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.
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Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The battle of Vilenu, Belgium 1794 (ficticious)

About a week ago I decided to set up a solo French Revolutionary game, or as my wife puts it I went to play with myself in the garage, giggling under her breath as she went off to put the tea on. As wargamers we are more than used to people taking the piss out of our obsession my own wife being the prime example, used to it now though.
The main thing about fighting solo is that you can take your time, one move per night or three or four, it's up to you, and because there are no time restrictions you can recreate the tactics of the period (as you believe them to be) as they should have been fought at the time. The tendency when gaming with others is to rush to a conclusion doing things which may not have been done because Tom, Dick or Harry need to get home by 10 o'clock. None of that here.
Rules, General De Brigade.

As stated in the title the game was set in Austrian owned Belgium during the French invasion of 1794. French general Augereau force of three infantry brigades, one brigade of cavalry and an 9pdr foot battery has been ordered to push on towards the town of Vilenu, a vital river crossing point for the liberation of Belgium. To do this he decided to occupy and defend a large hill on the French left with Victor's brigade, hold the far right with Davins four cavalry regiments and soften up then assault the Austrian center with the 9pdr artillery and three infantry brigades.

Opposing him was General Alvincy commanding two large infantry brigades, one cavalry brigade and a 3pdr artillery battery. He decided to place the three battalion brigade (36 figures each) of  Major General Kray in the center of his line with Major General Lutzow on his right with two huge 48 figure battalions and the four gun 3pdr battery in support. On the open plain on his left he ordered his two large light cavalry regiments to drive off the opposing French and pin down their infantry attack.
Basically hold in the center and attempt to envelop both flanks, ambitious but the Republicans were only an undisciplined rabble, drive them back on their supports, tumble them over the border and on to Paris!

With both the French and Austrian cavalry on Assault orders a clash on the open plain
 on the French right was not long in coming. Here the French 13th Chasseurs and 14th dragoons (both classed as conscript) attack the Austrian Kaiser Franz Hussars (superior mounts):

The Hussars rout both French regiments (which subsequently dispersed) and retire to their own lines:

A view of the center of the field as the French Chassurs a pied push forward towards the Austrian lines:

While Lutzow's two large Austrian battalions start their advance on the Austrian right:

The Austrian 4th Chevaulegers then took up the challenge of the two remaining French cavalry regiments, the French 3rd Dragoons counter charged (12th Hussars failed their moral and stayed where they were) but were driven back in disorder, the French cavalry looked in trouble already:

In the centre the French Chasseurs a pied continue to press forward:

On the Austrian right flank the 2nd battalion IR9 of Lutzow's brigade advances to the top of the hill driving the French skirmishers back on their supports (Victor's brigade):

Austrian 3pdrs firing in support:

The two sides exchange fire:

Back in the centre the French advance continues masking the deployment of the 9pdr artillery battery:

It was now time for Duphot's reserve brigade to advance in support of the French center. Augereau galloped over to change his orders failed to achieve the desired dice roll, therefore Duphont attempted to do this on his own initiative and promptly rolled a double one! this results in an order one lower than the Hold order he had i.e. Retire, bollocks!

With the French reserve reeling back in disorder the only thing that stood between Augereau and Madame Le Guillotine was the depleted regiment of 3rd Dragoons, blown, and outnumbered by the Austrian 4th Chevaulegers all seemed lost, the French threw a double six, hurled the Austrians back and captured their standard. The Chevaulegers retreated in disorder and next turn were charged by the 12th Hussars throwing them back to their own lines where what was left of them rallied behind their Hussar supports:

In the centre the fight continues, the Austrians of Kray's brigade are being slowly worn down by the light infantry and artillery to their front. Their battalion volleys are ineffectual against the skirmishers who remain at long range peppering their lines with fire:

Back on the Austrian right wing the French 2nd battalion 21st line retreats back down the hill in disorder from the massed fire of the Austrian infantry on the crest of the hill. This left the other two battalions of the 21st Demi Brigade facing the 2nd battalion IR 9 on their own. All of these 'Les Blues' are classed as conscript 'enthusiastic' (crap but happy about it!):

Even though it began the battle with 48 figures the Austrian 2nd battalion IR 9 is now starting to be worn down and has reached 25% suffering 5 casualties in one turn, a double six throw from the skirmishers on their flank and three more from the two battalions in front (the battalion at bottom left of the picture is in open order while the other is in column). This causes a morale test on the Austrians who become unformed, the French column charges but is thrown back and when attempting to rally disperse causing a Brigade Morale Test which Victor fortunately pass:

The Austrian C in C Alvincy rushes across to make sure that Lutzow's brigade swings to it's left after destroying Victor, but the French rally, advance back up the hill for a third time and throw the Austrian 2nd battalion IR9 back through it's supporting 1st battalion disordering them and wounding Lutzow who retires to get his wound dressed.


The two Austrian battalions intermingled:

A general view of the centre of the field at this time, Duphot's reserve brigade finally arriving ready to fall on Krays left flank. The Austrian cavalry brigade should have seen off the French cavalry opposite them and have been in a position to prevent this flanking manoeuvre but to their shame they failed dispose of their weaker opponents:

The French Chassurs a pied withdraw allowing the 9 pdr battery to blast canister into the Austrian ranks, Duphot's brigade then advances to deliver the final attack:

In this shot you can see the Austrian 1st battalion IR15 still standing after taking over 50% casualties:

The other French brigade under the command of the Representatives of the People move forward to deliver the Coup De Grass:

Alvincy who has ridden back to the crisis point is almost killed as French skirmishers take pot shots at him (double six on the dice but he has shot of brandy and carries on). 3rd battalion 2nd Demi brigade charges into the Austrian line throwing it back:

The Austrian 3pdr battery can be seen in the background limbering up and making off pursued by the French skirmishers:

This was the end, Alvincy's troops had been driven off the ridge and were streaming away back towards Vilenu covered by Lutzow's brigade and flanked by the remaining Austrian cavalry.

Looking back I should have placed Lutzow's two huge but unmanoeuvrable 48 figure battalions in the centre of their line to soak up the French attack and used the three smaller battalions for the flank attack. However the Austrians were ultimately let down by their cavalry who should have easily have destroyed their French opponents who were badly horsed and led due to the many officers who fled the revolution.
For the French the tactics were sound. Occupy the flanks, weaken the center and then deliver the final thrust using the reserves, tactics I'm sure many gamers would like to use but simply don't have the time to complete during a normal club night.

May need to get some Austrian Grenadiers though. Oh dear!!!!


  1. Great looking terrain, figures and pictures, really impressive! Glad to see this great period!!

  2. Great looking game Dave. I assume you won!

  3. Thanks lads, yes Scotty oddly enough I usually do win when playing solo games, funny that!

  4. Very nice indeed. This has got itching to start some army for the period :-). I'd be interested to know what rule modifications (if any) you use for General de Brigade for wargaming this period?

  5. Superb!!! Its always lots of fun playing with yourself.

  6. As with other games I've played using G De B I find the rules flexible enough in themselves, get the grading of the troops right at the start and your away.
    The Blue - Conscript + enthusiastic.
    The White - Regular
    Cavalry - Conscript + poor mounts

    All regular

    Throw in the odd poor and/or Elite and that's that.
    I did once have a die roll just before contact to determine whether the French Blues were 1, 2, 3, conscript, or 5, 6, Elite so that even their own general didn't have a clue what to expect from his own men.
    That was fun!!!!!

  7. Thanks for the rules details Dave. I'm guessing that the Austrians also had limited abilities when it came to formation changes, and that regular Austrian infantry regiments could not detach skirmishers? I've ordered the book on this period's tactics by Paddy Griffith, so will send you any information I manage to glean.

  8. Wonderful figures and terrain David. You clearly enjoyed yourself immensely with this. Do you find that you favour one side or the other or try hard to win for which ever side you are moving?

    Not sure who Augereau needs to thank more; the 3rd dragoons or Duphot and his "cavalry" to the rescue?

    I can't remember the details of General de Brigade. Is the black smoke for the batteries significant? Whatever the reason it looks good.


  9. No problem with the rules info mate, I have Paddy's book and can strongly recommend it. Yes the Austrians did detach a limited number of skirmishers, I usually allow them to put out a six to eight figure Brigade skirmish line for each brigade so frankly it doesn't last long and is swept aside by the French. They do of course have Grenzers, but these were spread pretty thinly amongst the Austrian brigades and I limit them to a company also I make them operate as they would have done in the Seven Years War, i.e. over rough ground, woods or on the flanks, not in front of the line battalions as the Austrians would want to make use of their firepower and not have it masked by skirmishers.
    James thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed the read. I used to use counters to denote who had fired in the previous round (thereby accruing a minus two fire modifier for their next shot) but I thought when photographing a game for the blog that smoke denoted this better.
    Thanks again for the interest.

  10. Just 'discovered' your site yesterday. Brilliant figures and reports, I'm just painting up some Austrians to face te ragged french....many thanks for the inspiration

    Mark J

  11. I forgot to ask how the various manufacturer's figures 'fit' together ? from your pictures they appear fine ,but I have found comments about 25/28/30/33 mm etc, chunky, thin, gawky etc etc...I have Elite miniatures, because I was interested in the period and they were the only possibility at the time.. I would like some more cavalry, Staff figures and artillery for variety.. Some people never mix some mix in units and some have separate units of a type. Any advice welcomed, many thanks

    Mark J