Thursday, October 2, 2014

Differing command styles

A fine book and well worth reading

The late John Keegan wrote a fine book called "The Mask of Command" which discussed the differences in how armies have been led over time, particularly how different commanders have put their own particular stamp on leading.  He contrasts the heroic style of Alexander the Great with the more managerial approach of Ulysses S. Grant, examining in detail the cultural, social and technological pressures that shaped their experience and approach to command. 

It is a hugely significant work and well worth the time. I cannot recommend it to you strongly enough. With that in mind, I would like to bring to particular case studies in command to your attention, less well known, though no less august than Alexander the Great or Adolf Hitler. 

They are of course, General Donogh McCarthy and General Du Gourmand, who led the French and Russian armies at our first Borodino battle some weeks ago. 

For those of you who would like to follow along at home, you will find the map referred to here

General McCarthy

General Du Gourmand

As a small exercise (who says wargaming can not be educational?), I would ask you to watch both of these videos and complete the following assignment. 

1. Describe each general management style in three words or less. 
2. Identify the key points of his plan. 
3. Suggest which of the two won the battle. 

There will be a small prize for the best answer.(1)

(1) An actual fungible prize. No correspondence entered into. Judges decision is final. Do not use while operating heavy machinery. No money returned. To conclude with "God save the King" in full chorus. Value of blogs may go up as well as well as down. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014


A view of the battlefield

This week has been grueling as there have been four 14-15 hour days back to back. It's left precious little time for wargaming, but I am keeping on top of things in work and to be honest, I'm really enjoying my current course of study. I did manage to get in one last hurrah last week when we played Borodino and it was excellent. 

I suppose if I were doing it again, I would do some modelling work on the fleches and so forth, but the old saw that perfect is the enemy of good applies. If we'd waited until the perfect terrain pieces were available, we wouldn't have gotten a game at all.  

As it was, we were ably assisted by Old John who brought over some of his beautiful collection of vintage figures to add to my ranks.  While I was able to represent fleches and so forth by means of stone walls, sandbags, abatis and so forth, we would have been truly sunk without the half dozen units John brought. 

Donogh outlines his plan to his generals, General Sydney and that 
fire eating old Republican Citizen General Kerrigan. 

Donogh led the French in the first battle having announced that he would not command nor be commanded by OldJohn or General Du Gourmand, so they took up the cudgels for the French. 

The first game we played was the Shevardino & Utitza scenario.  As we had an odd number of players, I sat it out and scurried around making sure the score was right ensuring everyone remembered the rules. 

General Du Gourmand & General Lochlainn McHiberinia-O'Eireanneach

The games were hard fought and honours were even at the end of the day. I'll do a proper post on the battles once I get a chance, which may be a while - I have a considerable backlog of battles to chronicle. 

It was a good day and the pints after were just perfect. It was great to see OldJohn and all the boys before I ended up with my nose stuck in a book. 

A view of the battlefield from the Russian left

General Du Gourmand finally gives the order to attack

OldJohn is very happy. 

Actually vibrating with happiness in fact. 

We played the Borodino Village & Raevski Redoubt scenario second and as Mr. E came as a late arrival, I was able to play. Now Mr. E. particularly wanted to play the Russians, so I ended up playing the French for a change - which was interesting.  I faced OldJohn across the table and I think I will let hold off telling the tale of how that ended. 

General Du Gourmand oversees the swirling 
melee in the centre as General Sydney moves more troops in. 

So in conclusion, we got two big games in - played to a conclusion at a leisurely pace.  Set up was relatively painless and once we had OldJohns units sorted we were ready to go.  

On the whole, a very successful day. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Mustering the Russians

That general needs work. 

With only a week to go to the Borodino game - I've been feverishly trying to make sure that I have all the bases covered with the Russian army.  Some kind friends will be bringing reinforcements and a Savage is helping me with new units labels for everything and some flags. 

Busy, busy, busy. 

Friday, September 12, 2014


I was apparently very surprised

I went for a walk with a very good friend of mine yesterday which was good fun.  We chatted and enjoyed each others company, but along the way he dropped a bit of a bombshell on me.

He was of the opinion that I will be using a lot of PDFs in my upcoming studies and that the best way to view these was a Kindle. Then he gave me one.

It was an act of such generosity that I was almost speechless. I have a deep affection for the printed page, but I have over time gathered together a considerable collection of PDF material.  These can be read on a screen, but having tried using the Kindle I am convinced that it is a far superior platform than a laptop for reading PDFs.

Of course, I betrayed every progressive and technological bone in my friends body as soon as I got home.  The first book I've started reading on it is "The Nameless Castle", a late 19th century adventure novel written by a man called the Hungarian Dumas. It was a book I had been meaning to read, but that I only had access to a digital copy.  I had made some attempts on my phone, but the Kindle is a far more pleasent experience.

I am still utterly flabbergasted by my friends generosity, which was as surprising as it was characteristic of the man.

In the meantime, I busy hunting around the intriguing possibilities this gift offers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Borodino Roll Call

"It's 106 miles to the Berezina, we got half a battalion of grenadiers, a dead horse and the woods are full of cossacks."

"Hit it."

I'm terribly sorry. I'm not entirely sure what came over me there. 

A detail from the Borodino panorama 

With the prospect of heading back to school coming ever closer, I have been applying my great mind to getting a proper game in before I dissappear into a death march of school work and work work. With that in mind, I've settled on Borodino as a suitably epic game to keep me occupied. It has meant that I've been frantically basing my Russian troops in order to have everything ready.  OldJohn has also very generous offered to bring some reinforcements if they are needed. 

As with all wargaming projects this starts with a list. There are two Overlord style scenarios on for the Russian campaign, both for Borodino.  Two Overlord scenarios is plenty for a days gaming. 

I compiled a spread sheet listing the troops required and there appear to be a few problems.  I will be able to cover the Russian light cavalry requirements by shifting the Hussars of Conflans into Russian service for the day, but I will need a unit of Russian Guard Heavy Cavalry. I have sufficient line infantry for the Russians, but I am short three units of light infantry and two units of Guard Light infantry. I am short one unit of Russian horse artillery, though truth be told I've simply been substituting a unit of foot artillery and adding a mounted figure as no one seems to make Russian horse artillery. 

Not entirely sure how I will square this particular circle, but we'll make it happen. 

Light Infantry549347527358
Line Infantry459651197166915
Guard Light Infantry2211
Young Guard
Guard Grenadiers11
Old Guard22
Light Cavalry235325134
Heavy Cavalry221111213
Guard Heavy Cavalry11
Foot Artillery213246123235
Horse Artillery1111
Guard Foot Artillery1111

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Over egging the pudding

(image liberated from somewhere or other) 

Reading back on the opening comment of my last post - I have come to the conclusion that I am not very bright and the construction that was put on it by some readers was entirely natural. Sadly, Mrs. Kinch is not in the family way.  The news of which I wrote was that in what is likely to be a triumph of hope over experience I am going back to school to study law.

Sleeping Schoolboy by JB Greuze

This is going to be a big change as fitting 2-3 hours of lectures around 10 hour shifts at work is going to be challenge, but I'm looking forward to it.  I'll be studying for a legal diploma which will take two years part time. It will take rather a chunk out of my gaming time unfortunately and will make serious demands on both myself and Mrs. Kinch. I tend to vary between thinking that this is going to be a fun and challenging thing and thinking I've made a terrible mistake. 

This new interest is not a herald of any change of career or anything like it - I just like the idea of being better at what I'm doing now.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Basing & Flocking

There's some big news coming for the Kinchs, but I'm hoping to get at least one proper game in before it happens. With that in mind I'm scraping troops together to see if I can do the two Overlord style Borodino scenarios available on 

With that in mind I've been basing a flocking like crazy, going through all my boxes and going through all the stragglers. I'm cautiously optimistic that I might be able to pull Borodino off. 

My basing method is pretty simple, a spot of Constables snow over a brown base, a few drops of PVA and then a dunking in some Army Painter static grass and Robert is your mothers brother. En avant!