Wednesday 31 May 2023

A few more Swedes for 1808-1809


These photos are of the Abo Lans infantry regiment, raised in Finland. Perry Miniatures painted by Barry and based by me. Just waiting for another set of flags off Maverick to finish them off properly.

Soldiers of the Shogun volume 2

One of Helion’s ‘Century of the Soldier’ series recent publications is ‘Soldiers of the Shogun, the Daily Life of Samurai and Soldiers in Edo Period Japan, 1603-1721 volume 2’ by Michael Fredholm von Essen begins where the previous volume left off with the start of the Edo period and the beginning of a significant change in Japan’s outlook on the world. Previously outward looking, the shogunate soon moved into enforced seclusion, which it was to maintain until the mid-nineteenth century.

The book is part military history and part social history. Japan at this time was technologically quite advanced in a number of fields, thanks in many ways to at the time welcome European influence. However, this was all to change, and the book explores what happened when the samurai class were no longer expected to fight but turned their hands to becoming policemen or fire wardens.

The purpose of the book is to provide a better understanding of how the Japanese martial expertise and the Samurai class as a whole declined alongside their integration into mainstream town life. We get extensive chapters on education, sports and religion, entertainment, crime and punishment and finally concluding remarks on the changes in society relating to soldiers and civilians. It is all fascinating stuff.

As one expects, the book is full of lovely contemporary colour artwork, numerous black and white images and some gorgeous original artwork depicting Samurai in their new civilian roles. I especially like the Japanese fire brigade officer in all his ‘fireman’ paraphernalia as well as his traditional pair of swords.

Another well chosen niche subject presented in a very readable form, this book is one I would recommend highly.

ISBN 978-1-804512-50-0. 183 pages, softback.

Monday 29 May 2023

New project for 2023 making good progress in the background.

Every Christmas over the past three years I’ve been taking advantage of the Foundry sale to buy some early Napoleonic Russians. I chose to get them in greatcoats, primarily to ease the painting marathon that 20-odd assorted battalions of musketeers, grenadiers and jäger would otherwise pose.

The Russo-Swedish War 1808-1809 has interested me for many years so, it seemed like a good opportunity for another niche campaign to hit the Burrow. The Swedes are going to be mainly Perrys with some Eagle miniatures as well. These are the first of the Swedish/Finnish army, two units of Perry cavalry.

Karelian Dragoons

Both regiments. 

Nyland Dragoons 

Painted by mate Barry, based by me. Of course I also have a couple of other side projects to get on with this year. But more on them later.

Sunday 28 May 2023

More units for the 1866 collection

It’s amazing (actually if you think about it, it isn’t) but my lead mountain has managed to yield these figures, enough for several units. 

Cuirassier Regiment No.6 (Czar Nicholas I of Russia). These are wearing the early version of the helmet. North Star 1866  miniatures.

Two battalions of Baden infantry with a battery of 12-pdr smoothbores (one gun model needed). These are actually Danes from the North Star 1864 range but they’re almost right as the Badeners went, albeit unwillingly, to war in peaked forage caps and greatcoats.

Another Austrian battalion for 1866. This has been on the painting desk for six months at least but I finally completed them yesterday. North Stae ex-Helion 1866.

I have one more Austrian battalion to complete then they can join their regiment’s 1st battalion in my fourth brigade of Austrians, making a total of 28(!) battalions, which is the equivalent of an entire corps. And that doesn’t include my Saxons, Hessians, Bavarians and minor state chums or the cavalry.

Prussian cuirassiers and Baden infantry painted by my mate Barry of the Like a Stone Wall Group. I did the Austrian battalion and I based and flagged all of the units.

Friday 26 May 2023

The Battle of Castiglione.

A bit late posting this but……..Last Saturday the faithful gathered for another game here at the Burrow. John the Red, Neil and Mark were the French and Nigel and I the Austrians. Mark lives in Adelaide and had arranged his holiday to the UK around a game here and a trip to Partizan. 

The battlefield

We used Black Powder with the usual amended turn sequence which all agree gives a better game. The French outnumbered the Austrians somewhat but were deficient in artillery and decent cavalry whereas the Austrians had no such problem. Historically it was a resounding French victory for the French under the young General de Division Bonaparte.

Hopefully the following photos are in more or less the correct sequence. 

The French left and a view along the battle line.

The Austrian right was anchored on a redoubt and a large hill.

The French attacking in the centre.

The French right wing again, giving a good view of the swarms of troops bearing down on the Austrians.

The French assault 

The Austrian right before things started getting ‘noisy’, resting go on the village of Solferino.

On the Austrian left Neil’s grenadiers were poised to attack their redoubt in the flank.

Massed columns getting closer to the Austrian centre.

……and closer they came.

The French cavalry were pretty poor but still did ok.

I heroically charged the inferior French cavalry with my hussars and Uhlans. The latter were beaten and although the hussars won and pursued the enemy they became shaken, taking the entire brigade out of the game.

The Austrian left under pressure.

Freikorps jäger taking pot shots at the advancing enemy columns.

French volunteer battalion.

Our Grenz infantry were threatened by French cavalry and wisely formed square.

An Austrian counter attack halts the French briefly.

Another French volunteer battalion.

Three more French battalions.

The French under Mark assaulted the Austrian redoubt but made hard work of it, failing to break in or even win a melee round which would have seen the artillery break.

The French closed with the Austrian line but would bounce.

Bold Grenz.

French horse artillery up close and nasty on the flank of the Austrian centre.

This was a very hard fought game. Despite throwing four blunders in the first couple of turns, including one from the CinC the French turned the Austrian left as a result of the collapse of my cavalry. The redoubt was overrun, thus knocking out two 12-pdrs which otherwise might have caused great destruction on the enemy. As mentioned above, the Austrian cavalry brigade was broken, as were two other Austrian infantry brigades. The French assault on their left had failed and one brigade had been destroyed but with our cavalry gone and our flank turned, the centre barely hanging on and despite the right doing ok it was clearly a less than resounding victory for young Buonaparte.

A tremendous game and I actually got to play as well which is a bonus except for players on my side! Black Powder give a good simple multi-player game, especially with the amended sequence of play. I have a further amendment I want to try next time as while it works well enough I don’t like the idea of a ‘6’ always causing disorder regardless of range et cetera. I think perhaps any throws of a ‘1’ when rolling saves could cause disorder. We shall see.

Next big game here on 3 June I hope. Might even start some regular mid-week games subject to interest, availability and my stamina.

Tuesday 23 May 2023

Another unit for the Seven Week’s War.

On the Prussian side again, a battalion of Brunswickers. I have a thing about all the German minor states’ armed forces. These are the same miniatures I used for the Lubeck Fusilier Btn, from Steve Barber’s Saxons, part of his Franco-Prussian War range. They’re really versatile as they would also work as 1866 Saxons with a suitable head, also supplied by Steve, 1866 Nassau infantry and probably many others with the right headgear. 

Brunswick fielded two infantry battalions, a hussar regiment and a battery of guns, which formed part of the 2nd Reserve Corps deployed in the western theatre. I don’t believe they fired a shot in anger or even heard someone else’s, but the temptation may be too great. An added advantage is that these troops retained their old uniforms well into the Franco-Prussian War after their homeland had been ‘absorbed’ by Prussia at the end of the Austro-Prussian War, so how good is that?

Now for another obscure regiment.

Monday 22 May 2023

Partizan 2023 - an Excellent Day Out

I had a very enjoyable if rather knackering day visiting the Partizan show yesterday in the company of Nigel, our intrepid pilot, John the Red and my mate Mark who’d dropped in from Adelaide (I believe his holiday in the UK was fitted in around attending the show). 

As usual the standard of the demo games was largely impressive, if not outstanding. The Trade was excellent too, and the whole event was well organised. It was also very busy. It was of course another great opportunity to catch up with loads of friends and acquaintances many of whom I hadn’t seen for ages. These days as long as the show has good games and I can catch up with mates I’m happy; I don’t usually buy much at shows. This time I only bought a couple of Early War Miniatures WW2 French machine gun and mortar carts. I did however collect some railway tracks off Andy at Last Valley and a load of miniatures which my friend Barry had painted for me. I think everyone in our little party made some purchases, and Mark was like a kid in a sweet shop faced with all the games and traders. 

I took a great many photos, most of which can be seen below. If I missed anyone I apologise. I won’t caption what follows as there are too many.

Dastardly and Mutley.

Back to some frenzied painting of stuff now before we go away again at the end of next month, and with a bit of luck there’ll be another game next weekend. 

Last Saturday’s game will be written up and posted here as soon as I can.