Monday, 17 September 2018

Napoleonic Game

Our regular Sunday game (over the last weekend) was a Napoleonic game.


It was a largely adhoc setup designed as a straight up fight. A Franco/German force consisting of two French infantry brigades, with cavalry and artillery attached and supported by a similar sized Bavarian and Wurttemberg force, took on a Prussian division and two Russian divisions. Deployment was done by dice roll per command, the highest score deploying first, then the next highest and so on. Each command could deploy up to half way across the table and any opposing deployment had to deploy a minimum of 600mm away. In the end no one deployed up to the halfway mark, everyone wanted some manoeuvre space.


On the Franco/German side the French held the left, the Wurttembergers the centre and the Bavarians the right rear, while the two Russian divisions held the right (opposite the French) and centre (against the Wurttembergers) and the Prussians the left.


Action commenced with the French moving to attack the town on their left hand side of the table. They intended to drive through the town and then swing their cavalry wide against the Russian right. They quickly occupied on of the large built up areas, only just beating a unit of Russian jagers into the place, but when the Russians occupied the other two areas of the town a lengthy firefight started amongst the buildings that would last most of the day.


Action on the French front continued with the Russians pushing forward to drive them off. After some initial success the French musketry against the dense Russian formations began to tell and their advance began to falter.


In the centre the both side stood relatively stationary either side of a broad ridge. Finally the Russians moved toward the crest, ready to march over and engage the Wurttembergers. The Wurttembergers were up to the challenge and crested the ridge, opening fire on the Russian columns. A epic clash between six battalions on each side was on the cards. Before the Russians could return the fire, the Wurttembergers seized the initiative and charged forward.


In the resulting combat the Russians repelled two attacks, but two of their own battalions were driven off in flight and two others were pushed back down the ridge. Despite thier success the Wurttembergers now found themselves in an awkward position. Their forward brigade was largely scattered and out of control of their general. When the inevitable Russian counter attack came the Germans scattered to the wind. 

However, the Wurttembergers had done enough damage to the lead Russian brigade for the Russians to give up the ghost and then dispersed, as did another of the Russian brigades on the right, surrendering the town to the French.

The Bavarians and Prussians exchanged long range fire, but were not seriously engaged.

Meanwhile the French continued to grind away at the Russians to their front and soon cleared that front of Russians. The French now dominated the flank of the remaining Russians in the centre.

The end was near for the Russo-Prussian command. The Bavarians were finally stirred into action, advancing agianst the point of junction bteween the Prussians and Russians. One of the Bavarian battalions facing the Russians was badly cut up, but their musketry of their other battalions cut into the Prussians and they began to recoil. When the second Wurttemburg brigade came forward there was little that the Russians could do but take it on the chin. Two of the Russian battalions were easily routed, but the other four held their ground and pushed some of the Germans back. The fight see-sawed for a turn and while the fight continued one of the Prussian brigades gave up the fight and quit the field. 

Then in one turn the Wurttembergers, the remaining Russians and one of the Bavarian brigades dropped below their brigade morale level and quit the field. This left a single Prussian brigade on the field against the French and a single Bavarian brigade. With this collapse on the Russo-Prussian side, army morale collapsed and the remaining troops quit the field.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

9th Hussar Regiment

In previous posts I have admitted to my hussar addiction. I have also admitted to a bit of hussar remorse – that feeling of “OH WHY…” as soon as I start to paint them.


This unit of Perry Miniatures plastic French hussars, for my French 1812-13 project certainly feeds my addiction, but I didn’t get the remorse this time…in fact I really enjoyed painting them.


Many people are put off by the assembly of plastic figures, but they don’t cause me a problem. Perhaps it is because I take care not to assemble more figures that I can paint in the next sitting, which is usually three figures, so that the assembly does not become a chore.


These figures assembled really easily and painted just as easily too. I made it easier for myself by painting the pelisses separately and gluing them on after the rest of the figure was completed. Not having to work around a cast pelisse made the work so much easier and pleasurable.


I have another unit of hussars to do for what will be Burthe’s 8th Light Cavalry Brigade in Pajol’s 2nd Light Cavalry Division at Borodino. These figures are enroute and should arrive sometime this week.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

French 1812 Infantry

It has been a busy couple of weeks on the painting table since we go back from holiday. In that time I have completed three French 1812-13 battalions and started another two – 83 figures in all.


Now in fairness I had done 42 figures before I went away, but simply had not based them up.


First up is the 2nd battalion, 15th Légère.


Next is 3rd Battalion 48th de Ligne.

Finally is 4th Battalion 48th de Ligne.


The 3rd/15th Légère and 5th/48th are waiting for the command figures to arrive – next week I hope.


Meanwhile passing through the uniform store at present is a regiment of hussars, the 9th.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Austro-Prussian War Game

Today we played a large Austro-Prussian War game.

The scenario was that an Austrian infantry corps, supported by a heavy cavalry division is in advance of the retreating Austrian army  when it encounters a Prussian force trying to intercept the retreat. The initial Prussian force is only a reinforced infantry division supported by a cavalry division, but another brigade will arrive during the game. 

The orders of battle are:


First Infantry Corps
  1st Brigade (6 line infantry battalions, a jäger battalion, a field battery and a squadron of hussars)
  2nd Brigade (6 line infantry battalions, a jäger battalion, a field battery and a squadron of hussars)
  3rd Brigade (6 line infantry battalions, a jäger battalion, a field battery and a squadron of hussars)
  4th Brigade (6 line infantry battalions, a jäger battalion, a field battery and a squadron of hussars)
  5th Brigade (6 line infantry battalions, a jäger battalion, a field battery and a squadron of hussars)
  Corps Artillery (6 field batteries)

Heavy Cavalry Division
  1st Brigade (2 cuirassier regiments and a horse battery)
  2nd Brigade (2 dragoon regiments and a horse battery)


Infantry Division
  1st Brigade (6 line infantry battalions)
  2nd Brigade (6 line infantry battalions)
  Divisional Artillery (3 Krupp batteries)
Infantry Division
  1st Brigade (6 line infantry battalions)
  2nd Brigade (3 line infantry battalions, 2 landwehr battalions, 1 jäger battalion)
  Divisional Artillery (3 Krupp batteries)
Reserve Artillery (2 12lb smoothbore and 4 Krupp batteries)

Cavalry Division
  1st Brigade (2 Dragoon regiments)
  2nd Brigade (1 uhlan and 1 cuirassier regiment, 1 horse battery)

In summary the Austrians can count 35 battalions to the Prussians 24. Each side has four cavalry regiments and 13 batteries.

As the game commences a heavy mist blankets the battlefield. The fog will lift and when it lifts is determined by rolling 1xd6 at the beginning of each turn. When the cumulative score of these die rolls equals 18 the fog lifts. Visibility is limited to 400mm on the table until the score reaches 12  when  the distance extends to 600mm.

Until forces come in sight of each other they appear on the table as a paper counter, each of which represents three battalions, a cavalry brigade or reserve artillery. The Austrians have six dummy counters, the Prussians two. When opposing counters come within visibility range of each other they must be declared as real or dummy. If both are real the units are placed on the table. If a real counter discovers a dummy, the real counter is left in play while the dummy is removed.

All counters must be deployed on the table at the beginning of the game and will move at a standard rate of 200mm regardless of the troop type until they are ruled visible, when they revert to normal movement rates.

The Prussian reinforcements of six battalions and three batteries will arrive on the central road by rolling a score of 4+ on turn six, a 3+ on turn seven or will arrive automatically on turn eight.

How the Game Ran

Both sides deployed their counters simultaneously. The Austrians deployed three infantry brigades on their left and two on the right with the cavalry and reserve artillery in the centre. The Prussians put two brigades on their right, the artillery in the centre and an infantry brigade and the cavalry division on the left.

The Austrians advanced boldly in the mist, but the mist was clearing quickly. By turn three the "mist score" exceeded 12 and large parts of the armies became visible. The Prussian artillery roared into action, but inflicted few casualties. 

Next turn the mist cleared completely. The Prussian infNtry on the right moved forward and engaged the Austrian regimental masses in a fire fight. On the opposite flank fhe Prussian dragoons charged into the Austrian infantry. One Austrian battalion as destroyed, but the other was only pushed back, while the dragoons were a spent force.

On the opposite flank the Prussuian attempt to disrupt the Austrian advance failed and three regimental masses charged forward. Despite horrendeous casualties the Austrians hit the Prussians, smashing one battalion and pushing another two back. 


But the Austrians had taken such dreadful losses that their whole front line was stalled in front of a Prussian gun mass. The Prussians scrambled to reconstruct their right flank, repelling a half hearted attack by a squadron of Austrian hussars.

Meanwhile on the other flank the Austrians took control of the wood from the Prussian jagers and pushed on towards the Prussian line on the ridge.

The Prussians managed to hold off the Austrian regimental masses, destroyng one completely. To try to gain some time the Austrian cuirassiers came forward.

The cuirassiers were easily repelled, but as they fell back the Austrian jagers burst out of the wood into the flank of a Prussian battalion. Suddenly the Prussian infantry on the left was in an awkward position, while a fresh Austrian regimental mass forced a gap by routing another Prussian battalion.

The two wings of the Prussian force were being forced apart. The end was inevitable on the left and it was not long coming - brigade morale collapsed and the Prussian infantry brigade disolved.

Fortunately the Prussian reinforcements arrived and in the face of them, and the massed Prussian guns, the Austrians halted.

On the extreme left the Prussian cavalry continied to tie down half an Austrian brigade, charging twice and forcing the Austrians back, but the could not break them.

On the Prussian right the Austrians finally managed to get their second line into position and their artillery forced the Prussian guns to abandon the ridge.

But numbers began to tell. Soon another Prussian brigade's morale failed and they were compelled to fall back with the remainder of the command. A short fire fight on the Prussian right brought the game to an end - the Prussians inflicted heavy casualties, but they had taken such a beating in earlier combats that their morale soon failed and they dispersed.

Only the reinforcements and the  artillery remain in the line. Having inflicted very heavy losses on the Austrians (of the 35 Austrian battalions 20 were shaken or seriously distrupted), the Prussians decided to quit the field.

We got a clear result in just under four hours - an unusually short time for us.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

News from the Front (6)

This, the final report from the front, sees us back in London after twelve days in France. 

The last part of our trip has involved very little in the way of military activity, although I was pleased to find in the centre of Strasbourg a point of reference to my French in Egypt project when I found this statue of Kléber in the square named after him.

Most of the time in Strasbourg was spent observing the stunning buildings of the old town, where the ultimate one had to be the magnificent Cathedral of Notre Dame. 

And another part was spent dodging the vagrants, beggars and drunks.

The next stop was Paris which we reached by the TVG in just under two hours with a top speed of around 320 Kph. Like any good wargamer I spent my time wisely taking photos out of the window of the terrain for future wargames tables.

No other military activities were planned and we headed to Paris where we did outings to the stunning Mont St Michel...

...and the aways fabulous Versailles.

When our visit to Versailles finished earlier than we originally expected, we were at a loose end of what to do, so rather than sit in a bar for the afternoon I suggested a visit to Musée de l'Armée. To my surprise this was agreed to, even though I had said that I wasn't going to the Musée on this visit. So a couple of happy hours were spent wandering around the 1700-1870 floors, with camera in hand. I chose not to visit the other parts of the Musée as I have seen them several times before. Here are still more museum photos. First some pre-Napoleonic shots... some Napoleonic...

...and finally some more Second Empire items.

There was also a huge display of model soldiers, some metal flats, some card models (below), solid and hollow toy soldier types and some highly detailed and stunningly painted 90mm models. 

The display also contained this imteresting piece...

I wonder if there would be a call for this in 28mm?

Finally in London we visited Wellington Arch...

...and Apsley House, that contains a stunnting collection of Wellingtonian memorabilia.

While we waited for Apsley House to open we saw the contingent of the Blues and Royals enroute from Hyde Park Barracks to Horse Guards for the changing of the guard.

Then while in Apsley house we watched the Life Guards ride back to the barracks from the windows of the Waterloo Room. It seemed quite a fitting way to end the trip. 

Tomorrow we fly home.