Sunday, 25 September 2011

Once More Into the Breach...

Another afternoon of miniature mayhem at the Hamilton Road Games Group in London, ON. Andy and I refereed a game of World War II Disposable Heroes. Kevin and Robby pushed the Canadian figures and Martin and Mike ran the German side. The Germans were to take the large building in the centre of the board as an observation post AND get a stalled halftrack of supplies off the board. The Canadians were to take the building AND escort a Resistance group with vital information off the board. The dice were against the hardy Canadians. (My wife, Beth took the good photos; I took the crumby ones.)

The Canadians advance with the Sherman 76 in support -
a lovely and ineffectual AFV that day.

Canadian troops hugging the hill side.

German troops and their anti-tank gun - which NEVER fired,
since no tanks showed themselves to it.

The MG-43 lurks in the woods with some infantry.
The Panzerschreck comes up behind.

The board and the BIG building. Small house decor by the Dollar Store.
Ignore the Tim Horton's  wraps - It was my lunch.

The Wehrmacht enters the house.
(Andy's paint job, Black Tree Design figs)

The Canadians move out.
(My paint job, Black Tree and Battle Honours figs)

The AT gunc commanded the street, but nobody went a-walking there.
(Andy's gun and crew. Nice!)

The Canadian mortars threw a lot of smoke and did take out a few troops
with HE. Usually they provide instant frustration.

More Germans upstairs... watching the dollar store houses.
(I've got to paint them and soon!)

Kevin and I watch the game unfold. The dice never did cooperate.

Andy and Robby watch over the cattle. Mike kept attempting
to stampede them.

The Maultier excapes, the smoke dwindles, the Pzkw IV exhanges shots
with the Sherman, and the AT gun crew twiddles their thumbs.

Amazing stuff:
  • A mortar hit something!
  • The Panzerschreck knocked out the second Sherman (no pics, sorry! Andy said it was a first.)
  • The Sherman fired at the house, hit it, and did zero damage. Well chosen words were spoken.
  • My dice are rotten; I'm thinking of putting them in the dish washer... or burying them.
Next week, 1812 reenacting at Fanshawe Pioneer Village. It's the North American Grand Tactical and I expect a huge crowd, of reenators from all over Canada and the US, and visitors. My family and I will take part in an 1812 education day on Friday - Beth will protray Laura Secord, Katie will be a time-traveller taking photos from the Tardis, Robby and I (and Andy as guest musketeer) will ambush the grade 7's as they drill and march down the path. They always scream each time we fire! I'm hoping for a load of photos to share.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Practice makes perfect, so I'm told.

Since my wife and I attempt to play Napoleonics using the Shako rule set and only get in one or two games a year, we decided to find a way to play with smaller forces in order to get better with the rules. We decided that the War of 1812 in North America might be a good way to go for these "scrimages" as we called them. We tried out two (the games were that quick!) at the Hamlton Road Games Club on Saturday.

The first game to be attempted was a recreation of the Battle of Chippewa. Although small by European Napoleonic standards (about 2 Brigades on a side and small brigades at that.), the battle had great influence on both sides of the conflict. The Crown forces finally faced a force of US troops that could not be looked down upon. Winfield Scott's brigade was a regular force in every sense of the word: 4 battalions/"regiments" of US regular infantry, trained to a standard equal to just about any of the British line and maybe better than some. The US Army regained some self-respect and the respect of the Crown forces. Scott's brigade was pretty badly cut up in the battle, but was able to fight again at Lundy's Lane a short time later. (This makes me wonder how good a general Scott was, but I know for certain that he was a better general than me!) The battle between the light troops in the woods to the west of the main battlefield - mostly First Nations warriors on both sides and Pennsylvania/New York volunteers and detatched British light companies on either side- was so brutal that many of the First Nations withdrew from the war and declared neutrality.
In any event, here are some photos:
US Artillery and Infantry advance along the Niagara River.
(The battle took place not too far from the Falls.)

Ripley's Brigade advances to aid Scott.
(The figures are ANCIENT Minifigs and Ral Partha 15's. I mean, reeeealy old.)

The warriors of the Grand River First Nation battle Porter's light troops
-Cayugas and Pennsylvanians- in the forest.

The forces involved were small. Leipzig, it was not! Hence two games.

The US pushed back the Crown forces although taking some casualties from a battery of 24-pounders. The First Nations took serious casualties in the woods and some of the British regulars were smashed up badly. So we had time for a second game.
This one was North Point in the Chesapeake campaign around Baltimore. Here Maryland militia, still smarting from their defeat at Bladensburg, defended a rail fence as the British column came up to attempt to threaten Baltimore. (Althought Washington, DC was burned -to the eternal delight of many Canadians- Baltimore was the more strategic prize, being the center of privateer action on the Atlantic seaboard of the US.) In the actual battle, the Marylanders were to hold up the British advance so the fortification around Baltimore could be completed and although they lost the battle, they succeeded at delaying the British advance. The British commander, General Ross was killed in the battle by an American rifleman and that seemed to delay the column further. The British advance finally reached the completed fortifications on the land-ward side of Baltimore, but withdrew without taking on the 15,000 militia entrenched there. Fort McHenry guarded Baltimore harbour and that proved to be more than the fleet and invading troops were willing to handle. (cf. The Star-Spangled Banner, all verses)

The British left - line infantry and Royal Marine Artillery Congreve rocket
batteries- advanced to fix the Maryland militia in place. The rockets were
fun - totally inaccurate and bizarre to fire.

The militia defends a rail fence... although it looks like a stone wall.
(I'm proud to say I painted the Maryland State flag carried by the
troops in the centre of the photo.)

Sailors and Royal Marines (masquerading as Highlanders) turned the US
left and drove in the line. The Maryland rifles sniped from the bog.

A British light infantry battalion counter-snipes from the farm. They should
be in red, but there's only so much time to paint.

Since I didn't put enough woods on the board (compared to the real terrain), the British were easily able to turn the US left and send the militia packing. I suppose the miniature Baltimore was put to the torch.
So how does Shako work for the North American war? Not real well, to be honest. It's written for mass battles in Europe and the War on 1812 just does not measure up in stature. We knew that from the beginning. But it does work! What this exercise DID do was permit us to practice the rules with minimal forces and less to carry to the club. More importantly, we had fun... which is why we do this in the first place! The most fun was trying to keep track of the Congreve rockets as they toured the Maryland countryside.

My wife has done me proud.

In case you didn't know, my wife is a wonderful person, far better than the like of me deserves. (She does drive me nuts at times, but I'm sure that's my fault.) She has finished by uniform jackets for our 1812 reenacting and I could not be more pleased!

the uniform coatee - 1812 pattern with the 1813-pattern
"Tombstone" shako, the only one that would fit my head.

This morning was a fine sunny day and I was looking
into the sun!

The US pattern summer roundabout jacket in white linen
- much cooler than the wool.

Details of the chest braid and buttons.

Infantry pattern buttons on the linen jacket.

Beth says she enjoyed doing these coats. I know it was a lot of work... and I'm grateful to this woman I love.

Some various Warhammer notes

My son has decided that Wood Elves are the way to go. (I'll allow it.) Until he can get all his Wood Elves painted, he's been using my old Empire troops to play against his friends. Just a few photos...

Stirland's finest. Oddly enough, the heraldric colours are the same as my
old high school.

A posed photo of the artillery.

The mercenary Black Company - in the service of the Elector of Stirland-
battles some guy on a horse... I don't know.

The Black Company from a different angle. They're named for Glen Cook's
fictional mercenary unit in the Black Company books, which I'd recommend
to anyone.

More Stirlanders fighting pistoleers.