Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Poles vs Swedes, the October 2012 game

Well, once everything was set up, I got the first few move cards to cooperate (I pulled come cavalry in the open moves) and the Cossacks that started on my left moved forward, hoping to draw out the Swedish horse.

 So here it is, the opening gambit of the Cossacks.  Left alone, they would flank the Swedes two lines, overrun the artillery, rummage the baggage wagons, ensconce with the more nubile camp followers...well, you get the idea.

Well, Thomas, upright world citizen that he is, would have none of that! He launched a unit of blonde sword and pistol armed cavaliers (oops, too far east for that nonsense) against the unwashed vodka drinkers.
Upstanding Swedes versus vicious Cossack raiders.

In the photos, the Cossacks are skirmish order, giving them a benefit in movement, but lowering their ability to melee.  As it turned out, they were caught by the Swedes and defeated in melee. Then the Swedish cavalry checked and failed to rally from pursuit.  In fact the Swedish cavalry chased the defeated Cossacks off  the table.  Tactically, the Cossacks had done their job; the Swedes had one 'real cavalry' unit and a unit of dragoons left to face the Polish mounted troops. All five of them; and the Polish dragoons, too. 

 The remaining Swedish horse was following in support of its successful leading unit when a unit of pancerni, a type of Polish mail clad cavalry armed with bows, lances, swords and or pistols, caught the Swedes in the flank.  The Polish army deck included an extra 'cavalry move in the open' card.  The extra move can be a double edged sword, but did help in this case to gain the Swedish flank.   The defeat of the Swedes also caused the Poles to pursue, but the Swedish right flank was now stripped of cavalry....with the Swedish guns devoid of foot or mounted support.

Thomas looked somewhat worried, whilst his center, full of untouched infantry, stood ready to advance. I suggested to him the real strength of his army needed to move forward and engage...I'd hardly be able to stop it with my foot units.  The Swedish foot potentially fires better and more often than the Polish foot.  There were also nine Swedish units to four Polish units.  Such is the difference in the emphasis on the arms in the two different forces. 

The Swedish foot units, lead by the elite units crashed into my line which ineffectually shot at them as they came into range.  Hmmf, that's what I get for giving good advice...and rolling lousy on the dice!

 While Thomas' right was gone, my center would soon melt away.  In Anchor of Faith shooting causes stands to first be 'discomfited' with a threshold to passed in these before the unit is considered to have stands lost. They do however lose morale when hit by shooting.  I was bleeding morale chips from losses faster than I inflicted at this point.

I wasn't too worried, the evening's clock was on my side. Also, for my pride, I had five untouched units of cavalry at eleven pm.  And that includes the two units of Winged Hussars.  Eleven pm came and I and the Poles went. 

So we both had a good time, Thomas got  a chance at Anchor of Faith and I got in a nice long evening game while getting to look at some of his wonderfully well done troops. The Swede's foot are tough to face for the Poles, but then the Swedes need to be very careful of the Polish Horse.

Thomas mentioned he'd like to see the Ottomans in action. Hmm, 'mebbe' he will.  No doubt he'll see the Poles again as well.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A little game using Swedes and Poles, the Set up

I made my way over to my friend Thomas' house for a pike and shot era game two Fridays back.  We decided to go for an action just prior to the 30 Years War, when Poland and Sweden had a series of campaigns ending in the 1620's. 

We used the Piquet games variant "Anchor of Faith" which I enjoy and Thomas was willing to try, even though he's a bit more familiar with the Black Powder series games.  Thomas was happy to try a fraction of his TYW figures out, and facing the Poles was a novelty, since the organization and system of fighting was different.

We went for a smaller sized game, under twenty units on a side, including three sections of artillery each.  Thomas' force included nine infantry units, and three (or was it four?) cavalry units. The infantry were his strength, not only in numbers but in quality, the nine units being equally divided into a good quality militia, regulars and elite regiments. His cavalry were regular, two units armed with sword and pistol, one of arquebusiers, a type of skirmishing fire arm equipped cavalry. Come to think of it, there were only three cavalry units on his side of the table.

Thomas set up with his infantry in the center in two lines with his elites in the front; his cavalry was on one wing with the two pistol and sword units, the other flank had the Arquebuiers; his artillery had all three sections on his rightflank, suported by the two units of horse.   We did not use the Swedish Brigade as the action is set before the Swedes adopted.

Swedish right center

Swedish center infantry

Swedish command

Swedish left flank

Swedish cavalry and artillery on right flank

It's probably good to go over the way Anchor of Faith handles pike and shot units.  The units are categorized as a ratio of shot to pike, ie, 1 to 1, 2 to 1, 3 to 1.  You don't actually have to model the mix by having the figures as such, I usually just show two stands each of pike and shot and keep track by roster.  Even having a low ratio of pikes lets you watch the opponent's non pike infantry deduct die type in melee with pike units, and cavalry suffer a 'down two die types' penalty.  Swedish Brigades and Imperial Tercios for the TYW are basically just bigger units of the same types. The troop quality, militia, regular or elite, also play a factor in how well a unit will be rated to fight.

The Poles looked completely different.  The artillery was the same amount but suffered one section as militia, the infantry could boast only four units, only two of which were regular, the others militia. In fact, one unit had no pike at all!  The artillery were spread across the center, the infantry formed two lines with cavalry flanking both sides.  A third line held the reserves.
 The Poles set up in three lines. Cavalry, infantry and artillery.
 The left flank cavalry, the Rajtar and Pancerni support the Cossacks.
 A look down the Polish front.
 The Cossacks in skirmish ride forward.
 Another look down the Polish line, this time from the right.
 Dragoons anchor the Polish right flank.

The cavalry on the other hand was more copious and did intimidate Thomas at first.  I did nothing to relieve his anxiety, knowing the pike and shot units he had would be a nightmare for most of my units, mounted or not.   A unit each of Cossacks and Dragoons one to each flank started my deployment. Each flank also had one unit of Reiter style cavalry and one unit of pancerni (a type of cavalry with chain mail, sword, pistol, sometimes lance, a real mix of weaponry and a range of ability from militia to elite!) near the infantry units.

Finally, the rear rank of the Poles sported two units of the iconic winged hussars. these fellows have pretty much everything going for them that cavalry can...armament includes lance, pistols, other melee weapons, great skill training, usually a morale so high as to dominate their opponents.  They are so aggressive they are prone to uncontrolled charges.  Which aren't always a bad thing. They are that good.

So eight units of Polish cavalry and four of Polish infantry stood against nine Swedish foot regiments and three Swedish cavalry regiments. So the battle was at about the 8000 man level as we were playing the 'standard' game.

So the stage was set, and the game began.  More on that next time.

Dutch Belgians at Q-B pt 2 (1815 Nassau Brigade )

Well, this tops off the units in Perponcher's Dutch Belgian division at Quatre Bras.  Again, all the units are from the Perry bros. miniature line, this time look at the 1815 Nassau list.   The uniform information is primarily from the Osprey title on 'Wellington's Dutch Allies.'

To start with the Bernard of Saxe-Weimar's brigade's units,let's examine the 28th Orange Nassau  regiment, fielding two battalions.  The uniforms looked so closely to the French model that the Prussians coming on the field at Waterloo made an identification mistake (see Hofschrorer's Waterloo campaign).  The bell top shako shape and blue coats certainly could be mistaken at a distance!  The facings were red, the officers' sashes orange.  The unit was from one of the many small German principalities, under contract to the Netherlands' government.  Hence the name!

Also in the Brigade was the 2nd Nassau Ussingen Light Regiment, in 1815 a brand new formation of three battalions. This was one of my favorite units to paint, with the grenadiers in busbies and everyone in a buff colored  belt, the all green uniform is a nice contrast to the line and militia units in the division.  One of my friends, a very veteran wargamer reminded me that only a small fraction of the unit actually wore the fur hat...but that's okay...I made sure I could do at least six!  Good thing there were three battalions in the unit.

The command pack had a few figures more in the busby, so my total is nearer eight.

The center companies wore bell topped shako. Everyone got to wear the green coat.  Oh, yellow facings...almost forgot.

 There were two companies of volunteer Jager infantry, these troops rounded out the brigade.  One pack of the range supplied me with the two stands needed.  I have since remounted them, but this is a better photo of how they look.

Volunteer Jagers
Even though the Perry range has only the 1st, 2nd regiments and the Jager companies, there is a suitable casualty pack if you 'need' that sort of thing.  Of course, the real units were only as mentioned.

The brigade also contained a battery of artillery attached for the day at Quatre Bras.Dutch Belgian line artillery, armed with six pounders. Note the lack of  the shoulder wings the Horse Artillery sport.

 So there it is, a small but interesting contingent to add to the 1815 allies, one which fought both at Quatre Bras and Waterloo.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Dutch Belgian Units at Qutre Bras Part 1

The first units to arrive at Quatre Bras were the Brigades from the 2nd Dutch Belgian Division, commanded by Baron Perponcher-Sedlnitsky.  The division consisted of two Brigades, the first commanded by Count Van Bylant, the second by the Prince of Saxe-Weimar.  The first brigade   consisted of a unit of Jagers, a unit of Belgian Line,  and three battalions of militia.  The second brigade consisted of the 2nd Nassua-Ussigen Light Regiment, the 28th Nassau Orange Regiment, and a company of Jager volunteers.  The division was supported by two batteries of artillery, one a field battery and the other a horse battery.

After the Brunswick infantry and artillery, these were next units I had actually painted for the Quatre Bras project.  The Perry Miniatures Nassau and Dutch Belgian ranges for 1815 have these units, plus others needed for Waterloo if you want to 'do the big one,' Waterloo.

So let's look at the first brigade, with the 7th Belgian line first.  The Belgian line units wore a dark blue coat with white facings and the Belgic 'false front' shako.  The 7th was stationed near and later in  the Bossu woods.

The next unit is the 27th Jager battalion, a Dutch unit. The jagers held a long part of the frontage early on in the battle, got caught in skirmish order by the French light cavalry and suffered heavy losses.  The uniform was a dark green coat with yellow facings and grey trousers.

 There were three militia battalions, the 5th, 7th and 8th.  They, like all militia units wore a dark blue coat with  orange facings, white trousers and a stovepipe shako. They performed well, holding off French attacks both in the filed and garrisoning several farmhouses on the battlefield.

The flags are from Warflags, the colors used on the figures are Ceramcoat black, Opaque Blue, Hippo Grey, a GW orange, a tube acrylic white, and Vallejo metallics.  The jagers were washed over with a hooker green ink covering a lighter green.

There are packs of officers and casualties as part of the range.  Above show the three colonels available and a portion of the casualty pack.  You may recognize one of the chaps from the blog's masthead.

The Horse Artillery battery supported the First Brigade near the Gemeincourt farm.The unit was armed with six pounders.

So that's all I have for now on the Dutch Belgian Brigade, except for General Perponcher....so here.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Another unit, West Riding Regiment

  Well, the second Victrix unit is finished, and today based. The West Riding Regiment.  The unit modeled, the 33rd Foot, was part of Halkett's Brigade in Alten's First Division.  That makes Halkett's brigade complete now.    The unit had red facings, the normal white lace.

The unit is done with some craft paints for the coat and pants colors, the white lace and metallic colors were tube artist acrylics.  I finishd the figures in a diluted (7 or 8 to 1) wash of burnt umber.  The flags are again from the Warflag site. Flocking is the static grass railroad modelers use, held with white glue.  I based it similarly to the other unit of Victrix foot, on 2" by 2" stands.

Pretty inexpensive unit, since the figures came in a trade.  This means there is one unit left in Picton's division, the  Gordons, the third unit of highland line to complete the three British Brigades at Quatre Bras.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A little matter of ownership

It was really awesome to see them, the Tharks, come in the compound.  Almost twice as tall as a human, wielding huge weapons, they almost seem from legend.

Lt.  Simpson, 3rd US Cavalry, was pleased to see one of the warriors was Tharkul, chief of the tribe that ranged over an area five hundred miles in all directions from the canal city he was stationed near.  What puzzled him were the pieces of metal hanging off their mounts.

The pieces were dull colored, irregularly shaped and obviously in some sort of damaged state. They were not the trade stuff the Tharks liked to bring into the markets, nor were they the new sheets of steel they purchased. 

It also struck the Lieutenant that Tharkul seemed in very good spirits.  All he said was that 'Thark rifles range farther than lightning from thimbles.'

 The Lt. mentioned in his report he was in receipt of what appeared to be paybooks, written in either Danish or Swedish and some personal effects of soldiers.  The Tharks said they are not sure they found all the remains, but buried over a dozen bodies damaged by the 'thimbles' electrical weapons.

For some background on the targets of the Tharks see Czar Barry's blog. It's actually the inspiration for this vignette.  It only took  year for me to paint the three grouped Tharks. Tharkul, being older and darker, was painted a couple of years ago.  Now, he has someone to hunt with him on the plains of Mars.