Thursday, February 8, 2024

Rebels and Patriots Confederates in 1\72 plastic

 When I got back into wargaming 10 years ago, I was committed to 1\72 plastics. It's where we started way back in the 1960s. My friend and I have quite a few armies in the old classic scale.

The ACW has always been a favorite of mine. I painted up these Confederates early on in my return to wargaming.

My original theme was early war Hampton's Legion since it comprised of infantry, cavalry, and artillery in the manner of the War of Independence legions.

I added units to the theme but kept the basic idea of a South Carolina Rebels and Patriots "company" although I use unit names.

These are IMEX figures. This was my original Hampton's Legion battery. I use two guns instead of the RP one for looks purposes.

These are my metal exceptions in the group. They are Musket Miniatures they picked off of eBay because they are cool figures. In RP they will be used as mounted skirmishers.

Italeri Confederate cavalry. Beautiful set of figures. I did them in regulation uniforms to depict early war Hampton's Legion.

The mounted cavalry figures are Italeri and look like they are supposed to be the famous 1st Virginia. The dismt figures are IMEX. 

General Wade Hampton from the Italeri set.

In Rebels and Patriots, dismounted cavalry are in 6 fig skirmish units. I use them in 12 fig units as light infantry but change their stats to 5\12" to represent the carbines and mixed weapons. Most of these are Italeri, but the command figures are Musket Miniatures.

Italeri Confederate infantry. I have two units of 18 for Rebels and Patriots.

The unit in front is ESCI except for the command figures, which are metal 20mm from Newline. The back unit is classic Airfix. They are the infantry component of Hampton's Legion.

Three units of skirmishers. They are a mix of Italeri and ESCI.




Monday, January 1, 2024

Viking Raid 992AD

 Happy New Year!

Over the holidays I managed to put together a Lion Rampant2 game featurng most of my vintage Vikning and Anglo\Saxon figures. The players would be my son Justin and my grandson Ian (age 13). Justin had played once before and but Ian had not although both have played Rebels and Patriots, a game system that uses similar mechanisms. I filled the role as scenrio designer and game master.


Historical Background

Sweyn Forkbeard (Old Norse: Sveinn Haraldsson tjúguskegg [ˈswɛinː ˈhɑrˌɑldsˌson ˈtjuːɣoˌskeɡː];[3]Danish: Svend Tveskæg; 17 April 963[1] – 3 February 1014) was  King of Denmark from 986 until his death, King of England for five weeks from December 1013 until his death, and King of Norway from 999/1000 until 1013/14. He was the father of King Harald II of Denmark, King Cnut the Great, and Queen Estrid Svendsdatter.[2]

In the mid-980s, Sweyn revolted against his father, Harald Bluetooth, and seized the throne. Harald was driven into exile and died shortly afterwards in November 986 or 987.[4] In 1000, with the allegiance of EricEarl of Lade, Sweyn ruled most of Norway. In 1013, shortly before his death, he became the first Danish king of the English after a long effort.

The "Chronicle of John of Wallingford" (c. 1225–1250) records Sweyn's involvement in raids against Englandduring 1002–1005, 1006–1007 and 1009–1012. According to Ashley (1998), Sweyn's invasion was partly motivated by the St. Brice's Day Massacre in November 1002, where Danes in England were massacred under orders from Æthelred the Unready, in which Sweyn's sister and brother-in-law are said to have been killed,[16] but Lund (2001) argues that the main motivation for the raids was more likely the prospect of revenue.[12]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweyn_Forkbeard

Scenario

Viking raiding parties are attacking up and down the English coast. Some of the parties are pentrating well inland, buring and looting at every opportunity. One raiding force under Erik Forkbeard, a very young son of Swein divided his force into two parties to obtain even more revenue.

Their raid has been successful. The two parties are attmepting to reunite and get back to their ships before the Select and General Fyrd can catch up to them..

To the Vkings surprise the Midlands Select Fyrd has managed to block their path. The General Fyrd has not yet made an appearance but cannot be far behind. Erik's forces are still divided by close by. Erik's objective is to get past the Anglo\Saxons with the loot with a little more than half his force, but more if possible.

The Anglo\Saxons are led by Byrnoth the Bold.Byrnoth's goal is to make the Viking Raiders pay a heavy price and recapture as much of the loot as possible.

The Forces




The Vikings

Erik is the leader and has the Agressive trait as does the other Viking leader with the second unit of Huscarls. The trait enables one unit to activate automatically per turn. Ian used this ability to great effect.

OB

2 Units of Huscarls

1 Unit of Berserks (They have the Fearsome upgrade.)

3 Units of HvInf, one of which is "expert."

1 unit of skirmishers.

7 units total

Reinforcements from the above were one unit of Huscarls, the Berserkers and one HvInf (Turn 4)

The Anglo\Saxons

3 units of Select Fyrd (Thegns) two of which are expert.

3 units of General Fyrd, all have the javelin upgrade.

2 units of skirmishers

8 units total

The reinforcements from the above were the three units of General Fyrd and one unit of skirmishers (Turn 5)

The Game

Ian knew where his reinforcements would come in bascailly on the Anglo\Saxon left. Justin knew generally where they could come on and just basically where his General Fyrd would come on. 

Ian tried to pin in place the Anglo\Saxon units on his left and center while drifting to his right to get in the area where the reinforcements would arrive.

Since Justin was unaware of eaxactly where the flank attack would come from he concentrated his initial force in the center and on his right flank. Ian's initial set up therefore favored his flank attack while Justin was isolated from it.

Justin attacked from his center with his two best Select Fyrd units agains Ian's "expert" HvInf.The HvInf managed to inflict more losses than received and did batter the two units while getting battered itself. This initial melee would have consequences later on. The Vking unit never did rally and eventually routed whike the twoAngl\Saxon units did rally but their losses weakened them.

From there Ian continued to work toward his left trying to use an impassable marsh as a block to Angle\Saxon reinforcements. Justin's skirmish unit on his right proved annoying to the Viking HvInf unit on Ian's left. In a suprise move, rather than take the missle fire Ian attacked. The skirmishers evaded and for a brief time the Vikings had a unit in the middle of the Anglo\Saxon line that they had to deal with. The Viking unit would die but not before inflicting further damage and preventing Anglo\Saxon units from drifting to the open flank.

Once the Viking reinforcements appeared Ian's plan became obvious and it became a question of what Justin could do about it. Given the nature of the terrain Justin fell back to a small hill waiting for his reinforcements. Sadly, most of them appeared too far from the center to be of much help.

Meanwhile, Ian attacked the units on and near the hill where one od Justin's Select Fyrd units made a heroic stand against three assaults that included Huscarls, HvInf and the Bererkers. Although they died to the last man they bought time for some of General Fyrd to come up and block the path of the Viking units seeking to exit the board.

At this point it looked like Ian would exit with 4 units for the win. One further courage check howerver resulted in one of the damaged Huscarl units to rout. This bascially left one Viking HvInf to fight their way through and the damaged Berswrker unit to do the same.

The Berserkers broke a General Fyrd shield wall and damaged them beyond repair, routing them, thus enabling the Berserks to exit.

The Viking HveInf unit fought its way up the hill against another General Fyrd unit pushing it back nearly to the edge of the board. By this time the Viking unit was effectively surrounded and had one turn left to bash it's way through. A failed courage test would give the victory to the Anglo\Saxons. 

The HvInf unit prevailed and left the board giving the Vikings the victory for exiting with four units.

The Vikings lost three units and the Anglo\Saxons four. Both players played a good gentleman like game.

Pictures

The pictures do not truly chronicle the action but rather give the general idea and show off my mostly vintage metal 25mm figures.The collection includes Ral Partha, Garrison and Minifigs as well as a few unknowns that I picked up somewhere.

There are quite a few Old Glory figures as well especially among the Vikings.

The table size is 4' by 4' and the point value for each side was 34.

The two units with banners are the expert Select Fyrd. The third is on the far left next to the skirmish unit.

One of the expert Select Fyrd units (mostly Garrison)

One of the Viking Huscarl units (Old Glory) and one of the HvInf units (mostly Garrison) The command figure is Gripping Beast's Harald Hardraada figure.

My grandson Ian trying to out think his dad.

The two Select Fyrd units after fighting the HvInf unit.The percent dice just mark losses, The small red die means battered.

The Vikings seek to turn the flank and exit. The skirmisher unit would prove to be annoying and the first Viking unit to get off the board. The skirmishers are Minifigs.

The Anglo\Saxon skirmishers would provoke the Viking HvInf to attack. A risky move on Ian's part but it proved effective.

The two Select Fyrd units would pull back around the little hill. The Huscarls would get into the woods and help to turn the flank. They routed on the second to last turn.

This actually occurred early on. The Select Fyrd is desited to die heroically on the little hill but not before forcing the Vking unit that is battered to never rally.

The Vikings need to get past the General Fyrd unit in shield wall. By this point anyone could win but the Fyrd unit is definitely outclassed. Eventually the berserker unit would break the shield wall scattering the Fyrd. The Fyrd unit is a composite of Minifigs and Garrison.

The other Huscarl unit that would exit the board. The figs are Old Glory and I think the command figure is an old Revenge figure but I'm not certain.

The General Fyrd is struggling to get into position while the Select Fyrd unit shields them for the time being.The other Select Fyrd unit with the green banner will not rally and will leave the board.

The heroic last stand of the Select Fyrd unit. It would take three Viking units to destroy it.

The Beserkers failed to dirve the Select Fyrd off the hill suffering two losses in the process. They would survive.

The Huscarl unit would rout after the Fyrd unit showers them with javelins. It was the Viking low point in the game after many successes.

The Viking HvInf unit that wuld save the day. The skirmishers did not stand a chance.

Minifig Select Fyrd or Thegns.

Garrison General Fyrd. I've always loved the Garrison sculpts. Garrison is missed and they rare on eBay in the States. British postage is brutal.

Ral Partha and Minifig Vikings. A couple of the Minifigs are Run and one in the back row is first generation (and a lot smaller).

Old Glory Vikings used as Huscarls or Elite Infantry in LR2

My Minifig berserkers.

Ral Partha.Minifig, and Garrison Select Fyrd.

My late Anglo\Saxons prior to becomming the Anglo\Danes of Hastings fame. I have two units of AnglDane Huscarls for Hastings, post Canute the Great.


Vikings victorious!



Thursday, October 5, 2023

Komnenian Byzantines

 Alexios I Komnenos (GreekἈλέξιος Κομνηνός, 1057 – 15 August 1118; Latinized Alexius I Comnenus) was Byzantine emperor from 1081 to 1118. Although he was not the first emperor of the Komnenian dynasty, it was during his reign that the Komnenos family came to full power and initiated a hereditary succession to the throne. Inheriting a collapsing empire and faced with constant warfare during his reign against both the Seljuq Turks in Asia Minor and the Normans in the western Balkans, Alexios was able to curb the Byzantine decline and begin the military, financial, and territorial recovery known as the Komnenian restoration. His appeals to Western Europe for help against the Turks was the catalyst that sparked the First Crusadehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexios_I_Komnenos

The Komnenian Dynasty gave the empire a new lease on life following the disaster at the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.

When Alexius ascended the throne in 1081 he was immediately faced with fighting the Italo-Normans, losing twice before driving them back only to have many resurface as mercenaries in his own army or during the 1st Crusade on their way to Jerusalem.

For the next hundred years or so the Komnenos family would hold the empire together fighting off enemies on all sides until the Venetians would sack Constantinople in 1204 during the 4th Crusade.

The army that was reconstructed after Manizekert has always interested me. It's one of those armies that was not what it once was, bit often good enough when well led by the Komnenus clan.

The figures below are my representation of the post Manzikert period. The bulk of the units are from the Ral Partha 1200 line that is still available via Iron Wind but at outrageous prices. Most of mine were eBay finds and so cost a little less, but not much.

Minifigs contributed three units to the mix and Hinchcliffe two.

They are organized for Lion Rampant 2 and total over 50 points.

The post Manzikert infantry of the Byzantines was still a mixture of spearmen and archers although archers came to dominate. Most were garrison troops called out to defend their theme or assist in sieges. This unit consists of Ral Partha figs and is a split unit for LR2, 1\2 archers and 1\2 spearmen. They are right infantry in LR2.

These archers are Minifigs from their Byzantine line. They are equipped with mail and function like massed archers in LR2.

The famous Varangian Guard which by 1081 consisted of refugee Anglo\Danes after Hastings as well as  Scandinavians. These are also Minifigs and fit into my preferences for vintage 25mm figures. There are Varangian figures, Anglo\Dane Huscarls and a few 1st Crusade types in the mix, all Minifigs.

The shields were a challenge since my painting skills fall short of the intricate designs and finding transfers for 25mm shields is impossible. The shields are 28mm (Deus Vult) and so a little out of scale but worth it to me because of the great designs with the red, black and blue themes.

These are also Minifigs. The Byzantines at times seem to have used old terminology for their troop types. These would be called Peltastoi reminding the reader of the Peltasts of earlier times.

These are Hinchliffe light archers, skirmishers in LR2 and an eBay find. Hinchliffe figures have a style of their own. They would classify as "large 25mm" compared to the Minifigs and Ral Partha figures.

Hinchliffe Pechenegs. Although Alexis had to fight the Pechenegs he also employed them in large numbers as mercenaries. Like the Minifigs, Hinchcliffe figures are vintage to me although still available from the UK (Lancashire Miniatures) and sometimes on eBay.

I'm also interested in the 1st Crusade and one amusing story from the 1st Crusade involves the Pechenegs. The Pechenegs were notorious fast-moving horse archers and as a whole land pirates who raided for slaves and wealth. After their defeat by Alexis he employed them in great numbers. When the 1st Crusade passed through Byzantine lands on their way to Jerusalem he employed the Pechenegs as a mounted police force to keep the Crusaders from stealing from the Emperor's subjects. I find that amusing since its like asking the fox to guard the hen house!

It is a matter of debate whether or not the famous Kataphractoi survived Manzikert or were re-raised. Certainly, Byzantine nobles still had access to armored horses and for LR2 purposes (a skirmish game for the most part) a small retinue of Kataphractoi is permissible. They are Ral Partha while the mounted officer is a Minifig.

As noted the Ral Partha 1200 line is available through Iron Wind in the US. They are very costly, way above average. It is however a classic vintage line.

Ral Partha Normans from the 1200 line. The Normans (sometimes called Franks by the Byzantines) were important enemies of the Byzantines as well as helpful mercenaries as the numbers of native Greek cavalry declined. 

Anna Kommenus, Alexis's daughter said the Normans could charge through the walls of Constantinople!

Ral Partha Byzantine light horse from the 1200 line. Although the Byzantines employed large numbers of steppe horse archers they still fielded skilled javelin cavalry.

Thematic Byzantine Cavalry. While much of the Tagma was destroyed at Manizert the theme system could still put heavy cavalry in the field. The Ral Partha figures featured here are a neat range. For LR2 they can function with bow or without. I like the look of the split unit.

My leader unit of Thematic cavalry.

A close up of Thematic Heavy Cavalry.

A final pic of the Varangians, probably the most famous unit within the Byzantine army. They would serve faithfully. There is some evidence that Varangians would soldier on within the Byzantine successor states after Constantinople would become the center of the short lived Latin Kingdom (1204-1261).