Saturday, 6 February 2016

Battle of Dennewitz 1813 game

I carried in two hockey equipment bags, fairly light-weight, the terrain and figures (thankfully mostly plastic!) to the club's monthly meet to set up the historical Napoleonic battle of Dennewitz.  The scenario has the French (with Napoleon away to the south) moving toward Berlin with the Prussians counterattacking.

Bertrand's corps was caught across the muddy Ahebach stream with the rest of the French strung out behind him.  I decided on placing the commands in roughly mid-battle positions with the players allowed to place their elements anywhere within the rather large command radius;  even allowing contact within the first turn should they wish. Game on.  (but the players generally followed the rather more discrete course)
'Crunch time' approaches

Even on a small 8 by 6 foot table, lots of space is still available to keep reserves out of harm's way until needed (hint, hint)

JimF's French Bertrand's Corps plunked itself on the hill north of Dennewitz and followed a cautious defensive stance while DennisC's Tauentzien's and Thumen's forces moved slowly to confront them.
The Prussian artillery concentration. A careful observation will note a Russian gun as some Prussian forces historically were aided with Russian artillery batteries.

To the south, the smaller commands of Oppen, Bulow (as Homburg-Hesse) and Krafft all under MikeB's guidance, went full tilt into the French (and their guns!)  As Dennis did in the north, the French commands of PeterM's Reynier Corps and KevinA's Oudinot's combined artillery to concentrate their fire - rather effectively from early large number of high dice rolls ! - to much weaken the Prussian assaults.   Eventually Oppen's command collapsed which allowed Oudinot to swing against the flank of Borstell.
Borstell's forces included a Swedish cavalry continent of hussars.
The battlefield looking to the north.  Dennewitz is the tudor styled house above the hand.  Bertrand's Corps in on the north side of the stream, Reynier's are being pointed to by the hand while Arrighi's small cavalry corps are in reserve behind. Gohlsdorf village is represented by the house on the left.  Oudinot is off camera to the south (left).
Poles and Wuerttembergers are among the nations which formed a large part of Napoleon's forces in 1813 
1813 Wuerttemburgers made from modified Perry Austrians and heavily altered shakos, lead Bertrand's defensive stance.
Saxons of Bertrand's Corps.  Modified French style plastics most with trimmed Prussian shakos but some with Russian forage caps or 1809 shakos which are close to the Saxon uniform at the time.

With the Prussians forces strength waining and the French still holding the strong hill positions north and south of Dennewitz; and the player's seeing that the Command Morale Chart was not to be toyed with ( grin ) the Prussians ordered their withdrawal.

Not a historical outcome of course.  It is harder for the attacker to use their artillery effectively as it takes a patient command process to allow the artillery to set up, time to soften up the enemy and finally to organize the infantry and cavalry attacks.  The players, while all experienced wargamers and all having played at least one of my games and rules, still fall to the excitement and tend to charge forthwith.

The post-game analysis had some discussion about tactics and while related to the rules of course, (taken advantage of?) these were more tactical for historical play rather than holes in the rules.

 The players seemed to like the scenario saying they still had maneuver space even if the forces were close to each other.   Not bad to have a large Napoleonic battle of 28mm on a 8 x 6' table.  I will downgrade the French forces a bit for playability.   At this point of the war, their units were understrength and tired and but find themselves in good defensive positions.

I will put on the game again at the big Salute convention mainly as I have put some effort in the organization and labelling and, more importantly,  have everything already packed!

French hussars in late war uniform

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Uvanov's Cavalry "Corps"

Painting for a good time, not a long time.
With this in mind, the large ratio for our Napoleonic games has one to paint a mere three horsemen to represent a whole brigade of cavalry.  Surprisingly it looks good on the tabletop and allows us to play most of the larger of the Napoleonic battles in 28mm on the usual convention sized table (usually 9' by 6'or less) .

Many of the guys who have played these games in the past are excited enough to now collect a "corps" or two for the cause, as we are preparing to do the large Battle of Borodino in May.  One of the Russian formations which I volunteered to complete is Uvanov's Cavalry Corps, positioned on the right flank of the Russian army and were sent along with Platov's Cossacks to rampage against the French left.  I represent this formation with two elements of hussars: the Russian LifeGuard Hussars and the Elizabetgrad Hussar Regiment picked among the several regiments within.

The figures use plastic Fireforge medieval horses with added saddle rolls to give the troopers the campaign look and, frankly, to coverup the slight gap between the horse and the plastic Perry riders who themselves are a conglomerate of miscellaneous bits and pieces of French and British hussars with Russian heads. Some of the Russian hussars historically may have carried lances for which I used French standards with the eagle cut off and pennons added. I used these as I ran out of sword arms!

Sunday, 31 January 2016

A rare wargame...

Over the holidays, bored during winter power outages and on those rainy grey weekends, my wife liked to enjoy a nice game of Scrabble.  I am to her as the opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters.  You know, the guys they maneuver around without mercy.  I am not particularly good at the game and so am thrilled to play a 12 point word while she routinely places the 'z' on the triple letter.

She surprised me today by saying "You want to play a wargame, instead?"
I hardly needed to fake a heart attack.

I chose my French and Indian Wars game as she might relate to it as she enjoys the "Last of the Mohicans" movie.  She picked the French as she said, "then I can affect a silly French accent!"

The quick scenario was for the New Jersey Regiment of Provincials to escort a wagon of whiskey (yes, my scenarios always seem to involve the wagon of booze...) to the fort defended by a few New York Independent companies while the French allied natives and a few French-Canadien militia try to prevent the delivery and capture the wagon.

The terrain of all forest favoured the Natives as the Provincials feared the deep woods.  While the French commander had little idea of deployment in the forest (her military background that only being married to the General du Maison)  but slowly understood the situation and had her forces finally defeat the provincials and abscond with their prize.

The natives halt the Provincials advance.  The length of stick is a set measure of 6".  All troops types move at either 4, 6 or 9" depending on their location.  Part of the simplicity of the rules, based roughly on the DBA model.
This element of Provincials and Quebec militia continued an uneven shooting duel across the creek for the entire battle.

'Conquest' figures (now 'Warlord') 
the capture of the unguarded wagon.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

ACW - the fight of Forney's Field

Free to play at the club's game night at Bonsor,  I joined in Dennis' 20mm ACW scenario which  replicates part of the first day fighting of the Battle of Gettysburg.

My painted boys with the Irish flag added by Dennis.  Of course they continued to hold the wall throughout this game....

map link

Note the yellow stars which indicate "battle objectives"  Now I understand the trademark of Dennis's games -- lightbulb moment!  

He play-tested the scenario and Cutler's brigade quickly collapsed.  Indicating I don't mind if he gave me the "disaster command" I was given these regiments.  In this game however while I did get pushed back,  the Confederate forces could not recover from the combat along the woods so gave me a couple turns to make the right die rolls to get rid of my shaken status.
The yellow star corresponds to the star in the middle of Baxter's command.  Carter's Confederates line the wall.

Meanwhile, the two other Reb commands were making trouble for my counterpart on the other side of the Union's chevron shaped defensive position.  Eventually we were to have limited success holding off the steady deliberate Southern attacks.  The Union reinforcements were scheduled to come on shortly which probably would stabilize the situation for us Northerners.
"Rebs to the left, Rebs to the right...."

the scene of O'Neal's Reb command (see map) advancing.  

For the second time in a many games in which others hosted, I got to play with figures I painted;  in this case the 20mm ACW of Dennis's collection.  Nice to see the boys put to good use!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Inspiration many years ago.....

  I wish I had realized many years ago that my collecting had much do with my very youthful early inspirations.  Movies such as Zulu for my continued interest in colonial South Africa; Cromwell for my inevitable collecting of English Civil War material; and Waterloo for Napoleonics.

Also the Grant book “The War Game” for which I have for 40 years now and one of my first war game references. I show you the book version of the Austerlitz battle and my own.  I did not intentionally draw this comparison but rather came to it in a flashbulb moment looking at the table of a game I recently played.  recent post