EXCERPT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Officer on Parade

This seemed like a good time to finish a proper commander for the Fort Henry Guard.
(Note to self: You really do need to harmonize the basing size, style and colour for this collection.)

This figure began life as a Trooper in the Life Guards. Somewhere around 1971, a youthful me converted him into a 1900 Canadian infantry officer in dress white spiked helmet based on an illustration in a book. More recently he has served on the tabletop as Colonel Marten but the helmet style just didn't fit so I decided that it should be replaced. I wanted to keep as much of his nearly 50 yr old repaint as possible so just swapped his plastic Eyes Right helmet for a homecast FHG Shako and repainted his lace silver instead of gold.

A new head warrants a new name and so henceforth he shall be known as Colonel Ross.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Also Standing on Guard

This unit is in honour of the thousands of Black Canadians who have volunteered and served over 3 centuries. I have previously mentioned P.O. William Hall VC who was born and buried across the Avon River from where I live but there have been many more.

Pioneers stand by as the new Officer of Engineers ponders what to do.

During the first half of the 19th C Black volunteers were particularly useful for border guards as British troops tended to contain too high a perecentage of men who were attracted by the prospect of life in the US. This was much less attractive to men who ancestors had arrived in Canada as Loyalists and/or escaped slaves.

The Black volunteers also tended to be used to hard labour and performed as well with axe and shovel as they did with rifle and musket.

This unit was inspired by the Black Pioneer Company raised in York County in New Brunswick at the time of the Aroostook ''War". Black Pioneer units remained a feature of the Canadian Army right up to the end of WWI. By WWII all units were integrated.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The heat of the Winter sun brings War to Oerberg!

The Railway Battalion closes on the enemy.

We have received the following dispatch from Oerberg where Her Majesty's forces have clashed with those of the Republic of Oerberg.
The sudden incursion of  foreign troops onto the hot dusty Oerberg plain came as a complete surprise to all, however, the advanced state of the National Railway allowed a force to be quickly thrown forward to stop the enemy from crossing the Little Phoam River at Blasthof.
The situation at dawn.
Oerberg forces under Soubise to the right or South,
 Faraway or Allied troops under Cornberg to the left.
This force, consisting of the Railway Battalion, 3 battalions of Foreign Volunteers and a squadron of the Frontier Constabulary backed by Long Li, was under the command of Field Commandant Willie Soubise, the spitting image of his uncle, Old Cords himself.

The foreign invaders appeared to be a coalition force of Faraway and Hougal troops under the command  of Major-General Cornberg wearing the Queen's uniform. The usual suspects were present, a Naval Landing party with a 4.7", a squadron of Larsen's Lancers and a battalion of Ross's Rifles but they were backed by a Battalion of Victoria Rifles, a battalion of Hougal's Foreign Legion and a squadron of their Chasseurs.

Allied cavalry seizes the bridge, then keeps going. (Dismount? Never!)

General Cornberg seemed to be driving them hard in an attempt to secure the bridge and they did not slow down at the appearance of the Oerberg forces. Soubise on the other hand appeared to have frozen at the sight of the enemy although he later explained that the halt as part of his clever plan to deceive the enemy and draw them forward into a trap.   

The silence, broken only by the thunder of hooves and blaring of bugles, was uncanny. However, as the Chasseurs thundered over the bridge, Soubise nodded and the Oerberg gunners sprang into actions. At the second salvo from Long Li, the Chasseurs scattered and fled towards the Lancers leaving dead and wounded men and horses behind.

It was like something I'd read long ago, at any rate the bugles sounded Charge! and my eye was drawn back to the battle.

Soubise now sent his infantry fording the shallow river to hold the Northern edge of the bridge while the gun and constabulary held the Southern edge, from a safe distance.  Another lull ensued with the 4.7" apparently stuck in the mud with the sailors heartedly wishing that they had been allowed to confiscate some ox teams while the the infantry of both sides trudged slowly forward and the allied cavalry rallied and formed up for a brigade charge on the Constabulary who had occupied a low hill overlooking the bridge.

Soon enough the infantry on both sides were deployed and the rattle of rifle fire dominated the field, punctuated by an occasional BOOM from the guns. It was rather curious that though both sides had a strong interest in holding the bridge, neither appeared to send any troops to seize it. While Cornberg seemed  too eager to close with the enemy to worry about objectives beyond destroying the ememy, Soubise just appeared happy to survive and hope the enemy went away. 

Eager as always to be at the enemy, Cornberg managed to push his battalions forward  one at a time, later claiming that the terrain was less open than it looked and that there were communication problems due to the lack of translators. This later was curious as the Foreign Legion is well known for its ability to find someone in its ranks to speak any language known in Atlantica.
The Foreign Legion advances to the rear through Ross's Rifles.

At last Cornberg could stand it no longer and ordered his cavalry to drive the enemy off the ridge forthwith. The Chasseurs, hit by intense  artillery fire as they formed for the charge, could take no more and the last man was seen scampering from the field but the Lancers spurred uphill and fought the enemy to a draw. Falling back to reform for another charge, they also were caught by Long Li, which the gunners were slowly dragging forward, and reduced to a mere handful.

The repulse of the Allied cavalry.
The thunder of the hooves and the explosions of the shells appear to have driven the river from its course) 
The result was inevitable with battalion after battalion falling back in disorder before rallying while the Oerberg line slowly followed up maintaining a tight formation.

The Allied tide ebbs.
When Ross's Rifles crumbled, Cornberg acknowledged the growing hopelessness of the situation and signalled for a general retreat.  Even the passive Soubise could not fail to secure the bridge without opposition.


We have been endeavouring to find out more but apparently our correspondent has decided to take a short sea voyage for his health. 

What we have ascertained is that there were no fatalities amongst the casualties who are all being well looked after, it seems it was indeed a Gentleman's War.


  Coming soon to a book seller near you:
A Gentleman's War
A treatise on how small wars should be fought by well known adventurer Howard Whitehouse. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

A Gentlemanly Diversion.

The plan for this afternoon was to finish assembling my Canadian/Faraway 54mm pioneers  but.....
First blood! 
(I need to move my lamp back upstairs so I can dispel the gloom and get sharper pictures again.)

Its been two years now since I played Howard Whitehouse's "A Gentleman's War" at Fall In!. Since then I've had the pleasure of expressing opinions etc on line but despite good intentions had not actually gotten around to playing a test game at home. I'll skip the long list of excuses and just say that I finally realized that I had figures I could use by a quick melding of small units and set to.

I wanted a small, trusted, scenario, Blasthof Bridge came immediately to mind. For reasons that have nothing to do with the rules, I decided to try laying with 1/2 ranges on a 3ft x 3ft playing area.

The layout: Faraway with some Hougal auxiliaries as the Imperial forces on the near side of the river, Oerberg with some Foreign "Volunteers" from Oberhilse as the Elector's army on the Farside of the river.
The basic rules are fairly traditional, I won't use the term Old School as I no longer know what that means. They are not strict on organization but typical units are battalions of 12 infantry, regiments of 6 cavalry and one gun batteries. I did my best translation of the original forces to this format and followed Soubise and Kornberg's plans and have been trying to role play their personalities. 

Faraway (Imperial) forces deployed.
(3 x12 infantry, 2x6 cavalry, 1 gun)

The sequence of play is card driven with variable length moves based on rolling a number of dice like TS&TF and MacDuff to the Frontier etc however the card activation has a number of twists that introduce a second level to the game. Certain cards have special abilities, group moves etc while a hand of "Hold" cards can be used to allow reactions or extra moves and so on. Above all, Jokers trigger various special events and their appearance is the closest thing to "a  turn".

Oerberg (Electoral Army).
4 x 12 infantry, 1 battery, 1 x 6 cavalry

Combat is by rolling 1 die per X figures needing N to hit depending on range and other modifiers followed by saving throws and sometimes a morale check. Special unit characteristics add all sorts of tweaks which I'm skipping for now for simplicity.

Where the game paused for the night. 
(The red and blue markers indicate units that have acted so far this ... round..for that side)
After about an hour of playing and looking things up, I had to stop for the night. The Queen's cavalry have just crossed the bridge and, as in the original game, have been hard hit by the enemy artillery. 

Friday, December 7, 2018

Meanwhile, for your 19thC Central/Eastern European Wars viewing pleasure

A link on FB to a youtube video led me to another video.... I don't speak Hungarian or Romanian but I do speak movie clips about mid-19thC battles. 

Lets start with 1877:

I love the bugler, movie character or historical heroine?

and for those who are Hungary for more, we go back to 1848:

Next best thing to painting figures and playing a game.....

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Hurry up and Wait

If anyone is wondering if the shortage of posts recently is a sign that I'm still having trouble finding quality hobby time....
Pioneers in waiting.
...yes, yes it does.

But not for long!