Monday, 30 July 2018

Raid On The Isle D'Arcey Beauselle; Escape From The Baie De Cochons

As readers may recall, after the raid on the French garrison headquarters at the Casa Jerpes on the Isl D'Arcey Beauselle the sailors and Royal Marines of HMS Cockerel (the Fighting Cock), with some help from a small detachment of Rifles have rescued Rear Admiral "Deadly" Dudley Pugwash from the French forces stationed there. However, the French intelligence officer. Major D'Fecht had led away a small band of French infantrymen to escort him and his prisoner, a British spy, known as La Contessa, the other object of the British raid, to "safety"

This remnant of the Casa Jerpes garrison encountered a small patrol of Dragoons led by a Sgt Porc-Baton. Major D'Fecht had sent a  dragoon to warn the local infantry commander, Capitaine Etienne Coq Sportif of the British raid and to instruct him to bring up an escort for the major and his prisoner to the small coastal town of Beau Cochon in the Baie De Cochons.

Within a  few hours Capitaine Coq Sportif, a very capable officer,had rendevouzed with Major D'Fecht and his escort. With him he has brought two groups of line infantry to which he added the one escorting the major. These he placed under Lt Bidet and Sgt Grimmeau. Coq Sportif also had two groups of voltiguers and their NCO, Sgt Balzaic, the dragoons that the major had met and a light gun under the command of  Lt Gustav Wynd and Sgt Claude D'Arce.  These then proceeded towards the town of Beau Cochons and the ship awaiting the major and his prize.

Meanwhile the British had not been inactive. Aware that the French navy  had a presence in the area, Pugwash guessed that the French intelligence officer might have a ship awaiting him and his valuable prisoner in the Baei De Cochons and planned accordingly. Locking up the prisoners they had taken at the Casa Jerpes in the large stable block where he himself had been held caotive, he then sent Captain KInkaid and his rifles to trail the French while he took Major Paine and his marines as well as his seamen and proceeded to row around the island to the bay to head off the French. Whichever part of his forces arrived there first was to attempt to delay the French till the other came up to assist them. A simple plan but the best he could come up with as time was pressing.

As we join the story, the French have arrived at Beau Cochons; all appears quiet and above the roofs of the town can be seen the masts of a ship from which flutters the French Tricolor. Major D'Fecht heaves a sigh of relief, safety is within reach! But the ever observant Capitaine Coq Sportif has spotted a large, suspiciously Briish looking boat approaching the beach....

Capitaine Etienne Coq Sportif cursed his luck. Though he was glad of the recent turn of events and the chance to come to grips with the British he would have much preferred to have done so for a more noble cause than protecting that excretable Major D'Fecht.
 and his prisoner; attractive though she was. He wouldn't have minded interrogting her himself.  Still, orders from a superior officer were orders. And wasn't that sneering jackanapes D'Fecht the very insufferable superior type that the Revolution was supposed to have rid France of
As he peered towards the shimmering sea, a few hundred yards from the beach he could see a large boat being rowed towards the shore. It was full of men, men in red jackets with black shakos on their heads.
"Well done, Capitaine Coq Sportif, the Emperor will be grateful for your effort this day" said Major D'Fecht who, moving forward from the centre of the small force where he had marched all night, his prisoner close by him all the way.  Coq Sportif, at the head of the column, had heard him all the way on their night march to Beau Cochons, complaining, chiding, nagging at the men around him. Soon they would be rid of him though.
"I would save your thanks for the moment, Major D'Fecht; it appears the British haven't given up on your prisoner just yet..'replied Coq Sportif, pointing at the boat full of marines. "Merde!" cried D'Fecht 'You must save me..I mean us, Coq Sportif. Save us, I say!!" 
Ignoring the panic stricken D'Fecht the captain turned to his men "Sergeant Balzaic, take your men forward, prepare to engage the Britih as the land. Lt Wynd, deploy your gun forward of the houses; I think some cannister would be in order but I shall not tell you how best to employ your cannon" The artillery lieutenant bowed and started shouting orders to his artillery men. "Bidet!" Coq Sportif called to his lieutenant "Take the rest of the men and make sure the major gets aboard that ship or you will have me to answer for. I will send the dragoons to assist you if you have any trouble; do not fail, Bidet!"  The young lieutenant nodded and turning to the major he pointed towards the ship, simply said "Major?"  

Beau Cochons and the waiting French frigate

Spotting the large naval cutter crammed with marines and sailors heading for Beau
 Conchons beach, Coq Sportif's Volitiguers and light gun begin to deploy

The Marines and matelots disembark and battle is joined. In this early
exchange the French Voltiguers under Capitaine Coq Sportif would
 have the better of it, wounding and incapacitating Rear Admiral Pugwash. 
Lt Bidet's detachment head for the ship...

...unaware that Captain Kinkaid and his Rifles are aiming to stop them. KInkaid, alert to the danger of the French Pas De Charge starts to move his men into the cover of the walls of the town mayor's house. The mayor's daughter, Madamoiselle Beaupeep, is  excited by this new development in her otherwise boring, provincial life

With the Voltiguers beginning to take casualties, Coq Sportif orders
 Lt Wynd to bring his gun into action against the marines 

...which he does with commendable speed, 

Sgt Porc-Baton and his dragoons are sent to support Lt
Bidet and the infantry escorting Major D'Fecht
Kinkaid's Rifles, now safely inside the mayor's house
and gardens, prepare to enfilade the approaching French..

...who are intent on reaching the ship, chivied along by the nervous Major D'Fecht

while the now wounded Major Paine (the British command here suffered from both the Voltiguers firing and the cannister fired from the light gun; Admiral Pugwash was unconcious for most of the battle, Major Paine was wounded and Sgt Pike killed outright) and his marines are keeping the French busy a group of sailors head towards the Voltiguers, aiming to get to grips with them as a second group heads toward Major D'Fecht and La Contessa. Coq Sportif orders the Voltiguers to switch targets and engages the sailors at close range too deadly effect...

Sgt Porc-Baton sees a chance to ride down the sailors heading for Major D'Fecht. At his word of command the Dragoons canter forward to deliver a coup de grace..

...only to be sent tumbling back, half their number dead or dying after the enraged sailors set about them with their Big choppers. SGt Porc-Baton manages to keep his men under control...just. However the Dragoon chargis enough to stall the sailors advance and to buy time for the Major and his escort

Lt Bidet's men intent on their task are enfiladed by the Rifles. Though they lose men and are somewhat rattled bby the Rifles shooting they plough on. Major D'Fecht, his sense of self preservation rising to the surface, leads a small detachment of the escort towards the ship, leaving Lt Bidet and his men to act as a shield for him and his prisoner...

who is soon welcomed aboard the French frigate, much to her dismay and the British riders have failed once more!!

"Major Paine! Major Paine!!" cried the Admiral stumbling towards the red coated officer. "Major Paine, withdraw your men" he cried, trying to be heard above the furious fusillade. Major Paine turned a bloodied face towards him "What's that, sir?" The admiral came closer, concern showing on his face at the sight of the wounded marine officer 'You are wounded, Paine; are you alright?" Major Paine grinned a humourless grin "A flesh wound, admiral, nothing that the sawbones can't put right; but what's that you say about withdrawing?"
Admiral Pugwash winced as musket balls tore into the ranks of marines "Our bird has flown, Paine. The French have her aboard their ship.. We must preserve our strength and withdraw". Paine turned to his men "Detachment, rapid FIRE!!" Hemmed in by the sea and the French cannon and musketry they were in a pretty pickle......

Well that was an exciting end to our mini-campaign, and to be honest, I thought the British might have pulled it off as it was in the balance, especially after the sailors had repulsed the dragoons attack. One or two more casualties on the French side in that fight and a couple more dead from the Rifles' on the French column and La Contessa would've been enjoying a full English breakfast aboard HMS Cockerel. However, it as the casualties and wounds on the British commanders inflicted by the Voltugiers and light cannon (which didn't kill that many even at such a close range; fired 3 times and managed something like 5-6 wounds from 30 to hit dice. The doubling of shock was the crucial thing there; with 5 shock on each of the three groups in the formation, they couldn't advance to try the issue with the bayonet ) Admiral Pugwash was knocked out in the first round of firing from the Voltiguers and didn't recover il near the battle's conclusion. Major Paine was also wounded and his command ability dropped as a consequence and Sgt Pike was killed outright. Cpl Lavender stepped in to take his place though he didn't get a chance to exercise his newly granted authority.

The French commanders got off very lightly only Sgt Porc-Baton being wounded in the clash with the sailors That was worth it though ("I disagree" Sgt Porc-Baton) as it stopped the sailors advancing on the major and his prisoner. Sadly, even Major D'Fecht wasn't wounded, despite having enemies in both camps, and so can count himself lucky.

So, sadly we have to say goodbye to Pugwash, Coq Sportif and their men. Doubtless we will meet up with them again, especially as Danny and I both have growing collections of Mediterranean terrain....there mightbe some Peninsular goings on soon...  

pip pip for the moment,
General JB

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Sharp Practice at Britcon 2018; Change Of Command

Breaking news from Divisional HQ, there has been a change of commanders for the Britcon event!!And here they are...but why?

After my previous post I had sat down to write up my force list to send to Hunter HQ. Whilst doing this necessary piece of paper work I had had to shuffle my leaders about to fit the points limit and noticed that one of my sergeant figures, who was to command the Voltiguers, had been a bit battered about and was in need of repair. Being a bit of a lazy bastard (which conflicts regularly with my desire to make stuff and leads to a lot of procrastinating and faffing about) I decided that rather than repair him just now I would leave this chap out and replace him with a junior officer; a simple figure swap was done.
my original Sous-Lieutenant Emile Anhour (Leader i) Showing his age

I decided to justify the act of having a junior officer, a fresh faced, young sous-lieutenant, "commanding" such a unit as a decision by the senior commander, who being lumbered with him before setting off on his mission, by placing the sous-lieutenant with the Voltiguers, who are canny, experienced and somewhat independent minded troops who are more than able too look after themselves and, at the same time, able to cope with having such a junior officer "in charge".

So far so good but I needed a characteer background for this new Sous-lieutenant (it might be an idea to pause here and get yourself a cuppa before reading on; I'm going to spin of in a few different directions before all this make any sort of sense...if I can make so bold a your cuppa; good..brace yourself, here goes)
Now I like my characters to have a wee bit of background and, hopefully, a humorous name to givve my opponent soomething else to smile about besides my awful dice rolling, to make them easier to remember in the heat of battle and to give me something to build on and develop in future battle reports.
I had a vision, if you like, of this young officer in mind. I wanted him to be young obviously, somewhat foolish and out of his depth in the army. I also wanted him to be one of those jammy gets that we have all encountered at school as teenagers; that randy guy who all the girls fancy and, it always seems,is constabtly beating them off with a shitty stick. At the same time as that they are usually receiving the attentions of older women who want to "mother" them (issues!! me? Never!! ;D ) I then had a happy inspiration, well I think so. Being somewhat fond of Mozart and his works I recalled the character of Cherubino from The Marriage Of Figaro. For those one or two of you who might not be up to speed on the plot of The Marriage Of Figaro I suggest you Google it but for  our purposes here's the briefest of intros: Figaro (servant) is preparing to get married to Susanne (maid). The Count Almaviva (master of both Figaro and Susanna) is bored with his wife and is planning on exercising his rights of Droit de seigneur (google that too) with Susanna; cue much operatic comedy capers and wonderful music and singing.
Also part of his household is the young nobleman, Cherubino, a randy young fellow who can't see a bit of skirt without falling for it. In particular he has the hots for the Countess and, as this rather annoys the Count, he decides to send Cherubino, away to the army which leads to one of the most famous songs in opera, Non pui andrai in which Figaro mockingly sings to Cherubino about how glorious it will be to be  soldier, especially in battle.
Since this opera was first produced in 1786 I then thought, since the play was originally written by a French chap by the name of Pierre Beaumarchais (I know what your thinking "For goodness sake, tell us something we don't know!!") it might not be too far a stretch to imagine that Cherubino would actually be French and have served in the Royalist Army before the Revolution. Which is exactly what he did before joining the Revolutionary Army. And in his campaigning (he was a dragoon officer in the Royalist and Revolutionary Armies) he managed to sow his oats and my new Sous-Lieutenant was the result of one such seed sowing. At least that is how I imagined it.
The young Cherubio grows up not knowing who his father was beyond that he was a great soldier and hero of the Republic. Cherubino junior's mum is a bit of a romantic and Cherubino senior filled her head with all sorts of tales of gallantry and heroics (and let's face it, we've all done that to a greater or lesser degree ;D ) has grown up in a small town in France. his head full of romantic notions of glory and battle and positively aches to join the army. He has inherited his fathers looks though he has more control of his breeches and is more concerned with soldiering than rogering. Though he does a fair bit of that too. Finally able to join the army, his ability to read and write has helped him gain a commission and he has been sent to the 30th Legere in Spain.
So far so  good. But when I looked at the figure I had originally intended to use he looked too old. And none of my other figures would fit this character I had created, so, to cut a long story short ("at last" I hear you cry) I put together and painted a new one. And here he is; his full name is Charles-Augustine "Cherubino" Carion de Notte

Sous-Lieutenant Charles-Augustine "Cherubino" Carion de Notte

Well,  having created that character I go somewhat carried away and decided to replace Capitaine Coq Sportif. In his place came Capitaine Richard D'Astardly, a former breeder of game fowl including pigeons and his company's most senior NCO, Sergeant Moutley, another who seeks glory and it's rewards, persistently.

And. last but by no means least, another inspired character. This one inspired by Alexander Dumas and his father, General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, former slave and the French Revolutionary General who also once served in the Royalist a dragoon.....makes you wonder, doesn't it...

Meet Horatious-Hannibal Dumas-de Winter, yet another of my characters born out of wedlock, this time too a headstrong, passionate young noble woman,the Lady de Winter, who cared not a jot for the scandal of it all.

Unlike Cherubino, young Horatious-Hannibal did know his father, who kept in regular touch and, who, when Horatious-Hannibal was old enough, was able to pull strings even though he personally had fallen foul of the Emperor, and get HH a commission in the 14th Dragoons, who he is serving with in Spain. 

Horatious-Hannibal Dumas-de Winter (leader II) on horseback and on foot

As well as creating the character for HH, I also had to put together the figures. Fortunately I had the Dragoons sprues at hand so it was just a case of ordering a Zulu sprue from Perry Miniatures and choosing two heads that looked fairly similar.

I then had to cut and trim the spare dragoon officers helmeted head as well as a Zulu one till one fitted the other. A bit of green stuff was used to add hair to both heads as well as chin scales to the helmeted head.. a couple of painting sessions later and they were done. And I must confess to being very happy with them too.

So, there you have it, my new commanders for my French force. Still much to do for Britcon but hopefully, these chaps will see some battle this week and give me a chance to build their characters.

Time for elevenses and my nap,
pip pip for now,
General Jimbob

Thursday, 12 July 2018

French forces for Sharp Practice event Britcon 2018

And they are done; my French force are ready for "A Damned Serious Business" at Britcon 2018.
The French force in all it's glorious...erm...glory, Ready to die for the Emperor
and make others die for their iniquitous kings and governments!! Vive l'Empereur!!

The leaders (l to r) Sgt Charles Boyer (I), Capitaine Jacques Rafimmier-Cuisses (II) both of the 144th Dragoons, Surgeon Doctor Henri Pied D'Athlete (Physic), Drummer Keef Lune (musician) Lieutenant Hubbert Camembert (II), Capitaine Etienne Coq-Sportif (III)of the 30th Legere, Sgt Achille Colon of the 30th, Sous-Lieutenant Emile Anhour of the Votiguers and Sgt Hercule Le Brock of the Pioneers

The guts of the force; the Fusiliers. These are the men Coq-Sportif knows best, having served with them for the last 10 years in Italy, Bavaria, Austria and Prussia amongst others. To him they are the best soldiers in the French Army bar none!!
The young and somewhat slow Sous-Lieutenant Emile Anhour, commands the Voltiguers. Coq-Sportif has put Sous-Lieutenant Anhour in command as these men are all veterans and know their role well and therefore do not need someone to hold their hand. Emile is there to learn...if he survives.

Capitaine Jacqus Raffimier-Cuisses (Belle Blondie to his men, though behind his back not to his face) and his Dragoon detachment upon their mounts. Another long service officer, Jacques also served as a trooper of the dragoon in the Royalist Army before the Revolution 

The Dragoons practice their skirmishing
Coq-Sportif's artillery detachment from the 9th Light Battery.
Lieutenant Pierre Mercier (II) watches  as the gunners go through their drills  
The sapper's detachment led by Sgt Le Brock. After seeing much hard service they are less than uniformly dressed and have lost a few of their pioneering tools. 

Suitably grim Deployment Point with a couple of memento
mori markers for scattering around the battle field 

And that's them for the moment. Just got to get some breastworks for the sappers and give one or two of them a wee touch up with some paint.

Buildings next, promise
pip pip, mes braves

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Kiss Me Hardy; Dipping My Toe In The Briney Deep

A Nautical Newbie Messing About In Boats

After my Kss Me Hardy maiden voyage at Worlard in Durham I had indulged in one of the discount packs of 1/2400 Napoleonic squadrons sold by Tumbling Dice and got myself a squadron and a set of French tricolours as mentioned in a previous blog post.
That was all well and good but none of my immediate gaming circle have similar vessels. However, as chum Danny was keen to give it a bash I painted up two each of my 3rd rates and 4th rates so we could have a trial game.

the French...or is it the Britsh...

approaching a line of latitude...or was it longtitude.... 

...anyway, we've crossed it!

a very barren island; no chance of a pint and a bit of wenching here

playing long bowls with the British

raking fire...we'll need to get the decorators in...again! 

the French 4th rate hauls down it's colours whilst the 3rd rate makes a break for a safe harbour

closely pursued by the British

the British catch up with the French 3rrd rate and put paid to any hopes 
of a glass of red and a lobster thermidore in the harbour tavern that evening

That was great fun. Looking back, we made a few mistakes, especilly with the Tacking rules but overall I think we got the gist of the game...certainly we got the spirit of it. Initially we kept it simple, leaving the Wind Change card out for instance and the Strike Test. However, we included these in the second game, which made for a much less predictable game, more enjoyable game.

Just need to get the rest of the squadron painted....then buy some blank cards.....then some more men of war....and some merchant men...and a sea mat...and all those summer and Christmas specials with the campaign rules, scenarios and squadron builders,, etc etc 

Looking forward to the day that France rules the waves as is her natural right...Vive

pip le pip

Sharp Practice at Britcon 2018; Artillery Support

So, with my sappers finished, my schedule indicated that I should work on my Mediterranean style buildings, so without further ado I promptly got distracted and decided to work on my French artillery limber instead.

I had toyed with idea of buying a new one from Perry's but decided to go with what I had already. Unfortunately what I had was not great.

limber set mid repair. I had pretty much thrown these together for a game of Black Powder. The grass had just been thrown on, the limber tree kept falling down so it was propped up with a lump of very natural looking blue tack

the drivers. The fellow on the left was a particularly ugly specimen 
see what I mean! Only a mother could love that face I decided to give him a face lift. This was a spare head from a Victrix sprue. I realise that he has a plume on his shako and the others don't,, I plan to add plumes to their shakos later 

I had also done a wee bit of googling for Napoleonic French Line Artillery and came across these photos from Front Rank's site. Now I really like Perry's and I rate Front Rank's stuff a close second but these chaps look fantastic! I don't know who painted them but they certainly inspired me. 

Now my chaps had an okay paint job applied by yours truly however after seeing the photo above I decided to freshen up their paint jobs, mainly by lightening the blue on their jackets. However, the jackets they were wearing didn't match the uniforms in the Front Rank photo. A further search through their French Artillery Limbers and Caisson section, besides being a treat to the eyes showed me these fellow who had a similar uniform; i.e. one with a waistcoat showing below the jacket. Unfortunately these guys are Guard Artillery Drivers from the period before 1812, my chaps need to be Line Artillery

then I realised I wasn't looking close enough, these were the chaps I was looking for 

so I will need to touch up their jackets and shakos yet again...oh well, no one said this hobby was easy :)

Also, whilst browsing Frank's fabulous artillery limbers and caissons section I came across this photo and realised I needed to add traces to my limbers. I considered using thread but it was a bit finnicky so instead I used sugar craft wire, which comes in a variety of gauges and has a coating or sheath of paper. I twisted a piece of this, cut the lengths to size and super glued it on, in this case to the caisson set and harnessed horses I had bought from Warbases a while back 

love these caisson and limber sets, the painting is so crisp 

sugar craft wire; very useful stuff

the Warbases caisson and team. The traces make a difference, don't you think? As you can probably tell, if you are familiar with Warbases caissons, this is one of their earlier ones. The newer ones have a bit more detail. This will also need repainting as I have got my Olive Drab mixed with my Olive Green. These wont be part of my force for Britcon 
Finally for the moment, I have had to strengthen the bases as they were turning up at the edges. I used a technique I  had picked up from Mel The Terrain Tutor, namely adding a strip of milliput to each side of the base and leet it dry hard, suitably weighed down to keep it flat.

so, inspired by a fellow gunner and hiis artillery I have decided to read up on it a bit more. I'd like to put together some small artillery vignettes for our Black Powder battles. 

That's all for the moment; clear all guns!!! cease firing!

pip pip

Bolt Action Fortress Budapest Campaign. #1

In The Beginning There Was Scenario 8...      Well this month saw the actual, genuine, much anticipated release of the Bolt Actio...