Monday, October 11, 2010

The War of 1812

A still from a documentary about the burning of the White House (courtesy of the History Channel - not just about Nazis and Sharks you know...)

While I slog away happy at my Command & Colours: Napoleonics lists, I have had time to spare a thought for my much neglected copy of For Honour&Glory: War of 1812.

This is a game similar to Command & Colours: Napoleonics produced by Worthington Games. It's not exactly to my tastes, but its not a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. Now as it happens I have a deplorable tendency to buy Ospreys by the dozen if they can be got cheaply. They are then unceremoniously turfed onto a shelf until I find time for them. I bought the Osprey "The United States Army 1812-1815" by James Kochan as part of a job lot when Mrs. Kinch and I were on honeymoon. At two pounds sterling per book it would have been a shame to leave them.

So I have a conflict about which I know very little, but which would allow me to use my British figures with the addition of some Royal Marines and Militia. The Osprey would suggest that the American forces were clothed very much in the British style, which would allow me to use some more of the 600 odd HAT Pensinular British Infantry I bought last year.

Further reading is required as at present I know the following...

- there was a war between Britain and the United States of America between 1812-1815.
- the ostensible cause of the war was the impressment of American sailors by the Royal Navy.
- the war imperiled the supply of grain to the army in Spain.
- the Americans attempted to invade Canada several times and failed.
- the Royal Navy took a pounding at the hands of large American frigates until the action between the HMS Shannon and the USS Chesapeake.
- the Americans won the battle of New Orleans after peace had been signed.
- at some point during the proceedings someone, presumably a chap in a redcoat, burned down the White House (see above).

Unfortunately, I seem to have lost the scenario booklet from For Honour & Glory, so I've very little idea of how many troops I'll need to play the scenarios provided. Counting the blocks in the game suggests that I'll need a simply impractical number of militia.

I imagine I might use Imex's "Alamo Defenders" as militia, but six boxes of chaps is rather a lot, unless of course the militia wore uniforms and I can use some of my British infantry. Another research job, I think.

Any suggestions, gentlemen?


  1. Ahh, my backyard, One of the good things about the war is you can do entire battles in the table at a battalion level.

    On line and free there is some good stuff here:

    Of course I highly recommend Stuart Asquith's guide to said war. I haven't seen his new scenario book yet and anyway it doesn't include any pictures of my figures but probably useful none the less.

    As for militia, yes on both sides most of the ones found in battles are wearing uniforms. Top hats are popular with US militia so Spanish guerrillas may be handy bur also some of the Alamo chaps. Western ones tended to go for hunting shirts, a bit harder to find in 1/72. Accurate/Revel do some in their AWI militia set and there is one figure in stocking cap useful as Quebec militia but all the tricorne guys are of a little use so a lot of wastage.

    Brits can be easily converted to US, The early shako was close enough to serve for early war & militia but no rolled greatcoat on the pack. (either cut off or ignore) The later cap was similar to Belgic shako but the cords were different, a bit of trimming and paint can fix that. As usual in the boonies, a lot of difficulty with uniform supply so lots of leeway.
    Brit cav is standard Light Dragoon. For US regulars I might start with French dragoons, not quite right but close if you skip the lapels. Not much of either in any event.

  2. The only thing I know about this war was that practically all Wellington's most experienced regiments from the Peninsula went to America when the ogre was first captured, and as a result were not available for the 100 days - a close run thing indeed, and their absence made it closer....

    I have to say - if I was going to have a project in this period...... I'd rather do the peninsula... :o))

  3. Ross,

    Thanks for the information. I might be in touch for some more advice.

    I hope to use my Spanish militia as Spanish militia, but I'll see what I can find.

    I think I'll sort out my Americans regulars first. Irregular do militia in hunting shirts, but I'd rather use up my extra British figures first. I'll have to find a regiment or two of shako wearing uniformed militia.

  4. Steve,

    This is merely a dabbling using figures I have spare from my Peninsular project.

    Never fear thrashing the frogs shall ever remain close to my heart.

  5. Also check out Company of Military Historian prints. The online previews are useful:

    also the New York public library digital images

  6. Hey Conrad,

    Some of HaT's Belgian and Dutch Militia make good stand-ins for some of the more uniformed American Militia. (Who could resist forming a unit like the Baltimore Mechanical Jagers! Let visions of multi-ton killing machines haunt the mind of your opponent, while this group of mechanics and craftsmen help man the city's defenses!)

    As for more "backwoodsy" types, check out HistoriFigs at Their Jack Scruby line of 25mm figures for the ARW have some Morgan's Riflemen that mix perfectly with HaT's figures.


  7. I am still not prepared to forgive the blackguards for burning down the Library of Congress!

    French & Indian War in miniature next though?

  8. Hush now with your temptations McCarthy, you transplanted Corkonian bolshevik. The French Indian war requires the buying of more stuff - which is precisely what I'm trying to avoid.

  9. Conrad,

    British Marines can be used as Pennsylvania Militia Infantry. New York and Canadian Militia Cavalry wore the tarleton helmet, so RHA riders (or early British Lt Dragoons) will suffice. Early American Artillery wore bicorns. Check the files at Ken Cliffe's Toy Soldier Wargame group on Yahoo--I posted dozens of pictures of 1812 uniforms there.

    Best regards,

    Chris Johnson