Wednesday, May 31, 2017

South Carolina Campaign - Turn 2

Turn Two of the Campaign was one of force considation by both sides, in anticipation of future battles. There wasn't a lot of action going on during the turn, which is to be expected this early in the campaign.

American Moves on Turn Two

On the American side, DeKalb added to his army by picking up the three strength points in Charlotte, increasing his army to 9SPs, and then crossing the border into South Carolina. DeKalb stopped on the north side of the Santee River so that he would not have his back to the river if attacked.

In the interior region in northwest South Carolina, Sevier continued to hold at McDowell with his 7SPs.

Horatio Gates remained behind with 9SPs guarding the depot at Hillsboro and acting as a reserve in the event that something bad would happen to DeKalb's army

British Moves on Turn Two

Cornwallis increased his army at Camden from 6SPs to 12SPs with the arrival of the force from Nelson's Ferry.

Lord Rawdon detached another force of 3SPs, commanded by Mawhood, from Charleston, thereby reducing the garrison there to 7SPs.

Websters force of 4SPs moved north from Jacksonburg to Orangeburg, apparently headed for Augusta, GA.

The garrisons at Ninety Six (5SPs), Georgetown (2SPs), Savannah (6SPs) and at the three Forts (3 SPS collectively) all held their positions.

Turn Two Results

There were no Partizan Uprisings on either Turns 1 or 2. DeKalb was within a two dot move of Cornwallis's army at Camden so the likelihood of a future battle was brewing, unless DeKalb elected to fall back into North Carolina.

Monday, May 29, 2017

The South Carolina Campaign Begins (three turns)

I was working on a new campaign map this morning, taking a copy of the Cook map (public domain) and jotting down the movement dots (from my hand-drawn map) on the historical map. I am hoping that it does not look too cluttered. I figured that anyone following the campaign could look at the easier-to-read hand drawn map and compare it to an actual map.

South Carolina campaign map overlayed on the historical Cook map. (click to enlarge the map)

Now let us see what has happened on the first three turns of the campaign, from January 1780 to March 1780.

Turn One -Americans' Moves
The overall commander of the American army is General Horatio Gates, the hero of Saratoga. He is parked in the supply depot at Hillsboro, NC with 15SPs to open the campaign.

Hillsboro, NC (Gates - 15SPs)
Charlotte, NC (3 SPs)
Gilbert Town, NC (2 SPs)
McDowell, SC (Sevier - 3SPs)
Haye's Station, SC (2SPs)

Movement on Turn One

1) Gates send DeKalb with 6SPs from Hillsboro to Salisbury, NC
2) The force at Gilbert Town moves to McDowell, SC
3) The force at Charlotte holds
3) McDowell (hold movement)
4) The force at Haye's Station move 2SPs to McDowell, SC

At the conclusion of the American movement their forces are as follows:

1) Hillsboro (Gates - 9SPs)
2) Salisbury (DeKalb - 6SPs)
3) Charlotte (3SPs)
3) McDowell (Sevier - 7SPs)

The American plan is to build up DeKalb's army and enter South Carolina from the north. In the interior part of the state, Sevier is building up an army that can either threaten the British garrison at Ninety Six or move towards Winnsboro to eventually link up with DeKalb.

Turn One - British Moves
Lord Cornwallis is the overall commander of the British forces in the Carolinas. He is located in Camden with 6SPs and is awaiting reinforcements from Charleston. Lord Rawdon remains in Charleston with 10SPs.

Charleston (Rawdon - 16 SPs) move 6SPs to Nelson's Ferry
Camden (Cornwallis - 6SPs) Hold
Ninety Six (Cruger - 3SPs) Hold
The Forts along the Santee River (Ft Watson, Ft Motte, and Ft Granby - 1 SP each) Hold
Georgetown (2SPs) Hold

Savannah army is commanded by Stewart and is distributed as follows:

Savannah (Stewart - 6SPs) move 3SPs to Jacksonburg commanded by Webster
Augusta (2SPs) move 1SP to Ninety Six
Ft. Charlotte (1SP) move 1SP to Ninety Six
Beaufort (1 SP) move 1SP to Jacksonburg

At the conclusion of Turn One the British forces are as follows:

Charleston (Rawdon - 10SPs)
Nelson's Ferry (Tarleton - 6SPs)
Camden (Cornwallis - 6SPs)
Ninety Six (Cruger - 5SPs)
The Forts (3SPs collectively)
Georgetown (2SPs)

Savannah (Stewart - 6SPs)
Jacksonburg (Webster - 4SPs)
Augusta (1SP)

The British plan is to consolidate a large army at Camden, commanded by Cornwallis; and build up a force at Ninety Six in the interior of South Carolina. Webster has consolidated the small forces outside of Savannah and will eventually join Cruger at Ninety Six

TURN TWO - to be continued on May 30th, 2017

TURN THREE - to be continued on June 2nd, 2017

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Let's Do an AWI South Carolina Campaign

South Carolina mounted militia - converted Fife & Drum cavalry - are expected to see a lot of action in the coming campaign.

I have decided that I would like to do an AWI campaign in South Carolina in the year 1780. This will accomplish a number of things: 1) cater to my interest in doing some historical research for a period; 2) give me a reason to stage some more AWI battles; 3) showcase the Fife & Drum Miniatures range of 30mm (1/56 scale) AWI figures; and 4) to simply have a lot of FUN.

You can find campaign news by visiting the fifeanddrum-minis forum:

Fife & Drum Miniatures Forum

To start up a campaign, we need to do a couple of things such as finding a good map of South Carolina as the basis for creating our own game map; and creating a simple set of campaign rules that only require a minimal amount of paper work.

I found two very important web sites that we will need to construct our AWI campaign. The first link is a comprehensive archive of events in South Carolina during the American Revolution. The second link is to a copy of the James Cook 1773 Map of South Carolina . The map shows all of the parish districts, roads, village, names of farms (owners), ferries, chapels and much more.

The next step was to create some campaign rules that would be easy to use and not require too much paper work. I based my rules on Tod Kershner's "Bohemian Blitzkrieg" and "Sport of Kings" campaign rules. There is no point in reinventing the wheel when you have something that works in hand. I cut out some of the chrome in the Kershner rules but followed the template of Bohemian Blitzkrieg.

The campaign map that I will be using can be seen below:

Our South Carolina campaign map

The Basic Campaign Rules

Both sides can move SPs up to two dots, as shown on the campaign map. Whenever two opposing forces land on the same dot on any turn, then the result is a battle. I'm not using all of the pre-battle rules from Sport of Kings, I just have both sides "have at it". Prior to the battle, I will roll percentage dice to see which battlefield I will use from Sport of Kings - there are up to 100 different terrain combinations, so I never really know what the upcoming battle will look like until the dice are rolled. So everything is left to chance. Battles will last a maximum of 12 turns.

I will use my own Fife & Drum AWI rules for all games that I fight.

I will create some basic "Commander Skill" ratings ( 0, +1 or +2) for each general in the campaign. When there is a battle, the two sides will roll one D6 and the high score determines which side gets to choose the deployment area for its army. The commander skill ratings are added to the D6 die roll, so a really good general has an added chance of winning the die roll and choosing the ground over which the armies will fight.

The campaign will have twelve game turns, each turn corresponding to one month of the calendar year. At the end of the year, the side with the most points (more on that later) wins the campaign. Each side will start the game with a certain number of Strength Points (or SPs). An SP represents either one battalion of 24-30 figures or a 24-figure regiment of cavalry.

The British army gets ready to campaign - Fife & Drum Miniatures. Click the picture to enlarge.

Boo, Hiss! The Bad Guys - Tarleton's Legion

The British Forces
The British will start the game with 40 SPs distributed around the states of South Carolina and Georgia. Key supply locations are at Charleston, Camden, Georgetown, Augusta and Savannah. The British armies or forces must always have a clear and open line of supply back to one of these depots.

Charleston (16 SPs)
Camden (6 SPs)
Georgetown (2 SPs)
Fort Watson (1)
Fort Motte (1)
Fort Granby (1)
(collectively, the above three forts will be referred to as "the Forts")
Ninety Six (3 SPs)

The Savannah Garrison has 10 SPs which are distributed as follows:

Savannah, GA (6 SPs)
Augusta, GA (2 SPs)
Fort Charlotte, SC (1 SP)
Beaufort, SC (1 SP)

The American Forces
The Americans will largely be based in North Carolina with a total of 25 SPs. They will have a small force of SPs in the Carolina back country in the Northwest part of the state. American supply depots are located in Hillsborough and Charlotte, both in North Carolina.

Hillsborough, NC (15 SPs)
Charlotte, NC (3 SPs)
Gilbert Town, NC (2 SPs)
McDowell's Camp, SC (3 SPs)
Haye's Station, SC (2 SPs)

The Americans have several mechanisms for increasing their forces:

1) Partizan Uprising - each turn I will roll a D6 and a roll of 1 or 2 results in a Partizan Uprising in the back country areas of South Carolina. If there is an uprising, I will roll anothe D6 to determine how many SPs in the uprising force: a roll of 1-2 results in 1SP; 3-4 produces 2SPs and 5-6 results in 3 SPs.

2) Raise the Militia - prior to any battle, there is a chance that the local militia will join the American army and fight in the battle. On a D6, a roll of 1-2 produces no militia; 3-4 adds 1 SP; and 5-6 adds 2 SPs. These militia units return home after the conclusion of the battle and their SPs are removed from the game.

Victory Points

The campaign will last twelve turns and at the end of the game, the side with the most points wins. Victory Points include the following:

1 point for control of each named town with a dot or fort
1 point for each opponent's SPs that are removed from the game
1 point for each captured general
1 point for each fort controlled

The Campaign So Far

I started up the campaign today and have worked through three turns. On turn three we will have our first battle of the campaign at Winnsboro, SC between DeKalb's American army (16 SPs) and Cornwallis' British army (11 SPs). The American total SPs include 2 additional militia units that were raised locally. There has also been a partizan uprising in the northern part of the state at Cheraw, under the command of Andrew Pickens.

I will start posting campaign updates over the next several days and expect to fight the Battle of Winnsboro next week. Of course there will be a blog update for that battle.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Join the Fife & Drum Minis Forum

A view of the Prussian encampment outside of the town of Altefritzenburg during the Seven Years War (click the picture to enlarge the view).

At the end of February 2017, I formed a new discussion board, fifeanddrum-minis, to have a place to talk about figures sculpted by the very talented Richard Ansell. These include the Fife & Drum AWI range, the Minden SYW range, and the Crann Tara Jacobite Rebellion/War of Austrian Succession figure ranges.

I would like to invite everyone with an interest in these topics to join our forum by clicking on the following link:

There is a very user friendly registration process and once that is down, then you can contribute to the forum whenever you wish. There are no rules such as a requirement to post anything or to click on "like buttons" in order to be a member of the forum. In fact, there are very few rules other than to engage in gentlemanly behavior.

The forum has been very active and it "has legs" or momentum evidenced by a total of 403 different threads and 3,857 total posts since its establish at the end of February 2017. We currently have 191 members from all over the world.

A selection of the Minden Mounted and Dismounted Ladies and Gentlemen. Note that each mounted figure has its own dismounted version. (click picture to enlarge)

Forum Categories and Boards
If you have an interest in 18th Century military history and wargaming, then I think that you will find many bits of information that are very useful. We also have made an exception by having a 19th Century Colonial Era board that features some awesome pictures of Dave Docherty's 28mm Sudan collection, among other topics. Why? Just  because I like the Sudan period of history, not to mention the fact that there are many interesting Colonial wargame collections and projects across the internet that need to be seen.

Categories include:

* 18th Century Campaigns
* Museums and Battlefield Pictures
* General Discussion Topics
* Fife & Drum AWI Figures
* Minden SYW Figures
* Crann Tara Miniatures
* Picture Gallery
* Der Alte Fritz Rules
* Market Place (for buying and selling things)

Within each broad category you will find a number of interesting sub-topics, which the forum structure calls "Boards". I'm not going to mention all of the boards that we have on the forum, there are just too many to list. However, here a few that are of interest:

* My own South Carolina campaign for the AWI
* SYW battlefield pictures and European museums devoted to the 18th Century
* Convention reports in the UK and USA
* Wargame Scenarios, where you can talk about your favorite game scenarios
* Painting Table Work in Progress, where you can display current painting projects
* Recommended Books

* Fife & Drum AWI figures and news announcements
* Minden SYW figures - I'm in the process of adding a forum picture catalog for the entire range
* CrannTara pictures and news

* Picture Gallery which features a broad array of topics from The Great Northern War and up to the War of 1812 (plus the fabulous Sudan board).

So click on the link and check out the forum today. There is no obligation to join or post anything, lurking is allowed. The range of topics are very interesting and the pictures redefine the term "eye candy" by a wide margin.

DAF's South Carolina Campaign
My own personal project is the establishment of an AWI campaign that focuses on the 1780 campaign in the Carolinas. I am using a heavily modified version of Tod Kershner's Sport of Kings and Bohemian Blitzkrieg campaing rules, with my own AWI specific rules. I am currently working on the campaign map and jotting down some of the rules that I will use. I anticipate launching the campaign within the next couple of weeks and you will be able to follow its progress over the rest of this year. I'm excited by this project and hope that you will enjoy following along.

This is not my campaign map, but I plan on using a variant of this map for my campaign.

The above map can be found by clicking on the link above. This takes you to a very useful web site that covers the AWI in the Carolinas. The amount of information on the site makes this a must see place to visit if you have an interest in the AWI.

Fife and Drum Miniatures Web Store News
I am happy to announce that the web-store now accepts credit cards in addition to PayPal payments. This should make it easier to place orders going forward.

I am also adding pictures of the painted figures across the entire web site. Each product code, or SKU, will depict all of the figures in a pack painted. In other words, if a pack of Prussian Musketeers has 8 figures, then there will be a picture of 8 painted Prussian Musketeers in the Product code listing so that you can see what you are buying and how it will look once it is painted.

I have also added a 10% discount for any order of $1,000 or more. This gives buyers an opportunity to save money on larger purchases, or they could even make a group order with their friends or club members in order to qualify for the discount.

What's Next on Fritz's Painting Table?
I'm currently working on some British infantry as part of the SKU painting program. After I paint the samples, I will build them up into units of 30 figures and start on a British SYW army. Same holds true for their French opponents.

I just finished the civilians in the Minden range and I really like the way that the sets of mounted and dismounted Ladies and Gentlemen look when painted. These could be used for ordinary civilians on your game table or could represent your characters in your Imaginations world.

Those pesky Russian horse grenadiers (the second squadron) are also primed and ready to be painted soon. My plan is to build up a SYW Russian army over the summer of approximately 8 battalions, 4 cannon and crew, and several squadrons of horse grenadiers, dragoons and some Cossacks.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Battle of Arcot - Part II

I am posting pictures of the action that occurred in other parts of the battle of Arcot, largely in the center of the table. As I was busy on the left flank, I did not have much time to follow the rest of the action down the long 24 foot table.

I had to leave the game early, so I did not see who won, but it looked like the French had the upper hand in the key center part of the table. They apparently broke through the center and outflanked Fort Tandoori on the British right, causing the center and right to fall back.

Clive's flank attack on the left had a minor edge over the French, but he did not have enough infantry left to finish off what he had started.

The French and their allies advance in the center section of the battlefield. The British redcoats venture forward to meet them.

Some Indus Miniatures French sepoys lead the attack in the center.

They are briefly delayed by a hoard of bow and arrow armed native levies. These are also Indus Miniatures.

Native cavalry stream out of Arcot to support the French attack in the center.
The French artillery and infantry also head for the front in the center part of the table.

The French (blue coats on the right) appear to have the British (several red battalions on the left) outnumbered. The British unleash their secret weapon: ELEPHANTS!

A kink in the French line develops as Clive's flank attack is starting to push back the French center-right. British natives advance towards the bend in the line. French cavalry moves forward to attack the natives.

That seemed to work fairly well as the French went "all in" and pushed everything into the melee. The French and their native allies won this melee and eventually broke through the British center.

Meanwhile on the British right flank, the redcoats occupy Fort Tandoori and seem to have things well under control.


Monday, May 8, 2017

The Battle of Arcot AA Report - SYW in India

Initial table setup on 6ft by 24ft center table

On Saturday May 6th I traveled north to the Milwaukee area to participate in Bill Protz's annual birthday game. (Happy Birthday, Bill). We hold a game at his house every year on this approximate date to celebrate the milestone, to socialize and have a good time, and also, by the way, to play in a wargame.

This year's battle took place in India during the SYW in the Carnatic region on the southeast coast of India. The British (or East India Company) had stations in Madras and Pondicherry while the French had a station in nearby Arcot. You can find a lot of good information about this era and its military history on Wikipedia. The Osprey Campaign book on Plassey also provides good background information.

Game Logistics
Given that we were playing on a 24-foot long table and 6-feet wide plus two equally long back tables, it was difficult to follow what was going on at the other end of the table. I would go take a look see from time to time, but I really couldn't get a grasp of what was going on at the other end of the table. Who needs fog of war rules when the game provides its own built-in fog of war.

Prior to the start of the game, every player rolled dice to determine the quality of all of their troops: Elite, Veteran, Trained and Untrained or Native Mob. Not surprisingly, many of the units in my sector, both for my opponent and I, were rolled up to Elite status. I didn't think that my own Sepoys should be Elite, but that's what the dice said and who's to argue with the dice?

French trading station at Arcot in the Carnatic area of India.

The right flank at Arcot, from the French point of view.

British Fort Tandoori near Arcot.

A rather large oasis guarded the British left flank in front of Arcot.

My recollection is that there were four or five players per side. The British had four commands, but I split my command (Clive) into two parts so that a fifth player could join our team of Good Guys. The Bad Guys (French of course) had four players as I recall.

Clive's Task Force
My command consisted of:

1st and 2nd Madras Sepoys
1st Madras European Regiment
The Royal Governor's Bodyguard Dragoons
3rd (The Buffs) Regiment of English foot
2 x Royal Artillery 6-pounders
2 x 1-pound Amusettes

Clive's task force, flanking attack, screened by native light cavalry and European dragoons.

And then there were lots of native allies and two English regiments and a few elephants further to my right, but I couldn't tell you what they were.

Our forces consisted largely of a number of native warriors from Bill's Afghan-India Colonial collection, some French and British regulars, and several battalions of Sepoys that Bill and I were both painting for this game.

Over the past month of April, I think that I painted approximately 120+ figures including 60 British Sepoys from Indus Miniatures, 60 Madras Europeans using Fife & Drum AWI Guards soldiers (these were largely figures with broken bayonets that I'd been saving over the past four or five years, figuring that one day I could put them to good use.

Grand Nabob Ruttin Tuttin's elephant command stand. The Grand Nabob is visible  on  the right rear round disk, wearing pa urple tunic.

1st Madras European Regiment (using Fife & Drum AWI British Guards figures in round hats).

1st Madras Sepoy Regiment (Indus Miniatures)

2nd Madras Sepoy Regiment (Indus Miniatures)

Indus large Lion Cannon and artillerymen

I also painted two large Indian brass cannon and crew plus an elephant which served as the command stand for the Grand Nabob Rutin Tutin, whose warriors were allied with the British.

Two battalions of British Sepoys, the 1st Madras (to the right) and the 2nd Madras (to the left). In the upper left corner is the remnant of the 1st Madras European Regiment. Royal Artillery 6-pounders support the Sepoys.

Background to the Battle
The general background for the battle is that the British and their native allies were advancing on the French post at Arcot, hoping to capture it. Unbeknownst to them, the French had recently reinforced the garrison at Arcot, so it was a lot stronger than the British had imagined.

As the British/native contingent approached Arcot to make seige preparations, the French made a sally in force from the city to attack the British before all of their forces could arrive. While this was going on, Robert Clive was leading a smaller task force on a flank march around the French left wing, hoping to catch them off guard and to capture Arcot.

Let the Battle Begin

Clive's flank attack force had to wait until Turn 2 before they could be placed on the board, to the left of the oasis, as seen in the previous picture above. The passage around the flank was restricted by a severe bottleneck to the left of the large oasis. I gave this passageway the name of "The Narrows". The Bad Guys were able to stop Clive in his tracks, using just some light native cavalry which were employed to melee the British as they marched throught the gap. (NOTE TO SCENARIO DESIGNERS: be aware that terrain can really restrict the playability of the game. While I had fun playing, the terrain bottleneck of The Narrows made it impossible for me to have any chance of meeting the game objective that was given to me, i.e. make a flank attack on Arcot.).

Despite all of that, the game was a lot of fun. How could you not have fun in a game that has elephants?

Clive's march must go through The Narrows: the  area between the oasis on the left and the edge of the world on the right. A screen of light dragoons are sent ahead, anticipating a cavalry attack by the Bad Guys.
Native light cavalry preceed the European light dragoons through The Narrows.

A view of the Governor's Body Guard light dragoons (these are Fife & Drum AWI continental cavalry)

From this picture you can really appreciate how the terrain dictated the battle in this sector. You can see a single regiment of light lancers holding up Clive's whole brigade. It didn't help that the lancers rolled a skill level of Elite, prior to the start of the game. (sigh)

The Guard Cossack Lancers and the Governor's Body Guard clash in The Narrows. Clive's native light cavalry declined the opportunity to charge into the rear of the Guard Cossacks.

Once all of the cavalry had been cleared out of the way, Clive was able to advance his infantry through The Narrows and press home the attack on the French (Bad Guys) right flank.
Some of the native light cavalry decide that it would be fun to charge into a battalion of Irish musketeers in French service.

Bad idea. Irish let loose a "first volley" (+5 firing modifier for that first volley in the game for formed infantry). The Guard Cossacks, defeated in the earlier cavalry melee, reform behind the Irish regiment.

So Clive was able to work his way around the French right flank with only the Irish and the Guard Cossacks barring his way into Arcot. However, he did not have enough infantry left to finish off the Irish and march into the town.

The 1st Madras European Regiment (somehow rated Elite via the roll of the dice) was all shot up, having lost 75% of its initial muster of 60 figures. The 3rd (Buffs) Regiment got "Hougomounted" by a small band of light infantry hiding behind a hedgerow. The Buffs got the bee in their bonnets to charge the native light infantry rather than deal with the greater threat: the Irish battalion. By the time they had cleared the hedgerows of Bad Guys, the Guard Cossacks had reformed and hit them in the flank just as they were celebrating their melee win over the light infantry. That put the Buffs out of action.

Clive only had the fresh, unused battalion of Madras Sepoys left in his arsenal and a couple of 6-pounders. Maybe enough to head off the Irish regiment, but probably at a great loss of life. So I'd rate it as a stalemate on Clive's end of the table.

So what was happening elsewhere in the battle? You will have to come back tomorrow for the rest of the story.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I've Been Expelled From the AMG Forum

The first annual AMG meeting at Partizan in June 2015.

This morning I discovered that I had been expelled from the forum titled A Military Gentleman (or AMG for short). Since I was not able to say my good-byes on that forum, I wanted to do so now and to let my friends know that my departure was not of my choice.

John Ray, the AMG forum's owner penned this message on AMG today:

" I have taken action on a few members that have not been adding much value of late. I think this is partially due to pre-occupations on other Forums."

When I attempted to log in to AMG this morning to catch up on the forum threads overnight, I got a message that I could not log in because my user name no longer existed. Thinking that perhaps this was a technical glitch I made an few inquiries and confirmed that I had been expelled.

I have been a member of AMG since its inception, having made approximately 2,000 posts either from the creation of new threads or through my response to existing threads. I bought two copies of John's very expensive book titled, "A Military Gentleman" and touted both his book and his forum many times on this blog. 

One of my wargaming highlights was attending the AMG meet. It really gave me a much needed lift in my spirits at that time.
I think that I can safely say that I have probably been John's biggest fan both through my support of his book/forum and from my admiration of his talents as a sculptor, painter and book author. I have found him to be a delightful person and one of my highlights in recent years was the opportunity to meet John and the other AMG members in person, at our gathering at the Partizan show in June 2015.

I have made many friends on the AMG forum and know that I will miss them terribly. The forum was the first thing that I looked at every morning on the internet.  It was a tonic that lifted my spirits when I was down and the creativity of the members led to things such as the Maurice de Saxe in his carriage at Fontenoy model that was made with the help of other members. 

My only regret is that my expulsion cuts me off from the many friends that I made on the AMG forum and it is my hope that we shall keep in touch either through this blog, my Fife and Drum Miniatures Forum, or through direct email.

Strike the tent.