Friday, April 28, 2017

1859 French Artillery Limber in 15mm

While only a single artillery limber and team, it is always a welcome addition to push one of these pieces of equipment across the painting desk regardless of the number.  The limber and team were pressed into the painting queue in between two larger units.  Painting only one team was not as painful as setting about to finish three or four of these auxiliary pieces.  And once it is done, it is done!
Like almost all (all but one, that is) of the limbers and teams in the 1859 collection, this piece is from Freikorps 15s.  With ten French guns and crew completed and only four limbers listed as finished in the Painting Log tally, work still remains to bring the French artillery park up to full strength.  Maybe I will continue slipping a limber or two in between other larger efforts?  At least four more remain in The Lead Pile awaiting an opportunity to slide over to the "finished" side of the ledger.

Following the conclusion of the first quarter's concentration on the 1859 Battle of Montebello, painting action on the 1859 project will likely take a back seat to other more "urgent" projects.  Actually, no projects have a feeling of urgency at present since most have reached the point where games can be fielded with troops at hand.  The only project with any urgency might be the Biblical project featuring my budding Assyrian troops.  Jake is ramping up production on a likely foe for my Assyrians in the form of an Egyptian army.  He is making great headway already (see Jake's Egyptian works here and here).  Seems the arms race is on and I need to ramp up my production.

  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

SYW Austrian Cuirassier Regiment Stampach

When the 18mm SYW project began in late 2006, the project plan for fielding cavalry regiments was to build four squadron regiments.  A few years later, I decided to bump up regimental strengths to six squadrons.  
To that end, the 5th and 6th squadrons of the Austrian Cuirassier Regiment #4 Stampach muster out from the painting desk.  Squadrons 1-4 were fielded in 2008.  Nine years have passed since this regiment last received reinforcements.  Nine years?  Shocking!  Had I not witnessed this in the Painting Log, I would not have believed my eyes.
The 18mm SYW project has not seen much activity on the painting desk lately.  In fact, the last reinforcements for the project were seen in January 2015.  That is a long hiatus.  Without getting the collection out onto the gaming table in a regular fashion and the number of competing projects, I suppose inactivity on this front is expected.
These two squadrons of six troopers each are all from Eureka's excellent range of SYW figures.  By last count, Austrian horse have now reached a total of 47 squadrons.  Forty-seven squadrons!  Slow and steady progress yields big results over time.  I imagine the Prussians have a similarly sized cavalry arm.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Odds and Ends for WWII Skirmish

Having only four WWII Gebirgsjager remaining in The Lead Pile, I figured I would empty the bin and field two officers and a two-figure LMG team.  While digging around in the lead, a couple of British weapons teams caught my attention.  Why not tackle these as well?  I could not resist.
First off the workbench is a British light mortar team from Black Tree Designs in 28mm.  While there are effectively two mortars teams, my plan is to use this collection of four figures to form one light mortar team.  One team will denote the weapon and crew in move mode while the other pair will be used to show the weapon and team as deployed and ready for action.  As expected from BTD, the sculpting on these Brits is excellent.
Next off the paint desk is a British heavy mortar team of three crew with weapon.  No separate trio of figures in move mode here.  This crew will lend some heavier infantry support from the rear.  Again, nice figures.
Finally, I get to the figure grouping that prompted my rummage through The Lead Pile.  That is the only four German Gebirgsjager left in inventory.   
My thought is that these four figures, consisting of two officers and a two-figure LMG stand, could be pressed into service as platoon HQ for the three Gebirgsjager sections already called up for service.
Like all of the BTD WWII figures, these figures show great character and are a real pleasure to paint.  Now, with a full platoon of mountain troops ready for service, I need to work them into a game of Chain of Command.  Looking back through past BatReps, hard to believe that the last game of CoC was about one and half years ago.  Where does the time go?

Even though painting activities have slowed with the recent luxury of gaming two weeks in a row, a line of units is slowly queueing up for the photo booth.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Cycling on the Palouse

View from Tower Mountain
With a wet and chilly spring on the Palouse, most of my cycling has been confined to the indoors variety.  By count, cycling outdoors in 2017 has only tallied to a half-dozen times.

Finally, on Wednsday, the grey clouds lightened and the temperatures warmed to near 60 F.  Seizing what was expected to be a fleeting opportunity, I grabbed the bike and headed out for a post-work work-out.
Near the golf course at Hangman Valley
This afternoon's ride would be a little shorter than usual in total miles but a bit more in the vertical direction.  My plan was to drop down off the South Hill and into the Hangman Valley following the creek until reaching the golf course.  After reaching the golf course, the long climb up and out of the valley would begin.  Climbing would not stop there, however.  After reaching the plateau, I make a right-hander and continue climbing up to near the summit of Tower Mountain. 
Today's cycling route
I last tackled the Tower Mountain climb last fall.  How would I fare after a winter indoors on the stationary bike?
The last stretch of the climb
 with Tower Mountain in background
The climb up Tower Mountain is tough on legs and lungs with some pitches reaching 22%.  Near the top, simply turning over the pedals can be a tough effort.  When sweat falls like rain in 60F conditions, you are working hard.  As seen from the elevation profile, a little over 1,500 ft in vertical climbing in five miles.
Elevation profile
As always, the view from the top is worth the effort and it is a good feeling to get the cool, fresh air cycling through your lungs.  With grey clouds returning, time to linger no more and head back home.
View from Tower Mountain

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Battle of Second Winchester, 1863

A glimpse of Scott's beautiful 28mm Federal troops
Kevin hosted an ACW game featuring three firsts:
  • First time my 28mm ACW Sash & Saber Federal brigade saw action on the table
  • First time Scott's extensive 28mm ACW collection saw action on the table
  • First time the rules, Pickett's Charge, saw action on the gaming table
At start deployments
Since this would be our first trial of the game, Scott picked a straight forward clash recreating the Second Battle of Winchester where Union General Milroy attempted to breakout from the trap in which he found his command.
The line of battle from behind the Federal lines
Having a brigade of Federals to put into the game, Scott placed me in the shoes of the poor commander, Milroy.  With three full infantry brigades, one small reserve brigade, and three, six gun batteries, the Federal task was to either exit the opposite end of the table or die trying.  Stopping the Federal troops from their breakout was Rhodes' Confederate division.  The Rebel regiments were smaller than their Federal counterparts but many of their regiments were classified as "Elite" while almost all Federal regiments were classed as "Green." 
Federal right advances upon the enemy
After a preparatory artillery duel which managed to knock out one of the two Confederate batteries, the Federal right stepped off towards the enemy positions.
Federal right on the approach
While the Federal right began its advance after silencing one of the Rebel batteries, the Confederate cavalry swung around the flank in an attempt to outflank the Federal right.  The Federal battery buttressing the right flank poured a steady fire into the advancing Confederate cavalry.  Milroy repeatedly sent two ADCs to the rightmost guns to ensure a hot time was shown those enemy horsemen.  With artillery fire becoming too hot, the cavalry were forced to dismount.
Reb cavalry try to outflank the Federal troops
Seeing the wavering cavalry dismount, two Federal regiments set off to engage.  Unfortunately, the green Federal troops were too impetuous and took face fulls of lead on the approach.  Even though the Reb cavalry were dishing out great punishment, the Federal right was now screened.  The main Federal attack proceeded to march towards their objective knowing their flank was, for now, covered.
Federal troops advance calmly towards their destruction
As the Federals marched down the gently sloping hill towards the Confederate line, musketry and cannon fire increased.  The lead Federal regiment began to take heavy casualties.
Two Federal regiments redeploy to the right of the battle line
Thus far, Milroy maintained the initiative and was able to bring that advantage to bear by firing upon the enemy first in each turn.
Federals prepare to close
Just as the Federal right advanced into effective musketry range, initiative shifted over to the Confederates.  Oh my!  Caught in the open within effective range of the elite Confederate infantry.  Rather than take the expected devastating Rebel fire, Milroy ordered a charge and closed with the Confederate line. 

Despite having the advantage in numbers, the smaller elite Rebels regiments poured withering fire into the green Union troops.  Disaster among the Federal ranks!  All four regiments on the right were repulsed with heavy casualties.  Lead Federal regiments taking the most fire recoiled into their supports driving all before them.
Federals repulsed!
With the Federal right in disarray and unable to mount another attack, Milroy called off the attack and sent an ADC over to the Confederate HQ to discuss terms of surrender.  A dismal outing for Milroy and his Federal division.
With the Federal right repulsed, Milroy surrenders.
While a stinging defeat for Milroy, at least the Federal commander could take solace in a hearty lunch, good company, and beautiful troops.

What of the rules, Pickett's Charge?  I will save my first impressions for another post.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

French Command - SYW in North America

Well!  A project that had not seen action at the painting desk in a very long time.  How long?  Almost exactly three years.  The 25mm French and Indian War collection has remained dormant with no new units being mustered in three years.  For a project having reached maturity and not often getting to the gaming table, long periods between additions is expected. 
Why now?  Rummaging through The Lead Pile to pull a few odds and ends for the 28mm WWII project, I came across the remnants of the FIW project.  Only one or two handfuls of figures remain unpainted and these are miscellaneous figures with no set purpose for building cohesive units.  There was enough figures to field a French command stand.  One can never have too much command, right?  With only a handful of WWII British and Germans needed to round out their platoons, adding three more figures into this tranche would hardly be noticed.  A quick little diversion.  
The three figure command stand shown today sources from a mix of manufacturers.  The mounted officer and the foot officer with spontoon are both from Dixon.  The foot officer in front is from 1st Corps.  Nice figures all.

Having mounted this French command on a round base, I am very tempted to go back to the FIW project and remount all of the command on similar round bases.  Previously, command was mounted on the same size rectangular base as the infantry.  While rework, it should not take much time.  Another quick, slightly larger diversion.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Montebello: The Empire Strikes Back

Once more, back to the battlefield of Montebello and facing off against my worthy opponent, Jake.  While the first two games saw Jake commanding the French, this time, Jake takes the helm as the Austrian commander, Stadion.  I lead the French and Sardinians (as Forey) in an attempt to thwart the Austrian aggressions in the foothills of the Apennines.
As the battle opens, French general Forey responds quickly to reports of Austrian capture of Genestrello.  Lead elements of Beuret's brigade take fire on the approach to the village.  As Austrian musketry increases, two French battalions are repelled from Genestrello.  Beuret's 4kg guns are disorganized as Austrian jaegers concentrate their fire upon the now exposed guns. 
French advances on Genestrello meet tough opposition
Bringing up reinforcements, Beuret forces the 3rd battalion of IR39 out from Genestrello, disorganized, while half of the 3rd Jager Battalion falls back to cover the left flank of Montebello.  Baum's Austrian brigade, facing Cascina Nuova, falls back to the grain fields to the north of Montebello.  Seems Stadion has no stomach to maintain an advanced position! Instead, he chooses to fall back and prepare a defense.
Austrians ejected from Genestrello
Beuret redoubles effort against Genestrello
With Genestrello in French hands, Austrian wing commander Hesse in the north remaining immobile, and Baum falling back from the center, Stadion's plan for conducting this battle begins to emerge.  The Austrian battle plan seems to focus on a delaying action around Montebello while Paumgarten's center wing is brought up to reinforce Urban as quickly as possible.  No flanking maneuver with Hesse.  Stadion intends to stand and defend in depth!  
Overview of early stage of battle
The Austrian defensive wall begins to align using Montebello as a fulcrum.  No pressure upon Calcabobbio from Hesse in the north and the important rail bridge at Cascina Nuova is safely in French hands.  Scaffgotsche abandons any claim upon Genestrello as the second half of the 3rd Jaeger departs the village on its way to cover the southern approaches to Montebello.
Austrians abandon Genestrello
Montebello, key to the Austrian defense
As the Austrian defensive line stiffens, Forey continues his advance upon these newly formed positions with thoughts of breaking through.  In the north, Sonnaz' Sardinian light cavalry skirmish with Hesse's lancers.  No advantage gained in the north for either combatant.
Forey advances upon Austrian positions
Battle overview from behind French lines
Having committed to a defensive line in the center and Paumgarten's reinforcements arriving in a constant stream of humanity, Stadion stakes out his ground and defies Forey to wrest it from his control.  Without hesitation, Forey obliges his opponent's wishes.
Forey prepares to attack the Austrian line
With Austrian batteries deployed all along the line, the French have great difficulty approaching unscathed.  French casualties mount in trying to close on the tough Austrian positions.
Arrayed in depth, French attempt assaulting
the Austrian positions
Unable to bring the two French batteries into position, Forey presses on without their support.  Taking casualties in the open without redress, French resolve begins to waver while the Austrians suffer few casualties.  In an effort to break the stand off against Hesse on the northern flank, Sonnaz launches repeated charges first against the Austrian cavalry and then against newly arriving infantry.  French suffer great casualties in these efforts with little gain.
Cavalry action in the north while line forms in center
French casualties mount in front of Montebello
As the cohesion of his fighting force deteriorates following wave after wave of French infantry crashing upon the white rocks of the Austrian line, Forey decides that discretion is the better part of valor. Unable to press his attack to push the Austrians back across the Coppa River, Forey orders a general withdrawal back to the security of Voghera.  Forey chooses to live to fight another day.
French cavalry in disarray after repeated charges
What a fine battle!  Jake played out a brilliant hand by foregoing the use of Hesse in the north as a flanking move and rushing Paumgarten's center wing pell-mell to the front.  While Paumgarten raced to the front, Urban pulled back his forward forces to consolidate a line centered on Montebello.  Few casualties were suffered by the Austrians as the French captured Genestrello almost without a fight.
The Long White Line stands firm
The French, upon approaching the Austrian defensive line, suffered greatly from Austrian fire.  Battalion after battalion failed to press on.  Taking even light casualties was sufficient to stop the French attack in its tracks as the French juggernaut repeatedly failed response tests.  This was a battle in which the French really never got into the fight.

Congratulations to Jake as he stymied French efforts at every turn and every roll of the die.  Despite their success in stopping French aggressions, the Austrians were awarded a minor victory.  Pursuing the French back to Voghera would have been an unlikely outcome.  Still, a great victory for Jake and Austria as Stadion pulls out the first victory for the Austrian empire in the mulit-game series on Montebello 1859.

For Jake's battle preparations, see Jake's comprehensive plan of battle (see Operation Design Montebello).  Reading through Jake's post on his pre-game planning, I wager the French had little chance!  I was outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted.  

After cleaning up the carnage from the battle, the table, now devoid of troops, awaits the deployment of troops for the 1800 Battle of Montebello. 
The barren landscape readies for Montebello 1800
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