Sunday 31 December 2017

New Years Eve additions

A few last minute additions in the shape of a battalion of French Emigres and four 'units' of Vendean rebels/Royalist counter revolutionaries depending on what floats your boat. The Emigres are from a new range from Victorious Miniatures, while the Vendee 'mobs' are a mixture of Trent and Foundry. Flags by Flag Dude. I have just sourced a suitable flag for the emigre regiment, the Loyal Emigrants, which I shall sort out this coming week. I only did the bases and supplied the flags as the figures were painted for me by my mate Barry.

Happy New Year!

Mollwitz 2017

As reported in my previous post, Peter from up the road came for one of our very occasional games last night. I had decided to have a go at Mollwitz again as it was a scenario Peter hadn’t played before.

We diced for sides, with the highest being rewarded with the command of the Austrians. That dubious honour fell to me. My plan was simple. Launch both cavalry wings at the Prussian flanks in order to drive off their numerically inferior horse, hopefully leaving enough of each command in good enough order to turn on the flanks of the Prussian infantry in the centre. My poor bloody infantry would just have to hang on in there in the centre long enough for the cavalry to do its work, hopefully reinforced by my heavy artillery which was off table at the start and would only arrive after a successful but heavily adjusted command roll from the Austrian Commander in Chief. My plan would rely on speed and decisive and successful command rolls to work. With all movement at half rate due to the deep snow I wouldn’t be racing across the battlefield especially fast but the snow would also work to my advantage as well of course.

I didn't take many photos as I was a little distracted by the game but here they are.

The battle at the start of turn 1.

The Austrian defenders waiting for the inevitable Prussian attack. The poor unfortunate hussars were feeling very exposed.

On the Austrian left Peter pushed his cavalry forward as far as they could go and collided with my massed ranks of cuirassiers and dragoons. In the first clash honours were pretty even but as the Prussians were outnumbered 2:1 they were soon in trouble as they had no reserves.

The Prussians only advanced into musket range and then let rip a series of deadly volleys, which even at long range  threw the Austrian front line into disarray. The exposed hussars were driven off shaken.
The Prussian front rank closed the gap with the Austrians but their supports were very slow in coming up thanks to some poor command rolls and a blunder which sent them backwards a move at a time when they really could have done with going forward!
Back on the left the Prussians have withdrawn, leaving their grenadier battalion to cover them while they tried to reform. I threw caution to the wind and charged the grenadiers. Miraculously (thanks to being obscured by swirling snow perhaps) they survived the closing fire and charged home. In the ensuing melee the grenadiers fought like demons and threw the cuirassiers back with ease.
So I tried again, with the same result. At least I was occupying the grenadiers' attention and didn't actually loose any cavalry off the table, even though they were mauled severely. Meanwhile my remaining squadrons can be seen clattering into the two squadrons of rallying Prussians who were broken. Hooray!

The detritus of war. Clearly the Austrians' choice of beer was better than the Prussians'.

Back in the centre two battalions of Prussian infantry failed their break tests and fled the field. The Austrians had  stepped their rear rank through the battered front line at just the right moment and caught the Prussians on the hop, leaving a rather large gap in the Prussian centre.
Typically the Austrians were unable to capitalise on the rout of the Prussian centre, and the gap was filled quickly by elements of the supporting line. Both Prussian lines were now hopelessly intermingled, making it tough for Peter to maintain control over them. The Austrian artillery also chose this move to make an appearance, and were to deploy to the left of the two battalions in the centre foreground. 

On the Austrian right, after an early clash the Prussians had withdrawn in front of the Austrian horsemen rather than risk getting overwhelmed. The Austrians finally caught up with the Prussians and broke their brigade, not without loss, and were positioning themselves to roll up the Prussian line. One Prussian battalion was charged by Austrian infantry from the front then hit in the flank by Austrian dragoons with predictable results.

By now, with both cavalry wings and the leading infantry brigade broken the Prussians army was broken (thats three out of four brigades) and withdrew from the field of battle. An unexpected victory for the Austrians mainly due to the slowness or nervousness of the Prussian infantry who with a bit more aggression should have been able to shake off casualties from the Austrians and get into point blank range as quickly as possible to blast the enemy away with a few deadly volleys. 

Nevertheless, it was a tough game as the Prussians did well on the flanks, holding my cavalry at bay, but in the end the game was going to be decided by the Prussian infantry, i.e. could they destroy their Austrian counterparts before their flanks collapsed. This time the answer was no they couldn't.

So there ends the report of my last game of 2017. I hope everyone had a great Christmas and have a very happy, healthy and productive 2018!

Saturday 30 December 2017

Mollwitz tonight and the final game of 2017.

Peter asked to have a game over the weekend so I've chosen Mollwitz. Why? Well, I still had snow cloth and most of my Prussians on the table for post-battle repairs after Leuthen earlier this month as I hadn't had time or the energy to put them all away. Just as well as it turns out.

We will use Black Powder this evening as they're the set Peter is most used to, him being a very infrequent wargamer. It should also guarantee we get a result by the end of the evening. I've played Mollwitz a few times over the years, using both BP and Honours of War and its not always been a smooth ride by the Prussians to an historical outcome. The game is a (hopefully) finely-tuned balance between superior Prussian infantry facing decidedly uninspiring Austrian infantry, and numerically and qualitatively superior Austrian cavalry.

Terrain wise, apart from Mollwitz and a couple of other built up areas the cloth is completely open, on the basis that the roads, streams and marsh are all covered by deep snow and/or frozen solid.

I shall report back tomorrow.

Thursday 28 December 2017

Saxon Army of the War of the Austrian Succession And Seven Years War 2nd edition

This was a Christmas gift and what a great one! I already have the original edition but had hinted that I would like a copy of the revised edition, and hey presto! There is literally loads more information and many more illustrations so this is a MUST for any 18th century Saxon army aficionados. My Saxon army is already big enough with about 10 infantry battalions, 7 or 8 cavalry regiments and a couple of batteries of cannon but I guess I could always squeeze another unit or so into the ORBAT from my lead mountain. I might even get my Saxon Uhlans finished one day?  There are already some great figures available in 28mm such as Eureka and even Black Hussar, and later this year Can Tara will be releasing the start of a new range of Saxons, so just buy the book and enjoy it!

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Military Uniforms in the Netherlands 1752-1800

As the title suggests this volume covers the period from the middle of the 18th Century until the very beginning of the 19th. In English, it is copiously illustrated throughout in colour, from both the Jassenboeke (the Military Coats book) and the drawings of Duncan Macalester Loup. Of particular interest to me is the information relating to the Dutch army at the time of the War of the 1st Coalition against Revolutionary France and then that of the army of the Batavian Republic, primarily engaged in fighting the English and Russians in North Holland in 1799. Every corps and regiment in the Dutch/Batavian armies seems to be covered, the only thing lacking being information on the flags carried by the army of prior to the creation of the Batavian Republic. (However, I have that in hand thanks to my friend Jan of the Alde Garde Wargamers in the Netherlands). The book is a little pricey at €68 but it is (a) a must for anyone interested in this period in history, and (b) it is gorgeous. It can be purchased on line from the Dutch Army Museum website.

Monday 25 December 2017

Sikh Wars

I was very kindly given a copy of this book to review both here and on Amazon by Charles Singleton of Helion Books.  My interest in the Sikh Wars has always been bubbling away under the surface and I also have a bloody large almost finished pair of armies in 28mm that are my first 2018 project to complete. All the infantry and most of the artillery are done, and I just need to do some Sikh Irregular Gorchara armoured cavalry and Bengal Light Cavalry. And some generals etc.

Watch this space. Oh, and the book is excellent.

Sunday 24 December 2017

My Armies.

I have added another page to this blog (see above) entitled 'Fall In!!! - My Armies'. I plan to list the component units of each army within my collection, well once I've worked out how to link each entry to a full inventory or active units, i.e. fit to take to the table. I have almost scared myself silly putting just the basic list together, even if I have just sold all my ACW figures their passing hasn't made much of an impact on the troops' numbers! Eeek! 

Saturday 23 December 2017

A few additions

I've not been idle this last week and have managed to get some more figures out of the basing queue and into barracks.

I added to my generic gypsy band with the addition of three new dining girls courtesy of Stuart of Colonel Bills. I rebased these and the existing figures on a single base, which looks better I reckon.

Venedean Rebels to add to my French Revolutionary War collection, painted for me by Barry of the 'Like  a Stone Wall' group. The figures are a mixture of Trent and old Foundry. Very nice they look too. The flags are by The Flag Dude, acquired off Duncan Macfarlene. I have some more figures to finish basing up which will give me a nice little force to add another dimension to FRW games.

North Star 1672 civilians for my French/Dutch Wars project.
Another 1672 item, this time a Spanish cannon and crew painted by Mark Allen.
As are these Dutch gunners and cannon.

I hope to post some more photos before Christmas and do a roundup of the year's ups and downs before the end of the month.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a healthy and peaceful 2018.

Thursday 14 December 2017

New Man Cave Update

Very little left to do now. Decorating to finish. Shelving, cabinets etc to fit. New table top to make to install over my existing table when it is moved in. Flooring to lay. Lights and blinds. None especially big jobs I am assured. Obviously I am very pleased with progress and we should be moved and operational in February, weather permitting. Of course the rest of the house needs to be finished as well!

Monday 11 December 2017

New FRW additions to the ranks.

I've spent a fair bit of time tidying up and getting ready for 'the move' recently. In doing so I 'found' or rediscovered these two infantry battalions which I have finished basing today. The figures are the old Foundry/Casting Room Miniatures FRW/Early Napoleonic Austrians purchased in one of their sales events ages ago, then painted and based but not finished. Well here they are.  A battalion each of as yet unnamed 'German' and 'Hungarian' infantry with glorious flags by Adolfo Ramos.

Next is a regiment of emigre hussars painted for me by my mate Shaun Bryant. They are Elite Miniatures Austrian FRW hussars painted up as the Beon Legion. Very nice they are too.

The Last Ironsides. The English Expedition to Portugal 1662-68

This is a campaign I was vaguely aware of but hadn’t really delved I to, despite being very interested in the Reformation period. The book brings to life the contextual and background, the preparations for the campaign, the people (including personalities who had made a name for themselves in Britain’s civil wars and the Commonwealth, or were to do so later under William of Orange), the logistical problems on campaign and the complicated social and political issues in such a way that , like the book I read about glue recently it was difficult to put down. What to do with the former New Model Army? The book describes the solution arrived at by Charles II. The amount of detail and information within these pages is impressive and very well referenced with some useful maps, especially for any wargamers interested in something different. The book is very readable, riveting in fact, and the narrative flows, and imho is what brings this rather (very?) obscure but dramatic period in British military history out of obscurity, at least for me. Highly recommended. Available from Helion Publishing.

Thursday 7 December 2017

Leuthen 260th Anniversary: The game.

Conrad, Dave and Paul came up for the game yesterday. For once I decided to play. Dave reprised his role from the last time he fought this game as Frederick, while I was von Zeithen. Conrad (Charles of Lorraine) and Paul (Serbellini) were the Austro-Imperial army, vainly (I hoped) rushing to stem the Prussian onslaught.

It started well, with the Austrians miraculously winning the initiative in turn 1. This enabled the Reichsarmee contingent to withdraw in front of the Prussian right wing cavalry and the infantry of the advance guard. In previous games the Austrians have normally used the Reichs troops as a series of speed bumps to wear down the Prussians before the Austrian cavalry arrived to counter attack. Not this time thankfully.

The Prussian advance guard, two battalions of grenadiers and a 12pdr battery.  They advanced obliquely to the right in order to make space for the rest of the Prussian infantry.
The Reichs brigade has pulled back and the Prussian advance guard is closing  in on them.
The Reichs battalions were mostly carrying casualties from earlier fighting that forced their withdrawal. Paul found it impossible to get far enough away from the Prussians to rally any of these off.
Prussian grenadiers advancing on Rot Wurzberg holding the iconic churchyard.
The Reichs troops were slowed down by the edge of Leuthen allowing the Prussians to  start taking a few ineffective pot shots with their cannon. 
Anhalt-Dessau's command on the right with the final Prussian command under Forcade de Baix on the left. Both units of Prussian hussars were trying to avoid long range fire from Austrian guns on Windmill Hill.
Zeithen's wing of cavalry, five regiments of cuirassiers, three of dragoons and two of hussars begins their advance. Cavalry combat is quite bloody in Honours of War, and when the two sides clashed several Prussian and Austrian regiments were destroyed or forced to retreat. The Prussians got the better of it though.
Shooting was pretty ineffective against the troops in the church so I rashly charged, surviving closing fire but being broken in the melee.
The remains of the Prussian right wing have driven the surviving Austrian cavalry to the table's edge. The Austrian dragoons had been hemmed in by retreating Reichsarmee troops so had been unable to engage, and were now angled back to face the reformed Prussians. The Austrians weren't helped by two of their commanders (those of the dragoon brigade and the Reichsarmee) being killed in the same turn when Dave threw two double sixes in succession!
The Prussian centre and right, with columns of Austrian cavalry looming menacingly in the distance.
The view along the Prussian line.
Paul's dragoons were boxed on at the table edge and under fire from Prussian artillery.
The predicament of the Austrian dragoons is clear. The Reichsarmee battalions have taken a battering and been ejected from the edge of the town, which is now occupied by a battalion of Prussian grenadiers.
The Prussian Guard face the Rot Wurtzbergers in the church but are forced to withdraw under heavy fire.
A seething mass of infantry log jammed in the village.
Conrad's cavalry on the Austrian right.

The Austrian hussars were very effective at soaking up the attention the Prussian artillery. One regiment was eventually forced to retreat and the other was driven off by the Prussian hussars.
The second climactic cavalry melee on the Prussian right saw Paul's Austrians overwhelmed.

The remnants of the Austrian left with the flank of the infantry hanging dangerously in the air. Dave three another double six, killing the Austrian commander of the garrison of Leuthen.
Dave's reserve cavalry hiding on our left emerged from behind the hills and engaged Conrad's cuirassiers. They gained the upper hand and despite loosing a couple of units that were driven off broke or pushed back several Austrians and Reichsarmee cuirassiers and dragoons.
The final turn saw the Prussian hussars hit the exposed Reichsarmee battalion in the flank and destroy them. They pursued down the main street and were poised to hit the Austrian battalions in the flank when we called it  a day.

At this point the Austrians conceded defeat. Their left was gone and the right was crumbling but just about hanging on. The centre was in serious danger of being rolled up as the Prussians were in a position to shift their infantry quickly and exploit the success of the cavalry.

So, a Prussian victory in what was a very hard game. For once the Prussians were able to use the superior qualities of their infantry to good effect. Their cavalry also did far better than I had expected especially as they were outclassed and outnumbered by the Austrians. The Prussian artillery, while quite effective, did not dominate the battlefield as much as in several previous games. The poor Reichsarmee contingent was more of a hindrance than a help in this refight. They might have been better used to slow down the Prussian cavalry by forcing them to charge in order to clear them out of the way. As it was they were unable to rally off any hits and got in the way of the eight regiments of Austrian cuirassiers and dragoons that appeared behind them on turns two and three.

A great game with excellent company who played the period rather than the rules. Thank you.