Thursday, 8 June 2023

French Napoleonic Artillery, more Sicily and the KV a is king 🙂

A mixed bag this week first up I have finished some Napoleonic French artillery. I bought these of my mate Steve who was having a clear out, a mixed bag of French Napoleonics, some cavalry and also these Eagle Miniatures line artillery. I hadn’t planned to paint them straight away. They needed stripping which I think I have sorted a pretty good technique now so they were cleaned up within a day or two. I quite like the reconditioning of figures so they jumped to the front of the queue.

French Line artillery
They are slightly older Eagle miniatures but a good size and have come out nicely. They have massive 12pdrs. My only criticism is the gun crews come with too many men carrying ramrods ? This aside they make a lovely battery. With this purchase I actually have too many French cannons, I’ll just have to collect more infantry I suppose ?

Next up a few more shots from Our recent Sicily holiday.
The benefit of hiring a car means we were able to maximise our time, travelling inland to the Castello de Lombardia. Perched on the top a very steep hill in a small town.
It is described in the guide book as one of the largest castles in Italy , Norman in origin but then developed extensively by future kings.
We then travelled to a small town called Piazza Armenia where there is the superbly preserved Villa Romana de Casale. This is a recognised UNESCO site and in my humble opinion lived upto the hype. The villa has been partially reconstructed to give you and idea of the scale but it is the mosaics which are famous. Every room including hallways are decorated with the most fabulous mosaics, each one unique. Here are just a couple of examples
The room above is 4 or 5 metres across.
One of the hallways
Another anti room . Apparently they think all the mosaics were down by North African artisans and craftsmen. 
Finally in a packed day we visited the ancient town of Morgantina, built around 450BC taken by the Romans but then abandoned. This is a wonderful site with so much to see.
Wonderfully preserved as it hasn’t been built over as it is in the middle of nowhere , apparently still loads to unearth gave a real sense of stepping back in time.

…and finally just back form the latest installment of our Smolensk campaign which we are playing using George’s wonderful collection.
The Russians as previously documented have taken a beating the last couple of games so this battle was critical. Here they are defending the railway station at all cost.
Time to roll out the BIG guns the KV trundled onto the table to defend the railway station.
Enough said……..
The Russians are back on the front foot, think the German tanks might have scratched the paint slightly on the KV but we can touch that up. I’m too embarrassed to give a full report so George will have to cover that. A very fun battle now I just have to work out how to get the KV into every battle ?

Thanks all for checking in, hopefully another game at the weekend and I’m close to finishing another British Napoleonic unit 

Matt 👍

Monday, 5 June 2023

Battle of Plataea 479BC

I staged this battle some months ago as a hex game with Jon but the plan had been for some time to transfer this to a larger format. Whilst the actual battle developed over several days the key the key 24 hours developed into three distinct engagements. Partly through the design and partly by luck my Greek and Persian armies match the make up of the various contingents when placed across a 12x6 battlefield. As a reminder of the situation (as it is understood) the two armies were each broken into roughly three broad ‘wings’ they had faced off for several days with the Greeks not wanting to fight on flat open ground where the Persians cavalry would have an advantage and the Persians of course wanting to find as much flat ground as possible for their cavalry. This stand off took place across the River Asopus. When the Spartans forming the right wing of the Greek army decided to move a dangerous gap was formed in the Greek line and the Persians decided to cross the river and attack.

A map of the situation.
This converted onto the table. In the foreground the Athenians in front of Plataea face off against the Persian Greek allies including the Thebans and Greek cavalry. In the Persian centre the Medes, Bactrians and other Persian satrap allies, face a reforming group of minor Greek states. In the distance the Spartans isolated by the Asopus ridge gave the bulk of the Persian army and cavalry.
The Spartans won’t fight until the gods have been honoured with a sacrifice and the signs are in their favour, a ritual called the spaghia, according to history it took several attempts before Pausanias appealed to the temple of Hera at plataea when the omens improved and they could start the battle,  Meanwhile the Persians were shooting at them ! For those interested the table is 12x6 feet, figures are a mix, many Victrix Greeks, lots of Foundry, Wargames factory Persians, others as well. We would be using Kings of War which works for us.
The Persian main force under Mardonius leaving the Persian fort on the other side of the Asopus River, Persian light cavalry and Sparabara with some spearmen.
The Persian Greek allies including Thebans advance towards the Athenians 
Greek cavalry fighting for the Persians ! And in the centre hordes of bactrian and median spearmen.
The Athenians advance to hold the river line as a defensive position
The attack in the Persian centre starts to break up
The Spartans of course hold fast while the Persian cavalry pepper them with arrows and javelins
In the centre the first significant infantry combat where the more heavily armed Greeks get the better of the lighter bactrians
The Thebans hold their advance closing to hurl slingshot across the river rather than come to grips
The Persian cavalry have weakened the Spartans slightly but the omens have improved and the Spartans move to the attack
Piecemeal fighting in the centre not yet decisive for either side
Crunch as the Spartans crash into the Immortals, light cavalry continue to harry the Spartan flank (I wonder why the Spartans never developed cavalry ?)
Across the river still a stand-off 
But having weakened the Athenian line the Thebans are order to assault
Several phases of combat and the Spartans are inevitably cutting the Persian infantry to pieces but they have been significantly weakened and there are two lines of Persians !
The Greeks have won the centre, but both flanks are still hotly contested
Still the Spartans and Persians are fighting, but the Spartans are very close to breaking
Despite the risk of charging through the river the Thebans assault 
The Spartans are breaking ! One of the Royal guard units has been cut down to a man
Another smaller contest has now started to hold the broken ground on the Asopus ridge
Finally the Spartans are worn down by the tricky hit and run tactics of the Persian cavalry, if only they hadn’t fought on the open plain !
The final Spartans choose to die rather than surrender 
The Greek unit here in the foreground were awarded the honours for the battle as they destroyed 3 or 4 units on their own here they are about to charge the rear of some Galatian hill tribes
The whole battle now rests on the conflict by the town
Although we are close to the end of the battle we choose to run one final combat phase in this area to assess the overall result
The Thebans win the day and the Athenians are sent running back into the town in panic
A battlefield covered with the dead and dying…..

A splendid battle very close, the Persians won the left, very hard to see how the Spartans can actually win, as they have no cavalry and no support and are outnumbered, we have considered giving the Persian cavalry limited ammo in future battles ? The Greeks have crushed the centre but the Persian (Greeks) have beaten back the Athenians to claim a narrow win. I think we played about 8 turns and took about 4 hours of gaming.

This was a lot of fun a great to get pretty much all my Greeks and Persians on the battlefield. Hoping to play Marathon at some point in the future 😀

Thanks as always for checking in


Thursday, 1 June 2023

Napoleonic Commanders and British Hussars

I have been working away in the background on the Peninsular Napoleonics to try and keep the growing ‘lead pile’ under control. Here are the fruits of my labour 

French officer, he will play most likely as a General de Brigade, think he is a Warlord figure
Uxbridge, but will most likely play as a Cavalry Brigade commander or perhaps army commander in smaller battles, he is Perry
A Portuguese brigade commander, Warlord figure I quite like the fact that the British have only given him a tiny horse presumably making him the butt of British jokes ?
…and some British light cavalry 18th Hussars I think. Did they ever really wear 14” hats on campaign probably not but they look splendid. They came second hand from a show with the bits removed from the sprues, and it was only when I came to put them together I realised they didn’t have their carbines. So don’t look too closely at the cut down muskets they have.

Day three of our Sicily trip
Capo Murro di Porco
Now a protected nature reserve but in WW2 these were I believe Italian army quarters.
Perhaps of more interest this is the site of the Lamba Doria gun battery which was captured by the British SAS under Paddy Maine on day one of the Sicily invasion
Crumbling a bit now fairly overgrown (and slightly unnerving as I had seen quite a large snake in the nature reserve)
But you can still make out the main structures and climb down if you wish 
On the drive back to Syracuse we stopped at the Ponte Grande bridge, replaced by a newer bridge but a small plaque commemorates the location. Captured by British glider troops again on day one of the invasion although later lost I think.
One of two trips into Syracuse itself the Temple of Apollo on Ortigia, which was an island back in 400 BC but now linked by two bridges. The whole Ortigia area was preferably to the rest of the city which was very impressive
…and at the end of the promontory Castello Maniace, although it was shut for some reason we didn’t really have time to visit anyway but a very impressive structure, the main structure built by Frederick II in around 1240 to protect the port of Syracuse.

More stuff to come of the Napoleonic production line soonish 

Thanks as always