Thursday 31 August 2023

More Displacement Activity - France 1940 and a Monster!

This monster is a Char 2C super heavy tank. Info here. Only 10 were built, (No.93 was named Alsace). They were mobilised as a single unit, the 51st Tank Battalion. The unit never saw action as they were essentially crap for a whole list of reasons. All bar one were lost or destroyed by their crews as they were withdrawn to safety, but No.99, Champagne, was captured more or less intact and taken to Germany. 

Thankfully for me someone else is a bit of Francophile when it comes to their early WW2 tanks and I picked up this slightly damaged 3D print a while back. 

Crew take a rest and slug some wine while tank is fixed.

It arrived with some track damage so I thought I’d not repair it all to represent the throwing of a track. 

The tank is 1/72 scale, as are the crew ( there were 12 in total) who are dwarfed by 
Champaign after its capture by the Germans in June 1940.

Armies of the Italian States, 1660 to 1690, Part 2. the Lesser States.

This is quite an appropriate book to commemorate Helion’s ‘Century of the Soldier’ series in reaching its incredible 100th publication! Bruno Mugnai’s latest is the second part and companion to the sixth volume in his superb series covering the ‘Wars and Soldiers in the Reign of Louis XIV’ with the ‘Armies of the Italian States, 1660-1690, Part One’. Part Two covers the armies of some of the lesser Italian States; the armies of Genoa, the Papal States, Tuscany, Parma, Modena, Mantua, Luca, the Order of St. John and other small states.

As with the preceding volume the book breaks down into sections covering the general geopolitical situation in Italy and then goes on to describe these states and their armies in some detail, certainly more than I have ever encountered in English. The second section looks at four so-called minor wars involving these states. Two sections are on the two Waldensian Wars, (a subject I am perhaps bizarrely quite familiar with, but these add more useful information) and the war waged by Savoy-Piedmont against Genoa, and the Venetians in the Holy League War fought against the Ottomans largely in Greece and Crete, which is probably my favourite section as it has answered several questions I had which were previously unanswerable, so thanks for that.

As readers of his other works can agree, the author is an accomplished artist, and in this volume there are seven pages of gorgeous specially commissioned colour paintings that deservedly take pride of place in the centre of the book, depicting a wide range of dress, uniforms and troop types. These are accompanied by more colour illustrations of flags carried by some of the armies and two contemporary colour paintings of two of the key personalities involved. There are also a large number of contemporary black and white images, and both these and the colour plates are each accompanied by a detailed and very helpful commentary. Going back to the colour images for a moment, I wonder how many soldiers of Tuscany kicked off about having to wear a complete suit of pink? I bet they were tough.

The book closes with several really useful appendices, the second of which is particularly fascinating.

As an inveterate admirer of Bruno’s work I can wholeheartedly recommend this book as it is yet another valuable addition to the series, whether for general historical and military research purposes or for wargamers searching for something by way of a different sort of project. I will certainly be painting up a unit in pink!

ISBN 978-1-804513-94-1, Soft back, 335 pages

Wednesday 30 August 2023

Todays stuff

Hectic day today in real life but I was still able to get these chaps based up.

Command stand for the Sikh Wars or maybe even the Crimea. The guy with the umbrella is a very very old Minifigs figure; a bit small but it works and brings back memories of over 50 years ago when I first had this casting.
Franco-Prussian War Artillery. At the front left we have a pair of 12-pdrs and then a pair of 4-pdrs . Behind, still minus their guns (yet), are more Prussian gunners. They’ll be united with their guns soon.

Same again. The French are Perrys and the Prussians North Star. My mate Barry painted them and all I did was base them up. I like them.

I wonder what I will get finished tomorrow? Have to see where my mood and time takes me.

A small addition to the Franco-Prussian War

Tuesday’s output is just these two stands for the FPW, both Eagles of Empire miniatures. I quite like them, and as displacement activity to avoid the Russians not bad. It will be Russians tomorrow though……

Here they are.

This is Commandant Berbegier based on the painting by Eduard Detaille depicting said Commandant’s demise at the battle Gravelotte in 1870. I might redo the horse as it’s a grey in the painting, but probably not.  
Bavarian General von Der Tann. Equally useful for either 1870/71 or earlier in the Austro-Prussian War 1866.
The original.

Monday 28 August 2023

More odds and ends - Fall of France.

I was able to clear another few square inches off my painting desk yesterday when I completed these bits n pieces for my France 1940 collection. They’re all 20mm, and with the exception of the refugees are all from Early War Miniatures super range of French troops for the fall of France.

Refugees to add to the others I have ready to make an appearance. I can’t remember where I got these but they are metal rather than resin 3d prints.

On the left is a cavalry medium machine gun cart. I suppose this means I. Red to do some cavalry? Of course it does! On the right a limbered 25mm AT gun, destined for my Tirailleurs Algerien or Senegalese.

These four are an assortment of mortar or infantry supply carts, again for my French.

Not too bad for a wet Bank Holiday Sunday. That is probably enough displacement activity and I really should get on with basing the 10 battalions of early Napoleonic Russians; maybe I should clear a few more square inches off my desk before heading down that road?

Friday 25 August 2023

Odds and Ends

The sun total of this week’s output are these additional command figures for my Bismark’s Wars collection. Not my finest but at least they done and passable.

Von Bredow of his ‘Death Charge’ fame (Eagles to Empire figures)

Prussian dragoon officer (North Star) with a young lady in the dress of the Guard Hussars (Can’t remember the name of the company but they were I. The US and I believe are no longer trading).

Blurred French General for the FPW

Austrian chap more appropriate for 1859 but he will do fine for 1866.

Perry Prussian Napoleonic general I think with the epaulettes shaved off, extorting his man to finish the Frenchman off as they do t like it up ‘em. (Eagles to Empire).

Hardly the most productive of weeks but there is loads almost finished. I have based up the first of the Russians but they need sanding and flocking etc. to finish them off.

Hopefully I will be able to engineer enough time this weekend to get cracking on clearing the ‘almost completed’ stuff off my rather cluttered painting desk so I can start on some more Russians.  I might also investigate buying a new camera and/or a new printer, but a bit strapped for cash after being away. 

All back to normal state of confusion and dithering. 

Monday 21 August 2023

More Progress: Early Napoleonic Russian Update

 A very quick and short post to show how my 1807-1809 Russians are getting along.

They’re not finished yet obviously but almost there; flags ready, basing to do and a coat of varnish and Ivan’s your uncle. Nine battalions including two jäger and the grenadiers of another two battalions are shown here, half of which were painted for me by Chris Brack of Marching in Colour.  I’ve already finished two half batteries of artillery so their other halves will be started shortly. Then it’ll be time to work on the other 10 infantry battalions, more artillery and a bit of cavalry and commanders.

Sunday 20 August 2023

A fantastic game to come home to! Napoleonics in 54mm.

On Saturday I got my first game in for several weeks due to gadding about in India again, when Steve came up with his wonderful 54mm Napoleonic French, Russians and Prussians armies to run a Sharpe Practice game. Conrad, Paul and Shaun were the French while Dave, Nigel and myself were the allied force. I played the Russians and the other two were the more numerous Prussians, but I was CinC.  It was to be a meeting engagement, a clash of vanguards. The Russians were deployed on our long table edge in the centre while the Prussians would be arriving on the road to my left on the short table edge. Most of the enemy would enter more or less opposite the Russians while the remainder arrived on the road on the other short table edge. Neil and Steve  ran the game as the rest of us had either never played before or were very rusty. So in the usual time honoured tradition here are some photos which I hope help convey the spectacle.

General Barclay de Tolly the allied commander (me).

Russian cuirassiers.

The French light cavalry and attached horse artillery.

Conrad’s shirt in stark contrast to the advancing Young Guard in the centre.

Shaun’s light infantry make an entrance.

One group of French legeres made it to the enclosed garden around the Manor House on our extreme left.

Cossacks! Bullet magnets, which was the plan.

Shaun’s infantry shake out into line.

A group of my Russians. These are laser PLA printed scaled up from 28mm files. Awesome!

One of the Russian commanders, at the head of the Russian infantry.

The Young Guard advance. Would they be able to crush my outnumbered Russians before the Prussians arrived. 

More of the Young Guard.

And more….

N. Buonaparte, sometime dictator of the French leading his troops from the front.

The Prussians arrive.

Landwehr cavalry.

French Light Horse lancers under Paul’s command head out to intercept the Prussian cavalry 

French Horse artillery, unloaded with Prussian cavalry getting very close.

The Landwehr cavalry had been hit by the enemy artillery so these uhlans moved ahead to cover them

More Prussians arrive!

I pushed my Cossacks and cuirassiers over the stream together with some jäger to slow down Shaun’s troops hoping to prevent them from interfering with the allied attack on their main body under Conrad. They were going to suffer but it would be worth it.

The French centre keeps on with its advance…..but very slowly.

The is out of sequence but shows the earlier arrival of the Prussians.

These are simply gorgeous.

Even my Gnome Guard got into the action 🤣🤣🤣

A fierce melee took place when the French interrupted a Prussian charge. The French were defeated and their commander wounded which had major consequences for the French cavalry.

Nigel’s jäger were now, close enough to take some pot shots at Conrad’s French.

The Prussians press on.

Napoleon was plagues by an unfortunate run of tokens and some low dice scores meaning they struggled to cover much distance. They were now engaged by the Prussians and Russians and taken damage.

The Landwehr cavalry - awesome.

A view of the table showing the Prussians closing in on the French.

Prussians again.

Russian infantry. They did sterling work shooting up the French under Conrad until their muskets became fouled.

Heroic Russians.

Landwehr advance.

Lovely, what more to be said?

The French in the centre under Conrad were struggling against the Prussians who had charged and driven back their adversaries after a full-on bayonet charge and some fairly effective Russian musketry.

Prussian attack column piling in.

More Prussian infantry; the second wave.

Over on our left the Cossacks had been driven off by Shaun’s light infantry battalion and his skirmishers, although the Russian jager were holding their own in the wood. My cuirassiers’ mere presence was causing the French to hold back lest we find out how effective or not they might be if I ordered them to charge. Having fought to the last Cossack I didn’t wish to loose these fine chaps.

Close up of these very splendid miniatures.

Paul’s other cavalry regiment was broken after being charged by Dave’s uhlans. Conrad’s centre was going nowhere and was under pressure from the Prussian and Russians and Shaun’s flank was stuck due to the presence of my cavalry which made advancing too risky. So a convincing allied victory was declared. The man of the match award went to to Dave and his Prussian cavalry who contributed so much to our victory. 

This was a tremendously fun game, to play and also visually. Steve says he’s not quite got the hang of painting 54mm figures yet but I shall leave you dear readers to be the judge of that. Steve and Neil should given a special mention and a big bunch or flowers and box of chocolates for so successfully herding half a dozen players who were unfamiliar with the rules. I’m not a big fan of skirmish games but Sharpe Practice are actually easy to pick up and play so long as someone can crack the whip to keep us under control…..not an easy task.