Monday, April 14, 2014

French and Indian War - French Piquets

Each French Infantry Battalion had a Piquet Company; permanently assigned to the Company was a Captain, a lieutenant, a second-lieutenant, and a couple of NCO's; all others who were assigned to the Piquet Company was on an temporary basis, usually only for a day or two. In theory each fusilier battalion was responsible for providing 3 to 5 soldiers every day for duty with the Piquet Company. After the term or assignment was up those temporally attached tot he Piquet Companies would be replaced by new soldiers from their permanent fusilier battalions.
In Europe the Piquet Companies were responsible for guarding the camp, providing advanced and rear guard on the March, protecting the Colors, Sentries and various other similar duties.   Those assigned to the Piquet Company were exempted from many of the daily duties of the other members of the Battalion, including camp construction, presenting arms, and the like.
In North America soldiers assigned to Piquet Companies were often assigned on a more permanent basis as the use of Piquet Companies was more widespread and strategic rather than tactical. 
Detachment of Piquet Companies occurred often as these "temporary" companies were assigned duties throughout Canada, ostensibly to protect, organize and train French Settlers and their forts from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains and the Gulf of Mexico.    It's estimated by one historian that there were as many as 500 such detachments through New France, I am extremely skeptical at such a number because even with only 10 men assigned to each of those (5,000 total) you are looking at roughly 25% to 50% of all regulars assigned out.   While their may have be 500 places that France had forces, the use of Troupes de la Marine, local Militia (Milices Canadiennes) most likely were the forces present.   That's not saying the Piquet Companies were not assigned out that way, rather in much smaller numbers, maybe 20 to 30 as opposed to 500.
Another use of Piquet Companies in North America was creating rapid intervention force, along with a Corps de Cavalrie.   During the Siege of Quebec Colonel Bougainville command such a force with 1,300 infantry and 200 cavalry and was assigned to watch the Western access to Quebec. 
As a gamer the question becomes how does one model this. 
As I am painting up Bougainville's force, I am also creating 10 companies of French Piquets, half will be treated as light infantry/skirmishes the other half in two converged battalions (one Regular, one Grenadier) it seems like the best way to model that specific force.
In addition in scenarios with Piquets I will simply be pulling figures from my Bougainville box. 
But still I am not convinced I made the best choice.

French and Indian War Era - Trapper's Cabin

 A couple images of a Trapper's Log Cabin that I am working on. 

The body of the house and roof are complete, I still need to fabricate doors and windows. 

I have already roughed up the surface so it is ready to be painted.

The roof as common in the era will be covered in dirt and sod. 

Once I figure out how to make a chimney it will be added to the back of the cabin.

In the background you can see some of the trees I worked on as well over the weekend.   I figure I need about 500 new trees or about 5 times what I made up this weekend.

French and Indian War Era - Trader Fort - Block House

The Terrain Board  is laid out so the Trader Fort will be constructed on rise, or small hill, above the surrounding territory.

The Block House will be situated at the highest point as indicated in the picture.   There will also be a Barn and a Storage Building located on the level to the left of the Block House.  

A Palisade of logs will in circle the remainder of the Fort.

Some additional detail work on the Block House.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Preperations for ReCon!

I spent the weekend looking at my preparations for the "Wars of the Jumbo Alliance" game for the upcoming ReCon!.

I decided I really need to focus on the Map.
The battlefield is 18' x 6', will be a single green sheet with terrain features put on it.   The North Side of the tabletops will be along the Mohawk River, the southside in state New York.
Near the center of the battlefield will be a Swamp/Stream with a bridge crossing.
Across the table will be a road network.
On The French Side there is a River Fortifications.   I theory the fortifications would be located on the opposite side of the river from the battlefield, but it makes a pretty boring game that way.
On the British Side of the things there is a Frontier Farmstead and a Trader Outpost. 

In theory there would be two additional 3' Tables one on each side.   I am planning on using my three 5' wide banquet tables for this as set up tables.   The British have the advantage of being able to move along the road on this fictional table to counter the French Strong Point at the Center of the Table.

I cut out the couple of pieces that I need for the road network, worked on painting the French River Fort and did the ground layout of the Trader Fort.  

So I have the all the buildings and road done short some ground work with the exception of the Trader Fort.   Shouldn't take more than a day or two to complete.

Now, how to make 400 to 500 trees.   

With the terrain all at least planned out I moved to looking at the Troops Required.

British - Assembling at the Trader Fort
  • British Independent Company
  • New York Untrained Militia
  • New York Trained Militia
  • Mohawk Indian Band
British - Assembling at the Farmstead
  • New York Untrained Militia
  • Ranger Company
  • Ranger Company
  • Mohawk Indian Band
  • 45th Regiment of Foot
  • 15th Regiment of Foot
  • Highland Regiment
  • Virginia Militia
French - Assembling at the River Fort
  • Languedoc Infantry Regiment
  • Artillery
  • Ottawa Indian Band
French - Companies Marine
  • Marine adhoc Battalion
  • Militia
  • Ottawa Indian Band
  • Royal Rousillon Infantry Regiment
  • Bearn Infantry Regiment
French - Companies Marine
  • Marine adhoc Battalion
  • Militia
  • Ottawa Indian Band
What is surprising about that is how close I am to having all those figures painted, I have 36 to 50 figures left per side.   In addition I have a Brigade of Hessen Troops and Bougainville's Flying Column and the Swedes and the Austrians and .... 

Final gave some serious consideration on Rules.
  • Decided to go with a completely different initative system.  Not totally happy with myself as it takes away from the BAR experience, but..   Each player will be assigned a set of chits, one +3, three +2, eight +1, eight -1, three -2, and one -3.   A player chooses a chit and than rolls a d6, adding the appropriate chit modifier to determine the final initiative.   Players move and shot from lowest to highest.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Break Figure Painting

Completed a few more 25mm French and Indian War Figures over Christmas Break, excuse me Winter Holiday Break.

12 - Rangers
12 - 15th Infantry Regiment
8 - Independent Company

12 - Canadian Militia - Languedoc Infantry Battalion

I anticipate finishing up some additional figures by the End of the Year.
I have the remainder of the 15th Infantry and Virginia Provincials primed and some first colors slapped on them.   I have another unit of British "Local" Militia primed, a unit of Rangers and a second Independent Company started.
For the French I have another block of 12 Canadian Militia which I intend to have completed for the Bearn infantry Regiment, a block of 24 Grenadiers, 12 Marine Piquets and another unit of Native American Indians already primed.

There is little question I cannot complete everything on my list.
I need to fill in the needs first.
15th British Infantry Regiment (two Divisions)
12 British Local Militia
12 Canadian Militia (Bearn Infantry Regiment)
24 French Grenadiers (Composite Unit)

Native Americans

Here's to my effort.

Monday, December 16, 2013

A Few more F&IW Figures


I finished up a unit of 12 Canadian Militia Piquets (Skirmish) with a command stand.

I also got a good start on a unit of 10 Native American Indians and it's command stand plus a over all Command Stand for my Native American Indians. 

In looking at what I have Painted:

  • 45th Infantry Regiment (54 of 54)
  • 15th Infantry Regiment  (12 of 54)
  • Virginia Militia (12 of 44)
  • Artillery (12 of 12)
  • Highlanders (23 of 23)
  • Highlanders (23 of 23)
  • Highlanders (8 of 50)
  • Rangers (12 of 12)
  • Rangers (12 of 12)
  • Rangers (0 of 12)
  • Independent Company (12 of 12)
  • Independent Company (6 of 12)
  • Languedoc (38 of 44)
  • Royal Roussilon (32 of 32)
  • Bearn (32 of 32)
  • Artillery (8 of 8)
  • French Piquets (12 of 12)
  • Companies Marine (44 of 44)
  • Companies Marine (32 of 44)
  • Marine Piquets (0 of 12)
  • Canadian Militia - Formed (16 of 16)
  • Canadian Militia - Unformed (14 of 14)
Native Americans
  • Unit 1 (12 of 12)
  • Unit 2 (12 of 12)
British Allied - Hessian
  • Mansbach (54 of 54)
  • Erbprinz (42 of 54)
  • Artillery (8 of 8)
Saxon in French Service
  • Graf Bruhl (20 of 44)
  • First Lubomirsky (0 of 44)
  • Artillery (8 of 8)
  • Artillery (12 of 12)
  • German Grenadiers (26 of 46)
  • Jagers (12 of 12)
  • Friekorps (12 of 40)
  • Artillery (8 of 8)

I guess I am beginning to see the end of painting the figures I currently have mounted up and primed, scary thought.  So I started looking through the unmounted and unprimed figures...
  • Two Battalions of French Marching
  • One Battalion of French Advancing
  • Three Battalions of Prussian Muskeeters
  • One Battalion of Austrians
  • 30 Native Americans
In addition I have some ungodly number of American Militia to remount.

My Goal between now and next week is get a good number (30 to 60) Native American Figures painted and remount at least two units of American Militia.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A Ford Too Far - Preliminary Discussion

The Irish historian Cornelius Ryan wrote several narrative histories on the Second World War; the most famous include The Longest Day, The Last Battle and A Bridge too Far.  Cornelius Ryan's writings and the films made based upon his books had a serious impact on my views and choice of hobbies.   I have slowly been painting up the figures to run Operation Market Garden using 15mm figures and "Spearhead" rules.  

Over the years the Centurions have discussed using historical scenarios in different periods; for example the Battle of Gettysburg set in 1779 between the British (Union) and the Continentals (Confederates), or Waterloo in 1870.   

However an intriguing idea was presented as Operation Market Garden set in the French and Indian War, dubbed a Ford too Far.   Would it work, can it be played, what rules, scale...

Obviously with a far number of 25mm Figures painted up already (even though not much is playable, see last post) the scale of the project was chosen for us.

As for rules, my love hate relationship with all rules is clearly in play, however we have been leaning towards Batailles de l'Ancien Régime (AKA BAR) locally and for now with nothing else peaking anyones interest BAR gets the nod.

So we have rules, scale, figures and now the start of creating a scenario.

To me the first step was breaking the game into playable areas or tables.   Specifically the space the table becomes the rivers/canals.   Between Table 1 and Table 2, the Rhine with Oosterbeek and Arnhem on Table 1.   Between Table 2 and Table 3 is the River Waal with Nijmegen located on Table 3.  Between Table 3 and 4 you have the Wilhemina Canal with Eindhoven located on Table 4.

The next step is locating whose where and how do you represent them.
The 1st British Airborne is located on Table 1 holding the crossing there in Arnhem.   The Polish Parachute Brigade is on Table two attempting to take the crossing from Arnhem.   The 82nd is attempting to take the crossing from Nijmegen on to table 2, and the 101st is attempting to take Eindhoven and the crossing onto table 3.
The Germans have a series of Kampfgruppe on each of the tables, including an SS Division, a Parachute Division, a Panzer Brigade and several unique divisions.  

The 1st Airborne - 80th Regiment of Foot
Polish Parachute Brigade - Allied Native Americans
82nd Airborne - American Rangers
101st Airborne - American Rangers
Guards Armored - Highlanders
Wessex Division - Regular infantry
Northumberland Division -  Regular Infantry

The question then becomes how many figures....
If you figure each player will command four units of 10/12 figures than ...
80th Regiment of Foot (Gage's Light Infantry) - Five skirmishing units of 10 figures.
Native American - Three Skirmishing units of 15 figures
American Rangers - Three Skirmishing units of 10 figures
American Rangers - Three Skirmishing units of 10 figures
Highlanders - Four Regular Foot Divisions of 15 Figures
45th Regiment of Foot - Four Regular Foot Divisions of 12 Figures
15th Regiment of Foot - Four Regular Foot Divisions of 12 Figures

Additional Figures
Grenadiers - 8th Armoured Brigade?

More later on all the Kampfgruppes