Friday, 28 February 2014

Battl of Castra Nova-North Africa,Rome vs Carthage.

Last night the "triumvirate" (Paul,Brian and myself) fought a great game involving me and Brian,as Roman commanders,against Paul as Hannibal himself. The game turned out to be an hilarious,exciting and tense affair,culminating in "blame culture" at its worst!!
From the scenario and map,you can see the initial dispositions,and it is also quite obvious that Brian,commanding the left of the Roman line,was always going to be in the thick of it from move one,whilst I was going to have a relatively easy time of it.All I had to do was move forward at a steady pace,watch my dressings,keep my lines,move sedately from column into line,guard my flanks,and of course make sure my men were well watered and fed..........Meanwhile ,on Brian's flank,it resembled some sort of Wild West bar room brawl!! with infantry and cavalry,Pila and javelins flying all over the place,inter-mingled with oaths,and desperate cries for support!!!

The scenario,and initial positions,Brian was outnumbered in cavalry,but bravely charged twice his number on the far left flank.His catapults were pounding the city walls,but this only provoked Paul into sending out the defenders against Brian's cohorts securely positioned behind barricades-this only goaded Brian into leaping out of his nice secure position,and attacked Paul!!!!

This shot shows Brian's good,secure position,and Paul's relieving force before any real movement had happened.

This is the same scene a couple of moves later,on the flank, Brian is just about holding his own(no jokes please,we are all adults!!) but in the centre he is being beset by both heavy and light infantry!
On my flank,I have had to halt and take a couple of swigs of wine,and a date and fig breakfast,and of course make sure my men aren't excerting themselves too much!!

My cavalry have been attacked by Paul's cavalry(backed up with his Elephant unit) so until this is resolved my infantry can't move forward-might as well have another swig of wine and start on the dinner arrangements! After all Brian is doing okay.

Dear me,can't a man have his dinner without being attacked by Elephants?-luckily I saw them off,as well as a couple of units of heavy African infantry,my cavalry have fled,but a couple of cohorts moved onto the flank of Paul's cavalry un-nerved him,and he wisely retired-however,on inspection of my troops,I found that one or two of them had suffered cut fingers,so I had to stop my advance to attend to them!!

Just look at those lines,uniforms pressed,shields nice and bright,weapons sharpened,angles just right-a sight for sore eyes!!-Meanwhile,back on Brian's flank,it looked like "Custerus'" last stand!!

The question must be asked,How did you manage to get yourself into that situation?-I will be writing a full report to the senate,telling them that I played a fantastic role in this campaign, and that I should be made Emperor! If you want,Brian, you could be my Eunuch(you may have to sacrifice" somethings",but at least I'll look after you!)
This was a fantastic game,full of good humour(and lots of swearing!) Roll on next week-we can't play on Sunday due to other tasks!
Paul was the well-deserved winner of this game,Brian and I will have to go and "fall on our swords" but as a consolation ,we'll probably miss!!!!!!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Saving Ryan's Privates-Sudan 1885

This morning Brian and I were fighting in the Sudan!! I was in command of the Mahdist forces,whilst Brian took command of the British.

This is the scenario,Brian wasn't given the map,so he didn't know about the hidden troops.however he was told the scenario,and told to adopt whatever formation he liked to advance to save Captain Ryan-he opted for a column formation,and this was nearly his undoing!!

Brian is advancing with his columns,cavalry and camels guarding his flanks,my Ansars are "looping" around the village,hoping to combine their attack with the Haddendowah attack,when I spring up from behind the ridge!!

SURPRISE,SURPRISE!!The rear of the column now looks very vulnerable indeed,and with a bit of luck the Ansars will be in position soon,and that will be the end of the British-hurrah!!

The Camel Corps is overwhelmed! The rear of the column is trying to form a firing line,and the RHA battery is opening fire against a whole horde of "Fuzzy Wuzzies"-where are my Ansars??-what was the question??

21st Lancers and Baggara cavalry meet in a ferocious charge-Lancers won!! I was driven back and this allowed Brian to reform and charge against my Ansars,taking them in the flank-oh dear!

This shot shows the Northumberlands in trouble,whilst in the background,steady vollies from the Punjabi infantry and the Notts regiment are destroying the Ansar attack.

The Northumberlands are being driven back onto the guns,and in the background the Berks and the Gatling gun are under intense attacks-this is surely going to be a Mahdist victory!!

Although the Northumberland were forced to retire,Brian is gaining the upper hand,and my attacks are slowing down to a stop!!-What went wrong?- Good old fashioned rifle fire and British "pluck" that's what!!

My last remaining Ansar unit is being "mauled" by the Lancers in this shot,so with cries of "they don't like it up 'em" and the bitter taste of sand in my mouth,we called it a day,and the British were declared the winners.
This was an exciting and colourful game,and could have gone either way,but in the end controlled volley fire and good bayonet work won the day-well done Brian!
We will be playing tonight,Romans vs Carthaginians-on the same terrain,Paul will be joining us.
It must be pointed out that Captain Ryan and his small force of Seaforths lived to fight another day,so that he,and his privates were indeed saved!!!

Seven Years War

The lesser seen Seven Years War Austrians

As these guys are shaming me and Dave with their painting profligacy I thought I had better keep up.... some chance!

Well here they are.. I've left off the cavalry

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Mahratta war British Sepoys

Here are a few photos of my British infantry and the Mahratta guns. Above is the nearly completed 12th Madras with green facings. To the left of the picture are the first couple of figures for my 3rd Sepoy battalion the 10th Madras. I am basing my initial forces on Wellesleys army at Assaye so there will be 2 British battalions, 4 Sepoy battalions and a unit of pickets, 1 British cavalry regiment and 3 Madras Native cavalry regiments.
Not sure how the above photo sneaked in! The red battalion from my Mahratta regular brigade.
Next is the completed 4th Madras with orange facings.
This unit is a mix of standing firing figures in the front rank and a variety of loading and at ready figures in the second rank. The firing figure is nice but I have found the ankles to be very thin and one broke even with gentle handling. The remaing battalions will therefore be in marching or advancing poses. Flags are by The Virtual Armchair General who do all regiments in both Wellesleys and Lakes armies and over 100 Mahratta flags. The added bonus is that the proprietor is an absolute gentleman and was very helpful in printing the flags slightly over size to complement the larger Redoubt figures.
A shot (round?) of my Mahratta guns collected so far. The mortar to the right is actually a Mysore Tiger Mortar but it will see service with my Mahrattas. The guns are by Elite and are from my Napoleonic collection ( a good cost saving).
The 4th Madras again....
Finally a couple of photos of the First Brigade commander Lieutenant-Colonel William Wallace who commanded the 74th foot and the 4th and 12th Madras at Assaye. Wallace is a Redoubt figure while his second in command is an Elite Miniatures staff officer (a lovely one piece casting).
That's it for now. I have another Mahratta cavalry unit on the painting table as well as a regular infantry battalion and I will post photos when they are done. Dave H.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Mysore Bullocks!

No this post is not about my painful medical condition but I couldn't resist the title!
In addition to the infantry and cavalry I have been painting some artillery and 'logistical' support.
First up are some supply camels and these can be used for either side. A huge number of camp followers (no sniggering Brian) and support personnel accompanied both the British and Mahratta armies (approximately 10 for every fighting man in the British army) and I feel this has to be represented on the wargames table. I intend to have a base of these camels for every brigade as De Boigne had 126 for each of his brigades. I think the defence and safe movement of the baggage train will make an interesting scenario in itself.
Now to the bullocks mentioned in the post title. Not just bullocks but Mysore bullocks, reputedly the strongest in India. Wellesley used these in his Madras army during the Deccan campaign and Redoubt make lovely models of them (which my painting does not do justice). They were used to pull the artillery and as the model represents a 6lb gun (attached to each battalion in 2 gun sections) I have used 2 bullocks to pull it. Bigger guns will have 4 bullocks, or even an elephant to pull them.
The gun and the limber are also by Redoubt who also make a bullock cart, a couple of which I will be adding to the baggage train.

The gun deployed for action. Actually most of the artillery personnel was European assisted by Indian Lascars but the British artillery crew which Redoubt produce are in the Bengal Horse Artillery uniform! I will use these when I paint up my galloper guns which accompanied the cavalry.

I hope the last three posts have been of some interest to people. In my opinion this is a lovely range of figures which, if not always entirely accurate, has a huge amount of charm and some really beautiful figures! I will post more photos as I complete further units.

Mahratta Regular Brigade

Here are a few photos of my first Regular brigade for the Mahratta army. They will have in addition an Najib/Matchlock battalion and each regular battalion will have a gun attached, to represent the 5 guns which De Boigne allocated to each battalion!
Figures are, as usual, by Redoubt except for the Brigade commander, which is an Elite French Revolutionary officer from their 30mm range.
The Green battalion - actually all the battalions will eventually be named, as in DeBoigne's and Perron's army, after great cities and fortresses - Delhi, Agra etc

I will paint another brigade, the first battalion of which is on the painting table, and these will represent the First Brigade, the 'Cheria Fauj', (The Army of Birds). They will be dressed as De Boigne dressed them in Scarlet coats, black belts and Blue Turbans.
Next up is some artillery and draft animals.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Mahratta Update!

My Mahratta project has taken a back seat this past year and a half without any new additions. However at the start of 2014 I have decided that I must push on with it and try to paint up enough figures to have a game. After all that is the whole point, these are not just for show!
So I sent away to Redoubt for some new figures and painted them up as soon as they arrived, which is quite good going for me ( I don't have the luxury of being retired John!). The first photos are of my new Mahratta cavalry commander. Actually I think he is more like a Rajput or Moghul Prince of high blood and he will certainly figure prominently in future scenarios. It is a beautiful figure.
Although the figures are on their final bases I have still to finalise how I will texture them.
Next up is another European/French mercenary commander and I have painted him based on the description of Colonel Pedron, captured by Lake at Aligurh, "an elderly man, clad in a green jacket with gold lace and epaulets". The figure is by Elite (from the 30mm range) and fits in nicely size-wise with the Redoubt figures.
Accompanying him is an Indian officer, one of my favourite figures that Redoubt do.

Next are some irregular troops. The two above are classed as Pathans on the Redoubt site and I intend to mix them in with my Matchlock men to make up the najib battalions which formed part of the regular brigades. They can of course be used independently and as garrison troops.
Lastly is a figure of an Arab mercenary, which is lovely, and I intend to have a unit of these also.
That's all for now but I will post some further photos later of the other units I have completed. Dave H.

"El Cid" vs The Moors

Tonight saw the "famous five" on the rolling plains of Andalusia in Northern Spain,where "El Cid" and his united Spanish army(Richard and myself) were taking on Ben Yussef's invading Moorish army(Graham,Brian and Paul)
This was the first battle for my new armies,so hopes for a good game were high-all figures are from Warrior Miniatures EL CID range.

The game started at a sedate pace in the centre,where all of the infantry had been placed,but on both flanks the cavalry thundered towards each other at a fast pace-this shot shows Richard's right flank cavalry advancing on Graham's cavalry,the "Black Guard" has left the safety of the camp and are advancing too!!

CRASH!! it looks like a bad case of Grand National fever! Richard did very well and beat Graham twice and threw him back,however Graham had reserves and fed them in carefully until he had the advantage,and Richard was forced back onto his reserves-this was going to be brutal and bloody!!

Meanwhile ,in the centre,Brian and I are moving slowly onwards,perhaps awaiting the outcome of the flank battles before we charge.I think Paul is in love with Brian,by the way he is looking at him-real hero worship if ever I saw it!!-Or maybe he is just saying,Brian,go for it,attack!!!!!

Paul,having got over his "crush" on Brian,has launched his cavalry against mine,we were equally matched so a dice throw would solve the ensuing melees-I obviously stood no chance against our club "high roller"-and I didn't!! I was thrown back in defeat-no hurrah!!
The infantry still haven't met yet,you will notice!

Meanwhile,on Richard's flank, we look to be in trouble,but a tremendous run of good dice turnrd our fortunes around,and Graham was in full flight with all of his troops-phew!!

Switching back to the centre and my left flank,things were going well,as you can see from the body language from Brian,and the smirk from Graham!! However wargames do seem to favour the opposition and not me,so on the next move,the whole situation changed,and I was getting beaten- no hurrah's yet again!!

Brian kept feeding troops from his second line into the melee,and Graham has attacked my flank with his Black Guard-I am in trouble,do you think they would accept a draw?

A final shot showing Brian's infantry pushing me back,however Richard was within a whisker of capturing the Moor's camp,and had driven Graham from the board,so I think a draw was a good result.
This was a good,colourful and exciting game,and it didn't really matter who won or who lost,it was played in a good spirit,and my armies have had their first outing-one of many,no doubt.
Roll on Thursday,probably playing twice-don't know what periods yet.