Tuesday, March 30, 2021

To Base, or Not To Rebase, That is The Question

As of late I have been toying with debasing my American Rev War collection.  My other two armies are based four figures (two up and two back) per stand and six bases per infantry regiment/battalion.   My rev war collection is based in six figures (three up and three back).  Neither are done this way for historical reasons.  For the War of 1812 its just because it looked good.  For Crimean war its how the rules I use suggests.  I based my Rev War stuff years ago for Loose Files and gave kept that system over the years.  I have standard sized regiments and usually do not worry about actual regimental numbers as moral evans things out.

Crimean War

War of 1812

Yet another strange thought brought about by being a shut in for too long.  In the past I have gone down this rabbitt hole with round bases for artillery stands or to mount my houses on bases.  I think these are responses to having too much time to think about things.  Now I am pondering rebasing one of my armies

Rev War basing

So my question is should I change my Rev War collection to four figure bases and six bases per regiment?  Why, because then all will be based the same (very orderly) and with the extra figures I can raise some additional regiments or skirmishers.  Or just keep them the same as they have worked well all these years.  If you can please let me know what you think.

What would Ozzy do?

Oh no!  If I do rebase everything do I go with thick stands or thin stands?  And where will I get the bases from?  See, too much time in my hands.  Madness!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

What have I been reading during the Pandemic


Hard Boiled Detective Stories:

Nothing better here, in my opinion then Robert Parker's Spenser series.  They take place in the Boston area and feature Spencer a private detective in the Philip Marlowe cast.  He is a ex boxer and ex policeman who is now a private detective.  He has a code of honour which he adhears to and an incredible cast of extras.  Love the wisecracks dialogue.  Spenser is a great cook, so you will get hungry reading the books. And he loves beer so i recommend keeping a glass of your favorite brew nearby.  They are a fun read and great description of the Boston area.  If you saw the TV series or movies forget it.  They are nothing like the books and pale imitations to be avoided.   He also wrote nine novels based on the fictional character Jesse Stone, a Los Angeles police officer fighting alcaholism who moves to a small New England town, and six novels based on the fictional character Sunny Randall, a female private investigator.  Parker wrote four Westerns starring the duo Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch.  They are all great and highly recommend.

For the Spenser series I recommend reading the books in order.  The earlier books are much more meatier and better written.  And you grow to learn more about the characters.  Avoid the books written after Parker's death as they are poor substitute for the original.

King Philip's War 1675 - 1676:  America's Deadliest Colonial Conflict. 

This new Osprey book by Gabriele Esposito is a great history of a forgotten conflict.  The war between the New England colonies and the Native Peoples was the single most destructive war in our countries short history.  Nearly half of all European settlements were destroyed.  The Narragansett, Wampanoag and many smaller tribes were destroyed.  Yet for all its harshness and destruction its a fascinating topic and part of the history of the area where I live.  And its causing me to reconsider starting yet another new period for gaming.

US Regular vs British Regular War of 1812

I received the Kindle edition of this Osprey series book.  There is not much out there on the North American War of 1812 in wargame circles. So when something comes out it is met with great rejoicing.  I saw this originally on the Osprey publishing website and pre ordered it right away.  I then spent the morning reading, and rereading it.  As someone who has limited dollars to spend on his hobby I have to say I was most happy with the book and think it well worth adding it to your library.

First off, what the book is not.  It is not a uniform guide.  It is not a history of the war.  There are other better books for those subjects.  Nor is it about the various Militia, Volunteer or Fencibels regiments.   

What it is is a comparison if the United States Regular soldier and his British counterpart.  It details their training, organization and background.  It goes into the drill manuals and how regiments formed up for battle.  There is some information about uniforms but just basics.  And there are three workman like accounts comparing the two armies at three major actions:  Queenstown Heights 1812, Chrysler's Farm 1813 and Chippewa 1814.  

The heart of the book is how the US regular army grew and developed during the war.  At the start the regular army was often the poor step child compared to the state militia.  Officers were often political appointed and ignorant of their duties.  There was no solid non commissioned ranks to train and maintain discipline and to be an example like in the British army.  Drill manuals?  Take your pick! Because there was no standard it was each regiment on its own.  As the war progress the incompetents are weeded out and a solid officer and non commissioned officer corp evolves.  A group of talented and dedicated officers rose to command positions.  The difference between the army at Queenstown and Chippewa was as light is to darkness.  

The book is not biased or one sided.  The British regular was a professional who maintained that reputation throughout the war.  The US regular evolved and developed throughout the war.  So yes, there is much more about him in the text and how this development came about.  Again the book is a comparison of the two regular soldiers from the start of the war to the end.  I think it is important to understand this before you buy the book.    I enjoyed it very much and found lots of good food for thought and lessons for my wargames armies.  

John Buchanan "Road" series:

"The Road to Charleston" and "The Road to Valley Forge. ". I am a great fan of Buchanan's " Road " books.  These are great, popular histories of varioys theaters of the American Revolution.  They are very well researched and well written.  His first book, "The Road to Guilford Courthouse" tells the take if the British southern theater from before the siege of Charleston to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.  "The Road to Charleston"  takes up the tale of Nathaniel Greene's recapture of South Carolina to the British evacuation if the South.  His "Road to Valley Forge" follows Washington's learning curve as commander in chief through the New York and New Jersey operations.  Both are great reads and great history.

Nathaniel Philbrick:

Just finished his books "Mayflower" and "Heart of the Sea."  

I found the Mayflower to be dived into thirds as far as story telling and contents go.  The first third of the book is a history of not only the first fifty years of the Pilgrims settlement in Massachusetts.  The first third of the book is about who they were and why they cane to America.  The next third is how they settled and adjusted to life in the wilderness.  It alsogoes into their inter actions with the Native peoples and how both sides looked to the other to establish dominance over the area and the other people living there.  Finally the last third is a brief history of King Philips War 1675-76.  Possibly one if the most destructive wars in our history and one if the only times the Native peoples could have pushed back the invasion of Europeans.

"The Heart of the Seas" described the tragedy of the Whale ship Essex which was rammed by a sperm whale and sunk. It was thus actually story which influenced Me level in writing Moby Dick. The crew was adrift for a long time and barely survived.  The book is an excellent history of the whaling industry as it actually was and not its romantic story as its cone down to us.  

Just starting Valiant Ambition about George Washington and Benidct Arnold.  I cannot understand why authors continue to over state Arnold's ability and actions.  But that is just me.  I feel a close look at his record showed him to be as careless with men's lives as he was with money.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

St. Patrick's Day


Happy Saint Patrick's Day to all.  I thought to honour the day I would post a few pictures of the Dillon and Clare regiments I painted up a number of years ago.  These are from the Crann Tara miniatures and are most excellent figures.  To my mind they capture the feeling of the famed Irish brigade.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The Battle of The River Raisin 23 January 1813

This is the second of the two battles.  Fir the furst please read theborevious post.

The American army camped in and around Frenchtown awake to find the woods filled with Canadian Militia and Native Americans.  In addition British regular infantry and artillery are spotted.  all are within musket range.

The American commander assembled his men.  The Kentucky militia fell in at the works around the town.  The Regulars, caught out in the open started the game in shaken status.  The rifles spread out to maintain contact between the regulars and militia.

In the woods the British commander has his artillery and the 41st Regiment in the center facing the town. He plans to use his artillery to batter the militia while the regulars are held back for the final blow. On either flank a militia regiment and a war band of Natives prepared to out flank the American works and surround the enemy. 

The British artillery started the game by firing on one if the militia regiments to its front.  In either flank the Canadian militia and natives raced to outflank the American works.  The US regular Regiment rallied off its shaken status in time to receive fire from its front and flank.  But a deadly volley cut down some if the over enthusiastic warriors to their front.  While the Americans passed their morale checks, counting heads they wondered how long this could last.

Keeping the Americans pinned down to their front, the Canadian infantry and Native Warriors continued to encircle the town while the artillery and muskets continued to inflict casualties.  The US regulars managed to fight their way back to the town.  But within their ranks many wondered how safe was that.

It was at this point that the most dramatic incident in the game occurred.  As the Native Warriors moved into the town Magua saw his old enemy Colonel John Carroll of the Kentucky militia.  Having vowed to kill his enemy Magua took aim at Carroll and shot him in the back. * The Militia to his right and left never noticed as they were too busy with enemies to all sides now.

At this point everything that could go wrong did go wrong.  Both militia regiments failed their morale checks and routed.  But they were now surrounded and no place to go.  The rifles saw the British 41st regiment advancing with lowered bayonets coming towards them.  And the US regulars were busy fighting enemies to their front and both sides.  There was little to do but throw down their arms and surrender and hope the British could keep the Native Warriors from killing them all.

Conclusion:  another quick and fast game.  Just as one sided as the previous battle.  But fun nevertheless.  Also, how often do you get to fight two different battles with the same terrain?  I think if I do this again I would give the Americans another militia regiment to give them more of a chance.  Having the British/Canadian forces set up and start the game in musket range is very deadly, but also historically accurate.  A little tinkering might make this a more evenly matched encounter.  I enjoyed the research and learning mire about these battles.  Which is after all one reason were enjoy this hobby of ours.

* in the rules I used a single figure needed to roll a 2 or less on a 10 sided dice to score a hit.  Magua rolled a 1.  It was very amusing as the real John Carroll is a friend on the Fife and Drum miniature forum who is always getting shot in the back in his French and Indian War or western gun fight games.  I could not believe that this happened in my game.  Sorry John!

Monday, March 15, 2021

The Capture of Frenchtown 18 January 1813


              The first of two battles for Frenchtown.  

South of the town the River Raisin is frozen over and infantry can cross with a movement penalty. North of the town there is a forrest and wide ditch which provides cover for infantry.  It is within musket range of the town.  

The commander of the Kentucky militia crosses the frozen river and advances towards the town.  He places his two militia regiments together with his rifle armed men to either flank.  If he can take and hold the town he can declare a great victory which if course will help his political career back home.

The British/Canadian commander deployed his Native Allies to either flank with his militia  in the center.  He is outnumbered and plans to delay the advancing Americans while avoiding casualties.  He knows reinforcements  are a couple days march away. 

Taking advantage if their longer range weapons the rifles immediately start picking off their enemies.  Once within range the militia exchange vollies with the Canadians taking the worse of the exchange.  they also fail their morale test and rout towards the woods.  The Native Indians quickly join them.  With the militia in the town the Canadians and their allies withdraw to fight another day.  For the Kentucky men it has been a easy walk in the park which will grown in the retelling as a great victory.

In the next days the Americans are joined by a US regular infantry regiment.  In addition they start building a fortified fence line between the village and the woods.  Its cold and they prepare for an uneventful nights rest.  The Kentucky militia camp in the town while the regulars camp in the open outside the fortified lines.  Next day they hope to continue the works.  A couple soldiers grumble about the woods being awful close to our lines.  Nothing to worry about they are reassured...


A neat small skirmish.  Not very exciting but it sets the stage for the next battle.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Battles of Frenchtown 18 & 23 January 1813

The Battles of Frenchtown, better known as the Battle of the River Raisin or the River Raisin Massacre, was a series of battles in Michigan Territory that took place from January 18–23, 1813.  These were two separate and different actions fought during the War of 1812.  They were also different from most battles I have fought in that the majority of troops were Militia, Volunteers and Native Americans.  The second battle did include small detachment of regulars for each side.  Both battles were fought in the winter so again these will be very different types of actions.  

Wayside from battle site of the second battle.

Wayside of the first battle.

For a quick history lesson here is a recounting of the actual historical events.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Frenchtown

The first battle (January 18) saw a American Force of Kentucky Militia and Volunteers capturing the village from a smaller group of Indians and Canadian militia.  The second battle saw the British/Canadians recapturing the town.  Both sides included regulars and the British had two small cannon.  The battles were  better suited to a skirmish action or a Sharp Practice type game.  I am upping the number of figures per each unit but keeping the ratio of figures per side to fit my collection.  So this will not be a full historical recreation.  More of a Hollywood based on type story.

Order of Battle:

18 January:

Defending the village of Frenchtown:

Canadian militia regiment (24 figures)

Native Warriors (12 figures)

American attacking force:

2x American militia regiments (24 each)

1 x Rifle regiment (12 figures) 

January 23;

Americans defending Frenchtown

2 x Militia regiments (24 figures)

1 x Rifle unit (12 figures)

1 x US Regulars (24 figures)

British Canadian attach force:

1 x British Regular (24 figures)

2 x Canadian militia (24 figures each)

2 x Native Warriors (12 each)

Royal Artillery (2 x light guns)

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Got my first Vacine Shot!


Today, 11 March I got my first Vivid Shot!  The first step on the road to normalcy.  It was the Pfizer shot and so far I feel fine.  No issues.  

The second shot is scheduled for April 1st.  Someone has a sense of humor.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Remember the Alamo


Back in March 2015 Jane and u took a trip down to Texas with our friends Scott and Arline.  We visited a number of sites connected with the Texas War for Independence 1836.  But the highlight was of course seeing the Alamo.  An unexpected part was stumbling on the History Shop as we were walking over to the Alamo.  Inside was am amazing diorama built by Mark Lemon.  It was about 15 feet long and incredibly detailed. Images of it was used in his book, "The illustrated Alamo 1836."  There was a sound and light show around it and Phil Collins narrated the events of the siege and battle.  Well worth while and very well done. I have recently read the store closed and I do not know the fate of this incredible model.  But I found these picture and hope you enjoy them on the anniversary of the battle.