About Wargamerabbit

Wargamer of the times in Northern Los Angeles, CA

HMGS-PSW Fall Convention

WR attended the regional HMGS-PSW Fall 2018 convention last weekend (held at CA State Fullerton University) and posts a brief report on the variety of miniature gaming here in So. California. The full and complete HMGS-PSW Fall 2018 PEL .pdf, including two days of scheduled games, local hobby stores information, and other local So. California conventions set in future:   Mini Wars 2018

The local Orange County Register newspaper article on the HMGS-PSW convention .pdf file: Tiny Battles

WR photos of the games, in the main hall Pavilion, with a quick late morning walk about during a lull of his Vimeiro 1808 scenario. WR has copied the actual GM PEL description in italicized script for background on the photos and scenario game photographed in progress. In the other main rooms, several very active tournaments of Saga, Bolt Action, Flames of War (4th), and Team Yankee played across multiple tables.

Marston Moor 1944: The Battle of Marston Moor was the largest battle fought on English soil: It was England’s Gettysburg. Our game will be 28mm miniatures using Pike and Shotte rules.

Year 1100 Crusader Castle Assault: This is another San Diego Historical Miniature Wargamers Con quality game! 28mm Crusader Castle assault! The Sword of Islam has taken the city but there are Crusader holdouts in the Citadel. Will the relieving force make it in time before the Citadel is lost? Or will the Saracens keep them at bay while they have a surprise of their own. Scenario loosely based on the final Battle of Jaffa. You need only show up with a good attitude and willingness to have fun! All figures, dice and measuring tools will be supplied! Lion Rampant rules are *very* easy to learn and within 15 minutes you’ll be an expert in the mechanics! Saracen or Crusader, who will take the day?

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Winter Terrain

With the planned WWII Flames of War Peiper’s Charge Bulge scenario set in the winter month of December 1944 and coming up at the local HMGS-PSW regional convention in Fullerton CA, WR took stock of his wintered terrain early last month. Other than an old white bed sheet there was limited suitable terrain to give that “cold” feeling on the tabletop. So it’s time to create, construct, paint, flock, and place in the freezer some terrain…. lots of surface area terrain for a 18′ x 6′ table worth in Peiper’s Charge. Time to call in labor reinforcements too…. aka Daniel, to assist on this winter project. Results of several weekends and after work evenings is written next.

First up is the background ground sheet tabletop cover. Two 5×9′ drop sheet are purchased from Lowes ($12) with a pale tan or buff cloth color. To these laid out sheets WR and Daniel sprays “spots” of light brown and dark brown scattered across the drop cloths. Once dry…. a few minutes in the hot sun did the trick, a light dusting spray of semi-gloss white spray paint applied to blend the spots, especially the dark brown ones. Then after locating an old semi-gloss white paint can, well season ancient paint no doubt, WR and Daniel apply a dry brush scatter effect across the drop cloth using old 2″ stiff brushes. Heavy or light, randomly across the cloth material in different directions. Used semi-gloss to give a “glimmer of ice water” effect. Gloss white paint works too but WR only had semi-gloss. WR already has some large clips to attach the drop cloth edge to the convention tables and smooth out the cloth wrinkles.

The 5′ x 9′ drop cloth given the mentioned texture paintwork.

Basic ground cover done…. time to create some fleece cloths with a similar treatment for the woods (outlining them on the tabletop) and ability to drop down heavy snow drifts or deep snow areas. Purchased some Blizzard white fleece cloth on sale at the local JoAnn store (a fabric and crafts store) during their 50% off sale. WR uses fleece cloth over common felt as it is flexible and more importantly, the loose fabric threads in fleece tend to attach themselves to the textured rough surface drop cloth, wood hills, large terrain tiles, or other terrain WR has in his collection. Helps keep the fleece cloth edge firmly flush on the tabletop and preventing the fleece cloth edge curling up.. Fleece cloth has two nap sides, a smooth nap side and the “rougher” nap side. It is the “rougher” side which is placed face down, to cling to my other terrain when hand pressed during game setup. The fleece smooth nap side is given the terrain paintwork.

First, a random spotting spray of the two brown shades, a lighter tan (off white) color and the dark brown shade on the wood underlay pieces. For the snow drifts or deep snow pieces only the light tan spotted spray effect is done. The darker brown gives effect of deep / shaded wood interior with limited sunlight hitting the ground. Drying in the sun again then WR lightly sprays the tan color against the cutting edge of each individual fleece cloth shape. Some light tan overspray is done on the top surface inwards for about an inch or so, to give the blending effect to the drop cloth and brilliant white fleece material interior thus defusing the brilliant white fleece cloth color to the tan / buff under color of the terrain drop cloths. In other words, avoids the stark hard white line look.

All the cut fleece shapes are laid out on the lawn and the spotted brown and edge paint applied. Note the snow drift or deep snow pieces don’t have the heavy or dark brown spotting effect.

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Battle of Evora 1808

The Battle of Évora (July 29, 1808) faced a French marching division under GD Louis Henri Loison against a combined Portuguese-Spanish force led by GenLt. Francisco de Paula Leite de Sousa, recently appointed by the newly created Portuguese Junta. Encountering General Leite’s smaller division outside Évora, the French easily brushed them aside and went on to storm the city, which was held by poorly armed townsmen and militia, supported by some of the retiring regulars. The French butchered the Portuguese defenders and brutally sacked the town, then marched to Elvas. That sums up the Evora 1808 battle situation but there was more occurring in the Portuguese heartland and later near Lisbon to complete the Evora story.

By the spring of 1808, GD Junot’s position in Portugal was relatively secure. He had been reinforced by 4,000 troops which more than replaced the men who died during the hard marches of the invasion. Of the three French-allied Spanish divisions that had supported GD Junot’s invasion, General Solano’s Spanish troops had returned to Andalusia. However, General Caraffa Spanish stayed in the Lisbon area with 7,000 Spaniards and General Belesta occupied Porto (Oporto) with 6,000 more Spanish. Portugal remained quiet because her army was totally disbanded or integrated into the new French Portuguese Legion sent away from Portugal to fight for Napoleon, her ruling class had mostly fled to Brazil with the Royal family, and her civil authorities submitted too readily to the French military yoke.

Because Portugal’s ports were closed by the British blockade, her wines could no longer be sold to England nor could her goods be traded to Brazil. Casks of port and wine barrels stacked up around the docks or warehouses. The French tried to assist, putting 10,000 persons to work in the arsenal and shipyard, but Lisbon soon filled with large numbers of unemployed people who thronged the streets begging. A communication dispatch from Napoleon arrived in May ordering Junot to send 4,000 troops to Ciudad Rodrigo to support Marshal Jean-Baptiste Bessières in the north of Spain, and 8,000 more to link up with GD Pierre Dupont de l’Étang in Andalusia. Seems these were the last Imperial instructions to reach Portugal from Paris or Napoleon.

The Spanish Dos de Mayo uprising against the French completely altered the situation. When news of the revolt reached Porto on June 6th, Spanish General Belesta seized as prisoners the governor of the city GD François Jean Baptiste Quesnel, his staff, and his 30-man cavalry escort. The Spanish general assembled the city of Porto’s leadership and urged them to form a junta government to resist the French occupation. Loyally obeying the orders of the new northern Galician Junta, General Belesta marched his corps (division) away to join the northern Spanish armies. For a week, after the Spanish troops left, Porto’s young Junta leaders did nothing. Some even sent secret letters to GD Junot, professing their loyalty to the French occupation force, or like the French empowered military governor, took down the Portuguese national flag flying from the Porto citadel. But nearby, finding the French occupation forces gone or marched away, Trás-os-Montes province rose in revolt between June 9 and 12. At the city of Bragança, retired Portuguese General Manuel Jorge Gomes de Sepúlveda was selected as the regional revolt commander, while Colonel Francisco Silveira was chosen to lead the (re)forming Portuguese battalions at Vila Real, having been disbanded when the French took control in 1807.

General Sepulveda and Portugal revolt 1808.

Informed of General Belesta’s actions then defection on June 9, GD Junot planned to disarm General Caraffa’s Spanish division in central Portugal, before they could join the Spanish or Portuguese armed revolt. Sent orders to arrive at GD Junot’s headquarters, the Spanish general was placed in military custody. Caraffa’s troops were either directed to appear at French military reviews or to shift garrison positions. While marching to carry out these orders, they were encircled without warning by French troops and made prisoners of war. Only the Reina Light Cavalry Regiment, when its colonel disregarded his instructions, escaped northward to Porto. Detachments of the Murcia and Valencia Infantry Regiments also got away, fleeing eastward to the spanish city of Badajoz. But GD Junot caught the vast majority Caraffa’s 6,000 soldiers and put them aboard prison hulks in Lisbon’s harbor. French officers in charge of the forts had orders to sink the vessels if the prisoners tried to escape. The Spaniards were only released after the signing of the Convention of Cintra.

On June 16th, the rebellion spread to the south, when the Portuguese town of Olhão in Algarve province rose against the French. On the 18th, the citizens of Faro followed suit. The French governor of Algarve, GB Antoine Maurin was seized in his sick-bed and, together with 70 French soldiers, bundled on board a British warship as military prisoners, some noted, to save their lives. Colonel Jean-Pierre Maransin gathered the one battalion each of the Légion du Midi and the 26th Line Infantry Regiment that served as the garrison of Algarve. With these 1,200 men, GB Maransin withdrew to Mértola. The local insurgent mobs did not pursue but no doubt claimed their victory and toasted with the excess wine.

Interior courtyard of the Museu Militar de Lisboa, the former Portuguese Royal Arsenal site. Well worth a visit if in Lisbon. there are halls of equipment, cannon, portraits, and research documents covering many eras.

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Ancient & Medieval Siege equipment

Between hours of work on a remodelling and construction project, several Flames of War Eastern Front (Stalingrad 1942) tabletop scenarios, and occasional miniature modelling, WR slowly collected the bits and completed models of his 25/28mm ancient war machines, all scattered about in several ancient and medieval apple box miniature collections. From the unbuilt kits storage shed, additional models were added to the war machine collection, while some old models required repairs and partial fabrication of parts, no doubt from years of use in WR’s youth. Quick paint work and applied thin black wash effect left the only task to base the various war machines and apply the local scenic bushes in typical WR fashion. The current war machine collection pictured below pending the painted 25mm / 28mm crew miniatures…. as soon as WR can locate them:

The entire 25mm / 28mm larger war machine ancients collection displayed and looking for a castle or city wall. Small field army (battlefield) machines like Roman scorpion ballista or stone throwers not shown and retained in their army collection storage boxes..

[l to r] Siege mantlets in front cover the second line of stone throwers and ballista. Next in foreground are battering rams, then above them the large trebuchet. Rear line has a crow, small tower, and boiling oil pitchers. Group of siege ladders in right corner.

Reverse view with the trebuchet and large onager or ballista machines in foreground.

Rear view from the crew’s viewpoint. Siege commander miniature has his own personal mobile tower to direct operations.

As for all WR’s collections, the cut down standardized size apple box with compartmentation are used. Note the second box has an “attic” shelf to store the smaller mantlets and other small equipment and a common feature for some collections.

Warmachine apple storage box A with the larger machines.

Warmachine apple storage box B with the smaller machines. Note the “attic” storage shelf insert and a feature of several of WR’s storage tricks.

The lower level of warmachine box B after removing the “attic” storage shelf insert.

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Peiper’s Charge – Bulge 1944

This Flames of War (FOW) “Peiper’s Charge” scenario originally came out as an old FOW forum .pdf format scenario during Battlefront’s Battle of the Bulge themed supplements (Nuts and Devil’s Charge) era. Fortunately WR saved a copy of the scenario since it wasn’t included in the converged Watch on the Rhine – Bulge set hardcover book editions (Ardennes Offensive and Battle of the Bulge) compilation.

Peiper’s Charge represents a FOW scaled down German panzer attack led by SS Obersturrmbannfuhrer Jochen Peiper, along narrow Ardennes forest roadways, seeking to gain the Meuse River crossing, during the winter Battle of the Bulge offensive.

The scenario itself is a lengthy three table sector format all linked together by the table 6×4* short ends. Peiper and his platoons enter at one short table edge and have to fight and maneuver across all three table lengths to exit the opposite short edge for scenario victory. During his progress he encounters American blocking forces, armored rifle and rifle platoons, engineers, paratroopers, and various tank platoons, all with the winter forest lurking nearby, with the Americans tasked to slow and finally stop his forward progress for American victory.

The northern attack shows Peiper’s advance (red dotted line map center). Wikipedia map.

The book to read up on the historical event.

The original complete “Peiper’s Charge” .pdf format scenario came from Battlefront’s former forum. The .pdf scenario file contains the background story and the complete available platoon forces. There are several minor omissions or clarifications to note in the scenario commentary which WR found:  Peipers-Charge-Scenario

1. For Tables One and Two, the trigger point for Table Three American reserve early release is after the conclusion of turn eight (Table One) and turn sixteen (Table Two). On the scenario map notes for Table One it has only six turns listed to exit Table One, should be “eight” instead.

2. Objective “B” should be located on the roadway exit for Table Two and not across the river per scenario map. Objective “C” is one of the Objective “B” markers.

3. Some of the American platoons are not listed on the deployment map but are written as starting on the tabletop. WR has typed / updated the American platoons on the scenario map shaded locations as needed.

The entire scenario three table set up is played lengthwise for each table. Note the three tables are placed lengthwise and can be separated to three independent tables or played as one long

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FOW at Games Empire

During the last quarter, WR has travelled to Games Empire (Pasadena CA) for several of Bruce’s 15mm Flames of War 1942 scenarios played over successive weekends. Bruce’s FOW Ver3.x group typically, like WR’s, play a themed scenario which recently has focused on the Eastern Front of 1942. Several gaming days featured large multi-table team force structured scenarios such as: Approach to Stalingrad, the outskirts of Stalingrad, in Stalingrad itself, and soon forthcoming the Soviet counterattack.

Several games photographed below. First the 1942 Stalingrad scenario with every building or ruins displayed on the tabletop. WR played the part of assaulting the large foreground building, which was heroically defended by Bruce. After many turns of close quarter action in and around the large building….. the Germans lost and were forced to regroup for another day.

The Stalingrad scenario. WR’s initial force lower right posed to assault the large building.

Opposite end of the Stalingrad scenario. Scattered platoons occupy the ruins.

WR’s hasty floor diagram to handle the multi-floor action inside the large building. Bruce was impressed with AR’s artwork for his building model. Ground floor action was hot and heavy.

Enterprising Soviet teams cross the main street to seize buildings from their former German occupants.

The volume of shooting across the main street never really let up during the scenario play. Soon as one soviet team was hit…. another team advanced to retain their position.

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Battle of Gefrees July 1809

Another small battle from the Franco-Austrian 1809 campaign. The battle of Gefrees occurred in southern modern Germany, near Bayreuth, and basically in the same location where the French started their 1806 campaign marches into 1806 Prussian territory, leading up to the battle of initial Battle of Saalfeld, then Jena and Auerstadt.

Accounts for the action on the Gefrees battlefield are sparse in number.  WR favorite go to source is the excellent 1809 Thunder on the Danube three-volume series written by John Gill. These books are a great source for the well-known and documented battles, and more importantly to WR, the more obscure battles fought during this campaign. but for the Battle of Gefrees, fought on July 8th and just before the signed armistice, the details are lacking for a detailed scenario. The background in Gill’s volume III book (Wagram & Znaim), has the story starting on page 290 with the sub-title of “Thunder in Bayreuth” section and reads up to page 299, before covering the Black Duke’s post armistice march to the Hanoverian coast. Specifically on mid page 297, there is a single paragraph on the Gefree battle…. per Gill a small skirmishing action it seems, ended with a violent thunderstorm of rain. So another well written source is needed and quickly found in the old First Empire magazine. The Battle of Gefrees First Empire (FE) magazine article by John (Jack) Gill appeared in issue #12 and covers in detail the short southern Germany (Bayreuth region) campaign and the battle. It is surprising that the book 1809 Thunder on the Danube has limited storyline compared to the same author’s FE article on this engagement. WR’s tabletop scenario is based upon this old FE article.

The old FE magazine article found on the internet as a .pdf file:  Gefrees 1809 Empire #12

The Danube theater wide situation at the start of July has the Battle of Wargarm (July 5th & 6th) forthcoming and the converging French Armies of Germany, Italy, and Dalmatia in general pursuit of the retiring Austrians. During the pursuit the engagement at Hollabrunn (July 9th) and the final major Battle of Znaim, fought on July 10th into the 11th occurs, leading to the signed campaign ending armistice during the evening of 11th (effective July 12th).

King Jerome

FML Kienmayer

GD Junot

        

Back in the rear area of Bavarian Bayreuth, Austrian Bohemia, and southern Saxony, the French and Austrians, along with their Germanic state allies, march and fight several smaller engagements during early July. In particular the confrontation of FML Kienmayer and his two French opponents; GD Junot and King Jerome of Westphalia, is the subject of this blog article. The Battle of Gefrees came from Archduke’s Charles’s earlier strategic plans after the Battle of Aspern-Essling. Archduke Charles desired peripheral theaters for limited operations to discomfort the French across the Danube river at Vienna and threaten the French line of communication back to France. With the Italian, Tyrol, and Polish theaters closing down at that time, only the Bohemian border with Saxony remained open for Austrian offensive action. The Saxon border frontier was open to Austrian military advance being ill defended, the possibility possible of sparking anti-french uprising (especially after the von Schill’s ride and raid), and reduction of the Confederation of the Rhine military efforts against Austria.

In May, the future Austrian grand military effort for this Saxon border raid adventure was limited to depot troops, the local landwehr formations, and several line detachments. Two small divisions slowly formed under the command of GM Carl Friedrich Freiherr Am Ende around Theresienstadt (8,600 and 10 cannon), up river from Dresden, and FML Paul Radivojevich (4,400 and 4 cannon) to advance on French held Bavarian Bayreuth from Eger. The French rear area and realms of the German allies had equally an odd mixture of units and formations, mostly newly raised recruits, depot, and provisional troops. The stalwart Marshal Francois Kellermann used his skill to form a Reserve Corps based around Hanau. Further north the new Kingdom of Westphalia, with their new army regiments, and the occasional Dutch, Saxon, Danes, and even Portuguese units, forming the French 10th Corps under King Jerome.

June 10th, the regional campaign starts, sees GM Am Ende cross the Saxon border and quickly control Dresden with his Brunswick and Hesse-Kassel small Frei corps allies joining him. Further northwestern marching towards Leipzig quickly ends with the cautious and indecisive GM Am Ende, a true Austrian commander, when faced by the energetic Saxon local commander von Thielmann. Oberst von Thielmann, soon joined by the marching Saxon-Polish command of GM von Dyherrn’s return from Poland, falls back before the Austrian torpid advance till joined by King Jerome’s 10th Corps at Leipzig (June 23rd). The combined Saxon and Westphalian forces immediately advanced on Dresden, with GM Am Ende quickly retreating across the Austrian border post-haste before their advance. Meanwhile, FML Radivojevich has crossed the Eger area border and occupies Bayreuth, while sending raiding groups towards Bamberg and Nuremberg. By the end of June, these raiding groups are forced to retire by the gathering French Reserve Corps under Marshal Kellermann at Hanau, soon to be commanded by GD Junot.

The start of July found FML Radivojevich back in Bayreuth and then compelled to retire on Bindloch on July 6th, the same time period days of the savage battle of Wargram. While GM Am Ende returned to Austrian territory, regrouping his command and remained camped across the Austrian border, FML Radivojevich soon had two separate French forces moving in his direction at the start of July. GD Jean-Andoche Junot, who recently taken the place of Kellermann in command of the Reserve Corps at Hanau, marched from Hanau to Wurzburg then towards Bamberg (July 5th). At Bamberg Junot is joined by GD Jean Delaroche with Bavarian depot battalion and two raw French provisional dragoon regiments coming north from Bavarian territory. With the enlarged, but untrained mounted arm available, GD Junot continues his advance against the worried FML Radivojevich, who quickly retreats towards Bindloch, as the French re-occupy Bayreuth.

FML Kienmayer rides to the rescue and arrives sometime during Am Ende’s early adventure into Saxony then retirement back to Austrian territory. Quickly he brought purpose to the enterprise and apprehensive about his forces being separated and facing superior enemy formations, he decides to exploit his central position to defeat each of the Franco-German corps in turn. Feeling the X Corps are overly enjoying their stay at pleasant Dresden, he saw Junot’s advance against FML Radivojevich as the immediate threat to his two corps. Dividing Am Ende’s command in half, he marches quickly westward toward Plauen, leaving the remainder under GM Am Ende to guard the border passes into Austria. Radivojevich’s ADC carrying messages for aid reach FML Kienmayer at Plausen (July 5th). Told to hold the Bindloch for as long as possible in reply notes, Kienmayer marches to Hof and aid of Radivojevich, leaving the Brunswick and Hessian troops at Plausen for the moment. Pressured by Junot’s advance, FML Radivojevich unknowing of FML Kienmayer’s response and actions, slowly retires to Gefrees. Under direct skirmishing with the French advance troops, Radivojevich holds Grefees position during the night of July 7th.

Gefrees and view of the surrounding countryside. (Wikipedia photo)

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