Friday, April 26, 2019

Ottoman Janissary Mehter Band

Last year I purchased this pack of By Fire And Sword Ottoman Janissary Mehter Band for the fun of adding it to the table top. It has no combat value and like many other unique sets I have, it is low on the painting list. Having caught up on some projects, I took a crack at it.

The figures themselves were quite clean and crisp. Very little cleaning up was needed to get these figures ready for priming. The plastic base that comes with the figures is adequate, but wanting all of my figures to maintain a magnetized standard, I opted to ditch that plastic base.

The website has a pretty set painted up and I at first tried to replicate this. One of the figures I received is not shown in that image and so after some research, I finally copied an image of a real Ottoman-Turkish Mehter Band. After reading up on the Ottoman army of this time period, the Sultan was not the only one with such a band. Regional governors were also known to raise such bands for special services. One can easily imagine a variety of costumes were possible in the various parts of the empire as well as transitioning between one governor to the next.

This was my first experience with this brand of figures. They appear to have quite a few figures for those looking for the Siege of Vienna and later. Some of the figures appear to lack enthusiasm on the movement and appear more posed than animated. Such designs are not right or wrong, just a matter of preference. Given the scarcity of figures for such exotic armies, one cannot be too discerning. I look forward to getting this piece on the table for a specific scenario soon.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Russo-Ottoman War 1806-1812 Debut Battle

After years of work by myself and another gamer who contributed to the Ottoman painting and the terrain, my Russians and Ottomans are now meeting to begin their war. Here we have the Russian center and right coming quickly onto the field in march column to get at the waiting Ottomans.

The Russian left has the Siberia grenadier regiment and Olonetz musketeer regiment escorting some cossacks. This flank will be making contact first as they show no fear of the Ottoman forces they are facing.

The Ottoman left has a cavalry brigade backing the army's heavy artillery. The battery has a dominating feel that the Russians will feel as early as turn 1.

The Ottoman center is a bit weaker, comprising of militia units and a foot battery with medium guns. The woods are going to be their real defense in slowing the Russian advance as a barrier.

The Ottoman center remains relatively quiet for the first few turns. Only the Ottoman artillery could make itself felt by hitting the fast moving Cossack cavalry who were screening the Russian advance. A few shots found their mark and the Cossacks decided not to move any closer to the guns.

The Russian left continues to march up, unconcerned with deploying for action this far out. Their fast marching didn't give the Ottoman right much time to perfect their ranges of the artillery.

The Russian center is moving a little slower. The foot battery is still limbered and the Russian player is contemplating just exactly how to move between the obstacles and appear right before the waiting Ottoman guns.

The 5th Jaegers are attempting to slip around the church and get up and clear the woods. Backing them is the Russian horse artillery battery that is attempting counter-battery fire against the Ottoman heavy battery just opposite it.

Here the Ottoman right waits for the Russians. They considered coming out to meet the Russians head on but were no confident the odds would be in their favor. Those tall black plumes indicated grenadiers were coming.

On the Ottoman left, the squadrons of the Belarus Hussar regiment are looking to clash sabers with the Ottoman sipahis cavalry. Maybe they could not see all the Ottoman cavalry stack up behind the guns?

The Ottoman cavalry struck first. Preferring to counter the superior quality of the Russian cavalry with numerical advantage, the chance move was to pay off with a victory over the hussars.

One of the Ottoman militia units has now come into musketry range of the lead grenadier battalion. The single disruption caused would prove to be entirely useless for the upcoming turn.

The Russian infantry moving up is a feigning gesture as they cannot initiate contact with the Ottoman cavalry. They are probably hoping the Ottomans will surge forward and smash themselves uselessly against squares. I would not oblige.

The Russian center is beginning to take hold as the foot battery came up and unlimbered in canister range of the Ottomans. Some Cossacks are positioning themselves for a quick strike at the Ottoman battery before them.

The Russian battery managed to force the Ottoman battery to limber up. As it turns out, the other Ottoman battery experienced the same dilemma and was forced to limber. Limbered guns cannot fire and now the Cossacks are feeling much braver.

And as expected, the Cossacks surge forward. As it turned out in the combat, the Cossack were clumsy and did as poorly as possible with the dice rolls and were thrown back. Lucky me as my guns are saved.

A couple of grenadier battalions charge into the Ottoman militia unit at the first upper right. Some other Coassacks are coming up and looking at engaging the Ottoman cavalry.

The Russian grenadiers are now on contact. They will break the front battalion with ease and will advance to complete their break through of the Ottoman right.

The jaegers form into line and continue to meander their way forward. Do the woods make them uneasy and so they don't rush in and clear them? Or is it all that Ottoman cavalry that has them concerned?

As mentioned above, the front Ottoman battalion collapsed immediately. This second one is facing the same scenario. The Ottoman infantry is inflicting a few disruption upon the Russians with musketry, but rolling poorly in combat won't allow them to hold on.

And here is where I made a mistake. After just barely beating off the Cossacks in the previous combat, I somehow forgot to move this battery or unlimber it. Had I just umlimbered it and opened canister fire upon the infantry, it would have slowed the Russian onslaught here. My mistake gave the Russian infantry the chance to eventually charge into the limbered guns and break it.

The Ottoman right managed to destroy part of the hussars but the rest the remaining squadrons of the Belarus Hussars attacked and were repulsed from their charge. The Ottoman heavy battery is back in action once again.

My neglect allowed my battery to be hit by some Russian infantry. The Cossacks decide to be aggressive and go after the Ottoman cavalry.

So as it turned out, the jaegers were perhaps concerned about the bulk of Ottoman cavalry waiting for them. The jaegers successfully formed square and managed to throw back the first charge.

The hussars and Ottoman cavalry decide to go at it again. All the Ottoman cavalry here makes any victory by the hussars as useless due to the numerical odds.

The overall view of the tactical situation. I admit I am surprised the Russian players both opted to ignore the villages and not waste troops holding places that had no value to winning the game. Most players cannot avoid these black holes that suck up manpower that could be used elsewhere.

The extreme end of the Ottoman right is gone and now some Russian musketeers are attempting to engage and finish off the flank. An Ottoman cavalry unit eyes a chance to hit some surprised Russian troops.

The Cossack's luck was in play as they both managed to win decisively and break the Ottoman cavalry they charged. Just out of the camera's lens are two more Ottoman cavalry units they will now have to face off against.

The Russian foot artillery continues to blast away, unopposed. The Ottoman infantry partially in the woods is getting sprinkled with long range canister fire.

And here we say goodbye to what's pretending to be the Ottoman center. As it would turn out the grenadiers held a near perfect success anytime they made contact. The Lasalle Rules for a Valiant rated unit against a shaky unit is significant and outside of poor dice rolling, the grenadiers have the punch.

The Ottoman right has routed and now the Russians begin their wheel toward the center to wrap it up and call it a day.

Two Ottoman cavalry remain but since their command has broken, they will flee the field and deprive the Cossacks of another taste of combat.

The jaegers had pushed off the first Ottoman cavalry charge while in square and thought that they would have no more trouble. As soon as they changed back into line, the cavalry took advantage of the situation and hoped to obtain an easy victory.

And here we see a parting shot of the batteries attempting to duel it out. Some Ottoman cavalry attempting to snake around the village to hope for a dash at the Russian guns but the battle is lost. The Russians chose to get into close combat and not exchange fire with the Ottomans and it worked out well.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Napoleoonic Headquarter Vignettes

For a few years I've been acquiring some unique camp figures for a future vignette project. The Old Glory figures were first in my little collection. For Napoleon's headquarters, the primary figures are Fantassin. Oddly enough in the set, no dismounted chasseurs were included. The Old Glory set I already had did have a few such figures and they were added to flush out the numbers.

Most gamers have a Napoleon on horse figure but having a figure on foot in a headquarters scene is different. Fantassin made multiple Napoleons but I felt this set was the nicest.

The blending of the Old Glory and Fantassin set goes very well together. The Fantassin Berthier at the table isn't wearing his hat. The Old Glory dismounted Imperial Guard Chasseur is holding a hat. A purpose for an otherwise out of place figure.

A few Austrian POW's from the Old Glory Trophies set. The hussar officer with his arm in a sling is a unique figure that I also just had to include.

This second vignette is also a combination of figures, this time from Old Glory, Eureka, a couple of Blue Moon figures and one from Fantassin. The pig on the roasting spit is from Baueda and I felt it was a neat little piece to work in.

This Eureka set is unique in that it is a French camp scene yet the sculptor seems to have been a bit confused over what sort of cavalry he was trying to represent. The single breasted surtout and shako seems to give it away as line chasseurs. The problem is that line chasseurs didn't wear heavy cavalry boots, which these figures are wearing. I added a small dog from Hallmark that had just been sitting around with no other use.

The various poses and states of dress were something different to paint. A couple of cantinieres were thrown in to add to the diversity.

And finally, the two figures that inspired me for going through with this project. The seated general with cantiniere on his lap and the female hussar in a well fitted uniform. These Old Glory figures are occasionally talked about on forums and few ever purcahse the set let alone paint them. After years of finding more important figures to paint, I'm happy to say this project is now completed.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

New Napoleonic Scenario Books

In the ongoing publishing of scenario books for the Napoleonic Wars, Michael Hopper's soon to be released scenario books 3 & 4 finish up the 1809 campaign. As long as demand remains, these scenario books will continue to be published. Other theaters and years are planned in the future and this is the time to show our support for the work put into constructing the information into a usable form for wargamers to use.

As with previous scenario books, Michael Hopper has made the information within the scenarios detailed enough to convert to any rule set you use. That flexibility makes these books useful for anyone in Napoleonic gaming. With the expected official announcement of release later this month, be ready to obtain your copy while supplies last. Spread the word and let's support the time and effort put into this creation for our benefit. You can contact Michael about ordering his books at his email address:

You can see my review of the previous two books here.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

The Return Of The Spanish

It has been some years since my Spanish army has made an appearance. They were brought out in a defensive struggle with some historical army composition in mind so that not every cavalry unit I had for them would be fielded. The Spanish suffered from a deficient cavalry and artillery arm and so this battle will reflect the difficulties not commonly discussed. The French are seen marching onto the field, confident and ready to rush in.

The center of the Spanish line with the singular Spanish battery. To the left of the battery the Regiment Irlanda is present. On the French side, the Irish Legion also makes a guest appearance.

The Spanish left has light infantry followed by two units of guerillas and a battalion of militia. This flank should be less involved in the fighting and so the stream will be the main defense in slowing down an enemy attack.

The full Spanish line can be seen in the upper portion of the picture. A redoubt manned by a converged grenadier battalion protects the objective, the town. Behind the town is a small reserve of some militia and cavalry but unfortunately no additional artillery.

I had considered finding some way of increasing the defense of the town such as maybe giving the Spanish a sapper for the engineering rule for defending a town. double the garrison perhaps? The problem with the Spanish army on the field is that their weak morale is always a disadvantage for melees. They rarely could field any sizeable amount of artillery and so good dice rolling is the only real hope.

Seeing the French dragoon brigade moving up quickly and boldly positioning itself for an assault, the reserves break right to prepare for filling any holes. It isn't pessimism, it is simply experience.

The French leisurely make their way toward the Spanish left. The Spanish reserves might end up being useful down here but the amount of enemy cavalry on the other side makes the matter more pressing.

The reserves fan out to form a third line as this appears to be the main thrust from the French. The French horse artillery deployed and opens fire at extreme canister range.

The Spanish artillery opened fire on the French artillery as it deployed. The first exchange failed to accomplish anything but on the sescond exchange the French artillery was forced to limber up. After it was determined the Spanish artillery would need more fire power to deal with the French horse artillery, they decided to hit the dragoons. In retrospect, going after the dragoons from the beginning could have had a change of events on this wing.

Two dragoon regiments attack the square. The Spanish managed to form up confidently enough, but failed to score any hits in the melee and were broken.

French foot artillery deploys and bombards the grenadiers in the redoubt. The rest of the Spanish left wing moves forward to try and cover the crossing and the bank of the stream.

The French center pushing forward along the stream.

Now the French are gathered for the push across the stream. It appears they're going for a frontal attack along with a smaller flanking maneuver coming down from the hill.

Meanwhile in the center right of the Spanish line, the Regiment Irlanda found it did not have enough space to form square and had to rely on fire power and melee to save itself. The subsequent firing was ineffective.

So the extreme right of the Spanish line had two squares get smashed and the hussars tried in vain to counter charge the French dragoons, only to get pushed back. Here the mounted guerrilla cavalry decided to try their hand at a charge with also less than successful results.

The artillery not having the intended impact upon the grenadiers, the only other option was an infantry assault. On the right, the Swiss unit in Spanish service is facing off against the Irish Legion. The Swiss had been expecting some dragoons to rush at them and so had formed square in advance of the expected charge. The Swiss failed to reform as a charge reaction when the Irish Legion decided to take a chance and charge.

The infantry in square were broken in combat and the Irish advance forward along with some dragoons to break the Spanish center. This square will manage to hold but the Spanish have suffered some heavy losses and aren't going to be on the field much longer.

The grenadiers were overwhelmed in their defenses and the Spanish light infantry shot up and broken. The guerrillas to the left and the militia holding the town are just a nuisance and not going to stop any French advance.

The French foot artillery crosses the bridge in an effort to secure the holding on the Spanish side of the stream. The town is going to be overwhelmed and taken.

The last guerrilla unit is shot to pieces and broke. The French can now swing around behind the town and cut off the defenders and roll up the rest of the Spanish line.

The last Spanish square manages to hold on and is cut off. The Spanish cavalry is pushed back after multiple ineffective combats during the battle. The only reason the Spanish cavalry survived is due to its speed. The Spanish losses at this point were over the 50% breaking point and the French did not have to storm the town and take it by force.

Although the Spanish army may look nice on the field, it is a affirmation of why they are so often neglected or scorned. To win with them is difficult. One must look for major mistakes in your opponent in order to have a fair chance of victory. It wouldn't be correct to change their characteristics or to severely handicap the French. Putting them on to the field has to be for the joy of recreating history and appreciating what it was and not what you can remake it to be.