I want to have a wargaming set that uses formed units of infantry, cavalry and guns working together. I've already got a Napoleonic skirmish collection so I've decided that the Crimea is going to fit the bill.
I've wanted to do a Crimea project for nearly thirty years now but the size of the armies under the rules I used to use to play games like this made it a daunting task.
However, more recently I started looking at books by Neil Thomas which cover the period and they require much more modest forces.
The final bit of the puzzle was Sharp Practice by Too Fat Lardies which countless people recommended.
Churning all this around in my tiny brain, I ended up with the following plan.
I'm going to assemble the two armies using the Sharp Practice template (with modifications, obviously) for each side and stick to the recommended eight figure units. This is a better option for me than the Neil Thomas organisation which has an equivaqlent number of units but each requires sixteen figures for infantry and twelve for cavalry.
I won't be using individually based miniatures which seems to be usual for Sharp Practice or sub groups of four miniatures as suggested by Neil Thomas but instead I'm going to mount each unit on a single base. which means no casualty removal but results in a better look to my eyes.
Each side will have a basic force of teninfantry, four cavalry and a gun per side with three commanders.
I'm going to be using Great War Miniatures from Northstar for this project which come in packs of six infantry or three cavalry so infantry units will be assembled in pairs requiring two troop packs and a command pack.
Cavalry will be three to a unit and guns will be a single gun with the provided crew.
This will give me:
1 gun and 4 crew
1 General and staff and 2 junior commanders
For each side with 'flavour' extras as follows:
A unit of skirmishers (Rifles) and two extra units of French infantry for the British and an extra unit of Cossack and two extra guns for the Russians.
2 units of Guards- Coldstream
2 units of Highlanders- 93rd Sutherland
2 units of line infantry in shakos
2 units of line infantry in caps
1 unit of skirmishing Rifles
1 unit of Lancers- 17th
1 unit of Hussars- 11th
1 unit of Scots Greys
1 unit of Inniskillings
1 gun with 4 crew
3 commanders- Raglan and staff and Lord Lucan and Cardigan
2 units of French infantry
16 units total
2 infantry units in hats
2 infantry units in helmets
2 Grenadier units in hats
2 Grenadier units in helmets
2 units of sdailors
1 unit of Moscow Regment
1 unit of dragoons in helmets
1 unit of dragoons in hats
1 unit of hussars
1 unit of lancers
1 unit of Cossacks
3 guns with 4 crew each
19 units total
I really want some lancers for the Russians so I've ordered a set from Foundry, hopefully they'll be a decent match. I'll replace a Cossak unit with them. While I was there I also ordered a unit of Moscow Regiment to add numbers and variety to the Russians.
The revised and extended plan
There are tables in Neil Thomas' Wargaming 19th Century Europe that players roll on to see what units they get for a scenario.
The maximum number of infantry is six so I've decided to increase my infantry count to twelve bases so I can field six 16 figure infantry units. I've ordered a double unit of British line infantry (in coats for variety, I've had enough of red) and another pack of the Moscow unit making it a double based unit like the rest to achieve this.
The British can have two skirmishers so I'm going to produce another set of 95thRifles.
Russians require a maximum of four guns and the allies two so I've modified my plans to include these new totals.
The maximum cavalry per side is three units. I'm capping mine at two for the moment, using single base units and brigading them. So, for instance, my 17th Lancers and 11th Hussars will be brigaded into the Light Brigade and fight as a single 6 figure unit of cavalry.
The Russians get a unit of 'free' Cossacks for every scenario so I'm going to do two bases of Cossacks so they're a full 6 figure cavalry unit on their own.
I may increase all my cavalry to double units later depending on how much I enjoy painting them and how they look on the table. That's a total ogfeighteen extra horsemen which isn't too many on paper. Stay tuned for a further update, I'm loathe to stop at half measures.
The diagrams below show where the plan is at the moment.
The big army plan
After only a day or so of thought I've decided to increase all the proposed cavalry units to two bases each.
I'm also going to add a second skirmisher unit to the British/allies in the form of some Zouaves.
The new army plans look like this:
I've decided to double the number of men a Russian infantry unit represents to give them some staying power. Hopefully this will counter balance their short range and poor morale.
Because I don't want to mark casualties on the table until a whole stand can be removed, I've drawn up army rosters for both sides.
I've also prepared a chart showing the shooting strength of the available units since there is a chart in the rules that requires looking up on two lists.
I'll do another for saves and morale.
I started painting for this project on April 1st and had all the infantry complete by the end of May. Happy with the progress so far.
Not the world's biggest armies, but suitable for the 6'x4' space i have available.
Russian lancers from Foundry.
11th Hussars. I'm painting them along with the Zouaves because the colours are the same for the most part.
Inniskilling Heavy Dragoons.
93rd Sutherland Highlanders.
British infantry. The 47th, the Lancashire regiment.
The 50th, the Queen's Own West Kent Regiment.
The 13th (1st Somersetshire) Regiment.
I decided I wanted some Zouaves so I've bought some ACW Zouaves from Perry miniatures to be the second allied skirmish unit. I have a French standard left so I've added the standard bearer into the mix, probably not a good idea for real skirmishers to be waving a flag around but it'll add more colour and panache to the unit.
The Light Brigade
A 64pdr British naval gun and crew from Foundry.
Russian howitzer and Cossack crew from Foundry.
British foot artillery.
Russian naval gun.
A pair of Russian foot artillery guns and crew.