Saturday, 31 December 2011

Year's End Reflection

The time for contemplation....again, The wargaming year in review for 2011

I guess with the new year, it is natural to look upon the past 12 months to see if all those promises, desires and wargaming pleasures have been fulfilled. Hmmm.

On the plus side I have good health. Except for somewhat poorer eyesight. Age, I guess.
On the negative, I don't game as much as I would like. I mostly solo to be honest. I have a big table but not time to culture a gaming group. I think I was too late for “I own a large table and big room. Come and we can use it.” Too many of the older guys already have them set up and a regular group.

However with age and within the hobby for over 30 years, I have collected huge numbers of figures and big armies. I rarely can have a game with any more than twice a decade it would seem. Not only that, I have about half in 15mm and the other half in 28mm not counting the various other naval, air and miscellaneous periods and 'projects' I have dabbled in. It is nice to see all the stuff I have painted yet extremely frustrating that I can not use them on a regular basis. Loving it all and much time passing gathering up the pewter has conspired to put me in this spot. However selling any of it is, at this stage, unthinkable.

But, of course, I still collect more. I have not gone to totally zero buy mode, but I have moderated the purchasing to very few. I still love the thrill of getting the package in the mail. Like a kid at Christmas. Silly for an old guy, but there you go.
I have been trading a little bit lately however, trading stuff I will NEVER get to, for stuff I may LIKELY. While the mail costs are there, the trades are fair and both sides benefit. Another man's junk is your treasure as it were. Thus I am consolidating many of the 'projects' . They are bigger, but less of them.

So what are these “projects”? Well, the War of 1812 continues to capture my attention. Just bought some sailors for additional land actions. Let's see: 2 big US regiments, 3 British, sailors; say 180 or so to go - so far , but that is expected to grow.
Then the SYW with Hessian, Brunswick and Hanoverian forces [near 900 in total]. These are done but to fight them is the French; primered and waiting in boxes (for 14 years!) to be painted. 17 battalions of 12 , with 16 squadrons of 4 cavalry. Do the math yourself...I don't want to scare myself. [Artillery already done however, whoo hoo] . I have a special imagi-nation collection which is growing but not getting painted. The French in America AWI at Savannah force only half done and not ready yet. And smaller (ahem) collections for DBA style games perhaps which have not been out of the blisters yet. (sigh) Oh , I forgot my c.1690 collection. It is big also. Needs some more cavalry though (sigh, again). And I have many more interests but you get the idea.
only some of the boxes full of my painted 28mm

That was only the 28mms. For my 15mm, I have a large Zulu type contingent to paint; many more DBA armies; and some extra units to a large ACW Fire and Fury force, both North and South which has not been used for a couple of years. Did I mention my 1859 armies? Both painted collections are over 1,200 strong.
...and yes, only some of the containers full of my painted 15mm armies

Do we think the man with 40 fast, expensive cars in his driveway with only the ability to drive only one at a time, a silly person?

Anyway, I will putter away at getting some of this done, and played with, during this new year. I will not promise anything more. Doesn't hold long anyway........

Friday, 30 December 2011

"Battle of Raymond" part 3

This is the continuing narration of my fictional War of 1812 battle I am playing albeit sporadically.
As we left the scene last, the remainder of the Kentucky militia full of piss and vinegar (read: bourbon whiskey!) before the British artillery delivered deadly canister fire, fell back and upon further reflection decided they had enough fighting for one day and promptly routed (militia with too many Disorder markers and no courageous leader to over come any, even moderate, dice rolls)
The American center with the routing Kentuckians, the American General (left) and the 21st Infantry moving up (bottom right)

The 44th Infantry decimated, also routed leaving its wounded colonel to be captured by the British. It may have been a "well, he wanted to be the THAT position so he can darn well stay there! I am not staying to help and get shot" attitude by his troops. Their rout also had the US Rifles who were supporting them also run and so no troops remained on the British side of the stream.

Meanwhile on the American right flank, the fast moving NY Regiment of Militia marched in good formation in column right up to the British skirmishers holding the ford and started taking fire. The politician colonel who believed a heroic military career will launch his political aspirations perhaps even to the Presidency (hell, it usual works in American politics, don't it?!) almost took a bullet (one pip from being wounded!) and froze. [note: more precisely me, as I could not decide the units course of action and so transferred this indecisiveness to this poor colonel]  The command roll was good however and the regiment merely halted in good order.  Nevertheless the Brigadier General raging at the colonel's impetuous march that would have the militia before the regulars and not supporting them.  (the rules have all militia move their entire distance - how did I know I would roll double sixes in successive turns!)   He sent his aide to bring them back but apparently the aide's horse must have stumbled in rabbit holes as he moved only 4 inches with 3d6! [I seem to rolling hot then cold a lot in this game]
The New York Regiment of Militia. [*see uniform info below]    To the left of the NY boys is my 16th Regiment in their early war black faced red uniform with gray trousers.  Sated my desire to paint Prussian Napoleonic troops you understand!

In the center, the Army General tried to bring order to the routing Kentucky militia and in spite of his lack of command dice help, meanwhile the well-trained American artillery batteries were unlimbered near the bridge in a small 'grand battery' ready to bring fire upon the British defensive line; and the 21st and 23rd Infantry finally started arriving.

The day was not lost, and in fact only beginning, an aide reminded him.
American artillery ready to fire {Old Glory early war artillery men with Front Rank (?) French gun models. Oversized by a bit, but I love the bulk of them.  Limbers are old Connoisseur British ones I believe.}

[*Apparently the early regulation uniform of the State Infantry was similar to the First Issue of the Federal regulars but differed in having a brass rather than white metal shako plate and red over white plumes.  The coatee had red turnbacks and the backpack was painted black not light blue. I painted the pantaloons grey. The flag is a NY militia flag captured in the historical battle of Queenston Heights in 1812.]

Saturday, 24 December 2011

"Battle of Raymond" part 2

I played out a couple of turns of this solo fictional battle using my own rules which I have described earlier.  I think they really reflect the chaos of battle, the lack of motivation by troops once engaged or even disorganized by terrain, shell or lack of training.  Only the best of troops have any chance of success.
While I am perhaps odd in the wargaming field to have no qualms about spending hours painting figures of militia who will stand little chance of glory on the tabletop, I understand it would be little fun to most wargamers who are, well, gamers, and want some chance of success and most rules allow for.  Me? Well, I think it realistic for units to up and run away with only a few shots their way.  Happened all the time in historic battles.  I enjoy writing up the history of a fictional battle and noting all the events.  Which leads me back to the topic at hand.

While the set up is a scenario for an American Civil War battle (great for War of 1812 by the way, the small affairs as mostly regimental in size, with very little cavalry for the most part) the actions of the units are up to "the chart" and the dice with some interesting results

The photo shows the early events of the engagement
To the left the main British line behind a stone wall ready to fire upon the US 44th Inf. Regt. crossing the bridge (center of the photo) who are chasing the Upper Canadian Lincoln Militia who were posted at the bridge but were forced back by the US 1st Rifles (seen fording the stream to the north of the bridge).

To the upper left of the photo, the British 8th Foot Regt. awaits the American flanking movement whose regiments are seen on the top of the photo. The American guns were way back in the advance and are still moving into position (center right).

Finally the Kentucky militia are seen at the lower right of the photo, charging in mass, across the stream toward the British battery represented by one gun. (*note that artillery was sparse in the War of 1812 and in the largest of campaigns, Niagara 1814, both sides only used half-batteries of 2 or 3 guns as tactical elements)

Kentucky volunteers led by its civilian dressed colonel.  Knuckleduster "Frontier Militia, advancing" with the colonel a heavily converted Old Glory "Pres. Madison".    Painted and converted by me

The Kentucky boys must have been encouraged by much Bourbon whiskey {I rolled lots of 6's for their maneuver!} as they chanced a direct charge {I again rolled double 6's and according to the rules, militia MUST move the entire distance} to the guns.  The first regiment was shot to heck and the others fell back quickly.  "I's saw the boys in front get felled down like corn stalks and I sobered up real quick like", said one survivor.

While this disaster was afflicting the American left, and the regiments of the right were not yet in position to advance upon the defended ford, the Colonel of the yet unsupported 44th Regt., perhaps to prove the martial spirit of his unit {yes, you guessed again, yet another 6 rolled...I have never thrown so many in my life I can assure you!} ...and with the pluses of being regulars with no disorder or hits, the large maneuver number and indeed the necessity of getting to the other side of the stream, made up the Colonel's mind.  It proved folly as "the most beautifully conducted fire I had witnessed" completely destroyed the unit in minutes. Again I rolled a 6 --- for hits which produce DPs; get enough and casualties happen --- every second dice!  With the British veteran 1st Foot and the Upper Canadian militia assisting well, the ground was covered in the bodies of the 44th and it's colonel wounded.

The British line held and the initial American attacks were handedly destroyed.  Will the American commander attempt more attacks, await his reinforcements all the while the day grows shorter, or call off the bloodshed?  Stay tuned.

I conclude with another picture of the Perry British limber team. Very nice model. 

and the British 100th Regiment of Foot in reserve.  The pant color in the photo appears bluish but they are painted mid-gray I can assure you.  They are led by a mounted Victrix colonel.  Slightly proportionally smaller than the Old Glory rank and file he leads and no doubt well matched to the latest Perry work , it is a very nice model and I think one of the finer sculpted horses on the market.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

My table filled again

the grand advance of the American forces
For many days my wargaming table was left clear of all terrain and figures.  It seemed very empty and I felt it psychologically.  Of course I did have more pressing items to do but I really did need to fill it.  While my interest wondered to doing a large DBA Zulu battle using 15mms (which I haven't finished painting yet - another time to tell that story), I really did not have the need to place on the table another of my interests so the War of 1812 again occupied the spotlight.

In this case, a ACW scenario by Paul Stephenson for the Battle of Raymond found in an old wargaming magazine (bathroom reading) was the catalyst for the fictional encounter.  I will play it out over the next few weeks. The following are a few pictures (albeit poor) of the game.

The British 8th Foot with the officer trying to read the General's ADC's handwriting...
The U.S. 28th (foreground) and 17th Inf. Regts. moving to the ford on right flank
This engagement is the initiation of the new American limber team. It is modified from the Perry British team (I removed one set of horses/rider to make 3 rather than two teams-otherwise too large in scale for the tabletop I feel).  I removed the British heads and replaced with American ones and trimmed a bit of lace.  Perhaps the Americans would not have the swords but no doubt the regulations would have them, so... The limber is French, the Americans using their model.
the Perry British version (sans one set of horses/rider)
The main British defensive line

  I have the next two weeks off for the holiday break but really intend to work hard in getting lots of painting in for a few fellow wargamers whose work is much over due.  I might just try to get some of my pile done too!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

the Monday WW2 game

Chris Oakley was kind enough to forward a compilation picture of the WW2 game held on Monday night in honor of Dave's birthday [not that he will ever grow up but that is another matter! ;-) ]  It was a quick think scenario of 'flag' in which both the Russians and Germans {early war} were trying for each others supply depots.  Both tried a left flank charge and a right flank hold with a result of a big tank fight in the middle. Both armored forces were destroyed as were the assaults.  A draw.  Some of the 15mm figures were painted by me years ago and are in the collection of Francis Monroe of the FLGS Imperial Hobbies, who hosted the game.  
Note: the Russian "land yacht" is some early war monstrosity. Yup, the Germans took it out too!

Friday, 2 December 2011

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

My "Grand Alliance/1690ish" collection

I actually do have other collections than my War of 1812 stuff. Actually many more.  That is what happens when you have been at it for more than 30 years and love all eras of human conflict , have the crow's love of shiny new things, and have the attention span of a ferret.

I cleaned off the table of the terrain I set up for the previous War of 1812 fictional battles I played and decided to lay out my Grand Alliance/1690ish collection for a, well, grand review.  This collection started small but expanded (as all my collections tend to do)

It began as "the other side" for a friend's Highlander's force to do the historical Battle of Killiekrankie 1689.  This we did at the local convention. I based them as he did and continued, as it looked good. However I had more of the figures left over and thought to do the Battle of Sedgemoor of Monmouth's Rebellion of the same year - having many 'rebel' looking extras and all.  Then Mark Allen came out with a very nice series in Wargames Illustrated about James's Irish army and some other figures I had  from a club's failed pirate game were repainted to become non-red clad British units of the Glorious Rebellion and thus were added in William III's Irish campaign and ....well you get the picture.  It is a very diverse collection.

So here it is in picture:
The "Irish" horse of James' army in Ireland (back to front): James' Horse Guards; Lord Galmoy's; Sarfield's

James' Irish infantry ( below:clockwise from left top): Louth's; Grand Lord Prior's; Lord Bellew's; Antrim; Irish Guards; O'Neill's  [all figures are Dixon's]
The Monmouth Rebels (also will be used as poorly equipped Irish) This picture shows the three "regiments" of Monmouth's Rebellion fighting at Sedgemoor. The Blue (top), Green and Red Regiments respectfully.  In truth perhaps not even colored flags distinguished these formations historically.  Certainly nothing does in mine!

The British foot regiments of Sedgemoor (front to rear): Trelawney's "Queen's Consorts"; Kirke's "Queen's Dowager's"; Dumbarton's "Royal Scots"; The Foot Guards; The Coldstream Guards; Scots Fusiliers(they did not fight at Sedgemoor) 

Three units of the Dutch-Scots Brigade which fought (and ran!) at Killiekrankie: Balfours'(top); Ramsey's; and Mackay's. I painted them in a different shade of red than my usual for the British as they were paid by the Dutch.  Many of the Dutch became British again under the Dutch, now British monarch, William.  You will have to read up on the era yourself as the politics of this era is really hard to explain! 

William III's Infantry (from left bottom clockwise): William's Dutch Foot Guards (note: flag is incorrect and as it is but the only Dutch unit in my collection it might well get repainted!). Continuing up from the left: the white coated Huguenot* regiments of Metoniere and DuCambon, Tiffin's Regt (later the 27th Foot) [in the upper right of the photo]; Luttrell's (later the 19th Foot) and [lower right] Earl of Bath's Regt (later the 10th Foot).  These latter two are in their earlier un-red uniforms of the Glorious Revolution and may(?) be have been in red by the time of the Irish War. [*The Huguenot's were French fighting against Louis XIV reign and were in Dutch employ fighting in Ireland for the British...don't you just love the politics of this era!!]

Monday, 7 November 2011

Lyon's Mill or 2nd Smythville - fictious game part 2 -the battle

"We was all trotting at a pace", wrote Sam O'Man of the U.S. Twenty-First Infantry Regiment in his biography, "the Rifles ahead of us had fallin back and those grey fellers with fur caps continued to pepper us with shots.  I was a couple a paces to the right of the Colonel who roared, "At 'em Boys!!"  "I looked to over to the right and the Twenty-Third was keepin pace.  The hill, which was the object of our'n charge now was suddenly topped by men in grey coats.  The Colonel, he yells, "Not'n but damn militia Boys!"  But them militia cool as ice, without a sound, lowered their muskets for a grand volley.  We was shook and kinda stopped in our tracks. Another volley hit us hard. Exclaims the Colonel, "They are regulars, by Golly!!"
The U.S. Twenty-Third Infantry Regiment (the markers showing its disorder)

Outnumbering the British 49th Foot (for which I modelled grey greatcoats which they historically wore at the real battle of Crysler's Farm - see my 28th September post) the two American units could not shake off the initial disorder from the directed skirmish fire of the Voltigeurs (in their grey uniform and bearskin caps) and the 49th which had taken a reversed slope position ala Wellington.

The same scenario played out on what will become 'Red Hill' to the locals from its blood stained grass as its eastern slope was again scene to heavy casualties.  Again the US Rifles were beaten back by the Voltigeurs and exposed the two columns of the First and Forty-Fourth Infantry Regiments to the volleys of the British de Meuron Foot.  However, these two units stayed on the slope pointing shots up hill until the Rifles abandoned the fight knowing they could not counter the British de Watteville Regiment marching to their flank. 
the US 21st and 23rd amass in the upper left of the picture while the British 49th has the reversed slope position (upper right) with the General on the crest and Voltigeurs covering the left and the shift of the deWatteville Regiment (lower center)  in road column marching past Lyon's Mill building (center)

"We were beat. Simple as that.", was the conclusion of the American General's ADC, Lt. J.R. Ewing.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

More Ghoulish

While my "Lundy Lane Cemetery" has a couple of seemingly new graves within, in 'honour' of Halloween yesterday, I believe my most 'ghoulish' wargame object would be my "after the battle cleanup" stand.
In previous eras, humans were more pragmatic and would remove valuable clothing from the bodies. The dead were, I believe, ancients nude skirmishers, and are carried by a 17th century artilleryman (Foundry I think).

Nevertheless it forms a tabletop decoration for my Grand Alliance c.1690 collection. 
[Yes I have more, much more (!) than the War of 1812]

Friday, 28 October 2011

Lundy Lane's Cemetery

Well, as it is nearing Halloween, and I just happened to finish this terrain piece (spending only a few minutes on it at a time, usually having only a couple of minutes between other more important activities) I thought I would put the fictional battle on hold [still on the table mind you] and present this piece.
At the Battle of Lundy's Lane in July 1814, the British held a position on a rise along said path which included an orchard, a log church, and accompanying cemetery.  The British artillery took a position in or near the graveyard and was involved in hand-to-hand fighting which lasted well after dark.  Thus for any re-creation of the battle one simply MUST have to have such a terrain piece!

I do not know the manufacturer of the tombstones but they were of metal and I do remember primering them way back in the summer!   There is very little to no information on the size or look of the cemetery; whether indeed it had wood or stone fences or indeed any at all.  An illustration in Lossing's book has it overgrown but that was half a century later so really no help there. 
However, battle histories do not indicate it was a fortress or indeed much of an impediment and so I did not want an indication of high walls or fences for players/troops to fight over.  Thus, I used some 15mm resin stone walls to give it a perimeter but no defensive capabilities.  Again having no historical basis to abide to I simply used a scrap piece of hardboard (1/8" thickness as are all my bases) which I thought might do the trick.
I show a British artillery piece within as a kinda 'got lucky' indication because it was only after all the walls were glued, the headstones positioned, and the "dirt" in place, and the grass put on, that I remembered about the artillery deploying within.  Thankfully two or three guns can be placed any point including between the headstones. Whew.
I did not put much on the way of additional ground cover as the British artillery bases will be placed within and did flat ground. However, rather a bit ghoulishly(?) I made two of the graves rather fresh by drybrushing a lighter colour on top of sightly built-up soil.  While giving the headstones a wash these two pieces came off rather lighter in shade than all the others and so did not appear so weathered and thus more recently employed? 

Sunday, 23 October 2011

2nd Smythville - the opening moves

Coming home late from work tonight (well technically this morning!) I decided to unwind with a couple of the opening moves of this fictitious battle I had set up.  Obviously most often these operations consist of skirmishers moving up and artillery firing. No change of procedure here.

The US First Rifles had a time of it against the experienced Glengarries and (mainly due to poor dice rolls on my part) were sent off.  One group not helped by the disordering effects of the British rockets. "That dang thing almost burnt a hole in my green huntingshirt!" recalled an indigent American rifleman.

A word on the rockets in my games.  They have been the source of much amusement by all who have employed them.  Because of their historical dubious accuracy record but ease of fire, I have the following rules employed.  Each turn the battery is allowed two launches each turn vs the one by artillery guns.  For each 6 inches ( the distance to the target is originally estimated by the player beforehand) a 1d6 is rolled. Basically the player can 'cut the fuse' himself when the rocket will exhaust itself. On a 2 to 5 the rocket flies directly to its intended target but on a 1 the rocket veers 45 degrees to the left and on a 6, 45 degrees to the right.  Obviously the more distant the target, the more chance the rocket may veer off course.  However, should the rocket fly over any unit, that unit will be disordered, or in the rules I currently employ, it gains one more disorder point. The rockets are scary stuff to be sure.   Should the rocket be fortunate to land directly upon a unit, that unit will take a casualty/stand loss.
my hex shaped rocket directional marker

Well, the opening rocket salvos were entertaining (as they tend to be!) The first was effective landing directly upon the company of US rifles and furthering their hasty withdrawal. The second firing however veered right and disordered the 49th Foot and almost took off the head of the aide of the British General who, upon looking at the shocked and indigent look of the poor aide, allowed him to race up to the offending rocket battery to order it too cease its firing.

However that would be not until the turn after, and the rocket battery commander ordered a second volley of rocket to be directed to the distant American advance.  This volley was even more comical than the first. The first rocket adroitly missed all the staggered deployed American units, while the second went immediately left and then straight as an arrow into the distance! 

We shall leave the battle at this point with the battle lines coming together as the US rifles did not do much damage to the British lines and the Glengarries, happy with their efforts, retired to the rear to allow the 49th and the deMeuron Regiments to crest their respective hills to pore fire upon the advancing American units.
the British 49th Foot reading for a volley

Monday, 17 October 2011

Lyon's Mill or 2nd Smythville - fictious game

Unsuccessful in their attack on Smythville using the "Kentucky Brigade" which mainly consisted of inexperienced militia, the Americans will make a second attack using better trained regulars and led by veteran U.S. Riflemen. I was too lazy to alter the terrain! :-)
Once again however, the British 19th Light Dragoons discovered the advance and gave warning which was confirmed by captured deserters.
The American plan was similar to the previous battle and had the US 1st Infantry Regiment and the US 44th attack the large hill defended by the Voltigeurs and the deMeuron Regiment
the US 44th Infantry Regiment
while the US 21st and 23rd Infantry Regiments are attacking the smaller hill occupied by the 49thFoot with the deWatteville Regiment in support.  Again the Voltigeurs were called up to give support to the defence in their skirmisher role.
the Canadien Voltigeurs skirmishing in front of the deMeuron Regt.

The British are well supported by a battery of rockets and howitzer.

British rocket battery using ground level troughs (my version) and yes, apparently the stabilizing sticks were painted red.  The rockets are scratch built using an old pen ink tube and a small ball bearings. The figures are regular Old Glory artillerymen.  Note the Royal Marine rocketeers employed on land apparently also wore the same uniform while the officers wore their traditional scarlet coats and tophats. (per Company of Military Historians)

The howitzer battery figures are Victrix covered in greenstuff to create overcoats.  Basically this was a practice trial using this modelling putty.  I don't think the attempt will threatened the livelihoods of any of the current modellers however!

One note on the uniforms.  You might have noted that the US 44th has French style backpacks.  Apparently these were not uncommon issue throughout the war and the 44th were noted specifically to be issued these [per Chartrand].  I like to make each regiment distinctive and with this in mind I removed many of the "Lherbette" knapsacks (canvas waterproofed painted a mid/light blue) on the Old Glory figures and replaced with available Victrix French plastic 'hairy' versions.

It might be further noted that the Americans used black leather straps for all their knapsacks regardless of type or if the regiment were supplied with buff (whitened) or black leather crossbelts.

Anyway, part two of the battle will be reported once played out - hopefully in the near future.

Friday, 14 October 2011

War of 1812 - a rant

Obviously I enjoy wargaming the War of 1812.  I like the period and the novelty of it.  I did not, repeat not, start this blog as a response to the anniversary of this conflict.  I was trying, one night and with perhaps too stiff a drink, to communicate with a friend through a blog comment (long story) but was frustrated by my un-registration.  So while trying to sign-up it said "want to blog? it's easy" or some such.  Having done a lot of my wargaming vicariously through other's blogs I decided to start my own.  Of course without any such plan or concept of what to say or convey.  I had an 1812 set up on the table top so started with that.

So really it was just a coincidence. 

But what really has me going is the news story that the Canadian government is going to spend 28 million dollars (currently the Cdn$ is near par with the US$) Yes 28 million! for "cultural activities" surrounding the 200 anniversary of the war.
#$*$@!! What the heck will all that money get us??  A couple of demos by a half-dozen fat reenactors looking confused on a field, randomly firing off a musket into the air and calling it a battle?!  Perhaps a small pamphlet , printed in the millions for the mere hundreds who might actually care to have one, the rest into land-fills at the cost of hundreds of thousands?  Flashy huge posters for the politicians to stand in front and give speeches of how it is to be Canadian, blah blah, and reading from a script written by the assistant who copied it from Wikipedia...
It will not give us value for money of course, and only if the government would just hand out copies of Pierre Burton's two-part set who wrote some very well writtenchapters on the very topic to those who care, we could save a ton of tax payers money.  Of course the government might turn around and spend the savings on the overblown celebrations of the importance of the beaver for our nationhood (no, I will not even contemplate what nonsense the assistant of the assistant deputy minister's sub-committee could come up with for that!) (they probably will google it and come up with porn...but I digress as usual)

For me I will wargame it a little, read some of the efforts of the few to defend their homes, give them a quiet thanks, and enjoy the hobby.  See, that did not cost the taxpayers a dime.

rant over
sorry for the inconvenience

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

de Salaberry

While it may be true that without British regulars Canada would no doubt have had much more difficulties defending itself, one battle in 1813, at Chateauguay, it was only Canadians, and mostly Quebecois (those from Lower-Canada) without help from the British, stood their ground against the American invasion force some five times their number.  The American commander Hampton, thinking the odds with him, had a French speaking officer ask, no doubt in the flowery speak of the day, to surrender. DeSalaberry, it was said, picked up a musket himself and shot the officer dead!
After a flank march across the river failed to dislodge the Canadians who had a position behind a small ravine and abattis (basically branches of trees piled up) and fearful of the Indians - actually only 22(!) but they came in and out of the forest so appeared to be hundreds - to fightened eyes-  and made a fearful whoop; that Hampton caved in and departed for winter quarters.

Most portraits of deSalaberry at the battle show him on a tree stump which I tried to replicate.  His uniform was that of a rifleman in green (although his unit -  The Voltigeurs, carried muskets only).  The rank and fife however wore a light gray rifles uniform with black trim and a fur covered pointed headdress.

This link provides info on this unit:

Here is DeSalaberry exhorting the troops:

Old Glory 28mm
 and kinda fuzzy.  Ebay fuzzy? ;-)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Laura Secord

In Canada, Laura Secord chocolate was a well-known brand name and gained it's name from the War of 1812 heroine who traveled through American lines, using the excuse of leading her cow to water, to inform the British of the imminent attack.  Or so the legend is told.
A premier Canadian historian, Pierre Burton, in one of the 'must-have' reference books on the War of 1812, "Flames Across The Border - 1813-1814" page 83 , goes into the details and some debunking of the myth.  However I had the milking-maid figure and acquired a very nice [if a very 'ripped'] cow miniature (unfortunately manufacturer unknown).  Well, what the heck, it makes for nice tabletop decoration.

"Laura Secord" guiding the troops

Friday, 7 October 2011

De Watteville Regt. : Further flag info

One of my readers, Ray, has asked for further references on this unit's colours:

There is a black and white illustration of the flag 'probably' carried by the de Watteville on page11 of the Osprey MAA 78 "Flags of the Napoleonic Wars vol.2
However no further information.

Lawson's "A history of the British Army" v.5 lists the colours of the Roverea flag.
  'White cross with black and red waves in the cantons. One side- within a green laural wreath a red medallion with the arms of Berne - a black bear on a gold 'Bend'.  Frederick-de Steiger, pere de la patrie - il en est le sauveur- - 'Honneur a la Vertu- Honte a la faiblaisse'.  On the reverse, canton colors reversed, wreath with ' Reunion des Suisse Fideles' inside and 'Dieu si la Patrie' surrounding.  On the cross ' Francis II - Paul I '- Amour de la Patrie' - ' A ses Librerateurs' - 'Teurreur au Crime' - pardon au Repentir'

He mentions the formation of the Watteville Regiment from the four Swiss regiments and say that Roverea's motto was adopted by de Watteville.  No mention of a new flag, so the old one may have been carried.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Flags of the British "Swiss" regiment of the War of 1812

I thought I would show you my versions of the flag from the two 'Swiss' regiments of British Foot which fought in North America (I was going to state "in Canada" but the de Meuron Regiment did join the advance to Plattsburgh in 1814, losing only 14 in that tepid campaign).  They differ from the usual British colours.

So here is the de Meuron colours, showing the typical Swiss 'flames' in the odd lime- green, black and yellow combination in the regimental flag. The King's Color has the Union Jack with the motto on the St James cross. Note hidden from view canton on the regimental flag has the Union Jack - which when seen makes for quite the hideous display! Osprey MAA335 has a good color illustration of it.

and here are the De Watteville colours (ah, flags) for the unit which had quite the bad luck at the siege of Ft Erie in 1814, having substantial casualties in a magazine explosion during a British attack.
The flags were, obviously, hand painted and photographed during games.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

War of 1812 - the *informative* video

Ooh, two entries in one day? 
Hmm, well it will cover me for past or future non-blogging times, I guess...

Anyway, this YouTube entry was noted by 'Ralphio' on the TMP and sums up well the normal knowledge most have on this war.


The Canadian Volunteers

The War of 1812 has a wealth of sartorial pleasures but also problematic gaps of information which, and only for the most obsessive of collectors/wargamers, can be frustrating. I have file boxes and library shelves full of uniform information. A hobby within a hobby. Please feel free to contact me should you need any particulars from virtually any conflict - I probably have something!  I have large files on, say the Crimea War yet have not one miniature from that conflict.  I may in future perhaps, but I like the collecting and knowing the uniforms.  Like I say, a hobby within a hobby.  While stating all that, I am not all that concerned if another wargamer uses Portuguese as Americans or whatever. I am not a button counter. I just enjoy exploring the differences in military dress.

This war was kinda small - not in terms of area - hundreds of miles were covered but the numbers were small.  But in this, is a wealth of wargaming entertainment as small groups can be put together for small skirmish-style affairs.  While I tend to go for the larger, battalion vs battalion actions; if low ratio of real strength to figures is your cup of tea, then this unit may be of interest.

On a war of 1812 newsgroup recently a fellow asked for help on the named unit. So I thought to share what I know.

The Canadian Volunteers fought on the American side.  They would led by Joseph Willcocks, a "disgruntled" newspaper editor and member of the House of Assembly and colleague, Benajah Mallory.(1)  They formed the "Canadian Volunteers" a small mounted unit , only some 50, was an irregular style group more bent on destruction and spying than fighting and did not enter U.S. service as a volunteer corps until April 1814. Before that time they wore civilian dress - probably more 'town-wear' than buckskins - with white cockades and green ribbons around their hats. After 1814 clothed in U.S. infantry uniform (recorded in September of that year)(2)

1- Pierre Burton, Flames Across the Border, p.81
2- Rene Chartrand, Uniforms and Equipment of the United States Forces in the War of 1812, pg. 54

Sunday, 2 October 2011

War of 1812 - a wargamers nightmare

OK, the War of 1812: note NOT the Campaign of 1812-- which Napoleon conducted in Russia in the same year; is a difficult one for the wargamer.  Why? Well, in most, if not all cases, each and every battle has different, and I mean different uniformed units in each battle.  Thus, as can be surmised, the wargamer must have a vast collection of units should he have the want to game the whole war.
I did not want, of course, to do this, but as fate would have.....

Some comment here: if one is collecting a French Napoleonic army say, a one regiment is no different than another (save the lettering on the flag of course). But the War of 1812 is different. Each battle has units which do not show in any other battle in the whole war.  Thus one must collect/paint units for one particular battle and that is it !  Unless one is as crazy as myself and decide to make the War of 1812 a primary task in my hobby.

Some additional comment is perhaps necessary. I HAD a War of 1812 collection that WAS reasonable.  BUT with some trades (long story there- perhaps another day) when the traders suggested what they had, I kept getting more and more 1812 types. Thus the collection expanded.

The War of 1812 is quirky and not well known thus has its own interest.

This war will not be the only one collection I will comment on but ...

take care,

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Battle of Smythville

A fictional game of the War of 1812:
(please note the 'fictional' part! So no complaining you can't find it on Wikipedia...)

"Who the blazes is knocking on the bloody door!" 
"Me Lord", his adjutant replies, "the Yankees are attacking"
"Yes, yes.  Let me get my trousers up"
The British 19th Light Dragoons
Somewhat later, the Major explains that the 19th Light Dragoons(1) posted to the west of the town had fought the advanced party of Kentucky mounted rifles leading a large force from that state.  The small contingent of the British cavalry had done a good job of holding up the Americans while alerting the camp of the attack.
"Well, tell the 49th to move with all haste and have the Swiss regiments(2) follow shortly.  Oh and send someone to tell the Glengarries (3) to keep lively but stay on the hill. They will guard the left flank. "

And so starts the grand novel I will duly write about this 'pivotal' battle of the war....or not....

If you really must know the AAR about this solo battle I conducted with a homebrew rules, themselves a knock-off and combination of Andy Callan's "Loose Files and American Scramble" and Paul Koch's command rules [both published in wargame magazines in the early 1990's]; then I will give you a brief history.

The units I choose were simply those in the top boxes at the time.  My 49th Foot I have a special affinity for as in the actual historical battle of Crysler's Farm, they wore their overcoats.  Now every manufacturer seems to love to create French Napoleonics in overcoats but British?! Nope. Thus I took my limited 'green stuff' modeling skills and, using the standard Old Glory British advancing pose, having removed the roll on the pack, I proceeded to wrap the putty around the figure. I first did the cape and later the cloak and finally enlarging the cuffs but leaving the arm intact.  Surprisingly, it went very well. I now have a unique unit no other wargamer has, at least in that exact detail anyway.
my British 49th Foot in Canada c1813

Oops I digress.
Back to the battle.
The veteran 49th quickly moved and formed line to face the masses of Kentucky militia moving, albeit in slow confusion, towards them. The British regiment of Swiss origin, DeWatteville, moved into position to their left and together started volley fire into the milling regiments of the American militia who quickly melted away.
the much depleted, retreating Kentucky militia [Knuckleduster figures] Note: the cannon balls are marking disorder - they have a lot of disorder being militia and all!
And yes the Glengarries had a big shoot out with the advancing US 28th Infantry Regiment (recruited in Kentucky, by the way - so this was an all Kentucky affair!) For three successive turns, these two units rolled dice and modifiers the same, thus producing much carnage and resulting in the survivors of both sides backing away.  However, the American/Kentucky grand attack was stopped and the British veterans commanded the field. 
the Kentucky officers are left contemplating the number of cannonballs (small ball-bearings used to indicate disorder and casualties) they have gathered over the duration of this losing battle.           [Limited Offer Lewis and Clark figures by Old Glory]
(1) the 19th was the only British regular cavalry unit assigned to Canada during the war and was used for scouting and courier duties for the main part.  The only recorded charge was by one small squadron during the Niagara campaign of 1814. It was beaten back by a company of American regulars.  No 3,000 strong heavy cavalry charges in this war!
(2)  There were two 'Swiss' units of British infantry in the war. The DeWatteville fought in the Niagara area, while the deMeuron Regt. joined the Plattsburgh force.  I like them 'cause of their cool flags!
(3) the Glengarries were a well-trained unit of Canadian Fencibles who wore British 95th Rifles uniforms but armed with muskets.
The British General with his adjutant, and well pleased with the performance of his regulars

Tuesday, 27 September 2011


I am big into the War of 1812.  It has all the color of Napoleonics but without all the cavalry and the French!  Well, OK, it is not Napoleonics, Not the tactics, certainly not the big battles and the cuirassier charges.  However, one can have big battalions as there were very few of them and Native woodland Indians if you so choose.  Commanding the Natives was the big motivator himself, Tecumseh. The 'Saviour of Canada' General Brock gave him the rank of Brigadier-General and apparently he wore that uniform (at least once, anyway)