Sunday, September 29, 2019

The Pearl of the Antilles. - The Haiti Campaign - Day Eleven - 11th August 1791

After a delay over the summer the latest moves are in and the country is split between the quiet south and raging north.

In the Western tip of the island the British under Thomas Maitland remain encamped watching and waiting to see how the rest of the island plays out. Meanwhile Christopher Henry begins to stir the local slaves for the fight that is sure to come with any faction on the island print leaflets and calling out the Jacobin Insurrectionists in the East.

Packing up his headquarters his forces move west towards the small town of Baraderas.

Further to the east the Mulatto forces on the high ground over looking Port Au-Prince watch the Republicans go about their business with cavalry patrols roaming far and wide.
Neither side wanting to commit offensive forces in the area.

After the 2nd battle at the fort the French Royalists under Viscount de Blanchelande tend to their wounded behind the walls at Bahon, their medical staff worked hard to patch up the wounded. Their morale had taken a knock and with 7 dead and 6 wounded the next few days would be very dangerous.

Elsewhere the French reinforce their garrisons and barricade the approaches to the towns.

Dutty Boukman having gained a significant win yesterday had his own wounded to tend to with 5 casualties, his dead would have been higher but for the difference in force morale of 6 which allowed him to bolster his command.

His Slave forces watched the French behind their walls.

After the raid on the Spanish outpost Princess Amethyste heads back to their territory however the Spanish move to counter this and the two forces face off against each other each looking to strike a killer blow on the other.

Toussaint Louverture continues his drive for the capital of George Biassou, Biassou had spread his troops in the hope of leading the loyalists from their primary goal. He will need to regroup fast if he is to stop incursion.

So one major engagement to resolve with the Spanish and the Princess once again butting heads....

Friday, September 27, 2019

Napoleonic Haitian Cavalry.

Finally..... After what seems an age the Haitian Cavalry are finished. 
In my reading of the battles in Haiti there are scattered reports of Haitian cavalry, Osprey's book on Napoleon's overseas forces depicts Colonial Dragoons but I wanted some line cavalry to bolster the forces of the native Haitian forces.

As usual great service from Steve at Arcane Scenery who in addition to the packs of French Cavalry from the Trent Revolutionary Range a bunch of extra heads from the Haitian range, this gave me plenty of variety in the unit. I quite fancy a Maroon unit eventually but am struggling with mounted civilian types perhaps ACV Bushwacker's might do?

These will be a useful addition to a number of the factions, as they can be used for the French forces, the Haitians or the freed slaves perfect timing as the campaign starts to pick up again.

Next up something a little different and definitely not on a horse.....

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Pearl of the Antillies. - The Haiti Campaign - The 2nd Battle for Bahon 10th August 1791

After the first battle 4 days had past, the French under Viscount de Blanchelande starred out from the stockade, he had been bolstered by additional troops but was unable to stop the forces of Dutty Boukman as they surrounded the fort.

Dawn on the 10th August and French pickets rang the alarm as groups of armed slaves appeared from various points around the fort, the insurgents crept forward reaching the dead ground in the shadow the of the stockade. The slave army knew the French were in there but no soldiers were seen.

The slaves armed with sticks, knives and axes moved through the tall grass. As they reached open ground the French rose up from their positions and left off a round of cannister from the fort together with a volley from the Militia to deadly effect. The slaves retreated back down the hill as quick as they had come on.

On the far left Blanchelande unmasked his war dogs as the hounds strained at the leash they were sniped at by skirmishers from the under growth, the dogs set off in a deadly game of cat and mouse, some of the riflemen were caught and torn to shreads, but slowly the shock began to tell on the dogs and handlers.

To the right the main slave forces broke cover and advanced on the fort, the French called forward their regulars to stem the tide of insurgents. The first volley was not enough to drive back Dutty's forces but they had stopped and both sides began a long range exchange of musketry.

As it began to feel like the slave force were not going to make any headway and both sides were about to settle for a draw things were about to take a nasty turn for the defenders and the escaped slaves were about to have a day that would go down in history. Having seen off the first group of slaves, Viscount de Blanchelande charged forward to clear the second group of freed men.

The melee was a disaster the French failed to land a single casualty on the slaves but in return they lost 6 of their own including Blanchelande who was wounded. The French fell back and their force morale began to sink.

The Slaves with their confidence sky high rushed the flank of the firing line, the French unable to react turned and ran, a number of them falling to the blades and axes. The French force morale fell still further.

The French regulars continued to fire several ragged volley's even bringing their 4 pdr forward to even the odds but they were soon forced to give ground to the ever increasing musket fire. As the formation broke the French turned marched/ran back into the fort and slammed the gate shut. 

Dutty did not have sufficent forces to breach the walls but he had most certainly rattled the Royalists who now had to contend with multiple wounded to be tended to and a significant reduction to their fighting strength.

Will we see a 3rd battle for Bahon or will the slaves look to starve them out?

On to day 11 and fresh orders.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Dispatches from the front II

I bloody hate cavalry...… I have been sitting looking at the same cavalry unit for the best part of three weeks, if I can't break the back of them tomorrow they might have to be bounced from the queue for a while.
I am not sure if it's the mass of horse flesh or the fact that I have glued the riders on first, something that I don't normally do in the painting process. Do we all have a touch of OCD when it comes to painting?

Meanwhile we had a crack at Osprey's latest card game, a two player game with a number of missions from D-Day to play through, you use your cards to grab the initiative and use your squads to grab objectives I must admit it was a real blast and felt very realistic, very much a band of brothers feel to it, the early missions contain only rifle squads, but later missions introduce MG's Mortars and snipers.

MG's are great at pinning troops, mortars are flaming nasty and you need to get a move on once the targeting round lands. Stick and move is the name of the game.
Send your scouts out to clear the ground in front of you before you send your rifle sections in to take the ground.

The game tiles have plenty of detail and I am sure I won't be the only one thinking about how I could convert this to a miniatures game. 
Each mission lasts about 45 minutes and makes for a great evenings game. 

I based up the QH Miniatures and have included a couple of comparison shots to the Trent Miniatures, they match up very well in size although the quality of sculpt needs some work when compared to others on the market these days. 

Trent Minatures have a slave pack available which landed this morning along with some casualties which will give me so more line infantry shock markers. 

Whilst finding anything to do other than paint the Haitian horse, I did finally get round to painting up the Warbases Pigeon loft and a couple of the test houses for the Red Phoenix project.

Switching between 28mm and 6mm is not great when you are trying to get you eye in once the cavalry are done I will look to get the rest of the Korean village finished so I can get a couple of Seven Days to the Rhine in.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Cotswold Wargaming Day - A cracking days gaming.

Last weekend saw a fine days gaming down in the Cotswold in the town of Northleach, now not only famous for the BBC's This Country but also a day of summer gaming before the autumn sets in. 

All credit to Keith Flint (of "Honours of War" fame) for organising there were 8 games on offer and over 30 gamers in attendance.

The day was a very relaxed affair with players encouraged to try the various games on offer and Stuart Asquith was on hand to award various prizes on the day.

I did not get to spend as much time as I would have liked around the other tables, but here's a selection of some of the great games on offer.

For our part we hosted a Haitian rescue, with the French army looking to free the civilians from the church to get them to the port, whilst the rebellious slaves and the free people look to kill or capture them.
Thanks to Nigel for taking part, by the end he was playing like a Sharp Practice veteran.

It was a close run affair with both sides thinking they had it in the bag at various times of the day, in the end the women and children just made the boat, despite a last gasp charge by the Haitian army to try grab the prize.

It was great to meet up with some old friends and new and the date of the 30th August 2020 is firmly in the dairy for next year.

We were lucky enough to win game of the day which was nice….

The Haitian Heroes and our host.