Thursday 10 February 2022

Early Hussars by Manzsoldaten

This rather nice pair of Hussars were made in Germany circa 1910/20 by Manzsoldaten, one of the minor makers of composition toy soldiers, and one of my all time favourites.  I particularly like the style of the horse' heads although the leggy stride of that foreleg is a bit off-putting.

Early Manzsoldaten figures don't carry a makers mark but are characterised by being semi flat, which is unusual for composition figures, and have this distinctive oval base.  Earlier German composition figures from this period tended to be quite large, typically 10cm, before settling down to 6.5cm and 7cm in the 1920s and 30s but these are unusual in that the riders are roughly 54mm, not looking bad for a pair of centenarians.

Saturday 5 February 2022

What have the Romans ever done for us? Part II

 We left our Roman Cohort battling against overwhelming odds, surrounded on three sides by the Germanic tribesmen.

Outnumbered three to one, with more tribesmen ready to join the fray the Romans can see two more cohorts of their comrades racing over the northern hill to rescue them. 

Too late, the Romans are cut down to a man.  

Victory conditions for the Tribesmen is to get 3 units off the table via the road to the south, so technically the game is over at this point but we couldn't just leave it there, it's not about winning, it's all about playing the game.

Just when it looked like it was all over, a unit of Roman auxiliary cavalry thunder around the woods to the north west in hot pursuit of the fleeing Tribesmen.

At the same time the alarm is raised as a body of Roman skirmishers and seen working their way through the woods.

The Roman cavalry witness the massacre of their infantry and spur headlong into a charge.

The Tribesmen reform to meet the threat from behind while their archers find easy targets among the advancing enemy cohorts and cavalry.

Back in the woods, the Germanic skirmishers have sprung an ambush on their Roman counterparts, both sides are expert at fighting in loose formation and making full use of cover, they slug it out but with little progress and few casualties on either side.

The Tribesmen have turned to face their pursuers and throw themselves into the attack, more Roman infantry are approaching from every direction but their attacks are made piecemeal and the Germans break them up systematically.

In the end the Tribesmen have taken a lot of punishment but have seen off the Romans and now continue on their way, to lick their wounds and fight another day.

The game ran to about 12 turns and reached a surprising but satisfactory conclusion, in summing up we felt that the slower ponderous movement of the cohorts was the deciding factor, if they could have caught the tribesmen as a cohesive force rather than entering piecemeal then their armoured front wuld have won the day.  As it was we both learned a great deal about the importance of pinning the enemy and then delivering flank attacks, something which is difficult to achieve in later periods with OHW where firepower is more dominant.

And it was great to play with such nice toys!

Wednesday 2 February 2022

What have the Romans ever done for us? Part I

 Well they gave us roads!  And here's a nice straight one, just the job for scenario 13 of One Hour Wargames (OHW) by Neil Thomas.  After several grid based games in recent months we decided it was time to get back to a more traditional style of play.  That's not entirely true, Anthony has recently built up a very nice 54mm toy soldier collection of Romans and German Tribesmen, and we were both itching to see them on the table.  Here's how it went:

One Hour Wargames is an ideal game system to use with 54mm toy soldiers and requires minimal amounts of terrain, we chose scenario 13 which sees a German raiding party returning home chased by a Roman Legion looking for vengeance!  

The battlefield is split sown the middle by a fine straight Roman road running North to South, in the north corner is a small hill and on the other side of the road, a little further south is a sizeable forest.  The opening position sees 6 German units following the road from the north and discovering their route home blocked by a Roman cohort on the road to the south of them.

We used the OHW "Ancients" rules but incorporated the Warband features from the "Dark Ages" section, as it better reflects the nature of the German tribesmen and gives them greater mobility with a combat bonus to offset the armour advantage of the Romans.

The Germans drew 4 Warbands of warriors, 1 of Archers and 1 of Skirmishers.  The Romans drew 4 Cohorts of infantry, 1 of Auxiliary cavalry and 1 of Skirmishers.

The Roman Legionaries here are modified from A Call to Arms figures to make the poses more realistic, all the figures in the collection have been expertly converted by Rupert of  Drum and Flag toy soldiers.

As the German tribesmen charge headlong up the road two of the Warbands peel off to move around the flanks of the Roman cohort blocking the way.  The skirmishers have already moved into the woods behind them to protect the rear, with OHW skirmishers have little combat value but are good for holding rough terrain, from which they can dominate the surrounding area with fire while remaining relatively safe.

The Warband figures are converted from several sources including Weston Toy Co Mexicans, and Expeditionary Force Early Germans

Here the German skirmishers (converted from HaT figures) have taken up position in the woods to protect the Warbands from any pursuers.

Two more Cohorts from the Roman Legion have now appeared on the hill to the north east and charge in support of their beleaguered comrades. 

The Roman Cohort blocking the road has been retiring in order, maintaining a steady line while the Tribesmen bear down on them.

The leading Warband slams into the Roman shieldwall while two more hit the flanks.  Can the Cohort hold out long enough for their comrades to reach them in time?