Sunday, 28 September 2008

Foreign Troops

What with the WHC last week and unforseen events this week there's been no further progress in the Leipzig game. So I thought I'd show a few shots of some of the other figures in the garage. These Austrian infantry are part of an order that I sent to Sri Lanka to be painted. The service was in general good despite overly optimistic delivery times and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who's not in too much of a hurry. The order was for 4 x 48 man and 2 x 36 man Austrian infantry battalions and including the cost of shipping the figures out they came to about £2 a figure.
I chose Austrians as they are a pain to paint with their mostly white uniforms and large battalions. The next order has already been despatched, a division of Young Guard which went as part of a much larger order by Joe Dever which should help to keep shipping costs down. Following that it will probably be another Austrian division, most likely German. The painting service sends you a photograph of the first figure in each unit in case you want any changes made and once you are happy does the remainder in the same fashion.

Friday, 26 September 2008

The Final Conflict

The last throw of the dice for the Corsican upstart found the French once more attacking the Allies. The initial advantage lay with the French as they had an extra corps on table and a shorter distance for their reinforcements to travel. The Allies had a decent defensive line to hold with rivers on both flanks. The initial push came on the left of the Allied line but was held off for long enough for fresh troops to arrive. In the centre the Old Guard was massed once again to provide the finishing blow and on the right a demonstration was carried out by Graham Kelly as he patiently waited for the Saxon flank march to appear. It all looked very rosy for the French and there were some long faces on the allied side as the first few moves ticked by. Above can be seen the assault by the Westfalians on the Allied centre left in support of the Guard. To their right the Old Guard commanded by Grant Petit begin their advance to certain glory.
However there was a fatal flaw in the French plan. The village at the top right of this picture should have been captured or at least neutralized with infantry to allow the Guard to advance unmolested. Instead the Allies were able to position a British Guard battalion inside it which could fire into the flank of the grumblers. This led to several battalions peeling off to trade volleys with the British, slowing down and diluting the attack. In addition the French had little heavy cavalry and this was poorly positioned to support the main thrust.
On the French left the Saxon flank march proved fruitless and it was only on the right that there was any success. the Young Guard supported by another infantry corps and the Guard cavalry slowly forced back the Allies. Their efforts however were all for nothing, faced by the Allied combined Guard corps and the splendid Russian Guard cavalry the Old Guards assault slowed to a halt. Rather than risk its destruction Gerry Elliott issued a withdrawal command and the Guard drew off in good order to enthusiastic cries of "La Garde recule" from the jubilant and somewhat relieved Allied players. The outcome was a strategic defeat for the French and though they would live to fight another day the week was adjudged by all but the most rabid Francophiles as an allied campaign victory.
The whole thing was a huge success and was due mainly to the efforts of Gerry Elliott who set up the terrain and to Stephen Scott who designed the scenario and army lists. Next year he's looking at doing a campaign in Denmark which should be new ground to most of us. For those who attended, many thanks for a great week and if I've misrepresented you then get your own blog set up and put the world straight.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Cheminitz 1816

The second battle of the week saw the Allied forces on the offensive. Again it was a battle for a well defined village line but with a not so subtle difference. At the centre of the French position was the Napoleonic equivalent of the Deathstar from Star Wars. A 48 man chateau with out works and cunningly placed buildings designed to channel anyone foolhardy enough to consider attacking it into a killing ground for its Young Guard defenders. Naturally the task was given to Chris Cornwell. Ignoring his orders to reduce the buildings Chris opted for the all out attack option with unfortunate but somewhat predictable results.
The fighting was tough all along the line the picture to the left shows Sackens' corps at the start line for the first of two bloody assaults on the village controlling their sector. Each assault was fought through to 3 rounds of combat and each time there was a bounce. The French defenders commanded by the tenacious Mark Freith were only finally ousted by heavy skirmisher fire from both flanks whilst regrouping. To the left can be seen Herberts brave lads pushing back the French right which carried out a staged withdrawal.
The final assault was made in the centre by the Russian Guard cavalry and the combined Guard corps. This was carried out against a Young Guard division who in adopting a reverse slope position had clearly learned lessons from the Duke of Wellington. This was a formidable obstacle and was judged too costly to be taken by frontal assault. It was necessary to turn one or both flanks and as the left was anchored on the Deathstar the Guard cavalry was committed to clear away the French Heavy cavalry on the right. The dice Gods smiled on the Allies, though for the second year running Mark Freith threw six sixes with six dice in cavalry combat, and the Youngsters were forced to withdraw. Once again the French lost much of their heavy cavalry whilst that of the allies remained largely intact.
So a victory for the Allies, though probably not as decisive as the French victory at Torgau. Hardly surprising considering the Vaubanesque fortifications but it was 1-1 at half time and as we filed off to the dressing rooms both sides knew they had everything to play for.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Torgau 1816

Day one of the battle of Torgau, Philip (one "L" I'm not bloody French you know!) Marshall, took delivery of these very nice Saxon infantry from Neil Sheardown and very magnanimously allowed the French to use them against us allies. In this battle the allies were on the defensive and we were surprised by the presence of the Old Guard and the Guard cavalry.
The French pushed hard on their right slowly forcing the allies back whilst the allies could only slowly make headway against the French left due to the large numbers of French heavy cavalry.
Left is a view of Hills' excellent infantry pushing warily forward in the face of cuirassier and a nasty little horse battery. The rally sticker to the rear indicates the spot where the remaning 8 men from a 40 man elite battalion rediscovered the will to fight after being broken by two squadrons of cuirassier. In the distance Russian infantry ably directed by Herbert Von Gratz force the French back. However it was all to no avail as the wily French forced back the allied left creating a big enough hole to start feeding through the Guard cavalry. The coup de grace was then administered by the blokes in bearskins with a well timed drive through the centre of our position. It was 1-0 to the French but at the cost of much of their heavy cavalry, a loss which would come back to bite them on the arse later in the week.
This final picture shows the Guard cavalry as it passes by the remains of a Prussian foot battery forcing its way into the left flank of the allies. This flank had been held by Tauntziens corps (10 bns 2nd class and 10 bns Landwehr) which proved to be no match for them despite Paul Hookways dogged defence.

Monday, 22 September 2008

The Prodigal Returns

I'm finally back from Folkton after another excellent week at the Wargames Holiday Centre. The Picture is from the third battle we fought and shows the Old Guard manfully advancing behind their deployed 12lb foot batteries to strike through the centre of the allied position, well that was the plan. But more of that in later posts. I have so many pictures taken by Chris Cornwell, (Bernard to his friends) that I've decided to spread them over a week or so in order to try and tell what I can remember of the games. The basic premise was one in which Napoleon won at Waterloo and was joined by the devious Dutch-Belgians and the ever fickle confederation states in another attempt to cause havoc throughout Europe. Ranged against him were the Austrians, Russians and Prussians with a small but extremely good British contingent. The whole campaign was organised by Stephen Scott and worked brilliantly.
The idea was to have a basic army list from which each side could choose forces to be at two separate though simultaneous battles, Torgau and Cheminitz. The result of these battles would then decide which forces were available for the final showdown.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Off to Scarborough


Well I won't be posting for another week or so as tomorrow I set off for a week at the Wargames Holiday Centre in Scarborough. I'm spending the weekend at a friends' house in Basingstoke and on Saturday we're off to "Colours 2008" where I'll be perusing the bring and buy for any additions to the garage. Then on Sunday we meet up with a couple of the others who make up our annual dozen players and take a leisurely drive up the M1. This year we're doing an 1816 (yes 1816!) campaign based on the premise that the French got lucky at Waterloo.
I've been going to the WHC at least once a year since the early eighties and I never get over the buzz you get when you first walk into the bunker and see the terrain laid out on the tables. In many ways it was both an inspiration and disincentive for my own personal wargaming. The truth was that having played there I was spoiled and couldn't get into the idea of games at a local club which had to be over in an evening. However when the opportunity came along to build my own mini WHC I jumped at the chance and received plenty of help and advice from both Mike and Gerry who run the place. If you've ever fancied a visit and haven't got around to it or if you have any interest in large scale games with a group of like minded individuals I would whole heartedly recommend that you give it a try. Anyway for this post I've decided to go for a couple of pics from the WHC to underline my point.
The first one shows the initial set up for the battle of Leipzig, French on the right, Allies on the left.
This next one is taken from the other end of the table and shows the action hotting up around Leipzig itself. The Russians and Prussians push hard to break through on the left and in the background a division of the Young Guard head out in column to help stem the tide.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

15mm Leipzig (2)

Another one of the 15mm game, here we see Steve, watchful as always for Dom's elastic tape measure. I think this picture actually shows the opposing sides prior to turn one. Allies with Prussians on the right, Russians in the centre and Austrians on the left. On the table behind Steve the French reinforcements are starting to arrive, I'll try to get a shot of them on the blog before the end of the week.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

15mm Leipzig

The 15mm game gets under way, Dom who is in fact standing on a box and does not have unnaturally long shins advances his Prussian rabble towards their impending doom at the hands of our master of the left hook, Steve Furzeland. Steve looks on whilst designing new medals to award himself on a scrap of paper. I appear more bemused than normal and try to decide when to fire the French Guard grand battery at the mass of Russians and Austrians to my front. I'll detail which Corps are which for those who like that sort of thing in a later post, though as we were given a certain amount of leeway in our deployment they're not historically accurate. As we are short of cavalry each of the mugs represents a corps of cuirassier or so it would appear by their deployment.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Russians


A four gun Russian horse battery in action from our first game. I still haven't got around to painting the other two guns yet. In the distance a couple of regiments of dragoons make life difficult for the advancing French infantry.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

15mm Napoleonic Game

Strangely enough considering that I embarked on this project to play 28mm games, we are currently playing a 15mm game based on the battle of Leipzig. As previously mentioned I used to play mostly at my friend Dom's place or less frequently at the WHC. Our games in Dom's garage were almost exclusively 15mm and we built up a sizeable collection of figures. Unfortunately Dom's situation changed and this avenue of pleasure became unavailable. The upside of this was an increased effort to get my own garage converted, a job that had been proceeding at a rather leisurely pace. Of course this left us with a large number of redundant 15mm Napoleonics along with various other periods and scales and so we have decided to have one last 15mm game before selling them all off on ebay or via private sales.
I'll post some pictures of the game as it progresses but I have to admit that having played exclusively using 28mm figures of late, the 15mm stuff takes some getting used to again.

Saturday, 6 September 2008

The Armies

I thought it might be a good idea to showcase the work of some of the people who've painted units for the various armies. Above is a very nice battalion of Poles painted by Justin Davey, Justin has also painted all of the French Cavalry along with various command figures. At the moment there are two more battalions in the pipeline which will bring me up to five, but I intend to expand them to eventually have a division of Poles and a Vistula division, along with their supporting cavalry and artillery.

Next is a particular favourite of mine, Russian Infantry painted by the talented and thankfully prolific Neil Sheardown. Neil has painted many of the units in the garage including the Isembourgs seen in an earlier post. He's currently painting a Westphalian division and has completed another Russian foot battery, a French battalion and two battalions of Prussians which I'll be collecting next week. The flags are by GMB flags and in my opinion are the best there are by a country mile.

And lastly for this post, a glorious French command stand painted by Julian Waites using Perry miniatures. Julian has painted several of the command stands which grace the table though I think this is my favourite. He's currently painting a battalion of Cleve-Berg which he hopes to have finished for mid September. I'll post more pictures of the figures in later entries.

Friday, 5 September 2008

The Game


The French attack the Prussian left flank. Actually an unlikely mix of French allies, Saxe-Cobourgs, a battalion of Isembourgs and an Italian battalion in the foreground. For the purists our battles may be something of a disappointment as we don't really care too much about the historical or chronological niceties of wargaming. I have no problems using Russians wearing the 1812 uniform alongside French wearing pre-empire uniforms. I don't really understand the desire to recreate specific divisions or corps from a given period. Though I can see the requirement for formations in historical battles to follow the original orbat I'm not going to worry if I don't have a certain line battalion for a certain corps. Basically any other line battalion will do.
The rules we use are "In The Grand Manner", not everyones cup of tea but easy to use and suitable for the large scale games we want to play.

First Game


Well, here I am looking suitably smug standing next to the terrain for our first game. At this stage we had only made enough terrain boards to cover one table, though this wasn't a major problem as the number of troops available at the moment is also limited.
The boards are made from chipboard covered with a mix which we refer to as gloop made from sawdust, PVA glue and paint. Hills are cut from high density polystyrene and roads are made from Polyfilla. The gloop takes a while to dry but when it does it's rock hard, it's then painted dark green and highlighted with a lighter green followed by yellow.
The one problem I've had has been warping. Despite sealing the boards prior to using them and buying a dehumidifier to cut down moisture absorption some of the boards came to look like components for a skateboard ramp. However by the judicious use of clamps the problem has now been mostly rectified.
The skirmisher buildings in the foreground are scratch builds based on ones from the WHC and the trees are a mix of shop bought ones and our own attempts at making them from rubberised horse hair.

Under Construction


Well that wasn't too difficult, as you can see this a shot of the garage under construction,(though I suppose under conversion is a more accurate term). This is the first of two tables, each 6 ft wide by 15 ft long. The racking underneath is to hold the 3 ft x 3 ft terrain boards, though with hindsight these would have been better fixed laterally than longtitudinally. At the far end is shelving for figures and terrain features ie buildings, trees. The tables themselves are a simple box framework of 2 x 2 inch rough sawn timber with a surface of 6 ft x 4 ft MDF screwed to the top.

Welcome

As the title says, welcome to my blog. If you were looking for a blog about garages then I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. However if it's wargaming you like then hopefully this is the place you might wish to visit every now and again.
I'd better start by introducing myself, I'm a 49 (soon to be 50) year old railway technician who has had a passion for wargaming since boyhood. However, until two years ago I'd hardly painted a figure, never had an army of my own and relied mainly on a weekly game at my friend Dom's place, interspersed with regular visits to the ever inspirational Wargames Holiday Centre in Scarborough to get my fix.
All of this changed when I decided to convert my garage into a wargames room and started to seriously paint and collect 28mm Napoleonics.
It's not always been easy and certainly hasn't been cheap but with the help of lots of mates the garage is now up and running as a functioning wargaming room and continues to develop.
I'm off now to see if I can work out how to post pictures so that you can get an idea of what I'm talking about.