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.
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.
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)
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.
The problem with being distracted from current wargaming projects into new projects is that it never stops at one. You get a new interest, start looking around at rules for that interest then get distracted again. Next thing you know you you have three or four more projects in mind.
I was looking at rules for the Greek project I mentioned in the last post here and next thing I knew I was looking at Dadi&Piombo’s Basic Impetus Expansion, Basic Battles.
Basic Battles is an expansion on the Basic Impetus system, moving that system from the Renaissance to the Colonial Wars periods. This includes Napoleonics and I just happen to have a couple of 6mm Napoleonic Armies waiting in the lead pile – only the 1814 Prussians have made it (briefly) to the painting queue.
Of course, Dadi&Piombo note in the introduction to the rules:
This is an experimental set to expand on Basic Impetus 2.0 rules for later periods, up to Colonial warfare, where one Unit roughly represents one brigade. This set also covers Napoleonics, though a more detailed and tactical ruleset is under development for this period. Basic Impetus 2 can be purchased through www.dadiepiombo.com or digitally through Wargame Vault: www.wargamevault.com/product/200518/Basic-Impetus-2 Available in English, French and Spanish.
Naturally I want to use them for Napoleonics. I figure that if I work to the basic system in Baccus’ General de division or Marechal d’Empire rules, use the armies (when painted) with either the Baccus rules or Basic Battles, when the Impetus Napoleonic Rules come along I’m looking sweet.
The armies I have available for this are:
- 1814 Prussians – Heroics and Ros figures
- Duchy or Warsaw – Adler Miniatures
- Confederation of the Rhine (also Adler I think)
If you think it is a small project, I checked on the size of the Prussians and have the following in that group to paint:
- 32 battalions of infantry
- 1 batt of schützen
- 2 regiments of uhlans
- 2 regts of dragoons
- 1 regt of horse jaegers
- 6 regts of cuirassiers
- 4 regts of landwehr cavalry
- 12 batteries (line and horse) of artillery
And of course, as a wargamer, you can never have too may projects 🙂
Gareth Glover’s The Forgotten War Against Napoleon – Conflict in the Mediterranean, published on 26 June 2017 by Pen & Sword Military, ISBN 9781473833951, 265 pages is a survey of the Napoleonic Wars in the Mediterranean over the period 1793 to 1815.
The Mediterranean theatre is one familiar to Napoleonic warfare buffs that but for a few engagements is generally is overlooked.
This book does not have a great deal of detail on any one engagement but rather provides a brief look at 55 or so engagements around the Mediterranean.
I’ll come out of the closet. I am a wargamer and the Napoleonic Wars are a period I keep looking at but never really get a head of steam up on a project – much as I have a deep interest in the uniforms, the ships, the battles, and the campaigns.
Glover has surveyed action around the Mediterranean and he provides between 2 and 7 pages per chapter discussing the various actions of the time. This includes both naval and land actions. Egypt is covered as is Corsica, Naples, Malta, Sicily and such. Each of the chapters provides a reasonable overview of the action and sufficient information to persuade the reader to look deeper.
For example, one action I had not heard about (or at least cannot remember reading about) is Algeciras in 1801. This was an action between the British, lead by Sir James Saumarez (the next book on my reading stack being his biography) and a Franco/Spanish fleet. The British 74s engaged a fleet consisting of 74s and Spanish 112s, capturing or sinking a couple. The following morning the French Formidable beat off the attacks of two British ships of the line and a frigate, so a mixed result for the British.
The book is full of short descriptions (the one above lasting just two pages) but will provide plenty of inspiration for either further reading or, in the case of wargamers, scenarios for future games.
The book finishes with the elimination of the Barbary pirates, using that as the conclusion of the war in the Mediterranean.
For the wargamer, a useful source for information for scenarios in the Napoleonic period. For the general reader of history, a useful summary of what went on in the Mediterranean during the Napoleonic Wars.
Like all good wargamers I am quickly and easily distracted by new, bright shiny objects. As a result, I have three projects on the go at the moment.
Firstly are the 20mm World War 2 figures being painted up for Anthony. Today was spent wrestling with the Platoon 20 6-pdr anti-tank gun. Working out the way it all goes together with no reference works was a wee challenge. I spend some time with Mr Google looking for pictures of completed guns in particular to work out how the shields go on the front and how the trails attach to the rear. Currently the first wheel has been attached.
Then there are the 3mm Napoleonics. An infantry brigade and a cavalry regiment ready for sand and then painting.
Lastly I started with Coastal Forces, commencing with S-26, S-27, S-28 and S-29, German Schnellboot. The boats where cleaned up, machine guns attached to the rear and then added to bases. Bases have had some sea effects added using Woodland Scenics Flex Paste. Painting these will be covered in a later post.
Yep. Back into the groove – too many projects, not enough time (and damn, I super glued my fingers so have no fingerprints. It will be challenging using the bio-metric door locks at the office tomorrow!)
Friend Anthony from Singapore has been experimenting with 3D printing. After a couple of false starts he has learned the ILAR* principle. ILAR was necessary because 15mm, 6mm and 28mm are sizes, not scales. Buildings need scales.
Anthony has it right now and has released the 3D printing plans for La Haye Sainte via a Kickstarter. He notes that:
La Haye Sainte is a complete set of 3D printable .STL files that will allow you to print and assemble a model of the farm at the centre of battlefield at Waterloo.
Using contemporary sketches, watercolours and accounts as the basis, (rather than the current state of the farm), the files will include everything you need to print the complete farm buildings, as they were on Sunday 18th July, 1815, and simulate the fire damage to barn that occurred throughout the battle. Where conjecture and/or doubt remains the files will come in several configurations to allow a variety of solutions, and for each wargamer to decide how they want the farm represented.
The basic farm will look like this:
Each of the larger farm buildings (Barn, Stables and Main House) will be made with removable roof sections. Since 3D models are scalable, you can print the model to the limits of your printer, though the files will be delivered optimised for 15mm as shown below. Anthony is a wargamer and has worked hard to make the models both accurate and usable, so the final farm will be table and figure friendly, which means no broken bayonets if you put models “inside” the buildings. All pledge backers will receive a link to his research and the conclusions he made from that research when he created the 3D Models, icluding compromises he had to make to ensure the models remained usable and, perhaps more importantly, printable.
I have seen the model and it is indeed a fine piece that will look the business on the tabletop when printed and painted.
Head on over to Kickstarter – la Haye Sainte 3D Printable Terrain for Waterloo. I can thoroughly recommend this.
* ILAR – It Looks About Right – a naval principle from the 20th century.
I noted back on 30 June 2014 that I was having the last battle at the Gun Bar for a while as I was taking up a new job and moving from Singapore. Well, as is the way of things in IT and Banking, that move was delayed a week, then another week, then another week and we are still sitting here.
So, it was off to the Gun Bar again, this time with plastic soldiers painted ready for Anthony to base (see previous posts here). To make the trek worthwhile, another Napoleonic game was organised with Général de Corps Anthony facing off against Major General Thomo the Lost again. This was also a special battle as again it was likely to be the last time I was going to be in the position to battle with Anthony, face to face, beer to beer, for some time to come as I up sticks and hopefully high-tail it out of Singapore.
The battlefield was laid out as I arrived, with the battle being taken from Stuart Asquith’s Programmed Wargame Scenarios. The scenario was the British were withdrawing in the Peninsula to the defence lines at Torres Vedras and a rearguard had been left to delay the French by holding a village and a bridge. Again, for depth, it was decided to play along the battlefield rather than across it.
Now, I have mentioned the dice feng shui before so this time I suggested I take the poorly rolling blue dice and Anthony used the high rolling red ones. We again diced to see who would be French and who would be British. Again, I ended up as the British commander.
The British had two battalions of green Portuguese Line and a Battalion of veteran Caçadores. Accompanying the Portuguese were two battalions of British line troops (one understrength) and a battalion of Highlanders (who also were veteran). There was the 5th battalion of the 60th foot, armed with rifles and already having taken casualties earlier in the retreat. In support was a regiment of Light Cavalry, a foot battery of artillery and a horse battery.
The French started the battle with two regiments of light cavalry already in the table with the rest of the French force arriving one unit at a time, one bound at a time.
I based my tactics around holding the village on the British right with the poor quality Portuguese. Meanwhile the British would hold the more open ground as well as defend the bridge. The Horse battery was deployed forward with the 5/60th to slow the French advance a little and the foot battery was deployed on the hill to the rear. The Caçadores were forward on the British right flank.
The Highlanders were held as a reserve in the centre of the line, able to turn either way as the situation required.
The French advanced and the British fired. The blue dice were indeed rolling low, at one stage I rolled 9 dice and scored nothing higher than a three. However the British tactics were sound and the French élan was such that they came forward rather piecemeal.
The Caçadores went into square on the right, holding up and preventing the French cavalry from attacking the British right. In the meantime the horse battery and the 5/60th fell backwards firing all the while. After 10 bounds, with the scenario due to end, the British still held both the village and the bridge. Victory in yet another of my last games at the Gun Bar. To be fair, 10 bounds was not really enough time for the French and I suggested for the depth of table we were using that a variable finish between 12 and 16 bounds would be more interesting and give the French a better chance.
The photos below are from Anthony’s phone as for some reason as yet unknown, my phone was talking really odd photos and they were not at all clear,
Interestingly, throughout the entire game I won the initiative roll only once, Anthony won that nine times. I inevitably rolled down, he rolled up. I think there is definitely dice feng shui here and the next time we play, the blue dice will be reserved for marker duty, replaced by the green set perhaps.
Dice feng shui exists – at least with those blue dice! After the game finished, I rolled the nine dice again and had seven numbers four or greater! Go figure. The only dice that rolled well was the 8-sided dice being used for morale checks. I should also note that Anthony’s rolls were generally positive – split about 50:50 around 1,2,3 and 4,5,6 on using the red dice so, dice feng shiui exists!
So, I visited the Gun Bar the other day to pick up those soldiers I have been painting. Anthony was hard at work doing his favourite hobby task … basing … and re-basing, and we all love doing that don’t we. He had his iPad propped up behind the area he was working in and was watching the Richard Sharpe series of videos whilst basing his Napoleonics. I had watched part of one episode a few years back and was amused that for the show the producers seemed to use the same scaling with actors that we wargamers use with figures – namely a 1:50 ratio judging by the number of men in the firing line of the South Essex.
Well, that was all well and good until I got home and thought that maybe I should give the show the benefit of the doubt and at least watch the first episode. So now I am watching the whole series. Just before sleep I watch an episode. Trouble is, each of the episodes is about 100 minutes long. The other trouble is that it has sparked enough of an interest in me to reread the Sharpe Novels.
The worst thing, however, is that it has me thinking about Napoleonic Wargaming again when I was really trying to concentrate on Victorian Science Fiction, 6mm ancients and 1/285 World War 2 this year. Argh, no, hide it away, it is too bright and shiny!
The last time Général de Corps Anthony faced Major General Thomo the Lost was the 5th of May. Nearly eight weeks later we faced each other across the field of battle one more time. This was a special battle as it was the last time I was going to be in the position to battle with Anthony, face to face, beer to beer, for some time to come as I up sticks and high-tail it out of Dodge … er … sorry … Singapore.
The battlefield was laid out as I arrived and it was decided to play along the battlefield rather than across it. Because of the wicked dice feng shui plaguing Anthony in the past, we decided to dice to see who took the French, with the winner to take them. Once again, I ended up as the British commander.
Forces were equal so we set about deploying. At about this moment, a very nice beer was offered by the commander of the French so toasts were drunk and we retired to the balcony for the Singapore version of a sausage sizzle and that marvel of Australian gastronomic delight – the sausage sanger! The sangers were despatched, as was the beer, so we returned to the table.
I had based my tactics around holding the village in the centre of the table with my forces able to run back into the forest should the going get a little tough. My artillery was massed on my left. The rifles were in the best position to take the town and they were ably supported by the Portuguese.
My right flank was protected by three battalions of English and Highland troops. Battle commenced, dice were rolled, the French were rolled, au revoir, c’est tout ce qu’elle a écrit.
Whilst I lost a light cavalry regiment carelessly, and a few troops from other battalions, the French lost heavily. Again, the dice smiled upon me and laughed at Anthony. I must remember to take my pilgrimage to the shrine of St Magnus (the patron saint of dice rollers – read the Orkneyinga Saga for verification)!
In any case, thanks Anthony for the hospitality, beer, sausages, the games and most importantly, for being a mate!
And then, what better way to complete the battle than …
Back in December 2013 we fought Napoleonic — Battle Two at the Gun Bar. About six weeks ago we started Battle Three. However, a period of high stress as well as hunting for a new job meant that whilst we started Battle Three, I had not had a chance to return to the Gun Bar to finish off the French.
Today I returned to the Gun Bar and finished off the French!
The British cavalry “got tore in” to the French horse and guns on the right, quite effectively, destroying the gun and forcing a retreat from the French. Further time was spent as the British and the French rested their horses before engaging further.
Meanwhile, in the centre, the French columns came forward. They managed to survive a light cavalry charge on them, pretty much destroying the light cavalry but then for some reason the French advance slowed and this allowed the British lines to engage in what they do best, shooting!
“Make Ready! Present! Fire!”
They shot! Devastating volleys delivered on the hapless French.
Game Three at the Gun Bar was over, the gallant French again victims of outrageous fortune (a number of dice rolls came up 1 at the time the French needed 4+).
And thanks Anthony for the brunch. Lovely!