Thursday, 30 August 2012

Gendarmerie à Pied

I wanted a little special unit to my French Napoleonic collection and the Gendarmerie from Capitan miniatures got my attention. I liked their rough appearance.

I will here quote Arthur from the excellent Lead adventure forum.

The gendarmerie nationale had been set up in 1791 to enforce the law and maintain order within the boundaries of the French republic. Although part of the military, it was essentially a police force whose duties included rounding up vagrants and arresting brigands and highwaymen, enforcing the conscription laws and the new forest codes (which made the force remarkably unpopular in rural areas), maintaining order on market days, etc. These gendarmes (both foot and mounted) were always used as internal security troops and were not involved in military operations proper.

The Gendarmerie d'Espagne was a different animal altogether, although it shared many characteristics with the gendarmerie nationale. It was set up in January 1810 for service in Spain and originally intended to fulfill much the same role as in France. However, it quickly evolved into an anti-guerilla force, a role for which the gendarmes were much better suited than line infantrymen or cavalry troopers. So besides protecting convoys, rounding up deserters and generally maintaining order, they also chased guerrilla bands around and frequently gave them a hard time. 20 squadrons of gendarmerie d'Espagne were organised in 1810, each consisting of 80 mounted and 120 foot gendarmes. These squadrons were later re-organised in six regional legions, with the balance between the foot and mounted contingents being altered to better suit local conditions. The number of horsemen was reduced in the legions operating in hilly or mountainous areas, where infantrymen would move faster and more discreetly than cavalrymen, and increased in the units serving in the plains - the Burgos legion was almost entirely mounted for instance. However, foot and mounted gendarmes would still serve together within the same legions and were not organised in separate entities - merely separate mounted squadrons troops and foot companies.

As far as rating them is concerned, the men of the gendarmerie d'Espagne were a tough bunch. Recruits were army regulars who  had to be veterans of at least four campaigns and they were well inured to the hardships of campaigning in rough terrain. They could fight as hard and as dirty as the guerrillas they were chasing, for which they were greatly respected, even by their enemies. You should therefore consider them elites, or at least seasoned veterans, and they would be distinguished from line troops by their ability to skirmish efficiently. Perhaps rating them as elite voltigeurs is the best way to accurately depict these troops.

Given the nature of their duties, foot gendarmes would operate in relatively small units and are therefore best suited for skirmish games as Johan says. They were never formed into infantry battalions as they were not intended for use in pitched battles, although small detachments could be found in French vanguards or forlorn hopes. The number of men within a tactical unit of foot gendarmes would be dictated by the mission they had to fulfill, so could be anything between 20 and one hundred men depending on the job to be done. On the tabletop, they're best used fighting Spanish guerrilas, which is what they were doing most of the time in real life.

The mounted contingent of the Gendarmerie d'Espagne could be used in larger numbers though, and they sometimes fought very effectively as regular cavalry : along with the 15th chasseurs à cheval et Berg lancers, four squadrons of mounted gendarmes charged at the battle of Villodrigo in 1812, where they routed ten squadrons of British cavalry and inflicted heavy casualties on them .

Thanks again Arthur.

The only bad thing with these are their limited poses. To add a little more variety into this unit I also bought an equipment pack and swapped one of the officer’s arms with one from Victrix.
I like the addition that one of the soldiers is carrying a blunderbuss on his knapsack, thinking that he could use it as a primitive swat team instead of a shotgun.

Im not totally sure how to field these in Black powder which is the gaming rule I play Napoleonic’s in but I think they could work really well as a small skirmishing unite with some added special rule to make them a little bit tougher. I based them on individual bases so I could easily play them as skirmishes.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Krig i tomteskogen

Krig i tomteskogen...

At the miniconvention my club held to its members I made an debut with my Treemossfantasy collection.
I had finally found a set of rules that I really liked and that was easy to incorporate all the weird fairytale creatures and in the same time have good rules for a Viking warband.

I used the Hail Caesar rules from Warlord Games. It’s originally a historical set of rules but as I have some historical units and it’s very easy to add anything into the game I wanted to test it with these miniatures. Its an easy set of rules that takes little time to understand the basics of and this would be perfect for me as I expect to have different players to play it most of the time.

We managed to play two games during the day.
I had divided the miniature collection into four forces and they would be teamed up together two and two.
I now got Tomtar, Goblins and two forces of Vikings.

The Tomte army would be led by old Tomtefar and therefore recognizing his old age I gave him a Command of 9 instead of 8 that would be the basic for the rest of the forces. And by the same reasoning I gave the Tomte warriors the Drilled rule. But as a drawback and to spice up the force a Tomte could only move 4” instead of 6” that is standard for infantry.
The Tomte army would also be joined by a mighty Jötunn. I gave him the special rules of Tough fighter, Valiant and Doublehanded weapon and Stamina of 6.
The Tomte army also had a special rule, the player could keep one unit in reserve and instead deploy a collection of mushrooms on the table and could then anytime during the game deploy the unit held in reserve among the mushrooms, this worked out great in the first game but then the enemy knew about that so in the second game he was given the option to exchange one unit of Tomtar with mushrooms instead and deploy the Tomtar exchanged behind another Tomte unit. He could exchange a Tomte unit with mushrooms as long as he hadn´t wounded an enemy unit with that Tomte unit.

The Goblins tribe would be led by a Chieftain and I rated his command less than standard so lowered it to 7 instead.
Old Mama Rotbelly is the tribes witch, she is a character that when placed in a unit she give that unit the Tough fighter rule because of she would handle out narcotic berries or herbs and she could add an extra attack. She doesn´t have an command value but could be used as the leader if the Chieftain would die.
For the units in the tribe I got a warband of goblins with shortbows, I gave those the Feigned flight and the Freshly raised special rules thinking those could be good to represent lowlife goblins sneaking about.
For some more heavyhitting types I got the Boneback. Lots of warpaint and huge weapons these could be brutal. I gave them a great Clash value and the special rules of Wild fighter and Eager to represent there brutal and warlike state. Those weapons on the models just asked to be given the Doublehanded weapon special rules to.
The tribe would also be accompanied by the two troll brothers. For trolls I gave them the rules of Milita to represent that they are not the brightest. The special rule of Stubborn would represent the toughness of the trolls.  And as a special spice I also gave trolls the Elephant rule, meaning that they could go into a rage and break the enemy formation but could also lose their spirit for the fight and stamped and smash anything in their way if forced to retreat.

The Vikings from the Nedby would be commanded by The Keeper and to his help he got the warlike Yrsa, Yrsa didn´t get a command value but should be used to boost a unit and when she joined a unit she gave them the Wild fighter(2) rule. A fitting rule to such a barbaric warrior I would say.
Nedbyn would be represented by two small Hirds, your standard heavy infantry. I skipped all special rules for them as I wanted the special rules to be just that, special. Nedbyn also brought with them their pet troll.

The Vikings from Uppbyn would be commanded by Woldvagner and to his help he got the blue-eyed blond-haired muscle hero Bolverk. I wanted Bolverk to really looks as the “good guy”, the hero and the special rule of Valiant should work for that.
Uppbyn could muster a small Viking Hird and some angry farmers with huge weapons and dogs. The farmers would get a good clash value to represent their great weapons and the dogs in the beginning of a fight, if the fight would prolong the unwieldy weapons would not add an advantage.
Uppbyn would also bring along a troll, an old troll that usually does some simple tasks in the village in exchange for some beer or mead.

At the first game Nedbyn and the Goblins attacked the Uppbyn and the Tomte army.
In the second game the Goblin chieftain explained the pros of joining forces with the Tomtar so it was humans(mostly) against the rest.

But enough about that, lets get to the juicy part, the pictures…

After a rush right from the start the hirdmen from Uppbyn and Nedbyn soon closes in and battle it out as the children throwing stones at the attacking Nedbyn Hirdmen.

Rocklobber decides to attack the farmers and those cute little doggies.

With help from a mighty jötunn the tomtar manages to hold the lines against the goblins and trolls.

The Hirdmen from Nedbyn are finally defeated but I dont think they would have lost if it wasn´t for the meddling kids.

Second game. The goblin chieftain was joined by the tomtar in order to get some plunder or to well... just beat the living crap out of the humans.

The Goblins tribe is on the move, rushing from the forest screeming and generally putting the fear into the human settlement.

The vikings from Nedbyn and Uppbyn had joined forces bringing along their own trolls. To fight fire with fire was the plan in defence of their settlement and the harvest.

The old Hagg is trying a flanking manover.

Vikings from the Nedbyn is in trouble, goblin Bonebacks bärsärkar and their trolls is closing in.

The mighty jötunn towering over some small pointy hats. The residense from Uppbyn sensing trouble.

The small children from Uppbyn is trying to find some sharp rocks to later throw at the creatures of the forest.

Hogsquasher and the jötunn attack the old she-troll.

Woldwagner the wise makes the "wise" decision to send in the children to strenghten the almost broken line...

 The Hirdmen had mistaken some mushrooms for tomtar and it took a while to corect the misstake. (Tomte special rule, look at the description on the Tomte army) - A cunning plan by old Tomtefar giggling behind a large stone.

Meenwhile the goblins shoots arrows on them with their shortbows as the tomtar using the forest for cover and try to sneak around their flank.

The children and the pet-troll somehow managed to press the assailant backwards and bying some time for the defenders to strengten their lines. Maybe it was a wise choise to send in the children to tipp the scales at the right moment after all.

Hogsquasher is hungry for more and assault the farmers.

By that move the goblin Bonebacks can turn around a large stone and into the flank of the hirdmen allready locked in combat from all sides by tomtar, goblins and the jötunn.

The hird is finally broken and the forest creatures are free to loot the village for all the bacon or risgrynsgröt they can find.

And with that I thank all the players of this games for play testing the rules and all you else for showing interest and reading this.

The rules worked out perfect for this project at this scale. If I want to use my Skägglavs fantasy collection with lesser models I think a skirmish rule set would be better thou.

Please comment on this post with questions or if you think I should alter some stats or so on, any little help would be appreciated to help me to grow this project.
Thanks for watching.

All pictures stolen/borrowed from Tobias as I forgot to bring along the memory card to my camera...