Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Celtic/Gallic Warband II

As the 2014 campaign comes to a close, one last reinforcement crosses over from The Lead Pile.  With a planned Impetvs game on Saturday, this warband will see action on the table almost immediately.

With a mix of figures, this motley mob presents a stand full of character.  Character is a strong suit in the BTD figures and like other BTD figures, are a pleasure to paint.  Following close on the heels of the first completed warband (see earlier warband), these warriors will see action in most Punic War games.  I could use several more of these in the project!
On the painting desk are two units nearing completion but will not be finished before I snap the painting log closed for 2014.  In work is an addition to the SAW project consisting of 15 U.S. Regular infantry along with eight Libyan javelin men for the Punic Wars project.  Most likely, the Libyans will be finished in time to see action in the Punic War game slated for JAN 03.

Before the game, I need to re-read the rules and decide whether to give the Basic or Full version a go.  Since this will be both Scott and Kevin's first run at Impetvs, perhaps the Basic version is appropriate?

Monday, December 29, 2014

Chadd's Ford: Maxwell's Destruction - BatRep

Action at Brinton's Ford
At last report (see here), Maxwell was tasked with delaying the advance of Kynphausen's columns upon the fords over Brandywine Creek.  Maxwell had succeeded in slowing the progress of the British right column but the left column was unhindered on its approach.

Maintaining the British initiative, Vaughn's command on the right is activated.  On the left of the road, the 28th Foot double times up the hill and looses two volleys into Stephen's L.I.
28th Foot on the attack 
Already shaken, the light infantry fails its Discipline Morale Test and withdraws, exhausted.

On the right of the road, the 23rd Foot advances to contest the high ground with Wayne's L.I.  A devastating volley erupts from the 23rd and the light infantry sustain four hits.  With two hits already, the shaken lights fail their Discipline check and withdraw becoming exhausted.  As Wayne's lights fallback, two more volleys go into the regiment.  No additional casualties are suffered.  
23rd Foot on the attack
With muskets empty, Vaughn issues a Forced Order to the 23rd to reload their weapons.  Failing the Disorder Morale Test, the 23rd halts in disorder with muskets unloaded.

Vaughn then dashes over to the 4th Foot, deployed astride the road, to rally them.  A successful rally removes the three casualties sustained.  Having one order remaining, the 4th fires into the wavering Chester County militia.  Despite a ragged volley, the militia take one more hit bringing it up to its casualty threshold.  With friendly units disintegrating on either flank, the militia fail their Discipline Check and fall back, becoming exhausted.
Maxwell's thin line
In an attempt to salvage the situation on the west bank of the Brandywine, Maxwell is activated.  Unfortunately for Maxwell, three of his four regiments are exhausted.  With that, his force is considered Broken and must take a Discipline Check before activation.  Broken units failing a Discipline Check will drop one Discipline Level.  For Exhausted units, a failure means destruction.

Stephen's light infantry and the Chester County militia fail their checks and scatter.  Greene's light infantry fails the check and drops to Exhausted.  With Maxwell attached, Wayne's LI passes its check.  Maxwell expends one CP to send a Forced Order for rallying the light infantry.  Maxwell's presence is needed and Wayne's LI rallies back up to Shaken.

On the British left, Grant activates and draws three CPs. Both the 5th and 10th Foot regiments advance to near the banks of the creek.  Protecting Brinton's Ford is the 4th Maryland.  The 5th pours two volleys into the Marylanders.  The first causes no casualties but the second causes two hits.  With muskets unloaded, Grant sends a Forced Order to the 5th to reload.  The 5th fails to comply and becomes disordered.

In an attempt to push the 4th Maryland back from the crossing point, Grant's artillery on the high ground fires into their ranks.  No discernible effect.  Grant sends a Forced Order out to the guns to reload and fire again.  Grant's admonition is heeded and the guns reload and fire a second time.  This time, the guns have the desired effect and the Marylanders withdraw from the ford, shaken.   
British drive on Brinton's Ford
Now, time for the Americans to hopefully return the favor.  Sullivan activates De Borre's command and the 4th Maryland advances back to cover the ford.  The Marylanders deliver two punishing volleys into the 5th.  Shaken, the 5th maintains its position.
5th taking casualties but holding ground
Moving up towards the ford, the German Battalion fires into the 5th along with added support from the American guns.  Suffering more punishing volleys, the 5th becomes exhausted and withdraws from the ford.
5th driven back from ford
Back on the British right, Kynphausen activate his advance guard.  Ferguson's Rifles advance and fire into the shaken American light infantry.  Wayne's LI suffers casualties including the loss of Maxwell!  With more fire pouring into the beleaguered light infantry, the Americans fall back, exhausted.
Ferguson's rifles fire into American light infantry
As Maxwell's force melts away, the remainder of the American formations close up to the banks of the Brandywine as reports that Stirling's German Brigade approaches.
Battlefield at conclusion of Turn 5
Having effectively destroyed the American advance guard under Maxwell, the approach to Chadd's Ford is now virtually unimpeded.

With the first attack at Brinton's Ford, the British were rebuffed.  Will a second attack meet the same fate?  Can Knyphausen push across the Brandywine in the face of strong opposition?

Saturday, December 27, 2014

1859 Austrian Double Shot

Usually, I do not tackle more than one BMU on the painting desk at once.  This time, an exception.  Mustering off from the painting desk today are two battalions of Austrians for the 1859 project.  Both will take their place in the OB as 4th battalions in Benedek's 8th Corps, 4th Brigade.  One marches off from the 18th Infantry Regiment; the other from the 19th Infantry Regiment.  Notice that the rank and file are in greatcoat but the command are wearing white tunics of kittel.  Really makes the command stand out. 
Each battalion is 18 figures strong and composed of Lancashire Games miniatures.  These are the first of the recently acquired Lancashire Games figures to undergo the paint brush.  Nice figures with minimal flash but the mold lines on the shakos are a bit misaligned.  The shakos are uncovered with shako plate showing.  A detail the Old Glory and Mirliton figures do not display as the shakos on their figures are covered.  These figures fit in well with the 15mm Old Glory and Mirliton figures present in the project. 

I liked the look of these figures enough to place a follow up order with Lancashire Games.  Luckily, a 15% Off Winter Sale is in force so I saved a few dollars as well.

Speaking of dollars spent and saved, shipping from the U.K is expensive.  It is not uncommon for a U.K. vendor to charge 30% to 40% of order value to ship to the USA.  Lancashire is no exception in that 40% is charged for shipping to USA.  For my order, that shipping charge totaled BP20.74.  Well, I did want the figures so I submitted the order.

When the package arrived, the postage cost was stamped as BP12.85!  My charged postage is a 61% markup over actual postage costs.  Do these companies use postage as an extra revenue center or does the 40% shipping cost on balance cover actual shipping?  Perhaps, the price-to-weight ratio in my case was not typical. 

As a figure purchaser, do you expect charges for postage to accurately reflect actual (or near actual) postage costs?    

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Wargaming Christmas!

Without snow on the ground, I spent a couple of hours on Christmas day outdoors on the bicycle.  With temperatures hovering around 32F, it was a cold ride even in the sun.  Decked out in cold-weather cycling gear and insulated shoes, riding in the sun was tolerable but in the shade the roads were frosty and the air, damn cold.  Still, it was enjoyable to get out on the bike and break the monotony of indoor cycling.  Having put 30 miles into my legs, I returned home to thaw.

Christmas 2014 was full of pleasant surprises on the wargaming front.  Starting early, a package from my Secret Santa brought forth SYW Prussian figures from Eureka Miniatures.
Eureka SYW Prussians
As a most welcome bonus, my Secret Santa provided this loot in proportions exactly matching my project specifications.  That is, six figures per cavalry squadron and 22 musketeers and one mounted officer per infantry battalion.  I really appreciate the attention to detail of my benefactor. 

Next up, two generous Gift Certificates to Eureka Miniatures.  One certificate was from Phil of Toy Soldiers Studio and the other from my wife.  I have some enjoyable planning ahead of me.  Will I restock the SYW or the Napoleonics?  More FRW figures are needed for the 1799 project.  Perhaps, a bit of all three!

Jeff, of Saxe-Bearstein, Project ECW, and perhaps a few other blogs (!), sent a gift of Haythornthwaite's Colonial Wars Sourcebook.  Inside was a note stating that colonial gaming was somehow being overlooked on my blog and that I should consider NWF!  With friends like this...
Curiously and without fanfare, a package from Finland arrived.  Inside was a large chocolate bar with gingerbread.  Never heard of such a delicacy before.  No idea from whence it originates but I look forward to a taste.
Before the group's Commands & Colors Christmas game, a gift exchange included a couple of books from Kevin,
and The Great Courses lectures on CD from Scott.
My wife also delivered three volumes of the excellent Wargaming in History series.  Wow!  How about that!

Finally, from daughter #2, came Hartwig's To Antietam Creek and a few monster-sized Charleston Chews (a weakness of mine).  She cleverly plucked the Hartwig tome from my Amazon Wish List.

A tremendous amount of reading awaits as well as a few sessions of project planning to arrive at a solution to the Eureka Gift Card puzzle.

Thank you all very much for your thoughtfulness and generosity!   

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Seasonality in Painting Production?


Josiah Stamp once remarked that,

"The government are very keen on amassing statistics. They collect them, add them, raise them to the nth power, take the cube root and prepare wonderful diagrams. But you must never forget that every one of these figures comes in the first instance from the chowky dar (village watchman in India), who just puts down what he damn pleases."

Well! Within my painting logs are amassed years of data none of which follow Stamp's Law.  You see, I only add to the ledger figures actually completed.  As I look over the record, I often wonder if there is any rhyme or reason to my painting output.  Looking at production since 1996 on an adjusted painting points basis (1), not many patterns are discernible at this aggregated level.

Monthly Painting totals by Month and Era 
Generally, it appears that both output and number of eras have increased over time but not much more can be identified.  I typically breakdown these numbers into an annual review offering more detail but what about a seasonal nature to my output?  Anecdotally, my memory tends to latch onto the notion that painting increases during the short daylight hours of winter and slacks off during the long and warm days of summer.  Do these data support that conclusion?  Let us put it to the test.

First, begin by overlaying a trend onto the monthly painting points totals (TOTPOINT). Yep.  In general, painting production has increased over time.  With seemingly periodic crests, perhaps, there is some seasonality within the data?

Monthly Painting Totals with Trend 
Using the 19 years of history and decomposing the time series shows that a definite seasonal pattern does emerge.  What does the graph below suggest?  The analysis suggests that after seeing an increase in production in February, production drops during the spring and summer months with output roughly 50 adjusted painting points below the monthly mean output.  Then in August, I tend to hit the paint desk with vigor only to drop off again in September.  After the September lull, October witnesses another spike in activity that carries on through the remainder of the year. 
Seasonal Patterns in Painting Production
Interesting?  Well, this exercise provides insight into my painting habits and provides reasonable inferences.  The relative spikes in FEB, AUG, and late fall also coincide with my experiences.  Did not realize my habits were so predictable.  I guess at least I am  a creature of habit.

Notice that each month with an increase in activity is followed by a month with decreasing activity.  In statistical terminology, the series exhibits negative serial correlation.  That is, an increase in one month is followed by a decrease in the next month.  This pattern suggests that painting produces fits and spurts where increased productivity in one month leads to, perhaps, burnout in the following month.  Yeah, I have felt that on occasion.  The data suggest it happens every other month!

With the evidence suggesting that I am, indeed, a creature of habit, tomorrow I celebrate Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

(1) Adjusted Painting Points based on Analog Hobbies points scoring system. Adjusted Paintings Points tend to weight all work appropriate to effort rather than based solely on raw totals of painted figures. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

SYW Prussian 10th Musketeers Bn 2

Musketeer Regiment #10
All officers and rank and file of the Prussian 10th Musketeer Regiment are present and under arms.  Like all Prussian musketeer regiments in the project, each regiment is composed of two, 23 figure musketeer battalions and one, 8 figure grenadier stand of two companies.  The 10th is recognized by its distinctive lemon yellow facing, small clothes, and breeches.
Musketeer Regiment #10
To complete the 10th, the second battalion marches off from the painting desk to join its sister regimental components.  Figures are Blue Moon Miniatures.
Musketeer Regiment #10 Bn 2
Musketeer Regiment #10 Bn 2
With year-end rapidly closing in, perhaps time remains for one or two more units to muster off from the painting desk.  Of course, vying for painting time are holiday activities, two group games, and a continuation of my solo Chadd's Ford game.

What next on the painting desk? two battalions of Austrian line infantry for the 1859 project.  These Austrians are the first dip into my recently acquired Lancashire Games figures.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

1st Afghan War British

Off the painting desk this evening is a 24 figure regiment of British from the China range but destined to see service elsewhere.  These bell-topped shako, Wargames Foundry figures could see service during the First Afghan War, Indian Mutiny and even the Sikh Wars.  Great figures with superb sculpting!  

Marching out in their summer white trousers and yellow facings, these lads can muster as one of the many yellow faced regiments in the British arsenal deployed to India and the NW Frontier.  Colours are yet to be granted.
With the completion of this regiment, I can now field two British infantry regiments (or companies depending on game scale) in Kevin's expanding mid-19th Century Northwest Frontier project.  The earlier regiment can be seen here.
The sculpts for these Foundry figures were very enjoyable to paint but units of 24 is a bit much to tackle at one go.  I much prefer 12-16 28mm figures at one time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chadd's Ford: Maxwell's Delay - BatRep

Maxwell delays Knyphausen
The first phase of the Chadd's Ford battle begins.  As noted in the initial, set up posting (see Planning the Battle), Washington has arrayed his forces along the banks of Brandywine Creek to defend the fords.  Maxwell's brigade is scattered in an advanced position on the west bank of the Brandywine.  Greene covers Chadd's Ford while Sullivan protects Brinton's Ford.
Initial American Deployments
The British right wing under the command of General Knyphausen advances onto the table along the two roads heading east.  Kynphausen splits his command with Grant's brigade advancing towards Brinton's Ford while the general, himself, leads the remainder of his command down the road towards the Chadd's Ford crossing.  
Grant's Command
Knyphausen and Vaughn's Command
Sullivan's position overlooking Brinton's Ford
American guns overlooking Chadd's Ford
Greene's Command deployed around Chadd's farm
Greene at Chadd's Ford
Sullivan's at Brinton's Ford
With the bulk of the British right bearing down on Maxwell in such overwhelming numbers, I wondered why Maxwell would have taken up such an advanced position.  Was this deployment to delay the British from descending upon the creek before Washington's force was in place?  Did Washington plan on attacking across the Brandywine with Sullivan and Greene in an attempt to defeat the British right before the British left could engage?  Unsupported, surely Maxwell stands little chance of performing his task, does he?

Good questions.

Kynphausen's right column steps off with Ferguson's Rifles and Queen's Rangers in the van.  As the column approaches Kennett Square, the Queen's Rangers pour two volleys into Wayne's Light Infantry.  Wayne's L.I. takes casualties and retires from Kennett Square back to higher (and hopefully less hazardous) ground.
Queen's Rangers and Ferguson's Rifles lead the way
Wayne's Light Infantry
With numbers growing against him, Maxwell falls back to the heights overlooking the road. Both British columns press on towards the creek.
Vaughn with Knyphausen
Not having enemy opposition to his immediate front, Grant is able to push on towards the creek at a faster rate than Kynphausen.
Grant's column
As the firefight expands, Washington seizes the initiative.  Maxwell rides over to the Chester County Militia to rally them from disorder.  In skirmish fire exchanges, Ferguson's Rifles suffer from the fire of Wayne's L.I.
Maxwell delays the British right
The sound of volleys increases on the British right as the Queen's Rangers pour volley after volley into Greene's L.I.  Greene takes four hits, becomes shaken, passes its Discipline Test, and maintains its position on the high ground.

The bulk of Vaughn's command passes through Kennett Square and engages Stephens' Light Infantry.  Being in open order, Stephens' L.I. escape harm.
British right forms up into battle line
At Kennett Square, the 4th Foot passes through the buildings and brings fire onto Stephens' L.I.  Stephens takes one hit. 

Having suffered casualties at the hands of Wayne's L.I. on the extreme right of the British line, Ferguson's Rifles welcomes the arrival of the 23rd Foot.  The riflemen cheer as the 23rd passes through its ranks.
23rd Foot passes through Ferguson
The 23rd looses three volleys into Wayne's L.I.  The first volley has no effect but the second and third volleys manage to drop the L.I. to Shaken.  Wayne's L.I. passes its Discipline Test.  To pull off movement and reloading, Vaughn sends two Forced Orders to the 23rd; both of which the 23rd accepts.

Regaining the initiative (and essentially getting a double move out of Vaughn), Kynphausen orders the 23rd to carry the heights.  The 23rd advances to the base of the heights, fires off a volley, and then charges the light infantry.  Taking hits in the volley, Wayne's L.I. gives up the high ground before the 23rd can close.
23rd Moves,
and Charges
Near Kennett Square,the 28th Foot advances on Stephens' L.I. stopping to unleash a devastating volley.  Stephens takes two hits, becomes shaken, fails its Discipline Test, and retires.  Double timing into range of Greene's L.I., the 4th Foot fires into the light infantry to no effect.  Vaughn issues a forced order to the 4th and the 4th charges up the hill into Greene.  Greene's light infantry reacts to the oncoming British foot by skedaddling out of the way.

Seeing his defensive position collapse, Maxwell orders a general retrograde with his three, now shaken, light infantry regiments.  Plugging the center is the Chester County Militia.
Chester County Militia
The Chester County boys pour two volleys into the 4th.  The 4th suffers three hits.  For the 4th, three hits is not sufficient to trigger a Discipline Test nor cause them to go Shaken.
4th Foot takes a beating
On the British left, Grant's column continues its advance on Brinton's Ford.

Well, that concludes four turns of the Chadd's Ford battle.  Maxwell effectively slowed down Kynphausen's advance towards Chadd's Ford but to what purpose?  All four of his regiments are now shaken and will not likely stand up against pressure from the British in close combat.  The Americans can still dish out punishing volleys but then run the risk of being caught by the more densely packed British regiments.  It may be a race back to the ford.  Should Washington have crossed the creek and reinforced Maxwell?

What happens once the British reach the fords?  Breaching the creek and making a bridgehead on the east bank of the Brandywine may be a tough row to hoe for Knyphausen.  Sequential unit activation with multiple pulses may make the task easier, though.  Perhaps, counterattacks will be easier to develop too?

The rules used, Land of the Free, work with solo play too.  With more careful study during this solo exercise, the mechanisms are beginning to gel.  Multiple "move and shoots" by an active unit takes time to counter this, sometimes massive maneuverability and firepower.  For this phase of the battle in which light infantry were tasked with merely screening and delaying of a larger force, it worked.  We will see what happens when the close order troops clash.

Dropping the measurements from inches to centimeters to account for the difference between 28mm and 15mm is working.  Three cm move pulses at first seemed quite miserly but considering a unit can often have three move impulses per activation, that too works.  In march column a unit could move up to 18 cm in its three move pulses.  Firing ranges seem about right for the frontage of a typical unit. 

I like how a unit can be pushed beyond normal operations by its leader but not without cost.  A commander must issue a CP and the unit may follow or not.  Pushed too hard and the unit balks and disorders.  For Vaughn, he was able to press the 4th and 23rd beyond the ordinary.  We will see if his luck holds.