Thursday 24 November 2016

Back to warm woollen mittens

You may recall that I began the year with a bit of an Austrian theme going but then got diverted into painting Prussian cavalry. With Vintage Leipzig out of the way I thought it would be a good idea to try and complete the Musketeer Regiment No 4 Hoch-Und Deutschmeister and with luck I’ll have them done by Christmas.

I’ve just finished the command group which consists of 2 officers, 1 drummer and a standard bearer. I’ve got a real mix here of vintage, Clayton and DK although I can’t remember which is which as the figures are currently stuck on bottle tops and I can’t check the bases. The flag bearer is of course easily identified as the Clayton one.

I’m not particularly good at painting flags free hand (as is clear from the photo) and in fact when I got out my 51st Gabriel Spleny Regiment for the recent game I felt compelled to re-touch their flag as it was pretty poor (for some reason I’d completely missed out the white). This one is a bit better although a tad on the impressionistic side however from a gaming distance it looks quite alright especially if I take my glasses off.

Sunday 20 November 2016

They’re all Greeks to me

Although I’ve been interested in wargaming since I was twelve years old I’ve never really dabbled in the ancient period. I did have quite a few Romans and Britons when Airfix first released them but I never replaced these with any metal figures when I entered my ‘serious’ wargaming phase. I may have been put off by playing a game with one of my school friends who insisted on pushing heaps of Airfix Robin Hood figures around the table alleging they were Carthaginian veteran spearmen. I think if you can’t be bothered to stand the toy soldiers up you really shouldn’t be playing wargames at all.

AG/7 Officer waving sword
AG/10 Hoplite thrusting with sword
AG/11 Hoplite thrusting with spear
AG/13 Hoplite marching

As a result of this I don’t know very much about the various Ancients periods and was certainly made to feel a bit inadequate when observing WRG competition games back in the 80s. The games didn’t look like much fun and always seemed to be small scale affairs rather than the large pitch battles I imagined from my limited knowledge of Hannibal, Alexander and Caesar. About ten years ago I did buy a copy of Warhammer Ancient Battles which looked more like the sort of rules I might enjoy to play. I even painted up a few 28mm Carthaginians (and based them so they stood up!) but not long after this I was seduced by the Hinton Hunt’s and Hannibal’s lads were boxed up and forgotten.

Now some of you may not be aware that Hinton Hunt actually did produce a range of 20mm Ancient figures. It wasn’t a very big range but covered Greeks, Persians, Romans and Celts so when this lot came up on eBay last week I couldn’t resist particularly as nobody else bid on them. It’s a nice little batch of figures as it includes one of each type of Greek figure released. Not much use from a wargaming point of view as this really is a tiny army however it’s really interesting to see them as I’m sure you’ll agree.

Saturday 5 November 2016

Vintage Leipzig (Conclusion)

By now Blucher was developing his attack towards Leipzig on the north table. Here Saxon's defend the outskirts of the city whilst 3 battalions of Young Guard newly arrived from the reserve bolster my line.
This is another view of the Poles advancing towards Schwarzenburg's line. As I was absorbed in my own sector of the battle by this time I never really did find out what Poniatowski's plan was - if indeed he had a plan!
Augereau's men press forward in an attempt to capture Connewitz (right of photo) which by this time had fallen to the Austrians. It looks as if the ranks of the 105th ligne are a little disordered.
Schwarzenburg's white coated steamroller has come to a halt content to let the Poles advance and do their worst. I have to say that Roy's Austrian army is most impressive.
An unusal occurrence - Russian hussars catching a French battalion out of square. I don't know how this encounter ended but as the infantry are disordered I'm thinking that the cavalry must have got the better of them.
The hand of Napoleon attempting to command the Russians to run away. I don't think they were taking any notice however.
The French are still hanging on to Markkleeberg but by now both the other villages were firmly in allied hands.
The Austrians again - I found that my eye was constantly drawn towards them! The outskirts of Leipzig (south) can be seen top left of the photo however Schwarzeburg's decision not to advance further meant the city was spared.
Blucher's line presses in against my flank at Leipzig (north). Over half of the Army of Silesia was comprised of Landwehr battalions but they behaved well during the battle and I don't think a single unit routed.
In the centre of the French position on the south table my very own 45th ligne and 9th legere are about to enter the fray against the attacking Russians. Good luck lads!
Back on the north table Bernadotte had outflanked me on the right and taken the village of Sellerhausen. There was a lot of excited dice throwing by now as the two sides traded vollies of musketry. Those 6's look useful.
Ex Wargames Holiday Centre Landwehr with obligatory over-sized metal flag from Roy's collection. These troops last saw action at Vintage Waterloo.
These are the Poles again. Somehow Poniatowski has hooked up with a unit of hussars - I'm not sure it is the business of a corps commander to join in with cavalry charges.
The Austrians in Connewitz - it doesn't look as if this unit has taken a single casualty in securing the objective.
More of the fighting around Connewitz. A cavalry melee rages in the distance whilst French infantry prepare to wrestle the village from the Austrians.
And what of that cavalry melee on the left flank of the south table? As you can see, yet more French reserves have been committed this time Guard Chasseurs-a-Cheval (FN48 horse attached).
A view along the French line towards Markkleeberg. Both the troops and the players are starting to get exhausted now.
Blucher is making progress towards Leipzig - yes that really is a French battalion routing.
The centre of the south table - Austrian cuirassiers appear to be seeing off French cuirassiers. Hopefully those carabineers will have something to say about this.
So where are the Old Guard? Well for all the use they were in this game they might as well have gone back in time to the 1960s. Here are 2 battalions propping up the Poles. I don't think a single guardsman became a casualty during the whole battle.
Try as they might the French just could not take Connewitz. You can see that both the 105th ligne and the Swiss have taken a lot of casualties in the attempt and both are now disordered (yellow marker).
More of the French attack on Connewitz as the battle reaches its climax.
Now what did I say about the proper place for a corps commander during a battle? If Ponitowski puts spurs to his horse he might just make it to the banks of the Elster before those Austrian dragoons get there.
Marmont's flank under immense pressure from Bernadotte but still holding out in square.
The centre of the French line at the end of play. Markkleeberg has now fallen to the Russians and with all 3 villages in allied hands the game was declared a marginal victory for the allies.
Shwarzenberg (left) and Augereau (right) taking a moment to reflect on the days events.
The north table at the end of play - the view from behind Bernadotte's lines looking towards Leipzig in the distance.

My thanks to all the players for making it such an excellent and memorable game and once again to Roy for providing the venue, most of the troops and a truly magnificent lunch!