Saturday, 12 May 2018

Battle of the four Generals (conclusion)

There is tension also for Blucher as the Silesian (aka Death-Star) Landwehr
take a pasting from Tony's guns. They took similar punishment in the next turn
but despite their 'C' class status did not rout.
The fight for the rock is in full swing. There is more cavalry action in the
foreground with East Prussian cuirassiers about to clash with the French DK's.
Across the table Tony has pulled his men out of square and looks set to attack.
A full view of the table at the end of turn 7.
The cavalry melee looks even with one casualty each. Meanwhile the Leib
Hussars have finally been routed (despite which they still get my 'man of the
match' award).
The Swedish Alderkretuz regiment eject the 4th Swiss from the farm which
changes hands for the fourth and final time. It's been a while since the 4th
Swiss have finished a battle with over half their number still standing so well
done for that at least.
The Young Guard rout the Russian Grenadiers. This was the high water
mark for the forces of the emperor. Wellington looks on "Make ready guards!".
Despite the success of the Young Guard the situation for the French is critical.
The Old Guard have voluntarily withdrawn behind the 45th ligne who are now
taking the full fury of the British rifle and artillery fire.
On the British flank the Blues&Greys are in action. Big men on big horses
with lots of pluses on their die rolls!
WM makes one last effort to take the hill by deploying the Musketeer regiment
No4 Hoch-Und Deutschmeister. But too little too late, those Cambridgeshires
are going nowhere.
The emperor gets ready for one last throw of the dice by combining the remnants
of the Old Guard with those of the Guard Marines. This is the first time we have
used the rule that allows two units under half strength to combine into one unit.
Turn 8 game over and all three objectives are in allied hands. Here WM's
18th (6th Reserve) regiment proudly wave their flag in a victory salute.
Straight from a copy of Minitaure Warfare circa 1972? WM's DK Garde
du Corps. Fittingly not a feather was ruffled on these fine fellows who stayed
in reserve throughout the game.

My thanks to my fellow players Tony, Goya and WM for a great game and to Mrs S for lunch.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Battle of the four Generals (part 3)

By now the cavalry action on both flanks was coming fast and furious. Here
my Brandenburg Uhlans are put to flight by DK cuirassiers and dragoons.
Surely Hinton Hunt should trump DK every time?
Even with this success Tony was taking no chances and formed three of his
battalions into square. This made his flank safe from cavalry attack but also
prevented him from advancing and taking the rock objective.
Back at the farm the Swedish Abo regiment managed to eject the 45th ligne
from the buildings. I knocked up a simplified rule for combat in built-up-areas
for this game to make it more likely that the objective would change hands.
More cavalry mayhem - this time British heavy dragoons manage to see off
the Austrian Hussars. Behind them a melee between Light dragoons and the
lancer/chasseurs rumbles on. The 'black spot' denotes a fallen colonel.
The farm is now surrounded by a sea of troops. The Young Guard are in the
process of successfully charging the Swedish Kajana regiment - a good
result for their first taste of action.
It's also the first action for the Guard Marines as they attempt to storm the
farm. However  their ranks are thinned considerably and the attack is replused.
Unlike the Young Guard they are more closely observing the wargaming
tradition regarding new units.
The 30th Cambridgeshires have managed to gain firm possession of the hill
as the Jagers are forced back. The position looks secure for the moment as
the supporting Austrian infantry are still in square.
The Duke has wisely withdrawn the 42nd Black Watch behind the Guards in
an effort to stop them taking casualties. They had been standing all day under
fire from the enemy battery opposite and were now at less than half strength.
The lancer/chasseurs have finally broken the Light Dragoons. However the
British still have plenty of cavalry left on this flank and the Blues&Greys are
moving up.
Now here's a sight you don't see often - the Old Guard decimated by fire from
from artillery and rifle fire. Normally you would expect the Guard to be hiding
behind the line infantry - my word that WM knows how to make war!
The Swedish Kajana regiment has retreated and now the Young Guard plough
on into the ranks of the Russian grenadiers. This is a tense moment
for Wellington.


Final part to follow...

Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Battle of the four Generals (part 2)

I had set the troops out on the table before the three visiting generals arrived trying to put roughly equal forces in each half of the battlefield. As guest of honour WM got to choose his command first and plumped for the French left comprising both the Austrians and the Imperial Guard. Tony took the French right and Goya the allied right which meant I commanded the Prussians on the allied left. This is how the battle progressed:

The French pushed forward the voltigeurs of the 9th legere to occupy the farm
and they were soon popping away at our allied line. However it would need
a bit more muscle than that to secure the objective regardless of how pretty
their uniforms were.
The Duke, cool as ever, calmly ordered the 30th foot (yellow flag in the
distance) to take the hill to their front whilst the 95th returned the fire of
the enemy skirmishers.
Meanwhile I ordered my Prussian infantry to advance en-masse and what a
splendid sight they made. WM's three units are in the front line while my own
bring up the rear.
This is turn 2 and already you can see how far the allied line has advanced. The
French have also been active and are pressing to take the farm. The Prussian
heavy cavalry are still in reserve near the table edge waiting for their time to
come (reserve units are free to move along the table edge to a new position).
Here you can see that my infantry have already secured 'the rock' (the objective
on this side of the table) while my cavalry get stuck into the enemy horse on the
extreme flank.
And here are WM's famous Leib Hussars about to make mincemeat of the
Brunswick Hussars.
The fight for the farm begins in earnest and the 45th ligne have just occupied
the buildings. They have plenty of support coming up including the Young
Guard and the Guard Marines both about to have their baptism of fire.
On the French extreme left another cavalry battle is under way. The lancer
/chasseurs seem keen to get to grips with  the 11th Light Dragoons while
Austrian Hussars move up to support them.
With enemy cavalry milling around on their flank the Austrian infantry have
cautiously opted to form square leaving only the Jagers to contest the hill with
the British. General Mack wisely takes refuge in the centre of the square of
the Splendid Splenys.
Although my Prussian infantry have siezed an objective they are starting to
take casualties from artillery fire - steady mein children! These are WM's 10th
(1st Silesian) and 18th (6th Reserve) regiments.
The 30th Cambridgeshires ascend the hill to take on the Austrian Jagers in a
fire-fight. However the British have more support close at hand than the
Austrians due to their reserves being pinned in square.
Having dealt with the Brunswick Hussars, the Leib Hussars have just ridden
down a battery of Guard horse artllery - the Prussians are on a roll!

Part three to follow...

Monday, 7 May 2018

Battle of the four Generals

On Saturday I hosted a game of Muskets & Marshals for attendees Foy, Goya and guest of honour Wellington Man. WM brought his Prussian expeditionary force all the way from New Zealand bringing the total number of Hinton Hunt’s (and DK’s) on the table to just over 1,000.

The scenario was simple enough – two fairly equally balanced forces with a Franco-Austrian army taking on an Anglo-Prussian-Russo-Swedish one (fans of historical scenarios please look away now). There were three objectives in the middle of the table and the idea was for each side to try to gain possession of them. No hanging about in this game it was attack or lose.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game and it was great to get every single figure in my collection on the table. It was also a huge bonus to have WM present and to see some of his splendid figures for real and get to command them in action.

I took quite a few photos so I’m spitting this into several posts, this first one shows the initial dispositions – enjoy!

Initial dispositions - view of the whole 8'x4' table from the allied side. There
were 1,003 Hinton Hunt and DK figures (zoom in to take a closer look).
The Duke of Wellington's finest on the right of the allied line. The main
objective of the British was to take and hold the small hill to their front.
I got to command this huge Prussian force on the allied left including the
five units WM brought with him. This was the sort of Prussian army I had
dreamed of having when I collected Hinton Hunt's in the early 70s.
The allied central position was occupied by the Russo-Swedish contingent.
They were tasked with taking possession of the farm. Nice to see the Swedes
in action, their last outing was Vintage Leipzig.
This is the French right flank. The Brunswickers and Nassauers had switched
sides for this game.
The Austrians took up position on the French left flank opposite the British.
Austrian artillery and French Guard artillery in battery on a hill.
The French centre. Infantry in the front line supported by a reserve of three
heavy cavalry units. There were no off table reserves in this game.
The newly expanded Imperial Guard. From left to right Old Guard, Young
Guard and Sailors of the Guard. Each infantry unit had a personality figure
attached acting as Colonel, Napoleon personaly led the Old Guard in this action
Another view of the Austrians. On the extreme flank are hussars and French
lancer/chasseurs.
My recently expanded Prussian artillery had a splendid position over looking
the farm. Hmm, I wonder who set up the table?
My 1970s dream.

To be continued.

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Marins de la Garde Imperial

Originally part of the Consular Guard, Napoleon incorporated the sailors’ battalion into the Imperial Guard on becoming emperor in 1804. At that time the battalion consisted of 5 crews totalling 818 officers and men with each crew commanded by a ‘capitaine de fregate’.


Their first assignment was to join the force at Boulogne earmarked for the invasion of Britain but when this was called off they travelled to Austria where they were present at Ulm and Austerlitz. The battalion subsequently fought at Jena, Eylau and Friedland during the campaigns of 1806-1807.


After Tilsit they were sent to Spain where they suffered heavy losses at Bailen, with many becoming prisoners. Because of this the unit had to be rebuilt from scratch in 1809 but with only a single crew of 150 men who fought at Wagram as gunners.


In 1810 more crews were added and the battalion rose to a strength of over 1,000 in time to take part in the invasion of Russia. Only 85 of its officers and men returned to Germany following the campaign but it was brought up to strength again in time to fight at Leipzig alongside the Young Guard.


A small detachment of sailors accompanied the emperor in exile to Elba and during the Hundred Days one crew of 150 was re-formed and fought at both Ligny and Waterloo. The unit was disbanded in August 1815.


My own unit of Marins has a few Engineers of the Guard mixed in the ranks in recognition of the combined attack these units made at Ligny (and to give me an excuse to paint up some engineers). The unit is comprised as follows:

16 x FN/93 Marine (charging)
1 x FN/90 Officer (charging)
1 x FN/4 Colour Bearer (charging)
1 x FN/6 Drummer (charging) – Variant
1 x FN/180 Officer, reading map
1 x FN/177 Guard using pickaxe
1 x FN/178 Guard, digging with spade
1 x WN.10. Officer, charging
1 x WN.15. Officer, marching

I’m hopeful that this unit will be seeing action quite soon.