Monday, February 28, 2011

Back Home To Plastic

 Changing Back From Tiny Metal to Larger Plastic Figures

When I first read a set of wargame rules and realized that there were formal games that other people were playing, other than merely shooting the figures with a BB gun or blowing them up with firecrackers, the rules I selected were Grosstaktik, by Leon Tucker. These rules had 1 figure represent 12 men, and the units were battalions usually around 48 figures each, although that number could vary.

The first decisions on looking over a catalog of what periods I could order was which period to choose, and what figures I liked, and finally which figures could I afford. But this was not like walking two miles to the hobby shop with a week's lunch money: as a formal Mail Order, I had to get my Mom to write a Check, so I tried mightily to keep it under six dollars, but may have gone over with postage. She said I can't just tape together a bunch of quarters in the mail.

At that point I already had some Airfix men, and so between choices of period, manufacturer and scale, and affordability, I came up with 18th Century as my first period, Grosstaktik for the rules, and Airfix men for the American Revolution as the collection. I already had about one box of each type, American and British, and so when I became a serious wargamer I ordered two more boxes each, and the rules to go with them. After that I got a bunch more, and then branched off into other periods.

Now after some reading in Brigade Daendels blog (see blogroll) and the work that Paul's Bods has been doing, (see blogroll), plus the effect of reading Charlie Wesencraft's Practical Wargaming,  I have gone to the hobby store and picked up some plastic figures again.

I especially was taken by the idea that Christopher Duffy, Anthony Brett-James, David Chandler, Donald Featherstone and Charles Wesencraft all had a game at Sandhurst for Borodino with a ratio of 1 figure to 500 men, and considered that they were probably using Airfix men in that game. It was mainly Featherstone vs Wesencraft, with Chandler as the umpire. It must have really been something. It's in an article on Vintage Wargaming (see blogroll.)

 So Now

I got two ten-dollar bags of Imex American Revolutionary War. Thesebags have the equivalent of two of the Airfix boxes of old, so there are 50 Americans, and 50 British redcoats in a bag. And I got two bags. So 100 for each side. They look like they are between 21-22 mm tall from the soles to the eyes.

I already have from several years ago some other Imex and Airfix figures, but I'm not sure how many. I would guess a few hundred more, plus an odd Revell Frederick the Great's army or two that I find behind furniture sometimes.

This project will involve a different kind of painting than I am used to doing, because for the past few years I have only worked on 2mm figures, which are so tiny as to require a Jeweler's Loupe to see any details.

I Needed More Figures Because I Had Painted The Ones I Had On The Back Burner

I did just paint up my last batch of 2mm, which were the Irregular Logistics pack. There were some 75 wagons, including four covered wagons and five pontoon wagons, plus aound 60-70 large, medium and small tents for camps. I have a Stamp Collector's Loupe with 16x magnification, plus several sets of magnifying glasses and finally a 20-40X Microscope, for working with the extreme small miniatures. One thing I don't have is a digital camera with a nacro lens, so pics will have to wait and substitute with imagination.

Before the 2mm I had two projects with 6mm, Adlers for the larger and Heroics and Ros with some Irregular for the smaller type of 6mm. Many think 6mm are too small, but they are huge compared with 2mm.

It will be a big adjustment to paint these giants again, but it sort of feels like going home.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

God Save Catalonia, English Translation Now Posted

 We Have Been Waiting Since Last Fall For An English Version

In September and again in January there has been some discussion especially through the Desperta Ferro blog (please see blogroll, bottom right sidebar) about a book released last fall in Barcelona about the part of the War of the Spanish Succession that took place in Spain.

It would be best to read the entry on Desperta Ferro from September 8, 2010 for a preview of the book's contents. The post in January also has further details. A comment back in September suggested they were then talking about a free PDF when the English would be released, but now it looks like 20, 20 and 19 Euros for the three books available there on the WSS which is far from free and even quite prohibitive, actually. So far they were showing 32 views and 1 subscription. For free we can read articles in the wikipedia on these topics, but with less info.

There will be some mention made there that within the Catalonian view of the war heretofore their emphasis has been so much on what they call the English Betrayal, which left them in some very hot water, that they have tended to gloss over the decade-long English-British commitment before the betrayal. Now this book by Xavier Rubio, or Hernandez, or ...(there are a few versions of his name given) has a good deal of information about the English war effort which has not been available to us, and there is some interest in that.

There was then some discussion about a team of English translators working on an English version, as of September 10, with an unknown future date of completion.

The English Version is Now Posted, But

The English version is now posted online, but unfortunately I can not figure out how the download works. Some of the instructions are in Catalan, some in English, and in any event they were not working for me in Firefox, but may work better for someone else.

The publisher's page links to what looks like a you-publish-on-demand site, and there is a 'Preu,' probably 'Price,' of 20 Euro mentioned, without being clear as to what the 20 Euros are for exactly, while other instructions look like they mean it can be viewed online. I was able to get the full-screen option to work for a few minutes, but many other attempts failed to work. Anyway I might only have a few odd Euros lying around the house; I thought I spent them at the duty-free shop in Amsterdam.

Here is the publishers' page

I was able to see some very tantalizing bits beyond the table of contents including charts of the financial cost broken down by eastern and western fronts, and some other things.

Lluis at Desperta Ferro has not yet updated, but I hope that together we can find a way. I am no expert and may have missed a few simple steps, such as "Subscribe,' or 'Pay Mucho Money' or who knows what.

I hope to hear from someone who can get this straightened out, at least for my sake. It has only been up a couple days.
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EDIT: Down in the Comments section Patti D gives a more direct link for viewing online: download doesn't seem to work. Adam from Lancashire said the same thing, but in a different voice.

English translation, God Save Catalonia, Xavier Rubio

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Friday, February 18, 2011

Et Pour Le Coup De Grace

 The Secret Book was Quimby, Robert S., The Background of Napoleonic Warfare, 1957

On Thursday  Feb 17 the secret fifth book arrived. So this one took eleven days, versus the six days for the rest of the order. I was afraid to mention its name in case something went wrong, but everything went right. It was used and from a third party, and not very many available at any given time, so I wanted to be sure I secured a copy for myself before getting anyone else to think about it.

It's all right now, and so I'll even put a link toThe Background of Napoleonic Warfare: The Theory of Military Tactics in Eighteenth-Century France

There's no particular image to speak of but it's hardcover and solid, with no jacket on my used one, so simply imagine a solid green hardcover book, a little heavy for its size due to its solid construction. To me it doesn't matter that it is of such good quality because I am interested in the content, and would have been happy enough with a paperback or any other version. But it is of strong construction, anyway, and mine was priced like a paperback, so it is all to the good.

It's about an inch thick, which for readers outside the friendly confines would be 2.5 cm.

Don't ask me how cold it is in EU degrees, I have not got those memorized other than 25 is hot and 0 is cold.

This book was written by Robert S. Quimby in 1956 and published in 1957. The particular one I now have before me was an AMS Press edition, not the 1968 but the 1979. It is stamped in 1984 as having gone into the library of the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, a post-graduate  school for American Generals being prepared for higher command levels.

I can also see that it was checked out by three readers over the decades, all in the 4th quarter of the years 1990, 2000 and 2001, and that the library mismarked it as 1st AMS edition, but if it was it probably wouldn't be able to talk about the 1979 second AMS edition. It is stamped WITHDRAWN, which must mean that the library removed it to make room for something else.

That works out for my benefit, and I will try to give it a good home. Perhaps the generals will read about it here and realize what they are missing. Sometimes that is all it takes, to hear someone else talking about it.  This is not a particularly easy book to find, and I have searched in libraries all over the place for it for many years, back to age 13 when I first heard about it.

In the last chapter there is some discussion of the use of tactics especially by the French in the Napoleonic wars, but the real thrust of this book is to trace the different ideas and developments, especially in the French Army, throughout the eighteenth century.

Comparison With Chandler--Complementary, and Carries It Forward For The French

The whole thing runs 385 pages of which the first 344 are the thirteen chapters of the main text. Those who have read Chandler's well-known The Art of Warfare in the Age of Marlborough (Revised Edition) will be familiar with some of the names and developments that Quimby wrote about in greater depth. The revised edition above is from 1995 and I have not seen that; I am familiar with the edition before that one. Here are a couple more Chandlers, by the way, and there are others besides these, notably the book of memoirs of participants in the War of the Spanish Succession.Military Memoirs of Marlborough's Campaigns, 1702-1712

 Marlborough as Military Commander (Spellmount Classics)BLENHEIM PREPARATION?: The British Army on the March to the Danube

Chandler was doing an overview up to 1750, all over Europe and some on the Ottomans, whereas Quimby is focussing on France and right on to the end of the century.  So Quimby's discussion culminates in the exercises at the 1778 Camp of Vaisseux and the arguments and trials of the two systems, l'ordre profond and l' ordre mince.

There the French were considering a cross-channel invasion of England, as a part of the War of American Independence, and had a large body of troops assembled near Bayeux in Normandy, so as the training advanced the generals took advantage of the opportunity to try out some of the proposed systems. Many of the people involved in the arguments were there to see it. Marshal Broglie led the ordre profond force, and had Guibert, Lueckner, Gribeauval, Rochambeau and others with him on that side.

Let's take a quick run through the chapters. Starting off he has to explain a background to his background so there's a bit on how things came to be as they were in the War of the Spanish Succession early in the 18th century. Here comes up the name Puysegur.

 Rather than explain the role of each name I'll just mention them in passing. Second chapter goes into the makers of systems, with sections on Folard, Saxe, and then Mesnil-Durand. That last one was present at the camp in 1778 and the criticisms he made, of how his ideas were practiced, are in a later chapter.

Third chapter is on tactical developments in the first half of the century, looking at what happened in the Wars of the Polish Succession, Austrian Succession, and the Seven Years War and its aftermath.

Fourth chapter is devoted to Guibert, and ideas on infantry, the other arms, and using them together in Grand Tactics. The fifth chapter discusses Bourcet, the sixth is devoted to Joly de Maizeroy, and the seventh one for a change talks about how the French received the ideas of the Prussians through Baron de Pirch after the Seven Years War.

In the eighth chapter there are 23 pages on Mesnil-Durand's new system. Next for chapter nine we witness the summer and fall of 1778 at the Camp of Vaisseux, where they take advantage of the chance to try it all out in great exercises, as long as they had 44 battalions in one place. The place was Normandy, not all that far from southern England.

Then after that the tenth chapter is on the Defense of Guibert, in the 11th chapter the controversy continues, and in the 12th chapter he examines the role of Du Teil. Finally the thirteenth chapter talks about the state of tactics after all these developments at the end of the 18th century and during the Great Wars that followed.

When I first started wanting this book at age 13 the blurbs I read about it said it was essential for Napoleonic enthusiasts to understand what came before, to see how things reached the point where they were in that period, but virtually all of it applies to the eighteenth century enthusiast as well, and actually even more so.

Inside Amazon the review  by Kevin  F. Kiley, a renowned author on artillery in his own right, gives a deeper appreciation of the Quimby book, which I have not yet had time to absorb myself in these first hours.                                                   

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A note for the Francophone readers: I understand that whenever I essay to use your language correctly that I murder it again and again, as if the first times were not painful enough. It is not my intent.

Nevertheless, I will continue to try as I have always considered it one of the most important languages in the history of man on earth, as well as today, and I only say 'one of the' because I am aware of the roles played in such a long history by others. I may be so bold as to mention  that several of your women have complimented my use of French and liked my accent. Also I once worked for a French company, and had some good successes at that time--Revillon Paris.

It does not help that I do not understand the fancy keyboard work that would at least allow for accents and diacritical marks. It is for that reason that I also use the e for the umlaut in the other languages. We are actually very lucky that I have come this far, with only a ten (point one) inch machine, which I do not fully understand.

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On used books: This Quimby to me is all the more enjoyable for having sat in the stacks of the Command and General Staff College for all these years. I actually enjoy books even more heavily used, and have developed a particular interest in the writings of previous readers which can only be found in very used books, but this one is practically pristine and has none of that. Personally I wouldn't mind if it did, but it doesn't. It's practically unused. I know everyone has not developed a taste for that sort of thing, and may be annoyed by it. Try a classic novel previously owned by a teacher, who wrote in it.

Some Related Books While We Are At It

Besides the discussions of some of the same theoreticians plus others like Santa Cruz or Montecuccoli found in Chandler's Art of War, some readers may be familiar with the American works of Brent Nosworthy, who used Quimby and other sources for his books on the development of tactics. He was a wargame designer in the golden era of SPI in the mid-to late seventies and so his observations take the wargaming community into account as he writes.

With Musket, Cannon And Sword: Battle Tactics Of Napoleon And His EnemiesThe Bloody Crucible of Courage: Fighting Methods and Combat Experience of the Civil War

 I would like to include some of the books by Mr Haythornethwaite here but have only found a couple of the wrong ones, not that these are bad but just not the particular ones I am thinking of right now. In fact they are quite good, as are pretty much all his books I've read. These links may also lead to something else but I'll just put them up for now without exploring since I've really got to get back to the salt mines soon for a 12-hour shift. He's done plenty more besides these, I assure you, and is really good on gathering facts. What I wanted was an Art of War in the Age of Marlborough, with a different emphasis than the Chandler work above by the same title but I can't find it right now. It seems that was current in the eighties.

Wellington's Military Machine

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

More on Charlie Wesencraft

 After 35 Years I Finally Can See The Book Again

I mentioned last week that I had loaned Charles Wesencraft's book to a Civil War reenactor in August of 1976 at the Rockford event, and have not seen it since, as he has not returned it yet.

In those days besides re-enacting the Civil War we were also playing Terrible Swift Sword, a large boardgame from SPI about the Battle of Gettysburg. It had just come out then and was the rage, but too big. TSS was designed by Richard Berg. It had every regiment at 1:100 men and every single cannon, designated by type, in their batteries. What a game, but we could not play it through in a single sitting.

In fact they didn't let me play at all, not even to take a Confederate cavalry regiment around the flank to try to intercept the Union supply wagons. I entertained myself reading back issues of Wargamers Digest, an old magazine that was strong on WW2 but not exclusively, while the players dug through the rules interminably trying to figure out various effects to get through the evening of the first day.

Meanwhile the Yankees were digging entrenchments on the high ground and the Confederates were taking potshots with artillery, trying to bring up reinforcements. They couldn't spare even a single cavalry regiment to take those Yankee supply wagons. I still think it would have worked, and been well worth the candle.

Later on however I bought the game, and a whole series of others following a similar or comparable system, and also made a point of visiting virtually all the battlefields of the French and Indian, the Revolutionary War and quite a substantial number of those of the Civil War, plus some in other countries.

The Books Arrived in Six Days

I had ordered the book, along with a few others, on Saturday and it arrived Friday. Within the first minute I saw I had it wrong in my ranting post from last week, which was inspired by the troll. At least partly wrong. So that led to some further exploring which was good.

The other books include the Franz Szabo, The Seven Years War in Europe 1756-1763, and John Lynn, The Wars of Louis XIV, and also Peter Wilson's  The Thirty Years War. For John Lynn I previously only owned the Osprey version, but this is the full version.

There's a fifth book coming separately from a third party, but I will not mention that one's name until I have safely secured it.

Peter Wilson is a member of the Seven Years War Association, and contributed some articles to that group's Journal over the years, including an article on the Kesselsdorf campaign.

SYWA Journals

Back issues may be available from their respective editors, if they have them on hand, so the first five or six years or so from Bill Protz, and the next five or so years from Jim Purky, and with a little effort, maybe someone might sell you those from the next few years when the late Jim Mitchell was Editor, which were Volumes XI-XIV.

Not bloody likely I would give up mine, and in fact they never did send me the last one, for that matter, in all the confusion.

The  Der Alte Fritz blog is where to go for the Jim Purky period issues, which were Volumes VI through X. That's not for sure, but I thought I saw he had some not too long ago.
Here's a link to Jim's blog to reach him

One of my best purchases of the 90's was the set of all back issues from the Bill Protz era of the SYWA Journal. It's chock full of articles from members and there are lots of good ideas there. In Volumes I-V there was relatively more of a MWAN-like atmosphere with heavy participation by the readers sending in lots of small articles. Nowadays we can find that sort of thing on the plethora of blogs.
Here's a link to Bill's blog to reach him

One Minute After The Books Arrived
Since my colleagues and I dabble in shipping and receiving sometimes we spent a few moments looking at the technique of the labels, the packing, etc, and before the minute was up I dug past the Szabo, Lynn and Wilson to have a look at the Charlie Wesencraft Practical Wargaming.

Charlie Wesencraft's Practical WargamingCharlie Wesencraft's With Pike and Musket

In seconds I found the words 'in the grand manner,' and knew that my ranting post was not quite right, last week. Most of it is all right but I had some parts backwards, 35 years after the last time I had seen the book. So after that I spent several hours digging for the real facts, and found some gems, from the earlier days of wargame history.

Peter Gilder was talking about his version of the grand manner in print in April 1970, thus well before Charlie Wesencraft, published 1974, used the term to mean quite the opposite manner of setting up a game.

Gilder's definition would involve setting up as many tables as possible, with thousands of figures, in order to do a large battle, while still using figure to man ratios of 1:10 or 1:12, leading to battalions around 60 figures. And big figures, with big terrain and everything else.

He is known to have built a hatch in the table to come up from underneath for reaching further than the six feet of width previously considered a practical limit, due to the length of a man's arm.  I have played on a table 8 feet wide and we just let the center suffer a bit, trying to use a ruler to push troops. But it really turned into two battles side-by-side. There will be some excellent links on Peter Gilder down below, including pics and articles.

The Wesencraft version of the grand manner is the other way around. He also uses the term grand scale in the text. He was suggesting using the same based figures which were three or so to a base for the other game to represent higher levels of command than are used in the tactical games. So he had battalions of maybe twenty men, at a ratio of 1:32, but he also had other rules with different ratios. I say maybe because he had differing organizations for different armies and times.

In the loft above his garage he built a permanent wargames room and a table of his own design which could be 4' X 4' if not in use, but could extend to 8' X 4' with storage space underneath.

The ancients game is 1:32, and then the Medieval game is at 1:100. I remember now that I built some siege towers and war engines, as well as boiling oil buckets, for the medieval siege game. The ancients game comes in two versions, for those who use bases and for those whose figures are individually mounted.

The Pike and Musket game is also at 1:100, with varying depths of formations. I remember chopping up Airfix men from other periods to try to make English Civil War conversions, since the Airfix line did not have what I needed, and lead cost too much.

The 18th Century game for a change of pace, is at 1:10 men. But on page 124 he notes that for another couple levels, the Napoleonic game which is 1:40, or the army corps in action game, which is 1:128, or 1:200 (plus) could also be adapted for the 18th century. In this section also are a few pages each for siege warfare, and the colonial scene.

The regular Napoleonic game at 1:40 had the odd innovation of having the front rank represent two ranks, and then all the armies using three ranks had a third figure behind every pair of front-rank men, which is a way of showing more men there while only counting the front rank for fire purposes. That is an effective way of doing it, but I remember my figures looked a little odd like that, and my opponent refused to think about the mathematics behind the approach. He wanted two ranks,  but was not very familiar with Napoleonics anyway, so things like hussars looked odd to him too.

Then there are also an ACW game at 1:40 and a Franco-Prussian War game at 1:50, with various suggestions appropriate to those periods.

I'll skip over those quickly to get to chapter 11, The Army Corps in Action game. I forgot to mention earlier there was also an Ancients game in Chapter 6 called Ancient Battles in the Grand Manner. So it's a couple different games that he uses to explore the 'revolution in wargame thinking,' of having a single stand represent a whole unit.

This Ancient battles in the Grand Manner uses a ratio of 1:128, and he mentions that Cannae in the 2nd Punic War would require 200 horse and 2,000 foot for the Romans and for Hannibal, 300 cavalry and 1,100 infantry. This would be a magnificent spectacle, but beyond the pockets of most wargamers.

On page 46 he mentions that most battles had thousands of men, but many gamers for lack of enough figures reduce the number of units to a mere handful. He says, "This is wrong thinking. One should reduce the number of figures and keep the correct number of units." And so he quadruples the 32 men up to 128 per figure, and what was a century or maniple becomes a whole cohort or regiment, so he can do Cannae, the whole thing, with 48 Roman cavalry and 500 infantry, and 80 cavalry and 272 infantry for the Carthaginians. He discusses how to appropriately adjust time and distance in proportion.

So in chapter 6 he develops the ancient game at that scale with different rules which look a whole lot like DBA in certain ways, such as the manner of resolving combat. These rules run 9 pages, and the first DBA was 12, a decade or more later.

There's a TMP thread here

in which the comment by Mike, "Bl- ck Hat Miniatures" on 26 Sep 10 is interesting, about the resemblance to DBA that he noticed.

Then there is another game besides that one, for the army corps in action, in chapter 11. In this one he is talking about the Napoleonic Wars, and still using one of his stands of three figures to represent this time a battalion/regiment of 600-700 men. He wanted his table, eight feet long, to give him 8 miles of space, so he made a mile 12" in this version. It again uses the combat system of a breaking point by type of troops, and rolling a 1 above is fall back, 2 above run, plus three disintegrate.

As mentioned above, in the 18th Century section he was also suggesting that besides the 1:10 game he was presenting there, that the reader could adapt the Napoleonic 'and particularly' the army corps in action rules to the 18th century period.

The Review

In my earlier review I had not seen the book in 35 years. Now that I've had it since Friday, I can say that it is even better than I remembered, even though it's a little different than I remembered. For example, my 35 year old notes about the Crimean War game where a British or French brigade of 6 battalions, or a Russian Division of 7 battalions, were one stand, do not appear here. Yet in my notes it's only one page from the how to use boiling oil, which is from this book.  I must have read that Crimean part someplace else, but it does sound much like what is here. It could either be another book from that period or maybe a magazine article.

Unless John Curry, who arranged this edition, cut that part out, but it looks to be complete. As far as the reviewer on Amazon with his one star and complaining about physical quality, he can safely be ignored. The book was ordered on Feb 5 and was created on Feb 8 using It was on my hands on Feb 11.

But the original in hardcover also drew the same criticisms from Donald Featherstone himself, about the photos, diagrams and lack of good enough terrain in the pics. He seems really to have been miffed that only 2 of his then 13 books were in the bibliography. even though on page 13 DF gets a much larger paragraph than Peter Young and J.P. Lawford. I will link to a copy of Featherstone's review at the time to replace the modern one on Amazon, so you can read it yourself.

This is an excellent blog with a lot of old-time wargaming things, and this C. Wesencraft page has the Featherstone review at the bottom. There is also a lot of other good stuff there besides.
vintage wargaming

Then here is another blog with a wealth of Peter Gilder material, and somewhere in there you can find him talking about his grand manner in print from April 1970 onwards. Just click on the word Gilder under his 'Labels' section for a number of good pieces.
unfashionably shiny

And I'll add another one to the blogroll besides these, because the author is doing a lot of thinking like I am doing, about rules, and like me missed his Wesencraft book after it left his hands.
 That's here.promethius in aspic

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Light For The Blind

 Charlie Wesencraft's Practical Wargaming

 This Ramble Started With a Post On Don't Throw a One
This article began innocently enough as I was reading on Ray's blog, Don't Throw a One, which you can check out in the blogroll, down at the bottom right sidebar of this page. His post I am referring to is called "Recently Painted #12--6mm French WSS," posted on Feb 4.

He had posted some pics of French regiments for the War of the Spanish Succession that he had painted for his friend Postie. These are 6mm Heroics and Ros, from the Marlburian range. His article explains a little about their plan to paint up the armies for the Battle of Blenheim, 1704, and that they are 70% there.

It was particularly interesting to me, because I have some 6mm collections too, and was curious to see what these look like since mine are a different type. These are from the H and R Marlburian range, whereas my H and R are from the Seven Years War range, and I have been meaning to get the Marlburian one of these days.

I already had some early Franks and Hun cavalry from Irregulars, (although the Huns might actually be H and R), and some Old English and Vikings from Heroics and Ros for the 1066 period, when I ordered a large number of Adler 6mm for the Seven Years War several years ago. I know I should have proceeded next to Normans, but these collections do not always proceed logically. The Adlers do look very nice, but I noticed they were quite a bit larger than the other two manufacturers' figures, and that is the common problem of Scale Creep.

Scale Creep Issues
Scale Creep has plagued 25mm scale over the years until people finally started to admit they are 28mm. What happens is the manufacturer thinks they must have more details jammed in for those who want to paint goggle-eyes and what not--and unfortunately they are right, they do need to do that, in order to have larger sales from people hearing about the improved detail over older lines. It's for the people just into paintjobs, appearances over substance.

And so now I found my new 6mm did not fit with the older 6mm, since to take advantage of Scale Creep they had made them more like 8mm. I decided that although I enjoyed looking at the details, I actually liked the Heroics and Ros better anyway, and also the Irregulars, because they gave me a greater feeling of satisfaction in what seemed to be a classic-looking pose. I am not sure how to describe this greater satisfaction but that it was very real. They just remind me of the good old days better.

Old School Wargaming for the 18th Century
I came up looking at pictures in Brig. Peter Young's "Charge! Or How To Play Wargames," and other classic older works such as "The War Game," by Charles Grant. These and other books and booklets from those days when I was starting out are nowadays called Old School, and have a definite nostalgic appeal for many.

And it may be that nostalgic appeal translated for me into a large purchase of SYW H and R, which I enjoyed painting, even though I had just done up all the armies in the larger 6mm. If they are slightly less detailed, and smaller as a more true 6mm, I felt better converting with paint to uniforms of other armies such as Hannoverians and others than what the label officially says they are supposed to be.

At some point about two or three years ago, I went further and started only to be able to think about 2mm instead of either one of the 6mm. That happened probably because I am more interested, as a solo gamer for the most part, in trying to get a historical battle set up as correctly as can be, whereas for other gamers their goals may be a little different. It simply will not do for me to set up three battalions and try to say that is Blenheim, and a battalion is a wing, and they can fire 12" because it looks right, or even close to that.

I want my Blenheim to be the correctly scaled size of field, and the units too, and if they don't fit it's because the original numbers were wrong, and I want to correct them if that's the case. The real troops fit the field perfectly by definition. My model isn't right unless mine fit perfectly too.

All that's fine, and that's my experience this past decade. In previous decades I used the 20mm plastics from Airfix, and in the 80' and 90's was working on metal 15mm from Minifigs, Old Glory and Frontier, or that may also be called Heritage, I think.

I began 18th Century gaming with rules from 1973 as a result of Don Lowry's ads in Boys Life and started out with nearly all the rules from Guidon Games until Chainmail morphed into the vastly successful Dungeons and Dragons, which I did not find interesting very much. The 18C rules were Grosstaktik by Leon Tucker, and perhaps because they so opened my imagination at a formative age, I still consider them the best-written set of rules of all time. Tucker also did Short Rules which were influential on me too, for Napoleonics.

In the meantime he was co-author of Tractics for World War Two in 1/87 scale along with Mike Reese. Those rules are still well-remembered whereas the others are largely forgotten, but to me they were all important, and I absorbed them before seeing "Charge." Grosstaktik was like Charge in that each figure was meant to be 12 men, but had the innovation that it wasn't really necessary to put all 8 men on a company tray because the tray was an element regardless of how many figures were there. A roster kept track of them anyway. Nowadays most use bases or trays, but then it was an innovation not fully accepted, and my old friend Michael still looks askance at people's trays, although not critically.

And that's old school. Especially since the days of Charge, and especially for the 18th Century period,
the attitude of the gamers has been better than what we see in other periods. So if ones like Showalter or some others try to say it's a myth that the 18th century wars were more gentlemanly or humane than other periods, in our own behavior we can still try to be more gentlemanly in our approach to wargaming, than the people in the other periods. And we do. This attitude has been consciously encouraged among 18C people for decades now with great success.

They Don't Know Any Better
I enjoy seeing the rancor on something like a WW2 or Napoleonic board, or as seen on the Frothers, but don't participate that way, and would especially be disturbed when someone from one of those periods brings their behavior into ours, because they don't know any better. It means they do not know the period.

The Troll
This is all a ramble on thoughts I had after seeing Ray attracted an anonymous commenter to his posting, who says that the 6mm should only be in what he calls 'grand scale,' and then makes a smarmy crack about how he thinks there is something wrong with having a battalion with 12 figures.

It sounds like he is repeating words from certain critics of Empire, a Napoleonic  set of rules, but I suspect he doesn't even know the background of the slogans he mimics in the absence of any critical thinking skills of his own.

Aside from the fact the pictures are labelled clearly as regiments and not battalions, anyway, and the uniforms and flags would tell us that had they not been captioned as such, the criticism itself is rankling and required me to exercise some patience after spending 37 years developing my own thought. I can understand Ray threatening to send a voodoo curse, but my 18C background helps me to control my own response to the trolling.

Hold Off On The Voodoo Curse
I work with a real Haitian all the time, and am aware that their magic works most powerfully through love,  in reality, and not just the voodoo curses of the Hollywood version.

When my responding comment reached 450 words, I thought better of it and decided to post it here, along with a discussion of the other issues raised. So instead I'll append that growing comment on here, after a brief review of Practical Wargaming.

 I'm still waiting for the new version with John Curry's name on it, and can't say yet what he's done to it, but I am very glad it is finally available again. I have been waiting for decades.

 The ranting comment contains a little about Charlie Wesencraft's Practical Wargaming, which has been reprinted by another publisher and is available in the US or from Amazon UK. I had the original and really liked it, but unfortunately another ACW reenactor from the 12th South Carolina borrowed mine at the Rockford event in August, 1976, and has not yet returned it. Now it has been reprinted, and I could finally forgive him, if he were to repent.

If you'll look at the only review, the reviewer gives it only one star, and complains about the physical quality of the reprint, but as an original reader I can tell you it is more like five stars, content-wise, to me, regardless of whatever that reviewer is complaining about, and I'd pay full price for a hand-written copy done by a monk in a monastery. I still have my own hand-written notes from 1976 right now. Think about that. It's a 34-year old spiral notebook. Thanks indirectly to that troll I have ordered the new reprint and will have it soon, so there's an example of how to take some negative energy and turn it into a great positive.
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Next follows the rant that I have thought better of, and put here instead.  It would make more sense in conjunction with the original post and its actual comments.                                                 

The Deleted Comment
I agree with kicking rocks, if he means the misguided critic. Those are not battalions, but regiments, anyway, as clearly indicated in the text. A real 18C gamer could tell by the flags and uniforms without the text.

Most importantly an 18C gamer would not make smarmy remarks, even if he were right instead of demonstrably wrong. That's because the 18C period has maintained a gentlemanly and sporting attitude for a generation since Brigadier Peter Young, unlike the other periods, where they half-learned to behave that way, repeating the words of others without understanding. I suspect him of coming from Napoleonics.

 When Charlie Wesencraft invented 'grand scale' in the seventies he meant one half figure per battalion and his book is available now as a classic reprint in the UK and the US, under the title Charlie Wesencraft's Practical Wargaming, available off my links as well as other places.

 He had Divisions of three figures for the Crimea, to represent 6 or 7 battalions. He had six other periods, too.

 It was Peter Gilder later on talking about a 'Grand Manner' with enormous setups okay for a club of millionaires, going all the way to the limits of possibility. That's just more visually impressive but not improved historically. Easy to prove, all battalions were not ever any one size, his are always 60 expensive figs. Thus, wrong. Nor is it practical for normal working people.

 Porky, Postie and Ray are  right, and there should be some elbow room. Even a minimal, overly minimal Blenheim for a head-on clash with no elbow room for any maneuver needs 5 miles frontage and a good 66 battalions and 160 squadrons just for one side. Plus the other side, another 90 and 178 respectively. That is 156 battalions, 338 squadrons, on five miles by two or three, for the minimal version.

 Winston Churchill knew very well what he was about and his map giving extra depth to see the approaches and nearby terrain gives 11 miles by 6 miles. With that extra space you can see why Eugene was late, crossing 5 ridges while the rest came up the low road.

I've got armies of 6mm Adler which are more like 8mm and also Heroics and Ros like those shown and like them better for their simplicity, which is why I bought them over and above the Adler. Both are from the SYW ranges. Glad to see what the earlier 'Marlburian' range look like and may get some soon.

There's nothing wrong with even one or two figures per battalion which with a little imagination and perspective, mathematics and geometry rightly applied to the geography available makes a Blenheim setup look like a Battle.
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