Friday, December 21, 2012

Thoughts and Questions on Scenario Books

I put aside my AWI project to resume work on my East Front CSIR project. As I was looking through what I have so far, I was just curious, what is it that people are looking for in a scenario book? What are you really interested in?

For the most part, I have been writing towards what I want to do. An overview of the history of the battles that took place. Followed by any rule addendum that need to be added for the scenarios. And lastly anywhere from 18 to 25 scenarios on that topic. In some cases, such as my Greek Campaign and the East Africa one, I have included information for a Bag the Hun campaign for the air war fought over those particular battle grounds.

But what is it that you are looking for in a scenario book? What would you be interested in seeing? Does it need pictures of miniatures and terrain? Do you want period historical maps?

Granted, I tend to look for more obscure campaigns than other scenario authors. But what would get you to buy scenarios about the Italians on the Eastern Front in 1941?

As it stands, I have about 23 pages of background on the campaign covering August to December 1941. There will probably be about 25 scenarios total for both the IABSM and Troop, Weapons & Tactics rules.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Research for KMH & Sharp Practice

I happened across a website that has a collection of US Government documents related to the Naval Actions in the Revolutionary War through the War of 1812. This includes the Quasi War with France and the Barbary Pirate War as well.

These are collections of official documents, ships journal excerpts and first hand statements of anything related to the navy. I have been working my way through the Naval Documents of The American Revolution vol 2. This covers the period from September 1775 to December 1775. It has really proved to be worth the read thus far.

Hopefully, I will be able to get some time together and play a game of KMH based on some of the actions fought by the South Carolina Navy Schooner Defense shortly.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Finish Line in Sight and ... Hey Look at This!

Well, I am now finishing scenarios for my CSIR supplement when all of a sudden, along comes something very distracting. I started to read Robert H Patton's book "Patriot Pirates." This book has captured my imagination. It covers the role of Privateers in the American Revolution. For a history book, it is very entertaining. It describes much of the economic motivation behind several of the larger figures in Revolutionary history.

(Amazon's link

) The focus is primarily upon the New England privateers, particularly out of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. It emphasizes the role played by privateers in the success of the revolution and how the investors and privateers became some of the most wealthy men post-Revolution.

He begins with an incident where the HMS Gaspee was burned by Rhode Islanders because the Gaspee was doing too good of a job enforcing the tariffs on incoming goods to the colony. The men who backed the attack, would become some of the most influential financiers of the war.

The huge number of small ship actions that occurred between these privateers and the Royal Navy, Merchant Marine or Loyalist Privateers open a large possibility for the gaming table. A campaign system that tracks the success of these privateers started coming to mind.

What Patton paints is a picture of the vast scope of the privateering endeavor. When one looks for losses on the sea during the Revolution, only the state navies and the Continental Navy has their casualties listed in most histories. The privateers are left out as they were not real navy. Yet these amateurs inflicted some of the most serious losses upon the British and provided the Continental Army with much of its supplies. Yet the losses among the privateersmen were staggering. Pension applications of coastal towns show in some cases 50 to 100% losses among the men who so served. While the Continental Navy suffered less than 900 men killed, the losses of the privateers were in the thousands.

One comment by Patton was that "Daring as they were, most privateersmen were sea faring novices who could not find a rope in the night much less match the gunnery skill of British professionals." This would match with the losses that they suffered. The manic pace of raising privateers led to less and less seasoned crews being sent out. Their success rate was such that one successful cruise could pay for two unsuccessful ones or the loss of the vessel and its crews. Privateering was a lucrative business that even Generals among the Continental Army gambled in.

So far, all of my interest in the Revolution has been the campaigns in the Southern Theater, I immediately got to work on what happened locally. It seems that Charleston was a very active harbor in the South and produced a number of privateers as well as equipping and creating a navy of its own. From 1775 to 1780, Charleston was a very important hub of activity. A large number of naval battles and landing actions took place around or near Charleston Harbor.

Given my penchant for liking the early part of any war, I began to look up scenarios for 1775 and 1776 around Charleston Harbor to use for either Kiss Me Hardy or Sharp Practice.

This and I have a small Frigate that needs to get on a table at some point are really proving to be a distraction.

If you want to get caught up in my distraction, here is a little website that I highly recommend: . It has provided a wealth of information on the period for me as well as some superb info on ships and their commanders. I highly recommend it.

Now where did I put my copy of KMH... Oh, there it is.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

CSIR Campaign

Wow! Progress as last. I have started to really get into the scenarios now. I have divided the scenarios into several mini-campaigns for each of the major battles that the CSIR fought. I have divided the initial actions of August 11th and 12th, 1941 into five separate scenarios. So far I am really happy with how they are turning out.

At this point I have three scenarios completely done. Two more outlined and another two scenarios that are at 80%. At this point, I think I will have 20 scenarios by the time I finish it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Getting in a shape other than round.

Well, 2013 has a task for me of loosing some extra weight. I tried to convince my wife that selling a few lead miniatures would do the trick but all I received was a n angry look.

Instead her response was that we will run a half marathon in February. Here are some snippets of my side of the unfolding conversation. Great, says I. Running. That is rather manly. I can do that. Besides how far can that be. 13.2 miles!?! Oh. Rats. OK. That's cool. I can handle that. Disney World. Huh. That could be neat. Our son would love it. The marathon is WHAT? The Princess Half Marathon!?! You're sure about this? OK, OK. We can do the girly marathon.

My wife immediately signed us up and I just found out that not only am I running in the girly half marathon, I also am running for charity. Well, that is not too bad. Since we both work with kids, we picked the Ronald McDonald House charity (The Fund Raising Page) to run for. I have done many hospital visits for sick kids and I know how important the work that RMH does for families. They allow parents of sick kids to be able to afford to stay near their kids while they are in the hospital.

Well that is all well and good but in order to run for these guys, I have to help them raise $500.00. Anyone want to help me loose weight and support a great charity in the bargain? If you are interested, send me a mail at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

30,000 Posts

I was cruising through my blogger account and what to my wondering eyes did appear, but 30,000 hits to this site. Thank you to one and all that made this possible.

Well, I have done a little, tiny insignificant amount of work on the CSIR supplement last week while I was out of town. If I can get some real writing time, it may be possible to knock this out this month. Maybe. I would not hold me breath.

With Christmas coming ever so soon, what is everyone asking Santa for?

I would like some more East Front Terrain. What is on your wish list?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Looking to thin the Bookshelves

I have a bunch of books that I need to clear out. Most are from my research on the East Africa Supplement that I did a while back (They Call this a Picnic).

I am looking for $20 a piece for these plus shipping. If interested, please e-mail me off list cstoesen at Any interesting offer will be considered.

Michael Glover. 1987. An Improvised War: The Abussinian Campaign of 1940-1941. Leo Cooper: London.

Great overview of East African Campaign.

Guy Campbell. 1986. The Charging Buffalo: A History of the Kenya Regiment. Leo Cooper: London.

Covers the unit history up to 1956.

Peter Cochrane. 1977. Charlie Company: IN Service with C Company 2nd Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders 1940-1944. Chatto & Windus.

Covers from the Desert to East Africa to the Gothic Line. Good Book.

Denis Bloomfield-Smith. 2005. Fourth Indian Division Reflections: Memoirs of a Great Company. New Delhi: Reliance Publishing House.

Various reflections of the division that include Operation Battleaxe, East Africa, Cassino and even Peacekeeping operations in Greece.

James Ambrose Brown. 1990. The War of a Hundred Days: Springboks in Somalia and Abyssinia 1940-1941. Johannesburg: Ashanti Publishing House.

Fairly detailed account of the South Africans in East Africa.

R.T. Kerslake. 1997. Time and the Hour: Nigeria, East Africa and the Second World War. London: Radcliffe Press.

W. V. Brelsford. 1990 Reprint of 1954 edition. The Story of the Rhodesia Regiment. Bromley: Galago Publishing Ltd.

Covers both world wars.

John Nunneley. 2001. Paperback. Tales From the King's African Rifles: A Last Flourish of Empire. London: Cassell & Co.

Covers East Africa and Burma.

Brayton Harris. 1965. The Age of the Battleship: 1890-1922. New York: Franklin Watts, Inc.

Thanks for the commercial interruption.

Chris Stoesen

Friday, November 16, 2012

Plans for 2013... Already!?!

Recently on the TooFatLardies Yahoo group someone floated the question on plans for the year that folks have been providing all sorts of answers to that have been fun to read. My first thought was "shouldn't this be done in December right after Christmas?" Like seeing Christmas lights out and ON before Thanksgiving, it just felt too early. Then the more I read the more I realized how little I will probably accomplish on my 2012 to do list before this year runs out. Hmmmm.....

With that terrible thought, I was left with what should I try to have done by next year.

Number 1 - Finish writing the CSIR campaign for IABSM and Troop, Weapons and Tactics. I have nearly the whole of the historical section done. It follows the Italians from August 1941 all the way into December of 1941. It is up to but not including the Christmas battle.

Number 2 - Finish off my 15mm Terrain for the East Front. In the past month I have done more towards this than ever before. I have painted a burned out isba and a ruined shop. I still have the JR Miniatures ruined cafe and some other JR miniatures ruined building to go. All of my painted buildings need "dipping" and some more detail work before they are really table ready. What I really want to do is add to this. Ultimately, I would like another three burned out isbas and at least 3 more burned out buildings plus a rail station and a warehouse/factory.

Number 3 - Take some pictures of my East Front stuff and some of Mark's 6mm East Front stuff to go into the supplement. Yep, I am looking to add pretty pictures to it this time. Actually, this may be a good time to mention it. I would be willing to take submitted pictures from any of your collections to go into it if you are willing/interested. I will give you full credit for it as well. While I am on it, I could use a play tester or two as well....

Number 4 - Self publish my CSIR campaign. My goal it to sell 150 copies this time. That would hit a record for me personally and I would be thrilled to see that happen.

Number 5 - Play more games. I spend so much time researching and painting, but not nearly enough time playing games. I say this every year.

Number 6 - Submit another article to SOTCW. Not sure what about. Number 7 - Finish painting my Dux Britanarium Picts. Well, that is plenty. If I can get 1 through 4 done by the end of the 1st Quarter 2013, it will be a success.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Christmas is coming!

The call has gone forth for the TooFatLardies 2012 Christmas special. Looking around at what I had to offer, I found some work I had done on one of the predecessors of Dux Britannarium.

I put together three scenarios with some minor adaptions for Dux in the Viking age. Two of the scenarios are historical/legendary in nature. The first features a terrain element that I am sure everyone has laying around their garage - a beached whale. The scenario features combat on top of the beastie.

The second is the for the Battle of Heavenfield in the 600s AD. The last is a completely fictional encounter between two Viking bands on the high seas.

I love the TFL specials. Click here for past specials. It gives anyone a chance to be creative and get published. It also provides wargamers with a wealth of information, scenarios and in some cases whole rule sets. Always a fantastic value.

I must be slacking off. Last year I had 2 articles for the special. This summer, I did not submit anything. Oh well. I guess I am slowing down.

So come on. Dust off your pens. Contribute to the effort. Write something for the special.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Isba's and things

I managed to break out the paints again and got most of a burned out Russian isba painted up. I will get some pictures up of it soon with those Italian motorcyclists that I have been working on.

The bulk of my hobby time has returned to writing again with the CSIR supplement at the top of the list. I have the bulk of the history portion blocked out. The trick has been getting enough details for the scenarios that I am including.

The supplement will be a mix of scenarios for both Troops, Weapons and Tactics as well as IABSM3. There were some really good descriptions of small unit actions on the islands of the Dniepr River that I could not pass up.

I am also thinking of including more than just actions taken by the 80th Roma Regiment. The siege of Petrikovka has some perfect encounters where a group of L3/35 tanks are being supported by a company of infantry through the town. Also in the relief of Nikitovka, there is an opportunity to include some Italian Cavalry troops. It should add some fun to the campaign.

Anyway, while poking around I found some fun pictures.

The first shows the Italian trucks (of which there were far too few and many were civilian trucks) moving through the Ukraine. I like the attempt at camouflage that attempted.

The next is from the Book La Pasubio sul Fronte Russo by Vittorio Luoni, published in 1977. The picture is after the text on page 113. This shows how badly equipped they were for their first winter on the Russian Front. Here in October, they stand out like sore thumbs. Their uniforms do not blend into the snow.

Anyway, it has proved to be very interesting reading.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Writers Block

Work on the CSIR supplement has ground to a halt in terms of having anything to show for my time spent on it. I am still translating some documents from Italian to English. I was given a source for 1:250,000 scale maps that are period accurate. But other than that, nothing.

Between work and a sick family, little is getting accomplished. But on the bright side, Rich has informed me that my Mud and Blood supplement is undergoing review! Hopefully this means that it might be ready for publication in November. That would be great to see it get published.

As to figure painting, I have not held a brush in 2 weeks. The weather is starting to turn and it is time to pull in the paints from the garage before they freeze.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Maps and Confusion

I have been making some real progress with the CSIR supplement for IABSM and TW&T. However I am really struggling to find some period maps of the battles that were fought in 1941.

I have found a great site that has Heereskarte maps from wwii: While it has great maps, it lacks the index maps. Then I found this site: The second site is modern maps that match to the WWII versions.

These are great but an incomplete set of WWII maps. In particular, I am looking for the L-37-04 series maps. The WWII-Photos-Maps have several 1:50,000 maps as well as 1:100,000 maps. Ultimately what I would love to get would be 1:25,000 scale maps. That may be hoping for too much.

I have managed to get maps for Gorlovka (M-37-137A), Nikitowka (M-37-125C) and several others. What is confusing is the large number of towns in a relatively close area that all have the same names. The sheer volume of towns named Nikolajewka is just confusing.

Anyone know of any sites that would have these maps?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Running with the Mad Baron - Or what to do when stuck in the Frozen North

OK, to be fair, it was not that cold and there was no snow. But I was stuck for a week in Minnesota on a business trip. To relieve me of any potential boredom, Alan once again was a gracious host to this misplaced Southerner and treated me to a fun game set in the Back of Beyond using the Setting The East Ablaze rules.

The game was a prep game for Alan for a much larger game he was planning on running later on. The long and short of it was, I had great fun.

--------------------------------------------------- The following is the excerpt of a journal discovered by a sailor from the USS Albermele in the basement of a brothel in 1937 while on liberty in Shanghai. The journal was being used as toilet paper at the time as the brothel owner did not speak Russian. Fortunately our sailor was an expatriate from Imperial Russia.

Liberating the journal from its base usage, what has been discovered is a fascinating and highly personal view of a Russian nobleman who served as an aide-de-camp to a Russian that he only identified as "The Mad Baron". While an educated guess can be made to his identity, we will leave this figure in obscurity.

The elements of the journal that describe the authors escape from bolshevik Russia are lost to history. What we are left with is a bitterness towards the Reds for the loss of his country, home and family. This bitterness led to reckless behavior to extract revenge on any Reds that both he and the Mad Baron would come across.

The first incident in the journal is dated October 17, 1921. It seems that the size of the Mad Baron's forces have grown significantly. No longer just formed from Russians and Cossack Whites, they have accumulated an odd assortment of troops. These included some Europeans (Freikorps), Tibetian irregulars (wielding ancient matchlocks) and Mongolian cavalry. His force was motorized as the White Russian officers battalion was fully motorized and also was supported by both artillery and an armored car. The artillery transport team was such that could only be found in the back of beyond, the weapon was towed by Yaks.

By October of 1921, the force was running desparately low on supplies. Apparently, in the chaotic environment of China in the 1920s, a warlord was maintaning a supply depot in a nearby town. The Baron ordered the attack and sent his forces to attack the town.

Surprisingly, there was only one other faction involved. The Chinese warlord Li Fook was the owner of a factory producing ammunition and explosives. The town it self was a small affair of a few small buildings. Some of the streets had been blocked off to create strong points throughout.

The Chinese forces were numerous. There was a large force of students, a force of elite Dare to Die forces, and two large groups of regular infantry. These were supported by a mortar, a heavy machinegun and a single artillery piece.

The Baron initiated the attack by sending his Mongolian Cavalry to the right and Cossacks up the left of the village. Both of these were hampered by the poor ground that surrounded the village. I was attached to the Tibetians and sent up the right side to occupy a close by house. Our men moved slowly and it seemed we would not reach the house. The armored car raced up to the corner of the house and promptly broke down. It would stay there for the rest of the battle. The White Officers mounted in their truck raced straight ahead through the gate and to the center building directly ahead of them. The ponderous Yak pulled artillery piece moved towards the first of the sandbag barricades.

The Chinese allowed the advance unmolested for quite some time. The Mongolian Cavalry was escorted by the Baron himself and they nearly turned the flank of the Chinese regulars.

While to our left the Cossacks had run into trouble from the other Chinese regulars on the roof of a nearby building. These troops were cut up badly by the riflemen. The Freikorps advancing behind them attempted to give the Cossacks some relief by engaging the men on the roof. The building next to the artillery turned out to be the home of Chinese Dare to Die troops. These troops overwhelmed the crew of the artillery piece. All but for one brave yak driver who held on longer than any of the crew. The survivors of the Dare to Die troops were engaged by the White Russian officers and the remaining Cossacks.

The Dare to Die troops were destroyed to a man. The Freikorps and the White officers destroyed the Chinese regulars on the left flank. The Russian machinegun team worked their way towards where the abandoned gun was.

On my front, the Mongol Cavalry came under machine gun fire that killed several men. Led by the Baron they charged ahead and were met by more Chinese regulars. These the cavalrymen butchered with glee. My Tibetian troops finally arrived at the house and occupied it.

My Tibetian troops took to the roof of the house and came directly under fire from the machine-gun team that had worked on the Mongol cavalry. While suffering terrible casualties, my men held firm and fired a volley into a jasail team on an opposite roof, removing this thorn from our side. I would order my men outside of the house to continue the advance.

What happened next is why the Baron is such a legend. He led the remnants of the Mongols to assault the Chinese artillery. He led them to the very walls of the artillery compound and then turned and single-handedly destroyed the machine-gun nest that had killed so many of his Mongols. The Mongols would die to a man as the Chinese students moved forward and fired into the flank of the cavalry.

Such a courageous display led us forward into heavy mortar fire where more of my brave Tibetians fell. My heart swells with pride as I write this as these men did nor break in the face of such loss. They only sought to advance forward and forward again.

To the left, the White officers and Freikorps were now in the center of the town. They cleared a lane for the machinegun team to attack the students who appeared to be the only remaining source of resistance. Before they could be engaged, the last remains of the Cossacks charged with suicidal fury into the Chinese host.

With all enemy resistance crushed within the town, the Baron burst into the ammunition factory. Seizing a flaming brand from a coolie's hand he secured the factory before it could be destroyed. With this victory, we now have the arms and equipment we need to carry on the fight against the red menace.

Dux Britanarium - First Game

On October 13th, I managed to get in a solo game in of Dux Britanarium. What I found was that the game flowed really well and the turns moved quickly even with some fumbling on my part and the distraction of having the TV on at the same time.

What the scenario did teach me is that if you are not in a shield wall and you are Romano-British, you are dead.

The game started with the table setup. Since I was the only one playing, I used all of the terrain that I had available. The farm itself comprised three buildings. Since I only own one dark age building, I used some Russian Front Ukrainian buildings to fill in for the other two. The farm had sheep and a pair of cows/oxen as well. Below is a blurry picture that looked better at the time I took it.

And to the east of the farm...

To the north of the farm was some fields. It was from this direction along the road that the Saxons would enter.

I have attempted to spare you from some of the worst of the setup shots. Here is a table level view of the farm. Note that this is before I noticed in the rules that it needed to be three buildings.

The pre-game festivities had the Britions getting some good rolls from a stirring speach from their lord and adding to their overall staring morale. The Saxons sought some advice of their gods who gave them bad omens. The twins decided that they would rather live and sit this battle out. With the Saxon lord having his group morale lowered by the bad omens, he decided that the only way to have a happy force was to open the bar. Drinks for everyone! Well it seems that this did the trick and they were back up to their original starting morale. Both sides agreed that it would be best not to mess with a good thing and lets get the show on the road.

The Saxons had two turns of movement in which they could advance unmolested across the board. This would have been great for them if not for the abysmal movement die rolls. The entire force did not clear more than nine inches from their edge of the board in two turns.

Once the Saxons had their two turns to move, the Britons began to arrive to save the farm. I thought the Saxons moved poorly, well the Britons had nothing on them. The Saxons bottlenecked themselves attempting to move up the road. This left a column of warriors stuck behind the elites and skirmishers.

And a closer picture of our Saxons heroes.

The Britons eventually arrive.

Both forces utilize the road and head towards each other. The Britons get seriously bogged down and are stuck between a small wood and a field while the Saxons begin to get underway. The Saxons send a lord and a group of warriors to raid the farm and the Saxon skirmishers run to the farm to look for a better position to harass the Britons. This proves to be an excellent move as the skirmishers reach the farm as do the warriors who immediately begin to search for loot.

The advantage was definitely in the hands of the Saxons when the two sides finally met in combat. With only the single group of British elites in the front who were being shot at by skirmishers and attacked by two groups of Saxon elites, it lead to a route of the British elites.

The elites falling back through the British warriors behind them severely shook the British warriors. The Saxon Elites pressed forward and engaged a group of the British warriors while the Saxon skirmishers turned their attention to the approaching British skirmishers. Notice that I have yet to acquire any casualty figures. Instead I resorted to using my IABSM tokens to mark casualties and dice for shock.

One group of British warriors was routed off of the board. Giving more shock to the regrouping elites and causing a group of levy to nearly break as well. The second group of Warriors charged forward and hit one side of the Saxon elites as shock was beginning to wear these warriors down.

The British had some success against the Saxons with the counter charge but it was too little too late. With the levy having not been engaged and the Elites and Warriors already broken, the Saxons moved forward their fresh troops forward. To preserve what was remaining of the British force, the British decided to leave the field to the Saxons who were more than happy to raid the farm.

The game was not as bloody as I thought it would be. The shock was the deciding factor. The Saxons had a very good run of Fate cards in their initial combat. The Saxons lost 2 of their elites. The British lost two elites, three warriors and a skirmisher. I still have to resolve how much loot the Saxons walked away with. What really amazed me was how quickly the action proceeded. If I would not have had the distractions, I could have resolved the game quicker than the setup and take down of the terrain went. I think i will try for a wider table next time. I used a 6' x 2.5' table that was a bit narrow and probably lent itself to creating the choke points.

Monday, October 22, 2012

What to do when you have insomnia....

Well, it was an interesting night. The medication to help get me past the sinus infection that I have led to a sleepless night. So at 2am, what do you do when you can't sleep? Apparently my solution is to paint 4 Italian Bersaglieri motorcycles with riders as a starting point for a mounted platoon of Bersaglieri motorcyclists. The motorcycles ended up looking rather bland but about right from the black and white pictures that I have found.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Birthday Present

Just got in my birthday present to my self. I bought the last 3 minis for my Romano-brits. They are perfect. I also picked up a big man for my picts. Great miniature pointing and holding an axe. While cruising thier web site, I found the next two must have miniatures. Bards. There is a harpist in both the Robin Hood snd Scots-Irish personality packs. These would add a some color to the force. No clue how to use them on a table. Now my birthday is not till Sunday. I am thinking of a contest. I think the most comments on this blog has been six. I will give away the persons choice of SCW, WWII or AWI 15mm miniatures for the 10th comment that has a useful painting, basing or terrain tip. The miniatures will be enough for a full squad of troops or a an armored. Vehicle. I will chech on this back on Sunday...

Sorting through the Lead Pile - WWII USA

While searching for the right base for my Dux cavalry I started going through my drawers looking for something suitable. What I came across was an assortment of miniatures that I have not done anything with in a long time.

At one time I had started going through my collection an photographing what I had ready to game with. (See this page) But I had not gotten my act together and continued with that post series.

The first drawer I came to was my East Front Italians as I was planning on putting them in the painting queue next now that my Dux Britanarium forces are done. But immediately under those were my WWII US Troops. It had been so long that these figures have seen the light that I had forgotten what I had. I remembered having a decent size force to play a game of TW and T. What I found was much more.

This is one of the few armies that I have where I have not painted any of the infantry. I purchased these a couple years ago to get in some Normandy games.

I did manage to paint the armor and the half-tracks. The three half-tracks are Old Glory/Command Decision miniatures. I really like these for some reason. I really do need to either get some decals or learn how to paint a star. The Shermans (of which I have no clue what model) are also Old Glory miniatures. The stars look pretty bad on these too but overall I am happy with the result.

In front of the half tracks are a .50 cal MG team and a .30 cal Browning MG team along with a bazooka team. Then There is the three squads of my platoon. I left these mostly on the bases that they came on. I rebased some Big Man types on US pennies and the platoon leader is based on a old one Franc coin (not sure why now).

Following this is the work I have left to do. First is more armor. I have a M24 Chaffee that I have no idea where it came from. As you can see, it has not even made its way out of the packaging yet. Also in the packaging, is another pack of Old Glory half-tracks. That should give me enough to field a full strength mechanized platoon. The last item of this is a sherman dozer tank that I bought to do the Normandy bocage busting. It is a FOW miniature.

The biggest surprise is a FOW box of a US infantry company. It has a small tent command post. There are over 100 figures in the box and I had no idea that I had this. 72 riflemen, 7 radiomen, 7 pistol armed officer types, 2 wounded/dismounted tankers, 11 men with Thompson guns, 4 officers with M1 carbines, four NCOs signaling with a rifle, 6 fellows with bazookas and 6 with BAR guns. Lastly it came with two fellows who are either loading an AT gun or holding mortar rounds. All in all, it is a pleasant surprise to find. I completely don't remember getting this. Now it needs paint. It is a good problem to have.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dux Britanarium Updates

Well, I have managed to figure out both sides in my campaign. I have enough figures painted to begin. But I can't seem to get the time to get in a game. This is slightly frustrating.

I did manage to paint up the command pack of Outpost WarGames Services minis. The drummer, Dog handler officer and standard bearer all came out fairly well. I think I will use them in some sort of foederati force at some point. I did not paint up their shaman/wizard/diapered adult figure in his odd standing on one leg pose. I also have quite a few left over Saxons. I painted up a couple of them to provide the first round of possible reinforcements for the campaign.

Next up was some Saxon cavalry. I bought well over a year ago the marvelous Splintered Light Saxon cavalry pack. Before Dux came out, I did not know what kind of command elements were needed for cavalry. So I dutifully searched and found Outpost Wargames Services. I purchased their cavalry pack which had all of one pose - Man on horse holding arm up in air. It was up to you to put either a spear or a standard into the man's hand. I managed to paint up two of the SLM cavalry and promptly left them on a painting stick and stared at the OWS figures for months. I put some paint on them this past week and have started to like them a bit. The standard bearer is nice (apart from my terrible banner painting). The skull theme fits in nicely with the SLM standard bearers. I have only bothered to paint 4 of the 9 miniatures that I have. I will paint the other 4 SLM miniatures but the remaining OWS mounted figure will sit neglected.

Next I have painted up some actual levy troops for the Romano-British. I am missing 3 to complete out the force. That is a frustrating bit. But still, I think they are turning out OK.

The only item that I am actually missing is the Hero for the Romano-Brits. I finished this too. Along with a mounted version (the start of a cavalry unit to be made later) and a "merlin" figure. Not sure what he will be used for. I need to find suitable figures for bards for both the Saxons and Romano-Brits.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Small Milestone

I just hit a small milestone today. I sold the 70th copy of The Coming Thunder. This is the most copies of any of the three books I am selling on my own. Looking back, my two North African BTH/CY6 scenario books have sold 77 copies combined.

To all of you who have purchased, you have my thanks. I hope to have my East Front supplement completed this year (well, maybe). For now, the working title is "For the Glory of Rome: Actions of the 80º Roma Infantry Regiment of the CSIR: August – December 1941". I hate coming up with titles. Anyone have any better ideas?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Distractions, Musings and Other stuff

Did you ever have one of those days where you were making decent progress on a task and suddenly "Oh Shiny" and you find yourself googling Late Roman army formations in the West for several hours? Well I had nearly completed an entire scenario for my East Front project when just such a moment occurred. All productive work stopped and suddenly I have 5 pages of notes on an army I may not buy.

On the plus side, I did manage to find several Russian language articles that are helping me with the scenarios for the east front CSIR stuff. One by Major General Ivan Terent'evich Zamertsev, who then was the commanding general of the 255th Rifle Division during the defense of Dnepropetrovsk.

Article Link

It is a really good article that I may have mentioned before. I did find another forum that was discussing the memoirs of a private soldier during September 1941 that described the conditions from his point of view. It painted a bleak picture indeed. He was a soldier in the 972nd Rifle Regiment attached to the 255th Division.

Article Link

His notes state that the new recruits were untrained, ill equipped and often went without food or water. Both articles are enlightening and go toward explaining how the Italians were able to achieve the successes that they did with so few casualties.

Then I started thinking about the Kettle Creek scenario from Saturday. The reinforcements were not coming and not having them is lethal for the Rebels. I am thinking of changing it (if I ever reissue it) to have 2 blank cards in the deck to drive reinforcements. One for the Rebels and the other for the Loyalists. Provide separate charts for each with a greater likelihood that Rebel reinforcements will arrive. Also, I will update the scenario to specify musicians for several of the big men. That was a glaring omission from the scenario.

Once home, I began to paint. I have been making some excellent progress on some leftover figures for Dux Britanarium when all of a sudden, I started to write this blog post. Hmmmmm...... I think I need to get some sleep.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Saturday's alright for fighting or AWI action at Kettle Creek

This past Saturday, Mark hosted another fantastic game of Sharp Practice. He ran the scenario "Kettle Creek" from "This Land Divided". The actual battle did not occur that far from Atlanta on February 17, 1779. The battle was joined when a force of South Carolina and Georgia Militia under Colonels Pickens and Dooly chased a large column of Loyalist militia through the South Carolina back country and into Georgia.

The Loyalists were from North and South Carolina. They were under the overall command of Colonel Boyd. The North Carolinians were under the nominal command of Lieutenant Colonel John Moore. Moore would not play any part in the action and would be among the few that reached the safety of Augusta.

I arrived a half hour late for the game after getting caught in traffic on I-285. When I arrived I was given command of Colonel Picken's force. The other two rebel players were commanding Major McCall's advanced force.

Mark's table was once again just beautiful. McCall's troops encountered a small patrol off of the main defensive line and exchanged fire with them for several turns.

Eventually, Pickens deployed to the table. Picken's force was four groups of 10 men each with two subordinate commanders. One of the commanders took the extreme left of the line and began a slow, slow advance that would get him to the fence line before the end of the game. But his unit stayed intact. The other three groups took quite a pasting. The second subordinate first received a card that he stepped in something that slowed his movement. Then he was killed by enemy fire. His group took three kills and a number of shock that effectively froze them in place. Pickens took the other groups forward and managed to drive off two enemy groups before his units had to withdraw due to accumulated shock. Pickens spent the last couple of turns removing shock and joining three different groups of survivors into a workable force.

The loyalists received several reinforcements late in the game. This would turn the tide. The Rebels received one group of 8 men as reinforcements with no leaders. Once spotted off their blinds they just stood there and exchanged ineffective long range fire with the loyalist reinforcements. The loyalists received not only troops but additional big men to supplement their forces. By the time we called the game, McCall's troops were very battered and unable to push the fight. Pickens had just gotten two groups together from the remains of three. There was one other group that was in good shape. The rebels had taken the ridgeline but could not hold it. The fresh loyalist troops would have swept them away.

At the top of the photo above, you can make out the loyalist column advancing. As you can see, the loyalists had been driven from the fence line but the rebels were too battered. It was great fun. One loyalist leader had a unit that ended up short on ammo for most of the game, then set the woods on fire and then started a cattle stampede. One of the greatest sets of bonus cards/random events I have seen in a long time.

Thanks Mark, for another great game.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Pintrest - Who knew

I have spent months mocking my wife's interest in Pintrest. She spends countless hours on the site OHing and AHing over others ideas. Then I had a crash. Lost all of my bookmarks in Firefox. Guess who smugly told me that "if I had Pinned it, it would not be gone.

I kept my thoughts to my self as I like to sleep indoors. Then I poked around Pintrest. 99% of the site has no interest for me at all. However, viewed as a storage medium for my links and tracking ideas people have posted - this thing is great!

You can organize the links and it has proven itself to be pretty handy. Here is the link to my page. I don't think this has gotten much penetration into the Wargaming community. Taking a quick look, I found mostly Warhammer and the like but there was one nice Vietnam game of Force on Force pinned from an Italian site.

Who knows, maybe this will end up more than just something my wife does and I use to keep from loosing my bookmarks.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Campaign Starts - Romano-British Story

The young man removed his helmet from his head. Even with the chill of the late winter day, his hair was matted with sweat. The young man nodded to his two companions as they stood outside of the tent. The royal guards were standing fully armed and cloaked in fur against the cold. The young nobleman announced himself to the guards, "I am Bitucus ap Belator and these are my men Vindilus and Dubnus. We are here to see the kings."

It seemed so strange to say that. The twins Gwrgi and Peredur seem to have made a good beginning at protecting Ebrauc from their enemies. It was time to present himself to court. His father's death left an ache in his heart but he was prepared to take his place in the order of battle for the twin kings.

With a slight movement, the tent opened and the two men hurried inside. The large tent was heated by several braziers making the internal temperature nearly comfortable. Only Gwrgi was present. He waved the three men forward. They dropped to their knees in front of their king and muttered "My liege" in unison. He motioned for them to stand. The men did so and pledged their swords and honor to the twin kings of Ebrauc.

Gwrgi stood and walked them to a map of the kingdom. He pointed to the northern border. The Saxons have created their own kingdom north of us. They now call it Bernicia. We have word that they will begin to send raiders south this year. We also expect more trouble from the Picts. Our friends in Strathclyde are trying to plug the borders but there is only so much he can do and the Picts love to sail their Curraghs around so they could land anywhere. The Saxons are probably bringing in more men from across the sea as well. I need your men to help guard the north. We have some foederati guarding the shore in the south. However, they have to be carefully watched."

The briefing went on for quite some time. Bitucus met several other commanders at this time. By the time they left,he and his two nobles (Vindilus and Dubnus) were weary and ready to be home. They rode through the night and were met by Paltucca near his home. It was time to raise the men.


Bitucus ap Bikk is a lordling of Ebrauc. Living near Catraeth he is of average build and a moderately wealthy man with a thief's horde of treasure to support his forces. He is a Son of a Warlord and descended from both noble Briton and Roman stock. His one failing is his lustful nature. The local priest, Father Mellitus often admonished him to settle down and get married. Instead he sought out pleasures of the flesh as the urge grabbed him.

Vindilus on the other hand is an exile of fallen Bernaccia. An older man than Bitucus by a mere five years, the man found shelter in the halls of Bitucus as well as a kindred spirit in his lustful exploits.

The last noble of the household was Dubnus. He was descended from solid Roman stock and generations back for five generations served to defend Britain. He is a devout Christian and probably the sole reason that Father Mellitus has not shaken the dust off of his feat and left Bitucus to his own folly. What drives Dubnus is his fierce ambition. He will not rest until he can command an army in the field and defeat the enemies of his King.

Lastly is old Paltucca. He was the champion of Bitucus' father and the young pup had the sense to keep him in the role. He has trained many men in the proper use of arms. It is the hope of old Paltucca that he has passed his skills of war on to enough men to hold off the pagan hordes. Hopefully they may, by God's grace, survive another year.

The troops of the household are not in the shape that Paltucca would wish. The household guard (the milites) are well trained and an efficient force. There is just not enough of them.

The Numeri are also in good shape.

However the Velites or levy are not much to be desired. They lack everything. Most are freemen farmers with no military experience. A few have been detailed off who have hunting experience to serve as skirmishers.

But the rest only make up for their lack with numbers. Many are equipped with only rudimentary weapons or farm implements. When battle comes, these poor men will be without shield nor armor. The blacksmith and cooper are attempting to rectify the situation but it may take some time.


Well, I have my base forces painted. I am lacking about 3 figures to have enough to paint up real levy troops for the game but wanted to try out the concept of peasant levy.

I figure that they would not have the ability to form a shieldwall. Possibly have a force morale of their own that is one less than the rest of the force? They should only be present when on the defensive and protecting their village/town/farms. Possibly add a hesitant troops card into the main deck that would eliminate the levy's movement for that turn unless it is in a retrograde (retreat) movement. Any other ideas? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

The Campaign Starts - The Saxon Story

The house was full to capacity. The snows had not yet started yet the fire in the pit was roaring and making the room stuffy and close. The old man's hacking cough had most of the men attempt to lean away from him until he spoke. His voice was still a strong, deep rumble. He clapped his right hand on the shoulder of his son. The fingers were grotesquely swollen from the gout. He began to speak to his assembled men. "I will not survive this winter. I am turning over command to my son, Hengst. Now that we have a home here in Bernicia, it is time to expand. Hengst will take you into battle in the spring. I count on you to uphold him as you once served me."

The door burst in on the hall. The flames of the great fire were nearly extinguished from the rush of air from the open door. Two men strode into the room. The room fell to a hushed silence as they watched the men approach the table and nod to the old man. Heca and Brihtric looked over the group gathered in the hall. Heca spoke, "Greetings Aethelgeard. May Woden bless you and your family. Please proceed. We wish to offer our support great ealdorman." Heca was the speaker of the twins. Brihtric simply stroked the sleeping snake wrapped around his neck. The two men were reputed to be powerful wizards.

The old man nodded. He slowly turned to the large beast of a man, "Eadbald, you have been my champion. Will you serve my heir?"

The huge man was fierce in battle and loyal to a fault. However, he was as sharp as a sponge. He started at the dying ealdorman for several moments until the answer came to his lips, "Yes my lord."

Turning to each of the two nobles that were in his retinue he repeated the question and had them swear oaths to Hengst. Once the oaths were finished, the mood of the gathering turned festive. Several of the household guard cheered the old man and Hengst. But Hengst just stared into the fire. He was already planning his first action. Taking the corrupt kingdom of Eburac from Eliffer would be difficult. The crafty Briton had many spearmen but also many enemies. His sons appeared to be competent warriors in their own right. The Picts were a sore spot for them as well as the men of Gwenddoleu. It was impossible to figure out their politics. But his most important asset was his uncle - Wulfgar. Wulfgar commanded the foederati in the town of Deira. They were supposed to protect Ebrauc from ... well him. But blood is more important than gold. Just need to find the right time.

Less than four weeks after the party, the men had reassembled for his father's funeral. Before the pyre had burned itself out, he outlined his plan to his father's, now his, men. "It will begin with a raid...."

After laying out the plan, the two nobles Osweald and Leofwig simply nodded. "At the first sign of spring, we head south. The land is ripe for the picking. We will press toward the town of Catraeth and see what is to be had. We will pay King Ida his due and carve a kingdom of our own."

Hengst was tall and strong. He has always been a capable athlete and born of a proud noble lineage just as his two nobles. He had just celebrated his 28th year in what the Christians were calling 549AD. His father's death left him in possession of all of the loot gathered from the conquest of Bernicia that his men had gathered and possessed a Tribunes Tribute.

Osweald on the other hand was short and wiry. Yet at 34 years of age, he was a veteran warrior of many battles and a master at arms. Leofwig was of a similar build to Hengst but younger at just 23 years. Leofwig is a man of an iron liver. It is a trait that will have to be watched closely. The slowcoach Eadbald is a mountain of a man and the eldest of these men at 36 years. Yet his strength was as great now as it had been ten years earlier.

Each of these men had been dwarfed by the reputation of Hengst father. A situation Hengst was prepared to remedy quickly. They would rise in reputation even if it cost him his life. The twins had rejoined him. One stood to either side. No words were spoken but apparently, the two wizards had just pledged support to Hengst.

The roles were assigned. Osweald would command the Gedridht while Leofwig would command the Geoguth. They had a small group of skirmishers to act as scouts. The twins insisted on going with them. It was going to be a very interesting year.