Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Royal Mess

Fritz's Man Cave in a considerable state of disorder.
A law of physics states that nature abhors a vacuum and will fill it ASAP. There is a corollary to this law called Fritz's Law of Wargaming Tables which states that if there is an empty surface on your war game table, stuff will find a way of accumulating on the table.

The above picture is proof of Fritz's Law of Wargaming Tables (do not attempt to do this at home).

I am somewhat embarassed that my Man Cave has become such a mess (somewhat, but not totally embarassed), but one can not fight the law of empty table space. All of the mess on the left is Fife & Drum related stuff as it has become my order packing area. The area on the near right is my painting table and that will always be messy. The main table, well, that one is my fault. The back table -- for some reason I can't seem to put away the French cuirassiers from a Napoleonic game fought last January, darn those guys -- they just won't put themselves away.

Obviously I have a project to work on this weekend.

Friday, August 30, 2013

New Box O' Stuff

I received a heavy box of lead from Old Blighty today, containing an order from Elite Miniatures. Among the contents are 120 of the newest addition to the Elite range: SYW Prussian Dragoons. That is enough for me to paint the Bayreuth Dragoons at a 1:10 ratio. Yikes! That ought to look awesome when completed, but it is a daunting task to get all of them painted.

On the Napoleonic front, I am working on the 45th Regiment of British infantry to add to my Peninsula campaign brigade. I have 54 of the eventual 84 figures completed and hope to post some pictures within a couple of days.

I have updated this posting to include a photo of the New Prussian dragoons and a sample horse from the Collectors Series Range that Elite has. This is not a very good picture so I will try to post something better this weekend.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Minden Prussian Command

Frederick the Great and his staff. Minden Miniatures painted by Leuthen Studios.
Here is a little bit of Minden goodness that was painted by Leuthen Studios on commission from me. I wanted my Frederick the Great command stand to look extra special and I think that Ioannis and his team did a really nice job. Great figures, great brushwork, and great composition and terraining of the base all add up to a really nice showcase piece for my Minden Prussian Army.

I was going to paint the Austrians myself, but after seeing these pictures, I asked Ioannis to add the Austrians to the commission.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

54mm SYW Models

I was strolling through the Internet this morning, looking for some information about the Russian army in the Seven Years War, and happened to come across a range of collectors' models depicting the Russian artillery and the Prussian von Bevern Regiment (IR7) at Kunersdorf. I believe that these are 54mm figures and they are a bit pricey at around $60.00 per foot figure, so they are not something that most of us would choose to Wargame with. However, they are beautiful models and are wonderful to behold.

The company is called Ted Toys and they are located in Owensboro, Kentucky. Their web site URL is listed below:

Now if you are really interested in 54mm gaming, then I would direct you to pay a visit to a company called All The King's Men, which offers an attractive range of American Revolution figures.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Battle of Aveiro in Portugal - British Right Flank

One section (2 cannon) of Royal Artillery 9-pdrs open up on the French. A company of 5/60th Rifles and the 5th Regiment (in the trees) provide support. All figures are from Elite Miniatures. (Click to enlarge pix).

On August 3, 2013 we convened in Brown Deer, Wisconsin to resume our Iberian Campaign between Major General William Justinian Pettygree and Marshal Soult (the Duke of Damnation, Himself) near the village of Aveiro, just south of the Douro River in Portugal. A very good battle report is provided on the Campaigns in Iberia blog:

My brief report will post some of the pictures that I snapped of the British relief column, on the right flank of the British defensive position in Averiero. As I recall, Brigadier General Kinch had marched north from Lisbon with the intention of linking up with Pettygree's two brigades of infantry and one brigade of light cavalry. The Duke of Damnation had apparently stolen a march on Pettygree and was descending on Kinch's position with two full divisions of French infantry and gobs of cavalry. Kinch was to hold on until relieved, or withdraw from the town, at his discretion, if it meant saving his brigade from destruction.

My role, as Brigadier General Alexander Sinclair, as one of the two infantry brigades in Pettygree's main army, was to advance from the right flank (the French left) and intercept any French forces to my front. Brigadier Peter Young's brigade (5th and 9th Regt.s) and Paget's light cavalry brigade was deployed to my left and those two brigades were to make the primary thrust to relieve Kinch's brigade in Aveiro.

A view of the wooded area on the British right flank. The French would be advancing from the right hand side of this picture, just beyond the iron support pole. The rest of the British team await the appearance of the French.

The French left comes over the ridge, with a screen of chasseurs a cheval covering their front.

The French brigade advances forward. They don't see anything yet, or do they? Note that the chasseurs have now formed into close order squadrons. 

The French chasseurs see the vanguard of Paget's light cavalry brigade arriving on the field to their left.

Sinclair's brigade is screened by a company of the 5/60th Rifles and the light company of the 2/83rd Regiment. They find a company of French voligeurs in the woods.

Sinclair's 2/83rd, commanded by Lt. Colonel Charles Gordon, had hoped that the French columns would pass his front without seeing him, allowing him to strike the French brigade in the flank. However, the French have spotted the 83rd and they begin to deploy their battalions into line formation to meet the British threat (to front and flank).
Brigadier Young's brigade (5th and 9th regiments) attack the front of the French brigade, which is now formed with a dangerous bend in their battle line. This is not a good situation for the French.

General Pettygree has a little surprise waiting for the French: a six gun battery of Royal Horse Artillery 6-pdrs prolong over the ridge and open fire on both French infantry and their supporting squadrons of dragoons on their right flank. Pettygree appears to be having FUN.

Towards the end of the battle, the French left hand brigade of infantry decided that it would be best to disengage as best they could. Their chasseurs a cheval covering their front while the infantry battalions fell back to the back table.

Lt. Colonel Gordon was content to watch les Crapauds retire without moving his regiment closer and risking needless casualties. When your foe is doing what you desire of him (in this case, retreating) it is best not to intefere in his plans. So the 83rd was content to herd the French off the battlefield with no more loss of life. In a campaign, where casualties reduce your effectiveness in the next game, there is a time to attack and a time to hold back.

Sinclair's activity was limited in this game. His skirmishers and supporting section of Royal Artillery, commanded by Lt. Harry Pearson, did most of the damage to the French. The French commander in this sector appeared to be protecting the left flank of the main French assault on the village of Aveiro, so he did not advance up the British held ridge to his front or be overly aggressive, i.e. rash. He played his hand the correct way, in Sinclair's opinion.

Tomorrow is always another day.

I have no idea of what happened in Aveiero as it was too far away from Sinclair's position. I have heard that Brigadier Kinch held off the French attack for several hours, before finally retiring from the village. The French brigade, though, was badly mauled in the attack, as was Kinch. Both of the brigades in this sector had casualties approaching 40-50%, from what I could tell from a distance. It was a very bloody affair.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Fritz List

The other day I was musing (as I am wont to do) about what I would do hobby-wise if I were to have an unlimited amount of time to do everything and anything. Unfortunately, I did not win the millions in the recent Power Ball Lottery, so I am left to ponder the ideal rather than to live it out.

First of all, I would form a company and hire all of my wargaming buddies as employees so that they would be available for gaming all week, if need be. So their job would be to play wargames from 9 to 5. Hmm, I like to sleep in so if I'm infinitely rich, I guess that the games would begin at 10 AM or Noon and go on until dinner time.

When I wasn't gaming, I'd be making terrain or painting. Here is my wish list of things that I would like to paint sooner rather than later:


British 45th Regiment (84 figures)
42 nd Black Watch (110 figures)
88th Connaught Rangers (84 figures)

2nd Regiment Garde de Paris (2 btns of 72 figures)
1st Regiment Garde de Paris (2 btns of 72 figures)
85e Regt de Ligne (2 btns of 72 figures) in Bicornes
2/25e Regt de Ligne (1 btn of 72 figures) in Bicornes

Oh heck, let's just do 8 x 72 French in shakos as well since most of my French are wearing Bicornes.

20 more Vistula Lancers ( Fritz loves his lancers!)
10 more 20e Regt Dragoons

1806 Prussians: I have about 10 battalions of 60 figures to paint and one each of cuirassiers and dragoons and hussars to paint.

1805-07 Russians: I have about 8 x 60 infantry to paint, and could use some heavy cavalry and light cavalry, probably 5 or 6 regiments of 48 figures. Oh, and some Russian lancers too!


1 x 30 Josef Esterhazy Hungarians
4 x 30 "German" Austrians to be determined
1x 32 Austrian cuirassiers
1 x 32 Austrian hussars
Gobs of artillery (too much for my personal Prussian tastes)

2 x 32 Prussian cuirassiers
1 x 30 fusiliers IR49
1 x IR 6 Grenadier Garde
1 x IR 2/15 Garde

4 x 30 Prussian musketeer regiments, to be determined.


120 DR5 Bayreuth Dragoons ( he, he,he,he) :)

That would be enough to keep me going for the next year, at least. Yes, that will do.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Catching Up On Things SYW

I have been taking a little bit of a break from painting AWI figures following Historicon three weeks ago after painting nothing but AWI for at least the past twelve months. It is time to return to the Minden Project and augment my Austrian forces.

First of all, I needed to set all of my Austrians out on the gaming table to assess what I needed to add to the army in order to finish it. When you see the whole collection stretched across the table before your eyes, all of the missing pieces become quite apparent.

1) I need more Austrian cavalry. I only have one 24-figure regiment of dragoons and a partial 12- figure regiment of the Alt Modena cuirassiers ( the only cuirassier regiment with blue facings). So the first project was to paint the next dozen figures in this regiment, which I accomplished last week.

2) Artillery support equipment. I need to paint limbers for 4 guns and add 4 ammo supply wagons for each gun. I might add a couple of three pounder battalion guns.

3) Hungarian Regiment Josef Esterhazy needs its second battalion. I have five other musketeer battalions completed plus two grenadier battalions and two Croat battalions. The extra Hungarian battalion will complete my Austrian infantry contingent.

4) Army Command. I need to paint a command stand for Marshall Leopold von Daun, using the Minden Austrian senior command figures.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Battle of Aveiro in 1809

This evening, I plan to download the pictures that I took at last weekend's Napoleonic BAR rules game that we played as part of our Iberian Campaign. I have some good pictures taken on my iPad, but if I download directly from iPad to Blogger then one cannot enlarge the image by clicking on the picture. So I will have to do the tedious task of emailing the images to myself and saving them onto our desktop computer, then uploading them into Blogger. There must be a better way of doing this and I'm rather amazed that the Blogger App isn't more like its desktop version. As Stokes would say, "sigh".

In any event, here are a couple of teasers from the battle for your enjoyment. For a more complete telling of the story, check out Bill P.'s story on the Campaigns in Iberia blog.

Campaigns in Iberia

Royal Artillery Section of 9-pdrs supports the British Counter-attack

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Some Thoughts On Deployment Intervals

Four French battalions converge on the British garrison at Aveiro. Are they using intervals in their deployment?
Bill Protz and I were having a conversation today about the use of intervals in Napoleonic warfare, or more precisely, the lack of the use of intervals in Napoleonic wargames. This came about as a result of the game that we played on Saturday August 3, 2013 at Bill's house.

On the French right flank of their army, a division of 4 battalions (72 figures each or 360 figures in total) formed up in a massive column (see the picture above), sending three battalions over the bocage, disordering the battalions, and hurling into the thin red line of British (the 52nd Light Regt, I believe). The French had nearly 216 figures (with 72 figures in support ) to fight with maybe 70 British. Any guesses which side won the melee?

If you guessed the French, then you were wrong. As I understand it, four of the five battalions in the first wave of the attack failed their morale and routed back over the hedges. Eventually, they were able to reform and renew the attack, finally capturing the little village  of Aveiro, but at the cost of more than half of their troops.

Now let us take a look at how General de Division Morand deployed his battalions during the opening moments of the Battle of Auerstadt in October 1806. Notice how Morand has deployed his battalions in a sort of checkerboard manner with considerable intervals between each unit so that they have the flexibility to change formation into line, column or square, as the situation required.

Morand's Deployment at Auerstadt. From Napoleon's Finest, Davout and  His 3rd Corps, Combat Journal of Operations, 1805-1807, Military History Press, 2006, page 66.
A closer look at the map indicates that the interval between two columns of grand divisions was 250 yards side by side, and 90 yards between the second and third rows of battalions. Furthermore, each battalion formed in column of grand divisions occupied a frontage of 44 yards and a depth of 88 yards (see diagram below). And to top things off, Morand has used the l'ordre mixte by deploying two of his legere battalions in front of the division: the 2/13 Legere on the left is in a serre en colonne formation (close in column) as protection against a likely Prussian cavalry attack, while the 1/13 Legere is deployed to the right in a line formation. Both battalions have deployed their skirmishers to their front and there is a section of two 4-pounders limbered between the two Legere battalions, ready to deploy.

Now my scan of the diagram cut off the right hand side of the page, so let me tell you that after the first line of 13 Legere battalions, Morand has deployed the four battalions of the 51 Regt. de Ligne and the 61e Regt. de Ligne in the second row of the divisional formation. Each regiment of two battalions has a two gun section of artillery deployed between the two battalions.

The third row of battalions (1/17 Line and the 2/30 and 1/30 Line are also deployed in columns of grand divisions with three more 2-gun sections of artillery limbered in support. Every battalion in the division has its skirmishers in front of the parent battalion.

Symbol and scale key showing foot print required for a French column of divisions (Colonne a Grand  Distance). Diagram is from the same book as the first diagram.

I am not trying to be critical of the way that the French tabletop commander deployed his battalions or of his decision to rush the town of Averiero with overwhelming force. It made a certain amount of sense from a wargaming standpoint, but the wargame deployment was quite different from the deployment that a French General a Division would have employed in battle.

I want you to take another close look at the intervals that Morand used at Auerstadt as he advanced towards the Prussian army. Now think about how that might translate to the table top. Just off the top of my head, I would estimate that one of my stands of 12 French infantry occupy a frontage of 4 inches and so a column of divisions would have a frontage of about 8 inches. So at the very minimum, our table top general should have had 8 inches of space between each battalion. The 8 inch interval could have then been filled by another battalion deployed behind the first row of battalions, ready to support the pending melee with the British. Of equal importance, there would have been a gap through which the front French battalions could have retreated or routed through when they failed to win the melee.

Had this checkerboard formation been used:

   (British Line is Here facing the French (M) )

      ^                           ^                           ^

MMMM                MMMM               MMMM
MMMM                MMMM               MMMM
MMMM                MMMM               MMMM

              MMMM                MMMM
              MMMM                MMMM

... then the first row of three French battalions could have engaged the British regiment in line. They now have an avenue in which to retreat, if needed. Even after routing, the British are disordered from being in the melee and now the second wave of French battalions (2 btns) can charge in and have the advantage since they are in good order whilst the British are disordered.

This is something to think about the next time you are playing in a wargame: am I using enough interval between my troops in a manner similar to their historical deployment, so that if something bad does happen, my troops have an avenue of retreat. Then the second wave of battalions can move in to finish off the opponent.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Some Thoughts on Manners

Manners. You either have them or you do not.

Courage. Like manners, is something that you either have or you do not.

In the early 21st Century, there is a distinct shortage of both manners and courage. You see it in your daily life, maybe in the way that customers treat the waiting staff in restaurants or fast food stores. You see it on the highways of this country, often in the form of one vehicle cutting off another vehicle which in turn, is followed by an exchange of bird flipping by both parties. Taken to the extreme, we call this "road rage".  I know of one acquaitance of mine who was actually shot and killed  as a result of a road rage episode. For what purpose?

You see people in public shoving food in their faces, speaking loudly on their cell phones, oblivious to the fact that everyone around them can hear every word of their conversation. You hear their music blasting out of their head phones. Hardly anyone opens doors for seniors or women anymore. Fewer still seem to have any idea as to what table manners are. Table manners are a dying art form, sad to say.

Things are worse on-line
The paucity of courage and manners is even greater on the internet. People who lack the courage to say something  negative to the object of his/her derision face to face, think nothing about being uncivil or rude to another person since they have the safety of their anonymity of their keyboard and the internet.

You see it often in the comments sections of on-line news sites or political opinion sites (for both the Left and the Right). I can not believe some of the rude, dishonest and untrue things that people will post on the internet. It is particularly rampant on Facebook, where many "friends" seem to delight in posting disparaging "stories" culled from their favorite Liberal or Conservative web sites. Do people really believe that they are going to change other people's minds by posting their personal political propaganda on a Facebook page? 

Let me put it to  you this way: I've been married to my wife for 15 years and I have yet to convince her, on any point, that my political opinion is correct and hers is, well, incorrect. If I can not change my wife's opinion, what makes me think that I am going to change your opinion by posting some canned political propaganda on Facebook. I think that you, the reader, know the answer to that question.

This is largely why I am staying away from certain wargaming internet forums for awhile, i.e. I am tired of having to deal with the cowards and the ill-mannered in an area of what is supposed to be a hobby for me. A hobby is supposed to bring you some entertainment and relaxation, and not aggrivation.

My friend Stokes S. says it much better than I can, so I have copied his thoughts about manners on many online discussion forums. You can find his thoughts on his new blog: "The Average Guy's Guide To Classic Style".

In many online discussion forums, some of which do not necessarily concern clothing, there are a lot people who view manners and dressing decently as somehow false, stiff, and unnecessary.  What a sad state of affairs that is.  How can basic polite behavior and consideration for those around us be bad things?

The truth is that there is nothing at all fake about coming across as a nice and agreeable individual, whether at work, at a ball game with friends, or enjoying a glass of lemonade with the family on the back porch.  As average guys, let's strive for better standards in our personal interaction with others -- including our behavior at the table -- and the way we dress.  It's just the right thing to do. 

If we make an effort to remember and practice the things our families hopefully taught us*, good manners and proper decorum will not come across as insincere and forced.  They will, instead be what they should.  Natural, easy, and comfortable.  Like a well worn-in pair of loafers.  You don't even have to think about them, but they are there.  You wear 'em all the time without a second thought.  They're just part of the scenery.

Making a good impression with people -- friends of long standing and new acquaintances both -- is not about tacky and ostentatious displays, obnoxious bragging, or making others feel bad about themselves.  Demonstrating a certain level of basic respect for people, occasions, and settings is, however, vital when it comes to leaving a favorable impression with those we meet.  Even if you're knocking back a few cold ones at the campsite with your old college buddies after a day of fishing on the lake. 

At the end of the day, I think that it is much easier being nice to people and respectful to others, even if you don't agree with them. It really does not take a lot of effort to be civil and nice.

Or as Abraham Lincoln said in the movie "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure":

"Be excellent to each other."

Peninsula War Game Tomorrow

83rd Regiment of Foot  - Elite Miniatures and GMB Flags. Buildings by Herb Gundt and backdrop from Pico.
I finally get to play in a game for the first time since I don't know when tomorrow as I travel north to Chez Protz to resume the 1809 Campaign in Portugal. The antagonists include the British army of Major General William Justinian Pettygree  and the invading French army of Marshal Soult, the Duke of Damnation himself. Click the blog link below to catch up on the back story:

Campaigns in Germania

I hope to have plenty of pictures to post on this blog by Sunday.

As I understand it, one of our game group, John M., has been busy painting redcoats at a pace that reminds Fritz of the days when he painted 150 28mm figures per month. Nicely done, John M.!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More British SYW Artillery Equipment at Fort Ligonier

British Light 12-pounder at Fort Ligonier, Pennsylvania
Here are a few more pictures that I took of the British artillery equipment park at Fort Ligonier while on my journey to Historicon. If they are not presently in the Fife & Drum artillery equipment range, they soon will be. The wheels on some of the wagons are HUGE. The wheels on the 2-wheel wagon below come up to my shoulders!

Ammo wagon at Fort Ligonier

4-wheel wagon

Conestoga Wagon

British 6-pounders with limbers at Fort Ligonier.

Barrel detail on a British 8-inch mortar at Fort Ligonier