Des’ Shed Game 3: Quatre Bras, GdB.

At the start of June Des had arranged another great day of gaming in his shed (with the added bonus of watching the Champion’s League Final after too). This time we would be tackling Quatre Bras. I reckon that this is a battle that might have been attempted by most Napoleonic wargamers at least once, as I think as it is just big enough/not too big for most rulesets to handle, it could go one way or the other and it has a nice variety of troops involved. In fact we had had a go at it at the club a couple of Christmases ago and then my French chaps had been thwarted in our attempts to gain the crossroads by stubborn resistance from the Dutch-Belgians that enabled the reinforcing Brits enough time to turn up and really spoil the day.

This time I would be taking on the mantle of the Jonny Cash of the Napoleonic world, the Duke of Brunswick, and would be in charge of that ‘great moving hearse’ that was the Brunswick contingent (as well as some Hannoverian types). My fellow allies would be Warren who would be in command of the Dutch-Belgians, and using his extensive knowledge of Dutch profanity to bring added realism to the role, and Paul who was taking the British units with all the sang froid of the Duke himself. We faced some stiff opposition with Andy, Martin and Des (when not wearing his umpires hat) taking control of the French. So after tea and coffees were dished out we made our way to the shed and were presented with a glorious sight as Des had really pulled the stops out setting the table for this one, it was instantly recognisable as the battlefield and looked bloody marvellous. One noticeable thing about the table set up was Des had included more ground North of Quatre bras than you usually see on a table which meant if the French took the village there was still room for the arriving allied forces to deploy from the march to counter the threat instead of being bottled up due to ‘edge of the world’ syndrome.

After a quick briefing about scenario specific rules (we were using a ‘joker’ system to either speed up Allied or slow down French formations as well as variable entry of units and we also agreed on being strict on using written orders too) and a quick get together to get plans sorted we got to it. Obviously there wasn’t much for either Paul or I to do for the first couple of moves as our commands were still wending their way south from Brussels or across from Nivelles but Warren was engaged from the off with his Nassauers in the Bossu wood coming under attack from at least a Brigade. Whilst this was happening the French were trying to deploy their other Infantry Divisions and Cavalry to engage the waiting Dutch infantry but were held up somewhat by Paul and Warren playing their jokers (we had one each and once played they would hold up an enemy Division for one move OR allow one of our Divisions to accelerate one move along the reinforcement schedule) but they had managed to move one command along the road to Thyle. As is his wont Warren decided that a forward defence was best and moved all of his lads forwards to try and delay the French as much as possible and as far as possible from the crossroads and pretty soon all of his Division was committed to action and were giving the French a tough fight ably aided by the authentic admonishments of their commander.

Meanwhile Paul and I had eventually arrived on the battlefield after being held up in a godawful traffic jam on the Chausee (we both were failing rolls to get our lads on table), and started moving off to the sound of the guns. We pretty soon received our orders from Wellington with Picton’s rascals being directed to the ridges just south of Quatre Bras to take up the defence from the hard pressed but still stubbornly holding on Cloggies. The Brunswickers were to move to the left and contain the French division that was heading to Thyle, I had delayed them with my joker but we had no units on that flank and it was looking a bit up in the air. The arriving cavalry of Merlen’s brigade were quickly dispatched forwards to aid their countrymen and Warren wasted no time in committing them to the maelstrom near Gemincourt.

Down in the Bossu, the Nassauers were finally near to breaking point after seeing off repeated attacks since the very start of the battle and break they eventually did but luckily for us the survivors managed to reform to the west of the wood and draw off at least some of the Andy’s lads from exploiting northwards to keep an eye on them. Another factor that aided the allies here was the time that it took Andy to get the remainder of his force moving along the track through the wood which would have caused us to be outflanked, luckily for us Des had confiscated his ‘Blue Dice of Doom’ earlier in the day and he was having a terrible time changing orders! Whilst the Nassauers were going through their trevails the constant pressure Martin had been exerting in the centre was finally beginning to tell and Warren was pushed further and further back, albeit whilst scoring victories here and there against the French invader.

Help was at hand however as Picton and his men had finished deploying and promptly stepped off to attack the French that were on the verge of breaking through, whilst fresh reserves of Netherlands and Hannoverian infantry were arriving along the Nivelles road that we started deploying across the north of the wood to stop Andy’s advance. The Guard Division was also near at hand too going into reserve around Quatre Bras whilst I had finally managed to deploy my lads across the stream from Thyle to shore up the left flank. Unfortunately it was at this point that we ran out of time and so had to leave things just as the battle was about to enter its second phase which I think, to be honest, would have been a tough ask for the French to gain a victory from. It seemed that the Allies had more fresh units than the French and with the potential of more arriving the pendulum would have definitely swung our way.

Again it was an absolutely cracking game and even though I didn’t manage to roll a dice in anger all day I had an absolute blast! The French were unlucky trying to change orders for some of their formations, apart from Andy’s lads on the right Des had problems with his Division once they had taken Thyle. Both of these delays granted the Allies just enough time to get reserves into blocking positions and things would have been very sticky for us if this hadn’t happened. Warren was definitely man of the match for me, holding off both Andy in the wood and the constant attacks of Martin in the centre he bought time for Paul and I to get up and bloodied the French’s nose enough to give us an advantage in any further fighting. As usual it wouldn’t have been quite as enjoyable if it wasn’t for the gents around the table, a pleasure as always sirs. Also, as usual many thanks to Mrs D. for the fantastic spread at half time and to Des for putting on another cracker and for the refreshments for the footy too. That there was the mother of all thunderstorms on the way home made it the perfect end to the day really (dirty cheating Spanish centre-half’s aside).

 

Des’ Shed Game 2: Dennewitz, 15mm General de Brigade

For his next big game at his shed, Des decided on getting his fantastic 15mm Napoleonics on the table and picked Dennewitz as the chosen battle to have a go at. I was well chuffed with his choice as the 1813 campaign is just fascinating and I was looking forward to seeing how this battle would translate to the table-top, not that I was worried it wouldn’t be much cop after taking part in the Dresden and Liebertwolkwitz games Des had put on at the club previously (see elsewhere on here).

Del and I would be in charge of the Allies which was great for me as it meant that I could take charge of the Wurttembergers and Italians again, 2 of my favourite forces from the period as they are just fantastic looking troops and aren’t too shabby when it gets down to the fighting too! We would be up against Martin and Andy who would be in charge of the massive Prussian wave that was about to break on us (Des was umpiring and helping out the Prussians later too) so a tough fight was definitely on the cards.

(As usual click on the pics for a better view)

The battle started with my Italians deployed over the stream facing off against Martin’s Prussians, I was tasked with engaging them to keep them away from Del’s French who strung out along the road, the Wurttemberger’s were being held in reserve. With Martin’s Teutonic horde a long cannon shot away the action on this flank started quickly and developed into an intense and interesting action. I advanced one of my Brigades and my Cavalry to take the fight to the Prussians and soon they were locked in a bitter struggle with the Prussians who stymied my advance as their blokes on horses with nasty pointy sticks caused me to keep some battalions in square until my cavalry could see them off. Martin then hit me with some infantry and soon the fight looked like it was going the Prussian’s way but even though I had a couple of battalions break, the rest managed to hang on and I launched some counter-attacks in that steadied the situation. I was quite pleased with how it had gone, Martin is a very able opponent and I still had an infantry Brigade uncommitted by the end of the day which I think could have made the difference if we carried on longer as I believe most of his force had been engaged and the fresh units might have just tipped the balance.

 

Over on my left Del had managed to shake his leading brigades out from their road columns and were advancing with proper Gallic gusto towards the advancing Prussian command debouching from table edge. As usual in these big games it is always very difficult to really gauge what is going on in other people’s fights but pretty soon Del and Andy’s commands were involved in a brutal fight for control of the centre of the field which swung one way and another all day and included a great whirling cavalry battle. Things then started to look grim as Des’ Prussian Brigade hoved into view deep behind our left flank. The Wurttembergers were promptly dispatched to deal with this new threat and they carried it out with aplomb, advancing with dash and had just started to get the upper hand when we had to stop.

It was a right shame that we ran out of time as the battle was finely balanced, we seemed like we were about to break the Prussians on our left flank and had some reinforcements entering the field but the Wurst-worriers also had some uncommitted reserves which might have turned up too. Having said that it was a cracking days wargaming and as usual thanks go out to all the were involved and three times three for Mr D for his great hospitality and for putting on such a splendid fight. Also apologies to the chaps for the tardiness in getting this posted which means I’ve been a bit sketchy on the details but hopefully the pics make up for that! If there’s anything I missed out let me know and I’ll do a quick edit.

 

 

 

 

General de Brigade: Plancenoit, 1815

A couple of Sundays ago I had the absolute pleasure in having been invited round to Andy’s shed of war for a large 15mm Napoleonic game of General de Brigade. To say that I was looking forward to this game from the moment that I received the invite and the date was set for the game is an understatement. I had heard about the quality of the games that he had put on in the past so was chomping at the bit to be involved. I’m extremely glad to say that I was not disappointed in any way, it was a truly fantastic days wargaming.

As soon as I entered the shed that the game was being played in (I reckon these places should have a snappy name as ‘shed’ doesn’t quite cut it really, does it?) I was confronted with a truly great spectacle. Even if I didn’t know what battle was due to be fought I’d have known straight away from the terrain on the table, it could only be Plancenoit. Andy had done a marvellous job in constructing the bespoke terrain for the refight, really bringing to life all the maps of the area that I’ve studied in the past. The thousand or two figures already lined up ready would have given another clue if needed. Honestly I’m afraid my pics do not do the scene justice!

After a bacon roll and a cuppa, supplied by Mrs T. and very much appreciated, Andy got to the briefing and explained the ADC rules that we would be using to us – we were using standard GdB rules but with house rules concerning ADC’s to activate/change orders – and both sides got their heads together to plan the upcoming fight.

I was on the Prussian team with Del and Martin. We would be taking control of Bulow’s IV Corp tasked with taking the village of Plancenoit and we had 20 turns in which to do so. Del wore the C-in-c’s hat and would be responsible for the assault on the village with 15th and 16th Brigades under command. Martin was to take the right flank responsible for defeating the French to our front with the 13th and 14th Brigades.  I was to take the Cavalry reserve, Corp Artillery and Tipplekirch’s Brigade of II Corps when it arrived, my orders being to support Martins assault on Lobau’s line whilst seeing off the French Reserve battery in the centre with our own Reserve artillery to hopefully open a gap in the centre of the French position to be exploited later. The dastardly French were controlled by Andy, Simon and Des who just had to hold on as best they could and prevent us from taking the village. They were in command of Lobau’s VI Corp with some Young and Old Guard types scheduled to turn up some time or other to make things harder for us.

So with plans made, tea and bacon consumed we got at it. The first thing that we noticed as the Prussians was that we would have problems making our numerical superiority work to our advantage as the terrain and troop density meant that we would have to attack in ‘waves’, passing one unit through another. This was certainly the case for Martin and myself as our units were activated to a schedule so we had to get moving with what we had on hand first and then follow up with the rest when it became available, which was actually quite a realistic problem to have and added to the flavour to the game I thought. Anyway Del started by moving forward to the village and started prepping the defenders for the assaults that were about to start and then continue for the rest of the day and Martin launched his lead Brigade towards the line of French on the right flank. I opened the bombardment of the French battery and started off well inflicting losses straight away whilst my huge Landwehr Cavalry Brigade advanced to support Martins lads by covering their open left flank.

The battle soon turned into a proper slogging match with both Martin’s and Del’s Brigades repeatedly coming to grips with the French defenders before narrowly being beaten back. In the fight for the village Del managed to take the church a good few times but was always pushed out immediately by fresh French units or a swift counter attack from a rallied battalion. Much the same was happening in the fight for the rest of the village, as soon as he managed to defeat one battalion another countered his disorganised men and bundled them back. With the cramped frontages available to deploy in he just couldn’t make his superior numbers tell against Simon’s defenders and when Andy’s Guard turned up it made it even harder. This to and fro action went on all day and showed just how hard the fight must have been in reality and followed the pattern in accounts of many village fights I have read from the period.

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Outside the village Martin soon came to grips with Des’ Division guarding the northern part of the line and here too a tough fight broke out. Des was taking advantage of the terrain and had his men behind hedges which was helping in his defence and Martin couldn’t quite get to grips with the French in a co-ordinated manner enough to break them. This was mainly down to the difference in quality of the units I think with some of the Prussian battalions failing to charge home a few times leaving those that did in the lurch somewhat. All was not lost though as the defending French had been steadily losing men and once Martin’s lead Brigade was hors de combat he committed his fresh one.

Meanwhile I had managed to destroy the French Reserve battery in the centre and had advanced my Landwehr cavalry forwards as ordered and pretty soon were confronted with a mass of French Cavalry that had appeared to the rear of Des’ infantry. I knew I didn’t have the qualitative edge but my idea was to tie them up so as to prevent them from attacking Martin’s lads and maybe wear them down before my Regular Brigades could be brought forwards to help finish them off. With the loss of the French Heavy artillery Simon was forced to re-deploy forces from the defence of Plancenoit to cover the approach the gap made and managed to seal it off before we could get any forces forward to take advantage, again thwarted by space issues – we just couldn’t move our units quick enough.

After a lovely lunch that battle carried on in much the same vein, Del and Martin bravely grinding forwards but just not breaking through whilst I had been involved in a cavalry scrap and had charged a couple of Des’ battalions with my Landwehr Cavalry (which nearly went my way even though they were in square!) before they broke and the fight was taken over by the Regular brigades. I did manage to get Tipplekirch’s Brigade on the table but the were stuck in a ‘traffic jam’ of units so it took ages to get them forward, some command and control problems didn’t help either! Pretty soon though it just started to feel like that we weren’t just going to do it and when it got to 6pm we called it a day with the French holding all along the line even though they had taken a battering, especially outside the village.

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The main problem we had, we thought, was that we just couldn’t get our units into the fight quick enough. With such a large density of force on such a constricted front all it took was a bit of friction and everything snarled up, not that I’m complaining about it a game without this sort of thing is just too easy I reckon and wargaming is supposed to be a problem making exercise as well as fun. The battle also showed just how difficult it must have been to take a village in this time, I’m sure Del was knackered by the end of play! There were also those close calls that luck just favoured the enemy and if they had gone the other way might just have led to a different result but c’est la guerre as those Frenchies might say.

Even though we didn’t come away with the win it was a truly great days wargaming and I can’t thank Andy enough for the invite, and big thanks too go to Mrs Thomlinson for the fantastic hospitality and for keeping us fed and watered all day. As I’ve mentioned before the terrain was absolutely superb and the figures we used from the collections of Martin, Andy and Del weren’t too shoddy either. But, as always, the thing that makes these days really great are the chaps that you share them with so many thanks go to Andy, Martin, Del, Simon and Des in playing the game like true gents. Hat doffed all round, and very much looking forward to the next one already!

PS Some more pics taken by Des can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/247145792126789?view=permalink&id=784110201763676

 

Trip to Aspern and Essling

On Sunday whilst in Vienna I had arranged with the Mem that I could nip out in the morning to either visit the museums in Aspern and Essling OR the one in Deutsch Wagram. I went for the shorter journey just across the Danube from where we were staying and decided Aspern and Essling it was. These museums are only open on Sunday’s from 10-12 and from April-October, so as I would be there on the first day of the season I’d pop over the Danube on the U-bahn and have a look.

Sunday morning saw me up early and out at 8 as I wasn’t sure how long it would take for me to get there as I had to take a bus at the end of the tube journey. My plan was to go to Essling first, check out the museum which is in the Granary and then bus it back to Aspern next – I was also thinking that I might be able to squeeze Wagram in too if I had enough time or if the missus wanted to get out of the city for the afternoon (it was a glorious day and I thought this might be on the cards). The journey on the U1 line was nice and quick and upon leaving the station at Kagran jumped on the 26A Bus to Bad-Enzerdorf for Essling. Aspern and Essling are both now suburbs of Vienna so one had to try and imagine the terrain without the buildings but one thing that is noticeable is how flat it is – really, really flat. This explains the ferocity of the Artillery fire mentioned in accounts of the battle, there’s no elevations to shelter behind if you are in the open, it must have been brutal.

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Near the Granary, the whole area is like this…
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… it goes on for miles.

I arrived in Essling early and, thankfully, finding an open café plotted up until opening time at the museum. I have to admit I was quite excited heading round the corner towards the Granary as I have been reading ‘Thunder on the Danube’ again before I left so was eager to see this famous building ‘in the flesh’. I arrived about 9:55 and started taking some snaps of the truly impressive building, it is massive and you can completely see why it was so important to the battle it would have dominated the area at the time. I finished taking the photos and began to get an uneasy feeling as I noticed that the door to the building was still padlocked and it was now about 10 o’clock. By 20 past I had decided that whoever was supposed to be opening up wasn’t and so I headed off to Aspern in the hope that that was open and to ask why the Granary wasn’t!

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The short trip to Aspern on the (thankfully) very regular 26A over I was relieved to see a sign outside the museum stating that it was open. However, the much vaunted ‘Lion of Aspern’ statue was encased in a large wooden shed, so again disappointment. The 3 volunteers at the entrance to the large shed/outhouse type building that was the museum assured me that Essling was open and called the guy there who apparently had been there since 10, I was feeling quite miffed by this time as you can imagine!

It took me about 10 minutes to check out the displays in the museum which contained a large collection of musketballs, shrapnel from shell casings, canister, roundshot, assorted swords and hangers and the odd rusty musket barrel. There were a few articles of clothing and the walls were covered in prints of the battle and uniform plates but all in all it left me cold. There was no description of the battle that I could see, no maps and if you didn’t speak German no information from the volunteers. I realise that it is entirely volunteer run and so probably badly underfunded but you would expect that one of the most important battles of Austrian history that actually ended in a victory and is on the doorstep of the capital would warrant some sort of government assistance.

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Assured that Essling was indeed open and disappointed in what I had just seen I, yet again, jumped on the trusty 26A and headed back. The granary is huge once you get up close to it and the walls are bloody thick but, again, disappointment is the first thing that hits you upon entering. I was expecting the museum to take up at least half of the bottom floor but it was sadly not the case, probably about a third if that. The room is nearly filled by the diorama of the battle which is actually very impressive with tons of figures – 8,000 plus apparently – and some nicely modelled terrain. The tardy volunteer chap did explain some salient points of the battlefield but as the language barrier was up he didn’t attempt any more than that, which was understandable but I appreciated the effort. There were a couple of display cases and a map of the battle in the entrance part of the space but again, it was all slightly disappointing probably not helped by me having to stand around like a lemon outside earlier.

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I headed back to Vienna to meet the missus as she wanted to go to Schonbrunn and felt quite disappointed. I think I spent more time on the 26A than I did in the Museums and think it is a shame that they aren’t funded so that they can be improved, I can see why they don’t charge for entry due to their size which must affect what they can do and I appreciate the effort of the volunteers who run them. Oh well, next time we visit, Sunday will definitely be spent in Wagram, at least you can get an idea of the terrain more there.

 

 

 

Club Night 20/03/17: 6mm GdB, 1813. Wussians!

There were two firsts for me in this game put on by Ian on Monday. First game of 6mm Napoleonics and it would be the first time I’ve ever commanded Russians so I was really looking forward to it.

The scenario was nice and straight forward, the Russians had to advance and secure a village that commanded a gap in the line of hills that the French were in possession of. To do this I had under command an Infantry Division, a Grenadier Division and a Brigade of Light Cavalry, my Infantry Division had a battery of 12 guns and the Cavalry had a battery of 6 guns attached. The French were in about a Division in strength with no visible Cavalry.

My plan was quite simple. Des would take the advanced guard consisting of the Jager and Cavalry Brigades with the Horse Artillery and engage the French in the village and on the hills on the right. I would take the rest of the Infantry Division (2 Brigades of 4 btlns each) and take the hills to the left where the French forces looked weaker, I could then roll the position up from that side. Ian would take his Grenadiers (once they arrived) and support the Jager, they were also to be the reserve in case any problems arose or to deal the coup de grace once my attack had developed. The French were led by Andy and Martin and, as mentioned, seemed to have the bulk of their forces either in the village or on the hills to the right – both of their batteries were posted in these locations too. On the left flank it seemed as if they only had a couple of battalions and no artillery which augured well for my planned attack on this side of the field.

So we commenced and Des immediately sent the Hussars and Uhlans of his Cavalry Brigade off to the right to engage the French posted on the hills to pin them in place. The Horse battery went with the horse hoping to cause discomfort to any squares that were formed and, if possible, to enable the cavalry a chance to charge home. His Jager Brigade advanced gallantly towards the village, throwing out a screen of skirmishers as the went consisting of a company from each battalion. I started my advance on the left when I arrived on the field and then the French started some long range artillery fire against Des’ command which resulted in some casualties due, no doubt, to Andy’s famous blue ‘devils dice’ that always roll well (a 9, 10, and a couple of 11’s wasn’t it Des?).

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Apart from a message from Ian telling me that his Grenadiers were going to be delayed a while things seemed to be developing well, Des had forced the French infantry on the hill to either form square or retire and his Horse battery had commenced battering one square that guarded the flank of the battery there. The Jager had started trading shots with the garrison of the village and the French suffered a setback when Andy’s dice failed him (allegedly because Martin had used them) and came up with snake-eyes when rolling for the battery in the village which meant that they were now low on ammo. Over on my side of the field I was having to pass through the defile caused by the woods but my advance rolled on even though it was slowed down a tad. I also dispatched half of my guns to the Jager to help take on the French batteries.

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It was about this time when a large cloud of dust appeared behind the village which by its volume and could only mean one thing, French cavalry had arrived. Never mind, we would stick to the plan as it seemed to be going ok, indeed Des now launched his Hussars against the decimated French square hoping to break it and carry on onto the battery behind. Unfortunately this didn’t come off quite as planned, the French infantry did break and retreat but the Hussars bounced back to the Russian guns enabling the French guns to make their escape. The French cavalry then put in an appearance, moving to counter the Russian horse, with one of their Dragoon regiments starting a charge up the hill which the Uhlans countered with a charge of their own the result of which was that both units refused to contact each other! A cloud of dust could be seen moving rapidly across the rear of the French position to the left flank so it was obvious that the French had another brigade of cavalry. Things had started to look a bit more difficult for us, however, the Grenadiers had now arrived and were marching rapidly to the front to support the Jager.

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The French then seemingly became emboldened with both the failure of the Russian cavalry to charge home and the arrival of their own heavies. The battery that had retired on the hills returned to their position and began taking the Jager under fire again, the heavy cavalry brigade then started a series of advances and charges that didn’t give the Russian horse time to rally and effectively took them out of the action, pushing them further and further back. I had finally reached the hills to the left of the village and as my first Brigade advanced to engage the retiring French infantry my second Brigade started to march around the extreme flank of the enemy position.

It was now that the French infantry from the hills on the right and the village assaulted the Jager to their front, who had been suffering from artillery fire, before the grenadiers arrived to reinforce them. This attack was carried out with the usual French elan and it succeeded in pushing the Jager back. I then discovered that the French did indeed have another Cavalry brigade and had to stop the outflanking manoeuvre of my second brigade and put them into square. At the same time my lead battalion in my first brigade  was forced to retreat due to a devastating volley from two French battalions and I was having trouble making the other battalions charge home, (couldn’t manage to change the brigade orders to assault).

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So things had not turned out so well for us: the cavalry was in full retreat on the right pursued by French cavalry, the infantry attack on the left flank was stymied by the presence of the other French cavalry brigade and our inability to close with the bayonet on the weak French infantry. It all hinged on us breaking through in the centre. The French infantry attack here had caused the artillery to retreat and did manage to break a Jager battalion and force the remainder back. However, the Grenadiers were finally in position and they launched a counter attack on the lead French battalion, surely this would see us embark on a glorious counter attack that would sweep the enemy from the field. Alas, it was not to be and so wioth that final throw of the dice failing we decided that there was no use continuing with the attack, we would have to try again another day (we had run out of time too!).

All in all it was a great game. Things were in the balance for a while, I really did think we were going to win for most of the game and it is the small margins that decided the outcome: taking the French battery on the hills, being able to assault the infantry on the left, not having two brigades of heavy cavalry turn up, that sort of thing. As usual it was a pleasure playing with the gents and an absolute joy to be using Ian’s 6mm kit, very nice indeed and does suit Napoleonics so well. Thanks all round.

 

 

 

 

 

Marengo at Martins – GdB AAR

Right, now that is off my chest time to start catching up on some of the stuff I have to report on during my wee ‘sabbatical’.

Back in November I had the honour of visiting Martin’s house to take part in a large General de Brigade game. We would be refighting some of the action from the Battler of Marengo and I was looking forward to it very much as, as you know, I reckon you can’t beat a grand scale Napoleonic dust up. The game was played in Martin’s lovely shed o’war that was a fantastic venue to spend a days gaming, indeed I could have quite happily spent the time looking at his figures and checking out his great library – I’m glad I don’t have a garden as I would definitely be suffering from shed envy!

So, to the battle. I was on the Austrian side along with Ian and Martin and we faced the dastardly French led by Andy, Des and Paul. Unfortunately I can’t remember the details but it was a very tough fight for us Kaiserlicks having to force a crossing over a stream to our front that was short on crossing points and defended with skill by our opponents. Ian did manage to get across over on the left as the French forces here were not very strong although he was hampered by the size of our units that slowed the movement across the stream to a crawl as a hefty jam formed at the crossing site. Once across though a massive cavalry action ensued in the extreme open left flank which the French won resulting in a general withdrawal back towards the stream.

In the middle I was trying to cross the bridge into Marengo village itself (not sure if it was Marengo actually, hopefully one of the chaps could put me straight here?) which I only managed to do late in the day finally getting a few battalions of Grenadiers across which broke the defenders but then got absolutely smashed by a timely counter-attack from some fresh French units causing us to lose control of the bridge again.

Martin on the right flank was also having a terrible time getting across the stream, the French defenders had cleverly retired from the woods along the stream which although it surrendered the far bank to us it caused untold problems to our troops getting across as they took a while to get formed up again after crossing. Although we did make some headway for a while here we couldn’t make enough headway and the French line, although battered held on.

So in the end the French held on, and history was (sort of) repeated but most importantly we had a cracking days wargaming as usual played in the correct spirit among some proper gentlemen. To top it all off Martin was a fantastic host, we had a lovely Chicken Marengo for lunch, very apt and the icing on the cake as it were. Hopefully it won’t be too long before the next visit!

 

Anhalt Btln for GdB: WIP

The Warlords have a summer break in the month of August which means no game this Monday just gone (and for the next 3 weeks probably – boo!). However, I have vowed to get some proper painting done in the break, and after the big game the other week I had decided that I will get cracking on with some Napoleonics. I have always been drawn to the troops of the Rheinbund since I got interested in Napoleonics (down to my Dad’s Funken book – in French as well!) and so it was a no brainer to start with the ‘dwarf states’ and work my way up from there.

The plan is to work through the Rheinbund Regiments first adding the small units of cavalry and artillery from these states too – I want the units to be used for 1813/4 as well as the early part of the wars which gives scope for some interesting volunteer forces to be added also.

As no one does the figures for these units in 15/18mm (Perry’s do some gorgeous ones in 28mm though and I might get a few one day..) you have to get the nearest thing and make some compromises and so for the Anhalters I’m using AB Orange-Nassau figures. This gives the single breasted jacket and shako cords but also a plume and no epaulettes so I’m compromising by having the centre companies using a full plume and the flank companies sans epaulettes. They also have a British style canteen which I really didn’t want to take off as it’d ruin the back of the jacket so have kept it on (sorry button counters!) – the Anhalters did fight with British troops when they were with Walmoden’s Corp though so maybe they picked them up from them?!

After a bit of a false start last week, I wasn’t feeling great and got distracted with a bit of Europa Universalis 3, I have been slowly plugging away and have just about finished off the first 3 companies – they have just been given their wash and I’ll do some spot fixing if needed and the base them up once dried off tomorrow. I received the figures for the second part of the Battalion yesterday and they were primed straight away so I will get cracking on those now. So I thought I’d take a couple of snaps to share, I’m quietly pleased with how these have turned out. I’m in no way a Paul Alba or Gunner Dunbar but the difference between these and the Frankfurt Battalion I painted last year has shown me how much I’ve improved which is quite pleasing. In fact I wish I had tarted the Frankfurter’s up now before rebasing them but they might be good to keep as a yardstick from where I started….

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And the first two companies are based, will be adding flock etc when they are joined by the rest of the Battalion, which should be later in the week as work on them is well under way.

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