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The Armies of the Ottoman Empire 1645-1718

Posted by Adam on June 19, 2020 at 6:55 AM Comments comments (0)

My copy of the The Armies of the Ottoman Empire 1645-1718 by Bruno Mugnai arrived today and on first look through it looks excellent!



It is a hefty 370  pages including the "standard" 16 colour plates (4 of standards) and well illutrated throughout with photgraphs, copies of period paintings and black and white line drawings. From what I have seen so far the contents strike a good balance between information about organisation, equipment, clothing and performance in the field; pretty much perfect from a wargamer's perspective!

I look forward to immersing myself in this book and I suspect it will become a fixture very close to my painting desk.

Bloody Xebecs!

Posted by Adam on May 23, 2020 at 5:55 AM Comments comments (0)

It has been good to see people making the most of their extra hobby time caused by the Covid lockdown. Premier amongst those are the new series of 17th Century scenario "booklets" produced by Barry Hilton (Wordtwister Publishing.) Have a look at the webshop here:

https://www.leagueofaugsburg.com/shop/products-cat-35.html




Each of the packs contains a selection of vaguely lineked scenarios along with the background and uniform detail where appropriate. In Barry's own words,

 

"The 4 Play concept is designed to achieve multiple objectives for the wargamer First and foremost, it aims to be entertaining In a series of small, quick games, players can grab an hour and complete a single missionor, spend a session completing two or three making for an enjoyable afternoon or evening.)"




This sounded ideal to me, I already have a disparate bunch of 17th Century figures with odds and ends from the ECW, Three Musketeers and War of the Grand Alliance and it is nice to get even a small selectioon of them on a tabletop. After a good giggle about the name of the project (I'm still very unsure about the idea of paying for 4play...) I had a close look at the sample copy that I had been sent. Small tables and a not too many figures seem to tick all the boxes for quick fun games that can be done over Zoom or Jitsi whilst social distancing is still in place.


As my current detour from the project that is itself currently distracting me from my planned hobby painting, is 17th Century naval games, I flicked first to the naval scenario. A fight in the Gulf of Hormuz, ideal for the smaller vessels and limited numbers that suit my nascent fleets. But then, wait a minute, what the hell are those? Bloody Xebecs!



The Xebec was the descendant of the pirate galleys that plagued the Mediterranean Seas.  They were elegant and fast, lateen sailed ships with a decent broadside and the capacity for a large crew for boarding actions. An easy addition to fleets in dinky little 1/2400 models but not easy to find in 1/450 scale that I favour...




Aftyer some fruitless scrabbling around on the Interwebs, all I had discovered that might be suitable was the Pirateology models that must be made of solid gold to command the prices that they do, or print your own 3D models (I don't yet have a 3D printer...) I did  read througha lot of modelling articles in all sorts of materials and that did twig me to a posible donor model that might allow me to kitbash a couple for my own cheapskate requirements. I dug out the freebie Black Seas sloops that had been taped to the front of one of the Wargames magazines.


 

Quite a small tubby looking boat but suitably heavily armed and no shenanigans cutting it down to the waterline needed. The masts would be no good but are easily replaced. The trickier part would be adding the distinctive pointy prow and overhanging stern that give the type its distinctive looks. I liked the whole notion of pirates and Middle Eastern raiders anyway so I thought I'd give it a go. So far I have added some plasticard pieces to give me the overall outline. Next step will be building on that skeleton with a few bits of putty work to make it look like all one boat. Then new spars and sails. If the process is not too painful I may end up with a small flotilla of Xebecs.


(Of course if you have any sense just get the scenario packs and play them with whatever figures/models you have to hand...)



Bactrian Evidence

Posted by Adam on February 25, 2017 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

As an interesting aside, I only just last week read the foreword for the reprint or the seminal "Armies of the Macedonian and Punic Wars". This invaluable tome was published by Wargames Research Group back in 1982 and has been a main source for wargames figures producers ever since. Getting a little long in the tooth after 35 years, the new foreword added has been used by the author, Duncan Head, as an opportunity to provide some updates based on more recent evidence

You can read it on line on Google Books.


One of these updates is the diagram that I was only just moaning about in relation to my Bactrian Greek project. CLICK here if you really want to read it again...

The bare headed Graeco-Persian cavalryman illustrated has now been shown to be taken from a bowl of a much later period. (He might be a Chionite Hun, whatever one of those is.)  Vindication! Although this does now leave us with very little in the way of clues as to what this cavalry looked like. There are some coins with lancers shown on them but these are mostly both vague and supposedly portray the mythological Dioscuri, so their relevance to real warriors may be incidental.



So where does this leave wargamers? Well, as is often the case, taking what evidence is available from neighbours both geographical and historical to get a best guess that works for our purposes. Bow and spear armed cavalry were the norm during the Achaemenid period for Bactria. This, added to the coin of a late Indo Greek king showing his bodygueard cavalry similarly armed, gives me confidence that this is a reasonable weapon set.



Eastern Persian / Bactrian cavalryman under the preceding Achaemenid Empire.


Archaeological finds that might be remnants of horse armour give weight to the idea that Bactrian Greek cavalry copied the neighbouring Saka, Parthians and Selucids in having heavily armoured or cataphract cavalry. The archaeology is from late in the Bactrian Greek period so may not have been used for long or by many of their horsemen. An arguable possibility though. I am not feeling like I have to change my plans for my cavalry units. Where I have used figures of the bare-headed now-Huns(?), I have swapped the heads for something more Hellenistic.They are mixed in with other figures or used on command stands.


Essex cavalry with replacement head (Victrix Theban hoplite) the flowing locks blended in using white Milliput.

The bulk of my cavalry figures will remain the 1st Corps figures, which do tread the path between Persian and Greek styles. A little too close to the Persian for my liking but this is balanced by my other units from Essex Miniatures and converted plastics. I will have to ponder if I want to add a unit of heavily armoured cataphracts (or borrow them from the Selucids when required.) Maybe I will just give some generals armoured horses.


oared naval warfare bibliography

Posted by nick on May 23, 2013 at 8:25 AM Comments comments (2)

The forum post about rams from naval vessels has inspired me to list the books on naval warfare in my collection. Are there any good ones I have missed?

"The Athenian Trireme "  J.S. Morrison/ J.F. Coates / N.B. Rankov

"Gunpowder & Galleys"  J.F. Guilmartin

"Warfleets of Antiquity"  R.B. Nelson

"Oared Fighting Ships"  R.C. Anderson

"The Age of the Galley"  editor Robert Gardiner

"Greek & Roman Naval Warfare"  W.L. Rodgers

" Naval Warfare under oars"  W.L. Rodgers

crusades bibliography

Posted by nick on April 8, 2013 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (10)

Here is a list of most of the books that I own which are relevant to the Crusades. I would appreciate suggestions on books which will complement this list - especially if they are currently in print.

Warfare in the Latin East 1192-1294     Christopher Marshall

Latin Siege Warfare in the twelfth century  R. Rogers

Crusading Warfare 1097-1193    R.C. Smail

A Wargamers guide to the Crusades    Ian Heath

Armies & Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291   Ian Heath

The Art of War in the Middle Ages (vol1)   Charles Oman

The Crusaders     Robert Payne

The third Crusade     Anonymous (published by Folio books)

Alexiad of Anna Commena     Penguin classics

Chronicles of the Crusades   Joinville & Villehardouin   Penguin classics

A History of the Crusades (in 3 volumes)     Stephen Runciman

Arms & Armour of the Crusading era 1050-1350   David Nicolle

Crusader Castles in Cyprus, Greece & the Aegean 1191-1571  D. Nicolle  (Osprey books)

Crusader Castles in the Holy Land 1097-1192  David Nicolle  (osprey)

Crusading Castles   Hugh Kennedy

 

I also enjoyed the following novels:-

Lord Geoffreys Fancy  Alfred Duggan

Lady for Ransom   Alfred Duggan

Count Bohemund   Alfred Duggan

Knight with Armour  Alfred Duggan

Knights of Dark Renown    Graham Shelby

Kings of Vain Intent           Graham Shelby