Sunday, August 28, 2016

1793 - Battle of Cholet

In 1793 the Vendee, a region critical to France for raw materials, rose in revolt against the bloody-handed Republic.  Enthusiastic Royalists, bolstered by some regular army battalion that remained loyal to the late King fielded the Great Catholic and Royal Army of Anjou and Haut-Poitou, and dealt the Republican forces some stinging defeats.  Despite some aid from England, never at the level promised, in the end the first revolt was put down months later in a most bloody and violent manner.  This engagement is loosely based on the historic action at Cholet, Oct. 14th, 1793.  The actual action had many phases and our engagement represents the "Battle of the Heights" as described in issue 79 or "Wargames."

Rules are modified Empire (no grand-tactical movement, etc.).  To reflect the surprise attack and unprepared nature of the Republicans, most units start the game in square formation and the Vendeans are right on top of them as seen in the first picture.

The Vendean right wing, with the best troops is ready to assault.
The left wing prepares to attack the weaker (looking) French.

One Republican battalion is deployed, the others vulnerable.

The Republican left, looking towards the center.
The hill was quickly swept of Republicans, only the rough ground
slowing the advance.

The Vendean cavalry was largely outclassed and heavily outnumbered,
but put in yeoman service, buying time before being overwhelmed.

The Vendean left was held up by Republican cavalry, giving the
right a chance to move.

The extended view of the Vendean left.

Republicans have the rebels penned on the high ground.  Although
a good position, it is being steadily out-flanked.

Here we had to quit, being on a short timetable.  With the Vendean cavalry gone and the scattered Republican brigades closing, it looked grim.  Compared to the historic result, it was a crushing defeat since the rebels did well here.  As it turned out we had attacked into their strength and despite some lucky results in melee were probably doomed after deployment.  Still, always interesting to game a historic action and use different troop types and figures than are the norm. 

Thanks Todd for planning and executing the scenario.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Court News - Grand Duchy of Litharus

In light of the flushed status of the Litharus treasury following the "reparations" taken from neighboring Latveria some months ago, Grand Duke Alexander Orzepovski has decided to expand the guards.  The converged guard battalion, currently at 600 man strength and is half and half Leib Guard and Grenadier Guards.  This battalion will be split and each half-battalion brought up to a field strength of 480 rank and file.

The combined battalion formed and awaiting the additional men.

Already the Leib Guard have recruited and uniformed the men necessary to allow it to field.  The Grenadier Guards will shortly follow.  How much action these units will see, especially the Leib Guard, remains to be seen.

Marching in from your right, the new elements.

Colors leading, the Grenadier Guards march off.

Wheeling into line by section.

And voila!  A new battalion, formed and ready.

"Pretty, but can they fight?"

Publically, the reason for the army expansion was simply "because we can."  Privately, other factors were stronger.  As overheard  by a fly on the wall in the Grand Duke's private receiving room.  "All right my dear Count, your intelligence work was correct and we have reaped a bountiful coup against our rival nation.  Now what response might we expect?" inquired the Grand Duke.  Count Lippe, head of the diplomatic corps, paused as if choosing his words carefully.  "The loss to Latveria is one more of prestige than actual material loss.  We damaged their army but lost many good men as well, particularly within the cavalry arm."  After a pause to let that sink in, the Count continued, "We can expect them to take some kind of action.  To distract the population if nothing else from the embarrassment of our raid... um, reparation taking, and will try for an attainable goal."  "All right" said the Grand Duke, "and what might be an 'attainable goal' for them?" 

"Lenkin!  Maps!"  The Count's aide scurried forward, clumsily strewing maps along the floor and table where the others stood waiting.  The Count quickly shuffled through them and began unfolding one on the table.  The Count began: "I believe this area offers Latveria the greatest chance for a successful operation.  There are economic resources available, the opportunity for territorial expansion, and a much smaller opponent that can be overwhelmed."  "I see," said the Grand Duke, "your analysis seems sound.  Now, tell me more of this....  Rondovia."

Monday, August 15, 2016

Avante Garde!

The advanced guards of the main armies drew near each other sometime around noon on the Sabbath.  That would not deter them from doing their duty and seek to seize key ground and prevent their opponents from doing a reconnaissance of the main body.

The Prussians had a grenadier, fusilier and musketeer battalion, with a mess of the von Kleist Freikorp lights in support.  A regiment of hussars and dragoons with a light gun completed the line-up.  The Austro-French force was similar though a little heavier.  Two German regiments in French service, along with an Austrian grenadier and grenzer battalion formed the bulk of the force, with an 8 pdr. and regiments of hussars and cuirassiers leading the way.

Rules are Batailles du Ancien Regime.  Normally we play with 60 figure battalions and squadrons of 12 figures each with two to three squadrons completing a regiment.  But the rules are flexible and so are we, so with only a 9x6' table to work with and desiring maneuverability room I opted to go with 36 figure battalions and 16 figure cavalry regiments.  Cards determine movement and firing order and with many options available, I went with brigade activation.

Prussians march on table, infantry heavy on their left.

The Allies came on also infantry heavy on the left.  The far left.

Prussian lights open their ranks as the cavalry are faced with a
tough choice. 

Prussian infantry begin their flanking moves.

The Austrian cavalry decides to retire behind their advancing
infantry, but end up in musket range, losing seven cuirassiers.
Meanwhile the Prussian jagers draw a lot of opening volleys
and disappear.

Got my maneuvering, as we are now fighting the long way on
the table.  Card draws and saves are not going our way.

Prussian hussars seek to gain the rear of the Allies.  Grenzers in
the built up area will drop two.

Losing every firefight, the Austrian commander opts to charge
with the French units on each end of his line.  Hussars move to
head of their opposite number.

Win one, lose one.  Hussars charge opposing hussars but are
disordered by woods and tie their opponents.

Austrian grenadiers are charged and while initially successful
end up routing.  All Allied line infantry are routing.

Even the Austrian cuirassiers are unable to defeat the Prussian
hussars and rout.  The grenzers and hussars will escape in good
order, but the rest are routing.
So a notable victory for Prussia.  Each side had to determine their deployment and march on table and the Prussian had the superior plan.  We were dancing to their tune from the start.  But, I got my "new" Austrians on the table for the first time so I accomplished that.  And, under a time constraint we easily completed the game in 2+ hours.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

A Tale of Two Battles

Over the summer we sometimes get together on a weeknight for BBQ and a game.  This past Wednesday we decided to do some Flames of War on two tables at once.  The first, and to me most interesting game had my late-war Goums going against Gebirgsjagers.  The other game, also with an Italian boot theme, have British and German infantry squaring off.  Both tables had 1900 points.

Lots of LOS blocking hills, impassable to vehicles on my table; even more terrain but accessible to vehicles on the other.  We decided to play the same random mission on both table; a "Fair Fight."

Gebirgsjagers fielded four of these, over-crewed to make them even

Paul (right) and I getting set on henceforth named, Table 1.

And Bob on Table 2.  Hands pictured, Adam.
My Goums had American armor, recon and artillery support, with a "Limited" P-40.

HMGs, 8 cm mortars, platoon of Gebirgsjagers and the rockets
faced my left.

Ready for turn 1 on Table 1.

One of my two platoons of Goums.

Italian designed Semovente in German service, with a good 75mm gun.

A pair of Tigers with the "reach out and touch someone" capability.

Post recon moves, ready for Turn 1.

Table 2 - Ready for Turn 1.

Table 2 British have a battery of 25pdrs. and 5.5" howitzers.

Panzer Mk.III and armored cars support the regular infantry on
Table 2.

British infantry awaits the onslaught on Table 2.

These German gun teams would be strafed next turn in my only
effective air attack.

Table 1 - Tigers smoked so they make space to open fields of fire
and the range.

Table 1 - Semoventes boldly advance.

Table 1 - Limited air support showed every turn, but only one plane.

This drove deep into allied territory alone, prompting me to say,
"I don't know what it is, but I'm going to kill it."  And I did.

Table 2 - Not much armor for either side, so every burner matters.

Armored Cars, armed with 2pdrs. go out to mix it up on Table 2.

Allied artillery made it difficult for the Germans on both tables.

The German left flank on Table 1 spent most of the game pinned.

Table 1 - Lightly armored Semoventes do not fare well.

Table 1 - Outside of the Turn 2 strafing run, my planes accomplish
next to nothing.

Handsome troops, pinned down on the hot seat. 

The Luftwaffe attempts to open things up, but good deployment
minimizes the potential effect.

Mentally sizing up the odds, I prepare to unleash the US tank destroyers.

Table 1 - Time to rush the Tigers and hope for the best.

First my TDs got seven hits on eight rolls, then Paul failed all
his saves, needing only a 4+.

Table 1 - Paul sits stunned, trying to figure out how to say in
German, "Sir, I have no division."  Mein Herr, habe ich keine

Some British success on Table 2, but the Germans continue to advance.


Table 2 - Bob's Germans are technically winning, but a lot of
artillery awaits, should he get through the infantry.

We didn't calculate points on either table.  Bob's Germans might have been slightly ahead on platoons destroyed but even if he got through the infantry a line of artillery and bofors protected the objectives.  So all in all not a good night for the Wehrmacht.  Next time, who knows?  Thanks guys for comradely games after good food.