The Club welcomes all
to come along and play or just watch.
Come and enjoy.
The game play can be intense.
1.What's "Ancients" ?
"Ancients" is the name given by
wargamers (and others) to the entire period of history before the invention of gunpowder.
If one considers recorded history to have started about 3,000 BC, it spans some four
thousand years. Wargamers who call themselves "Ancients" therefore have a very
wide choice of periods, peoples and cultures.
The earliest known organised warriors are those of
the Sumerians, originating in the so-called Fertile Crescent of the Middle East. As time
rolled by, such peoples as the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Greeks, the Trojans, the Han,
the Romans, the Mayans, the Saxons, the Vikings and many others appeared.The list of possible armies and weapons to discover
2.Where Do I Start ?
Choosing a period to start may therefore seem a
bit daunting.However, somewhere you may have
seen some friends playing a game, or perhaps you already have an idea about which
particular army interests you enough to start. If you are still a bit doubtful, how about
the Romans? Mind you, even having narrowed your choice down to this one particular people,
there is still a pretty wide choice. The Romans started out as an obscure Latin village
ruled by a foreign king and they provided troops for an imitation-early-Greek-type
phalanx. After they kicked out their Etruscan overlords, they evolved into a Republic,
which lasted for some hundreds of years before they put a king (sorry, Caesar) back in
charge.During this span of time they had at
least three quite different organisations and armies. Not quite at random, let's settle on
the Romans atthe time of Tiberius; that's say
roughly 10 AD to about 35 AD. This period of Roman history is the best documented.The information for the Roman Army a this time can
therefore be found quite easily.
Starting With Romans.
For reasons of expense, it would probably be
better to start with plastic figures when it comes to purchasing your first troops. I
started with Airfix Romans, but I have seen some very nice Italian figures in hobby shops.
Let me hasten to add that although many wargamers decry plastics for various
imperfections, remember YOU ARE JUST STARTING. If you find that Ancients are not for you,
then you have not sunk weeks or months of pocket money into scrap metal! If you later want
to expand with metal figures, there is a huge range from several suppliers. If you want to
stick with Romans, then metal Romans are available. If instead you want to build up a
different army, you will not feel tied by a large capital outlay to the army you made your
With the "Toy Soldiers".
Playing with "Ancients" need not just
involve the figure you buy straight out of the packet, either. When you feel confident you
can try conversions; i.e., making changes to the figures to look quite different. Again
there are many books and magazines which can help you.Some of your fellow club-mates even make their own moulds to cast their own
What Rules Shall I Play?
However you play, whatever you play, there must
always be Rules. Rules for fighting Ancient Wargames come in many different varieties,
simple or complex, cheap or expensive.Again
your choice will be governed by local conditions.What
rules do your prospective opponents use? What is available locally in shops?
WRG (short for Wargames Research Group) in England provide rules for Ancients (among
others) which are used in many parts of the world.All
rules have their advantages and drawbacks. The WRG set (currently in its 7th Edition)
makes a game seem to take a long time, and the complexity can be a bit daunting to a
beginner. However, the choice is entirely up to you. WRG Rules are used not only in small
clubs, but in competitions between Clubs.
Most Ancient wargamers have tried one of the many
different "Greek" armies, but aside from finding they have a reasonable chance
of winning competition battles, they may know very little about the warrior himself.
"Greek" meant speaking one of the Greek dialects, and probably believing in some
at least of the array of Greek gods and goddesses, etc. A typical Greek warrior came from
one of the hundreds of Greek cities ("polis") around the Eastern Mediterranean.
Usually, these "cities" would be struggling to reach our modern estimation of a
Greek cities in the ancient world were very often
at war with some other city or cities, due to a bewildering number of causes. One
particular "polis" might be at war because of traditional alliances and enemies,
and that war could be as short as a week, or as long as a generation. In the longer wars,
the friends and enemies could change many times.
The typical Greek warrior was most often a small
farmer.There was no standing army.His city would in effect call out a levy, and our
warrior would leave his livelihood for weeks or even months, leaving his family to fend
for themselves. He provided his own war-gear, or panoply. Since metal was relatively
scarce and hence expensive, his panoply would be as expensive to him as buying a car is to
us - and with a similar wide choiceof results
The backbone of any Greek army was the phalanx,
and any self-respecting Greek warrior would try to be fit to join it. His principle
defence was a large circular shield, about a metre in diameter. This was called the
"hoplon", and hence the man who carried it was a "hoplite".It usually had some brightly coloured motif painted
on it, and had a strap for slinging and a handle for carrying into battle. Sometimes a
sort of canvas apron would be hung under it to offer some protection for his legs.
The hoplite's principal weapon was a spear,
varying in length and type over the centuries.At
the time of the wars with Persia, it would have been between say 1.5 and 2 metres long,
with a large leaf-shaped blade.Quite a number
also had a butt-spike, which could prove handy if the spear was broken in use. Most
hoplites wore a short sword or dagger for in-fighting, and this was carried hanging from a
sash across the opposite shoulder, later to become the baldric. One favoured style of
short sword at the type of Alexander and probably for some time previously was the kopis. This heavy sword has been described as
"capable of shearing off a man's wrist".
Different styles of helmet prevailed, according to
the different areas of origin of the hoplite and different historical periods. Often it
seems very much a matter of personal choice, although the various cities would favour one
style more than another. Armour was expensive and difficult to obtain and maintain.Hence the spolas was quite popular, a sort of
jerkin made from stiffened layers of canvas. Apparently this was a quite reasonable
defence against slashes, as was the boiled leather cuirass. Patterns of studs helped the
defence too. Metal or stiffened leather plates could be sewn on as added reinforcement.
(The shoulder protection survives to this day as epaulettes).
It appears that, at least in the earlier periods,
hoplites often went into battle naked, or wearing only a loin cloth, perhaps. At least
this would help them run more fleetly than pursuers after they'd dropped their shields and
spears! For below-the-waist security, the well-dressed hoplite often wore a frontal
protection made up of leather strips. This idea was the forerunner of the Later Roman
Pteruges. Greaves were like light-weight bronze shin-pads. The existing contemporary art
isn't clear whether they were thin bronze shapes which sprung over the shin, or heavier
protection more like today's cricketers' pads.
With all this aggressive individuality, how was it
that the Greek fighting machine was so successful? Against all probability, these
aggressive individualists had developed into the most effective team-players the world had
seen up until that time. Provided they set up their formation in time (which later turned
out to be a BIG proviso), then the only formation of anywhere near the same numbers which
could defeat them was a similar phalanx. As long as the phalanx kept its formation, it
could only be beaten by a similar formation unless greatly outnumbered. Alexander simply
gave his virtually unstoppable phalanx longer spears which out-reached even the Greeks
spears, at the price of even further rigidity. But Alex realised the weakness and
supported the flanks with more flexible bodies of troops. Nevertheless, the Romans beat
the phalanx because of the inherent flexibility of the legion. They effectively trimmed
away the cohesion and exposed the vulnerable flanks.
This same idea of the pike-armed phalanx came to
light briefly centuries later, when the Swiss army had its day in the limelight during the
Renaissance. It failed eventually because of its rigidity, and the new weapon of
The backbone of any Greek army was the phalanx,
and any self-respecting Greek warrior would try to be fit enough to join it. Not everyone
was able to afford the complete and expensive hoplite panoply. The more poorly equipped
Greeks were usually classed as "Peltast", named after the lighter, smaller
shield they carried.
The peltasts principal armament was two, possibly
three javelins, varying in length and type over the centuries. At the time of the wars
with Persia, it was between 1 and 1.5 metres long, with a relatively small blade. The
javelin would be launched at the enemy, and the last one would be kept for close contact
fighting. There has been some dispute about how the javelin was actually thrown. It seems
possible that two cords were wound around the shaft; when the javelin was thrown, the
cords caused the javelin to spin, giving a sort of gyroscopic stability and hence,
presumably, increased accuracy and possibly even a slight increase in range. Aside from
javelin and light shield,the rest was pretty
much up to the individual. Most peltasts wore a short sword or dagger for in-fighting, and
this was carried thrust through or hanging from their belt.
The hoplites rather naturally looked down upon the
poorly equipped peltasts as inferiors both socially and in battle usefullness. It came as
a horrible shock during the wars between Sparta and the Hellenic League when a group of
peltasts slaughtered a unit of so-called invincible Spartan hoplites.The hoplites had become rigid and very stylised in
their movement; the Spartans found to their horror that, on the right sort of terrain, the
peltast was far superior in manoeuvrability and could dodge the heavier hoplite's superior
weaponry and training.
 Whathappened to the Dark Ages and the Middle Ages?
The Battle of the River Plate,
June 2008 (in Chile):
A General Quarters III Rules Battle
commences at in the evening. The German PanzerschiffeGraf Spee is sailing to the south when she spies
three Royal Navy warships, the light cruisers HMS
Ajax, HMNZS Achilles and the heavy cruiser HMS Exeter, on the starboard bow, at a range of
Both parties open fire
immediately, the British leaving the Exeter to
fire with her 6 x 8-inch guns, whilst Commodore Harwood, his cruisers steaming about
10,000 yards apart, seeks to bring his 6-inch guns into close range before opening rapid
First blood to the
Hun: Exeter loses a forward turret and some
speed. The Graf Spee changes course slightly,
keeping its firing arc open on Exeter, whilst
the British sail full speed aheadthe idea being that Ajax and Achilles
would close and hit the German with torpedoes, whilst Exeter lobs 8-inch shells at her. After a few
minutes of this, there are no further hits from either side and Harwood splits his light
cruiser division, Ajax turning 15 degrees
starbd to improve her interception solution and open her A arcs. The Graf Spee is firing at Exeter with her 11-inch guns and at Ajax with her 5.9-inch guns, but continues to miss.
The Spee misses Exeter again, those pesky light
cruisers are getting verdammt close
As the British light cruisers close
the range to under 12,000 yards, the Graf Spee
switches her 11-inch batteries to Achilles and
quickly knocks out two turrets.Nevertheless,
the 6-inch guns start pounding, quickly getting multiple hull hits and a bulkhead leak on
the Graf Spee. Then, Exeter knocks out the aft 11-inch turret,
making it impossible for the Graf Spee to flee
on a finer heading without taking unopposed fire. At last, the Germans 5.9s set fire
to the Ajaxs hanger and spotter aircraft.
But, both the fire and the bulkhead are solved by quick damage control within minutes.
The light cruisers close and start pounding Graf
Spee, some pounds go the other way, Ajax has a fire, fortunately only a temporary one
Suffering multiple short range hull hits
and a fire, the Graf Spee slows and the Brits
close in for the kill, including Exeter, who has
been left behind, somewhat. Ajax, however,
catches fire again and loses a set of torpedo tubes. A chill runs through the bridge: the
port or starbd tubes? The dice roll low; it is the starbd tubes! The Graf Spee may be slow, but losing the port tubes
would have ruined my torpedo run. The forrd 11-inch guns also wipe out a stern
turret Graf Spee is still far from
helpless. However, Achilles knocks out one of
the directorsthat would not be as bad as it could be, at this range.
Ajax and the Spee on fire and closing, the other RN
cruisers are catching up too!
Both sides fire torpedoes, the Ajaxwith
a clear chance of hitting, and the Graf Spee to
stop Ajax doing a U-turn and pounding her blind
stern at short range. The Graf Spee is slow, it
is an easy shot and although the German turns away, the torpedoes hit, not once but twice.
Gunfire hits the Graf Spees bridge, making
her travel straight, just as Achilles closes for
her torpedo run. Ajaxs rudder jams hard a
port, messing up fire control.Ajax, however, has expended her torpedoes and
at this range continues to pound the German with rapid 6-inch gunfire getting more hull
hits and destroying the forrd 11-inch guns.Graf Spee is now reduced to being nothing but a
well-armoured, old-fashioned, broadside light cruiser.
Ajax narrowly misses Spees torpedos, at the
expens of her A arcs, Spee is not so lucky.The
blue tape shows the launch point and direction.
The same view zoomed out, Spee has no escape!
Another 6 minutes and the Graf Spee is on fire, her rudder jammed to
starbd and very low in the water. Achilles
fires her starbd tubes at the Graf Spee,
who replies with her port tubes, in order to prevent Achilles from doing a U turn and firing her
Graf Spee and Achilles swap torpedos; Spee is now
taking broadsides from 10 x 6 guns and Exeters remaining 8 are closing
But Graf Spee is slow, low in the water, on fire and
out of control, no sooner does damage control put out the fire than another bulkhead
starts leaking. Six minutes later, her ensign flying, she sinks under a hail for fire from
the Royal Navy: cuestrains of Rule Britannia and footage of Churchill
entering the House of Commons waving two fingers at the reporters. The time is and I
need to splice the mainbrace.
Sydney Wargames Club was founded at least by 1970 (maybe a couple of years earlier, no onr
remembers. Our oldest and longest serving member and a dear friend, Don McIntyre passed
away in 2018) as the Northern Wargames Association, then by 1991 changed its name to the
Northern Sydney Wargames Club. Gamers from all over Sydney come to have a great time at
most of the clubs life at Lindfield (first the Masonic Hall, then Lindfield Seniors Hall)
due to circumstances beyond our control all Sundays were leased to other groups, this left
Saturdays on the whole members were not prepared or avaiable for the offered times, so in
the end we had to say farwell to Lindfield.
offered two other sites in Turramurra further north of Lindfield, which you would think
not to be a problem for a club called the "Northern Sydney Wargames Club", one
building was completely unsuitable in the size of the space offered and the position of
the building, while the other Hall (Turramurra Hall) was not large but it's position just
behind the shopping centre, train station, bus stops, bottleshop with access to food and
drink with good access from parking and enough parking for members vehicles, thus it was
accepted for the short term.
After a couple
of years at the Turramurra Hall the club had a similar situation arise with the Council
(also a similar group as the one that took over the Lindfield Seniors Hall).
The Council made
the same offer as they did at Lindfield, still no good so we tried other places. One of
our long term members (Geoff) as a long time part of his church choir apporached Father
Peter of the Rydalmere Catholic Church and obtained the Old Church within the Primary
school grounds as our new meeting place. Great size (it's a church after all) plenty
of storage, parking etc in the geographical centre of Sydney at Rydalmere where the club
has gained more new members and some returned members since this move within last few
years than the previous 10 yeas at Turramurra and Lindfield (tells you something).
Go to the links
to find the address, the dates are in the right hand column.
number of the images used on this page came from somewhere else, but I can no longer
The club meets
at the Old Church, within the St
Marys Primary School grounds at Rydalmere, 1Myrtle Street.
Turn from Park Rd (runs off of Victoria Rd and Kissing Point Rd) into Pine Street and then
left into Myrtle, the gate entrance is on the left. The Rydalmere Catholic Church
is on one corner of Pine & Myrtle the school is on the other.
WRITING in his diary, in 1811, Captain Thomas
Browne saw an extraordinary sight. His own words describes it best.
March 15th. (During Massena's retreat from Portugal).
"About this time, a circumstance occurred,
which proved the efficiency of well conducted squares of infantry, however small, against
the attacks of powerful bodies of cavalry. A Brigade of our light Dragoons overtook and
were about to charge, on a plain distant nearly three quarters of a mile from any rising
ground, a part of the French rear-guard of about 150 infantry. When our Cavalry overtook
them, they were moving off in line, under the command of a French Officer, mounted on a
miserable little bit-of-a Pony, who immediately formed his Detachment into two Squares.
Whilst one of these Squares retreated, the other kept up a constant fire, on our Squadron
of Cavalry attempting to charge it.The
horses would not face it and many of them were killed.When the retreating Square was pursued, it halted; and began the same
sort of unapproachable fire; the other then commencing its retreat, & passing by the
Square that was engaged, which in its turn moved off, when its partner in this conflict
had stopped to face our Cavalry. By this alternate movement in Square this little body of
French Infantry defied the efforts of a whole Brigade of well mounted British Cavalry, to
capture them, and gained the heights in their rear, with little or no loss. Our Cavalry
could not pursue them to this high ground, on which there was a thick wood. The last man
who entered this cover, was the French Officer himself, who before doing so, rode forwards
a few paces, and taking off his hat, waived it in a sort of triumphant good bye. This
occurrence took place in sight of both armies, and although an anxious desire that the
French Detachment should be taken, was naturally felt by us, it was not possible to
withhold from the gallantry and skill of its Commander, a sort of reluctant congratulation
on his escape, the success of which could not but prove both interesting and instructive,
to many an Infantry Officer who witnessed it."
ACCORDING to my calculations, each square was
composed of less than eighty men. Now before you go claiming that, as a three figure
element represents more than eighty infantrymen under the WGR Rules, such an element can
form a square, two points should be noted. The first is that this was a display of
professionalism by an officer obviously in command of veteran troops which was quite out
of the ordinary or Browne would not have devoted so much space to it in his diary and the
second is that the troops had not been reduced in numbers by casualties. Nevertheless, I
would hope this will reopen the argument about what is the minimum number required to form
Their presence on the battlefield inspired awe. Napoleon always expected his cuirassiers
to make a tremendous impact on the battlefield. In the opinion of von Bismarck, a Prussian
expert on cavalry, had they been provided with lances, they would have been the deadliest
horsemen on any battlefield.
to The Napoleonic Sourcebook, "...the
cuirass was of greatest use in close-quarter melee, proof against sabre and bayonet
blows". Also: "In combat the cuirass was proof against long-range musketry but
was of most value in melee. The breastplate would turn a sabre or lance..." Weapons & Equipment of the Napoleonic Wars.
Quatre Bras, the famous 42nd Highlanders, the Black Watch, mistook General Baron Guiton's
two regiments of cuirassiers, wearing their blue-gray capes, for dragoons and fired at
them as they swerved past their square, at long range (over 100 paces). They noticed that
those who were hit merely swayed in the saddle and realized then that they were
cuirassiers. To make any impression, the officers had to order them to fire at the horses.
(Johnson, Napoleon's Cavalry). Had Guiton had
more presence of mind, his horsemen would have caved in the square.
seems that it was in the fact that large horsemen and horses in sufficient quantities were
difficult to procure, (conscription was first started in France), wherein lies the reason
for the absence of proper cuirassiers in other European Napoleonic armies. Certainly the
Russians gave their cuirassiers the cuirass again, in 1812, and the Prussians theirs in
1815. The British Life-Guards obtained the cuirass in 1815, also.
then should we labour under rules which disadvantage them in the melee?
"Kilroy was here" Who said that first?
Who, where and when responded to the German surrender ultimatum with: "Nuts!"
(It was definitely not General Cambronne).
What was the last major Luftwaffe air-raid in WWII?
Do you know to what the Caesar line referred? (It wasn't a new fashion of toga, white with
Whom or what was P.C.Bruno?
When did the German naval war with the Soviet Union begin, in WWII?
Who commanded the Westfalian depot in Perpignan, in 1812?
To what formation were the Kleve-Berg sappers attached, in 1812?
During the Napoleonic Wars, a certain formation had the initials L.L.L.
What was it and who was its commander?
Attila the Hun would show something that denoted that he was the fuhrer of his people.
What was it?
In 1739, the Turkish Grand Vizier and a certain Russian Marshal signed a Peace Treaty for
their respective nations. What place of origin did they have in common?
Who was Hannah Snell?
"Kilroy was here!" was first said by James A. Kilroy, a rivet
inspection checker at the Fore River Shipyard, Quincy, Mass., during WWII.
General A.C.McAuliffe, while acting commander of the US 101st Airborne Division, at
Bastogne, during the Battle of the Bulge, replied: "Nuts!" to
the German request to surrender. (He was an illiterate - Ed.).
The last German air-raid of WWII occurred on 1st January 1945 when 800 Luftwaffe aircraft
raided the Netherlands They lost 364 aircraft to the Allies 125.
The Caesar Line was the German defense line protecting Rome, in 1943.
P.C. Bruno was the code name for the French cryptographic service prior to the German
occupation, in WWII (It meant: "Please, call Bruno," who was obviously the
French plant at the Wehrmacht H.Q. - Ed.).
The German naval war with the USSR. began on 15th June 1941, with the order for German
submarines to conduct "the annhilation of Russian submarines without any truce,
including their crews."
The Westfalian depot in Perpignan in 1812, was commanded by General Kusinski.
The Kleve-Berg sappers were attached to the Imperial Guard, in 1812, and none survived.
Loyal Lusitanian Legion's initials were L.L.L. It was commanded by Sir
Robert Wilson, and consisted of three 1,000-man battalions, 1 regiment of cavalry
and 1 battery of light artillery.
Attila the Hun flashed the iron sword worshipped as the god of war by the Scythians, to
show that he was the fuhrer of his people.
The Turkish Grand Vizier and Russian Marshal Keith, who signed a peace treaty in 1739,
were both from Scotland and were school-buddies from Kirkaldy.
Snell (born 23 April 1723 ) enlisted into the 'Colonel Guise Regiment',
in 1745 Hannah received 500 lashes. Hannah then deserted and enlisted in 'Colonel
Fraser's Regiment' of Marines, this reigment was sent to the East Indies where
Hannah was shot 12 times, once in the groin, at the Siege of Pondicherry.
Hannah then returned home to England where she revealed her sex to her shipmates on 2 June
1750, Hannah did receive a pension of $30 from King George. Hannah Snell died on 8
February 1792 at the age of 68.
On the 8th September 1943, the Third Reich created the
Adriatic Littoral, a large area that extended from Trieste toward Slovenia. Gauleiter Reinier was the regional
governor and General of Mountain Troops Ludwig Kübler was the General
commanding the Wehrmacht troops.
Odilo Lotario Globocnick, by birth a Triestino, became der Höher SS und Polizeiführer in der Operationszone
Adriatisches Küstenland receiving his orders directly from SS Reichesführer Himmler.
The whole zone encompassing Piazza
Oberdan, the Villas Ara and Weiss, the Synagogue, the Deutsche Haus (Goethe Institut) and the former Hotel Regina
became the command centre for the whole of the Adriatic Littoral nick-named Kleine Berlin.
On the night of 29 April 1945, Gauleiter Reinier and General of
SS Police Globocnik abandoned the city of Trieste and headed for Austria. On 30
April, the Trieste insurrection began, instigated by the Committee of National
On 1 May, the Yugoslav partisans entered Trieste wishing to force
the surrender of the remaining German troops in their last strong-points. Among these was
strong points the Palazzo del Tribunale which was connected to an air-raid shelter. The
Yugoslavs must have been ignorant of the connecting gallery, because there was no evidence
of an attempt to force an entry. The German resistance in the city was brief. The soldiers
surrendered to General Freibergs New Zealand Division. The 20-month German
occupation was over.
As a rule, the Club meets once a month on
the second Sunday except where indicated; in April because of Easter Sunday, May (for
Mother's Day) 2020 see below:
April 19 (after Easter)
May 17 (3rd Sunday)
The Battle of Punto Stilo
British and Italian forces clash
off the Italian coast in WW2
By Steve Thomas
(This is an
account of the battle fought at Lindfield on 14th September 2008.It is based on the historical battle of 9th
July 1940, but with fewer cruisers and destroyers to make the scenario more manageable.)
Main Guns 8 x 203mm (8inch)
A substantial force of two light battleships (Conte di Cavour and Giulio Cesare), four 8-inch gun cruisers Trento, Trieste,
Bolzano & Zara), two 6-inch gun cruisers (Raimondo Montecuccoli and Duca degli Abruzzi) and 8 destroyers of the Italian
Regia Marina is attempting a return to port and
finds a blocking force of slightly smaller size, two battleships, four 6-inch gun cruisers
and five destroyers of the Royal Navy.The
15-inch guns of the two British battleships outrange anything the Italians have and, as
events prove, more than offset their numerical inferiority.
INS BB Conte di Cavour
10 x 320mm (12.6); 28 knots.
As the two fleets approach each other the British have
deployed in three columns with the two battleships, HMS Warspite and HMS Malaya, in the lead, the four cruisers to the
left and the destroyers following behind, ready to deploy as required. The Italians have
also entered the battle in three columns, one with the 8-inch gun cruisers; the other,
with the two light battleships, and the third with the 6-inch gun cruisers. The eight
destroyers, however, are deployed in line abeam across the front of the formation, a
deployment whose intent soon becomes apparent.
Main Guns 8 x 15inch (381mm)
The opening salvoes fired at extreme range are
ineffective. In the second round, both sides battleships score hits at the
remarkable range of 23,000 yards.Unfortunately
for the Italians, their 12.6-inch shells bounce off the heavy armour of HMS Warspites turret. The British 15-inch shells
of HMS Malaya smash into the Conte di Cavours hull slowing her to 23 knots
and immediately negating the Italian battleships superior speed.
Main Guns 12 x 6inch (152mmm)
Thereafter, the Italian fleet turns to its left and
cuts across the British front at 45° with the intention of allowing their vessels to
close to a more favorable gunnery range. The Italian admiral, appreciating the lack of
long range firepower has wisely decided to close as quickly as possible under a
smokescreen and then bring his superior numbers into play. The destroyer screen lays down
a blanket of smoke that effectively hides the battleships and cruisers, a brilliant
strategy that has the potential to allow the Italian heavy ships to close undamaged into
effective gunnery range. It leaves the British with nothing to fire on but the
destroyerswhich they do with a vengeance and 15-inch shells crash down into at two
of the destroyers.
Now, the British turn to the right to create a
situation where both fleets are converging at right angles. The two battleships lead the
British forces so as to deploy their heavy guns while the cruisers turn inside them and
increase speed to attempt a move ahead.Fortunately
for the Royal Navy, all the British cruisers can bring their 6-inch guns to bear on a
group of Italian destroyers, and 28 guns pour a torrent of fire onto the plucky Italian
destroyerswithout scoring a single hit! HMS Warspite
and HMS Malaya, however, have the destroyers in
their sights and 3 destroyers are hit by their main and secondary armaments. One destroyer
alone appears to receive several 15-inch shell hits.It
is clear that a number of destroyers are damaged and slipping out of line. Hidden behind
their own smokescreen none of the Italian ships are able to return fire.
The Italians sail on bravely with their destroyers,
but the range is narrowing, increasing the effectiveness of the British gunnery.Now, the battleships are able to use their 4-inch
guns as well and one Italian cruiser has moved within sight of the heavy guns and pays the
price as 15-inch shells crash into it. The Royal Navy cruisers now find the range on the
destroyers and more hits are observed. It appears at this stage that at least four of the
Italian destroyers have suffered heavy damage.
In their drive forward, the Italian forces have to a
degree split into two formations with the two cruiser groups forming the wings and the two
light battleships in the centre somewhat behind. Of these wings, the faster light cruisers
on the left wing have advanced furthest and now emerge from the smoke in a position to
bring fire to bear on the British cruisers. The three remaining destroyers on that wing
now turn towards the British, presumably with the intention of launching a torpedo attack.
A minor duel rages between the two leading British cruisers and the two Italians and both
HMS Gloucester and HMS Liverpool are damaged, with both losing a bow
turret.Their return fire however inflicts
serious damage on the Montecuccoli. The
remaining two cruisers and the battleships continue to engage the destroyers and cruisers
and inflict hits. One Italian heavy cruiser is badly hit.
INS Raimondo Montecuccoli
Main Guns 8 x 152mm (6inch)
To try and negate the threat of the torpedo launch the
Royal Navy battleships make a bold turn left into the centre of the Italian line, a move
which leaves them heading towards the two light battleships. The British destroyers have
been racing at full speed to the head of the line and now at last are able to open fire.
Massed fire from battleships, cruisers and destroyers pours into the surviving Italian
destroyers and cruisers. In turn the British suffer only several minor hits.
After 36 minutes of battle, the Italians have 4
destroyers, 1 heavy cruiser and 1 light cruiser badly damaged, plus 2 heavy cruisers and 2
destroyers with light damage and 1 light battleship operating at reduced speed. Admiral
Gregorio di Sentito now makes the decision to retire, laying down a smoke screen and
sacrificing the heavily damaged ships in order for the rest of the Italian fleet to escape
at the best speed it can.
The Royal Navy, with 2 cruisers and destroyer
suffering light damage, are distracted by the 6 remaining Italian ships which they quickly
finish off and focus on picking up survivors before returning to Malta.
balance of forces was probably not as equal as planned. The superior numbers of Italian
ships was more than offset by the big advantage of the British 15? guns with their ability
to inflict damage outside effective gunnery range of the Italians.Perhaps, the Italians needed one of the fast modern
battleships to give them some long range gunnery. The smokescreen was an excellent idea,
but it needed the destroyers to weave in and out of their own smokescreen to make them
less exposed to the British fire.
AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
Phillip Ross, The Zouaves of the American Civil War, in CAMPAIGNS, No.18)
Regiments and as many or more individual companies adopted Zouave dress, on both sides,
during the American Civil War.
large proportion of these units maintained the unique Zouave uniform to the end of the
entire Union brigade was issued Zouave uniforms, as a mark of commendation, as late as
1863. The uniform was copied from the Algerian Zouaves of the
French Colonial Army of the Second Empire.
most recent war being fought in Europe was the Second War for Italian Liberation,
in 1859. This involved French, Italian and Austian armies, accoutred in the most colourful
uniforms ever seen. Even more splendid than the those of the Napoleonic era.
other nations copied the uniforms of the victors. (If one cannot achieve the substance, at
least one can cultivate the image). The unit with a uniform most loyal to the original
Algerian Zouave garb was the 5th New York Volunteer Infantry (Duryea'sZouaves).
New York Volunteers, Duryee Zouaves till 1863.
New York Veteran Infantry, 1864.
New York Volunteers, Wilson's Zouaves.
New York Volunteer Infantry, Hawkins' Zouaves.
New York Volunteer Infantry, National Zouaves.
New York Volunteer Infantry (Ellsworth's Zouaves; 1st New York Fire Zouaves).
New YorkState Militia.
New York Veteran Volunteers.
New YorkVolunteers, D'Epineuil Zouaves.
New York Volunteer Infantry, Anderson Zouaves.
New YorkState Militia.
New York Volunteer Infantry.
New York Volunteer Infantry, Garrard's Tigers.
New York Volunteer Infantry.
New Jersey Volunteer Infanty, 2nd Zouaves.
Massachusetts Volunteer Militia, Salem Zouaves.
Ohio Volunteer Infantry, Piatt's Zouaves.
Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, Baxter's Fire Zouaves.
concerns me that some of us who "fight" Napoleonic Wargames seem to regard our
superbly painted figures as so many chess pieces to be used in a game. To me they are the
embodiment of the heroes of yesteryear, for all were heroes, from the newly enlisted
Spanish Miquelettes, who would break on every battlefield only to reform and fight again,
to the indomitable Ney, the Bravest of the Brave.
various regiments have acquired their individual attributes over the years. My British
Foot Guards can be relied to stand regardless of the most severe casualties. My Mounted
Rocket Corps battery could not hit the side of a house. Might I add, Bruno's Artillerie a
Cheval of the Imperial Guard suffers from the same problem. When this unit deploys within
cannister range of my squares, I am not the least bit concerned. Were it any of his other
companies of artillery, I should have to do something about it.
it is my generals who take on, most dramatically, the characters of their historical
personae. Ponsonby is always the first of my generals to die in any campaign, leading his
Union Brigade in charge after charge. Sir Hussey Vivian, with his Hussar Brigade,
"Hussey's Huzzars", is equally reckless and with plenty of dash. Whereas
Colquhon Grant, with
encourage you all to do more background reading, I have devised a quiz, to be followed by
others in due course, of inconsequential facts regarding the men of various armies, both
the greater and the lesser known of those who regarded the honour of serving their
countries more important than life itself, in an attempt to give their characters some
flesh. As encouragement, I am offering as a prize the Osprey Men-at-Arms Series, Napoleon's Guard Infantry (1), as the Quiz
concentrates on the French. The rules are simple.
INCONSEQUENTIALITIES THE FRENCH.
I: The Emperor's Family.
What was Davout's family connection with Napoleon?
Common knowledge that Bernadotte was connected by marriage to Napoleon, having married
Desiree Clary, Joseph's sister-in-law. There was a more direct family connection with the
Empress Josephine. What was it?
Eugene's marriage to Princess Augusta of Bavaria caused a problem as she had been fianceed
to the Hereditary Prince of Baden. Never phased, Napoleon found the Prince another wife.
Who was she?
Which descendant of Napoleon killed which descendant of George III, and under what
Name the only member of the Bonaparte family to die in action and name the campaign?
Which distant relative of Napoleon married Marie Walewska Napoleon's "Polish
wife", after she became a widow, and why was he lucky to live so long?
II: The Marshals.
Who was Massena's son-in-law?
Which Marshal married General Joubert's widow?
When Desiree Bernadotte asked Augerau how much interest he was going to charge on a loan
he had made to her husband, what was his reply?
How long did it take Davout to woo his bride?
Which Marshal married a Princess of Bavaria?
On the first night of the Battle of Aspern-Essling, when Bessieres met Lannes in Massena's
camp, they drew swords on each other because of a message Lannes had sent Bessieres
earlier in day. Massena intervened and a duel was avoided. What were the two words in the
message that caused Bessieres such offense?
What was the underlying cause of Lannes' dislike of Bessieres?
III: The Men of the Grand Armee and Their Enemies.
At which action did Napoleon receive his first wound?
At the Battle of Austerlitz the Mameluke Mustapha brought an enemy colour to Napoleon
apologizing for not capturing the Grand Duke Constantine, by saying: "Ah, if me catch
Constantine, me cut off him head and bring it to Emperor!" What was Napoleon's
Who is credited with killing Prince Lewis of Prussia in single combat, during the Battle
What was the fate of Prince Augustus, brother to Prince Lewis, when he was a prisoner of
Who were the first two Frenchmen to scale the walls of Ratisbon?
At the Battle of Wagram, a regiment of Saxon Hussars charged and overthrew a regiment of
Austrian kurassiers What was the extraordinary coincidence relative to this encounter?
After being captured at Kulm, General Vandamme was taken before Emperor Aleksandr of Russia
and his brother, the Grand Duke Konstantin. Vandamme was insulted and called a brigand and
a plunderer. What was his reply?
IV: The Curley One.
Who sent the message "Pecavi" and to whom?
PART IV need not necessarily refer to the Napoleonic Period).