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Wednesday 25 September 2013

My Rules - Don't Laugh  

Over the years I have developed my own rules, learning from early experiences where once battle is joined it can take an hour or more per turn to resolve combat with complex charts and tables. These rules work for me and have no tables and are on one sheet of paper. They have two things which speed things up: 1; the use of coloured measuring sticks and a set of dice for each colour on the stick,numbered with higher probability for close range and lower for long range. 2; is that morale calculations are based on % casualties with a few adjustments. Everything else is much the same as other rules but greatly simplified. Here is the measuring stick for infantry in use. The British are firing on the Russians. Eight figures firing at medium range means two orange dice marked with 0,0,0,1,1,2 (see below)

Here are the rules as set out:

Bob’s quick play Crimean rules
Rule 1 – These rules should consist of no more than one side of A4 paper.
Scale: 1 figure = 33 soldiers. 1mm = 1yard.
Equipment: small arms measuring stick (300 yds); artillery measuring stick 1000 yds

Normal Move
Horse Artillery
Foot Artillery
Muskets and carbines use orange and red sections only (200 yds)
Units fire once per move, charging units are fired at half way through the charge.
Use appropriate measuring stick to work out range (short, medium, long) roll one dice for every four figures or battery firing. Total dice roll is number of figures deducted.
Dice face value- , Green = 0,1,1,2,2,3; Orange = 0,0,0,1,1,2;  Red = 0,0,0,0,1,2 
Morale is based on casualties and is accumulative:
10% = Unit halts if advancing for one move, 20% = Unit pulls back half a move, 30% = Unit retires full move, 40% = unit retreats rear facing enemy, 50% = rout. (last two considered disorganized).
+ 10% if in hard cover, if Army commander present,if winning melee
-10% if General is killed, if under effective artillery fire, if flanking unit routs

Roll 2 ordinary dice, highest score wins deduct casualties based on one green dice for loser, red dice for winner.
Adjustments –
 +1 if uphill, if charging, if elite, defending building. Russians have +1 in melee
-1 artillery in a melee, skirmishers caught by formed infantry, -2 if caught by cavalry -1 if disorganized

Special rules
British have mostly Minie rifles, Russian have high number of muskets (except jagers). Russians use column, allies line. Russians get +1 in a melee

Tuesday 24 September 2013

First Contact - Action on the Bulganak, 19 September 1854

Having landed at Kalamita Bay during the period 13 – 18 September 1854, the Allied Army started south towards the city and port of Sebastapol, the primary objective of the force.  The British Army at this time was very short of cavalry and the movements of the allies were constantly being shadowed by groups of Cossacks. The allied Army was strung out over a great distance and the British and French forces had become separated, with the French moving on the right along the coast. Being outnumbered significantly by the Russian cavalry it proved very difficult for British patrols to locate the Russian forces, and so the approach south was very cautious. In fact the main Russian field army, under the command of Prince Menshikoff, was by now positioned on the high ground overlooking the River Alma. The Russians had deployed a detachment forward of the main position under the command of General Kiriakoff, and it is this force that the British were about to encounter.

On the afternoon of 19 September the allied army reached a small river, the Bulganak, beyond which was a ridge that blocked the view to the south. On the summit of the ridge sat a group of Cossacks. At this point the British army was stretched out over several miles with a very small cavalry force at the front.  The British dispatched 4 squadrons of cavalry to scout beyond the ridge.

At the crest of the ridge the ground dropped away over a shallow valley, beyond which was another ridge. In the low ground between the ridges a large force of Russian cavalry was slowly advancing in the direction of the British. On the far ridge were two regiments of infantry and some horse artillery.
This is the point that the battle begins. The British light cavalry are highly exposed facing an overwhelming force of cavalry and Cossacks. The cavalry commander, Lord Lucan arrives to survey the scene as the cavalry deploy into line. 

At first the Russians appear transfixed, unsure as to what they should do. The British can do little other than watch until reinforcements arrive. Lucan sends for Lord Raglan, the Army Commander, who in turn orders some artillery, the 2nd and Light Divisions to cross the Bulganak and close with the enemy. 

On the third move the Russian artillery on the ridge opens fire on the British cavalry to very little effect. Lord Raglan and his headquarters arrives on the field.

On move 4 the Cossacks deploy right and left to encircle the British cavalry, while the remainder advance in skirmish formation. The guns on the ridge continue their ineffective fire.

On move 5 a brisk skirmish develops with casualties mounting for both the British and Russian Cavalry. The British 2nd Division and Light Division begin to cross the river and an artillery battery rushes up across the bridge to engage the Russians.

Move 6 sees the Cossacks charge forward on the left crashing into the British cavalry destroying them, The remnants turn tail and rout back across the river. On the right flank the second group of Cossacks lunge for the British battery, which attempts to unlimber. A company of the Rifle Brigade attempt to engage the Cossacks with fire, but it is ineffective. The Cossacks charge home, smashing into the British gunners.

By turn 7, on the right flank the British artillery remnants run from the field, but the Rifle Brigade now have two companies on the ridge, who unleash devastating fire upon the Cossacks, cutting down over 60 of them. The Cossacks turn tale and retreat up the road.


On the left flank the 2nd Division, armed with Minie rifles tear into the Cossacks who have charged into the the British light cavalry and are regrouping after their charge. They take around a 100 casualties and break. Meanwhile the remaining Russian cavalry withdraw back out of rifle range towards the second ridge. The Russian artillery turns its attention to the 2nd Division which is emerging from the river. The British light cavalry rout from the field.

By turn 8 the two British Divisions are clear of the river and are advancing in a long line towards the Russians. On the other side of the valley, the Russian infantry advanced down the slope to engage the British.

On move 9 the British close the distance with the Russians and open fire at medium range causing some casualties. At this point the advantage of the rifle armed British becomes evident. The Russian muskets are not able to effectively reach the advancing enemy.


On move 10 both sides exchange fire along the ridge. The Russian fire is ineffective, but the British volleys are devastating. The Russian units begin to crumble and pull back up the ridge.
The battle is over. The British do not have any cavalry available to pursue and the remaining Russians withdraw beyond the ridge. So ends the first engagement.

 The historical battle ended with the cavalry skirmish, after which the Russians withdrew (the cossacks did not charge and there was no infantry firefight).

Sunday 22 September 2013

British Heavy Dragoons    

Here is the first of three regiments of British heavy dragoons to join my army. Made up from the Douglas Miniatures one piece casting (see earlier posts) they represent the 6th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, which was one of the five regiments that made up the Heavy Brigade in the Crimea:

Coming soon will be the Scots Greys.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

The Foot Guards   

The foot guards of the British army in the Crimea were central to several actions and rather than being held in reserve they were often at the forefront of the action. This was the case during the battle of the Alma when the Guards and Highland brigades stormed the Russian positions on the heights. The same can be said for the Battle of Inkerman, with the guards in the thick of the fighting.

Douglas Miniatures represents the foot guards with five figures as follows:

B8 Guards Officer - drawn sword.
B9 Guardsman Advancing.
B10 Guardsman Firing.
B18 Guards Standard Bearer.
B21 Guardsman Running.

All of the above figures are currently available from John Cunningham's range, less the standard bearer, as so far a master figure has not been found. It is assumed that this figure would follow the practice of others in the range, with the standard being added to the officer figure. I have converted officer figures to standard bearers in my collection.

There is a problem with B8 and B9, in that the original mould creates figures with very weak swords and bayonets. A high percentage of mine broke off during painting. I recall this being a problem with the original figures back in the 70s. In any case I have replaced all of the swords and bayonets on my figures in order to overcome this issue. Here are some shots of the painted figures, the Coldstream Guards:

Here are a couple of close ups of the officer and standard bearers. The flags were sourced from the internet, sized and printed on ordinary paper. They are covered in PVA glue to give strength.

Finally a view of an unpainted running figure:

Saturday 14 September 2013

More Russian Infantry           

Here are the Russian infantry in firing poses:

R3 Russian Infantry in Helmet Firing:

R17 Russian Infantry in Soft Hat Firing:

Thursday 12 September 2013

The French 

Sadly the Douglas range did not include very much to represent the French effort in the Crimea, with just one figure: F1 French Zouave.

This figure is in the pose more commonly found in the Napoleonic and Marlburian range, with the figure standing side on and weapon held across the hips, whereas most of the Crimean range are depicted advancing:

Sunday 8 September 2013

More on Artillery

Limbers and Artillery Teams

Douglas Miniatures produced limbers and horse teams for both sides. In fact the sets were identical apart from the outriders and the limbers themselves.

Russian Limber

This item comes in 7 parts:

R8 Russian Limber set, which includes a top for the limber.
A4 traces
A5 x 2 Wheels

The set also needs 4 horse, two each of

BH 2 Artillery Horse Saddled
BH 3 Artillery Horse Off Side
R28 Cossack Horse Artillery Outrider

British Limber

This item uses many common parts from the Russian limber, except for

A3 Limber Centre Pole

B20 RFA Outrider

And finally the British Gun:


Wednesday 4 September 2013

Commanders and Staff Officers

Here we have a dilemma as all good armies need commanders and there is nothing in any of the Douglas Range that could be used or converted easily. I have searched high and low for solutions and so far there are two options. First it is possible to use 20mm Napoleonic Generals and staff, although the tunic from the early 1800s is quite different to the frock coats more commonly worn in the Crimea. I have found that the Rose miniatures 20mm figure of Wellington is a reasonable starting point. This figure is currently available from Garrison Miniatures. The horse on this figure is not good, but at least it gives a generic general figure. I have painted three, one British officer in full dress tunic, one in undress blue and a Russian in Green:

The second option is to use Strelets figures from the "Charge of the Heavy Brigade set" for British and the "General Staff and Hospital set" for the Russians. There are some more figures in the Light Brigade set too.

Here is a British general with aides:

And some Russian staff, with Douglas figures to give an idea of scale:

British Line Infantry

There were four British Line Infantry figures in the Douglas Miniatures Range:

B5 Infantry Officer - very similar or the same as the artillery officer.
B6 Infantry Advancing
B7 Infantry Firing (seen earlier painted as Rifle Brigade)
B17 Line Infantry Standard Bearer - so far not available.

I like the advancing pose. He is dressed in full marching order and wears the high Albert Shako, and represents a figure as they would have appeared as they stepped off the transport ships early in the campaign in 1854.

Here are the  officer and advancing poses:

As mentioned above the standard bearer is not currently available (anyone got one in the bottom of their spares box?); however, if the figure follows previous Douglas Miniatures practice the ensign will be an adaptation of the officer figure. This is the case with the Russians and some of the Napoleonic ranges. So until an example surfaces I have adapted some of the line infantry officer figures:

Here is the 68th Foot, part of the British 4th Division during the Crimean war.

And here we have a British Brigade, the Right Brigade of the 4th Division, consisting of 20th Foot, 68th Foot and 1st Rifle Brigade. (the 21st Regiment is still to disembark!!). The staff officers are adapted from the Rose Miniatures 20mm Napoleonic range.

Monday 2 September 2013

British Foot Artillery


Douglas Miniatures  represents the Royal Artillery with four figures;

B12 Foot Artillery Officer with Sword
B13 Foot Artillery Gunner with Spike
B14 Foot Artillery Gunner with Ball
B15 Foot Artillery Gunner with Ramrod

The gun uses common parts (wheels and barrel) with the Russian version, except that the gun carriage is A1 - Gun Carriage with Solid Trail.

The gun crew are dressed in light scales campaign dress (no pack) and wear the Albert shako. The officer figure looks identical to B5 British Infantry Officer - which is OK as the uniform is the same for the two, just different colours.