Friday 26 November 2021

The Battle of Zwettl – Scenario

We have our first action of the campaign in the hills north of the Danube near the town of Zwettl. An Austro-Brunswick force has stumbled into the column of Prince Poniatowski and Eugene as they advance eastwards. In panic, General Gyulay and the Duke of Brunswick throw together an ill-conceived plan to attack the French rather than withdraw or surrender.

More fake news cranked out by the Vienna Ministry of Information.
As we are using concealed movement I'm afraid this map of the general area can tell you very little other than some of my forces north of the Danube are marching east. If you want to know more of the 'big picture' from the French side you can always email me (I can forward similar requests regarding the Allies to Rob).

French OOB

4th Swiss B
8th Poles B
Nassau Grenadiers B
1 x Foot Battery

Converged Voltigeurs A
9th Legere A

Allied OOB

Duke of Brunswick
Leib-Battalion B
Brunswick Hussars B
1 x Foot Battery

51st Gabriel Spleny B
Toscana Dragoons A
Combined Hussars B
1 x Foot Battery
6 x Jagers

The initial deployment of both armies. As you can see this is very hilly terrain with lots of blocked line-of-sight.
The view from the French side of the table showing the situation at the start of play.

This will be an interesting fight with such an imbalance of infantry and cavalry between the two forces. The French have a slight edge being closer to the VP locations than the Allies, but this will be offset by the superior mobility of the Austro-Brunswick force.

Sunday 21 November 2021

Third Battle of the Hut

This week Tony, Nigel and I assembled once again in the Hinton Hut to play a game of Muskets & Marshals. It was another attack and defence game with me commanding a French army that was slightly smaller than the combined attacking Austro-Russian and Prussian armies. In total there were just over 800 Hinton Hunt figures on the table, all from my own collection.

This is how the action went.

The initial dispositions of the armies - amazing how 800 figures can look so sparse on a 6' x 4' table. French on the left, Austro-Russians nearest the camera and the Prussians just beyond them on the allied right.
Nigel commanded the Austro-Russian force. For this game they were joined by the Nassau Grenadiers (left in the front rank).

This village was one of the VP locations and was garrisoned by the French 24th line infantry. In the game VP locations were worth 5pts to the Allies but nothing to the French.

The Imperial Guard. Having a force like this is always a great comfort in a wargame, what could possibly go wrong if you have these lads on your side?

The Prussian infantry were under Tony's command. They looked quite intimidating en-masse.

Pretty in white! The Sommariva Cuirassiers (front) were rushed to the table with the paint on their bases barely dry to join their friends the Toskana Dragoons.

Turn 1 and I made the bold decision to develop an attack against the Allied centre beginning by moving up my heavy cavalry. In the top left of this photo you can see that Tony is advancing his light cavalry in an attempt to flank me on the left.

On the opposite flank things soon got nasty as the Pavlograd Hussars mixed it with the 6th Chasseurs.

For this game the Tyrolean Jagers were fighting as a close order formation which made a bit of a change. In the background you can see that Nigel is sending his Cuirassiers over to reinforce his left flank.

Another 'how it would have looked in 1972' photo.

Things didn't go quite as I hoped. The Carabiniers fell foul of a deadly cannister blast that saw them removed from play.

Meanwhile on the left, Napoleon sent La Bedoyere forward to help steady the wavering 85th line who seemed to be facing off against the entire Prussian army on their own.

My Cuirassiers did manage to rout the Silesian Musketeers however, and to force the Prussian Fusiliers into square.

1972 again.

Time to push forward in the centre-right. The Swiss and the Poles lead the advance with support from the Empress' Dragoons and the Young Guard.

Having conducted a masterly flanking manoeuvre, Tony threw the Silesian Hussars at the Guard Horse Grenadiers. This didn't end well for the Prussian hussars and both they and the supporting Uhlans were soon sent packing.

Drama in the centre as the Prussian Cuirassiers ploughed into the 45th line carrying away their eagle (why is it always the 45th?). Behind them the Prussian Dragoons have presented a rather nice target to my Guard foot artillery.

My own Cuirassiers have finally met with some stiff resistance and run away.

But the Empress' Dragoons come up just as the 4th Swiss also turn and melt away.

On the other half of the field Nigel suddenly remembers that he has infantry as well as cavalry and the columns start to tramp forward. The Moscow Grenadiers have just been routed by the 8th Poles although the Poles are now a bit isolated from their supports.

The 45th line make an undignified exit towards the rear whist the 1st Guard Grenadiers form line ready to blast away the pursuing Prussian Cuirassiers.

Vive le emperor! The Young Guard and the Guard Marins continue to advance.
Nigel's Cuirassiers finish off the 6th Chasseurs breaking the curse of the 'new boys' in their first battle.

Tony's infantry are closing in on my left-flank VP location (on the hill). I was intrigued to see how Tony did not have the same confidence in the Landwehr that Nigel had in our last game. Safely tucked away in the back line, they were the only units in his force not to suffer a single casualty in the battle.

The Prussian Musketeers press forward and poor old Gneisenau goes down.

The boys from Brandenburg crest the ridge forcing the the 85th line back to claim the VP location.

Er, um, I sort of wish that I hadn't ordered this charge by the Empress' Dragoons. I'm sure she would have been proud of them though.

The Old Guard move forward but it's now turn 7 and just a bit late to turn the tide - they look pretty though.

Even Nigel's tardy infantry have found a new lease of life as they charge into the village.

The Guard Marins melee with the Moscow Infantry but they have no supports and most of the Austrian units are still untouched.

The 24th line are expelled from the village and are cruelly ridden down by the Pavlograd Hussars.

To top it all, the new boys slam into the rear of the just rallied Swiss. Turn 8, victory is sealed - 33 points to 11 in favour of the Allies.

The run of bad luck for the emperor continues – I really should paint up some more French infantry.

Another highly enjoyable game and my thanks go to my visiting generals for their company and for soundly beating me yet again!

Saturday 6 November 2021

A walk in the (artillery) park

 Wellington, Napoleon and Blucher have been inspecting the artillery park.

"I say, what spiffing guns!"
"Ya das ist goot kanone!"
"Oui but mes filles are le best!"

Meanwhile there are rumblings north of the Danube near the town of Zwettl where bizarrely the Austrians seem to have launched an offensive.

There may be a battle in the offing.

Monday 1 November 2021

Somewhere in Austria

Unfortunately, for security reasons, I can’t tell you the current location of the emperor but suffice to say the Guard are watering their horses in the Danube. The French army is making steady progress eastwards and hopes to catch sight of the spires of Vienna very soon.

"What are the latest reports on the Austrians la Bedoyere?"
"They are saying they will fight to the last Russian sire!"

The Austrian PR machine is cranking out stirring proclamations about defending Vienna however it’s seeming increasingly likely that Mack is continuing his retreat, possibly in the hope of joining the Prussians although there is no firm news yet as to whether they have mobilised. No matter, it will be less work for us to defeat them all in one great battle!