Napoleonic Wars

Kellogg’s Pirate! Sharp Practice in Williamsburg

Last weekend brought the opportunity to play another Sharp Practice game at one of my local conventions, Williamsburg Muster.

Williamsburg Muster is a small but growing local convention which in concert with Guns of August provides the Pennisula with some much needed Wargaming activity.   These conventions are both run annually by the Hampton Roads Wargamers.

 

Poster

Kellogg’s Pirate was lifted rather liberally from Too Fat Lardies excellent product THE COMPLEAT FONDLER.  This is a scenario where the hero finds himself aided (or perhaps hindered) by the Royal Navy while attempting to rescue Portuguese civilians taken into slavery by Barbary Pirates.  In an attempt to weaken the Anglo-Portugeuse Alliance, the wily French have provided these pirates with British Redcoats, an obvious attempt to confuse the poor people of Portugal!

Changes I made from the scenario as written?  The scenario called for 80 redcoated figures to use as pirates.  Lacking that number, my pirates were represented by a mixture of Darkest Africa Baluchi, Spanish Irlanda, and smattering of French Dragoons as well as the redcoats.  The location was also changed.  The site is supposed to be a North African port, due to a lack of proper buildings I decided to place it on a small, unnamed Portuguese Island, allowing me to build the town from my Mediterranean buildings.  Lastly, I changed all the names.  too Fat Lardies leans towards humorous but often off colour names which I feared might offend some of the more puritan Americans I am like to find at a convention.  Oh, my rifles are also 60th American rather than the 95th.  That fact that I am an American is partly the reason for this last change but it isn’t the only one.  I find the 95th  overdone thanks to the success of Bernard Cornwell and the 60th is so odd.  They serve in the British Army, they are called the Royal Americans but they are made up mostly of Germans!

The 60th moves forward

The 60th moves forward

The pirates were played by Mark and his son Armand, until the younger one was distracted by his new Imperial Assault game.  The British were Malcolm and Alfred.  As it fell out all of the players are friends of mine and Mark and Al have played some of my other Sharp Practice games.

The fight began with the rifles landed on the beach right on the flank of a group of pirates on patrol.  Shots were fired and the alarm was raised!  Sargent Hoffman, one of the British Bigmen, was seriously wounded by the first Pirate volley!

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The riflemen spent most of the fight in firing upon the house of Pirate leader, the notorious Qadar A’sad.  The house was defended by the pirate and his bodyguard and remained so throughout the fight.

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Finding no luck on their frontal assault of the Pirates home, the rifles began to move to the flank.

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Not satisfied simply firing from the firing steps of their fort, the pirates began to send sorties out after the surrounded riflemen.  This made a great deal of sense as the small fort was quickly becoming chaotic and overfull as the hung over pirates continued to wake up and flood the courtyard.  While nothing very dramatic was happening the rifles were gathering shock quickly.

Lt Porter Arrives!

Lt Porter Arrives!

On the third blank card Lt Porter arrived with a landing party of sailors.  By this time the riflemen were pulling back.  One group and lost its bottle and ran back into one of the warehouses by the beach.  The pirates had also, by poorly designed firing ports apparently, managed to set fire to their fort.  Upon the arrival of the sailors, the pirates forced the burning wall down.

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the pirates took advantage of the collapsed wall to charge forth into the sailors.  Though out numbered the sailors fought well and pushed the pirates back, their victory would be short lived however….

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Soon pirates began to flow out of the fort, completely overwhelming  the sailors on the flank.  Lt Porter himself was seriously wounded and no doubt fell prisoner to these diabolical pirates!

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Sensing their opportunity had passed the riflemen raced back to the boats to return to the ship.  They would have to row themselves as in the end very few of the sailors survived!  No slaves would be rescued this day…..

All in all the game was enjoyable and everyone had a good time, well except perhaps the Portuguese civilians.

Until next time, cheers,

Ron

 

 

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Categories: Convention, Napoleonic Wars, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming, Williamsburg Muster | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Day Two of the Williamsburg Muster!

Just got home from a fun filled day of wargaming at Williamsburg’s premier Wargaming Convention.

Today I hosted two games both using Too Fat Lardies rules.  The first was “The Fall of France”, a Chain of Command game set in the early days of the German Blitzkrieg in 1940 and the second a Sharp Practice game set in the Peninsula War.

THE BATTLE FOR FRANCE

The first game was played by Charles, Kai, Grey and again Gunnar who had joined me the night before with the Spanish Civil War game.

Not Sure Why Grey is Hiding...

Not sure why Grey is hiding…

This first battle was an Attack and Defend scenario set in Belgium in the early days of the Battle For France.  Gunnar and Grey played the French and rolled a very respectable 11 for Force Morale.  Gunnar apparently can not roll low Force Morale scores!  The would be supported by a 25mm AT gun and a Hotchkiss H39 tank.  Both players had experience with the rules.  The Germans on the other hand were commanded by Charles and Kai.  Charles, the older of the two had some experience some time ago his nephew Kai had none.  This was going to have an effect on the game.  The Germans began the battle with a Force Morale of 9 and two vehicles, a Panzer 222 and a Panzer III.  The Patrol phase began with the Germans gaining two preliminary moves.

The view of battlefield from the German perspective.

The view of battlefield from the German perspective.

The Patrol Phase who one of the places where the advantage of previous experience showed.  The French outplayed their German opponents who found their markers locked down on the wrong side of the available cover and one of their markers ended up being  negated by being behind all the others when the phase ended.  The Germans would now  need to cross into the open in order to close with their enemy.

The French began and deployed one of their three sections into the walled field next to the stone barn.  they also deployed their Rifle Grenadier team into the bombed out farmhouse along the road to Sedan. Section 2 secured the walled orchard just in front of the ruined farm house.

Rifle Grenadiers in the Farmhouse with the 2nd Squad taking positions in the walled orchard.

Rifle Grenadiers in the Farmhouse with the 2nd Squad taking positions in the walled orchard.

When the Germans began to deploy to the right if that road, with one Squad behind the Farm shed directly in from of them and two in the woods.  They also deployed their granatewerfer team into the woods and tried in vain to silence the French grenades.

German Gruppe 3 trapped being a farm shed.

German Gruppe 3 trapped being a farm shed.

This began a static firefight which the Germans, receiving fire from two separate directions, were  suffering from the most.  The  German 2nd squad was lost in those woods. The 3rd found itself trapped behind the central farm shed with their MG 34 team destroyed.  The overall morale of the platoon was beginning to drop.   Finally the platoon’s Feldwebel took command and ordered the 1st squad and shortly thereafter the 4th to double time across the open ground to the large field on their right.  this finally removed them from the dangerous crossfire.

1st squad racing for cover

1st squad racing for cover

4th Squad gets a little help from the "hand of God"

4th Squad gets a little help from the “hand of God”

To keep the French from maneuvering to respond to these recent developments, the German Leutnant finally commits his armoured support.  The Armoured car take a position along side the beleaguered 3rd Squad in the centre of the line while the Panzer III drives calmly right down the central road.

The Pnzr 222 come to the aid of 3rd Squad

The Pnzr 222 come to the aid of 3rd Squad

The French respond by deploying their own tank forward and the Hotchkiss hits and immobilizing the German armoured car, not quite the result  they were hoping for as its guns were still quite operational.

Hotchkiss engaging the German Armour

Hotchkiss engaging the German Armour

On the right however, matters seem to be finally improving for the Germans.  The two squads there approach towards the central farmhouse and one, with a hail of hand grenades assaults the Frenchmen holding the walled orchard.

Moving into position for their assault

Moving into position for their assault

The Germans were in a rather good position, but their assault would prove premature.  more damage should have been done to the defenders before ordering a close assault and the German grenades proved less effective than they would have preferred.  While the French were defeated and driven back the German squad was no more.  Finally, with two squads gone and one other greatly reduced and its initiative lost, the Germans conceded defeat.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the game and it was impressive to see the German chances improved as the players became better acquainted with what they needed to do. I think if we had played immediately following that first game that the results might have proven quite different.

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Just before the final assault

Kellogg’s Allies

Next, almost directly on the heels of the Fall of France battle, came time for the Sharp Practice game.  This scenario was adapted from the Fondler’s Allies scenario in Too Fat Lardies campaign book “The Compleat Fondler”, with some alterations made in force size and composition. My Devon Kellogg is a Lt and Quartermaster for the 60th Rifles rather than the overdone 95th rifles(unlike both Fondler and Sharp).

The Actual Bridge at Alacantara

The Actual Bridge at Alacantara

The bridge was also altered following the inspiration of a similar encounter represented in the film version presented in Sharp’s Eagle.  The Bridge discribed as Ponte Alcantra in the Compleat Fondler is clearly the Roman Bridge at Alacantara and therefore larger and taller than I was able to put together in the short time I was working with.  The bridge in Sharp’s Eagle is low, long and wooden and I could build it quickly around scenery I already had.  My bridge was built board by board from craft lumber.

The scenario calls for the 60th Rifles as well as a company of the Spanish Regiment of Irlanda to hold of a squadron of French Dragoons as the English engineers  plant explosives and destroy the bridge.  The scenario includes contingency rules in case the French take the bridge before the engineers have completed their work.  The allied forces all began on the French side of the river.  There is almost no cover, only the remains of a Moorish fort on the Allied side of the bridge.

Mark Schneider

Mark Schneider

My players were Mark and Zoe on the French side.  This is fitting because Mark is the world’s premier Napoleon interpreter.  Peter commanded the Spanish and Mike the Rifles.  Most of the players had no Sharp Practice experience, though Peter has played once before (with me last August).

The Spanish deployed with most of 3 of their 5 groups in a line defending the bridge.  The remaining two were in column on the bridge with their commanding big man Major O’Higgins (The Spanish Irlanda are Irish expats.).  The 60th rifles deployed in skirmish order before them.

The French entered on blinds which at the ranges we played without cover was probably unnecessary but it was fun nonetheless.  More so because I had kept the existence of a French  light artillery piece hidden from the allies.

Allied Positions

Allied Positions

The French deployed the cannon on the highest hill available to them, giving it a clear field a fire on the whole battlefield.  In the end however the gun did little damage.  Half of the Dragoons were dismounted and made their way towards the Allied forces just below the road.  The longer ranges of the Baker rifles caused a great deal of damage to them and one group was forced off the field.

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French Artillery on the Hill

The mounted Dragoons suffered a different issue.  By an accident in the placing of the blinds, the tow groups of mounted dragoons ended up on opposite flanks.  This was not their commander’s intention, but all agreed to leave it as is.  Apparently an order went astray or was misunderstood.

This meant that these two groups could not make a formation and left one right on the road to the bridge, the other on the extreme right of the French line.

The Dragoons on the road suffered quite a bit of fire from the rifles before it charged down upon them.  The rifles were caught by surprise and one group was cut down leaving only a single riflemen to run off in terror.  Worse than that, our Hero Devon Kellogg was grievously wounded and would play no further part in this fight.  The Irishmen however, resisted the charge.  They were poor troops but their superior numbers held out and the horseman were bounced back.

The Dragoons on the right surge forward

The Dragoons on the right surge forward

A very similar situation occurred upon the other flank. Here France’s big man Sergeant Martin charged forward on to another group of riflemen who again suffered badly.  Seeing the danger earlier, Major O’Higgins had brought his reserve off the bridge and raced over to form a line behind the rifles.  This action saved the day.  The defeated rifles ran but again the superior numbers of the formed Irlanda stopped the dragoons saving the Spanish flank.  the fight this time was not decided for three rounds and that wing of the Dragoons had lost to many men to continue.

Spanish Irlanda on the Bridge

Spanish Irlanda on the Bridgeto continue their attack and they left the field.  Marschal Chirac was to find his plans to flank the Anglais frustrated

The game ended as an Allied victory and all the participants were pleased.

I consider all three games a success though perhaps the other two a little more than this last one.  By this time I was tired and I haven’t played Sharp Practice as much as I have played Chain of Command.  I think that showed.  I need to play more of this rule set

Rifles firing on Dragoons

Rifles firing on Dragoons

O'Higgins deploying his reinforcements

O’Higgins deploying his reinforcements

One final note, I had the unexpected pleasure to meet Joseph Legan author of Platoon Forward and fellow blogger http://platoonforward.blogspot.com/  Looks like we might  get together for some games as he lives in the area.  Such a small world.

Cheers,

Ron

Categories: Chain of Command, Convention, Napoleonic Wars, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Wargaming, Williamsburg Muster, World War II | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Putting the Cart Before the Horse…

So recently I discovered the need to purchase some likely carts for the baggage train raid of  Dux Brittaniarum.  The scenario calls for three dark ages carts which was something missing from my and my clubs collections.  I should perhaps mention that I have a more than passing interest in driving two wheeled vehicles.  While most of my experience is with horse,  I have driven oxen as well.

Me in a driving chair...

Me in a driving chair…

I looked around and settled upon a pair from 4ground.  Unfortunatly,  I misunderstood the pictures and thought I had purchased three, so I am still in the market for another.  One of the reasons I decided upon the 4Ground models is because they do include the ox yoke which a few I saw did not.  As it turns out most of the oxen models are carved with the yoke so that wasn’t as important as I had thought.  I am generally happy with my 4Ground purchases however.  I ordered two through Nobleknight here in the U.S.

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The first is sold as a roman ox cart and is complete with bows for a top.  I am thinking very highly of getting the third as one of these and leaving one as is and making a top for the other.

 

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The other is sold as a Peasant’s Cart.  it is very similar to the first sans the roof bows.  in the picture you may notice that the ox yoke is missing.  That isn’t because it doesn’t come with one but rather that I haven’t glued them on yet.  None of these models come with oxen.  I am waiting to determine if I need the yoke or not.  I am very interested in the Perry Oxen set from their War of the Roses line.  That will give me two teams of oxen in yokes.  it will also give me a War of the Roses ox driver which will help with that period which is next on my agenda.  This peasant cart is so very useful.  I will be using it for Dark ages, War of the Roses, maybe for Spanish Civil War, certainly for cowboy games.  In fact the other wheels which are solid look very much like Mexican peasant wagons I have seen.

Both of these kits assembled very nicely and look pretty good as is.  i am planning on painting them, though I am still considering how to go about that.  A very nice thing about these kits is that they both come with options for altering their basic construction.  Open front or back, or possibly not open at all.  With roof bows or rails or without.  The peasant’s cart even came with a choice of wheels.

So, when I decided to talk about these fine little vehicles it made me decide to mention some other little projects along these lines.

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This is also a 4Ground model.  A very useful cart design which covers a rather large period of time.  Newer in design than the others it would certainly be at home from at least the 17th century through to world war two.  Mine mostly sees action in Spanish Civil War and World War II games.  It really should probably be painted though I have been too lazy to do that.

 

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These last two items are from Warbases.  The wheel barrow looks almost exactly like ones our wheelwright at work makes.  (I work for an 18th century living history museum for any readers who do not know).  The only difference is that ours at work have two bars on either side of the wheel instead of the one on this model.  This will eventually be painted a sky blue with a Spanish brown wheel as are many of the ones at work.  Maybe all Spanish brown.  The cart, these I think are just lovely.  I have already bought two of these and intend to buy more.  I am buying them for a Gangs of New York game I am working on and will eventually pain them and fill them with flowers or vegetables or whatever to line the busy Five Point Streets with.  These are great Street furniture not only for various Victorian or 19th century games but I think they would look great in World War II France or Belgium as well.

All of these models are very inexpensive and can easily be added to another purchase from any of these suppliers.   While the carts I first mentioned are specifically  to be used as game pieces, they are also useful as parts of barricades or to complete your terrain.  Well worth a few bucks here and there!

Cheers,

Ron

 

Categories: Chain of Command, Dark Ages, Dux Britanniarum, Napoleonic Wars, Review, World War II | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday Evening, Guns of August 2014

Tonight was the first night of Guns of August 2014.  Guns is a local Williamsburg convention for historic wargaming though a few Science Fiction games are usually present as well.  Not to mention Gnome wars.  When I asked one of the organizers about the average attendance I was only told that 300 was the largest.  I would image that the usual participation is probable somewhere between 200 and 300. GoA is hosted by the Hampton Roads Wargamers who hold a similar though slightly better attended convention in February, Williamsburg Muster.

KelloggsRifles

This evening I ran “Kellogg’s Rifles” which was basically “Fondler’s Rifles” from the Compleat Fondler, published by Too Fat Lardies.  I altered the Characters and their names, as well as replacing the 95th rifles with the lesser known 60th, the Royal Americans.

fondler

 

I had decided early on to play the scenario with a maximum of four players.  The idea being that two would play the British Big Men (Kellogg and Hoffman) and the others would play the French.  This was a less than perfect answer because for those readers unfamiliar with the tale, most of the French big men do not arrive until the fourth blank card.

My players were Brian and Gray playing the French and Peter and Malcolm playing the Riflemen.  All of the players except Brian are people I have known for a while.  Two of them were somewhat familiar with the game.   Gray had played a few time before, not as much as he would have preferred.  Brian had only played solo games at home.  He mad it very clear that I was looking forward to playing.

The scenario begins with the rifles running from an ambush by the dragoons and seeking cover at a small Spanish farm.  After getting a head start of two moves, the French dragoons came chasing behind them.  French Sergeant Martin brought his two groups in formation onto the field and began to wheel towards the British Sergeant Hoffman’s men who were making there way to the cover of a stone wall.  Unfortunately for the French this gave their flank to the two groups of Rifles taking cover in the broken ground of the hills north of the farm.

Hoffman's men running for cover

Hoffman’s men running for cover

Martin did his best to maintain order and to drive his men forward, but as a status I big man he lacked the initiative necessary for the cross fire he found himself in.  Not to mention s number of turns in a row that ended before they began thanks to the unlikely repeat early appearance of the Tiffin card.  Martin was forced to withdraw and even though I was charitable and allowed him to try to regain the bottle of his men while OFF the table, the Rifles made their way safely to Corunna long before the pother French men even arrived!

Rifle men in the rocks

Rifle men in the rocks

The game lasted about an hour and a half and all the players enjoyed it.  Even Gray whose big man hadn’t even made it to the table!  As we were slotted for more time, and no one was going to be using the table we all decided to play again.  For the second game however we made some alterations.  I raised Martin’s status to 2 so that he would not be so flat footed, and we decided to shorten the arrival time of the other French dragoons to three rather than four.  Peter and Malcolm switched the big men the were playing around, but the french players stayed as they were.

Peter and his command

Peter and his command

For the second game the French decided to come on the table dismounted.  They also came in separately rather than as a formation.  While this change of tactics was an improvement for them ( they did do more casualties to the British than in the first game) still things seemed to be working against them and again they were driven from the table and again I allowed them to try to regain their composure off table.

As in the first game, the British smelling victory began to move forward to the road to Corruna and safety, but here things changed.  Col Laurent arrived attached to 3 groups of Dragoons under the direct command of Captain St. Pierre.  The French Colonel raced one of these groups through the snow towards Hoffman’s men hunkered down behind their stone wall.  The French charge struck home but the brave Rifles proved victorious and sent the Frenchmen reeling backwards again off the table.

Hoffman's Rifles celebrating their victory!

Hoffman’s Rifles celebrating their victory!

Things were not going so well on the other flank however.  The riflemen who had made their rush to the road to Corunna now found themselves being charged by Capt. St. Pierre and another group of Dragoons.

Unexpected Dragoons!

Unexpected Dragoons!

Taken completely by surprise Kellogg ran with his men, who retreated back to the cover of the rocky hill before the charge could reach them.  Regaining himself he steadied the men and moved back to do the same for his reserves.  The timing was disastrous.  As he left the forward group the dragoons dismounted and charged this time on foot into fisticuffs.

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Sergeant Armistead and his Dragoons in fisticuffs with the leaderless rifles

Finally, Sargent Martin had cajoled his men back into order and they returned to the field.  Sargent Armistead continuing charging after the retreating rifles.

Second Dragoon charge

Second Dragoon charge

Kellogg’s two groups by now had suffered so much punishment that they fled the field, disordered into the countryside.  Hoffman’s men still held their own and were in good condition, but it was clear that they could not long hold out on their own.  they retired from the field in good order.

Overall everyone had a jolly good time and Peter has suggest that our club (Peter and I are both members of the Williamsburg Legati) should play it at the club.

Myself and my players as well as some of their children who just didn't want to miss out on the photo

Myself and my players as well as some of their children who just didn’t want to miss out on the photo

Tomorrow it’s Chain of Command.

 

Cheers,

Ron

 

Categories: Convention, Napoleonic Wars, Sharp Practice, Too Fat Lardies, Uncategorized, Williamsburg Legati | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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