Wargaming the English Civil War, American War of Independence and Sudanese campaigns in 28mm

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Bunker Hill Terrain Project

As I'll eventually be re-fighting the battle of Bunker Hill, I'll need some terrain. I've decided to try and recreate the battlefield as closely to how it originally looked as I can. I've done a bit of research and found a couple of images of what the redoubt and battlefield looked like at the time. Hopefully this will aid you if you want to recreate it too and may save you some time! Any posts with anything to do with the terrain project will be tagged the same, making it easier to find related posts. Each image is annotated below.

This image supposedly shows the layout of the redoubt which sat on Bunker Hill (it's unclear whether they actually mean Breed's Hill as they were often confused with each other as the fighting actually look place here and not on Bunker Hill). From all other sources I've read, this looks a little too elaborate for the earthworks which topped Breed's Hill. The redoubt and other defences were hastily erected and seem to consist of a mostly square redoubt with fleches so I'm inclined to ignore this image as it doesn't seem to fit the accounts.

This image is the most interesting and arguably the most historically accurate. Whilst showing the positioning of all the units and location of key features such as roads, the militia's defenses, brick kilns and marsh, it also shows where the British artillery was located and on which areas of the battlefield they were firing. This is represented by the lines which cross the map. It shows the cannon on Copps Hill across the river firing on the Redoubt and the 12 pdrs on Morton's Hill firing on the rail fence and the breastwork. You can also see the ships of the Navy and where they shelled. This image also gives a clear view of the defenses and redoubt, clearly showing the fleches on one side of the redoubt. This is probably how I will recreate the battlefield.

This image shows the possible shape of the defenses but doesn't show any fleches. It does however show the first attack and initial battle plan which was to try and flank the defenders and envelop them.

This image shows more of the same; the location of the forces and the relation of each terrain piece to the other (I didn't realise quite how far back the rail fence was from the redoubt!). The numbers of troops involved and each side's losses and included at the bottom of the map.

I want to include as much detail as I can in regards to the specific location of certain terrain pieces in relation to the others and make sure I include things like the roads, brick works, marsh and elevation as well of the most important terrain piece - the redoubt! I bought Paul Darnell's Touching History terrain-making guides which will prove very useful when starting out and I look forward to getting underway with this! I hope this post has been useful to you and has provided you with some interesting reading material!

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Interesting viewing

For those of you who are interested in British history and that of the English Civil War in particular, if you tune in to Channel 4 at 5:30pm tomorrow (Sunday 16th May), you'll be able to view a Time Team special on the siege of Hopton Castle in Shropshire.

This photo (Copyright 2006, Lawson Clout) shows the castle, where 28 Parliamentarians held out against a force of five hundred Royalists for two weeks before being tricked into surrendering in exchange for their lives - only to be slaughtered as they left the building. In the programme, presented by Tony Robinson, the team uncover evidence of three fierce battles and search for the final resting place of the massacred defenders.

This programme should make for some very interesting Sunday afternoon viewing and will shed some light on this little known but intriguing Civil War encounter.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Sudan Project

Inspired once again by the work of another (Paul Darnell at Touching History), I've bought a couple of packs of British Infantry in the Sudan from Perry Miniatures. I've always wanted to do something in the colonial era ever since watching Zulu as a kid and thought The Sudan, rather than South Africa, gave me more flexible options such as wider range of troop types, tactics and opponents.

The packs I bought (pictures below) will form the start of a small British army I have planned and this will be expanded once these are painted up. I have already thought of a scenario. These British are suprised and caught out side of their camp and so have to form up in ranks to hold off the Mahdist horde. I also want to have a small town which is garrisoned by Naval and native allied troops which has come under attack from the Mahdist forces and possibly some cavalry action somewhere.

The photos below come direct from Perry's website and show the packs of British I bought. Cost me about £32 I think and that included (super speedy) postage and packaging.

This is the command pack. Some will be stood with the volleying firing line and others with the rear guard and throughout the makeshift defences.

These two packs will form the volley-firing firing line which will unleash volley after volley upon the Mahdist hordes. Can't wait to get started on these and use cotton wool on the gaming table!

This is what my British forces will look like, in the traditional Red tunic. I've done some research and it would be historically accurate to still use these tunics for the Sudan. These figures will defend the part of the perimeter which isn't under attack as guards, evenly spaced out.

This was a very interesting pack which features a stretcher team and a makeshift 'hospital' of sorts which I just had to have to add a little drama and realism to the game I'm planning.

With the plastic Mahdists the Perry brothers and currently producing for sale in a couple of months, I should be able to create a large native force at a much reduced rate than currently available through their metal range.