Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

The joy and peace of the season to you all. I hope Santa brought everyone lots of goodies. Happy New Year and prosperous gaming in 2012. Chris

Thursday, December 22, 2011

WWII: Early War Russian Army 15mm

WWII: Early War Russian Army 15mm

The paper strength of a Russian Rifle Battalion was rather impressive. It was a well armed and balanced force that had rarely achieved full strength in the units deployed at the start of the war. Let alone in the regiments raised once the war started. Still, there are plenty of options available to present a historical yet strong force.

According to the old archived Bayonet Strength site, by July of 1941, the order of battle changed and greatly trimmed down the number of troops in the battalion. For some units that had been mobilized at the start of the war, it would be possible that they would be able to retain some of the support elements that they had at the start of the war in June. Newly called up battalions would reflect the much reduced order of battle.

As I get around to it, this page will be updated as I complete and get pictures together.

Russian Army 1941

Rifle Company

Rifle Company HQ
Well the basing is not done but the Company HQ has a Commissar, a Company Commander and two MMG teams. The MMG Teams really need some additional crew members but they will do for now. I also have a standard bearer, just for fun. Rifle Platoon 1
The platoon headquarters consisted of an officer and two runners. At the start of the war, it also had a 50mm mortar attached to it. This mortar team was eliminated by July of 1941.

The platoon was made up of four rifle squads, each of eleven men. In theory this was to be an NCO squad leader armed with a rifle, two SMG armed men for close support, a six man rifle team and a two man LMG team. In theory, this was a well armed unit. The reality is that shortages of SMGs and light machine guns limited this deployment. By July of 1941, the SMGs were eliminated and only two of the four squads were issued light machine guns.

Rifle Platoon 2
This platoon was based initially for FOW but works just fine for IABSM. Two of the squad members from each squad are individually based for casualty removal.

Rifle Platoon 3
MG Platoon
This had an officer and two maxim MMGs with five crew each. This platoon was eliminated in the July 1941 restructure.

Battalion Supports
Anti-Tank Platoon
This element contained an officer and two 45mm anti-tank guns. This platoon was eliminated in July of 1941. This removed the best tank defense that the common infantry man had.

Machine Gun Company
Company HQ (1 Officer, 1 Commissar, 6 men) Three Platoons, each comprised of; 1 Officer, 28 men

Mortar Company
Company HQ (1 Officer, 1 Commissar, 5 men) Three Platoons, each comprised of; 1 Officer, 14 men

Early War Russian Armor

Just as with the Germans, I am too lazy to figure out the proper order of battle for armor. Especially since my games tend to be infantry centric. The basic platoon size was three vehicles. A company would have one or two vehicles in the headquarters.

Lets start with the big guy on the block. This was probably the best tank at the start of the war in the east (or any other theater). The early model had limited turret space and suffered from lack of a radio net. But it definitely put a fear in the enemy. German troops took great delight in scaring incoming Italian troops throughout August of 1941 with tales of the T34.

This is one of those tanks that to me defines the Russian armor in 1941. The T26 had a number of variants. Some just plain odd - like the double turreted version.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Coming Thunder - Errata

Well it was brought to my attention that I messed up and created cards with no definitions to them.

Here is what I have spotted so far:
They’s a Comin - When this card is drawn from the deck it is played immediately. Any green force on the table that is still on blinds, has one of their blinds open fire in panic at the nearest blind to them (friend or foe) or upon the closest enemy unit (if the deployed enemy unit is deployed. The unit is immediately deployed and in an unloaded status. When firing on the blind, treat the unit receiving fire as in heavy cover. If that blind is already in heavy cover, reduce the amount of dice by half again. Casualties are determined when that blind deploys.

Others will be posted as I find them. I will update the doc going forward.

Monday, December 19, 2011

WWII: Early War German Army


I honestly have no idea how to organize this. What I will attempt to do is show the miniatures that I have for my German Army in 15mm. It is broken down by the order of battle based on the year of the war according to the Bayonet Strength Website (, Dr. Leo Niehorster's web site ( and the IABSM Supplements.

As more gets painted, this site will be updated. I will put a version number and update notes here at the top. This is version 1.02 (12/21/2011). fixed armored section changed PZ38ts to Pz35t. Thanks Mark. Version 1.01 (12/21/2011). Added Armored Elements and bicycle troops. Version 1.0 (12/20/2011). Its all new.

German Army Circa 1940

Motorized Infantry Company

Motorized Infantry Company Headquarters

The Rifle Company Headquarters is nearly complete. They are to have four MMG Teams, two rifle squads, four trucks and a pair of kubelwagons. I lack some of the motor transport for Company HQ. I will probably replace these with Gamdols trucks as they are the cheapest available for something that won't play much of a part on the table top. I am also lacking a complete squad. I have the NCO and one rifleman painted. The rest are on painting sticks and not yet base coated. The MMG teams need the most base work.

The infantry are all Old Glory/Skytrex figures. The MMG Teams might be Battlefront but I am not sure at this point. The two trucks are Old Glory as well. I have no idea about the kubelwagon as I received that in a lot I purchased off of Bartertown many, many moons ago.

Motorized Infantry Platoon 1

Now, the first platoon was also from that long ago Bartertown purchase. Luckily between 1940 and 1941, the Germans did not mess with the order of battle too terribly for their infantry platoons. As motorized troops they are supposed to have two LMGs per squad and I only have one. I have additional LMGs on painting sticks to add in but just have not been bothered to do so. The platoon is lead by and officer or NCO and have a Anti-Tank Rifle and light mortar team for support. The core of the platoon are the four rifle squads of eight men each. The platoon travels in the comfort of five trucks.

The platoon is complete but needs a little something more for the bases. Some flock should fix it right up. For some reason, the paint does not adhere well to copper/nickle pennies. When looking at them closely, you can see where my gravel/pumice/sand/glue mixture did not completely cover the penny. The flock should hide that.

The figures are all Old Glory I believe. They may be painted for a slightly later period of the war but I am not bothered by it as they are done. The trucks, well I have no idea of where the trucks are from. They too came in that Bartertown lot I spoke of. Purchased in the dim haze of memory before I had a child, when I had some money (I am married) and free time. Inspite of the poverty and the no time to play, I am a richer man by far now.

Motorized Infantry Platoon 2

This is my favorite platoon. I painted all of the figures in this one. The platoon leader is one of my favorite as it is some poor chump trying to figure out just where he is on the map. The walking rather than deployed figures of the ATR team and light mortar team are also nice. The platoons should be identical to the one above but I just need to get more motor transport. I have two of the five trucks they should have. I am loathe to purchase something that will either leave the table quickly or get blown up early on in the game. But in 2012, I will extend every effort to buy some more.

Now I did have one falsehood above. The open top truck, I did not paint. That was part of that Bartertown deal I made. The rest I did paint. They are all Old Glory with the exception of the light mortar team and ATR team. The ATR team might be Battlefront. The light mortar team might be Quick Reaction Force. I should have posted something up on this years ago when I painted them.

Motorized Infantry Platoon 3

This platoon is the fun one as it is mounted in the SDKFZ 251 half-tracks. The half-tracks are all Old Glory. The figures are dominantly Old Glory and the ATR might be Battlefront and the light mortar team might be QRF or Battlefront. Just can't remember.

Again, these are complete but for some basing work that needs to be done. All in all I am pleased with the miniatures. Once the basing and company HQ is sorted out, I should be good to go. I will update the pictures as things change.

Motorized Battalion Support
Well we can't just send our poor troops up by themselves now can we? Now the Battalion contains stuff that I am just not interested in modeling. So we will restrict this just to the stuff that should go out on a tabletop. An assault against the typing pool just is not my idea of an exciting game. The Battalion had a heavy company and a MG Company that provided the normal support that the infantry man in the line would be likely to see.

Battalion Heavy Company
The Motorized units had a much more unique organization. Here the heavy company had some unique elements compared to its line counterpart.

First the Heavy Company had a Anti-Tank Platoon. This unit consisted of three 3.7-cm Pak 35/36 guns. These underpowered weapons had a longevity far past their usefulness on the battlefield. Each weapon was towed by a truck. (Agghhhh!!!! More motor transport to buy.)

The careful observer will note that the anti-tank platoon is still on painting sticks and only has one crew for the three weapons. This is because (in my mind at least) a single company in the front will probably not have the entire platoon at their disposal. Thus I will only be bothered with painting one crew for these. These ended up lower on the priority list. The crew are likely to be QRF miniatures.

Next the heavy company had an infantry gun platoon. This battery had two 7.5-cm infantry guns. These too were towed by trucks but could be manhandled by the crew to where they needed to go. They also had a truck for ammunition that pulled a trailer. The platoon HQ had two cars that moved the platoon leader and a small signals section. Is anyone keeping track here? I have a boat load of trucks to buy, don't I? Please, feel pity on me and send a donation toward the buy Chris a truck fund. Just 25 cents would be most welcome. (just kidding. But seriously, there is a link to the right somewhere.)

These fearsome fellows look ready to wreck someone's day. Still lack motor transport. I only painted one of these as I really am not sure how they would be deployed forward. I suppose that one really could just have a forward observer team to call in their fire as opposed to letting the guns be on the table, but that does not seem as much fun.

Lastly, there was a pioneer platoon. This was a large unit equipped with trucks and motorcycles. It had three large 13 man (including the NCO) squads that were equipped with a single lmg each. The bayonet strength site did not list if they had flamethrowers or not. I just can't tell from Dr Leo's site either. The Blitzkreig supplement from TFL gives them 2 flamethrowers and a AT rifle team. I would assume that they did not, but where is the fun in that. Pioneers need flamethrowers. So......

As you can see, the pioneer platoon is nearly incomplete. I only have two flamethrower guys. Since folks tended to stay away from the men, this might not be unrealistic in how they were deployed forward. :) Both of these guys were probably from QRF and came with the Bartertown buy I had made. Their fellow platoon mates do exist, just on painting sticks without even primer. I will get to them one day.

Motorized Machine Gun Company I know that there was a type A and a type B battalion organization in 1940. I will not be bothered by such distinctions. The Machine gun Company had two Machine gun Platoons and a single Mortar Platoon.

The Machine Gun Platoons were equipped with four tripod mounted MG34s each. Each team/machine gun was equipped with a truck. (More Trucks! When will it end.) The headquarters had a car and a motorcycle with side car. I actually have the MMGs to populate a platoon of these guns but as it is, that could mean up to eight MMGs on the table at once. That seems more than would likely be the case for a company sized engagement. As such, my 1940 Wehrmacht will probably not have more than 4 MMGs on the table at any given time unless someone else's scenario calls for it.

The mortar platoon had three sections of two 81mm mortars each. Each section had three trucks to cart them around from place to place and their ammo. Mortars are an off table asset. And as such, a forward observer team mounted in a car and a motorcycle with side car will probably all that will see the table. At least that will cut out an additional 9 trucks to buy. Good grief that would get expensive quick. (Hmmmm... I am really starting to sound like a cheapskate here.)

Motorized Regimental Support
Here is sadly where the Bayonet Strength site is not as strong. Dr Leo's site picks up where this left off. My issue is I have trouble with the German organizational markings and spend all my time flipping between the units and the key.

Motorcycle Reconnaissance Platoon
This unit has three squads with a single lmg in each squad (if I am reading the diagram right). The platoon HQ probably had a car and a motorcycle attached but I just do not know. The squads would have both motorcycles and motorcycles with sidecars.

I have two squads worth of motorcyclists ready to go besides the obvious lack of basing. I only have two squads though. I think these are Peter Pig figures but I am not sure. I want to flesh out the platoon but that is lower on the priority list.

Infantry Gun Company
It appears that the Regiment had an infantry gun company attached. It appeared to have eight of the 75mm Infantry guns and some LMGs in support. I am not modeling the Regimental level since I have some from the Battalion.

Motorized Anti-Tank Company
Apparently there were more anti-tank guns at the Regimental level as well. Possibly twelve of these weapons in the company. Again, these are modeled at the battalion level.

Line Infantry Company

Line Infantry Company Headquarters

The line company lacks any motor transport. It closely maps to the Motorized company in that it has the two squads and four MMG teams. Since they are the same infantry figures, they are in the same shape. What is added is the Company supply wagon. This is obviously barely glued together at this point without even primer on it. While it is not something you would see at the front lines, I think it could be useful in some games. Especially with a company that is ambushed or an enemy penetration back to a more rear area. Line Infantry Platoons 1-3
Rather than subject you to the same pictures above, you can see that the platoons are complete but lack some base work. The infantry for a line/foot company are actually more complete as they have their single lmg ready.

Battalion Support
The Line infantry Battalion had a Heavy Weapons or Machine Gun Company for its support.

Machine Gun Company This formation had two elements: a Mortar Platoon and two or three MMG Platoons. The mortar platoon was made up of six 81mm mortars. These will not be deployed on the table. Instead we can add a forward Observer model to the table to call in the shots or have the Company Commander and his radio operator take care of this task.

But since I have a picture of my Forward Observers, by golly I am going to include them. :) The figures are Old Glory, I think.

The MMG Platoons had four MMG teams, giving the company between 8 to 12 of these weapons. This would provide significant punch to the infantry especially if the company level assets were truly present. I wonder if the company level assets are in some cases incorrectly allocated Battalion level assets.

Battalion Supports
The .... Regimental Support Elements
Bicycle Recon Troops
I am not sure these are actually Regimental supports. Dr Leo's site shows a motorcycle platoon at the Divisional level. Given the less than powered nature of most of the division, doubtless the Germans would have deployed bicycle troops at some point. I have no idea of who makes these or I would have bought some more. I got these in that bulk Bartertown deal. I just think they are very clever little models. The basing is incomplete. The paint job is just as I had bought them.

The basing needs to be finished. But these are fun troops that I am determined to get on the table in 2011. I just wish I had a whole platoon of them.


German Army Circa 1941

Motorized Infantry Company

Motorized Infantry Company Headquarters

The 1941 version of the Company Headquarters drops the machine-gun teams from the headquarters and is reduced to just one squad. It still needs a second LMG team to round it out but it is closer to ready than its earlier incarnation as it does not need the extra trucks! It also has a sniper as part of the headquarters and a radio operator. All of the figures are Old Glory. The radio operator might be a QRF figure. Motorized Infantry Platoons 1-3
Again, these are identical to the ones above. The force only changes in that it drops the light mortar team from its organization. Motorized Support Platoon

Ah, there the MMG teams are. The MMG teams are Battlefront and possibly an Old Glory one in there. The Support Platoon also has a Mortar Squad with two 81mm Mortars for a stronger punch than the platoon based 50mm mortars that the 1940 version had. What is missing is the Motor Transport for these guys. Ugh! Anyone have some Early War German trucks in 15mm they don't have a use for? It seems that I need them.

Battalion Support
Battalion MG Company
This formation had two elements: a Mortar Platoon and two MMG Platoons. The mortar platoon was made up of six 81mm mortars. These will not be deployed on the table. Instead we can add a forward Observer model to the table to call in the shots or have the Company Commander and his radio operator take care of this task.

But since I have a picture of my Forward Observers, by golly I am going to include them. :)

The MMG Platoons had four MMG teams, giving the company 8 of these weapons. This *********************************

At this point, the pictures taper off until we get to the Battalion/Regimental/Divisional Support Elements and the armor.

Line Infantry Company

Company Headquarters
The line companies maintained two squads in their order of battle. They also added a pair or ATR teams to the mix. Here is a question for the reader, how many wagons would the Germans have for an infantry company? Just one or would there be one per platoon? Just curious. Also gone are the MMG teams. The Company has no MMG support. These are now allocated at the Battalion level. This is a significantly leaner formation that advanced across the wide steppes of the Ukraine than had trod across France.

Infantry Platoon 1-3
The foot Infantry are nearly the same. Each platoon carries with it the 50mm mortar that its motorized fellows have discarded. The ATR teams have disappeared from the platoon and the four squads of 8 men each are maintained. Line Battalion Support
The battalion supports for the Line infantry were critical assets as the company lacked the fighting punch of the earlier incarnation.

Battalion MG Company
This formation had two elements: a Mortar Platoon and three MMG Platoons. The mortar platoon was made up of six 81mm mortars. These will not be deployed on the table. Instead we can add a forward Observer model to the table to call in the shots or have the Company Commander and his radio operator take care of this task. I won't include the same picture again.

The MMG Platoons had four MMG teams, giving the company 12 of these weapons. This would provide significant punch to the infantry. Obviously any one company in the field would only see a fraction of these troops. But even if divided evenly, that still provided a full platoon per company if allocated that way.

German Early War Armor: 1940-1941(2)

Rather than place the armor into an order of battle the way I have with the infantry, this is a much more adhoc approach just detailing what figures that I have available.

Panzer I bef
The early war command vehicle. I have several of these for some odd reason. I am not sure where they all came from. I think I have a three pack from Old Glory plus another odd one or so.

These are fun vehicles. By that I mean they can easily be brewed up by most things available on the table. From Anti-Tank Rifles to the light British 2-pounders. I don't think that you would really have more than one of these guys in an entire company. Yet, I have three....

Panzer I mk ???
My tank recognition skills have left me. I am not sure which mark of the Panzer I that I have. Help anyone? I am also not sure of the manufacturer. They are resin and might be Gamdols miniatures.

These are great fun. They pose a threat to infantry but it is an example of not learning the lesson of the previous war. They suffered against Russian T-26s in the Spanish Civil War but they were still fielded in numbers even in Russia.

Panzer II mk F
The Panzer IIs that I have are from a couple of sources. I got one in the bulk lot I bought on Bartertown. That is the one that is based. Three are Old Glory tanks and another is a Battlefront mini. At least I am pretty sure that is what they are.

I think these are the Mark F tanks that saw service in Russia and possibly France. My tank recognition skills are lacking today.

Panzer III mk E
Finally some decent early war armor. If I am right (and I may not be) this is the earlier E variant. Again there should be three Old Glory vehicles and one that came from a Bartertown purchase of unknown manufacturer. I don't like basing vehicles. Especially with such a thick base. But I just have not had the heart to attempt to remove it as I would doubtlessly wreck the thing.

There is something about the Panzer III that I really like. I am not sure what it is. But to me, it just seems to be the tank I think of when I think of German tanks. It lacks the cool factor of the late war heavy's but I don't think the average infantryman in the field saw many of those. Now a PzIII would probably have been a much more common sight to the poor guy with a rifle.

Panzer III Mk F or G?
My second set of panzer IIIs for the early war period. These would probably last into the mid war period (1942 & 1943) as well. Not sure which mark these are. I think both vehicles are Battlefront minis as the commanders look like their work.

I received these as part of a lot from a Lardy in California. I finished off the commanders. They came with the antennas on them. I like the look of the antennas. Normally, I would only have one vehicle with a commander with his head popped out but the vehicles came painted this way and I was not about to modify it. At some point, I would like to get a few more of these. The addition of the box thing in the back of the turret (I know ya'll love it when I talk all technical like this) added something to the look of the tank. I like it. I am sure its military purpose was much more significant than looking cool.

Panzer IV mk B
For some reason, I really hate the look of the early Panzer IVs. That short stubby barrel just looks like someone ran around and broke the thing off. It is the tank I feel sorry for when it is on the table.

Three of these I picked up in an online purchase (maybe that Bartertown one, I am not sure). The other two are Battlefront (actually I think they all are). I painted the front two. I did not add the balkenkreuz to them like I did with some of the other tanks I painted. Actually, I don't think I ever even finished painting the treads. This is just a tank I don't like and it suffers because of it. I need to get over that and finish these out.

Panzer 35(t)
These little tanks made up for the lack of tanks that the expanding German army had at the beginning of the war. Taking in some 200+ of these from Czechoslovakia in 1939, they served from 1939 through 1941 and beyond.

These are a neat looking little tanks. All of these were picked up from Bartertown. Not sure if it was in that bulk buy or not. No clue as to the manufacturer. Might be Quality Castings. These were bought painted. I like them.

SiG 33B
Nothing says good morning like self propelled artillery. These are both Quality Castings miniatures. The vehicle is great for urban scenarios when you just really need to knock down a building.

Again they only have a basic coat of paint. No markings or even tread details. I will get around to fixing that at some point. I just don't like to paint vehicles. Hopefully airing my dirty laundry like this will force me to go back and touch these up so I can replace the picture if nothing else.

PanzerJager I
Well, at least I think these guys are all Pzjager Is. There are definitely two different manufacturers. I have no idea which is what. The lighter colored one was purchased painted. The other two are mine. Again only the most basic paint on these and the treads need to be done.

' Surprisingly I have nothing against these. I think they were the best thing that could have been done to the old Panzer Is in their inventory.

Stug III
I think these are both Battlefront models. The unbased one is the one I painted up and the based one was bought that way. This is another one of those vehicles I think of when I think of German armor. Here the short stubby barrel does not bother me for some reason. It just looks the business to me.

Sdkfz 221 and 222
The Germans could make some nice looking armored cars. These probably should be up above in some Motorized units support elements but I am too lazy to figure out where at the moment. I will move it around at some point.

These are from an Old Glory Pack. They are some of my favorite vehicles and yet, I don't think they have seen a table top more than once or twice. I painted these up a while back.


Well that is my early war Germans. Please tell me what you think. I would appreciate any tips. If you suggest any colors to use, please mention the actual paint color as I don't do colors to well being partially color blind. (That is also my excuse for crummy painting) If you have any suggestions, comments or observations, I welcome them.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Vain Attempt to Organize

Well I have decided that I will be doing a series of posts on the lead pile that I have to attempt to sort our what is complete and what work is left to do. I will be placing these in the Miniature Collection tab at the top of the site.

These posts will be ongoing and will be updated as progress is made. Hopefully this will serve and an encouragement to complete some projects rather than overwhelm with what is left to finish.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

East Front Italians

I have started to complete out my IABSM Infantry company of East Front Italians in 15mm. I have a platoon ready to go but I need another two platoons. One thing that I have been wondering was the use of the 20mm Solothrun Anti-Tank Rifle by the Italians in the East Front in 1941. I have not found any references as to its use in the history of the 80th Infantry Regiment so far. As such, I am thinking that they may not have had them.

Does anyone have any information that would show if they were there? In my searches, I did find some interesting things. One was that the 100mm artillery that the Italians had seemed to be an effective anti-tank gun. The WWII In Color forum had a picture of the damage to a turret of a T34 caused by one. It is below but I do not know who to give credit to for the picture.

Without the ATR, the infantry really does not have a decent AT weapon without their artillery being deployed rather close to the fighting. It would be good to find out if they were used that early in the Ukraine. Apparently the Hungarians used the Solothrun and they operated close by the Italian units.

Anyway, the supplement for the Italians is shaping up. It has a title, "For the Glory of Rome" which comes from the praise that the Colonel of the 80th Roma Regiment gave to his men after one of their first battles on the Eastern Front. The first scenario is done and the outline for four others are done as well. Well, back to work.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

An Early Christmas: Expansion of the Italian Navy

Well I just received a beautiful new ship model in the mail from master sculptor Chas Emerson. It is a model of the gunship Porto Corsini. It is a beautiful model that came prepainted! YEA!

The Porto Corsini was one of several small vessels that were part of the Italian fleet in East Africa during WWII. It began its life as a Japanese fishing vessel, the Fumi Maru. Having some 280 tons displacement, it was launched in 1912. The Italians purchased her in 1917. The Porto Corsini had a top speed of 9 knots, carried a complement of 24 and was armed with two 3-inch anti-aircraft guns (76/40) and a pair of machine guns. Initially taken on as a minelayer, by 1921 she was converted to a gunboat.

Following the Italian collapse in East Africa, the Porto Corsini was captured intact in 1941 and taken into British service as the HMS General Platt. In the post war it became a lighthouse tender.

Looking around the internet, there are plenty of ships in 1:1250 scale. The WWII Italian navy is well represented in terms of coastal vessels. Lots of MAS boats and other torpedo boats were available and some destroyers and larger ships. What I was looking for are some of the other ships that were commonly used. After working on an IABSM supplement for East Africa, I had a complete naval order of battle for the Regia Marina in East Africa. Looking through it several ships stood out as interesting vessels. The first was the Eritrea, a colonial ship. Models exist of this ship but are rather expensive. Next were the Torpedo boats Giovanni Acerbi and Vincenzo Giordano Orsini. I found these ships as well. Again they are available but expensive as well. The Porto Corsini stood out as something that I would like to have.

Searching the internet did not show anything even close. What I did find was Chas. After an email exchange, he agreed to make a model of the ship for me. Through the process he sent me pictures of the ship as he was creating it.

The picture above is what Chas sent as he was creating it. Well the final product arrived today and it looks fantastic.

Chas has a company KS models. product designer for Airfx and then moved into architectural and engineering modelmaking. I am now semi-retired in my 60s and I have started producing these 1250 scale models partly as hobby and partly income. At the time he began to create the Porto Corsini he had five ships: Skandi Falcon UT 705 (red), North Vanguard UT 705 (blue), Bourbon Liberty 200 (green).

To contact Chas, send him an e-mail at

Monday, December 5, 2011

AAR: Captain Dillman's Pickets

Saturday evening I was able to get another Terrible Sharp Sword game in. I played the scenario "Scenario 2 – Bailey’s Corners – August 28-30, 1861" from my The Coming Thunder supplement. (See the for sale page above) This is a small scenario with just infantry on the table. Unfortunately, I had to play rather late at night so I was getting pretty sleepy by the time I finished.

I had spent a few hours making some cards up for the game. Here is what I came up with:

If anyone wants these cards, they can download them from the two links below. They are in the Quick Cards format. The demo version of this app can be downloaded at is a useful little program to make your own cards with. Main Cards and Bonus Deck.

The table looked rather weak as I could not find the two story house that I had painted. It seemed to have vanished somewhere. Next, I only had a few inches of snake rail fencing and needed several feet of the stuff. I improvised by placing small wooden dowels on the table where they should be.

The layout does not call for livestock but what is a farm without animals.

The Union troops begin the game with only two groups on the table watching a small farm. I deployed one group, with Captain Dillman, in a house as a hidden blind. The other group with another Big Man was deployed in a field across the road. Their reserves were deployed off table and available via the Blank Card/Reinforcement Card once shooting began.

I used regular envelopes for the blinds as I was too lazy to make any.

The Confederate forces entered on blinds at the first turn. The force was divided in half with the Captain leading half of the force and two low grade big men leading the other half. The Confederate Captain moved up the road while the other half moved through some corn fields towards the farm buildings.

The first turn ended with the Confederates moving steadily forward. They spotted the Union troops in the field ahead of them. The Yankees initially failed to spot anyone. The opening of the second turn had the Yankees spotting the Confederate Captain's force while it was still deployed in Column. Taking advantage of a great target, the group opened fire. This lone group of Union troops proved to be the fiercest group on the table. They inflicted four of the five casualties suffered by the Confederates. This did two things. First it added the reinforcement card to the deck and prompted Captain Dillman to move his command out of the house to see what was happening.

For the next few turns, the Confederate Captain kept attempting to deploy his troops to a line formation. The other half of the Confederate Company had much better luck. They moved to a fence line and promptly spotted Captain Dillman and his group. At this point, a random event was rolled and a herd of sheep went rampaging through Captain Dillman's troops.

With three groups, they opened fire on Captain Dillman's group using a Crashing Volley card. Captain Dillman suffered a light wound and his men lost one dead. They also took on some 18 points of shock what effectively routed them off of the table.

Around the start of turn 4, the Union reinforcements arrived.

Finally, the Confederate captain was able to deploy his men to a line. They held their fire waiting on a better shot.

The Union reinforcements were also able to deploy to a line. I was very sleepy at this point and lost the ability to count. The Union ended up with seven group in the reinforcements instead of six. Through an excellent run of cards, the Confederates had the first shot at the Union line.

And the second shot by the second half of the Confederates against the Union flank. Again, they were able to play a Crashing Volley card. In total an additional five Union soldiers fell but the shock taken by the force, even distributed among the various group in the large line formation were staggering. The formation broke and retreated off the table giving the Confederate forces the field.

It was a very fun game that was quickly played to conclusion.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Distractions and Diversions: Or What I am doing instead of completing what I started

Once again, I have drifted off from my hobby to do list and ventured into something different. Since the release of The Coming Thunder, I have been aimlessly drifting between projects. A little work here, a little work there but nothing coming close to completion. Then I found myself on the most dangerous of websites - Google.

Taking a few minutes, I wondered, "Hey, what happened during the Civil War in my county (Gwinnett)." A quick Google search came up with the answer - not much. There was one action that occurred at the very edge of the county near a small town call Jug Tavern.(August 2, 1864) The name of the town alone caught my attention. But how big was this fight? Since it was a part of the overall Battle for Atlanta in 1864, surely it is WAY too big to game with Terrible Sharp Sword, right? Not entirely.

It seems that this battle took place following the dispersion of General Stoneman's force following his defeat outside of Macon. A Brigade of Cavalry under the command of Colonel Horace Capron was fleeing around Atlanta with Colonel Adams Brigade of cavalry. The two got separated in an attempt at attacking Athens. Capron had a local guide who led him astray. Capron's men raided the small town of Jug Tavern (now Winder, Georgia) and moved on to a spot called King's Tanyard to stop for the night.

So far, it looks too big. Capron's men included the 14th Illinois Cavalry, the 8th Michigan Cavalry and McLaughlin's Independent Ohio Cavalry Squadron. Plus they had some remnants from the 6th Indiana Cavalry Regiment with them. All had fled the Battle of Sunshine Church where General Stoneman was captured.

This seems like a huge force for a skirmish game. But how many men were in it? Well, the 8th Michigan had hacked their way through Confederate lines to escape from Sunshine Church.(Sunshine Church. Not really a name you would associate with battle is it.) They were down to 70 men lead by Major Buck. Colonel Capron's was not only the Brigade Commander but the regimental commander of the 14th Illinois Cavalry who numbered some 300 men on the 31st of July. The 6th Indiana cavalry had an additional 350 men or so. This gives Capron's force a total of about 720 men or there about. This is WAY to many figures to paint in 15mm and I am too lazy to even paint that many in 6mm. Things do not look good for a scenario here.

The Confederates that engaged them were another Brigade of cavalry under Breckinridge that had been pursuing them since Sunshine Church.(Each time I read this, I picture a brightly painted structure with a big yellow sun painted on the side with a smiley face and a large children's playground to the side. Not a site of blood and slaughter. But I guess that is just me.) He had the 1st Kentucky Mounted Infantry (I think. They may have been true cavalry), the 16th Georgia cavalry and Major Cook's Armory Battalion Cavalry.

But wait, there is hope!

From the description of the action, it seems that only about a company of the Confederates engaged Capron's Brigade. A company! That is doable. But wait, why would about 50 to 100 guys charge 700+ men? That seems suicidal? Well, it seems that the Confederates found the napping Yankees after they finished pillaging the town. They charged through a large group of camp followers and escaped slaves and made a huge noise that panicked the bulk of Capron's force. It seems that in their haste to flee, the stormed across a nearby bridge that collapsed dropping many into the river to drown. A small group did mount and form a line and engage the Confederates. In this smaller action, the Confederates beat those that chose to stand. Over the next day, hundreds of troops were captured and taken to the University of Georgia as prisoners. Capron, his son and five others walked back to Marietta four days later. Capron fled at first noise and hid in a ditch with his son. It seems he was not in command of those that stood and fought.

William Tecumseh Sherman with typical aplomb, wired Washington after their arrival stating, "On the whole the cavalry raid was not deemed a success." Sherman is normally a name, that as a resident of Georgia, I am not permitted to say without surrounding it with appropriate profanity has earned a little more merit in my eyes with that dry humor. However, Capron must have had some friends in high places as he was again given a new command almost immediately even though he lost his entire command and fled from battle not once but twice!

I think I can make a good scenario out of this action. Stay tuned for it and an associated action at barber's Creek.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Coming Thunder: Opps

I had it pointed out to me that the Campaign section was... well, missing something. He was absolutely correct. I have now corrected that mistake. I am making this available as a download from right here.

This now has options for Not only the Confederate forces but Union forces as well. Numbers of troops available for the artillery batteries are also present. Also starting troop ratings are present for each company type.

The Union troops are all based on troops that fought in the area throughout the time. While the New Jersey troops were technically in reserve, they did participate in several actions in the area of the Peach Orchard Battle that occurred along the Taylor's Tavern, Munson Hill, Mason's Hill and Falls Church line. The Union Cavalry, while not a New York or New Jersey unit was split up in penny packets (as was typical Union practice at the time) and two companies served with the New Jersey regiments.

Please take a look. This replaces the last few pages of The Coming Thunder.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

French & Indian War AAR: Caravan to William Henry

Many of my readers may remember that a few weeks ago I posted about a discovery of two separate documents relating to a battle during the French and Indian War. (Click here for the reference) I received many e-mails asking for more information about the battle and the prominent men featured in the action. After searching online and library sources I have finally found a reference to a few of these men. In particular, I found an early reference to Sergeant Duncan Kelley. This reference also contains mention of Jerome Long Tree, the Indian chief from the Abenaki Indians.

The reference was found in the memoirs of Captain Blaine Downs. It seems that this was an unpublished memoir that he wrote some years after the war but before the Revolutionary war. It is unclear as to the exact year he wrote the memoir but Captain Downs had left the Colony of New York and moved to Scotland by this time. The details of the events must have been blurred over the years but his account of the action is quite interesting.

His account begins as follows. "It was two years before the beginning of the war that I had joined the county militia. I was elected Lieutenant for our company. Militia service was one of the best times of my life. Our unit was far less martial and far more social. Most of our musters took place in the local tavern than on any parade field. As the Provincial units were being assembled in the year before the war, I was offered a commission with the Provincial unit as a captain of infantry. I was told my experience as a militia officer was valuable."

Given this background the following report of the battle that follows is slightly more clear. Captain Downs continued with his description of the training that they underwent. It seems that despite his lack of military efficiency, his battalion officer was an energetic officer and managed to teach the rudiments of drill to the company. We will skip on to the interesting bits.

"It was in the first year of the war, prior to the fall of Fort William Henry. My company was selected to escort a party of civilians and some essential military stores forward to Fort William Henry. From the edge of civilization it was over 14 miles through the darkest wilderness to the fort. It is no wonder that we could not hold the place."

"It was before our departure that I had the dubious honor of meeting Sergeant Duncan Kelley of the Rangers. The Rangers at this time were not the most military of units. None of Kelley's men had uniforms. Yet these backwoodsmen were reputed to be among the best troops when engaging the Indian in his natural habitat. I was not to find this to be the case. Kelley, a mere sergeant, accosted me before we left and informed me that he was related to my new ensign. Now I believe his name was Moss. Yes, Tyler Moss. The lad was not yet fifteen years in this world and his father had purchased his ensign's commission. The boy was worthless. Yet he was some kind of cater cousin to this Kelley who appeared to be fond of the boy. I was actually threatened by him to ensure that nothing would happen to him. Well, I informed him that my duty was to my King and my orders were to supply the fort and not play nursemaid to some pimply boy who had no business being an officer. I do not think this was a stellar beginning to our professional relationship."

"The trees were absolutely stunning as it was a crisp fall day. We approached the river we had to ford in order to reach the fort. We were still miles from the fort. The Rangers were no where in sight. I was told that if I could not see the Rangers, then they were doing their job. Needless to say, I was skeptical."

"I had deployed my small company with two thirds of the men at the head of the column and the remaining third in the rear under the capable command of Sergeant Mike Iggluden. The man was huge. A giant of a fellow. Just the thing to lead when under the guns of the enemy. Had to have come from some kind of foreign stock with a break teeth last name like that. The men took to calling him Sergeant Iggy. I could not disapprove as I could not pronounce that name either. I placed Moss with the men to for fore and myself directly behind the leading group. Behind myself was two cannon and their limbers, two ammunition wagons and many civilians. Also a strange Mohawk warrior was with us. A dour individual that barely spoke a word the entire trip."

"We had barely advanced far enough to have the river in sight when the woods to either side of the road erupted in gunfire. It was quite alarming. Reacting quickly, I placed the lead units in a line and halted the caravan. In addition, I called Sergeant Iggy and his men forward. As the gun fire continued to either side of the road, I decided to utilize the assets that we had. I ordered one of the guns to be unlimbered and brought forward. Being unfamiliar with artillery, we had a gun crew with us as part of the caravan. They rushed forward to get the gun into action."

"I was to learn several days later that the fight on the right hand side of the road went very poorly for the Rangers. It seems that they had stumbled upon an Indian and French Marine ambush on both sides of the road. Hopelessly outnumbered, the Rangers on the right were routed. However, most of those men survived the action. I was assured that they stood and fought for as long as they could but one has to wonder given their extraordinarily light butchers bill. I believe that the group on the right only lost one man of the twelve."

"Kelley, I was to later learn, led another group of twelve men on the left hand side of the road. His men fought on much longer than those on the right. But they too were repulsed. Kelley himself stayed to fight even though his men had fled the field, or so I have been told. I did hear the odd pop of a musket from the left apart from the shooting from the French and Indians."

"My men were engaged from the right hand side of the road by a large party of Indians. In their first volley, the Indians cut loose with a ferocious war cry that turned our bowels to water. Their musketry left much to be desired but one round did happen to find the young Mr Moss. The Ensign was struck between the eyes with a single shot and dropped dead at my feet. Not one man in the formation he was with even noticed the loss of the boy. My drummer was shaking in his boots yet he stood beside me throughout the entire fusillade."

"Our men fired back into the woods but not one man saw an Indian fall. Sergeant Iggy was able to get his men in a line on our left. The gunners were struggling to get the artillery into position. It seemed to take forever to move the gun and each second that ticked away cost my men their lives."

"Half of the men on the right had fired so much that their barrels were fouled and fighting was no longer an option. The other half had lost four men. Neither group could remain in the line and began to flee to the rear regardless of the encouragement and threats shouted at them. I ordered Sergeant Iggy to fall back but he was so involved in the firefight with the Indians to his front that he could not move. Finally, the gun was in position and loaded. A beautiful target presented itself. The French Marines formed a line near the road that was directly in line with the gun. We promptly fired on this target before it moved and we saw several men fall."

"The civilians had fled back down the road. Most of my command had fled as well. I was able to save Sergeant Iggy and his men and pull them back from the engagement. Unable to save the guns, I ordered them spiked and we set the ammunition carts alight as we fled the field. I was to later learn that the only Indians killed in this action were those that perished when the ammunition carts detonated. A French Marine officer that was captured two years later spoke to me of the skirmish. It seems that he was present at the time. The Indians rushed the ammunition carts looking for loot when the carts exploded. Three of the savages simply disappeared. So there was no bodies to be found. The French officer informed me that the Indians were lead by some fellow named Jerome Long Tree. A fierce individual that proved a terror to the settlers in the wilds of New York for years to come."

"The outcome of this embarrassing episode was that I was posted to a provincial unit guarding an island in New York harbor for the next year."


Saturday I had the privileged to play one of Mark's French and Indian War games. I commanded the Provincial unit and led them to ignominious defeat. The game was great fun even though my Captain's card seemed to cling to the bottom of the chip bag as if it were glued there. The player commanding the Rangers by pure luck destroyed the carefully planned ambush set up by the Indian and French players. However, his forces being so split had no real chance to win the fight against the Superior numbers of French and Indians.

Mark has more images of the game on his Flicker site. It was great fun. Sergeant Kelley attempted to use his Longue Carbine ability several times but failed to hit both times. The Rangers and Provincial troops could not buy good die rolls. The French rolled very well but the casualties were very light. Mostly alarming amounts of shock were accumulated that led to both units of Rangers breaking and nearly all three groups of Provincials breaking. I look forward to the next game in this series.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Coming Thunder: Scenarios for Terrible Sharp Sword

I have finished the supplement for the Too Fat Lardies Rules: Terrible Sharp Sword. There are 17 scenarios plus a campaign background to use with the campaign generator that comes with the rules. The scenarios are all from the first year of the war as is the campaign generator.
The campaign generator is focused on the "Battle of the Peach Orchard" in the Fall of 1861. The battle was no one battle but a series of linked skirmishes that occurred across numerous orchards of peaches in Northern Virginia. It is an entertaining piece of history as the skirmishes had basically come to a stop once the troops had picked the peach trees clean of fruit.
The scenarios cover the following skirmishes:
1) The Battle of Fairfax Courthouse - June 1, 1861
2) Ball's Crossroads - August 27, 1861
3) Bailey's Corners - August 28 - 30, 1861
4) Munson's Hill - August 31, 1861
5) Lewinsville Part 1 - September 10, 1861
6) Lewinsville Part 2 - September 10, 1861
7) Lewinsville - September 11, 1861
8) Lewinsville - September 25, 1861
9) Munson's Hill - September 28, 1861
10) Springfield Station - October 3, 1861
11) Little River Turnpike - October 15, 1861
12) Doolan's Farm - November 16, 1861
13) A Running Skirmish - November 18, 1861 (on the Fairfax Courthouse road)
14) Hunter's Mill - November 26, 1861
15) Dranesville - November 26, 1861
16) Falls Church - November 27, 1861
17) Annandale - December 2, 1861

All of these occur in a relatively small area of northern Virginia involving many of the same units. I am selling this for $10.00 from my PayHip Store.
Now this is availible for direct download:
This is now availible from my PayHip Store:

*** Update ***
Just a reminder, I have Rich's permission to use the Terrible Sharp Sword name and though published by me, it has his approval.
******Update 11/21/2011*******
I had a request for a sample of the scenario pack for folks to see what they would get. Click the link below for a sample from the document including the table of contents and most of a scenario.
Download Sample file
******Update 12/21/2011*******
I have created an errata page for a couple of other issues that have been pointed out. You can download the errata here: