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Saturday, August 29, 2020

Rolica 1808 - Preparing for the Storm!

The battle begins on the slopes of the hills to the South of Rolica, just by the small Portuguese village of Columbeira.  The small French force of five battalions has occupied a line of hills covering about a mile, in the hope of delaying or stopping the British advance on the French main force, still gathering miles to the rear.  Lord Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, is fresh off the boat and leading his small allied army into Portugal to chase out the hated French. 

Turn 1
The left flank of the French army has taken position in low lying trees and scrub along the cliff like slopes above a small stream bed

The British view of the battlefield from the center of their position.

Turn 1 sees some initial jockeying of position as the British brigade on their right flank prepares for an assault.

In the center the British battalions spread out and deploy their artillery to take advantage of their 3 to 1 advantage in heavy ordinance.

A bird's eye view of the British center

As turn 2 begins more British forces will come on to the field to put pressure on every point of the French defensive line!

A battalion of French Legere rushes to meet the threat on their right!

The French left will be a tough nut to crack!


On the British Right the combined light companies of three full line battalions attempt to soften up the French line, but the voltigeurs, crouching behind granite boulders and low scrub, send back a hail of lead inflicting significant casualties on the advancing light companies.

In the centre, the gallant French have unwisely advanced beyond the shelter of the woods in order to engage the advancing British light companies.  Evenly matched the British and French open a galling fire on each other, but the French, having to source their powder from inferior Spanish mines, have trouble and their guns sputter.  The pride of the French army in Spain, the elite voltigeurs of the 6e Legere, are shot to pieces losing a third of their strength.  It is conceivable that I uttered a few choice words as I rolled to inflict casualties on the British and missed in every instance!

On the British left the tragedy for the French continues.  The British rifles from the 5/60th have combined with the light company of the Gordons to root the French out of the wooded salient they have occupied.  The extra range of the rifles let's them pour fire on the French in relative safety while the French voltigeurs are decimated, losing a third of their strength in the initial exchange!  A few more choice words were uttered as I rolled to save the French from the damnable British rifles - so many ones and twos have rarely been rolled all at once!

Suddenly the ground shook - "Well that starts the ball!", the future Iron Duke exclaims to his staff.

KaBoooom!  British 9 pounders thunderously open up on a half battalion of the French 39e Ligne sheltering in the woods.  The concussion is so great it finally shakes the recorders of time machine reporting on these events back into colour!

Despite the protection of the rocks and woods, the British artillery is well sighted and the first casualties against a main line Battalion are sustained.  The French chef de Battalion looks on nonchalantly, confident in his men's ability to stand the fire and repel the oncoming British

Sir Arthur Wellesley is joined by his aide and the Brigade Commander General Howard, as well as the battalion commander of the 5/60th Lt. Colonel Williams, who has galloped to the centre to report on the advancing left flank and the disposition of the French in that sector of the field.

This has been an enjoyable battle and so far managing the turns via email and an interactive map has worked well, an example of which is below:



Friday, August 21, 2020

95th Rifles and Foot Artillery Added to the Fray!

 I recently added twelve standing firing riflemen to the 95th Rifles regiment.  Originally painted by Dick Tennant as a battalion of 24, I wanted to bring them up to their full strength of 36 figures.  They will then be distributed throughout the corps in companies attached to the various brigades to provide a screen of effective light infantry skirmishers.  For the upcoming battle of Rolica about half the battalion strength was present, along with the full battalion of the 5/60th rifles.

Here we catch a rare glimpse of British riflemen falling back from the enemy.  This would never happen under normal circumstances as the BBC would have us believe that 6 riflemen under the command of Richard Sharpe could change the direction of any battle!  Just don't get on his bad side:

Yet another improbable facing, as the 95th would be preparing to haul away that livestock I am sure!  The prone firing figure made for some interesting choices for the basing, but in the end I liked the look of a mixed larger base with a variety of poses for this famous unit.  It makes them special and easy to distinguish on the field of battle.

The prone and kneeling figures are original Hinton Hunt figures painted by Mr Tennant with some additional detailing added.  The standing firing figures are Der Kriegspieler copies that were painted to match the work of Dick Tennant by yours truly.


A misbehaving NCO about to secure some dinner for his company...

Command figures.  I'm still debating whether to add a mounted colonel.  Since they were typically detached and spread out through the corps, I'm not really sure how useful it would be to add the Colonel.

From this picture it is easy to see how much smaller the DK figures can be in comparison to their Hinton Hunt brethren.  In some cases it's not too bad but here, the standing firing figure looks quite diminutive iin comparison to the Hinton Hunt figure running at trail.

Even the Major is hungry apparently...

I also finished up this British foot battery.  Dick Tennant did a superb job on these and I really did very little other than a bit of shading and highlighting, before basing them and giving them the ole gloss coat.

While I have six gunners, really only four are needed in the rules system I am using.  Each figure represents one manned gun and the gun itself represents two.  After all of the crew figures are wounded and the strength of the battery reduced to just the model of the gun representing the final two guns and crews, it is removed from play.

The gun itself is a delightful model and a very hard to find example of Hinchliffe's 20mm line of artillery pieces.

Lastly I wanted to send a shout out to Ian at SHQLTD.  The SHQ / Kennington figures are nicely sized to be compatible with Hinton Hunt figures.  Ian has given me top notch service and I would encourage folks who are not familiar with the line to give them a try.  Below are some Brunswick Oels riflemen conversions from SHQ figures with Der Kriegspieler heads.  The officer is an SHQ Brunswick lieb Infantry officer I believe.  I have some British artillery on order so will let folks know how they compare when they arrive.

The bases of the SHQ / Kennington figures tend to be a little narrow so I expanded them out with epoxy putty to be more along the size of Hinton Hunt bases.

A fuzzy little phone picture, but hopefully shows the nice proportions of the SHQ / Kennington British mounted Peninsular officer.  I will use these as mounted colonels and are in my mind far superior to the Newline Designs 20mm mounted officers and more in line with Hinton Hunt proportions.

Similarly a very nice SHQ / Kennington French mounted colonel

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Preparing for Rolica - Initial Positions

 I decided I needed a little inspiration to help push on with the painting of the 95th rifles, so went ahead and laid out as much of the terrain and the units in an approximate fashion as I could for the assault at Rolica.

The French right flank
The French have lined the steep hillside with infantry, leaving their cavalry and artillery in reserve on the more open ground of the hilltop.
To the left (from the French perspective) of the village of Columbiera, two battalions of British infantry advance.  I just hope my wife never decides to take out the battlefield with her car!  The perspective is a little deceiving and there is actually a good 4-5 feet of room between the car and the battleboard.
The British on the French left flank will be forced to assault a steep ridge across the creek bed.
The way along the stream is currently unguarded...
Here is a nice view of the village and the decorative pole in the middle of the battlefield that keeps our house from collapsing!  The buildings are plaster made with the Linka plaster casting system of moulds.
While the French right appears strongly held, approaching up the road will be 2 full battalions of British riflemen.  The battle at Rolica pre-dates the usual British practice of detaching companies of riflemen and distributing them amongst the brigades.  The Voltigeurs in front here may soon find themselves in dire straights!
The overall field of battle.  This is just a preliminary set up and the distribution of troops is likely to change, but I wanted to see how everything fit on the battlefield.  I am very pleased in the way that the French line corresponds with the historical coverage of the ridge.  I think I at least got the scale right!