Sunday 28 June 2020

Late French Revolution in Italy - without Boney!

This is all I know about the above book so far but thought it worth a heads up. I have ordered a copy off Caliver and am looking forward to getting it next week.Wargaming the Late French Revolutionary War / – Scenario book covers the lesser-known campaign where the successes of Napoleon Bonaparte in his brilliant 1796-1797 campaign were wiped out in 1799 by an equally brilliant campaign led by the Russian hero Marshal Alexander Suvorov. Twelve battle scenarios, ranging from northeast to southwest northern Italy, tracks the sweep of the Russian-Austrian coalition against their French opponents. Each scenario comes with a detailed battlefield map, a complete order of battle with unit labels, and special rules and content you need to set up and play each game

Saturday 27 June 2020

More Italian Wars figures

Cavalry this time. I started both these units last weekend and have just completed flagging them this afternoon. I'm quite pleased with them even if the photos highlight a couple of mistakes as is always the case.

The six man unit are Steel Fist Miniatures. They are painted up as generic HC types or 'archers, these ones in the service of Florence. The other unit are Spanish Gendarmes from TAG. With the exception of two the flags are by Petes Flags.

Early Italian Wars Swiss

I bought these figures for a very reasonable second hand price off my mate Charles Singleton at Hammerhead 2020. Another mate, heroic Barry, agreed to paint them for me as the thought of tackling over 200 figures myself when I already had a bunch of other stuff to do made me feel ill.

Anyway, here are the finished figures, painted by Barry, based by me and flags by Pete's flags. I still need to touch up the edges of most of the flags before they all go in the box, which I plan to do tomorrow. This has been very much a joint effort and I'm really pleased with the outcome.

 There are currently three pike blocks, each with 48 pike and 16 halberdiers. The pikes are 24 to a single base, two of which will make up a a very large unit. 

 I also have 

The rear rank is made up of 16 halberdiers
 To screen the pikes I have 36 handgunner skirmishers, 12 for each block.

The Swiss commanding general
Me, cooling off in the not hot tub this week after a couple of marathon basing, sanding, grassing and tufting sessions in the garden this week.
I really should give some thought to a set of rules. Pike and Shotte would do as a default set, heavily fiddled with, and I mean to give Furioso a try as well as another self-published set given to me by yet another mate Tim.

Thursday 25 June 2020

More superb goodies from Helion. Simply the Best!

What a stonker! THE definitive work. There are insufficient superlatives in the English language to describe this masterpiece. No one need write a book on the Ottoman army during the reign of Louis XIV again, ever. If they did I doubt anything  could knock this book off it’s deserved place as the No.1 ‘go to’ book.

Why? It’s well written and an engaging read. I read it in one sitting of several hours in the garden and like a previous book I’d read about Velcro just couldn’t put it down! The colour plates depicting a range of soldiers in parade and campaign dress are gorgeous and informative The dozens of black and white illustrations support the text extremely well,  and there are some really useful maps, ranging from the ‘at a glance’ map of the whole Ottoman Empire, regional maps and some great battle maps. It is well referenced as evidenced by the bibliography.

As for the actual content, we get a well researched description of the workings of the Empire, it’s strengths and many weaknesses, and its relationship with the European powers. I found the chapter covering the different regions and ethnic groups found within them especially interesting, for example how they contributed (or not) to the Empire and the very detailed sections on each of the different troop types available, how they operated and their various strengths and even rates of pay are a boon to any wargamer.

No book on this subject could overlook the campaigns undertaken during the period, especially against the Ottomans’ long-time enemy the Republic of Venice, the Polish and Lithuanian Commonwealth and of course the Hapsbergs. In relation to the latter Bruno has written a detailed account of the famous Siege of Vienna and the Battle of Khalenberg when the Ottoman besieging army was crushed and Vienna saved. It is all stirring stuff! I shall be dusting off my Ottoman army and getting the late 17th century units from the lead mountain to paint up and joins the ranks. I’ve already done the relief of Vienna but might do it again now I have more information.

As you might have gathered from this, I rather like the book and recommend it most highly as a must for anyone with even a passing interest in the Ottomans. 

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Guerra Fantastica. The Portuguese Army and the Seven Years War

I knew nothing about the involvement of Portugal in the Seven Years War beyond the fact that they were on our ‘side’, fought against the Spanish and didn’t have much of an army. This book is a little gem and an excellent subject for what is the 50th publication in Helion’s ‘Reason to Revolution’ series. I’m grateful to Andrew at Helion for sending me a copy to review.

The author is a recognised expert on Portuguese military history and this book is an English translation of one originally published in Portugese earlier this year, but with a new forward and some updates to the text. A niche topic if ever there was one, there wasn’t actually a great deal of fighting between the Portuguese, led by the Count of Schaumburg-Lippe and a number of British and German officers seconded in to the Portugese army. However, this book goes into great detail explaining how Portugal fitted into the bigger geopolitical map of Europe, and how the conflict began in Portugal. We get an honest account of the deficiencies found in the Portuguese military, and how some (but not all) of these were overcome, and of the involvement of a large number of English regiments sent to reinforce what was a woefully inadequate Portugese army.  There is a useful order of battle for the whole force as it stood in 1762 which must be of interest to any war gamers wanting to dip their toe into the campaign. The campaign in northern Portugal against the Spanish invading troops is described in detail, and is supported by a couple of useful maps and many contemporary black and white and colour illustrations, plus some lovely colour plates depicting soldiers of the Portugese army.

A niche subject certainly, but one that is explained well and should be a good buy for anyone interested in the  Seven Years War. Highly recommended.

Sunday 21 June 2020

Waterloo Anniversary Game, er.......sort of.

  • June 18 was of course the anniversary of Waterloo. It's also the anniversary of the Battle of Kolin in 1757. The first was impossible for me to recreate at this time. The second I've done so many times before and I wasn't in a SYW bubble. So what better way to mark the anniversary than refighting the Battle of Wavre also on 18 June. I also decided to reproduce the armies involved as closely as I could, but using my Bismark's Wars collection of Prussians and French, setting the game in the summer of 1870. Prussian Landwehr would become unwilling German Confederation and or Bavarian allies. It worked. Other than that the troops were represented with what figures I own, therefore, for example, Exellmann's dragoons were actually represented by four regiments of cuirassiers as thats all I had. Equally dubious in value in 1870.

The 'technology'
Despite the usual techy problems, overcome thanks to my wife's expertise and determination setting up the webcam (and getting me to calm down) plus two wireless tablets and a wireless ear bud and microphone. 

The Prussian objective was to delay the French as long as possible (4pm on the day we fought the battle) and prevent their army departing the table on their baseline. The French were required to defeat the Prussians and get half their army off the table to go and aid the Emperor at Waterloo. Steve, John the Red and Shaun were the French, while Conrad, Dave and Paul were the Prussians.

Here's how it panned out, and I hope the photos tell the story well enough, although they can't convey the confusion in both camps and my inner smile as things developed. The French plan was to demonstrate against Wavre, ignore the bridge in the centre and push EVERYTHING over the unguarded bridge on the left. The Prussians decided they'd hold Wavre and the centre and rush their reserves to the right as quickly as they could. Mmmmm?

Zouaves, Turcos and some of the best French infantry demonstrating (?) outside Wavre.
Exelmann's cuirassiers moving to the left as fast as possible.
More Turcos and Marine infantry head to the left, keeping out of sight of the Prussian guns. 
Pajol's light cavalry (John), lead by the Chasseurs d'Afrique cross the bridge on the Prussian right.
In turn one the Prussians under Dave forgot send their reserves to the right!
The woefully inadequate French artillery bravely or foolishly deployed in range of the Prussian batteries and soon paid the price.
The French army resembled the crowd at St James' Park when the cry "The Pies are Here!" is heard as they rushed towards the bridge. 
The Chasseurs d'Afrique charged a regiment of Bavarian cuirassier standing in for Landwehr cavalry.
Shaun's demonstration outside Wavre continues......
My favourite French cavalry unit lost the melee against a plucky (lucky) enemy.
And then John managed to throw four and break! Thankfully their supports stood firm.
The Prussian reserve cavalry move rapidly ('ish) from the left to the right wing. The reserve infantry brigade have  finally moved to the right to engage the French.
This is the view of the routing Chasseurs d'Afrique, plus my sheep, from the mobile cam.
Some handsome silver fox and the battlefield as seen from the static wired webcam, taking in the whole battlefield. 
John ordered a battalion of Colonial infantry to cover the central bridge but they soon fell foul of Prussian artillery fire and the not so deadly needle guns firing from the farm.
The Prussian right.
Dave's reserve, a brigade of allied German battalions representing Landwehr (my Prussians are organised around the 1866 campaign, hence the Brunswickers, Anhalt and Sax-Coberg battalions). The Saxe-Coberg battalion had already run away.
Pajol's light cavalry had been forced to pull back, leaving an opportunity for Exellmans and his cuirassiers to show what they could do.
The Prussian reserve cavalry had by now made it to the right wing.
Shaun's French STILL demonstrating outside Wavre.
The cuirassiers charge, sweeping away the Anhalt regiment before clashing with Prussian cavalry.
Finally Wavre is stormed and taken by the bayonets of the Turcos and Zouaves. 
Defeated jager popurig back over the bridge.
The melee on the Prussian right was big and confusing. One Prussian brigade was  broken and both cavalry brigades were on the verge of breaking. The cuirassiers however had failed to break the Prussians and had taken heavy casualties.
Another hopeless charge through the cornfields.
The Colonial infantry holding in the centre.
Stalemate on the French left/Prussian right. Weight of numbers will prevail, helped along by  chassepot-armed French lining the river bank!
The French pout off the table, forgetting that they also had to defeat the Prussians before doing so.
This was the last turn as we had reached 4pm. I judged it a slim French win, as they would be able to exit half their troops from the table and still have plenty to hold off the Prussians and probably break another brigade or two. Of course, the Emperor was by now well on the road to defeat so it had all been a bit pointless.......

It is surprisingly knackering facilitating a game this way (and frustrating when the tech dies, but we coped), and I must have hobbled round the table enough to actually march to Paris! I used my own house rules and adaptations to Black Powder II to make them fit more accurately into an 1870 setting.  Good game. Great to get my Franco-Prussian War armies out again after a very long break. Next time I shall field the 1866 Austrians.

I have a fortnight to clear the table and set up for what might be the next battle in my French Revolution campaign. Till then, back to painting and basing up Italian wars stuff.

And yet more Italian Wars figures.

On Friday I completed the bases of my second 48-strong Venetian pike block. I always used to be happy with my basing but recently I have become more self critical. Well, at least they're table top ready, and will undoubtedly cover themselves in glory....Or not. The figures are all TAG. Flags by Pete’s Flags.

I started these 18 Stradioti last Sunday and finished them off yesterday, which is a bit slow by my old standards but not a bad effort. I've only got another six  'westernised’ Stradiots to do. With this group of 18 I now have 24 of these Balkan gentlemen ready to play, flagged up to be in the pay of Venice or the Papacy. These are almost all Perry’s.

I really must write up the game we had on 18 June, which will hopefully appear by Monday.