Sunday 25 November 2012

The mid C18th game begins to look like a campaign.

Earlier in the week I set the scene for the next play test of the 54mm C18th wargame rules, this time a Hanoverian army were offering battle so the storyline was altered a little: Having previously seen off the French Army Lilly White, the Frederickians have rushed to intercept "Pragmatic" Army Red, while they are strung out on the march, and prevent them linking up with the remains of the Lilly Whites.

The opening move sees the "Pragmatic" Army marching into the safety of a strongly defended town but a forced march by the Frederickians on a convergent road threatens to cut them off so they prepare a rearguard action to hold the bridge open.

The Frederickians deploy, cavalry on the left, infantry centre and right, guns on the heights by the old churchyard.

The town nestles in the bend of a wide fast flowing river, the banks are broad and marshy, the main road crosses a sturdy stone bridge and turns into the town square, a small track leads out of town over a rickety trestle bridge up to the church on the hill.

A hasty reconnaissance shows the town is well prepared with entrenched guns covering both bridges and a wide field of fire.

The garrison hastily stand to as the shout goes up "the Frederickians are upon us!".

"Pragmatic" Army dragoons take up position on the bridge while two regiments of infantry stiffened by a composite battalion of grenadiers form up to hold the road open.  Further out, two regiments of horse and another of dragoons hurry towards the bridge.

Five regiments of Frederickians march in oblique order across the face of the enemy to concentrate against the two regiments holding the road, while their cavalry wheel to the centre and charge home on the "Pragmatic" line.

Enfilade fire from the guns across the river drill through the Frederickian lines with devastating effect, further punishment is inflicted by volleys from the line, the bridge and the garrison.  The cavalry charge breaks against the "Pragmatic" line and is countercharged in flank by a regiment of their horse.

The Frederickian infantry reach their objective but an entire regiment lays shattered in the fields behind them.  On the right there are not enough troops to effect a breakthrough and the attack collapses, in the centre two regiments fall upon the remnants that have just withstood the cavalry charge and wipes them out, on the right the regiment of fusiliers turn aside to face the second regiment of  "Pragmatic" horse who are closing in from the flank.  A volley fails to see off the horsemen and after a short melee the fusiliers are overrun.

The final scene of carnage, both sides have fought themselves to a standstill but with only one regiment still intact and fresh enemy troops approaching, the Frederickians beat a fighting retreat.  Watching the defeat unfold the King exclaims "Teufel! I need more men" before quiting the field and sending off gallopers to call up the regiments from his Eastern Provinces, hire mercenaries and call in the pledges from his Allies.  "A battle is lost but the fight goes on!"

Ahh the joys of wargaming with larger scale toy soldiers rather than just leaving them to gather dust on the shelf!

Saturday 17 November 2012

New book - Toy Castles and Knights

Toy Castles and Knights - A Guide to Toy Castles and Knights from Around the World.  Written by Joseph W. Svec III, published by Infinity Publishing, ISBN 978 0 7414 7323 3.  A4 softcover, 104 pages illustrated in full colour throughout.  I bought my copy through ebay where it costs US$ 26.95 (GBP £17.00) plus postage.

This is a very big subject to tackle in just over 100 pages and this book is an enjoyable romp through what appears to be the authors own collection rather than a purely academic history.  Over 100 Castles from ten different countries are featured ranging from the traditional King Arthur/Camelot/Robin Hood types to Sword & Sorcery/Lord of the Rings up to the 90mm Schleich and Papo types.  There is also a nice chapter on the Spanish made Exin castle building sets, which are like Lego but for making medieval and wild west buildings.

The majority of castles included are of the plastic clip together or vacuformed types and it's good to see these documented as many are already no longer available, there are also some tin litho and wooden examples.  The book is packed full of colour pictures showing the castles, often under state of siege by their attendant figures, and the box art they came in.  My only criticism would be that some of the pictures are a little dark, so overall a fun book at a reasonable price and lets face it how many of us would have the room to store 100 castles?
I would have liked to see more of the earlier wooden makes of castle but that leaves room for a Book 2, until then you can see more on the history of Toy Forts and Castles at the toyforts website

Saturday 10 November 2012

7YW game of battle with 54mm toy soldiers

Earlier this week I visited my erstwhile gaming opponent PW to trial the new C18th rules for 54mm wargaming he is working on and a jolly good fast running game it turned out to be.  Both sides had about 70 infantry, six/eight cavalry, two guns, two mortars and a gaggle of staff in command.  The terrain and buildings are in scale for 28mm figures but worked very well, they give definition to the landscape without imposing so much on the visual aspect or the space that larger items would need.  This is how it went:

An overview of the initial dispositions from the Prussian lines.  In the left foreground a company of Grenadiers cover the flank of a Fusilier Regt. supported by two battalion guns.  On the right the Prussian command have established H.Q. in the hamlet and formed a strong defensive position with two Regiments of Line infantry, two mortars have been brought forward and a unit of Cavalry stand in reserve.

Opposing them the French begin to advance through the fields on either side of the road, on their left the Irish Dillon Regt. are supported by a heavy gun

In the centre dismounted Dragoons form a skirmish line in extended order supported by an elite French Regt. and a second heavy gun.

Their right flank is secured by a company of Cuirassiers and two mortars (out of shot)

The Irish Regt. halt at the line of a picket fence where they take a hard pounding from the Prussian mortars

The Prussian regiments contain many recent new recruits resplendent in their pristine undress undercoat No.1 uniforms.  The cavalry unit have left the hamlet and moved to cover the gap between the Fusilier and Line Regt's.

The French skirmish line has reached the low stone walls in the centre of the field and a battalion of Fusiliers move forward to extend the line but receive a strong volley from the enemy Dragoons and are forced to retire.

The Prussian cavalry race up the central road towards the French command but are countercharged by the enemy Horse.  The Prussian Line infantry have moved up in support.

The French Horse brush the Prussian cavalry aside with devastating effect and career into the supporting infantry where they face close range volleys from the front and flank.

A general advance of the Fusiliers and Grenadiers on the left leads to a melee which forces the French to retire.

On the right the advance of the Irish "Wild Geese" is counterattacked by a brigade of Prussian Line, who pay a fearful price to buy time for the remaining brigades who prepare a volley which succeeds in forcing the Irishmen to retire.  At the end of the day the French showed their marksmanship and ferocity in melee to be far superior to the enemy but they were badly served by their artillery, while it is fair to say that the day was saved by the judicious siting of the Prussian guns.

Guns and infantry only fire every other move so wafts of smoke are placed in front of units that have fired to indicate they are reloading next move, this gives the attacker a chance to close with the enemy without being massacred.  Artillery shots are taken using ball firing cannon, wherever the ball hits it ploughs a file through the enemy line.  Infantry fire is simulated by firing a matchstick dipped in ink at a paper template of an infantry line to determine casualties, it may sound a bit messy (and it is) but it's more tricky than you'd think and it's a lot more fun than continually bowling fist fulls of D6.

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Towards a 7YW wargame in 54mm

Been a while since my last post, nothing wrong just haven't had any toy soldier news or anything particular to say.  Over on the Vauban and Shandy blog Paul Wright has treated us to an airing of his new C18th wargame and pretty impressive it is in my opinion.  Some years ago I bought the BMC Yorktown playset as I needed some figures in mitre caps to paint up as Napoleonic Russian Grenadiers but when they arrived they weren't what I was expecting.

In the left foreground are the command figures with a couple of drummers converted from Accurate AWI, behind them going clockwise are figures in stages of completion from basic undercoat up to the finished items in right foreground - BMC Hessians painted as Prussian Fusiliers.  In the centre are Grenadiers by CTS and the BMC artillery crew.

The BMC Hessians have short mitre caps not suitable for the Russians I had in mind, somewhat annoyed I searched through various uniform books and found they would be perfect for 7YW Prussian fusiliers, also the other infantry in the set had rather large floppy tricorns which just didn't look right for the American Revolution but perfect for Prussian line infantry.  Just what I needed, another wargame project with lots of fussy uniforms to paint, it started enthusiastically enough but then ground to a halt.

Subsequently I have had an invite from the aforementoned PW to help playtest the new rules so the Prussians have been dusted off and I am undergoing a frenzy of basing and painting to bring the numbers up to a decent muster - just the impetus I needed!  No doubt there will be game reports on blogs in the not too distant future.