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?).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

 

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.

IMG_3784
The players, L-R: Paul, Des, Martin, Warren, Andy and myself.
20160716_104226
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!)

 

IMG_3824
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:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

 

 

 

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.

20151123_133813
Right flank with Neapolitans on Assault orders! Legere are just to the left of the Cavalry.
20151123_133821
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.

20151123_141750
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!

20151123_143922
Lovely Italian Garde d’Honneur just before a large whoosh and bang spoiled their day.

 

20151123_131115
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!

20151123_150627
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!

20151123_173359
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……..

20151123_161115
Carabinier annoying the mountain battery – they would eventually have to withdraw due to losses.
20151123_151739
Italian Guard enter the fray.
20151123_150556
Italian infantry see off Portuguese Dragoons.

 

GdB: Battle of Dresden. Austrian Attack, 1st day

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 initial set up with the 'thin Blue line' bracing itself for the Kaiserlik avalanche.
The initial set up with the ‘thin Blue line’ bracing itself for the Kaiserlik avalanche.

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 objective. The plan was to take out the battalions either side and then attack the village to secure it.
My objective. Note cavalry brigade lurking in the background that would become a right pain later.

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.

My attack starts but mine and Del's hesitant brigades on the right of the picture throw things off balance somewhat.
My attack starts but mine and Del’s hesitant brigades on the right of the picture throw things off balance somewhat.
Dave and Alan's Divisions on my left roll vorwarts.
Dave and Alan’s Divisions on my left roll vorwarts.
Del's attack on the extreme right, with left flank uncovered by hesitant brigade!
Del’s attack on the extreme right, with left flank uncovered by hesitant brigade!

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.

Alan's lads about to storm the village.
Alan’s lads about to storm ‘their’ village.

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………..

French dice blue, Austrian dice white. Bugger.
French dice blue, Austrian dice white.
Bugger.

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.

Things start to look confusing as Ian and Warren hold on on the left whilst Austrian Cavalry punches through and I finally make some headway!
Things start to look confusing on the left as Ian and Warren hold whilst Austrian Cavalry punches through and I finally make some headway!

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:

Top Moments
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

And link to Des’ photos: http://s830.photobucket.com/user/desdarkin/slideshow/Dresden%201813

My photos below:

Dresden suburbs with Westfalian garrison.
Dresden suburbs with Westfalian garrison.

20151107_101406 20151107_103909 20151107_105041 20151107_105048

Del's boys on the receiving end!
Del’s boys on the receiving end!
20151107_112631
French move up Cavalry to slow down the Austrian advance. Grenzers take on French guns on the left.
20151107_114742
These buggers pinned my attack to the left of the village for a few turns until Alan managed to get rid with his Husaren.
20151107_121437
French and Wurttemberg Cavalry move up in support.
20151107_132736
Alan’s cavalry punches a hole in the French line.
20151107_142947
Carabinier doing what they do best – this didn’t end well for the Kaiserlicks.

20151107_112558 20151107_112613 20151107_112620 20151107_114732 20151107_114819 20151107_114837 20151107_114847 20151107_121416 20151107_121428 20151107_142628 20151107_142643

Young Guard on their way.
Young Guard on their way.
20151107_145416
Even more French heavies form the second line.
20151107_152156
One of the few melees I won all day! Column vs Square – I’d have given up if I’d lost!
20151107_154832
Cavalry get stuck in.
20151107_154809
Alan’s lads about to take a village AGAIN!
20151107_154926
French reinforcements start to arrive at the front.

Club Night 19/10/15: General de Brigade, Fight for the Bridges.

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?).

20151019_195921 20151019_195926 20151019_195938 20151019_200059 20151019_200803 20151019_200817 20151019_201832 20151019_201844 20151019_203535 20151019_205456 20151019_214613 20151019_214623 20151019_214635 20151019_214649

GdB game at Mikes

Just after the game vs Phillip I was invited round Mike’s to have a game of General de Brigade.

I was really looking forward to this as it has been ages since I’ve had a Napoleonics game and Mike has a splendid collection of vintage 25mm Minifigs, all the cabinets in the short clip below are his collection which covers pretty much all combatants of the wars.

Unfortunately I was beginning to really suffer with my chest so picture taking wasn’t too good for this encounter as it was taking all my concentration to deal with the game. Mike had come up with a great scenario taken from a wargames magazine. It was an encounter at the start of the Waterloo Campaign with Jerome’s division trying to cross the table whilst being prevented by a Prussian Brigade. The fight turned out to be good fun as both of us had few troops on table to start with reinforcements coming on at randomised places.

Landwehr ready themselves for battle
Landwehr ready themselves for battle
French start to appear
French start to appear

I started with a Landwehr Regiment and a Jager detatchment and had to try to hold two river crossings at separate ends of the tables, both had villages on my side of the river. I decided to hold one with a battalion of Landwehr and the other with the jager with my other 2 Landwehr battalions held centrally as a reserve. The French were coming on with a Regiment at each crossing. The village on my left was not held very well, the Landwehr battalion only managed to slow down the French for about a move or two before the French smashed into the village and bundled them all the way out – Conscript Landwher vs Veteran Leger isn’t good!

Landwher about to cop it. (Sorry about the flash!)
Landwher about to cop it.
(Sorry about the flash!)

20151015_100943

On the right Mike had room after the crossing to manoeuvre around the village whilst the Jager inflicted the odd casualty as they passed. I managed to bring on my Infantry Regiment on this side of the table and they quickly advanced to the town but had troubled changing orders to engage the passing Frenchies.

On the right, French move round the village.
On the right, French move round the village.
Jagers dish out a few hits.
Jagers dish out a few hits.
Prussian reinforcements start to arrive
Prussian reinforcements start to arrive in all their Old School glory!

Over on the left the French ground on and once they managed to get a Ligne Regiment across the river supported by Cavalry the gig was up for the Landwher and they broke under the pressure. My Hussar regiment made an appearance on this flank and did sterling work in a do or die charge which broke a Leger battalion but this flank was completely lost and Mike managed to exit a few battalions off of the table to boot.

Meanwhile on the right things went a wee bit better – my infantry finally managed to go to engage and slowed down the end of Mike’s disappearing column enough to prevent more units exiting the table. The best part of the game for me happened here too. Mike had brought his other Light Cavalry brigade round the village on the extreme right of the table to avoid the traffic jam ahead. I had left an Infantry battalion in square to cover the rear of my other infantry who dutifully blazed away at the passing French Chasseurs, my artillery then came on the table just near where the Cavalry would pass (jammy roll number 1), then my Infantry managed to kill the French Cavalry general causing them to falter right in front of my unlimbering guns (jammy roll number 2), I then rolled really well when firing and broke the whole Brigade of cavalry.

Target rich environment for the Prussian gunners as the leaderless Frogs falter.
Target rich environment for the Prussian gunners as the leaderless Frogs falter.

We finished up with Mike winning as he had gotten off quite a few units and the rest were poised to do so soon whilst breaking nearly half of my force. I got lucky defeating his Light Cavalry and my regular infantry were in good shape so would have been able to withdraw them safely. A good fun game with lots of random things happening to keep it interesting one of those scenarios that you could play lots of times and never have the same thing happen twice.