Wednesday 28 November 2018

On The Workbench: 10mm AWI Hessian Rall Grenadier Regiment

Another unit completed this week is a battalion of Hessian Rall Grenadiers in 10mm -

This is a complete pack of 30 figures supplied by Pendraken. Unlike my 6mm they are mounted on 20mm x 20mm mdf bases from Warbases. A couple have been based on single 10mm x 10mm bases which allows for extra flexibility in the orbats.

More 10mm AWI are currently working their way through the production line, all for the White Plains scenario which will be played in due course.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Labels and Battlefield Clutter

Over the years I have sought to reduce as much as possible anything on the tabletop that may detract from the figures. I have gravitated towards using orbats for recording casualties, morale status and details of units as a compromise which has gone some way in reducing battlefield clutter. This does of course mean that records have to be kept which some would find laborious. They have been used so many times over recent years that I have found it has now become second-nature and very useful for cross-referencing in campaigns. The style of orbats I use can be found throughout my After Action Reports. 

I saw a thread recently on TMP discussing the labelling of figures which has generated this post. I try to make the labels as unobtrusive as possible using a white font on black background. They are limited to being 15mm wide matching the width of my 6mm figures bases. The TMP thread got me thinking again about how I can reduce their impact. The idea behind my labels is to provide enough information about each unit to reduce the need to continually refer to the orbats. 

Here are the labels prepared for the next battle in my Napoleonic campaign, the Battle of Erfurt:

I have used this format for the last 4 or 5 years and it is probably overdue for a review. Ideally I hoped to reduce by roughly 50% the amount of label showing at the rear of the figure base. I reckon I could lose some information on the label without causing confusion or increasing unnecessarily the need to refer to the orbat. It was then just a case of defining a way of displaying what I needed in one line on each label. I have come up with this:

The width is maintained at 15mm for each label. Some of the command bases could not be condensed to a single line without omitting detail I felt I would need, although I may revisit this after the next game. As can be seen in the unit labels, they start with the first 2 or 3 letters of their Brigade commander, the unit and finally their status e.g. Line, Veteran etc.

I shall also trial a green background (for the Prussians in this case) as it may blend in better with the green terrain tiles.

I shall be playing Erfurt in the next few days with an AAR posted to the blog when I shall assess how these new look labels performed in action.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

On the Workbench: 10mm AWI & 6mm WW2

In preparation for the 'White Plains' game I have completed more of the excellent Pendraken 10mm AWI American figures:

Delaware Continentals

Continued -

Friday 16 November 2018

The 2nd Battle of Oporto

For details regarding the scenario, orbats etc. see 'The 2nd Battle of Oporto - An Introduction'. A note about the figures: You will notice many of the British in particular are in later war uniforms. Over time I will be painting more units specifically for the Peninsular but I decided life was too short to paint a whole load more when I already had a significant number, albeit for Waterloo. Not too obvious in 6mm though.

Foy's Brigade deployed within the eastern half of Oporto. (Western half - off table)

Continued -

Monday 12 November 2018

On the Workbench: New figures, paint brushes and scenery items

With Oporto underway I looked ahead at future battles to be fought. AWI 'White Plains' looked inviting in 10mm. So out came the unpainted figures and an order went in to Pendraken to ensure I had enough to cover the battle.

Delaware Continental Regt along with skirmish militia and Pennsylvania Rifles are prepared for priming.

And the Pendraken order arrived in double quick time! Mostly German infantry with some artillery and British light dragoons. These really are superb figures and could easily be mistaken for 28mm when viewed close up. The downside is that there is no question of a quick paint job which would do them a disservice. 

Continued -

Wednesday 7 November 2018

2nd Battle of Oporto - An introduction

The next battle in my Peninsular War project is the 2nd Battle of Oporto, or the crossing of the Douro, 12th May 1809. 

I have several books that include the battle but do not cover it in any great detail. After hunting around the internet I stumbled across JJ's Wargames blog who had created a scenario for this battle. It seemed ideal and only needed a little tweaking for the different scale and rule system. The full scenario can be found here -

Once again I am going to highlight the versatility of 6mm, especially when space is at a premium. JJ's original scenario, which included a representation of the Douro that I intend to replicate, was played out on a 9' x 5' table. My game will be on a 4'6" x 3' table!

I will again be using a modified version of General de Brigade rules. For this game skirmishing will be introduced. It will be done in an abstract way without actually deploying skirmish figures, a very fiddly proposition in this scale. I will be using the GdB mechanism with a touch of Grande Armee by Sam Mustafa and some of my own tweaks.

Briefly: I will be allocating an SK (skirmisher) value to each unit which collectively forms a Brigade skirmish screen when not acting independently. This will be based on GdB's system of 1D6 for 6 first rate skirmishers, 1D6 for 8 second rate and 1D6 for 4 chosen men of the 95th Rifles. So a French infantry battalion of 36 figures will have one light company of 6 = SK1 or 1D6. A British line battalion of 30 will have one light company of 3 = SK1/2 and so on. 

It will be assumed skirmishers are thrown out ahead of an advance to screen the main body of troops. When in range dice are rolled as per GdB with a '6' scoring a hit. When the main body moves within 6cms of the enemy the skirmishers are automatically recalled. They cannot be deployed if enemy cavalry are within 9cms of the parent or target unit. 

There is more detail to it than this but gives you an idea of how it is going to, hopefully, work. This particular battle should be a decent test bed not being too large that it could get bogged down.

Continued -

Sunday 4 November 2018

On the Workbench: Preparation for Oporto

One of the benefits of being a 'wargame butterfly' is that hopping between projects keeps everything fresh. Or at least that's my theory! 

So with Operation Nostalgia on hold for now, my attention is drawn back to the Napoleonic projects. Most notably the Peninsular War. Next on my list of historical actions to fight is Oporto. 

I had the good fortune to visit Oporto earlier this year but unfortunately did not have time to visit the Seminary. It was a brief shore run from a cruise ship but nevertheless gave me an idea of the topography of the area.

Taken from the north side of the Douro. The circular building in the top middle of the photo is the monastery Serra do Pilar from where Wellington observed the French forces in Oporto. The Anglo-Portuguese army were positioned at the rear of the high ground out of view from the French. It would have been roughly in the area of the iron bridge that British troops crossed to assault Oporto later in the battle. 

I originally envisaged using my coastal cliff sections to represent the steep sides of the Douro but on seeing this (and looking at Google maps) felt they would be too dramatic for 6mm figures.

Continued -

Friday 2 November 2018

The Battle of the River Plate

To conclude the current round of WW2 Air and Naval Warfare, a nice simple sea battle beckoned. The Battle of the River Plate was always on the 'to do' list so I decided now would be a good time to tick this one off.

The ships used are 1/3000 scale from Navwar and General Quarters 3 rules used. The first sighting of Graf Spee was at a little over 20,000 yards, which at 1cm = 100 yards was just a little longer than the 6' (180cm) table I had planned to use. One turn of movement at a little over cruising speed would have brought them within my 18,000 yard limitation.

I therefore started the game on move 2 and gave the main batteries of Graf Spee one turn of fire before starting the game proper.

So this was the situation just prior to the salvo from Graf Spee. I decided to start the game using something approaching the tactics within the actual battle which seemed the most logical move to make. On the right the Ajax (left) and Achilles break away from Exeter to split Graf Spee's fire.  

Continued -