Sunday, February 23, 2014

Peter Laings Fight Battle of Bushire, Persian War of 1856

      In the summer I read a book, "The War for a Persian Lady", which was a history of the Anglo-Persian War of 1856. I thought that it had the making of a good wargame.  I also had bought some Peter Laing Indian Mutiny figures, which seemed well suited for this war.

     A couple of months ago it was time to use this campaign to fight a wargame. It would be loosely based on the Battle of Bushire, the first battle of the campaign which was fought after the initial naval landing. The army had the support of the navy in the real battle; this fight they were not so fortunate.

    Why this report was not added earlier I cannot say, and some of the battle might have slipped out of my memory.
Persians on the left behind fortifications; the British on the right.

The British artillery start taking hits before they can even get in range.

Both British batteries are hit.

The British close in on the Persian defenses.

However, they start taking heavy losses.

One unit of British cavalry attacked the Persians right flank, trying to take the pressure off  the infantry.

The cavalry forces back the Persian guns. They continue down the fortifications.

They succeed in pushing back the infantry unit, buying time for the advancing infantry.

Meanwhile on the Persian right flank, the British infantry have forced back the other Persian guns and gain a foothold in the fortifications.

At this point in the battle things look promising for the British.

The British cavalry pays the supreme price. However the Persians concentrate their fire on the cavalry, allowing the infantry to advance to the walls.

On the Persian right, the Persian guns break the British unit that broke through their defenses (notice on the upper right the single infantryman retreating; he was forced to retreat 2 hexes.

With the British cavalry gone, the Persian turn their attention on the infantry.

The British is breaking through in several places, their artillery is leapfrogging forward to give support to the infantry.

The Persian cavalry moves forward, surrounding one company of British infantry, while  more cavalry push back another company.

One Persian infantry unit brings the British guns under fire, and at extreme range eliminates the battery!

On the Persian right, the British takes the Persian battery and forces the Persian infantry to retreat.

A close up of the action on the Persian right.

Meanwhile, the British infantry assaults the Persian battery, who loses 50% of their strength. The Persian cavalry also starts taking casualties.

However, the Persian cavalry wipes out the British in front of it. The artillery  causes severe losses on the other unit. who falls back. At this point the Persian infantry attacks and eliminates the last of that unit.

On the Persian right the Persian counter attack clears most of the British from the fortifications.  The British have suffered too many casualties and are forced to retreat.

Of course, in the real battle the Persians were poorly led and didn't put up such a fight. Also, in this game the forces were just about even; stacking the odds against the British as they were forced to assault fortifications.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

New Semi Round Cavalry and Painted Peter Laing Homecasts

     Besides Peter Laing figures, another interest of mine are 30mm semi round figures from the late 1800s-early 1900s.  Recently there were two lots on Ebay, one of three lancers and the other of three what appears to be mounted infantry. They came in the mail yesterday and was money well spent.

    While deciding to paint recent homecasts in the toy soldier style, it became obvious that my original search for Peter Laings has gone off course.  My main interest was to get a collection of Victorian Parade figures to have table top battles which would look like the pictures in "Little Wars", even if the rules themselves weren't used. With the help of Ian Dury I have acquired several of the parade figures (more than I expected to ever get once the search started) and what's more, he gave or traded many of these figures to me; a most kind act. One of the figures I haven't been able to get was a marching guardsmen figure. For now I will try to convert a home cast British Infantryman with spiked helmet into a guardsman. Below is a shot of an experimental figure. It still needs some work but it will fill a gap for now.  I also completed a mold of the Victorian Parade Rifleman Officer and Bugler in one day; hopefully it will be put to the test today.

    Last is some Marching Germans painted as New York State Militia from the 1880s. Inspiration for these figures wwas a company call McLoughlin Bros. who produced toy soldiers and used German style toy soldiers and painted them as American soldiers. Of course American spiked helmets of the time were more of the British style than Germanic. Still, I think they make good looking "toy soldiers", not military miniatures.
Peter Laing New York State Militia

Another Militia unit forming, marching in review by a formed unit.

Two of the semi round figures recently purchased. The figures I believe are a little smaller than 30mm but of course look the part to support 30mm infantry.

Another shot, showing the mounted infantryman. 

The first sample of a converted Guardsman. For my needs they will have to do.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Peter Laing Homecasts Painted Toy Soldier Style

He's a couple of closeups of my home cast Peter Laing painted with high gloss enamels. As can be seen, some rifles are not complete and definitely not commercial grade figures.

The Austrians were cast from painted figures, meaning even less detail. Peter Laing originals have very small bases. When making molds the masters are mounted on washers, cutting out the extra step of mounting figures on stands and reducing breakage, as the pouring spout is at the base of the figures and need to be cut off.

While painting the Goosestepping Germans an idea popped into my mind of a "Toy Soldier" wargame, where both sides use the same figures. In the late 1800's the German toy soldier manufacturers often used their German figures with  spiked helmets as British soldiers or American soldiers, as both nations were also using a variant of spiked helmets. I can picture another army using American militia uniforms, and in fact I have poured some extra figures to paint up as such. Some ideas for uniforms can be seen on pervious posts under "militia".

Sunday, February 16, 2014

15mm Peter Laing Battle of Beaverton

      After the train ambush, General Piffle  was furious. To lose a battery of guns and have a battalion of infantry cut to pieces by a bunch of amateurs was too much. What's more, his higher ups were reconsidering keeping him in command.  He called his most trusted officer, Col. Potty to gather a force using what few troops were in the region. Potty put forward that he would take his battalion, along with a battery of artillery, and two troops of militia cavalry; one a troop of hussars and one of lancers.  As an afterthought, he also added a company of militia infantry. He knew the rebel were based in the village of Beaverton, and he might have to storm the village.
   Meanwhile, in Beaverton itself, the rebels rested on their laurels. Certainly it will take the government forces some time to recover from that loss.  The commander of the rebels, Braun, has scouts out and spies throughout the countryside. So it can be imagined his surprise when his scouts come running into town reporting that the army is marching on Beaverton. He orders out his troops. While his officers want to garrison the town, Braun says they will march out to meet the enemy. He doesn't want the innocents in town to be endangered by the coming battle.

On the top of the board (north) The government troops arrive on the scene.  On the left is West Wood, on the right East Wood, and the bottom Beaverton with the rebel troops with their recently capture artillery.
View from behind the Government line. Col. Potty  (on white horse) observes the town of  Beaverton.

View from behind the rebel lines looking towards the government line.

Two companies of infantry close on West Wood; the infantry draws first blood by killing one rebel.  Meanwhile the troop of lancers launch a flank attack on the woods.

Meanwhile the battery brings one of the rebel batteries under fire, causing heavy losses.

The fighting becomes general in the East Woods; the hussars starts moving across the open fields.

The hussars hit one of the rebel companies, causing it to retreat.

The follow up charge forces the other rebel battery to retreat.

At this point in the battle the government forces have  the rebels on the run.

The rebel battery is eliminated, but the rebels continue to hold part of the East Woods.

One rebel unit manages to route one grenadier company, almost forcing it off the field (3 "retreat" dice) and another kills one hussar and made them to  retreat. 

The rebels manage to work behind one of the grenadier companies, cutting it off  from  the other company.

One rebel tries to capture the battery. The batterie double charges the gun with  canister…..

and eliminates the rebel company.
One of the grenadier companies force back one of the rebel companies in the East Woods; now the grenadiers has turned the tables on the rebels and has cut off one of their companies.

The hussars attack the rebel company that was forced out of the East Woods.

Meanwhile, in the West Woods the infantry finally clear the woods of rebels, who the lancers quickly closes in on them.

In the West Woods, the militia company clears the last of the rebels from the woods, as the grenadier company that broke and ran rallies and comes back up fast.

The trapped rebel unit starts taking losses.

The trapped rebels, realizing they are hopelessly surrounded with no help nearby, surrenders.

The rebels get back into the West Woods, but the government troops are working their way behind them.

A grenadier guards the captured rebels from the East Woods.

The rebels now realize the battle is lost. The lancers are almost around the back of the rebels. The rebel artillery manages to force the lancers to retreat, opening a way for the rebels to retreat, an opening that the rebels use. The government have recaptured one gun, but the rebels make off with the other. At least Col. Potty can return one gun to General Piffle.

This battle was just slapped together. I used Bob Cordery's Memoir of Battle rules. Usually for victory the first side has to lose 50%.  I didn't even think of that with this game, just started playing. In most of my war-games, I have been disappointed in the performance of artillery. This game the government guns played havoc on the rebels. Also the cavalry played a bigger roll than normal. Maybe I'm just learning to use them properly.
One will also notice the names of the Government officers as names from R.L. Stevenson's war-game. I'm actually terrible making up names and my war-games tend to be too generic with no names to be memorable.