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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Big GdB AAR: Liebertwolkwitz

Saturday saw another Big Game Saturday at the Warlords and once again Des came up trumps by putting on a game based on the action at Liebertwolkwitz. Historically this saw Murat in command of a wing of Napoleon’s forces engaged by the advance guard of the Army of Bohemia to the south of Leipzig with the French trying to secure the villages and important high ground in the vicinity and the Allies wanting to pin the Grande Armee in place.

As the combined collections of those involved did not have enough cavalry to re-enact the absolutely huge cavalry fight that happened we would be conducting a slightly different fight, albeit one with a LOT of cavalry – indeed the phrase ‘that is a lot of cavalry’ was said by just about everyone present at one time or another, including those that weren’t playing!

The figures were from Des’ and Andy’s collections with a contribution from Martin too and the rules were standard General de Brigade rules with new order activation and command activation rules for big battles.

The sides were picked and commands were assigned thus:

French

  • Paul – Reserve Cavalry Corps with at least 6 brigades.
  • Martin – Corp with 2 French Divisions of 2 Brigades each and 2 foot batteries. Martin also took command of all the Reserve artillery
  • Myself – Corp with an Italian Division of 2 Brigades and 3 batteries and the Wurttemberg Division with 2 batteries (Des kindly included these for me as they are a particular favourite of mine!).

Allied

  • Andy – Allied Cavalry, I think it was a couple of Corps with just about every type of cavalry known to man, from Cossacks to Kurassier!
  • Des – Russian Corp with 2 small Infantry Divisions and tons of guns!
  • Warren – Austrian Corp with 2 Infantry Divisions, a Cavalry Brigade and attached artillery

We got cracking with setting the table up, all 17 and a half by 6 feet of it, and getting our troops down then a quick cuppa whilst making our plans and then we were ready to get into action.

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The players, L-R: Paul, Des, Martin, Warren, Andy and myself.
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Looking along the table from the French left, Gross Posna in the foreground, Liebertwolkwitz is beyond the wood, the massive cavalry battle would take place at the far end. (Apologies for blurriness!)

 

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A clearer shot by Des from the other end of the table later in the action

I will only be able to give an accurate description of what was going on with my own force as once combat started I only knew what was going on to my immediate right and apart from the occasional walk up the other end to ask Paul how it was going I really didn’t have a clue what was going on over there! But first some more pre-battle photo’s:

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As soon as we got ready to start I thought that I might have made a big mistake on my deployment, I should have put the larger of my two Italian brigades on the extreme left and put the Wurttembergers in Liebertwolkwitz – I blame only having a few hours kip and being somewhat hungover – however things didn’t seem to be too bad in the end.

After kick-off the wings were where it was at with both Cavalry commanders doing what they should and immediately moving forwards to contact each other, the fight here would sway to and fro all day as brigade after brigade was committed. In the centre Martin had decided to sit tight and try and win the artillery duel with the Russians before committing his command. Des opposite him decided to do pretty much the same and for a while a mighty gun battle raged here until the French finally won the upper hand and started to advance.

Over on my flank Warren had obviously received orders to quickly take the villages as he started attacking from the off. My Wurttemberg artillery did some great shooting though and managed to impede his process on the extreme left as he seemed reticent to move into effective range until the next Brigade along had taken Gross Posna and thus spent some time deploying whilst soaking up casualties. The initial attack on Gross Posna was repulsed, before bundling out the Jager that were garrisoning it at the second attempt, however the attacks to the flank of the village did not meet with the same success as they came up against strong Italian resistance.

To the right of this action Warren’s other Division lumbered forwards with one brigade wasting no time in attacking Liebertwolkwitz and the other the woods between this village and Gross Posna. My plucky Italian lads defending this part of the line were more than up to the task though, ably assisted by artillery fire from Martin’s guns to my flank, and saw off the assault on the village in some style, the number of broken battalions causing a brigade moral test which saw the whole lot leg it from the field!

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The trouble with fighting Austrians is that there are just thousands of them and they keep on coming! Even though Warren’s assault had failed he was keeping up the pressure on the rest of the line and managed to start to push into the wood as the Italian Light Infantry posted there fell back before superior numbers (it was just here that one of Warren’s battalions did seem to spend the whole battle refusing to charge home on an Italian battalion and thus earning the sobriquet ‘the von Falterbergs’).

About this time Martin had ordered his Corp forwards as there was now a sizable gap in the Allied line both from the missing Austrian brigade and due to Des having to draw back his Russians after his guns ran out of ammunition. The lack of further threat to Liebertwolkwitz meant that I too could start to move some of my troops, so I ordered the reserve battalions of my Italian Division across towards the wood to counter attack the Austrians that were starting to get a foothold there. As for the cavalry action over on the right I can not say too much, although I believe the better mounts of the Allied troopers were making a difference and they were slightly winning the fight – they had definitely broken at least one of our brigades.

Over on thee left I had attacked into Gross Posna to retake the village. This worked initially but a swift counter attack from a fresh battalion caught the victorious Wurttembergers unformed and routed them out of the village which forced the whole brigade to fall back, luckily, although they were broken, not all of the battalions dispersed so I had a chance of salvaging something and re-forming them. Warren then managed to charge my remaining battery in the flank as it was now exposed which he duly overran. I had no other option but to concede ownership of the village and start to fall back with my remaining Wurttemberg brigade to form a new line to protect the flank although Warren’s troops in this sector had received quite a bloody nose in the process.

Unfortunately we had to end earlier than we expected so the battle stopped at this point which was a great shame as it had reached a very interesting point with the Austrian success on the left and the Allies gaining the upper hand in the cavalry fight. However, in between the two wings the French were in command I think, Martin was surging forwards and I was about to push the Austrians out of the woods with my relatively untouched Italian troops so things were balanced quite nicely.

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So another great days gaming done and I know I’ve said it before but it really is what the hobby is all about for me: thousands of beautiful Napoleonic miniatures fighting it out in the grand manner with a bunch of thoroughly lovely blokes playing the game in the right spirit, what more could you ask for!

Many thanks go to Des again for the game and  to all the chaps involved: thanks again for a great day.  A special doff of my chapeau goes to Warren with whom I had a right good ding-dong fight with all day – I salute you sir!

Here’s a link to Des’ photos of the day on his FB page – they will be in better focus than mine as he sensibly didn’t get newted the night before!!

https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010077123583&pnref=story

 

 

 

Club Night 07/03/’16: Blucher – French vs Prussians

I was actually looking forwards to trying out these rules as I had obviously read so much about them on t’interweb. Matthew was the guy putting on the game which saw a French army of 2 Infantry Corps and a Cavalry Corp taking on a Prussian Army of 3 Corps. The terrain was loosely based on that of Ligny and Alex’s French chaps had to clear me away from the villages and break my army.

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My initial deployment and initial French moves. A Landwehr Regt is in the village on the French side of the stream.

The action moved along quite quickly as the first few moves were just our forces manoeuvring for position.

Matthew advanced one Corp straight towards the village in front of my line whilst moving the second infantry Corp across the stream to advance on the left hand village. Over on my right he advanced a few blinds to secure the hill. To counter this I just stayed put in the centre whilst the left hand Corp moved forwards to secure the village and I moved the right hand Corp’s 2 cavalry brigades and horse battery forwards to contest ownership of the hill – my plan here was to secure that flank and then advance the infantry from this Corp round the bend in the stream and into the French flank.

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Assault on the central village starts whilst 2nd French Corp moves on my left flank.

Matthew’s assault on the village in my centre was bravely continued for much of the game but the staunch Landwehr regiment garrisoning it held on for ages whilst being slowly whittled down – they repulsed two division sized assaults from the French and severely mauled the Division doing so whilst the French Corp battery expended all of its fire supporting the attack. The French also tried to force a crossing of the stream to either side of the village but even though my units took some damage from a long running musketry fight before the assault they saw the French off, again, whilst causing serious damage to the attackers.

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Prussians brace themselves for French assault.

On the left the French scored a slight success by winning the battle between the light cavalry brigades on the extreme flank but my chaps had the upper hand in the firefights and Matthew seemed reluctant to press home attacks here so I had successfully stymied his advance. Over on the right my Cavalry attack proved very successful, in a short fight I managed to drive off 2 brigades of dragoons and a horse battery securing that flank.

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Left flank secured and awaiting the French attack – the gunners here did some sterling work.
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My excellent Cavalry force from the right hand Corp moves up to secure the hill.

The game had reached just over the halfway point at this point when Matthew conceded the game – even though he had taken the village in the centre of my line he had taken a severe battering doing so and didn’t think he had enough infantry left to push on across the stream with only 2 fresh brigades in reserve. My left flank was well secured with my units there in relatively good health and I still had a completely uncommitted infantry force on the other flank and was about to unleash them whilst the cavalry force I had sent out ahead had taken the hill whilst driving off heavier opposition.

So my first game of Blucher was done and I must say I was quite underwhelmed by it – there was just something intangible that made me not quite dig the rules. Don’t get me wrong: they were a piece of the proverbial to pick up, there are a few good mechanics in there, they were fun to play and perfect for a club night (we finished well before finishing time) there was just something missing that made me go wow! I think maybe it was the aesthetics of the game that was bugging me, I am not saying owt against Matthew’s figures I just feel that if you are going to do the brigade/base type thing then I reckon you need to do it in 6mm so that the bases look like brigades – see here for a great example from the ‘Storm of Steel’ blog:

http://stormofsteelwargaming.blogspot.co.uk/2016_03_01_archive.html

The lack of artillery is also something I have trouble with in these games – it has been the same when I have played Grande Armee and Napoleon’s Battles – don’t know why it just always bothers me! Would I play it again, yes would be the answer as it is always good to get some Napoleonic action in whatever the rules! Matthew has agreed to give my adaptation of Age of Eagles a go soon, and I’ll be happy to give his ones a whirl too so maybe we will find a set that we both like so that we can get more games in as I know Matthew is not completely convinced about Blucher too.

 

 

 

 

Club Night 11/01/16: Micro Armour, Germany 1984

A new member at the Warlords, Daren, put on his first game on Monday and it was a belter. The game in itself was really to try out a new set of rules for us – we usually play FFT3 for our Cold War games but Daren uses GHQ’s ‘Micro Armour’ for 1:1 games and so we gave it a bash. Apart from the lovely GHQ models that he provided for us what really made the game for me was his truly magnificent terrain, absolutely stunning!

The scenario that we played was this: the sneaky Sovs were attacking out of a tree line to try and secure crossing places over a river which was defended by  a small kampfgruppe of West Germans who would be reinforced by a combat team of Brits at some point. There was a pontoon bridge already in place and a road bridge too as well as a good crossing point where the Russians could use their AVLB’s if needed. But before I get into the batrep I need to show you some pics of the terrain as it had lots of attention all evening with people coming over to take a butchers.

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The village of Billstadt with the crossing site clearly visible to the left of the pontoon bridge. And yes, that river is below the level of the table – cool eh!
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Close up of the village. Container trucks hand made, but no working lights on the Shell garage mind – rubbish!
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Sheds in the gardens and cars on the drives as well. Makes you sick don’t it!
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The woods, roads and hedges weren’t too shoddy either.
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Bridge anyone? This shows better how the river sits below table level.

The river is very ingenious, it is made with a raised lip so that it can be placed in the gap between two tables so that it sits below the level of table top, how cool is that! Daren had also made the tarmac roads and had even scratch built the container lorries that were placed in the village. Indeed, the village was so well done that Bill said that it reminded him of where he lived in Germany so you can’t get better praise than that can you!

Any way, back to the game. I was defending the crossing with:

  • platoon of 4 x Leopard 1
  • platoon of 4 x Marder 1 with infantry and 2 x Milan teams
  • platoon of 3 x Jaguar (TOW version)
  • 2 x Panzer Morser sp 120mm Mortars
  • 1 x Gepard
  • 1 x FOO
  • 3 x M109 batteries off table
  • 1 x RE amphib bridge emplaced already
  • troop of 4 x Chieftans (off table)
  • platoon of infantry in FV432 (off table)
  • 1 x Lynx AT Heli (off table)

Bernie had the following I believe:

  • company of T-72’s
  • company of T-62’s
  • company of Infantry in BMP-1’s
  • company of infantry in BTR-70’s
  • company of PT-76’s
  • 2 x AVLB’s (MTU’s?)
  • 1 x Zsu-23-4
  • 1 x sp SAM (not sure which one)
  • 3 x SP batteries (off table)

So a nice fair fight then. Bernie played it just like a Soviet should, he debouched from the cover of the woods and trundled straight for the crossings. The T-72’s hit the road and went straight for the bridge followed by the BMP’s, the T-62’s were next to them going for the crossing point where I believe the AVLB’s were headed for and the PT-76’s and BTR’s went for the Royal Engineer’s bridge.

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Comrade Bernov starts the ball by dropping smoke on my bank of the river, covering the crossings.
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T-72’s subtlely sneak straight down the road towards the bridge.

My plan was very simple, interdict the crossing sites and approaches with HE and then letting loose with TOWS, Milan and 105mm APFSDS as soon as the Ruskies got into range. This is exactly what happened. My Jaguar started the mayhem hitting and damaging a T-72, unfortunately I then lost a different Jaguar to a barrage which was fired in response but landed in the wrong place. I did move up a couple of Leopards that I was keeping back behind the village in case Bernie hit the forward edge with a bombardment and started to hit the T-72’s with the Leopard and surviving Jaguar that I had posted to cover the bridge causing damage and suppression to the leading T-72’s as they hit the bridge.

Over by the other crossing I was glad when Daren informed me that I could take the bridge down and sail it off down the river to deny its use to the enemy, this I duly did and had to wait for the slowly moving mass of armour to waddle into range. Once it did I used the Jaguar over on this side to target the AVLB’s, causing damage on one.

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Russians take out a Jaguar with an artillery barrage.
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Over on the left, an AVLB is damaged by long range TOW fire.
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T-62’s just dodge a M109 strike. Whilst Soviet mortars in the trees suffer from German ones.

The only real full on action happened at the bridge and then we had to call it a night. I managed to damage or destroy the lead tanks as soon as they crossed the bridge with a crossfire from the Leopards in the village, Milan in the wood and the surviving Jaguar whilst the return fire damaged one Leo and destroyed another (being ganged up on by a bunch of T-62’s will do that for you). Bernie did mange to get a few across without any damage but 2 were headed straight into line of fire of another Leo. Milan and Jag! The BMP’s had just hit the bridge too but I reckon the fire from 3 batteries of M109’s I had called in would’ve spoilt their day, as for the other troops I’m not sure. I’d have taken out the AVLB’s so would just have to tackle the amphibious stuff as it crossed the river and as the Brits had arrived by then I’m sure I’d have enough available to do that – the Lynx would have had fun!

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Soviets hit the western bank – yellow marker is ‘damaged’.
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BMP’s on follow up – a lot of 155mm HE was en route to these boys.
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Chieftains turn up
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Gunner target front! Bernie’s tankers go for it at the end!

Like I said earlier this was just a ‘get to know the rules’ type game and they were enjoyable to play with, nice and straightforward with some nice touches (I particularly liked the artillery plotting stuff!) and Daren helped us through them very well. He did say that it would be more suited for an all day game and I’ll be more than happy to take part when it happens – I even won’t mind being the Soviets, I’ve been thinking on how I’d have done it! – hopefully it will be soon.

Lastly, a small slideshow of a General de Brigade game going on next to us with Des, Martin and Warren fighting an action from Italy in 1813 that saw Eugene trying to hold off the Austrian avalanche in the mountains.

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GdB Game at Mike’s

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.

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Right flank with Neapolitans on Assault orders! Legere are just to the left of the Cavalry.
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The left flank. Italians get ready to engage the Portuguese. The village is held by the Spanish. Legere to the right.

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.

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Voltigeurs and Cacadores do what they do best and begin their usual ‘bickering’.

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!

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Lovely Italian Garde d’Honneur just before a large whoosh and bang spoiled their day.

 

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I say Whinyates, you’ve only bally well scored a bull’s eye on those dandy frog cavalry. Well done what!

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!

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Ouch! Italian dice Blue, Portuguese Red.

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!

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Cavalry hit the Highlanders…. …. and lose!

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.

Obligatory extra shots of the game……..

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Carabinier annoying the mountain battery – they would eventually have to withdraw due to losses.
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Italian Guard enter the fray.
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Italian infantry see off Portuguese Dragoons.