Sunday 24 February 2019

1812 Workbench

Coming off the workbench are mainly French for the 1812 retreat with a few Russians too. I am over in York with the basing department this evening off to watch the Blues Brothers tribute so thought I might get soem shots before I take them over for the first stage of basing.

So firstly the Russians, these are hte first of my line infantry, two more started so a group of 8 almost complete.
I have a dozen French complete, real mix of figures, mainly these are Perry miniatures retreat from Moscow but I wanted to mix in a few more figures so I have a bunch of old Foundry French and a sprue of Warlord figures all in great coats. I like the mix.
I am using a real mix of colour schemes, I want these to look particularly scruffyand mixing the greatcoat colours and cloaks/bedding/blankets etc helps with that.
To add to the scruffy look I am also being careful to not add these in ranks onto the base.
I intend to add an officer to the base with the eagle, but still a couple more figures to finish before I have a battalion for Black Powder. One officer and one more trooper should do it.
I also finished off three command figures, the peasant with the Pistol will be a level one leader for a unit of Russian peasent skirmishers. The middle guy an officer to lead the French and the Seargent on the end a Level one for Frenhc skirmishers.
And here they all are together before I send them to York for basing.

So just a  few more to do and we can play without needing to pinch figures from Steve and Chris. A couple more French and Russians then I can make start on French Cavalry.

Carlist Debacle Battle Report

We decided Carlists might present a nice change for our latest battle, we also wanted to see if the rule amends we introduced translated to other conflicts so would be using all the various changes too.

Steve set the game up, I was Carlist with three Brigades of 3 Foot and a couple of guns on a ridge line and a further battalion in a village forward of my line supported by three units of cavalry.

The Isabelinos under Steve and Mark initially had two brigades of 4 battalions each and a brigade of four cavalry with a further brigade of 4 arriving on move 2. The troops were all pretty average except the French Foreign Legion having much better stats and a brigade of Carlists with much lower stats.

The ridge being a really strong position should be a tough nut for the Isabelino's, however in my defence it had been a long day!

I deployed my Cavalry either side of the village wihtout much thought of what the Isabelinos had done, Leaving me with one unit to the left and a brigade of 4 cavalry opposite it!

So I decided that I needed to shift one of the cavalry over to the left and the other would sneakily ride over to the far right flank in order to harass the flank of the Isabelino's and give them some food for thought.

Unfortunately the Isabelino's got some good movement, more importantly I was so not with it I actually forgot to move anything at all! Oh dear, the theme for the night had started.
Mark was playing with his own British Legion and my French Foreign Legionaires. Steve had my Isabelino Cavalry and the Isabelino Guard infantry.

Before you knew it the French were in range of the village, however it was only when they started firing at me that I realised I had not been firing back, seriously where was my head tonight. I had also forgotten to move the cavalry again. Who needs blunders when you are able to make this much of a mess yourself.
As the cavalry closed in on my right flank I threw my Carlist lancers at them in a vain charge to slow them down.
This ended in an inevitable defeat and my first unit was out of the game, two moves too late I threw my other lancers out to the right flank only to have them shot up and disordered, the third unit was also shot and disordered so neither of these was going to be able to move as the isabelino's moved into short range.

The FFL had saving throws on a 3 so I wasnt able to inflict any casualties as they closed in, meanwhile my saving throws were pretty poor and the casualties int he village began to mount with two FFL battalions, a skirmish screen and a gun throwing short range fire into them.
The Isabelino's were now closing in all around me, a further volley into the village forces a break test and the defenders retreat out of the village, the FFL move in and with the bonus of cover are now able to save any casualties on anything but the roll of a 1. whats left of my cavalry have been fired at every go and disordered every go, they are now also having to take a break test every go and steadily pushed back. My artillery is having little impact and all I ca really do now is wait for the noose to close.
Finally with a move where my troops are not disordered I am able to pull back the battalion form the village and one of the cavalry units whilst the other charges the British rifles to try and buy some time, The closing fire forces a break tests and inevitably the cavalry breaks.
On the left Steves four battalions close with my three poor battalions. The initial rounds of fire and hand to hand combat see the first two units of Isabelino's pushed back, however the reserve units then march forward and whilst I hold one the other forces a break test on my middle unit which withdraws, the Isabelino unit uses a sweeping advance to follow up and the Carlist unit breaks.

On the right Marks British close in and a brigade level firefight begins to tin the ranks on both sides.

It was about this time that Steve and Mark paused as I finished my go and said "over to you" they looked at each other and Steve said "Are you sure you dont want to do any firing?" Good grief I had fired my guns and skirmishers and literally forgotten to fire my whole front line of infantry!

Being good sports they allowed me to do my firing out of sequence.
The Isabelinos are now behind my line and I am trying to pull my reserves across to refuse my flank, I pull the badly mauled right flank unit back to the very edge of the table.

Finally I began to have some impact on the enemy as the first battalion of British breaks.
However on the left the Isabelinos have closed a gun, battalion and skirmish screen on the isolated far right unit and after a short fire fight it break, this forces a brigade break test and my third battalion also breaks. Mark advances the Legion on my centre and a roll of casualty removals by his generals sees four sixes in a row and his battalions are all suddenly in very good shape against my badly mauled force.

A volley from Steve and the unit that had retreated from the village, forced to fill the flank of the force, suddenly has to take a break test and now breaks leaving yet another hole in my line..
The units of both sides are now almost toe to toe and the Isabelinos are gearing up for a final push, I have broken one unit of British but they have broken six of my units and the rest are all very badly mauled. There is no way I can rescue this situation and I finally accept defeat.
An interesting game, I doubt I gave my opponents much of a game on this occasion, sorry fellas, but it was ice to get this very colourful collection on table

Tuesday 19 February 2019

Sharp Practice for the 1812 Retreat

We decided that as I had managed to get enough Russians with snow bases finished for a game we would get the snow gear out and have a game of Sharp Practice.

We are all still novices but the basic mechanics are simple and easy. For the Allies I needed to borrow soem of Steves "summer" French to make up the numbers, sorry but needs must.

So basic premise of the game, a column of four units (groups in Sharp Practice) of 8 troops each is retreating towards the shelter of a defended village, a unch of Cossacks and Jaegers are pursuing them whilts a formation of three groups of Grenadiers and a couple of guns attacks the top end of the village itself.

The Village has 2 groups of foot and gun in defence.

So French forces 6 Groups of foot in pairs each with a commander. The Poles are Veterans and the rest conscripts. Plus one light Gun.

The Russians 3 Groups of Grenadiers and two Groups of Jaegers supported by three groups of Cossacks and 2 guns.

In rough terms 9 units against 7 with the 7 defending for the most part.

For me it was a real pleasure to see them all on table for the first time, although it did again have me questioning the basing and whether it worked for me. Perhaps a debate for another post there.
We also deployed a large formation of biscuits and battenburg which was quickly destroyed before the game had got going.
I had "read" the rules a few times and tried a couple of test games, I say read, nothing really sinks in unless I actually play it through so the game was likely to be pretty slow.

Steve commanded the Allies and Mark had the majority of the Russkies whilst I took the two units of Jaegers. Steve pointed out theat three groups of Cossacks in a solid formation was likely to be entirely unstoppable and therefore would probably ride down his retreating troops in short order. Well he was both right and wrong and  it gave us some ideas on better ways to use Cossacks.

I based the stats on those in the un-official Moscow 1812 there and back again supplement which is a great resource for this campaign.

I love the below photo which is pretty evocotive of the retreat and how I want these games to look.

The opening moves were not so spectacular with the forces steadily converging on the Village. My Jaegers in particular being very leisurely in their approach. Deep snow we assume.

However as the Grenadiers rounded the corner of the forest Steves artillery quickly gets the range and starts to make its presence felt. The Cossacks also get goign pretty quickly.

The Cossack battery feels a little too effective for such a small game so we quickly reduce this to just one gun to keep the game moving.
The retreating conscripts turn to form line whilst the veteran Poles keep going and the Cossack horse closes in. Before they can hit the poor old conscripts however Steve turns his Poles back to support the Conscripts. My Jaegers continue to stumble slowly through the snow and Marks Grenadiers close with the village whilst taking more casualties from the gun.

The Cossacks close up on the conscripts who volley them, but of course being three groups the effect is spread too thinly as Steve predicted. We get four command cards and decide to use them to re-acivate the Cossacks and charge home. The results are as expected and the conscripts are down to half stregnth and sent realing, however the Cossacks have taken damage and a volley from the Poles sends the first unit into retreat leaving two groups left in the formation.
The Grenadiers have reached musketry range and begin to exchange volleys with the conscripts in the village, however having taken so much shock from the gun they are unable to advance any further. With three groups against two however they begin to slowly have the better of the exchange especially as they have the support of their own sled gun.
The Jeagers bumble along and the Poles get their card before the Cossacks so a further close range volley sees the Cossacks off with too much shock for them to keep moving.

Its down to the Jaegers now and they finally get moving and get a volley into the Poles. A further draw of 4 activation cards sees a further volley into the now depleted Poles.

The firefight between the Grenadiers and the conscripts is reaching a crescendo and the sled gun has switched targets to the French light gun and started to inflict shock and reduce its effectiveness.
Mark now gets four hits and for effect? Yes four sixes. Thats four dead cosncripts and Steve is having to rally shock off as quickly as he can to stay in the game.
Another volley from the Jaegers and the remnants of the Poles are forced to pull back. At this point we call it a day having throughly enjoyed the game and found it fast paced despite us being relative novices.
A few things learned;

1. The game is fun and flows quickly
2. Artillery is deadly use it wisely or dont give them a commander so it only fires on activation cards and reduces effect.
3. Blocks of three groups of Cossacks are also deadly, use wisely or give each group a seperate commander and dont allow them to form up so they are small units snapping at the heels of the French as historical.
4. I need more French!
5. I need skirmishers, especially for the French.
6. I am rubbish at reading and digesting rules.
7. I am still not happy with my basing.

So there you go, all round a very productive night and a fun game. More French on the painting table so hopefully another go with this lot in the near future.

Wednesday 13 February 2019

The Not so Grande Armee

So the French and their Allies are not as far forward as the  Russians but I am looking forward to remedying that. I do however have a few things finished.

The main ones being the Poles.

Two groups for Sharp Practice, or a battalion for Black Powder. These are mainly Murowski miniatures with a couple of Perry's to make up the numbers.

Purposely making these as scruffy as possible with the odd splash of colour here and there for contrast.

Half of these are really lovely by Paul Hicks, the two Perrys figures are also very nice, some of the Murowski command figures are not quite as good but mix in OK, pretty certain these were a different sculptor. I will let you decide which ones I mean and if you agree or not.

The finished battallion look suitably scruffy I feel. I have based them less formally than the Russians again to portray their general exhaustion and deteriation of discipline.
The gun crew have kept a bit more uniformity to their gear but still look scruffy enough to fit in, these are Black Hussar Miniatures and I have another two gun crews to paint up.
I am sure that Ney is wonderiny where the rest of his Corps is, dont worry its on its way, or soem of it is. This is a lovely figure donated by Jerry Miller, thanks Jerry. I had a big space on his base so a destroyed gun seemed a good option.
Lastly is a far less untidy officer, there will be very few figures looking this good in the force thats for sure, but I had him in the lead pile and didnt want to waste him.
Chaseurs a Cheval on the painting bench along with French line infantry, sled mounted Chasseurs and command bases for the Russian Grenadiers. The project inches forward at a similar snails pace to Napoleons retreat.

Hoping to have a game tomorrow, we will be aumenting the snow based figures with "normal" figures. Post to follow.