Sunday, December 30, 2012

Royal Artillery, Second Afghan War

Royal Artillery 6-horse team

I needed to give my British troops some more fire-power. I have used the Foundry colonial artillery limber and crew and Empress Miniature's excellent 7lb and 9lb guns and gunners from their Zulu War range.

This set must surely have been inspired by Richard Caton Woodville's famous painting, "Saving the Guns at the Battle of Maiwand".

Gunners riding limber

Gunners aiming 9lb Field Gun

Gunners aiming 9lb Field Gun

7lb field Gun

The officer is from Perry Miniatures Sudan War range.

Mounted officer, Royal Artillery

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Army Medical Service circa 1880

The Army Medical Service was formed in 1873. It was not particularly successful or popular and in 1898 it was reformed again to become the Royal Army Medical Corps.

I wanted to use the Perry Sudan War medics set for both the Sudan War and Indian/NW Frontier service. The uniforms depicted in the following images are fairly accurate for the Sudan.

In India and Afghanistan they may have worn khaki. However I'm assuming at the time of the Second Afghan War they were probably still wearing Home Service uniforms with the addition of the ubiquitous Foreign Service helmet.

Thanks to Jeff Lower who helped me with the red trim and arm badges.

Christmas Night over Laguna Niguel

Once again, we were given a beautiful California sunset on the evening of Christmas, rounding off a lovely family celebration.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Longest Day

I recently came across some information on one of my favourite games from 1980: Avalon Hill's "The Longest Day". This is a huge game, even by the standards of the time, with 1,500 counters and 7 mounted map boards of the whole D-Day theatre.

I played this a couple of times with my old gaming friend, USMC Gunnery Sergeant Columbus O. "Sonny" Williams.

I just found a source for some replacement counters. In place of the monotone originals with "German" style graphics, the counters use lots of colour to distinguish Divisions and add more contemporary graphics for the AFV's. If I ever play this again, the new counters will make unit organization and cohesion much easier.

Here is the download link:

J. M. Constancias is listed as the contact person for this organization. Should J.M. ever read this, a very big Thank You is in order for refreshing this venerable game.

Here is a small sample of the excellent counters art:

A full size laminated map is available from AH General, together with a DVD containing many articles from "the General" magazine, plus rules, charts, etc. Here is the link:

If you decide to produce counters for yourself, this site has some excellent hints on how to do it:

Imperial Infantry, Second Afghan War 1878-80

Imperial Infantry, Second Afghan War 1878-80

I have been intrigued by an illustration entitled "Route Marching 2nd Battalion Queen's 1879 Peshawa, India". This shows British infantry in the transitional khaki tunic with home service blue trousers with red stripe and covered foreign service helmet. The 70th (Surrey) Regiment of Foot and the 2nd Battalion The Queen’s (Second) Royal, Regiment of Foot, were both in Afghanistan at this time and the illustration could be of either regiment, despite the title, and they were ultimately amalgamated.

With these illustrations in mind, I asked Carl Robson to swap the Perry Sudan War infantry head with covered helmet, with the Pontoonier Miniatures British Infantry body. This was from expert advise I received from Ethan "Mad Guru" Reiff to create the "definitive" British infantry from the Second Afghan War. Ethan encourage me to commission the 66th (Berkshire) Regiment of Foot of Maiwand fame. I wasn't sure how this experiment would turn out, so in deference to the memory of the 66th, I asked Carl to paint the Queen's instead. I am very pleased with the result. The swap enables the figure to carry the correct equipment for this war and to have an appropriate helmet. 

The pouches were black leather, not the white shown below, but this gives an idea of how the equipment looked.