Friday, 11 August 2017

Casualty Markers

I intend that each of my Napoleonic units will have it's own casualty marker.
So far every one of my British infantry battalions has it's own bespoke casualty marker on a dial base from Warbases. I have also produced one for my artillery bases, may need to do more.

Example of infantry casualty marker

Artillery casualty marker

I then came to my cavalry units of which I currently have three, only two painted so far, and how I would do them. The easiest way was to buy dead horse miniatures and these I got from Front Rank, however these would not fit well on the Warbases bases. Fortunately I found that Charlie Foxtrot Models do similar dial bases in an elongated pill shape which are a perfect fit.

14th & 16th Light Dragoons and 4th Dragoon casualties.

These bases come unassembled and some care needs to be taken to ensure the parts line up and the dial is still free to rotate after assembly. All in all thought perfect for the job.

Completed and partially assembled base.

Now I just need to find casualty figures for my Portuguese line and cacadores or it's out with the cutters, glue and pins.


Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Minden 1759. Game at NBHW.

On Saturday 29th myself and seventeen others attended the New Buckenham Historical Wargamers to refight the Seven Years' War Battle of Minden, 1759. The game had been set up the previous evening and featured over two thousand 28mm figures. The rules used were Honuors of War by Osprey. A few pictures of the set up follow, with an AAR after.

von-Sporken's battalions view the massed French cavalry.

The massed French cavalry view the "chétif" red coated battalions.

The massed battalions of the French left wing.

von-Sporken's British and Hanoverian battalions.

Fight for Malbergen.

Unhistorically, Sackville takes to the field.

Imhoff's German troops, Hessians and some Brunswickers, advanced on Malbergen, took one half of the village as the French took the other and were then fearfully cut up as the French beat back a rash Hessian advance. The supporting German cavalry of Holstein-Gottorf could do little to help against the French massed ranks and musketry.

The British and Hanoverians of von-Sporcken's famous battalions went straight forward, leaving the first line of French cavalry, little option but to charge. This charge and the subsequent one from the second line were firmly met, held and smashed by Sporcken's heroic lads. It seemed at this point that history might be repeated.

However the Saxon contingent now arrived, after losing the 23rd foot and seeing his two flanking units retire, the 12th foot and Hanoverian Guard Battalion, von-Sporcken decided to pull back on Kingsley's Brigade and refresh the line. This was achieved, a '6' would have seen the 37th and remaining 'Fuss Garde' advance alone !, but this allowed the Saxons to clear the third line of French horse and form up, along with the French Battalions beside Hahlen.

As von-Sporcken realigned and awaited the support of Scheele's column, two rolls of '1' had kept him frustratingly idle, Prince Ferdinand - ever calm & cool in command, brought up the Hessians and Hanoverians of Wutginau's Brigade. This fine looking body of men now made fine looking bodies of the remaining French cavalry that again attempted, and failed, to check this advance.

To the surprise of all, Sackville led on his two brigades of cavalry, the latter ably led by the Marquis of Granby. These began to take fire from the formed French infantry, and at the same time the allies decided to attack the French battalions holding the other end of Hahlen.

Sadly these last events unfolded as time called a halt. The umpire, noting the losses to Ferdinand's army around Malbergen, called it as a narrow win for the French army of Contandes.

Quite simply a brilliant day of historical wargaming.

For a lot more photographs see the club's Facebook Album


Antietam 1862, The Cornfield. Game at NBHW.

Friday night at NBHW saw six of us sit down for a game of Fire & Fury in 15mm based of the Battle of Antietam in 1862, specifically the fight for the cornfield near the Dunker church. This was one of a series of warm up games before a planned refight of the whole battle latter this year. Once again Richard provided a great game with lots of historical commentary thrown in. A few photos follow with his AAR write up following.

The starting overview from the Union side.
The starting overview from the Confederate side.
The Union advance, the Iron Brigade reach the cornfield.
The Union feed in more troops, artillery back re supplying.

This was a full throated battle from the outset with the famed Iron Brigade surging through the cornfield into the waiting guns of the confederate defensive line. By the time the planned supporting attacks by Federal brigades on either flank got into position the boys from Wisconsin had been destroyed by a massive Reb counter-attack which broke through and engaged a new Union brigade in East Woods. The first wave of Blue were decisively thrown back but fresh federal troops managed to rout 2 Reb brigades and retake the cornfield.
Millers farm was garrisoned by the 1st US Sharpshooters and saw fierce exchanges of musketry all along the Hagerstown Turnpike. Long range artillery fire disrupted both sides batteries and were frequently out of action due to damage or low ammunition.
By the end of the scenario, Federal 1st Corps had reached its Morale Level and would have struggled to continue the attack - which is what happened on the day. Jacksons troops still had plenty of reserves but now faced a fresh wave of troops from XII Corps which had just started their attack. The whole engagement was well handled by the commanders on both sides and felt very historical.

For a lot more pictures see the Club's Facebook Album


Monday, 31 July 2017

Battle of Valmaseda 1808. Game at NBHW.

Friday night (21st) at NBHW saw the club's ever growing number of Spanish Napoleonic figures take to the field with a game based on the Battle of Valmaseda in 1808. Black Powder was the ruleset used and I will be uploading the army list to my scenerio section soon. The AAR follows with some historical notes after.

Valmaseda 1808 AAR

A notable Spanish victory in 1808 and despite a much more forceful French advance on this occasion the Spanish army of Blake did well enough to garner some credit from this re fight.

Spanish rear guard await their fate / spring trap

The Spanish rear guard, the Asturian Division of General Acevedo, which had got separated from Blake’s army, was attempting to hold off General Villatte’s 3rd Division of Marshal Victor's Corps as Blake rushed forward to effect a relief and attempt to turn the tables on the isolated French division.

Blake's divisions advance to close the trap

The Spanish commanders all led their divisions forward with great purpose, despite often moving tardily due to the fiendish Black Powder commander SR rules. Meanwhile General Acevedo did a great job falling back on these supports despite losing two or three battalions in the face of great odds. One of the lost Spanish Battalions fighting to the last on the left wing in order to buy time for the rest of Acevedo 's command.

The Spanish advance (just pretend some aren't Dutch/ Belgians)

¡Señor, aquellos que parecen ser cañones franceses por delante!

General Martinengo’s cavalry, the Reina Dragoons of the 2nd Division, only rolled enough to deploy smartly before the French artillery on their flank, General Ruffin’s late arriving 1st Division, before the latter then predictably unlimbered and destroyed the brightly attired Spanish horse. Nearby Spanish infantry was driven in by the French 96th Line Regiment of General Barrois’ brigade. However General Carbajal then threw in the combined grenadiers of his 4th Division at the flank of this French column and checked its advance.

Ruffin arrives

As Victor's troops came forward the Spanish line took shape and General Figueroa’s 1st Division who had found moving forward difficult, to say the least, finally let fly with their cannon; to no effect!

The Spanish consolidate their lines

At this stage, sadly time had beaten us and the umpire called the game as a success for the Spanish but at greater cost than in the historical action. Thanks to the umpire and all those who contributed the troops. It was splendid indeed to see some 23 battalions of Spanish infantry in a game, just a few flags now needed.

Victory Conditions:

  • The French commanders had been tasked with breaking the Asturian Division for a minor victory and any second Spanish division for a major victory.
  • The Spanish had to rescue the majority of the Asturian Division or drive the French from the field for a major victory.

Historical Note:

  • The Battle of Valmaseda took place on 5 November 1808, during Lieutenant-General Blake's retreat from superior French armies in Cantabria. Reinforced by veteran regular infantry from General La Romana's Division of the North, Blake suddenly turned on his pursuers to rescue a trapped detachment and defeated a division of General Victor's army at Valmaseda.
  • Ruffin’s division took no part in the actual battle as they failed to march to the sound of the guns and remained to the south.
  • Once the French realised they had stumbled into a trap they formed square and fought their way back out of the encirclement
  • The French lost 300 men dead or wounded plus another 300 captured along with the divisional baggage.
  • The Spanish lost 50 dead or wounded.

More details at:

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

British Cavalry Brigade commander.

So I am near to completing my second division, Campbell's 4th,  for the British at Talavera and found myself needing a few brigade commander figures for this as well as my brigade of light dragoons and forthcoming half  brigade of heavy dragoons.  The next problem was the uniform.

During the early years of the Peninsular War brigades were often commanded by colonels and they would have worn their regimental uniforms, easy. Then we come to the generals, Brigadier and Major varieties. Now some generals did their own thing, Picton of course and most images and figures of Cotton and other cavalry generals for Waterloo show them in serious "bling" for want of a better word, but what uniforms did the cavalry brigade commanders wear earlier in the war?

After some research I discovered that generals swapped between infantry and cavalry commands quite often early in the war, one year commanding an infantry brigade and the next one of cavalry, so this lead me to believe that cavalry generals would be in the same uniforms as infantry ones. A few questions on some forums gave answers that seemed to agree. No reference books I have showed anything specifically for cavalry generals until the 1815 grandiose affairs.

With this in mind I set off again looking for a mounted British officer in a suitably cavalry like pose, i.e. sword waving.
I have previously used Warlord's mounted British colonels (not correctly uniformed as colonels), Front Rank and Elite figures so was looking for something different. Remembering that Perry had started expanding their range into the earlier periods of the war I went there and found these.

BH 106 Colonels in bicornes ( Worldwide 1808-13)

The chap in the centre looked exactly like what I was looking for to command my light dragoons (actually to represent Cotton in his pre Hussar styled uniforms). The figure on the left will do for the heavies and the right hand one for the last infantry brigade commander I need.

To make them into general uniforms some minor work would be needed. The button and lace on the cuffs would need to filed off as generals uniforms didn't have these but instead had varying numbers of gold lace chevrons on the lower sleeve and coat tails. The epaulettes were fine as the right shoulder aiguillette illustrated below wasn't introduced until the 1812 changes.

Rank distinctions.
Book containing previous picture.

So after a bit of work I finally have my version of General Stapleton Cotton, brigade commander of the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons at Talavera 1809.

General Stapleton Cotton 1809 or is it?


Typically after feedback, I now find the very image I needed when I started this search and it shows Cotton in a Hussar style uniform in the Peninsular, another image of General Stewart, Adjutant General to Wellesley, of the same period seems to confirm the style of light cavalry Generals uniform, so back to the drawing board it is then. The first attempt may become the Heavy Brigade general.

Another bit of online shopping, Front Rank this time and.....

So try again, General Stapleton Cotton.

Leading his brigade of the 14th and 16th Light Dragoons.