“Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it” - Napoleon
We used forces for 1864 from the Sharp Practice rulebook, plus a couple of basic supports (medics, extra Status I leaders);
CONFEDERATES, 1862‐1865Leader, Status IIIThree Groups of 8 Infantry, Rifled MusketsLeader, Status IITwo Group of 8 Infantry, Rifled MusketsLeader, Status IOne Group of 6 Skirmishers, Rifled MusketsLeader, Status IOne Group of 6 Skirmishers, Rifled Muskets
UNION FORCE, 1863‐1865Leader, Status IIILeader, Status IThree Groups of 8 Infantry, Rifled MusketsLeader, Status IITwo Group of 8 Infantry, Rifled MusketsLeader, Status IOne Group of 6 Skirmishers, Rifled Muskets
The mission selected was Scenario Two; Sweep The Table, and the table was laid out as seen below. The Confederate deployment was from the bottom left in the first photo;
The Union force would deploy from the road at the bottom right;
We modified the objective so that the sweeping force's objective would be capturing the opposition's deployment zone. The Confederates were the sweeping force due to their higher Force Morale. I began by deploying skirmishers. I had a plan, and that involved tying the Union troops down as early as possible.
The Union troops began to arrive; skirmishers to the fore and a column marching behind.
My sharpshooters were soon in action, sniping away from the edge of the cornfield and causing casualties on their opposite numbers.
I quickly brought on my second group of skirmishers who moved up to add their fire.
Meanwhile the Union main force slowly began to deploy behind the skirmish screen.
My main force began to arrive, two groups advancing in line to take up a position on my right flank, while the rest moved to my left.
The main Union firing line advanced towards the central farmstead.
My left-hand skirmishing group moved up to threaten them.
My main force began its march along my left flank. So far, things were working pretty smoothly.
My right-hard skirmishers came under sustained fire, taking shock and a casualty. Their leader was able to rally off some shock and they advanced to fire again.
Hiding in the long corn, they began to pepper the Union troops with accurate musketry, causing casualties on the two groups advancing along the road.
My troops advanced slowly.
Eventually ending up as a three group formation behind a line of snake fencing.
However, this was a feint, and the formation moved off on a flanking march, behind the dense forest on the Union right.
Back in the centre, my advanced group of skirmishers, much reduced, were skulking in a patch of green corn.
I needed to keep the Union force engaged along the road.
The fighting was keeping the main Union body in a defensive line on a hill and the other two infantry groups were holding the chapel and the road junction.
My marching column on the left carried on moving through the woods.
I began to advance in the centre through the cornfields.
My flanking force finally deployed into line formation, ready to threaten the deployment point.
My left-hand skirmishers kept up their fire on the main Union body. So far, so good.
Finally, the Union realised the threat on their right. Groups of infantry began to move across to counter my advance.
This led them to a strong position in the corn and trees, where they were able to engage the Confederates.
This developed into a firefight, with both sides suffering casualties and shock.
Time was running out, but Union Force Morale was plummeting and casualties and shock were mounting. Having all but surrendering their left and centre, the Union was struggling to defend its deployment point.
At this point, we called a halt, agreeing that the outcome was a victory for Johnny Reb.
I've previously posted pictures of all my Frostgrave fighters and the wizards, so I'll head straight to the action.
The table was decidedly non-frosty, perhaps the summer has come to the city and the snow has melted?
The central area was intended to be a kind of sacred enclosure, where Teleportation wouldn't work, which was packed with treasures. Players had to be occupying the enclosure at the end of the game to get a share of the loot. There were also four other treasures scattered around the table.
My Elementalist has the Raise Zombie spell, which she managed to cast out-of-game, giving the band an extra figure.
My apprentice decided to hang around on a street corner with two burly chaps.
The rest of my ne'er do wells were going to make a dash for the centre. What could possibly go wrong?
Before long, I found the first treasure chest. I decided that my Zombie, being a rubbish fighter should pick it up and shamble off the table as soon as possible.
Elsewhere, Andy's wizard cast Fog, and my apprentice and her two chums used the cover to advance quickly along the lane.
Unfortunately, picking up the treasure caused the arrival of a terrible monster, an Ice Toad, clearly also in a summery mode.
Failing to research the beast, I sent my man-at-arms into combat, where he was summarily dispatched. Oops, that wasn't in the plan at all.
I needed to make sure the Ice Toad didn't gobble up my Zombie, so I pushed a thug into battle.
Meanwhile, two of my other minions managed to get into the central enclosure. All I had to do was keep them there to get a share of the loot.
Amazingly, my thug triumphed over the Ice Toad, giving me a chance of getting the treasure away. My wizard also managed to cast Wall (represented by a line of dice, blocking off my troops from Owen's band.
The centre was getting crowded as Owen got troops into the enclosure, being unable to creep up around my flank due to the Wall.
Andy's froggy fighters began to emerge. You could say that it was a Fog Full Of Frogs.
General mayhem ensued in the central enclosure.
I stopped taking pictures at this point, so I have nothing to say about Richard's band, who I never got into contact with, although I did try to bespell a couple of them, unsuccessfully. Unhappily, I lost a couple more thugs and my wizard came perilously close to being eliminated by a Grenade spell, but when things came to a conclusion, I came away with two treasure chests (containing a total of 350 coins and 2 grimoires) and 120 experience points, meaning that my wizard has gained a level.
I also lost a thug killed but rolling for all my other casualties, I managed to have them all recover ready for the next adventure.
I will explain each character later but first, I want to post some pictures of my final leader figure. In the Sharpe novels (and in the TV series also) there are often roles for Exploring Officers, such as Major Hogan. These men were part of Wellington's HQ staff, members of the Peninsula Corps of Guides, who were used as intelligence officers, going into enemy territory in uniform (so as not to be shot as spies, if captured) and gathering information about the enemy forces, their dispositions and strength. One real-life Exploring Officer was Lt Col. Colquhoun Grant, (who also appears in the fantasy novel Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke) who was actually captured by the French at one poit and sent to Paris for interrogation. However, after giving his parole, he managed to escape to England where he ended up as commander of the Corps of Guides and Wellington's Chief of Intelligence. My Exploring Officer has been painted up as a Royal Artillery officer;
So, here are all the officers together and below are their characters, generated using the relevant section of the Sharpe Practice rules.
From left to right we have;
Sgt Luis Veloso, Atiradore company 3rd Caçadores.
Sgt Veloso has risen from the ranks and is considered to be an honourable sort of soldier, if a bit of a dullard. Physically he is a strapping fellow and fair of face, with impressive physical attributes which help him with tasks requiring strength and stamina.
Major Humberto Ramires Da Silva, ADC to the 1st Brigade HQ, Light Division.
Major Da Silva comes from Portugal's rising bourgeoisie. His family are merchants and make their money from trade. However, the Major is a dislikeable sort, being headstrong and arrogant, and has fallen out with his father (who wanted him to join the family firm rather than the military). His father has therefore cut him off from the family wealth leaving him personally impoverished. However, Major Da Silva is an honourable man, fair of face and an excellent swordsman, his ability with the blade making up for his somewhat diminutive figure.
Lt Horacio Nunes, Atiradore company 3rd Caçadores.
Lt Nunes comes from an established military family but is poverty stricken because the French have plundered his family home and made off with the family's wealth. As an honourable son he seeks redress and revenge. He is a strapping fellow, affable and good-looking. He is also an expert linguist, speaking a number of languages.
Major Atticus Marchmain, late of the Royal Artillery, now one of Milord Wellington's Exploring Officers in the Corps of Guides.
Major Marchmain is the illegitimate (but acknowledged) son of a noble family. His father, a notorious rake kept his mother, a society beauty, as his mistress for many years and, using his influence and connections ensured that young Atticus (a prodigious scholar) was accepted at the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, from where he gained a commission in the Royal Artillery. Major Marchmain is honourable, an expert swordsman, affable, fair of face and a strapping fellow, who can hold his own in a fight.
Lt Barnaby Thorne, 1/95th Rifles
Lt. Thorne, the son of a former major in the 43rd Regiment of Light Infantry, came into the Army as a Volunteer Gentleman Ranker in his father's old regiment, because his family was unable to afford the money to buy him a commission. He gained his commission in the 95th Rifles due to battlefield casualties and his family connection. He is another honourable soldier of strapping physique and affable nature, but he is no ladies' man, not being much of a looker. Although he doesn't possess any particular skills he is, nevertheless an experienced officer and well-regarded by his superiors.
Sgt Jasper Hyde, 1/95th Rifles
Like all NCOs, Sgt Hyde has risen from the ranks. He is a pleasant, diligent, good-looking sort of chap, of average build but with no particular skills. However, he in an unflappable presence in his unit and is popular with the rank and file.
Well, there is my cast of characters. I see no reason why Major Marchmain shouldn't command a small force on missions into enemy territory on occasions, but he can also serve as an Exploring Officer as explained in the relevant section of the rules on pages 77-78.
Major Da Silva is also intended to be a force commander, both of this skirmishing force and also of a force containing Portuguese line troops that I intend to put together later this year.
I've chosen to use figures with the British-style stovepipe shako rather than the earlier Barretina model, but I've also represented the 3rd battalion with their older colours of yellow cuffs and brown collars rather than the black collars and cuffs that were adopted after 1811. I'm justifying this on the basis that troops might have continued wearing older uniforms while they were in the field, not being issued new ones until they were back at their depots. Also, the yellow cuffs look nicer, to my eyes. As these figures are from the sharpshooter company they have black plumes on their shakoes and green wings on the shoulders of their tunics. I've also given them a mixture of different coloured trousers, on the basis that uniforms wear out and soldiers on campaign had to improvise.
First, here are the leaders;
Because of the shortage of NCO figures in the Front Rank range, I've decided that the Status I leader is the bugler. The officer in blue is Status III and the Caçadore officer Status II.
Here are the three groups of Atiradores;
And finally, here they all are together;
So, these troops have finished off my initial force for 28mm Peninsular Sharp Practice, with a total value of 81pts, but I do have some further figures to paint up once I am back home after after my summer holiday.
The original event was called All Enlisted For Drink and I played using other players' figures. However enjoyable that event was, and it really was a lot of fun, afterwards I decided that I'd like to bring along some troops of my own to the next event, which is in September and will be called Hard Pounding.
Now, first a confession. I've never really enjoyed painting Napoleonic figures. They are far too fussy with all those facings, turnbacks, plumes, belts etc and I have awful memories of painting up loads of Aifix 1/72 scale plastics back in the 1970s, and what a terrible job I made of them. Still, if I am going to play, I have to paint up some figures.
So, what to paint? Austrians? Prussians? Well, not really, although they are relatively simple to paint, because the event will be the Peninsular War. It seems to me that in the true Sharp Practice spirit I really ought to do light troops and skirmishers and what could be more appropriate than some 95th Rifles and their Portuguese equivalents, the light infantry Caçadores, or, more accurately, the Baker Rifle-equipped Altiradores (sharpshooters) from a regiment of Caçadores. Perfect for a brief encounter somewhere well to the northeast of the Lines of Torres Vedras, or over the border into Spain.
I looked at all the available options and eventually settled on the Front Rank Napoleonic range, mainly because you can buy individual figures to build up a small force. I decided that I would have two groups of 95th with two leaders (L1 and L3) and three groups of Atiradores with three leaders ( one each of L1, L2 and L3. I've calculated this will give me a force worth 81pts, which is close enough to the requirements of the Hard Pounding event.
Anyway, The figures have been sitting waiting for me to get started on them and I've now completed the contingent from the 95th. Here they are. First, this is the complete unit, two leaders and a dozen riflemen;
Here is a group of six, led by a dashing lieutenant;
And here is the second group, led by a dependable and unflappable sergeant;
Despite my early fears, they have turned out pretty well, looking suitably battered and dusty, as befits skirmishing troops in the field.
Now, onto the Portuguese. Who knows, but if they turn out OK, I might even think about some Redcoats for use in the future, or maybe some Portuguese line musketeers.