Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Escort Duty

1815 era Dutch-Belgians playing on the French side!  (my plastic conversions)

Surprised no one wondered why cuirassiers, hussars and all manner of horsemen were tasked to escort wagons but such are questions best unspoken when a scenario must be designed with only a vague idea of the number of players coming.  However the “escort the wagons” is always a good option for any era.  As the game was another “pley-test” of  “Hussar Rampant” it was all horse using every painted unit available, both my French and Dutch-Belgians and WiilB’s borrowed Russians and French Dragoons, giving the 8 players three units each.  This was to be the largest of the games so far at 24 units on the table.
Chasseurs on escort duty

Also testing the rules was the utter mess of deployment,  with the French escorting the wagons and  units helping from the town and against Russian forces coming in from all angles from the random diced approaches which inevitably creates a bit of chaotic action.  However if this confusion still has the rules working despite unique or challenging situations, then it might survive any test.
The usual combats in all directions.  In this case, all cuirassier action!

So it was that the game had the wagons almost within range of the town and causing some of the Russian players bemoan the task unaware however that at 8+ activation, the wagons would be hard to move along.  DaveMc wanted the cossacks  in order to burn and loot (and not just capture) and surprisingly used them ‘cossackian’ style avoiding most contacts but as their real-life counterparts, were a quite the nuisance.  The cuirassiers both Russian, under the able command of ChrisO, and French ones, were hard to kill, and the lancers with their ”pointy-stick” bonus had a big punch.  The lights and hussars, with greater movement rates, could dance around ( or should!).
units are standardized 6 figure units
Russian overhead perspective with ChrisO's view of the battle

The wagons, safe for a while, but with French losses and little movement, they inevitability were captured or in one case, burnt by cossacks.      
This, and the following pic, shows an interesting combat three of my Dutch-Belgian units against one Russian cuirassier formation. As usual, my dice again profoundly fail me and the armoured Russians prevail...... !!   

Saturday, 15 September 2018

D-B Heavies

Dutch-Belgian Napoleonic heavy horse...ironically in lightweight plastic....

While yes, Perry Miniatures do have the Dutch-Belgian Carabiniers in metal, I rather fancied doing them in plastic so upon spotting a Perry French Dragoon box on sale at the local store, I could not resist converting these into a couple of companies for the 1815 Hundred Days campaign.

While many sources suggest the helmet was only worn by the 2nd (Belgian) contingent, I went for full-on regulations mode and gave my 3rd (Dutch) Carabiniers spare French plastic versions modified with addition of the badge plate on the front and plume. The bicorne is the suggested head gear but these helmets could have been worn and are far more handsome!

The existing French valise version has the greatcoat folded on the top which was removed and the greatcoat was added using ‘green stuff’ around the shoulder on most, which was a common D-B trait apparently.  The Perrys, for production sake, attached the cartridge box to the valise, but a minor point to glue to the appropriate location on the torso.

The French Dragoon saddlecloth, sheepskin fur and basic uniform was close to identical to the Dutch-Belgian version so no changes required other than the colours of course. (perhaps the valise should be rounded instead of square but I consider that a minor issue).  Many of the sources do not indicate the fringed epaulettes on the Dutch as the Perrys put on theirs, so the existing shoulder straps are fine.

As the intended use is with a group of fellows doing primarily French and British for Waterloo, I am having fun creating the rarely thought of Dutch-Belgians to add a bit of different color to the affair.

addendum:  Found the following Knotel illustration (famous military uniform author) for the Dutch heavies, in this case the other Dutch regiment often also shown in the bicorne rather than the helmet I have opted.

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

The victory 'one'?

It is said the victors write the history which, after days of delay, begs the question: "Why am I writing this?"  
Of course that statement alone should suggest I did not.  Was it due to a poor battle plan? Perhaps.  Tactics? Maybe.  Poor dice throws? Most certainly. 

JimF came over to give the rules another run.  This affair was a French civil war of sorts using only French units as they are all plastics, mainly Perrys.

Again a play-test of our all-cavalry Napoleonic rules inspired by the popular rules Lion Rampant,  the player is required to ‘activate’ units using 2d6 to achieve a certain amount.  Because of humous comments made during our first ever game, I thought to add that if a player rolls ‘snake-eyes’ (double ones) the unit must really be not into the action and disordered because of it and thus be penalized accordingly.  Well that really came back to haunt me as, not once, not twice but FIVE times I would roll two 1s during the game, and once in succession!  I will not bore with the report, only to say, I lost…..

Like the bad golfer who breaks the club over their knee in frustration, or the tennis player after sending the ball wide smashing the racket to bits as if it were the cause,  I too shall blame the dice.  But in this case, I am not correct?  Five snake-eyes in one game?  Is that not average gone sideways?! 
However I did not throw the dice or complain (too much).   Ce la guerre! 

Fun game nonetheless.

pics from the game:

Perry French CaC light horse (elite company)
Ooh, cuirassier on cuirassier action!
The initial charges
My kit-bashed Dutch 4th Light Dragoons of the Waterloo Campaign.  Made from Perry plastic parts and Fireforge plastic horses.  

Saturday, 1 September 2018

LBH, Nap. style!

The Battle of Petite Grosse Ramure (in French and as we know it) or as the “Russians” call it: the fight at Малый Большой рог or Масляная трава (maslyanaya trava)

This was another of our play-tests for development of the rules we are calling “Hussar Rampant” inspired by “Lion Rampant” by Dan Mersey (Osprey Publishing).  I say inspired as it has some deviation from the original but a close cousin nevertheless.  Certainly the stats charts are very recognizable to the original.  It is but a copy of the medieval knights bashing about, but in the Napoleonic era so having less armor and pretty uniforms!

I needed inspiration for a scenario for our Napoleonic all-cavalry affair and found one in the Battle of the Little Big Horn.  Yes, the General Custer and Indians thing!  But you say:  it was mainly fought on foot.  Agreed, but I said I needed inspiration, not actual.  As it turned out, the game outcome mirrored that of the historical event, so all is good.

All the regular attendees could come so I decided to already provide a set command for each.  I took the task of that of Maj. Reno using my plastics, PeterM was given Custer with Will’s plastic French.  The Natives, using Will’s metal Russian figures, as they positioned themselves, were KevinA (Sitting Bull), JimF (Gall), and WillB (Crazy Horse).

The scenario had each of the Natives having two wagons which, un-announced to them, represented the non-combatants breaking up the encampment and leaving the area.  Their victory condition was to have the wagons leave the table at the far end.
Part of the Natives Russians encampment.  Note the differing ways of forming of the troops, the formal lines vs a mob.  The rules do not make any distinction.

The American cavalry [ read: French ] were to inflict a decisive victory upon the Natives [ read:  Russians ].

Each player was given 14-16 points worth of troops which gave each three units, along with a commander for group moves if wanted. It turned out to be a very good amount for each player to play and which I will use as a guideline for future scenarios.
As Custer was indeed outnumbered (substantially!), the Russians had 40% more units and over 50% plus in points over the French this game.

The game started with the Russians frantically trying to activate to move their wagons, all the while move their troops in position.  I failed to instruct Peter to use the stone bridge - which represented the gully which Custer would first use thinking he was at the rear but really only the middle of the large Native encampment.  Instead Peter crossed the creek at a point nearer the front of the Russian camp. Oh well.
"Custer's command" move across the creek
The French initial activations were spotty.  It took Peter some time to ready for the attack as did I …. my double ones at the very start of the game was certainly a bad omen.  However, there were another two rolls of double ones by others that turn -— I guess we just need to get it out of our systems.
Double ones....again..... My chasseurs are immobile this turn. 

At this point of the game, Kevin guessed the game as the historical Battle of the Little Big Horn.  Luckily the players did not have the intimate knowledge of the battle, so still thought the sheep and cow markers at the far end of the table I pointed out in the pre-game info session meant something bad might happen!   (regular players of my games know I do surprise moves on them..some call it ‘fog of war’ , others “ the pucker factor’, others “sh*t will happen”)    Will and Jim actually had a conversation to leave a few units to escort the wagons in case the cows “should mean something” but then both failed to do anything about it!  [ Note: I was using the full table and so merely used the cows, sheep and some barrels as ‘decoration’ to occupy some open space and make the table a bit more interesting to look at. I was not going to dissuade them from making assumptions now was I? ]  

During the game the French, outnumbered as they were, had the better in many of the combats and while Peter’s command became surrounded and slowly whittled away, my “Reno” command was quite strong until the shocking destruction of my company of the 3rd Chasseurs which was  an integral part of our attack but whose elimination had given pause to the French chances of success. Reno would be eventually forced to retreat to a better defensive position.
Kevin's grasping hand indicates "Custer's Hill" the centre of the action (in the actual battle this was on the other side of the creek..but close enough...)
Custer/Peter is surrounded. The unit on the right side of the creek is Russian having crossed via the stone bridge and preventing any French retreat.
My/Reno's chasseurs retreating  moving to a better position after the destruction of the 3rd Chasseurs elite company

As Peter’s ‘Custer’ was massacred (down to 1 lone but ready Dragoon figure!),  I brought on “Benteen command” in the form of two more units to give to Peter, which then could assist my Reno command to fend off the Russians.  However, the Russian victory condition was already achieved - getting the wagons i.e. their women and children - off the table, so the Russian players had no heart to continue the conflict and would only send some units in pursuit.
In other words, the game mirrored the actual affair quite nicely!

I love it when that happens!

The horse heads are our 'blown' or battered markers.  Spare plastic pieces.  Shades of the 'Godfather'?