06 February 2008

You know, it's funny. . .

. . . what goes through one’s mind while slopping gesso and (later) black acrylic paint on the last batch of Spencer Smith cavalry. As I was doing this, engineers, sappers, pioneers, miners, and pontoniers in a wargame context came to mind. Hardly surprising since I’ve been enjoying the David Chandler book on Marlburian warfare, and he devotes roughly a quart or the work to this very subject.

Anyway, my question to you Grand Duchy of Stollen visitors is this. Besides the obvious siege game context, have any of you ever incorporated engineers, sappers, pioneers, miners, or pontoniers into a game? My thought is that this might add an interesting (but frequently ignored) dimension to our games. I think C.S. Grant has a few scenarios in his books that do something similar, and I must check up on it. And I also believe there was a Table Top Teaser in an early Battlegames where there were some bridging troops (Spencer Smiths if my memory serves me correctly). Anyway, I’d be interested in your thoughts on the matter.

With this subject matter in mind, and in lieu of a picture of Prussian sappers or something similar, here’s a picture of Sébastien de Vauban, France’s greatest military engineer. He's quite handsome in that 17th-18th century way, but I imagine that the person who painted his portrait might have something to do with that -- as was so often the case in pre-photography times.


MurdocK said...

I've been building up some pontooniers for a planned Essling and Wagram games in 2009.

They got a boost forward once they were going to have a chance at the table in a game of Friedland.

Since then they have been able to take some small parts in other games.

I also have plans to use them in some fortification and seige battles (since the troops are actually sappers and miners).

See them in actions
here and;
here where they were still shiny and new!

Bluebear Jeff said...

One of the battles I fought at Murdock's had pontoons being built.

It was a Napoleonic battle . . . but I don't recall which one. I do think that it was a re-fight of one of the 1807 battles (he does like re-fighting historic battles on their 200th anniversary (or at least close to it).

-- Jeff

Der Alte Fritz said...

I was considering adding a rule that would allow pioneers to build "X" number of inches of earthworks per game turn, construct cheveau de frises and or bash down doors and gates with their axes. I'm thinking of using the Stadden Prussian fusiliers and painting them as IR49

tradgardmastare said...

I have some Spanish sappers/engineers newly arrived and awaiting paint. They have armour and helmets and are quite different.I look forward to seeing their skills in action.

Conrad Kinch said...

We've done a few games with pioneers and the like. For the most part they've either been pontooniers or assault pioneers, guys with axes or explosives that clear fortifications for the infantry advancing behind them.

ColCampbell50 said...

Our group did a Napoleonic battle several years ago where a small unit of French sappers were assigned to blow a bridge to help cover the retreat of the outnumbered French forces. Unlike at Leipzig, they waited until all the French were across and lit the fuse. The bridge blew up in the Russian's faces just in the nick of time. I don't recall the mechanism that we used to judge the success or failure of the fuse however.

Steve said...

...I have to say I've usually used them in the context of one of the Teasers, as you rightly say, Charles Grant had a couple of Teasers that involved the buidling or destruction of bridges/pontoons etc.

tidders said...

I have some engineers,with prussian fusilier headgear (some converted).

I hope to increase the numbers a and do some for both sides as I'll probably use them in siege scenarios

-- Allan

andygamer said...

I haven't painted them yet, but I have the Front Rank Prussian miners and the London War Room Spanish ones. They are to go with Imagi-nation siege trains and would affect how quickly a siege can be conducted. Unfortunately I think that they're 40mm, but Prince August DIY molds have Marlburian pontooneers and sapper/miner types. I think one of the bloggers has used them for one of the Battlegames Magazine Tabletop Teasers scenarios.


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