Friday, November 24, 2017

South Carolina Campaign - Turn 9



We are now on Turn 9 of 12 in the South Carolina Campaign of 1780. On the previous turn, the Rebels inflicted a minor defeat on Lord Rawdon's supply/reinforcement march from Nelson's Ferry to Camden, with Rawdon losing one of his four SPs.

Turn 9 map moves (click to enlarge the view)
British Map Moves - Turn 9

* Lord Rawdon lost 1SP in the action at Westbury Plantation on Turn 8, so he moves his remaining 3SPs to Camden.

* Tarleton returns to Camden with 3SPs

* Camden now has a total of 9SPs, with Lord Rawdon taking command

* Cornwallis moves south through Cheraw and then turns southeast on the road to Kingston, where he believes that Gates might be.

* Garrisons at Fort Granby and Fort Motte abandon their forts and move south to Fort Watson, which now has 3SPs.

* Stewart remains in Charleston with 6SPs

* Maitland remains in Georgetown with 3SPs

* Campbell remains in Savannah, GA with 2SPs


American Map Moves - Turn 9

* Gates remains at Kingston with 4SPs - he is still out of supply and can only move one dot per turn.

* DeKalb remains at the newly captured Fort Granby with 7SPs

* Marion moves south to Nelson's Ferry with 3SPs. This puts Fort Watson out of supply.

* Williams remains in Charlotte with 3SPs

* Sumter remains in Ninety Six with 2SPs

* Augusta, GA garrison has 1SP

* PARTISAN UPRISING! - Andrew Pickens added to the map with 3SPs at the dot between Augusta and Orangeburg. He must remain there for his first turn in the campaign.

Summary Analysis
It would appear that the Americans are reluctant to face the British in any battle against Cornwallis (a wise move it would seem). Thus DeKalb does not move to capture the British supply depot at Camden, because Cornwallis can reach Camden in one turn.

Gates is in trouble at Kingston because he is out of supply and is trapped between the British fort at Georgetown and the approaching army of Cornwallis.

There is a new partisan uprising, adding Andrew Pickens and 3 SPs to the American side. In general, the Americans control most of the back country while the British control the tidewater coastal areas of South Carolina.

There are no battles on Turn 9 so we shall continue on to Turn 10 within the next couple of days.

Campaign Points Summary

The British lead in campaign points with 16 to 15 for the Americans.

Towns Controlled: British (7); Americans (8)
Forts Controlled:  British (1);  Americans (3)
Supply Bases Controlled: British (4); Americans (3)
Captured Leaders  British (1); Americans (1)
Victories  British (3);  Americans (2)
Prisoners Held  British (4); Americans (3)
SPs Lost  British (net minus 4 ); Americans (net minus 5)

Total Campaign Points:  British (16); Americans (15)

Points Analysis: The Americans are benefitting from controlling a large number of towns in the backcountry, which the British have not contested. The Americans also captured the two forts at Ninety Six and Fort Granby, while Fort Motte has been abandoned by the British. These categories help to offset the advantages that the British have in supply bases, victories and prisoners held.

The British will have to pay more attention to controlling more towns over the final three turns or else they could likely lose the campaign. So far, the British have been more concerned about keeping larger armies in the field than they have with controlling towns. The Americans might be less inclined to offer battle to the British as they seem to have a higher probability of losing set piece battles to the redcoats.

One might suspect that the British will start to spread out their forces in order to capture or control more towns and rely less on field victories. The Americans might be wise to avoid battles and focus on controlling towns. This seems to place a greater importance for the British re-establishing control over the forts along the Santee River in central South Carolina and maybe recovering the supply base at Augusta or the fort at Ninety Six.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ambush at Westbury Plantation, South Carolina Campaign


British light companies (red coats) and Ferguson's Rifles (green coats) chase off one of the American militia units. The intense firefight at the crossroads can be seen in the background, in the clouds of smoke from the musketry. All figures are from Fife & Drum Miniatures and the log cabins are from In The Grand Manner buildings.
Click on all pictures to enlarge.


Monday evening I played a solo wargame featuring the ambush of Lord Rawdon's supply column by Francis Marion's parrtisans. The game lasted 9 Turns before I decided that a reasonable conclusion was reached. Marion's partisans achieved their objective of reducing the British force from 4SPs (strength points) to 3SPs or less.

British Forces - Lord Rawdon commanding
2 regiments of British regulars
1 regiment of Loyalists
1 composite unit of light infantry

Patriot Forces - Francis Marion commanding
1 regiment of Marion's Mounted Militia (3rd)
3 regiments of militia

Objectives
The Patriots need to destroy at least one strength point (SP) of British/Loyalist troops. Extra points for capturing any of the supply wagons in the British wagon train.

Brtish objective is to escort their wagon train across the table and off the table edge.

The side that achieves its objective first wins the game.

Table Top Terrain and Ground Rules

The game was played on a 12ft by 6ft table, running the long axis (length) of the table. There are two roads that criss-cross in an "X" pattern on the table. Any part of the table that is neither a road nor surrounded by snake rail fencing is considered to be in the woods. The wooded areas restrict movement to half speed for formed troops and three-quarters speed for unformed troops. Wagons must always stay on the road.

The ambusher (in this case the Patriot army) gets to select where he will position his hidden forces. These are denoted on the bottom side of a poker chip and placed on the table. To provide some uncertainty, the ambusher may also place some blank chips on the table that contain no units. The column commander (the British in this case) does not know if there are hostiles under the various chips. His troops must move up to within 6-inches of the poker chip in order to sight potential ambushers and spring the ambush trap.

Rules
I used my own "Fife & Drum Rules for the AWI" which you can download for free from the Fife and Drum Miniatures webstore site.

Free Fife & Drum rules


Scenario Location
Lord Rawdon is marching a force of 4SPs from Charleston, SC to the British stronghold at Camden. On the previous turn, Rawdon's force marched from Charleston to Nelson's Ferry. On this turn, Rawdon intended to march from Nelson's Ferry to Camden. Brigadier Francis Marion's partisans (3SPs) intercepted and ambushed the British column. Dice rolls added one more unit of militia to Marion's army, thus giving both sides 4SPs (although the British troops were of higher quality). To compensate for the British advantage in quality, I gave all Patriot militia rifles to give them extended range with their firearms.

Map of South Carolina illustrating the location of the action at the Westbury Plantation,
on the road between Nelson's Ferry and the British fortified depot at Camden.
Click or double click the map to enlarge the view.

The historical map of the area is from the James Cook Map of South Carolina in 1773. The locations of Westbury Plantation and Camden are annotated with red arrows.

After Action Game Report
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The British column of march on the road to Camden. Green Loyalist regiment in the lead followed by the 5th Regiment. Light troops cover the front and flanks of the column

Another view of the British column. Westbury Plantation is represented by the white clapboard buildings in the background. A more common backcountry log cabin farmstead is in the foreground.


Ferguson's Rifles light infantry lead the column towards the Westbury Crossroads.
All appears quiet at the Westbury Crossroads.
(the gold poker chips represent potential ambush sites)

The first ambush at the Westbury Crossroads

British light company (in red) springs the first ambush of the game. The militia fire on the British column after they are discovered.

Firing erupts on both flanks of the column!
Note the roadblock of felled trees across the road leading off to the right.

The first militia unit that started the whole shebang takes a lot of casualties and routs down the road and into the safety of the woods. Routed units get two attempts to try to rally. If they fail then the unit is removed from the game.


The threat on the left has been driven off, so the Loyalist regiment faces to its left to fire at the second militia unit on the righthand side of this picture.

Lord Rawdon reorganizes his column and places the 5th Foot at the head of the column, replacing the Loyalists who have taken a lot of casualties and are now a very fragile regiment. Leaving them at the head of the column would be risky as they are more likely to fail morale and run away.


The second ambush

The ambush at the Westbury Crossroads was quickly driven off. The Rebels on the left side routed after taking six casualties from the 5th Regiment and light companies, while the rebels at the road barricade on the right did a "fire and retire" move and they sauntered back towards Westbury Plantation. This regiment would eventually circle around the British column so that it could attack the rear of the column... but that happens much later.

The column moved on with the 5th Regiment replacing the Loyalist Regiment at the head of the column. Ferguson's Riflemen cover the front and flanks of the column to detect any more rebels. They encounter a barricade of felled trees in the roadway. Rawdon suspects that another ambush is in the offing (do you think?)


The Patriots block the road with felled trees. It takes a full turn stationed in front of the barrier to remove the logs.
The riflemen inspect some rifle pits off to the left. These have been abandoned and would have provided perfect cover for another ambush at the barricade. All seems well when suddenly another militia unit, on the hillside on the right, pops up and fires into the flank of the 5th Regiment. Both the 5th Regiment and the Loyalist Regiment turn and form line facing the new threat.

Light troops spot more militia on top of the hill, springing the second ambush at the road block.



The Rebels fire and fall back, allowing the wagon train to continue down the road, passing the crossroads.

Suddenly, Marion's mounted militia, now dismounted, emerge from the woods to fire into the rear of the Loyalist and 5th Regiments. They pull off a "fire and retire" move so that the British have no targets when they attempt to fire back at the threat.

Overhead view of the second ambush as it developed. The 5th Regiment had just cleared the road barrier when firing erupted from the top of the hill. Both the 5th and the Loyalists turned to their right, into line, and faced the new threat from atop the hill. Facing such a large collection of muskets, the rebels wisely retired from the crest of the hill.

 The third ambush

The British column continued on down the Camden road when they came across yet another blockade of felled trees in the road. Expecting another ambush, Rawdon sent the Ferguson Rifles ahead of the column to clear the trees from the road. While this work was going on, musket fire suddenly was heard towards the back of the column!

Ferguson's Riflemen clear the logs from the road. The 5th Regiment awaits behind and light companies delve into the woods to detect any rebels laying in ambush.


A few pot shots at the Loyalists scores one more casualty hit on the regiment. It takes its morale test and fails, routing to the rear and right into the 4th Regiment that was bringing up the rear of the column. This caused the 4th Regiment to automatically go into Shaken (similar to Disordered) status.

The Loyalist regiment routs - it had taken lots of casualties earlier in the game and its morale was already on the edge of shaky, so one more casualty caused the Loyalists to rout, running smack dab into the the 4th Regiment which was bringing up the rear of the column.

The Loyalists had another attempt to rally and they failed, so they continued to rout and ran right into the welcoming arms of the rebel mounted militia. The Loyalists had no choice but to surrender or get a little taste of Tarleton's Quarter. They chose wisely and surrendered.


The stalwart veterans of the British 4th Regiment quickly recover and hurry on down the Camden road so that they can catch up with the rest of the column. They jeer at the Loyalist regiment which they watch running away. Marion's mounted militia (currently dismounted) can be seen next to the log cabins at the intersection.

The game had gone nine turns up to the point where the Loyalist Regiment routed and surrendered. Since this achieved the victory condition of the Patriots, Francis Marion decided that there was no more profit to continuing the fight, so he ordered his army to retire back into the woods and let the remaining British forces march away to Camden.


Conclusion

This was a fun little scenario that was easy to play and only took a couple of hours to finish - all this was done as a solo game so it would have concluded much faster with two players in the game moving and firing their troops.

The British had 4SPs of troops and this took up a lot of space in the road column. Therefore, I gave the British three units of infantry and exchanged the fourth unit for a collection of light troops. The light troops are more flexible in what they can do, take up less space on the table, and are well-needed for a game that has wooded terrain. 

The Patriot army started the game with a campaign strength of 3SPs. On each turn, prior to a battle, dice are rolled to determine whether or not the local militia takes to arms and comes to the aid of the Patriot army. In this case, one home militia regiment was added to Francis Marion's army, so both sides started the game with 4SPs.

One militia regiment routed off the table early in the game and was removed from the game. This happens when a unit fails on two rally attempts. After that, it is just assumed that nothing is going to bring them back if they haven't rallied after two attempts.

The ambush at Westbury Plantation was an American victory. A small victory, but a victory none the less. It will help the Americans in the overall campaign because it reduced the total number of British SPs in South Carolina by 1 SP.




Monday, November 20, 2017

South Carolina Campaign - Turn 8


Gates' skedaddles out of Cheraw after his defeat by Cornwallis


Summary of Key Events on Turn 7
Turn 7 was one of the most active game turns of the South Carolina Campaign of 1780. The biggest event was the Battle of Cheraw in which Cornwallis' British army (8SPs) defeated Gates' American army (8SPs).

Meanwhile, in the back country of South Carolina, DeKalb and Sumter teamed up to lay seige on Cruger's British garrison at Ninety Six. Cruger had no way of knowing that he was going to be outnumbered by a factor of 3:1, so he elected to stay and defend the fort. However, in our campaign rules, a 3 to 1 advantage to the beseiger gives him a 50% chance of an immediate surrender of the beseiged. Colonel Cruger rolled dice poorly and thus had to capitulate to DeKalb.

At the same time, Banastre Tarleton (3SPs) continued his merry raid of destruction along the Carolinas border area. He saw an opportunity to capture the main supply depot of the American forces (1SP) at Hillsboro, North Carolina. As at Ninety Six, Tarleton's 3 to 1 advantage resulted in the surrender of the Hillsboro garrison and more importantly, the capture of the supply base. This puts Horatio Gates' army out of supply for Turn 8.



Campaign map for Turn 8 depicting the positions of forces at the end of the movement phase.
(Click map to enlarge)


Turn 8 Moves - Americans

* DeKalb moves 7SPs from Ninety Six to Fort Granby, which is held by a British garrison of 1SP.
* Sumter remains at Ninety Six with 2SPs.
* Colonel Otho Williams remains at the supply depot at Charlotte, NC with 3SPs.

*Gates pulls off a surprise move by retreating east to Kingston, rather than north towards his supply base in Hillsboro, NC. He suspected that he might get caught in a vise between Tarleton's and Cornwallis' armies. This leaves the British commanders scratching their heads and wondering where the heck Gates went.

* Francis Marion sets up an ambush between Nelson's Ferry (where Rawdon was on the previous turn) and Camden. Rawdon (4SPs) walks into the ambush.

Turn 8 Moves - British

* Cornwallis moves north towards Hillsboro, NC after the battle of Cheraw and assumes that he will capture Gates' retreating Continental army.

* Tarleton moves his force of 3SPs from Hillsboro south towards Cornwallis in order to cut off the line of retreat for Gates back to Hillsboro.

* Rawdon moves 4SPs from Nelson's Ferry to the British supply base at Camden, however, his march is intercepted by Francis Marion, so there will be a battle on Turn 8.

* Stewart is nervous about leaving Charleston with a garrison of only 1SP, so he retires from Dorchester back to Charleston. He also recalls 1SP from the Georgetown garrison, resulting in a strengthened Charleston garrison of 6SPs.

* Maitland has 3SPs in Georgetown after returning 1SP back to Charleston.

* Campbell remains in Savannah with 2SPs.

* Fort Granby garrison retreats to nearby Fort Motte, rather than being surrounded by DeKalb's larger army.  

* Forts Motte and Watson each have a garrison of 1SP.

* Camden has a garrison of 3SPs. They were hoping to be reinforced by Rawdon's army of 4SPs on this turn, but that did not happen as noted above.

Results of Turn 8 Moves

*Gates is out of supply on this turn.

* DeKalb will capture Fort Granby - the garrison will be allowed to retreat one dot to Fort Motte.

* Rawdon and Marion will have a battle on this turn.



Friday, November 17, 2017

My SYW Russian Cavalry

Russian cavalry consisting of cuirassiers, horse grenadiers, dragoons, hussars and Cossacks.
(click all pictures in this post to enlarge the view)


For the past couple of months I have been cranking out Russian cavalry for my SYW Russian army, circa 1758.

I have 9 squadrons of 12 figures consisting of 12 cuirassiers, 24 horse grenadiers, 24 dragoons, 24 hussars, and 24 Cossacks. I can also use the 16 Connoisseur Napoleonic Cossacks that I have.

The 3rd Cuirassiers (one squadron, with another to be painted in the future:

Russian cuirassiers usning Minden Austrian cuirassiers and one Prussian kettle drummer.

A closer view of the 3rd Cuirassiers. Standard was copied from Kronoskaf.

The Kargopol Horse Grenadiers (two squadrons)

The Kargopol Horse Grenadiers distinguished themselves at Zorndorf in 1758
The figures are from RSM, except for the officer, standard bearer and musician which are Minden Hanoverian Horse figures. The horses are also from the Minden Miniatures figure range.


The Dragoons (un-named as of now) - two squadrons


Russian dragoons using Hanoverian Horse regiment figures from the Minden range.

The Hussars: the Horvat Hussars in blue and red; the Gruzinski Hussars in yellow and red:


Horvat Hussars (left) and Gruzinski Hussars (right). Eventually I will paint a second 12-figure squadron for each regiment.

Another view of these colorful Russian hussars, for which I used Austrian Hussars from the Minden range.

The Cossacks


The 24 Cossacks in the foreground are RSM figures mounted on Minden horses.
The unit in the background are Connoisseur Cossacks which seem to be size compatible with the RSM/Minden figures.

Summary

Well, that's pretty much it for my Russian cavalry contingent in my army. I still need to add a second dozen figures to the 3rd Cuirassiers, the Horvat Hussars and the Gruzinski Hussars. When those are painted, my Russian brigade shall be completed. The Russian army did not bring many cavalry regiments with them into the SYW battles with Prussia. This does not include the Cossacks, of which there were many more. At Zorndorf, the Russians were vastly outnumbered by the Prussian regular cavaly.

Monday, November 13, 2017

In Memorium - Janet Akers (1948 - 2017)


Painted by Janet Akers

This past weekend, we held a memorial service for my sister, Janet Purky Akers (1948 - 2017), who passed away as a result of colon cancer that had spread throughout her body. She was cremated, at her request, and is survived by her two sons Kieth and Alex, my mother (age 95) and me.

Janet Akers was a professional artist and enjoyed traveling to such diverse places as France, Italy, Great Britain, Mexico and Southwestern United States (particularly Sedona and Taos, New Mexico) where she painted landscapes and wildlife. Some samples of her artwork can be seen by clicking on the link to her web site.



I have posted two of her paintings on this blog.


Painted by Janet Akers
The memorial service was held at her house and was attended by approximately 40 of her closest friends, family and acquaintancs. It was not a religious service, but rather, we all gathered to tell stories and our memories of Janet. It was really great to hear about her through her friends as one after another they stepped forward to tell their stories about Janet. We all really could feel her presence at the gathering. I learned many things about my sister that I did not know and I was glad to meet many of the people that I had heard her talk about all of these years.

Janet's colon cancer was discovered 3 year ago when she had her first ever colonoscopy. By then it was too late and had she had a colonoscopy on a regular basis earlier in her life, any polyps would have been discovered and remove and she would still be with us today. I'm sure that she would want me to tell as many people that I could to have a regular check up and colonoscopy after age 50. I ask that anyone reading this to heed her advise to have regular check ups.

Janet was one of those people who always seemed to be followed by bad luck. Like Lemon Snicket, it seemed like a series of unfortate events were her life. However, she always bounced back and persevered, largely through her love of the arts (music, opera, art and painting) and travel. Her artistic talent improved by leaps and bounds over the years and I am amazed at where her skills had taken her  by the time of her passing. Her two sons were the joy of her life and it always came back to her love of her sons and family.

Rest in peace Janet, we will miss you.

I post this report not to seek sympathy and prayers, etc., but rather to have my own memorial to my sister permanently placed in the blogoshere.


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Gruzinski Hussars (Russian)




Russian Gruzinski Hussars - click picture to enlarge

Yesterday I finished a 12-figure squadron of the Gruzinski Hussars for my SYW Russian army. Eventually this unit will be increased to my standard 24-figures for cavalry regiments. I call them "squadrons" for game operational purposes whereas in my 1:20 figure to man ratio, 12 figures would represent 240 riders which approximates to two actual squadrons.

I will temporarily brigade the Gruzinski and Horvat Hussars into one 24-figure hussar unit until I can get around to painting a 12 more figures for each unit, bringing them up to 24 figures.

The figures are Minden Miniatures, of course, and they are actually the Austrian Hussar figures painted as Russian Hussars. The only differences in the figures are the markings on the sabertache and shabraque (see image below from Kronoskaf), which have the "ER" royal cypher and the saw-toothed edging, respectively, on the Russian uniform. The Austrian castings have the Austrian eagle on the sabertache and the "MT" cypher and different border edge on the shabraque. The figures were simply "converted with paint".




For the source of the above image and more information on the Gruzinski Hussars, please click on the link to Kronoskaf below.


The Gruzinski Hussars are very colorful and delightful to look at, as I am sure you will agree. It is not often that one gets to use the color yellow on any wargame regiment, so I could not resist painting a dozen of these, even though I still needed to paint another dozen Horvat Hussars to complete that unit.


A 12-figure squadron of Gruzinski Hussars, seen at ground level

Another view of the unit, so far. The bases still need to be terrained and finished.

Next in the painting queue, the first dozen Russian cuirassiers. My Russian cavalry arm has been growing rapidly and now includes 24 each of horse grenadiers, dragoons and hussars, and 36 Cossacks. Since the cuirassiers are the only figures that I have primed and ready to paint, they will be next on the list.

After that, I will get back to painting Russian infantry again. I also need to start work on equipment such as artillery limbers and ammo wagons, and a few more artillery pieces and crew.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Horvat Hussars (Russian) & Cossacks


Russian Horvath Hussars (click pix to enlarge)

Over the weekend I finished a dozen of the Russian Horvat Hussars, which fought at Zorndorf during the Seven Years War. The regiment was rather large at 10 squadrons compared to the usual 3 to 5 squadrons that most Russian cavalry regiments put into the field.

For a history of the Horvat Hussar regiment, please click on the link to the Kronoskaf page that details the history and uniforms of the regiment:



I used the Minden Austrian hussar figures as suitable substitutes for Russian hussars and these basically require no conversion work other than paint. The sabertaches would have the "ER" cypher of the Empress Elizabeth and there would be some noticeable saw tooth edging (or '"Van Dyking" as it is often called) on the edge of both the shabraque and sabertache. I did not bother to paint the cypher onto the sabertache - too much extra work for minimal  visual payback, in my opinion.


Horvath Hussars are actually Austrian hussars that I have "converted with paint". In the left background you can see some Connoisseur Napoleonic Russian Cossacks.

This points again to one of the things about 18th Century military uniforms and available figure castings: they are very similar country to country so it is easy to substitute Austrian, French and Prussian castings for the various Russian castings that one requires. While Minden does not yet have any Russians, other than the artillery crew, this is no reason not to start of SYW Russian army if you want to field one on your table top.

I am working on a few things behind the scenes that hopefully will address the need to add Russian figures to the Minden range. More about that later as the events unfold. I will just say that I think that you will be happy when the news is released.

I finished off the basing with the usual tufts and static grass on the hussar bases, and while I was at it, I also finished off the basing for the second group of Cossacks that I painted last week.

Two 12-figure pulks of Cossacks, one in small fur hats (L)  and the other in tall fur hats (R).

Here's how they look once I have mixed the two different hat styles into two separate units. This looks much better to my eye and creates more visual diversity.


Here are the Cossacks again, but this time they have been mixed up into one large 24-figure unit. I think that the RSM and the Connoisseur Cossacks (in the left corner) are compatible in size and so I plan to use both units in my SYW battles.

In the three pictures above, if you look at the upper left corner of each photo, you can see some Connoisseur Napoleonic Russian Cossacks that I had previously painted. They look to fit in very nicely with the RSM SYW Russian Cossacks (mountedon Minden light cavalry horses) so this enabled me to increase the Cossack horde from 24 figures to 36 figures, without painting any more of them. Nice!!!!

In the picture below, you can see how the two styles of RSM Cossacks look when you mix the headgear styles (small hat and large hat) together in one unit. This creates a more diverse look to the horde. Also, painting different kaftan colors and different horse colors adds to the irregular look.

A close up view of the growing Cossack horde.

Next in the Russian Queue
I always paint one sample figure of new units that I have never painted before for several reasons; one, I want to see what the figure looks like after it has been painted, and two, to figure out the order in which to paint the various parts of the figure. Sometimes this reveals a potential difficulty in painting that is easy to solve by simply changing the order in which you paint a pelisse versus the dolman or the breeches, etc.

I like the Gruzinsky Hussar in the yellow and red uniform and so I plan to paint a 12-figure squadron of these in the near future. I don't like the look of the dark horse, so I will paint these with lighter colored horses so as to show off the rider and his uniform without the darkness and distraction of the horse.

The cuirassier is an Austrian cuirassier from the Minden range and does not require any conversion work.

Russian cavalry painted samples: 3rd Cuirassiers (L), Horvath Hussars (C) and Gruzinsky Hussars (R). Click to  enlarge the picture.

So as of today, I have 12 hussars, 24 horse grenadiers, 24 dragoons and 36 Cossacks in my Russian army.

I am making good progress on the Russian cavalry combat arm and only need to add 24 more hussars and 24 cuirassiers to complete this part of my army.

After that, I will turn to painting more infantry, hopefully including some of the new figures that are in the pipeline.

I am aiming towards hosting a SYW Russian versus Prussian game at next year's Seven Years War Association Convention in March 2018. It will be based on one of the historic battles during the war and in fact, I spent the weekend developing the tabletop map from the historical map, using a board game map and Google Earth satellite images.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

More SYW Russian Cossacks



RSM Russain Cossacks for my SYW Russian army.
Click on all pictures to enlarge.

I have been on a good painting frenzy of late and I finished a second set of 12 Russian Cossacks. As with the others, these are RSM figures mounted on Minden light cavalry horses. The combination looks very lifelike and visually appealing.

I find that the RSM and Minden figures are very compatible and so I use both figure ranges in my SYW armies.

A closer view of the new Cossacks, wearing short hats.

The picture below gives one a sense of how the whole Cossack unit will look. The grassed set of 12 wear the tall fur hat and the ungrassed set of 12 wear the short hat.

Two squadrons of RSM Russian Cossacks mounted on Minden Horses. The lefthand unit will be grassed
later today after the ground spackle has dried.

Next in the Queue

I have another dozen Russian dragoons to paint to build the regiment up to 24 figures. I am giving them a coat of grey primer today so that I can start painting them tomorrow. After that, I will either turn to the Horvat Hussars (using the Minden Austrian hussars) or the 3rd Cuirassier Regiment (using Minden Austrian cuirassiers).

Because 18th Century armies and uniforms are very similar in look and style, it is relatively easy to recruit figures from one country's troops for use in another country's troops, in the event that the needed figures are not yet a part of the Minden Miniatures figure range. I find that the French infantry with turnbacks work for Russian Musketeers, RSM Russian Grenadiers are used in my army, Hanoverian Horse, Austrian Hussars and Austrian Cuirassiers suitably fill in for their Russian counterparts.

Minden already makes the Russian artillery crewmen and some of the more common Russian artillery pieces, so this combat arm is fairly well handled within the range.

My SYW Russian Army, so Far

With the completion of the Cossacks, I now have enough Russian cavalry to fight a small battle - 24 Horse Grenadiers, 24 Cossacks and 12 Dragoons (up to 24 by the end of this week). I could also use some of my Austrian cavalry to augment the Russians, if needed.

The infantry contingent has 3 musketeer battalions and one grenadier battalion for a total of four battalions. In a pinch, I could use my green coated Hesse Seewald battalions as Russians (in fact, I had this in mind when I started painting my own Hesse Seewald regiments).

The artillery contingent has four cannon: a Shuvulov Secret Howitzer, a 12 pound Howitzer, a 12 pound smoothbore and a 6 pound smoothbore. I still need to paint limber teams for my cannon. I am thinking that I will delegate the 6 pounders to the infantry to use as regimental guns, which the Russians often did. I have been reading that the Shuvulov Howitzers took longer to reload, so in my rules they will only be able to fire every other turn.

I have some new Russian infantry wearing their Summer kit at Griffin Moulds awaiting the production of master moulds. If the figures pass my muster, then I will put them into production moulds and add them to the Minden range. I sculpted the figures using Richard Ansell's dollies, so there should be similarity with the rest of the Minden figures that Richard sculpted. My own effort is passable, but nothing up to the standard of Richard. So if my sculpts do not look good to my eye, then I won't put them in the range. So we shall see.

First Anniversay of my Retirement

Today, October 31st, is the one year anniversary of my retirement from work and my new career as a gentleman of leisure. As one of my longtime friends said, "Jim, you were made for retirement." I can't dispute that.

Retirement has given me more time to devote to the figure business and to painting figures, so that part of it is great. I have also played a number of solo wargames which I do to generate pictures for this blog or test out scenarios and rules changes. My solo game year to date include:

Reichenbach
Fontenoy
Cowpens
Cheraw (AWI campaign game)
Winnsboro (AWI campaign game)
Fisher's Crossing (AWI campaign game)
McDowell's Camp (AWI campaign game)

I like the solo games because they give me the opportunity to do what little army men were made for - playing wargames.

I also did a little bit of traveling this year, going to the UK in June and Fort Donelson, Tennessee in October. I also did the Christopher Duffy tour of SYW battlefields last October, but that took place before I officially retired. I would like to visit some more ACW battlefields in the USA this next year and a return trip to the UK for another wargame mini convention is definitely in the works.

Year Two of Retirement should be just as busy and so I'm looking forward to seeing how the year unfolds.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Russian SYW Cossacks WIP



Russian Cossacks and Kalmuks burning Zorndorf. ("Zorndorf 1758" - Osprey Campaign  125 book). RSM Miniatures makes the two mounted figures in the center - tall hat with the red kaftan and the short hat with the orange kaftan. The Kalmuk shooting the bow and arrow might be found in some range of 28mm Asiatic Horse Armies, as their "uniforms" appear to be a bit of a throw back to days of olde.


I have been working on the cavalry portion of my nascent SYW Russian army, of late, and have some pictures of the Cossacks that I am working on over this weekend. Today I finished a 12-figure squadron of Russian Cossacks, shown below:

RSM Cossacks mounted on Minden light cavalry horses. The lances are cut down North Star 100mm spears .
Click all pictures to enlarge the view of the photograph.

I am using the RSM Cossacks, both in tall hat and short hat, for my Cossacks and am mounting them on Minden light cavalry horses. By using the Minden horses, this brings some consistency to the overall look of my Minden Russian army for the SYW.

Step 1 - sort by kaftan color
I want some variety in the appearance of my Cossacks and the best way to do this is to paint them all in different colors. So I sorted the figures into groups of threes and gave each group a different kaftan (the coat) color. Then to save time, the color that I paint on, say, the kaftan is used on one item in the other group of Cossacks. For example, the blue kaftan Cossacks on the left in the picture below - after painting the kaftan, I might use the same blue to paint the trousers of the next group of three figures, Then I would follow it up by using the blue on the saddle blanket or blanket roll on the back of the horse. 

This provides a little bit of economy on your time because you are using the same color for a number of different clothing items all at once, rather than going back and forth to the paint jar as needed.

Cossacks grouped by the color of their kaftan.
RSM Cossacks mounted on Minden horses - click picture to enlarge.

Step 2 - sort by horse color

Painting the horses different colors also adds to the variety of the unit. So the next step is to rearrange the Cossacks into groups of 3 or 4 figures and then paint each group's horses the same color. Again, this saves me a considerable amount of time.

Cossacks grouped by the color of their horses.

Step 3 - now mix all of them up
Now that I have finished the clothing and the horse colors on all figures, it is time to mix them up at random, as shown below. This also adds a look of variety to the Cossack hoard.

Now you can mix them up in any order to get the look of variety in the hoard.

A Connoisseur Cossack Find
I found a previous set of 14 Connoisseur Napoleonic Cossacks that I had painted years ago and it looks to me that they are somewhat compatible with the Minden figures, as shown below in the comparison of Cossacks to Minden dragoons.

Connoisseur on the left, Minden on the right.

This instantly gives me another 14 Cossacks to add to my army without having to paint them.

Dragoon Update
Last week I finished painting a 12-figure squadron of Russian dragoons. Since the uniforms of all dragoon regiments were the say, this unit could be any regiment in the Russian cavalry establishment. I plan on painting 12 more dragoons this coming week, to bring the regiment up to 24 riders.

A completed squadron of Russian dragoons, using Hanoverian Horse cavalry figures.

Russian Cavalry Organization in my Army

Might current thought is to have 24 figure units, one each, of horse grenadiers, dragoons, cuirassiers, and hussars, plus 30 to 40 Cossacks.

As of today, the horse grenadiers are completed, the dragoons and Cossacks are half-way done, and the cuirassiers and hussars are yet to be started.

I plan on painting the Horvath Hussars, who fought at Zorndorf, using the Austrian hussar figures. The Russian cuirassiers will be recruited from the Minden Austrian cuirassiers.

One of the nice things about 18th Century armies is that the uniforms are all very similar, in some fashion, so it is easy to "convert with paint" if you can not find the exact figures that you are looking for.