Tuesday 30 October 2018

Ottoman Army Complete.

It has been a more focused week - none of this fluttering butterfly stuff. Over the weekend I completed the three units of the Ottoman contingent for Egypt.

One unit is intended as light cavalry. This unit was actually finished over the long Labour Day weekend - actually this weekend was long for me too because with her indoors away for a few days I took Friday off. I have done it all in white, most with of the figures with complete head cover, and the all of the rank and file in action poses using firearms, bows or javelins.

The other two units are heavier types with a broader range of weapons, with some individuals carrying three different types.

This finishes my Ottoman collection, gathered below for the team photos.

The infantry wing

The cavalry wing

The whole army

Sunday 28 October 2018

The Battles of Abuqir Bay and Mandara

Ever since I began collecting the British in Egypt, sometime late last year, I had the idea of recreating the British invasion of Egypt in 1801.

The idea came from the series of games that the Perrys ran and presented on their FaceBook page.

My concept is slightly different. First because I have done a limited number of units and have to scale the games accordingly. Second, while the Perrys game ran through the landings, and the actions at Mandara and Alexandria, I wanted to run a series of games right through the whole campaign from the landings to the fall of Cairo - so anywhere between four and seven games. I also wanted to add a twist so that if there was a reversal of a historical result the whole sequence would change and we would dive into an alternate history.

The first two of the series were run today: the landing at Abuqir Bay and the Battle of Mandara.
For Abuqir Bay I decided to allow the British to land with:

Moore’s Brigade
  23rd Foot
  28th Foot
  42nd Foot
  58th Foot
  Corsican Rangers
Guards Brigade – Stuart
  Coldstream Guards
  3rd Guards
Craddock's Brigade
  8th Foot
  13th Foot
  18th Foot (second attempt only)
  90th Foot (second attempt only)
  one battalion of marines
  1 artillery battery
  Eleven Flat boats (each capable of carrying 1 battalion or a gun Battery)
  Three cutters (each of which has a carronade).
  Six dummy boats

The French defending force consisted of:

Robin’s Brigade
  22e Demi Brigade Légeré
  75e Demi Brigade
  Light battery
  3rd Dragoons
  1 stand of 14th Dragoons
  One horse battery.

This gave the French six battalions, two cavalry units and two guns and the British ten battalions and one gun.

British deploy their boats on the sea table edge on turn 1, face down, 600mm from the shore.

Once the British have deployed the French will deploy. All or any of their troops may be claimed beyond the crest.

Special rules this game only:

British disembarkment: During the training for the landings the British managed to get time required for disembarkment and forming battle formations down to five minutes. As such the British can form on the water's edge the moment that their boat touches the shore, but will be ruled disorded for the remainder if the turn, with the disorder clearing at the beginning of the next turn.

Artillery fire and movement:  All land-based artillery can move forward a maximum of 100mm and fire, but will fire as disrupted

British naval support: The British can call fire from naval ships on any French on shore target that is 300mm clear of any British troops, regardless of whether the French troops are on elevated ground.

British Carronades: The range is limited to 500mm, and re-roll all hits.

Seeing over the crest: Any troops deployed just beyond the hill crests are assumed to have officers forward and are able to claim to see an enemy on the other side. As such they can charge from concealed  positions.

British boat movement: 
• Boats have a standard movement rate of 150mm per turn (225mm with a double time activation)
• Once within 200mm of the shore dummy boats can be identified (and eliminated from play) by any
   French unit with a direct line of sight
• The cutters cannot come closer than 200mm of the shoreline
• Boats can change direction up to 45 degrees from their direction of face at the beginning of the turn

French batteries in Abukir Castle: The guns at Abukir Castle have a range of 1500mm from the French left / British right table edge. Three guns are available with a rate of fire of one per turn.

Damage to boats: Boats can sustain three hits from artillery. On the fourth hit they are deemed sunk. Boats are deemed normal targets.

Terrain limitations: 
• The slopes of the great sand hill will be classed as difficult terrain
• Artillery fired to or from higher ground against troops on land will re-roll hits

For the game I was lacking one item - the flatboats. Now the Perrys make one of these, as do Redoubt, but at close to NZ$100 each and a need for a dozen or more boats just for this one game, even my magpie-like attraction for shiny things was dulled. By chance when I was at the Maritime Museum in Greenwich a couple of months ago there was a wonderful model of one of these boats laden with what looked like Seven Years War grenadiers in a big glass case, and I had a thought. So whipping out the camera I took a few shots from directly above and then cleaned them up in PhotoShop when I got home. Then I searched on Google maps until I found a sharp image of some ocean (the best patch I found was around Norfolk Island)  and placed the cut out image on top. After scaling the image I had the result shown below, which was printed out in colour onto a lightweight card.

And so to the game...

The French chose to deploy all of their forces to the right of the big sand hill, with the 22nd Légeré on the extreme right, the 75th de Ligne on its left and the cavalry on the extreme left. The whole force was kept below the crest of the dunes.

The British deployed all their dummy boats on the left, directly opposite the 22nd Légeré  To their right were the Guards, supported by the marines and the battery. Then came the two battalions of Craddock’s brigade and Moore’s regiments were on the extreme right, directly opposite the big sand hill. They chose to keep out of the range of Fort Abuqir.

In a brilliant show of rowing the British boats all hit the shore at exactly the same time and disembarked in perfect order. 

The French 22nd Légeré  with no opposition in front of them advanced and swung left to engage the Guards, while the cavalry and horse artillery moved against Craddock. The detachment of the 14th Dragoons charged towards the 8th Regiment, which quickly formed square. The dragoons aborted their charge and the horse artillery blasted the square, but with little effect.

The 13th Foot and the Corsican Rangers came up on the right of the 8th and were forced into square by the 5th dragoons. Then followed a cat an mouse game between Craddock and the cavalry until the marines and the British guns blasted the 14th Dragoons, forcing them to flee. The British infantry then advanced on the 5th Dragoons and the horse battery, slowly forcing them back.

Meanwhile Moore made good headway, unopposed, on the big sand hill, occupying it easily without taking a casualty.

The Guards, however had serious problems. The French infantry advanced against them and caught them in a crossfire. The 3rd Guards crumbled under intense small arms fire and fled up the beach. The Coldstreams were not far behind them as they were taken front and flank and they too made off down beach - no doubt to the jeers of the boat crews.

For a moment it looked as though the French infantry might roll up the British left flank, but the navy came to the rescue and the fire from the ships broke up the French demi-brigades and the French forces left the field.

And with that very historical result we stopped for lunch and to set the table up for the next game.


After lunch the action continued with the second game of the day, set five days after the landing at Abukir Bay, sees the British pushing up the Abuqir Peninsula towards Alexandria, while the marines and dismounted dragoons besiege Abuqir castle.

With the Mediterranean on their right and Lake Abuqir on the left the approach is narrow and made difficult by the terrain that is littered with numerous palm groves and broken hills. Beyond the rough ground stands a large hill on which stand some Roman ruins, which the French occupy. The French right is protected by the bed of Lake Mareotis, that although dry in March, is still an obstacle to the British. Then the ground opens to a flat barren plain that runs all the way to the fortified Heights of Nicopolis at the far end of the table. The British, however have no knowledge of the terrain beyond the hill with the ruins atop and will not gain knowledge until the reach the top.

The British advance is led by Craddock’s Brigade followed by Moore’s and Stuart’s Emgré Brigades (13 battalions), with any losses carried forward. Only a single battery of artillery is available and no cavalry is present. Without cavalry to reconnoiter the ground, and lacking any accurate maps of the area the British are in full belief that if they drive the French from the ruins hill they will be able to march straight into Alexandria.

The French force consists of three demi-Brigades (9 battalions) with two light batteries and a horse battery attached and two regiments of dragoons, a regiment of chasseurs a cheval and a horse battery. On the heights of Nicopolis they have another demi-brigade and three field batteries. The French objective is to prevent the British from getting control of the Nicopolis Heights, but need to prevent the British from occupying or passing the hill with the ruins on it until at least turn eight to prevent them observing the French relief column moving across the northern edge of Lake Mareotis.


The French deploy first. The British march onto the table. The British gun can be placed in the order of march as the British commander’s discretion.

Special Rules:

Effect of sand on artillery fire: Artillery firing too or from hills, EXCEPT when firing against targets on the barren plain, re-roll hits.

So how did the game run?

The French deployed the 22nd Légeré,  damaged in the previous engagement, in the ruins supported by the light battery. The other two demi-brigades were deployed on the right with the cavalry in the center. They intended to push forward to engage the British as they came though the broken hills and palm groves.

The British put Moore on the right, Craddock in the middle and Stuart on the left. They hoped to push past the French right.

The French stepped off first and the infantry on the right the quickly advanced and took the edge of the high ground. The cavalry dashed forward to block Moore.

But the cavalry soon found itself in a poor position and the 14th Dragoons were quickly shot to pieces. The horse artillery was quickly in action but began to take hits. The 5th Dragoons also began to take hits and began to withdraw covered by the Chasseurs a Cheval.

On the French right the infantry was quickly engaged with Stuart's emigré regiments. Dillon's regiment attempted to drive off the French battalion on the extreme right, but was shot to pieces coming in and was routed back against the lake. The French followed up and dispersed the Dillon men to the wind.

The French continued to push forward and the emigré units of de Roll and de Watteville entered the fight. De Roll held their own for a while, but de Watteville was smashed. De Roll met its fate the following turn, leaving only a single battalion of Stuart's brigade to face six. Soon the brigade morale collapsed and that battalion too took to its heels. Stuart was last heard blaming Craddock for coming up too slowly and leaving the emigrés exposed to the full brunt of the French attack.

On Moore's front the contest continued with the cavalry and horse artillery. It took some time for the British infantry to work their way through the palm groves, but when they did they could dominate the the front with musketry. The cavalry was soon put to flight, although the horse gun did hold on for another turn.

Craddock finally came up through the palm groves, but struggled to form a line and half his brigade was compelled to break back to protect its flank after the collapse of Stuart's brigade. The fight here was short. After some initial success Craddock was knocked back, his brigade morale cracked and his troops quit the field, leaving only Moore's five battalions in action. 

Fortunately for the British the French infantry were just as badly knocked about and decided they had had enough. Moore was left to face the weakend 22nd Légeré who could not have held the ruins for long. 

Here the game ended. The British had failed to get to Alexandria, but fhey had done damage to the French and held a good position on the Abuqir Peninsula. Again we had an historical result.

Monday 22 October 2018

...And on the Buffet today...

The last three days has been the New Zealand Labour Weekend holiday. The weather has been great with warm sunny days and for us it had been a busy time with a significant amount of work around the property - doing all the jobs we have ignored over the winter. So as well as cleaning all the paved areas, spreading 3 cubic metres of garden mulch across all the beds, mowing the lawns and starting the repailing of the back fence, the wargames butterfly wings have also been working overtime and I have flitted between projects completing four new units, one from each of four different projects.

Number one is the 3rd battalion, 33rd Régiment de Ligne.

Number two is the fifth unit of Ottoman infantry. This time I have done most of the figures with either firearms or bows, and largely dressed in black or white, with just a few colours.

Number three is the third sailor drawn limber for the British in Egypt.

Finally, number four is the first of the British artillery sets for either the Peninsular or  War of 1812.

Now these were not all painted over the weekend - bits have been done over the last weeks - it is just that the long weekend has provided the opportunity to finish the basing.

Thursday 18 October 2018

More Ottoman Turks

Another two Ottoman units, one foot and one mounted, have stormed off the painting desk and into their storage trays.

Also completed is the command group of three figures.

Tuesday 16 October 2018

British Napoleonic Diversity

Fluter, flutter go the butterfly wings as another couple of diverse items roll off the production line.

Item number one is the second limber for the British in Egypt.

Item number two is a by-product of item number one in that they are are the gun crew from the Victrix British artillery sets. Now I have six sprues each with one gun, one limber and five crew and from these I will make my six British in Egypt limbers and have six guns for other British Napoleonic projects. But I only use four crew with my gun sets and this would mean that I would have six crew left over.  Luckily I have a need for gunners for another little project.

Readers may remember that for the War of 1812 blockhouse that I made back in May (https://stracmark.blogspot.com/2018/05/war-of-1812-blockhouse.html) I had cobbled together a gun from various bits that needed some crew. Well these are the crew. 

Four of them will crew the gun. The officer and the sixth leftover, which will also be made up as an officer, will serve as artillery officers in the different British projects because I always find that artillery command is neglected in our wargames - hopefully this rectifies that.

Saturday 13 October 2018

Ottoman Forces for Egypt

Flutter number three of the wargames butterfly wings leads me to land on a third project for the week.

Back in July I completed some Janissaries, the second unit of Ottoman Turks from Brigade Games to serve as allies to the British in Egypt. My plan was to add three units of cavalry and three of infantry.


But since then our dollar (some unkind elements have been known to refer to it as the “Pacific Peso”) has taken a hammering against the $US, dropping over 13% since I made my initial plans back in March. This, combined with the fact that Brigade don’t offer a post free purchase level,  has disrupted my purchasing plans. What was to be a relatively small investment had ballooned out to $621.


Then I remembered that Gripping Beast did some plastic Arab cavalry and infantry. I jumped online and played around with the pack quantities and prices quickly discovering that I could buy two boxes of heavy cavalry, one of light cavalry and one of infantry for a landed cost of $165 and that would create four cavalry and two infantry units. The thought of saving of $456 appealed to me, but what would I be missing out on by using these figures over specifically designed Ottoman Napoleonic figures? On closer examination the answer was not a lot. Reading contemporary descriptions of the Ottoman army it was described largely as a medieval horde. The only significant difference appeared to be the addition of firearms and perhaps a few less shields.


Digging through the plastic bits boxes I had lots of muskets left over from the WSS project some years ago. I had some pistols left over from an old ECW project and a friend gave me a bunch more pistol arms left over from his ECW/TYW project. With a bit of kit bashing skill, adding muskets and pistols to the figures would be a relatively simple task. I also had some sets of arms left over from the Napoleonic dragoon sets that with a  little carving and some Green Stuff might enable me to create some figures firing muskets.


So the order was placed. Within a week and a bit four boxes of Arab infantry and cavalry were waiting for me on the doorstep, and here are the first efforts: a unit of Malmuk cavalry and a unit of foot.


I am pleased with them and some more may follow.