Thursday 27 December 2018

Napoleonic Fortress Guns

When I started to build units for the British army for Egypt I saw the potential to use these units in numerous coastal operations in Holland, France, Spain and Italy. As I was mulling this over I remembered a couple of episodes from the Hornblower TV series, "The Dutchess and the Devil" and "Loyalty", where Hornblower had been involved in some sort of attack on a Spanish and French fortresses and I had an idea. Why not build some sort of coastal fortification? It didn't need to be some huge fortress, maybe just a shore battery that might guard a harbour entrance.

I quickly formed some sort of visual in my head, but any coastal fortification needs guns, what could I use? So I dug around a bit on the web for some images of fortress guns and found this one.

I figured that this could be pretty simply built from plasticard on which I could mount some of the spare gun barrels left over after the work with the Victrix French and British artillery sets that I had been wanting to find a use for. So with the paints put away for a few days I got to work.

The first step was to mark up and cut the basic shapes for the carriage sides, 20mm wide and 10mm high, from plasticard.

Next was to cut out the "steps" at the rear of the carriage, scribe the wood grain and round some of the corners.

Then the holes were drilled for the axles and the hollow made in the base of the cartiage sides with a rat-tail file.

The base of the carriage measured 18mm long and was cut 7mm wide at one end and 5mm at the other.

The basic form was glued together and the axels, made from various left over weapons and rods from recent plastic projects, were installed.

Wheels were then cut from two different sized plastic tube and glued in place.

The French 12lb gun barrel was prepared and then fixed to the carriage.

The fortress mount was then cut and assembled.

On this the gun can be positioned forward in its firing position...

...or back in its loading position.

A little bit of filling with liquid Green Stuff concealed a number of gaps on barrel and the wheels. I then made a second gun, this time using a British 9lb barrel.

Next I set about creating a base for the model. Here things took a twist. I decided that I wanted to do three models for French service and three for Spanish, but I wanted to create just one fort for both sets. So the guns are going to be based as modules that can simply be "plugged in" to the model. This is what I came up with.

Each gun will be a self contained module, complete with a masonary front and a wooden track for the trail wheels to run along when the gun is traversed. I used some spare plastic bases that shipped with the Perry plastic cavalry as the basic construction material beacuse as a precision manufactured piece they will suit the plug in idea best. The masonary is some left over plasticard from other projects and the rimber track is Green Stuff. The base remains unfinished because I want to mount crew on the base and the crew haven't arrived yet, but the rest of the base will be textured as packed earth as appears in the first image in tgis post.

The next thing to tackle is how all of this will fit into the larger fort.

Monday 24 December 2018

T'was the Night Before Christmas...

...and all around the house the water was dripping...because it has been raining ALL day. I have wisely stayed indoors, away from the malls and other points of gross human congestion and spent the day completing the bases on a number of items.

First is the packed version of the Carlist mountain gun set, plus the ammunition mule that goes with the deployed mountain gun set.

Second is a battalion of Carlist infantry from the Navarre region.

The final item completed today is the second of the Bruno Liebivitz 54mm figures that I bought in Paris inAugust. This time it is a brigadier-trumpeter from the 9th Hussars from the Revolution. He has been sitting on the painting table in a semi completed state for the last couple of months.

As we sit down to dinner on our wet Christmas Eve all that remains is to wish you all a...

Sunday 23 December 2018

First Carlist War Revisited

With phase one of the Spanish Napoleonic army complete, I have moved onto another Spanish project, the expansion of the First Carlist War armies.


After our last Carlist War game I reflected on the imbalance I have within these armies. The Isabelino forces outnumber the Carlists by about a third. Mind you that is only if all of the Isabelino, British Auxiliary Legion and the French Foreign Legion are used together - the BAL and the FFN never fought together historically so I really only intended as supports for the Isabelino troops and not used as a whole, but when has historical accuracy ever got in the way of a good wargame? The result is that in pretty much every game the Carlists end up getting beaten by weight of numbers.


So I decided to expand the Carlists to level the playing field, adding another seven infantry units, two cavalry, one field gun and one mountain gun. This takes the Carlists up to equal with the Isabelino forces in every arm except artillery.


The first units to roll out are two units from the Tortosa region:

A cavalry unit,

and an infantry unit.

Then there is a generic field gun,

a mountain gun set,

and Cabrera's Staff Guard


Also completed, and one could argue still within a Spanish theme,  are two more British gun sets for the Peninsular War. These have been in various stages of completion for the three weeks and are now finally based.

Tuesday 18 December 2018

World War One Game

On Sunday we played our last game for the year, an early WWI game.

The setup had a battalion each of British, French and Belgian, supported by some cavalry and artillery, fighting a holding action against German advance guard of four battalions, a machine gun company and artillery, cavalry and jager support in the Belgian countryside. The terrain had a mix of features, including farms, a couple of villages, woods, a railway line and a canal (complete with a canal bridge).

The allied forces deployed first across the width of the table, amongst farm buildings, towns, woods and along the ridges. Only those troops visible were placed on the table and at the game's commencement than amounted to the artillery plus a squadron of French dragoons and a company of zouaves that were pressed forward across the canal to observe any German advance from that direction.

The Germans chose to strike the allied right. Two battalions, supported by four HMGs would swing wide and then pivot to the right on a farm building and sweep along the allied position. When the two lead battalions began to pivot a third battalion, supported by the jagers and three HMGs would advance on their right. On the extreme right of the line a weakened battalion, supported by a squadron of uhlans and an HMG would hold the railway line and anchor the left. The artillery would be placed beside a ruined village from where it could support all the commands.

The Germans stepped off on the left, advancing cautiously as the British guns opened on them while the right hand battalion and the uhlans occupied a position between a wood and the railway line.

It was on the German left that the action developed when the first of the British were encountered. A British HMG held a position on the edge of a wood and began to do damage. Bravely a German company stormed forward and managed to drive the machine gunners away from their weapon, but when the Germans pressed forward after them through the wood the MG team held them back with accurate rifle fire.

The Germans soon found stiffer resistance around the farm on the British right where another HMG and a company of British infantry held back the German advance for a few turns before being compelled to fall back into the farm buildings.

Here the fighting bogged down for the rest of the day with the smaller British force successfully holding back two German battalions.
On the German right the allies quickly determined that there was no threat to their left and moved to reinforce their right. 

The French battalion moved directly against the Germans along the railway line and after some long range shooting the Germans began to get the upper hand. Two French companies fell back, covered by the Belgian armoured car that sacrificed itself gloriously, but left a machine gun team exposed to front and rear. 

The German uhlans saw this and charged the MG team from the flank. To try to save the MG team the French dragoons counter charged, but the German troopers got the better in the combat and routed them. The Uhlans then broke through on the French Zouaves, routing them too. But there the German uhlans ran out of luck. Trapped in the middle of the French force they were cut to pieces.


Meanwhile the German centre got moving. The jagers advanced on the British guns and managed to do some damage before being wiped out. The jager HMG managed to stay in action and finally drove the British guns off. Meanwhile the German centre battalion entered the large wood to their right and found it occupied by two squadrons of dismounted British cavalry. A sharp fight erupted, from which the British withdrew, but only when the Belgian infantry entered the fray. The Germans pulled back out of the wood and reformed.

About this time the British were finally evicted from the farm. The Allies still had about half their force in reasonable condition and decided to fall back to a new position near the town. Many of the German units were badly knocked about and needed some time to reform.


Here the game was brought to an end. And with the game's end came an end to our gaming year.