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Monday, 20 June 2016

Something Completely Different: French and Indian Wars Woodland Indians

Far removed from my normal Napoleonics I've been interested in the French and Indian Wars, and to that end I've been painting up a warband of Woodland Indians.

I'm not used to painting 28mm figures, but these Perry sculpts are very nice and I think the overall effect of my first band of Indians looks quite good.


Another 30 Indians and I'll have quite the force for Muskets and Tomahawks, I may even move on to a British Force to combat them.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Blucher AAR - French vs Spanish 250 Points

I played a game of Blucher down at my local club on Friday, a pick up game between my French and my opponent's Spanish at 250 points. This was the first outing for my Cuirassiers and Polish troops, and also the first outing for my opponents Spanish army, so we were both eager for good results from these troops who had only seen action on the painting table to this point!

Both armies were I think extremely typical choices for the points bracket and conformed roughly to these lists;
French (Break point 7)
6 Line Infantry with attached artillery,
3 Polish Infantry,
1 Allied Infantry,
2 Cuirassiers,
3 Dragoons,
2 Polish Cavalry,
2 Light Cavalrty,
2 Massed Artillery Units.

Spanish (Break point 10)
4 Guards (1 with attached artillery),
10 Regular Infantry,
6 Provincial Infantry,
4 Heavy Cavalry,
3 Light Cavalry,
2 Irregular Cavalry,
2 Massed Artillery Units
4 Entrenchments.

As you can see the Spanish have a considerable advantage in numbers, 31 units to 21, but have a real lack of quality to make up for it. We rolled up very few terrain pieces which resulted in a rather open battlefield, perfect for my heavy cavalry. The Spaniards chose to defend, even without the advantage of a lot of terrain, in the hopes that their large numbers of infantry behind barricades would be able to hold off the more experienced French troops.

I have a few photos of the game which show the general shake up of the battle,

On my French left flank my smaller corps of infantry have advanced to threaten the Spanish infantry on the left, stretched between the objective in the wood and the urban area on the right of the image. As it turned out none of these units on either side would move again for the remainder of the battle as both commanders focused their attention on the other flank and the centre. The French infantry are supported by a single unit of light cavalry just off camera to the left who have forced the Spanish infantry barely visible behind the wood into square.
The 3 units of hidden Spaniards behind the woods are reserve infantry who would be drawn from this position into the centre as combat escalated there.
French Dragoons and Polish Lancers reorganise in the space to the right of the hill that dominated the centre of the battlefield having wiped out a unit of Spanish Heavy Cavalry who had been drawn in too far by their Impetuous trait. Spanish regulars and Guards warily form up into squares in order to ward off the threat posed by these shock cavalry. Unrevealed at the back right of this image were 3 Spanish Heavy Cavalry and 1 Spanish Light Cavalry sit in front of the second objective being defended by the Spaniards and 2 Militia Cavalry can be seen falling back in the face of the French Cuirassiers who are advancing on the far right.

In the direct centre French and Polish infantry advance on the Spaniards lined up between the urban area and hill seen in the previous images whilst French light Cavalry and German allies lurk on the reverse side of the hill threatening to run down any Spanish infantry who might attempt to pressure the French infantry from said hill. Initial skirmish fire was rather ineffective from both sides, however eventually French superiority began to tell with significant damage being dealt to the Spanish line. The unit of French Ligne on the left of this attacking line (number 9) especially began to deal heavy damage to the unit of infantry in the barricades opposite them, routing one unit and then dealing heavy damage to the unit of Grenadiers sent to fill the gap.

Spanish Militia and Light cavalry support is not enough to worry the French cavalry between the centre and the impassable terrain which split the right flank. The  French cavalry have managed to organise themselves into a threatening formation which had forced most of the Spanish infantry into defensive formations and prevented them from moving to take the pressure off of the Spanish centre.
Previously mentioned the 2 units of Cuirassiers, the cream of the French army, have been fighting off 3 units of Spanish Heavy cavalry  and one of Militia cavalry and had been largely getting the better of the combat despite the wearing down of their strength. A unit of French Dragoons and a unit of Spanish Light cavalry were at this point both moving from the centre right to try and gain the upper hand on this front, however it was too late at this point for the Spanish cavalry who would soon find themselves with all of their cavalry spent and routed.

After several turns there are large gaps in the Spanish centre, both the effect of effective French skirmishing and a decisive charge by Polish infantry who had resisted a charge from Spanish Light Cavalry and then assaulted and destroyed a massed battery of Spanish guns. These Poles were however unable to extricate themselves and were soon overwhelmed by the second line of Spaniards who can be seen ready to advance into the gaps left in the front line.

On the far right flank it is clear that whilst the French cavalry committed here are exhausted the Spanish cavalry wing has ceased to exist. The Spanish cavalry shown charging down and breaking the extremely weak Cuirassiers would in turn be charged in the rear by the half strength unit of French Dragoons and routed off the table, leaving the Spanish army with no ability to cover itself from the French Dragoons on the centre right who would soon be released into the space behind the Spanish line threatening a number of  weakened units attempting to rally back their strength.

In the centre the second line of Spanish infantry have been mostly slowed down in their advance by a unit of French infantry who had launched their own counter assault across the Spanish entrenchments. This unit of French would be routed, but not before effectively blunting the Spanish attempts to push hard through the centre. On the hill Spanish infantry took heavy casualties under assault from the German infantry and French Light cavalry but were able to maintain their foothold for the time being. 

This shot shows the position at the end of the game. At the bottom it is clear exactly how little has occurred in this sector, a great number of units remaining unengaged by both sides. At the top of the screen 2 units of French Dragoons can be seen pressuring the Spanish infantry hard from the rear with the remaining Spanish Militia cavalry unable to fend them off effectively. On the hill Polish infantry have been able to dislodge the Spanish infantry who had taken up positions there.
In the very centre the French infantry have been pushed back by the Spanish reserves, however Polish lancers brought in from the centre right were able to break the final unit of Spaniards required to push them over their army breaking point and bring the game to an end.

In all a very enjoyable game ending with the breaking of the Spanish army and 4 French units broken towards their break point of 7. The Spanish armies inferior artillery and lack of access to any units with a bonus to ranged combat really showed in this game as they were consistently unable to make an impact on the long ranged firefight in the centre. The Spanish cavalry had attempted to isolate and break the expensive French Cuirassiers whilst they were on their on the right flank, however their lack of any shock trait and a lack of convincing dice rolls meant they were unable to really make an impact before the supporting Dragoons arrived to mop up the remainders of the Spanish cavalry contingent. As well as this the large Spanish army was unable to coordinate it all due to the restrictive nature of Blucher's command and control mechanics which meant that actually overwhelming the outnumbered French infantry was difficult.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Volley! 2016 at Farnborough - March

Today saw the Farnborough Wargames Society play host to a Blucher tournament Volley!, the follow up to November's tournament.

16 people attended plus the organizer, Lance, and I'm confident everyone had a great day out for which Lance should be congratulated!

The competition was 200 points, relatively small, so that 3 games could fit into one day of action.

I took photos of my own games as the French and also of other people's games and I hope you enjoy them!

Game 1 - Russ's Russians

I didn't get a lot of photos of this game, and even fewer came out decent but this battle saw my French defending against my opponents numerically superior army, 25 Russian units to 17 French.

In the centre of the field during the middle third of the match, French infantry and Russians stare each other down under the watchful eye of the French Dragoons.

Some plucky Russian Infantry had managed to get behind my lines, and onto the objective on the hill! Fortunately my infantry were able to return and oust them from this position.
This first game ended with 6 Russian units broken (break point 7) to 4 French (break point 5) in an extremely close and bloody encounter. Fortunately I was in possession of all 3 victory points and so scraped a close 16-14 victory.

Game 2 - Ray's British

My second game featured Ray who's British army afforded me the rare opportunity to outnumber my opponent, even if only by 1 unit. I was nominally the defender in this game but the game rapidly devolved into a desperate struggle over VPs in both deployment zones.


Early on in the game the British army is pushing hard on my refused right flank with 3 quarters of it's number. My I Corps is making it's slow march towards the British troops still defending their own VP whilst light cavalry from both sides prowl the centre looking to disrupt the enemy advance.

After a few cagey turns sizing each other up the British launch into a full assault on the French positions with reasonable success. In the middle by the ploughed field a fresh unit of British infantry is wiped out in a single combat by French Dragoons, a fantastic early result for my army. to the top of the picture my I Corps continues it's long march towards the British reserves.

A couple of turns from the end of the game the situation for the French in the bottom of the image is rapidly deteriorating, but they are still able to bloody the British noses. At the top of the image the fresh I Corps are starting to take the upper hand against the outnumbered British defenders.

The finished game. The French positions has completely collapsed  at the bottom, however the British have been smashed  just as hard around their own Victory Point. 
I entered the final turn of this game with 4 broken units to only 2 British however I was able to break 3; a heavily battered unit in the ploughed fields by Dragoons, a unit of infantry in the forest holding the British VP by French Line, and a Spanish Cavalry unit with accurate long range artillery fire, to ensure I won yet another nail-biting game 16-14.


Game 3 - Colin's Russians

In my final game of the tournament I came up against Colin's Russians, the winners of Volley! 2015. Once again I was able to secure the role as defender in the hopes of forcing Colin's larger army to come to me on my terms.

Early on in the game Colin's Cossaks signal their intent by looking to sweep by my right flank. The Hussars to the left of my line of cavalry were able to resist a charge from Colin's Cuirassiers, a great surprise but typical of my cavalry who had performed excellently all day.

The Infantry stare at each other in the centre of the field, Colin's artillery having good success targeting the elite units of the French army.

My cavalry continued their great success, Dragoons and Hussars combining to wipe out the Russian Cuirassiers on the right flank, whilst also charging and destroying a unit of Russian artillery. This forced the Russian infantry to hole up into squares and halt their advance.

My cavalry returned from their charge to take up position on the hill, not willing to stay too close to the Russian ranged fire or the still remaining fresh Cuirassiers in the centre. Colin's infantry in this time took the opportunity to advance against the French infantry.

I don't have any photos between the last one, and this final shot of the game. The Russian Cuirassiers and Cossacks had got together to smash my weakened cavalry on the right flank and the Russian Guards had smashed a hole in the French centre.
This game was far from decided when time was called at the end of the day, the situation on the right flank was becoming quite desperate for my cavalry who were being worn down by the quality of the Russian Cuirassiers and the numbers of the Cossacks. Despite this the Russian Guards had lost their impetus at this point and most of the Russian Infantry which remained in the centre were Militia and regulars with strengths of 2 and 3 ready to be broken by my fresh I Corps entering the fray from the left.
As it was we finished the game with 2 units broken apiece and a score of 15-15, a very close fought game!


Other Games
During the day both myself and Lance were able to take some photos of games other than my own which were in play so I will upload those as well and hopefully labeled correctly;

Round 1
Austrian v French

British v French

French v Russian

French v Prussian

Russian v French

Russian v Ottoman
Round 2


Prussian v French

Russian v French

Round 3
British v Ottoman

French v Austrian

French v British

French v Russian

Prussian v French


Summary
With that we reach the end of the images taken during the day from me. My French managed a respectable mid table position with a respectable brace of close fought really fun games. I'd really like to thank Lance for organizing the event, and my opponents who made all three of the games both very interesting and a load of fun to play.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

250 Point Blucher Battle Report - Austrians vs French


Last Friday I played a 250 point game of Blucher, my French vs Austrians. My mostly veteran French army was significantly outnumbered by it's Austrian counterpart which was comprised mostly of conscripts with a core of elite troops.

Break points for the 2 armies were 6 for my French and 8 for the Austrians.



 The deployment in the centre of the field, the Austrians are deployed in three large chunks whilst my French are deployed mostly in a long line with 2 small groups of mobile reserves.

The Austrian first thrust is sent between the urban areas and the forest and is met by French cavalry and allied German Infantry. Horse Artillery also closes in to punish the Austrian infantry who faced with cavalry will have to form square.

Whilst more Austrian Infantry move up on the other side of the urban area to engage the main French line the Austrians in the gap are pushed back, but not without dealing heavy damage to the French Chevaux-Legers.

The very central advance of Austrians has got in range of the main French line now, the French have much better of the initial skirmishes due to their supremacy in this department.

In the background the right flank of the Austrian army prepares to swing in on the French left flank, threatening to stretch the limits of the smaller French army. In the foreground the French continue to take their toll on the Austrians at close range.

On the other flank a stalemate begins which would remain largely unchanged for the rest of the game, mostly featuring long range bombardments of artillery.

The Austrian right flank finally lands on the French left, Austrian Cuirassiers trading blows with the French Dragoons but the Austrian Chevaux-Legers fare much worse, being repulsed with heavy losses.

An overview of the battle at this key point, the disparity in the number of Austrian Infantry is apparent, but at this point 3 Austrian units have been broken to 0 French. Austrian numbers are going to need to start making a large dent in the French lines soon in order to take back control of the game.

The battle towards the right flank continues at a slightly lower ebb, with heavily weakened units from both armies falling back towards the rear .

The far right objective remains under no pressure. These units would be far more useful in the centre for the French than for the Austrians.
 
French units slowly try to move behind the line to reinforce the heavily outnumbered left flank.

The Austrian General looks on at the cavalry stalemate in the gap, both sides are extremely thinned out by this point.

Austrian Cuirassiers have dislodged the French cannon on the hill, forcing the French reinforcements behind the ridge into immobile squares. The elite infantry on the French left would continue to punish the Austrian infantry, but now had no hope of reinforcement. 

By this point the right flank Austrian cavalry have been replused, 2 Cuirassier units, one Chevaux-Legers routed, and 1 light Hussars reduced to 1 strength point for the loss of 2 French Dragoons and 1 French Chevaux-Legers, 1 unit of French Dragoons was able to break into the Austrian rear lines, threatening weakened infantry who had been moved out of the action. 


towards the end of the battle the Austrian attack in the French centre had finally collapsed the entire lot. By this point the French Break point of 6 has been reached, with the help of some Austrian Cavalry on their left flank finally breaking the deadlock to rout some weak French artillery.

The French had one last chance to force a mutual break, but were stopped short at 7 Austrian units, with the Dragoons which can be seen in the backfield routing a very weak unit of infantry.

In this final image we can see the final body count.
Austrian Losses came in at; 2 Cuirassiers, 1 Chevaux-Legers, 2 Veteran Infantry, 1 Conscript Infantry, and a massed battery of Heavy Guns (7/8).
French Losses were; 2 Dragoons, 1 Chevaux-Legers, 1 Line Infantry, 1 Allied Infantry, and a massed battery of Medium Guns (6/6).

Overall the game was extremely close, a 14/16 loss for my French boys under the clubs scoring rules, and could have gone either way up until the very end where my opponent managed to prevent my reinforcements from reaching the left flank whilst also keeping the pressure up so that the units trapped there could not simply get away from danger.