Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Partizan Preview

With under three weeks to go before the Partizan show and a public holiday here, we took the opportunity to have a large game using much of what we will be using.
 Just a small table.  The actual length of the stand at the show will be 24 feet but we only used 16 for our game.  Equally, we only played a small game with a little over 2,500 figures on the table top - a fraction of the combined collections but enough to keep us entertained for a day.
French, Spanish & Savoy forces are to the right of the above photograph and, the combined forces of Dutch, Imperial, Prussian, Danish and English troops to the right.
A new member took control of the right hand brigades of French(including the Maison du Roi) and Savoy.  Initially finding the going difficult and losing the entire front line, Johnathon soon recovered and used the Savoyard's to force the enemy back.
On the left Mark, normally playing Marlborough but today accepting a "lesser" command of the entire Franco-Spanish horse, also suffered an initial reverse before beginning to assert dominance over the enemy horse.  Unfortunately his Spanish foot were not a match for the Prussian brigade surging over the ridge to their fore.
 In the center my French swept away the Dutch opposition before becoming exposed to the flanking move of the Prussians.
A really enjoyable day and a lot of fun as always.
The game for the show is now almost set with some additional troops, equipment required but all within our collections.
Those collections consist of figures from Andy H, Andy S, Chris, Mark and myself.  Scenery and terrain from the Grimsby Wargames Society.

If you are at Partizan on Sunday May 22nd please come along and see us.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Grimsby Wargames Society

As a club I don't think we can be rivalled.  I know I'm biased but I do believe that for a group of individuals whose only purpose in being together is to play games we have something special.
We own our own building for a start.  Each member has a share in it and it is not the private property of one individual or the shared facility of a local council or community.
We have a very healthy bank balance that allows us to continually improve our facility.
We have nearly a hundred members playing games every night of the week.
The club has two main gaming rooms.  The photograph above is of the main room downstairs with the large 18x6 table.  There is an option to extend this by adding boards to attach the table to the far wall and the wall on the right if needed (21x9).  Just out of shot on the left is the storage for sufficient scenery to cover this table with custom made terrain boards.  The green cloth protects the varnished table top used for naval games.
Upstairs are three more tables.  The one at the far end is a 14x6, in the middle is an 8x5 and in the foreground 10x5.  By inserting some boards the two far tables can be joined together to form a large playing surface (Ramillies in August will one such game).
A small selection of the scenery options available.  There are far more under each of the tables and along the other wall.  Also under the other tables are terrain boards for deserts and trench warfare.
And if you get fed up with playing with figures there is a table downstairs for card games.  To the left out of shot is a soft drinks bar with a the facilities for hot and cold drinks, snacks and a microwave.

Just some of the reasons why I believe we are a very fortunate Society and the very best place to go for a game in the town.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Honours of War

Last night at the Grimsby Wargames Society we began the induction of yet another willing convert to the Honours of War rules.  Steve brought along his stunning Austrians and Prussians to join the ranks of those fielded by Andy & Tony to make the biggest game yet.
Some sixteen battalions on each side battled it out over a wooded valley.
 A preponderance of dithering commanders on both sides made it very hard to get any co-ordination going for the aggressive Austrians.  A similar number of dithering commanders for the Prussians had little impact as they decided to root themselves along one of the ridge lines.
What did make a difference was the dashing commander leading the Prussian right wing cavalry.  sweeping away all of the Austrian horse ion a series of brutal melees.
 On the other wing the cavalry fought themselves to a draw.  Just as well since the right wing grenadier brigade of the Austrians proved extremely reluctant to attack rolling a number of poor rolls for command.
In the center a lone Austrian brigade began their assault on the Prussian lines but were overturned in relatively short order.
As this brigade started to recoil the remaining Prussian cavalry rolled up the Austrian left wing leaving four battalions unsupported in the center of the valley facing eight Prussian battalions.

Another good game albeit a little too large for the time we had.  Nearly got a decisive result but the time had definitely turned in favour of the Prussians.
Niggles?  Steve was a little concerned over how brutal the cavalry melees were.  Questioning how does one side gain superiority with a cavalry wing after he lost his first regiment.  The answer came a few moves later when with initiative and a double move his dashing commander led his horse forward into a position where the Austrian cavalry could not counter charge nor gain any supports.  As a result the Prussians were in a position to remove all the Austrian horse with the loss of one of their regiments.
Another concern was the dashing commander.  Terrific in the open field and leading his men forward against other cavalry.  Not so good when he is forced to charge a steady line of infantry because he's rolled a six for command.  Would the horse have done this?  Not sure but it did make a great game.

I think we might have to revisit some of the national characteristics as there appears to be some anomalies amongst them.  But that doesn't stop the rules from playing well.

All figures from the collections of Steve, Andy & Tony.  Scenery from the Grimsby Wargames Society shelves.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

From the Brink of Victory

Monday night saw my 1805 Austrians tackle a French army under the command of fellow Grimsby wargamer Mark.
I had a strong division of three full strength infantry divisions (eighteen battalions in all) with light artillery, supported by two brigades of cavalry - a mixed brigade of cuirassier and dragoons and a light brigade of Uhlans and Chasseurs (only because I'd left my favourite Hussars at home - doh!).  The French had two divisions each of two brigades of four battalions with light and heavy artillery, supported by brigades of dragoons and cuirassiers.
My plan was to refuse my left using the stream as an obstacle for the French who were threatening that area.  The other two brigades would then attack and overwhelm the enemy division facing them.  All the while the Austrian cavalry would keep the French cavalry occupied.  Simple.
and it so nearly paid off.
The left flank set off and began to deploy between the farm and the wood facing the stream.  Nervously looking at the wood to their right in the centre of the table which was rapidly filling with the enemy.  The centre brigade set off and began marching directly towards the enemy, shrugging off the accumulating casualties from the enemy skirmishers and artillery.
 On the right the Austrians just walked over the veteran French infantry in front of them in a melee which stunned both sides in its ferocity.  This did leave the Austrians now facing a Cuirassier brigade since the Austrian horse hadn't quite managed to occupy all the enemy horse.
 The left hand brigade managed to deploy and prepare for the enemy thanks to the wood being rather more difficult to traverse than the French expected.  This allowed the centre brigade to line up for their assault almost unimpeded.
 the French decided to throw troops across the stream and an exchange of small arms began.
Unfortunately it was at this point that the always brittle Austrian resolve gave way.  The French Cuirassiers made short work of the reforming Austrian foot.  The centre brigade had made some great strides in dislodging the French foot but the French Officer in command inspired his men to stand firm and this was enough to discourage the Austrian infantry.  Having seen their right flank support swept away, the French shrug off their initial reverse and the enemy pouring out of the wood behind them the centre brigade turned and fled.
Needless to say the left hand brigade was not keen on staying put either and they too fled the battle.
All in one move.  The entire game taking just under two and a half hours.

A great game nonetheless.  Thoroughly enjoyed watching the French turn almost certain defeat into victory.
Figures are from my Austrian collection and from Marks extensive French collection.  Scenery and terrain from the Grimsby Wargames Society.  Rules used are of our own (well Marks anyway) devising and are set at a brigade formation level.

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Weekend

So this weekend saw me, like thousands of others, not attending Salute.

Instead I was given the opportunity to play in a committee/risk/kriegspiel game at the Grimsby Wargames Society (still the best play to play a wargame in the town).
Two teams were role given command of the armies of Prussia or the Allied German States opposing them for a period sometime in the middle of the eighteenth century.  A map of central northern Europe was provided with a list of potential starting points for the four armies each side commanded and objectives.  
After compiling our four armies from the various unit strengths provided, each side then gave the starting point, route and final destination for each army each turn (the most difficult part here being the spelling of some of the towns encountered en route).  The umpire then marks these on a map and announces to each side, who have no idea what the other has done, whether a significant town is under attack (one of the objectives), whether there is an encounter battle between two armies, or any other point of significance.
Towns were taken if an army spent an entire, uninterrupted turn in the town.
Battles were fought by playing your units in a form of whist, the first side to four winning.  Points were awarded on a sliding scale depending on the decisiveness of the victory.
the map and counter used
After an initial period of gaining the upper hand the Allies began to feel the momentum swing towards the Prussians.  Eventually a late surge by the allies saw them gain victory in the campaign by a narrow margin.

Great fun and a really enjoyable day.

My thanks to Mark for organising the game and for giving me the opportunity to play.  Also thanks to my fellow Allied commander Steve for his role, which was significant, in our victory.  Finally thank you to Steve & Andy the gallant Prussian commanders.

The rest of my weekend was spent painting Russians for the game in June.
I now have twelve battalions completed with the final four needing just 13 figures for completion.  However, rather than paint another batch of red and green I've prepped six Swedish horse instead.


Monday, April 11, 2016

The Great Northern War Compendium

Finally got my hands on my copy on Friday.

It's probably a good thing that I didn't have this book a few years back because I wouldn't have started my War of the Spanish Succession project at all.  There are just too many possibilities, enticements and inspiring articles within the two volumes of the above title to even think about more French for Flanders.
The book has sections on all the major participants and more then a few of the minor ones as well.  Each of them with nice clear uniform depictions.  Throw in a whole bunch of stuff about each of the battles, sieges and ancillary actions and you've got enough information to feed your imagination for a long time.

As a result of sitting with these two volumes and some good coffee over the weekend I now have plans for Cossacks, Pancerni (and yes they look just like those renaissance chappies apparently), more Danes and, hordes of Turks.

Would I recommend this book?  No.  It poses too big a risk to your ongoing bank balance after purchase.

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Honours of War in 15mm

As the club conversion from Black Powder to the excellent Honours of War continues, I took the opportunity to oversee a game last night between my son using my Hessian  force and Andy with his terrific Prussians (unhistorical I admit but as a rules test perfectly fine).
 Andy was outnumbered by quite some margin.  However, his early war Prussians put up quite a fight and took some shifting.  Of course that wasn't helped by my son rolling an extraordinary number of ones for his brigade commanders - four out of five ending up as "dithering".
Nevertheless, the outcome was not really in doubt.  Despite some aggressive tactics from the Prussians the Hessian's won out eventually.  A number of brigades started and then stopped their advances.  One of the Hessian brigades was forced to fall back on one roll where the brigade had been shot over already and then rolled a one - a feeble result.
All of this made for a very interesting game and a good introduction to both of the players to the rules.  Both agreed that the rules were quite easy to pick up and use with little need to consult the book during the game.
The figures are from mine and Andy's collections with the scenery all being the property of the Grimsby Wargames Society.

Below are a couple of shots of Andy's Prussians.  All Old glory figures and very fine they are too.