David Bickley's Wargames Blog

The occasional ramblings of an average gamer, journeyman painter, indifferent modeller, games designer, sometime writer for Wargames Illustrated and host of games in GHQ.

Saturday 13 April 2024

The Battle of Bugerov 1854

'History' tells us little of this long forgotten encounter; few eyewitness accounts have come down to us, perhaps suppressed by Horse Guards wary of unwelcome news? It is however rightly remembered as a 'Bloody Affair'! Now, Dear Reader we may finally discover why in the following annotated photomontage assembled from the lost papers of the late General Flashman, a survivor of the battle it transpires ~

No doubt the blaggard survived by taking timely refuge in St Olaf's church, perhaps even helping himself to the silver along the way?

Meticulous research in the recently rediscovered tranche of Flashman's papers seems to suggest that the battle was not planned or even really desired by either side, simply occuring when two arms of the respective armies were surprised to encounter one another in the vicinity of the small village of Bugerov where pigs and chickens seemed to outnumber villagers ~

Despite the unwelcome encounter both commanders hurried to issue orders to their Division and Brigade Commanders. For the Roosians Grand Duke Gornellevic was not prepared to see the invader despoil even this collection of hovels ~

While in the British ranks the orders of General E Useless were awaited with equal parts of anticipation and trepidation ~

Enough of this waffling on, let's cut to the chase and get the AAR on the road! The Battle of Bugerov awaits!

Elements of the Rifle Brigade skirmish on the outskirts of Bugerov awaiting the arrival of supports from the Highland Brigade.
Roosian infantry from the Rifle Battalion exchange fire with the Rifle Brigade in the village while ominously large numbers of Roosian infantry advance slowly in their support.
The Ligh Division fields three battalions on the British right, supported by the small Light Brigade of cavalry. Useless hopes to use the Light Division to pin the Roosian left flank while the Light Brigade moves around and in their rear.
Elements of the Rifle Brigade have worked their way into Bugerov as the Highland Brigade and supporting foot artillery reach the outskirts.
Fighting for the village intensifies as Rifle Brigade and Battalion exchange fire at close quarters and massed columns of Roosian infantry reach the village's outskirts.
On Useless' right the Light Brigade of cavalry with it's supporting battery of the Royal Horse Artillery, advance in support of the Light Division.
Away on Useless' left flank parts of the First Division find themselves at a disadvantage as massed Roosian infantry close with them.
The 23rd find themselves assaulted by massed Roosian columns which their close range fire failed to mark at all! {At this point we made a fundamental mistake with the rules which with hindsight altered the game's development.}
Back on Useless' left the regiments of the First Division have formed line and delivered devastating close range volleys which Disorder the Roosian columns! Hurrah!
But on Useless' right the 23rd are Broken and flee! Oh the shame!
All along the front now the action is intensifying. While the columns of Roosian infantry faltered the Cossacks and Hussars sweep forward. The 13th are caught in line and put to the sword. Their morale crumbles and they flee Broken to the rear.
The Grenadier Guards though stand firm against the Hussars who are Disordered by a Close range volley! Their charge fails to break the British line here, but the Cossacks' victory sees the 13th's supports also broken!🎲🎲
In the centre the close quarter fighting for control of Bugerov swings first one way, then the other. Sadly though on the right the 33rd follow the 23rd in rout, having Broken as their supports. Their loss breaks the Light Division and leaves the Light Brigade unsupported.
Bugerov remains contested in the centre, but Useless' left is beginning to crumble as weight of Roosian numbers begins to tell while British firepower proves uncharacteristically ineffective. The Quartermaster General may have questions to answer it seems!

With his right and left flanks defeated General E Useless' finds his army is Broken and despite success in holding off the Roosian attacks on Bugerov he is forced to concede the field to Gornellevic. The fundamental rules error we made probably hastened this defeat we agreed the next day, when chatting over the game by text, but the failure of Useless' left to deploy and move decisively really handed the advantage to the Roosians by limiting their time advancing under fire. Nevertheless we now have several good ideas for rule adaptations in the next game to hone the feel of a Crimean battle, so keep an eye out in a fortnight's time for the next run out.

Thursday 11 April 2024

A Bloody Affair?

Otherwise the little known Battle of Bugerov and a chance to get most of the painted part of my Crimean War collection out on the tabletop battlefield here in GHQ. Paul, as Grand Duke Gornellevic, commanded the Roosians ~

Leaving me, as General E Useless, to command the British forces ~

'History' tells us that the Battle of Bugerov was fought almost by accident rather than design when both opposing forces found themselves approaching the small collection of hovels which made up the village of Bugerov, where they hoped to find sustenance and rudimentary shelter from the rigors of the march. The two opposing armies drew determined up to contest control of those few hovels ~

The Roosian army of Gornellevic enjoyed a small advantage in units, especially in artillery which begin the battle already deployed for action ~

General E Useless deployed his army confident they would sweep the Roosian hordes from the field without difficulty ~

The battle will be fought as usual here in GHQ using Black Powder 2 as the rules, with some suggestions from the first edition scenario. The game was scheduled to last twelve turns as is our habit here. There will of course be a fully illustrated AAR later in the week...

Tuesday 9 April 2024

The Bikelburger Raid

Just one week late Phil and I gathered in GHQ for a small SYW game. Small as Phil says he is still a tad wan following his illness. The scenario is a raid on the Bikelburger farmstead by both Allied and French all arms forces. 

Bikelburger farmstead, a tranquil scene of rural idyll, soon to be shattered by the roar of musketry and the clash of steel on steel!

The Comte du Merde entrusted with a command once more. His force is a motley assemblage of foreign infantry regiments in French service, supported by artillery and small elements of Dragoons. Oh, and the Hussars de Bykli! As is my wont now an anotated photomontage which I trust will carry the gentle reader into the heart of the action ~
Lead by the Royal Deux Ponts regiment the German regiments, supported by the Hussards de Bykli advance briskly on De Merde's right flank.
In the centre the Voluntaries de Fischer cover the advance of the Scottish regiments, while on the left the Irish advance supported by the Royal and Colonel General's Dragoons.
On the Allied right the Duke of Brunswick brings his infantry brigade into position supporting his sole battery of artillery.
The Hanoverian contingent of the Allied army is very slow by comparison to rouse itself for action. It looks very encouraging for the French with their bold strike forward in Turns 1 & 2!
The Duke's ADC consults the rule book with glee, the French have Blundered again and fall back. 
Meanwhile the Voluntaires de Fischer find their progress under the cover of the flock of sheep has not gone unnoticed and Hanoverian musket volleys Disorder them. Suddenly things look less rosy for the Comte!
Having decided on a policy of bold assault the Royal Dragoons clash with Hanoverian Hussars, unsuccessfully as it happened. Defeat is suffered due to lack of support and they Rout!
The Brunswick artillery fail to hit the proverbial barn door! Jubilant German infantry smashes into the improvised redoubt without losses!
As the infantry overrun the Brunswick battery position the Hussards charge home against the supporting Grenadiers! If the French are victorious the Allied right will be in disarray and might be turned!
Alas the Hussards are repelled and Rout ensues. For some inexplicable reason the victorious infantry do not occupy the redoubt. The Deux Ponts are in disarray too, caught in column by a Blunder!
Musket volleys from the Brunswick infantry break them and they flee to safety! All the promise on the French right has evaporated in one Turn!
On the French left the situation has stabilised allowing the leading Irish regiment to crest the low rise and pour a volley into the Hanoverian infantry! All is not lost for the Comte despite the defeat of his right flank 
In the centre though things are unravelling rapidly. The Voluntaires de Fischer have absorbed all the punishment man can take and their morale breaks resulting in a Rout!
The Scots Dance but are halted by Disorder from massed volleys and artillery fire, while a second regiment has retired as a consequence of another Blunder! The second German regiment has broken in Rout leaving the right vacant and the remnants of the centre open to a flank assault!
The French army is Broken, it's morale shattered by a series of dismal losses and defeats all across it's front!

The Comte de Merde concedes the field to the Duke of Brunswick's Allied army as he takes to his carriage to depart in some comfort to his estates in the south. Rather that than face the wrath of the king!
All up in Turn 7 from the planned 12. The Allies were slow to move initially and for four Turns the French were pressing all along their front. When it all changed suddenly the Allies could do little wrong, the French almost nothing right! A proper trouncing and no mistook! But great fun of course with Black Powder and grand to see Phil feeling well enough to make it to GHQ and administer a chastening thrashing!

Saturday 6 April 2024


'Kiltophobia', is this a notifiable disease amongst wargamers I wonder? If it isn't then I'd venture to suggest it should be, closely followed by Hoseophobia! I have struggled manfully onwards with these figures for the 79th Cameron Highlanders and have completed the first base of eight figures - one sergeant and seven rankers. There are currently another 16 to go! Depressing thought that, although 8 more of those are well underway now.

I readily admit to being no more than a journeyman painter, but these figures have posed a challenge to me which I have struggled to rise to. There have been a number of issues peculiar to painting Highland regiments: obviously the kilt pattern comes first for me, followed by that of the hose and the bonnet dicing. 

The figures are cleverly sculpted in respect of the kilts, with only small areas of the front being visible thanks to the arrangement of arms/hands, sporans and equipment. When combined with my decision to 'represent' rather than accurately depict the pattern the kilt is remarkably straightforward to process. You may think it a fudge but on the table in a game will you notice or care even? I think not myself.

The bonnet dicing is much more straightforward really, unless you want to pop in the green centre of the red pattern that is. Initially I left it off, then decided to add it in, then regretted it. I simply cannot see where the point of the brush meets the figure! So, that explains no close ups of that for you! Now on to the hose, well that's an epic all on its own. Red and black seemed the most common colours in sources, but patterns varied considerably I found. I opted for a red base and black St Andrew's cross pattern. Really fiddly in retrospect and poorly executed in places, but it will have to suffice. This proved to be beyond my hand/eye issues but it's done now for good or ill. 

So, back now to those 8 figures I mentioned! I'd almost rather paint more Roosians, almost...

Wednesday 3 April 2024

Events, Dear Boy, Events!

As Macmillan famously said! This should have been a game report had not real life unexpectedly bitten us in the bum! Phil has been struck down by a lurgi, so no planned SYW game here in GHQ sadly. Not being one given to wasting time or missing an opportunity I have used the time to complete the painting of the first four figures for my next British Crimean War regiment: the 79th, the Cameronian Highlanders. You may recall that I had a dry run painting a piper last December for my captured colours vignette. Have a look at them anyway, even if it's only to see how not to do it ~

These figures in marching pose are Great War Miniatures of course. I've taken some liberties with the kilt pattern and hose, both being a 'representation' rather than an accurate depiction. At gaming distance on the table I doubt any of us will notice. No doubt they will fight just as well too being Jocks! If you can bear to look more closely here are two slightly closer photographs to show how I've managed these first figures ~

For painting purposes nowadays I fix figures temporarily with PVA to the 3mmx40mm MDF hexes from Warbases. The straight edges of the hexes means that I can hold the base firmly despite my hand issues and easily rotate the figure for brush access. Each base usually manages to survive figures being fixed and removed to do about 50-100 figures, so the cost is not onerous. I generally have bought a couple of packs two or three times a year.

Despite extensive searches on the web I've not found a definite answer to two issues: the sporans and the plumes. Different period illustrations and early black and white photographs show the sporans in different colours and with differing numbers of decorative tassels. In the end I settled on a dark grey with creamy-white tassels for the rank and file with off-white with black tassels for the officers. These are centre company figures so I've opted for off-white plumes. All the photos seem to show that is the correct choice, but what of the Light and Grenadier companies? Failing to find anything helpful so far I may go red over white for the grenadier company and green for the Light company. Any help would be appreciated!