Thursday 17 March 2022

Weekend games planned for 2022

A lot of the inertia in posting on this blog in January and February was due to being involved with several wargaming buddies on what we could do at my den in Oakridge,  Gloucestershire this year as special events. It required a lot of emails, ideas, trials with game scales on paper, sketch maps , discussion of orbats /game balance etc and me doing formal maps from which to make customised table tops.  And we were supposed to be getting free of COVID weren't we?  So we tried to make games that will maximise the numbers we can invite. As we found in our 2015 Waterloo games -  in the space available that is  about 4 aside per day plus a couple of umpires.

Then the Ukraine crisis hit the World and we went into a temporary limbo; some of our friends are working long hours in the defence/security fields and we have to wonder still if we can go ahead as planned. But we can't let Mr Putin's desires stop us (yet!) so we are just carrying on planning and hoping for the best. So what are we doing?

The first weekend game is in late April and Ken Marshall is getting out his  Red/White/Blue Imagi-nation armies for our delight. Here are a few photos from what he laid on about 9 months ago - the battle of Stadl an der Mur. All the figures seen here are from Ken's super collection of 28mm Minden, Crann Tara and Fife and Drum miniatures.   

This year, as I have given him a clean slate Ken has come up with a sketch map and description which I have turned into this Photoshop map for a sculpted 8 feet x 6 feet terrain for his Battle of Madling

Ken says 

"The game is best described as a 1750s imagi-nation game. Saturday will involve light troops in an encounter type battle leading to a general engagement by the main armies. Depending on how the light troops get on, elements of the main armies may be involved late on Saturday but we'll know that on the day."  

The main battle is expected to take place on the Sunday. So we can accommodate a few players on the first day and more on the next. Rules, as usual, will be "Honours of War" and Ken may be supplementing his own collection from mine and those of Paul B so it should be a pretty sight. I'm hoping my Hanoverians will make an appearance as something!


After that I'm giving myself a bit of a holiday and then I shall have an informal 18th Century game with Willz Harley who is coming to visit Oakridge for the first time in June. Willz is kindly giving me a lift on to the Wild Geese weekend at Kenilworth where he is putting on one of his fun games with, I believe, his superb collection of Spencer Smith 30mm 18th century figures.  One other treat talked about for that weekend was many of us sharing parts of our armies to refight the "iconic" classic Charles Grant wargame of Mollwitz.  We shall see......

Not long after that I shall have to get into making up the 12 feet x 6 feet table for the major game of the year.......

WATERLOO - D'Erlon's Assault on Mont Saint Jean

As I intimated late last year on this blog "JP" of Youtube fame is staging his own variation on the General d'Armee scenario of what some may consider the core activity of the Battle of Waterloo. In early afternoon on 18th June 1815, preceded by a bombardment of the grand battery of 80 guns, General D'Erlon, advanced with his I Corps up the long slope to Mont St Jean, only to be swept away by the Union Brigade of Heavy Cavalry and Picton's British infantry.

Obviously I am horribly over simplifying and we have come up with an extended scenario taking the section of the battlefield from just beyond La Haye Sainte across to the farms of Papelotte and La Haye so we can include the KGL Rifle battalions,  Life Guard cavalry, Cuirassiers, Hanoverians and Nassauers and the right flank French Cavalry Division. JP reckons there will be around 3000 Perry 28mm miniatures available over the three days we have to do the game in mid August. The vast majority will come from JP's own collection and Kevin East will add some of his too; JP bought a lot of Kevin's figures which followers of this blog will recall from our own Waterloos at 1:3 scale and Quatre Bras (see side bar links for a reminder). It will be fun to see them in such numbers on my table again.

Here is the table map I have come up with to help me make the terrain and for JP and Kevin to work out the scenario.

Apart from sculpting all the terrain, I have promised to make a scratch-built La Haye Sainte as we could not find something suitable ready-made as a compromise for the footprint in this scale. Should be fun and hopefully I can give some "how-to" tips on this blog in the Summer.

Here are a couple of the photos JP sent me while he was setting out his French infantry to test the frontage of most of D'Erlon's Divisions

If you want to get much more on this and hear from the man himself JP has put a very nice video on YouTube of his set up trial Preparing for this Summer's big game.


Last year we had a very good outing with Guy's Jacobites at his "what-if" Battle of Brampton in November 1745.  Some reminders of that game:

Guy has since been painting more Highlanders and has uncrossed his eyes from tartan painting long  enough to give me his ideas on a scenario. To be fair he was limited in choice as I will have the 12 x 6 Waterloo terrain made and won't have enough time to do anything other than adapt it by the time of our mid-September two-day Jacobite game.

He has put it in the context of the next stage of his fictitious Jacobite rebellion. It is about the very end of 1745 and the Jacobite Army has reached Northamptonshire. Guy reckoned we could adapt Waterloo to the Althorp Estate just North of Northampton city.  I did some research on Google Earth and ground level photos for inspiration and he researched the history of the house and gardens.

This is what it is like nowadays

All very inspiring except that it turns out this lot was built around 1780. The 1746 buildings would have been the preceding dwelling and stables based on brick and half timbered construction. So I've got to do a bit of scratch building/card download conversion. The gardens were still formal but in a different place.  So I scratched my head a bit, took some ideas from Guy's brief and came up with this:

I'm really looking forward to seeing this one come together - only trouble is I'll have somehow to convert mid June Belgium into mid-Winter in Northamptonshire! Browner rather than green........and maybe a dusting of white stuff?

Guy has already put a lot of effort into the background thinking, he has about 2000 figures for us to use and has provided this foretaste for you, my beloved readers:

Synopsis of the run up to the Battle of Althorp


"This is the next battle in my fictitious Jacobite campaign. The Jacobite’s have successfully managed to evade the Duke of Cumberland and his forces which were mustered at Stone in Staffordshire. The Jacobite’s reached Derby and were having a council of war on 5th December 1745. Just before a decision was made to withdraw to Scotland a mud splattered messenger arrived with the startling news that a French expeditionary force had successfully managed to evade the Royal Navy and had landed at Boston in Lincolnshire.  Now much as the Jacobite’s were much taken with the local Bakewell tarts (the cakes….stop tittering at the back Gregg minor), the Prince ordered the army to move with haste towards Grantham with the intention of uniting with the French.


Unfortunately for the Prince there was a government spy in the Jacobite camp and the news was swiftly sent to both the Duke and the King in London. Upon receipt of the news, their forces set off from different directions along Watling Street and met at Northampton on Christmas Eve. The government forces from London had force marched the 75 miles and the Duke felt they needed somewhere to rest for a day or so. The Duke was informed that the Hon John Spencer, MP for Woodstock, was at home at Althorp House. He was a well-known gourmet and kept a good table so this was justification for the Duke to order the army to move to the spacious grounds and park land of Althorp which is about 6 miles northwest of the county town.

Boxing Day beckons. Regretfully the Duke’s cavalry pickets were having another off day (primarily caused by consuming too much ale and plum pudding) and failed in their duty as they were mainly posted to the north. The Jacobite army , which was now considerably strengthened by French units including an Irish brigade, cavalry and guns, had advanced southwards by Ermine Street to Huntingdon. There they were advised of the concentration of the government forces at Northampton. The Prince, under the guidance of the French officers, decided to try and outwit the government troops by approaching from the south and to cut their lines of communications with London. The Jacobites were in good order, if a little foot sore, but confident now they had the French in support and intended to bring the government forces to battle.  If they can destroy the government army then the road to London was open and……… "

I can hardly bear the excitement!! See you there, at least vicariously!



I've just noticed that JP has done an update on his French Army as at mid June .  Although it includes Guards it is likely that about two thirds of these shown will be in his D'Erlon's attack weekend here in mid August . Well worth a look at this YouTube video JP French update 

Friday 11 March 2022

Standing with Ukraine - a new Hussar painting

 My blog has been quiet  for quite some time and I've been very busy, among other things, in organising several wargaming weekends for 2022, more on that in the next blog hopefully. More significantly I've been stunned by Mr Putin's action against Ukraine and it makes a mere hobby pale into insignificance compared to the plight of the many thousands he has put to flight and deprived of their homes.

Apart from making mere donations like so many others, last Sunday, realising that things for the women and children of Mariupol was going from bad to worse, I resolved to use what little skill I have to try to raise more money than I can afford myself.

Since then I've been trying to do the best job I can to pay tribute to the fighting spirit of the Ukrainian people in a painting of the Mariupol Hussars in 1812.  Admittedly then, their homeland was part of Russia and fighting to protect it from the French. How times and politics change!

So I present you with the finished result and invite you please to read on - find out more about the painting and how to bid.

"Determination - The Mariupol Hussars 1812".
Acrylic on canvas 16" x 12" by Chris Gregg 2022

This is an acrylic painting on canvas and is 16 inches x 12 inches (40cm x 30 cm), unframed, but with painted sides and is ready to hang or frame. 

I had thought to just dash it out quickly and cash in, so to speak on the zeitgeist. But dashing off paintings is not my style and it soon became evident to me that as my clients like detail and accuracy I had to do my best within an artistic spirit, and it's taken about 15 hours work over 5 days. As every day has passed the plight of the besieged in Mariupol  has got worse and my sadness deepened. I'm privileged to know a few people, Ukrainian and Russian, in the UK and with relatives in those two blighted countries. They are all on the same side.........Just as the Ukrainians and Russians were in 1812 and in 1941. It's not my fight (yet!) but I'm hoping this painting can raise some money by an online auction.

Many of my readers will be familiar with some obvious artistic influences from the Napoleonic era and in my humble way I hope I'm paying tribute to them too. Funny though, these were all painted in homage to an autocratic ruler who also had disregard for how may lives were lost in pursuit of his goal of a Europe united under his leadership!

Théodore Géricault - Charging Chasseur

Edouard Détaille - "Vers La Gloire"
"Towards Glory" - detail

Edouard Détaille "Le Trophee 1806" 4th Regiment of Dragoons

Capturing enemy standards seems to be a theme of these glorifications of war from the 19th Century. For mine I have gone for the Ukrainian flag as a background to show solidarity, not captured, but preserved. The same colours are echoed in the Mariupol Hussars uniform and purists might say it should be "dark blue"; but I looked up all the sources I could and artistic representations varied from sky blue to dark blue and everything in between so I used my own instinct of what works best.

I've called it "Determination" and I've tried to reflect that in the expression of the Hussar and the defiance in the horse's eye (as in Gericault's too). The sun flashing on his blade is another "Don't mess with me" message which I get from the vox pop TV interviews with 2022 Ukrainian fighters.

So, maybe you have thought you might like one of my original paintings but never had the excuse. I'm auctioning this to the highest bidder via email or DM on social media by 11pm London time on Tuesday 15th March.  I will donate all the proceeds (minus insured postage to your location) to a suitable Ukrainian aid charity. I have in mind the UK Disasters Emergency Committee, which is reliable

I normally sell this size picture for between £125 - £175 so I'm starting the bidding at £100 please. If there is only one bidder you'll get a bargain! But I hope it will raise considerably more!

Feel free to email me with questions , and especially bids! If there is anything to report I will post an update on here each day.

Thank you for whatever you are doing to help.



2100 Friday. Very pleased to say the bidding has started at £125 


Sunday 12 Noon - Bidding now at £151 - very many thanks 


Sunday 1900 - Now up to £200 looking good, thank you


Monday 1500 - Going really well - Bidding now up to £250. Still a day and a bit to go so you still have plenty of time to cash in your Premium Bonds and bid! 


Wednesday 1100

Well I didn't get any further bids last night but really pleased to say that we have raised £250 on my work on this painting. Better yet, one of the thwarted bidders has donated another £100 for the DEC Ukraine appeal on the strength of me doing  a commission specially for him later this Summer - possibly of the Saxon Zastrow Cuirassiers fighting the Russians in 2012; look out for that in due course.

It's been an interesting but demanding exercise as I spent a lot of time promoting it round the web. Successful bids came via a personal email shot to over 60 addressees - many past or current art clients or wargamers.  I did a small a paid boost of my Instagram post which evidently reached over 5000 people and solicited about 100 "likes" but no direct bids. Useful knowledge for the future and for anyone with an Instagram account it seems a fair and cost effective way to promote yourself if you have something special to offer (Yeah, I know I'm normally irresistible anyway!!!!).

I only had one "adverse" comment via Instagram Direct Message. That was from a person called  "Elina" who complained that a Russian "imperialist" Hussar was an insult to Ukraine. I get the point but tried to address it in my blog. "She" said I should have done a Cossack, so I agreed and tried to engage her in helping me by advising of the right sort of Cossack so as not to cause offence again. Sadly by that time she had gone "User not found". So if you are out there "ellina" please get back in touch.

I find it ironic that in 1812 the Cossacks too were fighting the French in the "imperialist" Russian army. But more significantly, we wargamers and military art enthusiasts associate Hussars with hard living, bold, smartly dressed and daring soldiers but look on cossacks as pillaging near savages in tatty uniforms and who only fight from ambush. Hence my choice of a Hussar.....but I'm really pleased to see that with the help of UK-supplied anti-tank missiles the current Ukrainian soldiers are fighting successfully from ambush and knocking out hundreds, if not thousands, of Russian vehicles.........So the real choice for me is what art subject is likely to gain the best price for the cause! I think I made the right decision, I'm pleased with the painting and excited to think of where my buyer will put it in his home.

Thank you to everyone who helped, bid and supported in whatever way. They are fighting for us and it goes on.

CG 16th March 2022