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Saturday, 24 September 2016

Mystery Figure

I was wondering if anyone can identify this splendid American Civil War figure. It is made of metal, maybe pewter, and is of 20mm scale. I place an Airfix next to it to give an idea of scale. The figure came with a batch of other figures recently purchased off eBay.


Monday, 19 September 2016

Turkish High Command - Strelets

Adding to my groups of senior officers, this time it is the Turkish high command. These delightful figures from Strelets, I believe, are based upon a posed Roger Fenton picture of Ismail Pasha and some of his staff. The servant in the rear holds chibouque - a long pipe, as does the officer on the right; while another takes coffee.


Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Battle of Inkerman - Terrain Limitations

I have been studying Google Earth overviews and contemporary/recent pictures to try to understand why the Russians took the routes that they did. It becomes very obvious when photographs looking up the ravines are studied, as parts of the ravine walls are sheer cliffs, which in turn would be totally impassable to formed troops and in many cases to any troops.

I have transposed these areas on to my map and denoted areas classed as totally impassible as red lines. It then becomes clear why the battle unfolded the way it did - from a terrain perspective. It also explains the British dispositions along the heights.


Monday, 12 September 2016

Inkerman - Forces Deploy

I think I have worked out how to create the necessary balance to permit the British pickets to take on the massive Russian forces prior to the deployment of the main elements of the 2nd Division:

1. The pickets will be classed as skirmishers, that is to say they will be in open order and will make use of cover where possible.
2. The pickets will be classed as in soft cover when receiving fire - I am assuming that they would kneel or lie down and maybe utilise some protective scrapes in the ground. Those in the Sandbag Battery and behind the Barrier will be in hard cover.
3. The pickets can both move and fire during a game move.
4. Due to the steep slopes, massed formations and uneven terrain, including scrub, the Russians move at 50% of their normal move rate.
5. The Russian infantry represent a close order dense target.
6. The Russians will be firing at targets uphill while in the ravines and this will reduce the effectiveness of their fire, also, only their skirmishers and those in the front ranks will be able to fire. Once they have fired, those in the columns will not be able to fire again, unless the column stops while they reload.

The above modifiers should give the pickets a fair chance of surviving to achieve the effect noted in the real battle.

Here is an image of the table with the initial troop deployments. The Russians are at the top, while the pickets are deployed in an arc across the high ground:






British Commanders - Strelets

A quick project while I continue to consider the mechanics of the Inkerman battle. The central figure depicts Lord Raglan, who lost his arm at Waterloo, whilst on Wellington's staff. He comes from the Strelets  ' Valley of Death set.


Friday, 9 September 2016

Inkerman Wargame - The Russian Plan

The Russian plan is quite simple, a simultaneous attack along two axes supported by massive artilley fire. The first assault would be along the direction of Quarry Ravine by General Paulov, with the aim of taking the area of the Barrier, taking the Sandbag Battery and on to the main ridge. Meanwhile a second force under General Soimonov, would advance up the Careenage Ravine, sweeping up onto the ridge from the North West. Shell hill would be secured, where the Russians planned to establish a massive battery of artillery to support the assault. Key to success will be coordination of the two forces and the ability to sieze and hold the main Inkerman feature.

The Allies, mainly British, were at this time in barracks in their respective camps, with a number of pickets formed from eight companies of infantry screening the likely approaches. They also occupy the Sandbag Battery, which has no guns installed, and the Barrier. The British 2nd Divsion, which is camped behind Home Ridge, has the responsibility for the defence of the Inkerman feature, while the Light Division is encamped further to the rear on the left and the First Division, minus the Highland Brigade is camped about a mile further to the rear. Further back, with a promise to assist in the event of a Russian attack, are the French. To be successful the allies must hold off overwhelming Russian forces until sufficient reserves can be brought up.

Here is a rough overview of the Russian plan:





In effect the battle will be a meeting engagement, with the Russians having numerical superiority at the outset, while allied force numbers increase as the day moves on. The battle will start with the detection of the Russian assault, which will commence at around 05:30.

Victory conditions are: At the end of the battle the Russians must hold the Barrier, Shell Hill and the Sandbag Battery. The British must deny the Russians these three features to win.

My sources for this action are:
1. Stuart Asquith's 'The crimean War', Partizan Press (good map and orbat),
2. Battles of the Crimean War, W Baring Pemberton, Pan Books,
3. Crimean War Basics, Michael Cox & John Lenton, Partizan Press
4. And the wonderful eyewitness account by Cadogan.




Thursday, 8 September 2016

Battle of Inkerman - Wargame

Having had a go at recreating the Battles of The Alma and Balaclava, the next major action in the Crimea would be the Battle of Inkerman. I have been working up to this for many months, slowed down by a number of factors, including a lack of Russian infantry and, more problematic, how to design the terrain. I have already had several attempts. At first I tried out foam board hills as per my Balaclava action - this did not work at all. I then contemplated building the battlefield using layers of expanded polystyrene - again this was not very successful. I then saw on Bob Cordery's Wargaming Miscellany website a battle fought over hexagons made from a clip together game called ' Heroscape'. I had some of this stuff bought for a 15mm project never started. All of my previous ideas were tied to using the 45mm (or so) hexagons, but what if they are ignored and the terrain is simply used to form ridges and ravines. So after a bit of experimenting I have come up with a battlefield that looks reasonable, especially after the hexagons were given a splash of green paint.

The table is 6 x 4 feet and I think it will work with my 20mm figures. Here is the battlefield before any troops are deployed:

Sorting out the terrain is one thing, but designing the game to reflect the actual battle is another. There are some tricky issues:
1. The battlefield was shrouded in mist and how to manage the detection of the Russians by the allies
2. How do small pickets take on large numbers of Russian columns effectively on the wargame table?
3. How to reflect the command and control challenges.
4. How to represent the reinforcement of the allies.
5. The use of Russian naval artillery.

All of the above will need to be worked ou, although I have some advanced ideast. The next step will be the troop ratios and their deployment. So far so good. This could be fun!!