Wargame Rules


I am very keen to keep my wargame rules as simple as possible yet capture the character of the 1790s. Accordingly, most of the French troops are 'levee' battalions, which I have chosen to base in column as their ability to change formation on a battlefield must have been limited, nor do I believe their volley fire had any great value. Of better quality, able to change formation, will be white-coated regular and blue-coated volunteer battalions aided by a fair number of skirmishers. The British, Austrian, Dutch and German armies are often outnumbered, but they maintain the discipline and order of typical 18th century armed forces. Interestingly, French revolutionary cavalry have little in common with their later Napoleonic counterparts, the former are few in number, often poorly mounted, and no match for those in the service of the Allies.


Monday, 21 December 2015

18th Century Blacksmith's Shop (28mm)

Have just completed this smithy for my Crann Tara 28mm blacksmith and son. The model is made out of various cardboards but is very robust, and is based on a building in St.Augustine, Florida. Still some minor details to add before its ready to open, such as a shop sign, anvil etc. Have decided to slightly raise the building like many other colonial constructions. Doubt whether the materials cost more than £2 in total. I'm planning to use it in a game during the next two weeks. MGB

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Raising some Hezzlewood AWI figures (28mm)

Have recently painted and based some American War of Independence figures to serve in a small level game with friends. Although this blog is devoted to the FRW, I have always admired the design skills of the late Steve Hezzlewood and will occasionally include some photos from my new AWI collection. These first show some Hinchliffe X-RANGE American militiamen advancing, and some Continental light infantry companies. MGB

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Battle of Callantsoog, 1799 (Diorama)

Follower of this blog, Adrian-Lloyd Pickrell, an acknowledged cartoonist, very kindly forwarded some photos taken during a recent visit to a museum in North Holland. The photos show a diorama of the successful British landing at Callantsoog in 1799, which was initially opposed by Batavian troops, allies of the French republic. I think this amphibious action makes a very interesting wargame and it is my hope to refight it in the near future. Also included here is an attractive print showing Dutch troops in this action. Thank you CB for allowing us to view them. MGB

Monday, 26 October 2015

French Revolutionary Game, c1793 (Photos)

Just fought with friends a fairly large action between a British/Dutch/Émigré force numbering 206 figures, with George commanding, and a French Revolutionary army, 400 strong, with Chris commanding. It was a simple scenario inspired by the actions about Hondschoote in 1793. The French making numerous assaults against the Allied positions, including a strong redoubt. Despite large numbers involved, we completed the game in under five hours, with results which seemed fair and appropriate, but it must be said several situations became strange due to particularly poor dice throws by the Allied player. On one occasion the Marine Battalion had an 85% chance of standing, and scored 89, while the British Light Battalion had a 95% chance of standing, and scored 96. No rules can compensate for that level of chance influencing the game. Although many levee battalions were broken in the assault, the French cavalry and white coated regulars were covered enough by levee troops to approach and engage the Allies, and when the French cavalry took the Allies right flank, there was no possibility of stemming the French numbers on two fronts. Once more, the game fully captured the period, and gave us a chance to experience aspects of this conflict. MGB

Here are the casualties from the game. Allies: 26 K+W, 56 missing. French 69 K+W, 43 missing. Noteworthy, it is very likely 40 Allied missing 'would' have rallied at the nearest location had time allowed.


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Crann Tara farm workers 28mm (18th century/AWI)

Here are my completed 28mm farm labourers which I purchased via Crann Tara Miniatures. The figures arrived with little or no flash and remind me very much of the Hezzlewood style, which I like a great deal. These are the first of what will be my new AWI collection. MGB

Sunday, 11 October 2015

18th Century Slave Quarters (AWI and FRW)

This is a model I actually put together in 2011, using different types of card, the wood glue and mdf base making it a very sturdy construction. Based on some still standing accommodation for slaves, I am planning to get a lot more use from this model in future American War of Independence games, or West Indian actions during the French Revolutionary Wars. Gun limber and figures are from Hinchliffe. MGB




Monday, 5 October 2015

French Foot Gendarmes c.1793 (Gendarmerie a pied)

Here are my two companies (or sections) of foot gendarmes for the late 18th century. Period and contemporary illustrations show some diversity in uniform detail but its also probable that there were variations in the local units. Interestingly, the 32nd Division of gendarmerie a pied, 400 strong,  participated in the battle of Hondschoote in 1793 (see illustration below) so their place on a wargames table is quite appropriate. I have based mine individually as skirmish games may require gendarmes to provide occasional sentries and road blocks in my Georgian town and harbour. MGB
ps. these figures were originally part of my white/green battalion which was paint-stripped.


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Re-organising the French Army

I had initially raised six 'blanc' battalions of twenty with another of detached grenadiers.  Unfortunately, this still left me with a fair number of spares in different poses, so I have implemented some drastic changes which I hope will also work better for game scenarios. As the white/green battalion still required some major restoration work, and it was somewhat surplus to my plans, I decided to risk a paint stripping. Although a bit of a chore, it has been quite successful, and the cleaned and primed figures have allowed me to form three new (6-figure) independent companies, a fourth coming from my spares box. Other adjustments include my white/red battalion being increased to 32, and the white/blue battalion to 24. My skirmishing blue-coated grenadiers (10 figs) have also been rebased and increased to 16, providing a second unit of elite troops. Those remaining in the spares box will enhance command bases etc. MGB 

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

BOB MARRION, military illustrator

It has begun to circulate on several blogs that the military illustrator Bob Marrion has passed away. Those of us that acquired our interest in military history during the 1970s will remember his superb uniform plates in the magazine Military Modelling, and he continued to produce very fine renditions until fairly recently in numerous uniform books. While there are other military artists that can match his work, none can surpass him. I am lucky enough to own a signed print of a Rebel minuteman, generously given to me by the writer Stuart Asquith. I also have one of Marrion's magazine illustrations framed on my living room wall, such was the quality of his work. Our condolences to his family. MGB

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

French Headquarters Marquee/Tent (28mm)

The French Army appears to have occasionally received white tents with blue stripes in the 18th century. During the Revolution some of the officers' marquees are shown with additional red stripes. Here is my Command Headquarters, made of cardboard and wood glue. Rather than loose figures I have fixed twelve staff officers and sentries to the base, and will treat the whole model as a wargame unit and potential military target. MGB

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Bonaparte and Generals for the 1790s

Just received a package from CP Models of Leicester (tel. 0797 1185155). It comprised prominent commanders for the French Army of the 1790s. The castings portray from left to right, Kleber, DeCustine, Bonaparte, Kellerman, Desaix. They are quite a lot taller than Dixon/WF, but as they will be serving on separate command bases, this will cause no problems. I must say they are flash free and very fine. I paid by cheque and they arrived about a week later. Including postage at £3.50, these figures worked out at £10 for the set of five, but are well worth the investment. MGB

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

ESTABLISHMENTS, do they have any value?

It is my contention that to raise a Republican army for the French Revolution with units all having the same number of figures, and linking it to their establishment, is at best simplistic. I think we should be inspired to incorporate the difficulties faced by French commanders to distribute very irregular formations on the battlefield. I know many AWI wargamers have already begun to better appreciate 'Orders of Battle' over 'establishments', regardless of whether they intend to refight historical actions. After all, an establishment is nothing more than a commission to try and recruit an approved number of men, and the hopeless task of trying to maintain that number during a war. For my part, I am planning to re-evaluate my numbers and figure-ratios using 'Orders of Battle' for inspiration. Regular viewers of this blog will be aware that my collection already includes a fair number of units with various strengths. I feel, you not only gain a superior knowledge of the units you are painting but your collection also has greater character and interest.  MGB

Monday, 20 July 2015


Apologies for any errors, I hope the following will assist wargamers to represent the composition and real strengths of the various troops serving in a French revolutionary army c.1793

ORDER OF BATTLE for the French in Belgium, 1st March 1793, General Dumouriez commanding
ADVANCED GUARD Generals Stengel and Dampierre
19th Regt. 2 battns - 900
29th Regt. 2 battns - 946
54th Regt. 1 battn - 464
72nd Regt. 2 battns - 910
9th Chasseur Battn. 518
10th Chasseur Battn. 293
14th Chasseur Battn. 330
1st Combined Grenadier Battn. 200
2nd Combined Grenadier Battn. 306
3rd Combined Grenadier Battn. 348
4th Combined Grenadier Battn. 290
5th Combined Grenadier Battn. 209
6th Combined Grenadier Battn. 500
Compagnie franche de Magnée 41
Compagnie franche de Cambrelots 67
1er bataillon franc 300
3e bataillon franc 200
1st Battn. of Volunteers d'Indre-et-Loire 347
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Meurthe 115
5th Battn. of Volunteers de la Meurthe 368
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Marne 260
2nd Battn. of Volunteers de la Marne 266
2nd Battn. of Volunteers de la Meuse 117
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Nièvre 503
13th Battn. of Volunteers of Paris  (bataillon de la Butte des Moulins) 297
9th Battn. of Reserve Volunteers 654
3rd Battn. of Volunteers of Paris 400
9th Battn. of Volunteers of  Paris 475
4th National Battn. of Federals 312
The Liégeois  225
1st Regt. of Hussars 3 squads - 271
3rd Regt. of Mtd. Chasseurs 3 squads - 355
6th Regt. of Mtd Chasseurs  352
12th Regt. of Mtd. Chasseurs 2 squads - 367
5th Regt. of Dragoons 281
7th Regt. of Dragoons 1 squad. - l57
18th Regt. of Cavalry 2 squads - 254
3rd Regt. of Horse Artillery 1 coy. - Hanique - 74
6th Regt. of Horse Artillery 1 coy. - 80
Artillery Company de Cuny 69
GENERAL Miaczynsk
99th Regt. of Infantry 645
Légion des Ardennes Foot 954
Légion des Ardennes Horse 296
Light Artillery on foot 92
Light Artillery on horse 59
Compagnie Clemendat 89
Compagnie d'Abbeville 4
3rd Battn. of Volunteers des Ardennes 352
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Charente 464
2nd Regiment of Hussars 223

 GENERAL Frégeville
1st Battn. of Volunteers de l'Aisne  (bataillon de Vervins) 377
13th Regiment of Dragoons 2 squads - 351
11th Regiment of Mtd. Chasseurs 331
1st Battalion of Volunteers de Seine-et-Marne 493

5th Regt. of Infantry 1 bataillon - 350
34th Regt. of Infantry 1 bataillon - 448
49th Regt. of Infantry 1 bataillon - 359
74th Regt. of Infantry 1 bataillon - 426
83rd Regt. of Infantry 2 bataillons - 973
94th Regt. of Infantry 1 bataillon - 390
98th Regt. of Infantry 1 bataillon - 473
104th Regt. of Infantry 2 bataillons - 723
Chasseurs des Quatre-Nations 92
1st Battn. of Volunteers de l'Allier 435
Légion bavaroise 368
Corps brestois 60
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Côte-d'Or 418
2nd Batt. of Volunteers de la Corrèze (29e bataillon de volontaires des reserves) 446
1st Battn. of Volunteers d'Eure-et-Loir 297
11th National Battn. of Federals 346
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Mayenne-et-Loire 326
4th Battn. of Volunteers de la Meuse 408
5th Battn. of Volunteers de l'Oise 327
2nd Battn. of Volunteers of Paris 465
7th Battn. of Volunteers of Paris 480
1st Battn. of Grenadiers of Paris 213
1st Battn. of Volunteers du Pas-de-Calais 106
Republican Battalion 399
1st Battn. of Volunteers de Seine-et-Oise 489
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Somme 383
2nd Battn. of Volunteers de la Vienne 390
1st Battn. of Volunteers de la Vendée 420
3rd Battn. of Volunteers de l'Yonne 420
6th Battn. de volontaires nation 560
7th Regiment of Dragoons 1 squad. 88
12th Regt. of Horse Chasseurs 1 squad. - 91
13th Regt. of Horse Chasseurs 1 squad. - 75
Gendarmerie nationale 62
1st Regiment of Artillery det. 93
6th Regiment of Artillery det. 66
8th Regiment of Artillery det. 17
Sapeurs-mineurs 17

Saturday, 11 July 2015


I have always painted my own flags using sticky-back address labels, a system described by Stuart Asquith some thirty years ago. Modern wargamers are now spoilt with superbly printed renditions for sale, but I will stick with my familiar method. So here are my flags for six white-coated battalions, the soldiers in two of these battalions still needing some serious work before they can take the field. The flag designs are taken from the 1791 regulations, with 1792 tricolour patches placed over the fleur-de-lis (this actually happened). These designs still look very typical of the French army in the 18th century so I hope the collection will serve in several earlier conflicts, while still taking their place as centre battalions in 1794 demi-brigades. MGB


Saturday, 4 July 2015


Work has limited my spare time to paint up miniatures but I have just allowed myself a spell to re-vamp some of the white-coated figures restored to my collection. I'm pleased to report that three battalions are now pretty well ready for the wargames table, only awaiting to be issued their regimental colours. I've decided to paint up the 1792 pre-amalgam style flags despite the likelihood of them forming a centre battalion for Line demi-brigades. These figures can be utilised to provide French regulars for several earlier conflicts (for wargame purposes) so I will keep the white cross of Saint Denis with distinctive cantons which was so much a feature of French military flags in the 18th century.

Two more 'blanc' battalions still to complete, and my box of spares may well provide two more 'bleu' battalions. MGB

Saturday, 6 June 2015

French Regulars, more white-coated infantry for the 1780-90s

In the early 1990s I raised a fairly large collection of Wargames Foundry figures for the French Revolution, only to then sell them on. Last week I made contact with my old friend, John Tuckey, who regularly wargamed with me during the 1980s. He had purchased these figures from me, but with his interests having returned to model railways, he kindly offered to let me buy them back at about the same price I sold them, 65p each. Well I couldn't allow this generosity to pass, it has been my intention to increase the new collection by raising more battalions in white uniforms. With the exception of an improved way I paint faces and hands, the figures only need rebasing. I'm very pleased with these additions, restored to my collection. Here's a photo of the figures awaiting orders to be formed into their respective battalions. I should add, I also picked up a unit of Garrison Miniatures dragoons, previously mine, and  I will write more about these on a future post. MGB

Friday, 29 May 2015

Light Troops in Action Wargame c.1793

Some friends and I decided to have a late evening wargame. Starting at 9pm we ceased at 11.30, recommenced at 10.30am and concluded one hour later. This was a fun action and all agreed the scenario and rules were exciting and realistic.
The game was based on the idea that both sides had sent out a motley force of light troops as an advanced guard, and to also secure a useful bridge,  warehouse, and watermill. The British and Allies were commanded by George Mills, and comprised the following:

Mtd. Commander
9th  Light Dragoons, 6 figs. (b)
York Hussars, 6 figs. (b)
Salm Hussars, 6 figs. (b)
Salm Infantry, 18 figs. (b)
Salm Light Horse Artllery with limber, 3 figs. (b)
Luninck Light Infantry 12 figs. (b) skirmishing
Riflemen from Beon and Damas Legions,  8 figs. (b) skirmishing
Lowenstein Chasseurs armed with rifles, 12 figs. (b) skirmishing

The French were under the control of Chris Smith, and comprised the following:

Mtd. Commander
3rd Hussars, 6 figs. (c)
4th Hussars, 6 figs. (c)
4th Chasseurs a Cheval, 6 figs (c)
7th Chasseurs a Cheval, 6 figs (c)
Detached grenadiers, 10 figs. (b) skirmishing
Legion des Allobroges light infantry, 16 figs. (c) skirmishing
Legion du Midi light infantry, 16 figs. (c)
Paris Chasseurs, 8 figs. (c) skirmishing
Two companies of Paris National Guard. 8 figs. (c) skirmishing

Some key features of the game included the French throwing twentyfour marksmen into the warehouse, while the grenadiers were posted to a wooded hill, both becoming strongpoints for which the allies were unable to silence. The York Hussars were surprised by French cavalry while crossing the bridge and forced to retire, some chasseurs were met by heavy musketry when they attempted a similar move. On the French left there was  a series of cavalry charges and melees which finally ended in the Allies driving the French horse off the field, but with their own cavalry in no fit state to engage any further enemy it was agreed the French had won the action. We all enjoyed this small battle and it was interesting to utilise so many skirmishing units. While the allied riflemen inflicted some casualties, the careful use of cover by the French player reduced their effectiveness. Here is a few photos from the action. MGB
                   LOSSES: British & Allies 22 k,w,missing. French Republican 31 k,w, missing