Sunday 30 April 2017

Crossing the Rotwasser

'My dearest Wilhelmine
The Austrians moved in force to cross the Rotwasser today. They moved at dawn, and were aided by a fine mist that reduced our visibility. The Malachowski Hussars were on patrol south of the river and were the first to encounter the enemy movement, being pursued by a superior force of Austrian Hussars...'

Yes, the Austrians are about to commit large forces to forcing the Rotwasser. Has von Pritzwalk laid out his defences to maximum effect? Can his small force repulse the much larger forces of Generalfeldmarshal von Schilcher?

Early morning Robrucke, the small farming community next to the eponymous red bridge crossing the Rotwasser.

The von Trumbach regiment are on Picquet duty.

And the Prussian artillery is solidly ensconced in a redoubt to cover the bridge crossing, and the ford further downstream.

The Austrian grenzer brigade begin crossing at the ford, their movements hidden by the early morning mist.

The Malachowski Hussars appear - in a hurry! A message is sent over the bridge to Rotbrucke - wake up General von Kasenstein!

The grenzers continue to cross the ford, the artillery oblivious to their movement

This is why the Prussian Hussars were in a hurry! They turn to face the pursuing Austrian Hadik and Esterhazy Hussars.

The Hadik regiment charges and gets the best of the opening exchange by some way. The Malachowski Hussars have obviously still not recovered from the casualties they received in the raid.

Back they go, and the way to the bridge lies open.

But the Austrian Hussar General Gugelhupf is intent on destroying his enemy and pressing his advantage.

Kasenstein is awake now! He rouses the two fusilier regiments camped at Rotbrucke

And hearing gunfire the Prussians in the camp on the Rotberg, under General Zwiebelkuchen also deploy.

The Peterwardeiner Grenz are the first to engage the Prussian artillery.

The Prussians, under fire, pivot their gun

Gugelhupf has scattered the Prussian Hussars.
Unable to charge (because they are light infantry) the grenz swarm around the redoubt, but the combination of the redoubt and the natural save artillery get  mean they achieve nothing.

Canister does its job though! The Carlstadt grenz are caught in a shower of grapeshot!

Guglehupf isn't the most impressive Austrian commander. He takes a whole turn to readjust his frontage.

In the meantime von Kasenstein has arrived with the fusiliers, and taking the bridge frontally is going to prove costly!

The Prussians under Zwiebelkuchen open up on the grenzers, and the Peterwardeinwer grenz, being caught in enfilade, suffer particularly badly.
 For the past two turns the Austrians have been rolling for reserves, but so far none have shown. Does this mean that von Schilcher is letting his best opportunity to win slip through his fingers? Stay tuned...

These sticks are made for measuring.
This is the first battle where I am trying the new morale system, and also the first where I have moved to measuring sticks. I used them in the Song of Broken Legions game the other day, and I preferred them to using a tape measure. I'm currently rewriting the rules so that they talk about movement as red, blue etc., and it is working really well. The top stick is the artillery stick, and had thoughts of putting a bounce sleeve on it a la Charles Grant, but we'll see how the rules I've got for it go in the meantime.


Saturday 29 April 2017

A quick fix up

It seems that what coast were introduced to the Spanish army from 1703 on - for the cavalry! But it has become clear that the infantry didn't start to change until late 1706/1707. Which is great news for those that want to paint a very pretty multi-coloured Spanish army, but bad news for the figures I've already painted white. I'm not an absolute stickler for historical accuracy, after all, my Spanish don't have belly pouches for their ammunition, but where possible I at least like them to be dressed in the correct colours. What to do?

It turns out that the allies had the Dutch St Amant Regiment on the boat with Peterborough, that had exactly the same colour scheme as the Spanish. So my white clad chaps went over to the other side without a whimper and now I have to paint Spanish troops in the dark blue with red of the Toledo regiment. Such a simple solution could not be found for my Spanish grenadiers with their lovingly sculpted sheepskin hats, so a repaint was in order.
Check out the new threads...
And here they are. This is the colour scheme that the rest of the Spanish infantry will have as well, and in fact I passed over the miquelets and began painting them last night.


Friday 28 April 2017

Song of Broken Legions?

Following my first playtest of the Broken Legions rules I decided that they really weren't for me. They didn't fit my solo gaming criteria of quick, fun games with bugger-all maths. Which isn't to say they aren't solid rules, just that they aren't for me. So I decided to recreate the Soldiers of the Eagle and the Argonauts using the Song of Blades and Heroes system. Very few special rules to worry about. The Romans got shieldwall to represent their discipline. The leaders got,, errr, Leader and free disengage. The Praetorian got steadfast, the Oracle was a magic user with a ranged attack that I dubbed 'the arrows of Apollo'. The Heraclean Champion was combat 4 and savage. Finally the Frumentarius was given stealth .
How did the game go?

The two sides lined up at the beginning of the scenario - capture the sacred tree!
The Argonauts on the far side of the ruined temple complex. Both sides are 400 points.
First moves bring the Heraclean Champion and Praetorian into contact. First round goes to the Praetorian, but the Champion gets back up! Sacred Tree just behind the Argonaut Captain.
Now it's the Heraclean's turn to knock his opponent over! More Romans arrive to contest the tree.
Both sides now plough into the central killing ground. The Romans do what they do best and form a shieldwall.
But it isn't all about defence for the Sons of the Eagle! Note a fallen Argonaut in the background, felled by an arrow from a Cretan Archer.
In this turn there are a few less Argonauts. The fallen figures in front of the shieldwall never got the chance to stand up, and the Frumentarius sneakily makes his way beside the shot Argonaut and dispatched him.
The Argonauts are thinning out. The Oracle attempts to cast her magic and fails - twice in a row. But third time Apollo listens and she takes out the Centurion.
The Heraclean Champion and the Argonaut Captain both go down, and the Oracle hightails it out of there!
All that is left of the Argonauts is a Mercenary Hoplite, and he isn't planning to stick around...
The body count compared - a little uneven...
And so the Romans were clearly left in possession of the sacred tree.

Despite the lop-sided body count, the sides weren't that uneven. I played the shield wall wrong for a good part of the game so that figures wouldn't recoil or get knocked down if they were beaten at all, instead of by just one point. I didn't use the leader activation rules properly either, so this is all good learning. The scenario design was also pretty simple, being a basic head to head, and next time I'll look at including a bit more subtlety. Also, the Argonauts rolled some terrible activation dice at times!
However, this was a great solo game. My brain wasn't hurting at any stage as I tried to keep track of both sides, it played to a conclusion within an hour, and there were some fun moments. That is what I ask for in a game, and I'll look at creating a narrative for the battles I fight. This is good, because having painted both sides up, I want to be able to use them in this fantasy setting, and I'm keen to expand with a Cult of Set and some pretty cool looking Celtic Barbarians as well.
So for my Six x Six challenge I'll now be playing 'Songs of Broken Legions' rather than the original Osprey game.


Wednesday 26 April 2017

With Peterborough in the Peninsula

The latest project is a skirmish campaign set in Spain, using Wargames Factory figures (now Warlord Games) and the Pikeman's Lament rules.
British infantry from River's regiment of foot (Shot with close order and first salvo)
And grenadiers from the same regiment (Forlorn Hope)
Pearce's Dragoons (Gallopers)
Spanish grenadiers of the Toledo regiment (Forlorn Hope). All of the Spanish should have belly pouches for their ammunition, but this was a conversion step too far.
Spanish foot from the Toledo Regiment (Shot with close order and first salvo)
Spanish cavalry of the Milan regiment (Trotters)
I don't know for sure that the Toledo regiment was there, and the presence of the Milan cavalry is pure conjecture, but sources for the Spanish in this war are pretty difficult to come by.

A plate with some uniform info, including the Milan regiment. The miquelets are on the painting tray now, and I have more Spanish cavalry to do for both sides.

I know I said I was only going to post battle reports, but I am enjoying this project, and want to document its progress.


Monday 24 April 2017

The Raid part two

Continuing on from yesterday's battle report:
The Prussian Malachowski Hussars push back the Hadik Hussars to clear space for the advance to continue.

Mean while Graf von Strudel advances forward, the Starhemberg regiment deploying into line to cover the hill.

It looks like the Austrians are going to be able to prevent the the Prussians escaping with their loot.

The Prussian fusiliers march over the hill while the Hussars do their best to clear the last of Nokedli's troublesome Hungarians.

A command failure sees von Strudels brigade march further towards the bridge than planned.

The battlelines begin to draw up. Having seen of the Hungarians, the Hussars turn to join the fray.

The musketry duel erupts - the Kaiser regiment has deployed too far to the north! They are enfiladed by canister from the redoubt across the river!

The Kaiser regiment breaks, but this is mirrored by the actions of the Prussian Prinz Heinrich regiment on the hill.

Hopefully in the lee of the hill the Prussians will be able to rally. The von Trumbach Freikorps reach the top of the hill and take their place.

Von Strudel chases his men, eager to rally them back to action.

Meanwhile the musketry duel continues while the Prussian Hussars get into position to mount a charge.

Von Strudel rallies the Kaiser regiment with promises of not marching them into cannon again!

And von Kasenstein manages to do the same with the Prinz Heinrich regiment!

The Prussians charge the Wallis regiment, only to lose an element and a morale test to closing fire.

Back they go to lick their wounds...

The Kaiser regiment and the Prinz Heinrich fusiliers have returned to the fray, although the Starhemberg regiment is now looking a little shaky.

Nevertheless they manage to stagger the Prussian Freikorps with their volleys.

Once more the Prussian Hussars charge

And the Wallis regiment is routed.

With the northernmost Austrian regiment out of the way, the column of loot can now cross the bridge.

The Kaiser regiment wheels slightly and begins to blast the pesky Hussars!

Miraculously von Strudel manages to rally the remnants of the Wallis regiment.

Only to see Starhemberg's men break.

The supplies begin to disappear over the bridge

To be joined by what is left of the Malachowski Hussars

'But the battle is that way!'
I played 20 turns in this game, five more than I should have, but it seemed silly to play to a deadline when there was an obvious end to the scenario in sight. The battle was tense and really could have gone either way. The command system did its job and heavily influenced the outcome of the game. First of all by making the Prussian von Kasenstein unable to change orders for a few truns he was unable to bring his superior forces to bear on the Hungarians early on. Then the Austrian 'over-advance' where the Kaiser regiment ended up deploying in canister range of the Prussian redoubts had a major effect on the game. It is unlikely that the Prussians would have been able to force their way past three full strength infantry regiments, and indeed when the Prinz Heinrich fusiliers broke it seemed that the Austrians might still pull through despite their mistake.

The Prussian artillery in the redoubts was not allowed to fire at long range - conserving powder you see, but was allowed to use grapeshot to defend the bridge.

The heroes for the Austrians were undoubtedly the Hungarian Batthanyanyi regiment that held the Prussians in place for so long and gave the Austrians a chance to win the scenario. The villain was von Strudel, whose poor command decisions allowed him to lose his advantages early on.

On the Prussian side the Fusilier regiment Rohr was steadfast in all that it did, never taking a backwards step. Von Kasenstein can expect a dressing down for his inaction before the Hungarian brigade, though.

This game was played using my heavily adapted Horse and Musket rules, based on Neil Thomas' Introduction to Wargaming. There is nothing wrong with Keith Flint's Honours of War rules - in fact I highly recommend them. But because I (re)wrote these rules, I know them well. I seldom have to look anything up. I also plan to use them for the Great Northern War and War of Spanish Succession, and I know what adaptations will be used for each period to give them their unique feel. And I've just finished rereading some interesting comments from Stuart Asquith that reinforced that one should use what rules one feels comfortable with. I've made a page for the rules now, so feel free to take a look.

' And so after quite a struggle, von Kasenstein managed to get the captured supplies back across the river. However, it will be some time before the units he took with him are ready for action again - with the exception of the Regiment Rohr, which performed prodigies in his Majesty's service. On reflection it was probably a mistake to send von Kasenstein - he is reliable but all too deliberate. This raid called for a Freikorps leader with a little more initiative. Of course, if events had transpired otherwise and Old Fritz discovered I had lost line troops under the command of a scoundrel, he would have my head. Such are the difficulties of command my love. I shall write again soon enough.

Balthasar, Graf von Pritzwalk'