Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Dec 2 2018 02:00PM

Shortly after the Society of Ancients conference I was back in the 18th century for a re-fight of Guildford Courthouse in the American War of Independence (1781). Gary Kitching put the game on with some beautiful 28mm troops and a most atmospheric table-top.


I played on the British side with a small but perfectly formed force of battle-hardened regulars against hordes of ragged rebels.


The British Advance
The British Advance

One can only admire the fine appearance of our brave men as they advance with confidence and perfect dressing against the rebel position.



The rebels could not be seen
The rebels could not be seen

The trouble was that all we could see in front of us was a fence and woods behind it. We had no idea where the enemy actually were.


Fighting in the woods
Fighting in the woods

We advanced confidently into the woods and it was not long before we began to encounter Virginia and Carolina militia. There were a few surprises, including cavalry and light infantry suddenly appearing on our flanks. For the most part we managed to see off the rebels with relative ease but we took casualties in the process. By the time we cleared the woods, some of our battalions were feeling almost as ragged as the rebels.



The Continentals
The Continentals

As we moved into the open ground to our front we began to see ranks of Continentals drawn up ready to receive us. They even managed some sort of decent military appearance.


At this point I had to leave the field of battle (work interfering). I was glad, later, to read the dispatch from Lord Cornwallis which informed me that although the Continentals managed to see off the 71st Highlanders, a bayonet charge by the Guards settled the issue. It was a close run thing and in many ways the game unfolded in a very similar way to the historical battle.


The rules we used were Andy Callan’s Loose Fire and American Scramble originally published in the first edition of Wargames Illustrated. I recommend them unreservedly. Only a few pages long, they capture the essence and atmosphere of the American War of Independence. The relatively simple mechanisms conceal a depth of subtlety. It is from these rules that I developed my Close Fire and European Order rules for the War of Spanish Succession.




By smacdowall, Nov 30 2018 04:11PM

The autumn Society of Ancients weekend conference is rapidly becoming my favourite fixture in my wargaming calendar. Resurrected by Richard Lockwood 3 years ago from the original residential weekends run by the Society in the 1980s it gives aficionados of the pre-gunpowder era a chance to meet and engage with like-minded people.


I, for one, enjoy the banter, discussion and interaction with fellow wargamers as much as I enjoy playing the actual games. The beauty of a residential weekend is that we have plenty of time for this.


I highly recommend the conference for anyone with an interest in ancient and medieval wargaming. Details on the Society website. You do not have to be a member to attend.


This year I once again ran my Warlords and Rebels game aka Somewhere in Gaul AD 430. I first put on this on back at one of the original 1980s conferences and again at two years ago. It is a multi-player game with the participants role-playing Goths, Saxons, Franks, local rebels and several competing Roman contingents. There is as much or more diplomacy and skulduggery as actual combat.


The full original scenario can be found in my 1991 Goths, Huns and Romans book, and more detail in my blog post from the 2016 conference.


Here are a few photos from the 2018 game:



The set up. Most troops starting off table
The set up. Most troops starting off table


The Roman field army advances, barely a Roman in the contingent
The Roman field army advances, barely a Roman in the contingent


Bacaudae rebels and Goths face off close the the village
Bacaudae rebels and Goths face off close the the village

The only actual combat was an attempt by the Goths to storm the village
The only actual combat was an attempt by the Goths to storm the village




By smacdowall, Nov 8 2018 12:55PM

Following hard on the heals of the foot come a fine body of Spanish horse.


Whilst I could not find any evidence of Spanish foot at Malplaquet, there were several cavalry regiments serving with the French army in 1709. Most of them supplying only one or two squadrons each. This means that painting my new Spanish squadrons has not diverted my from the Malplaquet project


According to French Archives the following Regiments of horse were part of the Maréchal de Villars army: Ermont, Cano, Fresin, Acosta, Druhot, Gaetano, Lacatoire, Coralles and Flandre. Rios, Cecille, Flavacourt were serving with the Comte d'Artagnan. There were also seven squadrons of Dragoons from the regiments Acquaviva, Pignatelli, Melun and Pasteur.



I could find very little reliable information about uniforms. A fair number of Spanish horse wore grey-white coats with blue cuffs. I decided this would contrast nicely with the predominantly grey-white coats and red cuffs of the French Chevau-légers.


There is even less information available about flags. I made one up based on a fairly typical design from a few decades earlier. This has the Burgundian cross on one side and the virgin Mary surrounded by a sun burst on the other.


Once again the miniatures are all Minifigs 15mm from their Marlburian range.






By smacdowall, Oct 27 2018 11:06AM

I’m still in a bit of a War of Spanish Succession mood and thoroughly enjoying painting up more Minifig 15mm for my French army. The Minifig range is much more extensive than any o†her 15mm ranges and they have a wide variety of miniatutes modelled with †he uniform distinctions of the various nationalities


Minifig 15mm WSS Spanish with shoulder knot and waistbelt cartridge box
Minifig 15mm WSS Spanish with shoulder knot and waistbelt cartridge box

For a bit of variety I decided to paint some Spanish troops. The Spanish army of Flanders fought under French command until 1709. After this most of them were transferred to Spain. I cannot find any record of Spanish fighting at Malplaquet but they certainly did at both Ramillies and Oudenarde.



Sicilia and Bruselas regiments
Sicilia and Bruselas regiments

I have represented two battalions here. On the right with crimson cuffs is the Sicilia regiment and on the left with sky blue cuffs is the Bruselas regiment — Sicilian and Walloon respectively.



Bruselas had sky blue cuffs.
Bruselas had sky blue cuffs.

Reliable information on Spanish uniforms and flags from this period is hard to come by. I chose these two regiments for no better reason than I was able to find some uniform detail. Most Spanish foot wore grey-white coats. The red and white coccade identifies them as supporters of Philip — the French Bourbon candidate for the Spanish throne. I have presumed the officers wore the red sash of previous decades but I do not know this for certain. It does give a bit of colour variation from my similarly dressed French units.



Close-up of Sicilia showing the flag and the distinctive Spanish grenadier
Close-up of Sicilia showing the flag and the distinctive Spanish grenadier

It is pretty doubtful that the Sicilia regiment was ever in Flanders although the Brussels (Brussels) regiment most probably was.


Perhaps one day I will try out some Spanish theatre battles in which case a few Spanish units would be most useful.





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