A game of Chain of Command

We played scenario 4 (if I remember correctly) of the 29 let’s go campaign this evening. I played the German side. I used a motley selection of figures that I felt fit the Normandy setting relatively well. The game opened with me deploying a section in one of the central buildings. At first I thought this was a mistake, they were immediately pounded by a Sherman. But they survived. And this also lured my opponent into deploying his infantry in the bocage in front of the building. This led to them being caught in a crossfire out of which the Americans were not able to escape. One squad was wiped out entirely. In addition the Marder was able to engage and put some some shock on one of the tanks, while the leiG 18 and MMG hurt the American infantry even more. At that point my opponent threw in the towel.

The last game we played I felt that the Germans had no chance whatsoever of winning and was therefore surprised at the outcome this time around. The forces involved were pretty much the same. I think we both made mistakes, but I did roll better dice than I usually do.

Sdkfz 251/10

Another addition to my ww2 Germans. This model is by Blitzkrieg miniatures. I now have one 251/1 and one 251/10 painted up, and I also have one 251/1 unassembled in a box. The ultimate goal would be to have a full platoon’s worth, i e three 251/1s and one 251/10. Time will tell if that ever happens. In any case, my collection of Kursk-themed vehicles is growing.

Late war Brits

Just started some late war British infantry, made by Empress miniatures. Very nicely detailed figures. The camo pattern on the jackets is supposed to be quite toned down, but I think I managed to paint it distinctivley enough for it to be visible. If you look closely…

Swedish/Finnish jägers

These are the first two figures of a small unit of jägers I am painting for my 1808 collection. These are primarily meant to represent the jägers of the Nyland and Björneborg regiments. Perry make a set of Nyland jägers with shakos, but as far as I know, only the Savolax jägers had shakos. All other (Finnish) jägers had hats. The Swedish Värmland jägers had hats that look similar to the Swedish grenadier hats, and Perry do those as well (they did not take part in the war in Finland). So I exchanged the heads of the Nyland jägers for heads with the standard hat.

The jägers are distinguished from the regular line infantry by wearing black belts and a green pompom. Many illustrations show jägers of this time period with yellow pompoms. The regimental jägers were selected from of the regiments only when on campaign, and so the belts were blackened by the troops themselves, in the field. Presumably, the pompom color was also changed on campaign. In other words, it is quite possible that these color changes werent always implemented in practice…

The uniform also works for Swedish regiments who wore the 1807 uniform. At least the Kronoberg regiment wore this uniform when they took part in the landings in Finland in the summer of 1808, if I remember correctly. As you can see in the background, I am working on several different units at the same time. But at least I am getting some painting done…

Boxing my brigades

I have recently organized my napoleonic figures in sturdy cardboard boxes. I have used a magnetic mat in the bottom and as the figures are all magnetized they stick very well to the box. Previously I stored these figures in Feldherr cases, with every single figure in an individual foam slot. Needless to say, that wasnt very practical when setting up a game. With one brigade per box they come all organized and ready to play. These boxes dont take much more space than the Feldherr boxes either, although Feldherr’s foam system can be very good when not travelling in your own car (e.g. flying).

More Finnish artillery

I just finished a couple of figures and a cannon which are painted as belonging to the Finnish artillery regiment. The figures are Perry Austrian artillerymen with Swedish heads. The gun is a Hessians AWI piece. The gun, a 4-pdr, is called “Swedish”, but it was really a French gun which was similar to the Swedish system of 1725 (Cronstedt). Similar guns were in use in the Swedish army in 1808, of the Cronstedt system, as well as the later Ehrensvärd, alongside the more modern Helvig system. From the sources it is clear that roughly half of the guns fielded in the battles in Finland were of the new (1804, Helvig) system, while the other half were of various older types. Some of the older guns were iron, some metal (bronze). The older guns were much heavier, partly because they had oak carriages. Many of them were 3-pounders (the Helvig guns were all 6-pounders).

I painted the gun as a bronze gun with a blue and yellow carriage. This was common in the 18th century, and it seems likely that some older guns would have still looked like this in 1808. Below is a late 18th century model gun in the collections of the Army Museum in Stockholm. The iron bars attached to the carriage were used when the gun was pulled by “action horses”, i e when the gun was moved around the field of battle, but not limbered. This practice was discontinued just prior to the war of 1808, and by then the gun was drawn by the men using ropes instead.

101st airborne reinforcements

I am working on the last few Warlord Games US airborne figures that remain in my lead pile. I have already painted up a basic Normandy platoon (2×12 men, bazooka, officers, 60mm mortar). These additions add support options such as an extra bazooka team, a 30 cal mg team and/or an extra squad. Some of these I have re-painted and some of these had broken weapons (a common problem with these figures unfortunately). I repaired them with steel pike/flag poles which are much more sturdy. I am still short about 6 riflemen (to make a full third squad), so that when I am finished with the last of these, I will have to buy some more. I contacted WG and asked them if I could order just the riflemen separately, but that isnt possible anymore (as it used to be). Apparently the molds for these figures are worn out and will not be replaced. The squad boxes are still in stock in many places, but they will eventually be replaced by the new WG plastic set. The squad boxes also contain a large number of models that I already have more than enough of. WG often put together sets with too many smgs and in this case also carbines, which really werent normally issued to riflemen.

Some figures are already completely unavailable, such as the pathfinders, which I dont have and cant find anywhere. That is very unfortunate; I much prefer these older metal figures, as they have more character, in my opinion.

Resin church…

This resin church made by Total Battle miniatures recently arrived in the mail. The level of detail is great on their pieces. The internal details are particularly impressive, and the internal walls and staircase are loose so that you can remove them during play to fit figures inside. As always, there is some cleaning up of flash and mold lines etc to do before it can be primed, but the quality of casting is very good with almost no air bubbles at all. Overall, this is a great piece. Pricing was reasonable for such a massive piece (£60) and it arrived here in Sweden about a month after ordering, which is very good considering everything with the pandemic, Brexit etc. Now I just have to give it the paint-job it deserves…

Barefoot soldiers

In an effort to make my napoleonic Finnish infantry look more realistic, I tried to make a barefoot soldier. I used the lower legs and feet of a set of barefoot Madras sepoys made by Perry. The poses on these happen to be very similar (identical in fact) to the Swedish infantry by the same Perry twins. So it was relatively easy to cut off and replace the legs. I added som green stuff to finish off the ragged looking trousers. Again, this was quite straight forward. I am pretty happy with this first try, and will try to do a few more similar conversions featuring worn clothes, patches, bad shoes and ragged gaiters etc.

Plans for 2022: napoleonics

Starting off the new year away from the paint pots I have had some time to think about what to work on in the coming year. First among my priorities is more work on figures for the Finnish war of 1808. In 2022, I will try to paint up enough miniatures to represent one particular battle, namely the battle of Lappo (Lapua) in west-central Finland (Österbotten, Ostrobotnia). I am also working on figures for the most important battle of the war, at Oravais (in September of the same year). That is part of a joint effort which is aiming at a demo game at Salute in 2023. Oravais was a slightly larger battle, and it also features several Swedish regiments. I will only do some of those, and a large part of them also took part at Lappo.

Lappo is a more modest goal, but it is also a good way to get the most important units painted up. With these figures finished, I will have a good base for other scenarios for the Finnish part of the army, who did most of the fighting in 1808 (the major part of the troops from Sweden proper only arrived in the late summer).

Battle of Lappo (Lapua) July 14th, 1808

Plan of the battle, State archives (RA), Stockholm.

I have drawn up an order of battle for the “affair at Lappo”, a part of the Swedish summer offensive. Historically, this was a victory for the Swedish army, but the Russians were able to withdraw in good order and casualties were low. The armies numbered around 4000-4500 infantry, a few hundred cavalry and around 15-20 guns on each side.

The forces are described well in the official Swedish history (Sveriges krig åren 1808…, vol. 3, which can be found on google books) and wargames scenarios have previously been published on two separate but equally excellent websites:

http://the-ancientscom.virtualserver26.hosting.fi/gemigabok/suomen-sota-1808-1809/battles-we-fought/refight-of-lapua-14th-of-july-2008/

http://www.thelittlecorporal.co.uk/blog/2021/09/13/the-battle-of-lapua-14th-july-1808/

In other words, it was easy for me to create an order of battle to re-fight the battle with 28mm figures. To make the whole thing more manageable, I will reduce the number of battalions slightly, especially on the Swedish side. I will even leave out the Swedish first brigade entirely, as it only had a single infantry battalion.

I will also use standard sizes for units, i. e. 16-man battalions in most cases, although in reality battalions varied in size (as was almost always the case). I will probably have a single gun model with crew represent one artillery battery, at least to begin with – I can always expand with two-gun batteries later, as that does look better.

With these adjustments, the forces will look as below. As you can see, 4th brigade is done, 2nd brigade is half-way there, while 3rd brigade still remains to be painted for the most part. If my arithmetic is correct, I need to paint around 60 more figures on the Swedish side (out of a total of ca 180 or so for Lappo). I painted more than 150 Swedes/Finns in 2021.

On the Russian side I need to do about 50 figures, although I may also end up using figures already I have (i. e. using a Kaluga battalion to represent a Petrovsk), especially if that is what is necessary in order to actually set up a game and play IRL! In fact, I am already using figures painted as the Sevsk regiment to represent the Kaluga regiment – but those two regiments did have very similar uniforms, and identical flags.

Similarly, I may use Savolax jägers to represent the small units of Nyland and Björneborg jägers. For some reason I started out painting a bunch of the Savolax jägers and ended up with a disproportionate number of them. There seems to be some confusion over the colors of the Nyland jägers’ uniform and their headdress anyway, so it might be just as well.

Units given in italics are figures which remain for me to paint, while the rest is done.

Swedish forces at Lappo

Commander: major general Carl Johan Adlercreutz

2d brigade

Brigade commander, col. Georg Carl von Döbeln

1st bat. Björneborg (Pori) regiment (9/16 figures painted)

2nd bat. Björneborg regiment

3rd bat. (Rusthållsbataljon) Björneborg regiment (8/16 figures painted)

Small unit of Björneborg jägers (2/8 figures painted)

3-pdr. battery, 2 guns, 6 figures (1 gun, 4 figures painted)

4-horse limber

Parts of the 2d brigade.

3rd brigade

Brigade commander, col. Hans Henrik Gripenberg

1st bat. Tavastehus (Häme) regiment

2nd bat. Tavastehus regiment

Jäger bat. Tavastehus regiment

Jäger bat. Nyland (Uusimaa) regiment

6-pdr. battery, 2 guns, 8 figures (1 gun, 4 figures painted)

4-horse limber

4th brigade

Brigade commander, col. Johan Adam Cronstedt

1st bat. Savolax (Savo) regiment

2nd bat. Savolax regiment

1-2 (small) bat. Savolax jägers

1 small bat. Karelian jägers

Light 3-pdr. battery, 2 guns 6 figures

1-horse limber

The 4th brigade is pretty much complete.

Cavalry

1 sqdr. Karelian dragoons

1 sqdr. Nyland dragoons

The beautiful Finnish cavalry is all done.

Russian forces at Lappo

I am not sure of who commanded what on the Russian side yet, Ill have to look into that. The Russian “brigades” were more ad hoc-groupings as I understand it.

Commander: lieutenant general Nikolaj Nikolajevich Rajevsky

1st brigade

Brigade commander

1st bat. 23 jägers

Grenadier bat. Kaluga regiment

1 3-pdr. battery

2nd brigade

Brigade commander

Grenadier bat. Petrovsk regiment

3rd bat. Petrovsk regiment

(small bat. Kaluga regt.?)

1 6-pdr. battery (almost done!)

3rd brigade

Brigade commander

Grenadier bat. Velikie Luki regiment

3rd bat. Velikie Luki regiment

1st bat. 26th jägers

1 6-pdr. battery

1 3-pdr. battery

Cavalry

1-2 sqdr. Grodno hussars

1 sqdr. Cossacks