Thursday, October 31, 2013

Eagles over the Alps - Christopher Duffy

A few weeks ago I posted about Jon's Anniversary blog contest. Well, it is hard for me to recall the last time I won anything of value, but this time I hit the jackpot!  Not long after the notification appeared on Jon's blog that I had won, and my "prize" was my to be first choice as well, the book arrived at my doorstep. Thank you so much, Jon!  

    This is a beautiful hardcover book, and I started reading it almost immediately. I am now up to page 82 (out of 270). This is a very well written engaging book featuring names that "grognards" are familiar with, but rarely get to see in action without (then general) Bonaparte stealing the stage... names like Melas, Chasteler, Radetsky, Bagration, Constantine, Scherer, Moreau, Grenier, Victor, Serurier, and of course.... Surovov!

It is well provided with excellent maps, and good quality illustrations as well as modern photographs of some of the key points. The interactions, positive and negative, between the Austrians and their Russian allies are well covered. I found it interesting that Duffy felt that Surovov's military treatise, conventionally translated as the rather old school  title "The Art of Victory", would be more accurately translated as the very modern sounding "How to Win". Not only that, but in the book's conclusion, Duffy opines that had Surovov survived to face First Consul Bonaparte in 1800, he would likely have been the victor! we'll have to see if I am convinced of that by the book's end, but I expect to run  ore than one of the battles form this book on the tabletop, even if the uniforms will be those of the 1809 French, Italians, Poles and Austrians with 1812 Russians!  A most welcome addition to my Napoleonic library. Thank you again, Jon!

Some Autumn color at Taugahannock Falls, near Ithaca, NY, about 2 weeks ago. This picture fails to give you an adequate impression of the height of this spectacular waterfall - at 215 feet, it is the tallest single drop waterfall in North America East of the Rockies!

Trick or Treat?  Our new Golden Retriever puppy, Zoe, age  3 months, on Halloween!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars, Part 9: Generals and Staff

Uniform of General Officers

Long tailed crimson coat, with light blue collar, lapels and cuffs, ornamented with heavy gold embroidery, including the button loops. Turnbacks white or buff. Gold epaulets with three silver stars embroidered upon them. Dark blue pants with gold embroidered stripes and "Hungarian knots". A gold sash with crimson stripes was worn. Boots were black with gold trim and tassels. A black bicorne hat with silver trim was worn, with white feathers along the edges, silver tassels and a white plume. Generals who were also the head of a regiment could wear the uniform of the regiment instead, with the sash and epaulets of a general on it. Several minor variations ion this uniform are seen in the images of the NYPL site (see Part 2 of this series for references).

Uniform of Adjutants

Long tailed crimson coat with dark blue collar, cuffs, and lapels, with narrower silver embroidery, including the button loops. Pants dark blue with silver embroidered stripes and "Hungarian knots". Silver epaulets. Yellow sash with crimson stripes. Boots black with silver trim and tassels. Black bicorne hat without edging, tassels or feathers, but sporting a tall crimson plume. Shabraque dark blue with crimson borders, edged with silver.

Uniform of the Guide Corps

The guide corps was drawn from picked officers and NCO's, and were specifically trained for staff duties. They wore a long tailed crimson coat, with black collar, cuffs (and ? lapels), with silver piping and two bands of silver lace on the sides of the collar (? and cuffs). Buff turnbacks. Silver epaulets, and a silver aiguillette was worn on the right shoulder. Yellow sash with crimson stripes. White pants, black boots with silver trim and tassels. A black shako was worn silver chin scales, yellow mixed with crimson cords, and yellow plume  with a crimson top at the front.

Danish General with an accompanying officer of the Guide Corps (to whom I have given black lapels).

I couldn't find any information regarding the saddle blanket pattern for Generals back when I painted these, so I went with the standard Cavalry pattern. Considering the information for adjutants noted above, most likely this is incorrect, but it will have to do for now!

Intended to represent Prince Frederick of Hessen, the Commander of the 1813 Danish Auxiliary Corps. The "spotted leopard" horse was my first, not very successful, attempt at painting a dappled grey!

The figure of the Left is a minor conversion of some other cavalry officer into a Danish ? Brigadier general, using some epoxy putty to sculpt a simple bicorne hat.

Figure on the Right is a Heavy Cavalry Officer, here painted as being from the Holstein regiment. He functions as my cavalry general.

Waldeck and von Schulenburg were actual Danish generals of the time.

Figure of the left is another very basic conversion of a cavalry officer into a general by way of some epoxy putty to make a bicorne for him.

Figure on the night I think was the Minifigs version of Lasalle, but here painted as a Danish Light Infantry officer, wearing his optional but  fashionable pelisse. He acts as commander of the Light Infantry brigade. 

Von Ewald was again an actual Danish general, while his Light Infantry companion, Plonkersen was named in a bit of whimsy!  :-)

By the way, it turns out that Eagle Figures have a 25/28mm Danish Napoleopnioc range, although thre is no cavalry as yet:

Next up in this series - Danish Napoleonic flags and standards


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The latest news from Hostigos... new Kalvan book out soon!

Long time readers of this blog will be aware of my fondness for H. Beam Piper's great paratime yarn, "Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen", and the sequels by John Carr. I just got a pre-publication notice for the latest addition to the addition to the Kalvan saga, pictured and described below:

I really like the sound of this one, and have placed my pre-order already!

I note that now has the following books in the (all of the Carr sequels in the series) available in Kindle editions for about $8.99 each:

Kalvan Kingmaker
Great King's War
The Fireseed Wars
The Siege of Tarr Hostigos
Gunpowder God

For that price, you can have all five for less than the cost of a single copy of one of these novels in hardcover!  That's literally thousands of pages of great reading for a wargamer (especially those interested in the Thirty Years War/Pike and Shot era), including much great fodder for the wargames table. If you're still not sure, download the earlier vision of the first sequel to "Lord Kalavan of Othwerwhen free here from John's website,

I see John also has his two sequels to H. Beam Piper's "Space Viking" available on kindle now as well - I may well get those, too.

Down Styphon!


ADDENDUM:  Meiczyslaw on TMP has found most of Piper's works in oopne source form as part of project Gutenberg: LINK  Unfortunately, while this includes two of Piper's best, "Little Fuzzy" and "Space Viking", it does not include "Lord Klavan", and will not likely any time soon, the copyright being mired in legal wrangles for decades, from what I understand.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars, Part 8: Artillery

Organization of the Danish Artillery

The Danish artillery was drawn from the following sub-units

Foot Batteries
Horse Batteries
Danish Artillery  Brigade
Holstein Artillery   Brigade
Danish Artillery Battalion *
Holstein Artillery Battalion *

* The Danish and Holstein Artillery Battalions were added in 1808, when the militia were disbanded. they evidently initially manned only coastal defense guns.

Each artillery company (battery) had 160 men and manned eight field guns and two howitzers. The types of batteries were distributed roughly as follows in 1813:

2 Heavy Batteries:  12 pounder field guns and 36 lb howitzers
20 Field Batteries:    6 pounder field guns and 10 lb howitzers
13 Light Batteries:    3 pounder field guns and 6 lb howitzers
 2 Horse Batteries:   3 pounder field guns and 6 lb howitzers

Evidently 2 Rocket batteries were also formed in 1813, but saw no combat.

Uniforms of the Danish Artillery

Foot Artillery

Short red jacket of the usual Danish pattern, with dark blue collar, cuffs, shoulder straps, and frontal turnbacks. Yellow metal buttons. Dark blue pants. Black shoes and gaiters. White belts. Brass buttons. Officers as usual had the long tailed coats with conventional turnbacks and the red and yellow striped sash; gold epaulets.

Headgear was a hat similar to the infantry from 1801 - 1807, with a white plume. here is a picture of this uniform in the NYPL collection here. Artillery Officers wore a black bicorne with a white plume; gold tassels at both ends of the bicorne. In 1808, a black shako was adopted, without cords or plaque. There was a dark blue short plume on the shako, however. Black chin strap.

Horse Artillery

The uniforms of the Horse Artillery were essentially the same as that of the Foot Artillery with the following minor differences: The dark blue pants had a double red stripe down the outside seams. White or buff gloves were worn. From 1808 on, a black shako was worn. This had a white plume, a brass plate bearing the letters "RA" (for Ridende Artilleri) on the front, and red mixed with yellow cords (crimson mixed with gold for officers).

Artillery Equipment

I have read elsewhere that the Danish field artillery had grey carriages. However, the Tojhus Museet lists them as red with the metal fittings painted yellow. It is possible that may only apply to the Fortress artillery, however T. Snorasson also states red carriages with the metal fittings painted yellow in his article in Tradition #53. So, I personally went with the more colorful option... but of course!

On to some pictures:

Danish Horse Artillery. Note the red mixed with yellow cords on the shakos - classy! Both the crew and gun models s are 25mm Minifigs.  

The bright colors wouldn't be too out of place at Tivoli gardens in Copenhagen. Even if the famous amusement park didn't open until 1843, it was the second in the world (the first was also located in Denmark!). Recent surveys have placed the Danes among the happiest people in the world... despite the very, very short daylight hours in winter.

I have assumed, perhaps incorrectly, the same pattern and colors of saddle cloths as for the Light Cavalry.

Danish Foot Artillery - the red and yellow gun carriages do dazzle the eyes!

The minor change to a plain black shako with dark blue plumes makes these fellows look more somber than their mounted fellows!

If the carriages really were painted red, it may have been  much darker "Iron Oxide" shade, as is commonly seen on barn siding and Renaissance era artillery carriages.

The next post in this series will cover the uniforms of Danish generals.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Starting Steps with Star Navy 5150

Barry and I got together for a game today, and decided to give STAR NAVY 5150 a try. I had read through the rules twice, and Barry had never seen them, so we were starting out pretty much full Novice node. Thus, we pretty much started at the beginning and worked our way through the rules. I do need to make up a set of QRS for each faction (and rename them to my own fleets... Terran, Carnivorn, Avarian, Entomalian... and Aquarian, even though I don't have any of those).

Anyway, we decided we'd play the upstanding, control fanatic Star Navy (Barry) and the reputedly evil Hishen (Me) factions. That should have given me the Carnivoran ships and Barry the Avarians, but I screwed up my own faction crosswalk, so I did the reverse! Game One had us each play a squadron of 2 Class 3 ships and one class 4 ship each.

Star Navy 5150 uses the initial "scan results to determine how far apart the forces start, and at what orientation - a very neat, simple, and quick idea. In this case, Barry's ships (the black/red Carnivorans) entered at 45 degrees to mine.

My Class 3 ("Destroyer" type) Hishen ships were primarily armed with Missile Launchers. From our Galactic knights games a year ago, Barry had a healthy fear of missiles, so he first concentrated on pounding my Class three ships. This was very effective, as you can see the left hand ship already taking some damage in the first shot, and being blown to smithereens here. In SN, a Gun fire (which I think of as beams/phasers etc) hit that gets past any shields on the defending ship does 1 point of dam,age to a randomly determined system if the ship shooting is of lesser or equal class to the target, but damage equal to the class of the ship if the firing ship is of a higher class. As a Class 3 ship has only 4 hull points, if a Class 4 gun hits you in the hull, you're pretty much venting atmosphere regardless!

His Missile Paranoia continuing, Barry proceeded to vape my other Class 3 ship before it could close to missile range (12"). I have now returned the favor by pounding one of his two class 3 ships with my Class 4 ship's (think Cruiser) gun fire.

My Hishen Class 4 ship's superior shield strength has made it all but impervious to the fire of either of the Star Navy ships, so I am circling them as I fire away essentially uncontested. 

I start to score increasingly serious damage on the Star Navy Cruiser, and IIRC, shortly after this picture it blew up and it's consort wisely decided to "break off the fight" on it's reaction test. Smart monkey!


Game 2 had us each play a Carrier to try out the Fighter rules; Since the Hishen Carrier (Mother Ship) was class 5, while the Star Navy's was Class 6, I gave the Hishens a  pair of  class 4 ships, in what turned out to be a largely futile attempt to redress the balance a bit. 

My Carrier prompltly launched all 4 flights of fighters from it's characters, the Hishen having won the initiative. The enemy carrier having the capacity to luanch up to SIX groups of fighters, and having a higher rep (4) than mine (3), I kept the fighters back, planning to swarm forwards with two turns worth. 

Barry's Class 6 carrier successfully deployed all six flights of fighters from his bays, keeping 4 back for defense, and sending two forwards. My Class 4 ships start to peel off, having no AA fire factors (whilst the Hishen Carrier has 4). Only one of the Hangar bays manages to launch this time, putting 4 flights on the table. Dratted Rep 3!

The Star Navy Fighters move forward, Despite my having 1 more fighter group AND some AA factors on the carrier, the best I can manage out of the exchange is he loses three groups and I lose four! Rep 5 fighters vs. ep 3 carrier and it's fighters = ugly... and he's launching more every turn!

StarNavy fighters assault both my escort cruisers... which have no AA factors, and ignore my carrier for now, which has plenty. One is blasted to kingdom come, and the other takes damage and fails a reaction test, "Breaking off the Fight" by warping out! Having failed to launch ANY more fighters, on my next turn my carrier voluntarily calls it quits as well. Cursed hairless monkey-boys!


Finally, we started to play out a Campaign. I must confess that the scenario generation/single player campaign system was my biggest reason for wanting to explore Star Navy 5150. Getting off the ground was a bit confusing at first. How many ships do I start with? This proved to take several reads through to really understand. Once that was done, though the rest was easy, and we quickly placed the PEF's (possible Enemy Forces) on the campaign map, and short order had our first contact. Barry was playing the Star navy as the active player, contesting the planet. He started with a Cruiser squadron of three ships - 2 Heavy and one Light Cruisers. He got lucky when rolling for the ships - all were Rep 5 - the best possible crews!

The contact proved to be a Class 5 Hishen squadron with one less ships than his... this turned out to be a carrier and escorting Cruiser, armed primarily with Missile Launchers. This time my carrier was at least Rep 4 - which made a big difference. This time I launched 3 flights on the first turn, and three more on the second. How do you like them bananas, eh ape breath? Anyway, the Hishen carrier, while incorporating 4 AA batteries, included NO shields and NO guns. This meant that every single shot by the enemy that hit would do a point of damage... and with 4 guns on each Heavy cruiser, and another one on the Light Cruiser, a lot of hits were likely, especially with all of his ships being Rep 5! Indeed, I think he score 4 points of huill damage (out of 12 maximum) in the fiorst round. Ouch!

6 flights of Hishen fighters swarm the Star Navy Space Gorillas!

However, with 5 Star Navy AA batteries in play (1 each on the Heavy cruisers but a whopping three on the Light Cruiser), with their Rep of 5, every single one took down a flight, leaving only one surviving. that one's bombs scored moderate damage on one of Barry's Heavy cruisers. 

I launched more fighter flights like crazy, as his guns continued to pound my carrier unmercifully. His AA shot them all down. My cruiser finally got in range to fire some missiles, and the AA shot them down, too.  the next turn saw my carrier explode in an impressive fireball. That was enough for my cruiser which did the Shuffle off to Buffalo ("break off the Fight") on it's reaction test) before being similarly reduced to space junk. Bah, you Chimps became  Champs, and made my ships into Chumps!  One PEF resolved... three to go. 

We then rolled on the Completed Mission table (which as I think about it, was probably a mistake, as I think that only applies after the entire Patrol Mission is completed, not a single battle). This resulted in the Campaign Morale of the Hishen dropping by one, while that of the Star Navy went up one, and they gained a spanking new Class 5 Battleship for their command!


Observations on Star Navy 5150

1) The game meets its design objectives well, I think. We played all of these games in about 3 hours total, which is very quick considering it was our first time out. Never having played a 2-Hour Wargame before, at first the method used for counting successes, testing against Rep etc seemed a bit odd, but once we grasped the concept, it worked fine. 

2)  The rules are indeed a bit generic for my tastes, which isn't surprising; they are designed to fight battles with large numbers of ships in a relatively short time, and I have little doubt they will do just that. Having said that, I'd definitely play again, probably starting a new campaign. 

3) The scenario/mission/campaign generation systems continue to look great; unlike land battles, scenarios for Naval actions, whether on land or in space, are often challenging to come up with!

4) It wasn't clear what belonged on the QRS for the game, but having played it once now I can see how those should be made up - part of it  (3/4) is generic, the remaining 1/4 specific by Faction.


1) What the heck use are Missiles, anyway? With a range of only 12" (vs 36" for Guns at full effect, and unlimited for reduced effect), fire limited to the front 180 degrees (vs 360 for Guns), countermeasures by AA fire (which can be overlapping from other ships within 2" of the target)), and even a final engine-juke evasive maneuver possible for ships which didn't use their AA for anti missile fire, they seem fairly worthless. We were sort of expecting a big effect from a hit after all those restrictions, but the effect is no different from Gun fire by the same class ship. OK, shields don't reduce the missile effects, but with all the other ways to stop them, that hardly seems to matter.

2) If you use your AA factors against fighters, can you then use them again in the Ship (Missile fire) phase of the same turn? It didn't seem there was any rule prohibiting this, so we allowed it.

3) Ships with heavy shielding are very hard to hit with guns (giving a role for Missiles, assuming they weren't so pathetic). We presumed the Shields could be used against multiple opponents firing at a ship in the same turn. Thus a ship with 4 shields is pretty much impervious to Gun fire from an unlimited number of ships, none of which carry more than 4 gun factors. Again, I get that's where Missiles would come in useful for the smaller ships... assuming there are LOTS of them!

By the way, here's the abstract Campaign Map used; the Planet being contested is the green marker in the 1,1 square. The grey shaded squares represent close orbits around the planet. The numbers are the coordinates of each of the squares, and are rolled for randomly with 2 D6 of differing colors when plkacing PEFs, etc.

  Star Navy Campaign Map








As mentioned, I do think I'll proceed with a Star Navy 5150 campaign and/or a much larger battle soon!


Monday, October 14, 2013

Palouse Wargaming Journal Anniversary Give-Awawy

I've been popping in to read and comment on Jonathan's blog, the Palouse Wargaming Journal,  for a while, and thinking "I really out to follow his blog formally". Well Jonathan gave me additional incentive to do so by way of a kind give away he's initiated to celebrate the One Year Anniversary of starting the blog. You can read the details on his blog, but he is offering a drawing for six titles of various books, some Napoleonuic, some English Civil War, and yet another American Civil War.

My Photo

So, stop on over to visit Jonathan, whose Avatar is above, check out his blog, and maybe enter the drawing yourself!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Royalist Dragoons and Leaders

This is the last in my series of posts covering my under-used ECW forces; I really must do something about getting them some tabletop time! The alloy pikes make these armies that I am reluctant to transport very often! However, they have pretty much accompanied me to every place I have lived since 1974!

Royalist leaders; these large chaps were donated to me by Joe, IIRC. I should do a little black lining on them so that they match the style of the other figures. I believe they may be Dixon figures. 

Quite a variety of styles and colors; some of the few figures not painted by me in my collection!

Another view I think the middle figure in the dark green hat may be the Hinchliffe version of King Charles II.

Some Minifigs Dragoons; almost certainly too smart looking with their large red "facing color" like cuffs, almost reminiscent of the later uniforms of the Sun King era.

The mounted drummer is one of the nice special figures included in this quite extensive Minifigs line. This unit was painted as Colonel Woolaston's, known to have worn white coats (although probably a lot less "white" than these figures wear!)

Rear view of the Dragoons deploying to hold a key bridge!  Evidently, in Europe (Thirty Year's War) there were even some Dragoon Pikemen for a brief time, but as far as I can tell, there is no reliable evidence that  this was ever the case during the English Civil War. 

Minifig's versions of King Charles and Prince Rupert.

Another view of His Majesty and the Prince, conversing as they ride off into the pages of history!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Danish Army of the Napoleonic Warts, Part 7: Heavy Cavalry

Organization of the Danish Heavy Cavalry

There were four regiments of of Danish heavy Cavalry (Rytterre), plus the King's Livguard of Horse (Den Kongelige Livgarde til Hest). Each of the heavy Cavalry Regiments had 4 squadrons, each with a book strength of 160 men. The small Livguard of Horse had 2 squadrons of only 80 men each. It acted primarily as a bodyguard for the King, and saw action only during the assaults on Copenhagen in 1801 and 1807.

Uniforms of the Heavy Cavalry

The Heavy cavalry wore short red jackets in the now familiar Danish pattern, with small frontal turnbacks in light yellow. The collars, cuffs, lapels, and shoulder straps were in the facing color of the particular regiment.The buttons were white metal, and the belts were white. Pants were dark blue with a double red stripe down the outside seams, light yellow for full dress. Buff leather gloves were worn. Officers, as usual had the long jackets with full turnbacks, crimson and yellow striped sashes, and possibly gold stripes on the outside of their pants. Silver epaulets. Trumpeters had the usual wings in the facing color, with lace and tassels in white. 

Facing Color
Liv Regiment *
Light Yellow
Dark Blue
Lt Yellow
Light Green
Lt Yellow
Light Blue

* The plate on the front of the shako for the Liv regiment (1808 - 1815) was white metal, while it was brass for the other three regiments.

Shabraques were red with white border and ornamentation as for the Light Dragoons. The officer's Shabraques were crimson with the edging, etc in silver, which was then bordered on both sides by a thin stripe in the facing color.

Saddle Blanket (Shabraque) pattern for most Danish Cavalry

    From 1801 - 1807, head wear consisted of a black bicorne hat with a white plume. There were ? gold vs. red/yellow tassels at the corners of the hat, a black cockade beneath the plume, and white/silver lace on the front of the hat holding the cockade in place. There are several pictures of heavy cavalry wearing the bicorne in the NYPL collection, including this one.

    From 1808 -1815, the Heavy Cavalry changed to a modern black shako. This had a diamond shaped rectangular plate on the front bearing the letters "RR" (for Rytterre Regiment). A white plume was worn on the front of the shako. The cords were mixed red and yellow. The chin straps were black.

This illustration of the later uniform of the Ryterre Regiments is by Chr. Wuergler Hansen is one of many excellent black and white drawings  from the article in Tradition #53 on "the Assault on Stralsund, 1809, part  2, by T. Snorasson and Mr. Hansen. 

Uniforms of the King's Livguard of Horse

This rather striking uniform is extensively documented. It consisted of a light yellow short jacket of the usual Danish style, with small turnbacks on the front of the jacket as usual. The collar, cuffs, turnbacks, and shoulder straps were all red, bordered in heavy silver lace. There were 2 bands of this lace running down the middle of the front of the jacket. Long tailed coats for the officers as usual. The crossbelts were black. The pants were light yellow for full dress and palace guard duties, otherwise dark blue with a red stripe and silver buttons down the seams.  A sabretache was worn, evidently initially red with a silver monogram and border. In later years (? post 1803) the sabretache changed to black with a silver royal monogram.

The head dress was a black "Tarleton" style helmet. Evidently, early in the period the "sausage roll" down the middle may have extended lower, below the bottom edge of the helmet, but during most of the period a long black horsetail was affixed to the hack of the helmet. The cloth turban on the helmet was red with white diagonal slashes. A white plume was worn on the left side of the helmet; the tip was red for the first (liveskadronen), light blue for the second squadron.

Trumpeters and the Kettle drummer had red wings with silver lace and tassels. The trumpets were silver. The kettle drum banner was red with silver borders, and bore the national arms flanked by two club wielding savages. The cords and tassels of the kettledrums were red mixed with yellow mixed with light blue. The standards were of a special pattern covered subsequently, and the standard bearers had red bandoleers, heavily embroidered in silver. Officers initially wore silver epaulets, changed later to the button and lace patterns on the sleeves as for the Line infantry.

The saddle blankets were red with a double white border, and royal monogram (C7 for Christian the 7th until 1808, FR VI for Frederick the 6th thereafter). Silver in place of white for officers. Black horse were obtained as mounts wherever possible.

Once again, on to some pictures now!

Holstein Heavy Dragoon Regiment (Holstenske Regiment Ryttere); the helmet as shown above is incorrect. At the time when I painted these, I had no information about the head wear of the Heavy Cavalry regiments, and as the only figures available for them were those of the King's Livguard of horse, I used those with the appropriate colors. 

Medium green facings piped yellow, white metal buttons

The dark blue pants could have a double red stripe down the outside seams.

The King's Livgard of Horse (Den Kongelige Livgarde til Hest)

The color of the tips of the plumes differentiated the two squadrons. 

Dark Blue pants, with or without the red stripes down the outside seams, were worn when not in the full dress uniform.

Next up:  The Danish Artillery.