Friday, October 30, 2020

A Wagon Train Vignette

Prussian supply convey is escorted by Hussars. Bosniaken lancers
in the background form the rear guard.

I set up a small photo shoot on my game table that features the Fife and Drum munitions wagon being escorted by the new Minden Prussian Hussars with shouldered sword poses. Some of the Minden pioneers and laborers are included to set the backdrop to the scene.

Close up view of the munitions wagon, a very lovely model.

I’m also really jones-ing on those Bosniaken lancers and can’t wait to add another 12-figure squadron to brigade with my Black Hussars.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Our New Baby Comes Home Today


Lady Emma Cuddleston-Smythe and Bella.

We are pleased to announce that a new member of the Fritz family has come home and is ready to upend our lives a bit, but gladly so.  Our new baby is Bella, a 7-week old Golden Retriever whom we picked up at the breeder yesterday afternoon. I wish that I could bottle the look on Lady Emma's face and her reaction when the breeder brought Bella out from the kennel and put her in Lady Emma's loving arms. Priceless, as they say.

Happiness is a warm puppy as Charles Schultz would have said.

We brought Bella home and carefully and slowly introduced her to Augie, our 16 month old Black Labrador. Augie wanted to play immediately but he can be rather overwhelming to a young pup. They seemed to get along fairly well and before too long Bella was taking over the roost, eating out of Augie’s food and water bowls instead of her own. Of course, Augie returned the favor by eating Bella’s puppy  chow. I’m not sure how this will play out.

House breaking training began immediately with us taking Bella outside every thirty minutes and so far, Bella seems to be getting the hang of this potty business thing.

Dad, being the good old bean that he is, volunteered to sleep on the sofa in the family room for the next week to help Bella adjust to her new home and not get the “night time frights”. We tried getting Bella  comfortable with her crate by putting toys and treats in it to coax her in. We want her to go into the crate on her own so as not to be afraid of it (like Augie is). Once she went into the crate on her own a few times we tried closing the door for a minute or two and plan on extending her time in the crate with the door closed.

At bedtime we turned out the lights, except for the outside porch lights and put Bella in her crate and Augie in his bed nearby. Bella was ok for a little while, but eventually the inevitable crying began. To make a long story short, I ended up keeping the crate door open, with Augie in the same room (kitchen) while I stretched out on the couch in the next room, door open so that I could keep an eye on both hounds, making sure that Augie wouldn’t try to hurt Bella. After that, silence for the rest of the night.

I woke up the hounds at three hour intervals: 1AM, 4AM and 7AM to take Bella outside for potty breaks. There was only one accident during the night so on the whole, I was pleased with how the first night went. Mrs. Fritz and Lady Emma got to sleep through the night and I slept sort of ok, despite waking myself up twice during the night as explained above.

Lady Emma came downstairs around 7AM to take over dog sitting duty so that Dad  go upstairs and get some sleep in the bedroom. I trundled out of bed at 10AM, so that gave me three more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Bella is supposed to be Lady Emma’s dog so we are letting her do most of the work during the daytime.

This will be a lot of hard work over the next 4-8 months, but the payback is well worth the effort when your dog grows up.

Life is back in balance once more; we have a Golden Retriever back in our house.


Sunday, October 18, 2020

The Melik Society - Historical Preservation


The Nile steamer Bordein circa 1885

Whilst working on my 54mm Sudan Project, I was doing some research on the river boats that were used during the attempted rescue of General Gordon in Khartoum (and also researching Kitchener's fleet of Nile Rive gunboats in 1895-96) and found this interesting web site.

Melik Society

The purpose of the Melik Society is to advance awareness of Anglo-Sudanese history in the period 1883-1956 through the restoration and preservation of the river gunboat Melik and the paddle steamer Bordein.

The Melik during the filming of The Four Feathers in 1938.

The Melik in 1938.

The Melik

The present day Melik

The Melik served in the campaign to capture Omdurman and Khartoum by Kitchener in 1896 and it continued on active service up to 1926, when the boat was retired and leased by the Blue Nile Sailing Club as its club house up through the 1980s. The gunboat was also used in the 1938 film, The Four Feathers, directed by Alexander Korda.

The present day Bordein.

I encourage anyone with an interest in the 19th Century Sudan campaigns to click on the link to the Melik Society and scroll through the available information and pictures. It is well worth your time.

I do not know whether the preservation efforts for Melik and Bordein have gathered any steam of late and it would be interesting to find out if the projects have made any progress.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Showdown With Some Cossacks

Russian Cossacks catch some Prussian Jagers out in the open.

The is a story about the demise of the ill-fated Prussian Jager regiment at the hands of some Russian Cossacks near Spandau. The following excerpt comes from Kronoskaf's history of the Prussian Jager zu Fuss;

Prussian Jäger History

In 1756, the unit took part in the invasion of Saxony and was present at the blockade of Pirna between September 11 and October 16. On December 1, the unit received a reinforcement of 46 men.

On February 5 1757, the unit was organised into two companies. On March 1, it received a further reinforcement of 3 officers and 100 jägers; bringing its total strength to 300 men. On November 22, the unit took part in the Battle of Breslau where it was deployed en potence to protect the right flank. On December 5, at the Battle of Leuthen, the unit was deployed on the left in the first line of the infantry centre. 

In the Spring of 1758, the unit took part in the invasion of Moravia and, from May to July, in the Siege of Olmütz where it was deployed in General Mayr's Brigade, on the opposite bank of the Morava to cover the road to Silesia. During the retreat from Moravia towards Silesia, the unit was attached to the rearguard and took part in several actions. On October 10, the unit took part in the Battle of Hochkirch where it was initially deployed in Manteuffel's Corps, in the village of Lauske, on the extreme left flank of the Prussian positions. 

On October 10 1760, the unit was decimated by the Russians at Charlotteburg. 

In 1761, a new unit of 4 companies was raised in Berlin and Wittenberg.

On July 21 1762, the unit took part in the Battle of Burkersdorf where it was posted on the right wing in the woods to the south-east of Hochgiersdorf.

I set up a vignette of this action on my game table, but the outcome was substantially different. As Bugs Bunny would say, "aren't I a little stinker?" The Russian Cossacks are RSM figures that I have mounted on Minden light hussar horses. This demonstrates the complete compatibility of RSM and Minden figures. The Jagers are Minden figures, of course. In this instance, the Jagers have managed to retreat into the somewhat questionable light cover, but will it be enough to stop being skewered by the Cossack's lances?

Russian Cossacks catch the Prussian Jagers, who have retreated into the woods.

In this instance, the cavalry rides to the rescue in the nick of time. The Prussian Ziethen Hussars (H2) have emerged from behind the woods and have caught the Cossacks in the flank. It's a trap!

The Prussian Ziethen Hussars hit the Cossacks in the flank!

But wait, there's more! The Bosniaken lancers also come out of hiding and hit the other flank of the Cossacks , who are likely doomed (he, he, he, he).

The Bosniaken arrive and charge into the left flank of the Cossacks .

The Bosniaken were often brigaded with the Black Hussars during the Seven Years War. Click the link below to view the Kronoskaf history of the Bosniaken.

A good day for the Prussians.

Fritz's Painting Table

I plan on moving more Bosniaken up near the top of my painting queue because I only have one squadron of 12 figures and normally have two 12-figure squadrons in my cavalry regiment. My Ziethen Hussars are in the same position so they need 12 more figures in their regiment.

The painting mojo ebbed away at the conclusion of the Sudan Project battle a couple of weeks ago. It is not easy painting 28mm figures after painting the larger 54mm plastic toy soldier figures nonstop since March 2020. I am forcing myself to work on some Prussian infantry and power my way through the painting wall. I figure that the more 28mm figures I paint, the sooner the painting mojo will return.

So here is what is in the painting queue at the moment. These are units that are either primed or partially painted:

  1. IR1 Winterfeld Prussian musketeers (42 figures)
  2. H7 Yellow Hussars (12 figures)
  3. Saratoga British regiment (36 figures)
  4. Bosniaken lancers (12 figures)


Friday, October 2, 2020

Wm. Britain’s Nile River Gunboat


The Bordein at dock in Khartoum.

I pulled my large Nile River gunboat out of storage today and set it up at the dock in my Khartoum static display at home. The boat measures about 20-inches long and has a beam of 6-inches. The boat is made by Wm. Britain’s. It is out of production but you can still find them on eBay and at some of the toy soldier dealers across the country.