Monday, March 30, 2015

New Figures and Old Friends

    While going through some of my older figures, I came across some of my first metal soldiers, 15 mm Editions Brokaw SWY and WSS figures. When I started wargaming again, after using my 1st generation Minifigs and Heritage Napoleonettes, these are the figures I got hooked on. They can be hard to come by. They were produced by Pat Condray. I bought a large lot of them a couple of years ago. The only way to contact Pat was by regular mail. He doesn't have a website to order through. And as he splits his year between two addresses, it was tricky to get an order in. For me, the extra effort was worth it.

     I also bought a couple of lots of 1st generation Napoleonics, including some Prussian General figures. There is something about the Minifigs general figures that every time I see them, I have to bid on them.
Editions Brokaw Prussian grenadiers

Editions Brokaw grenadier

More Editions Brokaw figures, painted as French infantry and Guards.

Editions Brokaw figures compared to a Peter Laing figure.

Minifigs 1st Generation Prussian Generals

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Scots Found and a Wargame.

      Yesterday I woke up thinking that I had thrown out the Minifigs Scots and other AWI figures mentioned in an earlier post. When I got home from work, the plan was for a top to bottom search of my work area. A few minutes into the search, I came across the figures in 2 unmarked storage drawers. The seller had sent the figures in these drawers, which so happened to fit in the storage cabinets I have. Had I simply used my label maker to begin with, it would have saved two days of frustration.

     I took a day off from work to get some needed chores done. It took all morning but, besides having to wait for the plumber, I found time to get a wargame in. I had rolled the night before to pick which scenario from ONE HOUR WARGAMES would be used.

  The scenario was: Scenario 19: Blow from the Rear. The situation is the Red Army is defending two river crossing from numerically inferior Blue force. However, an additional Blue force arrives in the Red rear area. (In the book the blue is defending and red is attacking; the red army (British) seemed better suited for defense, having 6 infantry and 2 artillery units, while the blue  (French) had 4 infantry, 2 artillery and 2 cavalry units.)

Unfortunately I had trouble with the SD card and only got the first half of the game.
The British army south of the river, the French north. 3 British reinforcements  are at the lower right. They can move after the third move.

The French reinforcement off board. They will come on after the 4th move,  behind the British lines.

The French send a cavalry unit to seize the bridge until the grenadiers can move forward.

French light infantry try to seize the ford, against superior forces. A French battery is moving forward in support.

The British artillery drives the light infantry back. The British at the bridge tries to stop the cavalry.

The French light infantry counterattacks. The French battery forces one infantry unit to retreat. The cavalry  attacks the infantry holding the bridge, but they hold fast,regardless of losing 50% of their men.

The British manager to push back both French units at the ford.

The British reinforcements start forward. Two of the units are Brunswickers.

The French cavalry finally captures the bridge. However, the French general, frustrated by the stalemate at the bridge, ordered the grenadiers to reinforce the battle at the ford. They can be seen moving at the top of the picture.

The British finally eliminate the light infantry. This is the last picture of the action.  Right after this was taken, the French reinforcements came onto the board.  The British general waited a little too long to redeploy his forces to face this threat, instead trying to eliminate the French in front of him. He left the sole infantry unit in the woods (they can be seen in the first picture) to try to slow them down. They failed, and by the time he faced some of his infantry to counter this threat, it was too late. Both French cavalry units linked up and ran amuck behind the lines.  The French defeated each British unit in detail, as they were fed into the fight piecemeal. The British lost 4 units to the French 2.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Maniac Monday

It is now 9:00 at night. As soon as I got home from work, I was in my room working on my figures. I had to stop to cook dinner. As soon as that was over, my wife left to visit her mother in the nursing home. I was quickly back at it, working on a new idea. I started thinking if I could get some of my AWI minifigs painted, perhaps I could get my brother to fight a game or two, like the good old days ( my brother had a large army of Airfix AWI to fight my Airfix Napoleonics). And so I started painting some AWI figures. Of course, my newest purchase of AWI Scots cannot be found. And so I started going through all the boxes of figures I have, without success. And suddenly I heard my wife calling for me; it was already 8:30 and still had to get ready for work tomorrow. What makes it so bad is I don't want to stop painting!
Some of todays work.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

It's Never Too Later For a Happy Childhood

        I have watched CALLAN; An Act of Kindness twice already. For me the best part is when Callan walks into  his opponents "wargame room" and looks around like a kid in a candy shop. I must admit that this show and "Battleground" from the same period inspired me to spend most of my free time this week after work painting toy soldiers.  I realized that while I have plenty of Minifigs French figures, I am missing many of their opponents. I have no Austrians, and no Prussians.  While this seemed a problem, another look at Heritage Napoleonettes showed that they are a good match for the Minifigs. I have plenty of both Prussians and Austrians.  This last week has been a big inspiration for me and I have accomplished more in one week than the last three months. All the problems of the day melts away when I start work on my armies. I have been finding myself smiling like a little kid during this time. I put on some military music while painting and I'm in a different world. Now I want to work on scenery. The scenery on the CALLAN show has given me some ideas to be worked on.

   I wanted to get a game in today. I worked out a dice roll to pick a scenario in ONE HOUR WARGAMES. I picked scenario 21;Twin objectives.   The red army is split holding the town and the hill.  The blue army must seize both objectives. In the scenario the red army had 4 units; the blue 6. I gave each armies two more units. I rolled for both armies using the ONE HOUR WARGAME method. The rules are Bob Cordery's Memoir of Battle.
The blue army is at the bottom of the picture, the red army on top.  One unit of red army jagers are in the woods on the hill  on the blue army's left flank.

The blue army advances. One infantry unit assaulting the hill suffers 50% losses.

The red army advances on the  blue army.

The blue cavalry tries to turn the red army's left flank.

The blue army pushes back the jagers on the hill, and the red army in the center is also pushed back.

The red counter attack has limited success. The Brunswickers have made one unit fall back two spaces.

One red unit tries to flee to the town. It is pursued by the 1st Hussars. The hussars first attack kill 2 and rolls a retreat. It's followup attack is shown in this picture; it overwhelms the infantry. 

The blue infantry forces back one unit, which conveniently comes between the red general and the 1st Hussars. (The batteries in the camera died at this point; that is why there is a black line in the photo.)

The red jagers on the hill finally eliminates the infantry on the hill. The other jagers force back the blue's artillery and the Brunswickers kills one and forces the infantry back.

At this point in the game the red army has lost two units to the blue's loss of one. If red loses one more unit, they will have lost 50% and will be force to retreat.  However, blue army has two units on their start line and one unit is down to one. The red general gets the initiative roll and decides to launch all units into an attack. If the red army can force the two units on their baseline to retreat and eliminate the single infantryman, blue will be at 50% strength and will be forced to retreat.

Red army starts their attack.

This picture shows the results. The blue artillery loses one man, but holds firm. The  jagers manage to force the infantry to retreat off the board. The Brunswickers only manager to roll a retreat roll and do not eliminate that unit as hoped for. The infantry outside of the town kills one hussar. 

The blue artillery force back one jager unit. The blue artillery and full strength infantry unit hits the Brunswickers, forcing them back. This move also protects the one man unit from attack.

The blue cavalry brigade attacks the infantry unit outside the town. They kill one infantryman, but the infantry is forced to retreat out of range of the cavalry.

Blue rolls and gets the initiative.  The lancers continue to attack the upper infantry unit (top of picture). The hussars hits the Brunswickers on the flank while the infantry attacks their front. Both blue batteries open fire on the jagers.

The jagers lose one man and is forced to retreat.The Brunswickers lose two men and  retreat. The lancers overwhelm the infantry (at top of photo). The red army is down to 50% and must retreat.

Once again it was a last moment planned game. I must try to plan the game during the week so there isn't the last minute scramble. On Saturday I do work around the house and have a couple of hours to wargame.  To waste time on planning the game cuts into the game itself.

Monday, March 16, 2015

After a Long Weekend, new Minifigs

        A couple of weeks ago on Ebay I bought several lots of 1st gen Minifigs Napoleonics, including what I believe is 1st generation Brunswick Lieb Battlion figures.  This weekend they still hadn't arrived. However, my weekend had been planned over a month ago. My wife has been planning a large birthday party for her mother, it being her 80th birthday.  And the fact it was to be held in the nursing home and some 50 guests were coming, it made timing for it quite complicated, as the main dining room would have to be used between serving. We also had three guests at our house for the party.  However, Donna pulled it off and made her mother's 80th very special. Our company left on Sunday and after a couple of hours cleaning, the house was back to normal.

   I finally got to go  check my favorite websites. On Bob Cordery's Wargaming Miscellany, he wrote of the television show CALLAN (Act of Kindness), which featured wargaming as an important part of the story. I found it on Youtube, but to be honest, I fast forwarded to the parts with the war-game scenes. I then watched a couple of episodes of BATTLEGROUND, starring Edward Woodward. As I have been painting some 1st gen Minifigs Napoleonics, these shows have got me motivated to continue to work on them.

   This morning before going to work, I went to put some mail in the mailbox for the postman to pick up. When I opened the mailbox, there was the expected box with my new Napoleonics in it! My wife and I were so busy this weekend, both of us forgot to check the mail! It was well worth the wait. Back in the 70's I had send cash trying to purchase some Minifigs Brunswickers, against my parents advice not to send cash. Alas, the figures never came. It took 40 years to get my Brunswickers!.

I have removed four of the figures and mounted them on washers. As with all the Minifigs I'm painting right now, they will be given a coat of gloss varnish.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ram Anything Grey: Part 2

      It was another long week in a long winter. Thursday saw another 12 inches of snow. What's more, work asked me to come in at 4:00am on Friday to help with the snow removal. The first 5 hours of work was shoveling and snow blowing.  My wife says she hates winter because I tend to get depressed.  There has been little sunlight this last week and it was starting to get to me.  However, today the sun was out and the temperature reached 32 degrees, which did much to revive my spirits.          
The last couple of weeks I have been working on several different projects. Today I wanted to use my new Figurehead ironclads in a war-game. I wasn't sure which rules to use; Donald Featherstone's Ironclad rules in his Naval Wargaming book, or Bob Cordery's Portable Naval Rules 1860 to 1870.  Mr Corderys rules make for fast games with easy to remember rules.

    Instead of playing in my room, I set up this game in our bedroom. The sunlight shining through the window, with the fresh coat of snow made for a relaxing afternoon. Also, glancing out the window I could watch our resident turkey feeding in the yard.

    Both the Austrian and Italian fleet had four ironclads. Using the Portable rules all the ships were equal in strength.
The approaching Austrian fleet.

The Italian fleet.

The opposing fleets approach.

The Austrian fleet changes direction.

The Italian flagship opens fire on the Austrian flagship, and misses!

The Austrian line starts turning in on the Italian fleet, with the goal of "Ramming anything grey!"

Although taking a pounding from the Italian gunfire, the Austrian press home their attack.  The last ship in the Italian line, the Formidabile, changes course to avoid being rammed.

The Austrian ships, the Drache and the Kaiser Max, both  having suffered heavily from the Italians broadsides,  ram  the Regina and Palestro, causing sever damage to both.

The Palestro rams the Drache, but it is a glancing blow and does little damage. However, However, the Principe fires a broadside at the Drache, which promptly rolls and sinks. 

The Kaiser Max crosses the stern of the Palestro and it's broadside sinks the Palestro.

A scene of the ongoing battle, with the turkey outside feeding.

Both fleets have lost a ship and most ships have suffered heavily. Both admirals  decide to break off contact and head to port. But the ships continue to fire broadsides as the opportunity occur.

The Italian Formidabile crosses the Fredinand Max bow and lands four hits on it.

The fleets have now broken contact. Of the Austrian ships, only the Hapsburg is in fighting shape, the Fredinand Max and Kaiser Max are in critical condition. Of the Italian fleet the Principe and Formidabile are still in fighting shape (although one more hit to the Formidabile would put it in critical condition), the Regina is in critical condition. The battle is a close one; although the Italians have two fighting ships to the Austrians' one, the Italian fleet have suffered more hits.

The rules played out well, as all of Bob Cordery's rule do. I do believe I messed up on the movement, as I let the ships move forward as they turned. The fleets only made one pass at each other, but closed to close range, which made for a bloody battle. I must admit, I fought these ships as though it was an age of sail battle, but I'm sure that admirals of this period would have done the same. If I continue with these ships, the addition of wooden steam ships, as were used at the Battle of Lissa might add to the game.