Monday, April 30, 2012

A parcel arrives!

A Trooper of the Blues and a Horse Grenadier of the Guard

I got up early this morning as I had some paperwork to do and until someone invents a 26 hour day, there doesn't seem to be any prospect of my doing the business of work in work in the near future.

However, there was some light at the end of the tunnel as I took delivery of a parcel from England. Mark had sent over the latest additions to the Hundred Days project, speciffically a Horse Grenadier of the Guard and a Revell Horse Guard.

As always, click to embiggen

 I actually think I prefer the plastic Revell figures to the SHQ metal, there is a greater delicacy to the sculpting and he sits his horse better. The Horse Guard is as you can probably tell, one of the Blues. Both men will be representing Guard Heavy Cavalry units in the Waterloo scenario. It is looking like it is very possible that I may have this project ready to go before June.

And I'm not the only one with stirrings of 1815, David Crook appears to have the same condition.

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Saturday, April 28, 2012

Thoughts on Mahratta Armies in Command & Colours: Napoleonics

 A Mahratta Light Horseman

Some rough notes on using a Mahratta army in Command & Colours Napoleonics. I'm using the Battle of Assaye as my benchmark here and will work up a scenario shortly. 

Notes on Company troops, etc to follow.

European Trained Troops (Core Troops)

This are chaps trained to fight in line in the European style, armed with flintlocks. Pohlmann's fellows and so forth.

Rate as Portuguese Line Infantry.

House Troops  (Non-Core Troops)

Non-European trained troops, tradionally armed with matchlocks, spears, etc.

Rate as Spanish Line Infantry

Bargirs (Core Troops)

Heavily armoured Mahratta cavalry, paid for by the state.

Rate as Portuguese Light Cavalry.

Silladars (Non-Core Troops)

The common run of Mahratta horse, who provide their own horses and weapons. A step above Pindari. 

Rate as understrength Portuguese Light Cavalry, two stands.


Cossacks in turbans, lightly armed marauders, paid in plunder. Completely useless on the battlefield and used entirely for scouting. Underdoing something of a rehabilitation apparently.

Not typically depicted on the tabletop. 

Rocketeers (Non Core Troops)

I has originally thought to include these fellows as a type of artillery unit, but further reading would seem to indicate that they weren't that effective. However, it would be a crying shame to field a Mahratta army and not have rockets. Place a rocketeer figure with an artillery unit, the rocketeer may be activated and battle using the special rule outlined below. Rocketeers are subject to risk like leaders and are destroyed if the accompanying artillery unit is destroyed.

Arab Mercenaries (Core Troops)

Disorganised but brave, useful mainly for shock action.

Four strength Portuguese infantry unit. May move two and battle in melee. Battles with an additional die if full strength.

Artillery (Core Troops)

I'm in two minds about this, most sources describe the Mahratta artillery as very good. However, if they were as good as they were made out to be, it seems hard to understand how they could have lost at Assaye counting the massive superiority they enjoyed in guns. I must go back to my sources and do some playtesting. They don't appear to have been particularly mobile. Not sure about this one.

Rate as understrength Portuguese Foot Guns (two stands)

Leaders (Core Unit)

These work just like any other armies leaders. I am sorely tempted by a Pohlman on an elephant though, a Scindia too. Not least a suitably dastardly looking Tiger of Mysore.

Special Rules

Core & Non Core units. 

Having read over my Jac Weller, "Wellington in India", Byron Farrell et al, Mahratta armies never really seemed to be in danger unless the high social status or European trained troops started dying or running. The peons could be driven from the field and no-one, least of all their own commanders seemed to expect anything less. Consequently, the Mahratta army is divided into Core and Non-Core units.

Core units count for flags, None-Core do not.

Shakey Morale

When two non-core units have been destroyed, the owning player must remove a third non-core unit. Where a non-core unit is adjacent to an enemy unit, it must be removed for preference.

Rocket Strike

Play any card to make a 2 dice attack on two adjacent hexes with six hexes of the rocket unit. The card has no effect other than making the attack.

"An ee's generally shammin' when ee's dead"

Play one tactics card to replace an artillery casualty marker in an unoccupied hex (i.e. a dead artillery unit) with a fresh unit, which is now activated.  The dead unit still counts for flags.The card has no effect other than making the attack.


The troops described here probably seem very weak, but I anticipate fielding them in very large numbers. A Company army of 12-14 units, should be facing a Mahratta force of 18-30 units.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

General Gormand's retreat from Kingstown (UPDATED)

General Gormand sets out in good heart and with suitable attire

Update:  Ladies and Gentlemen, the correct link to donate is here. My apologies for not seeing to it earlier, rest assurred I will not allow thes blog to descund to the leval of The Grauniad. 

For those of you who are unaware, last year Mrs Kinch's cousin, my friend and his wife, lost a child. Her name was Kathryn Casey and she died on the 27th of May last year. She was extremely well cared for at Temple Street Children's Hospital and was permanently attached to a Patient Monitor. This device costs €20,000. In order to raise money for this device,  General Gourmand and I will be walking to the Boyne Battle site on the 12th of July.  This is a distance of some 30 miles and we will be play a scenario based on the Battle of the Boyne at the end of it.

Neither of us are small men nor have we done such a distance before, so a certain amount of training is required. At present we have approximately €3,500 raised in pledges, mostly through the good offices of the Irish Games Association and Gaelcon.

Should you wish to wish to assist us, you may make a donation here.

This was our first relatively long distance training walk and we covered about 20 miles.

General Gorman crossing the Liffey
(apologies to William Gotlieb Leutze)

We forged ahead, allowing absolutely no distractions...

We considered this a good omen - there followed a long, but fruitful conversation about how we'd use Command & Colours: Napoleonics to refight the Alma.

The spires of Kingtown are in sight

It's important to get your fluids.

And thus fortified, General Gorman began his retreat from Kingstown.

Sadly, the weather did not hold

Much like Marshall Ney, General Gormand was the last over the Liffey

 And home again, home jiggedy jig.

This was a useful exercise and one that pushed me rather harder than I expected, as I am flat footed (dirisive laughter from the company, confusion reigns, order, order!).  Proper footwear is key. 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hungarian Interlude

Some of Kristians Hungarian cavalry
(picture stolen from History in 1/72)

I've been in a bit of a funk of late, a combination of a couple of things, a work schedule that means that Mrs Kinch and I have seen very little of each other, a nagging injury that will not seem to heal and a number of personal and political disappointments. It's left precious little time for wargaming or anything else for that matter.

On the upside, I made the acquaintance of Kristian, a Hungarian modeller, who will be staying in Ireland for a while. We had a good old chinwag covering the current economic crisis, uniforms of the 1809 campaign, the relationship between Hungary and Poland, Arthur Griffiths "Resurrection of Hungary" and Uwe's Indian adventures.

Kristian is actively looking for painting commissions. You can see some examples of his work here.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy Saint George's Day

St George - The patron saint of scouts

Thank you for the Clash, Queen, Shakespeare, parliaments, unarmed police forces, Sir Henry Newbolt, Graham Greene, the Book of Common Prayer, Shelley, John Donne, the Common Law, Allan Mallinson, Alan Moore, Patrick O'Brian, Ridley Scott, the Authorised Version, GK Chesterton, Joe Orton, Jeremy Brett, Peter Cushing and cream teas.

I know I've left a few out (not least Donald Featherstone and Paddy Griffith), but anyway thank you.

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Further notes on an Indian wargame from reading "Wellington in India".

1. The British army was accompanied by a large number of Mahratta horse. These fellows never seem to have been engaged in battle, but did considerable service in standard light cavalry duties, most notably in piquet work.

2. Logistics is key. Much of Wellsleys struggles concerned getting transport and food. Using large quantities of ready money appears to have helped a great deal.

3. There were no common currencies and care had to be taken to ensure that a supply of accepted cash was on hand.

4. Getting appropriate food stuffs was also an issue. Relatively limited 18th century palates could have difficulty adapting to rice and vice versa.

5. Curiously enough, access to potable water doesn't seem to have been an issue - though much is made of puckalees in battle.

6. The Indian armies described appear to have melted away once the core European style infantry have been beaten. There's a victory rule in their somewhere.

7. Intelligence is key and seems to have come mainly from the binjarries, who were grain merchants, and the hircarrahs, who were professional messengers.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

2nd Dutch Line, 3rd Netherland Division

2nd Dutch Line, 3rd Netherland Division

As I've mentioned before, I've been mustering troops for the Quatre Bras and Waterloo scenarios. I already have sufficient British troops, more than enough in fact, so the bulk of my time has been devoted to the Dutch, Belgians, Brunswickers and Nassauers. At the scale I'm dealing with the troops are purely representational, I picked troops that I liked.

The Brunwickers were a natural choice, as the heavy metal fans of the Napoleonics era, but for the most part I have picked troops that were relatively ordinary. Consider it a sort of reverse snobbishness I suppose, but I have an affection for the troops of the line that battalion upon battalion of Old Guard Grenadiers never stokes. 

Officer, Musician & Sergeant

The above are my first addition to my Dutch forces, the 2nd Dutch Line of the First Brigade of the 3rd Netherlands Division. They were the only line unit, barring some Belgian Jaeger, in the division. They were also "...comparatively weak...could scarcely muster 470 [men]". Wellington apparently did not wish to rely on the division, which was mostly a militia formation and did not fight at Quatre Bras.

They were in the 1st Brigade under Colonel H. Detmers, who in turn reported to Lieutenant General Baron David Hendrik Chasse. According to Mark Adkin's, from whose masterful Waterloo Companion all this is culled, Chasse was known as "General Bayonet".  This nickname was apparently bestowed by General Bonaparte himself, as Chasse had previously been in the French service. He later did good service during the siege of Antwerp in 1832

He'll never eat another tulip

The figures themselves are all HAT plastics straight out of the box. Their Dutch infantry set while not exactly the highest example of the sculptors art, is perfectly serviceable. The actual painting was done by Mark Bevis. The casualty figure is an Irregular Miniatures British casualty, who I think you'll agree is  close enough and had the virtue of lying around in my box of bits doing nothing in particular before he was dragooned into Dutch service.

The division had a relatively quiet morning on the 18th June 1815, being stationed to the west at the village of Braine l'Alleid. However, they were moved to the rear of the British position in the afternoon, where they were called upon to form square when French cavalry penetrated the main Allied line. They took part in the repelling of the attack by the Imperial Guard towards the end of the day, getting cut up in the process and losing about an eighth of their number.

The Napoleon Series had two little known accounts of his Divisions activities at Waterloo, which you may read here.

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