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Friday, 20 October 2017

A Bit of Variety for ‘98

As I ply the shades of grey and brown on my Irregular United Irish Men it comes to me that a bit of variety would be just the thing. Flags, and I've located a few more, cheer things up.

As it happens the bits box produced some old Chariot Miniatures Parisian Mob, bare headed or wearing Liberty Caps and armed with half pike or musket.  Mixed in judiciously they should liven things up nicely-not least because the Republican- minded United Men were often depicted in the self-same Liberty Caps.

Meanwhile the 70e Demi-Brigade is coming together.  General Humbert’s men were apparently equipped with a wide variety of uniforms old and new.  I’ll be wanting some French grenadiers in Bearskin and hanging plume.  The idea is that three battalions made a Demi-Brigade and two Demi’s a full Brigade. I think I'll go for a Brigade.

And here are the Reay Fencibles.

It’s all ticking along nicely.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Yeomanry For '98

Horse and foot Yeomanry for ’98 and based for The Pike Man’s Lament (TPL). 

The uniforms and flags are both correct but maybe not in this combination.  I can live with that because the Yeomanry chose their own design of both and paid for them themselves.

The Government supplied the weapons and drill instructors.  The general idea was that the better off would become more closely aligned both with each other and the aims and policies of Government.  

By the time of '98 in Ireland this process had been repeatedly disrupted by shifts in Government policy designed to weed out elements deemed to be suspect. Usually, Yeomanry units were commanded by a local notable and provided an opportunity for patronage and socialising as well as a cost -effective body of armed men.

These are Minifigs and once more I find myself appreciating the quality and charm of that brand.  I'm very tempted to add a unit of British regulars in top hats (round hats) just because I like the figures.

I've stepped back from painting up three units of Militia and decided to go for one of Forlorn Hope representing British regulars and one of Militia.  The TPL points value will remain the same.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

The People of No Property

As you can now see I’ve pragmatically solved my ’98 dilemma.  Khurasan are not yet available, Trent 28mm are too big, though Boy I nearly did.  Irregular are here, appropriate and affordable.  So, Irregular United Irish Men it is.  In all truth I couldn’t wait to try this out with TPL.

Over the years I have been stocking up on suitable figures for the Crown Forces and the French.  Most of them are Minifigs and Chariot which fit with Irregular but wouldn’t with Khurasan 18mm biggies, another bonus there then.

Here’s the first unit, complete with a nice internet sourced flag.  I’ve found a selection of those that will make for variety.

I’ve gone for 3,2,1 basing this time and also cut the pikes down by about a third. The United Irish Men seem to have favoured the Montluc approach “Grasp your pike in the middle and go for them”.  You can see the original length by looking at the standard bearer.

Here is some commanded shot.

For United Men starters, I’m aiming for 3 units of veteran pike and 3 of commanded Shot, 24 points in total.

And for the Crown, 1 unit of Raw Gallopers for the Yeomanry, 3 units of Raw Shot with close order capability for the militia, a gun and a unit of Shot as the Fencibles 22 points in total.

I’ll add fun stuff like French and British regulars later to enable 30 and 36-point games.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Once More Beyond the Khyber

A cheap and cheerful British Expeditionary Force for TMWWBK action beyond the Khyber Pass.  All 15mm from Irregular.

Here are the Highlanders, there will be three units of them.

A gun.

And of course, Bengal Lancers.  

The Afghan resistance are provided by Irregular and Minifigs.  

Those Lancer figures would be ideal for Fayne's Horse in the Opium War.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

“No one is more terrible than the desperate” TPL for 1798

For some reason whenever I think of ’98, The Year of Liberty, The Year of The French or whatever soubriquet you want to use for the Rising of The United Irish Men I think of the Napoleonic Russian General Alexander Suvorov.  It’s not the above quote which is one of his and perfectly apt for ’98 but a much better known one “The bullet is a fool and the bayonet is wise” or in full

“The bullet is a fool and the bayonet is wise.  The bullet is a mad thing; only the bayonet knows what it’s about”.

Suvorov knew the limitations of the musketry of his day and that given enough determined men the bayonet would carry the day.  So far as I know Suvorov never lost a battle.  The connection, I suppose, is that from necessity the United Men also relied on the points of their weapons, for them the pike.

The pike men were mostly drilled and trained and now and then had some good quality skirmishing fire power.  Their initial foes, the Yeomanry and Militia were not very formidable troops.  Lord Cornwallis described the former as “A danger to everyone but the enemy” and the latter were mostly simply not prepared to fight against the United Men.  Later, good quality British and French troops turned up-but that’s for another time.

So, to The Pike Man’s Lament.  I think these rules will really work for the ’98 so with no further ado, here are my suggestions.

For the Pike Men use the Pike category and make most of them Veteran and add Wild Charge if you are so minded.  Two Veteran units and one plain might be a good choice.
For those with fire arms use Commanded Shot and if your United Men are lucky enough to contain men who were Wild Fowlers for a living make a unit of them Veteran.
You might consider a gun too, with old Napper Tandy to command it.

For the Yeomanry I’d go with Raw Gallopers.
The Militia should be Raw Shot with Close Order capability.
The Fencibles should be ordinary Shot with Close Order capability.
A gun should be added too.

In terms of proportions a majority of the United Men units should be Pike and for the Government Forces a majority should be Militia and Yeomanry.

You might well ask, if this is such a great idea why am I not doing it? And further- more where are the pics?

Unless Ian Kay fancies doing some more active* 15mm pike men figures I’m faced with a dilemma.  Khurasan have some great United Irishmen figures for ’98 but have yet to release them and Trent Miniatures have a very nice full range -but they are 28mm.  I turned my back on real biggies 4 decades ago, to re embrace them would be traumatic-I might like it too much.  So, no progress or pics yet-but I plan and wait.

* Ian fair play to him, has a small range of UI figures and some that’d do for the Militia but I find the United Men ones too static in their poses.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Tiger Men

I’ve just about finished my Boxers and Chinese Imperials for TMWWBK, just a couple of Jingals to base.

Here’s the penultimate unit, Tiger Men from Blue Moon, they are very good figures and a pleasure to paint. 

Although all the Tiger Men models I’ve ever seen carry only a sword and shield in practice fire arms were part of their kit.  Sometimes they were fired through a slot in the shield. 

Tiger Men, contrary to what we might assume, were high grade skirmishers rather than do or die assault troops.  Their function, often supported by Jingals was to disrupt the enemy. 

One of the things they trained for was dealing with cavalry.  In this drill the Tiger Men broke into small units and formed tight defensive circles crouching (below sabre reach) and covering each other with their shields.  

When the cavalry broke up to surround them, presumably slashing ineffectively, the Tiger men would suddenly leap up yelling and thrusting their garishly painted shields at the horses’ eyes while cutting at the riders.  The idea being the startled cuddies would shy away and unbalance their riders thus rendering them more vulnerable to attack.

I have not come across any such encounter between Tiger Men and European cavalry but it’s a nice story so I thought I'd share it.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Was there ever a Haberdasher so plucky?

Bhekisisa (Black shields) is staring down the barrel of McHearty’s ominous looking gun he orders his men to go to ground.  They do so reluctantly.  

N’Konkoni (Red shields) is now behind the flank of McHearty’s gun and within easy charge distance his warriors begin to sing and to beat their assegais against their shields.

Ibubesi (mixed colour shields) and Indlovu (Black and White shields) tear into Mr Dewhurst’s volunteers at the double.  The volunteers are swiftly overrun but go down fighting causing 6 Zulu casualties, but wait, what’s this? 

Mr Dewhurst is still on his feet trading blows with Indlovu.  Was there ever a Haberdasher so plucky?

Mapoza sings out the command and his no longer silent warriors roll down the hill in a wave.  

Turvey’s Sailors turn to meet them. “Where did they come from?” Asks the Captain.  

The fighting is fierce and the eight Zulu warriors lie stricken but only five of the Sailors remain on their feet.  Old Topsey is one of them, he’s the very Devil with revolver and sword. 


Mc Hearty gets off a shell but then the warriors are on him, he gets one before it’s all over.
Captain Turvey and the Tars fight to the end but it quickly comes.

Gallant Mr Dewhurst is, well, butchered.

Sgt Fagan has led his men off at the double and intends to be as far away as possible as quickly as he can.  He will enjoy some fleeting fame as the only (White) survivor of the encounter and be promoted to Inspector.  In due course he will become a magistrate, always strangely popular with the natives.