The Second Book of Wargaming by F E Perry

After the recent interest generated by LEIPZIG ON THE LAWN wargame and the BLACK HAT MINIATURES Army Packs offer in wargaming with 54mm figures, I decided to look for my copies of THE FIRST BOOK OF WARGAMING and THE SECOND BOOK OF WARGAMING by F E Perry. Despite an extensive search, I could find neither, and I have come to the conclusion that I must have lent them to someone who has not returned them.

I looked for both on eBay, and found a copy of THE SECOND BOOK OF WARGAMING on sale at a not too ridiculous price … so I bought it. It was delivered yesterday, and I managed to spend an enjoyable hour or so reading through it.

The book has six chapters entitled:

  1. Crossing a river
  2. Gas Warfare
  3. Night Fighting and Trench Warfare
  4. Support Services
  5. Seaborne Invasion
  6. The Island defences

Reading this book has convinced me that I really must try to get hold of a replacement copy of THE FIRST BOOK OF WARGAMING … but only once I have found one at a price that I can justify paying!

THE SECOND BOOK OF WARGAMING was written by F E Perry and published by Model and Allied Publications (Argus Books Limited) in 1978 (ISBN 0 85242 601 1) for the princely sum of £1.75!

Form square!

On at least three occasions during the recent LEIPZIG ON THE LAWN wargame, units formed square … and might impressive they looked as the following photographs show.

An Austrian square

A rather ragged French square … under threat of attack by enemy infantry

A rather neat Prussian square

54mm figures of real grass! Are there many wargamers who would not find this inspiring?

Leipzig on the lawn: The battle

All the participants had arrived at the venue in central London by 10.00am, and preparations for the start of the re-fight were well underway.

In the centre of the battlefield was the city of Leipzig, with two smaller towns forming the basis of the outer ring of defences.

After a quick break for coffee, the re-fight began, with the Russians pushing forward on the Allied right, …

… the Swedes and Prussians in the centre, …

… and more Prussians and the Austrians on the left.

As these forces gradually pushed forward …

… the French mounted a fighting withdrawal, …

… centred on Leipzig.

By the time lunch was over, the increasing pressure on the French was gradually beginning to have an effect.

On the Allied right a Russian cavalry charge …

… caused considerable casualties on a French cavalry brigade.

The French Cavalry Brigade eventually dissolved and the Russian Cavalry exploited the gap …

… and charged forward yet again, causing further French losses.

The depleted Russian cavalry then withdrew to recover.

Elsewhere the Swedes continued to advance, and the cautious Austrians gradually pushed the French right flank back. The Prussians continued to move forward, and having pushed the French defenders aside, some of their cavalry entered the city.

The battle ended …

… with the French in retreat, beaten but unbowed.

Readers are strongly advised to double click on the individual photographs shown above in order to see them in detail.

Leipzig on the lawn

This morning I am off to central London to take part in a re-fight of the Battle of Leipzig … the first figure-based wargame I will have been involved in since early July.

The battle has been organised by Tim Gow and others, and will feature over two thousand 54mm toy soldiers, a large lawn, and some rules inspired by H G Wells’ LITTLE WARS. Amongst those rumoured to be taking part are Conrad Kinch, Tradgardmastare, and David Crook … but I won’t definitely know until I get there.

I hope to publish a selection of photographs of the battle in due course.

Cordery’s Composite Cavalry Corps: The uniforms are identified!

Thanks to some sterling research done by Edwin King, the uniforms of the various units that currently make up CORDERY’S COMPOSITE CAVALRY CORPS have been identified as follows:

  • The ‘Red’ Hussars are Russian Life Guard Hussars
  • The ‘Green’ Hussars are French Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard
  • The Polish Cavalry are officers of the Russian Life Guard Lancers/Uhlans

The figure that I have not yet bought from the range that is on sale at THE WORKS is of General Murat. The uniform he is wearing is a bit too flamboyant for my taste, and might require a bit of re-painting to make is usable for FUNNY LITTLE WARS.

Cordery’s Composite Cavalry Corps expands!

Thanks to a visit to the branch of THE WORKS in Woolwich, I managed to buy some further painted metal 54mm-scale Napoleonic Cavalry figures for £2.00 each. As a result CORDERY’S COMPOSITE CAVALRY CORPS now includes:

  • 8 x ‘Red’ Hussars
  • 8 x ‘Green’ Hussars
  • 7 x Polish Cavalry

All I need is a further Polish Cavalryman to be able to field three small ‘regiments’ of Light Cavalry in any forthcoming FUNNY LITTLE WARS battles.

I have tried to track down what unit each of the figures actually represents. As far as I can see, the ‘Green’ Hussars are – in fact – French Chasseurs à Cheval of the Guard. As to the others … well that research remains a work in progress, but if any of my regular blog readers can identify them, I would be very grateful.

Cordery’s Composite Cavalry Corps

Yesterday I paid a visit to a nearby branch of THE WORKS … and found a whole load of painted metal 54mm-scale Napoleonic Cavalry figures on sale for £2.00 each! Needless to say I bought a few … enough to be able to form what I am temporarily calling CORDERY’S COMPOSITE CAVALRY CORPS!

For the sum of £28.00 I bought the following figures:

7 x ‘Red’ Hussars

5 x ‘Green’ Hussars

2 x ‘Blue’ Polish Cavalry

With luck I hope to be able to add some further figures to my ‘Cavalry Corps’ in due course.

Although these cavalrymen are wearing early nineteenth century uniforms, cavalry across the world tended to wear similar dress uniforms right through until the First World War … and in the case of the Russian Civil War and the Russo-Polish War, some were even wearing nineteenth century uniforms into the early 1920s! As a result I think that I may well be able to field these figures in most FUNNY LITTLE WARS battles set in the period up to 1914.

Wooden Building Blocks

When I began to build my modular fortress, I started to look around for additional sources of suitable wooden bit and pieces for future projects. Surprisingly this turned out to be more difficult than I had expected. I visited several specialist toy shops, but they either did not stock suitable wooden building blocks (I wanted a selection of blank blocks, not ones that were all the same size with letters and/or numbers on them) or they were very, very expensive.

In the end I came across a company called TOYS & INTERIORS who had exactly what I wanted available online … 100 assorted wooden building blocks in a linen sack.

A set of blocks was on sale for £14.92 including free delivery (they were originally on sale for £22.95) … so I bought two sets.

One of the reasons why I found these particular sets of building blocks so attractive was their similarity to those used by H G Wells in his book FLOOR GAMES, as can be seen from the following photographs:

I am not sure how I am going to use these building block when they arrive, but when I do I will be able to think of myself as following in the footsteps of H G Wells.

Waterloo in 54mm

On Saturday I had the honour and pleasure to be able to take part in a re-fight of the Battle of Waterloo using 54mm-scale figures! Nearly 2,000(!) figures were used, and the whole thing was very well organised by leading members of the Funny Little Wars Yahoo Group (Tim Gow and Paul). We were lucky enough to be able to have access to a large lawned area in Central London, and this enabled not just the main battle to be re-fought, but also the battle between the Prussians and French at Wavre.

I was one of the Allied players, and was in command of Hougmont and the right-wing. In the centre Brian Carrick commanded the main Allied artillery and the infantry just behind the main ridge, whilst on the left Conrad Kinch busied himself fortifying La Haye Sainte, the sandpit, and several farms.

I fully expected that the French would begin their assault on my side of the battlefield with an attack on Hougoumont … so I garrisoned it with Light Companies from the Guards and Brunswick Avante Garde … and some special troops from Canada, courtesy of Ross Macfarlane.

I needn’t have bothered, as the only French troops that came close were French light cavalry (with some horse artillery), which gave the strong-point a reasonably wide berth.

In response I moved forward my light cavalry, which included (on the right) some of ‘Kinch‘s Own’ Hussars (in truth, the 18th (King’s Irish) Regiment of (Light) Dragoons (Hussars)) …

… one of whom could be seen to be swigging from a bottle that looked remarkably like a Guinness one!

Both side’s cavalry then spent some time glaring at each other across the battlefield.

In the meantime, a large column of French infantry and artillery began to advance towards La Haye Sainte …

… which was heavily garrisoned.

The French advance was slow … possibly due to the rain that had occurred earlier that day.

Elsewhere French heavy cavalry was deployed …

… and a large force of French infantry began to move forward in line, supported by columns.

In response, some British infantry formed up in line. (They were later to move into square and see off a French cavalry attack.)

The farms that Conrad Kinch had garrisoned with infantry and artillery were able to pour infantry and artillery fire at the advancing French.

Whilst the situation was developing in the centre and on the left, a large body of French cavalry appeared in front of my section of the Allied line.

They moved forward slowly but surely … and I deployed my heavy cavalry in response.

The French shock themselves into line and both side’s cavalry advanced, resulting in a massive melee.

By the end of the fighting, the Allied cavalry was thoroughly beaten and those that had survived the battle were withdrawn to safety. Their sacrifice was not in vain, and the remnants of the French cavalry were too blown to be of further use on the battlefield.

Whilst this was going on, the situation around La Haye Sainte was coming to a climax …

… and in the sandpit a French cavalry charge overwhelmed the Riflemen stationed there.

At this point the fighting ended, and the umpires adjudicated that at that point in the battle, the French were winning by a narrow margin … but that the arrival of the Prussians (they had held the French at Wavre and had been moving a large number of troops towards Waterloo for quite some time) was likely to sway the result against the French in the long term.

99p Store find

During a recent trip to a local shopping centre, Sue and I visited a branch of the 99p Store … and I happened to see some very cheap plastic doll’s houses on sale. (The doll’s houses were actually half buildings, and came with some rather poorly moulded plastic furniture.)

Although the buildings are moulded in some very un-warlike colours (cream and pink!), it immediately struck me that they had potential for use with 40mm and 54mm-scale figures … so I bought two.

It was only when I got home that I realised that they were different and that they were designed so that the two half-buildings that could be clipped together to create a single building.

I am not sure when I will get around to repainting these buildings so that I can use them, but at a cost of 99p each I will certainly think about buying some more when I see them.