Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Ridgeway and Fort Erie

I spent a lovely (but windy and cool) Sunday afternoon at Ridgeway in the Niagara Peninsula with a patient and understanding friend (thanks Merita!). Our original intention was to go on a walking tour of the battlefield at Ridgeway (of Fenian Raids vintage) by author Peter Vronsky then attend a book-signing at a local bookshop for his new(ish) book.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that a memorial service had been prepared to honour the nine who died at the Battle of Ridgeway in 1866. We opted out of the walking tour of the battlefield because of the high winds and chilly temperatures. No matter, since we drove a few kilometers down the road and stopped at Fort Erie. With no real intention of going through the fort (I've done it a number of times), the new visitors' center made us change our minds. You can see the pics below of our adventures during the day.

The memorial cairn that sits on the edge of the battlefield. Queen's Own Rifles and the 13th Battalion of militia stand guard.

The 13th Battalion drill team and honour guard.
18lb cannon at Fort Erie. This is a new redoubt built outside the fort to simulate the American entrenchments during the siege of the fort. They've made some major changes to the site, including the visitor center and the redoubts.

Our guide for the afternoon, explaining the nuances of mortars.

And my favourite find of the day, Congreve rocket platforms. These are excellently recreated examples and apparently they fire them off occasionally (unfortunately, we didn't get to see that).

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Early War Poles

With incoming release of Too Fat Lardies new Chain of Command ruleset this summer, my willpower to resist early Second World War was defeated in a titanic struggle.  With that, I started looking which period / campaign would be interesting to game and paint.  One of the few campaigns in the Second World War that has not been done to death is the 1939 Invasion of Poland (the other that I really spent a long time contemplating on was the Pacific).  One of the great questions became, which manufacturer actually does Early War Poles in 28mm and good sculpts to boot?

I fired off a message to Dave asking his opinion on the matter and it just so happened that he had an entire infantry platoon from Warlord Games laying around in a box.  With an unspoken condition that I paint them up to play with him, Dave gifted them to me.

Over the last two weeks I started working on the first section (of three) of this platoon.  Information regarding the TO&Es of Polish infantry platoons are somewhat murky at best.  I like building a full strength platoon and then reducing that strength depending on the scenario used, so I amalgamated the different TO&Es found on the Internet and Osprey's.

A Polish platoon is made up of three infantry sections, a mortar section and a headquarter section.  With the figures provided in the warlord games packs, it is possible to assemble all three infantry and the headquarter sections.  The mortar is another story as no manufacturer that I know makes the 47mm mortar used.

Anyway, I finished the first infantry section.  Polish sections are enormous, having between 18 and 19 men each, broken down into three squads, two rifle and one LMG.  The rifle squads are both seven men, including a lance-corporal in charge and a four-man LMG team.  The entire squad is commanded by a corporal.  The first sources I used to understand the make-up of a Polish platoon quoted that the infantry section was 18 men, so I painted up 18 of them.  I do have the extra models to add a model to each section and bring them up to 19 each.

With this project, I purposefully started using 25mm hex bases for the command figures of each section.  I decided against putting the squad leaders on hex bases, but I used identical models all of them.  The hex bases make it easier to spot command figures on the table.