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Battle of Ticinus Refight

So as promised I have replayed last weeks Battle of Ticinus using the To the Strongest! ruleset, but this time gave the Romans more freedom to deploy and fight. I used exactly the same forces as last time but for this game, I was able to twist the arm of the Young Padawan to play Hannibal while I took on the role of Publius Scipio. I started off by explaining to her the historical background for this battle and how the last game unfolded, so she was fully aware of the potential weakness of my small army. The SetupSo as already indicated I set this battle up exactly the same as last time, but with some differences to the Roman deployment. I was convinced that Scipio's deployment of his Velites in front of his own cavalry was a mistake and postulated that the light infantry would have been better deployed on the flanks. My plan was to engage the Numidian Light Cavalry in a Javalin fight but make full use of my greater numbers if at all possible. In the centre, my Cavalry would go toe-to-toe with the P

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The Battle of Ticinus 218BC

The Battle of Ticinus was the first direct clash between the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal and the Romans (under the Consul, Publius Cornelius Scipio) in mainland Italy. It was a small battle between mainly cavalry forces and is often overlooked from a wargaming perspective. However, I think this is is an excellent little battle that offers some interesting challenges to both sides. The encounter was also significant because success was a massive morale boost to Hannibal's weary troops that were still recovering from the crossing of the Alps. It was also significant in another way that Hannibal could never have imagined. The consul's 18-year-old son, the future Scipio Africanus, first distinguished himself by saving his father at the height of the battle. SetupWhen Hannibal crossed the Alps he had effectively outflanked the Romans under Scipio who had been sent to Gaul to stop the Carthaginian advance. Scipio decided to return to northern Italy leaving most of his army behind to make their own way back

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Battle of Asculum 279BC

On Tuesday I had another go at a solo game of To the Strongest. This time I've switched from the Punic war to the earlier Pyrrhic war and the Battle of Asculum. After invading Italy and defeating the Romans at Heraclea, Pyrrhus overwintered his army in the south. In the spring of 279 BC Pyrrhus was finally ready to restart his campaign and invaded the province of Apulia. Eventually, he met the Romans, and an appointment with history, at Asculum. The scene was therefore set for a clash that would go down as a victory so costly that it was a victory in name only.According to ancient sources, the battle of Asculum began when both sides found themselves facing each other across a fast flowing river. The Roman commander offered Pyrrhus an opportunity to cross the river unmolested or vice versa so they could have a true match of strength and honour. Estimates of the number of troops involved vary but the best figures are probably about 40,000 infantry each. Pyrrhus has superiority in cavalry and also had 19 elephan

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Iberian Scutarii in Hannibal's Army

These weren't on my original plan for the Challenge but as I have hit my target and found myself with a 'spare week' I decided to dig them out and get them painted. Actually to be honest I'd forgotten I had bought them and I only rediscovered then as I rummaged through one of my lead mountains (yes, that's plural!). I'm using these Spanish Scutarii as allies in Hannibal's 2nd Punic war army. In the To The Strongest army list, I can only take two of these units but I can upgrade them to Veterans if necessary.The Scutarii were named for their shields, the scutum, which was very similar in design to that used by the Romans in the Polybian period. The shield was a large oblong, big enough to cover the body, but light enough to be carried in one hand. The Romans used the scutum to form what was in effect a shield wall and there is similar evidence to say the Spanish employed the same tactic. The Scutarii were well-equipped medium spearmen and therefore quite mobile. Their main weapon was the all-metal heavy throwi

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Natal Native Mounted Contingent

Earlier in the Challenge, I painted some Natal Native Contingent and described how they were given relatively little equipment and their uniform consisted of a red bandana to wrap around their foreheads. Fortunately, there were some native troops that were better equipped. The Natal Native Mounted Contingent were relatively small in number and were formed into six Troops of approximately 50 men each, lead by a European Lieutenant and a native NCO. They were largely recruited from the amaNgwane (a tribe from Natal) traditionally hostile to the Zulus.These troopers were much better equipped than the Native infantry; troopers wore a tan-coloured European style uniform, their mount had full equipment and each trooper was issued with a breech-loading carbine. The European officers usually wore a blue jacket, brown trousers and white helmet although there was some variation. I decided to give one of my officers a soft hat similar to the troops under his command. This involved cutting the pith helmet off, then filin

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Hannibal's Gallic Allies

After expanding the ranks of my Polybian Roman Army last week now its time to add some extra muscle to my Carthaginian army under Hannibal. The most famous of the Barcids, Hannibal always seemed to be outnumbered but he made up for it by gathering disaffected and outright rebellious roman 'subjects' and turning them against Rome. The march from Spain had severely depleted his army. Some estimates suggest that as much as 75% of his starting strength was 'lost' to battle casualties, garrisoning of parts of Cisalpine Gaul and disease (especially during the harsh Alpine crossing). When he arrived in Northern Italy Hannibal faced a region of Gallic tribes that had been brutally subdued by Rome and were naturally reluctant to turn on their powerful overlords. However after he had routed an army under Publius Scipio at the Battle of Ticinus nearly all the Gallic tribes switched to the Carthaginian cause. I already had three of these units painted but wanted the option to field more (I can take up to six us

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Polybian Legion and Carthaginian Elephants

Way back in the sixth Analogue Hobbies Winter Challenge I painted a Polybian Roman Army. I'd always wanted to expand it with more Hastati, Principes and Triarii but as with all good intentions it never happened. So three years after I first started this army I am finally getting round to expanding the ranks of my Romans. I had planned to paint these one group at a time but after working through masses of Zulu's last year that felt a bit lazy so I have done the whole lot as one entry. As you'll probably notice the last rank (the veteran Triarii) are just two bases worth. That wasn't intentional, I had ordered a pack of 96 figures but was only sent 48 and didn't realise until I was ready to start. My wife gave them to my for Christmas so when they arrived over a month ago I just handed the pack to her and didn't check my order. Rather than delay working in these I decided to paint what I have got for now and worry about the two missing units later. I made a concerted effort to paint and base them exactly a

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Natal Native Contingent

During this years Painting Challenge I am not focusing on just one army or new project. Instead I decided I would revisit some of my older armies and finally get around to adding to them like I have been saying I would for ages. The first of these additions are four of companies of Natal Native Contingent to support the British Infantry I painted in the Challenge last year.The NNC were an Auxiliary force of mostly Basuto and Mponso troops who were recruited to fight alongside the colonial regulars. They were generally organised along the same lines as the British troops with companies of about 100 warriors with 6 NCO's and three Officers per company. They were not issued with uniform and were only distinguishable from their Zulu opponents by a red bandanna worn around their heads. Fears about arming native warriors (even allies) meant that only one in ten were issued with a rifle.Some Imperial officers (such as Colonel Durnford, who died at Isandlwana) believed the NNC should have been used as scouts and ligh

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The Battle of Ntombe Drift

Following on from my post last week about adapting TMWWBK I have now had a chance to run a couple of play test games. What I decided to do was play a couple of variations of the Battle of Ntombe. This relatively small engagement was none the less significant because once again units of the British army were soundly beaten by "spear wielding savages" (as they were described in the press). The historical battle involved just one company of Infantry against approximately 500-800 Zulu's and was another classic example of poor leadership, poor field craft and a complete underestimation of the enemy. Setup/HistoryWith the commencement of the Anglo-Zulu war in January 1879 the village of Lüneberg, situated in the disputed territories of Northern Zululand, felt very exposed to attack. Four companies of the 80th Regiment of foot were sent to reinforce the local garrison but by the end of February they needed resupply. 18 wagon of supplies were sent to the town and were escorted from the boarder by one compan

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TMWWBK for 6mm Zulu War

So after a long hiatus following the last Winter Painting Challenge I have finally found some time to go back to my Zulu War project to think again about the rules I want to use. This time I have been giving some thought to adapting The Men Who Would Be Kings rules, written by Daniel Mersey and published by Osprey. This exercise has been very interesting, shows promise and has even resulted in firm plans for a full scale solo play test sometime next week.This back to front approach - buying and painting the models before I have even settled on a rule system - is typical of me. Actually that's a little unfair as I did spend quite a lot of time thinking about rules and exploring several options prior to buying the figures, but I never really came to a satisfactory decision. In the end I just painted and based the figures in a configuration that I thought would be visually pleasing and practical, with my fingers crossed that I could make them fit a rule system further down the line. Again, typically of me, I got

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