Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Battle of Twee Heuvels with Hair Roller Armies

When I heard that Bob Cordery's  Portable Wargame system was adding rules for the Napoleonic age, I thought what a great opportunity to get  my hair roller armies out of storage and give the rules a test drive. Last week, The Portable Napoleonic Wargame rules were released and then it snowed 8-)

I decided to adapt my 9 X 8 squares board to play the "Big Battle" rules (there are 3 levels of rules). And, while I really like Bob's new approach to figure basing (any new Napoleonic armies I assemble will use his approach), using the hair roller army (HRA) bases would require a tweak or two. The new rules should work fine, my challenge was how to shoe horn my hair roller armies into them. Each HRA base will be a division. I will use dice rolls to determine if orders are received , rather than card activation. Also will try the new tables for wounded commanders.

Enough talking, let's begin …

2 French and 2 Allied divisions fail to activate on Turn 1

                         Dutch-Belgian Artillery unlimbers on hill northeast of the farmhouse.
Dutch-Belgian Artillery fires and hits causing a loss of a Strength Point to the French 4th division, but causes no injury to sub commander de Marbot

                                   Looking Northwest at the farmhouse occupied by the Allies.

 Artillery both miss

The French prepare to retreat from Twee Heuvels as they are outflanked by the 2nd Anglo-Brunswick Division with the King's German Legion. 

The French downfall was taking 6 turns to get all its forces into the battle. French Marshall Gerard had great difficulty communicating with his sub commanders, especially General Coignet's 6th division. The Allies gained control of the battlefield by having the Dutch-Belgian Artillery on the heights Northeast of the farm and withstanding counter battery fire from the French. 

Trying to use the Hair Roller Armies in this scenario and with the "Bigger Battle" rules was like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I will attempt this next time using the Division rules. The problem was NOT the rules, but how my HRA are organized and the tweaks  required complicated play, requiring too much bookkeeping for my taste. Lessons learned. 

The Portable Napoleonic Wargame by Bob Cordery is available as an ebook (PDF) for $5.50 (with tax) here or here.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Battle of Quebec 1759 with No Paint Armies

Our battle, The Battle of Quebec 1759, will be using the 2003 Risk (tm) replacement figures (tricornes) and modifying Stephen D Smith's scenario from the Junior General website.

 British (red) bottom of picture, French (white) at top of photo.

 French (white) right flank, British (red) left flank
 The Center
 French left flank, British right flank
 French (white) charge on their right flank
 French take casualties and retreat from melee

 British continue to destroy Montcalm's French on the French right flank
 The French exchange casualties with Wolfe's British in the Center
 The French right flank also takes heavy casualties

 General Montcalm tries to retreat to Quebec 

The British army seizes the Plain of Abraham from the retreating French. Unlike history, both generals do survive this battle recreation. However, like the actual battle this was a decisive victory for the British under General James Wolfe.

With some common sense modifications to the rules and scenario (agreed to by both participants) this battle provided an entertaining and fun evening with the No Paint Armies. 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Making WW I Paper Soldiers for Trench Hammer rules

Despite unexpectedly learning my printer can not handle 110 pound paper, but inspired by another approach to basing Paper Soldiers by Kaptain Kobold, I decided to experiment with a foam  approach to basing Paper Soldiers.  I glue together 2 separate sheets of colored foam (different colored foam can be used to delineate armies). Let dry over night and then cut into 40 mm by 30 mm bases using a pair of scissors. Next, I use an Exacto knife to carefully cut through 1 layer of foam. For bases with 2 figures I mark and cut 10 mm from each end. For bases with 3 figures (machine guns, etc.), a third slice is made in the middle. If you are using 1 figure platoon HQ bases, they are 20 mm X 30 mm and have a single slice in the middle of the base. A 2 cut base is used for a Company HQ (Lt. and Sgt.). Tacky glue can be used to secure paper figures, but is NOT necessary.

                                                          Half of a Hand Bomber section

I am making a legendary American 369th Infantry ( "Harlem  Hellfighters") platoon/company supported with French machine guns and led by French officers.

To print out your own WW I soldiers check out  Ungern's or Vasily Zaitzev's paper figures at World War I Ground Forces on the Junior General's website.

Inexpensive Platoon/Company level rules: Trench Hammer rules (currently for under $5.00)

Unfortunately, Trench Hammer rules only include platoon information for the British and Germans.

US WW I platoon was made up of 4 sections: Hand Bombers, Rifle Grenadiers, Riflemen and Automatic Riflemen. Platoon HQ was 1 Lt., 1 Sgt. and 4 Privates.

French WW I platoon was also 4 sections (squads): Bombers (8 rifles), MG squad (1 chauchat, 6 rifles), 2 X rifle squads (12 rifles each).

Disclaimer: There are wide variations in basic platoon configurations depending on date and nation.  

I used 67 pound paper (on sale), but 65# (shinier paper) would be fine also. The glue for assembling the paper soldiers is Scotch Clear Glue.