Thursday, April 30, 2015

Quatre Bras - training scenario

Yes, Quatre Bras again.  This time I inflicted the Ney versus Wellington scenario on some players at the NWS who will be taking part in the Waterloo game on 13 June.

Stephen B was Wellington assisted by Darren T as the Prince of Orange.  Mark B and David B played the French.

As I was busy explaining the rules I took only a few pictures.

The battle starts at 14:30 and Picton's division is ready to get into action.  Wellington is relying on the 2nd Dutch Belgian division to hold up the French until his reserves arrive.  

Ney did his best to get his army moving.  First up he lead an attack on the farm and after some tense moments succeeded in ejecting the Dutch Belgian jagers who were defending it.  He then went to lead Jerome's 6th Division in an attack on the 2nd Nassau in the Bossu Wood.  Another tense engagement but this time the French were repulsed.

Not to be deterred Ney rushed to the right flank where Bachelu and Kellerman had crossed the stream and started to engage the British.  Sadly I failed to capture the events on film, but it was an exciting affair.  One British brigade was routed and the second forced to withdraw in disorder.  The cuirassiers  lead by Ney went in, but the disordered British had been stopped by Wellington who was able to get them to form square in the nick of time.  (The photo shows some British Light Dragoons masquerading as Dutch Belgians and being denied the opportunity to "fit in" while my Blucher stands doubles for Wellington - the action is to the top of the photo, but out of frame).

An immensely exciting game.  We only had time to complete three full turns, ending with the French 16:00 turn.  At one time the allies shot away the whole front of the French attack, disordering four brigades.  I'm pretty happy with the scenario balance now.

Mark W, Wellington in the last game, has completed the AB Picton figure and done a fabulous job.  It can be seen on his blog here:

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quatre Bras - Ney vs Wellington

While I have the troops labelled I like to give them a go.  Quatre Bras also makes a good training game for Waterloo.

After the last two games and what I considered to be solid French victories, I had a look at the SPI game Ney vs Wellington.  I was pleased to see the terrain was a good match along with the order of battle, if not the order of arrival.  As it seemed to give the allies a better chance I thought I would adapt it.

The game starts an hour later (Ney was very cautious).  This means that Merlin's cavalry starts deployed just west of Quatre Bras behind Bossu Wood.  Picton has also arrived and I wasn't sure whether he should be in march column or attack column, I decided on the latter for play balance.  Brunswick (minus the light brigade and artillery) arrives at 15:00, Alten at 16:30 and Cooke at 17:30 with the balance of the Brunswick corps at 18:00.

The French start without the Guard lancers that arrive at 16:30 and the Dragoons that arrive at 18:30.  I continued with the Ney handicap of being just a 4 activation leader, not a 10 (as would be the normal case for a CinC).  I think this is particularly relevant as he did not have a staff or the trust of his fellow officers.  As with the previous games, this was not such an issue as he spent his time leading attacks which let the other generals do the commanding.

Mark W took the allies (in practice for his up coming role as Picton) and I took the French.

At the end of the first hour Ney has attacked the farmhouse and flung cavalry at the 2nd Nassau.  Bachelu's 5th Division has been sent off on a flank attack via Thyle and Jerome and the 6th Division are approaching Bossu Wood.

After the lancers were repulsed in went the big brothers, supported by the 1st Ligne who stopped the Nassua forming square, producing a devastating combined arms attack.

The going was slow and the Dutch-Belgian horse artillery decided to hold against Ney leading an attack by a brigade of the 9th Division.

Ney continued to lead the brigade into the Hanoverian landwher brigade which Wellington rushed to support.  Ney pressed home the attack and the disordered Hanoverians were routed as they tried to withdraw.

Jerome made slow but steady progress clearing the wood.  On the other flank Bachelu slowly started to cross the marsh and bring fire to bear on the Dutch-Belgian cavalry.  The Brunswick cavalry had made a charge in the centre which had held up the French advance.  The British 3rd Division has arrived and the 1st Division is due, but the French cavalry and infantry have started to claim the high ground.  Picton's Division and the Dutch-Belgians are fatigued.  It is the start of the Allied 17:30 turn, but we decided to call an end to play.

The size of the playing area makes it hard for the Allies to deploy, something that I've noted with the previous games.

I went back to having units attacking BUAs use their actual formation combat factor.  

I plan to inflict the scenario on a few more players yet.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Mustering Forces for Waterloo - Part 2

It's getting serious now.  Having finally settled on an Order of Battle (I'm going with Mark Adkin's The Waterloo Companion) I am now taking stock of what French figures I have.  I have more than enough infantry and have not had to use any of my French in bicornes.  However generals and cavalry and a bit of artillery will need to be sourced.

Imperial Guard missing its commander, the Chasseur Division, the commanders of the Young Guard, cavalry and artillery as well as the Empress Dragoons.  At least I have a base for Napoleon even though it is not as grand as I would like.

I Corps complete (along with Ney)

II Corps complete (in its Waterloo configuration, it is currently labelled for Quatre Bras).

VI Corps missing all its commanders, cavalry and two horse batteries.

III Cavalry Corps missing one horse battery.

IV Cavalry Corps missing all its commanders and artillery.

Now an attempt to photograph the lot.

Time to get my act together.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Bertie versus the Zombies

Last night at the club it was time for another game of zombies.

We started with five groups of survivors - Mike, Marty, Oliver. Matthew and myself.  Simon ran the zombies and umpired and made rule changes to keep us guessing.

Bertie has found himself in strange company.  Berkeley (the lass with the chainsaw) came with him and they met up with a couple armed with assault rifles, a bloke with a shotgun, a black woman with a pistol and fat white guy in the ominous role as the seventh man.

Zombies are seen in the distance.

Bertie gets his group into position.

After dealing with the first band of zombies they retire to a ruined building to check it out.

They have to defend it against zombies!

Bertie leads a flanking party...

Oh dear...

The rest of the group rush to the rescue.  To late to save the seventh man who turned into a zombie.

Nearby a horde of zombies attack a group of young ladies.

Another group of survivors commandeer a double decker.

This group of survivors is doing it tough.

Bertie's team faces of another mob of zombies.

There are too many of them and Bertie's group falls back.

At the other end of the city the commandeered bush crashes into a mob of zombies and makes an awful mess.

Bertie keeps an eye on the young lasses in case they need help.

Watch out, there could be zombies!

Bertie's group have taken up a defensive position.

Just in time - here they come!

Only one gets through and is quickly dispatched.

Time to move on.  Bertie redeploys to another building, securing the upper floor.

The zombies try to get up...

And almost make it.

A bus to the rescue!

Lots of fun and laughs.  Thanks to Simon for running the game and providing buildings and figures, Mike for more buildings, figures and transport and Marty for the zombies.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Kiev to Rostov - Turns 30 and 31

Today we got through two turns.

Fighting at Kremencheg.  The Axis were repulsed in their attack on the city, but obtained a precarious hold across the Dnepr on the eastern side of the city.

The fighting for Kiev goes on.

The Axis attacks between Kiev and Kremencheg were unsuccessful.

The Soviets hold their own at the end of turn 39.  I've inverted the photo so that the top is north, which is why it looks a bit funny.

The Axis again attack Kermenchug and lose badly in trying to expand their eastern hold.  They do how ever manage to gain a hold on the western side.

The area in between seems to have stabilized.

The fighting for Kiev continues.  Positions have held, but losses have mounted.

But the real disaster happens down south at the mouth of the Dnepr where the Axis breakthrough.  The Soviet cavalry rode to the rescue, but did not get the order to blow the bridge.  

At the end of Turn 31 the Axis push to the Crimea can clearly be seen.  Soviet attention had been on holding the Dnepr further north. 

Monstrous game.  It will be interesting to see how much of it we can play.  Map and unit detail is amazing and the rules are well laid out and referenced and the mechanics also work well.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Airfix Waterloo British Infantry

I took these two photos the other other day to post on the Facebook group The Napoleonic Wargamer where a question had been asked about the need to differentiate between stovepipe and Belgic shakos in 1/72nd scale.

The 4th Foot as Airfix made them.

28th Foot as I converted the headgear.

These two units date from the late 1970s.  In my collection these units have the codes F06 and F03.  My notes reminded me that I have actually visited the 28th Foot's museum (that would have been in 1996) and also that I did the 4th Foot's light company in 2000.  I really should take some more photos (and use them in a game or two).

If you are a Facebook user with an interest in Napoleonic wargaming I highly recommend the group; you just need to apply for access from the moderators.