Monday, October 12, 2015


No, I don't mean Australians, but new miners added to my SYW forces.  There is little information on the few forces that had a standing force, as opposed to drafting men from the ranks of an infantry battalion, so I made them pretty generic.  With the up-surge in interest in these parts and campaign potential they could serve many masters.

London War Room figures produced now by RSM, I picked these up at this years Seven Years War Association Convention in South Bend on a whim.  Finally painting up the dribbles and drabs of this and that.  Click on the pictures to big up.  Camera has been a bit wonky lately, so not the best images.

As above but with the flash.  Better?

Mud-splattered and with dirty faces they are ready to repel a sortie with a brace of pistols, sabre and even the shovel.  If needed they would do a good job of supporting or supplementing the Memel Pioneers of Litharus.

Next up on the paint sticks: Prussian artillerists and two light guns, French dragoons and finishing the Royal Ecossais battalion.  Then... who knows?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Alten has Fallen!

Following the passage of the Vistula River at Zahn and the successful rear guard action a day later, eight players gathered to fight for the prize of the campaign: the town of Alten reportedly containing the Latverian army chest.  Casualties have been carried forward with (statistically) half the battle casualties returning to the ranks the following day.

Rules are Batailles des Ancien Regime by Bill Protz.  Figure ratio is 10:1 and units are battalions, half-battalions and squadrons.  In this game we drew movement cards followed by firing cards for each command.  In "BAR" you can adapt it as needed.  In the previous smaller games each card allowed the owning player to move or shoot just a single unit.  A joker allows you to "trump" a card and seize the initiative for movement or shooting.  As the out-numbered defenders, the Latverians were granted one joker at the start.

For this engagement the Litharusian liberators fielded two grenadier, six line and a light battalion, each nominally of 600 men.  Additionally they had eight squadrons and three light guns.  The Latverian defenders had one grenadier battalion, four line battalions, three light half-battalions and three militia half-battalions.  One of the latter being mustered thanks to the successful delaying action.  Eight squadrons, two medium and one heavy gun completed their OB.  The heavy gun was placed in works, and enough redoubts had been erected to cover one of the militia battalions. 

The militia had variable morale and training.  The first time it mattered a 1d6 would be rolled.  On a 1 they were highly motivated to defend their homes and would be treated as Veterans.  On a 2-3 they would be trained and on a 4-6 rated poor.  Considering the post-battle reception it may be that the populace did welcome the Litharusians as true liberators since all three ended up being very unenthusiastic.

Our 9x8' table.  Yes, the back section is in play and all Litharusians
had to start there.

Alten, with an unfordable river on the left and disordering woods
scattered about.

Initial deployment and one of the confident Latverian brigadiers.

The Army of Liberation advancing in march columns.

My own command, two grenadier and two line battalions.

Onto the main table!

Artillery on my left is intended to support, but  the "big battalions"
end up bigger than expected and a traffic jam ensues.

The view from Alten.  In the distance the Pandours advance in
open order.

View from the center looking to the left about the same time.

We quickly come to grips, driving away the jagers opposing us.
Terrain being more of an impediment.

Having been weakened by artillery fire, we close on the enemy.

Light cavalry in open order dances before the steady regulars.

The Latverian right.  These troops will soon be in motion.

The firing continues as some light cavalry scamper away.

Judging the time right, Duke Alten sends his right wing forward.

View from the Latverian center where troops are redeploying
and the heavy gun beats the odds by surviving.

Fighting becomes desperate as the Litharusian masses continue
to advance.  Troops rout and sometimes rally on both sides.

The path to town is almost open.  Grenadiers eagerly advance.

Cossacks already weakened from previous engagements are no
match for the fresh dragoons.

Forced into a battalion mass by the terrain, they still drive on Alten.
The lights cannot stop them.

Closing on the prey.  Black cards indicate a Latverian brigade
move or shoot, red is for Litharus.

Wave after wave of volleys roar as Duke Alten's battalion is forced
to reform behind the equally decimated fusiliers.

The Latverian right has driven back/off the Litharusian cavalry
but in the distance you can see the mass closing on the objective.
Recognizing the inevitable and wanting to spare Alten the storm, the Duke sounded the retreat and withdrew.  Given the severity of the fight the Litharusian commander was happy to see them go.  The butcher's bill was severe for both sides.  Gross losses for Litharus was 2190 men, over 25% of the starting numbers.  The Latverians suffered 1880 lost.  However, when the dice were thrown for recovering troops, the final tally in heavy wounded or killed was Litharus 910 and Latveria 950.  Perhaps significantly for the rest of the campaign, many of the Litharusian casualties were among the cavalry.

Three wagons were loaded with gold for... uh, "recompense" of the families of the fallen.  Among other things.  A field hospital was established and the heavily wounded Latverians put into the care of surgeons.  Poor things.  The militia that remained were disarmed and sent to their homes.

The army did not tarry.  The attack was begun later than preferred so some things of value may have been missed.  The safety of Litharus was just two days march away.  After a day of slow march with the laden wagons and numbers of heavily wounded General Prochniak called a halt.  The senior officers were enjoying some level of merriment together when a courier arrived and insisted on seeing General Prochniak.  A hush fell over the group as he read the message, turned and left the marquee letting the message fall to the ground.  General Gogol picked it up and read it.  "What does it say?" asked Captain Popov, his AdC.  "It says the bridgehead is under attack" came the terse reply.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Buying Time on the Road to Alten

"Baron Alten, I need time to organize the defenses and you're going to give it to me."  With that, the Baron left to take command of his meager force.  Two squadrons of cuirassiers, two of hussars, two medium gun, a line battalion and the famous Border Foxes lights.

The logical and direct approach to the principality of Alten was up a canyon with a river running down the middle.  Unless slowed the Litharusian invaders would be within striking distance of Alten on the morrow.  And within the environs of the city was a most important secret.

The hills on either flank were half speed terrain and the very top, indicated by the wood chips, were impassable to formed foot, wheeled and horse.  The rivers steep banks made it impassable except at the stone bridge and the ford again indicated by the wood chips.

As the Litharusian forces methodically advanced they were surprised (well, maybe not) by two half-battalions suddenly standing up and ordering themselves.  A battery of two medium guns unmasked itself and cavalry became apparent.  The attacking cavalry was late arriving which allowed the defending Latverian forces to set the tempo of the action.

The Cossacks, carrying forward casualties from the last engagement, crossed the ford as troops from the main body began to arrive on table.  Along with a testy message from over-all Litharusian commander General Ouromov wondering why the advance guard was delaying his advance!

As the advance continued the Litharusian forces started to accumulate casualties.  The Pandours and a line battalion routing after falling below half strength.  Both would rally and the Pandours actually got back into the fray. 

Judging that it was time to withdraw General Alten was tricked into charging his cuirassiers against a depleted, but still steady battalion.  The Elektrenai Battalion emptied a few saddles with their opening volley and then managed to tie and then defeat their armored opponents.  One squadron routed and the other was forced to fall back.

Elsewhere the vastly superior numbers from the main body continued to mount.  So indirectly covered by harassing fire from the Border Foxes on the ridge the Latverian troops rapidly withdrew.

The depleted but undefeated Latverian forces doggedly withdraw while maintained a bold front.

And so it came to an end.  One last cavalry melee where some Cossacks defeated a larger group of hussars had no impact on the successful withdrawal.  The defenders inflicted roughly 50% greater casualties on the attackers and sufficiently delayed the advance to allow for a reasonable state of preparedness at Alten.  The final task was to determine the fate of the lost miniatures.  A d6 was rolled for each figure lost with the following table used: 1 = dead and gone; 2-3 = heavy wound that put them out for the campaign but might return.  Having surrendered the field, all the Latverian heavy wounded became prisoners.  And finally a roll of 4-6 meant they either had a light would or were "helping" the real wounded to get to the rear. 

Next up, the battle for Alten proper.


Sunday, August 23, 2015

Latest additions

Introducing the latest painted troops for our historic and Imagi-Nation games.  Two brigadiers and a noted personality with an escort of Dragoons.

Foundry figs, ready to lead my expanded Prussian forces, or act as a stand-in (next post).  Bases are very inexpensive plywood disks from my local Joanne Fabrics in the craft section.  Table and extras were cobbled together with odd bits from the gubbins tray.

Next up some shots of the dragoons, representing Regiment #8 Alt-Platten.

Our games typically have squadrons of twelve figures so I need to scrounge up seven more.  I have some, but they are a different brand and really don't mix well.  While I'm at it, the flanged movement trays are from Shogun Miniatures, as are the magnetic 1x2" bases.  I've had very good service over the years and highly recommend them.

We just played the second game from the enjoyable "Raid on St. Michel" book by Charles S. Grant.  At the moment I have almost all the painted forces for both sides.  However, today I was told my diabolical plan has worked and my Latverian opponent has his army planned out and is working on his infantry second unit.  Yes... yes... all according to my master plan.  Bwah-ha-ha-ha!


Friday, August 21, 2015

Airmen in the Water

In the wake of savage dogfight that drifted over the English Channel a scattering of downed aviators drifted in the sea.  Both sides were anxious to recover their men and perhaps pick up a survivor or two, so rushed light craft into the area.  And hence to the game.

The weather was overcast and the water relatively calm.  As I told the players these aren't SEAL Team members who are trained in high speed pick up, so they would have to go at less than 15 knots during the 30 second turn the pickup was attempted.  (In the end I forgot to make them do the snag and drag roll, so all pick-ups happened automatically.)  Rules are Flaklighter, miniatures are 1/700 scale and the aviators were positioned by tossing a handful of pennies over the table.  When picked up we rolled a dice and odds or evens determined nationality.

 Two Schnell-bootes with a 20mm gun fore and aft, two LMGs midships, and two torpedoes with reloads.

Four Vosper MTBs with twin HMGs in a turret and a LMG at each torpedo tube.

The coin toss favored the British, who closed quickly.  Two boats went to engage the larger, more powerful S-Boats while the other two attempted to make rescues. 

No one's gunnery was particularly effective as the fighting ships were racing at high speed.  Even this point-blank pass failed to score any hits.

In the end the British boats grabbed two British and three German aviators, while the Germans only picked up one German.  One of the Vospers was severely damaged and another mysteriously went off the wrong side of the table, but a Schnell-Boote was reduced to half speed so they could not pursue their lighter opponents further.  Seen here forming up to make their escape.

An introductory game I kept it simple and we were done in less than two hours.  Everyone wanted vessels with more firepower.  Perhaps next time we will get out of the early years for the more powerful coastal craft.  Everyone was in agreement that we should play again.  My thanks to what is turning into the Thursday night crew for gathering again this week.


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Crush the Revolution

We had time for a weeknight game so we opted to run Todd's Republican French again, this time against my 1806 Prussians.  They are new (to me) figures and needed blooding, so we rolled the clock back a bit and had at it.

Twenty-four French line and light battalions, with six cavalry regiments and four Class I batteries were opposed by twenty Prussian battalions, eight cavalry regiments and five Class III batteries.  We arbitrarily chose 1794 for a game date and used the values in Empire associated with that time range.  The French were led by Kleber, Excellent/Inspirational; and the Prussians by von Ruchel, Despicable/Impersonal.

The initial French deployment, with the infantry in three small divisions.  Light cavalry on their left, battle cavalry on their right.

The Prussians with four brigades of infantry, light cavalry on the left, medium in the center, and heavies on the right.  Confident of course in their linear tactics.

A setting on my camera was off so I ended up dumping a bunch of blurry pictures.  The short version is  that even with the first turn bonus to activate, half of the Prussians refused to move on the first Grand Tactical.  Fortunately the French were equally aggressive and far more effective, so we got engaged.  Surprisingly, the Prussians won the initiative and the heavy cavalry on the right eliminated the French lights.  Supporting troopers forced the French into square, delaying their attack.

The Prussian left easily held as the French sorted themselves into lines, and the light cavalry on the left traded successes and set-backs equally.  On the second hourly round we again won the initiative as von Ruchel lead a cavalry brigade forward on the left.  Although bad initiative rolls again limited our options, we made good progress on the right and left.  Some French battalions were routed and we seemed to be winning the cavalry fight against the French heavies by sheer numbers.  When the French finally won the initiative it was probably too late to matter.

With steady Prussian lines advancing everywhere and the cavalry either routed or neutralized, Kleber broke off the engagement, the always fleet-footed French easily getting away.  Lots of satisfying action in a three-hour game.

Finally, despite the success since Empire rates him as Despicable/Impersonal, it seemed only fitting to give von Ruchel appropriate Aides. 

See?  Contrary to popular myths, Napoleonic gamers do have a sense of humor.

I'd be lying if I said these early-war games aren't causing some consternation and rethinking of tactics.  The narrower than we're used to French columns really emphasize the need for firepower.  Meanwhile, the Austrians (last game) and Prussians in this one feel slow and awkward.  Next game I'll try out my Republicans and see if I can do better.  Thanks to Dan (my fellow Prussian), Todd and Bob for playing.