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.

Saturday 22 December 2018

French Revolutionary civilian artillery drivers 28mm

Up to now my French artillery of the period has been manned by uniformed riders, this is of course wrong for batteries (both foot and horse) before 1800 when Bonaparte formally created the arm. Frankly I have been meaning to get around to this for ages and have finally got them done. Not the best focused of my photographs but I can't be arsed to do them again so there you go.

To anyone out there who tunes in here please have a Merry Christmas and a peaceful, prosperous New Year. There are I think turbulent times to come ladies and gentleman and not just with Brexit, watch your backs people and remember how lucky we really are!

Sunday 9 December 2018

Column vs line, Sharp practice 2

Give that the last Sharp Practice game was shall we say a more light hearted affair, I thought something a tad more serious(if you can do serious on my wargames table) may be in order.
As I was in the flow with the rules, in other words I hadn't moved on to another set and therefore remembered what I was doing with Sharp Practice, I decided to stick with the French Revolution but to see how the rules squared up to the venerable column vs line scenario. Quite a few figures on the table Austrians at on end, good, solid trained infantry and revolutionary volunteers at the other in two columns with skirmish support and a half battery of guns to soften the opposition up.

The view from the Austrian lines, two zuges of line infantry with one level 2 leader and two level 1 leaders in each, plus two groups of Grenzers and a level 1 leader on their right flank.

The French republicans consisted of two formations of les blue volunteer infantry in column, both with two level 2 leaders and four level 1 leaders split between them. Six groups of skirmishers with three level 1 leaders split between them and one half battery of four medium 6pdr guns directed by a level 1 leader.

Time being of the essence on the French side I decided to limit the number of rounds fired by the French artillery, the softening up at long range proved effective enough initially but less so later as the Austrian level 1 leaders rallied off the shock.

The left side Austrian line did begin to suffer, particularly after French skirmishers added weight to the fire of the guns when they got round unopposed to the flank of the Austrians, firing from cover and driving one group of Austrian infantry back.

On the opposite side the Grenzers held up double their number of French counterparts up for quite a considerable time before being forced to retire to the buildings behind.

Meanwhile the main event was underway, the commander of left hand French column, having a clear advance where he would not impede the fire from the artillery decided to strike quickly without waiting for the other column. The disadvantage of trying to impress the Representative on Mission watching the battle unfold!

The zug swung ten paces to confront the column, presented and delivered a concentrated volley into the head of the advancing French. (The Austrians did get the tokens out of the bag during this game!)
This was not yet devastating but as the French were volunteers and could not maintain a formation if any shock was on a group they would find a co-ordinated advance now very difficult.

Add to that the four flag tokens which allowed the Austrians to fire twice in one round, well this French column was going nowhere. The front two groups routed thereby causing shock points to the groups behind, while other groups within the French column tried to form some sort of line. A right mess!

The guns having ceased firing round shot they limbered up and advanced behind the second column which was moving to support it's floundering companion.

As can be seen from the above photograph, the left hand zug (or what remained of it) had joined up with it's companion to extend the Austrian line. The second French column managed to advance level with its support but the dice, or in this case tokens were not kind and the Austrians damaged as they were got the jump on them poring fire into both units.

The fight ended with the French stalled, unable to effectively advance. the leaders were rallying as best they could, firing back where possible but unable to maintain any momentum. The French artillery unlimbered behind to cover the retreat with canister but the game was up.

A very enjoyable and interesting game. The fact that after incurring any shock the French could no longer form a formation and had to then fight as individual groups proved quite rightly to be a huge disadvantage. The artillery and skirmishers were a great tool if used correctly but the fact was that the commander of the first column was too hasty and should have waited for the artillery and skirmishers to do more damage to the Austrian line.
I have read some about Revolutionary/Napoleonic warfare, not as much as others but still some and I do believe that this game showed how I think things would have gone in these circumstances. You could see turn by turn the volleys going into the head of the columns, the French trying desperately, first to keep advancing then attempting to form line while rallying off the shock but ultimately failing to do so and groups of survivors breaking away having had enough.
A great set of rules, though heads will roll for this failure!

I know, the French artillery drivers should be civilians, I'm working on it!

Saturday 24 November 2018

Only a days entertainment Monsieur. Vendee 1794.

A Sharp Practice 2 encounter, Vendee 1794.
The day was warm, the men were tired and wary so the Republican column under Capitane Soulem approached the village of Roslam with caution. It had been reported to the Capitaine that the Vendee royalist scum were active in the area and that they had vowed to free the captive Mayor of Roslam Monsieur Paul Cezanne (yep!) who accompanied his column. The guillotine had been set up in the occupied village some days ago but it had been abandoned last night when the rumours of rebel activity had spread.
His men were nervous he knew it and maybe with reason, they were not after all the best disciplined soldiers he had ever commanded. Curse this damned revolution, he was a professional for gods sake leading untrained amateurs, they elected their own sergents. Elected, merde!
At least he had a dozen or so light infantry, not too bad those lads, but the nine chasseur troopers were the dregs of the earth, their pickets had fired at shadows last night and the ten others had jumped onto their mounts and ridden off into the night never to be seen again, the remaining troopers and their marechal des logis (sergent) were out in front now just looking for a chance to bolt he was sure.

A view of Roslam and it's approaches.

More views of the village with the guillotine in the square.

The Republican column can be seen marching down the road, chasseurs in front and skirmishers protecting the flanks, Capitaine Soulem accompanies the main force and the mayor of the village with his wife and servant are seen under guard.

The column moves on.

A shrill call from the marechal des logis of the Chasseurs alerts Capitaine Soulem to the sudden presence of armed men in the woods across the road from the cavalry, immediately after which the skirmishers to the Capitaines left shout of enemy to their front. How did they get so close!

Orders were given for two groups of Republican skirmishers to line the fence row on the right flank of the column but sustained (if uncontrolled) fir from the musket armed peasants in front of them soon drove off one group and left the other crouching by the fence.

The gallant - ha - Chasseurs meanwhile swung off the road to their left, were fired on by one group of rebel musket men, turned their horses round and bolted for the rear. The plan if he had a plan was not going well for Capitaine Soulem!

All was not lost however, the bold and reliable light infantry Chasseurs were ordered to retrieve the situation. "Charge my children, charge the scum to your front behind the six foot hedge. I know they are ready with first fire and you will loose half your assault dice due to melee across an obstacle, but do you give a shit about that?" Damned right they did, three dead and five shock. Buggered off didn't they!

Vendee peasants led by Monsieur Alexander Dumas (yep that's right) level three leader, can be see crossing the first of two hedges in order to flank the approaching Republican column. These boys are armed with various poky things or as the rules stat, Big Choppas!

Another view, this time from the Republican side shows the ever so brave light infantry Chasseurs heading back down the road towards Paris as fast as their blue clad legs could carry them, while the remaining two groups of line infantry think it may be best to form some sort of a line and blow these enemy suckers away. The mayor can be seen sniggering away in the background.

Les Blues line the hedge but the boys with the big choppas are on their flank - at least it's not their rear!

The inevitable poo hits the fan and in an impressive Fisty cuff melee the Republicans not only come off worse but in all of the confusion Monsieur Cezanne the mayor scrambles through the blue coated ranks and into the safe hands of his royalist mates. He later went on to dabble with paints I believe.

A final view of the field of battle with that painter chap rescued and Royalist cavalry coming to bear him to safety, if only those pigs would get out of the way that is.

A cracking game, Sharp Practice 2 of course but a little different this time. Both sides were pretty trashy troop types as would be expected during the early part of this period but Neal and I were particularly impressed with the rules ability to show that with lots of low grade leaders (most were level one sergents) neither side could rally off shock or get many troops moving at once. Control was almost non existent which of course it should be in a situation like that and once units had been in contact with the enemy for even a short period of time they became almost impossible to control. These rules just get better and better. Great stuff and I hoe you enjoyed the write up as much as we enjoyed the game.