Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Attempt on Machtigburg : Vanguards in the Wahlental

Apologies for the long delay, I thought I ought to get back to this Imagi-Nations mini campaign set in 1760 and here is a link to the blog post with the background to the French/Savoy attempt on Machtigburg

The first scenario "Vanguards in the Wahlental" was deliberately designed to use the considerable numbers of Light Troops we could muster. It was petite guerre gone grande and kept Ken and I amused for a whole day back in June 2017. The full briefs and orders of battle for both sides can be found in the Downloads sidebar at right under Imagi-Nations Collection, or at this link

The French/Savoy force under General de Busserole (commanded by me) was to enter within 12 inches of points C and D. My force was basically three small legions (acting in the rules as brigades) which between them had light cavalry, light infantry, light artillery, dragoons and grenadiers; there was also a light infantry brigade, a small Grenadier brigade, an independent light battery and the independent Hussars de Bercheny.  Busserole's objective was to secure the route through the Wahl Valley by dominating the valley and Korbynisch Hohe beyond so that a reinforcing army could escort the siege train safely from Wahlkreisstadt to Machtigburg.

The Imperial/Reikland force was commanded by Ken in the form of Major General Graf von Draskowitz. His objective was essentially the opposite - to block the main route by occupying the Wahlgebirge ridge and the small tactically important hill known as Farronberg. Capturing both built up areas (BUA) and the river crossings was also part of the plan to dominate the valley. To do it Ken's force was a balance for mine but very differently composed. He had five brigades, an irregular one of Grenzers and Lancers, two of Jaeger/Freicorps, a large Hussar brigade, a small Grenadier brigade, and an independent Jaeger zu Pferd regiment of two small companies - effectively dragoons (in fact the models were Ken's 17th Light Dragoons lookalikes). He entered within 12 inches of points A and B.

We both had a few restrictions on disposing brigades to entry points but basically freely marked up the maps in advance showing our columns of march.
I didn't take any notes and it is over 6 months ago so I will have to let the photos do the talking.

After the initial move. French at left and Imperial at right. Below are some closer in shots around the table

Irregular Brigade - Lancers and Grenzers
Facing the Chasseurs de Fischer - horse and foot
Grenadiers de Lauzun followed by converged grenadiers move into Maistadt 
A large Hussar brigade of small units - black uniformed Hussars von Reusch are very popular, both Ken and I have a unit to combine as a big regiment!
Bercheny Hussars lead the Fusiliers d'Argentiere on the French left
Nearer the centre the Comte de Morliere is trying to spread his Legion towards
Ober Farronheit. The Dragoons have sped on over the bridge
towards Korbyndorf (see photo above)
Freikorps, Jaegers, Grenadiers and the Jaeger zu Pferd look powerful on Ken's
right flank
The battle moves on: A clash of light cavalry in the foreground and beyond them a double move has led the dashing General Frieherr von Oberndorff to try to gain ground across the river and on the Farronberg with his Hussar brigade, backed up by 3 Jaeger battalions. Close ups below.

Fusiliers D'Argentiere are joined by Les Montagnards Ecossais all heading
towards Korbyndorf
The Chasseurs de Fischer have destroyed one of General Kotztoter's lancer squadrons
Hussars von Reusch have made it nearly to Ober Farronheit unopposed......
........but those Grenadiers de la Morliere are hoping to make it hot for them.
However, the Comte has allowed his Dragoons to get out of command range and
an order to attack the Farronberg failed to get through!
An overview about Move 3. In the foreground I have opted not to attack with the Chasseurs de Fischer for fear of flanking fire from the Grenzers in  the Bauernhof Lukas fields.  But by the Sudliche Bruche I have counter attacked with the Hussars de Lauzun in an attempt to open up Ken's flank along the Wahlburg road. Close ups below.

This photo well shows what an opportunity I missed with the Morliere Dragoons (right) while Imperial Hussars presented their flanks. The Comte  de Morliere feels rather helpless on the far ridge (top centre)
Things are developing more slowly round Korbyndorf
Overview a Move or two later: In the foreground a bit of fire on the Grenzers has seen one battalion off to reform so I advanced the foot chasseurs and became free to attack the remaining Lancer squadron - small size and inferior quality so it was advantageous for me. Not so at the bridge where my Lauzun Hussars had been defeated and headed back up to the top of the Wahlgebirge. See their view below

Lots of Ken's light troops attacking my Fusiliers de la Morliere in the marsh, while my Dragoons receive fire from Jaegers- ouch!
Things began to hot up as light troops from both sides contest Korbyndorf
but the Imperial side had got in first
A couple of light artillery batteries above Korbyndorf helped improve the
 Imperial advantages on that flank
Late afternoon sun is spoiling the photo but this gives some idea of game progression by about Move 6 or 7. In the foreground Chasseurs de Fischer a Cheval have attacked and routed the irregular lancers while their foot comrades, backed up by Grenadiers, are trying to eject a battalion of Grenzers from the fields. Imperial Hussars have mostly withdrawn to consolidate, for reasons that will become clearer in the following photos. Jaegers are defending the marsh against the Dragoons de la Morliere who have finally got moving. Korbyndorf has become a desperate struggle
My concentration of light guns and Lauzun Grenadiers in Maistadt, together with
 the reforming Lauzun Hussars, has made a distinctive lack of welcome
on the Wahlgebirge slopes for any Imperial hussars
A concerted infantry attack on the leading Grenzer battalion
Another converged Grenadier battalion supports the Chasseurs in outflanking
the Lukas farm  
The view towards Ober Farronheit while the Imperial Hussars reform. Some squadrons
 had suffered at the hands of the Fusiliers de la Morliere and Morliere artillery on the ridge
Their place had been taken by the Morliere Dragoons in a desperate downhill charge
to try to discourage the Imperial Jaegers from pressing on up the ridge 
Those light guns had a good view of the Montagnards Ecossais as they attacked
the Korbyn orchard
The Bercheny Hussars are wary of attacking uphill where the Jaegers zu Pferd
are ready to counter-attack
Nearing the end now........My right flank cavalry are nicely distracting several squadrons of Imperial Hussars but there is an impasse at the Farm. I've had to give up any idea of preventing occupation of the Farronberg as the Morliere Dragoons have been beaten back from the marsh. The battle still rages round the fringes of Korbyndorf but the cavalry have finally clashed on the very far flank.
View over Maistadt. Savoy troops very much in charge to secure this part of the
 line of communication
The Grenzers gave too good an account of themselves!
The Montganards have destroyed themselves in the attack on the Korbyn orchard which freed up a Freikorps battalion to join in defending the village. 

Facing two light battalions and two Grenadier battalions my Fusiliers d'Argentiere
 no longer had any chance of getting a foothold in Korbyndorf
Ken's Jaeger brigade consolidates its gains in the marsh and Farronburg overlooking
a small River Wahl crossing point, while the Legion de la Morliere licks its wounds
around Ober Farronheit
Unsurprisingly Ken was well pleased with his day's work......and we both went off in high spirits to enjoy a meal at "The Butchers Arms"
This was my first original game using "Honours of War".  I was keen to test the rules thoroughly for light and irregular/inferior units and Legions within the command structure of the rules, as well as get a result we could use as the basis for the next game. Both aims were achieved and HoW once again, proved a vehicle for a highly entertaining mid-18th century game with lots of ebb and flow and unpredictability.

Ken is an opponent not to be be underestimated and he showed great skill in achieving limited but useful objectives while preserving, I think, all but two of his units. Securing Korbyndorf and the Farronberg would prove to be highly useful in contesting the passage of the French Army towards Machtigburg, as we shall see in the next scenario.........

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

West Country Quatre Bras: Kevin's latest units, not to be missed!

You lucky people!!!!

Kevin East has been busy preparing some of the, shall we say, more specialist units for our final part of West Country Quatre Bras in April.  What follows is his description of preparing and painting the models for the French Imperial Light Cavalry Division.

As I understand it the Light Cavalry of the Guard were the advanced guard of Reille's II Corps in the approach to Quatre Bras on 15th June 1815. They had a brief skirmish with men from the Prince of Orange's Corps and then retreated to report on the enemy positions. After that they were held in reserve and Ney had instructions from Napoleon not to use them as they were so valuable to the Emperor. Yet they were not withdrawn or sent to aid Napoleon at Ligny; so why not assume that our French wargamers in the  QB refight could use them under certain conditions. What those circumstances will be are only known to "the Man" since Kevin is busy planning the orbats and victory conditions for QB 2 in the next few weeks. The game takes place in mid April and if you are reading this and have an email invitation from me, please reply soon!

Over to Kevin:


Since QB1 it became clear that the French Guard light cavalry Division was going to be potentially employed in QB2. I say potentially as I am hoping they will be employed as I have just painted all of them at 1:20. 103 cavalry figures in total. Deep joy……but deep pain if they’re not required!!!

pic1 :The Guard lancers and Guard horse artillery 
I already had the Guard lancers and horse artillery, albeit Tony (Ney) Dillon has procured the 2nd Guard horse artillery battery, as I had created the latter for QB1 but the Guard Chasseurs were yet to be mustered.

Perry (my favoured manufacturer) do a full charging and also swords shouldered pose so I decided to opt for full charging for most the models. I don’t know about you but I hate model sabres bending into a contortion during a game and the charging models for these figures are particularly so inclined. I decided to manufacture my own and replace those flimsy lead ones at once! 

I remembered a method from an old Foundry book penned by Kevin Dallimore.
Panel pins once curved to shape and flattened between hammer heads do the trick. Once shaped, edged and sharpened (I use a dremel) with a fine handle ground at the end to fill the drilled hole in the models’ sabre hand once the old lead sabre is removed. Hey presto – a much more appropriate weapon! Do these en masse and do more then you need as some will just not work out the way you want.  Here they are sabred up and ready to go!
Pic2a – Having curved the panel pin a quick hammer does a flattening job.
Pic2b – Grinding away the head of the pin into a thin stalk or handle and creating the sabres ‘edge’.
Pic2c -  Sabres completed.

Pic2d – Sabre handle glued into drilled hole in sabre hand of model.
Pic3 (chasseurs with metal sabres)
Pic 4 (painting table with toolzone) Painting for proper.
To paint 54 chasseurs lined up with a paint brush in hand is daunting  so I split them into three groups of 18 (squadron size for QB2 as it happens) . Some were one piece castings others were separate horse and rider. OPC riders first. With my newly acquired toolzone glasses i've managed to gain more detail - at last I can see what I'm doing!! What a revelation :-) The  lenses were very easy to adjust and work with (although I didn’t like the LED light source so I remained with my trusty Tizio lamp). Results were immediate and very effective……at least I felt so.

Pic 5 One Piece Castings
then all the horses using oils in my case.
Pic 6 Horses
Then all the riders

pic 7 riders
A coat of gloss and matt varnish then brought to the finishing line; basing. I really enjoy this aspect as it brings the whole activity to a pleasurable visual conclusion.
Pic 8 bases sand based ready to be painted and flocked, etc
Then the Chasseurs were complete!
Pic 9: the whole regiment complete
That left only, a favourite of many, the squadron of Mamelukes to paint in their delicious colours. They may not have been involved in the 100 days but I couldn’t resist temptation and their likely participation with 130 sabres = 6 models at 1:20. 
Pic 10 Mamelukes - 6 of the best! Spanking Gringo Napoleonics – a very hefty 28mm!
Assembled together they look a menacing force in a final image of the entire Guard light Division to put the fear of God in the Allies! These represent the best part of 7 weeks painting with the Christmas holidays bringing a cessation to my wargaming habit.

pic 11 :The Chasseurs on their way to Quatre Bras en masse! Ney will be pleased!
Well, I wonder which lucky wargamer will get to command them in our refight? If we don't get enough players it might end up being me!  It's a tough job being Kevin's wargaming mate, but someone's got to do it :-)

Talking of tough, he's given me about 20 photos in addition to the ones for the above article and let me choose which ones to use. I'm rather weak willed so I hope you enjoy all these too..........