Friday 31 January 2020

Artillery emplacement.

Over two years ago at a show I purchased some gabion sets from Renedra with the intention of producing some artillery emplacements for use with my Napoleonic figures. I wanted something a little more rough and ready than the earth work components we had used for the redoubt at Talavera, which I believe looked too well prepared.

Redoubt at last Talavera game.

I also bought some mdf bases from Warbases to mount them on. I wanted these to be modular for flexability of use so decided on three artillery positions, two angle pieces and two end return sections. I cut the mdf bases to size fixed the gabions in place, added some cut down dowel logs and off cuts of blue foam to bulk out the earthworks to the front of the gabions, added ballast for the filling and then forgot about them for two you do.

With a planned refight of Talavera in the calendar for later this year they were brought out for completion. First some filler was applied over the blue foam to complete the earthworks around the gabions.

Filler added

Three gun positions, two angles and two end returns.

Next everything was primed black.

All primed.

Before base coats were applied, some washes and drybrushing.

After painting

Close up.

I then added another layer of the ballast to the infill of the gabions and gun positions before putting a few lines of flock on here and there to try and suggest edges of cut turf and a couple of tufts at the edges of the disturbed ground.

Rear of whole emplacement.

From the front.

Artillery in place.

Some of the options available.

Overall I'm happy with how they have turned out and think they look more temporary as well as more recent in their construction. At some point they will need a coat of varnish but otherwise finished.


Friday 10 January 2020

Plancenoit 1815. Game at NBHW.

My first game of 2020 was a Saturday game at New Buckenham, the fight for Plancenoit in June 1815. The game was played with 28mm figures using the Shako II ruleset.

Map from

Translated to the table.

Prussian left, in front of Plancenoit.

Prussian right  and crossroads.

I was given command of half of the 15th and 13th brigades on the Prussian right flank. The 15th led with the 13th in support.
Altogether we had eighteen battalions of infantry and one regiment of cavalry. These two brigades were classed as a division and so in Shako all the units had to be within eighteen inches of the Divisional commander at all times, this seriously restricted our manoeuvre options and in retrospect each brigade should have been classed as a division for command purposes, given the size of Prussian brigades. Opposing us we had one weakish french infantry division  and two cavalry divisions. This gave our opposition three initiative rolls to our one, another disadvantage.

Our objective was to capture the crossroads to our front and  if possible stop French reinforcements from being able to concentrate on Plancenoit itself.

The game had four objectives worth victory points. Plancenoit itself, the crossroads and two fortified farmhouses, one on either side of the town.

The other two Prussian commanders were tasked with assaulting Plancenoit and the nearer farmhouse. Because of command radii we had a large gap in our centre until the reserve cavalry arrived on turn six.

My battalions advance.

The assault on Plancenoit begins.

With so many troops in such a small area our only real option was to advance as fast as possible in column to take the crossroads and hope our one regiment of cavalry could secure our flank against the greater number of french horsemen. Another quirk of Shako meant that if we chose to form square with any unit threatened, but not actively charged, by cavalry our whole division would go to defensive orders and form squares too. We therefore chose to attempt to form hasty squares when charged or remained in line and tried to shoot them out.

A bit congested at the crossroads.

My lead units suffered heavily from the french artillery defending the crossroads and a couple were lost before I was able to assault and overrun the guns. Our battalions on the right flank were more concerned with the growing cavalry threat.

Crossroads captured but can we hold?

My left hand battalions shook out into line and began a very ineffective musketry dual with their French opponents.

Some very poor shooting from both sides here.

Consolidate the hold on the crossroads.

Meanwhile over on the left the fighting around Plancenoit and the forward farm was bloody.

French hold the farm but Prussians have gained the town... for now.

French counter from the flank.

Several building were afire from artillery bombardment, reducing their defensive properties.

The centre of Plancenoit changed hands a few times while the forward farm remained steadfastly in french hands.

The crossroads contested but held by the Prussians at games end.

Remarkably our infantry on the right managed to hold off the french cavalry despite taking heavy casualties and losing some battalions. The battle however was to be decided on the left with the arrival of elements of the French Young Guard and Imperial Guard chasseurs and grenadiers who stormed into Plancenoit and ejected the stout Prussian defenders for the final time.

The french counter attack again.

Imperial Guard arrive and storm Plancenoit.

At this point we decided to call the game with three objectives still in French hands and no obvious way for the Prussians to make any more gains. A bloody slog of a game that may require a few tweaks to the rule implementations next time.

Again I have to thank those supplying figures for the game as well as the umpire, a great start to the year.

As usual a fuller AAR and more photos can be found in the club's Facebook album