Friday, June 24, 2011

Lord Kenmore's Battalion and AWI artillery

Lord Kenmore's battalion was one of two Scots battalions that served with the British army at Killiecrankie.  According to my source, which I photocopied from one of David Sullivan's books, so it is untitled and the author is unknown, this unit may have been newly raised, chiefly from Ulster refugees, and may have provided their own clothing.  The author prescribes hodden gray coats and bonnets.  Perfect for the figures I have.  I put the command stand in British red, as shown in the Jacobite Risings Osprey Men-At Arms #118.  The unit performed poorly at Killiecrankie, suffering only one dead, which indicates they probably broke at the instance of the highland charge.
Pike stand.  I hoped to show the tartan on the pikemen, but like all of these, the pics are darker than I'd like.
Lord Kenmore's Regiments in gray coats.  The flag is a white saltire on blue field.  It carries a thistle badge with a red ribbon above the badge.
The unit in red is Lord Hasting's battalion.  It is the only true British regiment at Killiecrankie, the rest being Scots and Scots in Dutch service.  Not a lot is said about the unit's performance at that battle, but, that said, I really think Killiecrankie would likely make a bad game. 
Lord Hastings battalion at Killiecrankie.  Miniatures are by Hallmark. 
The artillery is from a couple of my projects.  Well, they actually overlap.  The larger gun stands represent American field and heavy guns for Regimental Fire and Fury (8 pdr and 12 pdr.)  We don't usually see these gallivanting about a southern battlefield, but one never knows when big guns will be useful.  The guns and gunners are all Front Rank.  I still love the figures.  Yes they are big and bulky and can't be combined with Perry or Old Glory figs, but I still like the detail and that they seem so substantial.  The guns are quite nice.
The gun on the left is a 12 pdr.  The gun on the right is an 8 pdr.  All guns and figures are by Front Rank.
The singly mounted figures and guns are from another project-Wayne's Legion in the Old Northwest and/or my hypothetical Mississippi campaign.  Wayne introduced a piece of ordnance called a King's howitzer, a 2 3/4 " howitzer that could easily be manhandled about and fired like a big shotgun. The guns, which came in two sizes, were very lightweight. The barrels were just 38 lbs. and 60 lbs respectively.  These pieces gave American soldiers the advantage of putting artillery in the firing line off the trail.  A nice advantage to have.  Unfortunately nobody makes such a field piece, and it was suggested I just use a 15mm Napoleonic howitzer, so British 5.5" howitzers made do.  There is a very nice article on the King's howitzers on the Legionville website.
Front Rank gunners with teeny, tiny Essex 5.5" howitzers.  Why is the picture so damn dark?

Photo of the lighter King's howitzer at the Legionville museum.  This site is devoted to preservation of Anthony Wayne's Fallen Timbers campaign (1794) You can see how tiny it is.  Just compare the gun to the height of the step.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Twas the First Day of Summer . . .

Yippee, it's the first day of summer break.  I'm writing this at 7:00 a.m. after having been up for two hours.  It's supposed to be 77 degrees in what can only be described as a spring from hell--cool, cloudy, very rainy, even the local farmers are complaining about the latest berry harvest ever.

But it's nice today.  I have big plans.  A morning walk, mow the lawn until my rechargeable electric dies.  I need to pull some weeds, do some house cleaning, then settle down to paint some figures.  I'm splitting time between Foundry's British Napoleonic light dragoons, which will become the 19th, stationed in America during the War of 1812.  The other unit I'm working on is Lord Argyll's regiment in 1689.  I finised Lord Leven's regiment, and will get some pics up later this week.

I made contact with the Dayton Painting Consortium's Richard Masse.  I asked about the availability of the old London War Room Range of Spanish Cuera figures for my project in the 1790's Mississippi territory, and he sent me a price list of available figures.  DPC had both the mounted and dismounted figures, which worked for me because I need a few of the foot guys to fill out my two nine figure units.  The availability of the mounted figures means I can hold out a bit longer on the Mexican Hussars.

Oh, one more thing to add.  I turn 56 on my next birthday, and my doctor is not very happy with my weight so this is the summer I finally do something about it.  Today is day one of my weight loss plan.  So far, so good.  I just got back from a delightful morning walk.  Managed to avoid being struck by any South Hill commuters.  Off to mow the lawns-'til the mower runs out of juice.  At noon I'm off on my first bike ride of the summer.  I wonder if exercise will improve my failing eyesight? 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The First Jacobite Wars

I'm finally going to wrap up my Jacobite War project.  It's about time.  Just to be clear, I've had these figures since Bill Clinton was in office.  Maybe longer.  I bought a big chunk of the them in the early Enfilades from Kelly Jones and Vauban Enterprises.  Sigh. I miss Kelly.

They are Hallmark figures, true 15mm miniatures from their League of Augsburg range.  I'm basing them for King's War by Bruce Bretthauer.  I've never really encountered a set of rules that really works well for the period, but so be it.  I'll need to play these a bit to determine how I can best tweak them for this particular period.
Hallmark's 15mm Jacobites are made for the 1688 rising.  Absolutely beautiful, proportional and well-detailed

My highlanders are mostly painted and mostly mounted.  They had a box disaster when one of Casey's cats knocked the box they were in off the dining room table.  But they survived without major incident.  I have enough figures painted for seven 18 figure units.  Some still need mounting and I'm short a couple of standard bearers.  I'd ordered a pack of command figures some time ago to resolve this problem, and it was supposed to include three standard bearers.  It came with none.  I do, however, have some extra pipers and clan chiefs, however.  Needless to say, I'm not thrilled.  I'll have to create a couple of standard bearers; it won't be the end of the world.  These are little gems, definitely the best 15's I've ever painted.
Another clan.  They look fierce, sort of.

Viscount Dundee and his handful of mounted retainers.

I have a long ways to go with the English.  I had a big clot of troops painted for them, but they need remounting.  I have enough troops.  When they are all finished I should be able to field six or seven units of infantry plus cavalry and artillery.  I also have a bunch of wagons and baggage from Hallmark's wonderful range of accoutrements. I'm hoping to progress fairly quickly through them and host a game in our Truants series this summer.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

So What's Next?

It's been a week since Enfilade and now I can finally give some thought to what I'd like to accomplish next.

First, let me say that I did cleverly rope myself into something new at the convention.  Galactic Knights by Monday Knight Productions.  I bought the rules, a game mat and some space ships, but I don't anticipate that it's a large or time consuming project.  It just looks like fun.  It's Daveshoe's fault that also coincides with an old and amusing story.

On with the show.  There are a number of projects I'd like to complete or at least make major progress on before the next convention.  First on my list is to work on figures for a hypothetical conflict in the American Southwest before the Louisiana Purchase.  There is tons of history to support such a conflict with Spain.  That Spain controlled New Orleans and the port of entry there was a matter of intense conflict between American settlers in the west (Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee) who depended on friendly governments to allow the free passage of trade.  In addition, there was considerable angst between the United States and Spain over the latter's intrigue with the Choctaws and Chickasaws and control of the eastern bank of the Mississippi River.  Spanish construction of a fort at Chickasaw Bluffs (a familiar name from Grant's Vicksburg campaign) nearly provoked conflict in the region.
Mexican Hussar from the period I'm interested in.  It can be easily made from the Perry Napoleonic French Hussar figure.
This project broadens two existing projects.  First it gives me something else to do withwith the Spanish troops I have for my Lewis and Clark range.  I'd like to add a few horse and a gun or two and combine them with my large number of painted, but never played with OG woodland Indians.  It also gives me a reason to paint up my stash of Wayne's Legion infantry.  It would allow me to use both the Indians and the Americans for war in the Mississippi Territory or on the Ohio frontier. We'll use the Brother Against Brother rules.

Another project I'd really like to finish this summer is my 15mm First Jacobite War.  They are all beautiful little Hallmark figures.  The Highlanders are done and just need to be mounted. I have some of the English figures painted but have lots more to do.  I'm going to play Bruce Bretthauer's King's War for the period, unless you, brilliant readers, have something better to suggest.

I still have skazillions of other unpainted figures to work on.  I don't see myself acquiring much new.  I'll work on Eutaw Springs at some point.  All the American units are the same except for some militia--but I already have those figures painted-and a couple of units of North Carolina Continentals.  I need to double check the British again, but those units are pretty familiar too.  I've got some figures to paint from Mars, and some hangers on from the Spanish Civil War. 

This very instant I'm finishing up some guns and gunners from the revolution, including some of the little King's howitzers Wayne used in Ohio.  It doesn't bother for me to paint a little aimlessly too.  Sometimes that's just fun. It should be an enjoyable painting summer.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Wilmington: Open for Business

My Sunday morning game was Closing Wilmington, an Ironclads scenario I've written about before.  The Union has eight ships and a division of infantry with which to capture or destroy the forts protecting Wilmington, N.C. on the Cape Fear River.  I have some additional missions for them and the naval landing party that goes with them. The Confederates have it a bit easier.  They just shoot and shoot and shoot.

Things got off to a bad start, however.  I have some sleep issues that are aggravated by the fact that I never go to bed much before 2:00 at the convention.  I bolted awake on Sunday morning at 6:15.  Knowing I had a membership meeting to run at 8:00, and realizing the ballroom would open at 7:00, I got up early and dutifully schlepped my stuff down to the game area and began setting up. At 7:45 Bill Nitsche, a fellow gamer came by and asked if I had set up on the wrong table.  In fact I'd read the table diagram incorrectly and set up on not only the wrong table, but one that was five feet wide instead of six feet. Gah!!  I didn't move, and decided to just make it work. 

A fun group played the game.  Dave Schueler, Joe Waddington, Daniel Moon, and Tom Bieker played the Confederates.  Lloyd Bowler, Mike Smith, Scott Abbott, Ed from Bellingham, and Andy Doty ran the Yankees.

Lloyd advanced with his division of Union infantry and quickly captured the nearest Confederate fort.  That would be the high point of the game.  The Union ships quickly passed upriver, tiptoeing around the minefields, but took only minor damage from the Confederate shore batteries.  As the flagship Malvern charged upriver, it was taken under fire by the only 7" Brooke rifle on the board, located in the Martello tower.  One fire broke out, and then a second.  Aiming for the island with the tower, Malvern ran aground. 

By turn five, both Confederate vessels were on the table and making their way downstream.  The ironclad Wilmington began to fire on the advancing Union ships, finally targeting the monitor Montauk. Successive hits from Montauk's 11-inch and 15-inch smoothbores did considerable damage, but did not deter Wilmington from ramming and then detonating it's spar torpedo.  Though the ram was fouled by the sinking monitor, it was able to escape before being pulled under.

The Malvern discharged its secret weapon, a naval landing party, and attempted to capture fort A.P. Hill, the Martello tower.  Dazed and weakened by their smoky journey upriver, the defenders of the tower held on and repulsed the Federal attackers.  With the loss of the Malvern and Montauk, and the remaining Union forces unable to make way against the forts, I declared the game a Confederate victory.

The game went much more smoothly than I anticipated.  Running an Ironclads game at a convention is always a bit risky.  It's not an easy set of rules to learn, but there were enough veterans that the turns seemed to move along.  Maybe it was the scenario, maybe it was the players, but everyone seemed to be engaged and interested.  Unfortunately, at the end of the game Wilmington remained open for business.

Sadly I took no pictures of this game, though Dave Schueler has photos on his blog.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Holding My Breath: Hobkirk's Hill

It is my dream to game all of Nathaniel Greene's battles in South Carolina.  Hobkirk's Hill is an important part of that dream.  The battle has the simplest terrain, the easiest order of battle for both sides.  I'm also finished with the figures.  So, it was a natural to host at Enfilade this year.

When Fire and Fury finally published their regimental rules, and also provided support to the American Revolution I jumped on it.  In previous posts I've shared my ruminations on AWI rules and my own efforts at drafting some Fire and Fury-like.  The adaptation of the long awaited regimental rules gave me the opportunity to choose rules that were commercially available and fairly familiar. 

Your obedient servant cutting out labels for Regimental Fire and Fury.  Ugh!

Even so, I hosted the game on Saturday night with a certain degree of trepidation.  I hadn't played the rules a lot and there are some significant differences between the brigade and regimental systems.  I did playtest the scenario once, but didn't feel once was enough.  When Al Rivers offered to help me with the game I jumped at the chance.  Al definitely was more familiar with F and F regimental, though the AWI rules were a tad different. 

The game had a full six sign-ups.  Chris Pramas, Tom Foosen, and Gene Anderson ran the Americans.  Chris Craft, Andrew Mah, and Mitch Berdinka ran the Brits.  Chris Craft and Mitch had a fair amount of experience with the rules, which left the Americans with those relatively new or unexposed to the game.  The objectives were pretty simple.  The Americans needed to hold their camps on the hill and inflict heavy casualties on the British.  The British needed to capture the American artillery and inflict heavy casualties on the Yankees.

4th Virginia Regiment.  Figures by Old Glory

Colonel Campbell leading the first rank of British. Figure by Perry figures.
 Chris and Mitch immediately led attacks on the Maryland Brigade, holding the American left.  They closed ranks and charged the Americans in extended order, as any self respecting British commander would do.  Though the 1st Maryland was thrown back, the 2nd Maryland beat Mitch's command back.  This would be the pattern of the game.  The Brits would have success to the left of the Camden Road, but not enough to completely unhinge the Americans.

The British set up in two ranks in extended order.  They will quickly form and give the Americans the cold steel.

The 5th Virginia moves to the attack the Loyal Americans and Coffin's Light Dragoons.
 On the right, Chris Pramas advanced his Virginia Brigade to confront Andrew Mah's troops.  Using his artillery to support his fire and eventual attack, the Virginians moved rapidly to take advantage of their numbers.  Andrew could only form a firing line and take it.  In our playtest, the Virginians, with their poor commander were slow and had little influence on the game.  At the convention, they destroyed the convalescent battalion, drove off an attack by Coffin's dragoons and man-handled the Loyal Americans.

By turn 10 both sides were close to reaching their casualty limit.  The Americans had driven in the British left flank, and the British had pushed back the American left flank.  An attack by the 2nd Maryland against the 63rd Regt. and New York Volunteers, both at half strength, eliminated the lot and the Brits suffered a major morale loss. Even though Chris Craft's Volunteers of Ireland and South Carolina Royalists were unscathed , when the game ended on turn 12, the Americans won the victory.

I was pleased the game was so tight.  It really did come down to the last turn.  I just need to play the rules more, so I'm better prepared.  It's the little things I really didn't get. The game turned out fine, but I think I got lucky.