Monday, November 20, 2017

South Carolina Campaign - Turn 8

Gates' skedaddles out of Cheraw after his defeat by Cornwallis

Summary of Key Events on Turn 7
Turn 7 was one of the most active game turns of the South Carolina Campaign of 1780. The biggest event was the Battle of Cheraw in which Cornwallis' British army (8SPs) defeated Gates' American army (8SPs).

Meanwhile, in the back country of South Carolina, DeKalb and Sumter teamed up to lay seige on Cruger's British garrison at Ninety Six. Cruger had no way of knowing that he was going to be outnumbered by a factor of 3:1, so he elected to stay and defend the fort. However, in our campaign rules, a 3 to 1 advantage to the beseiger gives him a 50% chance of an immediate surrender of the beseiged. Colonel Cruger rolled dice poorly and thus had to capitulate to DeKalb.

At the same time, Banastre Tarleton (3SPs) continued his merry raid of destruction along the Carolinas border area. He saw an opportunity to capture the main supply depot of the American forces (1SP) at Hillsboro, North Carolina. As at Ninety Six, Tarleton's 3 to 1 advantage resulted in the surrender of the Hillsboro garrison and more importantly, the capture of the supply base. This puts Horatio Gates' army out of supply for Turn 8.

Campaign map for Turn 8 depicting the positions of forces at the end of the movement phase.
(Click map to enlarge)

Turn 8 Moves - Americans

* DeKalb moves 7SPs from Ninety Six to Fort Granby, which is held by a British garrison of 1SP.
* Sumter remains at Ninety Six with 2SPs.
* Colonel Otho Williams remains at the supply depot at Charlotte, NC with 3SPs.

*Gates pulls off a surprise move by retreating east to Kingston, rather than north towards his supply base in Hillsboro, NC. He suspected that he might get caught in a vise between Tarleton's and Cornwallis' armies. This leaves the British commanders scratching their heads and wondering where the heck Gates went.

* Francis Marion sets up an ambush between Nelson's Ferry (where Rawdon was on the previous turn) and Camden. Rawdon (4SPs) walks into the ambush.

Turn 8 Moves - British

* Cornwallis moves north towards Hillsboro, NC after the battle of Cheraw and assumes that he will capture Gates' retreating Continental army.

* Tarleton moves his force of 3SPs from Hillsboro south towards Cornwallis in order to cut off the line of retreat for Gates back to Hillsboro.

* Rawdon moves 4SPs from Nelson's Ferry to the British supply base at Camden, however, his march is intercepted by Francis Marion, so there will be a battle on Turn 8.

* Stewart is nervous about leaving Charleston with a garrison of only 1SP, so he retires from Dorchester back to Charleston. He also recalls 1SP from the Georgetown garrison, resulting in a strengthened Charleston garrison of 6SPs.

* Maitland has 3SPs in Georgetown after returning 1SP back to Charleston.

* Campbell remains in Savannah with 2SPs.

* Fort Granby garrison retreats to nearby Fort Motte, rather than being surrounded by DeKalb's larger army.  

* Forts Motte and Watson each have a garrison of 1SP.

* Camden has a garrison of 3SPs. They were hoping to be reinforced by Rawdon's army of 4SPs on this turn, but that did not happen as noted above.

Results of Turn 8 Moves

*Gates is out of supply on this turn.

* DeKalb will capture Fort Granby - the garrison will be allowed to retreat one dot to Fort Motte.

* Rawdon and Marion will have a battle on this turn.

Friday, November 17, 2017

My SYW Russian Cavalry

Russian cavalry consisting of cuirassiers, horse grenadiers, dragoons, hussars and Cossacks.
(click all pictures in this post to enlarge the view)

For the past couple of months I have been cranking out Russian cavalry for my SYW Russian army, circa 1758.

I have 9 squadrons of 12 figures consisting of 12 cuirassiers, 24 horse grenadiers, 24 dragoons, 24 hussars, and 24 Cossacks. I can also use the 16 Connoisseur Napoleonic Cossacks that I have.

The 3rd Cuirassiers (one squadron, with another to be painted in the future:

Russian cuirassiers usning Minden Austrian cuirassiers and one Prussian kettle drummer.

A closer view of the 3rd Cuirassiers. Standard was copied from Kronoskaf.

The Kargopol Horse Grenadiers (two squadrons)

The Kargopol Horse Grenadiers distinguished themselves at Zorndorf in 1758
The figures are from RSM, except for the officer, standard bearer and musician which are Minden Hanoverian Horse figures. The horses are also from the Minden Miniatures figure range.

The Dragoons (un-named as of now) - two squadrons

Russian dragoons using Hanoverian Horse regiment figures from the Minden range.

The Hussars: the Horvat Hussars in blue and red; the Gruzinski Hussars in yellow and red:

Horvat Hussars (left) and Gruzinski Hussars (right). Eventually I will paint a second 12-figure squadron for each regiment.

Another view of these colorful Russian hussars, for which I used Austrian Hussars from the Minden range.

The Cossacks

The 24 Cossacks in the foreground are RSM figures mounted on Minden horses.
The unit in the background are Connoisseur Cossacks which seem to be size compatible with the RSM/Minden figures.


Well, that's pretty much it for my Russian cavalry contingent in my army. I still need to add a second dozen figures to the 3rd Cuirassiers, the Horvat Hussars and the Gruzinski Hussars. When those are painted, my Russian brigade shall be completed. The Russian army did not bring many cavalry regiments with them into the SYW battles with Prussia. This does not include the Cossacks, of which there were many more. At Zorndorf, the Russians were vastly outnumbered by the Prussian regular cavaly.

Monday, November 13, 2017

In Memorium - Janet Akers (1948 - 2017)

Painted by Janet Akers

This past weekend, we held a memorial service for my sister, Janet Purky Akers (1948 - 2017), who passed away as a result of colon cancer that had spread throughout her body. She was cremated, at her request, and is survived by her two sons Kieth and Alex, my mother (age 95) and me.

Janet Akers was a professional artist and enjoyed traveling to such diverse places as France, Italy, Great Britain, Mexico and Southwestern United States (particularly Sedona and Taos, New Mexico) where she painted landscapes and wildlife. Some samples of her artwork can be seen by clicking on the link to her web site.

I have posted two of her paintings on this blog.

Painted by Janet Akers
The memorial service was held at her house and was attended by approximately 40 of her closest friends, family and acquaintancs. It was not a religious service, but rather, we all gathered to tell stories and our memories of Janet. It was really great to hear about her through her friends as one after another they stepped forward to tell their stories about Janet. We all really could feel her presence at the gathering. I learned many things about my sister that I did not know and I was glad to meet many of the people that I had heard her talk about all of these years.

Janet's colon cancer was discovered 3 year ago when she had her first ever colonoscopy. By then it was too late and had she had a colonoscopy on a regular basis earlier in her life, any polyps would have been discovered and remove and she would still be with us today. I'm sure that she would want me to tell as many people that I could to have a regular check up and colonoscopy after age 50. I ask that anyone reading this to heed her advise to have regular check ups.

Janet was one of those people who always seemed to be followed by bad luck. Like Lemon Snicket, it seemed like a series of unfortate events were her life. However, she always bounced back and persevered, largely through her love of the arts (music, opera, art and painting) and travel. Her artistic talent improved by leaps and bounds over the years and I am amazed at where her skills had taken her  by the time of her passing. Her two sons were the joy of her life and it always came back to her love of her sons and family.

Rest in peace Janet, we will miss you.

I post this report not to seek sympathy and prayers, etc., but rather to have my own memorial to my sister permanently placed in the blogoshere.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Gruzinski Hussars (Russian)

Russian Gruzinski Hussars - click picture to enlarge

Yesterday I finished a 12-figure squadron of the Gruzinski Hussars for my SYW Russian army. Eventually this unit will be increased to my standard 24-figures for cavalry regiments. I call them "squadrons" for game operational purposes whereas in my 1:20 figure to man ratio, 12 figures would represent 240 riders which approximates to two actual squadrons.

I will temporarily brigade the Gruzinski and Horvat Hussars into one 24-figure hussar unit until I can get around to painting a 12 more figures for each unit, bringing them up to 24 figures.

The figures are Minden Miniatures, of course, and they are actually the Austrian Hussar figures painted as Russian Hussars. The only differences in the figures are the markings on the sabertache and shabraque (see image below from Kronoskaf), which have the "ER" royal cypher and the saw-toothed edging, respectively, on the Russian uniform. The Austrian castings have the Austrian eagle on the sabertache and the "MT" cypher and different border edge on the shabraque. The figures were simply "converted with paint".

For the source of the above image and more information on the Gruzinski Hussars, please click on the link to Kronoskaf below.

The Gruzinski Hussars are very colorful and delightful to look at, as I am sure you will agree. It is not often that one gets to use the color yellow on any wargame regiment, so I could not resist painting a dozen of these, even though I still needed to paint another dozen Horvat Hussars to complete that unit.

A 12-figure squadron of Gruzinski Hussars, seen at ground level

Another view of the unit, so far. The bases still need to be terrained and finished.

Next in the painting queue, the first dozen Russian cuirassiers. My Russian cavalry arm has been growing rapidly and now includes 24 each of horse grenadiers, dragoons and hussars, and 36 Cossacks. Since the cuirassiers are the only figures that I have primed and ready to paint, they will be next on the list.

After that, I will get back to painting Russian infantry again. I also need to start work on equipment such as artillery limbers and ammo wagons, and a few more artillery pieces and crew.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Horvat Hussars (Russian) & Cossacks

Russian Horvath Hussars (click pix to enlarge)

Over the weekend I finished a dozen of the Russian Horvat Hussars, which fought at Zorndorf during the Seven Years War. The regiment was rather large at 10 squadrons compared to the usual 3 to 5 squadrons that most Russian cavalry regiments put into the field.

For a history of the Horvat Hussar regiment, please click on the link to the Kronoskaf page that details the history and uniforms of the regiment:

I used the Minden Austrian hussar figures as suitable substitutes for Russian hussars and these basically require no conversion work other than paint. The sabertaches would have the "ER" cypher of the Empress Elizabeth and there would be some noticeable saw tooth edging (or '"Van Dyking" as it is often called) on the edge of both the shabraque and sabertache. I did not bother to paint the cypher onto the sabertache - too much extra work for minimal  visual payback, in my opinion.

Horvath Hussars are actually Austrian hussars that I have "converted with paint". In the left background you can see some Connoisseur Napoleonic Russian Cossacks.

This points again to one of the things about 18th Century military uniforms and available figure castings: they are very similar country to country so it is easy to substitute Austrian, French and Prussian castings for the various Russian castings that one requires. While Minden does not yet have any Russians, other than the artillery crew, this is no reason not to start of SYW Russian army if you want to field one on your table top.

I am working on a few things behind the scenes that hopefully will address the need to add Russian figures to the Minden range. More about that later as the events unfold. I will just say that I think that you will be happy when the news is released.

I finished off the basing with the usual tufts and static grass on the hussar bases, and while I was at it, I also finished off the basing for the second group of Cossacks that I painted last week.

Two 12-figure pulks of Cossacks, one in small fur hats (L)  and the other in tall fur hats (R).

Here's how they look once I have mixed the two different hat styles into two separate units. This looks much better to my eye and creates more visual diversity.

Here are the Cossacks again, but this time they have been mixed up into one large 24-figure unit. I think that the RSM and the Connoisseur Cossacks (in the left corner) are compatible in size and so I plan to use both units in my SYW battles.

In the three pictures above, if you look at the upper left corner of each photo, you can see some Connoisseur Napoleonic Russian Cossacks that I had previously painted. They look to fit in very nicely with the RSM SYW Russian Cossacks (mountedon Minden light cavalry horses) so this enabled me to increase the Cossack horde from 24 figures to 36 figures, without painting any more of them. Nice!!!!

In the picture below, you can see how the two styles of RSM Cossacks look when you mix the headgear styles (small hat and large hat) together in one unit. This creates a more diverse look to the horde. Also, painting different kaftan colors and different horse colors adds to the irregular look.

A close up view of the growing Cossack horde.

Next in the Russian Queue
I always paint one sample figure of new units that I have never painted before for several reasons; one, I want to see what the figure looks like after it has been painted, and two, to figure out the order in which to paint the various parts of the figure. Sometimes this reveals a potential difficulty in painting that is easy to solve by simply changing the order in which you paint a pelisse versus the dolman or the breeches, etc.

I like the Gruzinsky Hussar in the yellow and red uniform and so I plan to paint a 12-figure squadron of these in the near future. I don't like the look of the dark horse, so I will paint these with lighter colored horses so as to show off the rider and his uniform without the darkness and distraction of the horse.

The cuirassier is an Austrian cuirassier from the Minden range and does not require any conversion work.

Russian cavalry painted samples: 3rd Cuirassiers (L), Horvath Hussars (C) and Gruzinsky Hussars (R). Click to  enlarge the picture.

So as of today, I have 12 hussars, 24 horse grenadiers, 24 dragoons and 36 Cossacks in my Russian army.

I am making good progress on the Russian cavalry combat arm and only need to add 24 more hussars and 24 cuirassiers to complete this part of my army.

After that, I will turn to painting more infantry, hopefully including some of the new figures that are in the pipeline.

I am aiming towards hosting a SYW Russian versus Prussian game at next year's Seven Years War Association Convention in March 2018. It will be based on one of the historic battles during the war and in fact, I spent the weekend developing the tabletop map from the historical map, using a board game map and Google Earth satellite images.