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.

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.