Saturday, December 31, 2011

Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy, Issue 58

My wife gave me a subscription to Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy for Christmas. I asked for the digital version and received my first issue, number 58, within a few days of the order. This is a great issue. The theme is the 1809 war between the french and Austrians. What great timing, I'm painting Austrians!
The cover has a small diorama of Austrians marching through the mud. I plan to use the painting techniques from one of the articles to do a base of Austrians ro Volley and Bayonet crossing a muddy field.
There are also rules for Napoleonic skirmish level play, including a scenario, and a set of rules where each stand is a brigade. There i a scenario and OB for Aspern-Essling. A review of Napoleonic rules and miniatures round out the 1809 portion of this issue.:

There's also an article for gaming the defense of the hospital at Rorke's Drift, including instructionss to build a hospital model. It's one of those periods I have been able to avoid up to this point. After reading the article, I'm tempted.

Figure reviews, book reviews, columns, as i said before, it's a good issue. It's also a good value about $20 for a one year, six issue, digital subscription.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Battle of the Bulge Pictures

Like many, I belong to some yahoo groups. I get a lot of email, most of which I delete without reading. Here is a link to some pictures from the Battle of the Bulge that was in an email. The pictures are good. There's one of a PzJgr IV and when I build my next model of one, I'm going to try to copy the original paint job.
67 years since the German attack in the Ardennes. Surely that's reason enough to drag out the tanks and have a wargame.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Recommendation: Charlie Wilson's War

This book, by George Crile, is highly recommended. It is the story of the CIA's secret war in Afghanistan and the movers and shakers behind it. For me, the story of the people supporting it was secondary to the story of the war itself. It was very interesting to learn how the appropriations were handled and that part is compelling. The agreements forged by Wilson between various countries to aid the Mujahidin yielded good results, even when his actions greatly exceeded his legal limits.
The book is much better and very much more comprehensive than the movie. Larger than life characters and a desparate struggle against tyranny. What more can you want in a book.

If you have any interest in the Cold War, the CIA, or are looking for a good piece of non-fiction, this is the book for you.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Napoleonic Austrian Artillery

We used to have a member of our group with a good sized Austrian army. Alas, he finished his PHD and left Bloomington to start his career. He did not leave his Austrians behind. I have a small Austrian army; roughly one corps in Volley and Bayonet terms. It allows me to fight some of the 1813 battles such as Liebertwolfwitz. I need more Austrians.
I recently made my first purchase of painted figures from Ebay. Almost every figure in my Napoleonic collection has been painted by me. I got these for a very good price and they fill a much needed gap.

The basing is basswood, with air dry clay painted brown, drybrushed tan and flocked.

There are six bases. I plan to double my Austrian army to 2 corps, plus cavalry. Someday, I want to refight Dresden.
I plan to run the battle of Raab in the first quarter of 2012 at one of our monthly club meetings.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I Remember, Veteran's Day, 2011

I was born in the '50's, so I remember the veterans of World War I. As a child, I remember teachers, and community leaders, tall and old. My grandfather, Allen Hert, was one of them. And then in the '60's, they retired; or died.
I remember the veteran's of WW II. These men were teachers and community leaders as I grew older. My uncles, Allen Hert, Jr., and Onis Frank Hampton, were two of them. When I entered the work force, they were at every job. The man that taught me to weld was a veteran of WW II. And then they retired, and died.
It was the same with the veterans of the Korean War. My father is a veteran of that fight. I worked with many veterans of Korea. There were times that it seemed as if most of the men of that generation served in Korea. They've all long retired, and are dying.
I'm watching the veterans of Vietnam age, retire, and die. Men that I've worked with for 20 years or more.
And the veterans younger than me. Building their lives and families and contributing to the community.

It has been my privilege to know these veterans.

I will always remember them.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Battle of New Orleans OOB

Next year is not only the bicentennial of Smolensk and Borodino, but also of the last declared war between the US and Britain. Here in Bloomington, on the campus of Indiana University is the Lilly Library. It has a large collection of documents and manuscripts from the War of 1812 and they are planning a celebration. As part of it, my friend, Jim, and I will be running some demo games. One of them will be the Battle of New Orleans.
We will use Volley and Bayonet at a reduced scale for the battle. Jim is painting most of the figures and I am responsible for the OOB. Here is the first take. Each strength point is equal to 100 men or two guns.
I've rated the British 7th and 43rd Foot as morale 6. Packingham planned to use these two regiments to maintain order in New Orleans after it's capture. The Highlanders are also rated morale 6.
For the Americans, Jackson is both Army Commander and Division Commander. The militia units are not rated as militia, merely Poorly Trained. By this point in the campaign, the Americans are very confident, believing they have already beaten the British twice. Due to their training, Plauche's Uniformed Militia retain M4, but are not considered Poorly Trained.

British Army

Pakenham AC

1st Brigade, Reserve, Lambert DC Exhaustion 16


14th Light Dragoons, dismounted M5 OOO
7th Foot, Left Wind M6 OOOOO
7th Foot, Right Wing M6 OOOO
43rd Foot, Left Wing M6 OOOOO
43rd Foot, Right Wing M6 OOOOO
5th West India, Left Wing M5 OOOOO
5th West India, Right Wing M5 OOOO

2nd Brigade, Right Wing, Gibbs DC Exhaustion 17


4th Foot Light Co, M5 SK O
21st Foot Light Co, M6 SK O
44th Foot Light Co, M6 SK O
5th West India Light Co M6 SK O
95th Foot, 1st Detachment M6 SK O
95th Foot, 2nd Detachment M6 SK O
95th Foot, 3rd Detachment M6 SK O
4th Foot, Left Wing M5 OOOOO
4th Foot, Right Wing M5 OOOO
21st Foot, Left Wing M5 OOOOO
21st Foot, Right Wing M5 OOOO
44th Foot, Left Wing M5 OOOOO
44th Foot, Right Wing M5 OOOO

3rd Brigade, Left Wing, Keane DC Exhaustion 14


7th Foot Light Co, M6 SK O
43rd Foot Light Co, M6 SK O
93rd Foot Light Co, M6 SK O
95th Foot, 1st Detachment M6 SK O
95th Foot, 2nd Detachment M6 SK O
95th Foot, 3rd Detachment M6 SK O
93rd Foot, Left Wing M6 OOOOOO
93rd Foot, Right Wing M6 OOOOO
1st West India Foot, Let Wing M5 OOOOOO
1st West India Foot, Right Wing M5 OOOOO

Artillery Reserve Dickson DC Exhaustion 10

Carmichael's Battery 2 9 pdrs, 4 6 pdrs
M6 OO Field
M6 OO Field
M6 OO Field

Crawley's Rocket Battery
M6 OO Rocket
M6 OO Rocket
M6 OO Rocket

Naval Battery
M6 OO Heavy
M6 OO Heavy
M6 OO Heavy


Jackson AC Exhaustion 11


7th US M5 OOOO
Plauche's Uniformed Militia M4 OOO
Lacoste's Free Men of Color M4 PT OOO
Redoubt Battery M5 OO Field
Battery 1 M5 OO Heavy
Battery 3 M5 OO Heavy
Hind's MS Mounted Riflemen M4 Light OO
Ogden's Troop, 1st US Dragoons M5 SK O
Harrison's Bn, KY Militia M4 PT OOO

Caroll DC Exhaustion 10


Daquin's Free Men of Color M4 PT OO
44th US M5 OOOO
Caroll's TN Riflemen Left Wing M4 PT OOOOO
Caroll's TN Riflemen Right Wing M4 PT OOOOO
Battery 4 M5 OO Heavy
Battery 5 M5 OO Field

Coffee DC Exhaustion 9


Coffee's TN Riflemen Left Wing M4 PT OOOO
Coffee's TN Riflemen Right Wing M4 PT OOO
Adair's KY Riflemen Left Wing M4 PT OOOO
Adair's KY Riflemen Right Wing M4 PT OOO
Battery 6 M5 OO Heavy
Battery 7 M5 OO Field

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Command Decision AAR

The Indiana University Conflict Simulations Club met Sunday for it's monthly meeting; a WWII, Command Decision game and Gladiator combat were the two games played.
I have played many games of Command Decision since it was published in the late '80's, but this was only the third time I have played the latest version, Command Decision-Test of Battle. I like this version, it's faster and the spotting and artillery rules are improved. We played a meeting engagement with generic forces as a learning game.
Jeff provided the terrain and vehicles. He has a very nice collection of HO scale tanks, tracks, and trucks. My old friend Bob the Knob made a special guest appearance; he and I played Germans and Jeff and my son, Brady took the Americans.

The table:

On the first turn, the Gemans did a Hasty Advance with everything, racing for the center of the table.
My Panzer IV's pull up as an overwatch. The AA asset watches the sky.

The Germans reach the woods near the center of the table and deploy.
Also on the second turn, my Puma races down the road, looking for Americans and finds the head of their column, and an M8. The armored cars exchange fire and my Puma blows up!

Bob's infantry make it to the woods and deploy.

The US forces move down the roads leading from their entry point. My Panzer IV company moves past the woods to engage. They kill two M8's and then find themselves facing 8 enemy tanks and tank destroyers.

A disengage order allows my Panzers to escape.

View from the US end of the table.

After a few more turns of long range sniping with tanks and some effective artillery, I decided to send my tanks to Bob's flank and help him against the three Shermans on that end.

Seeing his position about to be overrun, Jeff moved his company of Shermans onto a hill, trying to get hull down. Bob and I advanced our tanks and the Panthers cleared the hill. At that point, the Americans conceded.
A fun game, Command Decision is back in the rotation.

On the other table, Big Mike ran a couple of games of gladiator combat. It sounded like great fun.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Tsaritsyn AAR

I recently found these pictures from a game I ran at Origins a few years ago. The scenario represents the White right flank attack. The White artillery started game with very good shooting. Their cavalry moved to the attack while the infantry moved forward as fast as they could. It was a fun game, and regardless of how it appears, I do not put an armored train in all of my RCW games.

The mighty Red armored train rolls on; and picks up a hit from the White artillery.

The Whites advance down the table.

The White cavalry moves past the armored train.

Long view of the table.
The pictures were taken by one of the players, Peter Bogdasarian. The Reds held on and won this one. I really enjoy the Red Actions system; it models the period very well, is easy to learn, and if the scenario is set up correctly, provides a resolution in a reasonable amount of time.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Defense of the Train Station AAR; RCW

Yesterday I ran a Red Actions game; the Defense of the Train Station. It was a hypothetical scenario set two after Kolchak's lines break in Western Siberia. The Whites set up their defense amid the buildings. The Reds entered at random points on the near table edge. The tanks and armored cars are all inoperative, although the Reds did not know that. I had the Whites roll at the end of each turn to repair the vehicles as a ruse.

Red cavalry moved through the woods, attempting to avoid the White artillery and move to attack the White left flank.

On the Red left, conscript infantry advance. More Red cavalry move behind the infantry towards a woods.

The Whites receive cavalry reinforcements and start riding toward the Red conscripts. Red cavalry intervenes before the Whites can reach their targets and a cavalry fight begins. By games's end, the Reds are slowly pushing the Whites back.

A White armored train rolls on the table. The train station, in the official colors of the Trans Siberian Rail Road, sky blue and white, is only a few moves away.

On the next turn, a Red armored train appears, carrying three companies of Red regulars. It heads for the White lines.

Six companies of Red cavalry are now facing the White center and left and attempt, again and again to close to contact. One company crosses the rail road and forces a retire result. It then receives fire from a fresh White unit and retires. One of the White guns is destroyed by the armored train, but the White lines hold.

Great period, great rules, great players.

The Battle of Phlegmbutt Manor AAR, ECW

Yesterday at our club's September game day, Richard ran a Spanish Fury/Very Civile Actions game. I was busy running a Red Actions game and did not get to keep up on the flow of the game. I did take a few pictures. Richard also sent an AAR for the game.

Jim Walker and Luke Casey commanded the hard-pressed Royalists defending the manor and, more importantly, the main road junction it commands, from the unexpected attack of superior Parliamentarian forces commanded by Jim and Connor True. Throughout the battle, reinforcements trickled in on both sides as supporters of the King fought to stop the Roundheads from taking the crossroads and falling upon the loot-fattened supply and pay train making its slow way along the main road. Total forces engaged by the end of the day were estimated at sixteen Royalist companies and five guns defending against twenty-two Royalist companies with no artillery.

Surprises abounded – mostly to the disadvantage of the Royalists. A surprise flank attack from off-board Roundheads assaulted the small fort whose brace of cannon dominated the crossroads and which anchored the right end of the Royalist line. Traitorous plots against the Roundhead forces were ineffective. But, a traitor to the King managed to distract the fort’s Royalist garrison while spiking the fort’s guns, enabling a small Parliamentarian storming party under its Fanatical Captain to lay ladders and swarm up onto the walls into hand-to-hand combat that took two “great turns” to yield apparent Parliamentarian success.

Just as the game ended after three “great turns”, the Inspirational Royalist Captain had decided to give the order to abandon the now-doomed fort and blow the powder supply. Perhaps the crews of the spiked guns would have escaped the conflagration, but this would have meant almost sure death or injury for those meleeing on the walls and, perhaps, disastrous results to the four companies (both Royalist and Roundhead forces) engaged close to the fort.

As “sudden torrential rain and devilish winds” brought the fighting to a close (we had to begin packing up the game at 5 to be out of the room by 6), the Royalists could be seen to have kept effective control of the main road and crossroads, if barely. Luke held at bay a strong force of New Model Army infantry reinforced by a regiment of heavily armored lobsterback cavalry on the Royalist left flank, whereas Jim on the Cavalier right had managed to form a strong line on the flanked right end of the Royalist position, guarding the road and intersection in the event of the loss of the fort (which seemed inevitable as the game ended.)

Connor’s Roundhead Dragoons on both flanks took noticeable casualties from the accurate fire of Royal cannonade (three demi-cannon and two demi-culverns, until the fort’s demi-cannon were spiked) and musketry. This, plus a Royalist terrain advantage which required fewer troops to defend than would have been the case on clear ground, stalled the Parliamentarian attack. The Roundheads lost three squadrons of Dragoons from two companies, two squadrons of Pike from one company and one squadron of Musketeers in the attack. Royalist casualties were somewhat less – consisting of four squadrons from as many companies (I’m not sure of the composition of the losses.)

The game lasted from about 1:30 (after preliminary briefings) to 5:00 PM with a 20-minute “R&R” break midway through. Referee’s Victory Ruling: Minor Victory for the Royalist side.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Four Hour RCW Armored Train

Shortly after starting my Russian Civil War project five years ago, my friend Richard gave me a Peter Pig 15mm armored train as a Christmas present. I was a little surprised as Christmas was months away and we did not give one another presents. I gladly took the gift and painted it and it made an appearance in our next game. At that point Richard confessed that it really wasn't a gift, he knew if I had it, the armored train would be painted and on the table quicker than if he had to paint it.
It's fun having an armored train to trot out when needed, and whenever I host a game and the railroad tracks are on the table, everyone wonders if an armored train will appear. Most often it does not.

Of course, having one armored train is never enough. I had the idea to scratch build one. I took air dry clay and sculpted the basic shapes of the engine, tender, and gun car. After the clay dried, I added a few details and painted and dry brushed it. I then realized I needed to sand some of the edges, so after that, I painted and dry brushed again. Total time, not including drying time was about four hours.

It is still very rough, and I plan to do another one. I will spend a lot of time sanding and squaring it. But it doesn't look too bad from 3'.
I can see a game in the future on Lake Baikal with armored trains dueling with gunboats!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Touching History, 1, 2 3, and 4

I recently purchased the pdf's for the four issues of Touching History by Paul Darnell. These are amazing and I recommend them to anyone that has ever built wargame terrain or is thinking of trying. The pdf's are only $7.59 each and as far as I am concerned, the value is far more than that.
The first issue covers Napoleonic Peninsular; buildings and terrain. I really like the windmill and plan to give that a try.
The second issue covers the English Civil War. Oddly enough I am playing in an ECW game tomorrow. I haven' built any of the terrain.
Issue 3 contains two periods, the Sudan and WW II. In addition to the model and terrain building, there is also an AAR for both historical periods. The Sudan portion contains great pictures of the gunboat Paul built.
The last issue of Touching History covers North America; the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and the French and Indian War.
Each issue contains ideas, advice, commentary and much more.

They are available at

I haven't done anything but read them and I can already encourage you to buy them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Recommendation: The British at the Gates

The British at the Gates by Robin Reilly is a history of the campaign that ended in the Battle of New Orleans, during the War of 1812. It's very well written. It is detailed, yet very readable. It explains the causes of the war in what I consider a balanced way. The author then gives a narration of the important events of the war leading to New Orleans, the final battle.
My friend, Jim, and I are starting a War of 1812 project and this volume by itself will keep me going for a while. I was fortunate to have this on the shelf at home when I needed to start my research.
Highly recommended.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maus in the House

On are recent trip to Hobby Town USA, I found a Forces of Valor 1/72 scale Maus on the clearance rack. Not something you need for very many scenarios, but the same can be said for the T-35 and I have one of those.
A nice pre-assembled and painted vehicle, it has the test turret so I need to add a gun and crew to it.
Zossen, anyone?