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Sunday, 28 May 2017

The Pikeman’s Lament (TPL) for Monongahela

I’m taken by the idea of using TPL for various French and Indian Wars encounters and where better to start than Monongahela. The first thing to do is to slot the combatants into TPL categories.  Both sides will have 24 points worth of troops.

For the French, we have two units of Forlorn Hope, each of 6 figures, representing the Compagnies de Franches or colonial marines as they are often called in English.  Tough and very able.

Then we have 3 units of Indians or Canadians each costing 4 points and represented as six figures each of veteran Commanded Shot.

For the Anglo-Americans, we have one unit of 6 Grenadiers rated as Forlorn Hope and costing 6 points. Deadly lads, they initially drove off their opponents with crushing volley fire.

Then we have a unit of 12 British regulars who as veteran Shot also cost 6 points.  That's the valiant and intelligent young Lord Howe in the red coat, who was killed in a pre - battle skirmish.

Two units of American Provincial infantry each of 12 figures and rated as inferior Shot add another 6 points.  I'm rating then inferior because they were newly raised on an annual basis and only embodied for part of the year.  I also wanted lots of them on the table.

The remaining 6 points pay for 3 units of Commanded Shot representing the Ranger companies.  As yet they lack the skills of their Canadians and Indian equivalents.

The terrain will be mostly woods, hills and trails. Selecting a suitable scenario may lead me to borrow from Dan Mersey's other rule sets.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Fast Work and Mohawks

The Iroquois League had recently taken on the Seneca nation as probationary members.  This meant the Seneca lost their political autonomy,  worse the League was now divided with a minority of tribes inclined to Onontio.  Indian politics was as complex as politics anywhere but fear of the densely populated and land hungry British colonies now dominated decision taking.

A group of Virginia land speculators, including the soon to be famous George Washington, were in a cabal with Mohawks to establish a claim Seneca territory and then sell it to settlers at a huge profit.

While this was unfolding Washington and The Half King, a prominent Mohawk, were involved in the killing of a French emissary.  The Seneca whose territory this occurred in were appalled.  Ontontio would surely wreak vengeance.

Washington, despite fearing his career was over, found his luck held. The royal and colonial authorities decided that attack was the best form of defence. The part time colonial militia was ordered to concentrate, Ranger companies were gathered and British regulars and artillery committed to the offensive.

Some effort was made by the British to adapt to wilderness warfare by lightening the load carried by regular troops and adapting their clothing.  The Anglo-American forces had a huge advantage in numbers, and were not lacking in skill or morale, but in terms of wilderness fighting they were at the beginning of a very steep learning curve. 

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Some incremental SYW Prussian Progress

I thought I’d better get my SYW skates on what with the Blue Moon Hungarian infantry command being on its way.

So, the first of three units of Prussian cuirassiers is now done.  These fellows are the Markgraf Friedrich von Brandenburg cuirassiers with a nice flag from Kronoscaf.  Some generals too. 

More Onontio tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Onontio and Friends-Part 1

Onontio was what the native American tribes called the Governor General of New France.  

Onontio and his fellows were OK, they brought trade goods, especially guns of good quality.  His young men came to stay, they could speak the language and sometimes they married local girls.  Best of all they would join you on the war path where reputations were made.

Nor did Onontio want your land, he understood who and what you were and how things were supposed to work.  It was true Onontio was sometimes crazy, if you took captives you could sell them to him, the white ones anyhow, and then he would send them home!

If Indian politics worked on reputation Onontio could rest assured he had a good one.  Unless you weren’t his friend, then things were different and woe betide Onontio’s enemies.  

When Onontio went to war, his young men came and gave good presents and good reasons why you might like to take up the hatchet too.

I want to see how Onontio and pals get on in a game of The Pikeman’s Lament.  Before we do that let's review the forces involved and do a bit of scene setting.

Friday, 19 May 2017

The Problem with Hatti

Hatti was the capital of the Hittites, a powerful civilisation that left us the usual sculpture, some fantastic cuneiform tablets including a manual on chariot training and the odd literary mention elsewhere.  Biblical Uriah was a Hittite for example and you cannot have a battle of Kadesh without Hittites.

Scholars though seem to have struggled to identify any particular Hittite evidence as opposed to evidence of the peoples of Hatti.  Some decided there were no Hittites in the sense that there were Mycenaeans or Sardana.  It seems Hatti arose from the existing pre - Hittite peoples of the region and established its dominion over others.  A home - grown imperium if you like.  So that’s the Hittites unless scholarship has moved on.

My Hittite retinue for Mycenaean Lion Rampant is going to have two squadrons of chariots, one unit of foot sergeants for the regular troops and the rest as conscript bow or spear.  

I’m interested to see how it copes with the Sea Peoples.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Sea Peoples

The Sea Peoples almost seem to have been the Huns of their day.  Great and once invincible empires fell or declined and a dominant military technology was rendered redundant.  The old palace culture was destroyed because the charioteers who benefited by it and protected it, could no longer do so.

Drews, a scholar well worth reading, thinks that the Sea People infantry could match the chariots because they were equally well armed and armoured, swift moving and quite prepared to take the fight to the enemy. There were also relatively speaking lots of them.

In his view their armour reduced the effectiveness of the composite bow, forcing the charioteers to come to close range, the infantrymen then surged forward seeking to kill the chariot horses with javelins, and then despatching any stranded charioteers by virtue of equality of skill and equipment and advantage of numbers. It’s a compelling vision.

Against the old order’s infantry, the Sea Peoples were invincible, only the Heroes could match them in skill and arms and there simply were not enough of them. 

Interesting stuff for the table I think, anyhow here are my Sea People.  These ones are Black Hat and Chariot.

Friday, 12 May 2017

That’s Them!

These lads are my Austrian General Staff for the Army of Maria Teresa as you can see they have spotted something.

“Thank God” Says Daun to Von Browne “it’s the Hungarian foot command”

“Yes” Replies Von Browne “We can finally field our Hungarian Battalions.”

"Oh" says young Maguire "There's the Hungarian Grenadier command too!  Ah no..false alarm."

Most of my SYW collection are Blue Moon 15mm who have just released their Hungarian infantry command pack.