Wheel Meet Again: A Tribute Ancients Game for Stuart Asquith

Tomorrow / today the 18th November is the day of Stuart Asquith’s funeral.

I know that several of Stuarts’s long term gaming friends and magazine colleagues and contemporaries will attend.

I hope the many online tributes and the tribute games played this weekend in his memory will be of great comfort to his family.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/17/preparing-an-ancients-game-in-tribute-to-stuart-asquith/

Aerial view of the skirmish area set out as in the Solo Wargaming book. Turn 1

.

My tribute to Stuart, using some of his former 15mm Peter Laing troops, is a small Ancient skirmish.

It is based on the ‘Wheel Meet Again’ scenario in his Guide To Solo Wargaming. The rules are based on his simple rules in his Guide to Wargaming.

.

Scenario 8 – Wheel Meet Again

“A lightly guarded convoy of wagons has run into a spot of bother. One of the wagons has suffered a broken wheel and had to be left behind with a guard by the rest of the convoy. On reaching their destination the scouts pass on their news about the disabled wagon. At once a relief column is organised, complete with spare wheel to put the wagon back in service and sets off.

Meanwhile the enemy is also interested in the immobile wagon and its small escort and decide to investigate. The wagon guard, on the alert for just such an event, open fire on the inquisitive enemy, hoping that relief is at hand.

This scenario is fought in three stages. Firstly the wagon guards attempt to keep their attackers at bay. Next reinforcements arrive and deploy to allow the wagon to be repaired. Finally the wagon and its new escort have to gain the safety of the eastern edge of the table once more. A moderately complex, three-part engagement follows and offers numerous permutations for the solo player …”

Stuart Asquith, p.74 Solo Wargaming (1989)

.

I am not normally an Ancients player but having picked up several years ago a 15mm Pict / Celtic and Roman army from Stuart Asquith and also other figures from online sellers, I have enough scraps of Egyptians, Greeks, Assyrians etc to field several different national skirmish forces.

The setting: Roman Britain – the Pictish wilds

A Roman supply column has left behind a broken down wagon with a few escorts, promising to send a relief force.

A small shadowing hunting party of Pictish scouts lurk to the Northwest.

The broken wagon is a fire cart, a blacksmiths cart, belonging to the Roman Army.

Stuart recommends a small ‘Wagon Guard’ force for part one, such as 6 archers (or musketeers in later periods).

A d6 is thrown to find out when reinforcements on both sides will arrive. In this game they would appear on Turn 5, Romans to the East and Picts to the West.

After playing the game I noticed that Stuart Asquith suggested that one d6 is thrown to work out which turn for the arrival of the enemy, two d6 for the arrival of the supply column.

There are several areas of uncrossable forest to the Southeast and Southwest and a passable rocky forest outcrop to the North East.

It takes two turns to fix the wagon once the Roman forces reach this waggon with the repair tools and a spare wheel. Repairs take the help of four men.

Phase 1 – Holding the Pictish Scouting Party at Bay

Turn 1 sees the Roman armoured archers spread out into a defensive circle, the Pictish scouting party spread out to the Northwest. The Roman archers land two successful hits at mid range and hit the two Pictish archers.

Without distance or range weapons, the Picts charge into melee – one Roman archer is killed and two more Pictish spearman.

In some melee situations, the +1 advantage of the armour of a Roman archers is cancelled out by being confronted by two Pictish spearmen +1.

Roman archers fought the melee with their swords, so are unable to fire this round.

Turn 3

With few Pict scouts left, we take a morale test to work out what the Picts will do. Roll d6 – 1,3, 5 continue for melee and 2,4,6 outnumbered, retreat. The Picts move into melee and being within firing range, the last Picts are quickly wiped out.

Turn 4 sees the Roman Archers regroup.

Phase 2 the Relief Column Arrives

Turn 5

The Pictish War Band and Roman relief column arrived on the scene at opposite ends. The Light Cavalry and Light Infantry head out ahead of the others. Roman archers take out a Pictish light cavalryman and archer. The Pictish archers miss their targets.

Turn 6

The Roman light infantry and cavalry ride up with the mounted office of the relief column to join the Roman archer Wagon Guards who fall back behind the wagon to join them.

In the ensuing movement / melee and fire turns, 2 more Pictish archers are successfully targeted by the Roman archers but the Roman mounted officer is killed by a Pictish archer.

Turn 7

Romans move first and the legionaries in the relief column reach the stranded waggon – the light infantry and cavalry on both sides clash in melee. Two Roman cavalry and two auxiliaries are quickly killed.

At this stage the Picts have a series of lucky dice throws, spelling disaster for the Romans. They slam into the Roman ranks, killing the last 4 Roman archers of the Wagon Guard.

The Romans are unable to fire their pilum short spears as their own men are out in front. Fortunately the Pictish archers are equally blocked from firing by the presence of their own men.

In the melee the Roman Eagle standard bearer and another infantry officer is killed. However the Eagle is quickly grabbed by another legionary.

As soon as the Romans can throw their pilums, six Pictish warriors are brought down.

Rule – only the first two rows can throw pilums.

Turn 8

In turn 8 the two front Roman ranks who have thrown pilums spread out to counter the Picts to their right. 6 more legionaries are lost in melee before the remaining pilums are thrown taking out three more Pictish archers and spearmen.

Turn 9

As the Picts move into further melee, 2 more legionaries fall – the Eagle is again grabbed to safety by the Roman officer – and 4 Picts are killed. Only one of the Pictish archers is left.

Turn 10

On the Pictish side, only one archer, a spearman and the mounted Pictish officer and one of foot remain.

On the Roman side, 4 legionaries, the trumpeter and officer with the Eagle remain.

The morale test – throw d6 1,3,5 to retire and 2,4,6 to fight on.

The Picts choose to retire, the Romans to fight on.

Phase 3 – The Wagon repaired and rescued

The Picts retreat and the Roman legionaries repair and recover the wagon, heading off to the East, wary of further Pictish attack.

A beer tribute to Stuart Asquith who watched over the whole proceedings.

Once the game was over, I raised a glass of WW1 anniversary beer to Stuart in thanks for all he had done for my hobby.

Sadly my last bottle of this 2014 WW1 anniversary Cornish vintage beer picked up on my travels hadn’t aged well in the bottle. I had picked up a couple of beer mats for figure basing from the pub after Sunday lunch after an earlier walk – appropriately drinking some Tribute beer.

Rest In Peace, Stuart Asquith – hope you enjoyed the game.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 17 / 18 November 2019.

B.P.S.Blog Post Script – 18 November 2019,

Henry Hyde’s

https://battlegames.co.uk/a-eulogy-for-stuart-asquith/

Appendix – Amending Stuart Asquith’s Ancients Rules

I reduced the movement scales and weapons ranges down from Stuart’s simple rules for 15mm scale:

Spears (such as pilum) 4 inch range.

Bows 12 inch range

Weapon ranges –

Close range up to 4 inches, throw d6 4,5 or 6 for a kill.

Medium range 4 to 8 inches, throw d6 5 or 6 for a kill.

Long Range 8 to 12 inches, throw d6 6 for a kill.

Movement rates

Light Infantry 6 inches – Roman Auxiliaries and Picts Celtic warriors

Heavy Infantry 4 inches e.g. Roman legionaries and Archers

Heavy Chariot / Ox Cart 6 inches

Light Cavalry 9 inches

Melee rules

Individual melee, throw a d6 for each man involved, highest number wins. If there is two versus one man, add +1 for each attacker.

Mounted versus foot, +1 for mounted.

Fighting troops with shield or armour, -1 for attackers.

Unarmoured troops, -1 from their dice.

Preparing an Ancients Game in Tribute to Stuart Asquith

My Solo Opponent for the weekend? Stuart Asquith in his 1988 Guide to Solo Gaming.

I was saddened by the news about Stuart Asquith’s death, whose funeral is on Monday the 18th of November. It has been good to read the many tributes to him by his gaming friends and readers, as his family have also publicly said.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2019/11/05/a-muffled-drum-for-stuart-asquith/

Along with many other gamers worldwide, I will be holding a small tribute game in Stuart’s memory. It will be a solo Ancients Skirmish game for this coming weekend. This will be using some of my 15mm Peter Laing Ancient Roman and Picts / Celts that used to belong to Stuart.

Here is my excellent research material:

Some Ancient inspiration …

Stuart Asquith’s Military Modelling Guide To Wargaming – Ancients page
Simple rules for the Ancients from Stuart’s book with option for individual melee
Tradgardmastre Alan Gruber recommends the Phil Barker WRG titles

One of these excellent books mentioned by Stuart is literally top of my list of Ancients research, Nils Saxtorph’s Warriors and Weapons of Early Times (Blandford Colour). Many of my childhood drawings were based on this book. Like the Asquith titles, my copy of this wonderful colour book came from my local childhood branch library when they started inexplicably selling off ‘old’ books in the 1990s (!) That was back in the days of reading Stuart Asquith in Military Modelling.

Some of Stuart’s books and his Peter Laing figures feature in my Full Metal Hic Jacet project ‘research’ pile: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/full-metal-hic-jacet/

Choosing just one suitable small scale Skirmish scenario has been a challenge from the many ones in his Solo Wargaming book. One that I have looked forward to playing again is the ‘Stranded Wagon’ scenario 8, Wheel Meet Again, adaptable to almost any period from stranded oxcart of early times and Wild West waggon to broken down supply lorry or futuristic (but broken) cargo speeder.

This is the broken down ox waggon, almost straight out of Asterix!

When is the rescue party going to arrive?

Will the escort hold out long enough?

Can wheel repairs be done in time under the threat of attack?

Stuart’s stranded waggon scenario in his Guide to Solo Wargaming

I had one recent go at this scenario theme in my Bronte inspired Angrian Imagi-Nation skirmish https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/a-skirmish-in-angria-close-little-wars-rules/

My Angrian waggon Skirmish scenario – Bronte ImagiNations

Before I play out this Solo scenario at the weekend or on the evening of the day that he is put to rest on the 18th November, I need to slightly undo some of Stuart’s handiwork to turn these figures back to single basing.

Original Asquith beermat bases – proof that he followed his own book advice!

I’m sure Stuart would be pragmatic about my adapting his multi figure basing to single figures. Stuart’s basing tips from his Guide to Wargaming are shown above, including beer mats that Stuart has used here.

Single basing using Stuart’s original beermat bases cut in two or three
A small Roman Column, some to escort the stranded ox waggon, some to repair and rescue it.

Beer mats aside, some Beer may need to be opened and drunk in Stuart’s memory as well, on or close to the 18th November in spirit alongside my fellow gamers and admirers of Stuart’s many books.

I also want to fit in a 54mm game skirmish in Stuart’s memory soon, an unfashionable scale that he supported.

I shall post pictures afterwards.

The Click2Comic treatment of Stuart Asquith, Solo gamer!

And finally … my Peter Laing 15mm Ancient British Chariot Squadron which will probably not be appearing in this “Wheel Meet Again” Stuart Asquith Solo Scenario.

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN on 15 November 2019

Stuart Asquith’s Roman and Pictish Army 15mm Peter Laing figures

Preparing for an Ancients Solo Skirmish this weekend, a tribute game in Stuart Asquith’s memory, using Stuart’s very own old 15mm Peter Laing Roman and Pictish Army.

I bought these figures, which were painted and based by Stuart, from him via an online dealer about two years ago. I have yet to split or alter the beermat bases into individually based skirmish figures.

Before I do this rebasing (which mostly involves simply cutting the multiple figure beermat bases like the archers into two individual bases), I wanted to photograph them all together, under the watchful eye of their old commander for the last time.

Email reply from Stuart Asquith assigning these troops over to me as their new Commander.

The Picts have some attractive swirly body tattoo or body paint, along with some great command figures.

Elsewhere if I want to transform these into Ancient Britons, I have some old Peter Laing 15mm British chariots somewhere and some Assyrian and Egyptian ones – good for chariot racing games.

There are some attractive 15mm Peter Laing Pictish and Roman / German Auxiliary Cavalry and Mounted Archers. There is also a non-Laing Pictish C in C on Horseback

The Roman and Pictish foot soldiers are backed up by these colourful Peter Laing Pictish and Roman Cavalry.

Many of the figures have Stuart’s unit ID notes on the bases, which I will do my best to photograph and preserve as I split up the bases to individual figures bases.

The Peter Laing Romans are superb little figures.

There are also what I take to be auxiliary troops and some great Roman artillery.

Roman Archers and officer.

I’m sure my fellow Peter Laing collector colleagues will help me ID with catalogue numbers some of these Ancients figures over the next few months.

I have other Peter Laing 15mm Ancient figures acquired over many years or dual use items from my teenage Middle and Dark Ages Peter Laing figures. Stuart’s Romans can take on (in Ancient future) my Egyptians, Greeks, Sea Peoples and others, even my Zulus. I even have a Peter Laing elephant with howdah somewhere!

I wish I’d asked Stuart for a bit of ‘commander in chief’ advice, as Ancients are a relatively new period for me, aside from playing rough games with my Airfix Romans and Britons many years ago.

I have long wanted to explore the Teutoberg type scenarios and The modern Vietnam style “natives versus more technologically equipped infantry” with milecastle ‘firebases’ etc https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/full-metal-hic-jacet/

However there are his many books to give me some strategy advice.

As well as Stuart’s very simple rules in his books (pictured), there are also simple Ancients rules in Donald Featherstone’s War Games (1962), which also has as an appendix my favourite ‘Close Wars’ Skirmish rules.

So still a little work to do to get my Skirmish game ready for Sunday / Monday in Stuart’s memory.

I have chosen a scenario from the Stuart Asquith book of Solo Wargaming.

The WW1 centenary (2014) ‘soldier’ beer is ready.

Preparation of the game blog post to follow.

Blog posted by Mark, Man of TIN on 15 November 2019

I bought a Scottish Croft for only £1

F52B3A43-75EF-4BCD-8A1F-F39E4FBEFE2D

After a cool early morning stroll through my nearest local village I walked past a fundraising car boot sale. I was tempted to start a small Sylvanian Army by equipping small furry clothed creatures with shields, swords and spears (Redwall style) but kindly left them all to be discovered with delight by a  local child.

Instead I bought a Scottish Croft for a Pound.

F52B3A43-75EF-4BCD-8A1F-F39E4FBEFE2D

Thankfully I don’t now have to upsticks and move Northwards to embrace the Good Life of Self Sufficiency anytime soon, only to find both the off-grid smallholding novelty and the delusion wear out quickly. Then write a book about it.

Or maybe not – because it is a very very tiny Croft House and a very small piece of land. It also comes with a tiny flock of sheep built in!

01F26E79-93C8-4504-918C-71487AF6ECE5

Instead I moved in some suitably tiny tenants into this little resin Lilliput Lane building – some of my vintage 15mm Peter Laing 1715 or 45 Rising figures. I’m not too sure if they are happy about the sheep or the related Highland Clearances that will follow in the next century.

These 15mm Peter Laing highlanders that I bought as a youngster are here:
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/more-peter-laing-scots/
https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/24/all-about-the-base-about-the-base/

Those precious few Peter Laing sheep have a lot to answer for! Posted when I thought only had one surviving 15mm sheep: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/29/peter-laing-sheep/

Crofting, Clearances, Sheep or People?
The Highland Clearances (or  the “eviction of the Gaels”) were the forced evictions of many tenants in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, mostly in the period 1750 to 1860.

“After the initial swift and bloodthirsty retribution for the Jacobite rebellions, laws were instigated to prevent any further groundswell of support for the previous monarchs. In 1747 ‘The Act of Proscription’ was passed. Clan tartan had become popular during the Jacobite years and this was outlawed under this new act, as were bagpipes and the teaching of Gaelic. The Act was a direct attack on the Highland culture and way of life, and attempted to eradicate it from a modern and Hanoverian-loyal Scotland.”

So says:
https://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/HistoryofScotland/The-Highland-Clearances/

The article continues:  “It was not only Highland culture that disappeared over this period but also the Highlanders themselves, for the most prosaic of reasons: money. It was deduced by those landowners on whose lands the clans lived and worked, that sheep were exponentially more financially productive than people. The wool trade had begun to boom and there was literally more value in sheep than people. So, what followed was an organized and intentional removal of the population from the area. In 1747, another Act was passed, the ‘Heritable Jurisdictions Act’, which stated that anyone who did not submit to English rule automatically forfeited their land: bend the knee or surrender your birthright …”

The hundred or so years between 1750 and 1860 saw the bulk of the Highland Clearances, forced eviction from farms or a move into alternative Crofting tenancies. For many, it led to eventual forced emigration to avoid famine and failed industries like kelp farming. It is still an emotive area of many people’s family histories scattered around the world. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_Clearances

So a Scottish Croft for only an English Pound has a lot of complex and partisan economic, social, colonial and military history lurking behind it.

With such big spending, I could have posted this blog post on Pound Store Plastic Warriors.

Two other wargames blogs on a 1:72 Jacobite theme

Rod’s interesting Airfix conversions https://rodwargaming.wordpress.com

Tony Kitchen at Tin Soldiering On http://tonystoysoldiers.blogspot.com/search/label/The%2045

For more of my Lilliput Lane buildings of this sadly vanished uk manufacturer: https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/lilliput-lane-buildings-for-15mm-figures/

Now back to researching those early Scouting handbooks and Wide Games scenarios. Scottish Scouts were allowed to wear kilts.

EDFC1372-D702-4B65-920F-250834A05E95
Image source: Pinterest

Blog posted by Mark Man of
TiN on 28 July 2019

Restored corner of the house that is my Hex Boards of Joy

For a few months I have not done much gaming to write up.

Not since a short Mountie Skirmish in late November 2018 last year https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/11/30/mountie-ambush-game-15mm/

For a few months my gaming area and tabletop have been covered in broken Britain’s figures awaiting repair, Peter Laing 15mm figures awaiting paint, tools and useful bits of scrap for modelling.

54mm superheroes and tiny blocky Minecraft figures

I am as happy casting, repairing and painting figures as I am gaming with them, hence the quote on Man of TIN blog from Donald Featherstone:

The largest hex game board has hung on the wall being a former picture frame – a neat storage solution tucked away in the corner of a shared living room.

As part of the Scout Wide Games research and rules writing, I am not sure if my hex boards will be too small for the 42mm range Scout figures I have painted. Maybe I should have gone smaller, say OO/HO railway or my Pound Store figure conversions? Different size figures, different scale scenarios?

15mm Peter Laing figures for a different scale

I have been playing around with scale from 54mm superheroes and tiny blocky Minecraft blind bag figures (Heroscape hexes have a 3D landscape Minecraft feel) down to 15mm Peter Laing figures, which give a bigger playing space.

Set up for 42mm range STS Little Britons Scouts (Boy and Girl) …

Having a large enough landscape for the Wide Games scenarios is obviously harder with the larger Scout figures 42mm Shiny Toy Soldiers / Little Britons range (from Spencer Smith Miniatures), so the scale and ground space available may shape the scope of future scenarios.

My couple of quick paint conversions of Pound Store figures in a smaller scale may enlarge the territory available to my Scouting games – I can cheaply and quickly knock up a couple of patrols of these to try this out.

https://poundstoreplasticwarriors.wordpress.com/2019/05/19/pound-store-plastic-boy-scout-32mm-conversions/

32mm Pound Store Scout conversions & the original penny plastic figures

Part of the Wide Games appeal is that tabletop Wide Games could equally function as Garden games especially with the largest, simplest 60mm semi-flat Scouts – as pointed by Alan the Tradgardmastre of the Duchy Of Tradgardland Blog.

http://tradgardland.blogspot.com/2019/05/scouts-for-wide-games.html

If only my ageing knees and back and the weather were up to it …

The rest of the space?

A column of Really Useful Boxes divides the playing space from the crafting space. More Really Useful Boxes and Shoe Boxes are stowed away below the gaming table and the chairs.

Acquiring job lots of broken toy soldiers to repair requires storage. The Peter Laing figures, both painted and awaiting paint, require storage. Scrap modelling materials, tools and paints require storage.

For the last few months, wriggling into the old crafting chair has felt like sliding into a narrow cockpit to focus down onto the hand tools, paintbrush and figures in front of me. It’s also meant that I had no gaming space. Shifting these about and restowing boxes has helped no end.

My flap-down desk with cardboard screen keeping paper contents and books safe from paint.

I understand more fully now the points about concentration and wellbeing made in the Models for Heroes videos. There is a mental craft zone that the world shrinks down to.

I am reminded of the ominous episode in Harry Pearson’s gaming memoir Achtung Schweinhund where Harry hears from his gaming best friend about an obsessive hoarder (stereotypically male, middle aged, single). This man’s decaying house is in danger of collapse from an Aladdin’s Cave of stored vintage unboxed figures, magazines and newspapers, yet eerily the paint table is immaculate and ordered. Harry and friend see a vision of their possible lonely futures.

My Crafting “Cockpit”: Phoenix 43 Trek Cart kit & washed-out Cath Kidston pink Guards mug

The cutting board and painting space that forms my crafting area has now transferred to the right of the board onto a flap down modern bureau desk, rather than than the traditional modeller’s Roll Top type desk. It fits into the rest of the family without sitting in a room apart. It’s stuffed full of toy soldier things and research notes and books for other work-related projects, protected from paint splatters by a removable cardboard screen. Reorganising the contents means that everything should be able to fold back up out of sight.

The desk top “display” space itself could also do with a tidy up as it is currently piled with figures and books that I have worked on in the last year. Inspiration but it’s also a jumble of what has been inside my head recently.

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/the-domestic-modelling-joys-of-the-roll-top-desk/

Next to this sits a small bulging cupboard stuffed full with books, hollowcast figures and hoarded Airfix figures and kits from childhood onwards, again its top piled with this year’s projects. Again all of these could do with a sort through on another grey day.

More Really Useful storage boxes live in the garage for my metal casting kit, buildings, some other temperature proof gaming stuff and metal figures, whilst the indoor storage is reserved for the more vulnerable fragile vintage and childhood plastics figures and vehicles.

The painting above the desk is a recent acquisition, a framed Illustrated London News print of the Lancashire Rifle Volunteers parading at Knowsley Park. Britain’s Victorian Home Guard against another Napoleonic French invasion, and finely dressed at that. One for Marvin at Subterranean Militarism!

The Review of Lancashire Rifle Volunteers in Knowsley Park. Illustration for The Illustrated London News, 15 September 1860.

So there you are, restored –

an experimental games lab to try out Wide Games or gaming scenarios indoors,

an encouragement to paint and base those Peter Laings stuck in the lead limbo of the ‘work in progress’ painting box,

hopefully a little more presentable part of the Living Room if we have visitors to the house!

Blog posted by Mark Man of TIN, 9 June 2019.

Man of TIN Advent Calendar Day 18 – Peter Laing WW1 Belgian Cyclists

I have neglected my 15mm  Peter Laing figures this year. I also have to confess – I didn’t paint these 15mm Belgian cyclists, but I did spot them for sale online buried away amongst thousands of 15mm listings.

I took a punt on these being Peter Laing figures as they were not listed by manufacturer. Having collected and painted several hundred Laing figures, I hoped I had correctly recognised these as Peter Laing figures which have quite a overall slender, stylish and distinctive look to them.

F711 Belgian Carabinier Cyclists

These cyclists are attractively based in units on road section bases.

Looking up the website of experienced Peter Laing collector John Patriquin (The Wargame Hermit blog) I saw an unpainted cyclist casting that gave me some hope that these figures for sale online were by Peter Laing. The sales photo left me with a few doubts. http://wargamehermit.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/peter-laing-machine-gun-cyclsts.html

Nearby were some well painted 15mm Peter Laing WW1 Belgian infantry which I also purchased.

The Belgian infantry Carabiniers wore an interesting black uniform and shako that had yet to be fully modernised by the time WW1 broke out in 1914, so some units went to war in almost Napoleonic uniforms.

Peter Laing F710 Belgian Carabinier advancing

Although they are not Peter Laing figures, there are some attractive dog cart machine guns and the odd officer figure by another manufacturer.

Eventually I will split these unit bases up and rebase them as my rules use individual figure bases.

Marvin at Suburban Militarism blog beautifully painted these 1:72 Hat Belgian cyclist versions https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2018/08/22/belgiums-carabinier-cyclists-complete/

Another old unposted blog entry on Bicycle Troops
Finding some odd bicycle troops amongst a job lot of Peter Laing WW1 and WW2 15mm figures was interesting – still not sure of maker.

image
Bicycle troops

https://manoftinblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/peter-laing-15mm-ww2-skirmish/

image
Bicycle troops

From Victorian era  Boer War bicyclists to modern Afgahnistan and the modern Swiss Army, bicycles have played an interesting role in getting infantry and paratroops mobile, from the WW2 Bicycle Blitzkreig through  Japanese cyclists on the jungle tracks to the airborne  infantry with their parabikes.

Two recent books cover this area: Jim Fitzpatrick, The Bicycle in Wartime: An Illustrated History Paperback 2011 and R.S. Kohn’s book Bicycle Troops (2011) is  also available on Amazon.

Both of these I look forward to reading, they are now on this year’s 2019 reading list.

As well as the Belgian cyclists, Hat offer  German and other nations bicycle  infantry in plastic 1:72 http://www.plasticsoldierreview.com/review.aspx?id=2095

Airfix had the odd OO/HO bicyclist in its RAF Crew figures range that could have a rifle added or a well equipped one or two in its WW1 French infantry. Bicycles were also added clutter  in some of its OO/HO buildings range (Forward Strongpoint)

image
A useful bicycle figure from RAF Ground Crew which could have a rifle added etc.

Some wargames have simply added Bicycle shaped novelty paper clips.

Lots more information on the interesting Wikipedia entry : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_infantry

image
Danish bicycle soldiers cycle toward the German invaders 1940 (Wikimedia / Wikipedia source)

There are plenty of well illustrated museum websites on military bikes:

http://www.theliberator.be/militarybicycles.htm

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/military-bicycles-a-short-history-34906/

image
WW1 Italian Bersaglieri Bicycle troops (Image: Public Domain Wikipedia / Wikimedia)

Bersaglieri WW1 bicycle troops pictured: https://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/1911-bianchi-military-folding-bicycle/

In Mark Thompson’s The White War Life and Death on the Italian Front (p.71)  tells the story of a Slovene child seeing Bersaglieri with their plumed hats approaching by bikes into the Caparetto /  Isonzo area  in 1915 and exclaimed “Daddy, look at all the ladies coming here on bikes!” Hardly the image that these tough mountain troops wished to create.

Many other amazing posts on this BSA Museum website such as AA Cycle scouts in wartime.

 https://bsamuseum.wordpress.com/aa-cycle-scouts/

Excellent YouTube Clip of the Swiss Military Cyclists of today:  https://ruedatropical.wordpress.com/2009/02/10/swiss-army-bicycles/

Dorset soldiers produce civilian, band and postal bicycle 54mm figures that could be converted to military uses.

http://smallscaleworld.blogspot.co.uk/2015_07_01_archive.html  photo of lovely Heyde Balkan bicyclists..

Interestingly H.G. Wells, writer of Little Wars , was a keen cyclist with Mrs Wells.

Blogposted by Mark Man of TIN as Advent Day Calendar  18, 18th December 2018.

Peter Laing 15mm Bulgarian WW1 Infantry

 

IMG_3263

I have bought the odd small mixed lot of gaming figures recently online because they contained small caches of 15mm Peter Laing figures. Now that the moulds are missing, this is one of the few ways to acquire new Peter Laing figures.

Amongst one lot was a small group of about a dozen WW1 Russian Infantry figures with rolled greatcoats F759 and officer F760  but  all painted brown with unusual black and white cross-gartered boots.

IMG_3265
Ahead of many other makers, Peter Laing produced 15mm WW1 figures of many of these nations.

A quick check in Military Uniforms of The World in Colour suggests that the original owner painted them as WW1 Bulgarian Infantry. They needed basing and some of the paint touching up, whilst about half of them have no fixed bayonets.

An unusual choice of figure. I had to go and look up which side the Bulgarians fought for in WW1  – with Germany and the Central Powers from 1915  – and against whom.  After a period of early neutrality, courted by both sides, they joined the Central Powers and fought initially against the Serbs, then against other Allied troops including the British on the stalemate of the Macedonian / Salonika Front.

“The Kingdom of Bulgaria participated in World War I on the side of the Central Powers from 14 October 1915, when the country declared war on Serbia, until 30 September 1918, when the Armistice of Thessalonica came into effect.” (Wikipedia)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulgaria_during_World_War_I

The unusual leggings are called Opankers and a dull brown woollen uniform was already in use amongst other ranks.

IMG_3267
Bulgarian Infantry information in Military Uniforms of the World in Colour

During basing and flocking, I managed not to obscure the well painted opanker leggings too much.

IMG_3273
Bulgarian troops in WW1 with distinctive foot gear (Wikipedia public domain image source)

So these Bulgarians were  part of the army that invaded and pushed back the Serbian army, whose soldiers  that Marvin at the Suburban Militarism blog has been  beautifully  painting recently, albeit in slightly larger 1:72 plastic figures.

https://suburbanmilitarism.wordpress.com/2018/01/28/soldiers-of-serbia/

Alongside the painted Peter Laing Bulgarians were some unpainted original figures of  Russian infantry and others in peaked caps that may be British, Russian or other figures.

With Peter Laing  figures details being so slight at 15mm size, there are a range of similar looking figures in similar helmets or soft and peaked  hats which are almost interchangeable with some suitable painting.

IMG_3264
Unpainted Peter Laing WW1 Russian infantry, F759 and officer F760, the originals of the Bulgarians and an artillery figure with shell British A703? Russian A728? German A711?

A suitbale painting guide for these figures as Russian WW1 infantry can also be found in the same uniform guide.

IMG_3266
Russian and Serbian infantry from Military Uniforms of The World in Colour.
IMG_3268
Useful uniform notes on WW1 Russian Infantry.

Amongst some of the other mixed figures were these artillerymen, one type medieval and the other Russian fur hatted artillery men.

IMG_3272
A749? Soviet Gunner kneeling with fur hat, flanked by medieval range A904 kneeling gunner.

There were also a couple of machine gunners. Not sure which nation or side the left  hand figure represents, the right hand figure may well be ANZAC machine gunner Fseven five two.

IMG_3269

With so few of these Russian figures it is difficult to know whether to paint the remaining nineteen unpainted infantry as Russians.

Alternatively I could paint most of them as Bulgarians  to make a small Bulgarian skirmish force of about thirty to thirty five figures to fight my British pith-helmeted infantry in a Macedonia or Balkan scenario, aided by the WWI Turkish infantry that I have.  The two uniforms are pretty close anyway to paint and use interchangeably with a bit of gamer’s licence. I may keep one figure back to use as a future mould original and one to paint as a Russian figure.