Saturday, 27 November 2010

Yet again the Allies tasted the bitter fruit of defeat at the hands of the plucky French on Wednesday night.  Having reached turn twenty two and with the opening session of the first Ashes test match fast approaching we called it a night on our current game.  It had been once again an interesting tussle with a fair amount of ebb and flow but as I alluded to in the last blog entry it became increasingly difficult for the Allies as time wore on. 

Dom's Hungarian Grenadiers who finally wrested control of the woods from Neils' Westphalians only to find that the battle had left them behind.

Rather than outline the orbats in full I'll just give the total numbers involved for each side:

French (starting forces)

25 x Bns Infantry
2 x Regt Hvy Cavalry
4 x Regt Lt Cavalry
12 x Guns in 4 Bty's

Three infantry and one cavalry division.

Reserves (used)

2 x Regt Hvy Cavalry
1 x Regt Lt Cavalry
3 x Guns in 1 Bty

Reserves (not used)

14 x Bns Infantry
1 x Regt Lancer
6 Guns in 2 Bty's

Two infantry Divisions.

French Heavy cavalry with Wurtemburg light cavalry attached switch from the left flank to the centre leaving their horse battery to cover against any further Allied advance.

Allies(starting forces)

28 x Bns Infantry
4 x Regt Lt Cavalry
1 x Regt Uhlan
21 Guns in 6 Bty's

Four infantry and one cavalry division.

Reserves(used)

3 x Regt Cuirassier
3 x Guns in 1 Bty

Reserves(not used)

16  x Bns Infantry
7 Guns in 2 Bty's

Two infantry divisions.

Andy's Hungarians enjoy fleeting success against Erics line forcing him into retreat, but routs on their flank sapped their enthusiasm for further action and they were unable to exploit their gains.

As can be seen, though the Infantry and cavalry arms were relatively balanced there was a huge disparity in the amount of artillery available to each side.  This was further compounded by the fact that a third of the Allies guns were twelve pounders and that two of their batteries had Elite crews whereas the French had six and eight pound batteries with line crews.  The question I suppose is why didn't the Allies make more use of this advantage to achieve a win?  I think the problem was twofold, firstly the ground which the Allies were attacking over especially on their right made it difficult to concentate fire from guns and often they were masked by their own infantry.  Secondly the Allies failed to spot the one place where they would have the opportunity to employ a grand battery which was their extreme left.  Instead they employed a succession of localised attacks against equivalent forces and their artillery was often left unused.

The remnants of Justins' Russian line division gamely attempt to exert some pressure on the Swiss to support the attack of the Russian Elite division, but get toasted for their troubles.

So another game over and we'll be starting afresh next Thursday.  At the moment there is nothing specific planned though I've been mulling over the idea of a small scale battle using just the one table.  The idea is to introduce a bit more manouevre and a modified command and control structure into a game to see what happens. 
  Finally the answers to the questions I posed in the last entry, yes, no and not bloody likely.

Monday, 22 November 2010

We continued last weeks game on Wednesday, there being just the eight of us this time as Steve had to work.  Once again the Allies attempted to push forwards and were in each case repulsed.  Dom attacking across some pretty awful ground was unable to make any real headway against Neils' confederation troops and ended the evening with a large part of his infantry in retreat.  To be fair he did throw some consistently poor morale dice for his troops but even if they had held on for another turn or two the outcome was never really in question. 

A combination of tough terrain stalwart defending by Neil and fickle dice Gods leave Doms' Austrians with nowhere to go but backwards.

Things were no better for the Allies on the other table, Justins' Russian line division having lost the support of its foot battery attempted to slog onwards against French guard and elite troops with the almost inevitable consequence that nearly the whole division ended the evening in rout.

"Routed Ground" markers litter the area where Justins' Russians had been just moments before.  In the background three elite, (yes elite, and each one with a staff officer) regiments of Russian cuirassier make their entrance.

For this game Eric has introduced a reinforcement system based on escalation.  Basically on a given turn the Allied commander was asked if he wished to escalate the battle by deploying one of a number of optional reserve formations.  If he decided to deploy reserves then the French were allowed to do the same from the reserves which they had available.  In this case the Allied commander decided to bring on his cuirassier division and fortunately for the French their choice was also a cavalry division consisting of two regiments of dragoons and two light cavalry regiments.  The next choice of whether to deploy reserves fell to the French four or five turns later.  However being happy with the state of the battle and extremely wary of Erics' blatantly Francophobe orbat they decided not to utilise their reserves thereby denying any fresh troops to the Allies.

The Russian Elite division, two guard and four elite battalions.  Possibly the Allies last remaining hope for victory.

With the game stalemated on the Allied right and their centre in tatters it appears that the one real chance of a victory in this game will come from their left where the Russian elites are currently advancing to take on the weakened French guard division who are still holding on to their original defensive line.  If they can break through then they may be able to roll up the extended French line giving Doms' remaining Austrians the opportunity to break through against Neil.

Front Rank Austrian hussars,  I know the colour combination isn't everyones' cup of tea but I think they're lovely, and I get to choose the photos.

So will the Russians break through?  Can Neil hold on?  Will Eric ever discover how the kettle works?  Answers to all of these questions and more in the next installment after Wednesdays game.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

A Matter of Balance.

We had a full house for last thursdays game which meant nine of us in the garage.  Understandably it was a little crowded but we were able to get a new game started and play the first nine turns.  This is another game designed by Eric and is loosely based on the aftermath of our previous game.  The French orbat is very similar to the previous one though some losses have been factored in, for instance the Elite division has lost two of its elite young guard battalions.

Russian Hussars manouevering past a new piece of marsh terrain, one of a couple which Justin kindly brought along on the night.

The Allied orbat on the other hand has undergone some radical changes.  Following the loss of their entire Prussian Corps the poor things are having to make do with a fresh Russian corps including a Russian elite division and yet another elite twelve pounder battery.  In addition to this they have just deployed three regiments of cuirassier plus a horse battery and this is only the stuff that the French can see.  The likelihood of more Russians and even a division of Prussians arriving is high.

Doms' Austrians in a bit of a log jam attempting to head towards their supply lines.

The scenario is one of pursuing French forces moving parrallel to their Austrian counterparts in order to keep them cut off from supply.  This movement is stopped by the appearance of the Russian forces who have immediately attacked the head of the French column.  Their initial attack has so far been unsuccesful but it would appear that numbers must eventually tell.

A division of Russian infantry advancing to test their mettle against French Elite and Guard troops
  in a defensive position.

The initial turns have in general gone the way of the French including an early cavalry melee in which a couple of light cavalry squadrons gave some Russian uhlans a bit of a pasting for no loss to themselves.  In addition the first Russian attack on the French held village at the centre of the table has been repulsed though not without some loss to the defenders.  The arrival of the Russian Cuirassier will doubtless make things very difficult for French to carry out any counter attacks as what little cavalry they have is on the other table facing off another Allied cavalry division.

The view from behind the French lines during the first Russian assault.

We continue the game tonight with all but Steve present and it should prove an interesting if tough task for the French players.  There is still the option for more reserves to be deployed and the decision whether or not to do so may be key to the final outcome.
    As a final point all of the above photos were taken by Andy using a tripod and a long shutter speed (I think that's the right term).  personally I think they're really nice and hopefully we can look forward to loads more of Andy's pics in the future.




Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A Game of Two Halves and Some Interesting News

We called it a day on our one off game at somewhere around turn twenty three.  As the title says it had been a game of two distinct battles taking place one on each table.  On the Northern table a Prussian Corps commanded by Andy supported by Nicks Austrians were up against the best of the French forces, a strong Guard division and a good line division commanded at different times by Neil, Steve and Eric.  The tables were deemed as being seperated by a long wooded area which took time to transit and had the effect of unforming most troops who passed through it.  First deployments on the Northern table had the French 6th Div defending a central village against the Prussians with The Austrians arriving from the West. 

Part of Andy's Prussian corps in its start position, at this stage things were looking decidedly grim for the French.

Unfortunately for the Prussians they soon discovered themselves to be flanked by the arrival of the French guard supported by another line corps on their left.  With such a linear position Andy found his command being rolled up from the left as the Guard relentlesly drove all before it.  This left the assault of the French held town to Nicks' Austrians a struggle which continued for the remainder of the game with neither side gaining a clear advantage.

The Guard (2 x 36 Guard and 6 x 32 Elites) arrive to ruin Andys' day.

On the Southern table the French position also looked difficult.  The two French divisions moving up to support the village (7th and 8th Divs) over one third of which was made up of militia found themselves to be outflanked by an Austrian line corps and an Elite Grenadier division.  This led to some hasty redeployment for the French.  The original village garrison, 6th Div, was recalled through the woods to assist its parent corps whilst the newly arriving 5th Div from I Corps was rushed in to fill the gap.

7th Division form line to their left from the line of march to counter the unexpected arrival of a strong Austrian force.

Fortunately for the French defenders on the Southern table the terrain had the effect of breaking up the Austrian advance with the result that their attacks went in peicemeal and suffered heavy casualties before being able to close with the French defenders.  This slow advance also allowed fresh troops to arrive in time to shore up any gaps which appeared in the French line.  Eventually enough troops were able to arive to make the Austrian assault impractical and this part of the battle became a stalemate with the Allies main strike force, the Grenadiers, unable to make their presence felt.

Young Guard assaulting the Prussian left flank, with the loss of this village there were no more defensive positions available to the Prussians and they were rolled up.

The battle was eventually won and lost on the Northern table.  The French Guard with their greater movement and combat power were able to cut through the Prussian defenders resulting in the loss of almost the entire Prussian corps.  This is the first time we have used Guard quality troops in our games and it was an interesting example of how useful they can be in the right place at the right time.  Though there were only two battalions they did have a marked effect as could be expected though as much as anything it was the psychological effect of being up against them that made much of the difference.

The Southern table showing the difficult terrain (centre and right) which broke up Doms' attacks. 

So all in all a useful and enjoyable game which allowed us to test out some minor rule amendments, most of which I outlined in the previous post.  I particularly like the idea of allowing riflemen some offensive firing capability and the dropping of the -4 for cannister against single rank cavalry made people think twice about using frontal, single squadron charges against guns.  We made a change to one of the amendments during the game by allowing troops to move tactically (12" for infantry 18" for cavalry) regardless of their proximity to the enemy as long as the whole of the turn was spent in column of march formation.  This seemed to work well and does away with the idea of "doubling" troops every fourth turn.  Admittedly as yet we haven't come up with a solution for skirmishers but we're getting together again for another one off battle on thursday night so we'll probably work something out by then.

Elite Miniatures Westphalians painted by Neil Sheardown for no other reason than I think they're gorgeous.

Finally the title of this entry states that there's some good news and indeed there is.  The Wargames Holiday Centre whose sad demise I was bemoaning a few posts ago has been given a new lease of life.  It appears that the whole lot is to be relocated to Basingstoke (about an hour outside London) and will be reopening its doors early in next year.  To be honest I had heard a few whispers about this but it was very much "pie in the sky" at the time.  The man taking up this particular Marshalls' Baton is Mark Freeth whom some of you may already know, I'll be speaking to him in the next few days and will try to get some more details such as prices and an itinerary which I'll then post on the blog.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

An Interlude

We are currently between campaigns here at the garage and so we decided to play a one off battle or two with in order to try out several minor rule amendments.  I stress the fact that these are minor changes as we are fully aware of how the balance of the game can be shifted by too much tweaking.  So what are the changes?  Well unless you're familiar with ITGM then they'll probably mean little to you but for those of you who do use the rule set here they are:

1.  No -4 when firing cannister at single rank cavalry.
2.  Grenz are graded as elite infantry when taking unforming checks in woods.
3.  Horse batteries fire once.
4.  No doubling.  Tactical move speed is allowed outside a given range of the enemy and this is variable depending on the scenario.  A typical example would be 12" for infantry, 18" for cavalry when 36" or more from any visible enemy formation.
5.  Rifle armed troops, line and skirmishers, may move half a move and fire at half effect.

Reinforcements in the shape of a Westphalian Division hurry forward to supportthe hard pressed French left flank.

One or two of these rule changes we've tried before and are happy that they work, we'll have to wait and see for the others. 
    On to the battle itself, this one has been devised by Eric and pits a French force against a large force of Austrians and Prussians supported by a Russian light cavalry division.  We've been playing the game for a few turns now so I think it won't be giving too much away to publish the orbats:

French  I Corps

4 Div
2 x 36 Guard
6 x 32 Elite
1 x 3 Gun 8lb bty
1 x 24 Lancer

5 Div
4 x 36 Vet
4 x 36 1st
4 x 36 2nd
1 x 3 Gun 8lb bty

Attached Cavalry Division
2 x 32 Dragoon
2 x 24 Lt Cav
1 x 3 Gun Hse bty

An Austrian line division supported by Russian light cavalry make their push against the French centre.

II Corps

6 Div
3 x 32 Vet
2 x 36 2nd
4 x 36 Mil
1 x 3 Gun 6lb bty
1 x 32 Dragoon
1 x 24 Lancer

7 Div
3 x 32 Vet
2 x 36 2nd
4 x 36 Mil
1 x 3 Gun 6lb bty

8 Div
2 x 36 Vet
2 x 36 2nd
2 x 36 Mil
1 x 3 Gun 6lb bty

On the face of it then a decent force with a nucleus of good troops bulked out with a fair amount of dross.

 Austrian Grenzer, one of two 48 man battalions painted by Alan Tuckey of Blue Turkey Painting service which have recently arrived at the garage.

Allied Corps (Yorke)

1st Div
1 x 24 Lt Cav
1 x 32 Elite
3 x 32 1st
2 x 32 2nd
3 x 32 Landwehr
1 x 3 Gun 12lb bty
1 x 3 Gun 6lb bty

2nd Div
1 x 24 Hvy Cav
4 x 32 1st
3 x 32 2nd
2 x 32 Landwehr
1 x 3 Gun 6lb bty

 Austrian Jaeger (Elite Miniatures) which can now be used in a more offensive manner.

Allied Corps (Radetsky)

1st Div
1 x 36 Jaeger
6 x 36 Elite
1 x 3 Gun 12lb bty (Elite)

2nd Div
1 x 48 Grenz
3 x 48 1st
3 x 48 2nd
1 x 3 Gun 6lb bty
1 x 24 Hussar

3rd Div
1 x 48 Grenz
3 x 48 1st
3 x 48 2nd
1 x 3 Gun 6lb bty
1 x 24 Hussar

Allied Cavalry
4 x 5 Cossacks
1 x 32 Uhlan
2 x 32 Hussar
1 x 3 Gun 6lb hse bty

Pretty much equal in terms of cavalry and infantry numbers though the two 12lb batteries make a noticeable difference. 

Prussian infantry holding the Aliied left flank come under heavy pressure from the Young Guard.

We reconvene on thursday evening though Eric who devised the scenario is suspiciously unavailable.  I'll get a battle report sorted out and hopefully we'll have some first impressions of the rule changes we've tried.


Monday, 4 October 2010

Tight Finish at Gotha


The battle of Gotha went all the way to the wire with the Allies eventually taking their final objective on turn twenty four, the last turn of the game.  Nicks' Austrians despite having been initially repulsed stormed forward to throw Andy's stubborn defenders out and leave Dom the French commander with little choice other than to issue an order for his troops to withdraw under the cover of darkness.

Neil's Russians storm the first village to be captured in the centre of the French line, the small wood to the right would remain in French hands for the remainder of the game.

The French position was based on a crescent of five villages which curved backwards towards the French side of the battlefield from their left.  A reserve consisting of a division of Young Guard and a heavy cavalry division was positioned to the rear centre of the line where it could move to reinforce any threatened areas and another division of heavy cavalry was placed on the left though the ground there was possibly not best suited to their abilities. 

Andy's French await the onslaught of Nick's massed Austrians supported by Russian Cuirassier

Though the French began the game with all of their troops on table the Allies had to wait for reinforcements to arrive based on a dice throw added to the current game turn.  Fortunately for them Nick was able to bring his troops on relatively early as they had the longest way to go to engage the French right.  A further Austrian division arrived on table to bolster the Allied right and this was able to put heavy pressure on Eric's thinly spread troops.

The reserve Young Guard division move out to shore up the French centre right.  This was the only part of the original line which remained in French hands by the end of the game.

Almost inevitably the large numerical advantage enjoyed by Neil's Allied army eventually began to tell and despite localised victories the French were eventually pushed out of all but one of their defensive points.  On the final turn Nick's Austrians finally ousted their opponents and the game ended in a victory for the Allies.  This was useful for Neil as his army had it been defeated would have been out of supply and forced to retreat across country with the loss of most of its' guns and a large number of troops.

The final moments of the game, Nick's Allied troops prove too strong and numerous for Andy's French.

So another Allied victory and it was once again back to map movement.  However with Dom's army which had been already weakened by the loss of a large part of one corp now suffering losses in another battle the French were relying on Eric's army in the north and Andy's army in the south.  Unfortunately for the French, Andy had been forced to garrison Erfurt with one of his corps and when whilst trying to withdraw out of reach of Neils' troops Andys' remaining force bumped into Schwarzenburg commanded by Steve it was all over.  It was decided that a fight between Steves' untouched army backed up by the Russian guard division and Andys' battered corps would have been to uneven and Eric graciously conceded defeat in the campaign.
     Althought the campaign is over we will be starting another in the near future and will implement some further rule modifications a few of which we'll be trialling in a series of one off battles starting this week.  I'll list the rule mods in my next update for anyone who's interested.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

The End of an Era

Each year for nearly thirty years now I've been fortunate enough to spend at least a week at the Wargames Holiday centre in Scarborough.  For my first few visits the place was run by Peter Guilder a charming and humorous man who's decision to start a centre for wargamers has had a huge bearing on my enjoyment of the hobby.  The centre was then taken over by Mike Ingham who probably like me had fallen in love with the place as a customer.  A few years later Mike was joined by Gerry Elliot, and for the past seventeen years the two of them have put on countless games for the paying public to enjoy.  Sadly due to Mike suffering from ill health the centre will close its doors for the last time later this year and though there are a few rumours of other interested parties taking up the mantle no one has yet come forward publicly.   

The British led by Moore and Wellesley begin their assault on the thinly held French line.

I've just returned from another week of playing an excellent Peninsular campaign with a group of friends each and everyone of whom I have met through playing at the centre over the years.  In truth it does seem sad that without the centre to act as a focal point anymore, at least some of those friendships will fade.
     As well as being a focal point the centre has acted as an inspiration to myself, and I'm sure many others and my own gaming set up is completely based upon it.  During my time in the armed forces it would have been impossible to accumulate and store even a modest 28mm army and the chances of finding opponents were even more remote.  So each year I'd head up to NorthYorkshire for my annual fix of gaming, returning with unfulfilled plans of doing the whole thing in 6mm or 15mm. 
     Oddly enough I've often considered that I was in many ways "spoiled" by my visits to the centre.  Having seen and participated in games on such a scale, with thousands of 28mm figures laid out amongst superb scenery I found it difficult to adapt to club level games which had to played out in an evening and with comparatively small forces.

British and KGL cavalry await their chance to get into the action.

That isn't me taking a pot shot at wargaming clubs by the way, it's just a portrayal of how wargaming can be if people have the time space and money to do it.  Unfortunately for most of us at least one if not all three of those commodities are in short supply. 
     The title of this entry is "The End of an Era", I did think about putting a question mark at the end but the truth is that regardless of what happens in the future an era is definitely ending.  There will be no more driving to Folkton each morning, no more smell from the pig farm down the road, no more nights out in Scarborough or long journeys home to Plymouth at the end of another week.  However when one era ends another begins so with a bit of luck some brave soul will throw his hat into the ring and perhaps in the future I'll be entitling a blog entry "The Start of a new Era", I for one sincerely hope so.

The British flank attack by Fane and Paget begins to roll up the crumbling French right.

Well so much for pathos, (not the musketeer).  I feel I should mention that our battle at Gotha is reaching it's conclusion with only three turns before nightfall forces a halt to hostilities.  The Allies are poised to breakthrough at two key points and if succesful the French will have to decide whether they should regroup and fight on for another day or withdraw.

A "library" picture from a game at the WHC now forgotten but one which I couldn't resist.

So we meet once more on wednesday evening where the fate of Dom's French troops will be decided.  A report and more pictures to follow.

Monday, 30 August 2010

New Arrivals and a New Battle

It's been a quiet period at the garage for the past couple of weeks due in main to the end of one battle followed by a protracted series of map moves in which six opposing armies managed to dance around each other without coming to grips.  Fortunately for all of us Neil decided to try and take Erfurt but discovering that it was strongly garrisoned turned back in the direction he had come from only to find Dom's army sitting across his lines of communication at Gotha.

Pre 1809 Elizabethgrad Hussars take on a squadron of the 2nd lancers, two newly arrived units both painted by Neil Sheardown.

For Neil there was no choice but to fight if he wanted to reopen his lines of communication but Dom with a weakend force had a difficult decision to make.  In the end the presence of the reserve grenadier division attached to his army made his mind up for him and he decided to make a stand.  This led to us setting up the terrain for the battle of Gotha a task which takes some time and so it wasn't until this week that we got the game under way.

More new arrivals, two of the four battalions of Elite Russians painted by Alan Tuckey of Blue Turkey painting service (email address at the bottom of the page) flags as always by GMB. 

In an effort to make a more interesting battlefield which used both tables and allowed us to play the game with some depth the table was set up with the French defensive line angled back on the right flank.  This area was left open enough to hopefully negate the problems of fighting across the gap in the tables but time will tell if this has been successful.  The opening moves have been relatively cagey so far, Dom has loaded up his left flank and centre, leaving the right open but with enough reserves to cover the gap if necessary.  Neil began the game with only two divisions deployed and has bided his time until his reserves arrive, he has a large numerical advantage, mainly in infantry but also in artillery once his army is complete.  This should allow him to pick his point of attack after  forcing Dom to deploy his reserves so it would appear that at the moment the Allies have the upper hand though it's still a close call.

The battlefield from the Northeast, the French lines run from the two villages on the near table back towards Gotha on the rear table and then to the village just visible at the back of the table.

On Wednesday we got as far as turn eight most of which was taken up by rolling for the arrival of new troops and artillery duels, during which both sides have have a gun destroyed by artillery fire.  A relatively rare occurence in ITGM.  Neils troops are now on average fighting their third battle in as many weeks of game time and the influx of replacements has had an effect on their level of experience but it is still a potent force.  Dom on the other hand has a smaller force but much of it is well trained with the added bonus of the elite division.  So it appears that this should be a test of quality or quantity?  Maybe we'll find out on Wednesday night.

Calpe Prussian Horse Artillery not actually taking part in this game but another new arrival at the garage.

As promised the Blue Turkey painting service can be contacted at http://www.blueturkey.co.uk/

Thursday, 12 August 2010

French Victory at Seehausen

The campaign game at Seehausen came to an end last night by mutual consent of both sides.  Nicks' attack floundered against Erics' defence and it was agreed that no further purpose would be served by continuing.  So what went wrong for the Allies who have so far been the dominant side in the campaign?  Well with the 20-20 vision of hindsight Nicks' decision to attack through the centre was always going to be difficult to carry out.  The Allied right was open terrain and Nick sensibly placed heavy cavalry there, though he also placed a heavy division on his left wing where the ground was much less favourable to cavalry.

The battlefield from the mid left of the Allied line.  Prussians attempt to get forward against the French held villages but are thwarted by cavalry and lines of infantry.

This splitting of his cavalry strength left Nick at a numerical disadvantage on the right where his squadrons were soundly beaten by the French heavies.  From this point onwards the task for the Allies was going to be extremely difficult.  The infantry supporting the Allied cavalry was unable to advance and therefore spent the rest of the game trading artillery at long range and the French with their left flank now secure were able to channel more reserves into the centre.

Line infantry supported by Landwehr, having finally cleared the woods on each flank find themselves unable to reach their objective due to heavy fire and heavy cavalry.

With both flanks stalemated the game now revolved around the fight for the two villages in the centre.  The right hand one of the two from the Allied side was to be assaulted by the Russians and the left hand one by Prussians.  The Russians had by far the more difficult task, their right flank was now threatened by cavalry and the front of the village was an area of broken ground making a frontal assault almost impossible.

Russian troops try in vain to get past the various obstacles in their path in order to launch an assault on the village.  French reserves, by this time outnumbering the attackers wait to counter attack.

On the Russian left the Prussians pushed slowly forward but having taken too long to clear the woods on their flanks found the French well positioned and ready for them.  With too much of their strength used up forcing single battalions out of the woods the remaining Prussians were never going to be able to absorb the casualties they would incur assaulting the village and they began to edge left in order to avoid the volley fire of French lines.  At this point it was decided by all that there was little else to be gained as the Allies had decided to withdraw and so we started to clear away.  It was a bit of a shame that the game had ended so quickly and I think much of it was due to me having allowed the French reserves to arrive a little too quickly.  A slower and more spaced out arrival would have made the French line harder to hold, as it was by the time the Allies got into position the French reserves had either arrived or were practically in position, it's one that I'll have to think about for future games.

Four Prussian battalions capture the woods from a single French battalion, a case of overkill which denied troops to the Prussian main attack.

One of the highpoints of last night was that we had a visit from Justin Davey, a one time regular who decided to take a break from painting and gaming.  Justin brought along his first painting project for some time which came as a very nice surprise.  This vignette of Napoleon and some of his mates all beautifully painted and laid out.  I think the figures are foundry which are small by most modern standards being more of a true 25mm casting.

Justins' first project in over a year, he was going to throw the figures away and then had a change of heart and decided to paint them.

Finally I was asked what camera Neil Braddon uses for the pictures which are used here on the blog and he informs me that it's a Canon EOS 450D, most shots are 18-55 IS some are 55-250 IS whatever that means.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Cavalry Clash at Seehausen

The action in our campaign has finally moved away from the area around Menningen, northwards to Seehausen which is a small town on one of the Elbe crossings.  Nicks Allied army of Pomerania has advanced to take on Erics French army of the Weser and rather than be caught with his back to the Elbe Eric has moved out to meet him.  Initial deployments saw Eric station one infantry corps to hold his centre with his flanks covered by the small amount of cavalry he had available at the beginning of the game.

The battlefield from the northeast.  The Allies prepare to deploy on the far table edge with the French defending a line based on the two villages.

The ground on the French left is very open and perfect for cavalry operations.  However initially Eric only had two regiments of light cavalry to cover the space and it soon became clear that the Allies had also spotted the potential for their cavalry to exploit the area.

Russian infantry deploy to assault the French centre.

Fortunately for Eric his reinforcements arrived in good time and heavy cavalry was rushed to cover the space left by the withdrawing lights.  It soon became apparent that both sides had stationed a large amount of cavalry on the same flank and that a major clash was likely to occur.  Elsewhere the Allied infantry in the centre moved slowly forward to take on what appeared to be a very tough defensive position and on their left yet another heavy cavalry formation threaded its way forward through the woods and steep hills towards the remainder of the French cavalry.  It was very clear however that the first phase of the battle was going to be a large cavalry combat on the Allied right.

Cuirassier and Dragoons take up position on the left flank to oppose the Allied advance.

There was enough open space for each side to line out on a four squadron frontage but in taking time to do this the Allies lost the numerical advantage they initially enjoyed as more French cavalry joined the line.  In the end both sides declared charges against each other and the combat began.  We decided to treat the whole thing as one combat which in retrospect was probably wrong as there were issues regarding the reinforcement of melees which had to be ignored.  This probably worked to the benefit of the French but it's unlikely the effect would have been crucial.

French Cuirassier,Dragoons and Chevaux Legier mixing it with Russian Cuirassier, Dragoons and Uhlans.

The combat was epic to say the least and continued for three rounds of melee but eventually the fact that the French had the ability to continually outnumber the Russian cavalry with fresh squadrons made the difference and the Russians broke.  This has left a very large hole on the Allied right and though the French cavalry will take time to recover its order, the Russian infantry in the centre is now going to have to form some sort of defensive position on its right flank which will obviously have to come from the troops designated for the push against the centre.

The Russian centre prior to the cavalry combat.  These troops will now have to suffer the attentions of roving French heavy cavalry.

So first blood to the French and a difficult situation for the allies, but we're still only on turn seven and plenty more can happen to change the ebb and flow of the game.  No game next week as several people can't make it so my next blog update will feature some of the new units which have arrived in the past few months.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

There's been a lull in blog related activity of late, mainly because our second Menningen game was abandoned after both commanders decided that there was little to be gained by continuing but also because last week we all packed our bags and headed off to Scarborough for a long weekend at the Wargames Holiday Centre.  I'll briefly cover the fallout from the Menningen game first of all, both sides having taken moderately heavy casualties in certain formations made the decision to withdraw.  The Allies pulled back their advance division in Menningen and the French withdrew to Schweinfurt.  In retrospect it wasn't the best game we've had due to the lack of involvement for several players.  I have to put my hand up for that as I allowed Neil to set up too far forward on his initial deployment.  what I should have done was adjudicate an opening encounter and then got the players to set up for a larger scale game.

Chris Cornwell (aka itinerant wargamer) gives his dice a good talking to, Mark Freeth wonders about his sanity.

So, as I said we all headed up to sunny Scarborough in Gods' own Yorkshire on thursday to play a couple of games on a truly grand scale.  The first game was loosely based on Corruna, an indication of how loosely based it was is that I had command of the Kings German Legion.  This didn't of course detract from the game which I think ended in a marginal victory for the French.  One of the odd but possibly realistic things that happen on a thirty foot long table is that you have no idea about what is going on outside the player to your left and right.  This can often result in people being convinced that having won in their sector they were on the victorious side, only to discover that large parts of their army are streaming from the the battlefield.

A nice shot from the Corunna game, British infantry attempt to cling on to the two central villages which are the key to the game.  In the background Chris continues to berate his dice.

The game lasted until about two o'clock on Friday, and then we packed it all away and started the briefings and planning stage for the battle of Goerlitz.  This is a fictional encounter in 1813 btween the Allies and the French commanded by Napoleon.  Initial dispositions have the French thinly spread but with reinforcements arriving quickly.  The Allies have the initial advantage in numbers but their reinforcements arrive at a much more leisurely pace. 

The French take the first of the two villages at Corruna, in the centre of the shot are the "terrible 57th" (white shako covers) leading the line.

On the Allied right flank Eric discovered that his single corps was being assaulted by two French corps and was slowly forced further and further back.  In the centre the Russians had more success and were able to push the French out of their defensive line.  On the left Gordon and myself found that his infantry corps and my cavalry corps were opposed by seven regiments of light cavalry and lancers which meant that we had to get forward as quickly as possible before French reinforcements turned up.

Russian Guard infantry storm a French held village with great elan.  This village had previously been held by the Poles and had cost the Russians heavy casualties in an unsuccesful attempt to take it.

The battle swung back and forth as they have a tendency to do and I became involved in my own little section of it so I can't really say what else was going on for much of the time. Gordon on my left was able to occupy a village covering the river crossing on our left flank and I was able to force back the light cavalry with my heavies.  All was going well until the sound of bugles and a cloud of dust heralded the arrival of the entire French Guard on our unguarded left flank.  Two divisions of Young Guard and one of Old Guard plus the Guard cavalry meant we had to redeploy quickly.  Fortunately they would have to cross a river first and this allowed Gordon enough time to turn to his flank and deploy into some semblance of a defensive line. 

The final act for the French cavalry, all that was left of the Saxon Garde Du Corps and the 1st Carabinniers after an abortive attempt to take on more than twice their number of Russian heavies.

Gordons' troops were never going to much more than a speed bump but they played their part and delayed the Guard for long enough to allow the Allies to take the centre.  The final result was a marginal Allied victory, depending on who you listen to of course but as always we all had a great time and that's really the only thing that matters.
         Tomorrow night we continue the campaign with the battle of Seehausen. Neil is away for a couple of weeks so you'll have to make do with my photography but I'll try to get a blog update done at the weekend.