Monday, 23 May 2011

Another nasty alarm clock...

Happy  Holiday everyone! (A rainy Victoria Day here in Ontario.)
On Saturday, the Gaming Group used almost the same table as the week before (used for 1812) to do a French and Indian War raid. (Iron Ivan's 'This Very Ground' rules were used... actually for F&I <Gasp!>)
   The British (Andy and Kevin) held the village with two companies of regulars, a company of grenadiers, a company of light infantry, a 6-pounder and crew, and two companies of Provincial infantry, just waking up in their camp. The regulars were on parade or on piquet duty. The French (Robby and I) approached in the morning haze with 3 companies of regulars, a company of grendiers, a company of light infantry, a small company of militia, and 3 small native warbands.[Our cunning plan was to set buildings on fire, disrupt garrison life, cause the British internet service to crash, and steal their wig  powder. Well, maybe not the last two.]

The Provincials have a rude awakening. (All photos by Andy; I fogot my camera!) HRGG custom requires a bottle of pop of some type be on the table 75% of the time. We're nothing if not traditionalists!
Elmer Borden, chief bull of the herd, looks at the village. I think he's considering buying land.

The British piquets sounded the alarm and fell back through the woods after exchanging fire with the French lights and militia. The native warbands advanced through the fields on the right as the regulars and grenadiers advanced in line toward the village. The Royal Artillery ran to their gun and began loading. Ithe Hatmen on parade moved to take up a position between building just off the centre square. The grenadiers formed column and advanced toward the French lights, but soon pulled back, realizing that they would be masking the gun. The Provincial companies formed up and began to move to a fence line facing the Natives.

"Lookit all them white coats, Clem!" The French and Natives advance.
An overview of the center of the table. The 6# gun is on the other side of the last house on the right. The British grenadiers advance in column, while three companies of French infantry advance in line over the field.

Two native warbands charged the Provincials behind the rail fence. A mistake as the braves were cut to ribbons. The third warband under the Sachem fired the kitchen house (middle foreground in the photo above.) Two French infantry companies exchanged fire with the British Hatmen. One company fired a volley while the other fired a half-volley (I didn't want to be completely unloaded should the Brits reply in kind.) The two firings took out 30% of the Red-coat company. Nasty! ("Formidable!") Their morale sagged and they fell back. My third French company tried to fire the woods in front of them. Took three activations! (It was more damp than I thought.) Meanwhile, the British grenadiers thought better of things and withdrew to form line in support of the gun and the piquet company. The gun fired on the French lights and achieved great execution... even though they were in loose order. The militia attempted to fire the woods and failed miserably. Since Robby and I set stuff on fire and had cornered the market on wig powder, we made use of the better part of valour and took off. We also upset morning tea. The French grenadiers had the worst of the exchange of fire with the Provincials, who were making a halting attempt to flank the assault force. The Native warbands had been decimated, the lights were hurting, so we withdrew in good order.

As the Natives get wiped out in the foreground, the second British regular company advances to engage the French grenadiers behind the kitchen house where a native warband engages in pyromania.
The fire spreads! Robby loves Andy's fire counters - cotton balls glued to metal washer and given a quick spray with black primer. As a matter of fact, I love them too!

Regulars advance, Provincial administer the coup de grace to the native through the rail fence. The Britiah light are in the far background.
  Since we achieved our objective to some extent, it was considered a minimal victory for the French, but a costly one. Lessons learned:
  • Fire that volley! A half decent roll will do wonders to your morale as a player and really mess up your opponent's day. Just beware of being caught unloaded.
  • Don't use Native warbands a shock troops in open country. In the woods, they're deadly. On the flanks, they'll distract and even scare some opponents. They have great value in drawing people's attention. In the open... eh, not so much.
  • Don't mask your cannon. Unless you are NKVD or such, shooting your own troops is a bad idea.
  • Don't get distracted by piddly units demonstrating (dancing around) in front of you. Like a red cape to a bull...
  • Remember your mission. Keep your eye on the sparrow, as they'd say.
  • Don't discount a marginal victory. The second word is the key.
  • Always, always, always... have fun. It is why we play with toy soldiers!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

An old favourite

"You know your government is in trouble when the Communists are it's most conservative element." I'm not sure where I read this comment, but it is a apt summary of the politics of the Spanish Republic at the time of the Spanish Civil War. (1936-1939) It has been a personal favourite period to game for a while now. I started collecting troops to game on the battalion/brigade level with the "Command Decision" rules. Now I  use Iron Ivan's "Disposable Heroes" and "Primera Battala" (which carries the SCW specific rules.) When I play I add a small rule for flavour: if an Anarchist unit comes into contact with a para-military police unit, morale must be rolled. If it fails, the units begin to fire at each other - even if they are nominally on the same side! It makes it interesting,
     I use 15mm figures and models - Minifigs, Peter Pig, old Citadel 'Traveller' figs, Essex, Flames of War, and unknowns. They can be quite colourful. Here are some photos of at least two different games.

Two sections of Anarchist infantry (FAI) supported by an armoured car for the Assault Guards. (Yes, they both passed morale!) The Anarchist figs are Boers, ACW, Napoleonics, and Mexicans from a Wild West range as well as an SCW fig here and there.
Moroccan Regulares exit their transports and prepare to attack. I remember that the assault didn't go well for the Nationalists. I love the white canvas shoes.

The mighty FT-17 controls the battlefield... or at least one small piece of it. At a speedy 3 mph and one MG, it is a titian!
A Republican "fast firing" 75mm field piece. I mount the units in sections/batteries/teams on large washers from Canadian Tire. (Yes, the crew was French Foreign Legion in another life.)
The Tercio! The Spanish Foreign Legion takes the streets. Bugles and flags and canvas shoes.

More Nationalist infantry.
Republican infantry of the "Popular Army."
I don't have any photos of International Brigade troops although the blurry stand in the foreground might be some. 
Some of the houses shown are wood, some cardboard downloaded from either a "Warmaster" website or a Danish gaming club's site, some are resin, and others hydrocal castings. As I said the figs are from various manufacturers as are the tanks and trucks. I didn't show cavalry, various Republican militias, the para-militaries, MG crews, or the REALLY odd armoured vehicles. A very interesting period of history to game, but a vicious piece of human history to endure.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

In the early morning raid

Once again, we played an 1812 skirmish game at the HRGG. Andy and Kevin lead a raid by the Crown forces on a small village where civic militia were "drilling" and a unit of the state militia were encamped. The state militia was just waking up when the Crown troops showed themselves. Robby, "Bear", and I pushed the US figures.

The Crown forces consisted of a detatchment of regular infantry and one of the incorporated militia, detatchments of the Glengarry Light Infantry and Caldwell's Rangers, and a party of the British Indian Department. The US forces were detatchments of regular infantry and regular rifles, a unit of state militia, a body of the town's civic militia, and a gun and crew of the regular artillery with a 6-pounder.

The BID and the Glenies led the way with the regulars and Caldwell's following. The militia moved further out on the left flank. The gun moved up the road by 'prolonge' (pushed and dragged by hand) while the state militia formed up. The civic militia -untrained and not worth much- moved to the edge of the village. The US regulars and the US Rifles entered the table and moved to block the Crown advance. The rifles exchanged fire with the Incorporated Militia and the IM withdrew. The US regulars threatened Caldwell's and the light infantry fell back. The village militia held their ground but did nothing else.  The BID fired on the cannon and took out two of the crew, while the state militia exchanged fire with the Glengarries who got the worst of it, (Andy and Kevin's dice rolls were abyssmal to say the least.) As the gun swung into position, the entire Crown force withdrew - after having stampeded the cattle they found grazing outside the village. Andy and Kevin then revealed their strategy - wake up the militia and keep them from resting. There were only light casualties on either side. Still we all enjoyed ourselves. As has been said, any day we get to play is a good game.

And now for a few photos:

The state militia encamped in Andy's new tents. The flag is a real 1812 US state militia flag... and the city flag of Easton, PA.

Caldwell's Rangers lead the British Regulars on the plowed field.
The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles... led by a guest officer... a certain Mr. Shape

The British Indian Department and His Majesty's Native Allies

The U.S. Rifles patrol into the woods in a most aggressive manner. (I think Robby likes playing these.)

The U.S. Regular Infanty with their mounted officer in command. The civic militia is in the lower right hand corner. They were NOT aggressive. ("Which end does the bullet go in?")

In a photo taken through Kevin's wonderful periscope, the state militia move out to face the advance.

The Regular U.S. Artillery barely got into action and never got to fire a shot... I think their  presence scared the BID off.

Robby staged this picture of the U.S. Rifles hunting breakfast at the smoke house. Peameal bacon all around!

An early game pic of the US Regulars advancing... colonel, colours, drummer in the front, the leiutenant and the pioneer on the side.

An enjoyable yet unexpected game all around. Next week, French and Indian War skirmish.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Hamilton Road Drift... as it were.

Saturday, the Hamilton Road Gaming Group gathered for it's usual Saturday of mischief and mayhem. Warhammer 40K at one table, "Clicky-tech" at the second, and Zulu War at the third.
    Andy hosted the Zulu War game (which I played since I was the only one there -I think- who knew any Zulu words) where wave upon wave of Zulu warriors poured in on a beleagured British outpost. We set the Zulus up on units of 20 and when 20 were killed, a new unit formed and came onto the table at a randomly-determined place. The slaughter got gruesome at times. We used the Iron Ivan This Very Ground rules with some variations. Some of the Zulus carried captured Martini-Henry rifles, but they never used them! We doubled movement in the first game, but found that to be unsatifactory since the Zulus were in the Brits eyes within one move. The second game cut back movement to normal and it worked better. We varied the morale rules too, i.e. the British never rolled morale and the Zulus didn't either; their units just evaporated when they reached 5 figures or less.
The HRGG "Parliment of Dreams" in session for the first game.

761 Jones hold off the iMpi alone. We felt he should get the Victoria Cross and that Andy should  paint a medal on his tunic. But he didn't survive the battle.

Zulu casualties were recycled; British casualties obviously were not. They held the fruitcake/peanut brittle/Granola wall as long as they could! The Zulus have cornered the last squad in the cabins. ("They fell into our trap, eh, Colour Sergeant!)"

In the second game, the cabins were replaced by a blockhouse. Here the iMpi menaces a section of the dreaded "overhand-bayonet-stabby troops."

The iMpi is over the wall and after the soup!

437 Williams hold the door of the blockhouse against unbelievable odds. His squadies came downstairs shortly to help, but... the game ended just a bit after. "Usuthu!"
I can't comment much about the "Clicky-Mech" game since I wasn't involved. Beth took this nice photo. I was impressed with the foam hills!
**I think they're turning our flank, Commander. Orders required.**
The HRGG plays all sorts of games. (I barely got to see the 40K game at all.) Table top, board, Role-playing, naval, ariel, space, you name it. I'm glad I was introduced to it. Robby and Beth play regularly and Katie plays when her schedule permits.

Friday, 6 May 2011

Gaming in 1/1 scale

Although most of the entries on the blog are about the miniatures games I enjoy, this one will be a bit different. My family and I do reenacting. We are members of the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), but we also reenact the War of 1812 with a local group. We've been doing this for about two and a half years now and I've found it to be great fun. It's also a learning expereince. I have some knowledge of the period and the uniforms of the period, but I am a piker compared to some of the folks. My son and I serve "in the line" with the King's Company of Military Reenactors. I join the group when they reenact the United States 17th Infantry and I've protrayed a Canadian militiaman on occasion. Robby does the same but also joins the reenactors for World War I events in the local area. He hauls around a mock-up of a Lewis Gun.
     In any case, our first event took place last weekend at Longwoods Conservation Area in Deleware, ON. It was my first outing in the blue uniform my wife sewed up for me. It was a task, but she did a wonderful job.

Robby and I awaiting the order to assemble for drill. (Note the "heroic pose" on the man on the left! Note also the "national colour" behind us. The US Army was forbidden to carry the Stars and Stripes until the middle of the 19th Century.)
On Sunday, Robby did good service as a "captive" of His Majesty's Native Allies and the British Indian Department.
He was cautioned to be from ANYWHERE other than Kentucky. ("I'm from Baltimore!")

In a sunnier moment, our combined unit prepares to fire. In the British army, the commands are "Ready! Present! Fire!" The US commands are "Ready! Aim! Fire!" Seems that the US troops were expected to aim; hitting something with a musket is another story! (Robby is in the front rank, second from the left. I'm behind him, leaning on his right shoulder to fire in the best style of the age.
On Sunday, the 17th was combined with the troops of the 2nd Artillery from Fort Meigs, OH. With a detatchment of the US Marines, we defended this truely formidable field work as the British infantry attacked... in column!

Before Beth completed my blue coatee, I wore a white linen "hunting shirt." We still have this and Beth sometimes wears it around camp for warmth. In this photo, taken at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in 2010, she's wearing her 'working' outfit.

Wargaming on 1/1 scale - it continues to be fun. Our unit serves an educational purpose as well, turning out for school "education days" where our musket fire makes the grade school girls scream... every time.
2012 will be the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. It will be a big thing in this part of Ontario. It isn't such a big thing in most areas of the USA (outside of New York State, Maryland, and New Orleans, Louisiana), but it is part of the history of our two nations that needs to be remembered. I'm pleased to be part of the "Living History" movement!