Sunday, October 4, 2015

Old Project resurrected: 6mm Napoleonics

Years ago, and we are talking years ago I made a stab at 6mm Napoleonics from Baccus. Me and a friend bought a Polemos starter set with Prussians and French. The expectation as that I would paint the French and he the Prussians. It did not pan out. He could not find the time or energy for the Prussians, and while I painted most of the French and some of his Prussians, I lost interest as well (no possible opponent). What is more the Polemos rules simply did not work for me. The one test game we did felt flat, and the forces that came with the purchase were simply not big enough to give me the Grand Tactical games I wanted with Polemos. So the project went to the back burner. I did bring the left over french with me to the US, but never really got down to paint them. Until now.

All the Grand Tactical action going on in my gaming life, and the games produced by people playing Sam Mustafa's Blucher got me into a painting mood. Not only that but I am in gap in my 10mm painting right now. All the stuff I had is done and I have yet to order the new stuff. So I sat down and started painting those French. I had with me command, the cuirassiers, and 4 artillery crews. Over this week I finished the first two sets. As with all my post-2013 projects (exception DBA) I use my universal 20 CM square basing. Painting is minimal wargaming standard. I will use these guys with Bloody Big Battles (that can be expanded to the 1813-1815 campaigns without much difficulty), Black Powder,and with Blucher (which I want to give a for). 

Next point is to find the French army (I left it with the friend) buy off the Prussians, and paint the rest of. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

19th Century What Ifs? The Franco-US War of 1866-1868 Part IV: OOB for Franco-Mexican-Texan Forces

OOBs France and Allies 1866

Army of the Republic of Texas
CnC Lieutenant General Jubal Early
1st Brigade-Major General Jo Shelby
Spaight’s Texas Volunteer Regiment-500 men
1st Texas Regular Infantry Regiment-600 men
Shelby’s Volunteer Regiment-800 men
A battery, 1st Texas Artillery

2nd Brigade-Brigadier General P.O.Hebert
2ND Texas Regular Infantry Regiment-600 men
3rd Texas Regular Infantry Regiment-500 men
4th Texas Regular Infantry Regiment-500 men
B Battery, 1st Texas Artillery

Texas Cavalry Detachment-Brigadier General J.E.Slaughter
Sweet’s Cavalry Battalion-150 men
Bradford’s Cavalry Battalion-250 men
1st Texas Cavalry Regiment-400 men
Redeemers Volunteer Cavalry Regiment-135 men
A and B Battery , 1st Texas Light Artillery

Total Army of Republic of Texas: about 3500 Infantry, 1000 cavalry, 16 guns

Many of the units are made up veterans of the CSA. Rather mobile force, lacking in equipment.

Expeditionary Army of the Junta of the Republic of Mexico
CnC-President-General Miquel Miramon
1st Division- General of Cavalry Tomaso Meija
4 Infantry Battalions (Morelos, Hildago, Allende, Guerrero) (average strength 800 men)
1 Chasseur Battalion
A and B batteries, Field Artillery Regiment

Total men and guns: 4000 men, 12 guns

2nd Division-General of Division Leonardo Marquez
4 Infantry Battalions (Aldama,Jimenez,Matamoros, Landero)
1 Chasseur Battalion
C and D batteries, Field Artillery Regiment

Total men and guns:4000 men, 12 guns

3rd Division-General of Brigade Vicario
4 Infantry Battalions (Abasolo, Galeana, Marinos, California)
1 Cacadores Battalion
E and F batteries, Filed Artillery Regiment

Total men and guns:3700 men, 12 guns

Cavalry Division-Colonel Valdez
1st Regiment Horse-Cacadores
2ns Regiment Horse-Cacadores
1st Regiment Lancerios di Patria
2nd Regiment Lancerios di Patria
1st Regiment Regulares
4 Batteries Horse Artillery

Total men and guns:2000 men, 16 guns

Total Expeditionary Army of Junta of Republic of Mexico: 12700-13000 infantry,2000 cavalry,  52 guns

These represent the forces the Junta can trust enough for an invasion of the US. Troops are veterans of the Reform and French Intervention Wars. They have been re-organized and reequipped by the French and are probably the best supplied army Mexico has put on the field. That said morale is going to be variant depending on how many man had to be drafted from the Liberal forces. Material is French provided.
French Army of Mexico
CnC Marshall Alphonse Bazaine
I Expeditionary Corps
CnC General De Castagny

Voltiguer Division of the Imperial GuardGeneral Div. Bourbaki
(2 Regiments of 2 battalions each, 1 Chasseur Battalion):5 battalions

1ST Division- General Div.Aymard
1st Battalion/ 1st Zouave Regiment*, 3 Battalions/ 2ndZouave Regiment***, 3 Battalions/ 1st Regiment Turcos*** ):7 Battalions

2nd Division- General Div.Mangin
(French Foreign Legion (4 Battalions)**** , 99th Regiment of the Line (3 Battalions)***, 1st  Chasseurs Battalion*: 8 Battalions

Cavalry Division-General Div. Dupin
2 Regiments of Chaussers De Afrique**, 2 Regiments of Sipahis**

Artillery Complement
10 Batteries of Artillery ( 2 Voltiguer Guard 4-pdrs batteries/ 2 Guard Horse Artillery Batteries/6 Horse Artillery Batteries)

Total men and guns: 13000 infantry, 2000 Cavalry,60 guns

II Expeditionary Corps
CnC General Douay

Marine Division- General de Brigade Henique
(1* + 3 Regiments each of three Battalions): 12 Battalions

3rd Division- General Durcot
51st*, 62nd*, 95th* Line Regiments each of 2 Battalions, 7th Chasseur Battalion* :7 Battalions

4th Division-General Dusmenil
81st *, 7th* Line Regiments each of 3 Battalions, 20th and 18th Chasseur Battalions**: 8 Battalions

Cavalry Division-General Desvaux
 1sr Regiment Lancers of the Line, 53rd * and 25th Regiments of Hussars, 12th Regiment of Chasseurs a Cheval*

Artillery Complement
8 Batteries of Artillery (2nd Field Artillery Regiment)

Total men and guns: 17500 infantry, 2000 Cavalry,48 guns

Reserve Corps
CnC General Ladmiralaut

5th Infantry Division- General Torchu
3 Line Regiments each of 3 Battalions, 1 Chausser Battalion: 10 Battalions

Reserve Cavalry Division-General Legrand
1 Cuirassier Regiment, 2 Dragoon Regiments, 2 Chasseurs a Cheval Regiment

Reserve Artillery
16 Batteries ( 4th and 12th Field Artillery Regiment)

Total men and guns: 6500 infantry, 2500 Cavalry,96 guns

Total for French Army of Mexico: 37000 Infantry, 6500 Cavalry, 204 Guns
Units with * are Veteran

Total French Allied Forces: 53500 Infantry, 9500 Cavalry, 272 Guns

Saturday, September 26, 2015

19th Century What Ifs: US vs. France and Mexico 1866 Part III: US OOB

At the start of the war the US has available 5 corps. 2 in the Army of Texas, and 3 in the Army of the Gulf. The two Corps of the Army of Texas (4th and 25th) should be rated Veteran. Of the three corps of the Army of the Gulf, the 16th should be rated veteran, while the 13th and 19th should be rated Average.

US Army of Texas
CnC Major General Phillip Sheridan
4th  Corps
General  Thomas Wood

1st Division B.GKimball?
Original Veteran Units: 21st Ill ,31st Ind,38th Ill,21st Ken,23rd Ken,51st Ohio,30th Indiana,77th Penns
Original Veteran Units Transferred from other Corps Divisions: From 2nd (64th Ohio)

2nd Division B.G Elliot
Original Veteran Units: 57th Ind,51st Ill,36th Ill,44th Ill,125th Oh,40th Ind,28th Ken,26th Ohio,42nd Ill,15th Miss,65th Ohio

3rd Division B.G Beatty
Original Veteran Units: 51st Indiana,8th Kansas,15th Ohio,49th Ohio,59th Illinois,41st Ohio,71st Ohio,13th Ohio,19th Ohio
Potential Veteran Reinforcements: 5th US Infantry

Corps Artillery
Original Veteran Units: Battery "A" Kentucky Light Artillery, Independent Battery B, Pennsylvania Light Artillery

Total Infantry Regiments: Veteran 30
Total Artillery Battery: Veteran 3, + 3 Reinforcements
Total Estimated Men at 500 men Average Regimental Strength:15000
Total Estimated Guns at 6 guns per battery: 36

25th Corps
Major-General Godfrey Weitzel

1st Division B.G Kautz
Original Veteran Units: 22nd USCT, 36TH USCT,38th USCT,118th USCT, 29TH Conn(Col), 9th USCT,115th USCT, 117th USCT, 19th USCT, 23rd USCT, 43rd USCT, 114th USCT, 2nd USCT Cav

2nd Division B.G Birney
Original Veteran Units: 7th USCT, 109th USCT, 116th USCT, 8th USCT, 41st USCT, 45th USCT, 127th USCT,29th USCT, 31st USCT

3rd Division B.G C.J Paine
Potential Veteran Units:  10th USCT, 28th USCT , 1st USCT, 37TH USCT, 5TH USCT, 4TH USCT, 6th USCT
Potential Other Units: 62nd U.S. Colored Troops, 87th U.S. Colored Troops

Corps Artillery
Supposed to have 56 guns in historical sources, so about 9 batteries, no idea of units

Total Infantry Regiments: Veteran 32
Total Artillery Battery: 9
Total Estimated Men at 500 men Average Regimental Strength:16000) (historical OOB gives 13360)
Total Estimated Guns at 6 guns per battery: 56

Cavalry Divisions
1ST Division MG Metritt
Original Veteran Units: 1st Mich Cav, 7th Mich Cav, 6th NY Cav, 17th Pennsylvania, 20th Pennsylvania, 1st US Cav, 5th US Cav, 6th US Cav
Total Strength March 1865: 2942 men, Potential Strength in 1866: 1500?
Probably more Veteran units here

2nd Division MG Custer
Potential Units: No idea, most of his Division had mustered out historically by summer 1865. I have a feeling he took the balance of the US cavalry regiments with him so 2nd and 3rd US Cav.
Total Strength March 1865: 4355, Potential Strength in 1866: 2000?
Probably more “green” units here
Two US Regular Batteries: 12 guns

Total Potential Strength US Army of Texas
Infantry: 31000 men/ Cavalry: 3500-4000 men/ Artillery: 104 guns

US Army of the Gulf
CnC Maj. Gen. Edward Canby
13th Corp
General Gordon Granger

1st Division B.G Veath
Original Veteran Units: 29th Ill,8th Ill, 46th Ill, 30th Missou
Original Veteran Units transferred from Corp Division: From 2nd (94th Ill)
Potential Veteran Reinforcements: 1st US infantry
 Original Divisional Artillery: Mass Light Art x2 Batt

2nd Division B.G Andrews
Original Veteran Units: 114th Oh, 24th Ind, 83rd Oh, 48th Oh, 37th Ill, 20th Win
Original Divisional Artillery: Mass Light Art 15th Batt, Conn Light Art 2nd Batt

3rd Division B.G Benton
Original Veteran Units: 28th Ill, 35th Win, 7th Ver, 77th Ohio, 27th Win
Original Divisional Artillery:New York Light Art x 2 Batt

Corps Cavalry
Original Veteran Units:  1s Florida, 2nd Maine

Total Infantry Regiments: Veteran 17 +13 “Green” Regiments: 30 regiments?
Total Artillery Battery: 6
Total Estimated Men at 500 men Average Regimental Strength: 8500 Veterans+6500 Green: 15000
Total Estimated Guns at 6 guns per battery: 36

This is the corps that would probably get most newly raised volunteer regiments for this war.

19th Corp (Reformed)
This represents an amalgam of units in Louisiana and the one division of the original 19th Corp that stayed in Louisiana
Major General  Frederick Steele

1st Division BG Hawkins
Original Veteran Units: 6lst USCT ,73rd USCT, 82nd USCT ,86th USCT,  47th USCT, 50th USCT, 5lst USCT ,48th USCT, 68th USCT, 76th USCT
Original Artillery: Mass, Light Artillery 7th Battery
Reinforcement Artillery: Iowa Light Artill 4th battery

2nd Division BG T.W. Sherman
 Units: 1st New Orleans, 20th USCT,46TH USCT, 56th Oh, 16th Ind, 1st Louisiana, 2nd Louisiana, 7th Kentucky
Artillery: Mass Light Art, 6th Battery, NY Light Arty 25th Battery

Corps Cavalry
Units: 1st Texas Cavalry, 3rd RI Cav, 1st Louisiana Cav

 Total Infantry Regiments: 18
Total Artillery Battery: 4
Total Estimated Men at 500 men Average Regimental Strength: 9000
Total Estimated Guns at 6 guns per battery: 24

This Corps should also be considered of mixed veteran/green status

16th Corp
Major General  A.J. Smith

1st Division BG Macarthur
Original Veteran Units: 33rd Ill, 26th Ind, 93rd Ind, 72nd Ohio,47th Ill,11th Miss, 8th Wisc, 33rd Miss,
Original Division Artillery: 2nd Iowa Light Batt.

2nd Division BG Garrand
Original Veteran Units: 119th Ill,178th NY, 21st Missouri, 11th Wisc, 34th NJ, 52nd Indiana, 58th Ill, 10th Kansas
Original Division Artillery: N/A

3rd Division BG Carr
Original Veteran Units: 44TH Misso, 40th Misso, 49th Misso, 14th Wisc, 8th Iowa
Original Division Artillery: 4 Batteries

Total Infantry Regiments: 20 Veteran+ 10 “Green”?
Total Artillery Battery: 5+1?
Total Estimated Men at 500 men Average Regimental Strength: 10000 Veterans + 5000 green: 15000?
Total Estimated Guns at 6 guns per battery: 36

Army Cavalry Coprs
Major General Benjamin Gierson

1st Division BG Knipe
Original Veteran Units:  4th Wisc Cav,2nd NJ, 13th Indiana,2nd Maine Cav
Original Division Artillery: N/A

2nd Division  BG Lucas
Original Veteran Units:1st Louisiana Cav,1st Florida, 2nd Ill Cav
Original Division Artillery: 1 Bat
Total Strength April 1865: 6200, Potential Strength 1866: 3500?

Total Potential Strength US Army of the Gulf
Infantry: 27500-39000 men/ Cavalry: 3500-4000 men/ Artillery: 102 guns

Total Potential US Forces available against Franco-Mexicans 1866

58500-70000 Infantry/ 7000-8000 cavalry/ 205 guns

Friday, September 25, 2015

19th Century What Ifs: US vs. France and Mexico 1866 Part II: Operational Plans

19th Century What if :The Franco-American War 1866-1868
Aka “The Second Mexican War”, “La Guerre per la Follie Napoleon”
Part II

In the previous post I laid out a potential story of how a war between France and the US could come about in the 1864-1866 period. I also postulated some potential forces.  I will now lay out the potential operational plans of Marshall Bazaine and General Sheridan, the commanders on the ground.

First let me explain why I think the forces I postulated in the previous post are probably the upper limit of what the US and France will have available early in the war.

For the US.

First. The end of the civil war in 1866 will probably see the massive exit of volunteers and the end of conscription. My guess is that even troops whose volunteer term is not up will clamor to go to home (I can see them saying "we signed up to fight the sessechs, not some damn frenchie in Texas land").  There will likely thus be a large decrease in US manpower. Historically one of the two corps of Sheridan's "Army of Occupation" that faced off with Napoleon III at the Rio Grande was made up exclusively of long term service USCT (United States Colored Troops). My expectation is that initially the forces at Sheridan's disposal will be made up of the 19 US Regular Infantry regiments, 6 Cavalry Regiments, and 5 Artillery Regiments, plus a number of USCT (considering that there were 135 Regiments of USCT, there are enough to create a good force).

Second. large parts of the US army will have to be used for police and occupation duties. Remember this is a longer war then historically, and probably more bloody as Lee and Johnston were able to combine in the Carolinas. Bitterness may be higher than in history, devastation worse.

Third. Naval issues. In this scenario remember that France has already a important naval presence in the Gulf Region (with a fortified base in Vera Cruz, and probably Martinique or Guadelupe). Now I have seen lots of debates over the quality and size of the French and US navies in this period. I decided to use political science to give me a more general picture. Brian Crisher and Mark Souva collected naval data for the post 1864 period (you can find a draft of their published paper here
Power at Sea, and the data here Power at Sea Dataset).

There data shows the following comaprisons between the US and French navies in total tonnage

1866 France/US= 170694/ 140070 
1867 France/US=192440/141779
1868 France/US =217051/148982

As we can see the distribution of material capabilities is such that we cannot assume a freedom of the US navy to ferry troops via the sea from the Eastern Theater to Texas.  This means that forces will have to entrain and then get off at Vicksburg and march to the area of operations. This is a very large area to cover on foot, so my belief is that it will take a long period for any reinforcements to come from the East to Texas. Thus at least for the first year of the war, Bazaine and Sheridan have their own private hell, and must fight with what is available. Remember that the rail-network is not very developed in this part of the US.

Fourth. The war will without doubt create some volunteer waves, especially in the Western states and some of the old Confederacy. But my feel is that the large numbers of USCT that will have to be used, and the greater bitterness of this longer war, will damp the number of ex-Confeds who wear blue to fight the French and Mexicans. Instead I see a mix of green and veteran volunteers (mostly green) complementing the Regulars and USCT Sheridan has available.

For France

I have already noted the naval situation above, and just as it puts limits on the ability of the US to bring troops to the theater of the war, so it does for the French. To this add the political limitations that Napoleon III faces at home. He has to keep this war cheap for France, both in lives and money, and must sacrifice political power in France for freedom of action in Mexico. This means that his ability to raise troops to send is limited. My view is that what I gave him is what he can spare. At most he might be able to scrape one more division (to make the Reserve Corps into  two division corps).

For the Republic of Texas

Louis Wigfall was popular in Texas, and his proclamation of a Republic should attract many bitter-enders among the Confederate. However how many? Not that much. Let us think about Texas. In the total civil war it contributed about 70000 men to the Confederacy. So the yearly military potential of Texas as whole was abut 12-15000 men. Wigfall does not have all of Texas. He probably does not have even all of the ex-Confederates (many will detest a Mexican alliance). So 5000 seems like the maximum he could raise, and fits with the numbers of confederates that escaped to Mexico and Brazil after the war. My expectation would be that this force would be a primarily horse force.

For the Republic of Mexico (junta)

I went for an average between the forces of the regular Mexican Army after the war of reform and the forces raised by the Empire in history. This represents the part of the Mexican military that the French would consider as able to conduct large scale military operations. The number of 15-20k seems realistic. This excludes National Guard units.

Let us begin with potential dispositions of forces (click for larger map). Please ignore the rail lines on the map, as they did not exist in 1866.

The US Department of the Pacific will be headquartered in the San-Fransisco-Sacramento area.

Sheridan with the XXV corps will be at Galveston, while the IV Corps  is situated around San Angelo. Defending a line on the Colorado river. The two cavalry divisions (Custer/Merrit) are used to keep contact between them, and defned the IV corps northern Flank. The Three corps of the Army of the Gulf are situated in the triangle Vicksburg-Mobile-New Orleans.

The Army of the Republic of Texas is headquarted in El Paso (provisional capital) and probably engaged in skirmishing with either Custer or Merrit. The Army of the Republic of Mexico is staged at Chihuahua  close to the Rio Grande. Bazaine has the 1st and 2nd Corps of the French Army of Mexico situated along the Rio Grande towards he Gulf Cost. The Reserve Corps is situated partly in Mexico City and partly Vera Cruz.

Operational Plans: French

Considering the French minimalist goals, Bazaine needs to contest Texas or California from the US so that it can be used as a negotiating chip for US recognition of French predominance south of the Rio Grande. Operationally he must not let Sheridan link with the Army of the Gulf. This means that all must be done to lure Sheridan's corps away from each other, and away from the Army of the Gulf.  His goal would be to either place he army between Sheridan and the Army of the Gulf or, even better between the IV and XXV corps, defeating each in separate battles. Once he has dealt with Sheridan he can try to hold the Colorado river line and await negotiations.

So how does he try to lure Sheridan and still serve the political goal?

The map shows a possible French operational plan, and how they would expect or hope Sheridan would react. (click for larger map)

The Army of Mexio begins an ascent along the Rio Grande, hopefully luring the IV Corps after it. Its goal is to rich the Gila River and then follow it to invade California. The threat to California hopefully will force the IV corps to move East. 

At the same time the Army of Texas lunches a deep raid on the rear of the US lines with the goal of reaching Vicksburg and threatening lines of communications. Hopefully Sheridan sends either Custer or Merrit after them, weakening the IV corps. Potentially the XXV corps will advance in parallel with the IV  in order to cover its south flank. the Army of the Gulf will start concentrating its corps at Galveston, but too late to keep contact with Sheridan. Also some elements of XVI corps will have to be sent to Vicksburg due to the fear of the Texan Army.

The movements of the IV and XXV corps will hopefully create a gap that permits the 1st and 2nd Corps to interpose between them and force a battle at Bazaines choice somewhere north of the Rio Grande. At the very least the 2nd Corps should be able to interpose itself between the XXV corps and the Army of the Gulf. At the very least California will be invaded.

Or so go the hopes of the French.

A potential alternative is to have the Army of Mexico go up the Rio Grande, link with the Texans, and then hook right to try and outflank the IV corps. This provides more troops for Bazaine at the Rio Grande, but means California is not threatened, nor does IV corp lose a division. Indeed this plan might not force Sheridan to move enough.

Operational Plans:US

Like Bazaine, Sheridan also wants to finish this fast. He needs Bazaine to move, but he also would prefer to have at least one more corps at his hands. His main goal would be to control Texas, denying Napoleon III a negotiating chip, and forcing him to choose between a log war and defeat, or backing down now.

Sheridan expects an attempt by the Army of Texas to get at his rear, and that the Mexican Army will go for California. He will risk California, believing that the long march will weaken the Mexicans enough that US troops in the Pacific will be able to contain them.  His main decisions are two. He orders the XVI corps to risk a coastal move to join him at Galveston. until it arrives he keeps the Colorado River line, expecting that Bazaine will not assail it. In the meantime the XIX and XIII corps will make a large scale left hook and march through North Texas in the way negating any gains made by the Texans and finally holing them up at El Paso. Once that is complete the IV,XXV and XVI corps will march in parallel to the Rio Grande and seek a battle with the two French Corps. With 3 corps to 2 Sheridan believes he can give a bloody nose to the French.

Or so the Americans hope.

How does it go? Well this is where you the wargamers come in. After this point what happens is the subject of friction and thus gaming!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

19th Century What Ifs: US vs. France and Mexico 1866

19th Century What if :The Franco-American War 1866-1868
Aka “The Second Mexican War”, “La Guerre per la Follie Napoleon”
by Konstantinos Travlos
Up in TMP a lively conversation has erupted over the possibilities of a war between Napoleon III and the United States of America around the time of the US Civil War. Various alternative scenarios have been offered , some more or less plausible in my view. All are legitimate, but here I would like to present my own scenario and defend its plausibility.

First a couple of things about how wars come about. Wars rarely erupt outside a context of repeated crises and military disputes (political scientists like William Thompson or Paul Diehl term this “rivalry”). Furthermore wars are more likely to erupt in conditions where rivalry is combined with alliance networks, and conflict over territorial issues. Policy and Regime issues are less likely to lead to war (See Senese and Vasquez “Steps to War” or Paul Huth’s “Standing your Ground”. So for an Franco-American war to be plausible we need to bring this conditions in.  

To intensify a US-French rivalry we need that French to take actions that are deemed to endanger the territorial integrity of the US. The basic ways to do this is through the CSA and through Mexico. Combine the two and you create a massive threat for the US. So how do we do that?

A direct intervention of France in the US civil war is the lazy way. It also does not make much sense for Napoleon. An independent CSA is as much a threat to his Central American plans as the USA is. However the longer the US Civil War lasts, the more able is he to mobilize resources to build a strong position in Mexico and the Caribbean, one that might deter a US attempt to dislodge him.  The easiest way for him to do this is through a Mexican proxy regime, that recognizes the Confederacy and is used as a transit for French material to the Confederacy. This will also give us a good excuse for ramping up US-French militarized disputes.

So let us start with the first point of departure from reality: The French win the first Battle of Puebla in May 1862, This is a key because the original Mexican victory cost the French almost a year of campaigning and gave time for the Republicans to get organized. Instead in our story the French win a decisive victory and march on to take Mexico City in 1863. By late 1863 they have captured most of central mexico.

Second point of departure: No Maximilian! I know Maximilian is the romantic figure at the center of the historical drama, but I really cannot see him being Napoleon IIIs stooge to the level that would be required to make Mexico a known enemy of the US. So he turns down the Miramon delegation (maybe he becomes King of Greece? 1864 saw a regime change in Greece from Otto of Bavaria to George of Danemark. Why not Maximilianos Ampsbourgos). So what do we get instead? A conservative transitional junta under Miramon, with the unstated goal of bringing in a Bonaparte for the future Mexican Throne. As for Juarez, we can have Juarez die in an internal coup in the Republican camp (as almost happen) or leave for the US. What we need is to assume that whatever happens the Republican cause is mortally wounded.

So now Napoleon has a good foothold on Mexico by late 1863, instead of 1864 as was the history. What does he do? He gets the Mexican Junta to recognize the CSA in 1864, in return for permission for Franco-Mexican troops to pursue Republican guerillas into Texas. Would the CSA accept such terms? Maybe, maybe not, but let us assume it would (the thinking being that they can always deal with Mexico once they have gotten their independence. We can postulate that this alliance creates political problems in the CSA).  Mexico thus becomes a major transit point between France and the CSA. I assume the material arriving permits the Confederacy to hold out until late 1866, especially in the Trans-Mississippi Theater. Why does he do it? He needs time to pacify Mexico and built major military bases in the Gulf Region, time he can buy with French bullets entering American bodies. He finally signs an alliance between France and Mexico, which leases a naval base in Vera Cruz for 99 years. When asked why he does not just intervene in the ACW, he is reported to had answered “I will not give up a an actual crown for a phantom one”

How does Napoleon buy at the very least the tolerance of the French people for this? A) Money, the Mexican conduit for about a year permits France to trade with the CSA increasing profits B) He pulls out of Rome telling the Pope that he must step up with the times (This is Napoleon III, he is shameless) C) He enters a grand agreement with opportunistic Republicans and Constitutionalists. If they permit him to attach Mexico to the Bonaparte Dyansty, he will work with them to turn France into a Constitutional Monarchy. Let us assume they take the deal.

In the 1864-1865 period, Franco-Mexican troops pacify the rest of the country. Clashes with US or US affiliated troops erupt when Franco-Mexican flying columns peruse Republican guerrillas into Texas and Southern California.  He also begins transporting more troops into Mexico, with the goal of having 40000 French Troops and 15000 Mexican Troops in the region. Vera Cruz is fortified, as are the French holdings in the Gulf region, and the naval presence is increased.  A major Franco-US incident happens after the Alabama-Kearsarge battle. The French forced the Kearsarge to enter the port of Cherbourg and illegally held the crew for tend days, until British pressure led them to let them go.

In 1865 the US government no longer willing to tolerate the passage of French material through Mexico to the CSA, declares a blockade of Mexico, with the agreement of the Republican Government of Exile. This leads to a series of naval encounters between the French and US navies (essentially something like the quasi war) in the period 1865-1866. These encounters inflame the public opinion of both countries against each other.

By 1866 the Confederacy is at its ropes. Lee and Johnson E. Johnston are bottled up in Charleston S.C with 50000 men facing the combined might of the armies under Grant, Sherman and Sheridan (130000). Most of the Confederacy east of the Mississippi has fallen. Jefferson Davis tried to escape to Mexico through a French commercial ship, but he was captured by a US navy ship, which led to a further incident between France and the USA. In the Trans-Mississippi region Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith and Lt. General Richard Taylor had at their disposal about 20000 men, 15000 bottled up in Mobile Alabama, buy the Army of the Gulf (30000 men), and another 5000 close to the Mexican Border. A new Union corps sized formation “The Army of Texas” (7000 men) were engaged in containing that force and Franco-Mexican flying columns.

Between 1865 and 1866 Napoleon III and General Miramon had entered secret negotiations with Texas and Louisianan secessionists. The idea was for Texas and Louisiana to secede from the CSA, be recognized as independent states by Mexico, sign alliances with it, and request French mediation with the USA.  Everybody understood that this would likely lead to a war, but Napoleon III expected that to happen anyway. In return Texas would agree to Mexican territorial gains in California and Arizona. For compensation it would be give n Oklahoma and New Mexico. Louisiana was just promised preferential treatment in commerce. On the slavery issue Napoleon offered to accept slavery in the two states for a 50 year period, during which gradual emancipation would be compensated by French capital. The Confederates were divided. The official governments and Kirby and Taylor rebuffed French efforts. But hard liners like Louis Wigfall took them in chance. 

On May 15th Kirby and Taylor surrendered their forces in Mobile, barring a force of 1500 harheads that broke through Union lines towards Texas. On May 20th, a Texan congress was called in El Paso by Luis Wigfall and other fire-eaters who declared the independence of the Republic of Texas. On the same day a Treaty of Alliance and Amity was signed between the Republics of Mexico and Texas, and the “Government” of the Republic of Texas requested French mediation in its dispute with the USA.  Many Confederates unwilling to accept the end of the war fled to Texas.

The USA government reacted immediately with a demand from Mexico to cease interfering in US events, and a refusal to accept French mediation.  On June 5th 1866 a French steamer was stopped by the US naval ships searching for Confederate officials. A French naval ship then appeared and demanded the US ship to leave. The two ships then engaged in a furious battle. On June 12th a Mexican force of 6000 men marched into Texas to combine with the 5000 men of the newly created Army of Texas. The US declared war on Mexico on June 15th. Napoleon feeling ready for the war and relying on inflamed popular opinion due to the June of 5th event, declared war on the US on June 18th presenting himself as a defender of small states against Yankee imperialism.

Opposing forces at the start of the war
The Theater of the war is probably going to be the Gulf region and California. 

At the start of the war the US probably has at its disposal the following forces
Army of the Gulf (30000-40000 men, XIX, XIII,XVI Corps)
Military Division of the Pacific (4000-5000 men)
Immediate Reinforcements: Sheridan’s Force (20000-40000 men ,XXV Corps, IV Corps, Custer’s Cavalry Division, Meritts Cavalry Division)
Total: 64000-85000 men?

The French would have had the following forces at their disposal
Army of the Republic of Texas (4000-5000 men)
Army of the Republic of Mexico (15000-20000 men)

French Army of Mexico
I Expeditionary Corps
Voltiguer Division of the Imperial Guard (2 Regiments of 2 battalions each, 1 Chasseur Battalion):5 battalions
1ST Division (1st Battalion/ Guard Zouave Regiment, 3 Battalions/ 2nd Zouave Regiment, 3 Battalions/ 1st Regiment Turcos ):7 Battalions
2nd Division (French Foreign Legion (4 Battalions) , 51st Regiment of the Line (3 Battalions), 4th Chasseurs Battalion): 8 Battalions
Cavalry Division: 2 Regiments of Chaussers De Afrique, 2 Regiments of Sipahis
10 Batteries of Artillery ( 2 Voltiguer 4-pdrs batteries/ 2 Guard Horse Artillery Batteries/6 Horse Artillery Batteries)

II Expeditionary Corps
Marine Division (4 Regiments each of three Battalions): 12 Battalions
3rd Division: 3 Line Regiments each of 2 Battalions, 1 Chausser Battalion :7 Battalions
4th Division: 2 Line Regiments each of 3 Battaltions, 2 Chausser Battalions: 8 Battalions
Cavalry Division: 1 Regiment Lancers of the Line, 2 Regiments of Hussars, 1 Regiment of Chasseurs
8 Batteries of Artillery (2nd Field Artillery Regiment)

Reserve Corps
5th Infantry Division: 3 Line Regiments each of 3 Battalions, 1 Chausser Battalion: 10 Battalions
Reserve Cavalry Division: 1 Cuirassier Regiment, 2 Dragoon Regiments, 2 Chasseurs Regiment
Reserve Artillery: 16 Batteries ( 4th and 12th Field Artillery Regiment)

French Gulf of Mexico Garrisons
5-10000 men?
Total: 49000-70000 men?

After that it is anyone’s guess depending on the willingness of the US to continue full mobilization after the surrender of the Confederacy, and the ability of Napoleon III to wrangle more troops from metropolitan France.

Political Goals: What would they be fighting for?
Maximalist: Expulsion of French from Mexico, Establishment of Republican Government in Mexico. Minimalist: Secure of territorial integrity of the USA
Maximalist: Incorporation of Southern California and Arizona in Mexico, Texan independence.
Minimalist: Recognition of Pro-French Regime in Mexico by US

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Finishing the 10mm leadpile

Well I finished painting all the superfluous miniatures from my Altar of Freedom Project. They are all Pendraken 10mm, and here is what I did with them (many projects WIP)

First off six bases of French Imperial Guard Voltiquer Division (in post 1860 grab)

ACW Kepi Zoauves painted as Pontifical Zouaves/ Volunteers of West for Wars of Italian Unification or Republican phase Franco-Prussian War

 Extra Generals for AoF, and extra bases for four Union regiments, so that I can use them for BBB and Neil Thomas 19th Century Rules

Two extra infantry units for AOF, one of them of African Americans (the front one)

The first test Confederate unit for AOF.

Brasilian Units for the War of the Triple Alliance. ACW Fez Zoauves as Bahia Zoauves, and ACW Union Infantry as Brazilian Regulars in early war summer grab. 

So a good start of several small projects.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Perfidious Albion: Battle of the Yellow Sea 1904

Not much gaming this month. I have been focused on a) terrain building and b) painting off my 10mm lead pile before putting my new orders in for Pendraken.

Doruk Efendi and me did get together at my place to play a game of Perfidious Albion. We played, once more, the Battle of the Yellow Sea in 1904 from the Russo-Japanese War. I commanded the Russians and he the Japanese.

I hammered away at the Mikasa, but once more despite being crippled it survived (a "lucky" model of a "lucky" ship).

In return the Japanese crippled the Sevastopol and Tsesarevich killing admiral Vitigief (he died in the previous iteration of this battle) and Vice Admiral Ukhtomsky.  They also sank by magazine hits the Poltava and Retvisan. The only Russian succees beyond crippling the Mikasa, was a magazine hit that exploded the AC Kasuga.

A bad defeat, and a bit of a tiring game. I really feel Perfidious Albion is really a game that can handle up to 3-4 ships per side. Beyond that it can grind.

Here are pictures of the action

Russians towards you, Japanese away

Japan CnC

Russia CnC at work

The lines approach 

Russian Batleship explodes


The Kasuga explodes

Second Russian battleship explodes

Ships sunk