Saturday, April 30, 2016

Austrian IR 2/31 for the 1859 Project

Battalion #2 of IR #31 marches off the painting desk.  Like the 1/31 before, these 18 Austrian line infantry are from Lancashire Miniatures' excellent 19th Century range of 15mm figures.
Unlike the Old Glory, Freikorps, and Mirliton Austrian infantry, these Lancashire figures wear the uncovered shako.  All of the other manufacturers' figures don the covered shako such that the shako plate is not visible.
For this evening, Jake is in town on business so an impromptu game is on the docket.  Being out of town all week, myself, "impromptu" is smack on.  I need to pull something together quickly.  What will I set up?  Unknown.  Jake provided a few suggestions but I may have a surprise up my sleeve.  It must be a game that can be set up quickly will little advance preparation.  If nothing materializes in time then a session of Commands & Colors Ancients will fit the bill.  This evening's game will mark the third gaming session in April.  Quite a singular experience for me!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Mobile State of the Painting Desk

Paint station still life
This week saw my routine monthly journey to Seattle for a week in the home office.  Rather than may usual, fair-weather companion of the bicycle tagging along for the 600 mile round trip, I added a twist to occupying my time spent after work.  At the last minute, I decided to include a mobile painting station into the car for the week away.
Packed and ready to go
The mobile station consists of an interlocking three-tiered, stackable container with a handy carrying handle.  The container caught my eye while shopping for additional storage boxes in which to house painted figures.  Upon inspection, I thought this solution would be ideal for transporting a few items for a mobile painting desk.  Into these compartments were placed the paints needed for the tasks at hand, a handful of brushes, a couple of knives, bottles of glue and epoxy, and figures.  Everything needed for a mobile painting kit.
Mobile painting kit
The figures brought along were enough to build two units.  One figure group consisted of 17 figures to complete a 28mm Baden infantry battalion for the 28mm Penninsular War project; the other a five figure unit of mounted Gendarmes for the Great Italian Wars project.
Badeners and Gendarmes
Midway through the week, the Badeners by Murawski Miniatures are about half finished.  The Foundry Gendarmes only have a base coat of horse flesh laid down.  By Friday how much further will each of these progress?  Even if I make no more progress while away, I will arrive home with a solid start on two units.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Austrian IR 1/31 for the 1859 Project

Back to the 1859 project to see a battalion of Austrian infantry muster out from the painting desk.  This battalion marches off as the first battalion of IR #31.  Figures are 15mm Lancashire Games.  
IR 1/31 is only the second Austrian regiment painted using Lancashire figures.  The first regiment was fielded using the Austrians in greatcoat.  While the greatcoat may have seen much more service in the later 1866 conflict, in the heat of the 1859 summer, the sharp looking white kittel would have been de rigueur.  Austrians knew how to dress snappy for battle, no?
Next off the painting desk will be a sister battalion of IR 31; the second.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Napoleon's First Italian Campaign 1796-1797

A number of interesting books have made it into the library since Christmas.  While many have had a cursory browse, only now do some enjoy a closer examination.  The first to get a closer look and a few sample photos, is Military History Press', Napoleon's First Italian Campaign (NFC).  Edited by Matt DeLaMater, the long ago author of Napoleonic wargame rules, Legacy of Glory (remember that one?  I do!  Still have a copy), Napoleon's First Campaign, is an oversize, coffee table book published with great care.  Leather bound with gilt stamping and heavy gilt-edges pages, NFC is a work of art as well as a fine addition to this little presented campaign.
Montenotte by Keith Rocco
What elevates this quality exterior is the contents therein.  Included in this 266 page tome are 55 works by noted artist, Keith Rocco.  Fifty-five Rocco works!  The paintings are fantastic and having such large and related works in one volume is quite a treat.  I am still not accustomed to seeing Austrians in greyish-brown jackets, however. 

For the account of the campaign, NFC draws on Ramsey Weston Phipps' four volume, The Armies of the First French Republic and the Rise of the Marshall's of Napoleon I.  The text for NFC originates from Phipps' fourth volume.  All four volumes were published after the author's death in 1923.
Guide of the Army of Italy by Keith Rocco
In addition to Rocco's works, Phipps' text is annotated.  Distributed throughout the text are a number of museum display pieces.  Want to see an Austrian grenadier's kit?  A reproduction of such can be found within.  Campaign maps showing troop dispositions and movements are found scattered throughout the text helping provide a very helpful visual to accompany Phipps' storytelling.

Having an interest in Rivoli and read many accounts of this battle, I turned first to Phipp's account.  Stirring stuff with good explanations as to why the Austrians attacked as they did.  Reading this account energizes me to pull this battle out of the gaming archives, set it up, and give it another outing.

At a list price of USD$185 it might seem expensive.  For what is included and the production quality, it seems a good value.  My own copy was purchased during a half-off sale so this fine work set me back only USD $93.  A bargain!

A handsome book and one to consider if you enjoy Rocco's artworks and Napoleon's 1796-1797 campaigns in Italy.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Don Cossacks for 1799 Project

With glorious spring weather in the Pacific Northwest, outdoor cycling mileage has seen a big boost with an offsetting sacrifice in time at the painting desk.  Afternoon workouts are much more enjoyable cycling around the region rather than sitting in the boring confines of the stationary bike.  Still, perseverance with the brush continues albeit at a reduced rate.
Off the painting desk today are reinforcements for Suvorov's army for the 1799 project.  These dozen Cossacks wear the black Astrakan cap familiar to the Don Cossacks.  The caftans and trousers are an assortment of mid to dark blue although the photos really do not show such distinction.
Figures are Eureka Miniatures from the 18mm SYW range.  Excellent sculpting and a much needed addition to bolster Russia's light infantry arm.  From OBs on the 1799 campaign, it seems Russia brought mainly Cossacks west for the campaign.  Several more Cossack regiments will be needed for the project.  Only a handful of Russian hussar, dragoon, and cuirassier regiments appear infrequently in the campaign.  Most heavier cavalry roles are filled by Austrian horsemen.   
With eighteen new units mustering off the painting desk thus far in 2016, perhaps it is time for a parade ground review?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Sikh Irregular Cavalry for the Great Game

Work returns briefly to the Great Game project.  Kevin will be pleased to see some activity on this project.  The project is getting very close to a gameable collection.  I would like to add two more battalions of Russian regulars and, perhaps, a native gun before releasing them onto the gaming table.  Their odds of survival against Kevin's large, HEIC collection are likely low but if they can put up a decent fight, I would be pleased.
These dozen horsemen are a mix of Sikh irregular horse from Wargames Foundry's Sikh Wars range.  Great figures whose sculpting style and quality have withstood the test of time.  The variety of horsemen is large such that a more irregular look is possible.
This unit is a somewhat motley crew wearing a variety of body armor and headgear.  Some of these fellows look quite fearsome.  With these natives mustering out from the painting desk, all of the native cavalry in The Lead Pile are exhausted.  Two or three dozen Russian cavalry remain, allowing the cavalry arm of the project to see continued growth.  Without checking, there are enough Russian cavalry to field at least one more Cossack formation and one unit of lancers.  Perhaps, fielding two Cossack units in total is possible?  To verify that, I need to dig back into The Lead Pile.  Still, other units from other projects are waiting in the painting queue before attention turns towards fielding more for the Great Game.

How is this project shaping up?  After about nine months into the project, two guns and crew, 56 horse, and 194 foot have crossed the painting desk. Not bad progress for a part time project.  Totals are summarized in the table below:
Nine months ago, little did I realize that a transient project would result in nearly 260 figures painted and awaiting hardening on the battlefield.

What's the next likely candidate off the painting desk?  Well, probably a few squadrons of Russian Cossacks for the 1799 project will slide into the "Completed" side of the ledger next.  Two battalions of Austrian infantry seen in the last State of the Painting Desk are still lingering awaiting completion.    

Friday, April 15, 2016

BTD Egyptian Chariot

Half way through the month of April and this is the first item off from my painting desk.  A couple of other units are nearing completion but activity at the painting desk has been slow.  Travel, improved weather, and hosting two games in the first weeks have hampered time at the workbench.  These distractions are not bad, though.
Well, off the painting desk today is one Black Tree Design Egyptian heavy chariot.  This model was included in my January BTD sale order and only arrived a few weeks ago.  That was a long backorder!    
Having eyed BTD's range of Egyptians for quite some time, I finally decided to add one to the Shopping Cart as a test piece.  I was not disappointed when it arrived.  Great sculpting and the horses are marvelous.  The Egyptian chariot is much easier to put together than BTD's Trojan chariot since the chariot cab is a single piece.  Only the axle and tongue piece need to be affixed to the chariot bottom.
Is a new Egyptian project on the horizon?  No.  For Biblicals, a Trojan War project awaits in the wings that I hope to begin one day.  Trojan War metal continues arriving on a semi-regular frequency and the Trojan Lead Pile is slowly amassing. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

ECW Battle of Montgomery, BatRep

With the background for the Battle of Montgomery laid out in a prior post (see: Battle of Montgomery), I had a rare Friday Night At The Fights session against Jake.  Even more rare, I managed two games within the same week!
Battle lines close from Roundhead positions
The Roundhead's needed to hold Salt Bridge to garner a victory so what does Meldrum do?  He orders a general advance towards the Royalist position on the hill.  Meldrum sympathizers argue that having his forces deployed with their backs up against the unfordable river was untenable and an advance to gain space was a good proposition.
Cavalry clash on the left
To begin the battle, Meldrum orders Middleton's horse covering the bridge to prevent an advance upon Salt Bridge.  Middleton charges into Ellis' Foote and is sent reeling back to  the bridge following a devastating first volley.  Attacking foote frontally with horse is not advised! 

Wasting no time, the Royalist Commander of Horse, Col. Trevor, spurs his horse forward on the left, joins his lead regiment of horse, and launches an attack on Fairfax's closest regiment of horse.  As Trevor approaches, Fairfax countercharges into the oncoming Cavalier horse with a clash midway between the two formations' starting positions.  Being trotters, Fairfax's troopers discharge their pistols at point blank range before drawing their swords.  The short range fire disorders the Royalist horse but does not stop them.   
Fairfax vs Trevor
The momentum of the Royalist horse is too much for Fairfax and the Roundhead horse is repulsed in disorder taking more casualties than than it gave.  Its retreat brought the beaten horse into contact with Fairfax's other supporting horse regiment and it is pushed back in disorder.  Fortunately for Fairfax, Trevor is unable to mount a vigorous pursuit.
Fairfax repulsed
Roundhead horse driven back into their support
Commanding the Roundhead foot in the center, Lothian continues his advance towards the Royalist line.  Mainwaring's Foote advances too close to Tillier's Foote and Tillier unleashes a seemingly devastating first volley.  
Panorama of battle
Ouch!
Being of solid resolve, Tillier's fire does no more than disorder Mainwaring.  What, only disorder?  As a note, Lothian's three regiments of Cheshire foot historically showed great courage on this day of battle and are allowed one inspiring rally per game.  In this, the Cheshire foot may ignore one failed Cohesion Test.  My Royalist adversary was quite gentlemanly when such devastating fire resulted in only a disorder.
Fairfax rallies and attacks
Seeing no pursuit from Trevor, Fairfax rallies his horse and pitches back into Trevor's horse.  In a repeat of the action only a few moments before, Fairfax is sent reeling back into his supporting horse.  Trevor, again, fails to follow up on his success.  For now.
Fairfax repulsed a second time
His own horse weakened from two melees in quick succession, Trevor orders a supporting regiment of horse to cover his right flank in preparation for dealing with the Roundhead horse on the wing.
Royalist horse maneuver on the wing
While the remainder of the battle lines were content to exchange short range musket fire to little effect, Trevor's horse went back into action against Fairfax.  At this point in the battle we remembered that Opportunity Fire was a possible reaction to shooting so fire and counter fire became de rigueur for the remainder of the game.

With escape blocked by the river, Trevor took the opportunity to attack the Royalist horse once again.  Finally in this clash of horseflesh and steel, Trevor prevails and Fairfax's Regiment of Horse is scattered.  Unable to check the pursuit, Trevor's victorious horse hit the remaining Roundhead horse.  Winded and ranks depleted, the Royalist horse are, likewise, scattered. 
Demise of Fairfax's Horse
Having contained the cavalry threat to the Royalist right, Trevor's remaining horse maneuvers to threaten the Roundhead center.  Vaughn's Regiment of Horse moves to place himself in a position to fall upon the flank of Mainwaring's regiment.
Maneuvers on the Roundhead left

Going in against Mainwaring's regiment, Tillier closes on the his foe.  With neither foot regiment able to get the upper hand in the contest, Vaughan seizes the opportunity to attack while Mainwaring is otherwise occupied.
Mainwaring in trouble
With God on their side, Mainwaring summons the strength to repel both Royalist attackers.  Huzzah!
Mainwaring overcomes the odds
Not able to contain their excitement, Mainwaring's boys advance back into the scrum with Tillier.  Again, neither regiment of foote gains and an advantage and push of pike yields no gain.
Push of pike
Sensing a bit of deja vu, the Royalist foote is again hit in the flank from Royalist horse.  This time the result is not the same.  Rather than repelling their foes a second time, Mainwaring's regiment is cut down where they stand.
Mainwaring attacked gain!
Having destroyed Mainwaring and seemingly secured the Royalist right, Sir Byron orders a general advance on the bridge.  Finally, awaking to the danger, Meldrum orders a withdrawal towards the bridge and his only change for escape. 
Royalists advance on Salt Bridge
Greatly weakened from the first, ill-advised clash of the battle, Middleton's horse is scattered by musketry from both Washington's dragoons and Brereton's Foot.  Having dispatched Roundhead horse covering the bridge, the Royalist left wing swings to cut off Meldrum's chance to escape.  Meldrum lays down his arms and concedes defeat.
Excellent contest and a much better understanding of Baroque gained following the playing of the second game of Montgomery.  Perhaps, the first battle of Montgomery will get chronicled later?  Major victory for Sir Bryon as he controlled the bridge and prevented the Roundheads from escaping.  As Meldrum, I was out-generaled by Jake's Sir Byron.  Game provided much ebb and flow.  While the resiliency of the Cheshire foote helped, the Roundheads were unable to overcome a number of failed Discipline Tests and the greater marksmanship of their opponent.  With two games in the books, thoughts can now turn towards reflecting on my first impressions of Baroque.  

Congratulations to Jake for a battle well-fought!  


Friday, April 8, 2016

Battle of Montgomery, 18 SEP 1644

Having more or less successfully navigated our first game of Impetvs Baroque in the ECW Battle of Montgomery, the table has been reset for a second go at the battle.
Initial deployments
A few deployment adjustments to both commanders' OB and a more careful reading of the scenario will make for a more historically plausible contest than the first.  In theory, that is.
Sketch map of battle
Force composition stands at 2,600 foote and 1,500 horse for Byron and 1,500 foote and 1,500 for Meldrum.  Based upon the diagram from which this scenario originates (Giglio's English Civil War Scenarios  Vol 2), the Roundheads were awarded one too many regiments of horse.  The Cavaliers get a boost from one additional regiment of foote.  Sorry Sir Meldrum, you must win without them this time.
Overview of start positions
Meldrum's cavalry reinforcements may still appear on a random turn along the east edge of the battlefield.  Their appearance nearly upon the Royalist flank threw a wrench into Byron's plans to destroy the Roundhead force. 
Sir Meldrum's Army
Victory conditions remain as before.  That is, the Parliamentarian forces deployed with their backs to the River Camlad must hold the Salt Bridge at all costs for a major victory.  Meldrum's only avenue of escape is across that bridge.  Failing to secure the bridge from Royalist aggressions, Meldrum may gain a minor victory by withdrawing 50% of his army over to the far side of the river while still holding the north end of the bridge. 
Sir Byron's Army
The battle is set.  Friday evening the battle will be decided.
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