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Thursday, 3 December 2020

Spencer Smith Zulus

 I got these figures out to do a little touching up and thought I would post some pictures.  These are charming, solidly made figures from the Spencer Smith range that are very easy to paint:

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Rabbit Run part 2 - Battle Report

 Many have observed the similarity of this game to the demonstration game set in the Plattville Valley by Donald Featherstone. Those observations were correct.  I was going to refight this battle, however, given the size of my table I had to adapt it somewhat.  Also, the troop levels were completely different.

All that said, the battle kicked off just after lunch, both sides having deployed on to the high ground on each side of the river.  The CSA forces decided their position was strong enough to defend, while Federal General Smith realised he was going to have to assault and force the rebels off Mole Hill and the features dominating the bridge over the river.  

The Federal plan was to attack on the left across the bridge to fix the rebels and try to draw off the resrves and put in the main attack on the right flank against Mole Hill and its farm.

The action began with the Iowa Regiment rushing the bridge in the face of artillery fire and musketry from the Texans.  They got off lightly, only losing one figure, while Union battery 3 engaged the rebel guns taking out a gunner:

The Iowa Regiment made it to the fence line OK and attempted to shake out into a firing line:

But, now they were in range of the Texas veterans who poured volleys across the wheat field, as did the rebel gun:

The Iowa's colonel fell and their morale broke causing them to rout back over the bridge, where they were decimated by fire from the Alabama Regiment on Warren Ridge.  Their rout continued off the table despite an attempt by General Reeves to rally them:

The Federal attack on the left had failed and action was reduced to an exchange of fire over the river between the Alabama Regiment and the New Jersey boys, that caused casualties on both sides.

Federal General Smith, decided that further attacks on the left would be futile and he sent orders for Parson's Brigade to take Mole Hill.  This action began with the Federal Sharpshooters advancing towards the corn patch where they ran into the Mississippi Sharpshooters.  A brisk fire fight developed between the two groups of skirmishers. Initially the Federal sharpshooters were forced back after taking light casualties:

However, having rallied the Federal skirmishers saw off the Mississippi Sharpshooters, who doubled away to the rear past the Kentucky Regiment::

The Federals now concentrated their fire on the Georgia Regiment holed up in Mole Hill farm and the combination of musket, skirmish and artillery fire caused several casualties:

Meanwhile, having been tangled up amongst the snake fences around the Wheatfield, Parson's brigade shook out and began its move towards Mole Hill:

Taking some fire from the Georgians, the new Yorkers and Illinois Regiment pushed on. With a final charge, the Illinois Regiment stormed into the farm and a furious melee ensued:

Realising that the Georgians in the farm were in danger of being overun, CSA General Johnson orders the Kentucky Regiment to advance, while he heads off to shore up the defences of Mole Hill.

Unfortunately for Johnson, the Georgians are all but wiped out and the farm falls to the Illinois Regiment, who continue their rampage by charging into CSA Battery A, wiping that out too.  In the Melee General Johnson is pulled from his horse and dies:

The collapse of the Rebel left begins. With the loss of General Johnson, the Georgians and the artillery, the Kentucky Regiment must take a morale test. They fail and rout from the field.

On the other side of the field the New Jersey Regiment on Twin Buttes continues its exchange of fire with the Alabama Regiment, eventually forcing the latter back off Warren Ridge:

At the same time Federal artillery Battery 3 scores a direct hit on CSA Battery C, wiping out the crew:

With the demise of the CSA gunners, the Vermont cavalry decide to make a charge across the river bridge:

This is a mistake as they run into a hail of fire from the Texans, losing nearly half their number. However, this small victory cannot save the CSA army and General Spencer gives the order for a withdrawal, covered by the Texans and Virginia cavalry.  The battle is over leaving the Federals in control of the field, but they are exhausted and unable to pursue.

For this game I used Featherstone's rules.  I found that they could be very cruel when it came to a firefight, especially when followed by poor morale.  Infantry volleys are devastating when they hit home. That said, this was a fun game and an excellent way to give these lovely old soldiers a try out. It was certainly enjoyable and spectacular.  I think the Texans deserve a battle honour for this one!

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

First Action at Rabbit Run - Part 1

 My newly painted and reorganised Spencer Smith figures have deployed for their first action - the battle of Rabbit Run.

1861, CSA General Spencer's Division has been detached to rapidly move forward to seize and hold the high ground overlooking the crossing of the Rabbit Run river. The Union has a similar idea and General Smith is rushing up the Turnpike with his division, with a very similar Mission.  The forces of Generals Spencer and Smith are about to collide.

The battlefield is shown below, looking from the North (Union side), with Rabbit Run snaking from North around to the east.  Key features are Warren Ridge, Twin Buttes and Mole Hill, with its farm on top:

The organisation of the two forces are:

Spencer's Division CSA:

Buller's Brigade

Texas Regiment,

Alabama Regiment

B Battery Artillery

C Battery Artillery

Johnson's Brigade

Kentucky Regiment

Mississippi Sharpshooters

Georgia Regiment

Virginia cavalry

A Battery Artillery

The Texans have deployed forward and are defending a wheat field on the east flank, amongst some trees, with C battery in support:

The Alabama regiment are working their way onto Warren Ridge, with B battery in support:

On the West flank the Georgia regiment holds Mole Hill, with A Battery and the Virginia cavalry in support:

Meanwhile, the Mississippi Sharpshooters hold the Corn Patch, with the Kentucky regiment in Reserve:

General Smith's Union Forces consist of:

Reeve's Brigade:

Iowa Regiment

New Jersey Regiment

No 3 Battery Artillery and Vermont cavalry in Support.

Parson's Brigade:

New York (Zouaves) Regiment,

Illinois Regiment,

Berdan's Sharpshooters

Nos 1 & 2 Artillery Batteries in support.

The Union have pushed the Iowa regiment up along the Turnpike, while the New Jersey regiment advance up the Twin Buttes:

On the west flank Parson's Brigade is deployed facing Mole Hill, behind the snake fences of the Wheatfield:

The battle is about to commence - more later

Thursday, 19 November 2020

ACW Turnaround - Spencer Smith

 I haven't posted for a while, largely because I have been head down with a new project.  This came about quite unexpectedly.  Some may have read the Wargames Odyssey blog, which back in early October announced that David (DC) had decided to shed his collections and focus on naval actions and land games based on the WoFun 2D plastic figures.  

Part of this process involved selling off his figures to raise capital for his new projects.  One of the items going was his Spencer Smith ACW collection.  Some will also know that I painted all of the figures in the collection over a period of around two years.  I had become very fond of the figures as I was painting them, so jumped at the chance of acquiring them.  So, a few weeks ago a big parcel arrived containing the collection, loads of movement trays and some unpainted figures. It was fun unpacking them and seeing these lovely figures once more.

Over the last 3-4 weeks I have been painting and basing the existing collection as well as two units of skirmishers and a further CSA regiment.  Last night I finsished off this work.  My unit organisation differs from DCs, going for 20 figures per regiment.  This entailed painting four new command groups too.

My plan is to fight an old school style battle in the coming days.  In the meantime, here is a picture of the completed confederate army:


Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Autumn Review - British Army of the Crimea

 In rather the same format as my other Crimean autumn reviews of the the combined collections of Alan Cook and my own, there follows a series of pictures of the British Army.  There is a slight problem in that I have two Light Brigades on parade and more highlanders than were available at the time, however, It all comes together to make a fine collection.

I will let the pictures tell the story:

Monday, 26 October 2020

The Last Stand Colonial Game

I recently bought some buildings, a pack of 5 for about £12, and assembled them.  Also, having just painted a heap of colonial figures, I thought a small game was the order of the day.

The scenario is that an Anglo-Sudanese force has occupied a town near the River Nile.  The occupants of the town had been attacking shipping on the river and extorting  money from the boat owners. The British force had achieved its objective, occupied the town and was awaiting a boat to come and pick them up  Unfortunately the river levels had dropped and the boat was grounded several miles down stream. Meanwhile, the tribes of the River Valley had come together and had decided to attack the British in the town.  Seriously out numbered and with nowhere to go the British force must hold on until relief arrives.  The Anglo-Sudanese force consists of three companies each from the Loamshire Regiment, The McVities Highlanders and the 1st Juba Rifles. In support they have a light field gun and a gatling gun team. The force is commanded by Colonel  F R Smyth -Jones.

Here is the town with its defenders:

The combined River Valley tribes have the town surrounded. On a nearby jebel, amongst the rocks are some Sudanese riflemen, along with a muzzle loading cannon.  Behind the Jebel are three units of cavalry, Sudanese tribesmen and Eastern Fanatics:

At the other end of town a large group of Hadendowah tribesmen have congregated, 


and amongst some rocks rifle armed hillmen have been sniping into the town causing some casualties amongst the Juba Regiment.

The tribesmen do not wait long before beginning their attack, as the Fanatics swing around the Jebel and charge towads the Loamshires, who fire volleys from the sangar and buildings:

Almost simultaneously the Hadendowah charge towards the other end of the town under a hail of fire from the Juba Regiment and the Gatling gun:

After taking many casualties the Hadendowah take one of the buildings and overun the gatling gun as well as a company of Highlanders who had mounted a counter attack, but the Hadendowah are now a spent force:

All the time artillery and rifle fire rain down from the Jebel, which gradually eliminates the light gun crew. With the British gun destroyed the Fanatics renew their attacks against the Loamshires, who are reinforced by some Highlanders.

The Loamshires sangar falls:

To make matters worse, the cavalry begin to sweep around the flanks and the Sudanese tribesmen begin their adavance:

At the other end of the town the Juba Regiment continues to take casualties from the Hillmen, and skirmishes with the remaining Hadendowah, who have occupied one of the buildings.

The cavalry charge the highlanders behind the defences:

But are mown down:

Whilst this is going on the Sudanese tribesmen storm forwards into a hail of bullets and suffer badly:

But the Fanatics finally overwhelm the other Loamshires company and take the building and a second wave of cavalry smash through the highlanders and enter the main street:

Now the remaining Loamshires company is overun and the last Highlander company is attacked by the Sudanese tribes men from the front and cavalry from the rear:

The Hillmen sweep into the other end of town, driving out the few remaining Juba Regiment, while Colonel Smyth-Jones, along with his artillery commander fall with revolvers in hand.

The battle is over and the Anglo-Sudanaese force is destroyed. The relief never arrived and the town falls back into the hands of the River Valley people.