Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Birthday Bash

As you may have noticed, last Saturday I hosted a game of Muskets & Marshals using pretty much all of my Hinton Hunts plus a smattering from Roy’s collection. The excuse was the celebration of a significant birthday and I thought it would be nice to invite some fellow bloggers and HH enthusiasts along to enjoy the fun.

The scenario was quite basic and the allied army was a rather eclectic mix of nationalities but we managed to play a full 12 turns and reached a satisfying conclusion (satisfying if you were on the French side). I was so busy playing that I didn’t stop to take enough photos for a proper narrative but I hope the following give a taste of the occasion.

Prince Murat commanded the right wing of the French army - more used to wearing white, Nigel put in a good performance as the emperor's right hand man.

A general view of the table at the start of turn four. French on the left commanded by Tony, allies on the right commanded by Matt. The troops look quite thin on the ground even though we had approximately 900 figures in play.
The churchyard was the focus of a lot of heavy fighting throughout the day.
Another view of Nigel's command contesting the churchyard with Clive's men on the opposite side of the hedge. The Swiss moved forward in an attempt to claim the place for the emperor but were cruelly cut down as they did so.
The Blues & Greys were transferred from Clive's (left) flank to reinforce Roy's (right) flank. I'm not sure that Clive was too pleased about this particularly as Roy had already lost four cavaly regiments by this time.
Poniatowski (that's the birthday boy) had some spectacular success with his cavalry on the French left flank forcing Blucher's infantry to spend the remainder of the battle in square. Sadly, due to a slight tactical error the French horse artillery were not able to capitalise on this situation.
The Swiss pictured just before they were forced to quit the field (being reduced to nine men). The Nassau grenadiers opposite them are worth a mention for the exceptional performance they put in during this fight.
British heavies clash with French cuirassiers - I can't remember who won this melee - let's just assume it was the French!
The famous 45th ligne take on some Swedes (oops thats actually the 105th - if only I had some way to tell them apart).
The 42nd Black Watch move up to the hedge under the watchful eye of Picton (Clive).
This was the start of Napoleon's winning move - a pincer movement from both flanks against the weakened allied centre.
The Old Guard close with the British Foot Guards. Even the presence of the Duke (Matt) could not keep them steady. A French victory, but a slim one!

My thanks to Matt, Tony, Clive, Nigel and of course Roy for a thoroughly enjoyable day. For some better photos take a look at Matt’s blog here and Tony’s blog here.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Unit Histories

I did mention a few posts back that I was adding some Unit Histories pages to this blog mostly for my own amusement but also to help me remember which figures I used for each unit. I've updated these with some better photos and added a few more units to the rolls.

I remember many years ago that John (one of my wargaming buddies from school) started an index card system to keep track of the exploits of our English Civil War regiments. This was a bit of fun to give the units some character on the table and was probably influenced by something we'd read in Featherstone or Grant. I suppose my blog lists are a 21st century version of this same idea.

You can find the pages by following the links towards the top of the right hand menu bar under the Rules & Stuff heading. You might also find it useful to use the labels for the various battles (below my blog list) for more details of the exploits of my troops. On the other hand you may have something better to do.

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A mob of Cuirassiers

Is that the correct collective noun? Slowly but surely my Prussian cuirassiers are reaching completion. It’s slow work because these are tricky customers to paint with lots of black outlining and zillions of buttons on each one. However, I’m more than pleased with the results so far.

I’ve made a small tweak to my rules Muskets & Marshals to allow cavalry in three classes – Heavy, Medium and light. Previously it was just Heavy and Light but I wanted to introduce a different value between dragoons and cuirassiers to add more tactical interest to the cavalry melees. This is still to be play tested so I haven’t amended the rules on the blog yet.

A rough and rather scary calculation revealed that it is at least 45 years ago that I painted my original unit of PN.77 Prussian Cuirassier. I sometimes wonder whatever happened to my original army after I parted with it and whether the figures are still in play somewhere – I hope so.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Guest Appearance #7

This is a close up shot of the command group from Roy’s 'Old Guard in bicornes' unit that I snapped during our last game.

More clever conversions from Roy - my favourite has to be that sapper but the marching officer converted to a standard bearer is also pretty darn good!

And here's another photo that Michael sent a few days ago this time of his unit of French ‘Sailors of the Guard’ - very smart.
I know they're Minifigs but they still look really good to me. I'm also liking that Hinchliffe Old Guard mounted officer lurking in the background.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Painting desk anarchy

I’m normally pretty disciplined about the way I run my painting desk. The rule is ‘one unit at a time’ and even then I only paint in small batches – usually three figures at a time. However, since the start of the year I have quite uncharacteristically been drawn this way and that and currently have three Hinton Hunt units in progress.

A bit of a mess - too many figures on the go at the same time has turned out to be de-motivating. I had high hopes of cracking on and getting the Austrians finished by the end of February but so far have only managed to complete 6.
The French 'Sailors of the Guard' are the ones I'm enjoying painting the most - nice colours and NO buttons. However, still only 3 completed.
These are the ones I should really be painting - Prussian cuirassiers. I have 6 completed plus these 2 nearly finished. Each figure has to have 25 buttons and even with my new cocktail stick method this is still daunting so I'm tending to avoid them.
And what the heck is this doing here?

My hope is that at the end of this - a bit like waiting for a bus - all three units will be finished at the same time.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Hanau 1813 - part 3

The 4th Swiss put up a good fight but against two enemy units and being disordered this was only going to end one way.
Just to the right of the Swiss the 9th legere take on another Bavarian column at slightly better odds. There are more Bavarian columns coming up in support however.
In the centre the two sides have settled down to a fire fight and as you can see my French are starting to take casualties. The guard look on but remain uncommitted by the emperor.
The Swiss keep running pursued by one of the Bavarian columns. This shot shows my labelling system on the bottom of the bases to keep track of the various figure types.
The reliable 45th ligne get stuck in to yet another Bavarian column. The 45th were to win this melee and were the only French unit remaining on this flank at the end of the game although by then they were completely surrounded by enemy infantry.
The situation at the end of turn 5.
Another shot of the 9th legere. The 45th ligne can be seen in the background (top left).
This is getting near 'game over'. My right flank is crumbling with both cavalry and infantry routing. One solitary square resists Roy's cavalry supported by the carabiniers who are now seriously under strength. In the centre the combined grenadiers are taking a pasting from Austrian musketry.
Next to the grenadiers the 105th ligne are also taking more casualties including their colonel (who on this occasion is Lasalle). My men are giving as good as they get but behind the enemy front line are three more battalions as yet untouched.
Poniatowski is swept away with the rout of the 8th Polish battalion. Fortunately for him there is no river blocking his line of retreat.
The 9th legere are also routing and my left flank has completely broken.

The view from the Bavarian battery at the end of the game. One gun has been removed as a result of counter-battery fire from my guard artillery.
This is the view from behind the Austrian front line (looking at my combined grenadier battalion).
It's all over now as Roy's cavalry sweep forward to complete his victory.

With both my flanks broken it was time to concede defeat. It was a great game and another good test of the rules. This time I felt there was nothing to change in the rules other than the introduction of the initiative die roll. It's taken a while (I started in 1972) but finally I have a set of rules that I'm really happy with.

My thanks to Roy for yet another splendid game and lunch.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Hanau 1813 - part 2

The game commenced with an artillery bombardment and my poor carabiniers found themselves in the line of fire of two Austrian batteries. The gunners took delight in aiming at their shiny brass breastplates in a most unsporting way.
My guard artillery were not standing idly by however and a string of good dice rolls was soon whittling away at the Bavarian gunners opposite them.
The Austrian infantry now started to advance whilst on their left flank the cavalry of both sides engaged in a fierce melee. You can just make out my cuirassiers and light cavalry mixing it with the front line of Roy's troopers in the centre distance.
The Austrians came on confidently with banners flying high - or was it just the innocence of troops who had never been in battle before?
The situation at the start of turn 3
A close up of the cavalry melee. I forget the precise sequence of events here but I remember the melee went on for several turns. At this stage Roy kept back three of his cavalry units in reserve whilst I retained two (including the carabiniers who ranks had now considerably thinned.
On the other flank the Bavarians came on in column whilst I pushed forward in something of an ordre mixte. I had to do this to prevent being out-flanked as the enemy outnumbered me 2:1 on this part of the field. The Swiss are in line and about to feel the full force of two enemy battalions.
A view along the French line. In the middle distance you can see I have moved my guard cavalry up behind the Poles. What sneaky plan did I have in store?
This is not looking good - there are more holes in their ranks than in a Swiss cheese. The yellow counter denotes the fact that the 4th Swiss are disordered.
At this stage Roy hesitated slightly in his advance and I was able to get off a volley or two together with fire from part of the guard artillery. You will note the absence of skirmishers in this game. This was to help speed up play. I like to have skirmishing but it does slow things down a bit and rarely has much effect on the game so Roy and I have decided to drop them for bigger games.
Another overview of the table.
The Austrian columns stop and the front ranks deploy into line clearly Roy doesn't fancy the chances of these newbies with the bayonet. I brought up my two reserve line battalions to extend my right flank and start to pour volley fire into the Austrians. However things were not going too well with the cavalry melee by this time and my cuirassiers can be seen making a 'strategic withdrawal'.
"Load, aim, fire" The 105th put all that drill to good use.
Possibly foolhardy rather than sneaky. The guard cavalry charge into the flank of the Austro-Hungarian column but the dice favours the Bavarians who managed to react and form square whilst the Bavarian gunners can't believe their luck. The red counter means that the colonel of the guards is hors de combat.

To be continued.

I've added some 'Unit History' pages (toward the top of the side menu bar). These are for my own amusement but might also be of interest to some of you. I will add to them as and when I have time.