Monday, August 20, 2012

Guns of the Mohicans

The advance guard of General Sydney Smythe-N-Jones moved through the wooded countryside, spotted with rolling hills and the occasional cut brook.  Ahead lay the main village of the natives allied with the damnable French.  Something that along with the small French settlement would be eradicated prior to the army moving on to the main French fort (TBA).

Colonel Locksley had a fine force at his command.  Elements of Lord Howe's 80th Lights, the provincial Ranging Company, two weak companies of grenadiers, half battalions of the 28th and 43rd RoF and Bagley's Provincials.  A galloper gun or two would have been nice, but they were with the main column, perhaps half a day behind.

The lights were deployed on either wing and to the rear to prevent any unpleasant surprises from the wily French or Indians.  Action was quickly gained as the 80th swept around a wood that showed movement and discovered a warband of Indians.  Thinking their superior numbers would quickly overwhelm the natives they charged home and promptly lost the melee.  The rest of the column advanced but slowly, wanting to have flanks secured before pushing on.

The rangers on the left evicted another warband, though then spotted Coureur de Bois filtering down via a sunken stream.  They faced them off as the 80th went in again, this time with a mounted officer to inspire them.

Only to be defeated again and the officer carried from the field severely wounded.  (He survived.)  The third time proved to be the charm and the 80th carried the woods and sent the remaining members of the warband scurrying for home.

Meanwhile a large group of Canadian milicien with a regular officer took up a blocking position.  Two companies of troopes des colonies (aka. "Marines") were swiftly marching up.  Other small warbands steadied themselves for the coming advance.  The Coureur de Bois were overwhelmed and taken prisoner.

On the right the 43rd and the Provincials deployed into line to drive off the Indian skirmishers.  The remnants of the 80th, who had suffered greatly in the three melees, protected their flank.

The Canadians, seeing the grenadiers and 28th deploying thought the better of standing, and behind of screen of other militia moved back to join up with the colonial regulars at the big surprise, a formidable redoubt blocking the glorified game trail serving as a road.

Not at all sporting, the British attempted to charge the skirmishers, thinking to sweep them aside and hit the rear of the militia column. But in a confusion of order and counter-order, the normally steady infantry failed to charge. A missed opportunity.

A firefight broke out between la Marine and the two British units which did not favor the French, and then was followed by a charge against the disordered foes that succeeded.  Numbers and the martial quality of the grenadiers prevailed and the French were sent packing.

Leaving the indignant French commander in British hands.  The militia and remaining natives, seeing the ever flanking attempts by the 80th and Rangers taking place, decided to depart post-haste.  There is always another day.

Rules used were Guns of Liberty with the Guns of the Mohicans variant.  The British had a slight numeric advantage (88 castings to 80) and a noticeable qualitative edge, unless you were fighting Indians in the woods.  The British had to completely deploy first and then the French since we figured they were being watched ever since they left home.  Casualties have been noted and a follow-up game will take place in a month as the British attempt to finish dismantling the native village and settlement. 

A most enjoyable diversion from our usual game types and a chance for me to use part of my significant collection of 25mm figures.  Thanks to all and just wait till next time!

Friday, August 17, 2012

1805: Austerlitz by Robert Goetz

I recently completed a new book on an old topic that I very much enjoyed.  1805: Austerlitz by Robert Goetz.  Greenhill Books of London, 2005.  ISBN 1-85367-644-6.

At 306 pages of text, pictures and maps plus the appendices, it is a serious read.  Being a strong Napoleonic history aficionado, I jumped at it as soon as I saw the detailed maps and order of battle. 

Over the last 200 years a great deal has been written about the destruction of the Third Coalition, much of it contradictory or at least in disagreement on details.  Mr. Goetz has taken the trouble to go through and analyze the various accounts to arrive at a "most likely" conclusion.  Since it is backed up with evidence, it has high credibility with me.  The maps are particularly interesting because in most cases you can follow the path of a battalion or regiment throughout the battle.  This is no mean accomplishment on his part. 

While the battle is usually looked upon as a foregone conclusion, much like Trafalgar, but Mr. Goetz shows how hard the Russians and Austrians fought, giving them full credit for individual courage and skill.  Where he concludes the battle was won was in the planning rooms and in the minds of key leaders who did or did not react to the changing tempo of the battle.  A fair conclusion in my humble opinion. 

On the downside, if you do not have an abiding passion for things Napoleonic or of Austerlitz, it will be a dry read.  Though it is full of anecdotes from memoirs and such, the style of delivery isn't as exciting as the battle itself.  The wealth of data, which I ate up with gusto, may well put off other readers. 

In the end I learned a great deal about the battle that I only had a vague idea about before and have a renewed interest in gaming some elements of the battle, particularly the northern sector between Lannes and Bagration.  A chance to pit two charismatic leaders against each other.  Of course, the fact that I participated in the 200th anniversary reenactment just enhances my interest.

Serious work on snow and ice

Definitely canister range

The Santon

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Paper Boats

I have often in the past sung the praises of the Dave Graffam paper building models.  blog post  Now, in an effort to increase my water-borne options I assembled his Patrol Boat.  As with most of the PDF products, you have a choice of "layers" to vary things up.  I've scratch-built several small craft and longboats before blog entry but this promised to be easier.  So, below you can see my efforts, mixed in with some 25/28mm figures by assorted manufacturers.  By scaling the printing you can make them much smaller.  I used foam core board for the deck, but just common cardboard like you would find on the back of a pad of paper for the rest.  It came with a square mast that you could form but I preferred the dowel and base so it would be removed as needed.  The crate pictured below is one of three that come with the PDF.

Comments or suggestions welcomed, click the pictures to enlarge please.

Approaching shore where smugglers await

More emerge from below-decks

A scratch-built longboat on the right

I like the details and dingy sail
Keep an eye on your purse here