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. Dave.
With the impending release of Dave Brown's new Napoleonic rules General d'Armee I figured that I would like to add to my somewhat limited 28mm Napoleonic collection of figures. I have loads of 15mm naps but only one brigade of French and one brigade of Brits in this scale.
Sorting through my now dwindling unpainted figure box I came across two battalions of Prussian infantry. As none of the guys at our local club The Border Reivers Wargames Society
have a Prussian army I figured that this would make a contribution to the upcoming games which everyone is predicting when the said rules arrive.
Having purchased a box of Perry plastic Prussians to finish off the regiment plus two command figures I thought I should get the photographs of the completed figures on here:
1st battalion, 7th infantry regiment (2nd West Prussian). Elite Figures.
2nd battalion, 7th infantry regiment (2nd West Prussian) Perry plastics.
Fusilier battalion, 7th infantry regiment (2nd West Prussian). Elite Figures. I know, the Fusilier battalion should have a bugler instead of a drummer but I didn't have one so tough titty!
These were in advancing pose and I figured they would look better if as Fusiliers they were in skirmish formation.
The command stand. Perry metal figures.
Little 10mm elephants next!
The end of the campaigning season of 49BC was fast approaching, Caesar knew that the Italian peninsular had to be secured following his victory over Pompey at the battle of Rome and though disturbing news had reached him of the Pompeian victory at the battle of Narbo (see previous posts) Caesar had to force Pompey out of Italy and overawe the senate in Rome. Pompey could then be dealt with the following year while Mark Anthony restored the situation in Iberia.
Pompey the Great however understood well that he alone stood as the rock upon which Republican Rome could cling to during this time of crisis, he and as many of remaining force must withdraw to the east in order to regroup and subsequently return to save Rome from the tyrant.
Leaving Mark Anthony to secure Rome and of course make the remaining senators see the error of their ways, Caesar's four strong legions advanced rapidly from Rome to Neapolis (Naples) catching Pompey before he could withdraw.
The campaign blocks used in the encounter before being transferred to the table top. As usual the strength points at the top of the block are the ones used, one SP = one unit on the table with the named commanders able to choose Legion, cavalry or skirmish units from their strength points. Remember Pompey still holds the defecting Caesarian cavalry unit.
Starting positions, Pompey (on the right) had to begin the battle three quarters of the way up the table, this replicates the campaign battle rule that at least one round of combat must be fought before one of the two forces have the option of withdrawing from the battle. This gives Caesar (on the left) a reasonable chance to inflict casualties or destroy Pompey before he can get off the table. The huge difference between the two forces can be seen in this picture.
View from the Caesarian side.
View from the Pompeian side.
The pictures above show Caesar utilising his advantage in numbers pushing both his wings forward in order to outflank his opponent. Pompey slowly withdraws pushing his cavalry out to the right. In the To the Strongest rules withdrawing backwards is classed as a difficult move so the right cards must be turned in order to allow this to happen - tense stuff!
These photos show the situation at the end of each turn so the Caesarian forces get close enough to throw pilum, and get the odd hit in but cannot get the right card to land a heavy punch onto their opponents, Pompey skillfully pulls his troops back just in time.
Finally Caesar gets his legions close enough, the cards turn, hit and counter hit and the Pompeian legion routs one of their opposite number. Fortunately the rout does not spread.
Damage has been inflicted on both sides but Pompey's camp (and the withdrawal point) is in sight.
The dotted line in the top picture shows the withdrawal line. Pompey's has pulled off a very skillful withdrawal in front of superior enemy forces and has escaped with his army intact. Caesar must reflect on a missed opportunity.
A very enjoyable game even though the forces never really got stuck in. This was Pompey's objective of course and the cards as appose to dice favoured him immensely, given better luck Caesar should have given him a good pasting but it was not to be.
The campaign map at the end of 49BC with both sides going into winter quarters. Pompey's forces though weak in numbers hold all of the Iberian peninsula and though Pompey himself has been driven out of Italy his forces continue to hold Sicily and he will gather men from the east to fight on in Greece. Caesar holds Rome and once secure will push on eastwards. A counter punch by Mark Anthony must take Hispania.
I may take a small break here in order to clear the table and have a couple of other games of different periods but this will continue as I'm enjoying it too much to stop!
As Caesar and Mark Anthony were forcing Pompey out of Rome three raw Pompeian legions (2nd, 6th and 4th plus some cavalry) marched north between the Mediterranean coast and the Pyrenees on the city of Narbo (Narbonne), a bold move as it was held by a strong force of five Caesarian legions 7th, 9th 10th 11th and 14th, all experienced troops. I had made a point of not examining the Caesarian blocks on the game board prior to moving the Pompeian forces so was unaware of their composition.
The Pompeian forces did however have quite literally a card up their sleeve, played as their movement card it allowed 'Move one group, all attacking blocks fire before all defending blocks in any one battle, one round only'. Now if you recall one round in the battles fought in the boardgame equates to three turns or 1/4 of the twelve turn battle being fought on the table top.
So the question was how do I represent this advantage for the Pompeian force for these first three turns using the To the Strongest rules?
I decided that the Caesarian army would deploy first, particularly as they had no cavalry and were therefore out scouted. The Pompeian force could start the battle three full hexes in from their side of the table, they would get the first move free with no Caesarian reply and that the Pompeian force would for the first three turns only be graded on step higher than they actually were. So in this instance they were all raw but for the first three turns would fight as average troops and revert to raw on turn four.
The forces involved.
Neal came over and decided to take command of the Pompeian forces which set up as above, each side had two attached generals but notably no detached commander figure as no named commander was included in the forces on the campaign board. This was quite interesting as it limited the command distances on the tabletop considerably making each of us attempt to keep our forces concentrated.
As can be seen, the Pompeian force weighted it's right and pressed forward immediately attempting to take advantage of it's heightened moral for the first quarter of the battle.
The white shielded Pompeian legions move quickly forward.
Both forces push forward with their right wings. As usual the black die show that the units have thrown their pilum while the red die mark units disrupted, two of those and the unit is destroyed forcing a moral test on all surrounding units.
Pompeian forces on the right of the picture and Caesarian on the left. Note how outnumbered the Pompeian legions are, three to five, can they punch through the experienced Caesarian troops before the Pompeian cavalry on their left give way?
Units were beginning to give way but more on the Caesarian side, incredibly the inspired Pompeian troops were grinding their way through their opposite numbers, a grisly business! There weren't many token counters left in the Pompeian camp.
As the Caesarian commander I now had my chance to save this disaster, hit the centre in their flank and force Neal's cavalry off the field. Would the cards help me out - would they bollocks, attacks went in, attacks were repulsed, it must be a cards thing but we both swear like troopers when we play these rules, great stuff!
The end came when a couple of my Caesarian legionary units fled from the field and my last coin tokens went into the cup. A great game and a hard fought battle with credit going to Neal for forcing his troops forward utilising his temporary moral advantage and surprise advance. All of his legionary units were raw compared to the majority of mine which were average and veteran, a famous and unexpected victory to Caesar.
The disparity of casualties can be seen above, Caesarian top, Pompeian below, note that the marker blocks have been adjusted to show the strength point losses incurred because of the battle.
The situation on the map after the battle. The winning Pompeian force has occupied Narbo while the Caesarian forces have divided, two legions going to Burdigala (Bordeaux) and three to Massilia (Marseilles). The green block at the bottom of the picture should be in Tarraco.
Next will be a fighting retreat from Napolis by Pompey himself.
See you soon,