Sunday, February 28, 2021

Bloody Creek: Resolution

After a difficult start, the battle seemed to be swinging to the British. On the British right, the Grenadiers had captured one section of the redoubt, driving back a company of Colonial troops. On the left, the fire of the Provincials followed by a charge, had driven the Acadian militia from the rocks and woods. It appeared that one good push was all that was needed.

 The Grenadiers had suffered terrible losses during their attack and in the ensuing melee. Behind them, the smoke and confusion and the yells of the Indians seem to have dismayed the Royals and they wavered on the far bank, unwilling to press forward. Outnumbered and fighting in two directions, the remaining grenadiers gave way and fled.
On the other flank, a company of French Colonial troops that had just arrived, rushed forward, seizing the rocks in time to repel an assault by the Massachusetts Provincials.
The retreat of the Grenadiers gave the Artillery a clear field of fire again and they made good use of it. The Royals, though unwilling to advance, peppered the redoubt with musket balls. This was not the native way of fighting and they faded back into the woods. A renewed assault by the provincials on the British left drove the French back. With a fresh battalion of New Yorkers finally making their way to the front, the way looked clear to secure a crossing. 

But the French weren't quite done. As the sun sank towards the horizon the French Colonel in charge of the post  rounded up a battered company of Colony troops and a handful of militiamen, then led them them forward with loud cries and whoops and bright steel. The Provincials broke and fled back to the safety of their shore. It was enough for one day. 

Next Post: A bit about plans, troops and rules for Acadia.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

How Bloody Creek Got Its Name Pt1

 It was a fine spring day when General Wye mustered a column of troops and sent them out to seize a crossing over the small river that lays between Fort Belmont and Fort St. Lambert. 

The 27th Foot marched at the head of the column and engaged the French in a firefight while the rest of the army deployed and moved up.

The land around the road was firm and open. On either side of the road the land was passable but soft and wet with long grass which slowed the passage of the infantry and was impractical for the guns. Beyond that the land was too boggy and covered in brambles to be practical for heavy laden soldiers.

The French fire drove back the 27th but they had done their job. As the next two regiments deployed, the artillery opened fire.

The first attack by the Provincials on the left was thrown back but, despite heavy casualties, the Grenadiers crossed the stream, drove the French back, and seized a foothold in the redoubt.

The question then was "Can they hold it until relieved”.

To be continued.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Almost There

 This bit of history has been forgotten but once upon a time, during the fight for Acadia, the French garrison of Fort St. Lambert could look across the valley at the British garrison of Fort Belmont.  There was peace in Europe, but in Acadia, there were constant raids and skirmishes and the occasional siege. This is one of those minor affairs.

British and Provincial infantry and guns follow the path across a marsh to the ford. 

Yes, alright, apart from the bit about the fighting in Acadia starting up before the Seven Years War, that's all bunkum. Fort Lawrence and Fort Beausejour were very close and this scenario is inspired by the first action in the siege of Beausejour but the Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam like feuding forts is  just a setting for some wargames. Still, one has to start somewhere and the real history just doesn't provide enough historical engagements of the size and type that I want to game.  

Even worse, from a strictly wargaming point of view, in what is now Canada and the adjacent parts of the US, from the 1730's to 1815, the sort of fighting that took place during skirmishes, sieges and battles, did not change much either in weapons or tactics. Hats changed but..... anyway, that's why I decided that I would just do armies for the War of 1812 and one set of rules and borrow battles from the whole period.

Unfortunately I waited to make that decision until I had armies for all three, sometimes in as many as three scales. Now that I have the duplication down to two wars in one scale I've decided to just use them both. Will I expand the armies so I can fight the Plains  of Abraham and Ste Foye over and over again? Probably not, that sort of thing was better suited to either my old 15mm figures or my old 6'x8' table, but I won't rule it out all together, even if Not Quite the Seven Years War fictional units help fill out the Order of Battle. 

But that remains to be seen, for now there is a game tabled which must be played.


Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Time Has Come To Fight!

 Well, to play a wargame anyway.

A detachment of Colonial Troops, supported by Acadian militia and Mi'kmaq warriors, guard the ford.

I want this to be the year I finally turn my attention to the  Conquest in 40mm  (If you didn't  grow up in Quebec, that's short for the British conquest of Canada.  ) and there's nothing like a game to inspire a bit of painting and planning. 

The British approach!

I'm still  putting the scenario together but it, like most, will be an "inspired by" scenario rather than a recreation  of an historic  event.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Sire! The Peasants Are Revolting!

 "You can say that again!" Ahhh, the Wizard of Id! Always good for a chuckle although I still tend to call home made soup "swill" even though I really like it.

Anyway I have painted enough, and thought enough, to reach  several conclusions.

I left the figures John painted as is except a few touchups to help them blend in with the ones I'm painting.

1. Painting a few of the figures has been enjoyable and good for the brain, but time consuming and hard on the back with my current set up and I don't want to do scores of them. 

2. I wish there were more foot soldiers, especially some crossbowmen for the Germans, and it would be possible to make some and cast them but........

3. I can use the same rules as I use for my Prince Valiant figures for playing a few skirmishes.

4. While I am enjoying them thus far, they really occupy the same slot as my Prince Valiant figures. Since I still have lots of Elastolin figures to work on, a backstory, props, scenery. and various scenario ideas, I'm  best just doing up my sample semi-flats, 1 of each of the horsemen at least and probably all the footmen,  playing a quick skirmish then putting them on a shelf to enjoy looking at while I  get on with my regular stuff.

Right, back to work!

Sunday, February 21, 2021

The Adventures of Prince Micheal: Episode 21


After ambushing the marauding Hun Chieftain, Rhuda, (click) and sending him and his men running for the hills, leaving their stolen wagons, supplies, and captives behind, Prince Micheal and the Tribune discussed the situation. The fortified town of Bhelmant still remained in Hun hands as a threat to the region though doubtless in need of supplies and short of men as well. Alas there were not enough men or time to either storm the walls or lay siege. The Prince suggested a daring plan.

A few days later, the overdue Hun convoy finally approached the town with the Roman cavalry in hot pursuit. The garrison opened the gates while archers rushed to the walls. When the second cart was part way through, a wheel suddenly fell, tipping the carts over and blocking the open gates from closing.

It was a trick! The Captain of the garrison ordered the archers on the wall to shoot down the imposters! 

Inside, the guards who had opened the gates were caught by surprise as the drivers suddenly transformed themselves into warriors and attacked, sword in hand. 

Calling to his swordsmen to follow him, the Hun Captain raced down the ladder. His guards were cut down as Roman horsemen leapt their horses over the cart and entered the town but undeterred, the Captain engaged the enemy on his own. 

As more of the garrison raced to the gate, cutting down several of the attackers and driving others back out the gate, it looked like the gamble had failed and that the Micheal himself might not survive. Suddenly, the Roman Tribune leapt his horse over the cart and faced 5 enemies by himself! 

The fighting raged with losses on both sides but as the Tribune's infantry finally poured through the gate the Huns suddenly gave way and ran. The Hun Captain was no coward though and stood his ground until Micheal cut him down with a mighty backhand slash.

With Rhuda and his band of Huns routed, and the town freed, it was time for Prince Micheal to head back to Britain.

Friday, February 19, 2021

The Quiet of the Morning is Broken

Dawn has just broken and the night watch is sleepy and ready to be relieved. The convoy of supplies is overdue and the garrison that Rhuda left in the town is getting hungry. Where is the convoy and where is Rhuda with the cavalry?

A shout comes from the gatehouse guards: "The wagons! The wagons are here!"

"They are being chased! Archers to the walls! Open the gates!"

From atop the wall the Captain of the Guard suddenly frowns. "Why are they carrying ladders when they could have loaded more food? Why is no one on either side being hit when arrows are flying to and fro and how are those oxen outrunning the cavalry?"

To be continued...

(Oops, 2 posts in one day please check the previous post for a bit about my childhood discovery of Prince Valiant and a peek at some older and newer publications.)

Long ago and far away...

 A voice cried out in the Wilderness: "Send us a valiant Prince!" .

And was answered!

L to R: 1974 Nostalgia Press collection Vol 1, a 50 year old clipping from a newspaper, Vol 4 of a recent Fantographic reprint series.  

 The clipping in the middle was one of my first encounters with Prince Valiant. The Montreal Star didn't carry the strip but one of the papers down in the Eastern Townships near the US/Quebec border, did. Since much of my mother's family lived down there we visited often and I often spent a week or more of my summer holidays on my Uncle Steve's dairy farm. The current issue would be in the house but there were always a couple of older issues  in the Outhouse and this came from one of those. I have great memories from those days and perhaps they have added to my nostalgic attraction to Prince Val.

Anyway, the new bold reprint recently arrived as a "my car is paid off" present to myself which I am about to dip into once Monday comes. Not only is it superior in clarity and colour to the original and far superior to the 74 reprint that I was so pleased to find at a Cold Wars some 20 years ago, but it includes (by choice) the series where Prince Valiant adventures in North America involving Vikings and Skraelings and travelling through not only my home of choice, but also the land of my birthplace. 

I believe my Prince August Sraeling molds are going to get a workout when spring arrives, but I want to read those episodes before I send Prince Micheal sailing westward, chasing the Earl Helgin. For now, the Prince is still chasing Huns.

I just need to come up with a scenario and set the table.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Table is Bare and Lonely

 It needs a game!

But what to play? I must search for a sign or omen to point the way.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Sunday Smorgasbord

 A bit of this, a bit of that...rebasing 2 stands of 1812 US Volunteers,  trying to thaw the septic tank inflow....... just a bog standard ice storm day. 

You know, sorting through  some older, chunky, "pre-elegant shiny toy soldier" figures (18ish years old?), that sort of thing.

Danes converted from 40mm S&S ACW c2003.

For the semi flats, I've decided to be sensible and just do 1 every few weeks so they don't disrupt things.

Yeah, patriotc peasants, hard to hold 'em back once they been aroused.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

And So It Begins

 I took some time yesterday to study my new Russian flats and consider various options. One conclusion was that I needed more information so I flipped through a few of my remaining medieval books and then probed shallowly on the Net for more info and for sources for Russian plastic flats in current production. By the time I had enough of google trying to sell me every sort of vaguely Russian related toy soldier and some superficial but sufficient history, I had made some key decisions.

The first is that I don't want to collect large toy armies for a one off battle of only superficial interest to me. The second was that I didn't really want to spend the time and money or space required to build and maintain even DBA or Portable Wargame sized forces capable of doing an abstract version of a one off game: "The Battle on the Ice" and there don't seem to be a whole series of battles between those two foes although there are plenty more enemies that the Novgorod forces fought on a regular basis, if one wanted to paint them up too. 

Intentionally painting figures for no purpose other than display is something I haven't done since the 70's and don't wish to revive. Since I don't want to throw them in the back of a cupboard, that means a theoretical man-to-man skirmish game with up to 14 figures aside for now, with the possibility of an expansion to  a generic Portable Wargame or One Hour Wargame sort of setup at some point in the future.

That brought me to painting. I briefly considered leaving them in their bare plastic, as so many modern collectors do, but since each side in the bag comes in both colours, that was a nonstarter. A block toy soldier style wasn't going to do the figures justice and the shallow detail was going to rule out shading by washes and dry brushing. About the only option left was the old fashioned model soldier base coat with blended highlighting and shading by hand. Its the technique I learned in the '60's and '70's when I start making "model soldiers" (initially out of toy soldiers as per Henry Harris) before I found Featherstone and became a wargamer, but one I have't used much this century.  I don't really have the right paints, eyesight or steady hand that such an undertaking requires, but "needs must" so I did what I could with what was at hand.  

In the end, I was starting to remember and enjoy the process and I'm satisfied with the end figure despite a host of minor flaws which I'm not going to point out. Of course, painting the one figure took as long as painting the eight 40mm War of 1812 toy soldiers I did last week, but really that's a good thing: more hobby time before I have to buy something new or figure out rules!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Now for something completely different.

I've had a sort of "thing" for Alexander Nevsky and the Ice Battle since Minifigs came out with their range of 25's during my college days in the mid-70's. I only had money for a few and then life moved on through heavy turbalence for a few years. (decades?) I've also had a discrete attraction to semi-flat plastics which probably dates back to childhood. So, when John at 54mm or Fight! offered up a bag of Russian medieval flats with that Teutonic knights vs Russians vibe, I jumped.

A selection of the figures in the bag. 

Now, I am forcing myself to not go crazy and didn't buy that similar set on eBay containing a priest, crossbowman and armoured Russian archer amongst others, at least not yet, but I am thinking about painting these figures, if only because both sides are done in both colours so you can't do Green vs Red and John has already painted 2!  

However, this also brought to mind one of my first goes at 54mm Wargaming. 

A scan of a very fuzzy photo. Conversions from Britain's and Crescent plastic knights.

In the late 90's  when I was "into" Armati, I started building opposing Intro armies of Teutonic Knights vs Russians which I was going to take to Cold Wars the next year. This is as far as I got before MacDuff to the Frontier  was published and I focused on staging MacDuff games instead. But something like that I think.....  


Maybe I should dig out my dvd of the movie for inspiration?

Thanks John!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Do Not Read From The Book!

Too late!   It had all seemed so simple.....

We know that in 1812/13 there wasn't enough blue cloth in stores, so a number of units were issued grey or 'drab' (undyed wool) uniforms. Likewise, white leather was in short supply so black or undyed was issued. These guys were in grey with black belts, so just paint the new heads and they're ready to go,  Right? ......... Well what regimental number are they? Did any of the units that fought in the Canadas in 1812/13 wear grey with the old felt shako? Rene Chartrand's book has a list of all the uniform variations, and I have several orders of battles...........  

One. One? OK, anything else? Yeah it took part on the attack on York (aka Toronto) and 1/3 of them were armed with pikes and scatter guns, the only regiment equipped like that. Oh great...... what are my other options?   Well, the 16th which fought at Chrysler's Farm wore the old shako with black jackets faced red, an attractive option, its also the one illustrated in Kannik's Uniforms of the World which I took  to Military College with me in 1972 and which I still consult. But that would mean..........

New coat colour plus facings, white crossbars and lace, blue packs and canteens, some gloss least I won't have to over paint the pants again.

Not bad for an hour's work. I tried adding the US in a circle on one pack, I painted it on my old S&S US troops, but hand and eye are no longer up to it apparently, at least not today. It was OK, but filled the whole pack, at least twice as big as it should have been. I decided that I didn't really need it. 

Ok, what's next?

Monday, February 8, 2021

We Need More Men!

 It was obvious during the last game that I needed more American units. (I had to recycle the first four US units that were broken).

"Hey guys, I think we're back home in 1812"

I plan to cast more of the infantry and militia in grey which are my own figures but I also want more Scrubies. Ironically most of my Scruby US figures were converted for my 1837 alternate Aroostock game which was played at Huzzah in 2011. (Wait! That was 10 years ago!?)

My Aroostock War ahistorical game at  Huzzah 2011 blog post

Well, some of those 1840's Americans are surplus again, some in grey, and I had enough of my 1812 pattern US shako heads in the spares chest, so with some sawing, drilling, and gluing, there's one additional unit ready for a paint touch up. Once the weather moderates I'll do some more casting.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Battle of the Pettyblue River

History seems to have forgotten General Wavey's 1813 expedition up the Pettyblue River (aka la Petite Riviere Bleu). Some of those who took part later claimed that  General Hampton's advance up the Chateauguay River which was stopped by de Salaberry was originally meant as a a diversion to reduce the opposition offered to Wavey but this is largely dismissed as the ramblings of bitter old soldiers. Be that as it may, it was a  damp, cold day when the American column came in sight of an earthwork and abatis blocking the way forward. After a brief discussion with General St. John, his 2ic, General Wavey ordered Col. Grey to ford the river with a small party and push on to try and turn the enemy position. In the meantime, he ordered his riflemen forward and ordered his infantry to deploy into line and assault the enemy position.

The Canadian force blocking the road was under the command of Colonel deSolla of the Fencibles. His main force of Fencibles and a field gun manned a redoubt covering the second ford. A detachment of militia and light infantry manned an outpost in the woods near the far side of the first ford and the main fortification was manned by Voltigeurs, Fencible light infantry, local militia and Abenaki Indians.   

In all, the American force was composed of 2 companies of Riflemen, one of light infantry, 12 half-battalions (wings) of infantry, a field gun and a troop of New York Dragoons. The road approaching the redoubt ran through a narrow gap between the river and the swampy woods making it difficult for the American force to deploy. In the end, General Wavey contented himself with sending his men forward in waves while he tried to feed some around the flank. 

The first attack was made fairly hesitantly and the fire from the redoubt was heavy and accurate. The attacking Americans stopped to trade fire but it was hopeless. The officers were able to get some of them to attempt to storm the redoubt but in the end they broke and fled to the rear. The 2nd wave was close behind and moving towards the flank and in a rush they drove the defenders out, routing the militia.

The American supports were too far behind the second line though and a bold Canadian counter attack quickly drove them back out. 

Both sides suffered heavily during the fighting though and the third wave finally took the redoubt, wounding Colonel de Solla in the fight, and were able to push on towards the final objective.

Across the river, General Grey's detachment had come under heavy fire as they entered the woods. Some units stopped to shoot back while others tried to charge but the enemy was stubborn. The firefight continued until late in the day before the defenders began to pull back. Grey's men followed up cautiously.

The sun was getting low as the Americans prepared for a final push up the open road. At last they moved forward but the Canadians had received an unexpected reinforcement of local militia and these deployed into the woods just in time to slow the American advance. There were not enough of them to stop the advance though and the Fencibles manning the final redoubt blocking the road to St. Jean braced themselves for an assault by twice their numbers. 

It never came. With the sun just touching the tops of the trees and the road to the rear clogged with wounded or straggling men, General Wavey ordered a retreat. They'd have to try again somewhere else on some other day. 

Next post: Behind the scenes and 'historical' analysis of the "battle" and rules of war, and a bit about the miniatures.


Saturday, February 6, 2021

By Mid-day

 The fighting has been fierce.

Across the river, the attack is in danger of stalling.

But, despite heavy casualties, the  main force has had some temporary success against the redoubt,

and all is yet to play for!

Friday, February 5, 2021

Here We are Tramping Through The Forest

"All of us a-tramping through the forest,

 banging on our old painted drums." 

(Old Toy Soldier marching song.)

Gentlemen, and Ladies, I give you tomorrow's game!

Any resemblance to the historical Battle of  Chatauguay is purely inspirational.

(Note to self: "If we're going to do 1812 again, we're gonna need more trees, a LOT more trees.)

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Preparing To Fight In The Snow?

No, not really. Its just that this week has been, lets say, a little short on hobby time, so I'm merely part way through the reorg and rebasing of my War of 1812 collection. 

The armies were originally raised between 2005 and 2010 for 'With MacDuff To The Frontier', in 'companies' of 8 individual figures mounted on washers, grouped into battalions of 2-4 companies for the line infantry. 

I painted enough figures for a couple of convention scenarios but then got distracted and eventually moved on and decided to focus on the Old School figures, letting the bigger, chunkier ones go and merged the 1812 figures in with my 1840's ones. Now I am adapting the armies to the smaller table and the hexes and plan to finally fill out my 1812 armies.

Huzzah 2013: Last Hurrah for my 1812 armies, Stout Lads that they were.

But first, I need to paint the existing bases to match the table so I can play a game.