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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Compagnies de la Marine

In New France, the Compagnies de la Marine were the only regular soldiers stationed by the French Crown from 1685 to 1755. They were independent companies under the authority of the French Minister of Marine, who was also responsible for the French Navy, French colonies and overseas trade. This is why they were referred to as Marines thought they did not serve as traditional marines in New France. A fine addition to my French force for the French and Indian War using the rules Rebels and Patriots (Paid Link).

My Compagnies de la Marine will be used as Light Infantry and I plan on doing another company to go along with them. The figures are from North Star and their packs come with 6 figures so two packs make a unit for Rebels and Patriots (Paid Link). The coats ended a little lighter and brighter than I wanted, but I figured 18th century clothing dye created the effect. I may also go back and add some more detail to the faces. All in all great figures that represent mostly experienced, native Canadians in practical uniforms that are used to fighting on the frontier.

In Rebels and Patriots (Paid Link), Light Infantry are Regulars and can form Close Order and conduct Volley Fire. Very versatile troops.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

The 19th Punjabis Regiment

We're marchin' on relief over Injia's sunny plains,
   A little front o' Christmas-time an' just be'ind the Rains;
   Ho! get away you bullock-man, you've 'eard the bugle blowed,
   There's a regiment a-comin' down the Grand Trunk Road;
       With its best foot first
       And the road a-sliding past,
       An' every bloomin' campin'-ground exactly like the last;
       While the Big Drum says,
       With 'is “rowdy-dowdy-dow!”—
       “Kiko kissywarsti don't you hamsher argy jow?”
From Route Marchin' by Rudyard Kipling

Advance Guard of the 19th Punjabis led by a Naik (Corporal).

The regiment was formed during the upheaval of the Indian Mutiny in 1857 as the 7th Regiment of Punjab Infantry on the orders of John Lawrence, the British Chief Commissioner of the Punjab, and saw service in North India. In 1864, it participated in the Bhutan war, and during the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, the regiment fought with distinction in the Battle of Ahmed Khel. In 1891, it took part in the Black Hill Expedition and the 2nd Miranzai Expedition on the North West Frontier of India. In 19XX, the 19th Punjab Infantry took part in the British expedition to protect Chaimbellastan which eventually led to the Anglo-Russian War.

My 19th Punjabis Regiment for the fictional Anglo-Russian War, using the rules The Men Who Would be Kings, are figures from Copplestone Castings BU37 Indian Army Muslim Infantry from the excellent Back of Beyond Range. They will also be used for small skirmishes using In Her Majesty Name. The only issue I have with the Back of Beyond packs (a very minor issue) for The Men Who Would be Kings is that they come 10 figures to a pack when the rules I use recommend 12 figures for a Regular Infantry Unit. For the Russians it was easy to solve: Buy a White Russian Officer Pack and Bolshevik Standard Bearers (both come with 4 figures) and problem solved.

War Correspondent Mr. Rudyard Kipling of the Bombay Gazette with the commanding officer and Havildar (sergeant) of the 19th Punjabis.

To create a 12 unit figure using the Copplestone Range for the British Indian Army was more of a challenge. Having a British officer was no problem, but I was still short one figure. The solution I came up with, at least for this unit, was to add a correspondent figure from Artizan Designs that looks remarkably like a certain Nobel Prize winning individual. Then, while browsing for figures, I noticed that Artizan has a pack of Punjabi Officers and a pack of Punjabi NCOs. Oh well. I think eventually they will replace our imbedded journalist.

Searching for bandits.

Engaging the bandits.

The Regiment's nickname is "Sherdil-ki-Paltan" which translates as the Regiment of the Lion-Hearted.

Mopping up.

The Colonel.

The Colonel and the Havildar.

The Havildar joined the Regiment in 1864.

Beware the old man in a young man's profession!

One of the Naiks of the Regiment.

These soldiers are lance naiks (lance corporals).

Off to face a Western Army for the first time.

 Ho! get away you bullock-man, you've 'eard the bugle blowed,
   There's a regiment a-comin' down the Grand Trunk Road;
       With its best foot first
       And the road a-sliding past,
       An' every bloomin' campin'-ground exactly like the last;
       While the Big Drum says,
       With 'is “rowdy-dowdy-dow!”—
       “Kiko kissywarsti don't you hamsher argy jow?”

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Imperial Russian Senior Leadership of the Anglo-Russian War

From left to right the senior leadership of the Imperial Russian Army during the Anglo-Russian War: General Baron Georgii Karlovich Stackelberg, Lieutenant General Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev, and Major General Pavel Ivanovich Mishchenko.

I don't know how I'm going to do it, but I love these figures and I'm going to write some rules for The Men Who Would be Kings to get these general officers in the fight; or at least allow them to cause some variable events that will influence the battle. The biographies below are 99.8% accurate and I have modified a few words to add to the fictional Anglo-Russian War.

General Baron Georgii Karlovich Stackelberg, Commander of the 2nd Siberian Corps. He loves a good cigar. Figure by Copplestone from the European advisors pack in the Back of Beyond Range.
Baron Stackelberg is wearing the officer's white summer kitel jacket with gilt buttons. His dark green peaked cap has white piping along the crown and the top and bottom of the red band which indicates that he is a member of the Tsar's personal staff. The blue-grey trousers bear the general wide double red stripes.

General Stackelberg was from a Baltic German noble family and graduated from the Nicholas General Staff Academy in 1862. As commander of the 1st Semirechve Cossacks from 1874-1875, Stackelberg distinguished himself during the Russian conquest of the Khanate of Khive and the Kokand expedition of 1875. He was wounded in combat and although nominated for numerous awards, he refused to accept any. During the conquest of Central Asia, he began to despise Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev as a glory hound.

Stackelberg was commander of the Russian 10th Cavalry Division during the suppression of the Boxer Rebellion in China and Russian occupation of Manchuria. Afterwards, he was assigned command of the 2nd Siberian Corps, the unit chosen to confront the British during the "Great Game."

Lieutenant General Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev, commander of the infantry. Dressed in his regulation General's uniform he presents a commanding presence to all he commands. Instead of a normal general officer's overcoat he wears the regulation officer's service dress coat in light weight sea green woolen material with red piping around the color to denote he is a general.

Mikhail Dmitrievich Skobelev is known for his conquest of Central Asia and heroism during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78. Dressed in a white uniform and mounted on a white horse, and always in the thickest of the fray, he was known and adored by his soldiers and the "White General"; and by the Turks as the "White Pasha". However, when he conquered Transcapia, his Turkmen opponents called him "Bloody Eyes" due to the Massacre of Geoktepe. He was disavowed by the Imperial government and sent to Minsk. Officially he was recalled due to the massacre but some have whispered that he was starting to have "delusions of grandeur" and "political ambitions." With war looming with the British, Skobelev has been transferred back to Central Asia.

Miniature from Pulp Figures.

Major General Pavel Ivanovich Mishchenko, my commander of the cavalry forces in the war (when I get some!) Miniature by Copplestone from the White Russian Officers pack in the Back of Beyond Range.

I've painted Mishchenko as one of the more progressive general officers in the Russian Army. On his cap he has a khaki cover and wears a privately purchased, non-regulation khaki officers jacket with breast and skirt pockets. His blue-grey breeches have the double scarlet seam piping of a general officer and he is armed with the M1881 dragoon officer's saber. (And yes, I need to repaint the brim of his cap!)

Major General P
avel Ivanovich Mishchenko

General Mishchenko was born in 1853 and graduated from Pavlovsk Military school as an officer in the artillery. He participated in the Russian conquest of Khiva. He subsequently participated in the Russo-Turkish War (1877-1878) and the conquest of Turkmenistan under General Skobelev.  

From 1899 Mischchenko was assigned to Russian-occupied Manchuria as assisstant chief of security for the East Chinese Railway. He fought during the Boxer Rebellion, and afterwards was promoted to major general and decorated with the Order of St. George (4th degree). His command, the Trans-Baikal Cossack Brigade is moving to the area of operations.

Order of St. George, 4th Class

"You know Pavel, the Minister of Finance and Chief of Staff may have some funds available in a few months for your cavalry. Considering prep time, painting, etc., I hope you will be at least be ready before the end of the campaigning season as I hate fighting in the cold."

Thursday, January 21, 2021

More Terrain for the FIW (or wherever there are Woods and Rocks!)

It's amazing what you can accomplish when you retire early, set your own schedule, and get to take long walks in the woods with your favorite dogs. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been taking pictures "off trail" in an attempt to get a realistic look for the terrain I'm building for our French and Indian War battles using Rebels and Patriots.

An enjoyable discovery is that building terrain for large skirmish games is not that difficult. It is also not that expensive; rocks from the woods, sticks and twigs I find, railroad hobby trees, florist moss, old CDs/DVDs and fine hobby railroad ballast. Almost forgot - white glue!

Danger Dog, Knight Commander of the Order of War Poodles (KCOWP) helped me with the pictures.

Above are some pictures of what "woodland" may look like; it is natural terrain that provides some cover and makes it harder to see what is in and beyond. It may stop some bullets - but if that bullet is on target . . . 

Highland Light Infantry clearing woods that provide "Cover" per the rules.

Here are the same three terrain pieces from above; the large rock in the middle is on a separate base and yes, the ranger in the lower right hand cover is laying down on the job. 

What we have decided, since this is a large skirmish terrain, if the piece is on the table top it is actually there. To outline larger areas, we use felt to outline the terrain and the terrain pieces within the felt can be moved around to facilitate movement.

The Highland Light Infantry is now in a larger area of woodlands.

Highland Grenadiers moving carefully through the woodland.

To make difficult terrain; e.g., heavy woods and steep hills to provide cover and slow down movement, I added rocks.

Difficult terrain. Natives and skirmishers are not slowed by difficult terrain.

Here is some of the difficult terrain I made:

My go to source for trees are available in the railroad hobby section.

Figures are 28mm scale by the way.

Since there is no felt, the terrain pieces cannot be moved to facilitate movement. 

Compagnies de la Marine performing reconnaissance.

Highland Light Infantry now in difficult terrain.

A larger area of difficult terrain outlined in felt.

Mohegan Rangers moving through difficult terrain.

Some other pieces I made.

The rock pieces by combining and stacking some "loose" rocks on top can easily simulate impassable terrain like a cliff. Just make sure that you and your opponent are clear on which is which!

An example of "impassable" terrain.

So let your imagination run wild, it really isn't that hard or expensive to make your own terrain.