Saturday, September 24, 2016

Play Test of "For King and Parliament" Rules

Simon Miller (of BigRedBat's Shop) is working on a "variant" of his "To the Strongest!" ancient/medieval rules to carry them into the 17th Century.  The Jackson Gamers obtained a copy of the first edition play test rules from him and finally were able to play the scenario included with the rules - The Battle of Montgomery in 1644.

We used my 15mm vintage English Civil War armies augmented by a few additional leaders from Lord Sterling's equally vintage forces.

The rules are very similar in structure to Simon's "To the Strongest!" rules but do have  new and interesting close combat sequence.

The scenario pitted a small Royalist force (5 foot regiments, 4 horse regiments, and 1 dragoon regiment, with no artillery) against a smaller Parliamentary force (3 foot regiments and 3 horse regiments, with no artillery, but a reinforcement of two horse regiments on or after turn 2).  This scenario was taken from Bob Giglio's English Civil War Wargaming Scenarios, Volume 2.

I was the game master and my other three Thursday lunch and game buddies played the Parliament and Royalist forces.  We had a good time learning the basic rules and actually playing the game.  Each side had 9 victory medals.  The Parliamentary forces won the game 9 to 0, destroying three Royalist horse regiments and a foot regiment, while loosing none of their own.

Here are a few pictures of the game:

Simon's picture of the scenario set-up.  The battlefield is 12 blocks wide and 8 deep.

During the first turn the Royalists advanced, forcing the left wing Parliamentary horse regiment to fall back (foreground) while attacking the left wing Parliamentary horse with their two first rank horse regiments (background).

The action on the Parliamentary left/Royalist right as both sides horse collide.  The off-board Parliamentary horse represent a foraging command that can't return until starting on Turn 2 and only if a D6 roll is less than the current turn number.

Arriving on Turn 4, the off-board Parliamentary horse crash into the Royalist flank.  Now here I made a mistake and let them charge in from off-board.  That should not have happened so the Parliamentary forces may have gotten a slight advantage.  But the way FKaP (and TtS!) are played, a unit or group of units can activate as many times during a turn as they are able.  Bringing them on properly would probably only delayed them the draw of an additional card.

With one Royalist foot and two horse regiments already destroyed, the final nail was put into the Royalist coffin when the red-coated Parliamentary horse unit attacked the already disordered "Polish crimson" Royalist horse to their front, giving them a second disorder and destroying them.
We'll try to do another play test, maybe next Thursday, before Simon comes out with his second edition of the play test rules.  Stay tuned!

Return to the Green Nile - Play Test

On Saturday, Sep. 17, I ran a play test of my scenario for November's Colonial Barracks.  This is a convention held in the New Orleans area that only uses rules written by Larry Brom or derived from those rules.  This year's theme is The Queen's Wars, 1837-1901.  My scenario falls about 1895.  It uses the 20th edition of "The Sword and the Flame" rules.  Infantry are organized into 20 figure units, cavalry into 12 figure units, and guns with 4 figure crews.

In 2001 and 2002, we played a five game quasi-campaign that started off with an Imperial advance up the Green Nile branch of the Nile River.  This game posits that an Egyptian/Sudanese force was sent east towards the Red Sea to occupy a strategic oasis.  They were almost immediately besieged by the Emir Tubeir and a motley force of Dervishes, Beja, Tuaregs, Arabs, and others (basically almost all of the painted native troops I have).  An Anglo-Indian relief column under Leftenant Colonel Manly-Jones has been sent to relieve the garrison and destroy the Emir's forces.

The Egyptian/Sudanese garrison of the oasis had one Egyptian infantry platoon, one Sudanese platoon, one Egyptian gun, an infantry company commander and senior sergeant, and a senior Egyptian commander (who was killed almost as soon as the attacks started).

The Emir's forces had 12 infantry units, 4 horse units, 2 camel units, and 2 guns, organized into four individual commands and a reserve.  Each command had a senior leader plus there was a figurer for the Emir.

The Imperial relief column had two Highland infantry platoons with a company commander and senior sergeant, two Punjabi (Indian) infantry platoons with a company commander and senior sergeant, a Bengal lancer cavalry troop, an Indian mountain battery with 3 guns, and a 2 gun Royal Navy Gatling gun detachment, plus a command figure (plus 2 man escort) for Lt Col Manly-Jones.

Now on to the action!

The battlefield showing the oasis being besieged by the forces of Emir Tubeir - Arabs, Tuaregs, Beja,
Dervishes, and others.

A close-up of the Tuareg camelry. Although impressive they didn't do much damage to the Imperials during the battle.

A close-up of the Arab command's cavalry also showing where some of the native force was hidden and the Imperial entry area.
Initial advance of Indian command gets hit by previously hidden Baluchi and Sudanese forces while the Arab cavalry watches for an opportunity to charge.

The Dervish command lines up to attack the Sudanese and Egyptian defenders who were protected by a thorn zariba. The Dervish commander on the far left was quickly picked off by a lucky Egyptian shot (an Ace was drawn and he was in the fire cone.).

The Arab command's infantry line up to attack the oasis. They are to the right of the Dervish in the preceding picture. The one Egyptian gun can barely be seen on the far right curve of the oasis.

Initial Arab, Tuareg, and Dervish attacks on the oasis tried to overwhelm the garrison before the Imperial relief column could reach them. But the plucky Sudanese and Egyptians were able to hold them off.

Another picture of the Dervish and Arab attackers closing the zariba.

A little further around to the left another Dervish unit closes the zariba.

The Indian command moves further forward but exposes its guns to attacking Sudanese infantry while an Indian platoon beats off the Baluchis with rifle fire. In the background the Arab cavalry and Bengal lancers tangle while one of the Highlander platoons awaits to pour fire into the Tuareg camelry.

Another shot of the native force attacks on the Indians. The Sudanese were able to kill most of the Indian gunners and capture two guns, but later the Indian infantry forced them off with rifle fire and recaptured the guns.

Here is a picture of the victorious Sudanese capering around the newly captured guns. The Bengal lancers and one of the Arab cavalry units fight in the foreground but for some reason the other Arab cavalry unit (green coats) never joined the melee.

Another view of the cavalry battle showing the reserve Tuareg cavalry and the location of the Royal Navy Gatling guns. While one gun initially jammed, both were able to shoot up the Tuareg camelry and cavalry.

The two Dervish guns, captured Egyptian Krupp pieces. The left gun was singularly mismanaged during the attack and kept trying to load the shells backwards (through a 6 meaning they couldn't fire). Eventually both were able to fire at the oasis but didn't do too much damage.

Dervish riflemen reveal themselves by firing at the Egyptian defenders while the Dervish and Arab attacks continue.

A final shot of the attack on the zariba. Finally one of the Dervish units was able to fight its way inside. In the background are the two Beja infantry units finally joining the assault.
So, how did the fight end? Well we judged that although the native force infantry would have been able to take the oasis, the Imperial relief column was just too strong to be defeated by what native forces were left.

Friday, August 26, 2016

15mm Confederates and 25mm Medievals

My August additions have been a little varied -- 15mm Confederate infantry and 25mm Medieval cavalry!

First the Confederates.  I purchased a nice little collection of painted 15mm Confederate infantry a short while ago and organized some of them into another brigade for my somewhat made-up Tullahoma Campaign forces.  To these already painted figures I added a mounted officer - Brigadier General Stephen Dill Lee.  Lee, as many of you may know, started out as an artillery officer, eventually commanding some of the artillery at Vicksburg.  But during the beginnings of the campaign that would eventually see it fall, he was given command of an Alabama brigade. 

As a graduate of Mississippi State University, I just had to include S.D. Lee in my Confederate forces as he was a long-time President of the university (or Mississippi Agricultural & Mechanical College as it was know then).  Plus he was a long-time president of the Board of Directors of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History from which I recently retired after 22 years of service.

I've replicated it for "On to Richmond" rules with a strength of approximately 1200 men.  All I had to do was repaint several of the figures trousers and some of the blanket rolls.

Lee's Alabama Brigade - 20th, 23rd, 30th, 31st, and 46th Alabama Regiments
Although in reality this brigade was besieged in Vicksburg and captured when the city surrendered, in my made-up Tullahoma campaign, it was sent from Mississippi to reinforce the Army of Tennessee.  As an independent brigade, Lee's can be attached to any of the Confederate divisions.

As part of "On to Richmond" brigades suffer casualties two ways - outright kills and disruptions.  Of course outright kills result in the removal of stands, but disruptions incur various combat and fire penalties.  The rules recommend some type of marker to indicate the up to three disruptions a brigade can suffer.  I decided to use a hexagon base with a casualty figure and one, tow, and three dots on the sides to indicate the degree of disruption.  This picture shows Lee's Brigade with two disruptions.

Lee's Brigade with a disruption marker showing two disruptions.

And finally, I came across some vintage Ral Partha "true" 25mm mounted sergeants that I bought a couple of years ago.  As they were already painted to a nice standard, all I had to do was touch them up and glue them to their 40mm x 20mm metal bases.  This unit of 6 mounted sergeants can now be used for three different rule sets - the venerable "Rules by Ral," the derivative and expanded "Lion Rampant," and the relatively new "To the Strongest!"  Can't get much better usage than that, can you?

I haven't come up with a name for these rascals yet, but they do look very martial.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Turchin's Brigade, 4th Division, XIV Army Corps

Today I welcomed Brigadier General John Turchin's 3rd brigade of Major General Joseph Reynolds' 4th Division, Major General George Thomas' XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland to Col Campbell's Barracks to join my very slowly expanding Union forces.  John Turchin was a Russian émigré from the Don District of the Ukraine who had been a Russian officer.  More information about him can be found here.

Turchin's Brigade, at the start of the 1863 Tullahoma Campaign, in which I place my forces, consisted of the 18th Kentucky and 11th, 36th, and 92nd Ohio Infantry Regiments.

These 15mm figures, except for the mounted officer, are Old Glory 15s, while the mounted officer is a Battle Honors figure.  The figures are mounted for the "On to Richmond" rules in which the basic maneuver unit is an infantry or cavalry brigade of 3 to 10 stands, each stand representing approximately 300 actual soldiers.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Additional 15mm Normanno-Italian Cavalry

Thanks to fellow TMPer "oramieno" I've been able to add 28 already painted cavalry to my Normanno-Italian army (ca. 1180 AD).  The figures are vintage Table Top Miniatures of which I already have some in my army.  They are very nicely painted so all I had to do was remove them from their old bases and put them on the 80mm x 40mm bases I use.

Each large base is a separate unit in the rules I'm now using, "To the Strongest!" by Big Red Bat.  The two smaller round stands are the leaders.  Luckily I had an extra painted figure to add so I could come out with the force pictured above.  I still have to add the terrain effects and the unit name labels.

"To the Strongest!" has a different mechanism that uses playing cards to control the activation of individual units and leaders as well as to adjudicate the combat.  The "battlefield" is a square grid with the square sizes large enough to hold two units and a leader.  You can see some examples of what I've done with my army at this previous post.

And for those who try to follow this blog, I haven't given up on my 15mm ACW armies using the "On to Richmond" rules.  I'm very slowly working on my next Union brigade.  But things around the barracks have been a bit slow lately as I wrapped up my projects and retired from my job as an archivist with the Mississippi Department of Archives and History at the end of June.  I'm still trying to get into my "retired" groove.  Once I do, however, I anticipate a better return on my painting.

Later,  Jim

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Forney's Division, CSA

The command stand for Forney's Division, CSA, was completed Friday night.  And here it is in all its glory:

Major General John Forney and his divisional flag bearer.
Each of my Union and Confederate divisions will have a mounted officer and a standard bearer carrying a flag emblematic of the division.  For the Union forces, Thomas' XIV Corps of the Army of the Cumberland, they will be the standard divisional flags for XIV Corps.  For the Confederate forces, Hardee's Corps of the Army of Tennessee, they will be more "generic" but still emblematic of the division.  Here since Forney's Division has brigades who formerly were under Earl Van Dorn's command its command stand uses a "Van Dorn" flag.

Organized for the "On to Richmond" rules, Forney's Division has two brigades and an artillery battalion.

Forney's Division with Hebert's Brigade on its right, the artillery battalion in the center, and Moore's Brigade on its left.

Only two brigades strong, Forney's Division will have to be careful when it engages the stronger Union divisions (normally three brigades strong), but I anticipate it may eventually be reinforced with a third brigade sometime in the future.

Next up to paint will be Major General Joseph Reynold's 4th Division, XIV Corps, Army of the Cumberland.  Reynold's Division only has two brigades (Robinson's 2nd and Turchin's 3rd) as Wilder's 1st Brigade is mounted and is constantly being appropriated by the army commander for special missions.  As with Forney's Division I anticipate Reynolds will be reinforced by a third brigade, probably Reeves' Independent Brigade.  Once I get Reynold's Brigade painted and based I'll be able to do some more intensive "playing" with the rules.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hebert's Brigade and Forney's Divisional Artillery

Well it has been more than a month since my last post.  "Equipping" Hebert's Brigade was much slower than I thought it would be, but it is finally done.

Hebert's Brigade of Forney's Division has a special significance to me as it contained the regiment in which my great-grandfather, Wesley Washington Pitts, served.  The 36th Mississippi Regiment was organized shortly before Shiloh but didn't join Beauregard's army until after the battle.  They participated in the battles of Iuka and Corinth in the fall of 1862, then were assigned to the garrison at Vicksburg where they stayed until the surrender on July 4, 1863.  Reconstituted in west Alabama after being exchanged, the regiment joined the Army of the Tennessee as part of Bishop Polk's Army of Mississippi reinforcements, fighting from New Hope Church (May 1864) through the disasters at Franklin and Nashville.  It then was assigned to the garrison at Mobile where it ended the war.

In my "imagination" Civil War world, Forney's Division (Hebert's and Moore's Brigades, plus artillery) was transferred from the Department of Mississippi and East Louisiana (Pemberton's command) as reinforcements for the Army of Tennessee, joining them just in time for the Tullahoma campaign.

Hebert's Brigade consisted of the 3rd and 21st Louisiana Infantry Regiments; the 36th, 37th, 38th, and 43rd Mississippi Regiments; and the 7th Mississippi Battalion.  Represented here for the "On to Richmond" rules it has approximately 1500 men.

Hebert's Brigade in single line of battle.  Since the brigade was originally under Van Dorn's command, I gave it a "Van Dorn" style battle flag.

And the brigade in that "new fangled" reinforced battle line with about 40% of the regiments in the second line.
Forney's divisional artillery consisted of the following batteries: A Company/1st Mississippi Light Artillery, C Company/2nd Alabama Artillery, and Sengstak's Alabama Company.  Each battery only had 4 guns so with the "On to Richmond" organization, those 12 tubes are represented by one gun model and 4 gunners.  As best as I can tell, the majority of the guns in these three batteries were smoothbores.  The gun model is painted as a 12-lb Napoleon gun-howitzer.

Forney's Division artillery "battalion"
And here is a shot of Hebert's Brigade and the divisional artillery battalion deployed to engage the Yankees.

Still to be painted is the divisional command group for Forney's Division, Major General John Forney.  Hopefully it will be done much quicker than Hebert's Brigade.

All of the figures and the gun are from Old Glory 15s.