Friday, 30 October 2015

The Battle of Hangman's Creek - Intro

I am about to attempt my first ever ACW battle using the Black Powder rules. The scenario is taken from the rule book and involves a division per side in an attack/defence type fight.
This is the map of the scenario, the Confederates will come on to the table at the top of the picture, three brigades in all. The objective is to capture as many muskets, balls and shot as they can carry away from the armaments factory situated in the lower right of the map. It is just approaching first light and the Union troops are in their camps. One camp can be seen on the map to the West of the town, another is camped South of the town off the map and a third, also in camp to the East of the town further along the road from the factory. The Divisional and Brigade commanders for the Union side are all in the house at the North edge of town. They will have to rush to call out their respective brigades and form a defence, before the Confederates can sweep down onto the camp, town and factory. The Union have a regiment on picket duty on the ridge to the North and also one regiment beside the factory.

Left side of the table showing the camp and the farmhouse to the north.

Centre of the table, showing the town and the ridge beyond with a cornfield in between.

Finally, the right side of the table, showing the river snaking down the table from top to bottom and the armaments factory at bottom left.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Confederate cavalry now complete.

Carrying on with the Black Powder Challenge 2015, sees the Confederate cavalry now completed. I had already painted up five regiments of mounted and two regiments of dismounted troopers, The new additions bring that figure up to twelve mounted and four dismounted, or a full cavalry division of four brigades!

The whole force out on the table.

A full division of troopers.

Quite a frightening sight if you're a Union soldier.

A better shot of the dismounted troopers and their horse holders.

A closer shot.

On to the Union cavalry next, about the same number.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Sirens, Strokes, Serfdom and Small Soldiers.

In April this year, 2015 I suffered a minor heart attack. I didn’t know it was minor at the time, it felt as though an elephant was sat on my chest. As I lay in the back of an ambulance, blue lighting it to the hospital, I thought, ‘Is this it? Is this how it is all going to end?'

Well of course, unless I am a ghost, then it didn’t end and I am typing this blog entry. All the same it has made me reconsider many things, as only a kick up the backside like that can. Since that evening, I have undergone numerous examinations and tests; the upshot being is that I need a bypass operation as two of the arteries are shot. This is a reasonably straightforward operation these days, and my chances of surviving it are rated at 98%, I would of course have preferred 100% but I will take the offered odds. If I do nothing, I will suffer a fatal heart attack within the next five years.

I will be 62 years old next month and although death doesn’t fill me with the dread it would have done in my youth, I still would prefer to stay around for a good few years yet. I am entitled to retire at 65, at which time I would receive the State Pension, having completed 50 years of work, I left school and started earning at 15. However, I do have an income, my pension from serving in the Royal Navy and later the Police Force. My wife and I have no debt, no credit cards or loans that seem to blight so many people and apart from the normal everyday utility bills, food etc. we have no other outgoings.

For the last eight years I have also had to care for my wife, who in that time has suffered two strokes. Family have helped of course, to allow me to go on working, but like the rest of us, they too are ageing and have health problems of their own to deal with. It has become more difficult to find someone to be with her. I have, along with my wife’s blessing, taken the decision to retire early, or at least resign from my present occupation, at Christmas this year.

At some point between now and Christmas, I am due to undergo the aforementioned bypass operation, this will entail a ten to fourteen day stay in hospital, followed by six to eight weeks convalescing at home. The upshot is, if I survive, I shall become a gentleman of leisure and when everyone else crawls back to work during the cold, dark miserable days of early January, I shall still be tucked up warm in bed, no more 6 am starts for me.

'But what will you do all day, I hear you cry!' Well that is the beauty of this hobby of ours, so much to keep us busy, crikey who needs work? I really don’t have the time for it anymore, far too many soldiers to paint and battles to fight on the table top. I have lots of options to work through too.

a)     6mm ACW army is now well on the way to completion, though there is still quite a bit left to paint. At this point in time, I have enough figures painted to fight reasonably large scale battles. Now it is deciding which rule set I want to use, Altar of Freedom, Black Powder or maybe something else. Well I can try them all and see which I prefer.

b)     28mm ECW, I have completed quite a few regiments for both sides, still more to build and paint, but I have enough for a decent sized skirmish game. I am using the Pike & Shotte rule system which I really like.

c)     28mm Roman/Celt armies. I have troops for both the armies, though I have only painted up a few Roman Legionaries as test pieces so far, so a whole lot of work to do on this project. Rules will probably be Hail Caesar but L’Art de Guerre also looks promising.

d)    SAGA, I have painted up an Anglo-Saxon army for this game, with a Viking army still boxed and waiting to be built. I also have a Viking long ship kit that needs building and painting for the game as well.

e)     28mm War of the Roses Campaign. I have built up quite a few units for my Northern Campaign project, with lots more still to build and paint. Rules will be Lion Rampant, L’Art de Guerre or maybe Hail Caesar, once again I can play using them all and settle for my favourite.

f)      1/72 scale. I have boxes and boxes of these figures, many are painted, but even more remain unopened. Napoleonic, Greeks, Persians, 100 years war, (I even have a castle kit in that scale unopened), Samurai, Crusaders and Saracens.

g)     N Gauge model railway. My original layout was built on my current war gaming table; it was scrapped as it didn’t fulfill my needs. Ashdon Mk2 has yet to rise from the ashes and one wall of the man cave is designated for its use, with a possible loop around the whole room, at a later date.

h)    Story writing. Those of you who follow my blog will be familiar with the story set during the English Civil War and the goings on with Sir Royston and Septimus. I intend to continue with that story, as well as a new one covering the exploits of my fictitious War of the Roses campaign.

'But what about the cost, you won’t be earning any cash?'
Very true, but I have everything I need without buying even one more soldier or locomotive. It has already been gathered over the years and will now finally get to be painted/built/used.

Well this entry is a little different from my usual fayre and it has gone on a bit, however I wanted to let you know the state of play at the moment and give an insight into future plans.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

All the ACW artillery now complete, on to the cavalry.

I had painted up about half of the artillery before the challenge, but as I have completed the original goal I set myself, I have decided to press on. So attention turned to the artillery, which are all now completed.

The whole gun line, Union to the left, Confederate to the right.

From higher up, and to save you counting, the Rebels have 15 cannon and limbers, the Union have 16 cannon and 17 limbers? Don't ask, have I lost a cannon? or is it hiding in the pile of unpainted figures still lurking in the storage boxes. just visible to the right of the picture?

I  think I can safely say, I now have enough artillery for every engagement!

Looking across the arrayed firepower!

A peek down 'No Man's Land.'

It could suddenly get very noisy in the distant town.

So with that task out of the way, I have turned my attention to completing the cavalry for both armies. I had already painted up five units of mounted and two units of dismounted troopers plus two sets of horse holders. On the painting board now is the remainder of the Confederate cavalry.

This totals seven mounted units of nine men each, two dismounted units of twelve men each and finally, enough figures for four units of horse holders. 

The dismounted troopers and their horse holders in a little more detail.

I have about the same amount of Union cavalry to paint up when this little lot are finished. So once again, I should have more than enough for any battle I want to fight in the future.

Monday, 26 October 2015

A moment in time.

For the very first time I have laid out both 6mm American Civil War armies on the tabletop. This is purely fictional and doesn't represent any particular battle. I just wanted to lay all the troops out on the table for the very first time.

The idea is that a Confederate army has advanced quickly into Union territory and surprised the Union army in that location. A single division is trying to stem the Rebel advance as numerous brigades and artillery rush forward to assist.

A ten minute video of this moment in time is being currently uploaded to my You Tube channel.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The whole Confederate Army so far...

As promised some photographs of the whole Rebel force laid out on the table. I completed the final four units late yesterday afternoon and managed to take two or three photos in the failing light, so today hopefully, I have done them justice.

A low level shot of the whole force.

The whole force from higher up. Generals at the front, artillery and limbers, cavalry on the wings and of course the infantry at the rear.

Looking across the massed ranks of infantry.

From a little lower down for a close up of the troops.

Dismounted and mounted cavalry troopers on the flank.

Six artillery pieces and their limbers.

A unit of red coated Zouves in the infantry ranks.

More cavalry on the other flank.

Looking down the table at the massed ranks.

Finally, a shot of the whole force.

Although I am looking to fight the battles using the 'Altar of Freedom' rules, I decided to invest in a copy of the 'Black Powder' rules. I do already have a copy of 'Pike & Shotte' by the same company and quite like the mechanics of the game. I will of course need to scale down movement and ranges, also work out a command system, as this game is really designed for 28mm. It looks at divisional sized battles, whereas of course, I will be fighting Corps or even Army sized battles.

To experiment with the rules, I particularly like this encounter at the back of the book, it looks an interesting scenario to play and a perfect way to introduce myself to the rules.

I can recreate the map on my war gaming table and of course have enough troops to fight the battle. My bases are of course different to those recommended but I will find a way around that.

As you can see it comprises of a division for each side, broken down into three brigades and should prove very interesting to play.