Right, I’ve just realised that I haven’t been near the painting desk for a few weeks now due to one thing and another and have had a good hard word with myself and will be getting some serious painting done over the next few weeks.
Since taking part in the big Dresden game recently I have had a complete sea-change with regards to what I’m going to do with regards to Napoleonics and will be now focusing my 15/18mm efforts on building up historical units for General de Brigade, this will mean some rebasing of what I already have painted plus a bit of repainting here and there. I also recently acquired a good bit of swag from Des at the club so have a few battalions worth of Duchy of Warsaw infantry to get started on too.
So the plan is now to build a Duchy of Warsaw Brigade and also to build the Rhinebund Regiments. (I’m going to put my ‘heretical’ idea on the back burner and am thinking that it will be best done in 10mm anyway).
I’ve also got a few bits and bobs from my modern forces to finish off in between to keep things interesting.
I’ll get some photo’s up once things have moved on a bit.
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?).