Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bloody Aughrim July 12, 1691 - refought by the LoA Part 13 Heroes & Villians The Williamites

Overall, the Williamite Army performed creditably but not inspiringly. Many regiments saw action, took casualties but did nothing beyond the ordinary . There were however, some notable exceptions;
Erle's held this position for much of the afternoon.
Thomas Erle's Regiment
Erle's were in the first wave of the advance but were spooked at the hedgerows and broke. They had to be rallied by a posse of senior officers including Ginkel himself. They reformed and advanced quickly only to watch the rest of their brigade disintegrate at the foot of Kilcommodan Hill. They stood alone taking artillery fire until falling back beyond the hedges once more. Whilst mayhem surrounded them in the form of cavalry charges and routing friends they watched it all pass them by before advancing once more to take up roughly the same position under Kilcommodan Hill as they had occupied hours before. In the dying moments of the battle barely 100 of them tried to advance in support of Meath's charge but finally broke having taken an active part in almost the entire battle. Despite their early wobble they redeemed themselves purely on the value of their endurance of punishment! HARD MEN!

Langston's charge to glory!
Langston's Regiment of Horse
Langston's performed the only truly spectacular charge delivered by Ginkel's army. Having stood for hours watching their infantry get nowhere against the Jacobite centre left they were ordered forward after the remnants of the enemy cavalry evaporated late in the battle. Their primary target - the pike armed recruits of Dudley Bagnall fled as the charge began thus exposing Lord Gormanston's Regiment. Gormanston's delivered a ragged volley but could not stop the charge. The impact if Langston's broke the infantry and destroyed them. General St Ruhe stood less than 30 yards from the carnage. He was in no immediate danger and attached himself to the 2nd battalion of the Foot Guards. Their close range first volley at +15 decimated Langston's who took further fire from nearby Jacobite regiments. Langston's survivors did not rout but fell back in the face of overwhelming odds.GLORY CHARGE

The final charge of the Gard te Paard
Gard te Paard
The Dutch Horse Guards forced a crossing of the Attibrassil bridge in several charges which ultimately destroyed the regiment. They broke the 2nd Battalion of Dillon's Regiment before themselves being wiped out in a counter attack from O'Brien's Regiment of Horse.

The mighty guns on Urraghry Hill bark at the enemy!
Mention must be made of the Williamite artillery which pounded the Jacobite lines throughout the battle. More casualties were lost to the big guns that to musketry. Two of the positional pieces were blown up through misfires and accidents during the battle.

And the villains..............

No redemption for Killiecrankie. The brigade falters again.
The Scots-Dutch Brigade
This experienced brigade proved very disappointing. Held in a reserve position they panicked twice. Mackay's Regiment were saved from leaving the field by senior officer intervention. Ramsay's regiments ran without coming within 500 yards of the enemy. Disgraceful performance.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

More Flags from Quindia Studios

Clarence Harrison - This time we've added a selection of French Horse from 1692-93 that fought in the battles of Steenkirk and Neerwinden.

There are more French on the way...

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tales from Sverige Part 6: The Vasa Museum

She would not have looked like this for long!
Mrs H had in fact beat me to the punch. She'd visited the Vasa Museum in 2013 whilst carousing around the Baltic on a cruise ship. She insisted it was a 'must see' so we walked there on a beautiful Spring morning which everyone in Stockholm told us was quite unseasonable!
depiction of the Vasa going down
Another view of the lovely model
Admission was not cheap but I could see even on the first 5 seconds through the door of the 'ship hall' that it was worth every penny.
Difficult to appreciate the size of Vasa from this angle
I know this is not by any manner of means a 1660-1720s subject but it does have a direct connection to some fairly heavyweight historical figures not the least of whom was Gustav Adolph, King of Sweden.
reconstructed and researched figures from the ship
He was the man who commissioned the mighty warship and as I found out, may well have been the man chiefly responsible for its sinking.
Vasa was a warship required in the Baltic theatre during the height of the Thirty Years War. The Swedes were in their glory phase. The stakes were high and the country was becoming a major European power. This Empire came crashing down in 1709 at Poltava but for now, the Swedes are the coming men of Europe, championing the Protestant cause but really, building up a trade income for themselves and getting pretty fat on it too.
waterline shot of the stern towering above us
The ship sank on its maiden voyage out of the yards. In a moderate sea within the archipelago on which Stockholm is built, it listed heavily, righted itself then went over again flooding from the gun ports and sinking with the loss of many people. It was effectively a sea trial come pleasure cruise which went very badly wrong.
despite the upper masts still being visible after the disaster, over time the location of the wreck was forgotten then totally lost until salvaged in the 1960s but some very brave men who drilled 6 tunnels under the hull whilst in full deep sea diving gear. They ran double six inch cables through the tunnels and cradled the ship out of the preserving silt. Very little deterioration had occurred and as the ship was literally brand new, most things survived, even many of the sails!
Model in the foregournd is 1/12th scale
The ship was not a wreck but rather an almost complete relic of 17th century warship design. Its restoration has produced a true wonder to behold. The items salvaged together with the bodies recovered tell an absolutely fascinating tale of 17th century life. They have even done facial reconstruction archaeology on several of the bodies found to give a true life picture of what 17th century Swedes looked like. I did not photograph these or the skeletons as I thought that disrespectful. I was particularly annoyed by two idiot students lying down on the glass causes containing the human remains and making those bloody stupid thumbs up gestures that idiots seem to love in photographs.
two of the ship's 50 cannon
The enquiry afterwards held at the Royal Palace focused on the actions of three men not present. The King, Fleming his Admiral and the deceased shipwright. Despite much eyewitness testimony and numerous witnesses, no one was ever held accountable. One can conclude then that the evidence against the King and Fleming was so compelling that no other individual or group could be saddled as scapegoats.
not too much detail has had to be reconstructed
The evidence points to inexperience of building heavy, tall two gun deck warships. The vessel was too narrow and not able to hold enough stone ballast to stay stable in relatively calm weather. A simple tale of bad design, pressures of war and the need to have large powerful fleets sailing in the Baltic. The King ignored advice and told the yard to get the vessel finished and commissioned. Fleming too seemed to endorse the urgency and thus a tragedy was conceived.

can you get the size?
Without these bad decisions the modern world would never have seen such a compete example of 17th century craftsmanship. Gustav left us a wonderful legacy through his mistake.

Look at the man beside the model beside the Vasa - Perspective!

I hope you enjoy these pictures. The museum is perhaps the finest I have ever visited.

Friday, April 25, 2014

BLB Scenario: Winter 1706 GNW in Poland

August the Strong's Saxon Army prepares to attack the enemy
Gunter Heim impressed us so much with his Saxon Army on his last visit to the UK that I just had to incorporate them into this year's schedule. We wanted to get the Swedes out again too as they are so different to game with. The final element to the game was my desire to put on a winter table and see how that looked.

Swedish position. Note the Saxon prisoners in forward earthworks
Overall, the combination with a tough scenario proved very challenging for the players. The game is set in Poland in 1706 sometime soon after the Battle of Fraustadt. A Saxon force is attempting to push into Swedish held territory and comes across a blocking force defending a strategic river crossing.

12 battalions, 22 squadrons, 4 guns and 4 dragoon regiments
The Swedes are uncharacteristically entrenched and with significant artillery support. Part of their force is made up of Saxon prisoners whose loyalty must surely be under question.

The guns were well positioned to hit the enemy ridge
The only visible Swedes in the blocking force are the gunners and two regiments of Horse one of which is the Livgarde. The Saxons have overwhelming superiority in numbers but are operating on a narrow frontage with a long way to go to reach the bridge and capture it. With August the Strong leading they are inspired by their King yet he is no great general and so movement allowance each turn is another limiting factor.

Game 3- Saxons hit the brick wall of Halsinge, Uppland & Ostgotland
Beyond the ridge is hidden a three battalion brigade of Swedish infantry. Marching to the sound of the guns are a further three battalions and 7 squadrons of Horse. In all games this last component of the Swedish force never appeared!

Game 2: The Swedish Lifeguard appeared. A battalion was destroyed!
We ran the game three times. Two Swedish wins and one Saxon. Gunter managed to get his newly painted Leib Regiment through the centre and they charged and destroyed the 1st battalion of the Swedish Life Guard Regiment of Foot. Now that is some claim to fame! During game 1 the Swedes held the ridge comfortably and did so without the aide of the hidden infantry or reinforcements from off table.

Regiment Abo och Bjorneborgs

In the second run the Saxons steamrollered through the centre giving Glory Hunting Gunter a moment of joy when the Guards went down to his buff coated Leib Cuirassiers.

This proved to be irresistible
In the final run the Saxons made heavy weather of taking the ridge but looked to be breaking through down the central road until three battalions of Swedish Foot popped up out of the ground and blocked the path.

Some schmoozing went on at the forward barricades when the Saxon prisoners in Swedish pay were offered terms by their former brothers in arms. On two occasions the pragmatic Saxons accepted the terms, killed their Swedish officers and bolted for the Saxon gun line. In several other instances they fought on. On particular group of Saxons fought so well that they held up the attacking Saxon horde far longer than anyone expected.

Saxon Gardes du Corps in action. Can you spot the King?
It was good fun for the Swedish players to be on the defensive and to use artillery which is a bit of a novelty! As you can see from the evidence, some of the guns were not well handled as they blew up!

Whatever you do.. never roll two 1s in an artillery shoot!
More wins for the Swedes in defence than in attack if you reference back to the Klissow 1702 blog-post from last October.

We enjoyed this one. It looked different and taking defensive works proved to be challenging as always.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Bloody Aughrim July 12, 1691 - refought by the LoA Part 12 The Butcher's bill: Williamite Army

The Williamite Army became very disorganized during the fighting. Many units fled the field without having seen action. Some brigades saw heavy fighting whilst others suffered few or no casualties what soever.

Another close combat for Kilmallock's

Starting on the army's right flank

Leveson's Regiment of Dragoons: Casualties zero. Holding position east of the Melehan stream.
Earl of Oxford's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 77%. On the eastern side of the Melehan causeway.
Earl of Portland's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 25%. Near Urraghry Hill.
William Wolseley's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 91%. Retired from the field.
Colonel Langston's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 100%.

Earl of Bath's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 43%. Routed from the field.
Royal Regiment of Fuzileers: Casualties 100%. Destroyed in combat with Abercorn's Horse.
Gustavus Hamilton's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 100%. Destroyed in combat with Galmoy's Horse.
Richard Brewer's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 100%. Destroyed in combat with Abercorn's Horse.
General Kirke's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Near Kilcommodan Hill.
Earl of Meath's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 15%. Routed from the field.
Colonel Steaurt's Regiment of Foot 100%. Destroyed in combat with Lord Kilmallock's Horse.
Zachariah Tiffin's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Routed from the field.
Thomas Erle's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 89%. Routing from the field.
Sir John Hanmer's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 43%. Routed from the field.
The Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards: Casualties 43%. Routed from the field.
Regiment Brandenburg: Casualties 61%. Routed from the field.
Regiment van Graben: Casualties 71%. Retreated from the field.
Regiment van Auer: Casualties zero. Routed from the field.
Regiment Waldeck: Casualties 22%. In position east of Bloody Hollow.
Regiment Prind's Christian: Casualties zero. Retreating from the field.
Regiment Prinds Frederick: Casualties 11%. Routed from the field.
Regiment Dronningen's: Casualties 15%. Rallied east of the Tristuan Stream.
Regiment Prinds Georg: Casualties 100%. Destroyed in combat with the King's Life Guard of Horse.
Regiment Garden til Fods: Casualties 66%. Routed from the field.
Regiment Funen: Casualties 28%. Rallied east of the Tristuan stream.
Regiment Jyske: Casualties 38 %. Routed from the field.
Regiment Du Cambon: Casualties 61%. Routing from the field.
Regiment Le Caillemotte: Casualties 66%. Routed from the field.
Regiment de Meloniere: Casualties 100%. Destroyed in combat with O'Brien's Horse.
Hugh Mackay's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. At the foot of Kilcommodan Hill.
Lauder's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Amongst the hedgerows below Kilcommodan Hill.
George Ramsay's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Fled the field.

Heavy casualties for Prinds Georg.
Regiment von Donop: Casualties  83%. Routed from the field.
Regiment Sehested: Casualties zero. Holding position near Blood Hollow.
Gardes du Corps van zijn Majesteit: Casualties 100%.
Regiment Gard te Paard: Casualties 100%.
Regiment Gard Dragonders: Casualties 77%. Routed from the field.

Gard Dragonders dismounted battalion: Casualties 66%. Routed from the field.
Conyngham's Dragoons: Casualties  16%. Routed from the field.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Follow the Leader... a slight departure for Mr Hilton in the 200th Anniversary Year of Waterloo; 2015

Barry meets Geek Nation!
Atop the butte on a beautiful early summer day
I've said it before.. the internet is a wonderful thing. I was 'connected' to Teras Cassidy of Geek Nation Tours by Dave Taylor ex of Wargames Illustrated in the US. Dave thought I might find some common ground with Teras who runs an interesting 'hobby holiday' company focusing on wargaming vacations in exciting locations around the world - Geek Nation Tours.

Teras was planning an 200th Anniversary Tour vacation to Waterloo in 2015 and was looking for some input into the tour itinerary from someone who's been there and done that.

Looking at the ground trampled by D'Erlon's Corps

I have made a few visits to Waterloo over the years and several more to Belgium for business and pleasure. When Teras and I began to talk it was mostly about where to go, journey times, what else could be incorporated into the tour schedule and similar pragmatic stuff. Just a fun discussion and helping someone out I thought!

South gate of Hougoumont
After a couple of phone calls I had somehow agreed to be the tour guide! Well, actually the idea was forming in both of our minds as we talked at various times over the course of a few months. I am very interested in the Waterloo campaign, I have wargamed the battle often and in detail, I've written a set of rules for the period, I have visited and walked the field for over 16 hours in total, I have written several published scenarios for the hobby press, I am a frequent visitor to Belgium.. I think perhaps Teras was connecting all of these separate elements and thinking.. I've found my man! I was a bit behind him in the ideas chain!

One of our many re-fights. Republic to Empire game. 
I am actually looking forward to the challenge. The tour takes place in the all important anniversary week of the celebrations. It involves several visits to not only Waterloo and all of its attractions but also to other important sites in the 100 Days Campaign including Ligny, Quatre Bras, Genappe and Wavre. I understand the participants are based out of a hotel in nearby Brussels and that Teras intends for those lucky people to sample the best that Belgium has to offer in terms of hospitality, food and of course .. beer.

Still going strong R2E
Belgium has a completely unjustified reputation in the UK as being boring. I do not subscribe to that view. It is my favourite country in Europe bar none. It has the best food, the best beer (in the world), fine people, stunning architecture, a varied geography (the southern Ardennes is almost Alpine in its beauty) and more history that you could take in over a long lifetime. If I ever want another job I'll learn Flemish and apply to the Belgian Tourist Board who perhaps are the weak link in the chain.. how can they fail to promote such an international gem?

I expect to blog a little more about it soon and keep people posted.

I will look out my sun hat, rolled up umbrella and best walking shoes. Maybe even see some of you there!

Follow me!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Tales from Sverige Part 5: Equipment 1670s - GNW

Cavalry buff coat and front plate cuirass 1660-70s
This blog post is fairly self explanatory. I am going to limit the text and you can look at the pictures.
saddle and pistol holsters
1690s period collarless coat, French copied pocket pattern
I took so many pictures during the various museum visits that inclusion would have made this post unacceptably long. If members are interested in other pictures I have you can let me know through the usual channels.
Infantry drum
Infantry flag labelled as Ostergotland 
The infantry cape in the picture above is interesting. It may be an officer's cape as it has decorative clasps of bronze or brass.


Friday, April 18, 2014

BLB Scenario - Battle of the Boyne 1st July 1690. Crossing at Oldbridge

King William's infantry are ready to get their feet wet
It's one of those battles that people have heard of, even those with no interest in history. Like Waterloo, The Charge of the Light Brigade and The Somme, the Battle of the Boyne has crept into the British collective subconscious and lives in dark corners of hazy misinterpretation. "Isn't that where King Billy killed the Pope?" is an explanation I have heard from a few worthies over the years!
Oldbridge is reinforced by Bellew's and  Boiselleau's Regiments
Needless to say, no history lesson here! I offer only the photographic evidence gathered from three iterations of the Crossing at Oldbridge as played out in the Cairndale Hotel, Dumfries 21-23, March 2014.
Lovely sunlit picture of Jacobite dragoons at the river
In scoring terms it was Played:3, W1, D1, L1 when you look at it from either side of the river, the divide or the table. One Jacobite victory, one Williamite victory and one draw. Even a politician couldn't have come up with a better solution to keep the world happy!
The Blew Guards about to enter the river Boyne
I have fought or organized the Oldbridge game many times and it is not a forgone conclusion. The Williamite Army has a very tricky task on its hands to get across a tidal river under threat of attack and then fight its way out and uphill.
Prinds Frederick's are out. Some of my half men in the river.
The generally poor quality of the enemy infantry will make the task somewhat easier but the Jacobite cavalry are a force to be reckoned with are a real risk.

The Gard te Voet (Dutch Foot Guards) always lead off on the attack in my scenarios. We activated two other brigades at the kick off - The Huguenots and one Danish. In the first game the 1st battalion of the Blew Guards was wiped out to a man whilst getting out of the river. The second battalion suffered losses. In the second game both battalions of the Blew Guards died to a man around Oldbridge! In the third game Gerry managed to push the Guards through the western end of Oldbridge and rout both battalions of King James's Foot Guards. Deeply ironic that 'Jacobite Gerry' was the most successful Williamite commander of the day!
Berwick leads the Jacobite cavalry to glory
The Jacobite Army generally fought very well (albeit without the aid of the splendid French Brigade sitting on Donore Hill and ordered not to get involved!). The Dragoons on the right at Drybridge and the dashing Horse of Parker, Sutherland, Tyrconnell and the King galloped around hacking and slashing and generally making a mess of Danish troops.  Prinds Frederick's Regiment was routed and I remember the Dutch Lifeguards and Eppingers Dragoons failing to get out of the river and pushed back to the north bank in one run of the game.

Oh and yes, King William DID fall in the Boyne! We played pontoon for his soul and Mike Harrison beat the House to rescue his Majesty who was carried to the shore winded but safe!
Enniskillen and Derry battalions cross in second wave
In Dumfries the battle of the Boyne caused no tears, no anger and no arguments. The honours were even. Everyone had great fun and were all friends at the end.... re writing history at a wargaming weekender is cathartic and great socialising! If only real life was as clean and simple.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bloody Aughrim July 12, 1691 - refought by the LoA Part 11 The Butcher's bill: Jacobite Army

Editior: This was scheduled for last week, but somehow didn't post - I have been out of it for a few weeks and didn't notice! My apologies...

The grim statistics from the re-fight are quite revealing. Bare in mind that in the BLB system of casualties a unit loses are not meant to represent simply men killed in action but men wounded, deserters and a reduction in overall unit fighting effectiveness. In the extreme, a unit 'wiped out' i.e. with 100% model losses is not necessarily annihilated but rather its combat effectiveness is reduced to zero through a combination of the above.

Gormanston's go down!
Reading the statistics in that light contextualises the action and makes some sense of the overall battle. In addition for the 'nerdy statistically obsessed' out there (and I include myself in that number) I have, where known, added some detail about the final position or status of units.

The Jacobite Army

From the Army's left wing:

Garrison of Aughrim Castle (Under Walter Bourke) : Casualties zero. Engaged with enemy Horse attempting to force the Causeway.

Garrison of Aughrim Village: Casualties zero. Did not engage.

Earl of Tyrconnel's Regiment of Horse: Casualties  66% . Routed from the field
Earl of Abercorn's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 66%. Retired beyond Aughrim to regroup.
Lord Galmoy's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 91%. Retired from the field.
Colonel Purcell's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 50%. Routed from the field.
Lord Kilmallock's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 75%. Retired from the field.

1st Battalion King's Regiment of Foot Guards: Casualties 66%. Retreated from the field.
2nd Battalion King's Regiment of Foot Guards: Casualties 66%. Holding position south of Aughrim.
Lord Gormanston's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 100 %. Destroyed by Langston's Horse.
Colonel Bagnall's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Routed from the field.
Edward Nugent's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 33%. Upon Kilcommodan Hill.
Butler's Fuzileers: Casualties 58%. Upon Kilcommodan Hill
Lord Creagh's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 66%. Routed in the final charge of the battle.
John O'Connell's Regiment of Foot: Casualties11%. Upon Kilcommodan Hill
Colonel Grace's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 5%. Holding position south of Aughrim.
Colonel McMahon's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 5%. Holding position south of Aughrim.
Lord Bellew's Regoment of Foot: Casualties zero. Rallied and holding position on Kilcommodan Hill.
Lord Louth's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Upon Kilcommodan Hill.
Colonel De Boiselleau's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 11%. Upon Kilcommodan Hill
The Earl of Antrim's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Upon Kilcommodan Hill
Earl of Clanrickarde's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Upon Kilcommodan Hill.
1st Battalion Henry Dillon's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Upon Kilcommodan Hill
1st Battalion Dennis McKellicut's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 33%. Retreated from the field.
2nd Battalion Dennis McKellicut's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 5%. Fled the field.
Cuconnacht MacGuire's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 15%. Upon Kilcommodan Hill.
Colonel Edward Butler's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 61 %. Routed from the field.
Ulick de Burgh's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 61 %. Near the Bloody Hollow.
2nd Battalion Henry Dillon's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 100 %.Wiped out by Dutch Horse
Sir Maurice Eustace's Regiment of Foot: Casualties zero. Defending Attibrassil bridge.
Lord Grand Prior's Regiment of Foot: Casualties 33%. Near Attibrassil.

The final attack!
Sir Edward Prendergast's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 83%. Routed from the field.
Daniel O'Brien's Regiment of Horse: Casualties 64%. Routed from the field.

The Kings Life Guard of Horse: Casualties 54%. breaking through the enemy centre near Urraghry Hill
Simon Lutterell's Regiment of Horse: Casualties zero. Fled the field in ignominious circumstances!

Lord Dongan's Dragoons: Casualties 66%. Routed from the field.
Colonel Maxwell's Dragoons: Casualties 50%. Routed from the field.
Colonel Lutterell's Dragoons: Casualties 66%. Routed from the field.

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