Not So Friendly – 15mm Sci-fi

My painting over the November/December period wasn’t hugely productive, but I did manage to finish a Sci-fi force. Like most of my other projects, these guys have been languishing for a good few years, and it was good to finally get them done.

They are a force for Sci-fi Rampant (which is basically Dragon Rampant with carefully allocated unit types and upgrades, as referred to in previous posts).

The inspiration comes from Gordon R. Dickson’s Dorsai novels, specifically the mercenaries hired out from the Friendlies, a pair of planets populated by an intensely religious sect. They’re mediocre troops, but well disciplined. To make them more interesting I have sort of blended this background with the attack-minded doctrine and unit types of the Soviets in WWII.

The core is therefore made up of large squads of close assault troops (12 figures per squad compared to the usual 6 for better quality units), backed up by heavy weapons, mortar/artillery spotters, snipers and a bit of assault armour. There are 60 figures, all from GZG (the tank is from Brigade Models). The one addition I’m making is a further squad of 12, using CP Models figures in turbans. These are painted but not yet based.

I’m looking forward to trying this lot on the table. They’re going to take a lot of casualties going in but with their sheer numbers, and black uniforms, they should be a daunting sight for the enemy!

Frostgrave in 15mm – Pics from a 2019 game

Happy New Year!

I just came across these pictures from a 4-player game played back in July 2019, which I don’t appear to have posted. I thought it would be a good way to get going with the blog again this year.

This was a basic free-for-all style scenario with treasure to grab and opponents to back-stab. Lots of fun was had and hopefully we can get this group back together again sometime for a re-match. Each visiting player painted and brought their own warband, which was a very good effort considering no-one really had any 15mm fantasy figures beforehand.

The game was played on a 4’x3′ table, using my water base and canal features for the first time. Some of the pictures show fog and wall spell effects in use, and gems for treasure.

I’ll try to get back to more regular posts in 2021. It’s not a new year’s resolution, just an general intention!

Bigger Fields

Following on from my 6mm fields, I’ve upscaled and added some for 28mm. These take the standard wargamer route; chopped up doormat material. I found a helpful ebay shop that sells it by length (50cm wide), so I simply ordered 1 metre, dontated 80cms of it for a new front door mat and used the rest for these fields.

Very little of the rubber bases show, so I just painted them brown to blend in with the terrain boards. I cut the pieces into smaller sections for flexibility and for removal of part of a larger combined field when figures need to be placed inside. I only needed a small amount, so all in all, not bad for a couple of quid (the rest of the mat was about £10).

6mm Fields

There’s something nice about making wargame terrain and scenery that isn’t going to warp in the future – so working with neoprene sheet has been a revelation for me. My first efforts focused on some islands for naval games (more on that soon) but recently I decided it would be good to make some textured fields for 6mm games.

My test pieces were cut out of 1.5mm thick neoprene (a few quid for a square metre off ebay) and textured with my usual combination of Sandtex masonry paint and builders’ sand. I then reduced the production time for the second batch by texturing and painting a larger sheet (about a foot square) and then cutting it up and texturing the edges.

As long as I don’t try too hard to crack the textured surface, the end result is robust and flexible. I know some people have had great success with caulk as the coating layer, which I think provides a greater level of flex, but as I’m not intending to roll these pieces up the paint is proving sufficient.

I used a relatively limited pallet for the field colours, focusing on a wheatfield or recently-cropped look. I decided to edge the fields in green to match and blend in better with the terrain boards.

I am also making some field edges – mostly strips and corners of rough hedges and trees – to put around some of the fields. Keeping them separate makes for easier storage, as the fields can simply be stacked together.

I had been considering making some terrain boards with 6mm fields painted on, but these place-down fields have given me a more flexible (haha) solution. I aim to get these on the table for the next Rhine War battle in the coming weeks.

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Sigmaringen Part 2

Following on from the previous post…

Without the customary Austrian dithering, General von Blomberg went straight into the attack, ordering his lead battalions to form up for an immediate assault on the French position.

Formed up for the attack, with cavalry support on the flank

With only a shallow stream to cross, the cavalry peeled off to the left to find a way to outflank the French.

Confident his initial attack would clear the way, the Austrian General was happy to allow a bit of a traffic jam to build up.
The French Colonel’s call for help elicited a surprisingly quick response from the rest of the Brigade, which came at the double along the waterway

As their attack on the inn was about to start, the Austrians were alarmed to see a French regiment approaching at speed along the other side of the stream. Fortunately the reserve battalions were still in column and were able to be quickly diverted onto the high ground overlooking the waterway, and the newly arrived enemy.

Austrian units are sent to the right to counter the new French arrivals
The Austrians storm the inn and the bridge, but the outnumbered French refuse to budge
The French reinforcements deploy and exchange fire with the Austrians on the other side of the stream, causing early casualties
General view, with the Austrian cavalry over over to the right having crossed downstream

The Austrian attackers stubbornly ground forward, and after half an hour of fierce fighting they ejected the French from their original position.

The French are thrown out of the inn in disarray

The 2nd French regiment pulled back to maintain contact with the retreating units and, believing this was their moment, the Austrians pursued off the hill and across the stream. It was a rash move, and brought them under intense fire from two sides. Having suffered heavy losses, they were ordered to withdraw and were a sorry looking lot when they finally made it back to the high ground.

Riddled by musketry and artillery fire, the Austrian right flank is about to withdraw

Elsewhere the French had received further reinforcements in the form of another brigade of infantry, and one of cavalry. The infantry shored up the line and counter-attacked at the inn, only to be eventually repulsed. The cavalry were charged by their Austrian counterparts and honours were largely even in this melee – until the French brigadier was killed, causing disruption and a command vacuum on this flank.

The French counter-attack with fresh troops, but make little headway
Losses mount as the cavalry come to blows. The French commander is about to be cut down

From his vantage point, Von Blomberg took stock of the situation. Although victory appeared close, with the sudden the loss of one of his brigadiers, heavy casualties to his infantry, and his cavalry out of position, he realised that he could not risk prolonging the battle. The bridgehead across the stream was isolated, so he reluctantly he gave the order to withdraw. The relieved French gladly let them go. Both sides would need time to recover and their commanders were soon to be writing hasty dispatches to headquarters asking for orders and reinforcements.

The Austrian invasion in the south was halted, for now.

Final view, with the Austrians about to give up their hard-won ground

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Sigmaringen

With drums beating and much fanfare the Austrians finally marched into the war. Baron von Blomberg’s Division had set off from Ravensburg 2 days earlier and, after crossing the Danube at Blochingen, his cavalry patrols reported French troops covering a river crossing just short of Sigmaringen.

Stand to!

The French were a regiment and one battery from General Epinasse’s 1st Division of I Corps, which had been ordered to guard a bridge on one of the Danube’s tributaries. Sensibly, the French were bivouacked around the inn conveniently situated beside the bridge, and their officers had been enjoying a most comfortable stay while their men camped outside.

The French at the Inn see the Austrian column bearing down on them

Alerted by the sighting of the Austrian scouts the Colonel assembled his men and messengers were sent to the rear and along the river in both directions, calling for reinforcements. Before any help arrived, the first Austrian infantry could be seen marching down the road towards the bridge…

The view from the other side – just a few French to brush past

Seven Years War Austrians

I’ve had a short break from the War of 1855 campaign – it’s been a bit hot and I’ve been a bit busy. However, the terrain from the last game was still on the table and I thought it might look good for some pics of another army.

These are some of my Austrian SYW (and WAS of course) 6mm army. I’ve deployed 20 battalions of regulars and 4 of Grenzers, plus 3 batteries of artillery and commanders. This represents half the target size for the army, which is about 70% done. There’s also the cavalry, which I didn’t set out, of which I’ve done 20 of the intended 32 units.

It’s been a few years in the making, but it’s getting there. The Prussians have recently overtaken them in terms of completed numbers, so I’ll aim to post some pics of them sometime.

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Empire Arrives

Well, a bit of it anyway.

With the Prussians and Bavarians sent tumbling back by a resilient defence in the north and east, it was the turn of the Austrians to make their own isolated and unsupported attack. On 9th July the commander of 1st Korps’ 1st Division, Baron von Blomberg, was ordered to cross the border and scout for the enemy around Sigmaringen. The rest of the formation would be assembling behind them and would follow as soon as possible.

Taking the Korps Cavalry brigade with him he left Ravensburg and crossed the Danube, seeing no sign of any enemy activity. Perhaps Wurttemberg had no troops left to watch their southern border due to all the fighting to the north?

The Rhine War of 1855 – The Battle of Auenwald

Following on from the pre-amble in the last post… with the two armies approaching in column of march, the allies from the south and the Prussians from the north, a head-on clash was inevitable.

The battlefield from the south, with the road going through Auenwald and off into the hills
The view from the north. Not particularly good artillery or cavalry country.
Auenwald viewed from the east

Orders of march were established and the first turn saw each side’s lead infantry brigade appear, heading for the town.

Note on rules: As each turn starts, a roll is made for formations due to arrive that turn. On a 2-5 they arrive on time, on a 6 they arrive and get a bonus move (as though they’d arrived earlier than expected), and on a 1 they don’t turn up. They can roll again next turn, but of course it means that plans may be delayed – and of course all formations behind them on the same road are also held up. In this game there were a few 1s rolled, the first being the 2nd Prussian brigade, which left the first arrivals somewhat isolated at the start of the battle.

The French reached the town first, and struck out beyond it to hold the Prussians back. The Prussians deployed and launched an immediate attack, resulting in a fierce fight for the small hill just outside the town.
With little open ground available, the initial clash was direct and bloody.
The Prussian Divisional commander’s view

As the battle developed, both sides were anxious for their reinforcements to reach the field. Unfortunately for the allies, the British brigade managed to roll 1 on two consecutive turns and arrived an hour late – resulting in cries of “Perfidious Albion!” from the embattled French!

Maybe they’d stopped for a cuppa on the way.

The difficult terrain presented deployment challenges to both sides, with hills and woods pretty much in all directions as soon as you left the road. Nevertheless, it was possible for fresh troops to make progress and by early afternoon the battle had extended 1-2 km to either flank.

Seeing an opportunity to pin back the allied left flank, the Prussian commander unleashed a cavalry charge down the valley alongside the road. Preceded by horse artillery to draw the enemy’s fire, 4 regiments were ordered to attack the French guns deployed on the low rise to the west of the town. Only 3 managed to assemble in time, the slopes beside the road impeding the cuirassiers’ attempts to form up. Dashing along the valley floor and past their own guns, the Prussian uhlans reached their objective and a desperate struggle took place around the cannon. Both sides showed great courage and stayed in the fight despite growing losses.

Uhlans set off, the cuirassiers aren’t able to keep up.
Despite arriving almost intact, the charge failed to sweep away the French batteries, which were soon to receive some very welcome support...
The Highlanders formed up as soon as the British (finally) arrived on the field. Their task was to rescue the French artillery in front of them.

The late-arriving British shook themselves out into fighting formation with admirable speed, and went in with the bayonet. Despite putting up a tough fight, the uhlans were sent packing and the gun line was secured. There was barely enough time to catch their breath before the doughty highlanders came under heavy artillery and infantry fire as the Prussians brought up more troops. Under a rain of fire and, towards the end of the battle, a final Prussian infantry assault, the British losses mounted but they held their ground. The left flank was secure.

The final Prussian attack on the British hill.
The Prussian Korps reserve artillery arrives late in the day.

Across the field brigades of cavalry stood back in reserve while each side’s infantry tried to gain some advantage among the fields and woods. In the end, despite some successes, the Prussians failed to dislodge the French and Wurttemberg troops. Their Divisional commander was killed leading an uphill charge and his men’s morale faltered. In the centre, the 1st Prussian Division, engaged since the start, eventually crumbled and was driven back the way they’d come, covered by the reserve artillery. Prince Karl ordered a general withdrawal back into the hills.

The Prussian attempt to turn the allied right flank. Doomed to eventual failure.

The allies had won an important victory, their second in 3 days, and a fitting reward for their hard marching. The Prussians would have to think again, both Korps now having recoiled from their attempted invasions. Both armies now had some time to re-group and prepare for the next stage of the campaign.

A few final pics:

The allies mass in and around Auenwald, determined to hold the town and block the way south.
View from behind the allied left flank.
General view of the other flank.
Final stages of the battle.
Depleted Prussian units begin to pile up to the rear.

The Rhine War of 1855 – Prelude to the Battle of Auenwald

Following their hard-won victory at Weinstadt, the allies under Marshal Canrobert received some unwelcome news. While the Prussian’s 1st Korps was still re-fitting at Frankfurt, their recently assembled 2nd Korps had left Wurzburg, crossed the River Maine, and was marching for the Wurttemberg capital, Stuttgart.

Leaving a British brigade behind to watch the retreating Bavarians, Canrobert ordered his army to about-face and move to intercept the Prussians before they reached their objective. He had the advantage of operating on internal lines, which was all well and good as long as his troops could stand the pace.

By the morning of the 8th July the allies were on the road north from Stuttgart, aiming to confront the Prussians as they descended from the hills south of Swabisch Hall. Canrobert would have preferred to have his entire Corps with him but news that the Austrians were finally beginning to stir from Lindau forced him to maintain a strong watch on the Danube.

On the Prussian side Prince Karl, commanding 2nd Korps, had been surprised to cross into Wurttemberg without meeting any opposition. Fearing a trap, and not being a particularly bold or dashing leader, he had moved somewhat cautiously south and was running about a day behind schedule. Would this delay prove to be a missed opportunity?

On the morning of the 8th, his advanced guard reported Wurttemberg cavalry patrols at Auenwald, a small town along the route he’d chosen for the final stage of his march to Stuttgart. Suddenly anxious to avoid being trapped in the passes, he ordered his men forward to capture the town…