Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Pearl of the Antilles. - The Haiti Campaign - The Battle of the Sugar Field - 9th August 1791

Jean - Charles a name given to him by his plantation owner peered out from the sugar field looking across the estate, an estate that had for so long been his home if you can call 25 years of slavery and imprisonment home. But free he was now and he was not going to let the Spaniards return him to a life of slavery.

Having been beaten a few days before the next engagement in the Pearl of Antilles Campaign is a further engagement between the Spanish and the slave army of Princess Amethyste in the north of the Island.
The battle is a fighting withdrawal with the Slave forces seeking to delay the Spanish by giving them a bloody nose before falling back.

The Spanish had learned much since their last encounter with Jean - Charles one of Princesses Amethyste's most trusted lieutenants. They knew the freed slaves would be waiting for them anywhere on the table, with numerous plantation houses and slave quarters. The enemy could ambush them from anywhere, but the Spanish had a one advantage they had recruited a local man who was able to show them the primary jump off point and a lightening strike would surely win this battle before it had started?

Using their exploring officer the Spanish are able to skirt the secondary deployment point generating a fixed deployment point on the flank of the slave army. The local man being able to lead the Spanish through the Sugar fields to within a stones throw of the primary deployment point.
Jean-Charles was forced to unmask his musket men to stop the colonial troopers now massing to his front.

The slaves fired a ragged volley at long range but were unable to stop the cavalry who charged into the defenders.

Jean-Charles could only watch as his 2nd section was swept from the field running back towards the tall grass and undergrowth.

Meanwhile the cavalry reorganised and edged forward, now within a few feet of the primary deployment point and victory. Jean-Charles called forward his remaining forces but with the cavalry so close many of his fighters were forced to deploy behind the main jump off point.

Finally some luck for the slave commander as he was able to call out a string of orders without Spanish interference. He ran from man to man urging his people to fight for their freedom rushing in front of the firing line, his troops fired catching the cavalry at close range and forcing them back from their so nearly captured prize.... But whilst securing a minor victory was rewarded by a shot in his rear.... charming..... His force morale slipped down to 4.... ouch.

Meanwhile aid was coming his way in the shape of the locals rising up and grabbing clubs, knives and any other improvised weapons to set about the on coming whites. The initial ferocious attack took out a section of colonials who were caught unloaded. The Spanish morale took a serious knock.

Whilst taking a number of casualties the unarmed slaves gathered their remaining men for a further charge only to be faced by a another full regiment of infantry all primed and ready to fire. Round after round was poured into the slaves as they were forces to fall back, their force morale slipping still further. Their issue compounded by Spanish artillery fire.

Sensing a minor panic in the Spanish ranks with the main body masked by the shattered cavalry.
Jean-Charles rushed forwards a large body of men each with barely a weapon between them but all keen on taking a Spaniard with them, but luck was not with them. Turn after turn would pass within a commander being triggered and without flags in the bag they had no opportunity to make their final charge.
Meanwhile the Spanish artillery was tearing holes in the slave ranks, the slaves morale waivered and then finally broke before the big choppers had a chance to set about the Spanish command.

A close run thing.....

Post battle report.
Casualties were very similar with the Spanish losing 17 to the Amethyste losing 18.
The difference of two on the force morale chart returns to men to the Spanish ranks they also capture a sack of supplies from the slave forces and seize the initiative.

However the Spanish have far superior medical facilities and manage to patch up all but 1 man who is killed and 5 walking wounded who will miss the next battle.
The insurgent forces see 7 dead and a further 2 wounded and are forced backwards.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Yet more Spanish - Trent Miniatures Black Militia

With the varnish just about dry the Spanish Black Militia make it to the table top for the battle between the Spanish regulars and the rebellious slaves of Princess Amethyste.
The full battle report should be up this weekend.

Some great castings from the guys at Trent, at the moment only enough to make up an Irregular skirmish unit, but eventually I will paint up the remaining 14 to give me a couple of militia stands.

Let's hope the curse of freshly painted figures can be broken... :-)

Next up.... something a little more modern.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Spanish Army in Haiti - 1790 - 1802

With a change of job just around the corner, I seem to have a little more time on my hands in the evenings, which is good as the Spanish won't paint themselves, with a self imposed deadline of Thursday evening I wanted to ensure these were off the paint table.

Within the campaign setting they will be regulars in sections of 8. I have a couple of Big men to bolster the ranks with a couple of mounted figures to come later. As usual the Infantry are from Trent Miniatures, with Officers and drum from Front Ranks Spanish Range, they are a good match once painted and based.

The Spaniards whilst a major player in the region seem to be somewhat overlooked in terms of history and documented accounts, I suspect because they seem to be on the losing side in a number of the encounters. There may be some Spanish text but I have not been able to track down much.

Here's my take on events pulled from a couple of different sources for those interested.

Once the French Revolution reached Haiti shores it's impact was bound to spread across into the Spanish part of the island. As early as 1789 the governor of Santo Domingo, Don Joaquín García y Moreno, put his troops on alert when news of the revolution broke. Despite the events across the border there was no significant incursion into Spanish territory. The Spanish undertook a policy of watching and waiting hoping that the mutual destruction of the warring factions would allow them to regain their lost influence and power in the region.

When Spain and England declared war on France in 1793 the Spanish colonists stopped cooperating with the French. They supplied arms to the likes of Biassou and Louverture as well as offering asylum to rebel leaders, before to long Spanish troops were fighting the French alongside the rebel slaves. 

The Spanish abolished slavery to win over the black majority. However Louverture abandoned the Spanish and went over to the French as he believed they were more genuine in their desire to free the black majority. With the loss of the black rebels the Spanish started to lose territory to the French and Haitian loyalists. The Spaniards abandoned the frontier posts of San Rafael, San Miguel, and Hincha, and to regroup in the towns of Las Caobas and Bánica in the center of the island, and in Dajabón, Bayajá, and Montecristi, in the North. 
Las Caobas und Bánica fell to Louverture when news of the end of the war in europe reached the island in 1795 just as the Spanish were starting to fight back.

Peace was to be short lived once again Louverture crossed the border in 1801 and captured the city of Santo Domingo followed quickly by the rest of the island. Despite the promise of ending slavery to incite the local blacks to support him, he was to break this promise. 
Louverture only left Spanish territory when a newly arrived French expedition landed to retake the island.

So there you have it a potted history of the Spanish in Haiti - Let's see if they can do better in our campaign.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Mortal Gods - 1st Outing.

Whilst work on the Spanish continues at pace with a deadline of Thursday to get them tabletop ready, a rather fun distraction with Paul rolling out his fantastic Greek collection for Mortal Gods.

The mechanics are simple with each unit/character gaining a pebble, White for units and Black for leaders and heroes. You also have three Red omen pebbles which generate a positive or negative event card which can impact characters or battlefield events. Be careful though once all the red stones are drawn the turn ends.

Combat uses specialist dice with Swords for attack and Shields for defence, depending on your character you might get to use the pegasus symbol to aid you. You roll off attack dice vs defence dice but only if you burn your unt action (in which case you take your colour pebble out of the bag.) otherwise you roll against your armour, this is good as it can pin troops if they choice to burn defence dice to keep casualties down. As you would expect Hoplites are good in defence but skirmishers with no armour don't last long if caught.

Even on the face of it the weakest units have a chance my priest was caught by a unit of sneaky skirmishers but the gods were truly with him today...

As each unit/character comes with their own card which holds their scores and abilities this serves as a great aid to keep us newbies informed but also serves to track units that have been activated.

There is also a nice touch where if you bring units into a Phalanx their stats improve and you place a card over the top of your unit to record their new stats, the same occurs if your 3 man units is reduced to 1 man.

Mortal Gods had a good feel to it, a large scale skirmish, but the pebbles and the omen cards gave it that ancient slant. The units sizes are relatively small so a single box set and a couple of characters should give you all you need for an evenings gaming. The various units types give you plenty of scope to mix and match plus the cards for each set out on the side of the table means that we didn't spend all evening diving into the rule book.

Heroes are tough but are not invincible and if you are using them offensively they won't be able to command troops on the table which can slow your tactics down and hinder your morale.

Overall a good fun system which gives a good gaming experience, the danger is with on a few figures to a unit you could be dragged into thinking that's not to many to get a force together , so now I am spending time on the web tempted by Persians as I had a bit of a thing for the Peloponnesian Wars many years ago. The latest offering from Footsore miniatures does look nice just not sure about the detail on the uniforms to do them justice.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Here come the Spanish - Spanish Colonial Troops in Haiti

Just a short post more for reference than anything else.
With the Spanish being one of the more aggressive factions I need to move them up the painting queue to bolster their forces before their second engagement next week.

Trent Miniatures have produced a small selection of Spanish troops but finding additional reference was proving rather hard, I came across these useful uniform guides whilst trawling the web.

The first troops should be leaving the paint table this weekend.

If anyone can give me any further pointers please let me know.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Encounter in the Hinterland - 9th August 1791

Try as he might Georges Biassou could not shake off Louverture and his forces, they were better organised, armed and trained after yesterdays initial Biassou's slave forces had been forced back. But before they could reorganise the lead elements of Louverture were amongst his pickets.

George Biassou called his men out it was an all out attack...
He would be defending the left hand side of the table while the General would come on from the right.

So the scene is set. Biassou knew where the loyalists would be advancing from so rallied his men seeking the best ground he could in the limited time available to him.

He had high ground to his right and a small orchard to his left. The battlefield was littered with slave shacks and small plots of merger crops. Biassou ordered his men forward.

Biassou ordered his men up to the wooded ridge but the going was tough and despite his urging his men struggled to make progress up the steep incline.

On the far right his skirmish troops grabbed cover in a small plot of crops and awaited the advancing enemy. 

Keen to take away  Louverture deployment options he rushes all his troops forward including the mass ranks of poorly armed slaves, armed only with sharpen stakes, swords and axes, they lacked any range weapons but were deadly in hand to hand.

The Haitian skirmishers begin to appear on the table popping up amongst the slave huts and fences.

The slaves charged forward their Voodoo priest convincing the mass of troops that the loyalists musket rounds would not hurt them if they had faith. On they rushed clearing the open ground rapidly and heading straight for the irregular skirmishers.

The trap is sprung. After yesterdays encounter Louverture was not going to be caught out again and with 3 flags launched his ambuscade revealing his assault column who unleashed a deadly volley, killing a number of the attackers and sending the others running for cover with over 14 points of shock.  

Seeing the initial attack fail the remaining slave forces waited for the assault to come.

They did not have to wait long as the column advanced across the open ground. Louverture sent forward his skirmishers who harassed the militia forming on the tree line. Who let loose a crushing blow which slowed the column as it came on to the defenders.

Up until now the loyalist forces had showed great discipline yet after delivering a bloody volley into the mass ranks of slave militia and having seen the column destroy the charging slaves. The irregular skirmishers ignored their commander and broke through the hedge to charge towards the enemy. An opening volley sent them running from the field.
With over 11 flags in the bag a random event was bound to happen.

Meanwhile the Haitian columns marched on.

Whilst the skirmishers rash move had been unplanned, it had brought the Infantry enough time to charge into the left flank of the militia who were struggling with a pall of smoke massing their front. The loss of the melee pushed Biassou's force morale to zero and his troops flee the table.

With a force morale difference of 6 the loyalists broke through into the slave camp, looting 4 sacks of supplies and butchering the wounded from the previous days battle.

Mainforce casualties for both sides had been light, with Biassou only losing 2 killed, where Trousant Louverture had two men wounded from his mainforce.
But more importantly for Louverture, Biassou was beaten in battle again and was slowly being forced back to his capital.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Yet more Haitian Line....

The start of another Haitian line Regiment. 
As the campaign moves on it gives me the push to get more of the backlog of unpainted metal on to the table top.

Finding a formal reference for uniforms within Haiti is difficult but that does give you some latitude with the choice of uniform.
To separate these from the existing regiments these will have green Pom Poms and canvas top hats rather than black.

8 down, 16 to go.
These go straight into battle this week under General Toussaint Louverture and his push to subdue the slaves under Georges Biassou.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

The Cinderella Cattle Company - This is no fairy tale.

Another outing for Legends of the Old West and the occasional campaign game in the region around Dead Man's Gulch. Today's outing see's the Cinderella Cattle Company venturing out to secure a number of their lost cattle who have been acquired by the Mexican Army...…

Don't listen to the Mexican government who will tell you it was a vicious raid on the legitimate government who were simply garrisoning the (wall) border it's all fake news :-)

The Cinderella Cattle company under Trail Boss - Tom Kelfer supported by Green Horn's, Buckaroo's and Cowpokes. Plus Stinky Pete the Cookie.

The outpost with it's sole guard wandering aimlessly around and the returning wagon and patrol no doubt with some else's property to add to their rations......

After several moves of sneaking around the perimeter, the cattlemen hide amongst the cattle and tall grass as the Mexican soldiers walk their horses to the stable.

As the Federal troops near the stables Tom calls out to his men to open fire, his men blaze away and take down the unsuspecting Mexican troops.

The alarm is raised and the Mexicans rush to engage the cowboy's. Popping up at the various windows and doors of the blockhouse. 

The cattlemen shoot down several Mexican soldiers, whilst the Mexicans have the range with their bolt action rifles, everytime they raise their heads they face a blizzard of lead, with several Mexicans going down.
However despite their losses the Mexican numbers are starting to tell with Jeff Lebar and Derek Shultz both being taken out by the Federal troopers.

With a number of the Mexican soldiers ducking for cover or out of action, the cowboys make a break for it grabbing two of the cattle and heading for the table edge.

The Cattlemen skirt the stonewall field as the soldiers line the wall looking to inflict casualties on the scampering Cinderella men leading off the cattle.

Having slipped pass the blockhouse defenders the cowboys are intercepted by the commander of the local garrison who shoots Drew Hickey dead, the westerners fire back as the Mexican Captain takes cover behind the fence line.

A good day in the field for the Cinderella Cattle Company having captured two cattle and three horses, all three of their casualties have managed to crawl away and are able to return to the fight next battle. Meanwhile the Mexican were not so lucky with five of their number killed in battle.

A cracking days gaming and steak for tea :-)