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