Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Egyptian Archers of Division Ptah

These rather heavily protected Archers (for Egyptians) wear Crocodile leather armor.


The green distinctive color marks them as belonging to Division Ptah in my scheme. 


Ptah was the god of Creation and craftsmen, and is often depicted as a green man, bearing multiple Egyptian symbols of power. 


These are Foundry figures, purchasd during their annual "Christmas" sale the end of 2020. 


Egyptian Archers were famous for their skill as late as the Successor era and the Ptolemaic dynasty. 


The armor could merit a "Veteran" designation for To the Strongest!

Saturday, July 17, 2021

Off the Shelf and Back Again - a Hobbyist's Holiday!

 

When I got my first apartment, way back at the start of Medical School in 1977, I knew I wanted to take the bulk of my armies with me. Once I settled in, I bought first one and then a second "assemble yourself " faux walnut particle board shelf units. Not bad at all for the price, really. They went with me to my next apartment in medical school, then my room in a 4 bedroom condo rented \with 3 other students, then my apartment as an intern, then the apartment my wife and I moved into when I was a resident, then the condo we lived in when I started my medical practice, and finally our present home, where they have been for 33 years. About 20 years ago we had some pretty significant basement flooding, and that damaged both of the units. Between that, progressive sagging from the weight of all that lead for more than 45 years, and a looming crisis in storage space for my collection, this winter I decided it was time to replace the tried and true shelf units.


Over time, I had added this steel shelf unit


to the second "walnut" unit (note the sagging of the lower shelf)


Then a lightweight, easily assembled plastic shelf unit


and then a second of the same (sharp eyes will note some sagging already occurring after just a few years). Lead is heavy!


With shipping, all steel units were too expensive, and local DIY stores didn't seem to have any steel units on site. So I ordered some on line.. "Muscle Rack". 

Made in Vietnam! The units are solid steel, but the shelves are fiberboard, but supported on all 4 sides which should reduce sagging. They were assembled easily enough, until it became clear that 4 key parts were missing; considering that they weren't included on the parts list (!), perhaps unsurprising. Emails to their support line went unanswered, but an eventual phone call was answered pretty promptly, the missing parts sent out and received in a timely fashion. I completed the shelves prior to the Punic Faith game last month. 


While I was at home on vacation last week (during most of which the weather was very unseasonably cold and rainy!), I unloaded one of the old shelves, which was really deteriorated, and broke it up and removed it. The old grey steel shelf unit was unloaded, moved into the vacated space, and re-loaded with troops. 


The first new shelf was placed adjacent to the old one, after more box shuffling, the second old shelf removed, 


and the second new shelf unit placed adjacent to the first. 


The two plastic shelving units were similarly unloaded, moved, and reloaded. The 2nd old shelf unit was reassigned to hold a good part of the many old paperback books I can't make myself discard yet.  

Having moved the well over 13,000 25/28 mm figures of my collection, for any who are interested, I'm going to do a broad overview of same, shelf by shelf. 


The top shelf of unit #1 is all French Napoleonics, with the Imperial Guard to the left of the picture. 


2nd shelf, 1st unit is more French Napoleonics to the right, then Kingdom of Italy, then Saxons, Wurttemburgers, and Badeners. 


3rd shelf, 1st unit is Nassau/Rhine Confederation minor states, Kingdom of Westphalia, Duchy of Warsaw/Poles, Danes, then Spanish.


The bottom shelf of unit 1 holds terrain walls, fences, hedges, orchards, earthworks, etc


I don't waste space - on top and above the units are more boxes with various terrain items. Veterans of my Historicon games will recall helping me carry those big boxes in and out. One of my dear patients, Mrs. Garrity, now sadly a few years gone, would send me a huge box of wonderful grapefruit every Christmas. We enjoyed them a lot for many years, but I really coveted the large, sturdy boxes they came in, which were promptly recycled, as seen. 


Unit 2, top shelf is the home of the rapidly growing White Menace - Napoleonic Austrians. 


Unit 2, second shelf has more Austrians, including the Tyrolese Rebels, then my Russians. 


Unit 2, third shelf has more Russians, followed by Swedes, Portuguese, and Brunswickers At far left are the generic wagons of the Commissariat. Each bow will hold up to about 90 infantry, 40 cavalry, or 10 guns with crew. 


2ndunit, bottom shelf has custom made hills, Wizardkraft Rivers, and some of my Superior/Galactic Knights starships. By the way, the clear plastic shoe boxes (with color coded lids, which, inverted,  serve as the troop trays) were all purchased back in the 1970's. They were carried at a regional retailer, Caldor stores. They would periodically go on sale there, and whenever they did I would buy as many as I could afford, in as many different colors as I could find. Many still have price tags on them (which were annoyingly difficult to remove!)


Unit 3, "over the top" storage for more terrain items!


Having exhausted my supply of 40+year old shoe boxes for my ever growing Napoleonic collection (the sharp eyed will have noted there are still a few gaps for further expansion) , the rest of my troops are now housed in Really Useful Boxes. Unit 3, top shelf are all Renaissance troops. 


Unit 3, second shelf houses my Napoleonic Prussian army. 


Unit 3, third shelf has my Napoleonic British army. 


The bottom shelf of this unit holds the rest of my Starships.


Unit 4, top shelf, has primed figures awaiting their turn on the painting table, and some of my English Civil War troops. 



Unit 4, second shelf is Ancients - Polybian Romans, Carthaginians, Byzantines. 



Unit 4, third shelf holds my Hussite Army, Teutonic Knights, Sassanid Persians, and Palmyrans.


Unit 4, 4th shelf holds Renaissance Gendarmes, Renaissance Light cavalry, and Bill McHugh's Late Medieval figures, which await a refurb and rebasing project. Note some space for future growth - a scarce commodity!


Unit 4, bottom shelf has more terrain - Lodestone buildings and many trees. 


Unit 5, top shelf has more English Civil War troops. 


Unit 5, second shelf holds my Egyptians, Sea Peoples, Hittite, and Canaanite troops.


Unit 5, 3rd shelf has my Assyrian army, plus my Wizardkraft rivers. 



Unit 5, 4th shelf has some Ancient specific terrain and my Macedonian and Mauryan Indian armies, the later slated for major expansion.


Unit 5, bottom shelf has 25 mm buildings and swamps. 

 Other locations in the basement have the unpainted lead pile, more terrain, my D&D single figures, my 1:1200 Napoleonic sailing ships, my 15 mm Renaissance Galleys, and my collection of rules, and assorted dice, cards, and other gaming paraphernalia. My history and uniform reference books are mostly upstairs. Phew!


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Croatian Portal Insurrectio, 1809

Commenting on one of my very old posts on The Landwehr Collection, it was recently suggested to me that I should consider raising a unit of the Croatian Insurrectio. I didn't think too much of it at the time, but I had yet another of the "300 Austrians" to raise as Grenzer, and with my last unit, I now have 7 of them. Did I really need 8 Grenzer units?  Probably not! 


The vaguely described uniform of the Croatian Insurrectio seemed close enough to use the figures for such a unit, as seen above!


Here's what Dave Hollins has to say on the subject in Osprey Men at Arms 299, "Austrian Auxiliary Troops 1792 - 1816". Ten Croat battalions were mustered. The Personal Insurrection of the Komitates had 1,042men, the Portal Insurrection of the Komitates had 10,000 men, the Littoral (coast) Insurrection 2,,450 troops. Volunteers numbered 29, the Banderial Insurrection totalled1,644 men, plus 5 Slavonian battalions (5,000 men).  Banderial troops wore black shakos with rank rings for NCO's, a brown gunjac (Croatian laced jacket), an infantry style light blue waistcoat with small brass buttons, and Croatian cut light blue trousers with light blue knots. A grey greatcoat and black Hungarian shoes, an infantry saber or handschar dagger, and red or natural leather work completed the uniform, which was otherwise as the Hungarians. The Personal and Portal Insurrection was equipped as the Banderial, with the exception of madder red shakos..."


Enrico Acerbi provides a detailed description of the raising of these troops in his book, "the Austrian Army 1805 - 1809, vol. 2), but no uniform information at all. A related article on the Napoleon series gives similar information, with one illustration each of an officer and a soldier of the Croatian insurrection without any further comment or description. 


With that limited information at hand, this unit is how I interpreted all of that. Of course, I HAD to have a unit with the madder red shakos, right?!


Hollins says of the flags "most were adorned with the provincial emblem on the reverse, and a local or religious emblem on the obverse", and that they were "roughly the same size as the Line flags". Also " A Croatian flag from 1797 is made of damask, and displays the Croat red/white checkerboard as the background; on the reverse are the Warasdin arms and above them the inscription "Vexilum Comitatus Varadinensis, Occaissione Generalis Nobilium Insurrections Contra Gallum Finibis Regni" and below " Et Comitatus Aproximanten Indictae in Ano 1797 Erectum", and on the obverse the Madonna and child.  Obviously, I went with a much simpler generic design for my flag - the red and white "checkerboard" emblem of Croatia on a light blue field, with red/white flames around the border. 


So there you have it - a fairly unique looking unity likely to have even the most dyed in the wool Napoleonic grognard scratching their head and saying, "Who the heck  ARE those guys?!" 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Punic Faith - a return to FTF Gaming, with To the Strongest!

 Last month finally saw the first in person game since my last outdoor game with John back in October. The purpose of this game was to introduce two old gaming friends to the To the Strongest! rules. From the several armies available, a Punic Wars game was selected. I drew up the army compositions, throwing in just about everything but the aqueduct in terms of troop types for this game, to give the guys a feel for how a variety of different units function in TTS!


Punic Faith: Rome (Peter A) vs Carthage  (Thomas/Peter C)   200  pts


ROME 200 pts   VM 49/3 = 16


CMD

Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

1

Left Flank Cavalry - Marcus Atilius Regulus





1

General, Mtd, Heroic

3+

Replay

6

2

1

Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

1

Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2





24

6



CMD

Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

2

Legio IV, V, VI  - Quintius Fabius Maximus





2

General

2+

Replay

4

2

2

Quincunx , Deep  Legio IV

7/6+

Pila, exchng

15

3

2

Quincunx , Deep  Legio V

7/6+

Pila, exchng

15

3

2

Quincunx , Deep, Raw  Legio VI

8/7+

Pila, exchng

12

3

2

Velites - Light Infantry, Javelin

7+

2

4

1

2

Velites - Light Infantry, Javelin

7+

2

4

1

2

Velites - Light Infantry, Javelin. Raw

8+

1

3

1

2

Allied Archers - LI, Bow

8+


4

1

2

Ballistae

7+

6

6

1

2

Aquilae - Army Standard


Replays

2

1

2

Hero



1


2

Camp



1

3





71

20




CMD

Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

3

Legio I, II, III Sempronius Longus





3

General

2+

Replay

4

2

3

Quincunx , Deep, Veteran  Legio I

6/5+

Pila, exchng

18

3

3

Quincunx , Deep  Legio II

7/6+

Pila, exchng

15

3

3

Quincunx , Deep  Legio III

7/6+

Pila, exchng

15

3

3

Velites - Light Infantry, Javelin, Veteran

7+

3

5

1

3

Velites - Light Infantry, Javelin

7+

2

4

1

3

Velites - Light Infantry, Javelin

7+

2

4

1

3

Allied Archers - LI, Bow

8+

2

4

1

3

Hero



1


3

Hero



1






71

15



CMD

Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

4

Right Flank Cavalry- Gaius Terrentus Varro





4

General, Mtd, Heroic

2+

Replay

6

2

4

Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

4

Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

4

Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

4

Hero



1






34

8



CARTHAGE    200 points,  VM 56/3 = 19


CMD

LATER Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

1

Left Flank Cavalry -





1

General, Mounted, Heroic - Gisgo

3+

Replay

5

2

1

African Elephant, Deep

7+

Shock, Spec vs Cavalry, Rampage

6

2

1

Libyan/Phoenician Cavalry, Javelin, Veteran

6+

3

11

2

1

Spanish  Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

1

Spanish  Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

1

Spanish Light Cavalry, Javelin, Veteran

7+

2

6

1


Hero



1






47

11



CMD

Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

2

Infantry Group A Left Center





2

General, attached, Heroic -  Mago

2+

Replay

5

2

2

Libyan Spearmen, Deep

7+


10

3

2

Spanish Scutarius - Javelinmen, Shock Missile

7+

2 (1 is Pila)

7

2

2

Spanish Scutarius - Javelinmen, Shock Missile

7+

2 (1 is Pila)

7

2

2

Spanish Lt Inf, Javelin

7+

2

4

1

2

Spanish Lt Inf, Javelin

7+

2

4

1

2

Spanish Light Infantry Javelin

7+

2

4

1


Camp



1

3


Hero



1






43

15



CMD

Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

3

Infantry Group B  Right Center





3

General, attached, Heroic - Hamilcar

2+

Replay

5

2

3

Libyan Spearmen, Deep

7+


10

3

3

Gallic Warriors - Deep

7+

Hero

11

3

3

Gallic Warriors - Deep

7+

Hero

11

3

3

Balearic Slingers, Lt Inf, Sling, Veteran

7+

3

5

1

3

African Javelinmen, Lt Inf, Javelin

7+

3

4

1

3

African Javelinmen, Lt Inf, Javelin

7+

3

4

1

3

African Javelinmen, Lt Inf, Javelin

7+

3

4

1


Hero



1



Camp



1

3





56

18


CMD

Description

Save

Spec/Ammo

Pts

VM

4

Right Flank Cavalry - Hasdrubal Barca





4

General, Mounted, attached, Heroic

3+

Replay

5

2

4

African Elephant, Deep

7+

Shock, Spec vs Cavalry, Rampage

6

2

4

Libyan/Phoenician Cavalry, Javelin, Veteran

6+

3

11

2

4

Gallic Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

4

Gallic Cavalry, Javelin

7+

2

9

2

4

Numidian Light Cavalry, Javelin, Veteran

6+

3

6

1

4

Numidian Light Cavalry, Javelin, Veteran

6+

3

6

1

4

Hero



1






54

12




Peter C and Thomas K, both recently retired from jobs in Civil and Mechanical Engineering, respectively. The armies have both had one Move at this point. 


Peter C commanded the Carthaginian right, and Thomas the Carthaginian Left. I commanded the entire Roman army. With so long between games, we all took a bunch of photos!


View from the Roman Right; Peter's powerful Carthaginian  right Cavalry force has twice failed Group activations!


The Carthaginian left flank cavalry, commanded by Thomas, has no such difficulties and is aggressively taking the fight to the Roman horsemen, lead by Giaus Terrentius Varro. 



Close up of the center; the Roman left center, under Quintius Fabius Maximus is demonstrating Fabian tactics failed Group activations for them, too!) 


Close up of the Tardy right flank Carthaginian mounted troops. 


Opposed by 2 units of Gallic MC, 2 units of Numidian LC, and 1 of Carthaginian Noble HC, the outnumbered Roman equites are perfectly content to hang back as far from harm as possible! 


Fabius' three Legions display impeccable order, if not much mobility!


The new Army lists for TTS! have a third attempt to handle the Polybian Roman infantry, ansd I thin the most successful. 

  The Polybian quincunx (“chequer”) is a new unit that models the famous formation that the Romans used in the fighting against Pyrrhus, the Punic Wars and the destruction of the Successors. Small, flexible maniples (“handfuls”) facilitated the replacement of exhausted soldiery by fresh reserves. Its small maniples were able to move around, or through rough terrain with relative ease.
In TtS! the quincunx is represented on the table by a base of hastati, placed in front of a base of principes which is, itself, in front of a base of triarii. In a large battle, a single quincunx unit and associated velites might represent a legio; in a smaller battle two quincunx and two velites might represent a legio.
The TtS! quincunx incorporates the hastati, principes and triarii into a single deep unit of foot, with special rallying properties, described below. It is treated as a standard unit, rather than a deep unit, for move/charge purposes. It has an initial save of 7+ (and always saves at 7+ if charged in the flank or rear), three hits and a shock missile, and costs 15 points.
In any friendly activation phase, the Roman player may conduct a first special rally activation to replace the unit’s hastati with its principes, or, later, a second to replace its principes with its triarii. Unlike all other rallies, this special rally activation may take place within an enemy zone of control, and the usual penalties for enemy units capable of charging the unit do not apply, except when the enemy units would be charging from the unit’s flank or rear. If the first special rally activation, and the subsequent rally save, are successful, then the principes replace the hastati (whose base is moved to the rear), the unit’s save increases to 6+, a single disorder is removed and the shock missile, if expended, is replaced.
A second special rally activation may, later, be used to replace the principes with the triarii. If the activation and rally save are successful, the principes are moved to the rear, behind the hastati. The unit’s save remains at 6+, a single disorder is removed, and the unit is, thereafter, considered to be armed with spears.
Should the special rally activation be unsuccessful, the unit may attempt it again, later, as many times as desired; however, each of the two special rally activations may only succeed, once. As well as the special rallies, a quincunx may rally in the usual manner, but not within an enemy zone of control.
In several Roman battles, the triarii were detached from the quincunx and used to extend the front line or perform a separate mission. So long as the quincunx is not disordered, and the hastati are still in front, the triarii may detach by making a difficult move activation. If the quincunx has already moved in that turn, then, to detach, the triarii must exceed the value of the quincunx’s activation card. The triarii must move to either side, or to the rear, by playing an activation card, as described in the movement rules. The triarii become a single hit, spear-armed small formed unit with a save of 6+. The remainder of the quincunx becomes a two hit standard unit of hastati and principes. The triarii may not, later, re-join the quincunx.


Fabius' 3 Legions are still hanging back. 


All quiet on the Roman Left!


Fabius' boys finally get it together and advance!


TheRoman Bolr thrower takes a pot shot at the Elephants... and misses. 


The Carthaginians push the advance on their left, however. 


Close up of the veteran Liby-Phoenician cavalry facing off against their Roman opposition, with the Spanish Light cavalry preparing to gain the flank. 


Spanish MC opposing more Roman horse near the hilltop. 


The Carthaginian left center. 


A Roman charge on a Gallic Warband has caused them Disorder; note the black "Scarab of Death". Being Deep, they can take 3 hits, as can the Legionary Quincunx. 


Fabius advances!


The Battle is well and truly joined!


The Blue Legion is hesitant to advance where it might be flanked by the African spearmen. 


The opposing Cavalry face off at Dexter Hill. 


Maneuvering with unanticipated agility, the African Phalanx turns the flank of the Blue Roman Legion! 


Crunch Time!


Overview from the Roman right. 


the Roman right itself. 


The Roman Left Center.


Martus Atilius Regulus, commanding the sparse Roman cavalry on the right, is not unhappy to see the Carthaginian cavalry still quite distant. 


Close up of the Roman far Right.


The Roman Cavalry on the right. having taken losses from enemy Javelin tosses,  pulls back to regroup and rally. 


Grinding melees on the Carthaginian right center. 



Overview of the Roman Center and right. 


The Carthaginians remain safely distant on the Roman Left, however. 




The Carthaginian right center pulls back, seeking to Rally. 


Peter C.  finally gets his right flank Carthaginian cavalry moving forwards; at least they should be well rested!


The action finally heats up on the Roman Left!


Close up of the situation on the Roman Left. 


In the center, Fabius' Legions pursue the withdrawing Libyans and Gauls, but are unable to charge them. 


In the Center Roman Legionary charges have eliminated a unit of Spanish Scutarius. 


Overview of the Roman Center andLeft. 

The Blue Legion and the Libyan phalanx battle it out; first losses to the Legion! 


Mago Barca and Sepronius Longus respectively aid their troops in combat!


Overview frojm the Roman Right. 

With most of the HC on both sides disordere4d, the Cavalry of both sides are playing it safe, pulling back in the hopes of a successful Rally activation! 


Uh-oh; 2 hits on the Legion, and Scurati on their flank. Things look tough for the Blue Legion now!


Close up of the action; the Romans haven;'t been able to use their special Rally yet...


Overview of the Roman Left.


The Roman cavalry on their right is outflanked by the Spanish LC; photo by Ocularis Maximus.



Roman left and center. The blot thrower is really annoying the Carthaginians, even though it mostly misses! 


Cavalry faceoff on the Roman Left. 


A Carthaginian HC unit is eliminated! 


The red Roman Legion turns to its flank, and then charges and annihilates the unit of Scutarius that was on the flank of the Blue Legion, still hanging on by a dangling participle...


Situation around Dexter Hill. 


In a bold move, a unit of Spanish MC peels off to assist the Carthaginian efforts to turn the Roman right center... 


as the Blue Legion finally succumbs; the General escapes to the Red Legion. 


Overview from the Roman right; the Green MC have pulled back to avoid being flanked by the Spanish LC. 


In the Center, Roman Legionaries have eliminated a Gallic warband! 


The Roman left; Regulus is quite content with a fairly static situation!


Elephants to the left of us, Elephants to the right of us!


The Romans keep advancing, and the Carthagininas keep withdrawing on the Roman left center... 


whilst the Roman right center is very insecure!


Close up of the looming crisis there!


The Red Legion exchanges ranks, but fails to rally off their hit!


More cat and mouse on the Roman left center, while the Elephant changes direction, hoping to charge the Legion in the rear!


Indecisive action on the Roman far left continues. 


Elephants stomp back, but can't catch the Legion. 


The Center; is Carthage attempting a Cannae? 


Maneuver and counter maneuver on the far Roman left.


A Roman Legion catches up with some Libyan spearmen, and in the process leaves the frustrated Elephant eating their dust


The Roman right; another hit will eliminate the Green Roman MC. 


Now just who's in the rear of whom?!


Bye, bye bolt thrower!


I can't tell you how many times I failed to activate that darned cavalry unit to face the threat to their flank!


Cleanup on the Roman right; that unit of velites is shouting "Senatus Populusque Romanus!" as loud as they can, lest those equites mistake them for the enemy!


Lategame overview from behind the Roman right. 


Roman Legions fighting African spearmen and Gallic Warband, whilst the Elephant keeps failing to activate to make its rear charge, and the velites keep missing their rear shot on the Elephant!


The Roman Yellow Legion does an about face to counter the threat to its rear. 
Messy, messy messy!


The more things change, the more they stay the same!


Talk abouit being between a rock and a hard place! 


Those Romans smell funny - nothing but vinegar and Garlic. We Elephants don't liike Garlic!


Picture of perpetually paralyzed pachyderms!


Flank?  What flank?


What's read and white on the outside, and grey on the inside?


How much longer can the Legion persevere in  its perilous predicament!


The Green cavalry finally face their tormentors!




The Gauls are running out of room to withdraw. 


The Cretan Archers have shot a unit of Numidians from their saddle. Both sides are almost out of Victory medals as the sun slips lower on the horizon. 


Whoah, Nellie! "We told you, we don't like those stinky Roman butts!" 
Elsewhere, another Carthaginian cavalry unit is lot, along with its General.


"And so, it comes down to the Denari..."  and Carthage is out of medals. 
Their total losses for the game shown above - 19, just enough for the army to break. 



Roman losses totaling 15 Victory medals; just one left at the end of the game!


Peter and Peter - such a pleasure to game in person again, as well as reconnect with some friends who have been out of touch for too long. 


Thomas and Peter; As usual, both Peter and Thomas enjoyed the TYtS! rules; perfect for a friendly game that plays out in a reasonable time (and this was a pretty big game, especially with only 1 Roman player), with a definite result. We made (only) one big error, which was forgetting to check morale for units orthogonal to friendly non skirmish units that break., and that was entirely on me. 


    I read an article the past week about how men are losing their friends progressively over time, compared with years past. On average, each of the past 4 decades, men of all ages report having a smaller and smaller number friends. There is some of the same with women, but it is less pronounced. Obviously the pandemic didn't help things there at all. As an (over) broad generalization, I think we guys tend to chiefly have friends that we share activities with, be it sports, playing cards... or wargaming. We tend to catch up with one another in the course of those activities, mech less than seeking each other out specifically to do so, which women tend to do more. So now I can tell the Empress that Wargaming is vital to my continued mental health!  :-)