Thursday, 20 June 2019

Quatre Bras – C&CN

We played the C&CN Quatre Bras scenario on Tuesday and an excellent game it turned out to be. Goya, as host, was umpire while Tony commanded the French and I took control of the allies. We played Tony’s Ramekin rules variant with a few new tweaks and the result was another very near-run thing.

This is the view from behind the French left-centre at the start
of play. The stream is fordable along its entire length. Quatre
Bras is represented by the building in the distance and was
worth one victory banner to the French.
This is the French right flank. The troops on the opposite base
line are Picton's British regulars whilst those further forward
are a mixture of Dutch, Belgian and Brunswick allies.
And this is the view from behind the allied right showing the
Bossu Wood on the extreme flank.
Tony opened proceedings with a spirited attack on Bossu Wood
and quickly removed my Dutch artillery battery from play.
However, thereafter it proved much more difficult to dislodge
my infantry who hung on in possession all day.
The French are starting to think they may have to bi-pass the
woods and attack in the centre. Tony had a grand battery on
the central ridge that was soon pounding away at my infantry.
This is the view along the entire allied line from the Bossu
Wood. The very large British unit in the trees is one of my
Guard ones, these are like the Napoleonic version of Tiger
Tanks and proved very effective.
Here you can see that the French have started to advance
across the stream. I've pulled my own front line back to the
shelter of the reverse slope of the ridge to avoid the galling
artillery fire.
Of course I had to move the men back on to the ridge as the
French columns approached. There were unit losses to both
sides and it looked to me like Tony was getting the upper hand.
The Black Duke steadies the Owls supported by one of Goya's
excellent Hinton Hunt Hanoverian units (not strictly right for
the OOB but they were standing in for |Dutch).
These Dutch cavalry are also from Goya's collection - all
Hinton Hunt.
A 'classic' wargame shot as the two sides grapple for control
 of the ridge (in the background you can see that Goya's
servants are getting ready to lay the table for dinner as
soon as we finish playing).
Eventually, somehow, I managed to push the French infantry
back prompting Tony to throw in his Cuirassiers. Luckily for
me he had no horse artillery with which to crack my squares.
A lucky run of dice then brought me to the 9 victory banners
required to claim victory - game over!

This was yet another game with a lot of ebb and flow that went right down to the wire. My thanks to Goya for hosting, umpiring and providing a very nice lunch, and to Tony for a most enjoyable game.

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Slender Billy

This is another contribution to the Quatre Bras game next week – DN/30 H.R.H. The Prince of Orange, in hussar jacket, full trouser and waving his cocked hat. A rather nice vintage casting I’ve painted in accordance with the original Hinton Hunt painting instructions.

I must confess that my image of the Prince has been tainted by watching Paul Bettany’s portrayal of him in Sharpe’s Waterloo. So, although Goya insists he should be known as Slender Billy, he will always be Silly Billy to me.

In reality the Prince was a reasonably experienced officer by the time of Waterloo having served on the Dukes staff in the peninsular. His performance at Quatre Bras was solid but he was later criticised by British writers who naturally enough wanted to big-up the part played by Wellington and his generals.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Brunswick Artillery

Hinton Hunt never made any Brunswick artillerymen, so I’ve had to resort to the dark art of head swapping to create some. The donor bodies are all British Horse Artillery and the heads are from various odds and ends of Brunswick infantry I had lying about.

There was just one Horse Artillery Battery present in the
Brunswick contingent during the Waterloo campaign. 
And one Foot Artillery Battery.

I’m quite happy with the Horse Artillery figures but the Foot Artillery heads are a bit big for the rather spindly RHA bodies resulting in quite a menacing pinhead look. The guns are on loan from the French, apparently the canny Black Duke sent his artillery chief to an auction following the Battle of Leipzig where he snapped up enough captured French guns to equip several batteries.

For C&CN we need two guns and crew per battery so mine
will be combined for the game.

So, I can hear you thinking “hey, those aren’t Prussian – what’s he up to?” well I can only blame Goya for this distraction. Next week he is hosting a C&CN game of Quatre Bras and we were short of a Brunswick battery for the OOB. A battle report will be posted here in due course.

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Prussian progress 2

It’s been a busy few weeks with not much painting time and even less blogging time, but I have managed to churn out the first half of my final Prussian Musketeer unit. This one is a Colberg regiment with white collar and cuffs and red shoulder straps.

Being the final of the three charging figure units I’ve had to scrape the bottom of the barrel for recruits with a mixture of vintage (not many), reproduction and Clayton figures to make up the numbers. The Clayton’s, although ‘official’ castings, are the weediest of the bunch and are orientated slightly differently on their bases to the original figures and their muskets are held at a lower angle.

I’m not sure how long it’s going to take to get these finished as we have a few more busy weeks ahead, but I’m aiming to get them done by the end of June.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

The Battle for the Hill

Yesterday I was joined by Wellington Man, Goya and the Archduke (Nigel) for a game of soldiers. WM had brought a small French expeditionary force with him comprised of three infantry units, the Guard Chasseurs and 7th Polish Lancers. Despite some minor damage in transit from New Zealand WM’s troops still looked splendid when they took their place in the French line. 

The French army (Goya and Nigel) was opposed by my Prussians supported by Austrians and Russians (Myself and WM). In theory the two armies were balanced at 12 infantry and 5 cavalry each however due to some poor staff work on my part the French had a 6 to 4 advantage in cavalry which was to have a significant influence on events.

The scenario was simple, there were 3 victory locations in the centre of the table each worth 5 VP’s. Additionally, 1 VP was awarded for each enemy routed unit. The side with the most VP’s at the end of play was the winner. The rules as ever were Muskets & Marshals, here are the highlights -

This is the view from behind the right wing of the French army looking towards
the section of the allied line commanded by yours truly. WM's beautiful Guard
Chasseurs are visible bottom right of the picture. The tree and the hill were both
victory point objectives.
Prussian Jagers were the first troops to take possession of the central hill and
they were soon popping away with their rifles at the French Voltigeurs on the
other side. Meanwhile both sides were pushing forward their infantry columns.
The emperor looks on. He managed to win every initiative die roll bar one
which combined with the French superior cavalry numbers put the allies under
pressure from the start.
French on the left, allies on the right. There is already cavalry action taking
place on both flanks while the fight for the central hill hots up.
The 4th Brandenburg infantry have gained the crest of the hill. However a whole
brigade of Swiss troops is waiting for them on the other side, with levelled
The 7th Lancers engage the Prussian Lancers. A lot of men have gone down
on both sides, however it was the Poles who would emerge victorious from this
fierce clash of arms. Both of these units were painted by WM.
This is the view from the other end of the table (French on the right). The
Prussians are pushing forward and, with the 1st Silesian Landwehr out front
what can possibly go wrong?
The Guard Chasseurs managed to catch the Splendid Splenys out of square.
I felt this was quite unsporting but Goya begged to differ.
With so many troops in a relatively small area it soon became something of a
pell-mell battle. Nearest the camera the Poles and Guard Marines are pushing
against the allied flank. The Guard Eclaireurs have been severely mauled by
artillery and fire from an Austrian square, however they succeeded in riding
down a battery in the process.
As we all know, it's always the new units that take the worst punishment in a
fight. Here the Brandenburgers suffer the inevitable consequence of being
fired on by 18 Swiss muskets at close range.

Now this surely wasn't in the script? The Silesian Landwehr are routing after
taking casualties from cannister and musketry. Fortunately the French
Cuirassiers were unable to take advantage having failed a morale test. 
With the Brandenburgers ejected from the hill the 3rd Swiss advance and take
their place. Things are looking shaky for the allies.
The allied left is under pressure now as well with the 'tree' VP location firmly
in the hands of the French, who are smashing the remaining infantry squares
with columns.
Honour restored - the Silesians have rallied!
This is one of Matthews amazing units - the 67th infantry I believe. Marshal
Davout seems very pleased with the way things are working out.
The obligatory black and white shot. You'll have to take my word for it that
the Swiss on the hill are a sea of red.
"Stop running mein children!" It's no use, Scharnhorst and the Brandenburgers
are legging it. A convincing win for the French who controlled 2 of the 3 VP
sites at game end (turn 6).

Thanks to WM for bringing his troops (and himself) halfway around the world to the game and to Nigel for making the 7 hour round trip across the border and back. Thanks also to Goya for producing 3 units for the game finished in gloss varnish even though this was against his principles (I believe they are being doused in matt varnish as I write!). Another good game played in great company.

Saturday, 27 April 2019

A sister for Gneisenau

This is a further addition to the Prussian General Staff namely Gerhard Johann David von Scharnhorst the famous reformer of the Prussian Army. I had a spare vintage casting of PN.61 General Gneisenau which I mounted on a reproduction PNH/1 horse.

Scharnhorst fought at Auerstedt, Eylau and Lutzen, where he received a wound in the foot that eventually proved fatal. He is chiefly remembered for his reforms and efforts to modernise the Prussian Army which helped turn it into the efficient fighting machine it became by 1814.

Like Gneisenau, Scharnhorst eventually had a battlecruiser named after him although his namesake was sunk by the Royal Navy in 1943. The Gneisenau was also put out of action but this time by the RAF (the RAF radio operator signalled base “the Gneisenau is not so G-nice now”). I hope my two ‘sister’ generals have better luck.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Brandenburg Musketeers

After a bit of a break from painting I have managed to complete my second Prussian line infantry regiment – the 4th Brandenburg Musketeers.

The figures are mostly reproductions with the odd vintage and Clayton figure thrown in for good measure. Figure types are the same as my previous post.

The final Musketeer unit will have the white collar and cuffs of a Colberg regiment.