Monday, 18 March 2013

The Cast take a bow

This post is in response to a request for more details of the figures used in the C18th Funny Little Wars 54mm wargaming project.  These days there are some very good sets of 7 Years War figures made by Armies in Plastic and HaT but before that most of the C18th figures you could get were based on the American War of Independence but with an alternate paint job and stretching the bounds of history a little they can fit the bill for earlier periods. 

At the back troopers of Kurassier Regt. no2 are made from the bodies of Britains "Herald" Life/Horse Guards, the heads replaced with metal castings, saddles and horses from Helmet kits  I had intended to paint them as a "white jacket" Regt. so that they could double bubble as Austrians but at the end of the day I just couldn't resist the "yellow jackets". 

The Line infantry, Musketeers of Regts. 3 and 4 on the left and Fusiliers of Regts. 35 and 42 on the right are all from the BMC Yorktown playset.  Their sculpting is generally poor but they have a nice toyish appearance, you get a good variety of animated poses and when painted up en masse they look okay.

The Grenadiers in the middle are made by American firm CTS, the drummers are all by Accurate (who I think have been taken over by someone else now) with mitre hats from the spares you get in the HaT 7YW sets.

At the back the Dragoons are made from Britains "Swappet" AWI bodies with heads, legs and horses from Helmet Kits.

In front from the left are more BMC painted as Russians (another stalled project) but pressed into the Frederickian ranks as Jaegers for this game.  The greyhound comes with the Elastolin figure of Frederick the Great, so had to be included. 

The command group include a character figure from a German TV series? don't know what it was or who made him but he looks the part.  Marshal Murat from del Prado looking suitably exotic travels back in time to become Lord of the Bosniaks.  Lazare Hoche and Louis XVI were premiums from the French coffee firm Mokarex, behind them Marshal Montcalm is made from SEGOM kit parts on a Historex horse and the begging dog is a vintage item by French firm Clairet. 

The Pandurs are loosely based on Trencks' Regt. and will rejoin the Austrian army when I get around to doing it but for now they have joined the ranks as a Bosniak contingent.  They are a mix of figures by Marx and A Call to Arms with either a head change or just a reshaping of their bearskins, by rebasing and giving them a uniform paint style figures from different makers can go together seamlessly.  They are accompanied by their chaplain in the form of Piere l'hermite issued as a premium by the Belgian coffee firm of Storme.  Finally the Grenadiers in light blue began their military career with the French Lazun Legion but have now joined Frederick as allies from a nondescript minor state.

The opposition "Pragmatic" army (not shown in this post) are from the French and Indian wars range by Barzo bolstered by some rather nice metal figures from Tradition.  The Regiment Royale Ecossais are mostly by Marx and the Dragoons and light infantry from A Call to Arms.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

A Storm in Flanders (part2)

And so it all begins:

At the sound of the mortar barrage opening the main attack goes in, led by the newly raised Kurassier Regt. no.2 and the dependable old Dragoons, the infantry follow up at the double in column of fours.  The mortar barrage has mixed success, the first salvo falls amid the "Pragmatic" command wiping them out and setting the Town Hall ablaze.  The engineers are called away from their work on the fortifications and rush to put out the flames.  As the flames are brought under control the troops manning the perimeter stand to, unaware that they have lost their beloved Colonel.  A second mortar salvo screams in but does no damage, the fuses have been badly cut.

A regiment of Fusiliers is led to the right to avoid congestion on the narrow avenue through the woods.  The Kurassiers burst from the cover of the trees and are blown away by a volley from the barricades to their front and enfilading fire from the guns in the centre.

In the centre the Jaegers, Grenadiers and Pandours move up to the tree line. 

On the right both sides move tentatively towards each other in the open and a desultory fire breaks out along the lines but at long range it is ineffective.  In the town smoke still billows from the embers of the burnt Town Hall.

The redoubtable Dragoons charge home through the debris of the Kurassiers and bludgeon their way into the streets of the suburbs.  Taking fire from the houses on all sides they pay a heavy price for their action but they have opened the door for the supporting infantry regiments who have now reached the town virtually unscathed.  Two companies are detailed to house clearance while the main body press on into the town.

The "Pragmatic" guns have been turned away from the main assault to meet the more immediate threat to their front, firing canister at short range they gouge great gaps in the Frederickian lines.  The mortars continue to batter the town but as the bombs land the engineers attempt to extinguish the burning fuses by dousing them with buckets of water, desperate dangerous work but it meets with some success. 

The situation hangs in the balance before the town square but just then a mortar salvo lands on one of the "Pragmatic" batteries and the Grenadiers surge forward to burst through the breach.  A melee ensues but the superior training and discipline of the elite Grenadiers tells in their favour.

While the victorious Grenadiers reform, a battalion of the Royal Ecossais rush across from the churchyard, the surviving gunners and engineers pick up arms and all together they throw themselves into a desperate counterattack to expel the invaders. 

But the line holds and with the Frederickians pouring in from every side the artillerymen spike their guns and the surviving "Pragmatics" beat a fighting retreat.  The enraged Frederickians sack the town but with their infantry exhausted and the cavalry broken they are unable to follow up the victory.

In retrospect:

The game lasted a full five hours but it felt like much less, the intention was to test out the storm of fortifications,  the special rules for use of engineers and house to house fighting, the first two were achieved the third less so (but there is always next time). 

Conventional wisdom tells us that a superiority in numbers of 3:1 is required for such an assault to succeed, on this occasion the attackers fielded 110 inf. 22 cav and 2 mortars to the defenders 50 inf. 10 engineers and 2 guns.  The cavalry shouldn't really have featured in this game but as I'd just spent a week painting the 2nd Kurassiers there was no way they were going to miss it.  The defenders probably didn't have enough troops to man such a large perimeter but it's difficult to know what the right proportions for a balanced game should be until you've tried it out a few times.

The rules for engineers worked well, and their contribution was critical at times.  Canister shot was emulated by firing a "Party Popper" at the attackers, those covered in tissue streamers were casualties, it worked with varying degrees of success and made a change from firing matchsticks, the sound of explosions and background martial music add greatly to the ambience of the game.  Caution should be exercised when introducing explosives to the table top, no fingers were lost on the day although blood was spilt!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Spring Campaign in Flanders, and a storm is comming

A delightful day was spent in the countryside yesterday, where we held our third encounter in the C18th Funny Little Wars campaign.   The weather was unseasonably fine and bright such that we could almost have played the game outside in the garden......almost but not quite.

The scenario chosen to playtest was the storming of a fortified town as a prelude to full blown siege operations.

The "Pragmatic" Army have occupied a town and their Command are in the Main Square to oversee the laying of guns and supervise the engineers who are hastily putting up barricades and revetments.  This is the centre of their line and the guns have good clear fields of fire.

To the left the newly arrived Regiment Royal Ecossais hold the strongly walled perimeter of the churchyard, on their extreme left (out of picture) a regiment of Dragoons is posted on a low hill.

On the right of the "Pragmatic" line more French infantry and a regiment of  dismounted Dragoons take up position behind the barricades among the outlying houses.

The "Army of Observation" have arrived on the outskirts of the town, after a careful reconnaissance their Command confer and decide on an immediate attack before the fortifications can be completed or enemy reinforcements intervene.

A full view of the table at the opening of the game.  The main attack will be delivered on the right flank where the open country will allow the cavalry to deploy supported by three regiments of infantry.  At the far end of the field a single regiment of infantry and a battalion of Bozniac Pandours will pin down the enemy's left flank while a company of Jaegers and a composite battalion of Grenadiers will make a demonstration against the enemy centre.  Two mortars are also sited in the centre which will pound the town to Rubble!

The Game is afoot.