in VII Corps the Commander was Colonel-General de Cuirassiers, Laurent, Marquis de Gouvion St-Cyr who was perhaps the best of the commanders of the Bavarians.

Type Battalions Grade Name Coats Facing Colours
Commander-in-Chief: General de division G. St. Cyr
Chief of General Staff: Colonel d’Albignac
Commander of Artillery: Colonel de Colonge
First Division
Commander: General von Deroy
Staff Officer: Major von Gravenreuth
1st Brigade: Generalmajor von Siebein
Light Infantry 1 Regular Tyrolean Chasseurs Green Blue
Line Infantry 2 Elite 1st Line Infantry “Liebe” Blue Red
Line Infantry 2 Regular 2nd Line Infantry “Kronprinz” Blue Red
2nd Brigade Generalmajor von Raglovich
Light Infantry 1 Regular 4th Light Infantry “Theobald” Green Black/Red
Line Infantry 1 Regular 4th Line Infantry “Salern” Blue Yellow
Line Infantry 1 Regular 11th Line Infantry Blue Green
3rd Brigade Generalmajor Graf Richberg
Light Infantry 1 Regular 4th Light Infantry “Theobald” Green Black/Red
Line Infantry 2 Regular 3rd Line Infantry “Prinz Karl” Blue Red
Line Infantry 2 Regular 9th Line Infantry “Graf von Ysenburg” Blue Red
Cavalry Brigade Generalmajor Graf Seydewitz
Bavarian Dragoons 1 Light Cav 1st Dragoons White
Bavarian Chevaux-Legere 1 Light Cav 1st Chevaux-Legere Kronprinz Green
Bavarian Chevaux-Legere 1 Light Cav Green
Artillery Oberstlieutenant Freiherr von Lamey
Bavarian Foot Battery Regular 2nd Line Battery – 6 medium guns, 2 Howitzers Dark Blue
Bavarian Heavy Foot Battery Regular 4th Line Battery – 6 heavy guns, 2 Howitzers Dark Blue
Second Division
Commander: General der Kavallerie Graf von Wrede
Staff Officer: Oberst von Comeau
1st Brigade: Generalmajor von Vincenti
Light Infantry 2 Regular 2nd Light Infantry “Wrede” Green Red
Line Infantry 3 Regular 7th Line Infantry “Lowenstein” Blue Pink
2nd Brigade: Generalmajor von Hugel
German Jägers 1 Crack Freiwillige Jägers: can field as Rifle armed skirmishers Green Blue
Guard Grenadiers 1 Crack Wurttemberg: Fusse Garde Dark Blue Black
Line Infantry 2 Regular Wurttemberg: Prinz Paul Regiment Dark Blue Yellow
Line Infantry 2 Regular Anhalt-Lippe Contingents of 5th C. Rhine Regt. Green/ White Pink/ Green
3rd Brigade: Generalmajor Graf Minucci
Light Infantry 2 Regular 6th Light Infantry “Taxis” Green Red/ yellow
Line Infantry 3 Regular 13th Line Blue Black
Line Infantry 2 Regular 8th Line Infantry “Herzog Pius” Blue Yellow
Artillery Brigade: Oberstlieutenant von Lamy
Bavarian Foot Battery Regular 5th Line Battery – 6 medium guns Dark Blue
Bavarian Foot Battery Regular 8th Line Battery (can field as 1st Light Battery horse artillery instead) Dark Blue
Cavalry Brigade: Generalmajor von Preysing – poor
German Cuirassier 1 Regular/ Crack “Prinz Karl” Blue
German Hussars 1 Regular/ Crack 1st Bavarian Hussars Blue
German Uhlans 1 Regukar/Crack Uhlanen Green
German Horse Artillery Regular 1st Light Battery
German Horse Artillery Regular 2nd Light Battery

Notes:

  • I was also thinking about the Battle of Leipzig and started to build II Corps of the Prussian Army present at that battle – a perfect opposition for VII Corps of the Grande Armee
  • Cavalry and Artillery Brigades can form separate divisions or detached brigades
  • No Grand Battery
  • If I start using FOB rules, any Line Infantry can be reclassified as Raw
  • The Bavarian Infantry are famous for both their cornflower blue coats as well as their rappenhaulms
  • This post was originally written when I was considering using various wargame rules, most of the names of which I can no longer recall but where Principles of War was one
  • I am going to base on 60mm x 30mm bases using 6mm figures
  • and lastly, this is a plan for when I move from the small Manila apartment to something a little larger, that will permit me something like a 6′ x 4′ (1.8m x 1.2m) table to play on

A Parcel from Baccus – 6mm Napoleonics – Dutch-Belgian and Brunswick

I received some Napoleonic reinforcements recently and I now how wargamers like to live vicasiously, looking at others toys so here I the unpacking of the Baccus 6mm reinforcements – Dutch Belgians along with a few Brunswickers. Just what I needed, more figures in the lead pile. At this rate I will live forever.

Prussians – 1813-1815

As I have been suffering a painting block, I thought I would do some mundane things like sorting and tidying over the weekend to see if that helped me over the block. The Prussian project I started nine years ago seemed like a good place to start. I had brought the figures from Australia to Manila packed rather well as it turned out – they survived the trip in Hold Baggage well. The figures painted and based are below.

Those still requiring the bases to be finished are included the following image.

The full force thus far – including those with part finished bases

So far looking at the painted figures, while the infantry uniforms are a Prussian Blue, it appears almost black here. I am thinking I will need to lighten them up a little.

I am happy with the artillery and cavalry colours however.

Once I started unpacking the unpainted figures, I quickly got a sense of the size of this project as in total, when completed, the force will consist of:

  • 33 Infantry Bases (792 figures)
  • 14 Cavalry Bases (140 figures)
  • 12 Artillery Bases (12 guns, 12 limbers and 60 crew)
All the unpainted Prussians in the box now. Time to get cracking

I’m building the army with Heroics and Ros figures. H&R do a Prussian musketeer which I am using for the musketeers and fusiliers, the stovepipe British for the reserve infantry and then the Landwehr figures for the Landwehr. That seems to provide enough variety between the figures.

The Landwehr will be in dark blue coats, the same as the regulars, but some will be in white trousers, some in grey. Perhaps even in a couple of battalions I’ll mix the trousers in the battalion. I haven’t thought that far in yet.

The reserve infantry (British in stovepipe shako) look the part, especially compared to some of the images from the time. The only minor quibble I have with the detail is that the Brits have a backpack and the almost ubiquitous Prussian blanket roll is missing. To be fair to myself however, I have seen a picture of a Prussian reserve infantry figure like that – with pack and sans blanket. Colour of the Reserve Infantry will be a mix of grey and blue uniforms, and maybe even the odd red battalion – again, I am still researching that.

 

Little Wars TV – The Battle of Kharkov (Donets Campaign)

I am enjoying the wargames put one from time to time by the Little Wars guys. Little Wars has become my favourite wargaming channel. I enjoyed the Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame in early November. This week it is the Battle of Kharkov.

The Third Battle of Kharkov was a series of battles on the Eastern Front of World War II, undertaken by the German Army Group South against the Red Army, around the city of Kharkov between 19 February and 15 March 1943. Known to the German side as the Donets Campaign, and in the Soviet Union as the Donbas and Kharkov operations, the German counterstrike led to the recapture of the cities of Kharkov and Belgorod.

The commander of the German forces for this campaign was Erich von Manstein, with Paul Hausser, Hermann Hoth, E. von Mackensen and Theodor Eicke. The Soviets were led by Filipp Golikov, Nikolay Vatutin, K. Rokossovsky and Vasily Koptsov. Manstein’s. Wikipedia has a reasonable description of the Battle of Kharkov.

The battle was technically a German victory – against hugely overwhelming odds if Manstein’s report is to be believed however with the German losses in materiel and men, I think overall this can be considered a strategic victory for the Soviets, especially as by this stage of the war the Soviet tactics of attrition were really starting to pay off.

The Little Wars guys were refighting the battle using 1/285 scale vehicles and aircraft and 6mm figures. The wargame rules they used were A Fistful of TOWs. I had always thought of a Fistful of TOWs as modern wargame rules but I see that version 3 has extended the period covered from 1915 to 2015. As they are available in PDF form as well as hardcopy, I am thinking of downloading a copy for reading on my upcoming travels to Oz.

Enough of my rabbiting on … enjoy watching the wargame!

Little Wars TV – Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame

I mentioned back in LIttle Wars – a Favoured YouTube Channel, that Little Wars was one of my favourite channels. I watch for the new releases and have enjoyed some great refights (like the recent Agincourt one). A week ago they released another wargame, this one the Fourth Kawanakajima Wargame.

This was a reflight of, yes, the Fourth Kawanakajima Battle. The refight was controlled by the Killer Katana wargame rules (look for the rule review this week and those rules are available from On Matters Military, a company I can recommend and have purchased from before). Fourth Kawanakajima was a large battle between competing samurai clans in the 16th century with armies of 10 to 12,000 men engaged. The refight itself was performed using 6mm figures (another favourite of mine). I am guessing they were Baccus 6mm samurai figures. Another range is produced by Heroics and Ros.

Whichever figures you like, do have a look at the refight and be inspired to paint hundred of 6mm samurai! I will admit that the samurai period of Japan has always had an interest for me, in part from my time in Korea. Anyway, have a look at the video and be inspired.

Little Wars TV – a Favoured YouTube Channnel

One of my favourite YouTube channels is the Little Wars TV channel. I come home from work, late at night, set the TV to YouTube and tune in to see what is up with the guys this week. The guys re-fight battles, review rules and generally behave and talk like wargamers behave and talk. This week I enjoyed the refight of that well-known battle of Hannibal’s – Trebbia. The Romans were defeated historically in this, Hannibal’s first battle on Italian soil and most ancient wargamers know the Battle of Trebbia so it is hard to get the Romans to walk into the trap that is set there. The Little Wars guys do it well. It is also great looking at the way they have based and used 6mm figures for the game – with all figures based in 40mm square bases. They do give the impression of two armies facing off against each other.

Recommended!

Battlefields in Miniature – Paul Davies – Review

Every so often I buy a book forgetting that I already have that book on the bookshelf. Friend Anthony suffers the same problem from time to time and as a result  we both get additions to our libraries as we give the other our duplicated purchases. These books are, in many cases, in areas where we normally do not read (enjoy the naval history books when I get them to you Anthony!). 🙂

One such book was Battlefields in Miniature by Paul Davies, published in 2015 by Pen and Sword Books. It looks like the hardback version of this book is out of print however Pen and Sword have an ePub and Kindle version listed (ePub, Kindle) in their catalogues.

There are a number of books published on wargames terrain making, many from the makers of various figure ranges and while normally books like this only provide a passing interest to me, this is one book I will refer to again and again, especially as I pursue my hobby here in the Philippines where there are limited wargaming clubs.

So, why this book? The 287 glossy colour pages make the book enjoyable to flick through. Better though is the organisation f the book with 18 chapters dealing with generalities, tools, materials and then a discussion of 17 types of terrain. The chapters included are:

  1. Welcome to the Workshop
  2. What’s Everyone  Else Doing?
  3. Before  You Get Started
  4. Terrain Cloths
  5. Terrain Tiles
  6. Custom or Sculpted terrain
  7. Rivers and Ponds
  8. Islands, Cliffs and Hills
  9. Trees
  10. Walls
  11. Fences and Screens
  12. Hedges
  13. Gates
  14. Cultivated Fields
  15. Roads
  16. Bridges
  17. Defences
  18. Buildings

The author, Paul Davies, will be recognised by many for his regular series of “how-to” articles in Wargames Illustrated. Throughout this book however he has combined techniques he had illustrated before and added new ones such that most wargamers should have little or no trouble constructing their own terrain by following his guidelines presented here.

As mentioned, I have the hardback version and it looks like only ePub and Kindle versions are currently available from Pen  and Sword.  I certainly will unashamedly be stealing some of Davies’ ideas when constructing my next batch of terrain and I am glad to have the book in my library (thank you Anthony). I do recommend this book to wargamers.