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  • in reply to: Ruined Abbey (la Maisontaal) 3d printed #134077
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    That’s a really well designed terrain. How long did your son take to model it?

    I have just asked him. I’ll let you know when he answers.

    in reply to: Ruined Abbey (la Maisontaal) 3d printed #134063
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    FDM or SLA? How big is the print bed?

    Sorry I have no idea what this means as I do not do the 3D printing. My son said on another forum that he uses

    “Software is Cura (its free) for slicing and getting the G.Codes for the printer and I am currently using a Prusa I3 Mk3. Really easy to use.”

    in reply to: Ruined Abbey (la Maisontaal) 3d printed #134047
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Looks pretty good, especially the stone pattern, as it doesn’t look like it repeats.

    It does repeat but has been designed to look random so that you need to look really closely.  I had the card model for years until it fell apart through constant use by the kids.

    This one is far more robust but I cannot find some of the figures to play the scenario.

    in reply to: Grandad and the boys – Return to Dedburgh #130926
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Sounds like a good time! Did the aliens escape from the troops, or do you mean they brought them out with them? Did the aliens invent the infection or are they here to help?

    The aliens were taken off by the helo with the troops.  You can see them in the midst of the squad in the second last picture.  Their fate is at present unknown as the “Men in Tartan” met the helo and took them away.  The boys invented the “Men in Tartan” so I’ll need to find figures!

    Whether they invented the infection or gave it to our recurring baddie, a chap called Rial Badyin (say it with a Scots accent), to spread is not yet known.  Maybe another mission is needed to find out?

    in reply to: How I paint irregulars #130313
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I decide on a group of colours suitable to subject, randomly divide the figures into groups, usually mixing poses etc, then I paint a group with all the trousers in a colour, another group with jackets etc. I like to pick out some in brighter civvy colours for example – white t-shirts and/or trainers for example………and so on, mixing things up if they start to look a tad uniform.

     

    Similarly – I select a few colours, usually a theme based on something like “Autumn” (browns, yellows, ochre, reds), “Summer” (greens, browns, orange, red, bright colours), “Winter” (drabs, greys, blues etc), “Water” (pale blues, greens, white etc).  Then lay the figures out in ranks.  Select a rank at a time paint the trousers of each rank one colour, then select each file and paint the tops, then go diagonally for details or a third colour, and so on varying the starting point.

    This way the “warbands”, “gangs” or whatever have a homogeneous look without being uniform.

     

    in reply to: Would you rather… #129774
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    it’s perfectly acceptable to paint figures and never play with them…

    Unpainted figures indicate to me that the person using the using them has a different attitude to the game to me and we are looking for different outcomes, unpainted guy is looking to play a competitive game, while I’m looking to spend a couple of hours having an enjoyable social interaction.

    My experience is different.  The chap or chapess with the unpainted figures has bought them, built them and wants to play a game with his/her own “army”.  He/she is gradually working through his/her models a squad or unit at a time.  Fitting in time between work or study.  Not letting him/her play puts him off and we lose him/her to the hobby.  Unpainted figures do not spoil our social interaction, they increase it as we discuss painting styles and tips, terrain making and baseboards, uniforms and organisations and battles and history alongside (bad) jokes, puns and chatter.

    in reply to: Would you rather… #129732
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    The only models that are painted to the “best of my ability” are display models, often for other people as gifts.

    My wargames figures are painted to what I would consider an adequate standard.  This is dependent upon the size of the model, what it is to be used for, when I painted it and how much time I have available. So I have all sorts of different “standards” sometimes in the same collection.   I have Airfix Combat Group and Germans in Humbrol gloss that was all that was available.  Metal and plastic 20mm and 25mm in enamel gloss and matt then later in acrylics as the model shop stocks changed.  By far the majority of my 28mm figures are just block painted, recent ones may have a wash and/or highlighting.

    I do and have played games where unpainted figures are fielded by my opponent.  I make no fuss about it.  The objective is to encourage new players and not put them off.  Almost all of my opponents who fielded unpainted figures came back with them painted.  Not because I insisted but because they wanted to.

    I have also played games where my opponent has deployed figures that would grace a museum display. Fortunately he does not mock or refuse to play against my quite basically painted forces.

    For me the fun is in setting up challenging games and playing them.  The toy soldiers are a means to that end.  Others, of course, have a different emphasis and that is perfectly OK.

    in reply to: Bandwagon? #129491
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Our little group uses rules that the “veteran” members wrote many years ago and that have been added to and amended occasionally.  So none of us need shiny and expensive rules.  I have some of the card covered sets from the 70s and 80s that get used occasionally. Some free sets downloaded from the internet get used as well – particularly Akula’s Zombie Rules which get an outing nearly every time the grandchildren come round for a “Grandad Day”.

    The new games I have bought are really board games with figures bought in various sales – Zombicide Black Plague (half price), a couple of sets of Project Z (second hand bought for the figures and extra bit – rules used once), two sets of Mars Attacks in a Black Friday offer etc.

    The only one bought at full price was “The Hobbit – Escape from Goblin Town” because grandsons loved it!  It is still played.

    in reply to: My Early Imperial Romans #128673
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Really nice! My 3mm army is bigger though… er… larger… er… more units. What I mean to say is that they are small but perfectly formed. I really like those caltrops, by the way. Is there historical evidence for those?

    They are not caltrops. Caltrops are much smaller and known to the Romans as tribulus or sometimes as murex ferreus, the latter meaning “jagged iron” (literally “iron jagged thing”).  They are representations of “Sudes” (stakes) carried by legionaries to assist in making overnight camps.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sudis_(stake)

    http://legionord.org/index.php/en/articles/article-3

    in reply to: What's your favourite ancients ruleset and why? #126662
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    We have been playing the same set of “Slim’s Rules” for over 50 years with very few modifications.  They were written by Slim (John) Mumford based on the (then) current wargame styles of Featherstone and Bath in particular.  We used lots of figures then and still do – Airfix, Garrison and Miniature Figurines 20mm.  My original forces were based Airfix Romans, Ancient Britons and converted US Cavalry, Bedouins and Robin Hood sets (the zoo sets provided zebras as mules, war elephants etc).  Lots of dice (d6), some manoeuvre until battle joined and, of course, simple and fun.

    PM me if you want a copy.

    in reply to: Cthulhu Fhtagn! New Blog Post #126252
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I did not realise these were available.  Thanks for showing them.  If possible could you post a picture of them both with a figure for size comparison?  I have a scenario in mind in which they would be ideal.

    in reply to: Early Imperial Roman Legionary Slingers #126243
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    The miniatures are silly and the product of people who’ve grown up with self loading weapons.

    They may be fanciful in pose but so are the poses of plenty other wargames figures. And the old question of whether your models should be in “campaign dress” or “full dress” or “working dress” or whatever.

    You have Romans holding a shield and javelins in one hand so how do they load the stone into the sling? How do they even hold the javelins like that behind the shield given the horizontal grip or were the javelins somehow held with the thumb?

    I would agree that carrying a scutum and one or two pila in the left hand would be difficult – read http://myarmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.30781.html for an informative discussion how how it may have been done.

    The other thing here is that why is the sling being used when the Roman is holding javelins?

    To refute the possibility by saying “why have a sling and a javelin” is like refuting that a modern soldier would not carry a pistol or grenades because he has a rifle.

    They’d look much better with nothing in the left hand.

    Agreed but I think I’d like a bag of slingshot on the left hip.  Probably too small to depict a slingshot in the left hand.

    I have spent some time in past few days researching this topic (not thoroughly or deeply I admit) – Vegetius says that all Legionaries were trained to use the sling.  Polybius says the legionaries carried two pila  Caesar in his De Bello Gallico (book VII, battle fought by Labienus near the Seine) he mentions the use of two and in other places. I am sure that the sling armed legionary could, as I said previously, leave his shield and pila at the rear of his unit, in a cart or with another legionary, he might even, shock horror, have put his shield and pila on the ground to use his sling.

    Here we have to consider what the job of a legionary at this time was. Large scale battles where they fight as a Legion in formation using the traditional scutum, gladius, pilum combination were few. Most engagements were small scale throughout the history of the empire. The Legionaries main activities were patrolling, garrisoning, guarding, collecting taxes, preventing raids and acting as an armed police force along the borders. If a century was sent to deal with some 20 bandits in Germania Superior the scutum and a pilum was probably not as much use as in the battle line so it makes perfect sense to have some (most?) of the legionaries armed with slings (with or without pila). These chaps might even be given a flat “barbarian” shield explaining some depictions of Early Imperial legionaries with flat shields. The small scale  of the usual fighting they had to do against Germanic and Celtic raiding parties, against rebels, in preemptive strikes across the borders. on punitive expeditions probably meant that the equipment carried varied according to the mission – just as with modern soldiers.  Unfortunately the ancient chroniclers are not consistent in their terminology which does make things difficult for us.  Add to that we only have a very few original sources and it is easy to become confused.

    During the Republican period the Antesignani (=in front of the Signa, i.e. bands fighting in loose formation in front of the heavy infantry) the velites were sometimes reinforced by some of the Hastati armed with javelins.   So a drill for doing this probably existed.

    Anyway, I’m not going to use those particular figures.  The games we play are generally of the more common low intensity type rather than pitched battles.  So I’m going to convert about 10 plastic ones that came with the wargames magazine and probably give them shields slung on their backs as they would on the march.  Though I’m fairly sure that the shields would be dropped off so they did not get in the way.

    in reply to: Early Imperial Roman Legionary Slingers #125924
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I only saved one topic discussion https://www.romanarmytalk.com/rat/showthread.php?tid=22532

    The paper saved https://www.academia.edu/4107834/Early_Roman_military_equipment_from_the_fortified_settlements_in_the_Notranjska_region_SW_Slovenia_

    Also from another respondent

    It will be perfect for skirmish games, as that’s largely how it was used.

    Vegetius seems to imply that the sling was used as the projectile was almost impossible to dodge in a skirmish compared to an arrow or a thrown spear. They were trained to be pretty accurate and had serious stopping power…
    Roman slingers would have exacted a heavy toll. Recent experiments conducted in Germany showed that a 50-gram Roman bullet hurled by a trained slinger has only slightly less stopping power than a .44 magnum cartridge fired from a handgun. Other tests revealed that a trained slinger could hit a target smaller than a human being from 130 yards away.
    They also played a role as a psychological weapon with examples found with drilled holes in the lead bullets to produce a wailing sound when fired, and also graffiti carved into them, sometimes just to note the unit commander or formation, a devotion to a god, or something less subtle like
    “Attack Octavian’s arsehole”… Roman Legionaries seemed to have liked a selection of indecent comments on their lead bullets.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Alan Hamilton. Reason: corrected URLs
    in reply to: Early Imperial Roman Legionary Slingers #125921
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    That´s quite an argument FOR slingers in this periond. Quite a percentage of the troops at this time came from regions using the sling frequently (only think of the Germanic people) and it´s quite possible that they adopted some of their tactics.

    Interestingly I was referred to a couple of archaeological papers on this subject on another forum.  From these it appears Roman slingers used 3 different types of sling (each for a different range band – one in hand, one around waist and one around head) and several different types of lead slingshot.  What the academics do not say is whether they were used by legionaries or auxiliaries.  They do say that the “finds” are mainly up to the Augustan/Trajanic armies then disappear and return later on (Vegetius 5th Century).  The caveat is, of course, that these papers are based on what has been found in a particular camp/battlefield and represent a snapshot.  I am also aware that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    Another interesting thing is that cavalry were also trained in the use of the sling.  Though no mention to mounted slingers in combat is made.

    Re-enator slingers have also been in touch and they say that it does not take a lot of space or training to use a sling against a massed target at relatively short range (say 30-40 metres).

    So there is at least tenuous evidence that legionaries used the sling, probably on patrols/ambushes, in defending or attacking fortifications.

    Based on this and having the parts I will make some.

     

    in reply to: Early Imperial Roman Legionary Slingers #125890
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Thanks, I had not realised that there was any source, though Vegetius was writing in the early 5th Century.  The sling was used for hunting by the common folk so not unreasonable to assume that Legionaries may well use it to add some meat or fowl to the cooking pot.  As you say sieges or troops manning barricades/defence works against an enemy.  I may as well add a few to my collection since I have the bits.

    in reply to: Is your preferred scale.. #125347
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Depends what I am doing.  Most of my figures are what we call 20mm mainly because I started in the 1960s with Airfix and still use the Infantry Combat Group against German Infantry series 1 on occasion.  So 20mm for WW2, AWI, ACW, Ancients etc.  28mm for fantasy, Dark Ages, pulp, Darkest Africa and the grandchildren inspired Mars Attacks, Zombies, Lord of the Rings.

    The scales (sizes) are well represented on the web though some of the “20mm periods” less so (AWI and ACW in particular)

    my 1/1200 WW2 naval seems to be a rarity.

    in reply to: The Ninth Legion #124532
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Interesting- what figures are they?

    They are Zvezda Cursed Legion 28mm plastic figures.  Each legionary comes as upper torso, lower torso & legs, 2 feet, 2 arms, 2 arms, head, shield, sword, dagger and some have a pilum = 11 to 13 parts!!!  They are quite fragile as a result.  You get 28 in the box 4 archers, 4 auxiliaries, Legate, Centurion, Cornicern, Signifer, 12 legionaries.

    in reply to: Gun identification #123782
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    If you can find one on ebay Roco minitanks 1/87 German Flak Sdkfz 7 and SWS halftrack had a 3.7cm gun mount that would do you.  It also came with a Flakvierling 2cm Flak as well.  I used the spare guns to make 1/76 2cm guns for my Panzer Grenadiers.  You might be lucky and some kind soul may have a spare in their bits box.   One of the 2cm guns might do as well.  I am sure that I used all mine but will have a look a the weekend.

    The gun on the right

    Or even a cut down larger scale 50 cal HMG?

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 4 weeks ago by Alan Hamilton.
    in reply to: What Spray Clear coat Do You Use? #122536
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I use PlastiKote spray varnish and primers.  They cover well and have a soft spray that does not blast plastic figures all over the place.  It is sold locally by Hobbycraft, B&M and The Range

    in reply to: Is Scratch-Building a Part of Your Gaming Hobby #122534
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I scratch build a lot of terrain items and also all sorts of vehicles, weapons, barricades and suchlike.  Many of the vehicles and weapons may fall actually be conversions as they use a kit or model as the basis.  When I started way back in the 1960s we had to make a lot of equipment that Airfix, Lesney and Roco Minitanks did not produce.  The “Military Modelling” articles in Airfix Magazine were godsends for our armies.

     

    in reply to: More Dark Age 3d prints by my son #121863
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Thanks, he is now deployed on an operational tour and is working up new buildings for printing on his return next year.

     

    in reply to: Are game reviewers critical enough? #119252
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I was at Claymore yesterday and the “Bring and Buy” table seemed to be a wargames rules review in its own right.  A few of the older rule books were there but lots of different sets of the newer “glossy” picture book style.  Maybe people who bought them and found them wanting?

    in reply to: Popular Genres #118198
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Within the past 12 months:
    28mm – Dark Ages, Greek myths, zombies, Romans v Celts, Fantasy (Morval Earth, The Hobbit), Victorian Gothic, WW2, Lost World

    20mm – WW2

    Played but own only a Command Group – Waterloo (largest wargame 22,000 figures)

    in reply to: Waterloo refought – Hougoumont #117016
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    And now a nice video too

     

    in reply to: Help tracking down old WW2 wargaming book #116971
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    The book may be Terry Wise’s “Introduction to Battle Gaming”

    in reply to: More Dark Age 3d prints by my son #116816
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I think it is a trick of the lighting.  It is actually a grey towel bleached with brown patches.  Like these

    in reply to: (ESR) How Many Highlanders? #116559
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    43rd later renumbered as 42nd Highlanders now the Black Watch (the Royal Highland Regiment)

    71st Highland Light Infantry (not kilted)

    73rd Highlanders

    78th Rossshire

    79th Highlanders, later the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders,

    92nd Highlanders the Gordon Highlanders

    Raised during the Napoleonic wars

    93rd Sutherland Highalnders

    97th Strathspey Highlanders

    98th Argylshire

    in reply to: Waterloo refought – Hougoumont #116453
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Day 2 was a fantastic spectacle – 22,600 figures (less 3,500 casualties from Day 1 Isuppose), 100 wargamers, 4 huge tables, teams of umpires, volunteers, “media” (students doing reports on social media).
    I commanded the British 1st Division (the Guards Brigades of Byng and Maitland and the Hougoumont Garrison) and later a brigade from 2nd Div including the HLI “The Glasgow Highlanders) and two Brigades of Brunswick and Hanovarian infantry with a small cavalry force.

    We held Hougoumont against overwhelming odds of Jerome’s Divisions that assaulted it then destroyed them in the garden.

    On our right the remainder of Jerome’s Corps was pushed back to their start positions. Even further to our right the French attempt to outflank us with several divisions of cavalry was halted and the repulsed by our Dutch Allies.


    Then we assisted in the complete destruction of Rielle’s Corps allowing 2nd Division to flank the Imperial Guard.

    While that was going on, with our Brunswick and Hanovarian allies and Maitland’s Guards Brigade (supported by the HLI) attacked towards La Belle Alliance forcing back the Imperial Guard Heavy Cavalry and a Line Infantry Brigade.

    while the 7th Hussars and the Dutch Light Cavalry almost reached Napoleon forcing the Old Guard to come his rescue. The road back to Paris was cut.

    Napoleon forced into the cover of the Old Guard as the rampaging 1st Division closes in.

    Major General Cooke with his forward troops heading for La Belle Alliance for a well deserved bottle of Napoleon Brandy.

    A brilliantly run weekend game.  Thanks to all who organised, attended and supported the event.

    in reply to: Waterloo refought – Hougoumont #116406
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Thanks Donald – we are raising money for charity http://www.waterlooreplayed.com/

    The game – 100 players, plus support staff plus re-enactors and volunteers.

    4 very long tables  – the 3 northern tables

    Looking North

    The three southern tables

    southern tables

    Looking north

    in reply to: too much stuff! #115505
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I err in the other direction — my tendency to organize my units based on pack contents is a source of great hilarity among my friends.

    Oddly enough that is what I did when I started – Airfix Infantry Combat group and Germans with strecher bearers and chaps carrying jerrycans converted into Bren gunners, PIATs, Light mortars, flamethrowers, mine detectors, demolition charges, Bangalore Torpedoes etc (I still have and use them).  The I went on to organising a planned basic force and gradually making unplanned or scenario driven additions until I have a vast “collection”.

    Now I am back to the pack contents driven purchasing so units are much more varied in size.  That said the boxes of Dark Age plastics are configured to multiples of 4 and 8.  I decided this was  way too organised so I now buy 2 or 3 boxes at a time and mix them all up to make the warbands.

    So I plan the initial forces to get enough to make 2 reasonably balanced forces so we can play and then add more as necessary or on an occasional whim.  I also look to see which models can be repurposed into new projects or be used in many different forces.

    • This reply was modified 10 months ago by Alan Hamilton. Reason: spelling corrected
    in reply to: the appeal of the ordinary #113913
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Virtually all my “armies” are of the ordinary sort.  Some have a sprinkling of “better” troops.  In my WW2 German forces of several hundred figures I have Volkssturm, Auxiliaries, standard (horse drawn) infantry, some motorised and a few armoured units but only a single company of Waffen SS (20 or so figures).

    I prefer the “average” or “ordinary” as I get more variety and more toys to play with.  The armies with “elites” built in are my Romano British which has Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, Early Imperial Romans have a Praetorian Guard cohort (not by design I picked up the wrong box in the shop), Saxon hearthguards and a few other personal boduguard units.

     

     

    in reply to: With whom do you game? #113856
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I’m very intrigued by the aversion to clubs shown on this thread, I’ve never had that bad an experience with them, and if I didn’t particularly like a club, it wouldn’t put me off trying another.

    We have an informal club – a small group of people who meet in our homes, no formal membership, no fees.  Just an ever changing group of 3-7 people interested in playing anything.  We have tried expanding the club into something more formal but as we live in a rural area the population of wargamers is small and dispersed.  We tried bringing young people and we were quite successful until GW opened a store a few miles away and the young set transferred their loyalty and we reverted to infprmality.

    The nearest formal clubs are about 20 miles away and we all used to go there until the focus on competitions, internal politics and personality clashes caused such an atmosphere that the club split leading to moves of location and rivalry.  We were not interested in that so we stopped going.

    Another factor was travelling time.  At first (1970s) we were able to reach the club(s) within about 25 minutes by public transport, now the same journey takes over an hour.  The amount of traffic has increased, buses seem slower, parking places decreased, traffic schemes to prevent access to the town centre (“traffic calming”) so that to arrive by 7pm I would have to leave home by 5pm and would need to leave early to get a bus to get me home by 11.30pm.  Fine if I lived in town but I don’t.  We are not averse to formal clubs as such but, where we live, one does not appear sustainable.

    in reply to: With whom do you game? #113043
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I have been wargaming since the late 1960s and was a member of clubs off and on for several years.  But mostly I have gamed with same opponent almost every Monday since the early 70s mostly at his house.  Our little group has sometimes been as large as 7 as small as 2 but usually hovers around the 4 – 5.  At the moment we have one over 80, one nearly 70 (me), one in their 50s and one in late 30s.  We are all interested in lots of different games and take turns at organising the games though mostly it falls to the two “seniors”.

    In addition at frequent but irregular intervals I set up games for our extended family – sons and grandsons ranging through Bolt Action WW2, Greek/Roman Mythology, Arthurian, Zombies, Giant Ants (THEM!), The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, Viking Raids etc.

    At the moment we are all white males though at various times we have had ladies and ethnic minorities participate.

    Every year for as long as I can remember we have put on public participation games at shows in Scotland and used our “toys” in museum and school education projects in line with the curriculun (Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, Vikings, etc) and for WW1 ans WW2 commemorations.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 1 week ago by Alan Hamilton.
    in reply to: Battle at the Church of the Sacred Red Thorn #112849
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    That will teach those heathen raiders a thing or too! Looks like a pig bought the farm…

    yes they killed a pig but could not take anything away.  Being intent on fighting instead of gathering plunder the Aenglish missed the Mead barrels over by the hives, the cider in the storehouse in the orchard, the silver in the church, the cattle, the sheep … Too busy squabbling!

    The Aenglish king and his champion are old Citadel figures

    The Count and banner bearer are Warlord games figures converted by head swaps and cloak and weapon changes

    More here http://www.morvalearth.co.uk/Arthurian%20Britain/Arthur%20Intro.htm

    in reply to: Auchentoshan #112691
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    Very nice.  That would be the Great Western Road running through it.

    It is not unusual apparently for a “lady’s whisky” to be battled over in Oz – Incidentally a “lady’s whisky” or “breakfast whisky” has a smooth and soft taste.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by Alan Hamilton.
    in reply to: Bottom of the Barrel #112131
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I have lots of metal and plastic amassed over many many years with the notion that I would get around to it when I retired. I have been retired 7 years now and not managed to make much inroad into the mountain.  Maybe I need one of those “Round Tuit” things?

    http://www.lightspeedtokens.com/customroundtuits.html

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 4 weeks ago by Alan Hamilton.
    • This reply was modified 11 months, 4 weeks ago by Alan Hamilton.
    in reply to: Spears and axes #111596
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    The few descriptions (in translation) I have read are pretty vague about detail but imply that most mounted warriors were the military elite of their day.  So I cannot be specific or pedantic and it is very unsafe to apply modern terminology, attitudes and behaviour to the “Dark Age” warriors.  They were able and confident warriors with reputations to live up to and increase.  They were the “boy racers” and celebrities of their day.  The poems and stories seem to imply that the mounted men on campaign were raiders and scouts who collected plunder and information.  In battle they were the role models of the rest of the army.  Poems like the Goddodin imply that when the riders went into battle on horseback they would ride up to the enemy and hurl javelins and spears to break up formations.  They seldon charged home except in pursuit of a broken enemy.  It is worth remembering that the main ranged weapons were javelins and slings.

    So our model Saxon horsemen (and Picts, Britons, Strathclyders etc) might be present as mounted javelinmen who ride up to the enemy line and harass them.  Some of the kingdoms made more use of horses than others and some may well have retained Roman training long enough to have “shock” cavalry as in Bernard Cornwell’s novels (and my model army).   This is much easier to replicate in wargames where there is more emphasis on the individual rather units/warbands.

    in reply to: Spears and axes #111525
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    The Merovingians used throwing axes (the securis francisca) around 500 – 800 (ish) AD.  The various peoples along the south coast traded and moved relatively freely across the Channel and so may well have been familiar with them.  Any mercenaries or settlers may well have brought them as well.  Also no doubt axes were in use for chopping wood around the farms and towns so thet were probably used as hand weapons.  Maybe even the tree felling long axes were used as well.

    From my reading the most common weapon was the spear with swords being a sign of wealth and a status symbol.

    Now as for “mounted infantry”.  This terminology is probably not helpful as it reflects a relatively modern concept “combat arms” specialism.  In the period we are discussing there were vey wealthy warriors (Kings, princes, lords or whatever), wealthy warriors (land owners, professional soldiers etc), Common Folk (spearmen) and youths/poor (slingers, javelins. bows etc).

    The Very Wealthy may have had enough wealth to maintain a war horse (long time in training) and riding horses, the wealthy probably could afford a riding horse but the others were unlikely to own one.  The draught animals were usually oxen.

    Applying this to wargames the leaders of the army and the best equipped (wealthy) warriors may well have ridden to war.  They definitely fought on foot and several poems and sources suggest that they may well have fought mounted throwing javelins and spears at the enemy to goad them or weaken them before retiring to dismount and take their place in the front ranks of the army.  Some, those on trained war horses, may well have fought from the saddle against foot soldiers or other cavalry.  They were not cavalry or mounted infantry in the modern sense but mounted warriors capable of operating as missile (javelin and throwing spear) troops on horseback with a few capable of actually fighting mounted against their opponents.

    So in my forces (on the painting table today) are mounted warriors with matching warriors on foot.  Most are spear armed but will be assumed to have a javelin or two in a wargame.

    I am working on modifying our club rules and thinking that the chaps on riding horses might gain +1 bonus in melee with an “evade” capability and those on war horses have a terror infliction in the charge and also a +2 bonus in melee.  I found it difficult to get exact matches but since the two will never appear simultaneously only a general similarity of colour and dress is needed with an identical shield pattern.  We have played many medieval wargames where the knights dismount and fight on foot (battles, sieges) or mount to pursue or charge.

    in reply to: Spears and axes #111513
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    My reading of older and of current research opinion is that horses were far more common in all armies that was once thought.  This comes from the archaeology of pagan burials.  So it depends on when your model forces are supposed to depict real forces.  The long axe was less common early and became increasinly common as the “dark ages” progressed.  I would suggest that if you have Saxons (or anyone) fighting mounted the least likely weapon would be a two handed or long shafted axe.

    My brother and 2 nephews are “Viking Re-enactors” and, having handled various weapons for many years they tell me that the long axe takes an enormous amount of strength and control.  It is almost impossible to use effectively in a shield wall or a close packed melee.  There simply not enough space to swing it.  However, it is frightening and can be effective in a loose combat where there is space for sweeping blows.  They have not tried using from a horse but imaging if the axe swing is dodged?  Then the momentum of the axe continues until it hits something – ground, horse or companion.  So I revert to what I call “military probablility” for mounted combat where the weapons favoured by cavalry for centuries are javelins, spears, swords and later lances and bows.

    Historically?  I do not think we will ever have definite answer before we have access to a time machine.  So if and when I do get around to making some “Saxon Cavalry” some might have a long axe but it will be slung somewhere or strapped to a packhorse with the rest of his gear.   But they are much more likely to have swords, javelins and a few throwing or stabbing spears.

     

    in reply to: The Battle of Auchentoshan. #111489
    Alan Hamilton
    Participant

    I know Auchentoshan well – my wife lived just a short distance from there (Mountblow) before we were married.

     

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