Monday 31 May 2010

40mm SYW for sale

I have decided to sell off my collection of 40mm SYW by Sash & Saber and do that period in 25/28mm. I am selling four Prussian battalions (each of 30 figures) and
three Austrian/Hungarian battalions (each of 28 figures). I think the price is very reasonable at £5 a figure, starting price.
The first eBay lot number is 110540488028 but if you want to see more pictures of this range click on the 40mm SYW tab in the index on the right.

Sunday 30 May 2010

Battle of Preston (re-fight)

This weekend saw the ‘proper’ battle of Preston take place, as opposed to the try-out we had a few weeks ago which was posted here on this blog.

Commanding the Confederates, in the role of McLaws, was Ian and commanding the Union, in the role of Howard, was Stephane. I was in my customary spot on the computer as we used Carnage and Glory II, ACW version.

If you read the previous run-through of this battle, you will recall that the Confederates had a bad time of it, although the losses on both sides were small. This time the result was the complete opposite – the Union forces were thrashed (I can think of no other word to convey the hideous distortion in casualties) and in full retreat, their tails between their legs, they fled the field. Union total casualties came in at 35% (including wounded and those who surrendered) of the about 11,000 that started, as against Confederate losses of under 600 in their force of about 7000. I have attached OOBs for both forces up to the last move we played (move 10) as well as a summary.

The day started well for Howard as he had found an extra bridge (a Rebel pontoon bridge) and he was allowed to place this wherever he wanted. He was also able to move onto the table Move 1 whereas the rebels had to wait until the following move. As the Umpire (me) had indicated to Howard that he had to act aggressively (which was within the context of the scenario being played) he brought his three infantry divisions over each respective bridge and ford and launched them piece meal against the Rebels. Furthermore, and most crucially, his artillery trailed along at the rear and he did not wait for them to arrive to support the attacks of the infantry. The Union artillery, which was stronger than the Rebel equivalent arm, therefore never fired once. Three divisions launched largely suicidal attacks against the Rebels who had occupied Mullany farm, Jackson farm and the large hill between the two farms (see map).

Some highlights on interest:
1) The valiant but futile assault of 6th Vermont against a rebel battery. They halted at 50 paces and exchanged volleys, on the one hand, for canister on the other. Then, when exhorted to charge, the valiant Vermont boys stood around in chaos for 15 minutes before routing.
2) The successful charge of 2nd Vermont against 16th Georgia in a cornfield. With limited visibility both charged at 15 paces and the Georgians were tumbled out of the field.
3) The irritation of the Union cavalry when, having been ordered to dismount, were then ordered to remount and charge a Rebel battalion. The 9th New York cavalry then routed.
4) The bloody assaults of Barlow’s division on Jackson farm when, on three occasions, the Union charged and on three occasions they were bloodily repulsed.

All in all, a most enjoyable game which ran with great fluidity. We managed 10 moves (or 2 and a half hours) in a day and reached a conclusion by Saturday night. We are planning another game soon (perhaps with more players) and I’d recommend Carnage and Glory II to all ACW gamers.

NB: Yes, I see the picture numbering went slightly wrong! Please forgive me – you know you will feel better for it!

Oh, and I see Stephane has just done his own description of the battle from the Union point of view on his blog. It is in French but if you don't read French put it through a transator as it is very amusing and has quite another point of view, not to mention some lovely pictures.

Thursday 20 May 2010

Artois IR 31

Another two battalion regiment to finish off second brigade of the first division. Actually the second battalion of this regiment served in Canada until 1758 when it returned to France (via an exchange at Calais as it had been captured by the British after the fortress of Louisbourg fell). On its original dispatch to Canada it had been issued with white vests (as opposed to the red the first battalion wore) and I have painted both battalions with the red vests as I’d like to think that almost the first thing the assembled (and complete) regiment would do would be to revert to its more colourful sartorial elegance.

This is a so-called white cuffed regiment. Most Infantry units in the French army had either red, blue or white cuffs (there were exceptions of course – black and violet were other options). Now given that the coat was a pearly-grey does this mean that the cuffs, in a white-cuffed regiment, were the coat colour or that a special issue of white materiel was made? This is a question that has intrigued me for years (yes, a brief glimpse into the mind of a minor fanatic) and Pengel & Hurt have the following to say:

“The regulations stated that the soldier was to be issued with ‘1 ¼ aunes (one aune = 1.19 metres) of Lodeve cloth and 1/8 aune of coloured cloth for the cuffs, 2 2/3 aunes of Aumale serge for the coat itself and the vest and trousers were either 2 2/3 of lace material or 3 ¾ aunes of woollen serge according to the custom of the regiment.”
Clear as mud then!

I have painted the cuffs in the same colour as the rest of the coat as I think this was the most likely.

Beautiful flags are by GB, of course. Figures are mostly Crusader (and I think they are exceptional) except for a Front Rank officer in the first battalion and a rather tall Capitulation sergeant in the second – the latter being a long lost remnant of another project who is happy to find service again.

The last thing to note are the finial cravat’s supplied by Nic at Eureka. These will replace the Front Rank ones which are, I think, a little ‘over the top’, although I’ll retain them for the Guard’s brigade. The new ones are much more discrete and look like scarves.

Soon I’ll show some pictures of some great French artillery pieces I have bought from Elite Miniatures, which are so nice that they have provoked a complete rethink of how I plan to model these in both my SYW armies. The old ones will go off to the canonnerie.

Sunday 16 May 2010

Wednesday 12 May 2010

Run-through of Preston

The point of today’s exercise was to run through the new rules (Carnage & Glory II’s ACW computer set) and to familiarise us with it’s workings before the actual game on the 29th and 30th of this month.

Ian took the role of the Union and I commanded the Confederates. Normally I would not have a command being attached to the computer imputing ranges etc and controlling the pace (such is my metier), but for the purpose of getting to know how things work I needed to actually command troops. We played 9 moves in about 3 hours and called it quits before the Confederate assault had even begun. The computer declared it a minor Union victory and the casualties reflected this – about 300 Rebels to 100 Union.

The main error on my part was to change initial ‘Attack’ orders to ‘Defend’ for the two leading brigades – on the assumption that I would wait for the rest to arrive and then be able to change those on Defend to Attack so all four brigades would attack together. Big mistake as both Kershaw and Semmes never moved again. Had we played on I might have had better results at getting these Generals to move (what part of “Immediately attack the enemy to your front” do you not understand?) but meanwhile a Union battery, the 1st Ohio Lights, was playing merry hell with the 50th Georgia which, after taking sustained fire for 30 minutes, retired from the field with almost 50% casualties. Additionally, the Union forces had taken the time to line up a strong front line, behind fences, awaiting the Confederates to get their act together. Had the rebels attacked this line I think they’d have been slaughtered. Some greater subtlety is required on the part of the Rebel commander, Mclaws, I think.

The only bright point in an otherwise gloomy Rebel day was the brilliant success of the 7th North Carolina Cavalry which, with sabre only, dispatched into retirement two Union cavalry regiments.

We have both learned quite a bit from this run-through and on the day, in about two week’s time, Ian will command the Rebels and my two French friends, Seb and Steph, will command the Union. Good luck boys!

(See my previous posts for the map etc)

Tuesday 4 May 2010

Uniforms of WAS/SYW French Generals

I've been trying to pin down exactly what French Generals wore during this period and whether Brigadiers had any formal uniform. Here is my translation of a Royal Order on the subject:

King’s Order
For regulating the uniforms of General Officers employed in the service of the armies of His Majesty.

1st February 1744

His Majesty, considering the importance that all the General Officers employed in His armies, on any occasion, are promptly recognized by all those under their orders, judges it to be necessary to regulate a uniform clothing for them, which shows their character and recognizes the honours and the obedience which is owed to them. Consequently, His Majesty orders that the uniforms of His Lieutenant Generals and Maréchaux de camp, which they will wear in all campaigns, shall be a single-breasted coat, in a colour vulgarly called King’s Blue, trimmed with gold lace, in accordance with the sample which will remain annexed at the minute of this ordinance. The only difference between Lieutenant Generals and Maréchaux de camp will be that the former will have extra lace borders to the pockets and the sleeves while the latter will have the simple lace edging.

Mandated and ordered by His Majesty, His Generals are instructed to follow this order with due diligence and precision in conformity with His Majesty’s wishes.

Made at Versailles, 1st February 1744

Signed: Louis

Underneath signed: M. P. de Voyer d’Argenson***

Now, there may well have been further orders published after this date but the original came from Patrice Menguy's excellent website Les Sujets du Bien-Aime
( if there are more (and later) orders he does not show them.

I have shown some of these plates before but wanted to note the following:

1) The uniform of Brigadier is not mentioned.
2) Further details are absent - nothing on the vest colour, trousers, saddle cloth or hat feathering.
3) Not every senior General chose to follow these orders (the French army was often very lax at following dictat from Versailles) and an obvious example was Soubise, who has been portrayed (in Mollo) wearing the red coat of the full dress of the Gensdarmes de La Garde du Roi, of which he was Capitaine-Lieutenant. He was also a Marshal of France so I suppose he could be excused.

I've also shown a useful illustration of an Aide de Camp but I cannot be sure if this was regulated or not.

*** We have met this individual, or rather his son, in one of my previous mini-biographies.

Sunday 2 May 2010

ACW: 1862 Battle of Preston

ACW: Battle of Preston (2nd October 1862)(Fictional encounter)

Pre-Battle background.

McClellan and Lee fought at the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, on September 17, 1862, the bloodiest single day in United States military history. Lee's army, checked at last, returned to Virginia before McClellan could destroy it.

Trailing along at the rear of the Confederate Army was McLaws Division of Longstreet’s Corps. McLaws has had his scouts out and they had assured him that the Union army was not pursuing and with this in mind he allowed his troops to amble along at a gentle pace and had instructed the regimental bands to strike up an assortment of merry tunes. Meanwhile Major General Howard, commanding Union XI Corps had decided,after he had news from his scouts, to interpret his orders from McClellan in a rather aggresive manner. He saw the posibility of trapping the Confederate rearguard before they were able to cross the river Avon.

Early in the morning of Sunday 2nd, Howard received news that the rest of Longstreet’s Corps was at Gainsville. He had planned on deploying on the south side of the Avon and to force McLaws into a bloody assault on the bridge and ford at Preston. Howard now decided that the risk of himself being trapped prevented this deployment and he ordered a deployment to the north of the river. He plans to attack.


Union Corps of three divisions of infantry, 3 batteries and an attached cavalry brigade, totalling 10,560 men.
Confederate Division of four brigades of infantry, 3 batteries and an attached cavalry brigade, totalling 7,440 men.

The Union must deploy their infantry and artillery on the two arrows but in any order of arrival they wish, except that artillery may not lead at the front of an arrow. The cavalry positioning will be a secret.

The Confederates must deploy their infantry and artillery on the two arrows but in any order of arrival they wish, except that artillery may not lead at the front of an arrow. The cavalry option remains a secret.

We plan a run through of the battle, to familiarize ourselves with the rules (Carnage and Glory II) on 12th May and the full battle will be played out on 29/30th May. A full report, with pictures, will follow.