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.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Moore's Brigade versus Reeves' Brigade (ACW)

Just some snaps of my first two 15mm ACW units facing off on the battlefield.

Moore's Confederate Brigade advances from a copse of woods.

Across the field, Reeves' Union Brigade is also advancing.
And they meet in the middle.  Moore's Confederate brigade is in a standard formation with all regiments in a single line.  Reeves' Union Brigade is in that "new fangled" reinforced line where some of the regiments are in a second line as supports.

In the "On to Richmond" rules the reinforced line has a slight advantage in close combat.  If the first line is defeated then the attacker must fight the second line immediately.  As the attacker will now be disorganized, the second line will get a small bonus.  I haven't tested this out yet on the battlefield.
The scenery is courtesy of my son's Battle Mech game last Saturday.  It is actually jungle foliage made from plastic aquarium plants that I've cut into irregular shapes.  But it worked as a backdrop for these "pick-up" snaps.

My second Confederate brigade is coming along, albeit a little slowly.  I'm hoping to have it finished by the weekend, along with the division command group and the supporting artillery.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

First Confederate Brigade

I've finally completed painting my first Confederate brigade for the "On to Richmond!" (OtR) rules I'm planning on using for my 15mm American Civil War games.  It joins the Union brigade from Larry Reeves (see last post).  It only took me about three months to paint it as I had a lag in my painting mojo.

It represents the brigade commanded by Brigadier General Jonathan C. Moore of Major General John Forney's Division of the Confederate Army of Mississippi.  Although this brigade was part of the Vicksburg garrison and surrendered there on July 4, 1863, in my imagi-ACW gaming Forney's and Bowen's divisions were sent to Tennessee in the early Spring of 1863 to reinforce the Army of Tennessee.  Moore's Brigade consisted of the 37th, 40th, and 44th Alabama; the 35th and 40th Mississippi; and the 2nd Texas Infantry Regiments.  These regiments are depicted in a mix of "drab" uniforms that were common in the Western theater.  Made from undyed wool they were various shades of drab brown and gray.  A few of the figures are in the more common "Confederate Gray" uniforms and a couple have even "liberated" some Yankee pants.  The flag they fly is the Van Dorn battle flag which was originally flown by units under the command of Major General Earl Van Dorn in Mississippi and East Louisiana beginning in February of 1862.

The figures are from Old Glory 15s and are mounted on 2" x 1" Litko bases.  The flag is from an illustration of a Van Dorn battle flag that I found on the internet.

The "full frontal" view of the brigade

A high oblique view showing one of the OtR infantry formations, the reinforced line.
My next unit to paint is the brigade commanded by Brigadier General Louis Hebert which includes the 36th Mississippi Infantry Regiment, the unit in which my great-grandfather and some of his brothers and brothers-in-law served.  Hopefully this one won't take three months to paint!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

December 2015/January 2016 Work

With January about over, here's what I've been dabbling with over the past two months or more.

First, I finally completed a 28mm supply wagon using a 4Ground wagon kit, a Foundry driver, and a Fife and Drum draft horse.  It only took me 2+ years to complete the wagon!

This will provide supplies to my 28mm Imagi-nation SYW era forces.  I have another wagon kit to put together as well as finish the draft horse and rider.  Hopefully it won't be another 2 years to get that one done.

Although not painted recently, I've been examining my 15mm medieval armies (based on ca 1100 in southern Italy) to use with BigRedBat's "To the Strongest" rules (see previous post).  Here are a mounted command group and two Norman mounted milites units:

The mounted command group and the unit on the right are OOP Table Top Games (TTG) figures.  The unit on the left are vintage Miniature Figurines Norman knights.
And finally, I am making a foray into the American Civil War, using Old Glory 15s and "On to Richmond" rules.  OTR uses brigades as the basic maneuver unit with each composed of three to ten stands.  Each stand represents about 300 men.  My Marine comrade Larry Reeves gave me an extra group of painted Union infantry to which I've added a mounted officer and based on 2" x 1" Litko bases.  They will be called "Reeves' Independent Infantry Brigade" and will form a reinforcement to the XIV Army Corps (commanded by General George Thomas) of the Army of the Cumberland, ca. 1863.  I'm currently painting my first brigade of their Confederate opponents from Hardee's Corps of the Army of Tennessee.  We'll see how quickly I can get units painted so my battles won't be too far away.

Each 2" x 1" base has 8 figures except for the "command base" which has 1 mounted officer (the brigadier) and 6 infantry figures.

Here the "command base" is reversed so the unit label is visible.
That's all for right now.

It Is Good to Be Back

After an almost three month absence, I'm finally back to make a few posts.  Things around Col Campbell's Barracks have been at a low wintery slump since preparations were completed for my participation in the Colonial Barracks convention back in early November.  Since then I haven't done much in the way of hobby activities.  But here's where I'm headed.

To the Strongest

 My wargaming buddy, Lord Sterling, ordered this set of rules from BigRedBat.  Back in December we played several games using this interesting set of ancient/medieval rules.  All of the activation, weapons fire, and combat is controlled by playing cards drawn from a shuffled deck.  The card driven activation mechanism sure makes you think about what you want to accomplish and how to sequence events to make that happen.  Here are some pictures at various times in the game between two fairly well balanced Roman/Greek/Gallic forces - basically a "civil war" scenario of Romans with Greek and Gallic allies on both sides.

Two Roman units occupying one of the "terrain" squares during the game.
The game uses squares to control movement, weapons ranges, and combat during the game.  Most infantry can move one or two squares straight forward or diagonally.

Here's a bigger look at part of the Roman line of battle.  We used Lord Sterling's vintage 15mm Roman/Greek/Gallic armies.  All of the units were grouped onto movement sabots.

Gallic chariots attack some slingers and light archers, doing quick work of them, if I remember correctly.  The numbered squares denote the combat strength of each unit.

Fight over a farmstead between the defending light archers and an attacking Gallic warband.

One flank of the opposing armies, with Gallic warbands mixing it up with Roman troops.
After the games were over, I was sure that I had found a way to use my ca 1100 AD 15mm medieval figures that I had remounted from DBx standards to Vis Belllica standards - 80mm x 40mm bases with varying numbers of figures on each base.  Since they were mounted on Litko bases, I didn't want to go through the machinations of unbasing them to go back to DBx standards.

So now to figure out which size squares to use.  The rules suggest using a size that can accommodate two regular size uits per square with room left for a mounted commander.  Since I have 80mm x 40mm bases that meant the smallest square size would be 4" x 4" (ca 100mm square).  So I drew out two squares and tested some bases on them:

Each 4" square (red outline) holds two regular units, here two cavalry on left versus two infantry on right.

With the mounted commanders thrown in, things get kind of tight.
I really didn't like the tightness of the 4" squares, especially when it makes it difficult to fit mounted commanders into the squares without them partially sitting on top of the unit bases.

OK, let's use 5" squares:

With the 5" squares (black outline), the units don't look so crowded.
And the 5" squares even give more room for the mounted commanders.
So it looks like I'll be using 5" squares.  And when I want to use my ca 1200-1300 25mm medieval figures, 5" squares will just about work for them:

Two 25mm cavalry units on the left face off against two 25mm infantry units on right.  All figures are individually based and then mounted on magnetic movement stands with either 3 cavalry or 6 infantry figures per stand.
I've also read that Simon of Big Red Bat is contemplating expanding the rules into the Renaissance, Thirty Years War, and English Civil War periods.  Using 5" squares will also accommodate my vintage MiniFig 15mm ECW armies:

On left are two different size cavalry units, with a mounted commander, facing off against one large infantry unit, with a mounted commander.

Here the two cavalry units have been equalized (5 stands each) and are opposing the same infantry unit in a different formation plus a galloper gun and a mounted commander.

Reducing the cavalry units to four stands each really doesn't change the geometry much.
Now all I have to do is mark up some old battlefield cloths to distinguish the corners of the 5" squares and my 15mm Normanno-Italian, Papal Italian, and Byzantine armies can contest once again for southern Italy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Taps for Sergeant Larry Brom, USMC

We have just learned that my friend and comrade-in-arms Larry Brom, Sergeant, USMC, has died of a heart attack after a long illness.  Larry is the author of The Sword and the Flame colonial rules and many other rules that have provided many, many fun games for all of us over the years.  He is survived by two daughters, Lori and Christy.

I first met Larry when he was living here in Jackson in the 1970s and developing his TSATF rules.  I enjoyed a couple of games at his house while I was home on leave from the Army.  Larry and I always joked about the merits of our respective services and I had the utmost respect for his service with the Marines in the Korean War where he was awarded a Purple Heart.

Larry wrote that his father took him to see the premier showing of "Gunga Din" in Chicago in 1939 and he became enthralled with it.  It influenced the development of his wargaming rules.  So this is for you, Larry:

’E carried me away
To where a dooli lay,
An’ a bullet come an’ drilled the beggar clean.   
’E put me safe inside,
An’ just before ’e died,
'I ’ope you liked your drink,’ sez Gunga Din.   
So I’ll meet ’im later on
At the place where ’e is gone—
Where it’s always double drill and no canteen.   
’E’ll be squattin’ on the coals
Givin’ drink to poor damned souls,
An’ I’ll get a swig in hell from Gunga Din!   
      Yes, Din! Din! Din!
   You Lazarushian-leather Gunga Din!   
   Though I’ve belted you and flayed you,   
      By the livin’ Gawd that made you,
   You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din!

(from Rudyard Kipling's poem "Gunga Din")

Good job, bugler!  We will miss you.