Thursday, 10 November 2016

Seven Years War

I haven't been totally idle over the past couple of months but I have been quite distracted by work, family and other things so progress on the painting front has been a bit slow. I decided to work on one of my own projects to restore my painting mojo, and here it is - the Seven Years War. Spotted in the post before this one in a small battle, I have since expanded the Prussians and Austrians further.

First up the Prussian army. The goal for this force is:
12 infantry regiments (1 x Guard, 3 x Grenadier, 4 x Musketeer, 3 x Fusilier, 1 x Garrison)
3 light infantry regiments (2 x Freikorps, 1 x Jager)
8 Cavalry (3 Cuirassiers, 3 Dragoons, 2 Hussars)
4 Artillery (3 medium guns, 1 howitzer, 4 limbers)
12 casualty markers
7 generals, assault pioneers

I'm most of the way there, I still need to paint 1 Dragoon, 1 Cuirassier, 1 Hussar, 1 fusilier and 1 grenadier regiment and 2 limbers.

The assembled Prussian army - more to come.
The Austrian force has:
12 infantry regiments (3 x Grenadier, 6 x German musketeer, 3 x Hungarian musketeer)
4 light infantry regiments (all grenzer)
8 Cavalry (3 Cuirassiers, 3 Dragoons and 2 Hussars)
4 artillery (2 medium guns, 1 heavy gun and a howitzer, 4 limbers)
12 casualty markers
7 generals, assault pioneers

I'm a bit further ahead here, needing to finish a Hussar, a Hungarian regiment, and 2 limbers.

The Austrian army is almost totally ready

 To be fair, the majority of the Austrian army and the Prussian cavalry were received already painted - I just needed to rebase them. The Prussian infantry and all of the light battalions, the casualty markers and the limbers are the main figures that I've painted for the project.
Half of the Prussian army a little closer up.

The other half of the Prussians.
 Everything is organised around 16 infantry and 8 cavalry to a unit. This is my ideal unit size. Not too small to represent a unit, but not so large that I feel I'm wasting figures. I'd rather have more units than bigger battalions. The way I figure it, 3-4 regiments is 48-64 figures, so a brigade is about the same size as a Peter Young/Charles Grant old school battalion, but it makes more sense to me to have two brigades in independent action than two battalions. Plus I get to paint a lot more different facings and uniforms and more flags which is just more fun for me.
For rules I've looked at Honours of War, Minden Rose and Die Kriegskunst, but I've rejected them all in favour of my amended Neil Thomas rules. These just work so well for me, and I've come to know them really well. They look quite different to his original Horse and Musket Rules from Introduction to Wargaming, but some core mechanisms can still be recognised, such as units pivoting on the centre and the artillery fire.
Half of the Austrian army
 I had originally thought a unit would be a battalion, but on reflection I decided to go with a regiment. Again, it meant painting a greater variety of uniforms, but it also meant that a unit of grenadiers actually represented 2 battalions made up of the grenadier companies of 4 different regiments, so the aesthetic pleasure of researching grenadier uniforms and painting four figures for each doubled the pleasure.
And the other half. You'll note that there is more cavalry and more light infantry than the Prussian army.
The casualties are disordered markers, which are applied on the first loss of a morale test. They can be rallied off by a general (but this hinders his ability to give orders to his brigade), but if a second morale test is failed while disordered the unit routs. The rules seemed to be working OK in the last game that I had, making tests harder to pass unless units were in support.
If I manage to get a couple more games played I'll publish the rules as a separate page for free download.
I owe Geoff a painted unit of 9 Years War cavalry for all of the figures that he gave me, so that will be coming sometime in December I hope.


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Blundering through Bohemia

Today I glued some Prussian Musketeers to their bases and thought I'd break out the whole 7 Years War collection for a game.
I rolled a d6 and a d10 and consulted One Hour Wargames for a scenario. I rolled up scenario 5, secure the bridgehead. I then rolled on the table to discover the composition of the forces. Blue - Prussia - got 3 infantry, 2 artillery and a cavalry unit. Austria - red - got 4 infantry, 1 skirmisher and an artillery. I then doubled the result for the infantry and the cavalry, and set up the table for a solo game.
The set-up has a single unit (doubled to 2 in my case) protecting the bridge of a river crossing. There is a wood to their left and a hill to their front-right. (hard to see in the bird's eye view)
In turn one the first Austrian units arrive in a random location. Both happened to appear behind the wood.
In march column they begin to head for the bridgehead.
The first Prussian reserves arrive - an artillery battery. I still have to buy some limbers.
Turn 3 and Austrian infantry arrive on the road opposite the bridge. The first Prussian infantry reinforcements arrive as well.
Turn 4 and the Austrian light troops make their way to the woods. The Austrian infantry begin to move into position.
Turn 5 the Prussian gun gets into action, and first blood goes to Alte Fritz's boys.
Reinforcements are all on the board by turn 6, and the Prussians pour across the bridge. The two Musketeer regiments engage the light troops threatening the Prussian left flank. Out of picture on the right the last Austrians start their slow advance to join the action.
Heavily outnumbered the Prussian combined grenadiers in the centre hold their ground.
The Prussian cavalry forms up, the Dragoons on the right flank, the Garde du Korps Cuirassiers in the centre. The Prussian combined grenadiers manage one last defiant volley - they have done their job! On the right the artillery and Garde Grenadiers open up to devastating effect on the Austrians.
With the Grenadiers gone the Prussian fusiliers are left in no-man's land. The Garde du Korps smash into the Austrian grenadiers and drive them back, then retire. The 18th Regiment charges into the Grenzers on the left.
Isolated well to the front of the main Prussian lines, the 47 Rohr regiment chooses to attack rather than withdraw!
On the left the Austrian grenzers defend stoutly.
On the right the Austrians get themselves into position to release some volleys.
The Dragoons move around to prepare for a charge.
All Prussian troops are now engaged. The edge of the woods has been cleared of one Grenzer regiment, but another awaits.
It only just manages to deploy and release a blast of grape, but it is too late, and the Austrian artillery is destroyed by the Rohr regiment. It happened to be just 6cm away form support - one cm too far for it to count!
On the right the Dragoons are pushed back, but the Prussian firepower continues to whittle away the Austrian attack.
The Garde du Korps charge again and the Austrian grenadiers are destroyed. The Batthyanyi Regiment has turned to face the Rohr regiment nad now has it's flank open.
The Grenzers are chased back, while the Austrian Starhemberg regiment attempts to break through the Prussian Musketeer Regiment 10 Pannewitz.
On the right volleys continue to be exchanged.
Last turn and the Starhemberg regiment breaks the Prussian 10th. But the Austrians are now spent.
As the battle ends Austrian victory remains elusive.
The 7 Years War armies are mostly Old Glory 15s, and were given to me by Geoff a few months ago. I've spent some time here and there rebasing them to fit my organisations. They were pretty much all painted - I am responsible for the light troops, a few of the cavalry and the 2 Prussian musketeer regiments that are a combination of Old Glory figures and Lancashire that I bought to make up the numbers. I have to say that I love this period for wargaming, probably more than any other horse and musket era, and it is fantastic to see the troops arrayed n the table.
The rules are adapted Neil Thomas Introduction to Wargaming rules, and have a few holes in them, which I've set about rectifying this afternoon. Mostly around morale and support, as the Ausrians really got no benefit from being very well deployed for support on their right flank. I'm also not sure about the 'super-fusiliers' that managed to be isolated and still fight like demons. Despite this, the rules gave a really pleasing outcome, and an enjoyable game. I'll complete the basing of the Prussians tonight and I look forward to another similar scenario soon.


Saturday, 3 September 2016

Time to sit back, have a beer, and invade England.

Or more accurately, Wessex.
It being the end of the week I felt another solo DBA game was in order, and this time I rolled out the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings, the vast majority of which landed on my doorstep as a fantastic gift from young Geoff down in Christchurch.

The dice off for aggression was initially even, but a reroll confirmed that the Vikings would be attacking, so the terrain set-up was arable. I decided the Anglo-Saxons would take a hamlet, a woods, a road and river - as I have not yet used rivers in DBA 3.0 and wanted to test them out. As this is a solo game, all terrain is randomised, and it turned out that the wood ended up in the same quarter as my BUA, which meant it didn't fit and had to be discarded.

I was looking forward to this match-up, because with the +1 flank bonus for spear supported by either spear or blades, it made the Anglo-Saxon line an even match to the Viking Blades. They just had to hold that line.

The Vikings deployed along the river in columns, just in case I rolled a 5 or 6 for the nature of the river, and planned to cross it quickly and get to grips with the enemy. The Anglo-Saxons deployed in a solid line with a couple of spear and two hordes in reserve.

Initial deployment with the Vikings in column.
It turned out that the river was paltry, and the Vikings surged ahead - those on the road getting a free turn which enabled them to deploy immediately.

The Saxons advanced and dispatched their spear reserves to extend their line prior to contact. The Vikings also moved into a solid line. This was shaping up to be a hard fought slog.

The Viking skirmishers moved to prevent the Saxon right-hand spear from joining the line, and surprisingly also forced a recoil on them.

The battlelines crashed into each other, and an Anglo-Saxon spear element was destroyed in the first round of combat.

Now the battle ebbed to and fro, all order disintegrating on the Anglo-Saxon left (to the right in this picture)

The Vikings lapped around the Anglo-Saxon flank and another element of blades was destroyed. The Anglo-Saxon and Viking generals continued to slog it out in the centre.

The Vikings also began to press forward on their left.

A horde was detached to mount a last minute delaying action on the Anglo-Saxon left.

The Vikings now managed to wrap around the Anglo-Saxon right flank and killed their fourth Anglo-Saxon element.

In the centre the Anglo-Saxon general realises he must retreat now or never.
 This was a good game, and enabled me to get used to some of the new aspects of DBA 3.0 compared to what I was used to in 2.2. The most important one was the pursuit by blade elements. This effectively means that once you have committed a blade element to battle against an infantry opponent it will remain committed until it is either victorious or destroyed. I'd sort of noticed this with the Polybian Romans, but as I've only taken 4 blade elements in that list, and they were faced with more cavalry, it had not really sunk in for me. In this case, with two all-infantry forces and a Viking army which is virtually all blade, the lesson was clear.
I was also pleased with the shape of the battle, which ended up being a Dark Ages version of Cannae. The Viking plan to distract the right of the Anglo-Saxon line with the psiloi was a good one.
I'm a bit gutted that the hordes didn't get into the fight - I've never used hordes before. I might put them in the front-line next time.
Way back in issue 2 (I think it was) of Battlegames, Dan Mersey wrote an article which was a campaign system for invading Scotland in a day. I think I might play it out with a Viking theme and see how it goes.

And now, just some pictures of the camp elements, which I received for my birthday last month:
Viking Longboat settled on a very long and very narrow inlet... 
Saxon camp with drunken priest
The Anglo-Saxon hamlet which counts only as rough going. Buildings are from the Usborne 'Make this Medieval Village' book.
Alongside the camps I have started getting into my painting for Craig, which has been delayed while I went through a painting slump. I'm halfway through some Battlefront Germans which I hope to have finished by next week. Then it is prelim exams, so once again my attention will be caught by real life. I do hope to have a few more posts in September than I did last month though!


Saturday, 13 August 2016

I guess Rome reigns down in Africa

I had an hour or so to myself today and thought about doing some painting, but I've lost my painting mojo at the moment. So instead I broke out the DBA Polybian Romans and Later Carthaginians and decided to invade Africa.
The first game went according to script (if you are Roman). The Waterway went down and the two pieces of terrain that were chosen were rolled for the same table quarter so things looked a bit bare. The Romans (via random dice roll) chose the side of the board with the difficult hill in it. The Carthaginians decided to line up their whole army and forego a littoral landing.

The Carthaginian line-up.
The Romans squeeze into their deployment area.
The two lines plough into each other, with a bad first round for the Carthaginians - 2 elements down in the first clash.
The velites engage the Carthaginian light horse trying to outflank the Roman line.
The Romans realign.
The Carthaginian General takes out an element of hastati. Things are beginning to even up.
Numidians decide that they would rather go home than face the velites. 3 elements down for the Carthaginians.
The Punic line is looking rather ragged.
BANG! A Libyan spear element is destroyed and the battle is over. 
A relatively decisive defeat for the Punic cause.
There was time for a second battle, to give the Carthaginians a chance for revenge!
In case of deja vu the marsh and woods rolled to be in the same terrain quarter and didn't fit. Once again the Romans chose to deploy on the edge with the difficult going.
The armies after the first turn. In the background the Carthaginians have made a littoral landing!
The first few turns see the Romans lose an element of cavaly and the general being recoiled. The Gallic warband is destroyed in the centre, losing 2 elements for the Punic cause.
Back into battle, the Carthaginian cavalry try to turn the Roman right flank.
On the right the Roman velites are destroyed by the Carthaginian light troops - revenge for their humiliation in the last game!
The Balaeric slingers close the door on an element of Principes who end up caught between the toes of a Punic pachyderm.
With the battle won on the main front it turned out to be a good idea to distract the Triarii with a littoral landing.
So a win a piece!
You can see in these shots my completed camp elements which are the maximum size possible (4 base widths). They were finished at the end of the holidays, three weeks ago, but I just haven't had time to post much (or paint much) since then. However, I've started to get back into it, and Craig's next lot of figures are currently on the painting tray.

I got a fantastic surprise this morning too. It is a few days early, but Dan sent me a birthday present all the way from Australia:
Ancient Spanish! Perfect.
Looking forward to getting these guys on the table... eventually.