Welcome to my wargaming blog,
I'm Dave and live in Morpeth, Northumberland in the UK.
This may or may not be a regular thing, we'll just have to see how it goes.

I am a painter/collector of figures first and a wargamer second. My thrill in this great hobby of ours is to place that final well researched & painted unit into the cabinet. The actual gaming with the figures is an important but secondary experience, we all like to win, but it isn't the be all and end all of it, being with good friends and having fun is.
Hope you will enjoy reading this blog as much as I will writing in it.
Just to remind the visitor to scroll down the various pages and click on 'older posts' to see more.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Only a days entertainment Monsieur. Vendee 1794.

A Sharp Practice 2 encounter, Vendee 1794.
The day was warm, the men were tired and wary so the Republican column under Capitane Soulem approached the village of Roslam with caution. It had been reported to the Capitaine that the Vendee royalist scum were active in the area and that they had vowed to free the captive Mayor of Roslam Monsieur Paul Cezanne (yep!) who accompanied his column. The guillotine had been set up in the occupied village some days ago but it had been abandoned last night when the rumours of rebel activity had spread.
His men were nervous he knew it and maybe with reason, they were not after all the best disciplined soldiers he had ever commanded. Curse this damned revolution, he was a professional for gods sake leading untrained amateurs, they elected their own sergents. Elected, merde!
At least he had a dozen or so light infantry, not too bad those lads, but the nine chasseur troopers were the dregs of the earth, their pickets had fired at shadows last night and the ten others had jumped onto their mounts and ridden off into the night never to be seen again, the remaining troopers and their marechal des logis (sergent) were out in front now just looking for a chance to bolt he was sure.

A view of Roslam and it's approaches.

More views of the village with the guillotine in the square.

The Republican column can be seen marching down the road, chasseurs in front and skirmishers protecting the flanks, Capitaine Soulem accompanies the main force and the mayor of the village with his wife and servant are seen under guard.

The column moves on.

A shrill call from the marechal des logis of the Chasseurs alerts Capitaine Soulem to the sudden presence of armed men in the woods across the road from the cavalry, immediately after which the skirmishers to the Capitaines left shout of enemy to their front. How did they get so close!

Orders were given for two groups of Republican skirmishers to line the fence row on the right flank of the column but sustained (if uncontrolled) fir from the musket armed peasants in front of them soon drove off one group and left the other crouching by the fence.

The gallant - ha - Chasseurs meanwhile swung off the road to their left, were fired on by one group of rebel musket men, turned their horses round and bolted for the rear. The plan if he had a plan was not going well for Capitaine Soulem!

All was not lost however, the bold and reliable light infantry Chasseurs were ordered to retrieve the situation. "Charge my children, charge the scum to your front behind the six foot hedge. I know they are ready with first fire and you will loose half your assault dice due to melee across an obstacle, but do you give a shit about that?" Damned right they did, three dead and five shock. Buggered off didn't they!

Vendee peasants led by Monsieur Alexander Dumas (yep that's right) level three leader, can be see crossing the first of two hedges in order to flank the approaching Republican column. These boys are armed with various poky things or as the rules stat, Big Choppas!

Another view, this time from the Republican side shows the ever so brave light infantry Chasseurs heading back down the road towards Paris as fast as their blue clad legs could carry them, while the remaining two groups of line infantry think it may be best to form some sort of a line and blow these enemy suckers away. The mayor can be seen sniggering away in the background.

Les Blues line the hedge but the boys with the big choppas are on their flank - at least it's not their rear!

The inevitable poo hits the fan and in an impressive Fisty cuff melee the Republicans not only come off worse but in all of the confusion Monsieur Cezanne the mayor scrambles through the blue coated ranks and into the safe hands of his royalist mates. He later went on to dabble with paints I believe.

A final view of the field of battle with that painter chap rescued and Royalist cavalry coming to bear him to safety, if only those pigs would get out of the way that is.

A cracking game, Sharp Practice 2 of course but a little different this time. Both sides were pretty trashy troop types as would be expected during the early part of this period but Neal and I were particularly impressed with the rules ability to show that with lots of low grade leaders (most were level one sergents) neither side could rally off shock or get many troops moving at once. Control was almost non existent which of course it should be in a situation like that and once units had been in contact with the enemy for even a short period of time they became almost impossible to control. These rules just get better and better. Great stuff and I hoe you enjoyed the write up as much as we enjoyed the game.

Monday 12 November 2018

'They shall not grow old' a BBC programme

A quick note here, please anyone who can, watch this programme: They shall not grow old

A BBC story of the men who fought in the first world war, produced by Peter Jackson who also made Lord of the Rings. The pictures have been cleaned up, coloured and brought to life, it is simply brilliant and so moving, couldn't recommend it more. This will stand as a landmark in the history of media I can assure you.


Sunday 11 November 2018

Revolutionary formations 1791-1807.

Robbie Rodiss popped up on here with a little bit of advice regarding flags on units of figures. Robbie like I'm sure many other wargamers cut a small bit of copper tube section and secured it into the hand of the standard bearer and was thereby able to swap various flags between units by sliding the flag staff into the tube to give a greater representation of battalions etc without having to paint up a full command base. Great idea and as my French revolutionary infantry could at a stretch represent units from 1791 to 1800 I thought I'd give it a go. Now I do realise that the coat tail of the infantry was a bit longer in the early part of the period and that they would have been less likely to have stripes on their trousers towards the 1800's but there is no way I was repainting whole units just for that kind of detail.
So with the flags painted up I thought it might be useful to post some pictures of the unit formations starting from 1791 through to 1800 with the correct flags slotted into the holders.

Below, the 2nd battalion Languedoc Rgt 1791 under the constitutional monarchy, I only have one battalion like this but will eventually purchase another as at this time two battalions made up a regiment. The tricorne hat still in use, this hat could still be seen for a couple of years after it was officially phased out but this can be said for most items of uniform, one of the joys of this period!

Below, the volunteer battalions raised during the 1791-93 period, the initial volunteers were pretty decent and performed well (if a little erratically) but when conscription was introduced many men either didn't turn up of deserted soon afterwards and therefore the quality was very poor. The figures below are ok for these troops but should really have more civilian clothing.

At the same time (1791-93) as the call for volunteers went out the regular infantry in their white uniforms and distinctive 'Tarleton' type head ware represented the backbone of the French army, still with two battalions to the regiment. It is a bit difficult to see the leading battalions flag as the figure has it over his shoulder.

Below the initial 1794 embrigadement demi (half) brigades formed by combining one regular white uniformed battalion with two of the 'volunteer' battalions, again this did not always take place and many 'volunteer battalions often did not get combined with others at all. Note that the regular (white) battalions flag had changed again.

Below, soon after the embrigadement came the Amalgame which mixed the companies from both volunteer and regular battalions together, this was particularly effective in reducing the risk of royalist counter revolution in the regular forces and stiffened the previously inexperienced volunteer units somewhat. As the regular white uniforms wore out (three years max) blue coats were issued.

Below, two light infantry battalions cir 1793-1800. Prior to this the green coat with crested helmet was in use and after 1800 the side plumed shako was introduced.

Below is a photograph of a 1796 demi brigade from the Italian theatre during Bonaparte's campaign both there and in Egypt in 1798.

Finally a battalion formed in column during 1804 with the newly introduced voltigures deployed in front. These figures will do to represent the units from 1804-07 though as I said earlier turn a blind eye to the prominence of stripes on trousers. Note I did not paint this flag, way to complicated!

So, a lot of flags painted but this does now allow a basic number of figures to reasonably accurately represent all of the combinations of troop organisations and uniforms from 1791 through to 1807.
I'm well on the way to finishing the light infantry in a similar vein, two bicorned blue trousered battalions done with one early green uniformed battalion still to paint up.
All of the above just dips it's toe into what is an extremely complex subject so for further reading I would not hesitate to recommend French Infantry Flags from 1786 to the end of the First Empire by Ludovic Letrun. Published by Histore & Collections. Here

Hope this was helpful,

Never forget 1918 - 2018.

We will remember them: