Tuesday 30 May 2017

Mollwitz - a fast game and speedy conclusion.

It seems like a long time since I've had my 28mm Prussians and Austrians on the table, so with Conrad Cairns and Dave Jarvis coming up for a game today I thought it'd be a good battle to fight. I've played Mollwitz a couple of times over the years, indeed it was the first game I played using Black Powder when they were first published. Remarkably the Prussians lost on that occasion (or maybe unremarkably given that we didn't know the rules and  were unaware that in BP cavalry have a good chance of breaking formed infantry from the front). The next time the Prussians won convincingly, using Honours of War, the set we used today.

Mollwitz is a battle with problems and opportunities for both armies. For the Austrians its a race against time for them to crush the Prussian cavalry on both flanks quickly before turning on the infantry in the centre. For the Prussians they need to hold back the far superior Austrian cavalry to give their infantry in the centre time to close with and dispose of the Austrian infantry. With the exception of the hussars on both sides who were inferior, all the  Austrian horsemen were classed as superior and all the Prussians as standard. The Austrian infantry was a mix (50:50) of standard and inferior battalions to reflect the large number of recruits present, while the Prussian infantry were all superior. None of the Austrians had battalion guns present, although what artillery they did have once it arrived, were classed as superior for firing.

Conrad wanted to be von Nieppberg in command of the Austrians so Dave took command of the Prussians as Frederick assisted by me.  The roads, marshes and stream are there purely for show as the ground was frozen and covered in snow up to 2 feet deep in places.

 The armies deployed for battle. What can't be seen off to the top right is von Romer's Austrian cavalry, waiting to sweep away the Prussian right wing.
 The centre of the Austrian line, eight battalions of infantry screened by some hussars of dubious value.
 The aforesaid cavalry of von Romer.
 Facing von Romer's cavalry was a much weaker Prussian force, stiffened by a battalion of grenadiers.
 In turn 1 Conrad threw a 5 and got two moves with the dashing von Romer's command, which formed column of regiments and steamrollered towards the waiting Prussians who gamely charged. The result was never in doubt and the Prussians were forced to retreat, closely pursued by the weakened Austrians.
 The Austrian centre remained immobile as the Prussians very slowly advanced thanks to some unlucky command rolls by both Dave and I.
 Von Romer's cavalry crashed into the rallying Prussian dragoons and drove them off the field, unfortunately following them off table for a couple of turns.
 Conrad's cavalry continued their assault and hit the second regiment of Prussian dragoons, breaking them easily! So far so good for the Austrians and pretty much as expected.

 The Austrian hussars seemed happy to stand in the middle of the battle field while the Prussian artillery took the odd pot shot at them!
 Meanwhile on the other flank the Austrians had beaten the first line of Prussian cavalry, destroying one regiment of dragoons and forcing a regiment of cuirassiers to retire.
 Historically, Frederick was advised by Marshal von Schwerin to leave the battlefield on the collapse of the Prussian right. To represent this, once three Prussian units had been broken Frederick had to throw anything but a 1, with a further minus 1 per extra unit broken. Dave threw a 2, minus 1 for an extra broken unit, so Frederick left the field in haste.  This was actually good for the Prussians as von Schwerin took over and he was classed as a better commander than the young King.
 The victorious Austrian left wing cavalry reformed but was unwilling to risk attacking the Prussians who had turn to face them.

  The remains of the Prussian right supported by a further battalion of grenadiers and a battery of artillery.
                      The Prussian front line closes to musket range and opens fire, creating a growing number of casualties on the Austrians.
 Over on the Austrian right, the Prussians had pushed their hussars into contact in order to slow the Austrian advance, while one battalion from the front line had been held back to cover the exposed flank. The Prussians were driven back but the Austrians didn't pursue. A succession of poor command rolls for both sides plus the effect of Prussian musketry on the Austrian cavalry meant that the action on this flank ground to a halt for a while.
 The Prussians in the centre are poised to close with the Austrian centre.
 A lucky cannonball hit the Austrian Commander in Chief and he was bowled out of the saddle minus his head. Amazingly his headless corpse managed to avoid spilling a drop of the wine it was holding!

 The Austrian 3pdrs have finally deployed, making the task of dislodging the Austrian infantry just that little bit harder.
 Dave closed the range to point blank an won the fire initiative, and one crashing volley down the line saw the entire Austrian first line destroyed or forced to retreat in confusion. In return, the Austrians caused few casualties on the Prussians except for their artillery that forced the Prussian Garde to withdraw,
 The extreme right of the Austrian infantry.

 On the Prussian right the line had been reformed and any thoughts of rolling up the Prussians were quickly banished from the mind of the Austrian cavalry commander.
 The Austrian second line was about to be engaged by the Prussian centre.

 The Austrian second line about to dissolve in front of the Prussian advance. Two battalions sought refuge in the town while another was broken.
 Von Schwerin (centre) urging his men on to victory.
 A lone Austrian battalion on the right/centre, exposed and out of command.
 The Prussian flank guard.
 A period of inertia set in on the Austrian right flank with neither side either willing or able to advance.

 The lone surviving Austrian battalion in the centre.
Austrian 3pdrs. They did succeed in driving off the Prussian 'Garde' and another battalion that stepped up to replace them, but that was not enough to stem the Prussian advance. The late arrival of the other Austrian artillery meant that they didn't get a chance to deploy before the battle was lost.

Much to our surprise, we had reached a conclusion and it was only lunchtime!  The Austrian success on their left had not been as decisive as it needed to be, and the Austrian right was too focussed on destroying the Prussian cavalry before sweeping round onto the Prussian flank when it would have been quite possible to commit fewer troops to the former task and have sufficient left to execute the latter part of the plan. The Prussian centre had been slow to move off, but once they got into rage the effect of their superior musketry immediately began to tell, leaving the Austrian centre crushed and reeling in the smoke.

A cracking, fast-paced and enjoyable game (I hope). It went more or less according to history and it really was a race against time for the Austrians on the flanks and the Prussians in the centre, a race won this time by the Prussians.  But at least the Austrians had the pleasure of seeing the Prussian King gallop from the field of battle with his tail between his legs!

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Counting the cost.......my Partizan swag!

Actually, I made a small profit, due to the sale of a collection of unwanted painted figures, but we're probably talking pennies rather than pounds!

So, I collected a couple of painted figures off Mark Allen, namely a French Revolutionary War French commander with a couple of separate aides, and a vignette representing General Abercrombie at the time of the Helder Campaign in 1799. Gorgeous pieces as one would expect from Mark's talented hand and I am sure they'll both do well on the wargames table, but not at the same time of course!

I also acquired two painted Royal Navy longboats/landing boats complete with crews off Grubby Tanks (they own the old Britannia range of 28mm figures) to kick start my requirements for staging the landings at Callantsoog by the British in 1799. I just have to paint the other four I had already purchased!

I had wanted to buy another squadron each of light dragoons and heavy dragoons off Duncan at Trent but someone had already cleaned him out by the time I got there. They're on back order and I should get them by the weekend. Then there are two cornfields off The Treefellas. They look great and will fit in nicely with my other bit of zig-zag fencing purchased off them via eBay last year.
I can never avoid dropping in on Caliver and ended up purchasing a new book by Digby Smith on the French and Prussian armies during the period 1805-06. Finally, I bought a signed novel off Harry Sidebottom and had a nice long chat with him too.

No more shows for me now for a while. I doubt I shall make it to Durham as we're just back off holiday, but August could be another busy month with accommodation for  Claymore and The Other Partizan already booked. The end of June will see the advent of a special treat but more of that nearer the time.

After my trip this weekend I have also decided that I will scrub Salute off my list of shows to visit in the future as there's much better things to see closer to home and at a lesser cost to the purse just to get there.

Sunday 21 May 2017

Partizan - Part, the Second.

As promised here are the rest of my photos from Partizan. Again some really good games on display. Overall I have to say that the show more than met my expectations and it has been the highlight so far this year of my visits to similar events. The food also met my very low expectations but thats not the fault of the organisers ;-)
First up is an ECW game depicting the Battle of Cropredy Bridge by the Burton and District lads.

Next, the Battle of Edgehill in 12mm by Simon Millar. The figures looked great, my only comment would be that the table could have done with being a little brighter and it was a bit cluttered. Very appealing game though.

The Battle of Opey Wood, 1917. Another very visually pleasing game.
 Great Yarmouth's Laundry Wars, with armies made of clothes pegs. It looked great and the detail on the 'figures' was great. 

 The League of Augsburg put on another stunning Great Northern War game, and unlike last week at Falkirk Barry remembered to bring the Russian pikemen bases!
 Great War Miniatures (Aly Morrison et al) put on this terrific Battle of Cambrai game. 
 A massive 15mm Napoleonic using the just released General d'Armee rules by Dave Brown. I have a set of the rules and am looking forward to trying them out.
 Another game using teddy bear fur put on by the League of Gentlemen Alchemists, a battle from the War of Spanish Succession. The fur looked good, the figures were very pretty but I just loved the town. It was an imposing centre piece for the game. A small lone teddy bear was in attendance allegedly to confirm that none of his family had been harmed in the creation of the game, but I'm nt sure, as why would Mummy Bear and Daddy Bear let Baby Bear out at such a busy and dangerous event? Where were they? Maybe they were there......in a manner of speaking....?
 A modern game set in 1973 between invading Soviets and West German and Dutch NATO forces.

 The Kokoda trail, New Guinea 1942. There are some Japanese in there somewhere. (Like a Stone Wall Group).
 Swedes versus Poles in 1627 at the Battle of somewhere unpronounceable in Poland. It was a real battle that iirc was fought over a few days in and around a vast marsh with just the odd causeway crossing it.

I'm not sure who put this rather large and splendid looking 15mm Franco Prussian War game. 

Finally a very busy looking A Very British Civil War game.

By now I had run out of time and energy. I didn't get pictures of all the demo games and none of the participation games simply for this reason. It is no reflection on any of them.

I know I spent a great deal of time taking to friends and acquaintances. John, Neil and Robbie from home, Duncan Macfarlane, Graham Cummings, Mark Dudley, Mark Allen, Paul Robinson, Dave Hall, Andy McMaster, David Bickley, Shaun Bryant, Garry Philips, Angus Konstam, Ally Morrison, Barry Hilton and Harry Sidebottom to name but a few. Apologies if I've missed anyone.

Tomorrow I shall put some pictures up of my 'swag' from the show, but I hope I helped swell the coffers of Caliver, Trent and Grubby Miniatures to name but a few if only in a small way.