Tuesday 29 January 2019

British RHA and Portuguese Telegraph.

After constantly coming up with scenarios that would benefit in having a half battery of horse artillery attached to a light dragoon brigade, I thought it was time to get my own rather than keep borrowing a model off another club member. So when another member was placing an order with Perry Miniatures earlier in the year, I took the opportunity of tagging my order for a Royal Horse Artillery 6lber and the newly released Portuguese telegraph station onto his.

First up the Royal Horse Artillery 6lber Firing.

Primed and gun carriage base coated.

Lace and more lace

Gun completed, troopers just brass to go.

Troopers awaiting wash.

Paints used, Vallejo unless stated otherwise:
  • Grey Surface Primer (601), all except gun barrel.
  • Black Surface Primer (602), gun barrel.
  • Dark Prussian Blue (899), jackets.
  • Vermillion (909), facings, trouser stripe.
  • Basalt Grey (869), trousers.
  • Leather Brown (871), trouser reinforcement.
  • Off White (820), sword shoulder belt, helmet plume
  • Black (950), boots, helmet, sword grips.
  • Oily Steel (865), scabbards.
  • Gunmetal Grey (863), buttons, sword hilts, buckles, end of rammer.
  • Flat Flesh (955), flesh.
  • Ivory (918), sponge.
  • Brass (801), helmet trim, chin scales, gun barrel.
  • Burnt Umber (941), ram rod, port fire.
  • Deep Cadmium Yellow (Winsor & Newton Finity), lace and piping.
  • Citadel Agrax Earthshade, overall wash.
  • Citadel Nuln Oil, wash gun barrel.

Finished and based

From the rear.

Next the Portuguese Telegraph Station.

Blues, whites and blacks done plus Telegraph equipment.

Another view.

Paints used, Vallejo unless stated otherwise:
  • Grey Surface Primer (601).
  • Dark Prussian Blue (899), engineering officer jacket, cockade.
  • Prussian Blue (965), telegraph troop jackets.
  • Vermillion (909), officer's sash, telegraph signal board.
  • Off White (820), trousers, officer's sword belt, plume tips.
  • Red (926), cockade.
  • White (951), jacket lace piping
  • Black (950), boots, headgear, sword grips, scabbards, lower 1/2 plumes, collars.
  • Basalt Grey (869), gaiters
  • Gunmetal Grey (863), trooper sword hilts, telegraph metal parts.
  • Medium Fleshtone (860), flesh.
  • Buff (976), trooper sword belts, officer gloves.
  • Brass (801), headgear trim, buttons, buckles, scabbard tips, officer sword hilt and telescope.
  • Silver (997), officer sash ends.
  • Light Brown (929), telegraph woodwork.
  • Yellow Ochre (913), telegraph rope.
  • Citadel Agrax Earthshade, overall wash.


So another two items completed for my Peninsular force, just need to invent a scenario to use them in.


Wednesday 16 January 2019

Peninsular Bridge Demolition. Game at NBHW

Last Friday night saw me run a 28mm Napoleonic game based in the Iberian Peninsula using Black Power (1st edit) as the rules.
The game idea came from reading James Roach's blog last year, specifically these two posts  "The Bridge at Hermoso Santo - My first Peninsular War scenario" and "The Bridge at Hermoso Santo report". He was kind enough to post OOBs and briefings on his blog and answered several of my questions about some aspects of the scenario, so a few months later it was my turn to run it.

The OOBs were tweaked slightly from his to allow me to get my newly completed British heavy dragoons onto the table as well as allow another club member to use his Vistula legion troops. Also as I currently have no highlanders or light infantry in my British collection these were also replaced.

British OOB
British OOB

French OOB
French OOB

The scenario was that of a British force holding a vital bridge over an impassable river with orders to destroy said bridge rather than allow it's capture by the French, but only after receiving a direct order from Wellington. They were also to minimise loses from their command. The problem was the French had arrived close by and the engineer and his demolition team had not yet arrived.

In game terms this meant the British had to deploy the majority of their force on the wrong side of the bridge, to hold off the French, allowing the engineers time to arrive and rig the bridge for demolition. They then had to withdraw back over the bridge, after receiving the demolition order from Wellington, before attempting to demolish the bridge. The order from Wellington would be received if, at the end of their turn, the British were dealt a Joker from selection of playing cards.

The battlefield was laid out on an 6" x 10" table based on James' layout from his game.

The battlefield looking north

Whilst putting the finishing touches to the layout and briefing the players on the overall scenario situation a slight error was pointed out. I had north and south the wrong way round if the British were defending a crossing into Portugal, which is of course west of Spain, Doh! one quick rewrite later and fixed. At least they were paying attention.

The French players then had to decide which of their two columns was to enter from the north and which from the south and also which order the brigades of these columns would be in. Then it was time for the British to deploy.

British deployment, looking east.

The British were allowed one unit, other than the engineers and their escort, on the eastern side of the river and chose to occupy the built up area (BUA) north east of the bridge. They chose to ignore the farmhouse at the crossroads and had one battalion hidden prone in the wheat field to the south. The engineers and escort started four moves away from the bridge on the road to the village from the south.

The French players then entered and deployed the van of the northern column, unsurprisingly the cavalry brigade, one move along the road. Then it was French turn one.

The French wasted no time in pushing their cavalry forward with the infantry brigade following. To the south their second column suffered a failed command role, due to the minus adjustment from the scenario rules, but due to being in march column at least got a move to arrive on table.
On the British first move the engineers really got a move on getting three moves towards the bridge. The heavy dragoons meanwhile advanced to screen the infantry. No order received from Wellington

Turn two and the French cavalry commander couldn't resist the target to his front and the Vistula lancers, with hussars in support, charged the 4th Dragoons. The British counter charged and the first melee ensued.

Cavalry melee.

This being the 4th Dragoons first outing the result should have been obvious. Yes they lost and had to withdraw behind the infantry who were hit with a followup charge by the lancers with no chance to form square.

Oh dear!

Exit one infantry battalion, destroyed. The supporting battalion failed it's break test and fled whilst the dragoons withdrew again. The infantry did however inflict enough damage on the lancers to shake them and they had to retreat as a result of their break test.

The nearby rifles of the 5/60th ignored it all and slipped up onto the scrub covered ridge to pester the french infantry.

The southern column again failed it's command test but again advanced one move due to their formation.

The engineers again rolled well and not only reached the bridge but were able to unload and place one barrel of gunpowder. The British also advanced their artillery battery to the edge of the village while the half battery opened up on the southern column. No order from Wellington received.

Turn three and both the Vistula lancers and British dragoons started to try and rally off casualties, the hussars meanwhile headed off south behind the farm while the Vistula infantry advanced and shook out into line between the farm and northern ridge. The Légère battalion were being hassled by the 5/60th who were to hold them at bay for several turns by disordering them. The engineers' escort company of rifles crossed the bridge and occupied the eastern BUA, while they themselves got another barrel placed. Things would slow down for them for a few turns now.

The southern column finally got moving now and started to advance to press the British right flank.

End of turn three and two barrels placed, with some local encouragement?

Also at the end of this turn the British players were dealt the joker, meaning they had permission from Wellington to blow the bridge whenever they wanted. To do this they had to roll 14 or more, with one D6 for each barrel of gunpowder placed.

I decided to keep dealing the cards at the end of turns until they had all been dealt as the french players had no idea what they signified and it kept them guessing. I did however place a newly arrived ADC figure next to the engineer officer next turn as a sort of hint.

There now followed a few turns where the engineers failed their command rolls so no barrels were placed, this meant the British couldn't start their withdrawal. The northern half of the table went a bit quiet except for the rifles and Légère taking potshots at each other, which the 5/60th definitely had the better of. Most of the action now switched to the southern sector where the second French column was soon applying pressure on the British right.

The British right on the defence.

The battalion hidden in the wheat field stood up and together with the half battery nearby sent the lead French battalion back, reeling. Their sister battalion on the other side of the artillery however was being sized up by another French brigade and the wandering hussars.

Sure enough the hussars tried to charge and failed. The infantry brigade however sent two battalion columns into the British line and destroyed it before being forced back themselves by artillery.
The battalion in the field started to withdraw back towards the bridge as did the half battery. The hussars decided to head back to the north and rejoin the now rallied lancers to see if pickings were easier on this flank.

The company of rifles on the northern ridge were finally forced back by the Légère battalion and took up position to the left of the reformed dragoons. Both sides took a deep breath now and planned their next moves, while the British players wished the engineers would get a move on and get enough charges placed to give the demolition a chance.

Withdrawal commences.

Finally some good die rolls for the engineers, and over a couple of turns they got enough charges placed to make demolition viable. The full battery limbers up ready to withdraw and the remaining battalion of the northern brigade pulls back to the river behind the field wall. The engineers escort company of rifles heads back over the bridge while the sole infantry battalion to the south moves into the BUA. The dragoons successfully execute a follow me order and head back across the river and off the table to safety.

Finally enough charges!

The 5/60th company on the left flank however are disordered and cannot move and now provide a tempting target for the reformed French right flank.

Final defensive bridgehead forming.

The Légère press on after the rifles, the lancers fail a charge order against the bridgehead so the infantry move in, the hussars move through the lancers to also threaten the rifles.

To the south the half battery of Royal Artillery were finally destroyed by the on rushing French while the battalion in the BUA prepared to evacuate.

The French close in

The limbered battery of artillery successfully withdraws over the bridge followed by the battalion from the BUA, however they failed to clear the bridge. The last battalion east of the bridge sidsteps right to defend the end of the bridge from the rapidly approaching infantry.

To the north the Légère pull back to make room for the hussars to finally put pay to the annoying company of grasshoppers. But, in a final act of defiance, the company of the 5/60th manages to force a break test on the hussars and some very poor morale save dice sees the hussars destroyed, huzzar!

"Over the bridge boys quick about it!"

With the requisite five units back on the western bank, the bridge now cleared of troops and with both units remaining on the eastern bank now disordered and thus unable to receive move orders, the British command decided to attempt to blow the bridge. So with five barrels placed that was 5D6 to score 14 or over. The result KABOOM!! The bridge would be of no use to the French, however the British paid a high price for their victory. Three battalions were destroyed, half a battery of artillery captured, one battalion off to a prison hulk somewhere and, I like to think a company of the 5/60th Royal Americans evading the pursuing French somewhere in western Spain.


All in all a very close game that went right down to the wire. Fourteen turns were played in all, a new club record for a Black Powder game on a Friday night I should think.

Many thanks to the players for putting up with my sometime haphazard umpiring, good job most of them know the rules well too.

Again many thanks to James Roach for sharing his Black Powder version of this scenario on his blog and as usual PDF copies of all the briefings, maps and army rosters I used in my game are available to download via my Scenarios sidebar link.

Once again many more photos can be found in the club's Facebook Album

If you made it this far, thanks for reading, Tony.

Wednesday 2 January 2019

4th (Queen's Own) Regiment of Dragoons

Next up in the continuing Peninsular War project are the 4th (Queen's Own) Regiment of Dragoons. This regiment formed half of Brigadier General Henry Fane's heavy cavalry brigade at Talavera along with the 3rd Dragoon Guards Regiment. According to Oman they mustered around 545 personnel on the day.

For this unit I chose Front Rank miniatures as they have fore and aft bicorns, which is how I believe they would have been worn on campaign. Warlord plastic figures are totally wrong for the early part of the Peninsular War as the torsos are wearing post 1812 jackets, even if you do stick the bicorn or watering cap head on them. If I lived in North America I would probably have gone for the Brigade Games miniatures. Eagle Figures do an early war dragoon too but with the bicorn worn side to side.

After the very minimal amount of clean up required for Front Rank castings, a gentle bit of force was applied to a few heads and sword arms to get some more variation in pose.

Uniform distinctions were green/blue green facings with silver lace for the officers and white for the other ranks.

For more information on this unit see Jonathan Jones' blog post at  JJ's Wargames (seems silly to post the same info again)

First six mounted on rods and primed

I started by drilling a hole under each figure and mounted them onto some rod for painting. They were then brush primed with Vallejo Grey Primer.

Reds and facings done.

Once again I used Vallejo paints. The colours I used this time were:
  • Scarlet (817), officer's Jacket.
  • Vermillion (909), other ranks' jackets and all valises.
  • Dark Vermillion (947), cloaks.
  • Military Green (975), facings  , although I'm undecided if this is too dark and bugle cords.
  • White Grey (993), breeches.
  • Buff (976), officers gauntlets, haversacks and saddle bags.
  • Ivory (918), other rank's gauntlets.
  • Off White (820), sword belt, sword knot, carbine and cartridge box strap.
  • Black (950), cartridge box, bicorns, boots, small box on rear of valise.
  • Gunmetal (863), scabbards, sword hilts, carbine barrels, stirrups, buttons and some buckles.
  • Brass (801), chin scales, carbine butts, bugle and some buckles.
  • Oily Steel (865), sword blades.
  • Black Grey (862), carbine lock cover.
  • Leather Brown (871), canteen strap, saddle equipment securing straps.
  • Saddle Brown (940), saddle and stirrup straps.
  • Silver (997), officers lace.
  • White (951), other ranks lace (a drip or two of silver mixed in).
  • Flat Brown (984), carbine wood.
  • Flat Flesh (955), flesh.
  • Pastel Blue (901), canteen.
  • Red (926), officer's sash.

Just the washes to go.



 A wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade and they were done.

The first thing I did with the horses was to trim the tails to give the nag-tailed look of British dragoon mounts. The horses were then spray primed with Army Painter Fur Brown (CP3016), left over from another project. They are then base coated using Coat d'Arms horse tones, in this case
  • Horse-tone Chestnut (223)
  • Horse-tone Bay (224)
  • Horse-tone Brown (235)
  • Horse-tone Grey (236)
As "all other regiments of heavy cavalry on the British establishment are to be mounted on nag-tailed horses of the colours of bay, brown, and chestnut." and the 4th fall into this category.

Manes, tails, sometimes noses and fetlock areas are then painted in contrasting colours using an image I found online as a reference. I use Off White (820) for the white markings. I paint hooves using a mix of Black Grey (862) and any flesh colour to give the grey a little warmth in tone.

Horse colour guide

All tack was painted thus
  • Leather Brown (871), leather straps
  • Gunmetal (863), bit
  • Brass (801), buckles
All horses then received a wash of Citadel Agrax Earthshade, except the grey which got a wash of Citadel Nuln Oil, while the tack is washed in Citadel Agrax Earthshade too.

The riders were then removed from their painting sticks and superglued to their mounts after first scraping the contact points of paint to get a better surface for glue adhesion.

The first six completed on their bases. Basing material to be added after the second six join them.

First six completed.

Once again just after completing these six I read that Horseguards had issued an order several years previously to stop buglers being mounted on greys, oops!

"The custom of mounting trumpeters on grey horses is to be discontinued, and they are in future to be mounted on horses of the colour or colours prescribed for the regiments to which they belong.

Harvey Calvert,
Horse Guards
10th August, 1799."

not repainting it now. The horses eyes I paint in after varnishing, using Glossy Black (861).

The whole unit awaits basing materials.

The second six were then done in the same manor and based ready for the texturing to be done. At this point I realised I had attached the second batch to their group bases before painting the buckles and bits on the horses tack, Doh! Then to make it worse I realised I'd done the tack on the first six horses in Saddle Brown not Leather Brown. Having decided I preferred the Leather Brown look, more repainting was required.

All this and basing was completed an hour before the end of 2018, result.

Post basing and touch ups and corrections.

With their casualty counter

And that was that, finished. Well I did paint in the horses eyes after varnishing as previously mentioned. Next a Perry RHA 6pdr and the Perry Portuguese telegraph station