Sunday, July 15, 2018

Cycling the Palouse

Well, a long time has passed since my last Cycling the Palouse entry.  The absence has not been due to lack of cycling.  Spring and early summer have offered many fine opportunities for outdoor cycling and the bike has seen much activity.

With the "official" beginning of the Pacific Northwest summer beginning on July 4, improved weather and rising temperatures go hand-in-hand with increased mileage on the bike.  This July is no exception.    
Path along the lake
Besides the daily post-work ride,  one of the more scenic routes was undertaken last week.  That route is a 32 mile out and back along the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes including the crossing of Lake Coeur d'Alene on a converted railway bridge.
Approaching marina with trestle bridge in distance
The route begins at the Plummer trail head with a seven mile 3% grade down to Lake Coeur d'Alene.  After reaching the marina and trestle bridge, the route continues for nine miles to reach the town of Harrison.  The scenic views of the lake are interrupted by several deep railroad cuts along the lake.  The old railroad cuts are scenic too!  After a stop and bit of refreshment, the route is retraced nine miles back to the Marina and then a seven mile climb out of the canyon and back to the trail head.  On a warm and sunny day, this is an exhilarating ride.  Since Nancy does not enjoy the seven mile, constantly grinding, 3% grade coming up out of the canyon, we stop at the marina.  Her bike is placed on the car rack as she prepares to drive to the trail head to pick me up after my climb out of the canyon.  My goal is to time-trial my way back up the seven miles to the trail head before Nancy reaches the same destination in the car.  This time, we both reached the trail head simultaneously.  She did stop to buy a cold drink for me on the way so I tip my cap to her, this time.    
Enjoy the scenery!
Up and over the trestle bridge


Railroad cut #1
Railroad cut #2
Houseboats at mooring
Railroad cut #3

Harrison Marina and turn-around point
Trestle bridge in the distance
Being a bike dedicated trail, one can relax while cycling without fear of interaction with a vehicle.  The same cannot be said for my regular routes out on the open roads.  Close Encounters with a vehicle are not uncommon.  Many of those encounters could be subject of a good rant but I suppose, no harm no foul, right?   Luckily many years have passed since my last physical brush with a motor vehicle.  Still, a cyclist must remain ever vigilant.   

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: Blood Along the St. Lawrence

Situation August 1758
On the banks of the St. Lawrence River at the confluence with the St. Maurice, Wolfe is handed a bloody repulse by Montcalm and his stoic French troops.  While Montcalm suffered heavy losses in the British attack at Trois Rivieres, Wolfe was driven back with very heavy loss.  Wolfe's command lost two regiments of Regulars out of the three regiments present for the battle.  For details on this epic struggle, see Peter's Grid Based Wargaming as he recounts the 17th action in the campaign. 

With the repulse of Wolfe at Trois Rivieres, Montcalm has time to regroup.  Montreal, for now, is in no immediate threat of attack.  Rather than falling back to ready the defenses of Montreal, Montcalm can remain at Trois Rivieres as fall approaches.

As expected in their situation, the French want to attempt more than one action in August and roll on the Command Table.  The outcome results in only one Command Point anyway.  With that one Command Point, Drucour's force to the southwest of Fort Oswego marches on Fort Stanwix.  Having a more effective commander as Contrecoeur lead the attack would have been preferred but that is not to be.  Garrisoned by one regiment of Regulars, Fort Stanwix must hold out against Drucour's superior force of two regiments.  With the 1758 campaigning season drawing to a close, Fort Stanwix in French hands would be a welcome relief in an otherwise, hard year.  

Battle of Fort Stanwix
OB:
British: 1 x 5-6 Regular regiment
French: Drucour (A0D1), 1 x 5-6 Regular regiment, 1 x 4-7 Irregular regiment.

Having fought over this ground before, Drucour is very well familiar with how to most efficiently attack the fort. 

Monday, July 9, 2018

SYW Prussian Fusilier Regiment #39 BN 2

The Prussian build up continues with a second 23 figure battalion mustering up from The Lead Pile.  The sister battalion of Prussian Fusilier Regiment #39 marches into the storage box to join her mate.  Like the battalion#1 before, the second battalion calls up Blue Moon foot led by an Eureka mounted colonel.  This battalion of the 39th carries the regimental color. 
Looking over the Zorndorf OB, the Prussians could use a few squadrons of hussars. Next off the painting desk for the 18mm SYW project will be a dozen Prussian hussars from Zieten's regiment.

Before the hussars can muster off the painting desk, a demi-brigade of French line infantry (39 figures) for the 1799 project will next emerge from the workbench.  Several other BMUs are in work too so expect more units filing off from the painting desk in the coming weeks.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: Wolfe Hunts Down the French

Wolfe attacks Montcalm's hasty defenses
Montcalm, having been given the boot from Quebec by Wolfe and his regulars, was hotly pursued by the same after receiving safe passage.  Calculating that his force would be unable to outrun his pursuing adversary, Montcalm turned and offered battle.  After a heated exchange, Montcalm gathered his forces and made good an escape.  The French militia having tasted two recent defeats, melted away into the woods on the retreat.  For details of this action, please visit Peter’s Grid Based Wargaming.

After being interrupted by an unexpected British activation, play returns to the French.  Still needing to accomplish more than one activation, the French tempt fate and roll on the Command Table.  This time, the French receive three activations.  

With these activations, Montcalm and his remaining Regulars march to Trois Rivieres and prepare for the inevitable British attack.  One regiment of Regulars travels by bateaux to Trois Rivieres to lend some strength to Moncalm's defense while Drucour marches his force towards Fort Stanwix.

During July attrition, Rigaud's regiment of Irregulars disbands leaving Rigaud with one regiment of Regulars.  During this season, the French lose two regiments to the ravages of hard campaigning.  With only a few viable forces left in the field, the French may have to change their strategy for conducting the war.  Really, only Contrecoeur's isolated force at Fort Niagara remains a threat.  
French Movements July 1758
August 1758
Wanting to hit Montcalm before any more reinforcements arrive and to capture a supply base to avoid attrition in the heat of summer, the British opt for the one automatic Command Point to set Wolfe in motion.  That he does.  With three regiments of Regulars, Wolfe attacks Montcalm at the settlement of Trois Rivieres.

Battle of Trois Rivieres
OB:
British: Wolfe (A4D4), 3 x 5-6 Regular regiments
French: Montcalm (A4D4), 2 x 5-6 Regular regiments.

The settlement of Trois Rivieres is situated on the banks of the St Lawrence and St Maurice rivers.  Hasty works have been erected by Montcalm.  Will combat favor the defense?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Tirol Panorama in Innsbruck

On a recent vacation to Bavaria and the Austrian Tyrol, two nights were spent at Innsbruck as my wife and I adjusted both to an overnight flight and the nine hour time difference from PDT USA.

One of the places on the list of attractions to visit while in Innsbruck was the Tirol Panorama on Bergisel Hill near the base of the Olympic Bergisel Ski Jump.  The panorama is dedicated to the Tyrolean militia's fight against Bavarian attempts to put down a rebellion.  The rebellion around Innsbruck was led by Andreas Hofer whose monument stands near the panorama.
Andreas Hofer Monument
After defeat of Austria during during the War of Third Coalition, control of the Austrian Tyrol was seeded to Bavaria.  When Archduke Charles invaded Bavaria at the outbreak of the 1809 campaign, the Tyrol revolted.  To put down this revolt, Bavarian troops were sent in to squash the rebellion.  Bergisel Hill on the outskirts of Innsbruck was a focal for four battles.  The third battle on 13AUG1809 is the subject of the panorama. 

For a brief history of the third battle, I turn to Wikipedia.
On 13 August, Hofer and 18,000 Tyrolese fought Deroy's division in the third battle of Bergisel. Four Bavarian battalions belonging to General Siebein's 2nd Brigade lost 200 dead and 250 wounded. The 70 companies of rebels lost 100 dead and 220 wounded. After taking hostages from leading local families, Lefebvre abandoned Innsbruck and the last occupation troops were gone from the Tyrol by 18 August.
Speckbacher and 2,000 irregulars attacked the Bavarian garrisons in the villages of Lofer, Luftenstein, Unken, and Mellek on 25 September. Of the 700 soldiers belonging to the Leib Infantry Regiment # 1, 50 were killed and wounded, 300 captured, and 100 missing. The troops were dispersed with only two companies in each village. The detachment in Mellek broke out and retreated north to Bad Reichenhall; the other garrisons were wiped out.  On the same day Haspinger with 2,400 Tyrolese and four guns evicted General-Major Stengel's brigade from the Lueg Pass near Golling an der Salzach. The 3,500 Bavarians and three cannons retreated north to Salzburg. Lefebvre, with 2,000 of Stengel's troops attacked Hallein on 3 October. Haspinger's force, which had lingered in the town, was chased back into the mountains, leaving their six cannons behind.
Andereas Hofer was later betrayed to the French and shot in Mantua 20FEB1810. 

The 360 degree panorama painting depicts the third battle on the Bergisel Heights above Innsbruck.  Enjoy the photos of this marvelous spectacle.
Church in 1809 from painting
Church today from Bergisel Hill
Church close up











Attached to the panaroma by means of an underground passage is the Kaiserjager Regimental Museum.  Plenty of other tourist-worthy sights to see in Innsbruck.  A few of those other sights as well as the Kaiserjager Museum may appear in future posts.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

SYW Prussian Fusilier Regiment #39

Today a 23 figure battalion from Prussian Fusilier Regiment #39 marches off the painting desk as work on 18mm projects continues.  Figures in today's line up are Blue Moon foot led by a Eureka mounted colonel.  The Blue Moon figures are AWI Hessians pressed into service for the King.  This battalion of the 39th carries the colonel's color. 
The sister battalion for the 39th is in work and should be mustering out from the painting desk soon.  With several successive weekends out of town and away from the workbench, production has slowed tremendously but activity is beginning to pick up once again.  Lots of figures on the workbench including the fielding of a few battalions of 28mm Napoleonics from which I received a little help.

On the gaming front, not much action at the gaming table outside of a couple of boardgaming sessions.  One planned for today, in fact.  The Combat at Foz de Arource remains set up on the table with thoughts of running through the scenario a time or too before packing up in anticipation of the next hosted game. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Montcalm & Wolfe: Quebec Falls!

British storm Quebec Fortress
Wolfe's ambitious siege of Quebec successfully breached the fortress walls and Montcalm capitulated.  Montcalm and the survivors were allowed the honors of war and marched out of the fallen fortress.  For details on the attack and capitulation, please visit Peter's Grid Based Wargaming blog.  Peter's recounting of the siege operations is a fine example of conducting a siege in the mid-18th Century.

With the loss of Quebec, Montcalm, one regiment of Regulars and one regiment of Militia march out from the city.  The Cayuga are recruited to the British cause and move to Fort Oswego to join Amherst.
For the French portion of June 1758 turn, more than one activation is needed to reposition forces after the loss of Quebec.  Rolling on the Command Table, an '8' is rolled giving the British one additional activation and preempting French activations.  When it rains it pours!  Faced with more than one option, the British decide to pursue Montcalm in an attempt to destroy his force before it can reach the relative safety of Trois Rivieres.  Not wanting to risk his entire force to the potential ravages of attrition, Wolfe leaves one regiment of Regulars to garrison Quebec.  Realizing his militia cannot outrun Wolfe and his party of regulars, Montcalm turns to face his pursuers.  Game 16 in the series will be the pursuit and catching of Montcalm in the woods west of Quebec. 

Pursuit of Montcalm:
OB:
British: Wolfe (A4D4), 3 x 5-6 Regulars
French: Montcalm (A4D4), 1 x 5-6 Regular, 1 x 3-5 Militia
Terrain: woods with clearings.

Will Montcalm make good his escape?
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