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News from a wargamer with a special interest in the military history of the Balkans. It mainly covers my current reading and wargaming projects. For more detail you can visit the web sites I edit - Balkan Military History and Glasgow & District Wargaming Society. Or follow me on Twitter @Balkan_Dave
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Monday 2 June 2014

Napoleonic Black Powder

I have had a bit of reawakening interest in Napoleonics recently.

It started when I picked up the latest Charles.S. Grant, Peninsular War book, 'Wellington Invades France 1813-14' at Carronade. The usual format of these books is a concise history, clear order of battle and excellent colour plates. These are usually in campaign dress, or scruffy Peninsular that few of us actually paint our table troops in. In this volume there is a useful couple of chapters debating what the units actually looked like.

I had the pleasure some years ago of touring these battlefields with the historian Ian Fletcher and the photos brought back some memories. This is a very interesting campaign that we rarely see on the tabletop. Shame, as this is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Toulouse.

The second reason is that our summer holiday in July will be a visit to the island of Vis (Lissa) in the Adriatic. This was a British base in the latter part of Napoleonic wars and the site of a naval action in March 1811. More on this as I start my research, including Malcolm Scott Hardy's book 'The British and Vis'. I also picked up some Warlord commandos at Carronade in anticipation of some WW2 raiding, as it was a British and Partisan base in that conflict as well. No surprise that there is still a cricket club on the island!

This all transferred onto the tabletop yesterday at the club. I dusted down my British and French in Egypt armies for a two a side Black Powder game. Again, largely inspired by Charles Grant's two volume study of these campaigns. The British line held firm on the right, but crumbled a bit on the left when a better coordinated cavalry, artillery and infantry attack did the job. Black Powder gives a fun game yet retains the feel of a Napoleonic battle and rewards historical tactics.

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