Thursday, 19 May 2022

A trip to Foy’s (off topic #33)

Yesterday I made a trip to Tony’s to play a game with his amazing War of the Spanish Succession armies. His figures, as I’m sure most of you know, are mainly from the old Les Higgins 20mm range and they have a wonderful slender style quite unlike anything else in this scale. As you would expect, Tony has painted or renovated or commissioned and based these in his house style but with a nod to the more ‘toy soldier’ look they have been finished in gloss varnish.

I’ve seen some of the figures before via Tony’s blog and by Zoom but there is no substitute for seeing the massed ranks arrayed on the table in person. We had a most enjoyable game that I think ran for 10 turns as a playtest of Tony’s Prinz Eugen rules. I took some photos, but I’ll keep the narrative brief as I don’t want to reveal any spoilers before the full battle report appears on Prometheus in Aspic.

The armies arrayed for battle - Austro-British on the left and Franco-Bavarians on the right. I didn't count but there must have been around 700 figures on the table.
This is what I call a 'proper' British army with everyone in red even the gunners - wall to wall stiff upper lips.
Interesting to see a French army that's not in blue. Wonderful paintwork and presentation. Wellington's tree is doing service as the Elector's tree in this battle.
The Austro-British (me) begin to advance against the enemy held ridge.
The same view from the Franco-Bavarian lines.
This photo looks like something out of a Charles Grant book!
The British have a foothold on the ridge - to see how this plays out you will have to check out Tony's blog.

In other news… I finally got around to fixing the roof covering on the Hinton Hut following the various winter storms.


Hopefully the roof will stay intact at least until Christmas.

Saturday, 19 February 2022

Friends for the 45th ligne

I have been putting it off, but the time really has come to address the imbalance in the French OOB and add some more line units. To that end I’ve painted a test figure of FN/5 Fusilier (charging) for what will become the 25th ligne who were brigaded with the 45th at Waterloo.

***EDIT*** I've taken another picture as the last one was too dark - FN/5 Fusilier (charging)

I painted my own version of the 45th back in 2008 and they have certainly seen some action since then having carelessly mislaid their Eagle on at least three occasions. Back then I struggled to scrape together the required 24 figures, but I have been gradually adding to my stock whenever I see any at a decent price. Although I have a reasonable number now, I find it odd that in all that time I have never come across any of the marching figure (FN/7A) which would have provided a bit of variation.

It was frustrating painting up the test figure because I had just opened a new pot of Foundry Red which turned out to be no better than coloured water. After five coats it still wasn’t covering so I ditched it and bought some Vallejo Flat Red which did the trick. I’ve had most of my Foundry paints since 2006 so I dare say they have reformulated them but I still think it would be a good idea to include some pigment.

Another cabinet re-shuffle (that joke is wearing thin) to squeeze Semphill's Foot onto the bottom shelf where I can admire them from my painting desk.

Finally, just to say I have resolved the issue with Semphill’s Foot not fitting into my display cabinet through the very technical process of bending the paper flags slightly.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

Semphill’s Foot Finished (Off Topic #32)

You may remember that about a year ago I started work on a unit of British 28mm Crann Tara infantry for the Jacobite Rebellion. I don’t like to leave units part done but I was finding it hard to fit these in with my Hinton Hunt production schedule, so my New Year’s resolution was to crack on and get them finished.

The Crann Tara range has some lovely sculpts, the flags are by Flags of War.

I’m very pleased with how they turned out and it was great fun sticking the foliage to the bases, which is something I don’t get to do with the Hintons. I decided to use a gloss finish on the figures because I find it helps to hide the painting imperfections and anyway it’s hard for me to change old habits.

I used a bit of artistic licence with my basing for Culloden Moor as there probably wasn't any heather growing on it at the time of the battle but it just seemed right!  

This was never supposed to be a proper wargame project, so these lads were destined for the display cabinet however, as it turns out, the flags make them too big to fit on the shelves! I have really enjoyed painting them so there may be another battalion in the future and in the meantime, I do have a unit of Jacobite Highlanders to take care of when I can get up the courage to tackle the tartan.

Monday, 24 January 2022

Pavlovski Guard Grenadiers

The Pavlovski’s are finished and luckily for me too late to take part in the recent Campaign with Rob. This brings my rather small Russian force up to a total of three infantry units but hopefully there will be more to come.

Looking a bit anachronistic for Napoleonic warfare but then who doesn't like a miter cap?
I read somewhere that the miter caps were handed down rather than replaced and that some in use in 1914 had bullet holes in them from Borodino.
The figures are:

21 x RN/7 Pavlovski Guard, marching
2 x RN/1 Pavlovski officer, charging (one converted to standard bearer)
1 x RN/14 Infantryman, charging (converted to drummer with head swop).

The flag is from my 1995c stock of Revo ones that have long since lost their sticky but this is easily remedied with Pritt Stick. The drum was donated by a Newline Designs Highlander.

Next, I think I should be doing something to even things up a bit by adding a unit of French infantry.

Friday, 14 January 2022

The Battle of Wagram – The Game

The French steamroller gets moving and it looks like nothing can stand in its way.
While my guns concentrated their fire on the Russian battery with some encouraging first results.
However, Rob responded with an ominous looking cavalry movement against my left flank which I countered by ordering forward the DK heavies.

Lasalle with the 6th Chasseurs awaits developments on my other flank.

As my columns near the enemy firing line they start to take casualties from musketry and canister.

Back on the left the Austrian hussars hurl themselves at my DK heavies and it's not a good result for the French.

The Austrian canister proved too much for the 24th ligne who break and rout (denoted by the red counter).

The situation at the end of Turn 4. The white arrows show the direction of travel of routing units.

In the centre the French columns still push on although the 85th ligne (to the left) have had to stop and form square to protect the flank from the enemy horsemen. Sadly, after a crucial intervention to prevent the 85th from becoming disordered, Marshal Massena was knocked from the saddle by a stray musket ball.

The Russian battery has been silenced however the Austrian gunners have just despatched my Combined Grenadiers with yet more canister.

The 45th ligne take some revenge by charging and routing the Swedish Abo (should that be Abba?) Regiment - looks like they've met their Waterloo!

However, apart from this local success things are not looking too brilliant for the French in the centre.

And not in the rear either as the Sommariva Cuirassiers ride down the routing 24th ligne and capture their eagle.

At this stage only the 45th and 85th ligne remain in the fight for the French.

Having routed the Abo's the 45th wheel right and finally overrun the Austrian battery. Meanwhile the Toscana Dragoons are moving over to support the allied infantry line.

The 85th ligne and the Swedish Kajana Regiment face off at Wagram.

While those darned Cuirassiers roll up the 105th and add another eagle to their collection.

To round things off nicely the Austrian hussars rout the 6th Chasseurs.

One rare bright spot for the French as the 85th take Wagram.

The situation at the end of play - Turn 8.

The 45th ligne have had enough now.

General Mack reflects upon a good day at the office.

The Russian Moscow Grenadiers stand firm and wave goodbye to the French.

This final Austrian bulletin says it all. 

The final battle VP score was 20 to 14 in favour of the allies which on the face of it might not seem too terrible however, the French force had 4 units eliminated which has all but destroyed the army north of the Danube. With only two campaign turns left to play and a 15 to 5 campaign score to Rob, it was impossible for Napoleon to bring the allies to battle and amass enough VPs to reverse his fortunes. Climbing into his royal carriage the emperor has left post-haste for Paris and instructed his forces to leave Austria - for now!

This was a highly enjoyable campaign and Rob employed a clever strategy to win by being prepared to give up Vienna and use the Danube as an impregnable defence line. His spoiler attack at Zwettl was also a smart move as it forced me to make retrograde moves to protect my supply base at Linz. For my part, I became a bit too obsessed with my ‘brilliant’ flank march through the Semmering Pass as there never really was anything to out flank as Rob’s forces were nowhere near! By the time Napoleon and the Guard were in place the Prussians had already blocked all the crossings of the Danube east of Vienna rendering my move useless.

Well done to Rob, the campaign is over, but the war goes on…

Sunday, 9 January 2022

The Battle of Wagram – Scenario

Now don’t go reaching for your copy of Chandler’s The Campaigns of Napoleon because this is not that battle of Wagram but rather one that has come about due to the twists and turns of the current campaign. Having given up Vienna and craftily withdrawn his forces behind the Danube, Rob has snookered Napoleon with the Guard and Cavalry Reserve, leaving it up to the 'B Team' north of the river to take the fight to him.

All I can say is FAKE NEWS!
It's now Turn 13 and after all that fancy French footwork it has been left to Ney and Massena to deal the knockout blow against the allies.
French OOB

Ney
45th Ligne B
105th Ligne B
Converged Grenadiers A
6 x Skirmishers
1 x Foot Battery

Massena
85th Ligne B
24th Ligne B
DK Dragoons/Cuirassiers B
6 x Skirmishers
1 x Foot Battery

Lasalle
6th Chasseurs A

Allied OOB

General Mack C-in-C
Bernadotte
Abo Regiment B
Kajana Regiment B
Alderkreutz Regiment B
6 x Jagers
1 x Russian Foot Battery

Gyulay
Moscow Grenadiers A
Toskana Dragoons A
Sommariva Cuirassiers A
6 x Jagers
1 x Austrian Foot Battery

Duke of Brunswick
Austrian Hussars A

The initial deployment of the armies. Wagram is classified as a built-up-area.
The Allied High Command hold their O-Group. I've said it before and I'll say it again - there's nothing quite like a field of Swedes.

This will be an all or nothing attempt by the French - vive l'emperor!

After all my grand manoeuvring I am being forced to fight this battle with the weakest part of my army whilst the emperor looks on helplessly from a church tower in Vienna. I must win this battle to win the campaign, Rob on the other hand only has to hold on and the win will be his. This is a good illustration of why playing campaign games can be fun as this is a scenario I would never have dreamt up – a French army with no Guard units and without cavalry superiority takes on a hotchpotch of Swedes, Russians and Austrians in a fight they must win!

Saturday, 1 January 2022

Goodnight Vienna

I know you’ve all been wondering just what has been happening in the Austria 1805 Campaign and finally I can lift the cloak of secrecy to reveal that, by a clever flanking manoeuvre, the emperor has taken Vienna without a shot fired.

So this is what Napoleon's been up to - I still can't reveal everything as there are certain of my forces whose whereabouts remain unknown to Rob.

Since the opening of hostilities Napoleon with the Guard has been engaged on a wide flanking movement via the Semmering Pass to fall upon Vienna from the east. This movement, perfectly screened by Murat and Lasalle, appears to have gone undetected by the enemy.

During the forced march over the Semmering Pass the Guard had a bit of a rough time due to straggling and had to remain stationary for 2 turns to recover their strength. At one point the 2nd Grenadiers were down to 16 figures.

The result is that both Blucher and Aldercruetz decided to withdraw behind the barrier of the Danube rather than face Napoleon in open battle. With the weather turning decidedly nippy the emperor is pleased to be warming his feet by the firesides of Schonbrunn Palace (my, how nicely the furniture burns).

Napoleon enters Vienna.

We’re now on Turn 11 and with only 4 turns left to play Rob knows I must retain Vienna and win a battle if I’m going to amass more VP’s than him. He could just keep running away but that would be unsporting so all will hinge on a final battle.