Monday, 24 July 2017

A VERY Long Time in Preparation......

These are some Renegade 28mm ECW figures I purchased YEARS ago - I cant recall exactly when but would be at least 7 or 8 and could be longer....I do remember I got them around Christmas time and they had a 5 for 4 deal or something similar going. I have around 16 command figures, 32 pike figures and 48 musketeer figures, although a few have gone astray unfortunately!

Originally they were the basis for TWO projects - a Covenanting army AND the ten regiments of the New Model Army - I even painted up ten figures, one each in the uniform attributed to the New Model - I found a reference on the Sealed Knot website or somewhere that indicated such and such a regiment had white cuffs, such and such had yellow etc - the naissance of the "facing colours" of the British army....

However, I have decided to band both groups together to create a couple of Covenanter units. Not all the troops will be wearing the Scots bonnet but then as a true Scot, I have always been a bit dubious of the accepted wargaming convention that every single Scottish soldier wore one of these head dresses and not a single pike man or musketeer possessed a helmet.....

Anyway, I had about 20 of the musketeers already painted, so here are the first twelve (a regiments worth) based up.

I am in Christchurch on business for the next three days so there will not be much progress on this unit till the weekend.

I have done a couple of pictures of all four elements together, then one of each - the background is Craigievar castle in Royal Deeside, an area where a lot of the war in Scotland took place - Auldearn is not far away....









Saturday, 22 July 2017

War of 1812 - Second West India Regiment Unit Completed

This unit has yellow facings and could thus deputise for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th or 7th battalion of this regiment!

I really like the poses in this unit and the sculpting is great on the facial details too, so that they really look like (African) West Indian soldiers and not just white men painted with dark flesh!

I read some interesting stuff online the other night about the American national anthem being racist, because the guy who wrote it, Francis Scott Key, included apparent references to black soldiers fighting for the British in both this regiment and a battalion of "colonial" Royal Marines. Many of these troops were freed American slaves and thus anathema to the writer, who as a lawyer had, amongst other things, prosecuted runaway slaves!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Like the Southerners 50 years later, the idea of armed black soldiers in a "land of the free" run on slavery was NOT something that the Americans of that time saw as a true reflection of the Constitution.

Anyway, here are the pictures of my "hireling and slave" unit! Their Regimental Colour is my on creation...basically a bog standard yellow British regimental flag to match their facing colour with Roman numeral II in the wreath and the words "West India Regt." added.







Basically, that concludes all the War of 1812 units I currently own. I have a couple of packs of Knuckleduster figures coming from Caliver in the UK - 6 Glengarry Light Infantry and 6 US Infantry - to add a sixth element to the two units of each that currently only have 5. I probably wont bother doing anything with the W India units - they can stay at 5 elements each!

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

War of 1812 - British 13th Foot Completed

Tonight I have FINALLY finished off this unit - I have had a very slack week or so and have not been doing very much painting at all.

I have taken 8 images of the regiment from various angles

 Full battalion front on
 The right flank company (grenadiers) and drummer
 The left flank company (light infantry)
 The full battalion advancing in line from above
 The battalion advancing in column
 A rear view of the battalion advancing in line
  A rear view of the battalion advancing in line from above
Close up of the sergeant (with pike) straightening the line

I really like the way these figures have come out, with the tropical service white shako covers. I have one unit of 1812 troops still to paint - the second battalion of the West India Regiment - and I will then have ten battalions of War of 1812 specific British troops - as well as about 10 or 12 battalions of regular Napoleonic Brits that can be pressed into service too - so that may be sufficient for this project....

Friday, 14 July 2017

25mm Medieval game using "To the Strongest" Rules

On Friday I managed to get in a second game in two days - amazing! It was back to me old mate Julian's for another Medieval game, this time using his 25/28mm figures and involving two other players, Chris and John.

This time, the scenario had moved to southern Italy in the 12th century, when the Normans were busy establishing their hegemony in the region




The scenario was the battle of Nocera - outlined below by Mr Wiki.....


The Battle of Nocera or Scafati was the first major battle of Roger II of Sicily and one of two of his major defeats (the other being the Battle of Rignano) at the hands of Count Ranulf of Alife.

Background

In 1132, the disaffected Ranulf had garnered a large force with his ally, the prince of CapuaRobert II. The rebels massed outside of Benevento and that city, usually faithful to Roger, gave in. Roger, in shock, wheeled his army around and turned instead for Nocera, the greatest fortified city of the prince of Capua, other than Capua itself. The retreat over the Apennines was miraculously quick, but the rebels moved equally speedily to meet the royal army at Nocera, but Roger destroyed the sole bridge spanning the river Sarno. The rebels, with rapidity equally miraculous, constructed a temporary bridge and moved in on the Noceran siege.

Deployment

Roger raised his siege at the coming of the rebel army and Ranulf sent 250 knights ahead to the city walls to divert a fraction of the royal troops. The rebel army formed into two wings. Robert of Capua headed up the left wing and Ranulf the right. Each of the rebel wings was itself deployed into three divisions. Robert's divisions were formed in column, with mounted troops in the first and third lines, and foot soldiers in the second line. Ranulf formed his all-cavalry wing with his divisions in line. King Roger formed his army into eight divisions. These were deployed opposite Robert's wing in a column, that is, one division behind the other. The royal army, which included Muslim infantry, was said to have 3,000 cavalry and 40,000 infantry, "numbers which are certainly inflated."[1]
Having forced a crossing, the rebel army was "in a dangerous tactical position, for with the river at their backs, there would be scant possibility of an orderly retreat across the single bridge over the Sarno."[2]

Battle

On 24 July, a Sunday, Roger initiated the engagement, charging the prince's knights. The royal troops broke Robert's first and second lines. The Capuan infantry retreated over the makeshift bridge, which collapsed and a thousand supposedly drowned. The Capuan third division held firm and counterattacked. By this time, the second royal division had been sent into the contest. Roger ordered a second charge, which was initially successful, pushing back the remaining Capuans.
At this moment, Ranulf joined the fray with 500 of the mounted men from his centre. He hit Roger's left flank and the royalists began to waver. Before reinforcements could be sent to help them, Ranulf had sent in his right and then his left divisions. The royal troops crumbled under the "successive shocks as they came into action."[3] Roger himself tried to inspire them, but they were already in retreat, the flight of the first two divisions having panicked the others. The king barely escaped to Salerno guarded by only four knights. The rebel victory was absolute.

Aftermath

Seven hundred knights were captured and twenty-four loyalist barons, along with the royal camp. The royal infantry suffered heavy losses in the rout. The booty was immense, according to both rebel-sympathising chroniclers, like Falco of Benevento, and royalists, like Henry, Bishop of Saint Agatha. Among the booty was the bull of Antipope Anacletus II granting Roger the royal title. The battle was of little long-term importance, however, because the Pope Innocent II and Emperor Lothair II did not continue past Rome and so the rebels, without further assistance, lost many of their gains and were forced to surrender by July 1134.
Our Game
The two sides are referred to as the Sicilians (Roger II) and the Apulians (Ranulf) in the scenario. The Apulians had a lot more troops but they were mostly arrow fodder - Grade 8 levy spearmen in the main. They had 4 or 5 units of cavalry but mostly Grade 6 or 7 and even one of their mounted units was Grade 8!
The Sicilians had less troops but had 6 units of good knights - either Grade 5 (elite) or Grade 6. They also had three commanders as compared with the two on the Apulian side. We turned over cards to pick sides - the highest two being the Sicilians. Chris and I drew the two higher cards - and that was about the last thing that went right for us in this game!
A count before commencement revealed 27 points on the Sicilian side (9 morale coins) to 45 points on the Apulians (15 coins)
We were obliged to enter the table up a road in column, as per the initial deployment in the scenario. The Apulians were clustered around a bridge over the river at the other end of the road - their cavalry to the fore. In our pre game discussion, all four players had established that the key to victory was to avoid doing anything like the original commanders did - so we did NOT charge straight down the road, but took time to deploy right and left off it as we entered the table. On the other side, Julian and John immediately advanced with their archers and cavalry, and in move two, most of the mounted troops were already engaged. This quick closing of the gap meant we were unable to charge the lower grade cavalry and get the bonus of our lances in the initial combat.
Fundamentally, from move two, it was just a slogging match and thanks to Chris and I having abysmal luck with the card turning, we came off second best in almost every case. I think Chris killed off one or maybe two units of Johns troops but that was our sole success. Julian in particular was running rampant, and even his Grade 8 cavalry who were attacked by my commander and his Grade 5 elite bodyguard, stoically refused to draw a losing card. On three or four turns I hit them multiple times and I did manage to make them disrupted, but Julian continued to turn over an 8 or higher card every time they had a saving turn! Meanwhile, behind this combat, Julian's better quality knights initially destroyed one of Chris's cavalry units and then dealt to my other unit of knights too. I think when the game ended after a couple of hours of torturous card turning on the Sicilian side, the Apulians still had 10 or 11 coins and we had none - a complete disaster from start to finish - but we did have some great company and a nice Thai meal in the middle of proceedings

Hopefully the images came out ok in the subdued lighting of Julian's dining room!

Initial Sicilian deployment - but we had to remove them as we decided it was unfair having them deployed like this two boxes away from the Apulians - we had to march on down the road one unit behind the other

The initial Apulian deployment - backs to the river. If we could drive any unit into contact with that river, they died!

View from the Apulian side of the river, looking down the road up which the Sicilians had to advance
First moves - Julian's Apulians advance

The Sicilian cavalry confronts advancing Apulians

My first combat - Grade 5 leader attacks Grade 8 cavalry - this melee was to last the entire game!

My second unit of knights is confronted by two units of Julian's Apulian cavalry

On the other flank, Johns crossbowmen advance, supported by his cavalry

First combat - Julian's cavalry have disrupted one of Chris's units of knights

Another view of Chris's disrupted unit just before it failed a morale turn and disappeared!

On the other wing, Chris's second command engages Johns advancing troops

The Sicilian infantry deploy - they were mostly Grade 8 rubbish too - but with a few Moorish archers and spearmen who were Grade 7

The combat between my leader and his Grade 8 opponents continues- they are now disrupted!

A big mess on our right wing as Chris, John and Julian's units interpenetrate each other in all directions

The centre of the Sicilian infantry line from above

Two of Chris's mounted units, the rearmost is disordered

One of Julian's cavalry units attacks my Grade 8 spearmen....

And the spearmen win - disrupting their attackers....this shot shows how the Apulian advance pinned the Sicilians virtually on their own base line

The final position - we were down to no coins and had lost two or three units of knights as well as some infantry and one of our leaders was wounded

And one FINAL shot of the Grade 8 cavalry, still disrupted and still turning over 8's and 9's to confound my elite Grade 5 knights!

A stunning victory for the Apulians, who hardly turned a bad card - well John may have had a few but Julian more than made up for it with his turning prowess - whereas Chris and I had no luck at all for the entire game!







Thursday, 13 July 2017

15mm Crusader Game using "To The Strongest" Rules

Tonight Julian and I played a game based on the Battle of Hab in 1119 - as per below from Wikipedia:

On June 28, 1119, Ilghazi's Turco-Syrian army destroyed the Antiochene army at the Battle of Ager Sanguinis. After his great victory, the Muslim leader's army captured a number of strongholds in the Latin principality, but more might have been achieved. "The failure of Il Ghazi to profit from his major victory ... was due not only to his own subsequent and prolonged drunkenness, but to the scattering of his forces in search of plunder."
As soon as he heard the news, King Baldwin brought a force north from his Kingdom of Jerusalem to rescue Antioch. On the way, he picked up a contingent from the County of Tripoli under Count Pons. Baldwin assembled the remnants of Antioch's army and added them to his own soldiers. Then he moved toward Zerdana, 65 kilometers east-southeast of Antioch, which was besieged by Ilghazi. While camped at the Tell Danith watering point, Baldwin found out that Zerdana had fallen. Accordingly, the Crusaders prepared to retreat to the stronghold of Hab, c. 25 kilometers southwest of Zerdana.

Battle

On the morning of August 14, Baldwin carefully arranged the Frankish army for its retreat through open country. Leading the way were three squadrons of 700 knights. Behind them marched the several thousand infantryman, composed of bowmen and spearmen. Count Pons with his Tripolitan knights guarded the right flank. A body of Antiochene knights under Robert Fulcoy protected the left flank. More knights from Antioch guarded the rear. Baldwin led a reserve of mounted knights from Jerusalem, but it is not clear in what part of the formation he marched.
The Artuqids hoped to provoke the Frankish cavalry into launching a premature charge or to open gaps in the enemy infantry formation. When such a favorable opportunity presented itself, they closed in to fight it out with lance and sword.
As anticipated, the Artuqid horse archers began harassing the column at dawn. Ilghazi's attacks soon increased in intensity and the Crusader army was probably brought to a halt fairly early in the day. The three vanguard squadrons were dispersed and the main body of Latin infantry came under serious attack. The infantry sturdily defended itself, but, without its normal cavalry support, suffered heavy losses.
On the left flank, Robert Fulcoy overcame the force opposed to him. But, after pursuing the Artuqids, he rode off with his knights to look into the possibility of retaking his stronghold of Zerdana. Meanwhile, the knights under Count Pons were scattered and some fled as far away as Antioch and Tripoli, spreading the news of a disaster. Count Pons and a handful of knights rallied to join Baldwin's reserve where they continued the contest.
With adroit use of his reserve knights, Baldwin saved the day. By intervening at each threatened sector, he held his army together during the long and bitter fight. Eventually, the Artuqids admitted defeat and withdrew from the battlefield.

Our game played out a bit differently - there was certainly no dispute about who won the day....

We started by calculating the number of morale coins for each force - 1 point per light unit , 2 per heavy or leader. I had the muslim army, consisting mainly of light horse archers. My force was split into two commands - total points was 34 divided by 3 = 11 morale points (coins). Julian's crusader army was almost all heavy and consisted of three command, so he had a total of 41 points = 13 coins.
Julian decided his only way to victory was to charge forwards as quickly as possible and use the superior weight of his heavy knights to punch and rip holes in my larger force of lighter horsemen. Having won the initiative by drawing a higher card than mine, he immediately put this plan into action.
However, as with the last game we had using these rules in this period, the muslim horse archers proved irritatingly elusive - Julian either managed to charge, and they evaded, or he failed to charge at all. Then, when he did manage to make contact, his knights fought like vestal virgins, and failed to take any advantage of their supposed superiority. In fact, first blood went to my archers as they dispatched a couple of Turcopole units on Julian's left wing in the first action of the game.
Thereafter, Julian tried but failed to cause any significant damage to my army. I too had some challenges, particularly with the amount of ineffectual archery, and on one occasion my entire move consisted of turning over three cards - first a 2 on the left flank when I needed a 3 minimum and then a 1 with the commander of the right flank - who was allowed to redraw another card - and promptly drew ANOTHER 1! I cannot really complain however, as a couple of moves later, Julian did exactly the same thing at a very critical point.
Throughout the game, my horse archers ebbed and flowed around the heavy knights, firing arrows and then falling back as the enraged crusaders charged them. My heavier cavalry in the meantime engaged the knights head on with their lances and had a couple of successes. By a combination of archery and close combat, I whittled away at Julian's forces until by the fourth or fifth turn, he only had 3 coins of the original 13 left - whilst I had lost one solitary light cavalry unit and still retained 10 of my original coins in hand. It was at his juncture that Julian's right wing commander turned over a pair of 1's whilst trying to activate and next turn, surrounded on three sides by horse archers, he and his Templar knights were cut down, ending the game as the crusader army ran out of morale coins. They lost about 7 or 8 units to the one unit lost by the muslim army - as I said, no doubt about the victor in this refight!

The scenario book Julian used to set up the game

General view of the table - Crusaders to left Muslims to the right

The Crusaders right wing comprising Turcopoles and heavy European knights

The opposing forces - the Muslim left wing

The Crusader centre mainly consisting of infantry but backed by more knights

The Muslim centre showing the camp with the 11 "morale" coins

The crusaders knights advance in move one, but are disrupted by arrow fire from swarms of horse archers

On the Crusader right, the Turcopoles and knights also move rapidly forward

View from the Muslim right wing where archers on the hill had an extra hex of range when firing at the advancing Crusader left wing

Battle is joined in the centre of the field

The cavalry melee in the centre - the front rank of the European knights have been disrupted, and the entire force is hit in the flank by a unit of horse archers

In the centre, the Crusaders knights continued to push forward as the lighter muslim units evaded and drew them into the trap

A view of the action from behind the muslin centre

One of the units of heavy knights

Compare this picture with the one 4 earlier - note the absence of two units of crusader knight!

A general view of the table at the midway point of the battle

Muslim heavy cavalry melee with another unit of knights, who have been disrupted

The action on the muslim left/crusader right wing - only one unit of knights remains from a force of two turcopoles and two knights that had commenced the action

Once again, the crusader centre lurches forward in an attempt to smash the lighter muslim forces
In this shot, both units of knights have been disrupted - these too would shortly be put to the scimitar

The final unit on the crusader right wing surrounded by horse archers

The last straw - Julian turns over a pair of 1's when attempting to activate the knights shown above

A final general view form the muslim side as the game comes to a close. The block of infantry in the top of the picture is virtually all that remained of the crusaders army.

The last unit is wiped out

Last man standing - the sole survivor of the crusader right wing!

A very enjoyable game for me, for Julian, not so much - although he did claim it was "fun"! He really did have atrocious luck with the cards tonight - maybe tomorrow he will be more successful as we do it all again but this time with four player and using 25/28mm figures - cant wait!