Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Skirmish at Brudenitz - the campaign begins

My first battle of the year using the Honours of War rules fits into the beginning of my Seven Years War campaign.
Set in 1758 in the fictional Rotwasser valley, the campaign centres around the possession of the fortress of Colslau which controls the confluence of the Rotwasser with the Elsa river. The Austrians have sent a force to besiege Colslau, and the campaign opens in April with the advance of the Imperial forces to encircle the fortress.
The map of the Rotwasser valley, Colslau is left centre (labelled 1)
The initial positions in the first week of April are as follows:
The Prussians: in Colslau 4,000 garrison troops under General Kranwitz; to the north at Rotbrucke a single regiment of IR 44 von Jungkenn Fusiliers under their colonel; to the east at Brudernitz on the Elsa river, Garrison Regiment II Alt-Sydow, IR 47 Rohr Fusiliers, Hussar regiment 7 von Malachowski under General Kessell.

The Austrians: At Sitzburg to the west of Colslau Regiments 12 Botta, 16 Konigsegg, 28 Wied, the 1 regiment of grenadiers and the 6 Liechtenstein Dragoons under General von Schilcher; At Ober-Rotberg to the South East of Colslau Regiments 31 Haller, 34 Batthanynayi, 37 Esterhazy, the Warasdiner grenzers, and the 31 De Ligne Dragoons under Baron Nokedli; At Sibilnitz north-east of Colslau Regiment 14 Salm, 36 Browne, 38 De Ligne and 24 Esterhazy Hussars under General Palmino.

Von Schilcher, in overall command, has advanced his preparations to besiege the western suburbs of Colslau. Nokedli is preparing to entrench the around the south bank of the Elsa, while Palmino has been dispatched to cross the Elsa at the only bridge at Brudernitz. He is then to advance south-west and begin operations to cut off the last road out of Colslau.

Thus we come to 8th April 1758 and the first conflict at Brudernitz. General Kessell has deployed his small force on the southern bank of the Elsa as Palmino advances towards him. For the purposes of the Honours of War rules, Kessell is competent while Palmino is dithering.

The battlefield at the beginning of the action, Brudernitz and the north bank in the foreground, Sibilnitz at the back.
The action was a short and sharp one. The Malachowski Hussars were charge by the Esterhazy hussars, but with their countercharge forced them into retreat and then pursued them to a rout from the field. Before they could reform though, they were left exposed to canister fire from the Austrian artillery, which did for them. The infantry battle was an even match, until the Browne regiment marched up and deployed on the flank of the Alt-Sydow garrison regiment. The Prussians couldnot stand up to the crossfire and enfilade and proceeded to retreat into the Elsa. This left the Rohr regiment which abandoned the field and moved north.
End of the battle. The Browne regiment can be seen in the foreground, in the position in which it was able to enfilade the Alt-Sydow regiment. The Rohr regiment can be seen retreating over the bridge.
So the first skirmish has seen the Prussians retreat north towards Andelnitz (22 on the map) and Palmino secure the Elsa crossign for the Austrians. Will Kessel take his survivors into Colslau or head north to maintain his freedom of action?


Monday, 15 January 2018

On a painting streak

I've been busy with the brushes over the last few days, and managed to progress some projects.
German grenadiers for Craig. As always, he will add the tufts etc.
Houses for East Prussia - I'm going to need these for the Seven Years War and WWI
IR19 Markgraf Karl, somewhere in East Prussia
Musketeer Regiment 14 Salm-Salm.
This and the previous regiment are all Lancashire Games figures
2 batteries of Union artillery
2 batteries of Confederate artillery
Kampfgruppe Muller for Team Yankee
And another angle.
The West Germans were a bit of a spur of the moment thing. I'd got the airbrush out for some bits and pieces for Craig, and thought I might as well have a go with these guys. I really like how they turned out. Oh dear, remember what I said about focusing on purchasing terrain this year? I think I might have a new distraction already...

On the painting tray are some French colonels for John, some Prodos Marines for Alien vs Predator for Glenn, some Samurai for Dan and another Austrian regiment (Hoch & Deutschmeister), so plenty of variety to come. Also, hopefully I'll get a game in real soon.


Thursday, 11 January 2018

First painting

It's been a week since we got back from Aussie, and it was an excellent trip with the family. Since I've got home I've been catching up on lost time and getting through some painting and prep. The first thing I did was finish John's 95th Rifles, the Chosen Men box from Warlord Games with 16 riflemen and a dog. Having completed that (no photos unfortunately as I took them to him before I thought to take a snap) I promptly moved into some 15mm Seven Years War. I have 4 regiments of Prussian musketeers and 4 of Austrians to paint, together with some casualties and a couple of limbers. These are all now prepped and primed and ready to go, and I have started with IR 15 the Prussian Leibgarde.

IR15 Leibgarde Regiment
Parading past Der Alte Fritz himself.
Currently IR19 Markgraf Karl is sitting on the painting tray half complete.

Project Management Take 2

I thought I'd try and be structured with my projects this year, with completion dates to work towards. I'm dividing the year into thirds. The first third I want to complete the Prussians and Austrians for the Seven Years War, plus the American Civil War armies which are also now all prepped and ready to be painted. There are 11 regiments (5 Confederate and 6 Union) of infantry, 8 regiments of cavalry (mounted and dismounted) and some heavy artillery and limbers. Finally, I want to aim to get another Marian Roman and Gallic army painted for DBA in the quest to have BBDBA armies available by the end of the year for this period.

The second third of the year will be concentrating on the 15mm Seven Years War Russians, to get them finished by August for the anniversary of Zorndorf. Well, the intention is there...

The final third will be spent on the German and Russian 1914 armies, hopefully they can be used in a game to mark Armistice weekend, even if they aren't complete by that point.

The plans, of course, are affected by painting for others, but if I don't meet my targets by the due dates, then I'll move onto the next project. That way I can guarantee progress in each of the periods, whether or not I complete them. I can always proxy Austrians at Zorndorf if necessary.

The line-up for others isn't reducing. Most of it will be for Craig, and consists of Battlefront German grenadiers (which I've had for half a year but am struggling to get into), 28mm Soviets, some Luftwaffe and Volksturm for Bolt Action, and a few other bits and pieces. I have some 28mm Napoleonics for John, some figures for Dan, Glenn and Chris, and then I think I'll call it a year on painting for others.  It would be nice to only have my own stuff to work through for a while.

Planning the games for the year

To go with the painting schedule, I'm planning a succession of campaigns this year. The first will be a Seven Years War Campaign to run in the first third of the year, fighting a series of linked battles between the Prussians and the Austrians, which should end up completed. Next will be an American Civil War campaign, using everything that I've managed to complete by May. A second Seven Years War campaign will follow this in the final third, with the Russians involved. Next December I hope to be able to fight out a series of linked battles on the Eastern Front in WWI as well.

Alongside these games, I aim to get more DBA. Portable Battle, Clobberin' Time and Song of Broken Legions games in as well. We'll see if I can manage 3 games a month - that is the goal.

Look - a book!

The Aussie trip didn't see any toy soldier purchases, but they did see me raid a couple of second hand bookstores and pick up a whole pile of great books (my wife was not impressed that we had to try and get all of this stuff packed into the luggage for the return trip). But amongst the loot was a book that I didn't even pay for. This was a gift from Marcus when I visited him in Canberra. Last year he and Dan came across a building being prepared to be demolished, with all of the possessions left inside going with it. Well they were allowed to go in and raid this site, and the chap who owned it turned out to be a real military head. They grabbed tons of books and still didn't get through it all. One of the volumes was this:

This book by Esposito and Elting is on my bucket list. There was a volume in the library at my University and I read it cover to cover, photocopying a good number of the maps along the way. I offered to buy it off him, but Marcus said at the time that if I went to Canberra to visit him, I could have it, so I did and now I have. In return I might get some 6mm figs to paint up for his copy of  'Travel Battle' as a return gesture.
If you don't know this book, it is simply a must have if you are an map fiend and Napoleonaphile like me. It covers the campaigns that he was personally involved in, describing the battles in detail and matching them with fantastic maps.
Overview of the armies at the start of the Marengo campaign.
One of the maps detailing the course of the battle.
Obviously, acquiring this has made me very, very happy. Thanks Marcus!

Potential purchases

With the cabinets bulging I plan to resist any new temptations this year. Not easy, as Gangs of Rome looks totally amazing, but I aim to stick to my guns - no new projects! (... Except maybe some French and British for Napoleon in Egypt, which isn't really a new project as I already have some test figures...).
Anyway, aside from some dismounted cavalry for the ACW and a few battalions to finish off the Franco-Prussian War armies, figure purchases are to be kept at a minimum. The word this year will be 'terrain'. The ACW demands some very specific styles of building that I don't currently possess. The ECW, although not this year's project (locked in for 2019), also needs some terrain built and bought for it.
And although not an essential terrain item, I couldn't resist buying this as a Late Roman era camp for some Huns or other Barbarians in DBA:
The fall of the Roman Empire...
You've gotta love Aquarium decorations...


Monday, 18 December 2017

2017 wrap up

This is my last post for this year, as we are about to head over the ditch to the land of Oz for Xmas. As such, this post will be a reflection on 2017 - achievements and otherwise.

1. The 6 x 6 challenge
This idea from Kaptain Kobold at the Stronghold Rebuilt to get people blogging more about games rather than, 'look what I just painted', was a brilliant one, and got me playing the most games I've managed in a year this century. I didn't actually finish the challenge, but I ended up playing 40 games - four more than the 6x6, but just not in the right categories. As such, the 6 x 6 was a fantastic challenge and helped me develop some of my own rules, explore DBA v3.0 and have plenty of fun along the way.
The highlights for me were playing through Clobberin' Time and slowly building figures for the NDC Universe - the comics characters Dan and I began to invent 30 years ago. It is a bit of a kick seeing them come alive on the table. The other highlight was the discovery of Tony Aguilar's and Musashi's DBA battle reports on Youtube, lately added to by NZ's own Greg Kelleher and Mark Baker.
Aphid (foreground) was one of our first ever creations. Tiger Girl came into being this year.
Crazy fun - Delta Wave versus the Snowmen from Mars in a random dinosaur park.
2. Acquisitions
This is a big category this year, fueled by being gifted stuff and purchases made with commission money. Most importantly, I completed my Practical Wargamer magazine collection this year. So inspirational that I have several magazines next to my bed at the moment where I've been reading through some American Civil War articles and getting sidetracked by things like 15th Century Ireland - FOCUS!
Paul's gift of 15mm American Civil War armies has launched me straight into a new period, and I only have about a third of the armies that I need to complete for this project.
The English Civil War in 28mm are all sitting there partially assembled now - 2000 points for Warhammer English Civil War per side. That one is going to be a biggie, and is ear-marked for 2019.
Multiple DBA armies have also found there way into the cabinet, with most of my favourite eras in ancient history now covered.
Collection complete!
3. Painting Commissions
A slightly quieter year commission-wise in 2017. I started the year by finishing off some German 15mm Flames of War figures for Craig, then some 15mm British Paras, followed by painting some 28s for Geoff mid-year, and then the Walking Dead figures at the end of the year. Wanting to get some of my own projects finished got in the way a little this year, and I have a queue waiting for me in 2018 - John's Napoleonics and some more 15mm WWII from Craig, but I'll get there...
The top tray of Walking Dead figures just prior to sending.
4. Painting for my collections
I rounded out a number of Seven Years War 15mm units, although I still have more to go (next year). I painted 28mm Marlburian armies for the Pikeman's Lament (and then sold them), 4 DBA armies, Chaco War and Vietnam War armies for the Portable Wargame and several factions for Song of Broken Legions. Alongside this there have been numerous experiments and other bits and pieces just for something different to paint. In total, it has been a good painting year, aside from the month where my back packed up.

5. Blogging
Including this one, there will be 55 posts this year, 5 down on 2016. I haven't posted anywhere as many photos of painting as I have in the past, and this is in keeping with my resolution to try to have more games blogged and not just pictures of figures. I do now wish that I had some record of the 15mm Britsh paras, though, as I had forgotten that I'd painted them!
The 6 x 6 has been a great blogging event to participate in. Thanks you Kaptain Kobold for organising it. In August I started a 'Project Management' blog challenge to try to get people to link to each other's blogs a bit. I have to say that Mark and Jonathan have been the best at sticking to their plans. Me, not so much...

6. 2018
Two big anniversaries dominate next year's plans: 100 years since the end of WWI and 260 years since the battle of Zorndorf. Hence my goal is to have the 15mm Russian Seven Years War army ready to fight by August, and my 18mm Russian and German armies ready to go in the same month. If I get the time I will also try to complete the Flames of War Great War British and Germans. Alongside these I aim to have the American Civil War armies finished by the end of February.
Commission-wise, I have 15mm Grenadiers, a platoon of 28mm Luftwaffe infantry and several helicopters to paint for Craig, 28mm Napoleonic Rifles, Highlanders and artillery for John, 9 Samurai for Dan, a platoon of 15mm Goums for Chris, and some Prodos Space Marines for Glenn. It looks like another busy year of painting, but hopefully also of gaming.
Without the 6 x 6 I am going to set myself a target of 3 games a month, and see if I can make it work.

Merry Xmas everyone, and we will see you in the New Year.


Friday, 15 December 2017

The taking of Seminole Ridge

This morning I had a bit of time to set up a battle with the newly based American Civil War troops. I decided I'd do a set-up based on the map form the Battle of Seminole Ridge, which can be found in Charles' Grant's book, 'Wargames Tactics'. This battle would involve a single Brigade of Confederates trying to hold a ridge-line against an attack by two Union Brigades. It was a chance to try out some slightly modified Neil Thomas rules which included a command system and chance cards .
The original battle-plan from the book. I had less units and no cavalry.
I don't have a full battle report, as this was just to try out the rules and see how they went. I randomised the morale status of the units, and the die rolls came up with a lot of militia units, which didn't last long, although one green Confederate unit managed to charge and defeat an average Union Regiment in the centre.
I have included a couple of photos from the end of the game, which finished rather spectacularly with the death of the Confederate Brigade commander and the triumph of numbers on the Union Left flank. Things were much more closely contested on the opposite side.

The close of the battle,as seen from the Confederate HQ on Citadel Heights. The regiments on the left are holding on, but on the right they are about to be forced back over the Blick Bridge (yes, that is spelled correctly).
Before each turn started, the two sides would roll off to see which would have the first move, which led to a couple of interesting moments. At one point the Confederates looked like they would be able to get in the first shot at Union regiments just advancing onto the hill, but the Union got the initiative in the next turn. The Brigade Commander then rolled a 5 for command, which enabled him to draw a card which doubled the power of one unit's volley. The poor Confederates were left barreling back from a position where they thought they had the advantage.
The Rebs hold onto the end of Seminole Ridge next to Saucer Bridge, having seen off two Union Regiments already.
A lone battery covers the retreat of the last Reb regiment defending Blick Bridge. The Yankees are sweeping around the flank.

There's still a couple of things that need to be added - for instance, there are no limbering/unlimbering rules at the moment. But overall they work well, and allowed me to play a game to a conclusion in an hour or so.
It did highlight that I need to invest in some terrain, though. I have no suitable buildings, fences or walls. This will be on my list for the new year.


Monday, 11 December 2017

Large scale painting

I'm still working my way through the Walking Dead for Craig - e.t.a. is early next week to have them all complete, but this weekend just gone I used a bit of my time to paint up John's Christmas present. He has had a resin bust of Napoleon sitting around for the last 10 years or so, and his wife said to him, 'I'm sure that should be painted.' He brought it around to me and I said, 'I'm sure it isn't supposed to be painted'. It had a faux marble wash on it and the eyes were sculpted with indented pupils to allow the light to bounce and look a bit more natural. However, he said have a go if I want.
So I did,
The Emperor painted up
A slightly different angle with a 28mm Napoleon for size comparison.
I'm pretty happy with how he turned out. The eyes don't quite look right but that is because the iris of the right eye (left as you look at it here) is engraved deeper than the left. It actually looks much more natural 'in the flesh'.

Zombie painting continues apace, of course, and I'm in the middle of survivors at the moment, but here are the last few zeds:
Imagine how they must smell..
In other news, I have just been gifted Paul's American Civil War 15mm figures, and am now in the process of rebasing them and organising two armies for a campaign to play in 2018.
Close ups

All the painted stuff, and as much again is unpainted!
So I'm looking at two armies each of 15 regiments (3 brigades), 3 cavalry (1 brigade) and 6 guns, to be used with some adapted Neil Thomas rules. More on that in the new year. Thursday week I'm off to Sydney to spend Xmas with family and then visit buddies and occasional commentators on this blog, Dan and Marcus, in Canberra for a few days.


Thursday, 30 November 2017

Nothing November

The last day of November already? I haven't posted for over a month! I must have done heaps of wargaming stuff.
Well, no.
The end of year has never, ever, been this busy. Education is changing, and with it the slow wind down at the end of the year where you had time to review, reflect and prepare your courses for the next year has effectively disappeared. Now gone is the concept of a deadline, to be replaced by students leaving their assessments to the last minute. Not exactly teaching them life skills, is it? But I'm just a cog in the machine...

Anyway, the spare time I have had for hobbies has gone to painting for others, in particular, Craig. He sent me through his Walking Dead board game and I have been working through the figures trying to get them all painted for him by Xmas.
Below are some samples of what has come off the painting tray intermittently in the last couple of weeks:

(These guys have since been finished off with eyes and stuff)

So tonight I'll get the latest load of zombies completed and then onto the next lot of survivors.

As for the Six by Six, I'm going to have to put up my hands and surrender. There's no way I'm going to get any games played between now and when the family head to Australia for a holiday. Still, I don't think I did too bad overall with 25/36 games played and 3 of the sets of six completed. And I did play every game, including one of systems that I abandoned.
We'll have to see how I do next year...