Wednesday, 26 April 2017

ACW - Fox's Gap, 1862

We make a habit of playing several games of a period or ruleset over a month at my local club - that means we all get a chance to take part, all get a chance to remember the rules and usually have a big game on a Sunday as well. 

This month it's been the turn of ACW - something we have not played for a while. We gave Mr Lincoln's War a go. These are an excellent set for simulating how battles were fought - but the text is. To easy to follow and for a club game they are a little restricted for an evening. 

We gave Regimental Fire and Fury a go next. Concerned we would need big units we made the decision to count our 40mm sq bases as two stands. That made a significant difference and we got to grips with things very easily in the following games. Now we use a casualty marker to represent the loss of a stand and take a base off once two stands are killed. 

Last night we refought Fox's Gap - a battle from the South Mountain series of engagements in 1862 between McClellan and Lee using a scenario from online. With a couple of brigades and a short duration it was the perfect Tuesday night battle.

The Union player (me!) waited until his full force was available before making a concentrated push for the crest. With hindsight this may have left things a little late,  but the Confederate fire was so hot (several repeated 10 's for effectiveness) that the union was thrown back.  As the second brigade came on and started to advance up the slope it was clear there wouldn't be enough time to press the attack on the outnumbered Reb's and they claimed victory. 

Had we had a few more turns I'm fairly certain the union would have pushed them back, much as their historical counterparts did. 

We had a great game and everyone is fairly up to speed with the rules now and happy with the set we have chosen to stick with. Below are some "aged" piccies. Hope you enjoy. 

Sunday's big game will also be ACW.

Confederate on the left, Union right 

Union first assault on the head of the pass.

Waiting over the crest.


The fight for the northern edge of the field, near the Wise House.

Towards the end of the game, the first federal attack halted, while to the rear, the second federal brigade begins to arrive and deploy.

Monday, 17 April 2017

GNW Russian Gun... and IPod and some Sugar Island Garrison!

Just finished painting some rather nice Casting Room Miniatures, (i.e. Foundry). These are from the Marlburian range but are a nice little set.


I'm really not sure what the officer is looking's a strange looking book....more like iPod ! He must be googling battalion gun ranges !!

Looks like I forgot some buttons on the gunner with the ball...grrrr!

Also managed to base my Crann Tara Regiment Hallwyl and Compagnie Franches figures. The latter are some new figures Graham has been working on and are part of a small range which he is putting together which will compliment my Sugar Islands project perfectly. 



Friday, 7 April 2017

And now the 19th....

We have had a few ACW games at the club - a few of us have armies and scenery and it's been a while since we played. As always the question of rules comes up and we thought it time to have another crack at Mr Lincoln's War.


These are a set of rules which set out to recreate the systems and tactics of the Civil War. They're not a fast play set and take a bit of getting used to but boy do they look the part.


But, and there is a but, they don't exactly clip along. And they are difficult to learn. Rewarding, yes but perhaps not for a club night.  So next week we will try the more playable but less realistic Regimental Fire and Fury. 


I have heard of a set called Gettysburg Soldiers which seem good and I am planning to add a set to the rules shelf in the future.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Back to the 18thC

Last week I received a package from Graham at Crann Tara Miniatures with some new figures he has been working on - Compagne Franches de la Marine in "summer" uniform.

These chaps are commonly referred to as French Marines, but they are not. Although they may have served on ships the "Marine" part of their title refers to the section of the french government which dealt with overseas colonies. These troops were raised to provide garrisons for these colonies and to support any local militia. I'd prefer calling them Colonial troops, but this is confusing too as it suggests "foreign" regiments to a British audience!

Anyway, now we know what we're talking about. The summer uniform is simply the troops discarding their uniform coat and wearing their long sleeved waistcoat. Although we think of waistcoats as being unsleeved, in this period they could be either.

These figures are wearing the soft fatigue cap with its long, tasseled, tail and front peak with a yellow band of tape and french cross. Equipment is light too, just a musket and pouch. Travelling light in the summer heat of Canada, or in the case of these troops intended posting - the Caribbean, is essential.

So what of the figures themselves.


Well these are just samples and amongst the first castings produced but they are what you'd expect from Crann Tara. Nice clean well proportioned castings. Simple and easy to paint whatever your style. The poses are perfect for skirmish games - advancing, standing firing , kneeling firing and reloading. There is an NCO whom I will be using as a standard bearer but could equally be pointing while grounding his musket and pointing. Finally there is a very useful officer who could serve in a variety of nations.

Crann Tara figures are realistically proportioned and come in about 1/56 scale. This makes the, slimmer than 28's. However these and Minden are probably the finest 18th century figures out there. These new figs are very nice too. At first I thought the heads seemed a little small but once undercoated and painted they looked right - the soft cap instead of the tricorn probably made the difference more apparent than real.

I had a crack at one of them on Sunday. Painted up with a black undercoat, Prussian blue and then royal blue with a blue ink wash. Actually I think a white undercoat would suit these best. I mocked up a flag and popped it on and overall I am happy with the finish.


Graham tells me that troops in tricorns should be next - brilliant! They'll make a good mix for the unit and add some irregularity.

They also make pretty good Russians in Summer dress too!

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Some Ancients Games - Magnesia

We like to try to stick to a single set of rules for a few weeks at my local club. This lets everyone get use to the rules and the period and get into it, before we move off into something different. With a couple of members really just kicking off their armies it helps to give them something to keep the painting going. For the rest of us it saved having to remember of this week if numbers are good, do we get saving throws and how far do things move!

With a couple of buckshee weekends I've been able to get back to playing Ancients. My first attempt was scuppered when I had to deal with a work emergency and nearly had to fly off that afternoon, but I've managed four games since which have more than made up for it.

The culmination of this was last Sunday's refight of Magnesia.  This battle effectively spelled the end of the territorial ambitions of the successor kingdoms and brought Rome armies to the eastern Mediterranean. The Seleucid army was defeated by the Romans in a battle which saw pikemen, scythed chariots, celts, elephants and cataphracts clash with the three lined Roman republican legion and its Latin allies.


This refight of the battle was a short notice affair because of some unexpected free time last sunday. So armies were quickly put together and some stand ins were required. However the key elements were all present and we got kicked off with an attack on both flanks from the Selucids.

Quite quickly the attack on the right got bogged down with the Cataphracts and Aegma becoming tangled up with the Latins. This ground on slowly for the most of the battle. Neither side gaining the upper hand until quite late in the day. Whilst the Seleucid cavalry failed to defeat their foe, they were able to tie up large numbers of the Romans which kept the Phalanx secure from attacks on its own flank.


On the left the seleucids swept away the enemy light cavalry and infantry and that side became a swirling series of melees which drew in the Pergamene troops as well. Again neither side had the upper hand for much of the battle, but as it drew to its close it seemed the Seleucids were starting to edge ahead.



When the two central portions of the armies clashed the Seleucids pushed their elephants out just ahead of the phalanx. Faced with these creatures there was little the romans could do but hang on and hope their multi line formation could soak up the damage. However the pike versus legion combats seem to grind away with the phalangites slowly losing an extra casualty here or there, succumbing to the effective gladius in the press of melee. And so it was with this fight. At a critical moment a phalanx battalion was lost, the romans turned to their flank to take an Elephant which was carving up a neighbouring unit of hastati. This caused it to go berserk and it turned and crashed into the side of another beast on its right, causing its death in the smash. Suddenly this left a hole in the front line and several fresh Romans units able to exploit it.





With the flanks if not safe then at least secure the Romans would have been able to push through the centre and overlap the remaining phalanx units. No second line for the Seleucids and no reinforcement meant that after several hours of playing, the game was over.



What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon!