Friday, 18 November 2011

Somewhere in Russia, 1812...

And a small force of French, far from home and hearth, find themselves in a life-or-death struggle against the army of... the Duke of Wellington!
Close combat!  (Click on any picture to enlarge and see the gory details.)
Let me explain.  

We had a Black Powder Napoleonics game on Sunday, our first since Achilleas heeded the call of the Hellenic Sirens, and headed back to the tranquility of life in Greece- taking his French army with him.  His departure left only my few units of French with which to stem the scarlet and rifle green horde that is Matt's British army, recently reinforced by Rod's own growing force of redcoats. 

Les Bleus could at least count on Sada's very talented (and speedy!) brush, and he was able to provide a much-needed boost to French arms in the form of a battalion of Perry French.  

Sada has gone in for Napoleonics in a big way now, with a veritable tsunami of metal and plastic goodies from Perry Miniatures having hit Tokyo; about 300 figures worth.  

I have, rest assured, been working on painting more figures, and in fact we had originally thought to delay the next Napoleonic game until December so that we could get more units finished.  In the end, however, we couldn't wait that long- we needed a Black Powder fix, and needed it now.  Junkies all.

So we decided to just grab what we had available and put on a "come as you are" game rather than no game at all, even if it meant unfinished units (but no bare metal/ plastic.  We have standards).

Why Russia? 

My Western European buildings are "off-line" at the moment, as I'm in the middle of giving them all a makeover.  Just as with their 1/1 scale prototypes, wargames buildings get their share of wear and tear.  So I've been putting them on bases, repairing damage and taking the opportunity to repaint them to my more recent standards. 

However, I'd recently finished a bunch of Russian farm buildings- plastic kits by Pegasus Hobbies- for our WW2 Eastern Front games.  While designed for 20mm gaming, these excellent models are on the large end of the scale, and do very nicely for 28mm.  Hence Thomas Lobster's new adventures in the steppes.  Suspend disbelief, and imagine the forested mountains in the Pyrenees may indeed have featured buildings constructed from logs.

Rod also bought along some terrain, some very nice hedges and walls that you can see in many of the photos. 

Given the amount of British in their Peninsula uniforms, I suppose we really should be thinking about getting ourselves some Spanish/Portuguese style buildings as well.  In honesty, I'm a "central Europe" guy so they are not a priority for me.  But if any other member of our group feels so inclined, go for it (hint, hint).
The French Hordette
Another look at Sada's 17e de ligne.  Nice, crisp paintwork, with the promise of more- a LOT more- to come!

Above can be seen the woefully outnumbered French force.  My 28e légère in the centre behind our 6pdr gun, Sada's new 17e de ligne on the left flank, and the (barely presentable) 7e chasseurs a cheval on the right.  Behind them, but ashamed to be seen in public, are the practically naked 69e de ligne

GdB Boullion-Cantinat orders his men into the village to forage for food, water, and fine spirits for the officers.

But the Allies have other plans!
For this game the Rod and Matt as the Allies were joined by Derek, who had dropped by the club for the first time.  This was also his first Napoleonics game, and he quickly got into the thick of things.
Rifles and infantry are ordered to advance...

Their brigadier talks the talk, but the men clearly don't want to walk the walk!   This brigade, apart from the 60th Rifles, stayed pretty much immobile the whole day. 

Meanwhile, the French occupy the village.  

Not much else they could do in the face of the Allied onslaught!
British Light Dragoons, and Rod's recent additions, the 44th Foot & 95th Rifles. What's wrong with doing some second-class line troops, guys, huh?
The game's afoot, and Derek orders Matt's Brunswickers forward in an attempt to storm into the village
Such exquisite painting and stirring poses...
...only to be unceremoniously seen off by a brisk fire from one of the village buildings, and from a successful charge by a decidedly under-dressed 69e Regt. de ligne
Verdammt! Oh, the ignominy...
As luck would have it, the only unfinished unit of French infantry would be the one that performed the best on both sides throughout the game.  The dice care not for sartorial splendour.  In fact, the battle was notable for there being no real acts of heroism and derring-do on either side!
Meanwhile, the 17e smoke their pipes, play cards, and twiddle their thumbs, all the time waiting for the British to finish their annual brigade picnic on the left flank.
Things are far more active on the French right, where the French artillery shoot up the Light Dragoons despite fierce British counter-battery fire.
The Light Dragoons charge in! Twice they cross swords with the 7e Chasseurs...
But are defeated! The French are so far holding their own.
British guns leapfrog forward.
Over on the French left, the 60th Rifles have finished their cucumber sandwiches and petit-fours.  Having packed away the silverware and linen, they eventually decide to return to the business of waging war.  
But where has Monsieur Crapaud gotten to?
Bored by the inactivity, the 17e had decided to move to where the action is, and made a flanking charge into the British line.
Looks as if the French are going to clean Rosbif clock, right?  Wrong!  The charge was a disappointing failure. 
Now, Sada is a real credit to the club; a very skillful painter and modeller, and the epitome of good sportsmanship in our games.  But dice as a species, apparently, just simply hate his guts.  He consistently rolled high when shooting, and low when break tests were required.

Rod's 44th Essex Regiment prepares to advance against the now veteran 69e de ligne
And are seen off! Cue Gallic taunts of triumph.
Things are getting nasty...
And the 60th Rifles, putting aside all inconvenient notions of chivalry and fair play, climb over the wall and gleefully start taking potshots into the backs of the French.
Things are looking grim for the 1er Empire, while the 88th and 45th British foot finally decide to move forward...
Only to fall back again as the result of a command blunder.  Clearly not in the mood to shed blood today, especially their own!
It was only a matter of time before the French succumbed to the onslaught.  The tenacious 69e were the last to go.  But they retired off the field in good order, taking their general with them ready to fight another day.
Despite the unequal forces involved, it was a fun game.  We played it so that only the Allies are subject to command blunders.  And certainly the French gave as good as they got.

Having said that, having to game on a steady diet of last stands will lose it's lustre fast, so we need to get painting!  As time goes on, we should see a steady increase in the number of Eagles being waved over the tabletop. Sada is proving to be as prolific a painter as Achilleas was, and we reached a consensus on ordering some ready-painted troops from Mabuhay painting service, so I need to get cracking on that this weekend.


During the game, Sada was showing us his newly-acquired copy of the new Waterloo rules from Warhammer Historical.  This is one gorgeously illustrated book- the pictures really took my breath away.   

I'm not ashamed to admit that I am a sucker for excellent eye candy, and I think I've found a good Christmas present for someone I care about very much- me.  


paulalba said...

Superb, SOme amount of lovely looking figures and terrain.

Brilliant to see all the different styles.

Can I ask what blues were used on the French command figures? Cracking shades.

Robert said...

Those command figures are long in the tooth! I used Ral Partha's (appropriately named) "French Blue" as a base coat -it is a very dark blue- and highlighted it with their True Blue. I still have some left, which should see me through for another year.

Ral Partha paints are no more, but live on through Reaper paints. If I had to start new, I would use Reaper's Master Series "Worn Navy", highlighted with Citadel "Regal Blue". The latter is a little darker than the old True Blue, but I think it is better for painting French uniforms on 28mm miniatures.

I used this combination for my French howitzer crew, to be debuted in a post here soon!

paulalba said...

Thanks Robert,
We use the Regal blue as our darker shade for our 15's (great colour) and go lighter because of the scale/light thing.

Giles said...

Fantastic photos and report, Robert. It's also good to see massed Naps, and there are some cracking units in that game. I particularly like the British riflemen.

Best wishes


Christopher(aka Axebreaker) said...

Say that's a great looking set of troops on the table!


Achilles said...

ah my old club had a game and I wasnt there... now let me wipe the tears off...

it seems that I missed yet another fun game! your reports as always are a pleasure to read!

Glad to know that monsieur Sada has taken the lead on the painting front. I can't wait to see more of his painting! :)

Just a note; you still havent finished the chaussers?? its been a year almost... ;)

On my side of things I am painting prussians and hopefully some time soon I should be able to present on my blog my second battalion.

Convey my best to the other guys!

P.S. I also got Waterloo by GW historical. Excellent book and the rules dont seem that bad either.

Rosbif said...

Great game report, Robert.

It's great to go down fighting when you're outnumbered; If you can't win, take a few of the b*ggers with you!

John de Terre Neuve said...

Great looking game, I agree with Achilles about the WH rules, I sort of like them. I like the BP rules, but both myself and Iannick find the 4 step HtoH a little tedious.


DeanM said...

Excellent game and fabulously painted figures. I particularly like that Front Rank Legere unit. So full of character. Thanks for the review of those Pegasus buildings. I've used some Zvezda 1/72nd pieces with 28mm also - they blend in well-enough IMO. I too feel the strong need for a Black Powder fix! Best, Dean

Robert said...

Thanks for posting, everyone.

Giles, Matt's riflemen do look good, don't they? The problem is that the French player has nothing to counter them with! I really need to do some Bavarians- at least they have some Schützen.

Achilles, you're missed! But always here in spirit, especially when cavalry are involved. Those Chasseurs will be finished one day- but first I need to get some infantry finished and off the painting table first! And did I mention I hate painting horse harness?

I'll pass on your best wishes to the other grognards!

John, we don't find the HtH rules such a hassle, but maybe it depends what you've been used to. The last set of Napoleonic rules I played were a real chore to work out- complex as the day is long!

I'm looking forward to the Waterloo rules and we will probably give them a try at some point. But I'd also like to give Republic to Empire a shot one day as well.

Dean, it's nice to hear someone say something nice about Front Rank these days! I have to confess I still really like them, too. I've another units of lights on the way, as well as another artillery piece.

BTW all my light infantry are in advancing poses, while the line are in march attack. Makes 'em a little easier to tell apart, and signifies that little bit more elán that the lights were reputed to have had!

Curt said...

Great battle report! BP has a few warts but still gives a great game, imo. Best of luck on getting your French reinforcements to the front - I know it can be a slog at times.


VolleyFireWargames said...

Excellent game report - I like the idea of only one side rolling for blunder moves - I rolled and got three of them in my last game - worst one was the cavalry brigade moving forwad in front of the infantry brigades artillery. Have you made any modifications to the rules yet? I was in Scotland and the folks there have made some minor modifications - and I have noticed other folks as well - My friend Andy and I are looking at some minor adjustments as well. Mainly in Break test rout and rallies or modifiers to it.