Sunday, October 30, 2011

28mm British Napoleonic Battalion - The 2nd/66th (The Berkshires)

I've taken a break from my recent Steampunk silliness to base-up some new recruits for my British Napoleonic collection. This unit (composed of Perry plastics and a Victrix mounted officer) represents the 2nd battalion of the 66th Regiment of Foot (The Berkshires). I had mentioned previously that I was building a British force around Colborne's ill-fated brigade which was severely mauled by French cavalry at Albuera in 1811 (approximately 70% casualties throughout the brigade).

On top of being a speed bump for Polish lancers, the 66th had the distinct misfortune of loosing both its Regimental and King's colours that day.

The 2nd/66th was all but destroyed at Albuera. Of the approximately 400 men that made up the battalion at the start of the day, it suffered 16 officers and 310 men killed or wounded. The following day, it was able to muster only 53 bayonets. The majority of the casualties had been killed and among the dead were the battalion major, and the ensigns Walker and Colter. Captain Clark was taken prisoner, but was able to escape later, wrote that one of the flags was saved, but he does not specify which one. The remnants of the 2/66th was formed into a provisional battalion with the 2nd Battalion 31st, which had saved its flags. It was noted in its last inspection in Roncesvalles in 1813 said “The Battalion of the 66th doesn't have flags, because their new ones were sent to Lisbon in 1812. It is the undeniable test of their loss at Albuera, and the King's Colours also exists still in Paris”.

Another document, a letter from Lieutenant George Cromption of the 66th, dated May 18, 1811 states, "Oh, what a day that was. The worst of the story I have not related. Our Colours were taken. I told you before that two ensigns were shot under them; two Sergeants suffered the same fate. Lieutenant seized a musket to defend them, and was shot to the heart, what could be done against cavalry?"

These flags, in fact four complete and two reduced to the flagstaffs with their spearhead and  some fragments of their cloths, were sent by Soult to Paris, where they were temporarily deposited in the home of Marshal Berthier, until their presentation in the Tulleries in August 1811, along with 200 flags taken from the Spanish in the past campaigns.

After 1814, these trophies remained hidden until 5 April 1827, when five were displayed in the Museum of Artillery. During the Revolution of 1830, a mob stormed the Museum and took weapons and flags from it, including the King's Colour of the 66th Foot. 

In 1831, the four remaining Colours, were placed in the cornices of the chapel of the Hotel des Invalides. During the funeral of Marshal Sebastiani on 11 August 1851 a fire broke out. The Regimental Colour of the 66th Foot was completely destroyed, while the King’s Colour of the 48th Foot was badly damaged with only its central shield surviving. 

In 1861, General Duffourc d'Antist donated to the Invalides his collection of flags. Among these flags was the King's Colour of the 66th Foot which had been stolen by the mob in 1830.

From what I understand, currently there still exists the shield of the King’s Colour of the 48th Foot, which is in a frame in storage of the l'Armée Musée, while the King's Colours of the 66th Foot, as well as the remains of those of the 3rd and 48th are suspended of the cornices of the chapel of the Hotel des Invalides, which is part of the annex to the l'Armée Musée.

(Information from

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The First Martian Lift Wars - A 'Dystopian Wars' Campaign

Over the past few weeks I've mentioned the idea of running a small campaign to make use of my new collection of Dystopian Wars models.  Since I've always liked the Jules Vern / H.G Wells vision of space travel (being that ships can float through the 'aether' between worlds) I came up with the following premise:

The year is 1877 and scientists from Berlin's Reichsakademie fur Astronomie have been closely observing the celestial bodies, testing the theory that deposits of the valuable new element 'Sturginium' may be present and obtainable on nearby worlds.  Working from observations of Mars made by Giovanni Schiaparelli several German scientists believe they have discovered gas vents located in the north-west hemisphere of the Red Planet.

Giovanni Schiaparelli's original 1877 map of Mars.
The Prussian Empire was delighted in hearing this information, believing that they could mount an expedition to the Martian surface to claim any mineral rights before any of the other Great Powers were wise to the discovery. Unfortunately for the Prussians, their scientists, committed to the spirit of academic freedom and the sharing of knowledge, unilaterally decided to publish their findings in several international journals. When released their findings caused a sensation in the corridors of power.  As a result a race has begun between the four Great Powers to see who will claim the most Martian territory and establish rights of colonization and industry.

Our map depicting the north-west section of Schiaparelli's Mars.
Knowing that time is of the essence, each of the Great Powers has raced to assemble resources to send on an expedition.  The lift capacity of the newly invented aether cargo ships is prodigious, allowing them to 'lift' naval vessels through the Aetherium to Mars. As the Powers are all actively spying on each other during their preparations for the 'Lift to Mars' each nation has roughly matched the others in the composition of their fleets (fancy that!). They also realize that due to the distance of the journey, and the resources required, reinforcement will be very sporadic - essentially what each commander starts with at the outset will be his force entire, with very little hope of immediate resupply until they have exhibited some level of success (either by conquest or exploitation of resources). 

A mixed Prussian force advancing under fire.
Each strategic game turn on the campaign map represents one week. The speed of ships in the tactical game equate to a single hex of movement on the campaign map. For example, a frigate squadron which normally has a movement of 10" in the tactical game will be able to move 10 hexes on the campaign map over a week's time.

Japanese Cruisers steaming at flank speed.
Each nation has 100 'factors' of Marines to act as garrison troops for their land claims. Each nation also has 1000 'resource points' in which to build any installations and military infrastructure in which to aid their campaign.

Confederate Cruisers taking a pounding on their approach.
In our game the British have established their main base on Thyle, the Confederates on Phaetontis, the Prussians on Thaumasia Felix and the Japanese on Nivea. We're in Turn 3 of the campaign and we've already had a major fleet action fought between the Confederates and the British (fairly well-matched but the British did loose a Carrier). The diplomatic wires are ablaze with communication as everyone is jockeying for an advantage.

The doomed HMS Gigantic on fire and crippled...
Its all great fun as the players have really gotten into the spirit of their various roles. Its proven to be a good diversion as we say goodbye to autumn and head into winter. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dystopian Wars - Confederate Fleet

In the Dystopian Wars 'universe' the American contingent is called the Federated States of America (FSA) but I thought that since we are dealing with alternate history it might be interesting to have a faction that was based around a sovereign Confederate nation, with the premise being that the Southern states had prevailed in 1863 and had won their independence. 
Three Perryville Class Frigates
So with this in mind I pondered on what are some quintessential 'Confederate' colours. Well, obviously grey would have to play an important part of the palette, but what else? When I was younger I did a lot of ACW re-enacting in the deep South (17th Mississippi) and really loved the uniforms of the Confederate officers, with their yellow facings and the gold braid ('chicken guts') against the grey wool. Finally, since the artillery arm often had red as their facing colour I thought that would be a good third accent for the turrets and gun positions.  So, here they are all in their 'Reb glory.

Sharpsburg Class Cruisers (with different generators in the central 'socket')
A Fredericksburg Class Battleship (with a rocket battery in the central socket)
2nd view of the Battleship with a Kinetic Drive installed.
A Chickamauga Class Aircraft Carrier.
2nd view of the Carrier with the fighters on deck.
A Gettysburg Class Dreadnought

A rather blury detail shot (sorry) of the Dreadnought.
Two Jim Beam Class Scout Airships

Two Mint Julip Class Heavy Bombers.
A squadron of White Lightning Fighters

Another pic of the Fleet.
This bunch was a lot of fun to paint up and, as you can probably tell, I had a good time dreaming up names for all the classes.  A few weeks ago I came up with a campaign game to involve the four fleets which we're playing now. Perhaps I'll put up a short post describing the campaign in a few days.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Lovely Day for Cthulhu to Rise in Regina

Nothing says a lovely day in the park like four tentacles fighting over a juicy morsel.
Sarah and I went for a cycle around the city the other day and we came upon the chilling realization that, based on many of the local sites, Regina must be some kind of a dark portal to the Chthonian Mythos

This is a 'sculpture' outside our local art gallery.
Even the cows are petrified of it...
A sacrificial altar near our legislative park.
Obviously a place were dark eldritch rights are performed...
The idyllic mote-dappled sunshine doesn't fool me for a second.
This is the entrance to 'Candy Cane Park'. Right. Sure. Whatever you say...
Hmm, I wonder how many children it takes to keep this thing sated?

Forget the 'Mountains of Madness', we obviously live in the Great Plains of Perdition. Actually, this explains that 'Innsmouth Look' that I often see around town - I had always thought it was too much, you know, luv in the family, but now I know better.

Yog-Sothoth, Azathoth, Spaghettithoth! We're all doomed!!

Now I just need to make a Sanity Roll and we'll return to our regular programming...