Saturday, 25 December 2010
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Thursday, 28 October 2010
June 1757 had gone well for the Austrians with their first victory over Frederick at Kolin. It was felt that a bit more effort from their French allies could bring a swift victory.
Surprisingly the French were ready and by July two armies had crossed the Rhine. One moved east to distract Frederick from Bohemia. The other quickly overran Westphalia and moved into Hanover where an alllied army, under the Duke Of Cumberland was still being assembled.
Heavily outumbered Cumberland found his army a half decent defensive position on a string of wooded hills at Hastenbeck with an escape route north back into Hanover through the village of Afferde. Before Afferde is a long stretch of stream and marshland
We used the scenario and army lists from the extremely useful Volley and Bayonet Page (although we had to replace the Hanoverians with British units) so have a look there if you want more detail of the set up.
Historically the battle was a bit of a farce for after an hour of bitter fighting Cumberland felt the battle slipping away from him whilst D'Estrees though the position too difficult to take. Both armies began to withdraw but as it became apparent what was happening it proved easier for the French to return to take the field and claim victory.
The resultant treaty led to the occupation of Hanover. Not surprisingly Cumberland was relieved of command.
Using volley and bayonet we tried to make decent game out of the "carry on" battle of the SYW.
The French centre begin their advance.
Allied heavy batteries in hastily erected redoubts await the enemy.
Historically Cumberlands southern flank was defended only by a small unit of Jaeger. A mistake repeated on table.
The French right wing advance through and between woods.
A number of attacks were required before the village was taken and the main infantry attack was replused.
In retrospect the battle was probably lost here for a well timed counter attack by Hussars and light dragoons on disordered french infantry could only be defeated by the throw of a six on their morale test. Of course a 6 was duly thrown, the cavalry defeated and the infantry rallied. The allied flank was broken.
The French advance on the centre was slow and methodical bringing up big batteries to within close range and proved more effective than the allied guns.
Taking a battering from cannister the allies charge down the hill!
... to disaster.
The French heavies charge through the resultant hole.
The allied left flank and centre were effectively smashed. On the right the French had struggled through marsh and emerged disordered to meet a devastating charge. The French left was destroyed allowing what was left of the allies to withdraw successfully into Hanover.
Today's cheese was Delice de Bourgogne - very probably the best yet.
Monday, 27 September 2010
Using the free set of rules Basic Impetus we hadn't determined a scenario. However Ade had brought more hoplites than you shake a stick at and Richard's Persians would have made Darius jealous.
We sorted out a couple of armies roughly from the lists and split each force into three, as there were six of us. Then haphazardly arranged some terrain on a 12' by 6' table.
As generally happens with such a lack of organisation we had a cracking game
Losing the initial dice roll the greeks set up first. With a long front to defend the greeks spread themselves thinly. One wing separated from the rest by a wood, admittedly filled with light infantry, and the other hiding behind a hill. Only the left hand wing had a unit of horse.
With the advantage of setting up second the Persians placed all their mass of horse on the right. In the centre the Immortals and on the left the sparabaras.
Moving first the Persians set their simple plan in motion. Charge in the horse on the right where they outnumbered the greek cavalry then swing them round the back and into the rear. In the centre and left the plan was to adopt hit and run tactics that slightly quicker bow armed troops can make against ponderous hoplites.
Of course the plan did not begin well with the greek horse holding their own although outnumbered three to one. The Immortals bows however began well while the sparabaras moved forward en masse.
The greek phalanx had little option than to simply advance and the initiative throw system meant that it was inevitable that they would make contact sooner or later. However the immortals proved more than a match and saw them off in style.
A phalanx hits the immortals.
In true Basic Impetus style the game swung to and fro but the advantage stayed with the Persians' archery which were able to inflict damage on the hoplites and thus remove the Impetus advantage before melee.
Brave sparabaras charge into a phalanx worn down by archery.
Sunday, 26 September 2010
I have to admit that I do like the light blue.
I painted the unit as quickly as possible without depth or highlights, just a wash of klear with a drop of dark blue on the coat and brown on the faces.
The klear works quite well on the coats but has smudged on the faces which I may get round to amending. From three feet you don't notice.
However yet another diversion has reared it's ugly head - damn those Perry people.
The first dozen of plastic 28mm ACW almost finished. My poor old eyes struggle to get details on the faces. Hopefully they'll be facing the opposition on the table and not running towards me!
They are very nice figures and being plastic a very reasonable price. I think they were about £13.00 for 36 figures.
Tuesday, 31 August 2010
The Sudan of the 1880's is an interesting period of history and should provide the basis for a good wargame what with colonial brits in red and grey and marine blue, with camels thrown in for good measure. The odd Egyptian unit, some armoured, and a variety of colourful natives that proved more than capable of holding their own, until the arrival of Mr Maxim's baby. Then there's the Nile with improvised and purpose built gun boats and the option to add a unit or two of French to add flavour.
For those who like to add characters to their scenario then no fiction can equal Gordon, Kitchener and, being the Birmingham Wargames Society, our own Colonel Burnaby.
We've tried Peter Pigs PITS rules and some house grown rules but never had a completely satisfactory game. So as Black Powder has been at the front of our wargame thoughts and the book has some very nice piccies of a Sudan game - "why not?"
The answer should have been "because we don't have enough figures." But a quick note to Mr Pig and couple of weeks frantic painting and another few units were added.
'Eres to you Fuzzy Wuzzy
Historians write of British reluctance to send troops to Egypt in 1882 but they did and when the Mahdi emerged from the southern desert an army was already present. When it became apparent that shipping on the Suez may be threatened intervention became inevitable.
On of the Mahdi's finest generals, Osman Dogma, was proving to be particularly troublesome and in fine British understatement Major General Trepanning ordered that a couple of regiments "should see 'em off."
The Royal Worcester Permains and Braeburn Highlanders played cat and mouse for a couple of weeks under the desert sun. However they weren't aware that they were the mouse. After a sharp encounter with a large force of Hadendowa they were fortunate to fall back into the walled village of El Tel.
Eventually Major General Trepanning noticed they were missing and the RSM suggested that perhaps they ought to go and look for the missing lads. Fortunately the local scouts were top notch and it wasn't long before the relief force could make out in the distance the village of El Tel and Dogma's army.
Ferocious fighter they may have been, but pretty awful with the dice throws. This "brigade" refused to move for three turns.
The Mahdi's forces seemed reluctant to move towards the new threat but the big Krupps guns finally moved into position and began shelling the village with immediate effect. Behind the mudbrick walls the cheering at the sight of the relief column was curtailed as comrades fell and wounded were added to the wagons carrying the sick.
Outnumbered, Trepanning ordered the hussars forward to scout amongst the rock and scrub anticipatin ambush. The foot were formed into two brigade squares, slow but secure and inexorably they advanced.
Dogma's forces on table were split into two principle brigades and while the ansar warily advanced the hadendowah hesitated too long and the Shropshire Blue hussars charged in with great gusto and routed the lead unit. On the right the Wensleydale Hussars took casualties from long range fire which took the sting from their first assault. In the centre the squares rolled on.
Trepanning's plan was proving to be a good one as the hussars kept the natives busy leaving the squares to move forward. The naval gardner gun was initially deadly as it took out the crew of a Krupps gun but with such heat and sand it soon jammed. The remaining Krupps maintained a steady fire and the Royal Worcesters could do little but take what cover there was.
On the left the hussars overran a further unit of fuzzy wuzzies but on the right the going was much tougher. Eventually a square reached the village and under sustained fire the wagons were shepherded into it. However both units in the village were disordered, and therefore couldn't move The square began it's slow march back with the sick and wounded making for even slower going.
Once order was regained the Braeburn Highlanders set forth valiantly from the village. Instantly a unit of hadendowah charged in only to be met with a crashing volley from the irate scotsmen. Surrounded by smoke and fuzzy wuzzies the valiant scots failed to see the camelry until they had charged in to the rear of the line. Unsupported they were massacred to a man.
Charge after charge was made upon the retreating squares but no headway could be made. The remaining Krupps was keeping the Royal Worcester tied in the village and was not moved forward to assaut the square.
And so the sun set red over the village of El Tel. The few remaining Royal Worcesters remained trapped inside the village, the Braeburn Highlanders had been decimated and the Wensleydale Hussars had suffered a great many casulaties. However Dogma had lost half of his army and had found it impossible to break a square. As the full moon rose and the groans of dead and dying haunted the desert both generals pondered what to do when dawn broke.
In square even the Egyptians proved to be invulnerable.
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Awaiting the redcoats arrival.
The American Second Line take up position
"Down with King George"
They may not be able to shoot very well but they're damned good at fencing.
British press forward.
Friday, 30 July 2010
Imagine a verdant green sward of teddy bear fur, bespoked clumps of birch and beech, snake fences, rocky outcrops, cornfields and a delightful Virginia town.
With a scenario loosely based on Guilford Courthouse the British/German force consisted of a dozen line and guard batallions, a couple of cannon and four skirmish units including one of injuns. These were divided into four brigades. Two in the first line and two immediately behind.
The American force was fifty percent larger and had the advantage of three distinct defensive lines including the ultimate goal of the town. However twelve of the rebel units were militia with poor or very poor morale.
We began with a brigade of North Carolina Militia, of four units, behind a snake fence a couple of feet from the British end of the eight foot table. British skirmishers began in range of the yankees (8" using the 2/3 movement scale). The Militia's opening fire was poor - having no effect upon the redcoats. On the British turn the majority of the advance brigades moved into long range and opened fire, adding a dice for first volley. A half a dozen hits - all but one saved by the lucky militia! With the militia's poor morale they required sixes to save; it must be noted that this was done with Adrian's blue dice (and we all thought they had no sixes on them).
On the right the Hessian's were finding it difficult to move forward but a British cannon laid low a regiment of mounted dragoons with one fine salvo of grape and the unit of indians was sent through the woods to outflank the second American Line. Their "bloodthirsty" bonus was used to good effect and they broke a militia batallion.
On the left the second British brigade were advancing smartly forward towards the second line of militia and were hit by a smart volley at long range by Kirwoods riflemen. A valiant charge however broke though the militia and the belt of wood and scrub into the open ground before the town. Similarly on the right the British-Hessian brigades proved too strong for the Virginians and they fell back towards the town to form a new line behind redoubts
However now the government forces were facing the cream of Greene's army, Maryland and Virginia Continentals. Firefights, charge and countercharge ensued but no breakthrough was made before we had to call it a day and the damned rebels claimed victory as they still held the town and pike road.
The first line of militia had proved very obstinate and while it was inevitable that they would break, the four moves it took cost the British too much time and while they were still relatively fresh at the end of the game the Continentals too had plenty of fight left in them.
Had we had time to continue for a couple or three more moves any victory would have been pyrrhic. A true reflection of 1781 when Cornwallis's tactical victory ultimately cost him his army.
Today's cheese was Jervaulx.
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Washington ponders the news that the British are a coming.
Another attempt at the Black Powder rules.
We took the scenario from the Black Powder book but as we were using half size units
we adopted the 2/3 movement and range play sheet (thanks Jeff).
The British/German army had a couple more battalions than the Rebels and also four guns whilst the American's had none. Moreover the British troops were deemed to be "steady" and "crack", effectively enhanced morale.
Initial dispositions had the first British brigade (Hamilton's) marching along the road and a picket were wandering over to have a peek at the farm and woods. No pesky rebels in sight. The Brits get to move first, in theory, as a throw of 11 on Command prevents Hamilton's brigade from moving. The second Brigade however marches onto the table and along the road. The picket is (not very) surprised to be fired on from the woods as Morgan's brigade reveal themselves.
(piccies look better when enlarged than shown here)
With an excellent Command throw Poor's Brigade of Rebels advance between the farm and woods to Morgan's left hoping to reach the stream before the British.
The second British Brigade, Fraser's, enter the table in column of march with a skirmish line of injuns covering their right. In the centre the pickets engage Morgan's brigade in a long range firefight and Hamilton manages to bring one battalion forward before another Command failure.
Fraser manages to advance (slowly) on the right but in the centre Hamilton manages to turn column into line but then fails to advance following two Command Failures. The Yanks however pour forth along woodland paths and find an excellent defensive position with stream in front and between woods and farm.
Eventually the Germans arrive following Fraser along the road. Two excellent command throws see them in line and pouring fire into the rebels while the British continue with poor Command throws and struggle into battle line. The Picket and the lone batallion in the firefight with the American right are routed but the Americans hold their line.
The Americans have an excellent defensive position behind the stream and although this deters the charge with cold steel the British/ German firepower enhanced with artillery is proving superior. The "steady" and "crack" rules prove invaluable to the Brits in the firefight. Eventually the poor morale of the Americans begins to tell and they begin to withdraw.
Regimental mascot assists in British interrogation of a captured rebel.
The result was pretty much as that played out by the authors of the rule book and given the breakdown of the armies seems alomost inevitable. Given the poor Command thorws of the Brits more agressive tactics could have paid off for the Americans. However given the poorer troop morale levels and the excellent defensive position on offer it would have been a very brave and fortunate commander who could beat the British in this scenario.
Washington ponders defeat with faithful friend.
Sunday, 20 June 2010
I have had a French 15mm SYW army for a while and we have a enjoyed a number of interesting western theatre games. However when Richard put together a nice Prussian force there was one battle we had to get out of the way.
French and Reichsarmee cavalry advance with confidence
Following the disastrous summer (for Frederick) of 1757, which saw the Prussians defeated at Kolin and Gross-Jagersdorf, the French decided to have a go at the bluecoats and a motley mix of French, German and Austrian troops headed for Berlin. Heavily outnumbered Frederick repeatedly tried to manoeuvre himself into a decent defensive position but Prince Soubise was not too enamoured with the idea of a frontal attack into the teeth of Prussian musketry.
On 5 November Frederick deployed in another nice position on a ridge between two villages. With lines of communication stretched Soubise was keen to get to grips with an enemy force he esimated to be half the size of his own army. He decided on a enveloping manoeuvre to get around the flank and rear of the Prussians in four great columns. However the ponderous movement was observed by the Prussians who, concealed by the heights, swiftly about faced and redeployed. A devastating cavalry charge swept away the allied horse before it could properly deploy and the Prussian infantry and artillery made short shrift of the enemy foot. In an hour and a half the Allies had lost eight thousand men and their army was shattered. The Prussians lost a few hundred.
We set up a 6 foot by 4 foot table covered with Richard's effective teddy bear fur terrain mat.
The Prussians set up in three lines, two feet away from one short edge of the table stretching from one long edge, on the village of Brauesdorf, two feet across to the centre of the table and Rossbach village and a wooded area. This was the extent of one short side of the ridge.
Saturday, 19 June 2010
Real life has tended to interrupt playtime quite a bit over the last couple of months; but I did manage to complete the regiment I was speedily painting in the last post. Moreover I have managed another unit as well.
With the three feet rule I've spent about ten hours actual work on each unit.
While the painting may leave a lot to be desired I have to say how please I am with the Zvezda figures. Very nicely sculpted in realistic proportions with no flash and few (if any) wasted figures in a box.
I wondered weather the magic wash would have any effect on plastic figures as they don't have the exagerated folds and creases found on most 28mm. After a little experimentation however it did create a very pleasant effect. One drawback I found was that it dissolved the black ink I used on the gaiter garters (rotring pen) - black paint henceforth.
I used a black wash all over the first regiment which was okay, but on the second I used a blue wash on the light blue coat and clear over the gaiters and head. I had already put a brown wash over the face. The blue wash was much more effective.
On the shelf is a half painted dragoon regiment for L'Armee de Fromagere.
Tuesday, 27 April 2010
Anyway I needed to get back to the wars of wine and cheese.
Now, I don't get that much free time to paint but I wondered just how quickly I could get a unit painted. Not in a ridiculous vallejo-fest marathon but with a steady 45 minutes or an hour a day.
So last week I began on a new unit for the Duchy of Fromagere using the nice Zvezda Swedes. A total of 54 foot. I think Zvezda are making the best 20mm plastics at the moment. (These are in fact about 24mm) with almost no flash and cisp features. I bought four boxes of these but will need a couple more boxes to get units of suitably matching figures. There are three pikemen in the set but these will make splendid standard bearers. The only downside is that there are only three of the first rate grenadiers in the box. Perhaps an attached company will accompany a regiment.
The aim is to paint simply with the three feet rule in mind and with the intention of the magic wash with the tinted acrylic floor wax to finish off. So no shading in the paint job in the hope that the final wash will give a bit of depth.
Tuesday: wash the little devils in warm soapy water and remove from sprues. 45 minutes.
Wednesday: glue down to a few lengths of wood 30 minutes (all times approx)
Thursday: spray with white plastic primer 15 minutes
Friday: thick light blue wash, the colour of the coat and breeches, 40 minutes.
Saturday: day off.
Sunday: gaiters, muskets, hats and shoes. During the first football match so just under two hours.
Sunday: straps, hands, faces and facings, another couple of hours
Monday: I completed the white hat lace, an hour.
So a little over seven hours so far and I suspect another couple of hours to furtle up scabbard, hair and other bits then the final coat of Klear. Should be done by Saturday with perhaps ten hours all told.(tbc)
Sunday, 11 April 2010
Where is 2010 going. Already well into April and no additions to my ImagiNations armies this year. Yet the Work in Progress shelf groans under projects half done.
On the right half a dozen heavy cavalry divisions for 6mm Napoleonics painted years ago and now to be rebased on 5cm squares.
In the centre a half painted regiment of Zvezda Swedish Dragoons about to become the first horse regiment of the Duke of Fromagere. Three Italian tankettes and a couple of Vickers mkVI for a Greek 1941 army. (Next club game - Crossfire.)
And I have to admit being sucked into coincidences. I was half way through reading Shogun when I came across a glowing review of Zvezda's plastic samurai. Naturally when I found a couple of boxes in the model shops out came the wallet. £5 for a box of forty odd, really nice, figures is a bargain but the cost in time ...oh dear.
They are based on 12cm by 6cm for Impetus rules but I haven't decided what to do with the base yet. Sand and flock or simply paint?
"...you may be tempted to build up wargame armies of several periods. This is enticing, but it is madness!" wrote the Briagdier - Charge! page 116
Enticing. madness and irresistable!
Monday, 8 March 2010
Had a first look at the new rules from Warlord (courtesy of Generaljimbo) this weekend and even got some American War of Independence figures on the table. As with all new rules the first moves were a bit slow as we got to grips with the mechanics. Probably more a reflection of our brains than the rules.
The rule book is a splendid production with lots of lovely piccies in it but is a bit expensive at £30.00. The game mechanics are relatively simple but were not loved by all. The main bone of contention being the command and control rules based, I think, on the Warmaster system. Are they a requirement in a game or not? I think they add to the realism but can lead to a slow game for individuals in a multi player game. Undoubtedly we make enough mistakes on our own not to need them. The mechanism here is a bit strange due the use of two D6 determining actions slightly altering the odds from what might be expected, the use of a twelve sided die might be better.
One aspect I particularly liked was giving verbal orders to a unit. “The regiment will advance in column along the road and form line at the edge of the road.” Naturally they were a bit slower than anticipated. I need to be more authoritative.
Anyhoo the scenario of The Battle for Ashland Ferry began with a mixed brigade of British grenadiers, light troops, rangers and a gun holding the town and ferry. Naturally the rebels needed to capture the aforementioned and began to enter the table on move one along two roads. Being forced to be in road column a round from the light battery did quite a bit of damage on a militia unit as it marched along. Once on table the command and control mechanism kicked in with one brigade unmoving on the hill and another unable to shake out of road column. As the redcoats entered from the opposite side further artillery fire put paid to a
Light Dragoons lead the redcoats out of the woods.
Marylanders guard the pub.
The New Yorkers eventually find their way down the hill.
Due to further poor dice throws both the British supporting brigade and a Hessian brigade began to picnic in the woods rather than advance to meet their foe. The light dragoons being lost to long range fire before being able to charge.
The token French brigade proved much more able to throw low and as if on manoeuvres marched forth and into line very nicely. By the time the Hessian managed to emerge from the undergrowth the French were there to meet them and being caught in column of march (a bit of a theme seems to be emerging here) the Hessians took quite a beating. A squadron of hussars enjoyed the German confusion and taking out one unit proceeded to hit another in the flank. Much to the chagrin of Jim all hits were actually saved and the Hessian survived.
Hessians advance in column
...and are caught by the French.
French Hussars threaten the Hessians.
In the centre the Americans eventually got moving and charged into the grenadiers holding the hedge (lack of fences in the terrain cupboard) and after a prolonged melee even the strength of the grenadiers failed against overwhelming odds.
Despite the assistance of a large green ball the grenadiers fail to hold the centre.
As far as the group is concerned the jury is still out with regards the use of Black Powder. Personally I liked them and would persevere with them. They are very open to tweeking, in fact the authors suggest it. For our small units perhaps reduced movement and ranges might be beneficial. (a full move could be 36” for foot!) whilst long range fire is 18". Also I would reflect the better control of “professional” soldiers over militia, but having redcoats I would say that.
Todays cheeses were Little Derby and Shropshire Blue. (I am assured from a dairy in Shropshire).