Thursday, 27 March 2014

Battle of Talana Hill

Sir George Stuart White, commanding the British division at Ladysmith, had unwisely allowed Major-General Penn Symons to throw a brigade forward to the coal-mining town of Dundee (also reported as Glencoe), which was surrounded by hills. This became the site of the first engagement of the war, the Battle of Talana Hill. Boer guns began shelling the British camp from the summit of Talana Hill at dawn on 20 October. Penn Symons immediately counter-attacked. His infantry drove the Boers from the hill, but at the cost of 446 British casualties including Penn Symons. This was the script for our game.

In our game we decided to attack the highest peak on our right, the one without the trees in front of it. The plan was to storm it and then push down the ridge while our guns shelled the middle hill hopefully pinning any Boers there.

Well the assult shoved up the hill taking fire all the way. The two flank battalions pushed on quickly racing to get through the beaten zone as quickly as possible. The centre battalion was failing to keep up the hammer blow envisioned now look a lot more bitty.

The two horns if you like now swung round on each flank of the boer position and launched the assault into the position. At this point we called it a day as we had run out of time.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Prussian force 1813

I am presently putting together a Prussian force for 1813. I have based it on Prinz Mecklenburg-Strelitz brigade in 1813. It consisted of  1st infantry regiment (1st east Prussian), the 3rd infantry (2nd East Prussian) regiment, a Silesian landwher regiment, a battery of artillery and the Mecklenburg-Strelitz Hussars.

320 infantry
24 cavalry
4 guns

I am also doing some of the Prussian reserve cavalry, the Lithuanian Dragoons and the 2nd West Prussian Dragoons, with a battery of horse artillery attached.

48 cavalry
4 guns

Friday, 9 August 2013

Battle of Actium

This was a game played out at the phoenix club in Glasgow. The club run a massed game the first Tuesday of every month and this was this ones! The battle of Actium saw Octavian's fleet under Agrippa beat Mark Antony and Cleopatra's fleet in a decisive engagement ending the challenge to Octavian's domination.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Waterloo two

Well the battle had been running the day before. I arrived to be handed command of the remainder of a division of d'Erlon's attack on the ridge. Things had seemingly not gone well and the two brigades were down to half strength and spent. It seemed prudent to tactically withdraw out of gun range so they fled. The one thing I liked about the advanced position was that one cannon had been pushed up into effective range and was working over a few units.

Whole my troops milled about on the floor of the valley collecting their wits, I cast around to see what artillery I could 'acquire.'

I had also been given command of some cuirassier and some hussars. I used these to tie up my opponents cavalry who were threatening my flank.

The French position as a whole was not good. A string of massed attacks along the line were disjointed and had not put any great pressure on the allies. Napoleon's grand battery was anything but grand, scattered to the winds, it ineffectually lobbed shot about. In the real battle the Napoleon out numbered the allies in guns by 4-3 but it more like the other way round in this.

Me and the other commander of the remnants of d'Erlon's corps began massing all available guns next to the one that had been left up front. My infantry by this time had shaken themselves out and were a semblance of a fighting force again.

This massed concentration of guns had not gone unnoticed and a few worried discussion could be heard behind the allied line. Time was unfortunately against us the Prussians were beginning to arrive and packing up was soon.

As the battery started to do it's devastating work, battering the allied line gaps started to appear. The allies desperately launched the union cavalry brigade to clear away the battery. I had however been carefully husbanding a brigade of cuirassier that I had pinched from the cavalry reserve for just this occasion. In a three foot charge they cut off the union brigade from their target. I did get lucky with the dice it has to be said.

Sadly that is where the game ended, the melee unresolved and the battery not quite finished. The only bright note for the French was the fall of hougoumont, the game was a solid win for Wellington he didn't really need nightfall or the Prussians in the end.

Sunday, 23 June 2013


I took part in a fabulous game depicting Waterloo put on by Ian Gayle. Ian fielded all of the Anglo allied army. I provided my French along with Bill Gilchrist, Angus Konstam and Ian. The table was quiet a treat Ian has been working on it for 4 years.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Battle of Vitoria, 21st June 1813

This was a Blackpowder game played about this time last year. It was a massive AB1 event up at Lundin Links in Fife. The scenario was devised by Bill Gilchrist and played over two tables. The larger one represented the main Allied attack against main French position. The smaller table was the allied attack on the French right flank some way to the west of the main battle, centred on the village of Gamara Mayor.
The main French commander was Jim Loutitt while the Allies were commanded by Angus Konstam, although his Wellington impression left a lot to be desired.

I was plonked on the smaller table with Derek Hodge, Dax Robertson and Chris Henry. Myself and Derek commanded the French. Dax commanded the British while Chris had Spanish/Portuguese. The brief for the French was to prevent the allies securing any of the bridges.These two pictures go side by side and show the main action as far as I was concerned . The picture on the right is Gamara Mayor and one of the all important bridges. On the right shows the road leading to the second bridge with Dax's highlanders advancing menacingly forwards.

The French deployed in the villages, 1 infantry brigade in each. 1 Dragoon brigade was placed behind the gap between the villages while light cavalry and light troops held the right flank.

The British began with a general advance across the board and soon began to take a few casualties from artillery. The 95th rifles surged forward and soon began to lap round the village on the left threatening some French guns on the edge of Gamara Mayor. In an attamt to delay this I sent my Dragoon Brigade up to chase them away. This turned into a bit of a fiasco as the 95th legged it and the supporting infantry formed square backed by two batteries of artillery. My prize Dragoons took a pounding and had to pull back without achieving much.

With the threat of the cavalry removed the Highland brigade enveloped the village and prepared to assault. I pulled on of my reserve battalions from behind the village out and placed them to the highlanders flank. I sent the other on into the village in anticipation of the assault.
 I didn't have to wait long, to the skirl of the pipes the highlanders came tearing in. Things however do not always go as planned, villages in Blackpowder are incredibly difficult to take unless you prepare properly, the highland assault came to bloody end. The reformed French Dragoons came crashing in again and sent the British reeling backwards breaking a couple of battalions. At the end of it the British were in a real mess and were desperately trying to reform their line and scrabbling about for reinforcements.

 The British now settled down to a more methodical approach after a bit of a chat about the tactics of taking a village. Leaving the bloody debacle of the other village the British and Spanish now concentrated their attentions on Gamara Mayor. Positioning their artillery to play a prominent role in the assault, the Allied Infantry steadily enveloped the village making sure not to expose themselves to Dragoons lurking round the corner. 

In a string of turns they were steadily rustling the French out of the village. Weight of numbers was now beginning to tell as the French reserves were running dry and there was no infantry left to launch a counter attack to retake that part of the village. Our main commander Marshal Loutitt had committed the French reserve on turn two on the main table, so the cupboard was empty there. Fortunately for the French night was coming and the Allies had not managed to cross the river and cut of the main French army. We had it seemed scraped a tactical victory.

Things in the main game were not going well for the French, despite the protestations of the main commander who seemed to view the looming crushing defeat as some kind of tactical draw. The entire French right flank was fleeing backwards while the Allies were pressing elsewhere.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Thoughts on Standards and Spontoons

Over the years I have had many an embarrassed moment, taking figures out of the box to find that officers and ensigns have lost their equipment. A bit of super glue later and it is all fixed, however happens again and again till I am faced with a hand that has more super glue residue than anything else along with the removed paint work. I also didn't like the fact that I had to store my command stands in separate boxes or on their sides as the flags were too tall.

So I hit on a cunning plan, why not sabot the flags! This involves fitting a piece of brass tube into the ensigns hand and then sliding the flag pole in and out. I could then have nice big flags for the table and fit my troops into the same box for the trip home.

 So what you need is some small brass tubing, you can get this from most model shops. Take one of your flag poles with you to get a rough size, I say rough because the flag poles I had from Bicorne Miniatures didn't fit any straight off. With foundry figures such as this fine chap the hand hold was always much bigger than the flag pole it turned out to be perfect for the tubing though.

Now the tricky bit snip said tube to the right length and then grip in a set of pliers. get a pin drill the same size as your flag pole and drill you your tubing, I found that it only took a fraction off but it was enough.

Once done you can glue onto position. I found that when you cut the tube it would pinch together and left you wondering how you are going to get your drill in. Careful pinching with the pliers will open it up just enough to get the drill head in then the drill will do the rest.

I was very please with my handy work but it took someone else to point out an additional benefit. Your SYW Klackstien musketeers can become AWI Hessians with a simple addition of an different flag. You can also do your own flags for Imagi-nation and if your beastly opponent captures your flag you can sadly hand it over!

I tried this technique with my spontoons but it was distinctly less successful. In a mad ebay buy, I got myself some extremely small magnets they do some tiny sizes. I figureed if I put one on the spontoon and one in the figures hand then voilĂ , one mobile connection and no breakages. And that ladies and gentlemen is how it turned out