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By smacdowall, Apr 7 2021 04:17PM



Fresh off my painting table are some Alamanni nobles circa AD 350. Ammianus Marcellinus describes the Alamanni cavalry riding into battle “interspersed with light armed foot”. This is what I have attempted to recreate here.


The Alamanni incorporated some of the Suebi, famous for their topknot hair style. Therefore I feel comfortable using some figures with topknots (marketed as Franks). Whether some Alamanni also shaved the back of their heads as some Franks are recorded as doing is not known.



The miniatures are a mix of Foundry, Gripping Beast plastics, and First Corps with a few head swaps. The standard is a First Corps Celtic horse standard with a twist of foil cut from a wine bottle top to represent red streamers. I have deliberately given them a mix of Roman and native equipment.


In order to give the unit a coherent look I have used a limited colour palate with various shades of red and natural wool or linen. The shields all have a predominantly black background.


I am looking forward to seeing how they perform on the games table before too long.




By smacdowall, Nov 22 2020 01:20PM

Eschewing the feathers, frills and fripperies of the French Musketeers, I have painted these German arquebusiers in plain sensible clothing, suitable (I hope) for veterans serving in the Spanish army at Rocroi.


Most of the figures are Avanpost — a new Russian manufacturer that makes incredibly detailed and beautifully proportioned resin miniatures. The multi-part rider has separate arms and weapons. His left hand actually clips into the reins on the horse so he actually holds the reins without any gap.



The horses are cast with indentations where the rider’s legs go making a perfect fit of rider and horse — again with no gaps.


Man, horse and bits come in a zip-lock bag.


Man, horse and bits come in a zip-lock bag. The bits (horse’s tail, weapons and arms in this case) are, Russian doll-like, in a smaller bag inside the larger one. So easy to keep track of things and avoid losing or mixing up components. All the pieces fit together well, glued with super glue.



They mix well with other true 28 mil that are relatively finely proportioned. Here they are with Warlord plastics and a Perry figure (on TAG horses). I used the TAG horses because I needed static poses to go with the Avanpost and the Warlord horses are all in fairly active poses.


The super fine detail, crisp casting and perfect proportions make Avanpost some of the best 28 mil figures I have ever seen. The only downside is that the poses are (with one or two notable exceptions) quite static.

By smacdowall, Aug 13 2018 11:33AM

It has almost been a year since I played the German commander in day one of an Operation Seelöwe game which I reported on here: The Battle of Folkestone July 1940. The end of this game saw the Germans establishing a salient around Hythe and Folkestone after suffering heavy casualties.



Folkestone in German hands
Folkestone in German hands

After a number of strategic moves conducted by email, we picked up the action a few days ago, moving the game on to day three. The situation at the end of day 2 looked pretty bleak for us Germans. The Royal Navy had made a mess of our attempts to reinforce and resupply by sea and despite the Luftwaffe’s best efforts to establish air superiority we did not have control of the skies. Low on ammunition and thin on the ground the temptation was to hold on to what we had and await reinforcements. The British, however, would be able to reinforce far more quickly than we could so I decided that my only option was to try to expand the salient and position my troops to eventually take Dover and its vital docks.


The German plan
The German plan

I knew I did not have the strength to take Dover so I gave orders for my best units to move east from Folkestone to cut the road and rail links into the town in the hope that I could isolate it. Having beaten off a counter attack on Hawkinge airfield and receiving intelligence that the enemy had ‘shot their bolt’ in that sector, I also decided to expand the salient to the north so as to be in a better position to protect that important airfield. I would leave just enough troops to hold the western edge of the salient, especially Lyminge airfield and the port of Hythe. I suspected we would have to face a British counter-attack and so I ordered my commanders to take up defensive positions as soon as they ran into any serious resistance.


The British plan
The British plan

The British did indeed counterattack and did so in more strength that I had feared. Our attempt to expand the salient turned into a defence of our vital points: the airfields of Hawkinge and Lyminge, and the ports of Hythe and Folkestone. We beat off an attack on Hawkinge with relative ease thanks to the quality of our troops aided by an effective Stuka bombing run.


The German defence of Hawkinge airfield
The German defence of Hawkinge airfield

In the west the British attacked both Lyminge airfield and the approach to Hythe in divisional strength. I judged that with three battalions in good defensive positions and a regiment of Fallschirmjäger in reserve I had just enough men to hold without diverting any troops from the east. It was touch and go. We managed to hang on by the skin of our teeth but it took all the remaining ammunition of our supporting artillery and our last remaining bombing runs to do it.


The Battle for Aldington
The Battle for Aldington

On the approach to Hythe the 2nd Battalion, 21st Infantry was reduced to only one platoon but they passed all morale tests and hung on in the village of Adlington while the Fallschirmjäger flanked the enemy that bypassed them. The RAF intervened but fortunately their air sorties were far less effective than ours. A few reinforcements arrived by sea at Hythe. This was just enough to ensure we could hold the western flank.


The British attack in the centre
The British attack in the centre

We had barely time to congratulate ourselves for the successful defence of Hawkinge airfield when the British launched a major attack from the north aiming for Folkestone town. We had very few troops in this sector, our artillery was low on ammunition and we had no air sorties left. Therefore we had to redirect troops from the east, including our only Panzer battalion to deal with this attack. The fighting was fierce and we inflicted heavy losses on the enemy but at a terrible cost including the complete destruction of our armoured reserve.



The Germans shift troops from the east to the centre
The Germans shift troops from the east to the centre


The massive British attack from Dover
The massive British attack from Dover

At this point the British launched an attack from Dover in overwhelming strength — both armour and infantry. Our eastern flank was only thinly held, we were out of artillery ammunition, had no tanks left and no more air support. It had been very hard fought and our heavily outnumbered troops had acquitted themselves incredibly well. With the enemy in a position to dominate Folkestone Docks there was no longer any hope of significant reinforcements and therefore Operation Seelöwe had failed.



The table overview
The table overview

Although we lost it was a great game and a very hard fought one. As in the previous game we used 6mm miniatures with Spearhead rules. The rules worked very well for an operational game of this magnitude. They were easy to pick up by novices with the aid of some judicious umpiring.





By smacdowall, Mar 9 2018 06:53PM

For an upcoming refight of the Battle of Oudenarde I intend to field half of the 175 battalions and 320 squadrons in 15mm. Each battalion will be 3-4 bases with 4 foot miniatures per base. A squadron will be represented by single base of two mounted figures.

I have most of the French but need a few more to bring up the numbers. I decided to take this opportunity to paint up a few more foreign battalions to reinforce King Louis XIV's armies of the early 1700s.


Regiment Royal Italien
Regiment Royal Italien

First up is the Royal Italien. Brown coats had been relatively common in the French army of the 1600s but by 1708 they had been replaced by the more familiar white-grey. This regiment, recruited from Italy, kept their brown coats with red facings throughout the war or Spanish Succession. At Oudenarde they fought in the first line brigaded with 4 French battalions.


Regiment de la Marck
Regiment de la Marck

The German Regiment de la Marck is next. The Comte de la March (Graf von der Mark) commanded a French brigade at Oudenarde including two battalions of his regiment. Like all German regiments serving in the French army, de la Marck wore blue coats, most probably a relatively light shade. In their case with yellow cuffs.

Regiment Dorrington
Regiment Dorrington

Finally we have the Irish Regiment Dorrington. As far as I can tell, Regiment Dorrington did not fight at Oudenarde although some Irish did. I already had a brigade of 3 battalions of Irish and wanted to bring it up to 4 battalions. As Dorrington (later Roth) fought in many engagements of the war I decided to include them. All Irish regiments wore red coats. Dorrington had blue cuffs and waistcoats and their flag was a very English-looking St George's cross.


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