Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Civil War, then and now in photos (The Guardian)

    One of my patients shared this site with me, which some of you may find of interest. It consists of pairings of iconic pictures from the American Civil War with modern pictures of the same site, and as much as possible, taken from the same perspective, etc.

The Dunker Church at Antietam after the battle (the bloodiest day in US military history)
- Library of Congress

The Dunker Church in 2015; interestingly, the church was destroyed in a storm, and wasn't rebuilt until the 100th anniversary of the battle in 1962, as part of the Antietam National Battlefield Park. I have visited Antietam twice, and both times had the eeriest feeling there. Not at all like Gettysburg, Harper's Ferry, The Wilderness, Fredericksburg, or any other civil war battlefields that I have visited. 

Anyway, consider paying The Guardian website a visit for a number of additional intriguing "then and now"pictures.

Another interesting factoid (in the section about how the modern photos were taken): Allegedly, famed Civil War photographer Matthew Brady took over 10,000 photos during the Civil War, and spent $100,000 of his own money in so doing (one shudders to think what that would be in today's terms - an online estimate came up with 1.8 million dollars!). He only recouped a fraction of that, and died alone, blind and penniless. I hope that it might be some consolation to his spirit that he has hardly been forgotten more than 150 years after the end of the Civil War. It is amazing to think that I was 10 years old at the time of the Centennial of the end of the Civil War in 1965, and that the last veteran of the Civil War died a year after I was born (at age 109). This was also the time of the Civil Rights movement, and while much progress has been made since then, as a nation it seems that we have yet to put the Civil War and its origins fully behind us. 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Semi-witz 1813 scenario

    Napoleon's defeat of the Allies at the Battle of Dresden (August 26-27, 1813) brought the French very little fruits from their victory, followed as it was by defeats of Vandamme at Kulm, Mac Donald at The Katzbach, and Oudinot at Gross Beeren. Napoleon appointed Matrshal Ney to replace Marshal Oudinot in command of yet another drive towards Berlin. This lead to an engagement with elements of the Allied Army of the North, under the command of Crown Prince Carl-Johan of Sweden (the general formerly known as Marshal Bernadotte of France), on September 6, 1813. The battle began with an engagement between the troops of  Bertrand and Tauentzien outside the village of Dennewitz. I will be hosting a six player Napoleonic game the Sunday after Thanksgiving, using Field of Battle, 2nd edition by Brent Oman/Piquet. It is going to be  (very) loosely based upon the terrain and forces involved at in this battle, hence the title of Semi-witz!

"French"Army of Berlin  - Marechal Ney  LD 10

IV Corps, GD Bertrand   LD 10

Infantry Division (Wurttemburg) - GD Franquemont  LD 8
3 Wurttemburg Line  DD6 CD10
1 Wurttemburg Light  DD6 CD12
1 Wurzburg (3rd CoR regt) Line  DD4  CD10
1 Wurttemburg 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD10

Infantry Division (Polish) - Dombrowski  LD 10
1 Provisional Croatian Regt  DD6 CD10 
4 Polish Line/Vistula Legion  DD8 CD12
1 Polish 6# Foot Artillery  DD6 CD12

Cavalry Division,  von Jett  LD 8
1 Wurttemburg Chevau-Leger  DD6 CD10
1 Polish Uhlan  DD8 CD12
1 Polish Hussar  DD8 CD10

IV Corps Artillery
1 French 12# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12+1

VII Corps, Reynier  LD 10

Infantry Division (Saxon) - Lecoq  LD 8
4 Saxon Line  DD4  CD10
1 Saxon Light  DD6 CD12
1 Saxon Guard  DD8 CD12
1 Saxon 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD10

Infantry Division (Italian) - GD Fontanelli  LD 10
4 Italian Line  DD6 CD10
1 Italian Light Infantry  DD6 CD12
1 Italian Guard Infantry  DD8 CD12
1 Italian 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12

Cavalry Division - Von Lindenman  LD 8
1 Saxon Hussar  DD8 CD12
1 Saxon Cheavu-Lager Lancer  DD6 CD12
1 Italian Guardia di Onore  DD8 CD12

VII Corps Artillery
1 French 12 # Foot Battery  DD6 CD12+1

XII Corps - Marechal Oudinot  LD 10

29th (Bavarian) Division - Raglovich  LD 8
1 Bavarian Jager  DD6 CD12
4 Bavarian Line  DD6 CD10
1 Bavarian 6# Foot Battery

13th Infantry Division (Baden/Hesse) - Pacthod  LD 10
2 Baden Line  DD6 CD10 
1 Baden Jager  DD6 CD12
2 Hessian Line  DD6 CD10
1 French 6# Foot Artillery  DD6 CD12

Cavalry Division  Beaumont  LD 10
1 Bavarian Chevau- Leger  DD6 CD10
1 Hessian Chevau-Leger  DD6 CD10

XII Corps Artillery
1 French 12 # Foot Battery  DD6 CD12+1


Infantry Division, GD Morand  LD 12
1 French Legere  DD8 CD12
4 French Ligne  DD6 CD10
1 French 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12

III Cavalry Corps - Arrighi  LD 10
1 French Chasseur a Cheval  DD6 CD10
1 French Hussar  DD8 CD10
2 French Dragoons  DD6 CD12
1 French 6# Horse Battery  DD8 CD12+1

Allies: Army of the North - GL von Bulow  LD 10
Von Bulow was functionally in charge of the battle for almost the entire day, thus he will serve as C-in-C

4th Prussian Corps - Tauentzien  LD 10

1st Brigade - Dobshutz  LD 8
1 Prussian Grenadier  DD8 CD12
2 Prussian Line  DD6 CD10
2 Prussian Reserve  DD4  CD10
2 Prussian Landwehr  DD4 CD8
1 Leib Hussars  DD8 CD10
1 Uhlan  DD6 CD10
1 Landwehr cavalry  DD4 CD10
1 Prussian 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12

4th Prussian Brigade - Von Thumen  LD 12 +1
2 Prussian Line  DD6 CD10
2 Prussian Reserve  DD4  CD10
2 Prussian Landwehr  DD4 CD8
2 Prussian Dragoon  DD6 CD12
1 Prussian Landwehr cavalry  DD4 CD10
1 Prussian 6# Foot Battery

Corps Artillery
1 Prussian 12# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12

Russian Corps - Winzingerode  LD 8

21st Division - Laptiev  LD 8
2 Russian Jagers  DD8 CD10
4 Russian Line  DD8 CD 8
1 Russian Hussar  DD8 CD10
1 Russian Cossack  DD4 CD8
1 Russian 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12
1 Russian 6# Horse Battery  DD6 CD12

14th Division - Voronsov  LD 8
2 Russian Jagers  DD8 CD10
4 Russian Line  DD8 CD 8
1 Russian Dragoon  DD6 CD12
1 Russian Uhlan  DD6 CD10
1 Russian 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12
1 Russian 6# Horse Battery  DD6 CD12

Corps Artillery
1 Russian 12# Foot Battery  DD6 CD12+1

Swedish Corps - Carl Johann, Crown Prince of Sweden  LD 8

1st Division Posse  LD 12
1 Swedish Jager  DD6 CD12
4 Swedish Line  DD6 CD10
1 Swedish Guard  DD8 CD12
1 Swedish 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD10

2nd Division  Sandels LD 8
1 Swedish Jager  DD6 CD12
4 Swedish Line  DD6 CD10
1 Swedish Grenadier  DD8 CD12
1 Swedish 6# Foot Battery  DD6 CD10

Cavalry Division  Lagerbring  LD 8
Swedish Light Dragoons  DD6 CD10
Swedish Dragoons  DD6 CD12
Swedish Life Cuirassiers  DD8 CD12


The Agger River is a Class 2 stream. All the hills are class 2, as are the woods. The towns are all class 3 terrain. 


The basic deployment will be pretty straight forward as seen above. Field of Battle Has an interesting system for pick up/fictional battles to add a little variety to the setup, which I have never used. I am going to use a modified version of this to make teaks to the basic scenario and deployment. It involves a series of  rolls for Fate and Command Decisions. I will resolve these prior to the game ()and probably detail the process in a separate blog post. This may change the deployments to some degree, and could cause some troops to arrive on the table late.


The French have some additional troops arriving - Morand's French Infantry Division and Arrighi's Cavalry Corps. After any adjustments to the scenario are made, the French players must decide which of the three roads each of these will enter on (they can use different roads or the same road for both); the road to Gohlsdorf, the road to Dennewitz, or the road Rohlbeck. When each French MOVE Card is turned, roll a D3 for BOTH formations (D6: 1,2 = 1, 3,4 = 2, 5,6 = 3). If the roll for that command is less than or equal to the current Move card, the command may enter at the designated road, in Column of March. In the (unlikely) event that the road entry point should be occupied by enemy troops, the reinforcements may not enter until the road entry point is recaptured. Both will remain independent commands - only their command group officer and Ney may rally them, make LD rolls for Movement, etc.

Special Rules:

1) Huge Russian Batteries
 All Russian Artillery units have 3 UI instead of the usual 2 UI

2)  Bernadotte's "Precious Swedes"
Swedish Infantry units have only 3 UI each, Swedish Cavalry 2 UI each. Swedish Artillery has the usual 2 UI each

3) "The Bravest of the Brave"
After at least one "French" unit has been routed or destroyed, on subsequent Leadership Cards, Ney must roll his LD vs a D*. If the D8 is higher, Ney MUST attach himself to any infantry Division of his choice within his Command Radius.  All infantry in that Division get an UP! to both their Combat and Defense Die types while Ney is attached, and will use his LD for Movement and Rallying. Ney uses a D12 for Survival tests while attached, and The French use a D6 for Army Leadership while Ney is attached to a Division. If Ney passes the roll, he may  CHOOSE to attach himself as above, or if already attached, may CHOOSE to detach himself and regain overall control of "French" forces, in which case Ney's LD will once again be used for Army initiative (and Army Morale) rolls.

4) Brent's "No Maneuver Card" rule.
No Maneuver cards are placed in the deck. Units can maneuver or change formation on Move cards for the price of 1 move segment. On Move cards with won even rolls, the maneuver/formation change is free. Finally, and most significantly, ordered cavalry can melee on Move cards. Disordered/out of command cavalry still requires either a Melee or won even roll on a Move card.

5) Move 1 Command Card
This card will allow one command of each *player* on that side to move. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hussite Wars Part 2: Crossbowmen and Handgunners

    The execution of Jan Hus, followed by that of his freind and supporter, another priest named Jerome, who was burned at the stake in May 1516 without even the appearance of a fair trial, along with the apparent treachery of Holy Roman Emperor Sigismund spurred the Bohemian radicals to action, and  infuriated even the most conservative members of the Bohemian nobility. "The outraged sense of betrayal, usurpation of local judicial prerogatives, and besmirching of national honor was shared by Czechs of all social classes, temporarily overshadowing political and religious differences that later re-emerged." (Warrior of God, Victor Verney, pg 44). In the, in my opinion, unlikely event that Sigismund was not complicit in Hus' arrest and execution, subsequent events gave little evidence of it. He continued to pressure Wenceslaus to act against the Hussites. In 1419, Queen Sofia of Bohemia, although a staunch Hussite supporter herself, became fearful of an invasion of the country and convinced her indecisive husband to restrict Hussite services to just three Prague churches.

    This failed to have the desired effect (at least from Sigismund's viewpoint). Large numbers of clergy left Prague, and held open air, hilltop services unrestricted by capacity or outside authorities. It did convince the Archbishop of Prague to lift the interdict. As so many Bohemian clergy had left, Wenceslaus encouraged the return of anti-Hussite priests, many of them German, who had fled the previously city out of fear. In June 1419, a church rededication in Prague was interrupted by a Hussite crowd, lead by Jan Zevlisky, a former monk and firebrand preacher at on of the three remaining Hussite churches, St Mary's ijn the Snows. This prompted Wenceslaus to purge the city government of Hussite supporters in July 1419. The new, anti-Hussite city council instituted a series of police actions against Hussite supporters, and banned teaching of anything except strict Catholic Orthodoxy. This caused growing resentment throughout the country, and by the later part of July, Nicholas, a former courtier who had been exile from Prague earlier that year, organized a mass gathering outside of Bechyne, attended by over 40,000 people from all over the country, This gathering also was notable for the first use of the Biblical term "Tabor", which gave it's name to the radical Hussite movement. Back in Prague, Zevlisky continued to fan the fires of insurrection. At last as important, he had previously enlisted the assistance of a petty nobleman with military experience who was devoted to the Hussite cause - Jan Ziska.

    On July 30th, 1419, Zevlisky preached a fiery sermon to a packed church, condemning the actions of the City Council. Afterwards, he took the Sacred Host from the church and lead a protest march, supported my many armed men. The march proceeded to another Church that supported Rome, and was due for re-consecration. The mob stormed the barred doors of the church, and hanged a resisting priest. From there, they proceeded back to St Mary's, in the process, probably quite deliberately on Zevilsky's part, passing by the Prague City Hall. The frightened councilors had barred the doors here as well. The crowd demanded admission to present their grievances to the Council, The officials attempted to parley from the assumed safety of the upper story windows of the building. It was claimed that someone threw a stone at the Sacred Host, striking the priest leading the procession. The angry mob stormed City Hall and threw the councilors from the windows; those who survived the fall were dispatched by the crowd below. This event became known as the "First Defenestration of Prague (from the Latin phrase, de fenestra, "from a window"). Amazingly, there was to be a Second Defenestration of Prague at the start of the Thirty Year's War, 200 years later.

    A new City Council of Hussite supporters was declared, and a civic militia was decried, with several; captains, chief among them Jan Ziska. Learning of the rebellion, King Wenceslaus flew into a rage. In the midst of an angry tirade, he suffered a massive stroke, leaving him paralyzed on one side. At the same time as he reached compromise by which he would recognize the new City Council in exchange for their contrition, pledge of allegiance and agreement to follow the rule of law, he wrote to Siguismund (who was also his brother) requesting his swift and armed intervention. The King suffered a second stroke soon thereafter, and died on August 16, 1419. Queen Sofia spirited his body away to the Vysehrad castle, accompanied by loyal troops, but still was unable to bury the late King for another three weeks.

    Sigismund assumed the crown of Bohemia himself, and, afraid to come to Prague himself, appointed one Cenek of Wartenburg as regent in an attempt to curry favor with the Bohemians, Cenek being a Hussite himself. Further mass meetings and incendiary sermons ensued, and it became clear that the differences of the two sides, both political and religious, were irreconcilable. The Hussite Wars were about to commence in earnest with the first Catholic "Crusade" against the Hussite heretics.

Infantry armed with missile weapons, such as these crossbowmen, were vital to the defense of the Hussite "Wagon Fort" employed in battle against their invariably better armored and equipped enemies.

One Hussite regulation called for each Wagon to have a complement of 10 - 20 men, stated to include 2 Wagon drivers, 2 Hand gunners, 6 Crossbowmen, 14 Flailmen, 4 Halberdiers, and 2 Pavisers.

While it is alleged that a Hussite War Wagon could hold 15 to 20 men, clearly many of them would have to be fighting from between (or even under) the wagons

The Hussites were early adapters of gunpowder weapons, such as these early handguns. 

These relatively primitive firearms must have been hugely inaccurate, but at the close ranges involved in defending the wagons, their penetrating power against the masses of their foes in plate mail would have more than made up for this.

Being relatively novel weapons, the psychological effect of the noise and smoke they produced upon men and horses both must have been considerable as well. 

Although I have painted these crossbows with steel staves, the majority of the weapons used by the Hussites would have had the staves made from a composite of wood, sinew, and horn. These had the advantage of becoming stronger in cold weather (as opposed to more brittle for steel staves).

The crossbow was an excellent weapon for use against heavily armored foes, especially when the shooter could shelter behind cover during the lengthy reloading process, during which he was very vulnerable. 

These figures are once again Old Glory 25/28mm, with the "command" figures form the Mad Monks and Agitators" set. 

The smallest of the  Hussite guns would have been similar to those seen above. An example found at an archaeological dig at Tabor has a barrel 16.5" long with a caliber of 0.7 inches. There is a socket at the base for a wooden pole or stock to be inserted.

In contemporary illustrations, the guns are usually shown with the stock held under the left arm and fired with a lighted match applied to the touch hole with the right hands. Field trials of a replica of a similar hand gun showed that holding in under the right arm improved the accuracy of the weapon, but made it more difficult to fire.

These early hand guns could also be rested on a pavise or the sides of a wagon or mantlet when shooting, in an attempt to improve accuracy as well. 

Regardless, Crossbows heavily outnumbered hand guns within the Hussite armies.

The use of crossbows in conflicts between Christian states had been famously outlawed by the Second Latetran Council in 1139, the weapons being regarded as "hateful to God", and perhaps more importantly, the aristocracy!

An exception was made for use against non Christians and heretics; neither side showed any qualms at using them against their enemies!

The Battle of Sudomer, the first use of Hussite War Wagon tactics. 

This is great cinema from a Wargamer's standpoint, and considerable effort was made to be as historically accurate as reasonably possible. Note the scenes depicting the deployment of the Wagons, including setting up the mantlets between them, the realistic gunfire, etc. Well worth viewing!

The scenes are from the 1957 film "Jan Ziska", part of the Hussite trilogy of Czech director Otakar Vávra. Unfortunately, a version with English subtitles has never been made available. It (apparently)contains some Marxist propaganda, but  it is said to be limited, especially given the time of its production. Religious elements aside, perhaps the story of a largely underclass revolt, although more nationalist and theological than economic in origin, is not so dissonant with such ideology?!

The music heard is the Hussite hymn "Ktož jsú boží bojovníci", "Ye who are Warriors of God", parts of which are used in Smetana's patriotic tone poem, "Ma Vlast" (My Homeland). especially the last two movements, Tabor and Blanik.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Hussite Wars Part 1: Melee Infantry

  Jan Hus was born into a relatively well to do family in small farming community of Husinec, in Southern  Bohemia circa 1370, He showed early intellectual promise, and was accepted into Charles University ion Prague in 190. He would go on to earn a Bachelor of  Arts degree in 1393, Bachelor of Theology in 1394, and Master of Arts in 1396. In 1398, he was chosen for University post and began lecturing in Prague. Among the texts he used were the writings of the English religious reformer, John Wyclif. Hus was ordained a Catholic priest in 1400., and in 1401 he became dean of the philosophical faculty of the University, and Rector in 1402. 

    In 1402 he became curate of Bethlehem Chapel, a financed and built by zealous Prague residents in 1391, with the goal of fostering preaching in the Bohemian language.  This seems to have deeply affected Hus, who had a spiritual awakening. Like Wyclif, he supported translation of the Bible into the vernacular, its place as final authority, the fallibility of the Pope, limiting the temporal power of the Pontiff, and the wealth of the clergy.

    Hus also took issue with Catholic doctrine regarding the Transubstantiation of the consecrated bread and wine of the Eucharist, supporting instead an alternate concept called consubstantiation or "remanence", holding that substance of Christ's Body and Blood exists concurrently with that of the bread and of the wine. The argument in Bohemia, which Hus him,self tried to sidestep until shortly before his death, was that the benefits of he Eucharist were not conveyed by receiving solely the bread; "Communion ion Both Kinds", i.e., both the bread and the wine, was deemed necessary.

    Political unrest between King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia (who had been elected Holy Roman Emperor 1376, but deposed in 1400) and the church lead the King to appoint Hus Rector of the University in Prague a second time.The Archbishop of Prague,. Zbynek, summoned Hus before the Czech Inquisition and denounced him. The Great Schism of the Papacy was further confounded in 1409, with the establishment of the short lived Pope Alexander V in Pisa (with Pope Benedict XIII still in Avignon and Pope Gregory XII still in Rome!). Alexander supported Zbynek, , who ordered Wyclif's teachings suppressed and forbade Hus from preaching in Bethlehem Chapel, both of which edicts Hus ignored. Both men appealed to rival Popes, with Zybnek winding up ordering that Wyclif's books be burned in the courtyard of the Episcopal palace, and excommunicating Hus and his followers. Hus had become very popular, with many Bohemians viewing him as a divinely sent leader. Thus, these actions provoked widespread rioting in Prague.

    Over time, however, Hus' political naivete cost him the support of King Wenceslaus (who was definitely not the one of the Christmas Carol, that being his namesake from the 9th century). In 1411, all of Prague was placed under a Papal interdict, closing churches, ending baptisms, marriages, and burials, and proclaiming a general excommunication. Hus refused several summons to appear in Rome and his own excommunication was reaffirmed. Excommunication was extended to any who gave Hus support of any kind. Wenceslaus insisted Hus and his more strident supporters leave Prague, and he entered voluntary exile about 40 miles away for the next 2 years.

    In 1414, Sigismund, King of Hungary and now Holy Roman Emperor himself, endorsed convening the Council of Constance, to put an end to the Papal schism once and for all. King Wenceslaus had grown increasingly exasperated with Hus' intransigence, as he engaged in open air preaching and theological writing. In the interest of helping dissipate dissension, Hus accepted a summons and safe conduct to the Council given by Sigismund, probably encouraged by Wenceslaus.

   Upon his arrival in Constance in October 2014,. Hus saw the announcement of his trial as a heretic. The curia held that the safe conduct promised to him by Sigismund, a temporal ruler, had no force i n a Papal court, and that promises or pledges of honor given top heretics were null and void. Hus was imprisoned for seven months, during which witnesses were heard, and he was accused of many heresies that he had not endorsed, including Communion Both Kinds. He was not allowed an advocate for his defense, and was found guilty of 39 counts of heresy. Hus continued to protest his innocence to the last, and was burned at the stake in 1415, a fate which he suffered with great dignity. Thus, the stage was set for the outbreak of the Hussite Wars.*

* this background material was condensed and modified from Warrior of God: Jan Ziszka and the Hussite Revolution, Victor Verney. Frontline Books, London, 2009. I will have occasion to refer to this excellent book again as this series continues. 

The Hussite Rebellion encompassed all facets of Bohemian society,. but its greatest support always came from the peasantry. 

The military Flail was an adaptation of the threshing tool that peasants were well accustomed to using. 

These are 28mm figures by Old Glory from their Hussite Wars ("Vlad the Impaler" heading) range, I have used figures from their Medieval "Revolting Peasants" range, specifically the "Leaders, Agitators, and Mad Monks" set for Command figures for these units. 

"Bohemian Militia" armed with Polearms. 

Note the use of the "Mad Monk" with Quarterstaff. Clergy were integral to the Hussite cause and army. 

The "can opener" resemblance of their weapons is fitting considered the well armored "Crusader" forces they fought against. 

Another unit of Hussite Flailmen. The Flail took considerable strength to wiled effectively, but these men had spent a lifetime at hard work. Note the monk in the front rank once again. 

The big guy with the club in the back rank reminds me of the epitome of a High School bully!

Striking from a height (we will come to the famous Hussite War Wagons later) gave these guys an added advantage in combat. 

I love the guy with the flaming torch and the hatchet in the front rank of this unit!

More "Bohemian Civic Militia" with polearms. 

They are better equipped than their rural brethren!

The hornist is also from the "Revolting Peasants" set.

Many of these Flail men have more Easter European looking fur caps. 

And another monk/priest in the second rank.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A Veritable Forrest of Pikes!

I've spent most of mu hobby time this month prepping and priming quite a few batches of figures before it gets too cold to do them easily. Chief among them were these 96 A&A (armorum and Aquila) Phalangites, along with six British Cavalry units, 4 Spanish Infantry regiments, and some wagons. By the way, I see that A&A has a special discount deal for the month of November, so if you're interested in their products, now is probably a good time to check them out!

I have to say that both the sculpts and castings were exceptionally clean - I think there was minor flash on only a small handful of the 96 figures seen above. Attaching the pikes (made from 18 and 20 gauge Floral Wire  from Michael's; fortunately I had plenty on hand from building my Renaissance armies), and the design of these figures made it exceptionally easy to affix them to their open hands using Loctite Ultra Gel Control super glue. Gabriel turned me on to this product when I had to make onsite repairs to my Spanish pikemen at Historicon this summer, and I love it. It really does allow very precise application of small amounts of the glue, which is perfect for our needs. 

I use Tongue Depressors to glue my figures to for painting (they are in plentiful supply in the office, and very inexpensive). I use clean ones, LOL, but reuse them for painting purposes many times before they are no longer usable. Only a very few of the figures have the shields cast on (see front left, for example). The rest will have to be glued on as well. This leads to a question. Should I glue the shields on now, before priming them?  That will make for a much better bond and more secure attachment. Or should I leave them off, making painting the figure and the shields both much easier, at the cost of a less secure bond when they are glued on at the end of the painting process?  Decisions, decisions!

It looks like I'll be hosting a big Field of Battle game here the Sunday after Thanksgiving, based upon the Battle of Dennewitz, 1813. Prussians and Russians and Swedes, oh my!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

"Fun with Flags" - British Napoleonic Cavalry Flag edition

    One seldom seems wargames units of British Napoleonic cavalry carrying their flags on the tabletop. Indeed, about the only article I can recall reading about British cavalry standards was in the original NEWA Courier back in the early 1970's, and I think that article dealt with the era of the American Revolutionary War. Now, granted that it is uncertain if British cavalry units carried their fl;ages with them into the field prior to 1812, and almost certainly didn't do so thereafter, but when has something like that stopped us? It certainly wouldn't stop me - I like most of my troops in full dress uniform, and just as they would carry their flags at a parade, so they do on my table. Perhaps one can blame it on the toy soldier origins of our hobby, not that I think any blame is indicated anyway.

    In any event, British cavalry units were generally provided with one flag per squadron. For the Household Cavalry regiments these were square (2 feet 5 inches, [plus a 2" fringe) Standard. For the Dragoons, swallow tailed guidons were used (2 feet 3 inches on the staff by 3 feet 5 inches maximum length). They were carried on a 9 foot long lance. The Light Dragoons had guidons that were "somewhat smaller" (2 foot 4 inches by 2 foot 10 inches on the only surviving example). For the Dragoons Guards, the King's flag was a square standard, but the other squadrons carried swallow tailed guidons - at least theoretically! The Hussars were not supposed to have standards, but as they started as Light Dragoons they probably retained their earlier flags, even if they remained at home.

    The design of these flags was much simpler than that of the infantry flags. The flag of the first squadron was the King's standard, and had a crimson ground color with the Union badge in the center(crowned Shamrock - Thistle-Rose, with "DIEU ET MON DROIT"on a scroll below);  On the King's color, the White Horse of Hanover was borne on a red "compartment " encircled by a wreath in the regiments button/lace color in corners 1 and 4, on the other corners it was  the regiment's rank in the same color (silver or gold) within a similar "compartment" of the facing color . The flags of the other squadrons were in he facing color of the regiment, and had the regiment's seniority/Title in the center on red, unless it was entitled to a specific badge . In case the facing color happened to be crimson, the other flags then had a dark blue background color. The corner badges were the the white horse on a red background for corners 1 and 4, and the union badge (Rose/Thistle/Shamrock) on a red background in corners 2 and three. If the Regiment had a distinctive badge in the center of the flag, then the regimental seniority was borne on a red compartment in corners 2 and three in place of the Union badge.

     GMB Designs is one of the few makers of flags for 28mm British Napoleonic cavalry that I know of. In order to take best advantage of breaks on shipping, I wanted to order them all together. That meant that I had to sit down and plan out my British cavalry in more detail. They came out as follows:

Horse Guards
Life Guards
14th Light Dragoons (Orange facings, white lace)
18th Hussars  (White facings and Lace, Blue barrels, sky blue bag w/ yellow cords)

4th (Queen's Own) Dragoons (Green facings, white lace and girdle)
3rd (Prince of Wales) Dragoon Guards (White facings, gold lace, yellow girdle)
2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons/Scott's Greys (Dark Blue facings, gold lace officers, white men)

13th Light Dragoons (Buff facings, yellow lace/buttons)
23rd  Light Dragoons (Crimson facings, yellow lace/buttons, white girdle, 2 blue stripes
21 Pink w/ yellow lace  or 22 pink x/ white lace, or 23/24 with grey facings (yellow and white lace respectively

10th Hussars Yellow facings, silver lace (officers grey fur caps w/ red bag)
15th Hussars  (Scarlet facings, white buttons and lace, white sash w/ crimson barrels. Brown busby, red bag, black fur)

Also, using spare Hussar and Lt Dragoon figures, a combined unit of KGL Cavalry, too. KGL cavalry flags were fairly similar to the British ones. Only the Light Dragoons had them (from their days as Dragoons earlier in the period)
3rd KGL Hussars (Yellow collar and Cuffs, white lace and cords, grey fur - black officers) Black busby, red bag
1st KGL: Light Dragoons Red Facings, white lace

Here are all four of my completed British cavalry units with their flags.

    The crimson King's Colors are fairly interchangeable aside from the seniority number of the regiment, so I'll use the spares of those for my units planned Above that GMB makes no flags for (any that didn't serve in the Peninsula or at Waterloo, basically).. Some pictures (deliberately distorted for IP protection reasons) of the particular GMB flags I ordered. This will help give the reader an idea of the variety of colors and designs used. 

Clockwise from upper left - 15th Light Dragoons, 23rd Light Dragoons, 2nd or Royal North British Dragoons (Scot's Greys), and the 3rd (Prince of Wales") Dragoon Guards.

14th Light Dragoons, 1st Lifeguards, Royal Horse Guards, 4th (Queen's Own) Dragoons.

13th Light Dragoons, 18th Light Dragoons (Hussars).

Close up of the Royal Horse Guards with their brand new GMB flags ("Standards", in this case)

Another view of the Horse Guards with their flags.

And the Life Guards

another picture showing the well known artistry of this great flag maker. 

14th Light Dragoons with their own new GMB flag; having orange facings, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th squadron's flags would look like this. 

I think the flag really makes the unit look special. 

The 18th Light Dragoons (Hussars) - with white facings, the ground of the guidons of the 2nd , 3rd, and 4th squadrons would be white - silver fringe due to white metal button color. 

Once again, the flags add to the "look" of the unit considerably. Just nine more units to paint!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Massive Macedonian Miniatures Madness!

Alexander the Great at the Battle of Granicus, 334 BC

   As readers of the blog might recall, I have been rumbling about perhaps adding to my Macedonian army the past year. A week or so ago, fellow HAHGS member Edgar posted a message to our local group about a desire to unload a substantial number of  Macedonian/Thracian 25/28mm miniatures at an attractive price. The majority of the Macedonians were from a Manufacturer that I had never heard of before, A&A Miniatures. Some others were from from Crusader (a manufacturer I knew of but had never purchased figures from) and the Thracians were Old Glory. A few email exchanges, a Paypal funds transfer, and some swift packing and mailing on Edgar's part, and the figures were on their way to me pronto!

As a last minute bonus, he even threw in some Little Big Man Macedonian shield transfers. 
Such a deal!  :-)

The large, very heavy (12 pounds!) box arrived 2 days later - indeed, one of the heaviest wargames figure packages I can ever recall!

On top were Crusader figures - Thracian Cavalry with command, 12 in all.

HUGE BAG #1  of unlabeled figures. 

On unpacking and sorting, contents as seen above - mostly A&A phalangites and some A&A Macedonian Companions. 

Next uncovered were a ton more extra shields, and 3 "heroic 28mm" Gorgon Studios Hoplites (yet another manufacturer I'd never heard of) - these will likely become "heroes" for "To the Strongest!"

HUGE BAG #2 of figures...

and its' contents - large portion are Old Glory Thracian Peltasts and Greek  Peltasts, and some OG ? Thracian cavalry. 

4 smaller bags, unpacked showed contents as above - more OG Thracians, more phalangites, etc.

Once all of this was then re-sorted and reorganized, the total contents of this Macedonian Multitude worked out to be (more or less)

26 Phalangites with Bronze "muscled" Cuirass (4 with pikes leveld)
18 Phalangites with Linothorax armor
41 Phalangites, unarmotred
4 trumpeters, 4 Standard bearers, 8 officers (2 variants)
9 Macedonian Companions
4 MacedonianCommand
13 Horses
TOTAL: 101 Infantry, 13 Mounted

Crusader (? uncertain about all but the Thracian Cavalry)
12 Thracian Cavalry w/ Command
38 Unarmored phalangites
5 officers
2 Trumpeters
2 standards
4 Hoplites/Heroes
8 Thracian Archers
TOTAL: 57 Infantry, 12 cavalry

Old Glory
49 Thracian Peltasts
27 Greek Peltatsts
23 cavalry (? Thracians plus command/Generals)
TOTAL: 76 Infantry, 23 mounted

3 Hoplites

? Mfr
1 ? Persian cataphract rider and 1 mounted rider wearing Turban (these may become generals/heroes for other armies)

Little Big Men Studios
12 sheets of 24 shield transfers each

GRAND TOTAL: 237 Infantry, 48 Mounted!

So, what to do with this veritable mountain of lead?!

It looks like a Phalanx in TTS the way I'd organize it will have 6 stands of 4 figures each = 24 men each.  That would would work out to 4 A&A and 2 Crusader units.

A unit each of 12 Companion and Thracian Heavy/Medium Cavalry

2 units of 12 Old Glory Greek Peltasts

plus some heroes, generals, etc

The Old Glory Thracians could easily make a  small Thracian army of their own:

4 units of 12 Thracian Peltasts
1 unit of 8 Archers
1 unit each of 12 MC and 8 LC, plus Leaders. 

With my existing Thracians (18 peltasts, 8 LC, all Minifigs), they could ally with or fight the Macedonians. 

Regardless, it could take me a while to paint my way through all of these. Thanks, Edgar... I think! :-)