Sunday, 26 July 2009

A Short Interlude

If you consider 15mm to be short.

The Battle of Moselle (July 2009) was a thinly disguised Lobositz (1756) scenario using Volley and Bayonet rules.

Three Allied columns advanced down from the hills to face a French force stretching from the walled farmland on their right across the valley to the marshy stream. A Saxon force held the village of Sullowitz and a Reichsarmee force was behind the stream.

The Allies outnumbered the French by about 15% in base numbers but almost all bases were one strength point stronger and their morale one or two points better.

On the hill British light dragoon swept aside French Hussars with ease. Generaljimbo commanding the French prophesied that it looked like it was to be a quick game. The foot however could make little impression on the French behind the stone walls.

On the Allied right the Prussians did not hesitate in attacking the village held by the Saxons although the artillery proved ineffective even at short range. Two well placed dragoon regiments threatened any possible Reichsarmee movement over the stream.
In the centre the British pressed on. Too quickly it proved as both their batteries were lost to enemy light cavalry before even unlimbering. The British cavalry charged forward and pushed back the French horse but with little damage done to either. There proved to be no movement into the resultant hole however and Louis' horsemen rallied and the British repelled with heavy losses.

The hole in the centre was swiflty plugged as the Allies attacked along the line - but to little effect. In fact the French (as stationary troops) were dishing out a lot of punishment as 6 followed 6.

Almost simultaneously the morale of the Prussians and the British centre collapsed and the red and blue swept back whence they came.

The outflanking movement on the hill proved too little too late and against the odds the French had won a famous victory. Generaljimbo's prophesy proved to be correct but not quite as expected.
(photos courtesy of Generaljimbo, honorary captain of the Black Tower)

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Riesling Regiment

The first regiment of MittelWeinPfalz is almost complete. The regiments of WeinPfalz will of course be either red or white with perhaps a Rose Hussars regiment. As you can see they are Revell plastic 1/72 (Austrian SYW). I pondered for a while as to what figures to use for this project. There are some absolutely splendid figures available to the wargamer now, Front Rank, Foundry, Minden etc. However I have always had a fear of beautiful figures because I am a dreadful painter. I can be neat (given time) but I do feel that these figures deserve better and occasionally I have been fortunate to get a friend to paint some 28mms for me. The ease with which Jim produces little masterpieces makes me despair of my own skills even more.

Of course I couldn’t ask him to paint up a couple of dozen regiments fit for Charge! which would be about 1200 figures. I looked at professional painters and at around £8 to £10 per figure I thought I might have better things to do with twelve grand, if I had it, which I don’t.

I used to have a lot of Spencer Smith plastic and had some fun with them and I bought a few of the new metal figures from SSM. They were okay and not too expensive, about £30 for a regiment. Garrison and RSM looked pretty good too. Coincidentally however I came across a couple of really nice blogs that were creating armies using plastic 1/72 and on the same day I was in my local model shop when the discussion came round to my choice of figures; he showed me a box of Revell Austrian Infantry at £3.50 a box. He had six left. I could buy 6 boxes of 48 men for £21.00 – nearly 300 men. Of course I bought the lot. On further examination I discovered that almost all were useable and would give me enough figures for 5 regiments. That’s most of one army’s foot.

They were nice figures, you could see what they were meant to be but there wasn’t too much detail to get bogged down on. I wouldn’t get hung up if I didn’t paint in the grenadiers earrings. I planned to adopt the three feet rule, ie what do you see when they are the table and get the damned things done as quickly as spare time allowed. Now the first unit is almost done I am not unpleased with the result and the next unit can only get better. Once a couple of small armies have been knocked out in plastic I intend to start filling in with some metal. Not sure what yet – any suggestions?

And while I’m at it does anyone recognise the figure on the left of photo one. It’s a true 25mm and thinner than the usual. It says RN7 on the base and I would guess that it’s a French Revolutionary figure of the 1790’s (but could be 1780’s). The middle figure is a Garrison and I think the other if minifigs.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Conscription Begins

The years of respite since 1709 seem to have erased the memories of war.

1 January 1735
Mobilisation begins at the Castle Vallejo.

Within it's ancient walls troops recalled to their colours are rewarded with splendid uniforms.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


As a child I spent my weekly sixpence pocket money on a toy soldier, US cavalry, second world war infantryman, cowboy, sometimes a knight. With friends, father or often alone I would line them up and fight mini battles on my bedroom floor. There must have been hundreds - I wonder what happened to them all.

Of course teenagers don't play with toy soldiers do they? But when I found "Charge! or How to Play Wargames" in the local library (between chess and football) it was a revelation. Playing with toy soldiers didn't have to end with primary school and short trousers. But of course other things got in the way, music, girls, football etc etc. And despite attempts at painting up an army of airfix, and later Spencer Smith's plastics I never actually got round to playing a game using Charge rules. And yet every so often I would pore over the games and friendly banter of Mr Smith and Mr Jones as described by messrs Young and Lawford (I actually bought the library copy for 20p).

Wargaming didn't go away and University provided a few opponents mostly in the revolutionary new, cheap, easily stored 6mm. Later Birmingham Wargames Society provided a friendly place to fight. Keeping up to date with the latest innovations armies appeared and grew and were sold, rules came and went 10mm, 15mm, 20mm. WRG, RFCM, Volley and Bayonet, Crossfire, Impetus, we tried them all. But none had what Charge! had. Je ne sais quois?

But now, courtesy of internetland, I find I'm not alone in this mini obsession with a 1967 games book.

This blog is my incentive to creating two armies and two imagi nations to fight table top games in the manner of messrs Young and Lawford. The nations are Fromagere and Weinpfalz; the Wars of Wine and Cheese.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

The Wars of Wine and Cheese

A brief history of The Duchy of Fromagere and the Counties of Weinpfalz


The branches of the family tree of European royalty and nobility cross and scrape like a badly pruned thorn. No more was this friction felt than between the rulers of the neighbouring lands of Fromagere and Weinpfalz.

Exhausted by the wars of religion the fortunate geography and hardworking population of Fromagere ensured that their towns, churches and palaces were rebuilt swiftly. Silver livres, gold marks and pounds sterling rolled in as the barges full of butter and cheese made their way up the navigable Rhine. The flower of Baroque bloomed magnificently in the principle city of Roquefort and more than one Bach enjoyed the massive organ of its cathedral.

The three counties Of Lower, Middle and Upper Weinpfalz however found the latter half of the seventeenth century less fruitful. With many vineyards abandoned in the thirty years war combined with the sudden popularity of beer the wine business was not flourishing. Not until the wars against Louis XIV did Weinpfalz discover its most profitable business – mercenaries. The hardy little men bred in the harsh hills proved indomitable soldiers and soon found favour in the armies of Marlborough and Eugene. At the beginning of 1709 one in five of the adult male population were under arms by the end of 1709 one in five of the adult male population were under the Flanders soil. The body of Count Mittelwein was borne home on the one remaining gun carriage and the beautiful Countess Wilhelmina became Regent to her one year old son.

Not one to miss an opportunity the sly Duke of Fromagere thought this an ideal opportunity to annex the border town of Spatlesse and it’s rather pleasant water meadows that lay across the Weinbach, the natural border between Fromagere and Weinpfalz. His attempts at annexing Wilhelmina were less successful.

As always only a generation passed before the drums of war rolled along the Rhine Valley and old warhorse Eugene recalled the marshal nature of the Weiners. Once again Imperial gold rolled into the coffers and the little army of Weinpfalz marched along the roads of Europe. March and counter march, but little fighting ensued and while the soldiers trained the young Count, along with Erbprinz of Prussia, followed in the wake of Eugene listening and learning. And once, from the tower of Wachausel espied the standard of Fromagere amongst the ranks of the French enemy.

In 1735 most of the soldiers returned home, Lorraine was given to Stanislas and a new king crowned in Poland.