Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Arab Cavalry, a show and lots more

Just a quick post to to share the latest Arab cavalry I have completed. These are conversions from the plastic gripping beast cavalry where I used the riders for camel riders. I knew I needed to use the horses somehow so picked up some Essex Miniatures sometime ago as some simple generic Arab cavalry. They are not e perfect fit and needed some tricky bending of the legs. They also come with an additional saddle blanket and I just couldn’t be bothered to trim the plastic horses that much.

Think they have come out ok I have kept them fairly generic although I am regretting the shields being quite so colourful
They will generally play as medium cavalry, and in fact they had their first run out on Sunday.
Next up a couple more shots of Hadrian’s wall

If anybody is keen enough to want to watch a short video of our walk I have uploaded a video to my utube channel here….

I has also mentioned that we would be playing some Wargames on the walk, a few people questioned this madness. Anyway I have a couple of very mobile games just for this sort of situation. This is an excellent game by Pocket Battles , Z man games I think, with Romans vs Celts. Small enough to be carried on the walk, simple but surprisingly complex when you have played a few games. My son with the Romans got the hang of it quicker than I did we played several games with the majority going the way of the Romans.
Some more history form the walk a little known fact that Edward 1st dies in Cumbria close to a small village called Burgh by Sands, there is a modern statue in the village
…and a 17th century monument marking the location, which is very remote on the solway plain
Finally I visited my Father in Edinburgh this weekend to coincide with the Falkirk Wargame show Carronade. I was restricted slightly on time and the show was slightly reduced in size and sadly no bring and buy this year, but it was great to be at a show. Managed to catch up with a few acquaintances 
Two of the games which caught my eye, this one for you David, Wellington in India
and a very good Operation Sealion game by Glasgow Wargame club
I felt obliged to spend some money so support the traders who have held on till shows started again. A mixed bag and a couple of second hand buildings
Finally one of my nephews in Edinburgh has been getting very interested in family history and has spent a lot of time tracking our family line back. I am not certain of the actual authenticity as it is all through one of the ‘ancestor’ type websites. However, if his work is correct it appears we go all the way back to Charlemagne ! Nice idea but I guess this far back things are a little tricky. Perhaps more interesting it is pretty clear we go back to the Deverveux Family wealthy lords and landowners in the Welsh borders which would likely be correct as that is traditionally where the family is from.

That’s enough stuff for now, some more Dark age figures to paint for the weekend and a battle to blog as well from Sunday.

Matt (Distant heir to the King of all the Franks)

Thursday, 23 September 2021

When British Morale fails : The Battle of White Plains : AWI

Many of you will have already seen Jonathan’s post on this our latest battle tracking history through the American War of Independence. With the result as they say in the bag I thought perhaps I would instead just share some lovely shots of the Lake District, with a Monday off it was one of those lucky days where weather is kind on the high fells and I made the most of it 😀

Anyway enough of that nonsense and on to the battle report. Following the battle of Long Island Howe chased Washington’s army north after a small engagement at Harlem heights the two armies manoeuvred north and then east. Washington taking up a defensive position around the town of White Plains on the 28th October I think. As Gen Howe brought up the British army he sought again to outflank to American position, this time to the left. Seeing the move Washington dispatched a number of regiments to hold high ground beyond the Bronx River, Chatterton Hill. 
The flanking force consisted of Hessians under Von Rall (Rahl) it seems to be spelt two ways and the British 2nd Brigade under Leslie. Historically after a hard fight and cannon bombardment the Germans forced the American militia units on the far left to flee, seeing their position outflanked the Americans fought a rearguard action and withdrew back across the Bronx River, before Washington then pulled the whole army back. The map above shows roughly the scene of the major fighting and where our battle is focussed.
I found this Command and Colors set up on the web and used this to develop our battle. It was to be a virtual game as usual so some simplification needed, for our game we agreed two key objectives for the British minor victory for the hill and a major victory for pushing through to the bridge cutting off the forces retreat route and effectively outflanking the main force. As most of you will know the British have struggled with these frontal assaults during this campaign so they do outnumber the American troops, although some of this is quality rather than quantity.
A nice painting of the American forces making their way up Chatterton Hill. On to the action 👍
American forces dug in East of the Bronx in front of White Plains, behind them the bridge.
General Leslie with the second Brigade ready for the assault his orders to take the high ground and outflank the Rebel position
Supporting him on the left German mercenaries and the 16th light Dragoons 
The Americans are now in position on Chatterton Hill 
Supported on their far right by New York Militia 
A cheer goes up from the Hessian grenadiers as they are ordered forward led by a small unit of jägers they will likely make short work of the militia in front of them
General Leslie orders the second brigade to cross the bronx river
His combined light infantry unit leads the way
With other regiments heading for a Ford over the river
A ripple of gun fire from the far left as the jägers engage the militia
The British artillery opens up
But the American forces have been holding their nerve and open up a devastating volley as the British as they start to cross the river, even at long range it staggers the British advance
Seeing an opportunity some of the American forces in front of White Plains advance out of their defended position !
The first British casualties are the Light Dragoons (newly painted they didn’t stand a chance really) several are cut down and the rest retire (flee)
The rest of the British line holds but the advance as paused
Across the river the river the combined light infantry lead the way, they take the brunt of the next American volley and the British Morale has started to collapse. With only a few casualties the lights are pinned and then roll a double one and flee !
The leading Hessians suffer the same result in the same turn another double one and they run, lucky they have a chance to rally later
The American cannon at White Plains opens up as well
Seeing the British morale wavering the Americans chose to push forward !
Rallied the Hessians are back in the fight
Leslie leading a second British unit across the river starts to take the battle to the Rebels
But then calamity a stray shot hits the General and he is down
The British artillery continue firing but the British unit beyond them is broken when Leslie is shot
Lucky they too rally, but the battle is lost another British regiment (luckily I didn’t take a photo) rolled a double one morale test fleeing from the field
The rest of the army continues in pockets to push forward but inevitably they start to break as well, the Germans having had Von Rall flee with his unit and seeing the jägers wiped out also eventually fails morale test and pull back from the battle. The militia repeatedly failed to activate but when they did they were devastating in one turn killing five Hessians in one volley !
Despite Washington’s caution the troops beyond the Bronx buoyed by their victory advance down the hill presumably to take up a defensive position along the river ? The British morale collapse was a salutary lesson for Howe, unfortunately this may make him even more cautious in the future.

A fun battle despite the poor performance of the British. It certainly felt at the start the British had the upper hand and the rebels would struggle. The three failed morale checks in a two turns was pretty devastating stalling the assault before it got going. At least General Leslie died on the field so he doesn’t have to answer to Howe at an inquiry into the poor performance of his brigade. The really good part of this ongoing campaign is providing the opportunity to delve further into the AWI, learning more about the conflict and how it developed. Along the way my AWI collection has significantly expanded and I still have several units waiting in the line for painting.

A couple more photos from my recent walk to round things off

More to come soon 👍

Thursday, 16 September 2021

The 16th Dragoons : AWI

The temporary pause from blogging is over as we have now settled back in from our Hadrian Wall walk. First up though we are planning our next AWI game the Battle of White Plains, I haven’t quite completed the scenario but from my reading the British 16th Light Dragoons played a small part in the battle. Having previously done some American cavalry it was a chance to balance things up.

16th Light Dragoons
These of course are Perry Miniatures (minus the vent runs 🙂) I do have the dismounted figures but I haven’t got round to them yet

As I have previously mentioned we spent last week walking Hadrian’s wall, the weather was fantastic, plenty of beautiful countryside, a good amount of excellent beer, exercise and an abundance of military / Roman history that kind of sums up the week. For those of a technical preference the wall is 84 miles long although the walk is according to my sons Strava record closer to 95 miles including the wiggles I guess. We took 6 days which was tough but manageable as I do quite a bit of mountain walking anyway. We carried our stuff but stayed in hotels etc along the wall. The heat was our biggest challenge as day 4 saw temperatures up to 29 degrees and the nature of the wall is water is only available at certain locations. But we survived and although I had walked  chunk of the central section before it gave a different experience to travel the full length in one go as it were.

I don’t plan to share all the photos (there are lots) in one go and will instead drop them in over the next few posts. Here are just a few to share I will happily discuss any aspects of the walk for those interested. Whilst not complete it is the most magnificent tribute to the Roman Empire and still quite inspiring.

Hopefully back to gaming this weekend.👍