Tuesday 30 September 2014

New games room update

Just a quick picture of the status of the new games room. New roof, insulated walls and a floating shelf all round at just above head height. To do is a radiator, the new window at the back, new secure door, lighting and the door into the house, decorating, oh, and the new table with ample storage underneath.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

Franco-Prussian War Tabletop Teaser Rearguard Action and the last game in the Dickensian garrett!

Conrad came up a couple of weeks ago for the very last ever game in my old games room. Most of my troops were packed up ready for the move but the Franco-Prussian figures were still out following the game earlier that week with Rob. I decided we'd attempt a version of "The rearguard action" tabletop teaser. In this scenario the French had to hold up the Prussian advance until a designated time and then extricate themselves off the central 4 feet of the rear table edge without the Prussians being too close or in a position to interfere with their withdrawal.

The forces were, to the best of my memory, as follows:

French (Me), CinC, Command 8
1st Infantry bde: 1 x Turco, 3 x line, 1 bty, 1 mitrailleuse (Command 8)
2nd Infantry bde: 2 x Zouave, 2 x line, 1 bty (Command 9)
3rd infantry bde: 1 x Marine, 3 x line, 1 bty, 1 mitrailleuse (Command 7)
Reserve artillery: 2 bty (Command 6)
Light cavalry bde: 2 Chasseurs a chevel, 1 Chasseurs d'Afrique, 1 bty (Command 8)
Reserve cavalry div: 4 x Cuirassier, 1 bty (Command 8)

Prussians (Conrad), CinC, Command 9
Advance guard: 1 jager, 3 line, 1 bty (Command 9)
1st inf bde: 6 line, 2 bty (Command 8)
2nd inf bde: 6 line, 2 bty (Command 9)
1st cav bde: 2 dragoon rgts, 1bty (Command 8)
2nd cav bde: 1 hussar, 1 cuirassier, 1 bty (Command 7)
Reserve arty: 4 bty (Command 9)

The French were deployed along the line of hills as can be seen in the picture below. The Seminary in the distance was garrisoned by a battalion of Turcos and the villages in the centre were each held by battalions of Zouaves. We both agreed to try and play the game in the spirit of the actual tactics of 1870, or at least as we understood them. Conrad pushed his advance guard brigade forward between the central village and the seminary on the French right. His artillery caused some damage to the French infantry but not enough to put them out of the battle completely. In true Prussian style his next brigade followed the advance guard straight into action, while their artillery joined the gun line forming on the hills opposite the French positions. The Prussian dragoons covered their left flank while the other brigade did the same on their right, lurking behind a wood out of sight. 
(Above, the French deployed awaiting the Prussian attack. Below, not long after, the Prussian advance guard surges towards the French)

The French reserve infantry and artillery proved very difficult to get moving but the infantry facing the main Prussian thrust were holding their ground (just!) despite being user a hail of artillery fire. The leading Prussian battalions attempted to charge the French; one battalion failed but the other succeeded but was driven off after a furious melee. The battered advance guard brigade was forced back broken.
(Above and below, the Prussian attack on the French right) 
Wave after wave of Prussians assaulted the French lines but fortune wasn't on their side. The Prussian artillery was unable to inflict enough damage on the French to weaken their positioning  as although my units were for the most part disordered, I rolled some useful saves. All the while Conrad's infantry were faltering under the withering effects of close-range chassepot fire to the front and the flank as my left-hand brigade had swung round to enfilade the Prussian assault. A regiment of Cuirassiers added their weight to the combat and although the Cuirassiers were broken, the Prussian brigade was forced to retire.
(Above, the ever expanding Prussian grand battery supports Conrad's ongoing assault, below, on the French-held hilltop)
(Above and below, while the Pussian advance guard and 1st brigade dashed themselves against the French in costly frontal assaults, they did however succeed in pinning the French while the 2nd brigade and the brigade of dragoons were able to move around the French right flank).
Meanwhile, Conrad's last brigade had moved round to the French right flank. Although an assault on the seminary was beaten off they continued round it to threaten the flank of the exposed French centre. The only troops facing the Prussians were the three remaining regiments of cuirassiers. These threw themselves repeatedly against the advancing Prussians but were unable to do anything other than halt them momentarily before being driven from the field.
(Above, the French cuirassiers threw themselves time and time again against the advancing Prussians, but only succeeded slowing them down at the cost of the division being shaken and taking no further part in the battle).

On the other flank my light cavalry foolishly decided to try and drive off the Prussian cavalry facing them. They failed miserably and two fine regiments of Chasseurs a Chevel were broken (ok, by Prussian Cuirassiers), leaving the remainder of the brigade to withdraw powerless to continue.
(Above, another shot of the Prussian advance on the French left, and below, another example of the French cuirassiers vainglorious attempts to to stem the tide and give the infantry time to withdraw.)

Conrad was within a gnat's whisker of conceding but as the last move had seen the removal of the French cavalry I was the one who threw in the towel and admitted defeat. Both my cavalry brigades were broken. My infantry brigades were badly mauled and several battalions were disordered and unable to move. Conrad's surviving infantry brigade was ideally placed to roll up my line supported by his unscathed cavalry  on each flank and his grand battery facing the French centre which was about to turn its attention onto the French infantry that had earlier moved off the hills to enfilade the second Prussian assault. The French would be unable to withdraw off the field unmolested therefore the game was a Prussian victory, albeit a hard fought one.

As the title suggests this was the last game played in my old games room. Normal service will I hope be resumed by the end of October.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Franco-Prussian War: the penultimate game

Before the current mayhem Rob came up one night last week for a game set during the Franco-Prussian war. The French had to hold off a Prussian advance long enough to get their forces across the river, while the Prussians had to stop them. The one fly (or one of many flies) in the ointment for the French was a brigade of Prussian infantry blocking the French escape route. The Prussians were hampered by not knowing  when or where their troops would enter the table and by the fact that their blocking force was made up of second class less than enthusiastic troops from the like of Anhalt, Lippe-Detmold, Saxe Coburg and Brunswick. (They were actually standing in for Bavarians but I'd not got them based up fully in time for the game).

The Prussians in total had three brigades of infantry and one of cavalry, totalling 15 btns, 2 regts and 8 batteries. Commanders were rated either 8 or 9. The French had three brigades of infantry, and a brigade of cavalry, 12 btns, 3 regts, 4 batteries and 2 mitrailleuse. Commanders were mainly rated 7 with a couple of 8's Sorry for being so vague but in the tidying up that followed the game I misplaced the orders of battle for both sides.

(Above, the French holding the river crossing and the hills in the distance. Below, the other end of the French line, centred around a village. French cavalry can be seen in the far distance).

 (Above, the Prussians advance in force. Below, the same view from behind the French cavalry brigade). 

 (Above, two battalions of French cross the river while below, the Prussians close with the French holding the hills in the centre).

 (Above and below, two successive attacks by the French cavalry. The first halted and pushed back the Prussian advance but was forced to retire. The second attack fared far worse.....)

 (Above, troopers from Hesse Darmstadt and Hannover advance. Below, the shattered French cavalry are powerless to prevent the Prussian advance).

 (Above, after their Hessian comrades were beaten off by the deadly chassepot, Hannoverian dragoons charge the disordered and battered French line, forcing them back across the river).
 (Above, Prussian infantry reach the river while their artillery in the rear bombard the French already across the river and at that time fighting off the Prussian cavalry. Below, the French line facing the Prussian onslaught).

(Above and below, the Prussian assault on the French line develops). 

It seems a long time ago now and my notes have been put away somewhere safe but here is what I think I remember happened. So, cutting a long storey short, the Prussian (allied N German) blocking force managed to keep the French pinned in the village while the main body proceeded to engage the rest of the French who were then unable to extricate themselves from the fight. Two battalions made it across the river but soon found themselves disordered, fired on from the front and rear and charged (unsuccessfully) by cavalry. They ended up being stuck in or just across the river, pinned under artillery fire and threatened by a further cavalry charge. Elsewhere, the Prussian artillery was effective at knocking out their French counterparts and the mitrailleuse batteries, and the French cavalry, i.e. both of my lovely  Chasseur a Cheval regiments, was equally effective at dashing itself to ruin in futile charges against the oncoming Prussian infantry, although to be fair they did achieve their objective of forcing back one battalion and holding up the Prussian advance for a couple of moves, long enough perhaps for some of the French to extricate themselves.

In the end we decided that the French would be unlikely to get away in any significant strength as the blocking force, despite being second rate troops, was just about holding its own, and the rest of the French were likely to be overwhelmed by vastly superior number of Prussian infantry and artillery.

Poor command rolls by the French (me) meant that I was unable to take advantage of the first two or three moves before the bulk of the Prussians made their presence felt to galvanise the main body into some sort of order and across the river where superior numbers and firepower would have driven the blocking force away. Anyway, that was the plan, indeed that was the premiss behind the scenario.

Again, the amended rules for disorder and break tests, taken from Hail Caesar, worked really well.

An empty games room and total chaos!

Not much more to say really. From the chair back to the wall is to become an en suite bathroom; the remainder of the room will be the new guest bedroom. Existing guest room will become the 'office' for us both (and maybe some overflow painting space for me).

Conversion of garage into the new games room progressing well. Photos to follow.

The Beast of Westgate

While I was clearing away my last game, small dog of the family decided to take a look and see if the French or any of the terrain were edible. She'd already worked out that Prussians leave a sour taste in the mouth and have dangerous spikes!

Tuesday 9 September 2014

A new Seven Years War regiment, as if I need any more!

I've managed to base up quite a few Seven Years War units recently, including this new battalion of Prussian infantry, I.R. 16 Graf zu Dohna. The figures are from Black Hussar of Germany and they are rather nice I think, so nice in fact that I've sent off for another couple of battalions worth to complete my Prussian army with the addition of a couple of Garrison and/or Land battalions so I can have a little variety in my army when facing my troublesome Russians or Rob's Austro-Franco coalition. The flags are from GMB.

The lead mountain! Arrrrgh!

I've managed to pack up most of my collection before the big move to accommodate the builders and then get set up again in better bigger and higher premises. These boxes (which are two or three deep by the way and there is more out of shot to the right!) contain a scarily awful lot of figures, most of which are painted, and some of which I had actually forgotten I had, including a large 28mm Wars of the Roses collection and loads of 6mm Napoleonic French and Austrians which I said I would look after for a friend about 10 years ago or more.

The garage conversion starts on Wednesday or Thursday so then all I have to do is get a new table built, storage organised and then move this lot downstairs from the 1st floor. I think that will be a job for 'Mellors'.

More updates later.