Horse and Musket


Cries of treason in the Commons

The British Commons echoed to cries of treason, and demands for an inquiry, as news reached London of a disastrous engagement in the Iberian Peninsular. Despatches from General Wellesley outlined how General Belvedere Mainstreet Smythe, best know for his book 'Up the Impopo without a paddle', took his newly formed Corps to the aid of Spanish General Miguel Immanuel Ballesteros as he advanced on the French after the recent fight at Saint Miquel.General Smythe's Corps, including two brigades of Guards only recently despatch to support the defence of Portugal, was brought to a halt, many British lads left lying with empty eyes staring skywards as French cavalry caught them unawares in the open.Cries across the Commons demanded the immediate recall of General Wellesley himself, but little has been forthcoming from the Peninsula as General Wellesley, true to form, kept his own counsel.An addendum to the General's despatch noted that General Smythe was found a hundred yards from his command tent, a pistol bullet lo

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French ambition held in check at Sant Miquel

A lone cockerel emerged from the lengthening shadows and strutted across the street. Its head bobbed up and down as it pecked at the dust that lay in the street in its search for bugs and grains. Its feet left impressions in a pool of blood and dust that had formed where the blood of Spaniards and Frenchmen had mingled and flowed like a stream from the pile of bodies. A brown and black dog, ribs sticking out along its belly, appeared from behind the bodies and began to sniff about one of the bodies. Alfredo del Marchand, went to stand in an attempt to clear the dog from the remains of his compatriots. His knees went weak, and he slumped back to the ground, the sword slipping from his hand as the muscles in his arm spasmed with the fatigue. His breath began to come in gasps, sobs emerged from his throat, and he began to tremble. A distorted face slashed from brow to chin with a savage sword cut stared at him from the top of the pile.Four times the French columns had hurled themselves at the town of Sant Miquel

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Napoleonic 20

Last week, Bruce put on a couple of Napoleonic boardgames from the Napoleonic 20 series. We started with Waterloo.The mechanics are pretty simple but the real game is managing army morale (which you can degrade for tactical advantage). I've never really understood Waterloo (or cared to) so seeing it played out at the grand tactical scale with only 20 counters per side was very helpful.You can see me advancing on Day 1 to push Bruce back and bag a couple of important supply points.I let Bruce fall back, which gave him time to recover his morale (likely a mistake). The terrain in the middle of the board really constrained my attack options and let him re-form a defence.Eventually we came to blows again, with some lucky cavalry strikes on the right flank de-stabilizing his line.I think, in the end, I was able to degrade his morale and his units broke and retreated.We then switched to the Russian front, with a Russian spooling attack running into a surprisingly large French force.The Cossacks pushed the French ba

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Finishing off Lasalle game

Bruce and I paused out game of LaSalle a few weeks back. We finally finished it off last week. When we last left our heroes, the British (bottom of picture below) held the town on the hill, were swinging a left hook, and were rushing to block a flanking attack on their right.The British right managed to get into position and, eventually, put the advancing French in a nasty box. This took awhile to develop but the Brits had this side in hand.Over on the left (below), there was some early success for the Brits in cleaning out some cannon. Then they basically lost ever single melee for the rest of the game due to hilariously awful dice. It was crazy to watch units evaporate for no good reason. This side was going French, with only a lack of troops preventing a complete rolling up of the flank.In the middle, again the Brits could not melee worth beans and the French kept advancing. Some lucky shooting kept them off the hill (automatic victory).As night fell, the British squeaked out the thinnest of tactical victo

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Monmouth Courthouse

I hauled my 54mm AWI troops out to the club this week to put on a game of Tricorne. I selected the Monmouth Courthouse scenario as I don't think I have ever gamed that one before.Scott and Bruce were for king and Richard and Chen were for congress. Red Claw was packed when we got there so I much appreciate Leanne saving us a 6x4 table to game on.Monmouth has 22 units per side and requires nine victory banners to win, so it took us two hours to get through the scenario. The British can gain two banners per American hill-hex that they occupy.The British spent a lot of time maintaining a solid line to allow them to play the many, many line cards that they got. They focussed first on ejecting the Americans from the forward line of hedges and trying to firm up the British left flank (which was enfiladed by cannon).These poor Prussian grenadiers earned their pay that day and were forced to advance to the rear after a few turns. Bruce also immediately lost the unit of highlanders I spent weeks (WEEKS!) painting to a

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Re-discovered figures. an army build quick win

Prompted by Andy's quick fire Napoleonic HotT army, I re-discovered a pile of surplus figures left over from a wonderful Gerard Davey gift (his own surplus figures IIRC). The bulk of the figures created a large Volley and Bayonet army, but there were some figures left over. What better idea than a heroic napoleonic French army. So, here is the first phase of the project completed. There are still more figures to go, and plans for some more 'fantasy' elements yet to come.The army so farOld Guard - bladesTwo line infantry columns - behemothsHero General-- the 'ultimate hero'?Riders on the left, knights on the rightShooters at the front.. 'legeres'Hordes.. conscripts.My question on the HotT Yahoo group about classification of French line infantry prompted a great discussion, with a range of ideas. Our intention is NOT to fight napoleonic era battles. We use Volley and bayonet for that. But it seems that using French line infantry as spears, or behemoths, could do the business.Our aim is to fight fantasy battles.

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A "quick win" in army building - a French Napoleonic army ...

Hmm, Andy sprung a surprise on me, with his re-purposing of some painted British napoleonic figures for HotT.It made me realise that I have a heap of painted napoleonics which I'd thought surplus to requirements, having built the VnB armies I now use. So here are some of the figures.Already based, and deserving of some TLC on the bases, and with the application of some washes, will be eight bases of blades. Ah, those French columns.Then there are the Legeres which will do as shooters.And soem Gendarmes of the Guards as knights (there are some Cuirass as well, but they ned horses painted) and soem knights as riders.I have a spare figures of Napoleon which I'll rebase as a hero, and maybe a spare artillery gun.And the infantry in greatcoats will suffice as hordes. So, this might be a quick win HotT army to match Andy's British napoleonics. A very colourful combo.I'll post some photos of the finished product. In the meantime, progress on the Weird World War 1 British has been suspended..  I really am a warg

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Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan

On my way back from a work trip, I took a detour to Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan in the Cypress Hills. This was more out of the way than I imagined (maybe an hour off the TransCanada highway) and involved some entertaining alpine driving (in the middle of the prairies!).Fort Walsh has a nice interpretative centre (with canteen) up top that walks you through the Fort's history and purpose with a bit of background about the Cypress Hills massacre. You then hike down to the fort itself. You can go down the road (below) or the trail (end of post).The fort is maybe 500 or 600 feet per side. None of the buildings are original as the fort was abandoned and its remains destroyed by forest fire. The site was later re-activated as a horse-breeding centre for the RCMP before being transferred to Parks Canada.There are numerous buildings to explore plus costumed interpreters. It was cloudy and cold the day I was there but the parking lot was busy despite the remote location of the fort.Above in the interior of the commander'

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