Friday, February 2, 2024

The Road to Vienna

 The traditional Sunday of Tundra Con "big battalions" game was held Jan. 7th at the Garden Hilton in Oshkosh, WI.  Rules are Batailles de Ancien Regime or as they are affectionately known: BAR.  Author Bill Protz provided the scenario and background.  It was just left to us to fill in the numbers.

"Arise Christendom, the Ottoman hordes threaten Vienna again."

The set up featured a 6' wide center table and back tables to facilitate reserves and maneuver.  Allowing one to move directly from the back table(s) to the main action area.  The Christian forces feature Austria (naturally), Franch, and the Imagi-Nation of Litharus, having a decidedly Russian look to them.

The invaders had hired the army of Imagi-Nation Rondovia, and a 
heretical contingent of Polish Winged Hussars to supplement their
ill-disciplined masses.

Said Winged Hussars may be seen, along with
mercenaries from the Imagi-Nation Prochistan.

The peaceful center table before the conflict.  Hard to
pick up, but a major ridge is in the center.

The BAR movement rates are generous so little
time was wasted getting to grips with the foe.

Bill begins maneuvering his troops onto the center.

Looking down the length, once can appreciate
the visual impact of big battalions.

As seems to be typical, the Vilnius grenadiers route early.  They 
did rally and return to the fray later.

Action see-sawed in the center as each side advanced and 
fell back at some point.

More movement in the center.

The invaders held the numeric advantage on our left and pressed.

Litharus had the numeric advantage on the right and pressed.

The Royal Artist will be replaced for failing to capture the 
sight of the Ottomans fleeing the center.  Most unexpectedly
I might add.

By deft maneuvering and miserable Ottoman dice, the left
not only held, but was sweeping the field at the end.

Battle is always a confusing entity, but in this case it was clear
that the defenders of Holy Roman Empire had prevailed.

Betelguese the XXIV assembled the Ottoman forces that were soundly
defeated on all three fronts.

The famed Red Sash brigade of muskets skirmishing with swords behind.

Sepoy battalion, recruited in India.

Major Ottoman attack developing, supported by a body of cataphracts.

Despite the large number of figures and buckets of dice rolled, we easily completed the game in  the allotted time slot.  A game of many surprising twists and turns that I believe everyone enjoyed.  We used a roster system where you marked off casualties till it was time to remove a stand of 12.  This treated the figures with more care and made pick up/clean up go that much faster.  We will do that again.  Thanks to all who participated and were part of the planning and set up.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Auerstadt 1806 - Refight with Empire

For your consideration, a very picture heavy report on our refight of Auerstadt in 1806 between Marechal Davout's corps and the bulk of the Prussian army under the King and Duke of Brunswick.  Historically a shocking victory for the heavily outnumbered Davout, though at a heavy cost in men.

Our game arose from my desire to get most of my 1806 army on the table and Paul's willingness to prepare a corps from the French "glory years."  After a few months of prep, we were ready to throw down.  Rules are our favorite, Empire by Scotty Bowden which some of us have been playing in various editions for 40 years.

The French will be arriving here, marching from
Bad Kosen to Hassenhausen.  Believing they will
fall upon the Prussians facing Napoleon elsewhere
that day.

Hassenhausen up on the ridge with select
other villages represented.  I expected most
of the fighting to occur hereabouts. 

Some Prussians would start on table, the bulk would arrive
on or near this road.

Prussian Advance Guard under Blucher and a column
under Schmettau advance during Grand Tactical movement.

Our Advance Guard with 4 Hussar regiments and 4 battalions.

Gudin's Division arrives and marches across terrain that 
is cosmetic in effect.

A long way to Hassenhausen, but at least no Prussians in sight, right?

We lumber into sight of each other.  Infantry MEs had to be
on Maneuver orders, the cavalry could be a bit more aggressive.

Schmettau was headed for town, with his attached cavalry
brigade swinging left.


The leading Hussars charge as the French calmly form square.

And are broken on a small chance roll!

The French cavalry arrive after being delayed while stealing horses.

Wartensleben slowly advances.

Gudin's Division takes a beating from the Prussian cavalry but hangs on.  As a special rule, Davout could attach himself after Grand Tactical movement to any ME within range to reflect the fact he was everywhere that day.

Morand's division arrives and takes the right flank.

The Advance Guard holds off the French light cavalry, but
are stymied.

A greatly reduced Gudin.

Okay, I got lazy as the Prince of Orange and the Duke of
Brunswick hit the table.

The last French division arrives, with some fatigue as they
have been force-marching all morning.

French, ready to take the fight to the enemy.  En avant!

From the look on my face you'd think we were losing.

A daunting number of Class I French cannons.

The Prince of Orange edges into view as the Advance Guard
decides it is safe to come out of square.

Wartensleben advances on the Prussian left since Schmettau
is pretty chewed up.

Prussian Gendarmes and Garde du Corps.

The three battalions and guns on the left are all that remain
from Gudin's Division.

The French all seem to drift to the right and start to get in
each others way.

Blucher leads the Advance Guard in a Break-off to rest, rally
and recover fatigue.  This clears the way for the Prince of Orange.

An effective but slow advance on the French right.

Crunch 'n munch time as both sides take losses.

The Prince is engaged, making short work of Gudin and the
fatigued French light cavalry.

Wartensleben bends, but does not break.

Kind of sums up much of the day.

The door begins to swing onto the French flank.

Schmettau and Wartensleben have been seriously hurt
but the Prussian infantry holds on.

Blucher rests and recovers some fatigue and half of a
previously routed unit.  They will ride to the left.

And so, after two sessions Davout conceded the field to the Prussians, who were too battered and slow to mount an effective pursuit.  In eight real hours we played six hourly rounds which for the number of troops involved is pretty dang good.  Six players on Saturday and five on Sunday had a unique experience marching, maneuvering and reacting.  All told a satisfying experience.

Finally, from my 200th anniversary reenactment experience at Jena in 2006 (on the French side).