Saturday 29 February 2020

1669 French vs Savoyards AAR

I was very kindly invited to game at Colin Ashtons "Burrow" at the weekend, the game to be a surprise when we got there.

I forgot my tablet so took pictures on my phone, they are not the best quality and I should apologise as I also managed to get the order mixed up so they wont always actually follow the narrative.

Sorry my bad!
I had gamed with Colin's wonderful Sikh Wars collection at Stockton Battlegound show and was really looking forward to this. When he said Savoy 1669 I was only slightly wiser to be fair but what a beautiful collection.. The War of the Waldensien Sucession!

Our game would pit a strong French army against a slightly weaker Savoyard - Piedmontese force defending a walled city and Spanish support turning up randomly at some point during the game.

Paul R and Conrad would be the Savoyards and Piedmontese advancing onto table with a walled city on their right flank and heavy guns mounted on the walls and a redoubt on the opposite side of a river. Paul took the infantry in the centre and right and Conrad took both Cavalry brigades in the open ground on the left flank.

For us John took the French cavalry to face the Savoyards in the open grounds and Paul S took our better infantry up the centre at Paul. I opted for the poorer foot (Its not my fault if I lose then!) with a view to holding the left flank and defending our big guns as they shot up the enemy, this gave me 5 battalions of foot with 3 being newly raised. 2 light guns and 3 seige guns. I also had a brigade of 3 units of dargoons on our exteme left against the river.

Not surprisingly this turned almost into 3 mini battles. The French needed to defeat the Savoyards before the Spanish could arrive and turn the tables, occupying the City and the bridges would eb a bonus. Rules were a masg up of Black Powder and Pike and Shotte being a period sittign between the two and woked really well. Colin had prepared sheets with army stats, rules and background. Reading through I noticed the river was shallow and easy to cross for horse and foot so I hatched sneaky plan. Or should that be cunning? It almost turned out like it had been planned by Baldric.
Jon and Conrad pushed the horse forward and pretty soon the lead elements were at each other, whilst most were designated Trotters, John had lef with the Royal troops who were Gallopers and so had the ability to counter charge which camer as a nasty surprise for Conrad and tipped the balance in the initial stages.

My brigade advanced towards a hill about 18 inches in with my heavy guns to the right of it protected from counter battery and the light gunsto be stationed on the top.
Paul with the best and largest infantry force would push through the middle and try to break the main Savoyard infantry force and so advanced steadily for the first couple of moves, movign around the village in the centre.

My initial plan was fairly simple, keep my foot out of harms way for a few moves and use the artillery to punch holes in Pauls foot, my foot wasnt very good so I would need any advantage I could get, ideally this forced Paul to advance on me. I would push my dragoons across the river, capture the reoubt and bridge and then be able to fire into the flank of Pauls force as they advanced. All very good but it came a cropper almost straight away.
Half my foot refused to move, the guns moved but refused to un-limber and worst of all as I declared my intention to cross the river Colin said "You cant its impassable!" turned out the comment in the rules about the river being fordable was from an earlier game, Colin smiled at me "Bad French scouting I am afraid!" Oh well, my dragoons were here now so I better do something with them. Against all advice I threw one regiment forward to try and reach and then cross the bridge before the Savoyards could stop me.

They reached the bridge and dismounted but couldnt cross it before Pauls troops marched up and fired a point blank volley, two casualties I was still in the game and next move I fired back and then legged it over the bridge.

My other dargoons dismounted to support their brave (lunatic?) comrades. Fortunately for me we were 15 inches away from Pauls foot and light gun. The dragoons had firelocks with a range of 18 inches but the Savoyard foot like most of the foot had matchlocks with a range of 12 inches. Hurrah I could fire without taking return fire myself. Almost like I planned it.
The beautiful Spanish in the above picture hadnt arrived just yet, sorry, I did say they were out of order.

In the centre Paul S was pushing forward and I had finally got my guns unlimbered and into action, with one of the Savoyard units taking a fair bit of punishment as the big guns concentrated their fire. Paul was only able to fire one of his big guns at one of my units and so far he had been unlucky with his hits and I had been lucky with my saves.

More out of sequence Spanish below!

The cavalry melee in the centre had grown as both Conrad and John fed more and more  units in, John had the better quality and was having the best of it but Conrad was making a proper fight of it.

Paul S then brought our reserve infantry on in the centre behind his initial deployment, if I could keep the troops facing me busy Paul S could overwhelm Paul R's less numerous infantry in the centre.

At this point one of the Savoy units moving to support the centre crossed my guns, I got three hits on an already damaged unit and it broke. On the right John had broken two of Conrads cavalry units and things were going according to plan.

Thats the Spanish brigade above, a little earlier than they actually turned up (just after lunch) a beautiful array.
Meanwhile on the left my Dragoons were hit again by Pauls troops taking them over their stamina, I passed the break test but was forced back disordered, fortunately though on the side of the river I wanted them.

My Dragoons and guns continued to pick at the Savoyards who couldnt do much about it, whilst Paul S with the main French foot was now coming to close quarters with the enemy on the far side of the village and the lead units of both sides began to trade volleys.
A shout from John at the other end of the table reminded me that I really did need to be a bit more aggressive and take the enemy on so with a final volley from my Dragoons and guns the brigade began to move steadily forward.
After a lovely lunch provided by Colin the Spanish finally turned up right on the right flank of our cavalry. Just in time as John had finally broken the last of Conrads cavalry but was too badly damaged himself to have any troops ready to take advantage of his success. Fortunately the Spanish commanded by Colin failed their first two movement orders after arriving and bought John some valuable time to get organised.

John just managed to get one intact unit of horse in front of the Spaniards before they charged and beat the French unit convincingly.

I had finally got organised and pushed forward closing gradually with Paul R and my Dragoons over the river were firing into the gun in the redoubt causing casualties but unable to move after failing orders. My light guns along with the heavy guns targeted the nearest unit of Savoyards and caused enough casualties to break it. In the centre the main force of foot was now volleying each other at close range and casualties were mounting.

Paul R's heavy guns could now reach Paul S's foot and began to take a toll but given their positions they were not able to mass on any one target and numbers were starting to count in the centre.

My dragoons kept up their fire on the redoubt until eventually the gun was destroyed and I was finally able to advance onto the flank of the Savoyards.

My foot now manouvred to charge the depleted Savoyards but at last Paul could fire back, his first volley was devastating and my good dice finally deserted me and the first unit of French foot broke.
However it was a little late in the day for the Savoyards, their cavalry was destroyed, their foot on the verge of collapse and we had captured the first of the bridges into the city. The Spanish were on our flank but wouldnt have the numbers to beat us by themselves. The Savoyards began to retreat, whilst not a total victory for the French it certainly felt like we had the best of the day.

A fantastic days gaming thank you Colin.

A colourful period with a beautiful collection of figures I had not played before, the rules worked well and I might consider them for my Boyne project when it eventually reaches the front of the que.

Great company and an interesting game, whats not to like, thank youvery much gentlemen for a great day out.

Sunday 23 February 2020

Indian Matchlock Men

These guys have been in the making for a few months now pleased to finally finish them.

These are Wargames Foundry Matchlockmen from the old Indian Mutiny range with a Sikh officer.

The figures themseleves are 40 or so years old now but I think they still look great.

I wasnt so sure when I was first starting wtith them as they did look quite dated before I painted them, but I am really happy with the end result, they have come out really well. In my opinion anyway.
I started out with 3 painted in my painted figures box and no idea if I would, or could, mix them with another unit, then picked 6 up as part of a job lot of Foundry Indian Mutiny figures so added command to give me a unit of 12 (a small unit for Black Powder 3 bases rather than 5) spured on by other gamers(Atheling you know it was you) I took advantage of the Foundry 10% off over Christmas and picked 8 more up to finish off the 20 figure unit.

The Sikh Army had units of Hindu's and Muslims and many still used the traditional matchlock musket, the armies of other native princes also made extensive use of these troops so the unit will be really useful for both sides in the Sikh Wars and also for the Mutiny and other periods (I have a long term plan to use the Perry British in Egypt 1801 to game Wellington in India).
I have seen a  number of images with this washed out blue colour I used on a number of the figures and purposely mixed pale buff and white through the unit to give it a more irregular look. I picked up a bottle of "Fog Grey" aint which is also great for the French Grey of the Bengal Light Cavalry.
So whilst the musketeers only come in three poses it does still look quite a mixed unit with the variety of colours on all their gear..

More back from the basing department for me to share soon including another British foot unit, Sikh Dragoons and armoured Sikh Gorchurra cavalry.

Watch this space.