I spent last weekend in deepest darkest North Devon taking part in a campaign based on the 1855 Anglo-French operations against
Baltic. The game was put on by the NWS chairman, Stuart Barnes Watson using his
extensive collection of 1/2400 models from Hallmark and Tumbling Dice. Stuart
was using my "Iron and Fire" ironclad rules and so he asked if I'd be
happy to umpire. I&F is written from an 1860-80 ironclad perspective so I
devised a set of period specific rules to cater for the slightly earlier time
period, and also to cover the campaign specific elements. Russia
Lance surveys the battle from the Umpire's position
Stuart, the Russian commander, checks the range from one of his batteries.
Battlelines drawn at the start of Day 2. Russians in the foreground, Allies to the top
I wonder if the residents of the sleepy village of Lee knew what world-changing events were happening on their doorstsps?
The weekend did, however, reinforce my thoughts that the Russian War (aka the "Crimean" War) is a tricky one to wargame. Both fleets are large - but both have good reasons not to get heavily engaged. The Russians, with the vast majority of their ships reliant on sail power, are at a severe disadvantage in a fleet action (and as day 2 showed would most likely get chewed to pieces). Meanwhile, the Allies, lacking many specialist inshore craft, would be mad to attempt to force the very strong defences of places like Sveaborg and Kronstadt (behind which the Russians, if they have sense, will be sitting). So one has to develop rather contrived scenarios in order to force an action, run a counterfactual where the Russian fleet has a far higher proportion of steam ships or (as I may do in the future) run a campaign set in 1856 where the Allied have the benefit of the massive 1855-56 inshore warship building programme. It is, of course, an ideal setting for skirmish games based around British landing parties in