Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Russians are Coming but Don't Panic... they are in 28mm and 20mm (PaintingUpdate: P2)

Alongside the big 28mm figures (to be fair few n numbers) I have many of their little cousins in 20mm (let's not mention the unopened boxes of 15mm that were destined for a dual CrossFire and Flames of War project that has stalled), so while I was "at it" I primed up some "calssic) Revell in Airfix Acrylic (01). Notably the 'silly' one-leg in the air grenade throwing pose (see below, in my defence he is a rifleman and you need quite a lot of riflemen in the Soviet army): 

Along with the classic Revell, there were the Plastic Soldier Company (PSC) 20mm figures (very nice, especially once 'primed and washed' - I have high hopes for these [two packs Summer Infantry and Heavy Support Weapons]) and a pack of newer Revell Winter Infantry (Note: Not the "Skiing Siberians"). All told I have enough for a platoon of Revell "classics" supplemented with other metals to make up a platoon and the PSC to make another. With metal "odds and sods" helping out with teh shortage of Russian LMG teams (see below, a mass of primed and washed plastics):

Meanwhile some 28mm Black Tree "specialists" are primed, two LMG Teams and two flamethrowers (see below, still in the pack is the Maxim MMG):

The Plastic Soldier Company 20mm platoon lines up (see below, with the bigger 28mm boys off to the right):

The metals follow the plastics in the "factory" painting system. Even though most of the Vallejo Sepia Wash (bar the brown deep in figures recesses) will be painted over, I do like how it brings teh figure to life and guides the eye for painting (see below):

All told I have five Russian Squads (depleted as per our casualty rolls for the campaign system) and I am going through each "shade painting" the areas. See below a bunch of Russians WIP on their "shade" [British Uniform] layer before going onto their "base" [Khaki-Grey] stage. I have to say they paint up nice, although I am not a fast painter, I am savouring the experience albeit with an 'End of March' or lose the Stalingrad Factory deadline (see below, no pressure then!):

I line them up in their squads and paint them one by one until I am done. As I have the paint out I give a covering to the 20mm soldiers as well, checking out that the "painting scheme" works out for both sizes (see below):

The first Plastic Soldier Company 20mm "squad" (see below, whereas I am focusing on the 28mm platoon I would like a sample 20mm squad painted up as well as a guide):

An overhead shot of the "painting table". My useful ex-ice-cream box of Russian paints can be seen top  left (see below):

Bring up the next squad when the last one is done (see below, as I have said before .. full of character):

PS: Don't tell anyone but painting WWII in 28mm seems to be fun and helps me paint the same nationality with more assurance (certainly of colour palette) in 20mm!

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Russians are Coming but Don't Panic... they are in 28mm (PaintingUpdate: P1)

The Stalingrad Project deadline approaches so my 28mm Warlord Games Winter Infantry Platoon figures call me, along side some 20mm Plastic Soldier Company and Revell brethren in the far background (see below):

The base colours sit atop of a Valejo Sepia Wash (see below):

The detail of the 28mm figures is truly incredible (see below):

I have chosen in the first instance to use Vallejo Russian Uniform Green WWII (Model Color 70924) as the "shade" colour for the basic Russian uniforms (see below):

The choice seemed logical until I referred back to the Flames of War Painting Guide and I saw that they recommended Vallejo English Uniform instead (Model Color 70921):

The more I painted the more I realised my mistake, as the colour became much more "green" en masse (see below):

The helmets were painted Russian Green (Model Color 70894) as a "shade" which is correct with the notion that Russian Uniform WWII (Model Color 70924) is the "base" colour in the sequence .. which I would think is the highlight if I used the same sequence for AFVs [the "shade" being an as yet unidentified darker green.] My mistake made I pondered what to do (see below):

The tester figure I had done earlier didn't seem so bad, so I deduced that Russian Uniform Green WWII was not bad for an overcoat but not so good for the tunic and cloth caps (see below):

Hence I would lightly re-wash the tunics with Vallejo Sepia Shade and put the English Uniform on. I think this will affect less than a dozen figures all told and will give a nice variation in tunics. Everything was a dirty compromise at this time anyway. I should dirty up the Russian uniforms no matter what (see below):

Again looking at the figures the detail is stunning (see below):

I much prefer painting plastics to metals as the paint seems to flow over the surface much better. Especially if you wash and prime the figure first (I use Arifix acrylic primer 01 .. but the local hobby stores seem to either not stocking it or running out and not getting replenished). The factory approach means that I will have to paint some forty 28mm figures in the "shades" before moving onto the next stage (see below): 

In the above, the first clump (24 figures) constitutes the "basic platoon minus casualties taken [aka diced for] in crossing the Volga". The latter (background) clump (16 figures) will be the extras I could spend "scenario resource points on" to supplement my basic force. I am toying with the thought of getting a few metal "extras" to bump up the support weaponry from "Black Tree". More on that later.

Next: More painting required ...

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Aughrim 1691 (Part 5): "Take the Hill and Break their Army Sir!"

The climax of the battle approached. The local Irish Skirmishers faced up against the "elite" Skirmishers of the Dutch Guards William III had brought with him from across the sea (see below):

The Irish lads to their credit "gave them hell" and many a Dutchwoman is now a widow as testament to their accurate marksmanship (see below):

The Dutch Guards however are no paper soldiers and responded to the "first volley" with stoic courage then returned a truly devastating fire back. Irishmen fell all around and acrid smoke filled the air. The Irish ranks were thinned (see below):

The thought of another round of devastating fire from the Dutch was too much for these brave Irish defenders. The Dutch were already the winners and seen actively loading their muskets for another fusillade. This battle had bloodied the Irish too much, too many officers fell and too many horrors confronted the raw lads. They simply broke and melted away (see below): 

The Irish right flank was now in peril as the Dutch and British Skirmishers outnumbered the remaining Irish defenders 2:1 and the local cannon battle was going against the Irish too (see below):

The Dutch and British cavalry were fixed on exploiting any chance of a breakthrough, tying down the Irish remaining "good regiments of horse" (see below):

This turn of events however was eclipsed by the action in the centre. The full weight of the Dutch and British infantry bore down upon the Irish infantry defending the hedge line. It was an imperative that the Irish "first fire" was devastating (see below):

Although many in scarlet and white uniforms fell they seemed insignificant in numbers to effect the mass that was propelled forwards against the hedge line (see below):

What was more, was that the Dutch and British order was good, the officers controlled the men's movements with clear cadence and when called upon to do so, delivered a devastating return fire that clipped the hedge to pieces and left men sprawled on the ground as corpses (see below):

The Irish defense of the hedge line was broken. Irish regiments of line were swept away leaving only one broken and shattered regiment in. Outnumbered 3:1, with their comrades in arms fleeing, it was agreed by all they were the bravest (but most foolish) men on the day. They stood and fought another punishing round (see below):

As the rest of the Dutch and British scrambled over the hedges these noble Irishmen delivered a "high" return volley before being routed by a massed return of fire that crackled mischievously in the air (see below):

All to the Irish was now lost. There were more Irish soldiers routing than standing. The clash of cavalry could be against heard of the Irish left flank (see below) and their right flank was in the process of crumbling (albeit slowly in comparison to the rest of the battlefield). The Irish Jacobite Army was routing and no longer under control of the Generals. Pockets of resistance were isolated acts of heroism so those finely dressed Irish Generals chose their fastest horse and mounted them for an undignified getaway (see below, instead of a line a "deadly L" was formed which always precipitates the moment of disaster):

Thus ended the 1691 Battle of Aughrim (re-fight) decisively in favour of William III of England (or should that really be Holland).

Aughrim 1691 (Part 4): "Sing Lads Sing, I want them to Hear you in Heaven but Fear you in Hell"

My force now focused on the taking of bridge, or at least to secure enough pressure on the Irish Right Flank so it could not assist the Irish Center in any effective way. There was an increasing sense of despondency coming from the Irish Command. The only clear way of retreat for the Irish lay along that road that followed the bridge, but to any coherent appraisal the Irish Army already looked lost (see below): 

The British and Dutch Skirmishers moved towards the river line and the cannon was ordered forwards. The Horse could but merely parade until the bridge was uncovered (see below):

Two additional line regiments were sent to assist but because of the nature of the terrain they would be a long time coming (see below):

These regiments undertook a steady muddy march, along the way inspecting the various species of native fauna and wildlife that inhabited the Irish bog in the year 1691 (see below):

Meanwhile the main bulk of the British and Dutch infantry were now emerging from the worst of the Irish bog onto dry land in the centre of the battlefield. Note: "Dry" has always been a rather relative term in Ireland (see below):

Over on the Irish Left Flank the British and Dutch cavalry had completely occupied the original starting positions of the Irish Forces, pushed them back into a "do-or-die" last defensive position. There seemed prudence in now waiting for the central infantry push to be felt before committing forces for the final attack (see below, this is the Irish left flank but none of these troops are Irish):

As seen from the top of the "Irish Hill" at Aughrim. The Irish Command tent is ablaze with "bad" and "disturbing" news. The mass of British and Dutch infantry can be seen approaching in teh distance. The sound of fighting to the Irish left can be heard. However the trouble with getting accurate 'bad news' is that the Irish Commander does not have any more troops to replace the ones he has already lost. It is only a question of how long they can last rather than if they can win (see below):

Meanwhile my Skirmishers are getting into position although the cannon had not been deployed (see below):

The Skirmishers eye their opposite up. The Irish Commander would dearly like a "draw" on this flank as he has already lost the other and seems unlikely to win in the centre (see below):

There is furious pushing pulling of the light gun to get it finally into place. The "Horse" have merely watched all day, yearning for the chance of a breakthrough and gallant "charge" (see below):

Meanwhile the British and Dutch infantry are relieved to be finally on dry ground, out of the boggy mess but grimly assessing their chances of storming the hedges and taking the hill. It would be formidable in defence if they were tasked with holding it but the Irish seem to have hurt themselves by not adhering to standard recognised infantry formations. Regiments were left exposed and unsupported. The general works (or rather hedges) seem to be defended too far forwards pinning their troops in exposed positions but not massed to contest key parts of the hill (see below, the long lines of red are impressive): 

The cannon have done their part and the infantry, the "Queen of the battlefield" must take possession of the enemy positions.

Next: The matter is settled

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Aughrim 1691 (Part 3): Off to the Warres with the Song of the Cannonade

One can get engrossed in your part of a battle to the point where you forget you are but part of a much "bigger battle". Chance had it that I looked up from my small corner. The other English and Dutch canon had been engaged in the same interplay against fortifications and redoubts. There had been six medium and heavy field guns causing havoc. It had been a day of "good artillery dice" and the smoking Irish ruins told the tale for itself. The enemy guns were all silenced and any exposed infantry "troubled with shot" so it was with great confidence that the British and Dutch were now about to cross the stream and emerge on the "Irish side"of the bog with the intent of taking the hill (see below):

My enemy was but four stands of Irish Skirmishers by comparison but they would have to be out-shot from covering the bridge. Another four or five turns of "hot work" I thought (see below):

The Irish right facing me were looking very jittery and had decided to race a light cannon to the aid of skirmishers (see below, bottom left). I had a suspicion that it was not only to 'delay my advance' but also to try and hide their one remaining gun from the pounding their other cannon had already experienced (see below):

I then noticed a most peculiar sight. Irish troops on the far right were seemingly moving in the wrong direction. Then under closer inspection I realised the that the position of these troops near the Irish baseline was misleading, they were in fact British and Dutch advancing at an alarming rate. A spectacular success had been achieved by some daring feat of arms. The British and Dutch cavalry had already expanded and hemmed in the Irish to but one small corner of their flank (see below):

The British horse were marching in column past the ruined redoubt that had hung the hopes of the Irish defenders. They seemed to have hung back and not defended the bridge at the banks of the river. The British and Dutch cannon had been so successful in clearing the Irish Artillery Redoubt that the Forlorn Hope had been a staggering success. Then to top it all the ruined castle had fallen after the briefest of fights (see below):

The reserve Irish horse fell back upon themselves seeking a safe hilltop position, but were exposed to more murderous gunfire. For but a few unfortunate British and Dutch souls the whole flank had been taken by storm. The British and Dutch cavalry hemmed in the Irish fugitives and patiently waited for the main infantry attack to deliver a blow to the Irish center. They would then be perfectly placed to simultaneously sweep round into the Irish rear (see below):

The last Irish hope was their centrally placed infantry. Yes there was plenty of fight in the regular regiments but the newly raised troops were seen to be melting away under the continuous cannonade. Those fortunate enough placed themselves carefully under obscuring hedgerows (see below):

The slow and ponderous advance of the British and Dutch infantry was a marvel to watch. This tortoise pace was an inescapable feature of the terrain but they endured it with stoic professionalism (see below):

Meanwhile I was drawn back to my Irish friends at the river, I needed to address their "departure" (see below):

Was this curious "about face" by the Irish skirmishers a cunning trick learned from the ancient Spartans? The fabled "fake retreat"? (see below):

I was given support by two regiments of line that were to cross the river and not let the Irish Commanders draw troops from their right flank to support the 'soon to be pressed' center (see below):

Whatever happens elsewhere my men were to use their powder and attempt to drive off the Irish covering the bridge with the sideshow of an entertaining artillery duel of light guns. My intention was to fix the four fresh regiments of Irish horse to this flank by threatening a breakthrough. The fife and drums played.

Next: The matter is seems is to be settled by the bayonet after all!