Monday, 24 February 2020

Sandershausen 1758

 A weekend bracketed by trips to Elgin for Mrs I meant a stay in Lossiemouth which also meant a chance to catch up with Graham C.

There was much to discuss and plot, some of which will be revealed in another post. But we also managed to have a game, a relight of the battle of Sandershausen which Graham visited on his travels to Germany last year.

Graham's French started the game at the bottom of the hill, while over its crest stood a few regiments of Hessian regulars, jager, dragoons and some rather nervous militia. There was only one way this fight was going to go really, it was just a question of how long it would take and how many men would be lost.

As they trudged up the hill the French masked their own covering artillery and exposed themselves to the Hessian guns, which had some effect in wearing down the targets, as did the j├Ąger positioned in the woods on either flank.

Eventually the leading french units came through the canister into musket range. On the Hessian right the volley crashed into a disordered french unit and this was followed up with a spirited bayonet change which broke them and sent them fleeing back down the hill. Undaunted Graham sent his french cavalry forward but these too were repelled.

In the centre the militia unit managed a ragged volley but recoiled in the subsequent melee and fell back disordered to the very lip of the table.

On the left a Swiss unit and Hessian unit traded blows for a couple of turns with the Swiss finally gaining the upper hand. Behind them however the Hessian dragoons charged from cover into the exposed flank of a French regiment. Their first attack was unsuccessful but they reformed and hit it again and this time broke it and sent it streaming back. This action left the dragoons exposed in turn and they were charged and routed by more french cavalry.

By now it was clear that despite destroying 2 French to 1 Hessian infantry there was no holding the position and the battle was lost.....not a million miles from the result of the real encounter.

Hope you like the pix. Graham's 40mm figs really stood out on this terrain and we got some good shots. A great game and only half the story of the afternoon!  More on that later though!!

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Crew...and Maroons

When your wife is working in the study on her thesis, you get a lot of painting done.

I've been told I'm on too long a leash, but it's working for me. I managed to get most of the crew for my little ship done today and finished the first batch of Maroons for a scenario I am writing which will be available as a download. 

The crew are from Crann Tara and I have based them on clear perspex so that they can fit on board, in the longboats I have, or onshore without looking odd. This necessitates some careful snipping and filing but it's worth it. They will serve in the Caribbean against France and against Spain.

The Maroons are also from Crann Tara. I have armed two with muskets from plastic sprue spares, two with bows and two with machetes. More of these will follow. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Before Mysunde - 1864

Tuesday was club night and I put together a game based on the skirmishes before the battle of Mysunde which took place on a snowy February day as part of the 2nd Schleswig Holstein War. Somewhat apt given the weather recently!

My Prussians took on Mike's Danes using Rebels and Patriots. At my suggestion we modified the firing mechanisms for the Prussians Dreyse rifle, cutting the range to 12" but allowing them to reroll misses. Danes musketry was unchanged at 18".

This led to the Prussians starting to suffer casualties as they approached the Danish position but when the Danes came forward to engage they suffered heavily from the needlegun.

What undid the Prussian advance however was not the fire from the Danish infantry but rather carbine fire from their dragoons. I hadn't thought to modify this so we played as per the rules, and not only did my Uhlans get chewed up but an infantry unit was halted by their fire too. Although cavalry was equipped with firearms their use was not like that of their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic and I think this needs a wee house mod to manage this.

That aside the game was a good one and the figures and scenery looked the part. More 1864 games are on the cards.

Tonight I watched a YouTube demo of the Lorenz vs the Needlegun. The former much slower but effective to over 300yds and still hitting at 500. The latter much much faster but only really effective at up to 200yds. So....I wasn't too far off the mark with my mods.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Fairwell Kirk Douglas

I'd like to take a moment to say fairwell to Kirk Douglas. Spartacus and The Viking's are two films which I truly love and which played a massive part in forming my interest in History and thus in turn in Wargaming.

Since I was a kid I've watched then dozens and dozens of times and, especially with Spartacus, and Paths of Glory, appreciated not just the film, but some of the story behind its making. (Those were the films I wanted to find out about at the Kubrick exhibition I visited last year). 20000 Leagues Under the Sea and the Light at the Edge of the World are also favourites of mine.

Thanks Kirk. Legend is a fitting epitaph. 

Thursday, 30 January 2020

The Siege of Havana

Yesterday I received a book which I had splashed out on, courtesy of some sales of Wargaming the Sugar Islands Campaign.

I wasn't expecting anything too exciting, just a different narrative from other sources I have, but I was soon corrected.

The Siege of Havana by Francis Russell Hart was published in 1931.  I managed to find a signed copy from a bookseller in Germany and was surprised to find that it was a limited edition publication of only 675 books of which 112 were sold in the Uk, the rest in the US. The book is a well written narrative of the build up, siege and it's impacts and draws from English and Spanish language sources which are well referenced. It's a lovely read, even for an academic work, but it's real joy are a few of its maps and illustrations which I have not seen before.

Spanish Plan of El Morro.

Map of Havana, surrounding environment and troop dispositions.

Last week, whilst away on business, I did some research online to try to find more information on the Spanish Militias of the Havana garrison. I couldn't find anything detailing them at the time of the siege or before, other than that they existed. Plenty of information after 1762, including all of the illustrations of their uniforms, but nothing prior to their reorganisation after Havana was restored.

Hart's book book however has some key information. The numbers reported by English writers of the time of 4500 trained troops, 9000 sailors and 13 to 15000 militia were inaccurate, (and treated as such by Admiral Pocock who only asked for names of the regiments which he would be facing). Spanish writers numbers of around 5000 effective are closer quoting 750 marines, roughly 1900 troops, 1200 sailors and at the most 1500 black militia, (although only 2000 muskets, some in poor condition were available for the militia). Hart doubts that much more than 3000 effectives could be equipped for service. Although there were large numbers of men few of these other than the above were trained and fully equipped as infantry, cavalry or artillery.  The rest is appears had pikes or swords and possibly just machetes, good only for a sortie en masse.

Together with my copy of the Naval Records Society's Siege and Capture of Havana, Hart's Book will provide the basis for my sequel to the Sugar Islands Campaign, "Against Spain".