Monday, 13 March 2023

Another hobby update.

 So I've been slacking on the blogging front again, resulting in the need for another update post. I'll start the post off with a few pictures from games I have been involved in at the club. 

TYW Mingolsheim 1622

Thirty Years War

First up a Thirty Years War game based on an encounter at Mingolsheim in 1622. A new period to me but one I'd be interested in playing again. This game fell into the "continuing the search for a set of rules the majority like" realm as apparently many sets have been tried and fallen by the wayside.

Club pics and AAR click

Genappe 17th June 1815

Near Genappe 17th June 1815

Next up a purely cavalry action from the day before the Battle of Waterloo as Vivian's Hussar brigade and Vandeleur's Light Dragoon brigade withdraw northwards towards Mont St Jean, via the bridge over the river Dyle at Thy, whilst being pursued by the advancing French. I actually played as one of the French commanders in this game, shocking I know, and was just unable to stop the British withdrawal before the heavens opened drenching both sides and ending the pursuit.

Club pics and AAR click

Great Northern War 1710

Great Northern War 1710

Great Northern War 1710

Great Northern War 1710

Now for the Great Northern War, again a new conflict to game, and a fictitious game that continued the Swedish advance upon Smolensk had the Battle of Poltava not taken place. The game saw Swedes and Ottomans attacking Danish and Saxon defenses while a Russian support force, me, moved to support them. A fun game where the Saxon horse spent the game moving away from the advancing Ottomans while their infantry and that of the Danes held off the attacking Swedes and rampaging ottoman horsemen. My Russians advanced but were unable to do much more than prevent the Swedish horse from concentrating solely on the Danes before game end. We gamed a continuation of this scenario a few weeks later with the Saxons, Danes and Russians attempting to cut off the Swedish withdrawal, alas I took no photographs.

Club pics and AAR click

FPW Gravelotte St Prival 1870

Gravelotte St Prival 1870 FPW

Gravelotte St Prival 1870 FPW

Gravelotte St Prival 1870 FPW

Gravelotte St Prival 1870 FPW

Gravelotte St Prival 1870 FPW

Next up Franco Prussian war in 10mm. For one reason or another we were down a few players for this Friday night / Saturday game so it was decided to ignore the southern third of the battle and concentrate on the center and northern sectors where the majority of the historical action occurred. 
I had command of what would have been the Prussian center but was now the right. It's a strange period to play as the French rifles outrange the Prussian's but the Prussian artillery is superior to the French. The Prussians are also better in melee. So the choice I had was advance to melee as fast as possible while coming under rifle fire for longer or sit behind artillery out of rifle range and try and pound the French. As my task was to tie up the French center and left to prevent them supporting their right where our main assault was to go in, I decided on the latter. I moved the infantry up to just outside French rifle range and set up massed batteries of artillery to pound the French.
This didn't entirely work as the French moved down the slope until they were in range for their rifles and shot away at my infantry and artillery crews. By the time I sent my infantry in to attack they were weakened by the constant small arms fire and most failed to make contact. However I had done my job in occupying the French to my front and despite the  French right putting up stiff resistance the numbers deployed against them finally told giving a tactical victory to the Prussians despite severe casualties.

Club pics and AAR click

So that's the gaming taken care of so what else Have I been up to?

Hobby Stuff

On the Napoleonic front with my British army being based around Talavera I found myself not having any Light Infantry battalions for pick up games so I have decided to remedy this by painting up a battalion of the 43rd Light Infantry. Command are by Front Rank, from the reinforcements range, rest are Victrix flank company figures with Light infantry heads from Brigade Games. In the back you may see three sappers which I 3d printed as needed for Shako games.

43rd Light Infantry

43rd Light Infantry

So plans for after the 43rd are finished?

Having roughly two and a half divisions of British and Portuguese infantry plus five regiments of cavalry and supporting artillery I have no problems putting on games at the club where I can utilise other members' hordes of French. However should I wish to play elsewhere I'm stumped, so with the opportunity presented by Christmas I decided "Oh the horror!" to get some French. So between then and a gaming show last weekend I have enough French for three line battalions, three infantry casualty markers, Mounted infantry command, one regiment of Chasseurs à Cheval and one cavalry casualty marker. I have still to get the two artillery models I want as they were out of stock at the show. The majority are Perry plastics with a few donated Victrix bodies to make up the numbers in the third battalion, a second Perry command sprue was bought separately.

I have assembled all of the infantry and am in the process of doing the cavalry so I can do one mass priming session for the whole project.

AHH! French, what am I doing?

French regiment in the paint queue

French Ligne awaiting prime and paint

More pressing however is a participation game that the club is running at Diceni in May in collaboration with The Assault Group manufacturer (TAG). As Diceni is based in Norwich and we are a Norfolk based gaming club we have decided to game scenarios based on the Ketts' Rebellion of 1549.
TAG having a range of Tudor miniatures and being a show regular, have provided us with "quite a few" including some new and custom sculpts to put on these games. Now all we have to do as a club is get them all painted in time.

TAG, Tudor forces for Kett's Rebellion game. I'm painting command and billmen.

Alongside these as an owner of a 3D printer and having access to Wargames Atlantic's STL files on My Mini Factory I have produced a couple of barricades and some belligerent citizens of Norwich to flesh out the terrain

Medieval peasants from Wargames Atlantic STLs

Peasants and barricades printed from Wargames Atlantis STLs

So lots to do and many more games on the horizon.


Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Talavera 1809, Game at NBHW.

On Friday 28th and Saturday 29th of October I helped run a game at New Buckingham. It was based on the final French attack at Talavera in Spain, 1809.

This was the third time I have run this game at the club but the first time using Shako II as the rule set, the previous two games were played using Black Powder.

The area we covered for this game was from the Spanish 5th infantry division in the northern valley, south to the join between the Spanish 3rd and 4th divisions.

Layout of the Battlefield

Translated to the table (about turn four looking North)

As we were short of Spanish cavalry, and the available OOBs vary on who was actually present, we used what figures we had with some Dutch Belgian carabineers to stand in for other units our research showed were present. Some really small units we decided to ignore.
We also decided to use two gun models to represent a battery, which significantly increased the width of not only artillery fire corridors but also the space required on the table. The British and Spanish also split a few batteries in half to cover more of their frontage so we decided to try and incorporate this into our game too, using a single gun model to represent a half battery. To represent this rule wise a half battery had it's MR reduced by 1 and suffered a -1 Fire Modifier. (This seemed to work quite well during the game. It was also applied to an under strength battery in Leval's division)

Converting the OOBs to Shako took some time with the requirement to create playable divisions, the command and morale units in Shako, out of the historical divisions present.

The British Cavalry was one issue there being three brigades split across the battlefield. I decided that the two, Anson's and Fane's, that operated to the north would be grouped into one "division" for morale purposes but would operate as separate brigades for command.

The third brigade, that of Cotton, operated as a reserve in the centre so I attached it to the 3rd Infantry Division under MacKenzie who formed the infantry reserve. His two brigades were widely deployed as well, so like the cavalry, to the north, this was a division for morale purposes only, command was by brigade.

On the French side the only decision was again to do with cavalry, this time the attached Corps' cavalry from I and IV Corps. Both these formations ended up operating at the northern end of the battlefield so in the end I combined both of IV Corps' brigades into one under Merlin and put that into a Cavalry division with I Corps' brigade under Beaumont. Like the British cavalry this "Division" was for morale purposes only and each brigade could operate separately for command.

I have attached the command sheets that I came up with.

Effects of the Terrain features:

The Portina stream that runs the length of the battlefield was almost dry on the day of battle and only really provided an obstacle where it cut through the steep valley between the Cerro de Medellin and Cerro de Cascajal towards the northern end of the field. To this end we made it a "linear obstacle" as per the rules only in this area.

The valley between the Cerro de Medellin and Cerro de Cascajal itself is quite steep and consists of very broken ground. So we reduced movement to 2/3 for infantry, 1/2 for cavalry and 1/3 for artillery. In hindsight and for future games it will be impassable for heavy foot artillery. The limits of this area were marked using flock.

Now to the south, the Spanish troops here were apparently deployed behind a wall and sunken lane, so -3" to cross for infantry and cavalry, impassable to artillery. To their front were olive groves with shallow boundary ditches reducing movement to 2/3 for infantry and 1/3 for cavalry and artillery.

The Pajar redoubt that anchored the join between the British and Spanish positions was on a slight rise in the ground and as per the rules for field fortifications was -3" to cross for infantry and impassable to cavalry and artillery, unless from the open rear.

Combat effects of featured terrain:

Artillery fire between the Cerro de Medellin and Cerro de Cascajal would have no bounce through due to the steepness of the slopes.

Units defending the tops of the hills received a +1 melee modifier.

Units defending the stream banks, between the hills only, received a +1 melee modifier.

The redoubt gave modifiers as per the rules for Field Fortifications in the rule book.

Units defending the walls and sunken lane received a -1 To Hit modifier and a +1 Melee modifier.

The next thing to consider was anything scenario specific we wanted to implement.

Historically the afternoon part of the battle commenced at 2:00pm with a french artillery barrage for forty odd minutes and was over by around 5pm when the French withdrew. Doing a bit of research on the internet revealed that sunset near Madrid on that day would have been around 7:30pm, so the battle could have gone on until then if thing had gone differently. So with a time frame of 2:00pm to around 7:30pm and knowing roughly how many turns of Shako we can play in the time we had available we decided to set the game turns to represent twenty minutes giving a maximum of sixteen turns between 2:00pm and 7:20pm.

To represent the artillery barrage the first two turns would be artillery only with no advancing movement allowed, other manoeuvring was allowed. The british would not be allowed to return fire until turn two.

Historically the british infantry under this barrage went prone so we allowed the british commanders this option on turn two, making them -1 To Hit. It would take a full move for these prone units to stand up and prepare to fire, a warning that could have been better heeded by one commander.
Normal game turns commenced on turn three.

We decided to use the optional Divisional Commander Bonus from the rulebook that allows options when a natural six is rolled during the initiative phase. We also gave the C-in-C's two dice in the initiative phase which they could allocate to replace that of any of their divisional commanders. Prone units could only remove a Stagger with one of these bonus options.

Scenario Specific rules etc.

A few more photographs. I actually took fewer photographs than normal as I was concentrating so much on umpiring, as this was the first time I had umpired a Shako II game.

Looking North around turn four or five.

Allied cavalry move into the northern valley

Ruffin's French advance on Bassecourt's Spanish

Cavalry melees in the valley while pressure mounts on the British centre.

Now about standing up in time! Hole to KGL's brigade right.

French dragoons exploit the hole in the centre of 1st Division

British centre collapses as french punch through.

So how did the game go? not too well for the British. The centre brigade of 1st Division failed to stand up from prone in time, despite warnings, and were run down by French dragoons while the Guards brigade to their right suffered from attacks from multiple French columns and supporting artillery.

To the south after some staunch defending the Spanish were forced from the wall line by Leval's division, the French having ignored the Pajar redoubt.

In the north Bassecourt's Spanish held, repelling several assaults from Ruffin's division, while in the valley the British and Spanish cavalry got the better of their French adversaries and even destroyed some artillery.

But with the British centre gone Wellesley would have had no option but to withdraw so we called the game at this point as a french victory and prime example of combined arms usage.

A great game enjoyed by all in attendance but perhaps I should have picked something smaller for my first time umpiring these rules?     na :)

For loads more photographs and a full AAR see the clubs Facebook album 

PDFs of the OOBs, Scenario rules and layout can be found from the link in the sidebar.


Tuesday, 1 November 2022

Round up of my last three months gaming.

August and September were quiet on the gaming front with a selection of real-life stuff combining to reduce the opportunities for games. Not least of these was the loss of my father in-law at the age of ninety-six in mid-August. A week's family holiday and the unavailability of our club facility due to other bookings also added to this.

The end of September and October however have made up for this with two Friday night games, one Saturday game and last weekend a Friday/Saturday game which I ran, which will be the subject of a further post.

The first game was a fictional Napoleonic Peninsular war encounter using Shako II rules, the second a Seven Years War game based on the Battle of Krefeld in 1758 using the Shako I SYW supplement and the third the Battle of Culloden in 1746 using Black Powder.

I'll just post my selection of photographs for these games with links to the club's Facebook page for full AARs and lots more photos.

Peninsular War: Shako II

Starting positions. British defending a ridge line with a picket forward in a village.

British and Portuguese lights defend the village.

British artillery and skirmishers try to delay the French advance.

British line steps up to the ridgeline and pours volleys into the French.

French capture the village and continue their advance.

More devastating British volleys.

Full AAR on Facebook Here

Battle of Krefeld,1758: Shako I

Starting positions, my Hanoverian command nearest

Time to advance.

Brunswick troops arrive to the rear of the French flank.

French left flank being rolled up.

Full AAR on Facebook Here

Battle of Culloden,1746: Black Powder.

Government troops starting position with Jacobite hoard opposite.

Government force need to extend their line.

Highlanders face close range volley fire.

Government horse try to redeploy as the Jacobites start to make inroads.

Bayonets vs claymores as things get up close and personal.

Full AAR on Facebook Here

Three great games to get the gaming vibe going again.