I was meaning to write this up over the weekend but my illness came and bit me on the arse in a big way which has meant that I’ve been stuck in bed or just plain unable to function very well for the past few days. Oh well.
Anyway, last Monday I had the pleasure of joining Martin and Ian in a game of British Grenadier and I had a great time doing so. The rules are written by Dave Brown of General de Brigade fame and I really liked them, they have a great mechanic for introducing friction to movement which can also, possibly, cause ‘Disruption’ that gives some knotty problems to solve during the course of a game.
Apologies in advance for the lack of photo’s in this report, this is due to 2 causes: 1, I was dealing with new rules so had to concentrate a wee bit more and 2, we were having Christmas Pizza night at the club and I was also busy stuffing meat and bread based circular food down my neck! (Many thanks go to Dave in organising the Pizza and pop).
The scenario was pretty straightforward I, as the British commander, had to destroy a force of traitorous colonials, commanded by Ian, who were encamped near a river. All the figures were from Martin’s lovely collection and he umpired the game too. The terrain was slightly difficult with swamp areas making the field resemble a funnel which would benefit the defenders no end so getting to grips with them quickly seemed to be the best plan.
I had three brigades at my disposal, the first consisted of 2 Line battalions with a Veteran battalion and 2 guns. The second had a Line battalion and some Light Dragoons whilst the third had some Loyalist militia types and some militia cavalry. The plan was for the strongest brigade to engage the rebels whilst the smaller regular brigade supported from the rear as a reserve, the Tories would support the attack on the left flank.
So, without any further ado I stepped off to engage the Yanks and to exact revenge for the dastardly raid on my Mum’s home town of Whitehaven by that blaggard John Paul Jones. Straight away I started to appreciate just how difficult just marching straight forwards would be in this game. Movement is randomised by a die roll – I never have a problem with this although I know some people do – with the added problem of the possibility of adding Disruption Points if you roll a 2 (these negatively effect combat and firing and don’t help with morale either!).
As you can see from the photo above my right hand battalion (also the veteran unit) was in a good position to outflank the rebels if they decided to hold the line that they were currently in. Luckily for me they had decided to do just that whilst their second brigade decamped down the defile between the swamps (the lighter green areas to the sides of the camp). Just after this photo was taken I suffered a slight set back when the rebel artillery fired on my central unit. Ian rolled really well and I had to test to see if anything happened to my C-in-C as he was close enough to the unit being fired at. I duly rolled disastrously and my chief Rupert’s horse bolted and he ended up in the American, captured and no doubt having to be stared at maniacally by Mel Gibson.
This did not stop my advance, however, and whilst my 2 line battalions kept the main line busy, my veteran battalion slowly manoeuvred into place to take the Yanks under fire from the flank. This firstly destroyed the rebel gun and started to hurt the large militia unit holding the centre. My artillery had also move up and was starting to whittle away at the militia unit holding the other end of the line whilst piling on the Disruption points. Pretty soon it was time to get stuck in with the old cold steel (like I said disruption points are not good) and I launched a double attack. Over on the left the militia cavalry hit the wavering minutemen who fell back but rallied, then the veterans on the right charged forwards with levelled bayonets in a flank charge which duly swept the yanks from the field and caused the rest of the defending brigade to disperse, including the recently rallied militia from the other flank!
Now all I had to do was to advance into the funnel and destroy the remaining rebel units which Ian had been busy retreating whilst their comrades had been holding me off and now had formed a line between the swamps to the rear of their camp. I re-organised my force into a column with the veterans to the fore and the other battalions arrayed behind them and advanced to finish the Yanks off.
Unfortunately we then run out of time so the next part of the battle couldn’t happen which was a right shame as I thought I had the upper hand and was sure of victory! Martin said he is up for running this game again so hopefully next time we will have slightly longer.
I’d also like to congratulate Martin in winning the painting competition held on this night too – his India Service Light Dragoons saw off the challenge from some lovely Saracens and Crusaders and an assorted collection of Space Marine and other sci-fi/fantasy types much to his surprise! Take a look, they are properly nice.
Whilst Philip and I were battling it out there was a largish game of Bolt Action going on as well. Mac (the Warlord’s el Presidente) and Bill were putting the game on so that two new members could have a game and it looked like they were having fun – apparently the Brits weren’t having as much fun as the Germans due to their tanks blowing up all over the place!
Anyway, I included this as the game featured Mac’s magnificent scratch built French village so I had to take some shots of it! Hope you enjoy them.
First of all, sorry for the delay in getting this update posted up but I had a bit of a hectic week last week and didn’t have the time and then the inclination to blog owt. I did manage to get a couple of games in though and have been planning and purchasing figures for my first Chain of Command platoon (more of which anon).
Last Monday’s club night game saw me face Philip again in France, 1940 with his 10mm collection. This time though we were doing a practice game as Philip wanted to try out the Command Decision rules. The scenario was simple as were the forces involved to keep things running easily as there would be referencing of rulebook to be done.
I had a French Infantry regiment of 2 battalions with a couple of H-35 platoons attached, a regimental mortar battery and MG company in support with which to eject a Bosche infantry battalion from a village that controlled a road junction.
Philip had deployed his forces with 2 companies around the village and one company in the wood to the right. I decided to go up the right with a company to try and take the Germans in the wood in a flank attack and then try and roll up the position from there, the remaining 2 companies of the battalion, with a tank and MG platoon, would move forwards to engage the enemy from in front of the wood and the hill to put pressure on the defenders as well. The other battalion would move one company between the hill and wood to its left supported by a tank platoon to directly threaten the village whilst the remaining 2 companies, with 2 MG platoons, moved along the road on the left towards the village and try to either fire the other platoon in or to attack themselves.
First blood went to Philip as his village people managed to score some push backs and eliminations on the left hand battalion whilst my right hand battalion managed to move the flanking company into position to take the wood without him reacting to it at all, the pinning force to their front seemed to do their job well. I had opened up with my MG platoons at far too long a range though and had to move them up to effect the Germans more.
The flanking company managed to beat the defending German company quite handily but were not able to capitalise on their victory and completely take the wood due to a devastating mortar barrage which caused them to break and run! However the rest of the battalion was moving forwards and had secured the hill and was now poised to threaten the village.
Over on the left the Germans were forced back from the BUA nearest the left flank due to some intense fire, although they did manage to get some payback on the company to their front, which encouraged me to charge in with a company from the left. Unfortunately this didn’t go quite to plan and the Bosche saw them off but suffered in doing so and although they still held on they were quite weakened. We had to end it there as time was getting on, all in all my plan seemed to work ok although it did eventually fall short of immediate success with a few more moves it might have just managed to secure a victory.
As for the rules, I quite liked them – nice and easy to grasp the basic mechanisms and combat/firing was nice and straightforward – in fact I reckon I like them better than Blitzkrieg Commander which we usually play and I’d happily play again.
Here’s the obligatory eye-candy shots. All are from Philips 10mm collection as seen before in this parish.
Over the weekend Mike and I have had a couple of games of Chain of Command to try the rules out and I have to say we both had a great time and really liked the rules. I didn’t take any photos as we were busy scrolling through laptops checking up on things.
We tried the first scenario from the Operation Martlet campaign both times. As the first game was the initial run through of the rules we both decided to have another bash once we had genned up a bit on where we might have been going wrong, so yesterday I went round and we did it again!
I must say once you get into the swing of them they are a really nice set of rules, with some great mechanics and inspired new concepts – patrol phase and jump off points, why hadn’t anyone else come up with that before! The game had a nice flow to it and the inbuilt friction keeps the tension, joy and frustration all bubbling away nicely. Great example of this was in the second game.
Fortunately for me Mike was having a devil of a time actually getting his guys on the table due to my pre-game barrage and for a while I only faced a MG42 team in MMG mode which he was trying desperately to move into a barn that was reinforced to ‘bunker’ status, however he kept rolling low for movement so it was taking a while. Meanwhile I had managed to push a rifle section a long way up the table, I had thrown some hefty movement dice, until they were just in front of the same barn. I had laid smoke in front of the barn but it only obscured one of the firing positions, and it wasn’t the one that was in front of my section so as Mike had just set up his MMG things were looking a bit ‘sticky’. Fortunately it was my phase next and I luckily rolled the dice I needed to split the section into 2 teams, so they could go either side of the barn and thus out of the danger zone. The other reason for doing so was to take control of two of his Jump Off Points that were close by, so the Bren team and Cpl. Hoskins went left to occupy a building and the rifle section went right to advance over the road to a hedgeline. Both didn’t reach in this phase but both were very close.
Mike still hadn’t managed to get any more troops on the table in the next phase and I was confident my plan was about to be successful and would probably win me the game (I had another section just about to capture another Jump Off Point elsewhere). Again I rolled the activation dice I needed, rolled for the Bren team and they easily moved the 2 or 3 inches they required to move into the house, the Rifle team had about 8 inches to go and I elected to only use 2 dice – got 3 and so the section was left 5 inches short of the hedge. Of course Mike then managed to get one of his sections on the table next phase and they set up right in front of the Rifle team. We then discovered that 2 LMG teams firing at close range is a bad thing if you are on the receiving end, most of the men were dead and the rest, quite rightly, legging it. From this point on the balance of the game swung to the Germans as after the turn finished Mike no longer suffered from the barrage so brought the rest of his chaps on table and his superior firepower started to tell – I had also managed to lose a third of my force in the fog! – and I was soon whittled down to 1 Morale point so conceded. If only I had got to that bleeding hedge………
So we will be definitely doing more of this, now I need to decide what platoons to get!
I had a great, fun game of I Aint Been Shot Mum down at the Warlords on Monday night. Unfortunately as it was a ‘training’ game and there was a lot of action in a confined space I only managed to take a few photo’s!
Des and Ian had devised the scenario and were running the game as they were the old hands at the rules and so they left the actual dice rolling and decision making to the rest of us which made for a well run game as they could devote more time to answering our newbie questions.
So the scenario was this. We (myself, Martin and Daren) were a force from the 82nd Airborne who had to secure a crossroads from Mike’s Nazis. We were told that there are ‘some infantry and non-horse drawn vehicles’ in the vicinity to make things difficult for us to do so, our entry points would be randomised to add to the fun too.
I split the force out thus:
Daren took 1st Platoon of:
3 rifle squads
I had 2nd Platoon of:
2 rifle squads
Martin took the HQ Platoon of:
2 Lt Mortars
1 rifle squad
So I rolled for our entry points plus a couple of dummy blinds and we got to it.
So the first card was drawn and it was a ‘Teabreak’ card meaning that the turn was over and any unactivated units could fire on any units within 9″. Unfortunately both of our platoons had entered the table at just those precise positions!
1st Platoon was directly in front of one of Mike’s platoons, whilst 2nd Platoon took fire from the wood to their front. This was going to hurt!
After taking casualties and, unsurprisingly, quite a bit of shock Darren and I took two completely different approaches to the problem. I elected to stay where I was and pour fire onto the Bosche position that had opened up on me with one section and the MMG whilst the other one had taken a lot of hits so went to ground, this caused a few casualties and put on some shock. Darren took the ‘proper’ Airborne approach and piled in straight away close assaulting with 2 sections whilst pushing the 3rd section (with Bazooka attached) up the road. This managed to push the Germans back and caused them a lot of casualties and piled on the shock – Geronimo!!
In the next move the US cards came up first and Darren’s guys charged in again and after another close assault they managed to remove their opposition from the game completely, first blood to the Amis! I was still going down the fire supremacy route and that paid off too as my opposition was forced back due to losses and the shock accumulated. Darren’s squad moving along the road then came under fire from Mike’s remaining section located along the wall by the house which luckily did little harm at all. The section that was still on the edge of the wood being reorganised by his Big Man (taking shock off) did take some casualties from a MG42 opening up from the house.
True to form, Darren decided to assault the Bosche along the wall which, again went very well causing casualties and lots of shock so that the Germans decamped into the house. Over on my flank Martin brought the HQ platoon on, set up the mortars and sent the reserve rifle section hurtling through my position into the middle of the wood and caught the retreating Germans forcing them back into the crossroads with a bucketful of shock! I moved my intact section with the MMG around the wood towards the road between the crossroads and the Y-junction whilst de-shocking my shot up section.
By now we were in position to see the ‘non-horse drawn vehicle’ – it was a StuG. The one good thing was that it was facing away from where the Bazooka team was so if we were lucky they could get their shot away before it got a chance to turn round and shoot it up the jacksey.
However, war is a cruel thing and Mike lucked out activating the StuG first and managing to turn and unleash MG fire on the section in the road. This fire was devastating, causing the complete destruction of the section AND the Bazooka team! Darren then moved his remaining men deeper into the wood to prevent any more casualties from the MG42 in the house and to try and get some shock off before the next round of combat. Martin’s rifle section took out the remnants of the German platoon that they had chased into the crossroads with a withering volley so now the score stood at 2 sections to 1 removed from play in our favour, with the last German section badly shot up and cowering in the house along with the MG42. The big, noisy, lethal problem we did have though was the StuG and what to do with it as we now had no AT assets.
Mike helped us out somewhat as he decided to drive the beast along the road through the woods towards the position of the HQ platoon, I think to take out our chaps in the open. This uncovered the crossroads so Martin elected to assault the house with his rifle section, obviously flushed with success from their drive through the woods and they duly steamed in. This is where we learned that trying to take a house with a unsuppressed Spandau in it is a bad idea, a very bad idea – scratch one rifle section. With the StuG now sitting with its arse facing Darren’s lads in the wood it was duly close assaulted by one of his squads which unfortunately did no damage. I also moved my reduced strength squad up to near the edge of the wood to have a go at the StuG in the next move and managed to reach the hedge by the road and bring the house under fire.
We had sadly run out of time by now and so had to end it there, we all had a really great time. The Amis had failed to take the crossroads but we had gutted the infantry force defending it, although the continued presence of the StuG swung things in the Jerrie’s favour, so a slight victory for the Germans would be a fair result. The rules are immense fun whilst having a great flow to them and quite a few lessons were learned for the next one. Many thanks to Ian and Des for putting the game on and apparently there will be a continuation game in the new year so looking forwards to that!
Again, apologies for the lack of pictures, but I was having too much fun!
On last Monday afternoon I paid a visit to Mike’s for a Napoleonic game of General de Brigade using his fabulous collection of 25mm Minifigs. It was due to be the first of two games in a day as we were both off down the club after we had finished, however, Philip had to unfortunately cancel the later game due to work commitments (although we did get a couple of games of Wings of War in at the club which was fun as always).
The scenario was set in the Peninsula with my Franco-Italian-Neapolitan force trying to force the passage of a couple of valleys being held by Mike’s Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish force so lots of nice variety in our respective armies with a nice mix of quality.
I had 4 small infantry Brigades:
1 French of 2 Legere battalions, plus skirmishers (Line)
1 Italian of 3 Line battalions (Line)
1 Neapolitan of 2 Line and 1 Light battalions (2nd Line and Conscript)
1 Italian Guard of 1 Grenadier, 1 Velite and 1 Turin Guard battalions (Veteran)
I also had a French Foot battery
and a Cavalry Brigade of:
French Chasseur a Cheval Regt
Italian Gardes d’Honneur Regt
French Horse battery
Not a very historical army but Mike said he wanted to get some nice troops on the table as he knew they’d end up having their pictures taken for this!
Mikes mob consisted of 2 Infantry and 1 Cavalry Brigades :
1 British of 2 Line and 1 (large) Highland battalions with Rifles detachment
1 Portuguese of 2 Line Battalions and a Cacadore detachment
Cavalry was 1 British Hussar and 1 Portuguese Dragoons
Artillery support was a Mountain battery and a Rocket troop!
Also present was a Spanish battalion as a garrison for the village.
So I definitely had an advantage in numbers and guns but the terrain was a bugger so I he had a bonus there plus he did have a qualitative advantage as well. Mike was curious about the AdC rules we had used during the big Dresden game the other week and although they are really designed for larger scale actions we decided to give them a whirl and so dispensed with the normal order activation rules – actually was a nice bit of fun and worked ok.
My plan was nice and simple, I would move the Neapolitan brigade up the extreme right of the table to take a wooded hill that contained the Rifles – I figured a nice easy task with overwhelming odds in their favour was the best thing to do with them. In the centre I wanted to pin the redcoats with my Cavalry and Legere whilst the Italian Brigade and the foot battery moved up the left of the table to clear the Portuguese out of the way and so outflank the British. The Guard was kept off table as a reserve.
I won the initiative and we all stepped off in smart fashion to get to grips with the enemy expecting them to sit and wait for us to come to them. Mike had decided that the Portuguese had to live up to their reputation as the ‘fighting cocks of the army’ and promptly changed their orders from ‘Hold’ to ‘Engage’ and they advanced to meet the Italians. This did throw my attack off somewhat as I was planning to use the space to deploy my guns to soften him up, I internally doffed my hat as it was a great bit of tactics.
In the middle the Legere screened the Cacadores with their own skirmishers and tried to force them off the hill whilst moving up to trade shots with the redcoats. The horse artillery began a long range bombardment of the Jocks to try and start whittling them down and the ‘Cosmopolitans’ (as Mike would have it!) did well in beginning to push back the rifles through the wood.
The first blood went to Mike on the 2nd or 3rd move when his Rocket troop finally managed to not miss anything at all and got a devastating hit on the lovely Garde d’Honneur taking out half of them (apparently Mike had just painted them so the ‘curse of the recent paint brush’ had well and truly struck!) although they did pass their morale check. True to form however a few moves later, after completely failing to even hit the ground, the rockets managed to blow themselves up!
Over on the left the Italians scored a success. After a quick firefight that caused one of the Portuguese battalions to falter an Italian charge caused a melee that in fairness should have been a close run thing however after the following die roll, there was only one outcome – the chaps in blue took to their heels and legged it!
The remainder of the Brigade managed to hold on however and there then followed a strange period whereby the Italian Brigade just couldn’t activate themselves and just sat there trading musket shots with the remaining battalion to no great effect.
In the centre the French legere advanced on the Brits ensconced in the hedged field and the mountain battery on the hill next door. Suffering from a degree of overconfidence due to the complete ineptitude of the British commander in this part of the field (he had only managed to roll once all game to activate his troops) the left hand battalion advanced in line to trade shots bravely ignoring the Hussar squadron lurking to their flank. Obviously this was when Col. Dalrymple-Smyth-Tarquinson finally managed to get his aristo head out of his snuff box and duly ordered the Hussars to charge – result, one routing Legere battalion.
Meanwhile the Neapolitans had managed to take the wood over on the right and had flanked the Highlanders whilst doing so, swinging one battalion into line forcing the Scots to refuse their flank to face the new threat. This seemed like an opportune time to launch my cavalry at the ‘thin red streak tipped with steel’ and away they went, just like their descendants would do in the Crimea years later they held (just) and the Cavalry bounced back!
The Italian Guard brigade had also entered the fray and was pushing the Cacadores off their hill whilst moving up onto the enclosure, taking over from the Legere in this sector allowing them to re-organise after losing the battalion from the hussar charge (they dispersed!). The Italians had also finally got their act together on the left and had started to advance again, finally getting their guns into position and managing to beat off a spirited cavalry charge from the Portuguese Dragoons. It was about this time when we had to call the game due to the need to get off down the club deciding that the Anglo-Portuguese would have had to withdraw, but with honour as they had delayed the French enough and caused some degree of damage to them.
All in all a nice afternoons wargaming, using the AdC’s added a bit of fun too although we did feel that maybe they might be best suited to large scale games. I’ll be back round to Mike’s later this week for a first game of Chain of Command.
Alan has been working on the modern forces for his imagination of New Byzantium (see his blog here: http://novobyzantium.blogspot.co.uk/ ) and so it was only right that I used my Alt-History Poles as his first opposition (I’m sure that his batrep will be a lot more interesting as mine so will be well worth checking out his blog).
It was a classic meeting engagement of a village/crossroads set up with us dicing for where we would be coming on table. What made this game interesting was that we had decided to bring on our units sequentially starting with the recon units and adding more battalions only when we had rolled enough pips during the command phase (see my house rules) so it wasn’t the usual tank battle club night games can be. Also it was useful to see how ‘my’ TOE for the Poles would do in ‘combat’ conditions and used by myself.
My initial forces were a slightly reduced Divisional Cavalry Regiment of 2 AML-90/60 companies, 1 Fox company and 1 M3 Panhard mounted infantry company Alan had a light force too consisting of AML-90’s, jeep mounted ATGM and recon jeeps with truck mounted infantry in support.
Luckily I managed to win the initiative and decided to barrel the Fox coy up the road to secure the village with the infantry coy following up. The two AML coys would move to either side, those on the left to take a low ridge across the lateral road those on the right the hedgeline by the road there.
Alan then moved up to the Y-junction with some jeep johnnies and pushed some units towards the woods on my right and round the hedges to the left heading towards the ridge my AML’s were going for. Alan won the initiative next and with the pips that he received decided to call in a free barrage on the village to suppress my guys there he then drew first blood as one of his jeep mounted ATGM took out a Fox. I managed to get some payback with the Fox to the left ko’ing the accompanying jeep mounted infantry platoon whilst moving my infantry company up to occupy the village.
Alan managed to get to the ridge on the left first but luckily for me it was only with a recon jeep platoon which sensibly fell back before the advancing armoured cars – although he did gamely have a pop with his 12.7mm HMG! However as soon as I moved up to the ridgeline I lost the lead platoon to some dead-eye shooting from an ATGM fired from the woods to the front of the ridge which Alan had put one of his infantry coys (to be fair he had the devils own luck with his dice rolls all evening, I didn’t!).
In the village Alan was doing great with his artillery, using the pips he won during initiative to bring in artillery that kept my infantry supressed which meant that my Milan fire was largely ineffective, I think they managed to only take out 1 AML all game. The remainder of the Fox company succumbed to more ATGM fire from Alan’s chaps in the wood to the right – I had absolutely appalling luck all game trying to bring in artillery on these, only managing to supress them once all game – and from the one by the Y-junction.
Alan used a 4 pip initiative win to bring on a reserve battalion and diced up a T-55 battalion which made things potentially dicey for me as the only thing that could really do any damage on my side was the single Milan launcher with my infantry, however I won back the initiative the next go (I believe the first time since the start of the game) and managed to get enough pips to release my own reserves, rolling up an Armoured battalion.
Sadly we hade run out of time by the time we had moved the tanks up to the village, although not before my tanks on the left had managed to brew up a T-55 and Alan’s crack-shot ATGM chaps over on the right had caused a couple of QC tests on the tanks on the road.
I think my better tanks would have swayed things my way if we had gone on and I’d have secured the village but it was an interesting battle anyway having only light forces on table for most of it gave a good game. One thing that did come up during the game was the seeming ineffectiveness of MRL’s in the rules – they have a very low fire value, maybe a question for the yahoo group there? Anyway it looks as if we will be carrying on with some more battles with these protagonists so will look forwards to that (as long as Alan changes dice next time!!).
Here’s some pictures of a couple of other games that caught my eye on Monday, first up a AWI game using ‘British Grenadier’ played by Ian, Des and Martin followed by Mac’s game with new chap Ollie (?) of ‘Bolt Action’ using his lovely home made buildings.
On Saturday I had the absolute privilege of taking part in my first ever large scale Napoleonic game down at the Warlords ‘Big Game Saturday’ and it was bleeding marvellous!
We were playing through the attack of the extreme left wing of the Army of Bohemia during the late afternoon/evening of the first day of the battle of Dresden, 1813 using a ‘big battle’ form of General de Brigade and a mighty battle it was. The Austrians started the game with 1524 infantry and 274 cavalry figures and the French started with 680 infantry and 48 cavalry on table, rising to 1160 infantry and 312 cavalry (thanks for the info Des).
We had fellow South London Warlord Mr Des Darkin to thank for putting on the game – and we can not thank him enough – which had 8 players involved, 4 from the SLW: Me, Alan, Ian and Warren and 4 from the Loughton Strike Force: Andy, Dave, Del and Gary. Des had mixed the two sides up which I thought was a great idea as the Loughton chaps were so familiar with the rules (as they should be!) it made the game flow so much easier.
I was taking the role of Bianchi and my fellow Austrians (Dave, Alan and Del) and I were tasked with taking the line of villages to our front and then marching on towards the suburbs of Dresden. Trying to stop us doing this were Warren, Ian, Andy and Gary who were stretched in a thin looking defensive line between and in the villages we had to secure.
The photo above shows the starting positions of the two armies – Austrians on the left, French on the right. The Austrians were set up thusly, from the top of the photo down (left to right), Dave with Crenneville’s 3rd Reserve Division, Alan with Mesko’s 3rd Light Division, me with Bianchi’s 2nd Reserve Division and Del with Weissenwolf’s 2nd Line Division, we also had Schneller’s 3rd Cavalry Division off table in reserve. Our plan was pretty simple – take the villages and march on Dresden although we did need to do a bit of manoeuvring though as Del and I needed to shift right a tad to take our objectives and Dave was to sweep round behind once he had broken through on the flank – simple but effective and given the tightness of our initial dispositions practical too.
My plan was to send one brigade to the left of the village and one to the right of the village (also needed to keep tied in to Del’s left flank), force the French back and if needed to use my 3rd brigade to either exploit any successes or to steamroller the defenders of the village if they had not evacuated by then.
So we got to it and nearly immediately things started to go slightly awry with both Del and I rolling badly at the start of the 2nd move and each having a brigade go ‘hesitant’ meaning they couldn’t move – part of the rules we were using for running large battles are that a roll for each brigade is done at the beginning of the move and if they fail they go ‘hesitant’ – and thus slowing us down in developing our attack to the right of the village.
From here on in things started to get really busy and my best intentions of taking photo’s and keeping notes of what was going on to enable a beautifully written, detailed batrep went out of the window with having to concentrate on what was going on (that Moltke bloke was clever weren’t he!), and I can only give you a rough idea about what went on in the other parts of the battle. Just after the above photo was taken Gary, who was responsible for this part of the French line, decided that the best form of defence WAS attack and charged forwards into Del’s lead battalions – sort of crazy but it did work, killing Del’s brigadier in the process and causing him to fail a brigade morale test which caused him to withdraw and spend time re-organising.
Meanwhile to the left of this action his other brigade started their assault targeting the battery in the photo and managing to take them out whilst I still had a hesitant brigade buggering up my attack somewhat. To the left of the village I had started to try and whittle down the French with some long range artillery fire whilst my lads bravely trudged forwards. Alan was suffering with the ‘Hesitancy Blues’ too but managed to get into ‘his’ village with his other brigade and things started to look good over on the left. This didn’t last too long however as Dave’s command suffered a brigade test failure too and a dead brigadier as he tried to push Warren back and had to fall back to re-organise.
As you can see from the above photo, the French had brought up their cavalry brigade which caused me to halt my left hand attack as I was worried about them charging in on my flank and had to wait for Alan to clear them away with his cavalry. My right hand battalions got stuck in though and started a trend that ran for most of the day by losing the melee quite convincingly and retreating away – despite being nearly twice the strength! To the right of the village to my front I had managed to unstick my brigade and we launched forwards, my attack initially went well with my lads causing the French battalion to bugger off before we even came to grips with them. Andy, who was defending this sector, decided to use his reserve battalion aggressively to rectify the problem and promptly charged in on the victorious Kaiserlicks, but I was quietly confident that I’d see them off what I hadn’t accounted for however was this………..
Needless to say, much disbelief all round and whoops of joy from the French and my lads streamed back in complete rout!
From here on in it became a bloody battle of attrition as we desperately tried to grind our way forwards before the rapidly arriving French reinforcements could intervene – they had a Heavy Cavalry Division forming a second line already and we could see a huge column of French Young Guard snaking their way out of Dresden.
Over on the left Dave had gotten his lads back into the fray and him and Alan kept up the pressure on Warren pushing him back steadily, although Warren gave a man of the match performance refusing to give up ‘his’ village, retaking it 2 or 3 times by the end of the game and thus stopping Dave from breaking out round the flank.
Alan had some success as well as taking the village and then having to retake it again and again, he had punched a hole through Ian’s line with his cavalry which allowed our reserve cavalry division to exploit through, unfortunately the French had managed to counter the threat with their own cavalry reserve and a massive mounted brawl took place which went to and fro.
I did manage by the end of the battle to push the French back from the left of the village aided by Alan’s cavalry attack although my brigadier did suffer a wound that held things up somewhat and my luck in melee kept letting me down. I also attempted to assault the village on a couple of occasions but kept getting bounced back, Andy’s lads deserve Legion d’Honneurs all round as they were made of extremely stern stuff – even after all the casualties they suffered they kept holding on to the end and had effectively gutted my right hand brigade as they were all dispersed or retreating by the end of the battle. My reserve brigade had made it on he table but I was stuck somewhat for space to deploy it having to wait for the retreating of my right hand brigade to make space for it to start an assault on the village which it unfortunately didn’t get to manage before the end of the game.
On the right Del had also recovered from his initial set back and had managed to take his target village whilst pushing forwards into the space between our two villages although this was slowed down somewhat by the appearance of another French heavy cavalry division – including the Carabinier brigade who were looking cool as usual!
Thus at the end of the day the Austrians had managed to push the French line back somewhat but they had somehow hung on far longer than any of us expected, even though they must have suffered huge casualties doing so, and we had not managed to achieve a decisive breakthrough anywhere. Also we only controlled 2 of the 4 villages (and one of those was lost in the ‘extra’ move we had!) and the French had some serious reinforcements arriving all the time whereas I believe the only uncommitted troops we had was my 3rd brigade – the next day would be very interesting indeed! I think we said a draw was a favourable result – it felt like a loss for me personally as I downright failed to take my objective, but still immense fun.
So, my first ever big scale Napoleonics battle done – it was utterly marvellous, everything I had ever thought a ‘grand manner’ battle would be like. Des deserves immense credit and thanks for organising and putting on the game which was played in the very best of spirits by all the chaps involved which made it an absolute joy to be a part of.
Gentlemen I salute you!
Before some gratuaitous eye-candy shots of the figures (mostly from Des’ collection but with some supplied by Andy) here’s something from Des (used with his permission) to sum up the best bits:
1. Double Six vs Double 1 – what a melee result – and Gary’s disbelief at seeing it happen (apparently never seen it before)
2. Double 1 on an Austrian Brigade Test just as the French flank was about to collapse (Dave B special)
3. Andy rolling three times to activate his Cuirassier Brigade so it could charge, and rolling 3 consecutive “2”s.
4. Tommo refusing to let “his” village fall into Austrian hands and charging back in, again, again and again!
5. Alan P just being “Hesitant” all game.
6. Ian’s Victory dance…..in 5 years wargaming with Ian I have never seen him do a Victory Dance!!!
7. Iain F trying to take “that bloody village” with a Division of Austrians, and in the end opting to “set fire to that bloody village”………….
8. The sight of a Corps of French cavalry on table, and a full Division of YG snaking their way out of Dresden onto the battlefield……..wonderful.
Here’s the OOB for those interested too (again thanks Des): Dresden
I didn’t have a game organised for Monday night but still went down the club and took along my 6mm kit just in case there was another forlorn gamer there looking for a game!
Dan was that man and so we set up a table quickly and got to it. Unfortunately he had no experience of FFT but did pick it up quickly, which is testament to how easy they are to get your head around I suppose. We chose to fight a simple meeting engagement, the old control of a village/road junction being the objective and we left out artillery to make things easier. Dan took Austrians whilst I took ‘Poles’.
We did have a good quick game with both of us taking quite a few ko’d vehicles from long range fire as we tried to get into cover. I managed to secure 2/3 of the village whilst Dan held the last part but as we didn’t have any artillery it would have been suicide to try and take the respective parts so we left it as was and concentrated on the tank battle. My Ferret/Swingfire chalked up a couple of kills as did my infantry Milan teams, The Bill atgm his infantry was using was able to take out my Vickers mk.7 at very long range – why no-one else used this weapon apart from the Swedes and the Austrians and everyone used the Milan I really don’t know as it is deadly. Elsewhere our tanks did a lot of damage with APC’s and armoured cars brewing up as well as enemy tanks all over the place – ‘ooh bloody’ was heard by passing gamers a couple of times.
We only played for a couple of hours as we started late but did fight ourselves to a stalemate and (more importantly) Dan got to grips with the rules, really enjoyed them and said he’d be happy to play again.
Unfortunately my camera was running out of juice so I could only take a few photos but here they are.
As this did happen a few weeks ago now and I was feeling quite woozy at the time I won’t try and remember the exact course of events but give a general overview and show the pretty pictures!
Des and I were Austrian and were tasked to control the majority of the bridges to gain victory, Ian and Martin were French tasked to do the same. It ended up with the French making it over to our side of the river and us being pushed back. The French light cavalry did particularly well against our Husaren, but did jam a couple of dice throws. The infantry assault did take out one of our infantry battalions but then got chewed up a bit in return.
It was a nice tactical problem that Martin put on made all the nicer as we used his fantastic Revolutionary Wars period figures (not sure but might be AB?).