Saturday, December 29, 2012

I Need Your Votes

Fife & Drum Miniatures: American Militia. (click pix to enlarge)

There is currently a poll being conducted on TMP this week to choose the Best Historical Miniatures Range for the year 2011. One of the ranges under consideration is my own Fife & Drum Miniatures range of AWI figures.

TMP Poll Link

Fife & Drum British Light Infantry
There is also a similar poll to select the Best Historical Figure and apparently the Fife & Drum militia officer (A1) has made the final round of voting:

Best Figure Poll on TMP

I haven't been able to publicize the Fife & Drum range in the wargame magazine press because advertising is very expensive and I would rather invest the money in new figures. So Fife & Drum Miniatures have depended on word of mouth advertising and the promotions that I have been able to do on my own blog, my Fife & Drum blog and on TMP. As a result, my range may not be as well known as many of the long standing ranges that are on the same list.

I need to conduct a quick "get out the vote campaign" in order to get enough votes to survive the preliminary round and move into the voting in the final round. So I am asking for your help and for your votes for the Fife & Drum Miniatures range. 

If you have purchased Fife & Drum Miniatures, or if you simply have admired the look and style of the figures, then please click on the link provided above, and when you get to the poll, then scroll down the list until you see the name Fife & Drum Miniatures and click on the box next to its name. Now you can vote for up to five different figure ranges, but I would recommend voting for just one name so as not to dilute your vote.

I would be very honored to receive your vote and hope that you can help me out.

Thank you in advance,

Der Alte Fritz

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Battle of Lobositz: Dec. 27, 2012

Cavalry clash at Lobositz. Prussian blue dragons (Suren) and blue hussars (Stadden) in melee with the Saxon Rutowski regiment (Elite Miniatures). Click pix twice to enlarge the view.

This afternoon we refought the battle of Lobositz (October 1, 1756) using the Charles S. Grant scenario that is found in his book titled, "The Wargame Companion". The game was played with three Prussian players (Der Alte Fritz himself, Keith L., and Chuck the Lucky) and two Austrian players (Bill Protz and John M.) and it was staged in the basement man cave of DAF. Mrs. Fritz kindly prepared a lunch of chili and pumpkin bread, which was served around 1 PM. Keith L. kept our tummies full with some wonderful chocolate chip oatmeal cookies that were baked by his wife, Donna (AKA, "the World's Best Baker").

Both sides had 8 battalions of regular infantry and the Austrians were allowed to augment their forces with two units of light infantry (72 Croats on the Lobosch Hill and 24 Arqubusiers de Grassin in the wolf pits in the center of the field). The Grant scenario provides for about 10 battalions per side, but I thought it best to trim the rosters down a little bit as I did not want to overwhelm the players with the masses of figures that required movement. Both sides had 20 squadrons of cavalry, but the Prussians had more armoured cuirassiers. Artillery pieces were 5 for the Prussians  and 4 for the Austrians.

The following game map, copied from "The Wargame Companion" by Charles S. Grant, illustrates the table layout for the Grant family version of Lobositz. The Prussians were advancing onto the table from the top of the map, between points "C" (Homolka-berg) and "A" (Lobosch Hill). Point "B" is the town of Lobositz, adjacent to the Elbe River, which cuts across the lower right hand corner of the map. Point "D" is the only passable ford across the Morellanbach Stream, which runs diagonally across the lower left corner. The Austrians were located behind the Morellanbach, around Lobositz village, and on the Lobosch Hill.

Lobositz game map created by Charles Grant (senior) for his original Lobositz scenario wargame, (map is from "The Wargame Companion" by Charles S. Grant.

In our wargame, we used the same basic table set up, although our table was 15 feet long by 6 feet wide with two back tables (2ft by 15ft) that provided extra depth to the battlefield.

Pre-battle situation. Prussian artillery is located on the Homolka-berg (middle left). Part of the Morrellanbach Stream and the village of Sullowitz can be seen in the right corner. The Lobosch Hill is at the far end of the table.

Prussian Vanguard approaches the field - initial starting position. They are deployed on one of the "back tables". The aisle space does not exist in terms of the battlefield area. Troops move from one table to the next without penalty.

Village of Lobositz on the back table. The blue terrain is the Elbe River. Austrian cuirassiers  deploy in the center of the Austrian battle line.

Austrian right wing showing regular infantry deployed near the hamlet of Welhotta. Croats defend the Lobosch Hill.

Some of the special ground rules for the game:

1) it takes two game turns to cross the Morellanbach. Any unit doing so emerges on the other side in a "disordered" condition. It may not fire muskets whilst in the Morellanbach. 

2) the Elbe River is not fordable; it may only be crossed at the bridge.

3) on the Lobosch Hill, light infantry may move about without any penalty to movement. Regular line infantry will be "disordered" during any turn in which it moves on the hill. If it doesn't move that turn, it is not "disordered".

4) the Homolka-berg may not be scaled from its front due to the height and steepness of the hill. It can be assailed from the west side though.

5) the Austrians have a pair of "wolf pits" that they can deploy in the center of the field; however, these are not placed on the table until spotted by the Prussians.

6) any Austrians deployed behind the Morrellanbach will not be visible until Turn 4 or if any Prussian unit is within line of sight under the current weather conditions.

7) weather conditions: the field is covered in an early morning fog. On game Turn 1, visibility is only 12"; increasing to 24" on Turn 2; and 36" on Turn 3. Beginning Turn 4, the fog has lifted and is no longer a factor in the game.

Prussian vanguard emerges from the valley in order to deploy on the plain in front of  Lobositz.

Austrian infantry deployed behind the Morellanbach is sighted by two squadrons of Prussian hussars.

Turn 2: Prussian mass of cuirassiers (7 squadrons in the front line, and 6 squadrons in the second line) advance towards Lobositz, supported by the first Prussian infantry brigade (3 btns).

At this point in the game, I found that I was really busy moving my cavalry command around the field, and so I had little time to take very many more pictures. I believe that Bill took a lot of pictures of some of the individual melees and he will post them on the Campaigns in Germania blog later.

My massive brigade of Prussian cuirassiers was moving unopposed across the center of the table for the first three turns, as the fog prevented either side from seeing much of the field. As the fog lifted, the Austrian and Saxon cavalry advanced to meet the Prussin threat. The double line of Prussian cuirassiers appeared to be unstoppable in the center. Over on the right, my dragoons and the Garde du Corps (3 squadrons) were winning melee after melee and whittling the Saxon cavalry down.

It was then that the unthinkable happened: I watched six squadrons of my cuirassiers engage their Austrian counterpart in the center. I lost the first round of melee by only one casualty (15 for me versus 14 for the Austrians). The side with the most casualties in that round of melee takes a morale test, needing a "6" on two D6 dice plus modifiers to pass morale. Normally, this is a rather matter of fact thing to do. The losing side usually gets pushed back six inches and then both sides pitch into it again on the next turn.

I rolled a "4" on two D6. Even with a few modifiers, there was no way that I could add enough positive factors to move my score up to a "6". As a result, my entire contingent of cuirassiers routed back towards the Prussian lines. In most instances, this is the end of it, as pursuit is difficult to achieve for heavy cavalry. However, you guessed it, the Austrians rolled their dice and the score indicated that they would pursue the Prussian heavies. Not good, so far, if you catch my meaning. I still had one more chance to escape with only the casualties suffered. I rolled a single D6 to determine what speed my horses would run in the rout. They rolled canter speed.  I only had to travel faster than the Austrian pursuers to escape. Again, Lady Luck failed me as the Austrians rolled to travel at the gallop.

I was doomed.

Or more specifically, my six squadrons of beautiful Prussian cuirassiers were doomed, for once the Austrian cavaly touched my routing figures, they were all removed permanently from the game. In one fell swoop I lost 72 cuirassiers. Yikes!

All I could do was laugh. Afterall, if you are going to spin, crash and burn, then do it in the most spectacular manner. :)

I turned to my colleagues and said, "well lads, it is time for you to win the battle, I'm spent." I think that everyone, including the Austrian players, were gobsmacked by this turn of events. We took a break for lunch and once we were refreshed, we returned to the wargame to play out the rest of the battle.

The Prussian left wing staged a succesful assualt of the Lobosch Hill. I had to chuckle to myself when I heard the Prussian commander say, "those Croats are impossible to dig out of that damned hill!"

Prussian infantry rout the Croats off of the Lobosch Hill.
It was soon 4:30PM, our agreed upon ending time. So we halted the game in order to assess the outcome.The Prussian held the Lobosh Hill on the left and had four battalions, nearly untouched, on the plain below. In the center, there were maybe 3 or 4 squadrons of Prussian cavalry and the heavy battery of 12 pounder atop the Homolka-berg. It was a very thin line of defense. On the Prussian right, three Austrian battalions had advanced across the Morellanbach stream and were heading towards the Homolka-berg, which was only defended by a single Prussian battalion.

We decided that neither side had a meaningful advantage on the table top. We therefore called the game a draw. Presumably, the Prussians would have retired back up the valley towards Saxony, while the Austrians would undoubtedly cross the Elbe River and lick their wounds and recover for a new fight. Neither side had enough offensive power to finish off the other side.

I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable wargames that I have ever played in, even though it featured one of the biggest failures that I have experienced during a game . There was plenty of bad dice rolling all around, which resulted in several extreme outcomes in the probability distribution, but these made the game that much better, in an odd sort of way.

You don't believe me, here is some proof, shown in the picture below:

One of Bill Protz's dice rolls. They really were that bad! Each set of dice represents the base firing number for groups of 20 figures. You add modifiers to this initial roll of dice, so typically you would hope to roll something in the 8 to 12 range on two D6 to inflict maximum casualties on your opponent.

I had several consecutive save situations where I had 12 saving throws and only saved 1 figure in the whole lot.

This is the third time that our group has gamed Lobositz, and each time we have had a truly enjoyable game with a lot of ebb and flow to the cavalry battle as well as great feats of valor for both sides.  I give the scenario my highest recommendation and hope that I have been able to entice you to give it a try.

The following section provides some historical background to the battle. The excerpt is taken from the Clash of Arms game titled "Lobositz".

Historical Background (excerpt from Clash of Arms board game Lobositz)
August 29, 1756: The Seven Years War erupts in Europe. The Prussian army led by King Frederick II (later "the Great" to his admirers) invades Saxony. "Blitzing" through the neutral Saxon electorate he hopes to open a path to Austria’s rich Elbe River valley in Bohemia. The Saxon army does not directly resist the invaders but withdraws into a fortified encampment on the Elbe River around Pirna, there awaiting rescue by the Austrians. The Prussian invasion grinds to a halt here; Frederick has no choice but to lay siege. Meanwhile in northern Bohemia, the Austrian army under Field Marshal Browne gathers its strength in preparation for the relief of its new ally. 

Retaining the initiative King Frederick split his army, leaving half to keep the Saxons penned in Pirna, while he marches with the rest into Bohemia in search of the Austrians. On the morning of October 1, they stumble onto Browne’s army deployed around the little town of Lobositz on the Elbe River. A close fought, ten hour struggle ensues, with charge and counter-charges made across fog masked fields, hills and vineyards before culminating in a street fight amidst burning buildings. Finally, at darkness, the Austrians withdraw in good order, conceding the field. 

Although a small battle by Seven Years War standards, the action at Lobositz was significant for having delayed the Austrian relief effort enough to force the Saxon surrender at Pirna. Of greater significance, the Prussians learned that their enemy “was no longer the same old Austrians” they had previously faced, and a quick victory could not be expected. Lobositz would be the first of many battles in a war to last seven bloody years.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, From All of the Gang

Der Alte Fritz, Mrs. Fritz and All of the Gang Wish You A Merry Christmas 2012.
The Kingdom of Hesse Seewald wishes the Merriest of Christmases and a Happy New Year to all of its readers and followers of the Der Alte Fritz Journal.

The regiments turned out smartly on the marchfeld on Christmas Day to present their standards to Der Alte Fritz. He was pleased with their appearance and was heard to comment favorably on their drill and precision. We hope to see more of His army during 2013.

Minden SYW Prussian Army of Der Alte Fritz. Click to enlarge.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve in Hesse Seewald

Christmas Dining Room Table Set.

It is Christmas Eve in Hesse Seewald and Mrs. Fritz and I are busy with last minute preparations for the Christmas holiday. Shown above is the dining room table, set by yours truly who doubles as the house butler. I still have to get the silver polish out and polish up a few serving dishes that have been a part of the House of Seewald collection for several generations. Those of you who live in the UK will probably notice the "crackers" that are at each place setting.

Mrs. Fritz is preparing the Christmas Eve feast (which will be eaten in the kitchen) of pork cutlets served in a white wine sauce with sliced apples, wild rice, and French cut green beans. I will be setting the Stilton cheese out on a platter soon so that it will served at room temperature.

While she is working on the meal, Lady Emma and I will go to Christmas Eve service and then hurry back in time for dinner.

Tomorrow, we have a large number of guests, mostly family members, who are joining us for a Christmas Day feast. Mrs. Fritz's brother was able to make it at the last minute, flying in from some foreign post in order to be with us, so we are all very happy about that.

I want to wish every one a merry Christmas. Peace be with you.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Austrians at Leuthen

Austrians draw up battle lines around the Leuthen churchyard. Front Rank Austrians provide the garrison and support. Buildings, trees and roads scratch built by Herb Gundt. Click the picture twice to enlarge.

We received our first appreciable amount of snow last evening in Hesse Seewald, so even though it was but a slight dusting of the white stuff, my thoughts are turning to the Leuthen campaign in December 1757. I was scrolling through my iPhotos archives and found some nice pictures that I took of the Leuthen game that Bill Protz and I ran at the Seven Years War Association convention in 2010

I have also been reading Charles S. Grant's "Wargaming in History - Volume 4" covering the battles of Hastenbeck, Rossbach and Leuthen of late. I carry a copy in my brief case and read it during my one hour train commute from Hesse Seewald to Potsdam, which I do every day.

Charles S. Grant's book on Leuthen etc. published in 2011 by Ken Trotman Ltd.

I really enjoy the way that Charles tackles the subject matter: starting with a brief historical overview of the campaign, an order of battle for the actual forces and another OB that downsizes the historical forces into a manageable pair of wargame armies, and then finally, a summary report of the battle. Of course, each battle is illustrated with wonderful color pictures of Charles' wargaming armies and I do enjoy the pictures of Charles' "big battalions"  (53 infantry figure battalions and 24 cavalry regiments).

Charles' breaks down the battle of Leuthen into two separate wargames: Battle One is the attack on Nadasty's Corps on the Austrian left and Battle Two encompasses the main Prussian attack on the village of Leuthen. Given that the required depth for the wargame is greater than the size of the average gamer's table, Grant develops a "rolling battlefield " terrain concept that is pretty neat to behold. As the Prussians advance on the town of Sagchutz, Grant removes the terrain behind the Prussian attack and advances the terrain forward by resetting the location of the village and the opposing battle lines. This process is made easier if you use terrain tiles on your tabletop because you simply pick up one row of tiles and place them behind the Austrian line to "advance the table". I thought that this was a very clever way of tackling the problem of table size.

A similar rolling terrain concept is used for the larger Battle Two so that the Prussian assault on the  town and Lucchesi's cavalry charge can be depicted on the same tabletop.

I know that it is probably too late to order a copy of the book in time to place it under the Christmas tree this year, but if you do not have a copy then take it from me, you will truly enjoy Grant's presentation on how to bring these large battles into the home as easily played wargames. More later...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tilting at Windmills

Minden Miniatures Frederick the Great (center) and Prinz Ferdinand (standing on the deck of the wind mill). The two round stands are RSM mounted generals. Windmill scratch-built by Herb Gundt. (click to enlarge)

I was scrolling through some of my photo albums in iPhotos this afternoon and I realized that I had assembled quite a collection of windmills over the years. As Phil Olley would say, "every wargame needs to have at least one windmill." Obviously, I agree with Phil when it comes to windmills. There is something about them that just makes the terrain look a little bit better. All of the windmills shown on this page were scratch-built by Herb Gundt.

Closer view of the figures.
German windmill for my Winter Terrain/Leuthen set up. Also by Herb Gundt.
The rounder winter windmill is more common in Saxony and Silesia and in fact, somewhere, I have a number of pictures of the real thing, in situ, that I photographed on one of the Christopher Duffy tours, in 1994 and 1998. Some people think that I only went on these tours to photograph potential terrain pieces for Herb Gundt to build. They would be partially correct on that score.

When we visited Hochirk in 1994, everyone was telling me that I needed to take lots of pictures of the church so that Herb could build a model. So I walked around the church, taking detailed pictures every 10 yards or so in order that I would capture it all on film, and then send it to Herb to model.

Below, you can see a more recent addition to my windmill collection: a Spanish windmill to use in our 1809 Peninsula Campaign that will start in 2013.

Spanish windmill, also by Herb Gundt

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Ral Partha Pirates & 3 Musketeers

Ral Partha Pirates (left) and 3 Musketeers (right). Click twice to enlarge view.

Here are some pictures of a recent painting commission, just completed in time for the client to give to his son for a Christmas present. What a nice Dad! Don't you agree. He gave me a packet of Ral Partha Pirates and denizens of The Three Musketeers and told me to get creative in how I painted them. Some of the figures reminded me of minor celebrities, so I have given them names. See if you agree.

Two Musketeers square off against two of the Cardinal's Guards. The chap on the far right is my favorite figure of the whole bunch.

Actually, I think that we have the Three Musketeers here, but one of them has switched sides, at the client's request, so that he could have a two on two sword fight. Porthos, on the far left, is holding a leg of lamb in one hand.

The Bad Guys

I really enjoyed painting a couple of the Cardinal's Guards. They red and black combination of colors looks stunning, IMHO. I really like the guy on the right, wearing a leather jerkin with metal rings on it, he also has an eye patch covering one eye, so he looks suitably evil to me. I replaced a cross bow weapon that he came with with a Front Rank heavy cavalry sword because he looked more like an accomplished blademan, rather than a timid cross bow soldier.

More fellows from the 1600s.

I guess that these two fellows could be appearing during the 1600s in Paris, fighting on the side of the King's Musketeers perhaps.

Pirates! (l-R) Brian Blessed, Stephen Lang and Hulk Hogan

Here are some of the Pirates. A lot of them seem to be missing a few arms and legs. The Pirate Captain was a joy to paint as he has a lot of character. The guy in the yellow shirt reminded me of Stephen Lang in his role as Ike Clanton in the movie Tombstone. The bare chested fellow could be none other than Hulk Hogan.

(L-R) Monty Python, Kurt Russell, Terry Bradshaw and Bruce Willis.
It must really be hard to get good help these days. Look at this motley crew, every one of them is missing either a hand or a leg or even both. The fellow second from the left reminded me of Kurt Russell in his Snake Pliskin role in Escape From New York. The fellow in the blue trousers and bald pate reminded me of Terry Bradshaw. Speedy, on the far right was kind of tough to tag a name to. Sort of looks like Bruce Willis when he shaves his head or wears his hair very short. Maybe you can come up with a couple better ideas for names.

I could almost see getting into The Three Musketeers as a skirmish game. It could be fun to play, and even more fun to paint.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Der Alte Fritz's Birthday

The parade of the regimental flags on DAF's birthday.
Fife & Drum Continentals painted as the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment, circa 1776.

Today is my birthday, the 60th year on this good Earth. My mother always says that December 18th seems the coldest day of the Winter, but fortunately, we seem to be in another period of abnormal warmth here in Hesse Seewald, what with temperatures in the mid 40s Fahrenheit. We enjoy it while it lasts and hope for a Green Christmas once again.

Der Alte Fritz (center in blue shirt) supervising the Battle of Kolin in South Bend, Indiana back in the 1990s.

I celebrated turning 60 by going to the pharmacy and getting my shingles shot. They won't give you the shot until you are at least 60. So when the pharmacist asked me, "are you 60 or older?" I said, with much emphasis and a great big grin, "oh YES I AM!" If you had chickenpox earlier in your life, then you have the shingles virus in you where it lies dormant for many years. If you are unfortunate enough to get shingles, then you know that it can be very painful. So I eagerly looked forward to finally getting the vaccination.

On to more interesting things though. I have been working on a painting commission of late, some old Ral Partha pirates and Three Musketeers figures for one of my clients. He wants to give the figures to his son for Christmas, so the pressure was on to complete the order. Fortunately, there were only 13 figures so I was able to finish the commission over the course of this past weekend. Since each figure was different, painting the collection was kind of fun.

Now that the commission is done, I am free to paint some figures for myself. Undoubtedly I will want to work on a regiment of Fife & Drum Continentals in Hunting Shirts as these are new figures recently added to the range and I am eager to see what a full battalion of 24 to 30 figures looks like. I also have a regiment of British centre company infantry for the AWI on the painting table (Fife & Drum figures of course) and some of the new Kings Mountain AWI Highlanders awaiting in the painting queue. Bill Nevins has commissioned this range of figures, Perry compatible, but small enough to fit right in with the Fife & Drum British, so I plan to paint the 42nd Black Watch Regiment and add them to my British army. It may be awhile before Fife & Drum can get around to adding Highlanders, so I am glad that these figures are available.

Over the Christmas holiday week (post Christmas through New Years) I plan to host a SYW game at my house with Bill Protz and some of our regular group of gamers. We are going to stage Charles Grant's Lobositz scenario on my 15 x 6ft table (with two parallel 2.5ft wide side tables for added depth). So I will have to take down all of the AWI terrain (for the Pitzer's Ridge game shown in Battlegames magazine) and set up the Lobositz terrain, including my custom-built Lobosch Hill (or at least a highly stylized version of the hill). The Prussians have not been doing very well during our 2012 campaign season, so here is hoping that Frederick can close out the year with a solid win over the Austrians on December 27th. There will be pictures of the victory. I promise.

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Lady Emma Cuddlestone-Smythe wrote this little piece of prose about Kindness and I liked it so much that I thought that I would post it on my blog. Given the tragic news from Connecticut yesterday, a little more focus on Kindness seems to be what we need more of right now.

by Lelia Jane Purky

Kindness is the act of helping, not being mean, not bullying.

Kindness is a gift that comes when you feel ready for it, to open your heart, to open your soul, your mind and your spirit.

Kindness is what you need for life, and what can you do without it?

Kindness is keeping peace, kindness is helping those who need it, and being nice to anyone you meet, even those who are mean to you.

It's December, almost Christmas, the season of perpetual hope, giving, love and change. And it's not about getting, it's about giving.

Will you make the change?

Friday, December 14, 2012

AWI Amusette - Painted Pix

British Amusette with crew (AE-6)

And now for something completely different...

the Fife & Drum British amusette set which consists of two Royal Artillery crew and one wooden wheeled mantle. The weapon is a 1-pound wall gun with a large ball that was capable of penetrating a barn or house.

British Amusette

Photo showing the "parts" that comprise the set.

While these were part of the Royal Artillery, there are records of Hessian Jagers using these wall guns in their "small wars" against the Continentals. If you are building a British AWI army, then you have to have one of these amusettes if for no other reason than to amuse your opponent in the wargame.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Painted Continentals in Hunting Shirts Samples

New Continentals in hunting shirt - firing line poses. Click pix to enlarge.

Here are some pictures of the new Fife & Drum Continentals in hunting shirt that I have been working on over the weekend. I still have the standard bearer and drummer to do for the Continentals, plus the British amusette and crew to paint.

The picture above gives you a good idea of how the firing line will look when all of the figures are put together. I find that the mounted offier and the foot officer (both looking off into the horizon) make for a nice command stand vignette.

The marching figures, shown below, can be mixed in with a regiment of Continentals wearing uniform coats for greater variety, or they look nifty in a discrete regiment of all hunting shirts.

Mounted command and foot officer plus three marching poses.

Two firing variants and one "knock em dead" casualty.

I really like the animation that Richard Ansell put into the casualty figure. And if you look at the picture below, zero in on the fellow in the blue hunting shirt and look at his shin on the left side, his sock is falling down. That's a nice little touch.

The second rank of the firing line, plus on front rank.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Over the Hills and Far Away

37th Foot at the Battle of Minden in 1759

The 18th Century is back on my mind as we move away from the Napoleonic wars for awhile and get back to more SYW gaming in our group. Our next battle will likely be the battle of Lobositz, fought between the Austrians and Prussians in 1756. The game will be fought over the Christmas holiday. So soon I shall be clearing off the wargame table of AWI terrain and troops and start the "terra-forming" of the Lobositz terrain and the setting out of the Austrian and Prussian troops (hint, hint, pictures to come over the next couple of weeks).

Obviously the picture of the 37th Foot repulsing what look to be the French Carabiniers, and doing it in fine style I might add, has nothing to do with Lobositz, it does fit in nicely with my posting of the words to the song "Over the Hills and Far Away". This has been a popular song for the British soldier of all ages and eras and it would appear to have its origins in the Marlbourian wars, given its references to Queen Anne and Marlbourough himself.

It has always been one of my favorite songs, so here are the words. Sing it the next time you encounter the French -- it is guaranteed to drive them crazy.

Over the Hills and Far Away

Hark! Now the drums beat up again,
For all true soldier gentlemen,
Then let us 'list and march I say,
Over the hills and far away.


Over the hills and o'er the main.
To Flanders, Portugal, and Spain,
Queen Anne commands and we'll obey.
Over the hills and far away.

All gentlemen that have a mind,
To serve the Queen that's good and kind,
Come 'list and enter into pay,
Then over the hills and far away.


Here's forty shillings on the drum,
For those that volunteers do come,
With shirts, and clothes, and present pay,
Then o'er the hills and far away.


No more from sound of drums retreat,
While Marlborough and Galway beat,
The French and Spaniards every day,
When o'er the hills and far away.


The 'prentice Tom he may refuse,
To wipe his angry master's shoes,
For then he's free to sing and play,
Over the hills and far away.


Come on then boys, and you shall see,
We every one shall captains be!
To whore and rant as well as they,
When over the hills and far away.


We then shall lead more happy lives,
By getting rid of brats and wives,
That scold on both the night and day,
When over the hills and far away.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Boney Was A Warrior

The next time you are playing the British side in a Napoleonic battle, here is a little ditty that your troops can sing before those French start "coming on in the same old way".

Boney was a Warrior
Boney was a warrior
Away, a-yah!
A warrior and a terrier
Jean Francois!

Boney fought the Russians
Away, a-yah!
The Russians and the Prussians.
Jean Francois!

Moscow was a-blazing
Away, a-yah!
And Boney was a-raging.
Jean Francois!

Boney went to Elba
Away, a-yah!
Boney he came back again.
Jean Francois!

Boney went to Waterloo
Away, a-yah!
There he got his overthrow.
Jean Francois!

Then they took him off again
Away, a-yah!
Aboard the Billy Ruffian.
Jean Francois!

He went to Saint Helena,
Away, a-yah!
There he was a prisoner,
Jean Francois!

Boney broke his heart and died
Away, a-yah!
Away in Saint Helena
Jean Francois!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Leuthen Day Anniversary

Wargaming the Battle of Leuthen - March 2010 at the SYWA Convention.
Attack of the Prussian Guard Regiment on Leuthen Church - by Karl Rochling.

Good grief! I almost missed the anniversary of the battle of Leuthen on December 5, 1757. You know the know the battle, the one where Frederick the Great became great by defeating an Austrian army that was at least twice as large as his Prussian army. Combined with his victory over the French and Reichs Armee at Rossbach on November 7, 1757, Frederick wrested the initiative back from his foes and secured his possession of Silesia for at least another campaign season in the year ahead.

Here are a couple links that provide a summaries of the battle and the campaign.

I have wargamed Leuthen maybe half a dozen times over large 24 feet long tables plus back tables to provide the necessary depth for the forces. It is a long hard slog for the Prussians and they usually get bogged down in the attack on the Austrian clump of troops huddling inside of the town of Leuthen. To game the battle properly, you really need a full 6 to 8 hours of wargaming to reach a conclusion, from my experience.

In fact, I've been so smitten by the battle of Leuthen that I actually had winter terrain built for the battle (by Herb Gundt) and commissioned The Terrain Guy to make special purpose-built winter terrain mats for the game. I have drawn the line though at basing the figures for Winter warfare, i.e. with snowy white bases. I suppose that if someone made 30mm figures of Prussians and Austrians in winter dress, with their lapels buttoned closed, then I would have to strongly consider building duplicate Winter and Summer Austrian and Prussian armies. Hmm, maybe I could talk Frank Hammond into adding winter gear SYW figures to his Minden Miniatures range. LOL!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Big SYW Game Tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I must get up bright and early and drive north to Brown Deer, Wisconsin, where our group will assemble at Chez Protz for the annual  Winter Warfare game. Usually we play a grand skirmish game with nothing but light infantry, but this year we will play a set piece Russians vs. Prussians bash in Silesia. Since it is unseasonably warm in the Midwest US right now, we are forgoing the winter terrain and playing on the regular light green game mat.

"Russians! Oooh, I really hate those guys," as Indiana Jones might say.

I really do not enjoy our encounters with the Russians in our SYW games. They tend to be slug fests with lots of artillery and minimal cavalry. Thus there is not a lot of back and forth, to and fro in these games. And their artillery! They have a lot of heavy ordnance. I like fighting the French and the Austrians, but something about the Russians leaves me cold (no pun intended).

We have 11 or 12 gamers descending on Brown Deer on Saturday, one coming as far away as Minneapolis, Minnesota, so the social part of the gathering will be lots of fun. Three of the Russian players have collectively assembled 21 battalions of green coats -- yikes! I had not realized that we had so many Russians. My own Prussian team can only amass 12 to 15 battalions and fortunately we are not going to put every single figure on the table, so the Russians will have to cull down their forces a little bit to maybe something more managable like, say, a dozen battalions.

I stopped in at the local gourmet bakery and picked up three boxes of delicious cookies to help feed the mob tomorrow. A little bit of sugar always helps, although I am back on the wagon again, cutting out sweets from my diet. I had been off sugar from early September up through Halloween. The Trick or Treat candy did me in, I'm sorry to report. Thanksgiving and pumpkin pie did not help my no-sugar cause either, but with tomorrow being a new month, I'm giving it up again.

I will post a bunch of pictures tomorrow evening after the game. I have no doubt that it will be fun, despite my whining about the gobs of green coated warriors.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Continentals in Hunting Shirts

Continental Firing Line in Hunting Shirts

Continental Mounted Officer in hunting shirt and officer on foot

Command figures

Continentals Marching

Royal Artillery Amusette with mantle and 2 crew in the set

Monday, November 26, 2012

Pix From The Past

Lady Emma at age 3

Here is a picture of my daughter and I at her third birthday party. We had a "Groovy Girl" theme for the party and everyone attending wore 1970s era clothing such as bell bottom pants and tie-dyed shirts and, well, you get the point.

A family friend took this picture of Lady Emma and I and we had long since lost the e-photo so I couldn't replicate it in any fashion. Then about a week ago, I discovered that my Mother had a paper copy of the photo pinned to her bulletin board. So I was able to scan the photo and preserve it forever for posterity. It is my second favorite photo of my daughter and I. My favorite is when she was a baby and she has fallen asleep on my shoulder. I found it:
Dad and Lady Emma - age 4 months

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Battle on the Coa Bridge - Part Deux

Captain Hew Grant's Royal Horse Artillery Battery at the Coa. Elite Miniatures cannon, limbers and crew - 6 gun battery. Click to enlarge.

On November 10th we staged another refight of the Battle of the Coa Bridge. Click on the link below to read what happened.

Campaigns in Iberia

One of the interesting things that happened is that the British side forgot to make any strategic plans for the battle. So I guess that you could say that we had some significant "fog of war" from the onset of the battle and it was all accomplished without having any complicated FoW rules or artificial command radii rules. This underscores my belief that the human element of wargaming provides for more Fog of War ("FoW") than any one rule could possibly provide.

Also, during the course of the game, we realized that our cavalry breakthrough rules (cavalry and infantry do not have a mechanical melee rule in the game, the cavalry simply tests to see whether or not it breaks through the infantry formation) did not include the situation wherein cavalry charges into the flank or rear of an infantry unit. Imagine that! It was simple enough to fix: we just gave the cavalry an uncontested break through of the enemy infantry formation.

The picture above depicts Captain Hew Grant's Royal Horse Artillery battery deployed and firing on the advancing French. Six gun models and all of that smoke make for a wonderful picture.