Friday, 16 June 2017

South Carolina Dragoons

Many Loyalist units were raised in the South and these figures represent generic Loyalist cavalry. I like to give my units specific regimental designations, so I'm calling this one the South Carolina Dragoons, even though it's designed to cover a variety of units.  Finding specific information on these sorts of units is difficult.  The Royal Provincial website lists 3 units of "South Carolina Light Dragoons" but provides no details.  The site also refers to a unit of "North Carolina Independent Dragoons".  These units seem to have be raised in 1781 and operated either as scouts or mounted infantry.  We do know that at least some of the South Carolina Loyalist cavalry was commanded by Major John Coffin, formerly of the Loyalist infantry regiment the New York Volunteers. 

I wanted something for use in two "British Grenadier!" scenarios: the "South Carolina Dragoons" at Eutaw Springs (8 figures) and the "New York Dragoons" at Hobkirk's Hill (6 figures).  It's possible that these two units are in fact the same, as there is speculation that whilst the "New York Dragoons" are recorded as having been at Hobkirk's Hill this unit may have been confused with the infantry New York Volunteers and that the cavalry present were from South Carolina.  I thought that if dressed in proper cavalry uniforms the troopers might have sought to emulate British regiments like the 16th and 17th Light Dragoons.  So tarleton helmets seemed appropriate, although chum Brendan Morrissey suggested to me that floppy hats would probably have been worn as well as, or instead of, metal helmets.  I decided to use more Eureka "ragged Continental" figures (which I've used for other Loyalist cavalry units, the East Florida Rangers and  Emmerich's Chasseurs).  Options for facings colours included blue, which would have been suitable for a New York unit, and yellow, which was more suggestive of South Carolina as it's known that some of the infantry Loyalists had yellow facings.  Given that I have the blue-faced 16th Light Dragoons in a similar uniform, I decided to go with yellow.

I'm almost there with British and Loyalist cavalry now - just the 17th Light Dragoons in their northern theatre dress and the British Legion left to do.

8 figures.  Painted April-May 2017.

 
 


Monday, 5 June 2017

1st Continental Dragoons (1)

This unit was raised in June 1776 in Virginia, and was originally on the state's establishment as the Virginia Light Horse Regiment.  In November is was taken into the Continental Army and re-designated as the 1st Continental Light Dragoons on 25 November 1776.  One of the original troops commanders was Captain Henry Lee, who in 1778 was promoted to Major and authorised to raise his own legion of infantry and cavalry.  The regiment was present at Brandywine, Germantown and Guilford Court Horse.  In January 1781 the 1st Dragoons were re-organised into a legion, with four mounted and  two dismounted troops, and was re-named the 1st Legionary Corps.  The regiment was disbanded in November 1783.

The 1st Light Dragoons are commonly portrayed in brown faced green coats and leather caps.  I had two Foundry dragoon figures left over and I decided to use them for an alternative interpretation of the unit's uniform to that which is commonly portrayed (e.g. by in the Perry and Fife & Drum ranges).  This different uniform of blue faced green coats and the standard brass helmet is shown in a Don Troiani painting, with the caption "Fall-Winter 1780-1781".  I've seen other references to this uniform in descriptions of Greene's army at Cowpens.  Maybe this is a new uniform issued at the time of the re-designation into the 1st Legionary Corps.  In the published "British Grenadier!" orbats, the 1st Dragoons appear at Cowpens (4 figures), Weitzel's Mill (2) and Eutaw Springs (2).  Given that Cowpens was fought in January 1781, Weitzel's Mill in March and Eutaw in September, I thought I could justify using these figures.  Other references refer to the post-1781 uniform coats as being blue faced red, but given that I already have figures in that uniform I decided to go with Troiani and have green facings.  With a unit of only 2 figures I don't have enough for Cowpens, so at some stage I will paint 4 in the earlier uniform of brown faced green coats. 

2 figures. Painted May 2017.



Sunday, 21 May 2017

Philadelphia Light Horse

The Light Horse of the City of Philadelphia, or "Philadelphia Light Horse", was established in 1774.  It was a volunteer militia unit, formed by "a group of prosperous gentlemen" (according to Uniformology's book on the Continental Light Dragoons).  The troopers bought their own equipment and provided their own horses.  The coat was "rust brown" faced white, while the cap was of black leather with a buck/fox tail crest.  Apparently the unit's flag was presented by the first captain of the troop, Abraham Markoe, who had previously served in the army of Denmark.  However, King Christian II then issued an edict banning Danish citizens from fighting in foreign wars, and so Markoe had to be replaced.  
 
During the AWI the troop oftern acted at Washington's personal bodyguard and messenger service.  The unit was present at the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine and Germantown.  Being essentially a militia unit it was never formally disbanded at the end of the war and survives today as Troop A, 1st Squadron, 104th Cavalry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania National Guard.  It is, apparently, the oldest military unit of US that is still in service.   

The Philadelphia Light horse don't appear in any of the published "British Grenadier!" scenarios, but I've wanted to paint up this unit for years, largely because I love the brown coats with their white facings and the bucktails and light blue turbans on the helmets.  I can always use them to add numbers in those 1:5 ratio scenarios where a lot of cavalry are required on both sides.  I had some Foundry Continental Dragoon figures left over and was originally intending to paint just one stand of 2 figures.  But I then realised that I'd bought the unit's flag (from Adolfo Ramos), so I had to pick up a command pack from Foundry at Salute this year.  The means I still have 2 Foundry figures left over that I'll need to find a use for.  The coats were painted with Foundry's "Bay Brown 42" palette.  Sources refer to rather fancy brown shabraques with embroidery and white silk finishes.  I decided against painted those on the horses and instead used my normal blue-grey colours to suggest more work-a-day furniture. 

4 figures.  Painted April-May 2017.  Flag by Adolfo Ramos.





Friday, 5 May 2017

Pulaski's Legion (2)

This is the infantry element of Pulaski's Legion (the mounted troops being here).  In the "British Grenadier!" scenarios it appears as a unit of 6 skirmishers at Savannah.  So far as I can tell, the only way to model this unit in 25mm without doing your own conversion work is to use KMM figures as they provide heads specifically for the Legion (KMM-08).  This then gives you a choice for modelling the Legion infantry - you can use the generic Continental infantry figures or the newer dismounted dragoons.  I chose the latter as KMM's proprietor, Bill Nevins, had sent me several packs of these figures and I was keen to try them out.  The Continental infantry figures are probably more appropriate for the specific Legion infantry (as opposed to Legion cavalry who have dismounted to skirmish), but given that only 6 figures are required I don't really think it matters.  But if you want to make up a unit of Pulaski's Legion infantry, then the figures in overalls and packs would be perfect. 

I have 7 figures here because I wanted to add the officer as well (there's also an eigth figure in the range which isn't present in the unit - a standing loading figure).  The rank and file figures are based in threes as second-grade skirmishers under the "British Grenadier!" rules.  I suppose I could add three more figures and use this unit as the dismounted version of the cavalry, given that charging the fortifications at Savannah isn't really something any sane gamer is going to try (historically that didn't work out well for Pulaski).  Like the mounted troops, I painted these figures about a year ago.  I did take photos at the time but I wasn't really satisfied with them and decided to wait until the rest of the Legion was finished before having another go.  To the right is a picture of the entire Legion, with Pulaski at its head.  As I've said, these troops only feature in the Savannah scenario (although the Legion, or parts thereof, were engaged in skirmishes at other times), which is the orbat I have half an eye on at the moment.  I'm currently working on more cavalry for both sides and I've also just added a couple of figures to my 3rd Continental Dragoons, to bring them up to strength for the Indian Field scenario - you can see those here.     

7 figures.  Painted April 2016.  


 
 
 

Monday, 1 May 2017

Pulaski's Legion (1)

Casimir Pulaski was born in in Poland in 1745 and began soldiering at an early age. In 1777 he met Benjamin Franklin and Lafayette in Paris, who then introduced him to General Washington.  Pulaski seems to have started off with some sort of staff or advisory role but was then made a brigadier general and given command of all American cavalry.  He spent the winter of 1777-8 training and outfitting the cavalry units but in March he resigned his command and suggested to Washington that he form an independent legion of cavalry and light infantry. This idea was approved by Congress in March 1778 (see below) and Pulaski's Legion was born.  Many of the recruits were German deserters and British PoWs, officered by Polish and French expatriates (apparently thirteen Polish officers served under Pulaski in the legion). In October 1778 the Legion and some other troops were attacked at what became known as the "Little Egg Harbor Massacre" and lost 30 men.  In February 1779 the Legion was sent to the south and Pulaski was instrumental is lifting the siege of Charleston. The Americans then moved onto their own siege of Savannah. By this time French forces had arrived and on 9 October 1779 the allies made their disasterous attack on the town. Seeing the French infantry falter, Pulaski galloped forward with his legion to rally the men but was mortally wounded by cannon shot. He died two days later, on 15 October 1779.  His Legion was disbanded the following year and the men transferred to Armand's Legion.

The published "British Grenadier!" scenarios only feature Pulaski's Legion once - 10 figures at Savannah.   I painted Pulaski himself back in 2011, using a Eureka Miniatures "Baron Munchausen" figure.  For his Legion I've used the Eureka "ragged Continental" cavalry figures, wearing brass helmets.  I painted all the figures and horses last year, having picked up some reinforcements from Eureka at Salute 2016.  However, for whatever reason the figures came with the wrong helmets.  I knew that Eureka would have replaced them without any fuss, but I failed to let Eureka know and then eventually this year's Salute was just around the corner.  I'd been mulling over what figures to use for Loyalist South Carolina cavalry, so I thought I'd just order some more figures and re-order the correct helmets.  So I spent last week painted all the helmets and finishing off the basing, even though the figures themselves were painted almost a year ago!  


There is some debate as to whether the legion contained lancers and, if so, how many.  I've seen references to the cavalry element of the legion being 3 troops, of which one consisted of lancers, but there is also evidence that all the cavalry were armed with lances, at least initially.  The Continental Congress' resolution of 28 March 1778 which authorised the raising of the legion stated as follows:

'' Resolved. That Count Pulaski retain his rank of
brigadier in the army ot the United States, and that
he raise and have the command of an independent
corps to consist of sixty-eight horse, and two hundred
foot, the horse to be armed with lances, and the foot
equipped in the manner of light infantry; the corps
to be raised in such way and composed of such men
as General Washington shall think expedient and
proper, etc."

Pulaski seems to have recruited more men than Congress ordered, as the muster rolls of August 1778 refer to "three companies of horse, armed with lances, and three companies of infantry, a total of three hundred and thirty."   So how many troopers were actually armed with lances and for how long?  Who knows - but the justification for having lancers is there in the archives.  So I decided to give lances to 4 of the rank-and-file figures (which of course meant using the same standard bearer figure 5 times).  The pennants are from Adolfo Ramos - I don't know how authentic they are, but the lances would look a bit bare without them.  My first choice was white over red, but I realised I'd used most of them up on my BAL dragoons, so had to use black over red instead (the only other option was yellow over light blue!).  I think they look ok.  


The legion's flag is well-known and has a complicated design,  Despite there being plenty of information on this flag, no one seems to make it in 25mm but it was pretty easy to download a couple of pictures and make my own (I wasn't going to try to paint it myself from scratch).  It reads "Unita virtus forcior" [sic], which is supposed to mean "union makes valor stronger"; and then, on the other side, "Non alius regit", which means "no other governs".  Apparently the flag was rescued from the Savannah battlefield by a wounded lieutenant and now resides with the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore.

10 figures.  Painted March-May 2016.







Sunday, 23 April 2017

Salute 2017

So another Salute has come and gone.  I arrived at about 10.15am and entered the show about 20 minutes later, so the Warlords have really sorted out the queuing issues with their e-ticket system; and queuing up inside the adjacent room rather than all down the main concourse is better too.  The show remains dark - coming out for lunch I felt almost blinded by the afternoon sunshine.  The Perries had their "3-ups" of plastic Zulus and French Napoleonic chasseurs-a-cheval and Eureka had various goodies in green to show.  That and a couple of new rulesets aside, it seemed there wasn't really any big launch of new wargaming products this year. 

My own feelings about this year show are:

- Whilst the standard of historical games was high, there weren't that many that had, for me at least, "wow" factor.  That's not failing to appreciate that putting on any game at a show like this requires a lot of care, skill and preparation; I'm just saying that my gob was smacked a bit less than I was expecting.  I suppose it also reflects my own interests in more unusual periods.   
- The majority of games seemed to be small, single table ones, largely sci-fi/fantasy/"weird" historical ones.  I joked that this was "the Salute that history forgot" because of the ratio between historical and other games.  However, this may be because I paid much more attention to non-historical games this year, as the boys are beginning to get interested in sci-fi stuff.  Is it time to cut the floor in half, so that all historical games are kept together and everything else occupies the rest of the hall?  Or does that defeat the solidarity behind the show?
- Skirmish games have completely overtaken more "traditional" large-table games.
- The number of traders'/advert games is growing.  There's nothing wrong with that in itself, but some sections of the floor just felt and looked like shop areas (i.e. more akin to the other shows that Excel host).
- To me it felt a lot more crowded, possibly more due to the layout rather than numbers - a couple of thoroughfares were very narrow and I found myself on one occasion literally stuck between two large gentlemen of "modern steam-punk" appearance; our rucksacks had caught and we were stuck.
- "The shopping's better than the games" was something else I heard more than once - see below.
- If laser-MDF terrain was the big thing last year, gaming mats were the big thing this year.

I bought more stuff than usual - subs for WI and MW (I should have done WSS whilst I was at it); some palm trees; AWI cavalry from Perry and Eureka; books on some Napoleonic "sideshow" operations (Walcheren and Buenos Aires) and a pricey Caliver uniform guide to Dutch troops 1789-1806; figures from various manufacturers for two future projects (1801 in Egypt and 1806 in South Africa).  I'm beginning to think seriously about Life After the AWI now and I've accepted that I'm basically a horse and musket man who is attracted to smaller, "off the beaten track" types of things.  So that's what's coming up on TQ over the net few years.  I also managed to lose a bag of stuff whilst perusing the latter stages of the show (luckily it didn't contain much).  A good natter in the Fox with Brendan Morrissey and Malcolm "Little Armies" Rose was extended by the Perries arriving at the table next to us.  No secrets to divulge, I'm afraid - by this time we'd all had sufficient booze to simply harangue the twins on what we'd personally like them to do.   

The following are the photos I took.  As always, I missed some games entirely and others I meant to return to in order to take some photos, but just forgot.  So apologies to all those whose hard work I missed.

Dalauppror's Fort Mosquito was a Dutch v Swedes game set on the Delaware River in 1654. This was my personal "Best in show" for me, not least because of the innovative subject-matter and stunning scenery.







This was a Frostgrave game, I think from Chesterfield Open Gaming Society, or maybe Osprey - they both had Frostgrave games:



The Oshiro Samurai siege - I'm sure this has been at previous Salutes, but the terrain and buildings remain spectacular:





Cambrai 1917 in 12mm from Wyvern Wargamers:




This "Battlegroup Tobruk" game was pretty impressive; very simple, but effective cloth terrain:







The Battle of Kalisz, 1706, in 6mm from Wyre Forest:



Tunbridge Wells Wargaming Society had a Eastern Front 1942 game in 15mm:



Little Wars Australia were showcasing their "Tribal" and (forthcoming) "Mad Maximilian" skirmish rules; what I really liked here were authentically Australian-looking trees and the 25mm kangaroos (from Eureka, of course):



 Herts Volunteers had a terrific Sword Beach 1944 20mm set-up:


There were two mega/epic/cinematic play X-Wing games from Gravesend Games Guild and Ilford Wargames Group, with the Gravesend Imperial forces receiving an unexpected morale boost at a critical moment:






Skirmish Wargames' "Carry on up the Volga" game, the Russian Civil War in 25mm - another highlight:









This Falklands War game from Jersey Privateers Gaming Club was another boutique effort, but the terrain was pretty spectacular; the historical engagement above San Carlos Bay took place at night - but how can you do a nocturnal battle effectively on the tabletop?:



Ard Hamma had another off-beat period, the 2nd Sino-Japanese War (the green areas look a bit funny because this represents a golf course):





Dave Brown and Loughton Strike Force had a typical 15mm Napoleonic slugfest showcasing Dave's new Nap rules:



Here are other games I didn't catch the names of or can't work out with 100% confidence from the show guide; some are "trader" games:

Stunning terrain on this game.


F&IW skirmish.



Samurai skirmish - Bushido?

The boys loved this photo - is anyone knows the game system please let me know!



I think this was a "Cold War gone hot" sort of game.

I think this was another RCW themed game - nice to see something fully naval.

Batman perhaps?

Another American Indians v settlers skirmish
 game.

This was a large 1809 French v Austrians game in 25mm.  By The Old Guard, perhaps?


Nice to seeing Neapolitan/Italian troops.

Another highlight, WW2 in the Philippines by the Crewe and Nantwich club:






There was one large 25mm SYW game, the Battle of Prague, 1757 from the Essex Warriors: