Thursday, August 22, 2019

Byzantines vs Seljuqs in 15mm

Today our weekly old guys meeting (lunch then a game) used Simon "Big Red Bat" Miller's "To the Strongest!" rules and my 15mm forces to fight a game between Byzantine defenders and a Seljuq raiding party.  For those who are not familiar "TtS!" uses squares to adjudicate movement and weapons ranges and playing cards for activation, missile fire, melees, and rallying.  If you are interested, you can get the rules, playing mats, and all sorts of accoutrements at Simon's shop.  You can also read more about the rules at the "To the Strongest!" discussion forum.  The playing mat was obtained from Simon and features a thin square grid that doesn't detract from the very nice surface.  Well, enough blatant advertising ­čśü on with the battle report.

This game was the second in a row for us.  The first one, for which there were no pictures, pitted two relatively balanced Norman forces against each other.  It was mainly a learning game.  Today the forces were:

Byzantine (Nikephorian list):  four commands with a total of four units of tagmatic cavalry, two units of thematic cavalry, two units of nomadic light cavalry with bow, four units of tagmatic infantry spearmen, one unit of psiloi javelinmen, four units of toxotoi light infantry with bow, and a camp.  This force had a total of 38 victory points with 13 victory medals.  Two players controlled the Byzantines.

Seljuq (Seljuq Turkish list):  four commands with a total of 1 unit of Seljuq noble cavalry, three units of ghulam cavalry, ten units of turkic light cavalry with bow, one unit of Dailami guard javelinmen, three units of light infantry with javelins, three units of light infantry with bows, and a camp.  This force had a total of 37 victory points and 12 victory medals.  Two players (including me) controlled the Seljuqs.

It would seem that the Seljuqs, with all their light bow-armed cavalry, would ride circles around the slower moving Byzantines while shooting them to pieces.  Unfortunately it didn't quite work out that way.  All I can say is "the cards was against us!"  All four of us couldn't seem to get into a good sequence where we activated with low cards and then shot or fought with high cards.  It was the other way around for almost the entire game.  In addition, our Seljuq light cavalry was very fragile.  It was not a good day to be a Seljuq.

Now for a few pictures, taken about midway through the game.  As you'll see, I use a rather large base with my 15mm figures, 80 mm x 40 mm with 8 to 12 infantry or 4 to 6 cavalry per base.  This basing was originally used for the old "Vis Bellica" rules which turned out not to be a particularly liked rule set among us - a lot too much adding and subtracting of combat modifiers.  As I already had a ton of figures based this way on fairly expensive Litko bases I didn't want to rebase them back to the old DBA etc. standard.  But with TtS!, this basing seems to work so I'll continue to use it.

A good look of most of the battlefield from the Seljuq right rear.  The gray colored numbered chits denote missile ammunition available to a bow or javelin equipped unit.  All 21 Seljuq and 15 of the 17 Byzantine units were bow or javelin equipped.  Directly in front of the camera you can see a Byzantine nomadic light cavalry unit in the rough ground and a leader and two heavy cavalry units to its right (your left) with a third Byzantine heavy cavalry unit to the rear facing one of my Seljuq light cavalry units.  My leader and three Seljuq light cavalry units are in front of the Byzantines.  My plan was to ride around the Byzantine flank, get behind them, and shoot them to pieces.  Didn't happen!

The Seljuq left flank with bow armed light infantry then light cavalry beyond them facing Byzantine cavalry and infantry.  The cards immediately behind the Seljuq units indicate their activations with the "3" being pretty good, allowing future activations while the "8" being not so good as one has to get a higher card to continue to activate.  The two red cards were played by the bow units as their missile fire, with both getting a hit on their respective targets.  It probably wasn't enough as I'm sure the Byzantine player was able to save from the hits,

Finally a view from the rear of the Seljuq center with my four heavy cavalry units and my leader facing a Byzantine infantry force.  The black squiggly marker by the left front cavalry unit indicates it is disordered from a missed save.  Another such missed save and the unit would be destroyed.  We only had five "2-hit" units with the rest being "1-hit" wonders - a missed save and the unit was destroyed.  The toothpick on the left rear cavalry unit indicates that it had not used its "lance" capability which allows it to draw two hits cards in melee.  It would later use it and bow fire to destroy one of the opposing Byzantine heavy infantry units seen in the distance.
The Seljuqs really took it in the shorts today, loosing one heavy cavalry, five light cavalry, and four light infantry units for a total of 11 of its available 12 victory medals.  We decided "he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day" and conceded defeat.  The Byzantines didn't lose but about 1/3 that amount.  To paraphrase, "something was wrong with our bloody bows and arrows" today.

But we are catching onto the mechanics of the rules and will have more of these games in the future.






Monday, July 22, 2019

Captain Quigley and Some Guns

Two posts ago I featured my Natal Native Horse with their squadron commander Captain Quigley.  I mentioned at the time that I was working on a dismounted figure for him and here it is:

Captain Quigley, dismounted and mounted
While the horse is from Ral Partha, both human figures are from Miniature Figurines.  I've added a carbine under the dismounted figure's right arm by drilling a hole and slipping the weapon through, securing it with CA glue.  I still need to match the base terrain effects to the mounted figure and then improve both of them with some tufts.

At the same time I was completing some additional naval artillery and a small gun for my native forces.

A large maybe 6-lbr flanked by two smaller maybe 4-lbr naval guns.  Not sure of the manufacturer(s).
The gunners are from Reviresco that I have had painted for a number of years.  They man my river gunboat.

A reverse shot of the three guns.
And finally a small mountain howitzer that has somehow come into the hands of my native forces, in this case a Pathan gun crew although I have Dervish gunners as well.

Both the mountain howitzer and the gunners are from Ral Partha
This gun will give both my North Central Frontier Pathans and Green Nile Dervishes some artillery support.

These will be the last Colonial figures for a while as I need to get back to my 15mm American Civil War forces with a Confederate brigade next in the painting queue.



Friday, July 19, 2019

Backyard Predators

Not wargaming, but ....

While working out in my yard at several different times this past week, I saw these two backyard "predators."

First we have:
This very small toad-frog (that's what we call them down here in Dixie) waiting patiently for a several small bug or three.  It was only about 2" long.


And then several days later as I was cutting my front yard and around the side of my garage, I came across this:
At first I thought it was alive but when the noise of my lawn mower didn't startle it, I looked closer and discovered that it was the shed skin of a non-venomous snake.  The skin was about 24" long and sort of fragile.  When I went to move it, it started to fall apart.  It brought back a recollection of another snake we had in our back yard, a king snake.  My wife decided that we should call it "Severus Snake" in honor of the recently released Harry Potter movies.

But these could be denizens of some forgotten world being explored by our plucky pulp heroes - a gaming scenario in the making.


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Natal Native Horse and Pathan Horse

During the Zulu War, the British raised a number of "colonial" units, primarily mounted, to augment the regular British Army forces deployed to the Natal region.  One of these was the Natal Native Horse.  Originally formed in 1866 and "regimented" in 1879, the Natal Native Horse was composed, in part, of amaNgwane (or Sikhali) tribesmen, Basuto tribesmen, and tribesmen from the Edendale Mission.  They were armed with Martini-Henry carbines and were used extensively for scouting and escort duties. The Edendale Horse were at Isandlwana where they covered the retreating British refugees as well as at Hlobane, Khambala, and the pre-Ulundi reconnaissance.  [Colonial Wars Sourcebook by Philip Haythornthwaite]

Here is my rendition of this unit.  The mounted troops have been painted for many years but the dismounted troops were just finished.  They are organized per "The Sword and the Flame" with 12 mounted and 9 dismounted figures per unit.

Edendale Horse Squadron of two troops.  On the left are Miniatures Figurines and on the right are Ral Partha.  The officer in the middle is a MiniFig.  I've named him Captain Quigley and he gets a +3 addition to his rifle fire.
The dismounted figures, along with Captain Quigley.  They are a mix of vintage Scruby, Falcon, Ral Partha, and some unknowns given to me by a friend.
I have found a dismounted figure for Captain Quigley, which is currently in my active painting queue.

And traveling from southern Africa to the Northwest Frontier of India, I've added a 12-figure unit of mounted Pathan warriors.

This mounted clan is a mix of Iron Brigade and Miniature Figurines cavalry.
All of these will see action over the coming months in some of our group's games.


Friday, July 5, 2019

4th Prussian Brigade Completed!


Finally I've completed all of the units for the 4th Prussian Brigade, III Korps (August 1813) commanded by Generalleutnant von Bulow.  This "brigade" is actually a division sized unit as were all of the Prussian "brigades."  They did this to get around part of the onerous French terms after the 1807 capitulation of Prussia.

The 4th Brigade was commanded by Generalmajor von Thumen and was composed of:
      Infantery Regiment # 5, 4th East Prussian (of three battalions and a volunteer jager detachment)
      5th Reserve Infantery Regiment (of three battalions and a volunteer jager detachment)
      half bataillion, East Prussian Jager Battalion, #2
      Elbe Infantery Regiment (of two battalions and a volunteer jager detachment) [Should have three and will if I ever run across the requisite number of Hinchliffe figures.]
      Pomeranian Light National Cavalry Regiment
      Foot Artillery Company # 6 (equipped with four 6-lb cannon and two 7-lb howitzers) [Should have six cannon and will if I can get the requisite gunners and cannon.]

As you can see this is a formidable fighting force although light on artillery and cavalry, additional assets of which were provided by the corps.

Pomeranian Light National Cavalry Regiment, composed of eight vintage 25mm Der Kriegspieler one-piece cavalry figures.

Slightly different view of the four 2-figure stands that compose the regiment.
The Pomeranian Light Cavalry Regiment was one of four national cavalry regiments formed in 1813 by the resurgent Prussian Army.  It was dressed in an uhlan style uniform with a dark green kollet and grey overalls.  The regiment was armed as a light cavalry regiment with sabers and carbines.  In 1815, this formation was divided between the Guard Dragoon and 4th Uhlan Regiments. [Information courtesy of David Nash's The Prussian Army: 1808-1815 (Almark Publications, 1972), my "bible for the Prussian Army.]

In addition to the 4th Brigade, my III Korps Prussian forces include the complete 3rd Brigade (three 3-battalion infantry regiments, one grenadier battalion, one hussar regiment, and one foot artillery company, plus four volunteer jager detachments), the still forming 5th Brigade (one 3-battalion infantry regiment and one hussar regiment) and 6th Brigade (one Landwehr cavalry regiment), almost all of the corps cavalry (three dragoon regiments, one hussar regiment, one uhlan regiment, and one Landwehr [of three] cavalry regiment), and most of the corps artillery (two 12-lb foot companies and one 6-lb horse company).  The Prussian III Korps was part of the Alllied Army of the North, commanded by Crown Prince Bernadotte of Sweden (a former Napoleonic French marshal).

Plus I have scattered units from the I Korps, commanded by Generalleutnant von Yorck (five grenadier battalions and five cavalry regiments), which was assigned to the Army of Silesia, commanded by General der Kavallerie von Blucher.




   

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Additional Napoleonic Prussian Battalion

I just finished painting and basing an additional Napoleonic Prussian battalion to add to my III Korps troops.  This battalion is the next to last unit needed to complete the 4th Brigade (division equivalent).  They are carrying a "landwehr" flag as there is no indication that they had colors until after 1815.  But all my battalions have flags so I used this one.

1st Battalion, Elbe-Infantrie-Regiment using Hinchliffe figures
This regiment was originally organized by Oberstleutnant (lieutenant colonel) von Reuss in the spring of 1813 as the Auslander Bataillion von Reuss.  But with subsequent recruiting it was expanded into a full three-battalion regiment by July 1813, incorporating Hessian guardsmen, dismounted Westphalian cheveauleger and the Westphalian Legion. In 1815 it was retitled Infantrie-Regiment Nummer 26, Erste Magdeburgisches.  [The Prussian Army: 1808-1815 by David Nash, page 86]

I only have two battalions, the first of Hinchliffe figures and the second of Prinz August castings.  If I ever get any more of either, I'll raise the third battalion.

WW2 British and German Infantry

For many a year I told myself that I would not get entangled in collecting WW2 forces.  So what did I do - get into collecting WW2 forces.  I have a significant mass of British and German 1:285 microarmor for the North African campaigns between Rommel and the 8th Army.  And now I have 28mm British and German infantry for Northwestern Europe.

British infantry squad (Warlord Games/Bolt Action) posed with some of my hedge (used as "bocage") terrain.
Consists of 8 riflemen and a 2-man Bren gun team.
German infantry squad (Artizan Designs) also posed with hedge terrain.
Consists of 2 submachine gunners, 6 riflemen, and a 2-man MG-34 team.
During the Bayou Wars convention, I bought enough figures to make a British two-squad platoon with mortar and machinegun support and a small German Kampfgruppe of two platoons (one Heer infantry and one Luftwaffe infantry) plus mortar and machinegun support.  The Germans will be augmented by a Feldjager squad using some of Bob Murch's "Between the Wars" German infantry.  I'm adamant that I'll not expand this force level (he says convincingly and hopefully).

For rules we're trying modifications to the Sergeants 3 "The Sword to Adventure" variant of the venerable "The Sword and the Flame" rules.  They worked adequately for the first test but we'll be making some modifications to them.

Here are some pictures of our first run-through:

Germans occupying a bombed out building.

British and Germans fighting across a hedgerow.  The Germans were repulsed with significant casualties.

British commandos try to expel the Germans from a ruined church.

During the fighting one of the Germans took a catastrophic hit!