Monday, 23 January 2012

Bridgehead Secured

Thursday night was not an easy time to be playing on the Russian side in our continuing river crossing scenario.  The French attackers have been able to cross at all but one of the four crossing points and establish viable bridgeheads.  In addition the threatened flank attack appeared at a particularly bad time for Mark commanding the Russian left wing.  A heavy cavalry division consisting of two regiments of cuirassier and two of dragoons supported by a battery of horse artillery entered the table on his left just as three of the battalions which had been defending the leftmost bridge broke.  They were summarily ridden down by the gleeful cuirassier.

Westphalian Grenadier-Garde supported by Hesse-Darmstadt fusiliers make their crossing on the Russian centre left.

All is not yet lost for the Russians as they are in the process of receiving large numbers of reserves including a division of heavy cavalry and a division of Guard infantry.  The latter being supported by an impressive six gun battery of twelve pounders.  However as the Russians are pushed further and further back their room for deployment decreases and they are being forced into a right angled position. 

Swiss and Poles commanded by "Nick the dice witch" cross to the right of the Westphalians.

In addition to the Heavy cavalry the French also brought on a division of Italian infantry and a division of young guard making the flank attack force the strongest French presence on the Russian side of the river.  This has given the Russian commander a decision to make, does he continue to push forward fresh troops and contest the crossings which will leave his flanks vulnerable?  Or does he attempt to delay until nightfall which is still six turns away and use the darkness to reorganise and establish a new defensive line?

The same scene from the rear of the Polish and Swiss position.  Infantry and artillery await their turn to cross.

The decision for the Russians has been made a little simpler by the fact that the only crossing point that they still hold which is the one covered by the redoubt, is now also in danger of falling.  The battery covering it was eventually destroyed by the radical but effective expedient of wheeling up a twelve pounder battery to cannister range and blasting them out.  Already French troops are beginning to cross.

Confusion reigns on the Russian side with routing and retreating troops interpenetating their supports and making deployment difficult for the reserves.

So at the moment the French certainly have the upper hand and with nightfall still some way off they should be looking to secure as much ground as possible in order to have the best possible start point for the resumption of hostilities.  The Russians on the other hand will need to decide on their best course of action and look for a likely defensive position where they can attempt to fend off the inevitable french onslaught.

This new battalion of Corsicans is currently making its debut in the battle.  It was painted by the ever more prolific Dom, figures by Front Rank.

Following the last post there were a couple of questions regarding photography which I must admit is a bit of a closed book to me.  The problem with the garage is that there is only one window to provide natural lighting and the rest is provided by four fluorescent ceiling lights.  This tends to produce a startling variety of lighting conditions with the result being that a number of photos taken at the same time from slightly different positions results in huge differences in the way they come out.  I'm loathe to use a flash as it tends to just light up the front of the figures and terrain leaving shadows in the background.  We did have the benefit of Neil using his mini-Hubble for a while which has a back lighting capability but he hasn't brought it along for some time.  So unless I invest in a new all singing all dancing camera (highly unlikely) I'll just have to make sure I pick the best daylight conditions when I take the blog shots.

A final shot, this time from the rear of the French left,  after a spirited defence by hosts of Russian light cavalry the French are at last, making ground .

One final thing, Eric has provided me a couple of links to his photobucket page which have shots of the Lubben and Spree games which we played last year.  Apparently they're in reverse order but I can't see that making a difference.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

So where were the Bavarians?

As Paul was astute enough to realise and indeed make comment on, despite the previous post being entitled "Bavarian Bash", there were sadly no Bavarians on show.  The simple reason for this of course is that I don't actually possess any.  The game was an interlude in the campaign and was designed mostly, by my reckoning at least, to allow Eric to use his beloved Austrians.  Despite the fact that he has spent the entire campaign avoiding any hint of action it appears that when given a sufficiently under strength opponent Eric grudgingly accepted battle.  Apparently with the proviso that "none of their nice white uniforms get grubby".  So there you have it, we had to cobble the Bavarian army together from the French and their Allies who apart from the Wurtemburg division bear them no resemblance whatsoever.  The happy news however is that six battalions of Bavarians are in the pipeline and will hopefully be joining the other denizens of the garage before too long.

Russian gunners manning one of the new redoubts which arrived on thursday evening.

Neil who's been running the campaign wanted to have a chat with the various commanders regarding the direction in which the campaign should be going in the future, and therefore suggested an ad hoc game to fill the period of inactivity.  Rightly or wrongly, only time will tell, Dom was allowed to vent his megalomania once again by designing the scenario.  The battle he's devised, which involves an opposed river crossing for the French has so far proved very interesting and appears to have lots of potential.

Westphalians begin to push across the river in column of march against a sparse defence.

The scenario pits a French and Allied force of three divisions agains what looks like a pair of Russian infantry divisions supported by some light cavalry.  The French will have to make their numbers tell early in the game if they're to get across the river without too heavy a loss as Russian reinforcements are already appearing on the horizon.  Rumours of the Russian Imperial Guard being amongst them will mean that the French will need to establish a sufficiently large bridgehead in order to be able to fend off any counter attack.

Vistula Legion troops covered by their skirmishers are the first to set foot on the enemy side of the river.  If they can link up with the Westphalians to their left things will get difficult for the Russians.

There are two crossing points on each table though one of the southern bridges has been effectively negated by the emplacement of the redoubt directly opposite the point at which the road crosses the river.  The Russian players were given a choice in its placement and opted to totally cancel out one crossing rather than incompletely cover two.  Whether this was the right move remains to be seen.  It does allow them to concentrate their meagre forces around the remaining crossings but conversely ensures that the French don't attempt to cross in a piecemeal fashion at all points.

A shot of both of the crossing points on the Northern table clearly showing the dearth of Russian defenders.

So far the fight has gone pretty much as might be expected with the defenders being pushed back by greater firepower and numbers though there was one spirited attempt by a brigade of Russian light cavalry to stream through a gap in the French position.  Unfortunately this led to nothing other than the loss of a fair number of Russian light cavalry, though if it had succeeded it would have caused havoc in the French rear.

The view of the southern table where the French have sensibly refused the temptation to march their troops into the fire of a well entrenched battery. 

The fight will continue on thursday and there are rumours of the possibility of French troops carrying out a flank attack on one or perhaps even both of the Russian wings.  One thing is certain and that is that Dom is unlikely to pass up the opportunity to get as many troops as possible on to the table so we can expect what is currently a large skirmish to evolve into an all out scrap for the river line.

Stay tuned for an update next week.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Bavarian Bash

As a sort of interlude within the campaign our latest scrap took place far to the South of the main action, between the small Bavarian army aided by a couple of friends, and the full might of the Holy Roman Empire.  As might be expected the Bavarians were outnumbered and on the defensive and were relying on the strategy of holding for long enough to damage the Austrians whilst ensuring the survival of enough of their force to remain a viable threat. 

Austrian grenadiers advance with the intention of doing harm.

In general terms the Bavarian plan was sound enough but withdrawing from a battle once in heavy contact is always difficult especially if things aren't going too well.  Dom kicked off the action for the Austrians by pushing his light cavalry forward on the extreme right.  This should have caused little problem for the Bavarians but unnacountably Andy, in command of the Bavarian left wing decided to withdraw the units on his left in the face of this perceived threat and Dom was able to push infantry and guns through the gap unmolested.

The main punch of the Austrian army, forty eight man infantry battalions which take a lot of stopping.

On the plus side for the Bavarians, their centre and left were only lightly engaged, with what few casualties there were being caused mostly by artillery fire.  However Andy now had to make the decision of whether to stand and fight or to pull his troops out before they became too heavily engaged.  Having decided to withdraw he turned his troops around and headed back to the relative safety of the hilly ground to his rear.  Dom's infantry were inevitably in close pursuit and were able to cause heavy casualties on the retiring battalions. 
    Having reached his destination Andy now decided to change his tactics and turned his troops around once more in an effort to engage the Austrians who now outnumbered his forces and who had also suffered far fewer casualties.

Far too many Grenz for comfort, ably assisted by sharpshooting Jaeger.

The result was pretty much a foregone conclusion, even though Dom was unable to throw anything above a six for his firing the Austrian volleys tore into the hapless Bavarians precipitating a cascade of routs as unit after unit of Bavarians turned and fled.  Eventually the whole left wing collapsed into a struggling mass of men, horses and guns and the order was given for the remainder of the army to withdraw. 
    Possibly the one saving grace for the Bavarians was that their centre was able to withdraw unmolested along with an almost untouched right wing though these had finally become embroiled in fighting as the Austrian advance continued. 

Duchy of Warsaw lancers painted by Dom who's done a particularly fine job on this unit which is the latest addition to the Garages' ranks.

So a pretty comprehensive victory for the Austrians, though it will remain to be seen whether they have done enough damage to the Bavarian forces to knock them out of the campaign.  If so they will be free to head Northwards to Berlin and join their allies in what might be the final push against Napoleon and his massed armies.

Another shot of Dom's lancers, figures by Front Rank with a battalion of Elite miniatures Vistula legion infantry in support.

That's all for this the first post of 2012, I think I can speak for all of the regulars at the Garage when I wish all of you a very happy New Year.  Many thanks for all the support which the blog receives and I really will do my best to make the posts a more regular event.
    I was asked about the Hesse-Darmstadt troops manufacturer, they are in fact from Elite miniatures and I believe they come from the Napoleon in Egypt range.