EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Monday, November 20, 2017

Retreating Around the Enemy

In keeping with my mini-campaign hopes I decided that the next game should be some form of rearguard action as the Fenian forces fall back towards the border. It was at this  point that I realized that they had been attacking from the East in the last game so I decided to shift the axis 90 degrees and see how the offset squares feel when going along the grain rather than against it.

So here they are retreating south, across the Yamaska and towards Iron Hill. 
Run! Run for the Hills! The Redcoats are coming!
Please don't bother google mapping to see if the geography is accurate in any but the broadest sense of Iron Hill  being between the Yamaska and the US Border, the terrain is straight out of One Hour Wargames, Scenario 20 . (See Incident at Rocky Top Hill from 2016) .

The rugged high ground at the southern edge is actually off table as is the barely visible Major Denison with the Anglo-Canadian forces.


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Six Sided Squares: Test of Battle

Yes, Yes I know, geometrically speaking, squares cannot have 6 sides, however functionally these ones do since they share boundaries with 6 other squares and to cut to the chase, they worked like a charm!

The Governor General's Bodyguard and Foot Guards rushing forward for their first taste of battle!
The scenario was "Melee" from Thomas's One Hour Wargames. Essentially Red is trying to hold a vital hill while both armies rush reinforcements to the battle.

The battle rages as reinforcements continue to arrive.
By and large I was quite satisfied with how the rules had worked for the action at Brioche but rather than use them with a few tweaks for the offset squares I wanted to try out some alternate ideas.  In essence it was a case of not  yet being fully convinced that  some of the changes adopted in the last two years were really the best approach for this campaign setting. 

Basically there were three main issues:
  • a) Should I go back to rolling for "orders" with an order being required for a group of units to move rather than only testing to allow isolated or leaderless units to move? 
  • b) Should some form of regimental integrity be included and should I revert to having companies losing combat capability as they take hits, or stick with having them fight at full effect until destroyed with the only attrition effect being at a higher level as gaps appear in the line? 
  • c) Should I revert to having more dice per unit, allowing for quicker, more dramatic not say drastic combat results?
Turn 6 of 15, Both sides are fully on table and Red is feeling pretty comfortable.
I decided to try the alternate possibilities and by game's end decided that the rules used in the last game were better in every respect and will be reinstated with adjustments for arc of fire etc. That includes reducing units back to 1 die for firing and 2 for melee, having units fight at full effect until removed, reverting to 3 figure cavalry and sharpshooter infantry units, ignoring any role for 2 figure half company bases other than showing road columns, and allowing all groups with a Commander attached to move automatically. The attrition matter will be handled by my well tested method of having companies grouped into "Brigades" with a Commander and allowing these Brigades to become 'exhausted' by unit losses and thus unable to shoot or advance towards the enemy. The "army" will only be exhausted when all of the brigades are exhausted.  

Case closed.

Several turns later and Red is not happy at all! With General and gun captured and cavalry repulsed, things were looking shaky although a spectacular round of fire has shattered Blue's infantry on the plain.
I've got a pretty good idea about how I want to work the matters of facing and arcs of fire but putting it in writing and having it make sense to others is going to be a challenge.  There may need to be diagrams and I'll probably break a few conventions.

Turn 12 and a combined counter attack by the  Governor General's Bodyguard and the 5th Royal Scots has consolidated Red's control of the hill and broken Blue's morale.
So for this week, Papal Zouaves, basing, a written copy of the rules and another game.

Well, one needs to push oneself a little now and then!

A moment of glory and satisfying debut for Major Denison and the Governor General's Bodyguard.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Odd numbered files two paces forwarddddd MARCH!

I had just about talked myself into treating myself to a nice, attractive, practical, professional, hex mat from Hotz Artworks this fall and even had funds earmarked. Then the Prince August 7YW artillery sets came out and I needed some additional 54mm guns and oh dear, the warchest was empty again and those damned diagonals were still there gnawing at my mind.

Well they "ain't no more"!

I didn't set out to do offset squares. My back up plan was to draw hexes using the Archduke's scheme of starting with offset rectangles of particular dimensions and then then adding the angles. Not being a wiz at either math or accurate measuring, I none the less calculated that I would need rectangles of 4" x 3 15/32nds" and had already worked out that I could start by shifting the Northern and Southern edges of each square in alternate North/South rows 2" South. I was about a quarter of the way done when I realized that since I wasn't in the slightest concerned about inequity in speed  but only with getting rid of corners while increasing the number of directions in which a unit could travel, I should give offset squares a go. That way I only had 1/2 the east-west dividing lines to redraw/mask and I'd be done. More than that my existing hills could easily be made to fit and still be flexible with minimal work.  Two hours later and the board is ready for a trial game.

Now as to that other little matter, I am used to silly little things like receipts and statements going astray over the course of a tax year but a toy soldier head going absent over a mere 19 years is a different matter!

All present and accounted for Sir!
 It took almost 10 minutes of searching in day light before the culprit was found consorting with a collection of 40mm heads. Then I had to find a trumpet, something I didn't actually have back then. Oh look, that Hussar didn't originally have a trumpet, I wonder where it came from, they are over strength anyway and won't be able to take everyone into the field...

"Order from the Minister of Defence in Ottawa Colonel, the Princess Louise Hussars are to surrender that trumpet to the Governor General's Body Guard." 

"Yes I realize you are a New Brunswick Regiment and the Bodyguard are an Ontario Regiment but we're all Canadian now and in matters of defence, orders from the Federal government take precedence and trumpets are even scarcer than rifles right now." 




Friday, November 17, 2017

When the Kath's away.

This week promises to be cold and wet and my wife has abandoned me to go to a dog show so I anticipate a teeny bit extra hobby time. My plan is to spent Saturday getting figures and table ready and making another attempt at rewriting the rules slightly to better express the ideas in my head for this particular collection.

There is so much to do to bring the Canadian and fictional Fenian forces to battle readiness that I decided to start with my Zulu War forces. The 58th Foot has now had 2 figures added to bring them up to two regulation companies, each of 4 figures.

The 58th Ft are now ready for action.
Next up are a troop of the Governor General's Bodyguard. I ordered one 4 figure Big Wars' unit of these from Soldierpac in 1998 (I gave him the code numbers I wanted and he immediately guessed that I was doing the GGBG not some British Dragoon Regiment - he knew his stuff and his client base!) and began assembly but got interrupted by a good deal on Britain's Crimean Light Brigade and then by plastic 54mm figures. I resumed assembly today so they haven't had to wait 2 full decades.
Governor General's Bodyguard (in waiting).
The trooper who was ordered to become a trumpeter seems to have lost his head though. A preliminary  sweep of the sorts of places where off duty, un-assembled, troopers like to hangout failed to locate the missing head and I am considering my options which include, buying a new head, making one, using a forage cap or, simply adopting the 3 figure cavalry squadron (like my US Cavalry and the largest cavalry unit that will fit in a 4" hex) as standard instead of going with 2 'troops' or units each of 2 figures like my 17th Lancers. I'll do a more intensive search before I make a decision.

That leaves Sunday for a game, hopefully the first game of a mini-mini-campaign.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

1934 Film Look at Canada in the Great War

Thanks to Rob from the Captain's blog for this.



Published on Nov 3, 2015
This film is a heritage item from Library and Archives Canada and is only available in English.

This film was the first feature length documentary film with sound to be made in Canada. The production team compiled the film throughout the world and from Canadian cameramen who followed troops through training and into combat. Simulated battle scenes are also included. Part 1 - The story of Canadian military participation in WWI. A review is made of the major incidents that lead to declarations of war. Leading personalities are shown. Recruitment and training of soldiers takes place. Part 2 - The Battles of Mons, Ypres, the Somme, and Vimy Ridge. Part 3 - The Battle of Passchendaele. Sequences on the Royal Flying Corps in action on land and in the air. Dominion Day 1918 festivities among Canadian Armed Forces personnel at the front line near Vimy Ridge are captured on camera. End of the war celebrations and commemorations are shown. Exceptional material includes: Princess Patricia dedicating the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry Regiment at Lansdowne Park, August 23, 1914; the sinking of the Szent Istvan, an Austro-Hungarian battleship, where sailors look like ants heaped up on one side and then jump into the sea; new military technology; war ruins and refugees; the American entry into the war; an observation balloon going up in flames; and Canadian railway troops building tracks. Canadian troops hold an Athletic Field Day on Dominion Day 1918; Canadian troops extinguish fires at Cambrai; the Prince of Wales in military uniform surrounded by other officers; soldiers in trenches, in marching formation, cheer news of the end of the war; funeral procession of nurses watch soldiers carry the coffins of nurses killed in an air raid of a hospital in France, May 1918. Officers salute the open grave. The Canadian troupe, The Dumbells, perform before Canadian troops on Dominion Day 1918.

Source: Library and Archives Canada. Veterans Affairs Canada fonds, 1976-0222, IDC 115789.