Sunday, 8 September 2019

Napoleon III and Italy

Whilst surfing for information on the 1849 Siege of Rome and completing Trevelyan's book, "Garibaldi's Defence of the Roman Republic", I stumbled across the fact that the Musee d'Armee had held and exhibition about Napoleon III's involvement with Italy and had published a rather nice catalogue of it.

Entitled "Napoleon III et L'Italie, Naissance d'une Nation" (Birth of a Nation) it covers the period from 1848 and France's involvement in the recapture of Rome through the Crimean War and the involvement of Piedmont, the 1859 war with Austria and the 1860's, ending with a painting of Garibaldi at Dijon in 1871.

This is an excellent companion to Detaille's "Armee Francaise" and to Trevelyan and is well worth getting your hands on. 

Here are some pictures of the contents.


Cantiniere's uniform

I got mine via Abebooks and I think it is listed on Amazon too. 300+ pages, high quality glossy paper. French Text.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

A Franco-Prussian game

Last night I had the second of two trial games using Rebels and Patriots for the Franco-Prussian war. This is a period I have longed to fight since I first read of it years ago and a few weeks ago I was able to swap some unused figures of mine for some for Graham H's collection.  These have been rebased and cleaned up and a couple of freshly painted recruits added to bolster the French.

Last nights game was a pick up using the Lament Ridge scenario from the rules. We threw down some hexion tiles under a green mat and added some hedgerows. Then deployed our figures.

The French were given the Chassepot for one point while the Prussians I selected as Shock troops due in part to the shorter range and the natural drive of their tactics to close with the enemy.

After deploying we found that the hedges were just out of rifle range, meaning someone had to hop over them into the open ground to get to the objective. A chilling prospect in the bolt action period. The random layout of the terrain gave both Mike , commanding the French and myself with the Prussians some tactical headaches. My Prussians would be in range of the French as soon as they moved, but the French would be able to almost close on the objective before I could fire. The lie of the land also meant one half of the field could not see never mind actually engage the enemy. It was a real pig of a situation for the Prussians. But part of the fun of gaming is to take on a challenge!

I decided to rush the objective and get a turn in front of it to see if I could at least get ownership and prevent the French from getting close. That unit dissolved in a hail of chassepot fire. Then Mikes's French shot up my left flank and drove it back. Then I fumbled an activation and fired on a friendly unit. I was hanging on for dear life but it was in vain and the game ended with me taking almost 50% casualties and gaining no honour. The French held the objective for 4 turns and suffered only minor losses. Unlike the real war they counterattacked when able and inflicted a sharp defeat.

Turcos on the flank.
The French approach the objective.

The Prussians break cover

The Victors.

Some tweaks are really required to get the Prussians to function properly. The shock troop selection itself sounds right, but the higher cost means you have less of them on the table than French Line which shouldn't be the case normally. I will work on these as it's too good a period to ignore.

Monday, 5 August 2019

A visit to Claymore

A trip to Claymore on Saturday, zipping down in the Spider, top down there and back, enjoying the sun.

Arrived around 1.00 to find the show very quiet compared with previous years. Caught up with Graham H and John and Eric from Banchory but missed a few other folks as I was chatting away.

There seemed to be a few display games missing as well as a lot less people and a general lack of buzz. That may have been caused by the lovely weather or the fact that Falkirk and the Glasgow games show have both taken place in the last few months. Not sure.

I had a nice chat with Barry Hilton. Looking forward to his new book covering Eastern Europe. His game looked great as always with the Ottomans in particular popping against the teddybear fur tabletop. 

Another game that caught my eye was the 1866 Battle of Gitchin in 10mm fought over some nicely rolling Kallistra terrain.

Loot was a bit sparse too. I bought a copy of The First Schleswig-Holstein War from Helion, a perry ACW plastic gun and limber box from the B&B, (I need some 19thC limbers for Italy) and some bases. I also had a nice chat with the guy from 1st Corps with resulted in the purchase of some Mex-American Cavalry - Lancers and Lights which will serve instead as 2nd Empire French and Republic troops by dint of a deft scalpel, a head swap and a paint job. They should match my Gringo40's figs and might also do for Major Dundee....! But they will have to wait a bit as my Salle de Guerre is undergoing refurbishment - a lick of paint and some new bookshelves, followed by a new comfy chair and maybe some suitable ornaments too come time!

Looking forward to a catch up game with Graham and a deeper discussion on 3D printing next week.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

The Siege of Rome 1849 - a Campaign

Over the last few weeks and months I have been reading Trevelyan's "Garibaldi and the Siege of Rome" and running a few scenarios for the campaign using the excellent Rebels and Patriots rules.

As I've been running the games I've not had the chance to take much pictures and the games themselves have been a bit intermittent as I've been been back and forth across to Norway a fair bit.

However the game still have been good ones and I have been able to use my 28mm Gringo40's Redshirts and Neapolitans as Republican Roman Volunteers and French/ Neapolitans (the uniform is almost identical), and have added some other units too - Bersaglieri from Lombardy and Roman regulars.

After a few weeks of playing the scenarios from the book, representing the initial French advance and failed attack on Rome, last week we moved on to playing actions from the campaign against the Neapolitans.

Bersaglieri de Lombardy advance down the slope at Palestrina towards the Neapolitans, supported by redshirted Republican troops.

At Palestrina the Neapolitans attacked the walled town at two points, managing to capture some houses in front of the town. The republicans attacked at bayonet, driving them back and sending them scuttling back down the hill. 
Neapolitans advance cautiously up the street

In our game the Neapolitans began in the village, advancing uphill. The Republicans began on the hill itself, ready to launch their counterattack. 

As the redshirts advanced, the Neapolitan troops broke into the houses to take cover, or took up positions behind cover amongst the olive groves and vineyards. The first shots were fired and the Republicans quickly got to the edge of the village. Without much of a pause a unit of them burst into the first  house and bundled its defenders back out into the street after a brief struggle. The disordered bourbons then fumbled their activation and in panic fired o  their own men, believing them to be the enemy. 

A volley from the now redshirt filled house scattered the panicked unit and it fled down the street, leaving half its number dead and taking the company commander with them!

On the right flank the Bersaglieri were involved in a firefight with some Neapolitan light infantry, neither gaining much of an upper hand. On the left a bourbon unit had taken up position behind a low stone wall but was taking casualties from the republicans. These began to tell and they failed a morale check making them disordered. More casualties were caused and a second morale test was failed but this time badly and they too turned and ran. 

The Neapolitan left, moving up to the wall.
This left just two units of Bourbon troops on the table, facing 4 pretty well intact Republicans. The light infantry holed up in one house and a line unit at the opposite end of the village. With no overall command and separated from each other they surrendered and the game drew to a close.

Historically the Bourbons put up a little bit more of a fight but were defeated and many captured. When brought before Garibaldi they were found to be carrying icons and blessings protecting them from the enemies of the Vatican and fell on their knees begging for mercy from their captors.  The poorly led and motivated Neapolitans couldn't stand against the well led and aggressive Republican troops, especially those led by Garibaldi.  This I represented on the table my making the Republicans Aggressive light infantry and the Neapolitans Green Line. It seemed to work out well. 

The next action will be based on the Battle of Velletri which was fought later in May 1849 and a final game will be based on the French attacking the villas Pamfili and Corsini outside Rome in June. 

I really like the rules and find them prefect for a club night and as a way of playing a period such as this. We're already discussion Hungarian Revolution,  I have stuff for the Crimea and then there are a few adventures in Mexico that could be interesting too. 

Monday, 15 July 2019

Sugar Islands Update

Thanks to everyone who has purchased a copy of "Wargaming the Sugar Islands Campaign". I have been delighted at the response I have had from everyone around the world who has bought a copy.

I have more in stock which you can purchase either directly from me by getting in touch using the contact form at the top right hand side of this blog with your email address and location.

The book contains a summary of the 1759 campaign to capture Martinique and Guadeloupe as well as details of the personalities and units involved. Also included are 6 scenarios for refighting actions from the campaign. These are "systemless" so you will be able to use them with whichever set of rules you prefer.

You'll find more info, pictures and other details elsewhere in this blog.

Cost is £8 plus postage.

Alternatively you can buy a copy from Crann Tara Miniatures at shows.

The Defence of Madame Ducharmey's Plantation