Monday 27 August 2018

Punic Wars Libyan Spearsmen - FOR SALE


I've been sorting out my Punic Wars collection with a view to making more space in my cabinets for future collections. In doing so, I find I don't have room for everything without a slight over-spill. 

Consequently, to keep things 'shelf tidy', I need to let two units from my Punic Wars collection go. Mulling it over, the thing I probably have too many of are Libyan spearmen - I'll still have six units when these depart the building.

Each unit is 24 figures strong. The figures are Renegade Miniatures. They were painted by yours truly using enamels. The shield transfers are by Little Big Men. The bases are marine plywood, 60 mm square.

So, here are some pics of the units.



The price is £204.00 per unit (£8.50 per figure) or £380.00 for the pair. The price includes insured postage by RM Special Delivery within U.K. Other postage by arrangement.

Money received will be spent on figures for my Napoleonic collection, and possibly one or two additions to my Italian Wars stuff (where shelf room is still available).

Thanks for looking.

Sunday 26 August 2018

Seven days in Venice

It's not the first time I've been to Venice but it's a great city and it's worth visiting at least twice in a lifetime. Leaving the arrangements to my wife again proved best as she came up with a wonderful apartment, with outdoor space, in Dorsoduro very close to the Canale Della Giudecca.

The weather was variable. It ranged between 31 and 34 degrees Celsius, was breezier on some days than others, and there were even some clouds on the last morning. All in all, perfect weather for messing about in boats - and with no cars or buses, you tend to do a lot of that in Venice. 

Apart from its unique architectural beauty Venice can boast a few bits of interest to the military enthusiast - and I spent a lot of time thinking what a great renaissance skirmish scenario a Venetian city battle would make, what with so many canals and bridges. 

My first military port of call, pun intended, was the Arsenale and the maritime museum. The Arsenale is where the Venetians built their naval ships, at one time employing 2,000 people to build its galleasses and whatnot. 

The Arsenale is still an active military base so you can't actually get into most of it but, the maritime museum has a few exhibits worth seeing, including a 'chariot' and several very nice scale models. There are also a few cabinets with proper lead soldiers in them. 

Anyway, some pictures of what is there (caveat: most descriptions from memory).

A 'Chariot'. 

For state of the art WW2 technology, I think this piece of kit is scarily basic. 

This one was used against the British in Alexandria.

 A 17th century galleass.
 16th century swivel guns (recovered from the sea floor?) on reconstructed mountings

A Lepanto period galley. I'm definitely going to do this as a naval game at some point. Galleys (so wind isn't a major consideration) with cannon!

One of the most interesting models was this beauty. An 11th century Venetian galley.

The figures manning it were, at best guess, 40 mm. 

I liked it so much I took three pictures of it.

The next lot of pictures I took for no other reasons than that they are of toy soldiers and they provide uniform guides for various horse and musket period marines. I will not be painting them, but someone might find these useful (sorry about the light, the sun was streaming in).

 Finally there was this thing that took my fancy. 

It's the flag ship of some Korean dude.

I believe that it might be called a 'Turtle Ship' and if my long term memory serves there is a full size replica of one somewhere (Korea?).

The model is belter (as models go) so I took three photos of it.

Next up, the Doge's Palace. The military angle is quite small here as it only comprises a small selection of the stuff in Venice's 'armoury'. Also, just so you know, not all of it is pictured here. Some of my shots were spoilt by the sunlight bouncing off the glass cabinets, including some containing some wonderful suits of armour (medieval and renaissance knight's full harness); there were many cabinets full of various weapons but, though nicely displayed, they were a bit samey. Also, I forgot to take my camera to the palace and had to use my wife's, with limited memory space. 

Most of the collection dates from the late 15th through to the 17th century, so quite a bit had more than a passing interest. However, this visit to Venice was a family holiday so lengthy lingering over old steel was not an option. 

Persian stuff. There is only one cabinet of this stuff and again the light has ruined the pictures of some stuff in it. Fortunately, the photo of the Persian 'mace' came out reasonably well. 

BTW, all of the cutting weapons were described as daggers which, given their sword-like size, I thought a little adventurous.

I have no idea what this is (above the obvious). It was in a closed room and the photo was taken whilst leaning over the barrier at an ungainly angle with a security guard giving me the evil eye from ten paces. 

Whatever it is (it looks eastern to me?), I bet it was pretty high velocity for its time!

So there we have it for my 'military bits of Venice'. Not exactly military fuelled but, for a family holiday, enough to keep me going - along with the book "1809. Thunder on the Danube" by J.H. Gill (thanks Gonsalvo, an excellent recommendation).  

Black Powder - The infantry in melee versus square rules

Following the game a couple of weeks ago, where I mentioned a dissatisfaction with the melee rules for infantry versus square, I've had a week off in Venice where I had a deal of time to think about it. I've just posted a reply to the comments to that post and thought it might be useful to reprint it as a separate blog entry here:

I have played quite a few games using rules from the 'Warlord stable' now, and I'm quite impressed by the tool box approach, which is very similar to the approach of Bob Jones and all those, including myself, who have written supplements for the 'Piquet stable'. Rules should never be hard and fast. Indeed, in most games here we generally run a 'special rules menu of the day' approach.

Being a Piquet player, I also agree with Gareth to some extent. No combat should ever be a sure thing. However, the case of the square at Garcia Hernandes was a VERY rare event; anyone reading Nosworthy's book 'Battle Tactics of Napoleon and his Enemies' can plainly see the strength of a well formed square versus cavalry, as he goes into the occasions when a square was broken, how and why, in some detail - like the instance where lancers prodded one to death from out of bayonet reach following a heavy downfall of rain which rendered the use of muskets impossible. BP largely accepts this by saying cavalry can never charge a square if it is in good order, which goes some distance beyond the rulings in some Napoleonic rule sets. 

In BP, the problem isn't the combat factors, which look about right for infantry Vs square, and cavalry Vs square for that matter, and the break test is probably dead on for cavalry versus square too. Nor, as it happens, do I believe the rule is far out of place for later periods where squares had significantly more firepower - e.g. later 19th century colonial periods. The problem is the special break test rule for square in melee when fighting infantry in the Napoleonic period / muzzle loading, black powder era.

My solution, following a week in Venice, where I had time to think about it, will be as follows:

Following a combat where any infantry win a melee Vs a square, the break test will be treated as standard, and if the square retires it will do so as a disordered line. All troops fighting Vs the square, including cavalry (if any), will get their full post combat options (such as sweeping advance).

I think that should work. Very little fiddling about with the rules as they stand, just a slight change to the reading of the special 'square taking the break test' rule.

Wednesday 22 August 2018

The Bridge at Hermoso Santo report

Just a few lines to report on the 'Reserve Demolition' scenario that I posted a couple of weeks ago. The photos are from the second game.

The game was played twice. The first game, as much as anything, turned out to be a rules checker game. We had to look up so many things, and play other things as 'probably best to...' that the game barely flowed and as a result, by the end of play, there was no result. 

 The second game was, by and large, played through to a conclusion. There were still a few things that we needed to look up, and one or two things where what we looked up didn't tally with our 'historical knowledge', but we muddled through to a French victory - the British singularly failing to activate their engineers before being overrun by the French. 

One thing in Black Powder that didn't make much sense, unless we are missing something, is the treatment of squares in the 'Break Test' phase. Let me set the scene. 

  • The French cavalry forced a British battalion into square before withdrawing to a safe distance. 
  • In the British turn, the British square was unable to come out of square for one reason or another - enemy not with 12"; failed order; not withdrawing under free move. - 
  • In the subsequent French turn the square was charged by infantry. The French infantry duly won the melee round to good effect, the British square was shaken in the encounter, and then the square rolled 5 in the Break test. Usually this would be a retreat, but the rule says squares ignore this result and stand. If attacked by cavalry I think that would be OK, and the other players thought so too, but versus infantry it seemed a bit odd - very, very odd - so we made it break because squares can't retreat. Personally, I've always been under the impression that squares assaulted by infantry were dog meat. 

Anyway, onwards and upwards, as they say. Next up I'll be painting some more troops for the allies. I'm going to do four units of Portuguese - two line infantry a battalions, a battalion of Cacadores and a battery of foot artillery.