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Tuesday 27 February 2024

Government Forces - Jacobite Rebellion

 As mentioned in my last post, it was my intention to have figures to replace the wooden blocks provided in the game Jacobite Rising.

I acquired some 6mm figures by Baccus and have painted half of them, giving me eight line battalions, one grenadier and three dragoon squadrons. Here they are - rather impressionist painting!

I hope to paint the remaining eight battalions and four cavalry squadrons, along with some generals by the weekend.  

I am expecting a box of Jacobites to turn up soon!

Friday 23 February 2024

Jacobite Rising

 I have been after this game for some time and when a copy came up for sale, I had to have it. The game is based upon Command & Colors Tricorne and is produced by compass games:

Inside the box is the usual 13 x 9 hex board, but in a pale green. Then there are the trillions of wooden blocks.  Each block has to have two stickers attached - a time consuming process sitting in front of the TV. There is a good selection of terrain tiles reflecting the hilly, damp moorlands, with farmsteads, rivers and roads.

I have set out one of the scenarios in the rule book; the battle of Glen Shiel 10 June 1719.  The Government forces are nearest the camera in red, with the Jacobites in blue:

The rules are very similar to other C&C games and anyone who has played C&C Napoleonic will easily pick up on the rules; however, there are some differences that reflect the nature of the terrain and the fighting qualities of the troops, especially the Jacobite highlanders when they launch a close combat charge. The Goverment forces might run away!

The cards used in the game are different.  The Command Cards are similar to others games, but the there are Tactic Command cards specific to each side:

I have yet to play a game and so I am not clear as to how the tactic cards will influence the outcome, but it looks like fun.

As always, in the longer term, I plan to substitute the wooden blocks with figures and that process is underway.  I have ordered some 6mm figures from Baccus.

Tuesday 13 February 2024

Jack Alexander


It was with great sadness that I learned today that Jack Alexander died peacefully in hospital last night.  He was 95.

Jack was a real character in the sphere of wargaming, most notable for designing and casting his range of 20mm figures that are now well known as Jacklex Miniatures.  His goal back in the 1960s was to produce figures to fill gaps in the then market that were compatible with the Airfix HO range of plastic figures.  The result was his extensive selection of mostly mid/late 19th century castings.  Jack's figures did not evolve in size over the decades, as those of other manufacturers have, through 25mm and lately 28mm, sticking resolutely to his original aim.  Today, Jacklex figures, which are still commercially available, have a charm and style of their own. The figures can still be seen battling away on many wargaming blogs

Jack was also a keen wargamer, drawing horns with the likes of Stuart Asquith and he was the third member of the well known ABC Wargamers. 

I chose the above picture to emphasise that Jack was more than a maker of figures but also a highly talented model maker.  He produced wonderful buildings, scenery and some exquisite warship models.

This is a sad day for wargaming as another member of the old guard departs.

An Experiment with Speed Painting

 My nephew Will has been impressing me with the number and quality of painted figures that he manages to turn out.  He can paint a battalion in a fraction of the time that I take.  His secret is speed painting.  He uses Contrast Paints upon a matt white undercoat.

Now, I have a heap of SYW figures to paint, consisting of many 24 figure battalions and I wondered if speed painting might be the solution.

I invested in a box of paints from Army Painter and set about experimenting:

Essentially, in a single coat they provide a dense wash over the matt white base coat.  It is a bit like watercolour painting in that you do the lighter bits first.  It took me about three hours to paint 24 figures.  The paint dries very quickly so as you come to the end of one colour the first figures are already dry. 

The only time consuming part was painting the white belts and lace - that took longer than painting the base coats. Here is the result:

In my view the quality is not as good as the traditional way of painting, but if you want to get battalions onto the table quickly this is a good way of doing it.

Thursday 8 February 2024

Another go at Rapid Fire

 Some may recall our early attempt at playing a WW2 battle using Rapid Fire rules.  In those battles the Germans in defence had a couple of Panther tanks, while the US forces had four Shermans.  It was a blood bath with all of the US tanks destroyed and most of the infantry downed.

For a second attempt, we decided that the German tanks would be less capable and they would be attacking. They had two Panzer IVs and two Stug IIIs, as well as two half-tracks. They also had two companies of infantry and a company of Panzer Grenadiers in the half-tracks.  The US had four Sherman tanks and a battalion of infantry.  Neither side had artillery, but both had mortars, machine gun teams and anti-tank weapons.

I am not going to give a full battle report, but merely a taste of how the battle unfolded. Will played the US forces and I the Germans.  The battlefield was typical Normandy highly vegetated farmland, with a pair of farms, which were the German objectives:

The German plan was to sweep around the US right flank with maximum force, while keeping some forces over on the US left to fix his troops and armour there. The bulk of the German infantry, the Panzer Grenadiers and two tanks rapidly move around the flank.
Not expecting the German move, the US deploy a company of infantry, supported by a machine gun and two Shermans forward.
The German advance forces the US to pull back and the armour begins to exchange shots
The Stug III is damaged while the Germans have no luck against the Shermans.
The Panzer Grenadiers dismount and attack the US infantry in the copse
The copse is heavily defended. One of the Shermans is damaged.
The damaged Sherman continues firing and destroys one of the half-tracks and the damaged Stug, but not before the US company in the copse is badly shot up and routs. Also one of the Shermans by the farm is destroyed, but a company of Germans in the centre are caught in the open by concealed machine guns and forced back.
On the opposite flank the Germans continue to fix the US troops around the farm.
Covering fire on the US left is provided by a German machine gun, but this is forced back by US mortar fire.
The Panzer Grenadiers make it to the copse, but a combination of mortar and tank fire reduces them to being non-operational. Hand held anti-tank weapons have no effect even in the close country around the farms. The Germans push their tanks forward and it looks as though the US defence is about to collapse.
The damaged Sherman by the copse takes out the second half-track, before being destroyed by a Panzer IV

But, how fortunes can change in a wargame. The two remaining Shermans move into position and with lucky shots destroy the two Panzer IVs. With just one Stug remaining and half of their infantry destroyed the Germans called it a day - a close run thing.  An exciting game.  The rules worked well.  Despite gaining local superiority the Germans did not have the strength to carry it through.

Sunday 28 January 2024

Waterloo in 2mm - Part 2

 The Battle for the Ridge

With Hougoumont now in French hands,  Reille orders his brigades to push in to the allied right.  At the same time his second Division is on the move to reinforce those already committed.

Having forced the Brunswick brigades into square Reille's artillery pounds the German soldiers that are pinned by Pajol's cavalry.  However, the British cavalry brigades of Vivian and Grant arrive and counter attack the French horse. This cavalry battle is set to last for most of the game. 

The cavalry action leads to casualties on both sides:
As the cavalry battle it out Reille's infantry around Hougoumont, now reorganised, advance on the trapped Brunswickers.
The Brunswickers, unable to change formation are suffering heavily as the French infantry batter them.
Seeing the emerging threat on his right flank, Hill orders three Hanoverian brigades up to support the beleaguered Brunswickers.
The Brunswickers have collapsed but in the nick of time the Hanoverians, with Hill's artillery block the French. However, the remainder of Reille's corps is beginning to arrive 
The French assault the Hanoverians, destroying a brigade.  The British 1st Division is unable to assist in the background as Reille's 2nd Division is fast approaching. To bolster up the Hanoverians, two Dutch brigades are ordered over to the right.
Napoleon's plan is beginning to unfold.  The French assault on the right is drawing off allied units weakening their centre.  
Over on the allied right the French cavalry have forced back Vivian and Grant's brigades and once again the allied right is exposed.  More allied cavalry from the KGL and Hanoverians move into position.
Despite causing casualties to the French, the Hanoverian infantry is heavily reduced, with just one brigade left intact. The cavalry are once again locked in combat. The allies come off poorly during the initial stages.
Seeing the threat from Reille's 2nd Division the Guards of the British 1st Division charge down the slope and crash into the French, causing many casualties, weakening French morale.
The final Hanoverian infantry brigade collapses, allowing the remnants of Reille's 1st Division to swing around onto the flank of the British Guards
The French 2nd Division is badly mauled but the Guards too are now in trouble with the threat to their right flank.  In the background Dutch reinforcements can be seen.
The Dutch hurry down the road to support the right.
Sensing that the Allied centre has been weakened, Napoleon orders the 3rd and 2nd cavalry corps of Kellerman and Exelmans up to support Reille.  In the background, Lobau's infantry corps advances towards the Allied centre, planning to strike to the left of La Haye Saint.

Meanwhile, back on the ridge the British Guards are hanging on, having defeated Reille's 2nd division, but are now under pressure from the French 1st Division moving in from their right.  French cavalry have forced a square to be formed.  This is being bombarded by French artillery.

Seeing the advancing French cavalry corps, Wellington orders Ponsonby and Somerset 's heavy cavalry up to support the Guards and block the french
Also, the two Dutch brigades have arrived just as the Guards collapse under French pressure.
The Guards and Dutch form a defence line;
Meanwhile Pajol's cavalry continue their struggle with their allied opposite numbers.
With the last of the Guards out of the way, Reille's Corps (now seriously depleted) fires volleys into the  Dutch lines.
The situation is looking bleak for the allies. This overview shows the battle for the ridge on the allied right.  In the centre Kellerman's Cuirassiers are now engaged with Ponsonby and Somerset.  Exelman's corps sits in reserve,  In the background Lobau's infantry begin to climb the ridge.
A huge cavalry battle unfolds in the centre between the French and allied heavies.  Excelman's corps joins the fray as Somerset and Ponsonby are reinforced by Hanoverian light dragoons.  Lobau's corps now moves up to the left of La Haye Saint and Reille continues his fight against the Dutch on the far left.
Pajol's exhausted cavalry finally succumb to the allied horsemen and retreat down the road.
Battle is joined on the ridge. On the far left, the remnants of Reille's corps have defeated the Dutch infantry.  The French heavy cavalry are gaining the upper hand and Lobau's infantry are forcing their way onto the ridge
The allies are crumbling and now Napoleon sends in the Imperial Guard to support Lobau.  D'Erlon's Corps is preventing the Allied left from swinging around to reinforce the ridge. For Wellington it is time to withdraw. 

The French win the day.  Of course the Prussians did not arrive in this scenario.  Even if they had turned up, with D'Erlon uncommitted and the Imperial Guard still available, I am not sure whether the allies could have won.  Maybe on another day (when I have painted the Prussians) we will see.

All of the figures are by Irregular Miniatures and the rules used are a variation of Command & Colors.