Thursday 30 July 2020

Argentine Infantry

Today sees the completion of two more units for the Great Paraguayan War. This time it is a pair of Argentine Infantry battalions. These, like the earlier Paraguayan units, were partly completed a couple of weeks ago and were just waiting their command groups.

The first unit is the 1st Battalion, identified by its red kepi (only the 1st Battalion and the Legion Militaire wore red kepis) and is in campaign dress.

The second unit is a line infantry unit wearing the French  surplus “Algerian-style” uniform. Again they are in campaign order, that is with blanket roll and without epaulettes and pack.

Monday 27 July 2020

A Little Civil War Action

Sunday’s regular game was and American Civil War event with five players (two Confederate and three Union).
The basis of the game was that the two forces are facing each other across a river with heavily wooded banks. The river was crossed by two bridges and was fordable at all points, but wide so would take two fill turns to cross. It was also deep so that those crossing were unable to fire when crossing. Each side has objectives on the opposite side of the table. The Union troops had an option to deploy some forces on our side of the river, beyond our extreme left.

I  fought on the Confederate side and between the two of us we commanded four infantry brigades (a total of 23 regiments), a small cavalry brigade (2 regiments) and six batteries fought six Union infantry brigades (30 regiments), three independent cavalry regiments and six batteries.
We spread our brigades across the table as best we could. On the left one brigade was in a forward position on the Yankee side of the river, with the second brigade in reserve in the town. The cavalry took post on the extreme left to face any Yankees that deployed on our side of the table. My two brigades were spread along my section of the river with one brigade forward on the river edge and one in reserve. 

The Yankees deployed the bulk of their forces against our left (including one brigade across the river) and advanced rapidly on our forward brigade.

Our cavalry, supported by some infantry from the reserve face off against the Yankee 

On the opposite flank the Yankees began to cross the river. An initial attempt resulted in a bloody repulse

But an attempt further to our right succeeded 
In the centre the fight became a confused mess in the woods

Although an attempt to push some unsupported artillery across the bridge resulted in an expected disaster

While on my flank I held off a flanking move by some Yankee cavalry and my artillery repulsed another attack.

Soon, however, the Yankees on our extreme left were stirred into action.

Despite a valiant effort by our brave defenders on the left, this proved to be the end of us.
The Yankees won but a reasonable part of my command got away to fight another day.

Saturday 25 July 2020

A Return to South America

Last Saturday the postman delivered two boxes of figures, my first figure purchase since March. Thirty-three packets of infantry figures, each of six figures, so 198 figures in all. 

In normal circumstances I would say that that would take me about four and a half weeks to complete - at my standard rate of work. But I am going to need to stretch these out a little longer because for a variety of reasons I don’t want to place another order until until late-August and given the state of international post services I can’t expect delivery until mid-September.

This shipment contains enough figures to complete fourteen infantry battalions from the Great Paraguayan War. In detail that is six Paraguayan, two Brazilian and six Argentine units.

The first off the painting tray are two units of Paraguayan infantry that have been languishing in an incomplete state since early-March - incomplete because I did not get the mix of figures right and found myself short of numbers to form the battalions.

The first unit 

As with the two battalions of Argentinians that I completed back in March I have based these as a single stand.

The second unit

 Next up will be the completion of another two Argentinian battalions that suffered from the same confusion about figure mix as the Paraguayans.

Tuesday 21 July 2020


Given that the Franco-Prussian War is perhaps my greatest interest this is going to be serious injurious to my bank balance!

Monday 13 July 2020

A Short Visit to Egypt

Veteran readers of this blog may recall that back in October 2018 and March 2019 we replayed the three of the battles of the Egyptian campaign of 1801, more specifically the Landing at Abuqir Bay and the Battle of Mandara and the The Battle of Alexandria or Canope. In the latter action the British were severely defeated and forced to retreat from the field.

Yesterday we played another game associated to that campaign that assumes that after the action of Alexandria a British rearguard allowed the Navy to extract the army, which was taken to Malta where it was reequipped before joining an Ottoman force on the northern tributary of the Nile at Damietta. The united Anglo-Ottoman force advanced on Cairo. Our game takes place around an oasis on that advance that both sides need to control. The oasis was located in the dead centre of the table with undulating ground around the edges.

The French army contained a total of 18 battalions, the dromedary regiment, four cavalry regiments (2 dragoons, 1 hussars, 1 Chasseurs á cheval), 2 horse batteries, two field batteries and a light battery. The Anglo-Ottomans had 14 British battalions, two small units of dismounted dragoons, one unit of Hompesch Hussars, six small artillery batteries, five units of Mamelukes, one unit of Janissaries, one of Nazim-i Cedid infantry, three units of Ottoman infantry. Deployment was free with each side able to deploy across the full width of their side of the table, 300mm in from the edge.

The British deployed with the Ottoman command on the left, Extending beyond the oasis. In the centre, directly opposite the oasis was a small mixed brigade of two battalions, the dismounted dragoons, the Hompesch Hussars and two 12lb guns. Extending to the right was a brigade of seven battalions and two guns, and finally on the extreme right was a abrigade of five battalions and two guns.

By coincidence the French deployment mirrored the Anglo-Ottoman deployment. Their cavalry, supported by the field batteries were on the left, opposite the Ottoman force. Two demi-brigades were posted opposite the oasis. The dromedary regiment, supported by a horse battery, moved to occupy the oasis. Two more groupd each of two demi-brigades extended to the left of the oasis.

The British extreme left that faced my two demi-brigades (below)

In the centre the French quickly occupied the oasis

While the British formed a menacing line to the right of the oasis.

The action started on the British left, where the Mameluke cavalry attempted to take on the French cavalry, but the French troopers proved the better.

The action then moved to the Ottoman infantry, supported by some British infantry and dismounted light dragoons, who engaged the French infantry, and again came off the worst.

With the Ottoman advance stalled, the French artillery proceeded to blow their formations apart and soon drove them from the field. Action then moved to the other side of the oasis, where a strong British force dealt to a couple of demi-brigades in short order.

At the same time action developed on my front, on the French extreme left, with my two demi-brigades stepping off in fine order.

Despite taking a pounding from the British guns, I managed to arrange three battalions to converge their fire on a single British battalion and score nine hits! And he saves EIGHT!!!

Things are looking grim for me when the British attacked, but against all odds one of my battalions turned the tide and threw them back. But both of us were largely fought out and stood back and the action moved back to the centre

The French cavalry, the artillery and the largely intact brigade around the oasis swung to face the last intact British brigade.

Outgunned and with the French troopers circling the last of the British began to crumble.

Here we ended an excellent day’s wargame.