Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Savolax Brigade 1808

On the 25th of February 1808, a couple of weeks before the battle of Leppävirta, the Savolax Brigade stood in formation on the parade ground in Mikkeli in the middle of the night. It was freezing cold (-36 Celsius according to some sources) and the men were not allowed to light fires to warm themselves up, so as to keep them hidden from the enemy. In reality, the Russians were still far off from Mikkeli, but a rumour spread into town by a traveler claiming the Russians had cut off the Swedish route of retreat at Juva had spooked Cronstedt, their commander, into putting the brigade into full alert. A hundred men would be hospitalized after the long night, all of whom would be left behind when the brigade began it's march north on the 29th. This false alarm cost Cronstedt more than ten times the men than those who would become casualties at Leppävirta.

The composition of the Savolax Brigade when departing from Mikkeli was as follows:
- Savolax infantry regiment, 1000 men, four half-battalions
- Savolax jaeger regiment, 1170 men, two battalions
- Karelian dragoons, 210 men, two squadrons
- Savolax brigade artillery company, 158 men
- Plus assorted hangarounds not present at battles or incorporated into the existing units in our games.

The Brigade also included the Karelian jaeger regiment, but they didn't link up with the main force until later in the winter so I have some more time to paint them. The models are 6mm figures from Heroics & Ros. The models are noticeably smaller than Baccus and do not fit together very well. I think you can use them in opposing armies if you're not too picky however.

1. Savolax Infantry
2. Savolax Infantry
3. Savolax Infantry
4. Savolax Infantry

An officer of the Savolax infantry regiment

1. Savolax Jaegers. It was uncommon for jaeger regiments to have their own flag, but I've read from a couple of sources that the Savolax jaegers had one, so of course I had to give them one!
2. Savolax Jaegers. These jaegers are also sporting different headwear than "normal" jaegers in the Swedish army. Using French Voltigeurs from the Heroics&Ros line works well.
Savolax Jaegers.

Karelian Dragoons, lower Savolax squadron. These men did not have the new hats that were issued to the dragoons unlike the upper Savolax squadron. The owner of Heroics and Ros suggested I use Spanish Dragoons for the figures and they fit the description just fine.
The upper Savolax squadron with their brand new hats.
Karelian lower Savolax squadron on the left. On the right, a Nyland dragoon but his hat is identical to what the Upper Savolax squadron would have had.

The Savolax artillery company. I ended up doing too many gun models that's appropriate for the figure:man ratio. Three or four guns is more appropriate for the single battery they could field.
Another angle.
And just so you remember, the pictures you saw were magnified. Here are the same figures next to a coin.
I was kind of worried about the Heroics & Ros line of figures as there really is a lot less detail on the models than on Baccus ones. They paint up nicely though and I'm happy with them as units.

At the moment we use a figure-to-man ratio of 1:10 and a two guns per model ratio for artillery. We "round up" any stands so that if a line infantry unit is 22 models strong, I will have three stands on the table but still count the actual models used. The figures are based on 20mm squares and the artillery on 25mm squares. We use General de Brigade rules because they offer a good skirmishing system which is necessary for the skirmisher-heavy Finnish war.

I also have a nice set of uniform plates to go with these, but I first have to find  a way to convert pdf scans to images properly.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

SCS Karelia 44

I haven't played any Hex & Counter games in a while. I'll post this so this doesn't turn into a 100% miniatures blog :)

Finnish troops hold the line (SA-Kuva)

At the end of August we'll be playing the new Standard Combat Series monster title from MMP, Day of Days. I have little experience with the system so me and another guy who will participate in the game thought we're going to need some practice beforehand. I have on SCS game, Karelia 44, and have played one scenario from it by myself before, so we put the whole game in the table this time.

The scenario is set during the 1944 Summer offensive of the Soviet army against Finland., which happened at the same time as the Normandy offensive. For historical details, check the wiki.

My camera hadn't recharged when we began the game so I don't have a picture of the opening setup. The pictures start from the Finnish first turn after the Soviets have launched their first "prepared offensive". The prepared offensive is a special turn the Soviet player can activate every three turns or so, giving him a lot of extra artillery power, better offensive strength and greater mobility.

Commentary is in the photos as usual.

We had to stop as it was past one AM on a weekday. We wouldn't be able to resume the game later because there was no space to leave the game open. At this stage the game was still undecided. The VT line was about to break and the Finnish army had taken a lot of damage, but they were far from beaten. The Soviets still had a long way to go in the way of victory points. Oddly enough, Stalin's patience was still good as it hadn't decreased a single time yet (the Soviet leader's patience is tested every round an it has a 50% change of decreasing. When the boss point meter reaches zero, the game ends and VP's are calculated. This forces the Soviet player to rush forward as capturing the lines is the only way aside from disbanding troops that replenishes the meter). It would have been interesting to see how this would develop. The game did however reveal that the boss point mechanic is a low point in the design of the game as a relatively few rolls on a D6 have a huge impact on the tempo of the game.