Sunday 30 April 2023

War in the Peninsular

With stormy weather threatening our city again, we gathered for our regular Sunday game. This time it was a Peninsular War action with the 21 French battalions supported by four regiments of dragoons and eight batteries attacking an allied army of seven British, six Portuguese and nine Spanish infantry battalions,  three small units of British light dragoons, two regiments of Spanish dragoons and six batteries (four batteries and two Spanish).

I had planned to pull together a game based on Albuera, but real world pressures of the last week conspired against me and instead I pulled a scenario together at the last moment. The terrain was simply set up with a significant town in the centre of the table with two long ridges either side. The Allied army set up first with the Portuguese in and to the immediate left of the town, with one battalion on the churchyard. The Spanish were on the left flank and the British the right.

The French deployed with two brigades against the British and one opposite the town.

The French right brigade made a bee line for the churchyard while the centre made straight for the British, hoping to draw them into a fight on the ridge while the remaining brigade turned the British right.

Meanwhile the Spanish, with no French directly in front of them, moved to turn the French right flank, but the fact than half of their infantry was rated raw made their progress slow, although in their colourful uniforms they looked rather smart.

The first attempt at break into the churchyard was repulsed and while the French tried to reform for a fresh attack they were attacked by some British light dragoons. The cavalry drove off one battalion before being stopped by a French square. 

In the French centre a battalion fell on the flank of a Portuguese battalion and destroyed it, before pushing on against the unit of rifles occupying one of the houses in the village.

The French in front of the churchyard recovered and tried in vain to storm it again.

In the French centre the British came forward in an attack. The resulting combats swayed too and fro with neither side gaining an advantage.

The French dragoons tried to drive off the Spanish dragoons, but were driven back themselves.

Things were turned badly for the French in the centre and right and soon they would collapse, but on their left the third French brigade finally got into the fight seriously damaging the British force. The French cavalry swung around the flank, smashing two batteries.

The Spanish and Portuguese forces, with no enemy in front of them, closed in around the town and with with two of the French brigades destroyed, victory went to the allies. 

And with that we left sunny Spain and went back into the rain and wind.

Friday 28 April 2023

An Addition to the Library

The recent release of the Ottoman Napoleonic figures by the Perrys stirred up up my desire to expand the Ottoman Turks that are allies for my British in Egypt army. That expansion has always been an intention, but the only manufacturer up to now with a broad range of figures has been Brigade Games, but with an eye watering landed cost of more than $NZ90.00 for an eighteen figure unit, I had delayed the expansion indefinitely. But with the Perry coming into the market the price for the same sized unit is a little under $NZ41.00 and with an expected broader range of figures, things are looking a bit more promising. There is even the potential to look at using the Turks against the Russians in the Caucuses.

However, before I launch into a whole new project, I will wait an see how the range develops, but in the meantime I placed an order for a book from Caliver Books that I have been considering for some time, Chris Flaherty's "The Napoleonic Ottoman Army". It took a while to get here, due to the inefficiencies of the post-COVID postal systems, but now I have it.

In large format it is a beautifully presented book with hundreds of colour illustrations that provide all the uniform details needed by a wargamer to paint Ottoman figures.

My only complaint is the lack of organisation of the content. Maybe it is that in my professional life I edit and publish aviation documentation that has to be clear, precise and have a logical flow, but in this book (and many other similar books for that matter) there is a need to flick confusingly to and fro across many pages to find the details of what is a confusing subject to begin with. Often at the end of your search you are even more confused. Nonetheless it is a starting point.

Thursday 27 April 2023

Austrian Brigadiers

This is just a quick post showing three Austrian colonels that I will be using as brigadiers.

These are rather nice one piece castings.

Next it is back to the line infantry.

Monday 24 April 2023

Austrian Jägers

Before I get on to the real subject of this post, I encountered a Blogger irregularity the other day. Checking my comments I noted 66 comments, going back over six years, listed as spam. They weren't present a few days ago and I know that I always try to reply to comments within a day. So there is: a mystery as to why they suddenly appeared in the spam folder, an apology to anyone whose comment had gone unanswered and a question - has anyone else encountered this oddity?

And now to the real subject, the presentation of a jäger battalion to join the Varazdin-Stankt Georger Grenz Regiment, number 6, the wurst battery (and at some point soon a hussar regiment) as a part of an Austrian light brigade.

While the whole battalion consists of six stands, I have arranged the unit with two command stands so that I can break if unit two small units.

There is a nice mix of poses in the two sets that make up the unit. That said, the kneeling firing figure looks as though the master was distorted in the moulding process and he is aiming to one side, but looking in a different direction - in fact he looks a bit like Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock playing The Star Spangled Banner with his teeth, but dressed as an Austrian jäger...a small complaint in what is still an excellent bunch of figures.

Thursday 20 April 2023


Fresh off the conveyor belt is the First Battalion, Regiment Freiherr von Zach, Number 15. Formed in 1701 it served in the War of Austrian Succession and in the Seven Years War as Regiment Pallavicini. From 1792-99 it was under the inhabership of Prinz zu Oranien, was vacant until 1801 when it transferred Frieherr von Rieske, before becoming Freiherr von Zach in 1806.

The new inhaber, Anton Freiherr von Zach, had entered the service in 1788. He served in the Revolutionary War campaigns  in Italy at Lodi, Borghetto, Rovereto and Novi. As Austrian chief of staff to the Austrian Army at Marengo he was captured and later was involved in the negotiated truce that followed. He was back in Italy in 1809 fighting at Sacile, Piave River and Graz. He did not serve in the field again after 1809 and he gave up the inhabership in 1815

By the 1850s the inhaber was Adolf Herzegovina zu Nassau, but the regiment did not see service in the was in 1859. It was engaged in 1866 in Ludwig’s 8th Corps. In 1898 the inhaber was Troppau, ten years later it was Wilhelm Grosherzog von Luxembourg. Its final inhaber, In 1914, was Feirherr von Georgi. 

Tuesday 18 April 2023

Franco-Prussian War Game

The last time our group played a Franco-Prussian War game was 19 Feb 2017…more than six years ago… before COVID even…is that going to be the new definition of BC from now on given that the religious overtones of the old BC are now frowned upon?

The game saw three French brigades, with a small reserve of some irregulars, defending against five Prussian brigades. The objective was to hold two robust built-up areas: a walled farm more or less central and a solid church on the other side of a river. Whoever held those positions gained two victory points for every turn they held each one and whoever reached 15 points first won - there were points that could  counteract the advantage of holding these areas - losing a brigade would lose points, for example. 

The table before action began with the church objective in the foreground, the walled farm middle in the distance beyond the long ridge.

For my sins I was made the Prussian CinC and reasoning that the churchyard was likely to be unattainable I deployed one brigade in front of it and determined to strike the rest of the French line with four brigades. 

The French put one brigade in and around the church (separated from the main force by the river) and kept two brigades and the reserve along a ridge line and in the walled farm.

Two of our brigades were on the table quickly and prepared for action, but the two following brigades were slow…mine rolled five bad activations  in a row and dawdled towards its deployment zone.

Our left brigade, facing the church was very roughly handled and eventually bundled back across the bridge - it was always going to be a tough ask to take that position, but at least one third of the enemy force was contained there. 

The initial advance of the Prussians against the churchyard. 

One battalion attempts to storm the church yard, but is repulsed

The French Chasseurs held out valiantly against the Prussian onslaught 

To the right of that force the French came forward in an attack that did considerable damage to our lads, but eventually the French were destroyed, but not before our brigade took crippling losses.

The French advance to the attack against the German left centre
The Prussian guns prepare to go into action

The French gunners responded, with little effect.

Finally our other two brigades got into the fight. One battalion carried the farm and successfully repelled attempt to take it back, but our other battalions failed to make headway. Given more time we might have been able to claw back something positive, but the game was called as a French victory.

It was good to see these figures back on the table again after all those years.

And now for some random pictures of the battle.