Monday 28 September 2009

63rd Foot

The 63rd arrived in America from Ireland and saw action almost immediately at the bloodbath of Bunker Hill. It remained with Howe's Boston command and saw further action at Long Island and at Monmouth in 1778. It moved to the Carolinas in 1780 and was engaged in the capture of Charleston, where it was then garrisoned. Apparently an element of the 63rd became mounted dragoons under Tarleton, which would be fun troops to model, and the regiment participated in Camden.

The published "British Grenadier!" scenarios feature four appearances of the 63rd: Bunker Hill (20 figures); Long Island (16); "early" Monmouth (16) and Hobkirk's Hill (16). This mix of battles means that the wargamer is presented with a choice of putting the regiment into Royal Warrant kit for Bunker Hill and Long Island, the mid-war cut-down coats/slouch hat look for Monmouth or some other form of campaign dress for the Southern campaigns. I decided to leave out the middle option and paint figures in full dress specifically for 1775. It also occured to me that I could use the figures in slouch hats and roundabouts that I painted for the 40th Foot some time ago for Hobkirk's Hill. These figures do not have facings and I forgot to paint the cross-belts buff , so they can pass for any regiment in this sort of campaign dress - all I needed was an extra command stand with the 63rd's colours. I painted that command stand a couple of years ago and below are a couple of pics of the 63rd Foot Bis. Now I know that there is debate about whether line regiments adapted their uniforms to make roundabouts, and the red plumes are also only suitable for the 40th (for a discussion on plume colours see here), so these figures are not 100% accurate by any means. But one tip for dealing with regiments that might only make a couple of appearances in the later war period is to paint up a load of rank-and-file in roundabouts and then add command bases for specific regiments.

I've had these figures in the leadpile for a while and they were always near the top of the list of AWI units I wanted to polish off. I know have all the regiments for Bunker Hill in proper Royal Warrant dress. I painted a crown on the backpack flaps to make them a bit more interesting. As these figures are intended primarily for Bunker Hill I wanted to try to make the men look as miserable as possible. The 63rd was part of the third wave and knew what was in store for them. Marching up to the redoubt in the face of the Americans' fire, seeing many from the first two attacks lying on the field, must have taken guts.

20 figures. Painted September 2009. Flags by GMB.

UPDATE: a further 10 figures were added in 2016 to take the unit up to 30 figures for the Hudson Forts scenario (as per the photos above).

Friday 25 September 2009

ECW Interlude (4)

I've delayed posting about my latest ECW regiment because, frankly, the pics are pretty rubbish. I can't seem to focus properly on figures with lots of pikes and other protrusions - I'm sure there is a depth of field setting on my Canon that I haven't found yet. But here are some photos of Prince Rupert's Foote, the third regiment in my slowly developing Royalist force-ette. I chose this regiment because of its distinctive flags and smart blue coats.

The regiment was raised in 1642 by Sir Thomas Lunsford and was initially named after him. Lunsford was captured at Edgehill and command of the regiment passed to his brother, Sir Henry Lunsford. Sir Henry was killed during the Siege of Bristol in July 1643, at which point Prince Rupert assumed command. The rgeiment fought in Rupert's Lancashire campaigns and took part in the relief of Latham House and the sieges of Bolton and Liverpool. The regiment also fought at Marston Moor. In 1645 the regiment took part in the storming of Leicester and was badly mauled at Naseby. The survivors ended the war as part of the Bristol garrison.

The figures here are all Bicorne and Renegade. I followed information on the Sealed Knot site about blue coats and grey trousers, although I mixed in various other shades for the latter. I decided to move up from 24 to 28 figures because I wanted to have a decent number of pikes - you buy lots of packs of pikemen to have a variety of poses to choose from but then find that you only use 5 or 6 of them in each regiment.

28 figures. Painted July/August 2009. Flags by GMB.

Monday 14 September 2009

The Battle of Dario - First Carlist War

Some weeks ago now, back at the end of June, "Eclaireur" and I went up to Nottingham for a couple of days to say hello to the Perries and take part in a large First Carlist War game. I bought a handful of my figures for the Isabelino side but the game mostly featured figures from their own collection painted by the likes of Javier Gomez, Jim Bowen and others. Each side had at least 15 units and I remarked to Michael that this game must have been the largest (at least in 25mm) FCW game the world has seen! I have delayed posting an AAR because first I wanted to post about the regiments I have been painting to set some kind of context for the game and so that readers can identify some of troops among what is probably a pretty unfamiliar set-up. The rules used were the forthcoming "Black Powder" set; I make a few comments about how they work at the end of the report.

It is summer 1837 and the Carlists, on their way back to their Basque heartland from the Royal Expedition around north east Spain, have found themselves intercepted by a combined force of Isabelino regulars and the British Auxiliary Legion. The scenario is straightforward: the Carlists, entering from the left in column of march, have to escort Don Carlos off the right edge of the table. This involves dealing with an Isabelino assult on their right flank and crossing a river on the other side of which is the British Auxiliary Legion. Alan Perry took the role of Don Carlos, Eclaireur commanded the BAL and I had the rest of the Isabelio force. Michael Perry umpired.

Here are the opening moves. The Carlist vanguard is advancing into the village of Dario whilst the Isabelino left flank is cautiously moving towards the main Carlist column. However, a brigade or two of Carlists are already moving to confront the threat on their flank:

A couple of moves in. The Carlist column is racing to the river whilst a sizable force is send out to deal with the Isabelino flank attack. My 3 brigades came on in column and were promptly caught out by the speed with which the Carlists reached them, so preventing a full deployment into line. Luckily, an attempt by the Carlist to outflank my left was dealt with by a 6-pounder and a sturdy battalion of regulars. Carlist cavalry exited Dario to race to the river; I combined the various Isabelino cavalry regiments into one brigade as a shock force that I could deploy into the area to the front of Dario should the need arise.

Meanwhile, the BAL moved into position on the right bank of the river, after taking some potshots from priests in the nearby monastery. Alan did in fact roll some dice to see whether the BAL took hits from these warmongering Catholics!

It became clear that Alan Perry's customary aggression had resulted in the majority of the Carlist army leaving the column to take on the Isabelinos main force. That gave Eclaireur the chance to quickly push the BAL across the river to assult the Carlist column head on.

Whilst he positioned his force to cross the bridge, I sent the Isabelino cavalry brigade on a charge against the Carlist cavalry that screened the crossing point. The Carlists were swept from the field and the crossing was cleared. Hurrah! The BAL crossed the river and the Rifle Brigade quickly deployed as skirmishers in front of Dario village.

Unfortunately, the Isabelino cavalry did a "Scots Greys" and found themselves thrown back by musketry and cannon fire; the light cavalry broke and fled the field. Back on the Carlist right flank, the Isabelinos had taken up a defensive position and found their entire line charged by the Carlists. The resulting melee was inconclusive for several turns. My plan here was to contain the Carlist counter-attack whilst the BAL got stuck in on the right. If the French Foreign Legion were here, I'm sure the battle would have been over by now...but Michael hasn't made the figures yet!

The BAL continued its assault on the front of the Carlist column, which had retreated back into the village of Dario, whilst the left flank of the Carlist attack, on the other side of the village, found itself exposed to the remaining Isabelino cavalry.

Eventually, the slug-fest on the Carlist right resulted in a key Carlist brigade failing a morale test and the entire army began to retreat. As the Isabelino army began a general advance, Don Carlos was spotted shaving off his beard and moustache and donning a peasant woman's clothing. He would have to fly south to raise a new army...

This was, obviously, great fun. Hopefully the pics convey a sense of what a colourful period this is and what excellent figures you can now use in 25mm. "Black Powder" gives an exciting, if rather frenzied, game. Some of the mechanics toook a bit of getting used to, such as the ability of units to "leapfrog" over units to their front. As noted above, the movement system means that units move around very quickly, once the orders reach them. I confess I can't quite remember how the casualty mechanics worked, but I think the attacker rolls and the receiving player has a savings throw - or something like that. "Eclaireur" noted that the rules on unit formation didn't allow for infantry to deploy into open order, which could cause difficulties in something like the AWI, and no doubt there are other points that more experienced gamers than I would niggle with. But overall "Black Powder" give a quick and exciting game. There is a reason why this fictional battle is called "Dario", but the reason is a matter of "what goes on tour stays on tour"....