Monday, April 30, 2012

Hazzah! Portland Maine Food preview

My own attendance to the event is currently up in the air but I hope to have it fixed one way or the other in the next day or so.

For those who are going enjoy and make sure you check out the food scene Portland.  Believe it or not Portland is something of a foodie mecca and while I really don't consider myself a foodie those of have met the Fencing Frog know he likes to eat and especially like to eat good food.

I am fortunate enough to have a co-worker how spent several years working in a Hotel in Portland and last spring she gave me this link: for my own trip to Portland (unrelated to Hazzah!)

I am keeping my recondations to the sort of places I can see gamers hanging out at.

The best meal of the weekend was at a little place my girlfriend and I picked on a whim for a quick bite on Friday night  a quirky restaurant that looks like a whole in the wall sub place but is really a gourmands dream.We got lucky and didn't have too much of a wait, just be prepared to stand in line.

I would also strongly recommend Flatbread a great pizza place on the waterfront: its a pizza place were you can see them making the pizza in a wood fire place and you can also see the name of the farm you toppings came from.  Yeah its sort of a tree hugger hang out but in a good sort of way.

Three Dollar Dewesys is a great bar to hang out in a catch the game. They have good burgers and excellent Chilli, sadly noting on the menu is as cheep as $3.00 but its not too expensive and its a great selection for beer snobs.

So remember take some time in Portland and check out the food not just the great games.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Red and Gray Fighting Withdrawal

After the two week hiatus I returned to Adler for game week and found my self across the table from my old freindly foe Chris and his Polish Comandos.

Above you can see my long line of troops guarding 3 objectives. Chris opted for night attack and wieghted his attack all on the right of my line.  Chris used night attack to get in close and assult my infantry.  I got one of my StuGs in to counter attack but more comands got fed in in and my first infatnery platoon broke and ran. 
At this point I was faced with choice of which platoon to withdraw.  My StuGs were the only force that could contest the objective, The 88s and artilery could finaly do something becasue day had brokend, my Marders were in Ambush and it seemed sill you withdraw them my ohter infantry was out of range and realy the only reasonable choice.
Chris was able to kill my StuGs in the ensuing assult but my Marders drove him off the objective.
The Madres then died horribly unter artilery bombardment laving me with no mobile forces and Chris with the win.

I made some errors in my delpolymetn and I should have created a Kamph Group but Chris took full advantage of my erros.

Wojteck the Fighting bear served as spoter for Chris' off board Naval artilery.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Last Argument of Kings (First Impressions)

With tax return money burring a hole in my pocket last night I picked up Black Powder's 18th century supplement The Last Argument of Kings.

So far I have only had a chance to read a little more than half the book and I have not read that 'half' in order.

Over all this book presents a good over view of warfare in the 18th Century with most of the Big players covered and a few of the smaller ones as well.

The best part of the book is the overview about armies and war in the 18th century which has several rule adjustments work into the narrative, it introduces you to the period and calibrates the main rules for you in one shot.

They also outline some of the more colorful and important leaders of the period and provide special rules for using each as an army commander.  The entries remind me in some ways of the Warrior entries in the Flames of War books.

They cover several Wars, that are important to the period and provide a battle for each.
  • The War of the Spanish Succession – the Battle of Blenheim (1704)
  • The Great Northern War – the Battle of Holowczyn (1708)
  • The Austro-Turkish Wars – the Battle of Petrovardin (1716)
  • The War of the Austrian Succession – the Battle of Fontenoy (1745)
  • The Wars of the English Succession – the 1745 Rebellion
  • The Seven Years’ War – the Battle of Hundorf (1762)
  • War in the Colonies – The French Indian War & The War in India
Over all I would say this is a good book for the period if you are new to the period.

Now I do have  some criticisms I need to make regarding this supplement.  While the lay out over all is good the lay out of army lists is not as good.  It would have been better to cover each war, then have a separate section with all the Amy information and lists.  As it is the British army is in the section on the War of The Spanish Succession (Page 24) but there most important foe the French army is not covered until the War of Austrian Succession (Page 57).  Not exactly convenient when one is trying to throw together a battle.

One list in particular bothered me as I read it and its the English list, the one list that I think an English company would have gotten right.  The English list has 8 options for British troops, nothing wrong with any of them but there are only two options, for allied forces. Most English armies in Europe we actually made of of Germans, (Hessian, Hanoverian, Prussians, Brunswick, and so forth) Dutch and even Danish troops.  To not provide the player new to this period with some guidance on the point is a lost opportunity to say the least. There ought to be options for Allied light infantry, Grenadiers, Heavy & Light Cavalry and Allied Artillery.

In addition a single list is provided for each army for a period covering about 75 years, lack of space may excuses this, still all of these armies developed over time and while there is some guidance provided a better road map for the beginner might have been worth the effort.

One major and several minor nations of the period are conspicuous by their absence. Spain is not covered at all and as it was a significant player in almost all the wars of the 18th century it should be covered, Saxony/Poland was similarly neglected (though with more excuse).  For Minor players the Dutch, Bavarians and Savoy-Piedmont  would have been excellent additions.  The Scots and Turks are covered which is a good thing.

Th Scots even get a mini Campaign (that I have not been able to read).

Over all I think this is an excellent purchase for anyone new to 18th century but it has a number of gaps and missed opportunities that if they have been filled could have made it an indispensable resource for war-gamers of this period.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

French Parade 18th Century

My French commander flanked by the Guard Frances

40 Regiments of Metropolitan (native French) Infantry

4 Regiments of German infantry. De Sax once said that every German in French uniform is worth three men, 1 serving ion our ranks, 1 French man freed for productive work as a civilian and 1 man taken from the ranks of our enemies.

The Swiss are an important component in any French Army.

On the Left 4 Irish Regiments and on the right two Scottish Regiment both contingents had a great fighting reputation but were important for political symbolism as well. The Irish wear red because they are loyal to the true Stewart monarch of Great Britain.

21 Regiments of French Cavalry.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Work In progress Pinkertons and "Cowboys"

 Posting some pictures of my "gang" for Gordon's big wild west game.  Rather than doing a traditional gang of Gunmen, out laws or a sheriff's posy I opted to go with a pair of Pinkerton Detectives with some local hired guns as back up.

The Pinkerton Detective Agency has  a "colorful" history serving as guards for President Lincoln, tracking down the first American Serial killer H. H. Holmes, and they were hired to hunt down various western out laws.

As fans of the Series Deadwood know the Pinkertons are not with out their dark side.  They were also used as enforces by rich individual protecting there interests though intimidation and force as portrayed in that series. The Pinkertons were also actively used as strike breakers most notably in Pittsburgh.

The two well dressed Gents with shotguns are my Pinkerton agents while the three more traditional looking 'cowboys' are the local talent they have hired provide them with knowledge of the area and strength in numbers.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Campaign I would like to run

I have been turning this idea over in my mind since Gordon asked people to provide systems for a BP campaign.  Most of our BP gaming has been Napoleonics which honestly is no my favorite period.

This Blog started with  campaign between Luke and my self using an adaptation of the Sport of Kings (Age of Reason) rule set.  It was a lot of fun but I would like something a bit more complex next time, not complex in terms of rules but complex in its play more players and a more detailed map of Europe so statistic movement would be more realistic. 

The historic war I would like to use as my model is the the War of Austrian Succession. My reason for preferring this are many.  Part of it is the drama, a young King (Friedrick the Great) risks everything to catapult his nation to glory, a young Queen Maria Theresa (who should be called the Great) struggles to united and defend a divided nation.  Bavaria with French aid snatches the Imperial Crown from Austria and may have come with in an Ace of toppling that nation. A Spanish Queen schemes to find kingdoms in Italy for her children. England seeks to prevent French domination of Europe while looking for conquests over seas.  In norther Italy the Duke of Piedmont plays a dangerous game between the great nations of Austria, France, Spain and England (and wins)! France seeks to support the cadet branches of the Bourbon family and to cripple the power of her old Hapsburg rival in the Holy Roman Empire.

As you can see there are lots of players in the mix.  Many minor nations Bavaria, Piedmont, Naples, Saxony and Holland played a major roll and not just by providing troops to the major players as they did in the Seven Years War and Wars of the French revolution.

More than that there are many what if situations to explore. Friedrick the Great after taking Silesia offered to help Maria Theresa defend her other possessions, she refused but history might be very different had she accepted.

England chose to support Austria but her King might have sought to expand Hanover at Austria expense.  Russia stayed out of this war but might easily have joined on one side or the other.

The Scottish also undertook their final campaign as in independent army in this war, commonly call the '45 this was the last major attempt to over throw the Hanoverian Monarchs. The result was disastrous for the Highland clans and really they never had a chance but the idea that they might have appeals to all who love to take the side of the underdog.

I have the armies for most of the major players I just needs some other interested players.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sudbury March 2012

Salute at Barret's Farm

Advanced Party on part of the original Sudbury Road
For the crew at Adler hobby my apologies for not attending last Thursdays game night. I participated (for the 2nd time) in the Sudbury march on April 19th.   I consider this event to be one of the most insightful a reenactor can participate in.

There is no battle just a walk of about 8 or 10 miles (I have had both quoted to me but have not had the chance to measure the route I cannot say for sure).

We start the day at 5:45 AM out side Sudbury's town hall and march to Concord bridge, this year we arrived at about noon (an hour behind scheduled but more on that latter.)  Feeling for your self the cost in sore legs and sweat it takes to cover a long distance really makes you appreciate what soldiers of this (or any) period endure on the march. (and those guys didn't have rest stops with doughnuts!)

I set out with my Friends Steven Tascovits, Dana Rock, Brian Mixter, Tommy Tringale, Brian Bausk and Kieth Downer.  We (and a few other I do not know as well) made up advance guard moving at a faster pace ahead of the main-body and the music, the music is very loud and we didn't want to have to listen the whole way to the bridge.  We were hardly moving at what anyone would all a fast pace maybe 3.5 to 4.0 Miles per hour but we out ran our police escort (which had to stay with the main body) had plenty of time to take a few side routs were the old road as been bypassed by time (and the desire for straighter roads).

Each sucessive stop resulted in a longer and longer wait for the advanced party.  This was a source of some satisfaction to us but there is a down side.

Barrett house Front
Members of Sudbury and 4th Middlesex regiments.
For me marching is not a problem as long as we keep a certain pace and I can stay hydrated.  My friends in the advanced party agreed with this after more than an a half ours break at Barrett house (which is in the process of restoration) we had stiffened up and were wishing we had just gone the last two miles without waiting (not an option due to the need for Nation Park inspection before advancing to the bridge).  The last bit was the hardest and despite the fact that I assuredly was hurting I really felt I was actually in better shape at the end of this march compared to the one I did three years ago.
Barret House Back

This is a great event and I wish there were more opportunities of this sort.  Its very humbling to walk ten miles, feel how much it hurts, how heavy the gear gets and then to realize... that for the men of the Sudbury militia the day was really just starting at Concord bridge, not ending like it is for you.  We got to the bridge about noon fired our tradtional salute and headed off to Dana's uncle Ed's house for beer and lunch.

Main-body arriving at Barret house

Monday, April 16, 2012

Battle Road 2012

That is me at the far right in the red coat
Battle Road usually marks the official start of the battle reenactment season. As the first part of the day is at Minuteman  National Park there are some oddities. The Park service calls reenactments "tactical demonstrations" I'm not sure what they have against the term reenactment but there you have it. Now they also believe that its disrespectful in some way(?) for us to shoot directly at the red coats and and for them to shoot directly at us.  So the result is we engage at relatively long range and oblique our fire a bit to the right or left so that opposing lines do not actually shoot at one another.  To someone watching the event it should look like the troops are engaging but they really are not. Simulating deaths is also not allowed on park property for the same reason... I'm not a fan of either policy but its a lot better then what used to happen.  Back in the late 90's both sides would fire a "ceremonial" volley one after the other but they would not actually see each other leaving reenactors annoyed and spectators confused.
Francis, Will and Steven taking a break.

This year 4th Middlesex was at the far side of the orchard field to the right of Hartwell tavern.  This provided us with the awesome experience of hearing the 'battle' approach us.  Reenactors often talk about an experience called "period rush" a feeling just for a few seconds or a minute that you have time traveled back to what you are portraying. Well listening to single shots and volleys ringing out for an indeterminate period of time, getting close but not seeing any thing beyond smoke hanging over the trees it was easy to imagine the men of 1775 in the same position. When the Redcoats did make their appearance we very quickly got off 10 rounds (all we had be issued) and then fell back as they came on.

The fight at Tower Park was fairly standard except that my unit was in the field at the start and I hope we will get some more pictures as a result.  I was a regular grunt early on as we traded shots with the Redcoats slowly giving ground and falling back to the right into the woods.  Casualties are allowed here and as they mounted I was detached with 4 others to fill a whole that had opened up.  The action was very hot and we quickly found our selves running short of powder.  At one point with the 4th foot pressing in on us I actually resorted to having my party fire individual shots on my command so as to make sure we were not caught empty if the decided to push us. This sort of resource management is absent in most war games (and should be) but its one of those things that separates 'reality' form gaming.

The English moved on and we were "safe" so it was time to chase them (just what you want to do with an empty cartridge box) rejoining our company and becoming casualties to their rear guard.

Good start to the season. I hope to have more pictures to add soon.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Battle Road March – Sudbury, MA

This was something I wrote for the Saintonge news letter in 2009.  I reprint it here (with minor alterations) as it has been in my mind as I prepare for Battle Road this weekend and the March next Thursday.

In 2009, I undertook the Sudbury march for the first time. In the aftermath of the day—which was a pleasant if demanding walk followed by an afternoon hoisting beers with friends—I began to reflect on the experience. Below is an imagining that is the result of that reflection that I hope will entertain and interest the reader.

You are awakened in the early morning by an urgent knock at your door. As you move to answer you realize you hear the bell at the meeting house ringing down by the town green. You answer the door and hear the news from one of your neighbors: the Regulars are out from Boston and the militia units have been summoned to oppose them.

You tell your neighbor you’ll meet him on the green and move hurriedly to dress and prepare. You select your  best breeches, stocking, waist coat and hat, the ones you wear to meeting on Sunday; the ones you’ll be buried in if the worst happens. Like your ancestors who left England to hack a life out of the New England wilderness, you (probably) believe your life and death is predestined. If God means for you to fall this day you want to meet your end in as worthy a fashion as you can.

Your musket, shot and powder are all ready to go—and have been for weeks since you were selected to be part of the minute company. After dressing, you prepare a few more essentials: food, water, musket tools, a blanket and possibly a piece of oilskin as protection against the rain. These go into your ‘snap sack’ or
similar bag. You grab your musket shot and powder, as well as your bayonet if you have one. You may also carry a belt ax or a sword. Odds are, you don’t even think of(but are certainly carrying) the knife you’ve carried in your pocket or on your belt since your youth. If you’re married, your wife and/or children may see you off, or may still be in bed, or perhaps it is your mother and siblings you leave at home or an empty house. If you live alone, you’ve already made arrangements for a neighbor to take care of your animals and any other needs.

You’re as concerned as anyone would be at the thought of facing the best army in the world. One thing that
doesn’t enter your mind is not going—that decision was made weeks or months ago, even if you’re not a staunch “Wig”—you have cast your lot with your neighbors. The other option would have been to leave for occupied Boston and the protection of the same Redcoats who currently marching to menace you. Were you to choose to back out now, exile would be your likely fate—your neighbors would scorn you; if you were a bachelor, any prospects for marriage would be gone; or if married, your wife and children would share your scorn. As you reach the green, many men from the town are there and more are coming. These are men you have known all your life and you wonder how many of you will be back alive when this is over. The Captain of your company speaks briefly, calling on all to carry out their duty and act in accordance to orders. The minister speaks briefly as well, quoting passages from the Book of Kings or some other warlike passage. The captain calls you into column and you begin your march.

If you’re leaving from Sudbury center, it’s approximately 10 miles to Concord. Many men will walk even further than that to reach the town. If your town has a young lad or lads who can play the fife and/or drum, you have music to accompany your march. Should this not be the case you may sing hymns (perhaps A Mighty Fortress Is Our God) or popular marches, such as Yankee Doodle, or maybe you march in
silence. At the ‘end’ of this march, there waits an army—one of the best in the world. An army your
father may have marched beside in the French and Indian war composed of men who are Englishmen like yourself.

At some point, you learn of the tragic events at Lexington and after crossing Concord Bridge (as you would if coming from Sudbury) you might see the bodies of the Regulars killed there. At some point, your company will find the column of Regulars and will do your best to kill some of them.

Many people have described the fighting of that day; I will not try and add to their description. Having never been in combat I will not presume to speak of the emotions men feel in those moments when life and death coexist in violent collision. One man was asked years later why he stood up that day and fought. He replied:
“We had always governed ourselves and always meant to, they (the Regulars) meant us not to.” I will not
contradict him, but I think some simpler motive might have played a role. If all your friends and neighbors
went to face danger, wouldn’t you be ashamed if you did not go as well?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

45th Line Regiment for Huzzah!

 Finished a new Battalion of the French Army that will appear in Rich Claytons Dennewitz game at Huzzah!
 The flag here is the 45th Line Regiment under in the old royal army this was the 28th La Courrone regiment. This regiment with its light blue facings and waist coat has always been a favorite of mine.  Though their battle record is average at best.

Friday, April 6, 2012

New StuG IV

 I have always liked the look of the StuG and I got this StuG as free prize from the escalation league. I already had two of these from the old Open Fire box set.  They do not look nearly as good as this fellow so I will have to consider repainting because they look like crap next to this.
 Below is the real life camouflage pattern I was inspired by.  Colors are not match (I didn't want to match it exactly) but I think I did a pretty good job with the general look.
Three Posts in one day not an intended standard, so don't expect it again.

Meanwhile on the other table.

 While Gordon and I had our battle Chris and Ted were doing a 1000 point game with Chris' Comandos against Ted Panzergrenadiers.

They did the surrounded mission with Chris in the middle. All those 25lbs made this force a hard one to crack.  Ted managed to kill half the guns but the return fire was too much. Ted lost some Panzers and Pumas and part of his infantry.

Ted lost the game on failed company moral test... Giving Chris the win.

I realy like Ted's JagerPanzers
Burring wrecks

Red an Gray 2 Gordons pack of Grayhounds!

It was a smaller crew this week at Adler hobby and to my surprise I found my self facing Gordon in command of an American Recon List!

Any time your opponent can move 32 inches and get right up in your face before your men can even lift a shovel to dig in its Scary.

I was in a good defensive position and (since it was fair fight) I had a Marders platoon and an FJ platoon on my left to move against the objective Gordon had there... but with a horde of armored cars and HMG and Mortar Jeeps on top of my men I had to turtle!

Gordon Considerate fire on my guns and thanks to that gone to ground save we survived though the Artillery was pinned and no CO re-roll when you are FJs and your guns are Heer.

My 8.8 Flak platoon survived guns in tact but without its CO, meaning the 2ic had to stay with them limiting my flexibility.  I managed to wipe out one of Gordon's recon platoons on the left.

Turn two Gordon got two of my artillery pieces and  hit me with a devastating double wide bombardment that killed two Marders and pinned all sorts of stuff. That's the other scary thing about this list 10 self-propelled artillery tubes!

My Stugs were all in good shape and took out a Priest (with a long range 'sniper' shot and a gray hound.  My 8.8 bailed another Greyhound.

At this point Gordon pulled back a bit and consolidated on the hill bringing his artillery to bear on my artillery, my Stugs and FJpioners. I lost one Stug and my artillery got pinned. Gordon also killed an 8.8 and wiped out my Marders.

 A lot of shots from Stugs and 8.8 leadt to two more dead grey hounds and another bailled greyhound and some dead Jeeps.

At this point it was 10PM and with no resolution in sight I had to reluctantly call the game. Gordon and I agreed to call it a draw.

 I don't know who would have won but it was a great game and I definatly felt like I was being attacked by a pack of wild dogs or something when those Yanks came running right at me!