Friday, 13 October 2017

City break and carts

Another week without a game as my wife and I had a city break in Glasgow.  We also travelled to the coast to meet Alasdair, my long time wargaming opponent and had a lovely day chatting, catching up on projects etc.  Whilst in Glasgow we visited the cathedral where there were various memorials to those who lost their lives in various colonial campaigns.  The one shown below (Eusofzai) was new to me and I must delve a little into the background.

There are also memorial windows to the services, although most were too far away for me to take a decent photograph.

The day before we set off I managed to complete a couple of wagons I had purchased from Colonel Bill's stand at Partizan.  The instructions said they were easy to build and I can report that they were, even for a ham-fisted modeller like myself.

They will no doubt feature in a future ECW scenario.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Rowton Heath: a Pike and Shotte scenario

Our first tabletop action for a month featured an action from the English Civil War.  This was an almost exclusively affair, which took place not far from Chester in 1645.  The King's forces had advanced northwards to try and raise the Parliamentary siege of the city.  They had been shadowed by Sydenham Poyntz with a force of  cavalry and now he and Langdale faced each other across Rowton Heath.  Each had 8 regiments of cavalry, with Poyntz having a slight edge in the quality of his troops.  In addition, Poyntz has two small units of commanded shot sent from the forces besieging Chester.  Both commanders had the objective of driving off their opponents.  The terrain is very basic, the heath was a relatively flat expanse with no major obstacles to the cavalry manoeuvres.  Along the western edge of the field are some enclosures, (cover for the musketeers) and I added a barn for interest.

The Royalist left

Parliamentary left
The battle opened with Langdale advancing quickly, perhaps hoping to neutralise the enemy musketeers on his flank.  However, his right hand brigade struggled.  Their initial charge was repulsed and as they fell back they disordered their supports.  These were then hit by the successful Parliamentary cavalry.  Against the odds, the Northern Horse held their ground and drove back their assailants; inflicting sufficient casualties to 'shake' them and force them to halt to recover.

On the opposite flank the fight was more even, perhaps favouring Langdale.  Indeed, it was only Poyntz's veteran units from the  Eastern Association which prevented a total collapse.  However, the repeated Royalist attacks pushed most of the units to 'shaken' status and soon they were driven back by the renewed Parliamentary advance.

Jones' musketeers move into position

The initial clashes on the western side of the Heath

Jones' men prepare to fire

On the opposite flank, Jones' musketeers were causing problems for Langdale's regiments as they tried to recover from their clash with Poyntz's men.  This harassing fire delayed their full recovery long enough for the refreshed Parliamentarians to gain the momentum, driving their opponents back in disorder.

Livesey's start the Royalist rot

More Northern Horse quit the field 
 In no time, over half of the Royalist units were in rout and the day was lost.

After lunch we ran the scenario again, this time Langdale prevailed.  His attacks were more co-ordinated than in the first game and Jones' musketeers seemed less effective, allowing the Royalist right the opportunity to recover from their melees.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

An outing and some new recruits

After 3 weeks where family commitments took precedence, Steve and I visited Shrewsbury this weekend to attend the "Century of the Soldier" conference hosted by Helion and Company (details here ) .  This is the third such conference and once again there was a varied programme of speakers on various topics linked to the period  1618-1721, but concentrating on the Civil Wars in the British Isles.  I found the papers by Simon Marsh ("This Disarmed Multitude- the impact of the Lostwithiel campaign on the Earl of Essex's army") and Alan Turton, (Basing House, The Archaeology of the Siege), particularly interesting.  Also Jon Day's "Bloodier than Cromwell?  Michael Jones and the defeat of Royalist Ireland 1647-49" introduced me to a campaign I knew nothing about.

In the 'down time' between battles I have been busy re-basing a collection of ECW figures which came to me from a fellow Gentleman Pensioner, Dave.  So far I have worked my way through the Royalist cavalry and in Kelhamshire Lord Melchett now has 8 new regiments to commit to his ongoing tussle with Sir Victor Meldrew. However, Sir Victor also has reinforcements on the way (a bigger table is going to be necessary I think).

Here are a few photos of the new recruits.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Battle of Gospic (Bilaj), May 1809.

Games in September are going to be few and far between because of family commitments, but Steve and I did manage to get together for this Napoleonic scenario.  The details came from the Napoleonic pages on TMP, but I tweaked it a little for the Shako rules.

The overall situation is that Marmont has been ordered to advance with his forces in Dalmatia, moving towards the Danube valley and then to join the main army near Vienna.  In recent days he has checked an attack by local Austrian forces and then advanced through the Velebit Mountains and moved NW towards Gospic.  Austrian forces have tried to hinder his advance along the narrow valleys but the various blocking positions have taken by the French.  Among the prisoners taken by the French was GM von Stoichevich, the Austrian commander.  He was succeeded by Oberst Rebrovic von Razboj, who concentrated his forces behind the Licca river and destroyed all the bridges in the area, except the one behind which his forces awaited the French.  The Licca and its tributaries flowed through deep, narrow channels which meant that they could only be crossed at bridges  Marmont's scouts had reported the destruction of the bridges, but suggested that the one at Barlete over the Jadova, a tributary of the Lissa may be practicable and it would outflank the Austrian forces.  Recognising that attacking equal numbers across a bridge would probably result in heavy casualties, Marmont combined all the light companies and sappers and sent them ahead to try and seize a bridgehead at Barlete.  He accompanied the remaining two brigades of infantry and the baggage train.  The train not only contained supplies and the pontoons but also the wounded from the earlier skirmishes.  News came back that the light troops had indeed managed to push back the Austrians defending Barlete and had established a bridgehead allowing the sappers to begin to build a bridge.

Early on the morning of the 21st May, Rebrovic's scouts reported that the French were crossing the plain beyond Bilaj towards Barlete.  He had received news of the French success at Barlete in the early hours and realised that it would take too long to move his forces to cover the flanking manoeuvre.  Rebrovic took the bold decision to cross the Licca and attack the French column, hoping to seize the wagon train and force Marmont to abandon his advance.  His forces were predominantly 2nd rate reserve units and border troops, but he suspected that he had a slight numerical advantage and the French would be hampered by the wagon train.  In all Rebrovic had 3 Grenz battalions. a composite unit made up of companies from various line battalions, 6 landwehr/border battalions and a light battery.  Marmont's troops were all regulars, but the two brigades were separated by the wagon train and the ranking Medical officer, Surgeon Pasteur was adamant that regular troops would be needed to defend the train and the wounded.  Marmont has to decide how many of his 10 battalions to detach for this task.  He has to bear in mind that Austrian irregulars have been operating in the hills and the sight of undefended wagons would be too tempting for them.  It is also essential that no supplies/equipment is lost.

Marmont's force on the march
The main French force had just emerged from a wooded valley and begun to cross the plain towards Barlete when reports came back to Marmont that two columns of troops were emerging from behind the low hills near Bilaj.  He immediately ordered his leading brigade of 5 battalions commanded by Montrichard to form line to meet this attack and cover the advance of the wagon train towards Barlete.  Orders were sent to Launay, commanding the 2nd brigade to detach two battalions to act as wagon guard and use the remainder of his command to support Montrichard.  Rebrovic's plan was for his left hand column under Jellacic to pin Montrichard in place, whilst his other column (Meyer) would concentrate on the remaining French forces and the wagon train.

The Austrians advance past Bilaj
Advancing at their best speed the Austrian columns quickly closed the distance between them and their opponents.  The French artillery quickly found the range and ball shot carved deep gashes in the white clad ranks.  However, led by the Grenz units the Austrians maintained their pace, deployed into line and engaged the French in musketry.  Marmont watched as the wagon train made agonisingly slow progress across the field and his infantry line struggled to maintain its position.  Montrichard's men  also had to deal with the Austrian artillery which now opened up on their right flank.  The 5th legere suffered heavy casualties from canister and was charged by the reserve battalion of the Chasteler regiment.  Under intense pressure, the French gave way; Jellacic urged his men forward to exploit the opportunity and seize the train.

The 46th defend the wagon train
Just in time, the two battalions of the 46th Line, who were acting as wagon guard, formed line and fired a volley which stopped the Lindenau battalion in its tracks.

On the other flank, Meyer was attempting to move around Montrichard's line.  Unfortunately, the commanders of two landwehr battalions were drawn towards the conflict and came under accurate artillery fire.  As they halted to recover the remaining battalions of Launay's brigade could concentrate on the leading battalions of Meyer's command and crushed them with devastating musketry volleys.  They then moved around the flank of the still shaken Landwehr and overwhelmed them too.

The end is nigh for the Salzburg Landwehr battalion
With half his force streaming to the rear and his remaining brigade column struggling to maintain it's position  Rebrovic had no choice but to withdraw and let the French continue to Barlete.

We ran the scenario again after lunch, this time with the Austrians starting closer to the French marching columns.  This resulted in a closer game, but the French just managed to hold on (again). The determining factor was the better French morale, they could be 'staggered' but they recovered more easily than the 2nd rate Austrian units.

Historically, Marmont did not wait for the Austrians, but attacked and Rebrovic took up a defensive position on the hills.  He managed to hold his position and inflict significant casualties.  However, overnight, the Austrians decided that in view of the shortage of ammunition it would be best to fall back.  So they destroyed the bridge and retreated to Gospic.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Other Partizan part 2

Thanks to everyone for the comments regarding my last post. Photos from other visitors have been linked on TMP and can be found  here and here.  To avoid the previous post being too long I held back photos of some of the games.

Fist the Battle of Lincoln 1217 by the Lincoln Wargames Group

Chesterfield Old Boys had a D Day scenario Chef du Pont

The Nottingham Wargames Club put on a Russian Civil War scenario

Finally, from the Durham Wargames Group there was a 28mm ACW scenario, Port Republic.  Extensive use was made of doormats to provide the wheatfields.

My thanks to Steve for providing me with a link to the overhead photos he had taken.  His mobile telephone is far superior in this area than my elderly, basic 'point and shoot' camera.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

The Other Partizan 2017

I have never visited the Other Partizan before.  I did go to the May show when it was at Kelham Hall on a few occasions, but eventually decided the cross country drive was just too long.  This year, Steve and I looked at the games on offer and thought that there were enough relevant games to make the journey worthwhile.

First impressions of the show venue were very good.  Plenty of light and space, (both in short supply at Kelham) and games a plenty.  Here are a selection of photos:

An AWI game "Whotif's Bend" by Steve Jones

Phil Olley put on a Pils-Hostein game, the Battle of Neerfuncken.  Hundreds of beautifully painted figures on a table packed with interesting features.

From the 'Like a Stonewall Group there was a 25mm Napoleonic game, Utitsa

There were more Napoleonics from the 'League of Augsburg', the battle of Arcis sur Aube.  Large cavalry units were much in evidence.

Ian Smith and Friends were also there with their Battle of Adrados Peninsular War game, which featured at Salute in 2016.

Staying with the 'horse and musket' era there was a very good "Glorious Revolution" game by the Derby group.

Steve and I enjoy Sudan colonial games and the "Old Guard" club had an excellent example on offer, with plenty of interest.

The Bodkins won "Best in Show" for their Crecy game.  Stunning figure painting on display.

An excellent day out, with loads to see.  Without exception those putting on the games were happy to talk about the figures, terrain and rules and were very welcoming.