Saturday 31 May 2014

Inventory, Part 1: The Seven Years War

Since becoming almost retired i.e. just waiting for the paperwork to complete, I've had much more time to devote to gaming, and painting, and of course, buying little men and adding to the drawer of doom in my games room. In a rare morbid moment, together with the fact that I am rapidly running out of space, I thought it'd be a good idea to list my entire collection so that whenever the time comes, hopefully a long long time in the future, my partner and daughter will be in a better position to clear the lot on eBay or sell to my grieving wargaming buddies and then enjoy the proceeds without being ripped off! The 'hard' copies of these inventories have conservative values for the collections and unit types. I could have bought myself a small South American country!

So here we go with the first bunch, namely my Prussian and Russian Seven Years War. I started these in about 2005/06 (I think) in response to Rob starting to build up Austrians and French SYW armies. Almost all the Russians came from Dave Thomas' 'gash box' at £5 a blister or when Foundry had their 25% off sales.

The codes represent the manufacturer, so F = Foundry, M = Minden, H = Hincliffe, R = RSM, BH = Black Hussar, FR=Front Rank, E=Eagle, OG=Old Glory. I have to say that if I had my time again I might try to stick to RSM, Black Hussar and Minden but overall I quite like the mix, and I find it hard to resist Foundry when they have a sale! There are plenty of pictures of my collection dotted throughout this blog so I've not added any more pictures for now.


3 x 30 man Cuirassier regiments. 2R/1H
1 x 18 man Cuirassier regiment (Garde du Corps) F
2 x 24 man Dragoon regiments F/R
2 x 36 man Hussar regiments R
1 x 12 man Bosniak Lancers H
1 x 12 man Von Kleist Uhlan Friekorps H

3 x 36 man Grenadier btns 2M/1F
8 x 36 man infantry btns R, M,
1 x 36 man Friekorps infantry btn F
1 x 8 man Feldjager corps F
1 x 24 man Von Kleist Croat Friekorps Btn F
1 x 12 man Von Kleist Friekorps Jäger btn M

3 x Heavy guns/Howitzers and crews  with limbers F/R
4 x Field guns and crews F/R
8 x light guns and crews F/R


2 x 24 man Cuirassier regiments F
1 x 12 man Cuirassier regiment F
1 x 24 man Horse Grenadier regiment F
1 x 12 man Dragoon regiment FR
1 x 24 man Hussar regiment F
1 x 12 man Hussar regiment F
1 x 12 man Cossack regiment E

3 x 36 man Grenadier battalions F
5 x 36 man line battalions F
3 x 36 man Observation Corps battalions OG
1 x 36 man dismounted Dragoon regiment F
1 x 24 Pandour regiment F

6 x Heavy guns/Unicorns and crews with 3 limbers F
4x field guns and crews F
5 x light regimental guns/mortars and crews F

There are also numerous commanders and vignettes for both armies.

Unpainted I know I have the following units in the drawer of doom!:

2 x Prussian line infantry battalions BH/R
1 x 12 Prussian Von Kleist Friekorps Horse Grenadiers F
1 x 12 Prussian dismounted hussars F
1 x 12 Prussian dismounted von Kleist horse grenadiers F
1 x 12 Schaumberg Lippe Carabineers E
1 x 24 Russian Hussar regiment F
1 x 12 Russian Hussar regiment F
1 x 12 Russian Cossack regiment F
4 x Russian heavy guns and crews F
2 x Russian light regimental guns and crews F

Whether I will ever get round to painting these is a big question. I do want to get the Russian hussars and Cossacks done, as well as the Schaumberg Lippe Carabineers, even if the unit will be ten times bigger than their real life counterparts! They will do for the my 'imagination' of the Principality of Prunz mit Kurstadt.

These were the first armies I bought when I upscaled back to 28mm and sold off all my 6mm collections. I appreciate that listing my stuff might be seen by some as being a little self-indulgent, but its been a great help to me on focussing on just how many little men I have and wondering how the floor in my games room has not collapsed into our bedroom!

Sunday 25 May 2014

Battle for the Frontier part IV

John and Rob came up last week for yet another 1866 game, part of my mini campaign. Again, the Prussians were in Corps strength and were faced with trying to emerge from the mountain passes on the frontier and drive off Austrian covering forces. Forces available were as follows:

Austrians: CinC command 8
Advance guard of 1 btn of jäger, 1 hussar rgt and 1 horse battery. Command 8
Main body of 6 infantry btns and 2 artillery batteries. Command 7
Cavalry brigade of 2 Cuirassier and 1 Uhlan rgts plus 1 horse battery. Command 8
Saxon brigade ( as I don't have enough Austrians finished yet) of 4 line btns, 1 jäger btn, 1 cavalry rgt and 2 artillery batteries. Command 8

Prussians: CinC command 8
Advance guard of 3 line btns, 1 jäger btn and 2 horse batteries. Command 8
Cavalry brigade of 2 dragoon rgts. Command 7
Cavalry Bde of 1 Cuirassier and 1 hussar rgt. Command 8
1st infantry Bde of 6 line btns and 1 artillery bty. Command 7
2nd infantry Bde of 6 line btns and 1 artillery bty. Command 8
Reserve artillery of 2 artillery bty. Command 7

Half of the Prussian guns were smoothbores. The rest were modern BLRs.

Rob wanted to be the Austrians and John took the Prussians. I was struggling as my back was really painful but I helped out with the Prussians.

The Austrians and Saxons were spread out all over the table while the Prussians had to enter from between the high hills in the bottom left hand corner. The cavalry and advance guard were on the table but the rest would enter on successive moves. Above, the Austrian reinforcements on the move. Unfortunately for the Prussians they moved quite fast and were in position before the Prussians were  able to intervene. The infantry split either side of the wood while the jager and hussars sped off to join the left flank of the Saxon brigade facing the Prussian advance.
The Saxons deployed behind the area of cultivated land and on the edge of the wood and the low hills on their left. John split the advance guard and sent them straight ahead against the Saxons. The Prussians probably shouldn't have spread their advance guard so thinly as they were heavily shot up and unable to make much headway against the Saxons who were able to bring superior numbers to
 Three battalions of Prussians were facing five of Saxons plus one of Austrian jager and three batteries of guns. There was also a heavy cavalry brigade of Austrian cuirassiers and uhlans moving towards their left and Austrian and Saxon cavalry threatening their right. Their only support was a battalions of jager who moved onto the hill to their right, two batteries of horse artillery and in their rear, two brigades of cavalry. The infantry rapidly became disordered and unable to move but one lone unit did charge the Saxon jager holding the wood and drove them off, despite being enfiladed by the Austrian reserve artillery which had just formed up on the flank of the Saxons. The Prussian dragoons then charged the artillery in the flank and destroyed both batteries before forcing one unit of Austrians into square. They were then engaged by the Austrian reserve cavalry and in a see-saw battle were forced to retire shaken, but not without seeing off one regiment of cuirassiers in the process.

Above, Prussian cavalry on the right about to engage the enemy. After a very fierce series of melees they destroyed the Saxon Reiter and drove the Austrian hussars from the table for the loss of one unit becoming shaken. Meanwhile, below are the first of the Prussian reinforcements, all six battalions of them!

John and Rob had to leave at about 9:30 so the game came to a pause. Earlier in the game, around move 3, John had conceded defeat as he felt that there was no way the Prussians would be able to break through the cordon of Austrians and Saxons facing them. I reckoned John's CinC had been reading the 'Life of Frederick the Great' the evening before the battle and had only got as far as the Molwitz chapter and, taking a leaf out of the great man's book, had decided to withdraw. I was convinced otherwise (well I had created the scenario and was also quite high on Tramodol) and was sure that a concerted and concentrated push by the much superior numbers of Prussians would break through. We had played on anyway since the towel was thrown in so when John and Rob went home I carried on where we had left off, mainly as the bulk of the Prussians were uncommitted and also because in the context of the campaign, it was still mid- morning scenario time and the Prussians had plenty of daylight left and a schedule to keep, to press home another attack now that the Austrians and Saxons were all committed and spread very thin in an arc around their positions.
The first brigade of Prussian reinforcements had split. Part strengthened the Prussian centre while the other half moved to the right in readiness for an assault on the Saxon flank. The enemy cavalry had been cleared from this section of the battlefield and the Saxons were dangerously exposed with little in the way of supports. The Prussians charged the lead Saxon regiment (which was shaken) and the Austrian jager. The latter held for a move but the Saxons were broken and the Prussians then drove into the supporting artillery while another unit from the centre charged the next Saxon regiment. It too broke after two rounds of melee, causing the supporting units to either break or withdraw. That ended the game for the Saxons who were now a broken brigade. On the far left, the final Prussian brigade was almost ready to engage the Austrians but there was no need as with the loss of the Austrian 'advance guard' brigade and the Saxons the Austro/Saxon army had lost half of its brigades and was forced to withdraw. The Prussians had lost their 'advance guard' brigade and one brigade of cavalry but were in no danger of loosing another brigade as the shaken hussars had recovered.
(Prussian Jager, shaken but still holding onto their hilltop, being encouraged by the Prussian CinC who was knackered after carrying that massive table up the hillside!)
(Above, Austrians move to support the thin Saxon line while below, the Prussians surge forward)

Above, the Prussians hit the Austrian jager who elected to close up and fight rather than evade, while below, Prussians and Saxons clash.
Above, the Prussians defeat a second unit of Saxons then below, overrun Austrian artillery in support)

Again I think the rules worked well with the characteristics amended to reflect tactics of the period. Assault column was the formation to be in if you wanted to move your troops around reasonably easily but of course the Prussians needed to deploy into line to take advantage of their far superior rifles. Rob managed to throw 3 blunders during the course of a single move so rapid movement, at least in the right direction, was not guaranteed! Thanks to John and Rob for coming up for the game.

So, the main changes and amendments were as follows:

  • Dreyse-armed Prussians get 4D6 when shooting and 5D6 when in close range.
  • Austrian artillery is classed as sharpshooters and gets one re-roll if they miss.
  • Prussian BL artillery are 3/2/2 for firing but all Prussian artillery is classed as passive, i.e. not allowed to be in a position where they are not covered to the front by friendly troops if the enemy are within half range, and they cannot enter table except at the end of any column of reinforcements as Prussian artillery tended to be stuck way back in the line of march.
  • ranges were extended, e.g. artillery out to 60" for 6pdr BL and Austrian 8pdr MLR, 48" for 4pdr BL and 4pdr MLR and 36" for the Prussian SB, Dreyse to 24" and Austrian and Saxon MLR to 36".
No troops were especially 'special'. Most were 'reliable' when in 'attack column' but apart from that, the armies were remarkably devoid of supermen! it was important to remember that tactical doctrine stressed 'assault columns' in attack, no choice for the Austrians but even the Prussians used them, but defending in line was acceptable.

Now that the frontier has been breached I have a couple more scenarios planned in this campaign based on the outcomes of the last three battles before hopefully trying to stage a big 'mash up' at some point later in the summer, probably at the Durham club as I will need a bigger table. Nigel and Conrad take note!

1866: Battle for the frontier, Part III, the end? I think not.

The final chance for the Prussians to oust the Austrians from their positions was there. I'd moved the terrain about a foot and a half to the right, thus giving some more space on the Prussian right should they wish to try a flanking attack. Well, of course they would! That's the whole point. Having pinned the Austro/Saxons with the previous two assaults their flanking force ought now in position to make an appearance and hopefully help roll up the Austrian/Saxon flank.
 Prussian advance guard cautiously approaches the thinly spread Austrian defenders. 

 Above: Prussian Dragoons. Below: Cuirassiers and Hussars

Good plan but I then decided that No, this was not the answer. The Austrians would have been (and generally were) covering all the mountain passes so it's unlikely that any flanking move would have been unopposed. With that in mind I set up another game, with the Prussians again debouching from the mountains with the aim of punching through the Austrian covering force and arriving on the flank of those Austrians holding off the Prussian attacks described in parts I and II of this series of reports. Paul agreed to come up for a game and took the Prussians. I had the Austrians again.

The Prussians began with their cavalry (2 brigades) on the table. The rest (an advance guard of infantry followed by two large brigades of infantry with the reserve artillery trailing in the rear) would arrive in column of march. This meant that subsequent reinforcements could not enter until all troops ahead of them were on the table and caused Paul a few problems throughout the game.

 Above: Saxon reinforcements Below: The Prussians are disordered and halted by Austrian artillery fire.

 Above: Cuirassiers screen the Prussian Jagers. Below: The Prussian Dragoon brigade before it made its unsuccessful charge.

 Above: Austrian cavalry move towards the centre covered by their Saxon allies. Below: Prussian assault columns about to launch themselves into the attack in the centre.

The newly-painted Prussian dragoon brigade clashed with Saxon cavalry and was promptly driven off as is ever the case with brand new units that were only finished the evening before!

In the centre the Prussians were able to close with the few Austrians positioned there but were held up by some effective artillery fire that caused a certain amount of unwanted and untimely disorder. The Prussian hussars made a wide sweep to their right and this was countered by my hussars. eventually they clashed and the Prussians were broken. Sadly, the Austrians had become shaken so were not in good shape to continue the fight.

 Above: The final Prussian assault. Below: Austrian reinforcements.

Above: Austrian hussars 

The Prussians were able to close with the Austrians and Saxons holding the centre and take advantage of two gaps in the line to get five battalions off the table before they were closed by Austrian reinforcements. Their arrival put a stop to any more serious Prussian attacks but it was agreed that the Prussians had won a very marginal victory as they had achieved their goal of exiting sufficient troops off the Austrian baseline and still had significant numbers of troops available. However, the Austrians were unbroken and no more troops were likely to get past them.

In the context of the mini campaign that is being played out, there the Austrians successfully holding back the Prussians from parts I and II would be able to retire in good order and avoid being flanked. Similarly, the Prussians would be unable to prevent the withdrawal of the Austrians in part III. Their attempted flanking move left one of their brigades isolated and the two corps involved in both engagements were quite battered while most of the Austrians and Saxons were largely unbroken.

The rules worked well again. Paul's only quibble was the effect of long range artillery fire in disordering his troops. While I can see the point, and have seen others attempt to overcome this by either not allowing long range fire to cause disorder, doing this upsets the balance of game, especially given the potential move distances involved. Being shot at and hit by high explosive or air burst shells at any range must be disconcerting, even if nobody is killed, which is what the effect of disorder is attempting to reflect.

Triples 2014: a bit late posting but......

I actually managed to get to Triples this year despite my decrepit physical condition. I had some Hilton points so Kathy drove us down the day before. On the Saturday while I was at the show, she was enjoying the facilities in the spa at the hotel, with my credit card!!!!!

I arrived about 9:30 and without even thinking of asking was offered the reduced entry fee for being 'disabled' and hobbling about on my trusty stick. Although my brain doesn't always remember to take account of this! I had the foresight to pre-order most of the stuff on my shoping list, so was able to take my time picking these items up as there was no danger of the traders in question selling out. By about 10:30 I'd done a complete circuit and run out of hands so Ian at Eagle figures very kindly let me dump my swag behind his trade stand. The nice people on the door also let Kathy in for free when she arrived freshly pampered from the spa ( no, not Morrisons Matt!) to round me up and help carry my modest ( honest dear, it's just the packaging that's heavy........) purchases to the car.

Even before the shopping my first point of call was the Zorndorf Seven Years War game put on by James and the Olicanalds. I'd been tracking the progress of the development of the game on his blog and I was very impressed with the whole layout and the figures were simply gorgeous and well beyond anything I can produce, in such numbers anyway.

While there were loads of games at the show, only a couple more caught my eye. First up was Bruce Weigles 1870 Franco Prussian War demo in 6mm. His rules for 1870 (and 1859 and 1866) are fabulous publications. I used to have thousands of Franco Prussian and Austro Prussian figures in 6mm ( both armies for Konigratz for example!) but they went the journey several years ago but never cared for his rules. The scenarios etc contained within the books were well worth the money though. I had quite a long chat with Bruce and he really is a nice guy! The Almaza 1707 game run by the Like a Stone Wall group was visually very impressive and I was pleased to be able to see Ebor Miniatures WSS figures en masse but in my experience they weren't very chatty. Not a big problem though. Some of the other games were nice, e.g. WW2 Italian airfield under attack by the LRDG, the Troy game and an ACW game but some of the others were not up to scratch IMHO.

Anyway, I now have limbers for almost all my 1866 and 1870 armies to counter John's friendly nagging that i didn't have any! Cheap enough from Irregular anyway.