Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Bring up the guns

The view at noon. Bugler! Sound retreat! Back to the Games Room men!

For once the forecast was spot on. Just the sort of  day for some quality time with my toys. The temptation to run another game was almost overwhelming but the lack of Rebs in general and Reb artillery and Brigadiers in particular couldn't be ignored. A fairly thorough search turned up a few bits and bobs that could be pressed into service until some proper ordinance makes it though the blockade. this  included, a metal Napoleonic gun that I commandeered from its Les Higgins  RHA crew (poor lads they waited for 30m years to be painted and now their gun has been taken!), some spare barrels and a WWI gun, surplus to requirements that, with a bit of trimming, provided a not quite right carriage.   Annoyingly, all but 2 of my old Airfix gunners are still AWOL so I dug out various infantry and pioneers and started trimming off muskets and adding implements and lanyards. 

The new Reb batteries, with their improvised guns, defending a copy of Vol 1 of Battles and Leaders. I used to have a 1 volume condensed version but it is no match for the full thing. Getting the remaining volumes is on my list of ways to spend money.

While I was waiting for an undercoat to dry, I turned my attention back to organization and scenarios. It didn't take long contemplating the F&F Great Western Battles scenarios and my table, and how many 100's more troops I would need to paint, as well as remembering how long, tedious and inconclusive the several that I had tried back in our 15mm F&F days had been, for me to remember that I didn't really want to go there, especially since this is supposed to be a minor sideshow. Next time I refight Shilo or Corinth or the like, it'll be either a V&B type game with 1 stand brigades or else a Grant style fudge. About double my current armies are about the most I want to think about painting and harbouring. Since the various options I had been considering all seem to have value, I decided the way the 3 stand regiments that they are currently organized into are as good as any. I'll just have to print off a whole stack of flags and convert a few more colour bearers. Several of the regiments are easily identifiable at the moment, for example there is only 1 on each side that is standing at attention with arms shouldered, but to make life easier when laying out and  picking up, (not to mention removing a casualty from the middle of a brigade line), I assigned the regiments to brigades and proceeded to paint a Roman numeral on the back of each stand as a regimental identifier. Red for the first brigade, white for the 2nd. the rest will follow. Selection of State and number will also follow and be marked underneath. 

Brigadier Steele, originally a conversion forming part of a unit of volunteer Scouts for a Riel Rebellion game that never materialized, with a new hat to replace the one he lost, a new base for his horse, and a lick of new paint here and there, cheers on the Horse Artillery while a sharpshooter pulls a bead on the camera man.

After a delightful afternoon of converting, fixing, painting and basing, I was ready to lay out a game. The artillery was evened up but the Yankee infantry still outnumbered the Rebs 5:3.  I decided on an attack against a hasty defence. I'd had enough of Sawmill Village for now, so I cleared it off, and rearranged things a bit.  

Sometime late in 1861, the Yanks, under General Williams,with 10 regiments, 4 guns and a regiment of cavalry have thrown yet another pontoon bridge over the Paynted River. The Confederates under General Rosser have been alerted and are rushing to the spot with 6 regiments of infantry, a company of sharpshooters, 4 guns and a small regiment of cavalry.  The cavalry, horse artillery and sharpshooters arrive on table on Turn 1. The 1st Brigade on turn 2 and the 3rd Brigade on turn 3. the Federals start with the bridge in place and their columns ready to cross. Their aim is to control the ridge overlooking the bridge.

Why don't things ever go smooth? Just when the river crossing seemed to be going according to plan, Reb cavalry appears on the ridge. 

After 15 hours, the snow seems to be slowly ending as the temperatures warm up but I don't think I'm going very far tomorrow so the Battle of Snoughbound Ridge will resume. 



  1. One way to make up for lack of figures is to recycle some casualties as reinforcements. The main thing is it seems you're having fun.

  2. Excellent fun indeed and lovely internal and external photos. Your figures here transport me back accross the years in my mind -i wish I had kept them now!
    best wishes

  3. As I recall, there were a lot of "Johnny Reb" scenarios published in magazines as well as supplements ("To the Sound of the Guns" was one, I think). They were usually much smaller than the F&F scenarios. You might try going through your old magazines.

    Also, regarding your trip . . . you said something about "10 hours of driving time" . . . how much will that be with all of the snow?

    -- Jeff

  4. Looking at that snowfall I think that skulking in the toy room is a good plan!

  5. Ross

    Glad to see that General Winter has marched east. We're at plus 4 and losing snow.


  6. Great stuff - I'm not sure if you mentioned it and I've just forgotten, but I wondered what rules you were going to use.

    I started out my wargaming doing bad ACW - my armies were pathetic, the rules didn't work well, the games never finished. I got shut of them, but I am stll very interested in the period, and sometimes I wonder whether I should do something about it. I recently got hold of the rules of Battle Cry, which is a very close relative of my beloved Commands & Colors Napoleonics. I'm sure the game works well enough to be worth a go, but I don't think I would be happy with the board game and its plastic pieces - sometimes I wonder how many soldiers I would need to do it with miniatures. Mostly I try not to think about it.

    You've got me thinking about it again.

    Cheers - Tony

  7. Fitx-B you are right, I also contemplated fielding some Rebs in grey over coats and Astrakhan caps, I figured with my eyesight, I wouldn't really notice the magazine rifles and occasional lmg. Instead, I decided to use the shortage as a spur.

  8. Alan, I originally bought these to replace the ones I painted in my teens. It's just taken me nearly 30 years to start getting them on the table!

  9. Jeff. Funny you should mention Johhny Reb, A friend of my had a copy of the booklet you mention. Alas the only ACW scenarios I've clipped and kept are for F&F or for On to Richmond, both brigade games, still useful for inspiration though, esp the fictional OTR ones.

    The drive to Fredericton is 5 hours each way. Much of it being on divided highways. The snow won't change that since I won't go till the roads are clear. Luckily there is no special date that I need to make.

  10. Tim, skulking was such a good idea that once the knee deep snow has been cleared off the driveway, I'm going back to skulk some more!

  11. Peter, I just finally read Trooper and Redskin, a memoir of an Englishman who joined the NWMP in 1885. He didn't have many good things to say about Saskatchewan winters.

  12. Tony, I'm using my Hearts of Tin for rules, rather generic but eminently Tweakable.

    You should really consider doing the other Peninsula Campaign. Sort of a matched set. Units of the same size would be nice but I'm told Richard Borg uses 6 minis in 2 ranks as a unit when he plays Battlecry with real minis at cons. 3 singles in the rear that get taken off for the 1st 3 hits then the 3 in front on a single stand that come off as the 4th hit. Purely hearsay.

  13. Ross,
    Not heresay. Well, heresay from me, I guess, but the organization you mention is indeed what Richard uses. I've had the great privilege and pleasure of participating in the games he puts on at HMGS-East conventions, where he tries out new rules, new scenarios, etc. I can affirm he uses a 6-man, 4-stand organization.

    Best regards,