Thursday, 22 March 2018

Even More Gear for 1812

I think my postman is not my friend anymore, he has been kept fairly busy again this week

This lot turned up this morning
The first box is from Black Hussar and has some lovely quirky pieces. A sled gun, wagon wheels with skis roped on, a large sled with room for 3 figures inside. Brilliant stuff, on the down side whilst I was waiting for this to arrive I found it all second hand much cheaper and had 2 sled guns donated! 
Two more boxes of the fantastic Warpainter snowy trees. I do like these.
And a box of 15 snowy pines from China, these need some more work but were exceptionally cheap so a good buy really. These are again an Ebay purchase.
Chum Chris Flowers kindly donated some figures including these two Cossack sled guns painted and based by chum Jerry Miller (see his site here dont be offended gents I will make some slight amendments to these to make them mine despite how lovely they are.
I was then put in touch with fellow wargamer Mike who is selling his Retreat from Moscow collection. Although I wont be buying painted figures Mike had loads of unpainted lead left over so we agreed a price and I travelled over to the nicer end of Yorkshire to pick them up. His painted collection of figures is awesome with some lovely conversions in. Anyone wants putting in touch drop me a line.
Finally we made a quick visit to Ebor Miniatures so Mark and I could pick up some mounted and dis-mounted Dragoons for the Great Northern War project. Nick was as enthusiastic as even and showing us the newly cast battle honours 15's he has picked up. He also has some British Heavy Brigade for Crimea and mounted WSS Bavarian Grenadiers amongst others. 

Mike kindly donated 2 French light guns and below is another shot of those Cossack Sled guns. Thanks Mike and Chris.
So the lead mountain grows as does my bout of megalomania.

I want to have a look at how I am going to approach the basing next to facilitate both Black Powder and Sharp Practice.

See you soon.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Terrain Mats

Having decided that the best answer for my terrain was to use terrain mats I started to look at the options and there are a bewildering array.

Numerous manufacturers with even more designs to choose from and multiple material choices, Cloth, Vinyl, Mousemat to name a few. Without actually seeing and feeling it how do you know?

Answer I guess is you dont.

As I was flicking through the various different manufacturers and options I came across one that I liked the look of. They only work in Vinyl but as I had already ruled out cloth and had a vinyl desert mat from years ago I was interested. On the off chance I might pass them driving for work I thought I would see where they were, try bob in and see the actual product. By coincidence they are actually about 2 miles away in the next village to me. Who would have thought!

They were also doing buy 2 get 1 free and selling the mats at a very competitive price on ebay. Mark was keen to get a green mat for his own purposes and whilst one 6x4 mat would suit me for a while 2 was the end target, As it turned out they dont hold any stock so I didnt get to see before I bought but I decided it wasnt going to get much better than this so took the plunge. At £30 per mat when you factor the free one in it was a cracking deal.

The company are Artistic Impressions and Phil even drove the mats around himself for me which was nice, unfortunately I had nipped out for 5 so missed him. but here's what I found when I stepped in the porch.
The companies site is here for anyone who wants a look or this is one of theirs on ebay . I couldnt resist getting the first one out and on the Kitchen table even though the lighting was really poor.
So next morning with only slightly better lighting I again got one of them out for a few snaps. The material feels really strong and supple and the design suits my purposes.

Dropping some terrain pieces on you start to get more of a fell for the product. Have to say I am really pleased with my purchase.
More on the sled gun later folks!
Marks mat was the "BATTLEFIELD" mat I think a grey green with some rock showing through here and there. The light doesnt catch the colours as well as I would like but Mark is very happy with it.

So we have mats, we have trees, we have buildings, we have rules, we have unpainted horse, foot, guns and even sleds. I better paint some figures hadnt I!

Lots more gear on the way (some for Great Northern War) so watch this space.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Terrain, Trees and Basing for 1812 Retreat from Moscow

As my enthusiasm gets the better of me I am buying up bits and pieces for the 1812 project, with limited painting time due to the stomach injury this can be a little dangerous. I wanted to explore a few things in this post with terrain and basing being the main features.

Working from home today and a knock at the door at 10am the postman gave me a veritable armful of boxes. How exciting!
First box is a mixed set of basing material and trees. The trees are bare frozen deciduous they look great but are very delicate. The icy tufts will work well and the snow flock looks particularly good. The sand I will probably use as scatter for the buildings so I dont have to use them as winter buildings only. Not sure ice chunks will be useful but lets see.
Next box is two sets of snow covered pines from warpainter, now the see I really like.
The deciduous tree fits from a size point of view.
The next box is of prussian landwher warlord plastics picked up on ebay. Now these are my least favourite of the new arrivals seeming a bit wooden. They have two boxes andi am left feeling I picked up the wrong one. The Landwher are perfect for Russian militia as The Prussians copied this practical uniform from the Russians. I may however stick with the foundry ones I already have.
Next box is more  warpainter trees larger ones this time exceptionally well packed and again great models. I just ordered a load.more.
Here you go the whole lot together.
On the painting table you can see more 1812 figures. Including one of marbots sleds.

And on thepre bench a pile more figures and packs of Foundry Russians iin greatcoats.
And the rest that need priming.
So megolaman setting in and lots happening.

Next I need to look at the  base terrian. Mats are the prefered option currently but lets see what we get from that.

So watch this space.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Kalisz Light _ A Great Northern War After Action Report

With another game planned at Steves place I was asked if I would organise a Great Northern War Black Powder game. I was keen to re-run the rules for this period anyway but wanted to see what we might get from a smaller game, in particular where there were less Swedish foot and we could really see how good (or not) the rules allowed them to be.

I decided a very scaled down version of Kalisz with a small Swedish force supported by less than enthusiastic Poles against a mixed force of Saxon, Russians and Poles supported by a large cossack force.

We would then split these forces between 4 players and should get to a quick result.
ark plonked himself in his usual chair in the corner and thus became the Russian commander by default, as Steve and Chris were already ensconced opposite it seemed reasonable tat they should take the Swedes and I would have the honour of commanding the Saxons and the Royal Polish army (Brigade)
The forces available for the game resembled the forces at Kalisz only in terms of the Countries involved. I wanted a game where the Swedes were outnumbered but could use their superior aggression against larger numbers. In the real battle the Swedes were surrounded and so heavily outnumbered they stood little real chance.

Judging by the result of the game I could have taken more pointers from the actual History.

In the historical battle of 1706 the Swedish commander of the Kalisz garrison was pursuaded by his Polish rebel allies to march out and meet the advancing Saxon and Royal Polish army which outnumbered them. Little did they know that a large Russian force had joined them and hordes of Cossacks filled the gap between the Swedish army and the town of Kalisz.

Whist I didnt want a Swedish white wash, a nod towards the actual battle gave the opportunity to downgrade the Swedish army slightly with the addition of un-reliable Polish cavalry, whilst having a colourful mix of forces to fight them

Neither side had guns (I think historical again) but the Russian foot (who were not there historically) made up for the lack of enough Saxon foot.
The Swedes had 6 battalions of foot in 2 brigades of 3, a Brigade of 3 units of light Polish Cavalry and 2 Brigades each of 3 Swedish Cavalry.

All of the Swedes had ferocious charge and Steady, so re-rolling all combat misses when charging (a huge advantage)  and re-rolling one failed save each turn until they take the first casualties, again making them a little tougher.
The allies had 2 brigades of Saxon foot, each of 3 battalions and one Brigade of Russian foot with a line battalion and 2 foot Cossack battalions.

These were supported by a mixed brigade of 2 Saxon and 2 Russian Horse one the left and a Polish Briagde with 2 Winged Hussar units, a Pancerni and a Light Horse unit.

Off table reinforcements were a brigade of four Cossack light horse regiments.

So 6 Swedish foot vs 9 Allied foot and 9 Swedish/Polish Horse vs 12 Allied Horse. Would it be enough?
So rolled initiative for the game and Allies to go first, the cavalry and Half the Saxon foot advanced whilst the other 2 brigades of foot decided they where happy to remain where they were. We rolled for reinforcements and the Cossack Brigade arrived on the extreme right allied flank on move 1, hurrah!

Swedish turn and Chris took the bull by the horns with an immediate charge on the Allied horse, Mark elected to stand and fire rather than counter charge and Chris rolled low so galloped across the table and straight into the ranks of waiting allied horse. A quick Pistol volley and one casualty to the furthest Swedish unit and they were upon each other with the cold steel. After a hard fought melee the front two units of Allies were broken. However the Swedish unit already damaged took enough casualties to be shaken, the next unit took the opportunity to make a sweeping advance into Marks next unit forcing it to retire, but in the process lost enough of its own troops to also become shaken.

A good start for the Swedes but there own forces had taken significant damage.

On Allied right the Cavalry were now sweeping forward and the Swedes and Poles counter charged. A series of bloody melees eventually seeing the Polish Winged Hussars broken and all the other troops pulling back with significant damage.

The Allied foot now got going and moved up to support the forward Saxon Brigade and Chris wisely pulled back his two shaken units of Swedish horse and left the untouched one to charge the rest of the Allied horse. Unfortunately he didnt make it and stopped just outside pistol range much to Marks frustration.

The Swedish foot now began a steady advance, halting at what they thought was just outside musketry range.

After a rush of blood I decided that the remnants of the Royal Polish Cavalry Brigade would now charge the Swedish horse, the results were predictable, despite driving one unit of the Swedes back  both my horse were broken and the remaining unit of Swedish horse made a sweeping advance into my foot. Fortunately for me the line held and the Swedish Cavalry were thrown back, but the loss of so much of our horse was a severe if expected blow.

The remaining Swedes now charged the Cossacks, again the results were entirely predictable and when the remaining undamaged Cossack unit took on the Pancerni and lost the whole brigade predictably legged it!

Forunately the Saxon and Russian foot were made of sterner stuff and a series of volleys disordered three of the four front rank units. The remaining one choosing to carry on its advance regardless. Having seen the effect of Swedish hand to hand, Steve was keen to close with the Saxons.

As usual volumes of tea and biscuits were provided, this time Steve did the honours with Julie out, with the whole of my right flank cavalry destoyed I ate the last biscuit out of pure spite. That'll teach em.
Re-organising themselves the Swedes continued a steady advance and front battalion charged rg=the Saxons, it took two rounds of melee but eventually they broke.
I tried to refuse my flank only to roll a blunder and have one unit withdraw, things were now starting to look a bit desperate.
Mark however had marched his Russians and Cossack foot brigade all the way behind the Swedes and seen off a unit of Cavalry, Chris refusing his flank to avoid the line being rolled up/
The Swedes however were now closing with the Saxons, the re-roll of all misses leaving the next Saxon unit rolling a break tests on a minus 5 having taken 8 casualties. Again the results were predictable, although the remaining battalion in the Brigade passed its Brigade break test.

Two more Swedish battalions charged and two more of my Saxons Battalions broke, even I had to admit it was all over.
Having lost three brigades of cavalry and all but one battalion from two Brigades of Saxon foot only the Russian foot brigade remained and was horribly exposed. An overwhelming victory for the Swedes.
So apart from a great game and lots of biscuits what did we get from the night?

Adding ferocious charge, crack and steady makes the Swedes exceptionally tough, in fact almost invincible in the early stages of a battle. The extras see them pass their first break tests and re-roll a failed save until their first casualties. The Ferocious charge is devastating, re-rolling every miss when you already hit on anything but a one or two means you will win the majority of melees in the first round. Historically that actually all sounds about right, so you need about double their numbers or larger volumes of firepower, including guns, to ensure you can take the Swedes on, earthworks are also an evener of the odds.

In a stand up fight in the open odds of 2-3 mean the allies are unlikely to win, again I am happy with that.

Cossacks are pretty useless in a stand up fight, again a tick for me. We introduced a Cossack rule that stops them charging formed regular infantry and cavalry unless its shaken or disordered  or charged in flank a and rear. And the better Polish cavalry can fight well but dont have the stamina of the Swedes, again tick.

We also introduced the same Cossack rule to Allied infantry to stop Mark beating the Swedes at their own game and charging them first. Historically they didnt do it so again only allowed to charge shake or dis-ordered units unless charging flanks and rear.

So the balance seems about right. The game worked, the result was about where it should be.

And even more impressive this is only about a third of our combined GNW collection and it gave a good nights game for four players.

My only hesitation in all this is whether Black Powder gives a period feel. Using the rules for Carlist Wars and sometimes AWI leaves us in danger of games becoming too "samey" despite the heavy amendments and enjoyable historical results.

On balance its a fun game, we enjoyed and it felt right but period specific rules has to be our end goal.

With that in mind I have ordered Beneath the Lilley Banners 3. Specific for the period and with Great Northern War supplements promised I am keen to see how Barry Hiltons rules handle the period. I see they have arrived at Barry;s today and expect to have mine withing the week so watch this space as we play test BLB3 and see how we get on with the..

Thanks for reading and I will see you again soon.