Welcome to my wargaming blog,
I'm Dave and live in Morpeth, Northumberland in the UK.
This may or may not be a regular thing, we'll just have to see how it goes.

I am a painter/collector of figures first and a wargamer second. My thrill in this great hobby of ours is to place that final well researched & painted unit into the cabinet. The actual gaming with the figures is an important but secondary experience, we all like to win, but it isn't the be all and end all of it, being with good friends and having fun is.
Hope you will enjoy reading this blog as much as I will writing in it.
Just to remind the visitor to scroll down the various pages and click on 'older posts' to see more.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

A close run thing. Sharp Practice 1795

Neal and I met up for our usual Tuesday night game, this time it was another round of French Revolutionary War Sharp Practice with Neal taking the sneaky Republican French while I assumed command of the gallant Austrian forces, no biased here!
As it was 1795 the French were a little better than in previous games having fairly steady line infantry (controlled volley for the first shot only) and good light infantry in the form of two groups of Legere skirmishers while the Austrians had their usual solid line with two groups of third line skirmishers, not as good as their French counterparts.
As you good people can see from this view of the table early in the game it was a pretty straight forward encounter engagement the objective being to capture the enemies deployment point (the Austrian one is next to the road running off the table to the right of the photo) and/or beat seven kinds of doo doo out of the opposition, fairly straight forward there then!

As can be seen above Neal as the French commander was very sensible in keeping his four main groups of line infantry held back together as one formation covering the wheat field whilst at the same time pushing on with his light infantry to harry the more ponderous Austrians. Muggins here split his Austrian line into two formations, lining the fence/hedge with one lot and trying a dastardly flanking manoeuvre with the rest. Needless to say this did not initially pay off as the dopey Oberleutnant Wagner decided to get himself lost (Bad Things Happen table) and was considerably delayed.

The Austrian main force under Haupman Von Trump, Trump by name and trump by nature (a rather flatulent old captain) with his trusty Stabsfeldwebel Gruber, lining the hedge with a skirmish group lead by Korpral Hackle the midget in support. Korpral Hackle you will note is a Foundry figure and somewhat vertically challenged compared to his other men, small but tough. Their French opponents are shown in the last picture.

After an initial bloody repulse by the gallant Austrian skirmishers the French light infantry can be seen advancing towards a very expensive looking bit of Flanders real estate which to their consternation they found thoroughly locked up whereupon they skirted the building to take on their Austrian foe.

The firefight between the two main bodies of line infantry begins, this was to prove to be a very viscous and bloody affair with heavy loss to both sides, who will prevail?

As this firefight was continuing Korpral Hackle the midget and his long legged mates rushed pell mell over the hedge, across the field and way past the French line infantry they were supposed to flank and shoot up. I got over the hedge ok but then forgot to designate were the skirmishers were going to stop, having thrown an prodigious dice roll the silly buggers just kept on going into enemy territory!
Oberleutnant Wagner meanwhile had finally found his way somewhere near the enemy when he promptly stood in dog shite, his status being reduced from a level two down to a level one leader. His men began to fire at the flank of the French line but the inconsiderate French went and moved forward. As the Austrians were firing uncontrolled the dozy buggers proceeded to keep firing into the smoke hitting nothing. What a wanker!

Neal, or Lieutenent Victor as he will now be known promptly detached his trusty side kick Sous Lieutenent Eiffel with eight men to cover his left flank while a group of French light infantry ran along the hedge and fired into the side of the hapless Oberleutnant Wagner's men. It wasn't looking great for the Austrians at this stage.

Next turn, Tiffin, first token out of the bag and it was the Tiffin token, Huzzar!. All units reloaded and dog shite removed from boots, Oberleutnant Wagner's that is! He had by this time been wounded by those pesky French light infantry so the unit could only be activated by using flags. One roll of the dice, back under control and the useless Austrian buggers proceeded to completely redeem themselves by blowing away the eight Frenchmen to their front, helped no doubt by the main formation firing into their flank and causing double shock.

If you are squeamish do not look at the next few photographs. The two main formations had been blowing rather large lumps out of each other for quite a while now, the range was getting longer as both units stepped back in the face of the hail of musket balls coming towards them.

Eventually the pressure had to tell fired on from the front and flank and the French main line broke up. With the small flanking force running and the light infantry falling back  Lieutenent Victor's men could take no more and Neal ran out of Force Moral points. The final photograph also shows the state of the main Austrian formation only just remaining under control but being split up themselves.

This was a fantastic game, Sharp Practice only seems to get better and better with each outing and both Neal and I had great fun playing. A close run thing indeed.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Making up the numbers, 28mm French line infantry.

Having somewhat sickened myself painting 10mm I felt that a change of scale was in order, so looking into the 28mm pile of unpainted figures I decided upon a box of Perry French 1812-15 plastic infantry. Now the last plastic infantry I did was a box of the original Vitrix which from memory you had so many parts that I'm sure I remember gluing the bollocks onto a couple of figures! So it was a relatively pleasant surprise to find that the figures could be assembled fairly easily.
Painting followed the standard procedure and the following unit is the result:

Next, well as I am particularly enjoying playing Sharp Practice and given the fact that there are some ready painted 15mm Franco Prussian figures doing nothing in particular I have decided to base them up for a game. We will see if I can stretch the range of these excellent rules to cover this period.

Monday, 22 April 2019

10mm WSS, Cutt's assault column, the game.

Having set out the troops for the assault on the village of Blenheim here we go with the refight. Now baring in mind that I have adapted David Browns General de Armee rules to the WSS period maybe I had go through the fairly small changes first.

1) Movement is movement in both periods though artillery can change formation or move making it that bit harder to manoeuvre them about.

2) Naturally all things skirmish have been removed.

3) Squares are still there (as they were at the time) but a discipline test must be taken to form if cavalry are within 25cm [15"] whereas in the Napoleonic set it was only 15cm [9"]. This forces the unit to change formation when the cavalry are that bit further away. It is of course more advisable to keep lines of infantry on either of the units flank thereby encouraging the linear tactics of this period.

4) British cavalry use the 'cold steel' rule vs the French caracole (pistol shot) cavalry, giving the British cavalry a +2 in the charge. The French have a limited fire capability before contact is made.

5) Infantry vs infantry, I made it more difficult for them to charge in as the brigade needs three ADCs to do so whereas in the Napoleonic version it only requires two. This means that it is very much more difficult to send a whole brigade into the assault, you must wear the enemy down by fire first, even then in the infantry charge results a unit is more likely to halt and fire rather than actually charge in. They can still do it but again I tried to make firepower more important.

6) With firepower, platoon firing British, Dutch and some German state infantry get both an extra +1 combat die and fire on the superior volley fire casualty table compared to the rank firing French and Bavarians. As you will see from the write up below I based the French on a greater depth but narrower frontage to the platoon firing British etc. This means over a brigades worth of front the French have two extra units firing. I needed to compensate the better platoon system but not make them supermen, seems ok so far.

7) Dismounted dragoons and all cavalry are classed as small units, this makes them more brittle and discourages frontal charges on infantry units.

I think that's about it. The game;

Cutt's column begins to cross the Nebel stream still out of musketry range of the French.

Blood's British artillery.

The third brigade swings right to flank the village with cavalry support.

I won't go into too much detail but even given the fact that the French were throwing particularly good dice, the British infantry battalions suffered considerable casualties with gaps starting to apear in the lead brigades ranks.

Without actually re-fighting the engagement(I will leave that for another day) Palme's British cavalry broke the French Gendarme cavalry and chased them from the field allowing the flanking force to continue to envelope Blenheim.

In the face of this the French heavy battery withdraws.

Following the mauling of the first Brigade, the second Hessian brigade moves forward to take its place in the line.

A few shots of the brigades in front of the village, gaps again appearing with one Hessian unit actually routing.

Finally the closing photographs, the British/Hessian assault has ground to a halt and more French units are moving into the village from the rear.

Now keeping in mind that I still have the third British brigade (composed mainly of Hanoverian infantry) to complete, they would be following up the first and second line to pressurise the French in the village. The French would as they are now doing, draw into Blenheim more reserves from the centre of their position thereby leading to defeat.
Though only really testing the firing mechanisms I felt that the game followed history reasonably accurately. Blenheim was a tough nut to crack and cost the British so much in the initial assault that Marlborough decided to surround the mass of French troops in there, mask them and win the battle in the centre. I think that given more even dice (typical when your trying to test rules for the first time) more pressure would have been put onto the French, though they did suffer quite considerably.
Next time I will re-fight Palme's cavalry squadrons vs the French Gendarmes.
See you then.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

10mm WSS. Cutt's assault column, Blenheim 1704

Though not completed yet I thought I'd set out the figures I have for the left hand attack on the village of Blenheim. As you can see I still have to paint up St Paul's fourth line in the column which comprised five Hanoverian battalions and some of the French battalions directly to the rear of Blenheim. The French Gendarme squadrons are partially represented but to get them all on I will need both a larger table and an extension to the house!
Other than that what you see is what was there on the day. I based the size of the village of Blenheim upon which French battalions physically fit into it, their footprint as it were but I am also grateful to Jeff Berry's fantastic Obscure Battles site with the most wonderful maps of this and other battles, find that Here

For today I will concentrate on the dispositions as just before Cutt's column was about to cross the boggy Nebel stream which stretched right across the battlefield. In subsequent posts I will attempt to play out the initial part of the assault using my adaptation of David Brown's General D' Armee.

Two views of Blenheim village.

Dismounted French dragoons lined the barricades on the far right with three battalions of the Navarre Rgt in the central portion of the defences.

More views from the other side of the village with an 8pdr gun battery in place..

A portion of the French Gendarmes supported by the Maison du Roi.

On the other side of the Nebel Cutt's column of British/Hessian infantry advance to assault the village of Blenheim.

Finally Palmes five squadron brigade of British cavalry are about to cross the stream, form up and take on the elite of the French cavalry.

Let's see how the playtest goes next post.