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Sunday, November 11, 2018

More Swiss to poke holes in the Cheese!

Here are some pictures of the reinforcements for my late-medieval Swiss army. These will fight Charles the Bold's Burgundians druing the 1470s, as well as Holy Roman Empire Landsknechts during the Swabian Wars at the turn of the century.

First up is a unit of Halberdiers in Open Order, which are supposed to be a moveable element in the Swiss Vorhut and able to negotiate some difficult terrain unpassable for the pikeblocks.

The black-and-white colour scheme shows that this unit originates from the town and bishopric of Basel. Although Basel was not formally a member of the Swiss Confederacy in the 1470s, they were closely associated and sent troops to fight the invading Burgundians. 

As Basel was also part of the Holy Roman Empire (as was the whole Confederacy, at least on paper), I mixed in some rather Landsknecht-looking types into the unit to show the south-German influence.  

Next we have another unit of Halberdiers in Open Order, but this time from the cantons of Zürich and Zug, which both had blue and white as their canton colours with the elements of red also used by Zürich troops.

These Halberdiers are rather lightly armoured to represent there tactical role as medium infantry. 
The poses of advancing models in the front rank and marching at-portée in the rear gives this unit a nice moving dynamic.

This Zürich contingent will probably be led by Hans Waldmann, the famous mayor of Zürich, which I intend to model as a command figure in the near future.

Last there are some foot skirmishers equipped with crossbows. These will scout ahead and screen the advance of my behemoth Swiss pikeblocks, hopefully disordering and killing some enemies with well-aimed crossbow shots.

The colour scheme of red-and-white implies, that this unit has been send from the cantons of Obwalden (Ober- and Unterwalden) to provide some ranged support for the melee infantry elements.

As visible from the composition of the units in multiples of 6, they are usable for Swordpoint as well as for Lion Rampant games. I am also quite happy with the Swordpoint skirmisher movement trays provided by Warbases.

All of these units have been painted on commision by my gentle painter Mike from Yorkshire. Many thanks to him again for his excellent work!

With these reinforcements my Swiss army is nearing it's completion. What is still missing is a unit of skirmishers with handguns, 12 front rankers for my Bernese pikes, a unit of close-order halberdiers and 2 commanders. Also some knights led by Duke René II. of Lorraine to fight at nancy are in the (longer) pipeline.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I'm back with the Armored Cavalry

It's been a rough couple of months due to personal turmoil, there there was a lot of silence on this blog. But now as things start to settle in again, I will try to post something new at least once per month. Painting didn't stop during this period, so I want catch up with postings of my latest projects.

First up, a new force for Team Yankee has emerged quite unintentionally. As I got some boxes for free after a shop closing (sad though...), I started work on my US Armored Cavalry Squadron!

M1 Abrams platoon form on a hill crest
I started with a platoon of four M1 Abrams tanks to form the core of the formation. These are build as early M1s without any fancy improvements, but will be accompanied by one or two platoons of uparmoured IPM1s in the future. 

The fomation is supposed to be in the older MASSTER camouflage scheme used by the 7th Army during the 1970s and '80s, but was phased out for MERDC. I will apply this scheme to all ground kit vehicles, but it just didn't fit the M1s, being introduced in early 1982. Therefore I painted these in  a pattern of forest green with sand couloured spots, as seen in photos of the Reforger '83 manouveres.

The platoon commander with Astroturf
Another special feature of this forger scheme is the application of so-called 'Astroturf' to camouflage the turret.  I am pretty pleased with the effect achived by gluing strips of MiniNatur ivy onto the tank.

AH-1 Cobra flight
To give the Armored Cavalry some inherent air support, there is a flight of two AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters. These Battlefront models really were a delight to build and paint. Simply a drab undercoat, some washing and details plus the application of AC decals. An amazing look this is! 

The starting AC squadron assembles

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Swordpoint: Holy Roman Empire vs Maltese

Some time ago, I had my third game of Swordpoint, a new Ancients & Medieval ruleset, of which I am very fond. It is fast and easy to learn, has some nice mechanisms, e.g. Momentum Tokens and the Line of Battle, AND it produces historical results for big battles in 3-4 Hours!

We were pitting my Holy Roman Empire force against my pal Ulrich's Maltese Order of St. John in a 800 points random battle. Let's start with one of the two (early) essential blunders, which cost me the game in the end. My first pike block of Bernese Swiss mercenaries tried a charge against the Maltese Crusaders and failed. I forgot, that in SP you are allowed to measure all distances all the time (the result of reading too many rulesets...), and therefore they got charged from two sides in return.
Swiss mercenaries in the meat grinder
My Landsknechts (Halberdiers, Handgunners and a cannon) on my left flank tried their best to give a good fight against the Maltese crossbowmen and skirmishing handgunners, put could hold the line after pressure for 6 turns.
Landsknecht left flank
Beautiful Maltese Handgunner Skirmishers
When the centre broke, the Habsburg general tried to rally the Swiss, but the Maltese armoured might was already on its way to exploit the breach.
General's rallying attempt
The Landsknecht Halberdiers now had to take on two thirds of the enemy army all on their own, being surrounded by crossbowmen and crusaders. Although they put on a tough fight, they finally fled, as well. 
Landsknecht Halberdiers against the red horde

The Swiss rallied again (two times!) to plug the hole in the Line of Battle, but the tactical situation was to bad to be fixed by now. They got slaughtered by the Maltese in a hard melee.

Meanwhile my second blunder came into effect: I had positioned my second pike block of Swiss from the canton Uri just one inch into a field (needed room for another cannon) and it took them 6 whole turns to move through the crops and being able to enter the fight much too late! In SP close order-infantry movement is reduced from 8" to 2" in difficult terrain.
Uri Swiss mowing down crops
Uri Swiss finally take action (too late!)
The last Huzzah of the battle came, when the heavy Habsburg knight cavalry move around my left flank and successfully attacked a unit of Maltese pikemen, which fled. But the pursuit failed and they rallied again to counter-attack next turn, which made the knights leave the field and the battle was lost.
Glorious cavalry charge against pikes!
Maltese Pikemen flee...
... but return to rout the Habsburg knights.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Holy Roman Empire Mercenaries & General

Today I present some additions to my late medieval army of the Holy Roman Empire (although it was neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire, as Voltaire stated^^). I will primarily use them for the big battles of Swordpoint. All the models have been acquired on eBay and are of very good quality with no re-painting necessary.

First up is my general from the house of Habsburg. The heraldry is a beautiful brush work, althought is seems to be fictional, at least I could not find any fitting reference by now. Therefore, I have not decided which historical personality he should represent, but will rather use him as a stand-in for the actual commanders of several historical battles.
I especially like the scenic arrangement of the squire holding the actual warhorse, while the general is riding his travel steed. The pose of the trumpeter/herold is also very appealing.

Next we have some mercenary crossbowmen with pavises, perfectly based for Swordpoint as Open Order with 3 figures per 40mm square base. The are probably from France or Savoy, as both used the "White Cross on Red Ground"-heraldry pattern, and will see service with the Holy Roman Empire, the Burgundians or even some Italian City State.
The miniatures all come from the excellent Perry Plastics Box "European Mercenaries 1450-1500" and are quite beautifully painted. It is a good representation of the historical use of pavises, as the soldiers turned theirs backs towards the enemy while reloading to gain protection from the pavises on their back.
Having light armour and pavises, these crossbowmen form an excellent missile fire base, which can hold a position and draw attention away from the other units while supporting them with a hail of well placed crossbow bolts.

Last, but not least, here are some more crossbowmen, mixed with three handgonners. As they are based individually, I will use them for Swordpoint as well as for Lion Rampant. These are all metal figures and were painted by my new painter Mike Warters from Yorkshire.

As they wear no kind of recognisable uniform and are clad in more old-fashioned equipment (at least for the late 15th century, that is), they will serve as local militia or peaseant levies for the Holy Roman Empire or the Swiss, maybe even taking part in my planned army for the German Peasants' Revolt of 1525.

That's it for now. More posts may be coming soon in the next couple of days. Till next time!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Landsknecht Halberdiers

Here are some Landsknechts armed with halberds, which I (re-)painted some time ago.

Originally, they were intended to be used with my old Warhammer Fantasy Dogs of War army as the Paymaster's Bodyguard. Therefore, I painted them in an green/white/red-Italian colour scheme.

Later, I re-painted them and added some more colour, yellow and sky blue, so they looked more like the historical German Landsknechts they are. I intend to use them as Expert Foot Sergeants for Lion Rampant or as Landsknecht Halberdiers in Open Order for Swordpoint.

The models are mainly Landsknechts from Artizan, the captain and guy behind them are old Citadel/GW, the standard bearer is a Gamezone miniature and the drummer comes from an old Surprise Egg (Ü-Ei), representing a Swiss mercenary.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I'm back and Report of past Gaming and Teaching Marathon

It has been quiet on this blog due to are very hard time during the past months finishing my master thesis about the German Peasants' Revolt, but it is done now.

As the title suggests, I did a lot of gaming in October last year and want to give a short report of it. Three games in four Days and all of them were introductory games, in which I explained 3 different rulesets for 3 different periods to 3 different opponents (being a teacher also seems to continue in my hobby time^^). Spoiler: Everything went fine and many nice pictures were taken.

First up was a game of "British Grenadier!" for the American War of Independence. I played a new gaming mate at his home and we fought the Battle of Hannah's Cowpens, using mainly his amazing collection. He was attacking with the British against my American force, deployed in a three-line-defense. This Battle was also a duel between two feared commanders: Daniel Morgan and Banastre Tarleton and served as the inspiration for the final battle in Mel Gibson's "The Patriot"!
The starting positions at Cowpens from the American table edge.
A view from the British table edge
Tarleton was despatched from the Cornwallis' Southern British Army to pursue the force of Daniel Morgan and destroy it (if possible). Therefore he assembled a clolumn of his personal British Cavalry and Light Infantry (here represented by the Queen's Rangers as stand-in), some combined Light Bobs, as well as the Regulars of the 7th Royal Fusiliers and 1/71st Fraser's Highlanders.
The British force: Queen's Rangers, British Legion cavalry, 3 pdr gun, Tarleton, 7th Royal Fusiliers and 1/71st Highlanders.
Morgan deployed his American force, consisting mainly of militia accompanied by two regiments of Continetal Veterans and some cavalry, in a three line deep-defence starting with the first line of skirmishers in the woods, followed by a second line of militia (again in the woods), with the third and final position on a range of hills held by the Continentals.
The British encounter the first line of defense
The amazing mass of Tarleton's British Legion cavalry
The first line of Militia retreats
Tarleton's British steadily worked their way through the first two lines of militia, who put up a good but not to persistend fight. Breaking the thrid line of elite Continentals, supported by two regiments of Cavalry, proved to be a much harder nut to crack, though.
The elite Continentals face the Light Bobs
While the Continentals held the line against atacks from the Light Bobs and Queen's Rangers, the huge amount of British Legion Cavalry was massing to attack the American right flank. Therefore the American 1st/3rd Dragoons, led by William Washington (cousin of the CiC) and Militia Cavalry decided to perform a preemtive counter-charge.
Cavalry charge on the right flank
Clash of Cavalry
Washington's 1st/3rd Continental Dragoons
Seeing a possibility to turn the tide and direction of the battle, the Virginia Continentals tried to charge the skirmishing Light Bobs, who evaded, but bumped into the following up batallion of the Queen's Rangers
Continental counter-attack bumps into the Queen's Rangers
As the American counterattack failed and losses were piling up heavily, we called it a night and a victory for Tarleton's British, who suffered less than in the historical battle.

Next up was me first game using Dan Mersey's excellent Lion Rampant rules. It was straight forward, played well and was very amusing. We played the "Sausages without Mustard"-Scenario (an terrific name, as I really like mustard^^) where one side had to inflame four haystacks in a village, while the defender tries to prevent this.
View of the Battelfield
I dragged together two rag-tag warbands from my finished late Medieval troops. This put the following units against each other:

Defenders: 2x Burgundian Knights, 1x Burgundian Crossbowmen with Paveses, 1x Landsknechts with halberds (Expert Foot Sergeants), 1x Burgundian Handgunners (Bidowers)

Attackers: 1x Italian Knights, , 1x Mounted Crossbowmen, 1x Italian Crossbowmen, 1x Italian Bowmen (Bidowers), 2x Swiss Pikemen (Foot Yeomen with Moveable Shiltron)
Burgundian knights and X-bowmen meet the Swiss/Italians in the village square
Italian Crowwbowmen (old GW Dogs of War)
The Italian Knights quickly set fire to one haystack, but were counter-chraged and beaten to a man by their Burgundian counterparts. Meanwhile on the right flank, the Burgundian crossbows decimated the Mounted X-bowmen completely. On the other flank a Swiss Pike unit positioned itself next to a barn, awaiting the second unit of Burungdian Knights.
Burgundian Knights bravely/stupidly charging a Swiss Pikeblock
Killing the Italian leader in the shine of a burning haystack
The Burgundian Knights definitely won the game for me, as they defended the haystack (less one) and killed the Italian leader, as well as defeating the Swiss Pikes! The Bidowers and Italian X-bows exchanged some shots, but were not decisive during this game. The Landsknechts were bogged down in a cliff and came too late to participate in the fight, sharing this fate with the second units of Swiss.
Therefore it was a clear victory for my Burgundians, as I still had enough hay in the barn...
Knights beat Pikes, who would have expected that!?!

Last, but not least, was an 100 points introductory game of Team Yankee at my club. I was trying out some newly bought terrain (recognise the ALDI store!) and Soviet list, which combined Afgantsy airborne infantry with a reserve T-72 Tankovy batallion. My learning opponent was lended the American force of a friend, consting of two small company teams, one M1 Abrams and one Mechanied Infantry plus support in form of 2 Cobras, 2 A-10 Warthogs, 3 M109 Artillery SPGs and 4 VADS AA.
View of a beautifully layed out 1985s Germany battlefield
We were playing the "Brigdehead"-mission, so the objective for the Americans was to eliminate the dug-in Afgantsy before their armoured reinforcements arrived. They tried to encircle the Soviet from both flanks, but with no success. The M1 Abrams were blown  up by the Hind Helicopters and arriving T-72s, while the Desantniki infantry stubbornly remained sitting in their trenches all game.
Hinds blow up 3 M1 Abrams tanks from behind
In retrospective, my opponent (who was still learning the game of course) made two decicive mistakes: 

1. He moved his artillery in turn one, instead of starting to bombard my Afgantsy right away, because dug-in infantry is really hard to get rid off in Team Yankee anyway and American Artillery is just the way to do this effectively.

2. He positioned his only AA, the 4 VADS on his left flank to shred my infantry with it. Not a bad idea, but that left his right flank open to my Hinds. Positioning them in the centre to take on the Hinds first might have changed the outcome of the game immensely.
Dug-in Afgantsy await the final (and hopeless) push of the Yankke Infantry
Even a final push of two American Infantry platoons could not bugger the Soviet Airborne soldiers very much. To conclude, it was an all out Soviet victory ba the end of turn three. So remember, Hinds plus dug-in Desantniki are dangerous as hell...