Tuesday 11 June 2019

The Battle of Champagne Farm. A 42mm Franco-Prussian game.

John the Red came over last night for a game. For a change, and to give their first outing under their new management I set up a Franco-Prussian War game using my 42mm collection. I bought these off Graham Cummings who was selling them on behalf of the widow of one of his long-time wargaming friends.

The scenario was simple. Both sides needed to gain control of the three bridges across the river, the French to safeguard their flank and the Prussians to threaten said flank of the main French army.  The bridge on the extreme Prussian right was a wooden one in a state of disrepair. On reaching the bridge whoever did so would have to throw a dice to see if it was ok to use, in need of several turns' repair work or totally dilapidated and unusable. The French had two brigades of infantry (11 btns) a brigade of cavalry (3 rgts) supported by two cannon and a mitrailleuse. The Prussians had two brigades of Prussian infantry (9 btns), a brigade of cavalry (3 regts) supported by 4 guns. and a brigade of Bavarians (5 btns) with a gun and two regts of cavalry attached.

We used suitably modified Black Powder 2 to try and reflect the period in terms of weapon effectiveness and tactics.

John took the French and I had the Germanic hoards. As usual I will let the dodgy photos taken during the game tell the story of how the battle panned out.

The Prussians advancing from the right. Champagne Farm on the left.
Chasseurs in the vineyard adjacent to Champagne Farm.
The Prussian 1st Bde on my left.
The rather less than enthusiastic Bavarians
I miscalculated and my bold move to advance my artillery to be in a position to pound the French from close range failed, leaving them in a very vulnerable position. One gun is quickly disordered and the other takes a hit.
The Prussians on the left advance.
The exposed position of the Prussian artillery. Sitting ducks!
A Zouave battalion on the French left.
My Prussian cavalry brigade on the extreme right. They were supposed to cross the river  and pin the French while I attacked in the centre.
John launched a furious attack over the bridge to try and take out my artillery.  Thankfully the French column didn't quite make it, leaving two battalions stuck on the bridge.
The Prussian cavalry advance towards the righthand and possibly usable bridge.
French cavalry on their left.
The French left.
The creme de la creme of the French cavalry

The Prussian 2nd brigade advances in the centre.
The Bavarians are also advancing through fields of largely standing crops.
On the left two of my battalions had crossed the river but had suffered from French fire. John threw his flank guard at my disordered battalion but in the melee the outcome was a draw, both units being shaken and requiring a break test. Both withdrew as a result, the French in better order.
Zouaves and Chasseurs on the French left advance to the riverbank.

In the centre the Bavarian cuirassier (Austrians standing in) break under long range Mitrailleuse and Chassepot fire.
The Prussians in the centre cross the river under heavy fire. The brigade of four battalions tried to drive the French away from the hedgerows but are shot down, one battalion breaking.
Back on the Prussian left the French are broken.
Sadly the Prussians also suffer reverses, a battalion facing Champagne Farm breaks back across the river.
In the centre another Prussian battalion covering the retreat of the brigade is broken. The remaining units are already shaken and the remnants of the brigade had to retreat.
The French hurling insults and blowing raspberries at the Prussians.
The mitrailleuse and cannon on the French left were very effective in helping pin the  Bavarians across the river.
A battalion of La Garde defending the orchard.
The Zouaves crossed the river supported by the Turco battalion.
The Bavarians were quite happy to remain in the fields safe behind the hedges.
John pushed his cavalry up the the river's edge, supported by a battalion of Chasseursthus blocking any opportunity I might have had for crossing. 
The situation at the end of the game. The Prussians had been held all along the line.
 So that was it. A French victory no less. Had I been less cavalier in the use of my artillery I wouldn't have thrown away my sole advantage over the French. I really should have known better. Nevertheless the game was played 'in period' so my Prussian bull-headedness ensured my attack in the centre was shot to pieces. The timid Bavarians did well against the best of the French army and my cavalry covered themselves in glory by retreating in the face of long range Chassepot fire.

What a great little game played in good spirit and to the period and not to the rules. BP2 (with my amendments) worked really well and I look forward to getting these figures on the table again. Maybe the Austrians next time? I may even paint up some more from the big box of unpainted figures I also received as part of the purchase.


  1. A new period and scale! What's not to like? I look forward to seeing these in action again!

    1. Thanks David. The scale is new but the period is not as I already have zillions of FPW in 28mm!

  2. Very very old School looking figures on modern scenery. It's nice to see you happy with the result.

    Nevertheless I hope to see your SYW-armies in Action again.


    1. Yes, I'm happy with the way it looks. As for the SYW, you will have to wait until I have finished my French army.

    2. Wow, the French army? Great News!


  3. Very nostalgic. H.G would be proud of you.

  4. Nice looking game, and a tremendous set of figures.

  5. A lovely looking game... and toys.

    This pretty much ticks all the boxes for me...

    All the best. Aly

  6. A lovely collection of figures and a great looking game. 42mm. Mmm. Perhaps that is the best scale ? 😉

  7. Looks great - reminds me I have a bunch of 42mm lingering in a box somewhere... but I'm stuck prioritizing the "more realistic" 15mm FPW Armies and rules! Alex