Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Revolutionary Armies Austrian infantry

Latest out of the basing department are two battalions of French Revolutionary Wars Austrian infantry produced by "Revolutionary Armies" at http://emperortoadsemporium.com . I signed up to their Kickstarter for the three battalion deal (24 figs each plus some firing line), which enabled me to produce two battalions at my preferred size of 32 figures each. I think the castings really quite the bee's knees. They fit in well with the rest of my collection, but can they fight? The figures were painted by Barry and based by me. Flags are from Adolfo Ramos.

Monday, 10 December 2018

"The Most Heavy Stroke". The Battle of Roundway Down 1643

I am very fortunate to be able to review the odd book from Helion Publishing. Well, the wonderful Charles sent me another offering just over a week ago. Now, I am not an expert on the English Civil Wars and would never profess to be. I am aware of the overall series of events and the "why's and wherefore's", and have a passing interest based on quite a few years of re-enacting in my late teens and most of my twenties back in the olden days (most long forgotten perhaps due to excess pints of beer). It is unarguably an interesting and keynote period of our history but doesn't set my pants on fire. I've never even owned an ECW army! So this is my view; a lay persons view.

So here we go. Yes, there have been many books written about the Civil Wars and about Roundway Down in particular. Helion are to be commended on publishing this masterpiece by Dr Chris Scott. The book provides an almost clinical examination of the different phases of the campaign and the battle itself, which is described in substantial detail. Chapters on the troops and personalities involved together with detailed orders of battle make this a 'must get' book for anyone interested in the subject. The book is filled with a large number of black and white photos, maps and diagrams, as well as numerous contemporary illustrations. In addition there are several pages of original colour artwork by the talented Mark Allen. 

Like I said at the start, before I read this book I knew next to nothing about the events leading up to the battle, let alone battle itself, other 'than the good/bad guys won. While I wouldn't care to select the campaign as my chosen topic in BBCs Mastermind I do feel that I have enriched my understanding of the subject! I enjoyed it. What more can be said?

Banners of the King. Vendee Levee

This weekend I completed, from start to finish, about 20-odd assorted figures for my Vendee collection. While I was working out if I had enough melee-armed bases and musket-armed bases I thought I'd take a few snapshots of the entire Catholic and Royal Army. I think I have 54 bases of close order mob (50:50 musket or pitchfork/pike) which is just over 200 figures, 19 skirmish bases (around 60 figures), 10 mounted figures, plus several command bases. The castings themselves are mainly Trent, with the balance made up of Foundry and Casting Room Miniatures with a few Gringo Italian banditti thrown in for good measure. All I need to do is find a couple of cannon for the gun crews and add some wagons and maybe another vignette or two. I do have another 20 or so figures left to paint but I guess there's no rush. The figures were mostly painted by me, with help from my mate Barry and if I remember correctly, Northumbria Painting Services. I did all the basing.

The wonderful flags are all by The Flag Dude via Trent Miniatures. I understand that The Flag Dude is no longer trading; certainly he was expected as Crisis but was a no show.  I very much doubt whether they would carry such an array of banners into battle but they do look rather nice. I deliberately tried to make the best of the sun coming in through the skylights of the Burrow to add to the effect. Not entirely sure but the troops have disbanded and gone back into their boxes, er back to their villages and farms to prepare for the Revolutionary hoards.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Peter the Great’s a Revenge. Narva 1704

What a cracker of a book! It fair blew my socks off! The Great Northern War is a period I have had a significant interest in for many years. I used to have a pretty large and extremely gorgeous collection in 6mm but in a moment of madness sold it off some 15 - 20 years ago. This is IMHO one of the best Helion publications to date. Ok, that’s a fairly subjective view but for what it counts, and other people may think they know better, but it is my view. Boris clearly knows his stuff and knows it with a passion. The attention to detail is fantastic and the quality of the translation is good, and the text flows nicely. The book is stuffed full of a massive amount of information, on the build up to the siege, the armies, the commanders, the siege itself, then the aftermath and orders of battle. There is a pretty comprehensive bibliography too. To top it all it is well catered for in terms of some really excellent colour plates and a vast number of black and white illustrations and maps. Well worth the money and deserved of a place on my bookshelf at the very least.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Leuthen, 5 December 2018

As I mentioned in the previous post we were refighting the Battle of Leuthen yesterday on its 261st anniversary. I was joined by Conrad, Steve, Nigel and Graham for the game. Sadly Dave was unable to come but that meant I got to play.

Graham and I got to be the Prussians by virtue of the fact that all of the others wanted to be Austrians (for some weird religious, moral or socio-demographic reason no doubt). The Prussian objective was simple. Capture Leuthen and destroy the Austrian army. The Austrians had to hold Leuthen and avoid being made mincemeat of by the nasty Prussians. We used Black Powder 2 with a few house rules thrown in (which I will list at the end). I also changed the turn sequence so that moving came after firing rather than before it.

The scenario begins with Frederick's army having completed its flanking march, and after defeating the Austrian extreme left around Sagshutz (off table behind the Prussian base line) was now poised to attack Leuthen, while the Austrian army redeployed as fast as possible to face the threat to their flank. The Reichsarmee contingent that had been holding Sagshutz is on the table, retreating towards Leuthen, and is already carrying casualties. (These were randomly generated and Nigel could hardly have done worse, as a couple of his battalions began the game shaken!). I had a plan. Graham (Seydlitz) was to push forward with his cavalry on the right in order to keep the Reichs troops under pressure. His infantry was to ignore the church and attack the Austrian left, while my infantry would swing round behind them ready to attack the church from the east. Meanwhile all our artillery would deploy facing the church. My hussars were to cover our left flank, and my reserve cavalry were hidden off table on the extreme south west. I will let the photos tell the story as usual.

Turn1. The Prussian cavalry tried to charge the retreating Reichsarmee troops but  failed to make the distance, while at the bottom of the picture the first part of the Prussian main body arrives.
The centre of the battlefield at the start of the game.
Reichsarmee eagerly troops pulling back, before the advancing Prussian cuirassiers who gave them no room to manoeuvre..
Steve ordered his hussars forward in a wide sweep but they were slow to advance which gave me the chance to  move my own hussars round the wood and onto the hill to intercept them. In the combat that followed both Austrian units got the better of the Prussians but became shaken in the process. The Prussians pulled back over the hill while the Austrians retreated closer to Leuthen. Unless someone could be spared to rally them they would be out of the game.
Graham's cuirassiers charge the shaken Reichs troops.
A second Prussian cuirassier regiment also charged home but were beaten off. They failed their break test and fled.
One regiment of Nigel's Reichs contingent were riden down but the Prussians chose to pull back and rally.  The Hessen Darmstadt Leibgrenadiers had to test as they had been supporting the broken unit to their front. They too failed and took to their heels.
Rot Wurtzberg defending the church while Austrian reserves shuffle about in the village.  
Graham started to deploy his infantry ready to attack the eastern end of Leuthen while his cavalry reformed.

Two battalions of Austrians deploy at the western end of Leuthen.
Graham's cuirassiers pile the pressure on, forcing the Reichs battalions back almost to their base line.
The Austrian left is all but gone thanks to the sterling efforts of Zeithen's cuirassiers and dragoons.

In the centre a battalion of Prussian grenadiers is engaged in a musketry duel with the Austrians on the outskirts of Leuthen.

More Prussians assault the eastern end of Leuthen, held by a battalion of Reichsarmee Wurtemberg fusiliers. The grenadiers made several attempts to evict them but were beaten off each time.

Steve's shaken hussars await the arrival of someone to rally them. Out of shot two brigades of Austrian cavalry have appeared on the extreme right flank.

The first brigade were ordered to advance. Steve threw low and got three moves, which took him right to the Prussian base line where he was in a position to roll up the Prussian artillery deployed in the centre.

The Austrians moved their artillery off windmill hill while the second of Steve's cavalry brigades arrived. He ordered them to advance but managed to throw a blunder. Steve then threw a 1 so the entire brigade disappeared back off the table! 
Back over on the other flank Nigel's cavalry brigades finally made an appearance.; eight fresh regiments against  seven somewhat battered ones.

In the centre the Prussian attack had stalled slightly with the need to cover the left wing, but the battalions doing the fighting,, with the exception of the grenadiers who had been repulsed from their attack on the village, were still in good order.
Another massive cavalry battle began on the Prussian right, which was to go on for several turns as regiments were pushed back, rallied and thrown back into the battle.

The Austrians had the upper hand in quality and quantity but poor Nigel's dice throwing was abysmal, as it has been throughout the game.
By some miracle the Prussian cavalry were holding their own, although both brigade were close to breaking point. So, however, were the Austrians.....
The Reichsarme brigade had finally been driven from the field, leaving Graham's infantry with the opportunity to occupy  the western edge of Leuthen, which they did. I also charged the exposed Austrian battalion outside the church. After several rounds of melee it was driven back into the centre of the village.
Steve's errant cavalry brigade reappeared giving him a massive superiority on our left flank.
As luck would have it, Steve's mad dash across the table allowed me to activate my left wing cavalry, which made an appearance on the western table edge. Steve reacted quickly and swung his brigade round and our cuirassiers then went head to head. It didn't start well as my first unit was beaten, forced to retreat and then hit again by Steve's sweeping advance. My regiment was shattered and fled the field. 
I order a 'follow me' with my von Reusch hussars. We struck the just deployed Austrian artillery in the flank and overran the battery. My other hussar regiment charged and broke one of the Austrian hussar units
The cavalry fight on the Prussian left.

Despite initial reverses the Prussians slowly got the upper hand. The Reichs cavalry were driven back as were the surviving Austrian cuirassiers. The remaining hussar regiment was broken. 

Indeed, when we did a quick count up, the Prussian and Austro/Imperial brigades had both reached  their break points and were out of the game.
The Prussian centre begins to advance on the churchyard. Rot Wutzberg was under fire from five Prussian cannon and was suffering accordingly but kept passing its break tests. They got a bit of a breather when, trying to manhandle some of cannon forward I threw a blunder and ended up going back two moves! 
Two battalions of Prussians were detached to cover the left flank but were thankfully never needed.

My grenadiers' advance after their earlier was halted.

Steve's remaining brigade kept failing its command rolls,  even with the help of the new CinC. FML Daun had just arrived to take over from the less than competent Charles of Lorraine.

The foreground is rather empty of troops. The Austrians pulled the two battalions that had been posted outside the village back into Leuthen.

I was just waiting for our next turn so I could try another 'follow me' order with my hussars and take the enemy columns in the rear. But it was not to be. Both of Nigel's cavalry brigades and the Reichs brigade ware broken. Both of Graham's cavalry brigades were broken, as was mine on the left. One of Steve's brigades was also spent so with half of their army shaken or broken the Austrians had to concede defeat, especially as the brigade originally garrisoning Leuthen was also 0n the verge of breaking.
Prussian pyrotechnics.

The eastern end of the village coming under pressure.
Prussians edging round the eastern edge of Leuthen now that the threat from enemy cavalry  had been dealt with.

The Austrian rearguard covering their exit from Leuthen.
So. A Prussian victory. Not a crushing one though but a solid victory nonetheless. The rules worked well even if they can be very unforgiving (can't they Nigel). I/we did on occasion forget a few bits in the rules but I doubt they'd have made any significant difference to the eventual outcome. Switching the moving and firing phases produced an interesting game so I shall stick with it from now on. The thing with BP is their simplicity and the ability to tinker with them to your heart's content if you want.  They are also ideal for big multi-player games. They also work well when players (as in our group) play the period rather than the rules.

Overall it was a great game and I hope the chaps enjoyed it as much as I did.

Orders of Battle.

Prussian Army

C-in-C: Frederick II King of Prussia (9)

Right Wing Cavalry:  GL  von Zieten (9) Acts as an extra commander for the cavalry on right wing

GM Scipio von Lentelus (8)
Cuirassiers                 5

GM Czettritz, (8) T1 behind Lentelus
Dragoons                    3
Hussars                      1          

Infantry Centre:
Advance Guard: GL Prinz von Wurtemburg (8) on table right centre
Grenadier Btn                        1
12pdr Battery                       1 x heavy gun
Hussars                                  2

1stLine:  GderI Prinz Moritz von Anhalt-Dessau (9) (T1 right half of baseline)
Guard Btn                              1
Grenadier Btn                        1 
Musketeer Btns                     2
Fusilier Btns                           1         
12pdr battery                                   1 x heavy gun

2ndLine: GL Frederick William Quirin de Forcade de Biaix (8)  (T2 right half of baseline)
Musketeer Btns                     2
Fusilier Btns                           1
Grenadier Btns                      1 
12pdr battery                                   1 x heavy gun

Artillery: Colonel Moller (8) (T3 on Butterberg)
12pdr battery                       1 x heavy gun
Howitzer battery                   1 x medium howitzer
Fortress battery                    1 x super heavy ‘Brummer’

Left Wing Cavalry:off table SW short edge and enters after the right wing Austrian cavalry have exposed their flank, come within 30cm of Butterberg, or T5 on roll of 6 on 1D6 (+1 for each subsequent turn).

GL von Driesen (8)
Cuirassiers                 3
Dragoons                    2

Austro-Imperial Army

C-in-C:  Prince Charles of Lorraine 6
Assisted by FM von Daun 8 (off table, 2D6 to recall after T3 – any double needed then he takes over command in D3 turns)

Right Wing Cavalry:  OFF TABLE TO NORTH WEST enter right of Leuthen T4
Gen der Kav Lucchesi (8)
Cuirassiers                                         2
Imperial Cuirassiers                         2
GM Esterhazy (8)  T5 as above
Imperial Dragoons                            2
Cuirassiers                                         2

Right wing reserve: GM Herzog von Arenberg (8)
in column behind Leuthen.
Infantry btns                                     2

Right Wing Infantry: FzM Kheul  (7) (enter behind Leuthen in column T5)
Infantry btns                                     3

Left Wing Infantry: FzM Colloredo (8)(deployed in and around Leuthen)
Infantry btns                                     4(incl Rot-Wurzberg in church)
Grenadier btn                                                1                      
Artillery battery                                2 x 12pdrs (on windmill hill)
Hussars                                              2

Reichsarmee Bavarians/Wurtembergers from Nadazdy’s Corps: Marshal Spitnatz  (7) (On table withdrawing to Leuthen)
Grenadier btn                                                1(1D3 cas)
Infantry btns                                     4( 1D3 cas/ea.)

Left Wing Cavalry:Gen der Kav Serbellini (9) (off table NE corner enter T2+D3)
Cuirassiers                                         2
Dragoons                                            2

Marshal O’Donnell (8)(off table NE enter turn after Serbellini) 
Dragoons                                            4

 House Rules:

·     Change to sequence of play:
o  Initiative phase
o  Firing phase. All firing units to be marked as having fired this turn.
o  Command phase. Additional -1 command penalty to units that have fired earlier in the turn.
o  Melee phase 
Any commander throwing a blunder will be passed the dung heap of shame until such time as another player blunders. While holding the dung heap of shame command rolls get a -1 modifier

Cavalry v formed infantry. (Steel Wall)
Applicable to ALL infantry. Infantry are classed as being in ‘steel wall’ providing:
·     their flanks have friendly infantry within 6””, 
·     or are secured by terrain features, 
·     or there are no enemy in their flank arc within one move. 

Troops in ‘steel wall’ can deliver closing fire, add 3 to their melee result PLUS other support bonuses (i.e. flanks and rear).
Cavalry do not gain any charge bonus when attacking a ‘steel wall’ unless the target is already engaged, disordered or shaken.

Rear Rank Reversed. 
Is allowed as a charge response to better-trained infantry (Prussians) and is a permitted formation for all infantry. The formation is static. Infantry get half shooting and melee dice rounded up in each direction.