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Sunday, October 25, 2020

An Eclectic Miscellany of Completed Figures

 Over the last few weeks I have finished a number of smaller efforts so thought it might be fun to feature them in a quick post.


First up, the 2/24 Warwickshire Regiment of Foot


The heroes of Rolica 2020, even without my special basing, I thought it high time to give them their glossy coat and a thicker base to aid in handling the figures safely.

Lietenant Colonel William Kelly reviews his Regiment.  He is an SHQ/Kennington figure.

Mr. Tennant tells me the flags were made from toothpaste tube metal originally.  The metal foil/sheet is actually quite robust and so I was able to save these flags.  Nice to be able to retain his original work.  For the figures I touched up any paint that had chipped off, added a very thin black wash to the trousers for a little bit of shading, and various bits of white and red highlighting before giving them a good brush on coat of glossy varnish.

Since I am only using four figures to man the British guns to distinguish them from their larger six figure crewed French battery opponents, I had a few extra British gunners.  I added this SHQ/Kennington horse team and limber as well as a 6 pounder to round out the battery.

SHQ does not actually make a driver for the horses, so those seen here are actually the same castings as the riders seen on the limber, but with their legs cut off and replaced by some miscellaneous extra riders legs I found in my cast offs box.  This whole set was very difficult to get trimmed, cleaned and assembled.  While I am fond of the end result, it is definitely not a set for the faint of heart!

The Battery deployed with the Hinton Hunt gunners painted by Mr. Tennant. 


28mm Perry Miniatures French 7th Hussars for Waterloo


I am continuing to slowly build the elements necessary for the Waterloo scenario of DBN put out by Alex Testo and Bob Carter:  http://www.dbnwargaming.co.uk/

As much as I love the Perry castings, I have gotten so fond of their smaller, older, glossy cousins, that when I look at these now they seem somewhat incomplete.

Nevertheless, the nature of the elements allows an almost diorama like basing which is a real joy to work with.

Only forty or fifty more of these to go...


The Fantasy Trip - 40mm Dungeon Crawl


Inexpensive hard plastic bears and a couple of Tom Meier metal masterpieces make up the "monsters" in this dungeon encounter.  The Viking is a wonderfully sculpted miniature by V&V: https://vminiatures.com/40-mm/vikings_40/vikings_set      


When you're surrounded by that many monsters the only thing to do is run!  The wolf featured in this encounter was painted by my daughter.  She did a great job on her first miniature!

This beastie was a gift from my children many Christmases ago.  I am pleased to have finally gotten "Slug Eat Your Face" appropriately and disgustingly painted.  This was the first time I have ever tried to model drool, which was a pretty fun experiment!


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Rolica 1808 - Collapse! - The Battle Concludes

 Fortune is a fickle mistress, and in the final hours of the battle she abandoned the General de Brigade of the French force for the greener fields of Britain.  General Antoine Maucune (playing the role historically assumed by Delaborde) attempted to rally what was left of the French 39e, only to be carried away, along with the remnants of the Chasseurs, and was not seen again.  While the French sought vainly to rally their troops all along the battle line, only the Hanoverians remained as a formed battalion, but as they charged out of the woods to meet the threat of the 92nd Highlanders they were meet with the unexpected crash of musketry and the thundering boom of artillery...

 

While the French struggled to rally, the British, with the aid of General Howard, rallied the 42nd highlanders and rushed 6 guns of the Royal Horse Artillery into position.  The guns were perfectly sighted along the road, directed right into the flank of the charging Hanoverians.

From this bird's eye view of the field, the sheer size of the 92nd Battalion can be seen on the lower left, in contrast to the smaller Hanoverian battalion, bravely forming in the woods.  The disorganized 6e Legere, failing two sequential rally roles, has retreated into the area just inside the curve of the road, while a great arc of British skirmishers has begun to encircle the French forces.  On the bottom right can be seen the 71st Highlanders attempting to position themselves to be the anvil, on which the stroke of the 92nd will fall.

The Hanoverians, sensing the trap, charge out of the woods hoping to take the 92nd by surprise, but in so doing are exposed along the road in open ground to the raking fire of British canon.  As the Hanoverians charge, the British dragoons cautiously advance up the gully, hoping to cut off any chance of French retreat.  The charge of the Hanoverians is halted by the fire of the canons and British skirmishers lining the trees.  The 92nd charges home into the confused ranks of the Hanoverians (That's a fancy way of saying the British won the initiative for the turn and the Hanoverians took significant casualties as they counter charged.  This was a crucial risk for the French, they had to win the charge initiative and then lady luck had to favor their combat dice, neither happened, quite the opposite actually, with the 92nd rolling 6s for each of their combat dice!). 
 

The Hanoverians retreat from the crushing attack of the Gordons, right into the ranks of the 6e legere who are trying to reform while facing the enemy.

The 92nd pursues the defeated Hanoverians, spurred on by the hatred of the loyalist French who sided with their hated enemy instead of the true crown prince of Hanover, King George III of Great Britain!  The Hanoverians literally evaporate under the pressure of the pursuit and scarce a soldier escapes.  The reckless pursuit lands the Gordons right into the waiting arms of the 6e Legere.


The 6e legere, while the pride of Napoleons army, have lost nearly half their strength in the fight and have just watched the horrifying slaughter of their comrades from Hanover.  It is just to much for the exhausted legere and they rout after a brief combat with the elated Highlanders.  The Gordons are unstoppable at this point and pursue the routing Frenchmen, decimating their ranks.

Only a thin line of skirmishers from the 2nd Battalion of the 6e Legere remains to protect the French troops routing from the field.

Realizing the necessity of saving the guns, the French artillery limbers and makes a mad dash for the road before the hated British Dragoon can deploy.

On the French left the story is the same as detached voltigeurs from the 39e Ligne form a firing line to protect the artillery and remaining two companies of the 39e from utter destruction.

Lt. Colonel John Cameron, rightly leads the victorious 92nd Gordon Highlanders past the pitiful cries of the wounded from the 6e legere onto the top of the Rolica ridge.

What is left of the 6e Legere's skirmishers sent to face the overwhelming attack of the 5/60 are taken prisoner.

Similarly, the last of the combined skirmishers from the Hanoverians and 6e Legere's 1er Battalion are squeezed between the Gordons and the advancing 71st Highlanders, as well as the remnants of the valiant British light troops who opposed them, and taken prisoner.  Fortunately for them, their stay in the prison hulks of the British Navy will be brief, as they will be sent back to France at the conclusion of the battle of Vimiero as a condition of the Convention of Cintra.

The Valiant 58th held their ground throughout the battle, tying down French resources that were needed on the French Right.  Their sacrifice was great both in the number of casualties, but also in the loss of their valiant Lt. Colonel Buckby, who was shot through the heart.  A fitting wound as the severe casualties of the 58th had already broken his heart.

The field of Battle from the French perspective.  Control of the road in ten turns was the victory condition of the scenario, and despite the severe casualties endured by the French, it was not enough to prevent the British Dragoons from reaching the top of the ridge and claiming possession of the road.  Victory belonged to Wellington and the brave, and costly assault up the ridge.

The remnants of the French force trying to slip away.  Fortunately the dragoons are in march column and exhausted after the difficult ride up the narrow track of the gully, giving the French a fighting chance of organizing a fighting retreat, but it is by no means guaranteed they will reach the safety of Zambugeira.

Some of the resources needed to pull this off.  A big shout and thanks to Ian Spencer for his brilliantly simple and fun rules, Muskets and Marshals!  These are available as a free download on his blog for those interested: http://hintonhunt.blogspot.com/

Some morale tokens I created for the game inspired by Ian.  I took his template and altered the size so as to fit on 40x30mm Litko 3mm thick wooden bases, which made them easy to use for my fumbly fingers!

Most especially I want to thank Wellington Man of the Hinton Spieler fame (https://thehintonspieler.blogspot.com/), for his guidance, patience, and an unexpected friendship that developed from all the way across the world.  Through all of the hiccups with the map, miss-reads of the rules, and my struggle with accurate numbers, he was the most gentlemanly and delightful opponent.  Till next time WM!

As the Victor in this affair, he of course has the right to compose the victory dispatch.

Dispatch To Horse Guards


HRH the Prince Regent

Dear Prinny


An engagement took place near Rolica on the 17th of August against an enemy force under General Delaborde, who occupied a wooded slope just outside Columbeira. On encountering the French, your Royal Highness's Portuguese allies muttered something about 'making a strategic pincer movement' and then swiftly disappeared. The victory was thus secured entirely with the British forces under my command.

The infantry were victorious at every point, with the sole exception of the 42nd, who appear to have lost their way in the woods, only to re-emerge looking somewhat flustered and facing in the wrong direction. At no stage were my forces inconvenienced in any way, although the 58th had neglected to tie their shoelaces and were momentarily delayed.  Realizing his error, Lieutenant-Colonel Buckby quite correctly took the only honourable course and has been buried with full military honours. The victory would have been all the swifter had not General Delaborde been borne away by his fleeing cavalry while attempting to surrender.

It is my sad duty to report that the unimpeded progress of the infantry was unaided in any way by the Royal Artillery, who declined to advance, preferring to spend the engagement bowling over harmless trees. As I have said before and will no doubt say again, this disgraceful insubordination is only to be expected for as long as they remain under the exclusive control of that bumbling Poltroon, the Master General of the Ordnance.

I look forward to unwrapping my dukedom by return of post,

I am, etc.

Wellesley





Monday, September 28, 2020

Rolica 1808 - Disaster!

  The British and French armies come to grips with each other, with both sides fully committing to an all or nothing struggle for control of the hill.  As the armies clash, twin disasters of monumental proportion develop on both sides of the field.

 

On the British left, the 42nd charges up the main road to drive out the what remains of the 6e Legere.  The track is narrow and the 42nd struggles to maintain cohesion as they charge.  Though the casualties they sustain in the charge are trifling, the highlanders arrive exhausted from their charge, and Napoleon's finest - veterans to a man, stand firm.  Vive l'Empereur echoes in the small clearing and the highlanders are thrown into confusion, but they refuse to abandon their hard won gains and remain toe to toe with the hated French legere.

Lt. Colonel Robert Macara attempts to rally his troops as the french bayonets push inexorably forward...


Even more disturbing, the Hanoverians have formed an attack column and threaten to charge the 42nd in the flank.  The threat of the twin pincers is too much and the Black Watch breaks into a full rout!

Lt. Colonel Macara tries valiantly to halt the rout as the highlanders of the Black Watch stream down the hill, pursued by the French, despite the protests of their regimental commander that they hold their ground.  Their blood is up and there is no stopping the pursuit.

The field is littered with the bodies of both British and French - a grim testament to the fierceness of the struggle.

The French Colonel was right to try and contain the eagerness of his victorious troops.  Even as the 6e Legere pursues the defeated highlanders, another famous battalion of Scotsmen, the 92nd Gordon Highlanders, prepare to charge into the woods.

Suddenly an enormous drooling cock-eyed slug and a ferocious dire wolf appear to *&&%$#!! time machine - must have slipped into inter-dimensional mode again - hold on, whack, OK - back to the battle at hand...


While the Hanoverians prepare to move into the clearing vacated by the 6e Legere, they risk being flanked by the 71st (more damnable highlanders!) approaching uphill through the dense scrub and woods.  The climb will slow them but not the Voltigeurs.  The last two seen in front of their right flank are cleared from the hillside by a well timed volley.

On the British right the second of the twin disasters unfolds, but this time the victim is the French.

The 24th climbs the steep hill in good order, aiming to hit the 39e Ligne at the extreme end of their line.  The 39th reacts quickly, but in the effort to adjust their line a gap appears and the companies lose cohesion.  The 24th hits the line and pours through, pushing the 39e into total disarray. The regulars of the 39e, unlike the veteran 6e Legere, panic and flee up the hill with the 24th on their heels.

The 24th, elated at their victory, follow the 39e Ligne up the hill and out of the woods, right into the waiting chasseurs a cheval.  The chasseurs charge, but the cool headed British, trained and drilled by their NCOs relentlessly, form square in the nick of time and send a crushing volley into the French cavalry.  The chasseurs flow around the square taking even more casualties and are routed by the solid resistance of the British square.  The 24th has sustained minimal casualties and in the course of a few minutes has sent two French units streaming to the rear!
 

To make matters worse for the French, the 50th has formed up and prepare to join the 24th at the top of the hill.  Only the sound of desultory musket fire on their right concerns them.

 
To the right of the 50th, a small unit of British skirmishers holds a much larger French force of skirmishers at bay.

As the French cavalry and remnants of the 39e Ligne stream to the rear, an under strength battery of 8 pounders has limbered up and is positioning to help stem the British advance and serve as a rally point for the French, where their brigade commander is endeavoring to halt their rout.  

The aim of the French is to delay the British assaulting the hills to buy time for the French army assembling in the South.  Historically the French took heavy casualties but were able to withdraw in good order.  While the French have delayed the advance of the British in this scenario, they are in danger of being cut off from withdrawal by the 5/60th rushing through the woods to occupy the main road behind the French position.  It's a race to the finish - Can the French hold out for three more turns...

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Rolica 1808 - The Assault!

 The long distance battle with Wellington Man in New Zealand continues unabated with a storm of emails, maps, and photos detailing the movement of the troops.  The French, secure in their strong defensive position, have had a rude awakening from the British canon and clouds of riflemen swarming over the approaches to the hills.  All along the line the French are feeling the pressure of the advancing British, with columns storming up the hills while riflemen and close order battalions in firing line continue to hurl death and destruction into the French ranks.

The British Far Left:

The brave French on the British far left hurl themselves out of the village and attempt to form column, daring the withering fire of the riflemen and into the looming destruction of a battery of 6 pounders being manhandled into position to hurl certain destruction upon them.  If not for the action of their defiant attack however, those very guns would have been pouring roundshot into the flank of the 6th Legere, barely visible in the background.

The 5/60th American rifles and a battery of Royal Horse Artillery punishing the 3 companies of the 39th French line's 2nd battalion who had been detached to hold the village at the edge of the battlefield, against the inevitable appearance of one of the British flanking columns approaching in the distance.

The morale marker and a full company and a half of toppled soldiers tell the story of their sacrifice.

The British Center Left

The 42nd, under the watchful eye of Lieutenant Colonel Robert Macara, form column on the main road leading up the hillside.

To the left of the 42nd, and separated from them by a spur of the hillside, the 92nd prepares to advance up the hill in firing line led by Lieutenant Colonel John Cameron.  The advance is a tortuously slow process given the difficult terrain.

Waiting for the 42nd and 92nd Highland battalions on the spur of the hill, is the 1st battalion of the 6th Legere.  Casualties from artillery and the ever present riflemen are already being felt as the 6th has lost more than a quarter of their strength as they retreated further into the relative safety of the deep wooded slope.  More skirmisher from their second battalion are hurrying into position to protect their flank from those pesky British rifles!

The 42nd crosses the bridge, closing to within near charge distance of the 6th legere.  Only a thin line of French skirmishers stands in their way, but already the 42nd has begun taking casualties.

The pincers of the British attack on the 6th Legere close in!

The British Center

Yet another battery pounds the French forces as the 71st light infantry advances in the center.

Only two and a half companies of the French 39th Regiment's 2nd battalion hold this sector of the field, and the British canons have made their presence known, disordering the regiment as the 50th prepare to assault.  The Chef de Battalion is desperate to rally them before the assault, but the courage of his infantry hangs on a knife's edge (or the roll of a six sided die as the case may be).

To bolster their courage, two skirmishing units of the 6th Legere's 2nd battalion have left the cover of the woods to pour fire into the flanks of the approaching British firing lines.  Suddenly the hot blood of the French voltigeurs turns to ice as the sound of hoof beats reverberate in the distance.  Felt more than heard, there can be no doubt as to the approach of what they fear most - the dreaded light dragoons.  Sabers glinting coldly in the smoke filled air bring a promise of death.

The open center of the battlefield, a perfect hunting ground for the fast moving horses of the British 9th Light Dragoons.  

Sound the charge! - Doh! The thunderous sound of all the horses must have knocked off the camera of the way back machine again.    

In order to reach the skirmishers however, the dragoons will have to pass through an open field covered by french artillery on the hill above, whose accurate fire has already taken out two of the guns of a British battery in the center.

The British Right

The British pressure on the French line is relentless, nowhere more so than on the British right flank where the 24th and 58th regiments are attempting to dislodge the 1st battalion of the French 39th line regiment

The 24th storms up the hillside in an attack column.  The French are taken unawares by their rapid advance and unable to bring all of their muskets to bear on the British column, as the woods and the curve of their own line obscure the attacking column from sight.  The 24th endure trifling casualties, but now must face the point blank fire of the French as they close with them.  The French hold the higher ground, but the British are highly trained and full of confidence in their own native superiority.  For King and Country!  The Cry goes up and the 24th make the final push up the hill....

As the 24th assaults the left of the French Line, the 58th pours a galling fire into the woods, continuing to make the French pay for holding their line on the hillside, but is it enough?      

While it is looking grim for the French, historically speaking Rolica was designed as a delaying action to buy time for the French armies in the area to assemble.  From a game's perspective, this scenario was originally conceived as an eight turn game, with control of the road leading from the rear of the French the key victory condition, the game may need to be extended to give the British a fighting chance of taking the road in time.  On the other hand, the eight turn limit might force the British into more ill timed column assaults as actually happened.  In any event this brings an end to turn 5.  Tune in next time for the resounding clash of arms as the columns hit their targets, and the sabers of the cavalry are drawn.