Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Skirmish at Brudenitz - the campaign begins

My first battle of the year using the Honours of War rules fits into the beginning of my Seven Years War campaign.
Set in 1758 in the fictional Rotwasser valley, the campaign centres around the possession of the fortress of Colslau which controls the confluence of the Rotwasser with the Elsa river. The Austrians have sent a force to besiege Colslau, and the campaign opens in April with the advance of the Imperial forces to encircle the fortress.
The map of the Rotwasser valley, Colslau is left centre (labelled 1)
The initial positions in the first week of April are as follows:
The Prussians: in Colslau 4,000 garrison troops under General Kranwitz; to the north at Rotbrucke a single regiment of IR 44 von Jungkenn Fusiliers under their colonel; to the east at Brudernitz on the Elsa river, Garrison Regiment II Alt-Sydow, IR 47 Rohr Fusiliers, Hussar regiment 7 von Malachowski under General Kessell.

The Austrians: At Sitzburg to the west of Colslau Regiments 12 Botta, 16 Konigsegg, 28 Wied, the 1 regiment of grenadiers and the 6 Liechtenstein Dragoons under General von Schilcher; At Ober-Rotberg to the South East of Colslau Regiments 31 Haller, 34 Batthanynayi, 37 Esterhazy, the Warasdiner grenzers, and the 31 De Ligne Dragoons under Baron Nokedli; At Sibilnitz north-east of Colslau Regiment 14 Salm, 36 Browne, 38 De Ligne and 24 Esterhazy Hussars under General Palmino.

Von Schilcher, in overall command, has advanced his preparations to besiege the western suburbs of Colslau. Nokedli is preparing to entrench the around the south bank of the Elsa, while Palmino has been dispatched to cross the Elsa at the only bridge at Brudernitz. He is then to advance south-west and begin operations to cut off the last road out of Colslau.

Thus we come to 8th April 1758 and the first conflict at Brudernitz. General Kessell has deployed his small force on the southern bank of the Elsa as Palmino advances towards him. For the purposes of the Honours of War rules, Kessell is competent while Palmino is dithering.

The battlefield at the beginning of the action, Brudernitz and the north bank in the foreground, Sibilnitz at the back.
The action was a short and sharp one. The Malachowski Hussars were charge by the Esterhazy hussars, but with their countercharge forced them into retreat and then pursued them to a rout from the field. Before they could reform though, they were left exposed to canister fire from the Austrian artillery, which did for them. The infantry battle was an even match, until the Browne regiment marched up and deployed on the flank of the Alt-Sydow garrison regiment. The Prussians couldnot stand up to the crossfire and enfilade and proceeded to retreat into the Elsa. This left the Rohr regiment which abandoned the field and moved north.
End of the battle. The Browne regiment can be seen in the foreground, in the position in which it was able to enfilade the Alt-Sydow regiment. The Rohr regiment can be seen retreating over the bridge.
So the first skirmish has seen the Prussians retreat north towards Andelnitz (22 on the map) and Palmino secure the Elsa crossign for the Austrians. Will Kessel take his survivors into Colslau or head north to maintain his freedom of action?


Monday, 15 January 2018

On a painting streak

I've been busy with the brushes over the last few days, and managed to progress some projects.
German grenadiers for Craig. As always, he will add the tufts etc.
Houses for East Prussia - I'm going to need these for the Seven Years War and WWI
IR19 Markgraf Karl, somewhere in East Prussia
Musketeer Regiment 14 Salm-Salm.
This and the previous regiment are all Lancashire Games figures
2 batteries of Union artillery
2 batteries of Confederate artillery
Kampfgruppe Muller for Team Yankee
And another angle.
The West Germans were a bit of a spur of the moment thing. I'd got the airbrush out for some bits and pieces for Craig, and thought I might as well have a go with these guys. I really like how they turned out. Oh dear, remember what I said about focusing on purchasing terrain this year? I think I might have a new distraction already...

On the painting tray are some French colonels for John, some Prodos Marines for Alien vs Predator for Glenn, some Samurai for Dan and another Austrian regiment (Hoch & Deutschmeister), so plenty of variety to come. Also, hopefully I'll get a game in real soon.


Thursday, 11 January 2018

First painting

It's been a week since we got back from Aussie, and it was an excellent trip with the family. Since I've got home I've been catching up on lost time and getting through some painting and prep. The first thing I did was finish John's 95th Rifles, the Chosen Men box from Warlord Games with 16 riflemen and a dog. Having completed that (no photos unfortunately as I took them to him before I thought to take a snap) I promptly moved into some 15mm Seven Years War. I have 4 regiments of Prussian musketeers and 4 of Austrians to paint, together with some casualties and a couple of limbers. These are all now prepped and primed and ready to go, and I have started with IR 15 the Prussian Leibgarde.

IR15 Leibgarde Regiment
Parading past Der Alte Fritz himself.
Currently IR19 Markgraf Karl is sitting on the painting tray half complete.

Project Management Take 2

I thought I'd try and be structured with my projects this year, with completion dates to work towards. I'm dividing the year into thirds. The first third I want to complete the Prussians and Austrians for the Seven Years War, plus the American Civil War armies which are also now all prepped and ready to be painted. There are 11 regiments (5 Confederate and 6 Union) of infantry, 8 regiments of cavalry (mounted and dismounted) and some heavy artillery and limbers. Finally, I want to aim to get another Marian Roman and Gallic army painted for DBA in the quest to have BBDBA armies available by the end of the year for this period.

The second third of the year will be concentrating on the 15mm Seven Years War Russians, to get them finished by August for the anniversary of Zorndorf. Well, the intention is there...

The final third will be spent on the German and Russian 1914 armies, hopefully they can be used in a game to mark Armistice weekend, even if they aren't complete by that point.

The plans, of course, are affected by painting for others, but if I don't meet my targets by the due dates, then I'll move onto the next project. That way I can guarantee progress in each of the periods, whether or not I complete them. I can always proxy Austrians at Zorndorf if necessary.

The line-up for others isn't reducing. Most of it will be for Craig, and consists of Battlefront German grenadiers (which I've had for half a year but am struggling to get into), 28mm Soviets, some Luftwaffe and Volksturm for Bolt Action, and a few other bits and pieces. I have some 28mm Napoleonics for John, some figures for Dan, Glenn and Chris, and then I think I'll call it a year on painting for others.  It would be nice to only have my own stuff to work through for a while.

Planning the games for the year

To go with the painting schedule, I'm planning a succession of campaigns this year. The first will be a Seven Years War Campaign to run in the first third of the year, fighting a series of linked battles between the Prussians and the Austrians, which should end up completed. Next will be an American Civil War campaign, using everything that I've managed to complete by May. A second Seven Years War campaign will follow this in the final third, with the Russians involved. Next December I hope to be able to fight out a series of linked battles on the Eastern Front in WWI as well.

Alongside these games, I aim to get more DBA. Portable Battle, Clobberin' Time and Song of Broken Legions games in as well. We'll see if I can manage 3 games a month - that is the goal.

Look - a book!

The Aussie trip didn't see any toy soldier purchases, but they did see me raid a couple of second hand bookstores and pick up a whole pile of great books (my wife was not impressed that we had to try and get all of this stuff packed into the luggage for the return trip). But amongst the loot was a book that I didn't even pay for. This was a gift from Marcus when I visited him in Canberra. Last year he and Dan came across a building being prepared to be demolished, with all of the possessions left inside going with it. Well they were allowed to go in and raid this site, and the chap who owned it turned out to be a real military head. They grabbed tons of books and still didn't get through it all. One of the volumes was this:

This book by Esposito and Elting is on my bucket list. There was a volume in the library at my University and I read it cover to cover, photocopying a good number of the maps along the way. I offered to buy it off him, but Marcus said at the time that if I went to Canberra to visit him, I could have it, so I did and now I have. In return I might get some 6mm figs to paint up for his copy of  'Travel Battle' as a return gesture.
If you don't know this book, it is simply a must have if you are an map fiend and Napoleonaphile like me. It covers the campaigns that he was personally involved in, describing the battles in detail and matching them with fantastic maps.
Overview of the armies at the start of the Marengo campaign.
One of the maps detailing the course of the battle.
Obviously, acquiring this has made me very, very happy. Thanks Marcus!

Potential purchases

With the cabinets bulging I plan to resist any new temptations this year. Not easy, as Gangs of Rome looks totally amazing, but I aim to stick to my guns - no new projects! (... Except maybe some French and British for Napoleon in Egypt, which isn't really a new project as I already have some test figures...).
Anyway, aside from some dismounted cavalry for the ACW and a few battalions to finish off the Franco-Prussian War armies, figure purchases are to be kept at a minimum. The word this year will be 'terrain'. The ACW demands some very specific styles of building that I don't currently possess. The ECW, although not this year's project (locked in for 2019), also needs some terrain built and bought for it.
And although not an essential terrain item, I couldn't resist buying this as a Late Roman era camp for some Huns or other Barbarians in DBA:
The fall of the Roman Empire...
You've gotta love Aquarium decorations...