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Sunday, 27 November 2016

Recent games of Blucher

I haven't posted much recently, so I think I may as well post up here the last 3 games of Blucher I played.

First up we have;
Austrians vs Late French (300 points) 02/09/2016

Having set up the terrain with my opponent, and successfully having won the toss to pick sides, I made the bold, brave and wise choice to defend in the scenario hoping to use the cover of a large forested area and the narrowness of the battlefield to stem the tide of French conscripts.

The left flank, bounded by an impassable marsh and the large forest which dominated the centre was to be a stalemate of long range artillery bombardment for much of the battle largely for 2 reasons, firstly neither army wanted to march into the mouths of their enemy’s guns and secondly the generals were much too busy directing the efforts of their soldiers on the opposite flank.
The Infantry staring contest.
 On the right flank the attacking French were much more aggressive, determined to force their way past the outskirts of the forest, unfortunately for them what opposed them were my elite Hussars and Cuirassier, more than a match for the French pansies who opposed them.

The initial clashes on that flank were rather half-hearted attempts from the Austrian cavalry, clearly already deciding how to spend the spoils they were sure to win after their certain victory over the French light horse. Despite these early reverses Austrian cavalry were able to maul the first French forays into the right flank, routing 2 units of light cavalry and overrunning 2 massed artillery batteries, although casualties were reasonably heavy for the Austrian cavalry no units were lost in their entirety.
Austrian Hussars await the oncoming French column

Austrian Heavy Cavalry leap upon the first elements of the column to leave the safety of the woods.

Soon Austrian Cavalry have dispatched the French Light Horse and pick off the Artillery unprotected by French Squares.
 With the French army four tenths of the way to breaking and not a single Austrian unit having been forced to quit the field I was feeling pretty good about my position. So what if the French had managed to create a lot of pressure on my right flank and left a lot of units close to their break point? My left flank was still strong, and I could always weaken the centre to try and support the right.

On the left flank French cannon had bought a unit of Chevauleger down to a third of its starting strength but in general artillery fire between the two sides had been without major impact. It was at this point that the first French troops began to approach the hill which acted as the centre point for my Austrian battle line. Deciding that aggression is in fact the better part of valour my brave conscripts charged down the hill to engage the counterpart French conscripts, their advantage at skirmish combat made close combat seem a much safer prospect.

The French have pushed through on the right by force of numbers, and Hungarian Grenzers have been sent to try and support the Austrian Heavy Cavalry.

At this point the full table shot shows how little has changed on my left flank, although I have perhaps missed my opportunity to send the Grenadiers and other infantry here on the attack whilst my opponent dealt with moving his forces through the right.
In response to the ever more rapid collapse of my right flank, and my quick approach to my break point of 8, I decided to launch my left flank of elite infantry in an attack on the French infantry who had remained idle since the first turn of the game. 
The infantry charge was extraordinarily successful, at once smashing a hole in the centre of the French line behind the power of the Hungarian Grenadiers who eliminated a unit of Fresh Frenchmen in a single round of combat. Even the regular Austrian infantry seemed to be faring well against the French conscripts, buoyed up by the success of Grenadiers they took it upon themselves to bloody the French noses.

With both flanks now engaged, and both armies close to breaking point all that was left was to see who would break first.
As it happened my Austrians broke first, reaching their break point and giving me one final turn to attempt to break two units on the French right to tie the game as a mutual break. The unit of Chevauleger pasted by French artillery at the beginning of the battle now swept in and routed an exhausted unit of French conscripts which meant I had 2 units of infantry firing at some weakened cavalry and what was left of my infantry charging the battered French right. As it happened several French units were reduced to a single strength point, but unbroken resulting in a tight but deserved victory to My opponent, his army a single unit away from its own break point.
My elite Grenadiers made short work of the French infantry corps who had looked impressive, at least numerically to that point, but too little and too late.

Lack of numbers resulted in my right flank falling back into the plowed fields to their rear, unable to hold any longer.
 At this point my army had broken and whilst my opponents was extremely bloodied, just 1 unit away from his own break point, he was victorious.

 Whilst My opponent’s army consisted very heavily of conscripts and extremely average cavalry, his army contained a number of regular units who formed part of the corps opposite my cavalry corps. These units were crucial to in shielding his conscripts, who’s penalty against cavalry becomes very apparent when facing off against the strong Austrian heavies. All in all, a cracking game, nice and close but deservedly won by my opponent my opponent.

Up next is my Early French vs Peninsula British (250 points) 04/11/2016)

I won the dice off at the start of the game again, and again opted to defend, hoping that the Peninsula British penalty of forced tiny Corps would ensure organising an attack would be difficult.

From this point on it wouldn't be unfair at all to call this game a fiasco for my opponent. Played a game of Blucher, 250 points, at my local club today. My French took on a Peninsula Anglo-Allied force and I won the role to choose to be the defender. Very early on my Dragoons were able to heavily damage the British light cavalry on my left flank, combining with my Horse artillery to break 1 unit on just the second turn.
On the far left a single unit of French Hussars was able to break 2 units of Spanish Light cavalry before spending the rest of the game lazily ambling round the back of the Allied army achieving nothing. Meanwhile my Polish infantry advanced on the left hand side of the central hill to oppose the 4 Spanish line units supported by 2 units of British regulars. To say that these Spaniards under performed would be underselling it, over the rest of the game they would manage to chalk up a single hit on the Poles, with the Brits only managing a handful themselves. On the right and centre the infantry remained out of skirmish range for the time being, with only the French artillery being able to fire – which they did to reasonable effect on the expensive British Regulars.

French Cavalry batter their Anglo-Spanish opposition to take control of the hill whilst the infantry of both sides look on.

This table shot shows both armies snaking along the length of the field. At the very bottom shows the back corner of a unit of French Light Cavalry who managed to wipe out 2 units of Spanish Militia Cavalry on their own.
 The images of the endgame position show the shambolic end of the Anglo-Allied army, completely broken without having been able to break a single French unit, highlighted by the failure of an almost Fresh unit of British Heavy Cavalry being unable to break a unit of French artillery on just 2 strength points. By this point the Spanish Militia in the centre, anchored between the central hill and the town to their left had been completely smashed by French line who had charged them after softening them up with several turns of long range fire. On the French left the Poles had been just as successful, hammering the Spanish Regulars with skirmish fire and a charge on a weakened unit, even managing to break a unit of British Regulars.

My opponent had been hamstrung by having to attack with the cumbersome early British Corps structure, being limited to corps sizes of 4 made organizing the attack within the MO limits very difficult for him and allowed my smaller elite French army to concentrate on favourable engagements with the weak Spanish units rather than the very strong British units, which combined with the Anglo-Allied armies extremely “cool dice” meant for the extremely rare perfect sweep and a game which finished over an hour earlier in the night that normal. A very pleasing result for my French.

The British left had attempted to push on but bad dice from themselves meant they were unable to push very hard, in fact most of the French units are still in remarkably good condition for the end of a game.

The Spanish infantry holding the centre have completely disintegrated, and the left has taken a lot of attrition from the Poles accurate skirmish fire.
 The Final game for this post is a bit of a fanciful engagement between my Austrians and my opponent's Early Prussians, for a bit of a shake up. (250 points) 25/11/2016

We rolled up an unusual battlefield, smattered with loads of urban bases, but with no elevation and only 2 areas of rough terrain, one forest stuck off to the side and a field smack in the middle of the battlefield. Our armies were very different, mine featuring a solid infantry core (mostly of which were conscripts) backed up with 2 units of Grenadiers and lots of artillery combined with a smaller cavalry contingent of elite Cuirassier and Hussars. Against this my opponent bought a smaller but very elite army, including 5 very powerful Heavy Cavalry and the Prussian Avant-Garde brigades (a unit comprised of Skirmishers, Fusiliers, and Light Cavalry). My opponent won the dice roll and chose to attack, wanting the first turn to try and get his army  into a favourable position.

On my left flank I advanced into canister range of the Saxon brigades pushed in front of the expensive Prussians so that my massed artillery could begin to take effect. This they did fast, wearing through the Saxons in only a few turns of shooting. Behind this front line Austrian Grenadiers and some Conscript Landwehr began to advance in order to help overwhelm the weakened Prussian Infantry.

Pushing my guns  straight into canister range to try and weaken the elite Prussians enough for my Grenadiers to charge home.
 The centre was dominated by a tight grouping of small towns and a field, which limited the combat there. The Austrians in square there would never move again (although one unit would be wiped out completely by the artillery firing at them, although the Dragoons to their back would turn to face off against the Prussian Light cavalry who had managed to sneak through to threaten the Austrian second objective.
This area of the battlefield was extremely static. The tight cluster of villages and the plowed field combined with the Austrian squares served to almost completely separate the infantry clash on the left from the cavalry on the right.
 Finally, on the right flank elite Austrian cavalry found themselves in the rare situation of being outnumbered by even stronger cavalry than themselves, and facing a battery of Horse Artillery to boot. The noble (and brightly coloured) heart of the Austrian army would spend the game falling back in the face of the Prussian heavy horse.

The one charge made by Austrian cavalry resulted in the Hussars being rebuffed by the Prussian Horse artillery. After that the Austrians would find themselves constantly on the defensive.
 The battle quickly spiraled out of control for my opponents Prussians from this point. His Infantry were smashed apart by a mix of infantry charges and the close range fire of my artillery batteries. His right flank was now held by a corps of 4 units with a total strength of 6, 3 of which had their backs to my Austrians, leaving the other infantry corps close to completely surrounded. Both units of expensive Avant-Garde infantry had been routed by this point and the remaining Prussian infantry were in no position to even attempt to hold off the Austrian infantry who still included 2 units of full strength Grenadiers.
Austrian Infantry pour into the void left by the retreating Prussians, turning the flank of the Prussian position.
 On the right my cavalry had been ground down quite considerably, 1 unit lost entirely, but were still looking likely to hold up the Prussian Cavalry who were in no position to assist the Prussian Infantry and leave these half strength units to their rear. Despite their significant advantage, (the Prussian cavalry were still at strength values of 4, 7, 6, 5 and 5 {27} against my Austrians on 4, 4, 3 and 5 {16}) it looked likely my cavalry would be able to hold out for several more turns and possibly even escape off the board unrouted.
with the exception of a single unit of Hussars the Austrian cavalry have all been forced to fall back from their starting positions, however they were still strong enough to hold out for several turns longer yet.
At this point my opponent threw in the towel, unwilling to watch his infantry be swallowed up by the encroaching Austrians, and seeing no way to break my army, even if he would be able to wipe out my cavalry quickly which seemed unlikely.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

North American Civilians

I recently painted up some unarmed civilians who might take to the field when I play some games involving my Native American Warband.

The 6 European Colonists are from the Perry AWI range, whilst the 6 Natives are from the Conquest Miniatures range carried by Warlord.

I hope you like them, I think the Gentleman and his wife have come out nicely and are probably my favourites.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Finished Indian Warband

 I finished the Indian warband I've been making for gaming the FIW with Muskets and Tomahawks.

I'm quite pleased with the result in all, now I need to add some terrain and some civilians to fight over. I also need to decide on 7 of the grunts to use as "unit leaders". The rest of the unit has to stay within 1 move of the leader so I need to decide on how best to mark them out, maybe a different colour on the rim of their base?

Anyway, here are the pictures;
The 38 man Warband
The 2 Sachems

I split the Indians into 6 man units for the photos. This isn't exactly how I'll be running the army, but its a good number to photograph at a time. Hope you guys like them.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

An Indian Update

In my last post I showed my first 6 F&IW woodland Indians.

Now I'm at 29, 9 left to paint, so this is a belated progress shot of the warband, a warband I'm very happy with so far.

You might have noticed, although the image isn't perfect that there are some casualty figures among he warband. I don't have a use for them yet but I think they look pretty good, so here they are up close (alongside a sneaky uninjured guy).

Once I finish my final 9 I will have a 400 Point warband for Muskets and Tomahawks, my list as I see it right now will be,

1x Sachem        20 30
Natural Talent    10

1x Sachem        20 30
Natural Talent    10

6x Indians         42 48
Braves              6

6x Indians         42 48
Braves              6

6x Indians        42 60
Elite                12
Braves             6

6x Indians       42 60
Elite               12
Braves            6

4x Indians      28 36
Elite               8

4x Indians     28 44
Elite              8
Rifles            8

4x Indians     28 44
Elite              8
Rifles            8

Monday, 20 June 2016

Something Completely Different: French and Indian Wars Woodland Indians

Far removed from my normal Napoleonics I've been interested in the French and Indian Wars, and to that end I've been painting up a warband of Woodland Indians.

I'm not used to painting 28mm figures, but these Perry sculpts are very nice and I think the overall effect of my first band of Indians looks quite good.

Another 30 Indians and I'll have quite the force for Muskets and Tomahawks, I may even move on to a British Force to combat them.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Blucher AAR - French vs Spanish 250 Points

I played a game of Blucher down at my local club on Friday, a pick up game between my French and my opponent's Spanish at 250 points. This was the first outing for my Cuirassiers and Polish troops, and also the first outing for my opponents Spanish army, so we were both eager for good results from these troops who had only seen action on the painting table to this point!

Both armies were I think extremely typical choices for the points bracket and conformed roughly to these lists;
French (Break point 7)
6 Line Infantry with attached artillery,
3 Polish Infantry,
1 Allied Infantry,
2 Cuirassiers,
3 Dragoons,
2 Polish Cavalry,
2 Light Cavalrty,
2 Massed Artillery Units.

Spanish (Break point 10)
4 Guards (1 with attached artillery),
10 Regular Infantry,
6 Provincial Infantry,
4 Heavy Cavalry,
3 Light Cavalry,
2 Irregular Cavalry,
2 Massed Artillery Units
4 Entrenchments.

As you can see the Spanish have a considerable advantage in numbers, 31 units to 21, but have a real lack of quality to make up for it. We rolled up very few terrain pieces which resulted in a rather open battlefield, perfect for my heavy cavalry. The Spaniards chose to defend, even without the advantage of a lot of terrain, in the hopes that their large numbers of infantry behind barricades would be able to hold off the more experienced French troops.

I have a few photos of the game which show the general shake up of the battle,

On my French left flank my smaller corps of infantry have advanced to threaten the Spanish infantry on the left, stretched between the objective in the wood and the urban area on the right of the image. As it turned out none of these units on either side would move again for the remainder of the battle as both commanders focused their attention on the other flank and the centre. The French infantry are supported by a single unit of light cavalry just off camera to the left who have forced the Spanish infantry barely visible behind the wood into square.
The 3 units of hidden Spaniards behind the woods are reserve infantry who would be drawn from this position into the centre as combat escalated there.
French Dragoons and Polish Lancers reorganise in the space to the right of the hill that dominated the centre of the battlefield having wiped out a unit of Spanish Heavy Cavalry who had been drawn in too far by their Impetuous trait. Spanish regulars and Guards warily form up into squares in order to ward off the threat posed by these shock cavalry. Unrevealed at the back right of this image were 3 Spanish Heavy Cavalry and 1 Spanish Light Cavalry sit in front of the second objective being defended by the Spaniards and 2 Militia Cavalry can be seen falling back in the face of the French Cuirassiers who are advancing on the far right.

In the direct centre French and Polish infantry advance on the Spaniards lined up between the urban area and hill seen in the previous images whilst French light Cavalry and German allies lurk on the reverse side of the hill threatening to run down any Spanish infantry who might attempt to pressure the French infantry from said hill. Initial skirmish fire was rather ineffective from both sides, however eventually French superiority began to tell with significant damage being dealt to the Spanish line. The unit of French Ligne on the left of this attacking line (number 9) especially began to deal heavy damage to the unit of infantry in the barricades opposite them, routing one unit and then dealing heavy damage to the unit of Grenadiers sent to fill the gap.

Spanish Militia and Light cavalry support is not enough to worry the French cavalry between the centre and the impassable terrain which split the right flank. The  French cavalry have managed to organise themselves into a threatening formation which had forced most of the Spanish infantry into defensive formations and prevented them from moving to take the pressure off of the Spanish centre.
Previously mentioned the 2 units of Cuirassiers, the cream of the French army, have been fighting off 3 units of Spanish Heavy cavalry  and one of Militia cavalry and had been largely getting the better of the combat despite the wearing down of their strength. A unit of French Dragoons and a unit of Spanish Light cavalry were at this point both moving from the centre right to try and gain the upper hand on this front, however it was too late at this point for the Spanish cavalry who would soon find themselves with all of their cavalry spent and routed.

After several turns there are large gaps in the Spanish centre, both the effect of effective French skirmishing and a decisive charge by Polish infantry who had resisted a charge from Spanish Light Cavalry and then assaulted and destroyed a massed battery of Spanish guns. These Poles were however unable to extricate themselves and were soon overwhelmed by the second line of Spaniards who can be seen ready to advance into the gaps left in the front line.

On the far right flank it is clear that whilst the French cavalry committed here are exhausted the Spanish cavalry wing has ceased to exist. The Spanish cavalry shown charging down and breaking the extremely weak Cuirassiers would in turn be charged in the rear by the half strength unit of French Dragoons and routed off the table, leaving the Spanish army with no ability to cover itself from the French Dragoons on the centre right who would soon be released into the space behind the Spanish line threatening a number of  weakened units attempting to rally back their strength.

In the centre the second line of Spanish infantry have been mostly slowed down in their advance by a unit of French infantry who had launched their own counter assault across the Spanish entrenchments. This unit of French would be routed, but not before effectively blunting the Spanish attempts to push hard through the centre. On the hill Spanish infantry took heavy casualties under assault from the German infantry and French Light cavalry but were able to maintain their foothold for the time being. 

This shot shows the position at the end of the game. At the bottom it is clear exactly how little has occurred in this sector, a great number of units remaining unengaged by both sides. At the top of the screen 2 units of French Dragoons can be seen pressuring the Spanish infantry hard from the rear with the remaining Spanish Militia cavalry unable to fend them off effectively. On the hill Polish infantry have been able to dislodge the Spanish infantry who had taken up positions there.
In the very centre the French infantry have been pushed back by the Spanish reserves, however Polish lancers brought in from the centre right were able to break the final unit of Spaniards required to push them over their army breaking point and bring the game to an end.

In all a very enjoyable game ending with the breaking of the Spanish army and 4 French units broken towards their break point of 7. The Spanish armies inferior artillery and lack of access to any units with a bonus to ranged combat really showed in this game as they were consistently unable to make an impact on the long ranged firefight in the centre. The Spanish cavalry had attempted to isolate and break the expensive French Cuirassiers whilst they were on their on the right flank, however their lack of any shock trait and a lack of convincing dice rolls meant they were unable to really make an impact before the supporting Dragoons arrived to mop up the remainders of the Spanish cavalry contingent. As well as this the large Spanish army was unable to coordinate it all due to the restrictive nature of Blucher's command and control mechanics which meant that actually overwhelming the outnumbered French infantry was difficult.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Volley! 2016 at Farnborough - March

Today saw the Farnborough Wargames Society play host to a Blucher tournament Volley!, the follow up to November's tournament.

16 people attended plus the organizer, Lance, and I'm confident everyone had a great day out for which Lance should be congratulated!

The competition was 200 points, relatively small, so that 3 games could fit into one day of action.

I took photos of my own games as the French and also of other people's games and I hope you enjoy them!

Game 1 - Russ's Russians

I didn't get a lot of photos of this game, and even fewer came out decent but this battle saw my French defending against my opponents numerically superior army, 25 Russian units to 17 French.

In the centre of the field during the middle third of the match, French infantry and Russians stare each other down under the watchful eye of the French Dragoons.

Some plucky Russian Infantry had managed to get behind my lines, and onto the objective on the hill! Fortunately my infantry were able to return and oust them from this position.
This first game ended with 6 Russian units broken (break point 7) to 4 French (break point 5) in an extremely close and bloody encounter. Fortunately I was in possession of all 3 victory points and so scraped a close 16-14 victory.

Game 2 - Ray's British

My second game featured Ray who's British army afforded me the rare opportunity to outnumber my opponent, even if only by 1 unit. I was nominally the defender in this game but the game rapidly devolved into a desperate struggle over VPs in both deployment zones.

Early on in the game the British army is pushing hard on my refused right flank with 3 quarters of it's number. My I Corps is making it's slow march towards the British troops still defending their own VP whilst light cavalry from both sides prowl the centre looking to disrupt the enemy advance.

After a few cagey turns sizing each other up the British launch into a full assault on the French positions with reasonable success. In the middle by the ploughed field a fresh unit of British infantry is wiped out in a single combat by French Dragoons, a fantastic early result for my army. to the top of the picture my I Corps continues it's long march towards the British reserves.

A couple of turns from the end of the game the situation for the French in the bottom of the image is rapidly deteriorating, but they are still able to bloody the British noses. At the top of the image the fresh I Corps are starting to take the upper hand against the outnumbered British defenders.

The finished game. The French positions has completely collapsed  at the bottom, however the British have been smashed  just as hard around their own Victory Point. 
I entered the final turn of this game with 4 broken units to only 2 British however I was able to break 3; a heavily battered unit in the ploughed fields by Dragoons, a unit of infantry in the forest holding the British VP by French Line, and a Spanish Cavalry unit with accurate long range artillery fire, to ensure I won yet another nail-biting game 16-14.

Game 3 - Colin's Russians

In my final game of the tournament I came up against Colin's Russians, the winners of Volley! 2015. Once again I was able to secure the role as defender in the hopes of forcing Colin's larger army to come to me on my terms.

Early on in the game Colin's Cossaks signal their intent by looking to sweep by my right flank. The Hussars to the left of my line of cavalry were able to resist a charge from Colin's Cuirassiers, a great surprise but typical of my cavalry who had performed excellently all day.

The Infantry stare at each other in the centre of the field, Colin's artillery having good success targeting the elite units of the French army.

My cavalry continued their great success, Dragoons and Hussars combining to wipe out the Russian Cuirassiers on the right flank, whilst also charging and destroying a unit of Russian artillery. This forced the Russian infantry to hole up into squares and halt their advance.

My cavalry returned from their charge to take up position on the hill, not willing to stay too close to the Russian ranged fire or the still remaining fresh Cuirassiers in the centre. Colin's infantry in this time took the opportunity to advance against the French infantry.

I don't have any photos between the last one, and this final shot of the game. The Russian Cuirassiers and Cossacks had got together to smash my weakened cavalry on the right flank and the Russian Guards had smashed a hole in the French centre.
This game was far from decided when time was called at the end of the day, the situation on the right flank was becoming quite desperate for my cavalry who were being worn down by the quality of the Russian Cuirassiers and the numbers of the Cossacks. Despite this the Russian Guards had lost their impetus at this point and most of the Russian Infantry which remained in the centre were Militia and regulars with strengths of 2 and 3 ready to be broken by my fresh I Corps entering the fray from the left.
As it was we finished the game with 2 units broken apiece and a score of 15-15, a very close fought game!

Other Games
During the day both myself and Lance were able to take some photos of games other than my own which were in play so I will upload those as well and hopefully labeled correctly;

Round 1
Austrian v French

British v French

French v Russian

French v Prussian

Russian v French

Russian v Ottoman
Round 2

Prussian v French

Russian v French

Round 3
British v Ottoman

French v Austrian

French v British

French v Russian

Prussian v French

With that we reach the end of the images taken during the day from me. My French managed a respectable mid table position with a respectable brace of close fought really fun games. I'd really like to thank Lance for organizing the event, and my opponents who made all three of the games both very interesting and a load of fun to play.