Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: The Moving Finger writes and having writ, Moves on

nor all your piety nor wit,
Shall lure it back to cancel half a line, 
Nor all your tears blot out a word of it.

(from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam)

A Water Clock from Ptolemaic Egypt

It is the time of year for all good wargaming bloggers to look back upon the past year's successes and failures, and look ahead to our plans for the coming year. Who am I to buck the trend?  :-)

2013 in Review

1) Painting

Young Guard Voltigeurs and Tirailleurs - 74 figures
Prussian Reserve Regiments (grey uniforms) - 60 figures
Prussian Reserve Infantry in British" style unuiforms - 30 figures
Prussian Reserve Infantry in Litewka - 30 figures
Prussian Landwehr cavalry and mounted officers - 20 figures
Prussian Artillery - 40 crew figures and 12 guns
Prussian Guard Infantry - 16 figures
Entomalian Space Ships for Galactic Knights - 8
New Kingdom Egyptians: 60 Melee infantry, 30 Archers, 9 chariots
British Line/Light Infantry - 72 figures
1 Peninsular Windmill

Total: 372 infantry, 20 cavalry, 40 crew, 12 guns, 9 chariots, 8 space ships, 1 Terrain piece; overall a pretty successful year, focused on the Napoleonic Prussians, NK Egyptians, and the start of my 1815 project. 

2) Gaming

Battle on the Piave, 1809 - Field of Battle, 2nd edition -with Barry
1813 Campaign in  Day with Snappy Nappy - with the Hartford Area Historical Gaming Society
Ancients Battle at HAVOC convention using Charlie Sweet's rules
Battle of Mockern, 1813 - at Historicon using FoB2
Battle of Dresden, 1813 - at Historicon using FoB2
Battle of Novarra, 1513 - at Historicon using my own Band of Brothers
2 Star Navy gaming sessions - with Barry, using Star Navy 5150

Just 8 games; not a great performance there! My favorites were the 1813 Campaign in a Day and Novarra.

3) Blogging

89 posts (up from 81 last year), 171 followers, over 82,00 page views this year. I am particularly proud of my lengthy series on the Danish Army of the Napoleonic Wars.

4) Publications

My "Blunders on the Danube 1809" Scenario Book for FoB is now available as a pdf as well as the existing hard copy version:  for $15, payable to Brent Oman via PayPal at brentoman@q.com .

Goals - Looking forward to 2014

1) Painting

I have about 250 more British Napoleonic infantry, 40 Artillery crew and 12 guns, and about 50 British cavalry to do for my 1815 project; I may need some more Prussians and some Anglo Al;lied troops as well once I tally up everything that  thje scenarios will require, and what others have available. will need. This doesn't have to be completed until July, 2015, however.

I have another 60 Egyptian Infantry and 7 more Chariots to paint - the urgency of that will depend upon what games I plan to run, and when/where!

I have 16 Austrian Hussars and an Austrian Cavalry battery that I don't need for any project, but I just *want* to paint up. Then there are the Tyrolean rebels...

Paint up the rest of my Entomalian Sapce ships.

I still have quite a few Landsknechts, Gendarmes, and other Renaissance/Late Medieval era cavalry that I can add to my existing forces if I feel motivated - once again, what and whether I do any of them next year that will probably be driven by what games I plan,.

2) Gaming

Try to do more!  12 games a year is a reasonable goal. We'll see! :-)

I need to settle on and plan a game for Havoc soon, but have no idea really what I want to do there!
I will probably do three games for Historicon - one will be Montmirail 1814, possibly another 1814 battle or an 1813, possibly one using Pulse of Battle Ancients rules, possibly a Renaissance galley warfare game (15mm ships).
I also need to plan one for Ellis Con in the Fall, too.
Get in at least a game of two with the HAHGS guys, and drag Barry, etc to the wargames table more often!

3) Blogging

No major goals there - just continue posting regularly. I don't think I can do much more than I have done this year without it diverting time from other aspects of my hobby and non hobby life! I am considering using the "Napoleonic Troops" page to index all the uniform/flag information that I have posted., or maybe using an entirely new page for that.

4) Publications

Nothing planned, but I might consider a Reaniassance variant for Pulse of Battl;e and or Die Fuighting! I do want to copmplete my ideas for adapting the capaign system from Star Navy 5150 to the Galactic Knights rules, although that wouldn't be a published product. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

On Hallowed Ground: The Story of Arlington National Cemetery

    As some of you may recall, I went to Washington, DC last month. My Dad [Edward H. Anderson, Lt. Colonel, Army Corps of Engineers (ret'd)], who passed away just short of age 90 in August of 2012, had requested that his ashes be interred at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia just across the Potomac from our nation's capitol. Arlington was, of course, the Estate of Robert E. Lee, and was occupied and confiscated by Union forces very early in the Civil War. Decades later, the courts did award General Lee's descendants financial compensation for the seizure of the property which was already well into use as a military cemetery by that time.

    The ceremony itself was most impressive, and it was a very mild November day indeed. Being directly involved in the ceremony itself, we didn't take any pictures ourselves. I counted at least 40 service men (from the 3rd Infantry regiment, US Army, otherwise known as the Old Guard, including the honor guard, Ceremonial Band, Caisson and escort, Chaplain, and rifle squad (as dad was a Combat veteran - WW2, Omaha Beach - three volleys were fired as part of the service).

The Army Ceremonial Band marching at Arlington.

The caisson and caisson escort at a funeral at Arlington

These photos are in the public domain. More pictures to give you an idea of what is involved in an Arlington funeral can be found at:


and the main official website is:


    Arlington itself is a most impressive place; I could easily have spent a day there exploring the grounds, which of course include the eternal flame at the grave site of John F Kennedy. Among the attendees at the ceremony and the reception later at Fort Meyers (home of the last Army Horses, specifically maintained for duty at Arlington, and itself originally a cavalry barracks), were some of the family's oldest friends, including Mr. and Mrs. Walter Peters and their daughter and her husband. Mr Peters gave several of us a copy of a book about Arlington, as seen below.


    This turned out to be a surprisingly engrossing and compelling book. While focusing on Arlington itself, and our nation's treatment of its fallen, it manages to be at the same time a surprisingly broad history of the US as a whole from about the Revolution to the present day, while incorporating many anecdotes down to the very individual level. One prominent theme involves Arlington's role in the gradual integration of former slaves into US society (and the cemetery itself), and the role that the cemetery (and the Spanish American War) ultimately played in healing the deep wounds of our Civil War. I would recommend it to anyone, but of course especially anyone visiting Arlington National Cemetery, where as a tourist, participant in a funeral there, or visiting the grave site of a family member.


Thursday, December 26, 2013

Assyrian Chariots

OK, show of hands... is there anyone out there who doesn't love chariots?  No? I didn't think so! Maybe it's the iconic scenes of the chariot race from the movie Ben Hur, or images of Caesar riding in a chariot through the streets of Rome during one of his Triumphs, or the Egyptians pursuing the Hebrews as they crossed the parting waters of the Red Sea; regardless, chariots are just, well... cool! . While their effectiveness on the battlefield my have been less than we might like think, they are just something you naturally want some of in your collection.The Assyrian empire in particular was smack in the middle of the gradual development of effective battlefield cavalry, which began the transition of these magnificent looking vehicles of war from being the stars of the battlefield to largely assuming ceremonial roles.

These are Minifigs Assyrian Light Chariots.

Although of a heavier design than the ultra light Egyptian vehicles, these were probably still largely Archery platforms.

Their mobility (compared to foot soldiers) certainly contributed to their usefulness for scouting and/or surprise/flank attacks.

I used narrow paper tape that came with some plastic 54mm Napoleonic Old Guard band figures (for use in modeling the cross belts) that I bought decades ago to make the traces for the chariots; I think it looks very effective. I haven't yet found anything that I like to replace it on my newer models, however. 

These less elegantly constructed  Assyrian chariots would seem to have provided both crew and horses with better protection than their Egyptian counterparts.

I've chosen bold, complimentary color schemes for my Chariots. 

This is the first of my Assyrian Heavy Chariots models. The crew all wear metal torso armor (mail).

These are big, heavy looking vehicles, pulled by 4 horses and having a crew of four men (usually depicted as a driver, 2 archers, and a shield bearer/melee armed trooper are depicted). 

 There is controversy now as to whether these impressive war machines were actual used on the battlefield, or whether they had already passed into (largely) ceremonial usage by the later years of the Assyrian Empire

These castings are by Hinchliffe; indeed, I believe they are the only Hinchliffe figures I own!

Regardless of their age (the designs  must be 40 years old), these are gorgeous models

They are still available through Hinds figures.

It  looks like the current price is about 12 Euros per set, which is pretty reasonable, I'd say!

I actually bought of few more of these a number of years back to (eventually) beef up my Assyrians further.

I chose bold, contrasting colors for painting these. The Assyrians were definitely going for the "shock and awe" effect, I think.

"It is not the horse that draws the chariot, but the oats" - Assyrian proverb.

"Gossip needs no chariot" - Assyrian proverb.

"I am powerful, I am omnipotent, I am a hero, I am gigantic, I am colossal!"
—One of King Esarhaddon of Assyria's inscriptions, 7th century BC

"The robes of the Assyrians were generally ample and flowing, but differed in form from those of the Egyptians and the Persians. They consisted of tunics or robes varying in length, in mantles of diverse shapes, of long-fringed scarf's, and of embroidered girdles. Ornaments were scattered with profusion over these dresses, some of which appear to have been emblematic of certain dignities or employments."

"The caparison of their horses is most gorgeous; every strap of their head and body-housings is enriched; to the chariots horses is usually seen attached, apparently either to the extremity of the pole or to the trappings of the neck, and to the front of the chariot itself, a long fish-shaped piece of drapery fringed and embroidered".
- both the above quotes from: Joseph Bonomi, "Nineveh And Its Palaces" 2nd Ed. (London: Ingram, Cooke & Co, 1853) pp 431, 437

"Great conquerors appear in the dim light of that distant time and pass, Tushratta, King of Mitanni, who captured Nineveh, Tiglath Pileser I of Assyria who conquered Babylon. At last the Assyrians became the greatest military power of the time. Tiglath Pileser III conquered Babylon in 745 B.C. and founded what historians call the New Assyrian Empire. Iron had also come now into civilization out of the north; the Hittites, the precursors of the Armenians, had it first and communicated its use to the Assyrians, and an Assyrian usurper, Sargon II, armed his troops with it. Assyria became the first power to expound the doctrine of blood and iron. Sargon’s son Sennacherib led an army to the borders of Egypt, and was defeated not by military strength but by the plague. Sennacherib’s grandson Assurbanipal (who is also known in history by his Greek name of Sardanapalus) did actually conquer Egypt in 670 B.C. "
- from A Short History of the World, Chapter XVIII. Egypt, Babylon and Assyria,1922. 
Author: H.G. Wells (1866–1946).

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas - Glædelig Jul!

   I felt motivated again this year to set up a "Wargamer's Christmas Card" in the basement once again this year, and who better to gather for a Christmas Eve service this year than all of my Napoleonic Danes - talk about red and green!

  King Frederick VI enters at the head of his Livgard of Horse, preparing to complete the Great Square of troops surrounding the Chapel on the hill. Hereafter, I'll use the words of one of my favorite carols, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing". The words are based upon those written by Charles Wesley, Brother of John Wesley, the founder of what became the Methodist movement, in 1739, and the music we sing it to by the great Felix Mendelssohn (for quite another celebration, that of the 400th  Gutenberg's invention of the Printing press - it was not until 1857 that the two were put together.). As the first work printed was the Holy Bible, I suppose that brings it full circle. For those of my friends who don't celebrate the holiday, let me just wish you Peace on Earth, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Hark! the herald angels sing, 
"Glory to the new born King". 
 Peace on earth, and mercy mild, 
God and sinners reconciled!

Joyful, all ye nations rise, 
Join the triumph of the skies!
 With th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
 "Glory to the new born King!"

 Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace! 
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!

 Light and life to all he brings, 
risen with healing in his wings.

Mild he lays his glory by,

Born that Man no more may die.

 Born to raise the sons of Earth, 

 Born to give them second birth. 

Hark! the herald angels sing,

 "Glory to the new born King!" 

"Hark, the Herald Angels Sing", as performed by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge.

Merry Christmas - Glædelig Jul!

Cheers - Skål!

Friday, December 20, 2013

British Napoleonic Infantry - 57th and 58th Line Regiments

Here are the latest additions to my Napoleonic British forces. First up is the 58th or Rutlandshire Regiment:

This line infantry regiment had black facings, the regimental lace had square ends and were grouped singly, and the officers had gold lace. 

Black wasn't deemed a suitable color for flags, so British regiments with black facings had white Regimental colors instead. Also, like regiments faced in white (and also regiments with red facings), their white flags  had a large red Cross of St George overlying the field. 

The 58th saw service in the Peninsula, fighting at Salmanca and Burgos. Earlier in the Napoleonic Wars, it fought in Egypt, Minorca, and Calabria. 

I have painted them in the more or less standard blue grey pants most often worn on campaign. 

Up until 1812, drummers in the British army usually wore reversed colors, after which the practice was forbidden (Boo, Hiss!). Once again, Black was not felt to be a suitable color for British uniforms, so the drummers of regiments with black facings wore white coats faced red instead. 

The 58th Regiment, seen here marching across the Spanish countryside.

A birds eye view of the Rutlandshire Regiment. 25/28mm Old Glory, GMB flags,

I did paint the drums of the regiment black (rather than white), figuring black *was* a proper color for drums, at least!

This next unit is the 57th or West Middlesex Infantry Regiment.

The 57th Regiment gained the proud nick name, "The Diehards"for its conduct at the Battle of Albuera (May 16, 1811). "Greatly outnumbered, the 57th withstood a terrible fire of shell and grapeshot, holding a hill which they had captured against a column four times their number. Colonel Inglis, the commanding officer was mortally wounded [hit by canister in the neck and left breast], but he rallied his regiment by calling out 'Die heard, my men, die hard!" (Rene North, Soldiers of the Peninsular War, 1808-1814. Almark Publications, London, April 1972)

By the end of the battle, 422 out of 570 enlisted men lay dead or wounded, along with 20 out of 30 officers!

Here you can see the reversed colors of the Drummer's jacket - yellow faced red, with white lace.

For the West Middlesex's facings I used Crafter's Edition Lemon Yellow; a light yellow with excellent coverage.

The 57th had square lace in pairs on the jacket; officer's lace Gold.

"Die hard, the 57th, die hard!"