In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

In which I blog about my miniature wargaming and whatever else takes my interest!

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Bavarians With a Tenuous Family Connection

The first step towards completing Phase 1 of my Master Plan is this battalion of Perry metal Bavarians.

To complete my brigades I need two battalions of fusiliers. I would have preferred marching poses, but that would require 4 figures per base to look right, and that would have resulted in left over figures, which I can't stand.

Whereas a firing line can look, at least in my opinion, a little more dynamic (read chaotic). To this end I got a selection of line and flank companies in firing line with the 1812 standing command. 5 boxes, 30 figures, no left overs. Yes, I could have used up left over marching figures in vignettes around wagons or something, I suppose, but I didn't think of that. Sue me.


Maybe when I recruit the 3rd Brigade.

Since these figures won't be used for Sharp Practice, I could use different facing colours. The yellow facing with red piping for IR 4 and 8 is quite striking, and my confidence with painting piping has improved dramatically since working on Russian artillery last summer. The fact that all the belting rather obscures the facings is unfortunate and made them a challenge to paint. It's nice that these figures are properly geared up with haversacks and canteens etc, but that also increases the challenge. We spend so much time worrying about getting the coat colour right, but the average Napoleonic infantryman has so much junk hanging off him we can only see his sleeves really.


I used some 45mm x 40mm plastic bases that came with a box of Perry Prussians, so that the more dynamic poses could be spread out a bit.

Another nifty thing, this unit being IR 4 Sachsen-Hildburghausen, is that before the reforms of 1799, when the Bavarian army abandoned the hideous Rumford uniform, this regiment was Fusilier Regiment No. 5 von Wahl. Wahl being the surname I was born with, and my ancestors emigrated from Bavaria around the time of the American Civil War. I like to imagine a distant ancestral connection.




Tuesday, January 11, 2022

First Figures of 2022!

I actually had these started around Christmas time, but I set them aside to do less detail demanding tasks.

Each sprue of Perry plastic Prussian musketeers has a Volunteer Jaeger running at the trail. As I assembled the three 16 figure battalions from the one box, I also assembled a 6 figure group of rifle armed skirmishers.



Volunteer Jaeger companies were attached to each Musketeer battalion. Coupled with the Fusilier battalion in each regiment of line infantry, and a Prussian brigade could put out quite a strong skirmish line. I'm sure the Prussians could have benefitted from a skirmish screen in their first game.


With only heads to choose from and varying the position of the right arm, there's only so much variation you can get without radical surgery.


So I guess this a check mark on Phase 4?

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Phase 2 Completed, on to Phase 1!

Wait, what?

I guess I should have laid out my phaselines in a different order, but I do prefer to execute operations on a multi-pronged, broad front approach. While waiting for glue to set, or paint to dry, I will bash on with the next thing to get it ready. 

This past weekend being a snowy, hide inside with Covid symptoms, kind of weekend, I got a lot done. Cutting bases, soaking to remove old bases, gluing, painting and flocking are all kind of brainless, low skill, jobs. So perfect for when you aren't at your best. 

My 4 Bavarian and 2 Russian gun crews have all been rebased on 70 x 70 mm bases so that they match nicely with my 140mm long limbers. I did put one Bavarian artillery officer on a round base in case I need an artillery Big Man.

Front Rank artillery officer

Front Rank guns and crews


Perry guns and crews with Perry limber

Notice that the chap shoving the charge into the howitzer lines up better with the muzzle now.


Russian skirmishers rebased as well. Notice white floral theme for Bavarians and red for Russians.


Russian artillery looks better too. Lining up with the Perry limber team. 
 



I think this will reduce wear and tear on the figures, which I was worrying about on their single bases, and make them easier to store too. I have kept the guns loose so that they can be hooked up to limbers or abandoned.

I have also made a lot of progress on Phases 1 and 3 as well:

Bavarian fusiliers primed and base coated!

Bavarian limber and ammunition caisson assembled and primed. With the weather having gotten very bitter and blustery, spray priming is out of the question. I am now brushing on thinned down gesso to prime, which although time consuming, works really well.

Russian uhlans trotting towards priming!

While looking at the Old Geezer in the mirror, and wondering who he was, and how he had gotten into my house, I had a bit of insight.

I think the reason that the Napoleonic era has gotten it's hooks into me so well this past year is that 11 year old me, who was trying to do this with Airfix figures, enamel paints and limited funds, is whispering: "Yeah, this is so cool older me! This is exactly what we always wanted!"

Friday, January 7, 2022

New Plan!

Remember when this all started as a nice, little Sharp Practice project to burn off the lead pile? Yeah, me too. Good times.



You know the old saying; "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."

It seems to apply to my wargaming too. But still better to make a plan and change it as I go, then wander around with no plan at all.

The Big Box of Russians has been causing a lot of rethinking, and I've tried to come up with a plan to help keep me focused and on track. Sort of.


I have enough for a biggish game of Sharp Practice, so except for a bit of cavalry, everything will be done with General d'Armee and big battles in mind.

The plan will be executed in four phases:

Phase 1: finish the Bavarians I have on hand. 2x battalions of infantry needed to finish the brigades, an artillery limber, and an artillery caisson. These are being assembled and primed. already.

Phase 2: rebase Bavarian and Russian artillery and Russian skirmishers. I've decide that single base artillery crew and skirmishers aren't working for me. Bases are cut out. It's just glue and paint now.

Phase 3: start on Russian uhlans and hussars, skirmishing jaegers, and some guns.

Phase 4: alternate Prussian and Russian infantry units, and artillery, until I explode.

Future purchases will depend upon how I'm doing:

  • Prussians need fusiliers and some cavalry, but I'll wait for the Perry plastic sets. The dragoons will have heads to do both Prussians and Russians. Alan Perry also says the spare Prussian heads can be used to convert their upcoming Russian uhlan set into Prussian uhlans.
  • Russians need 2 or 3 more limbers, dragoons (again waiting on that Perry plastic set), and cuirassiers. At least a brigade of each.
  • Bavarians are pretty good really. Maybe a unit of dragoons for 1809 games, and maybe a 3rd brigade of infantry. But I have enough for a decent game as it is.
But some rough calculations indicate that I will be able to build for the Russians 3 more battalions of grenadiers and 9 more battalions of musketeers/jaegers, giving me a total of 6 grenadier battalions and 11 musketeer battalions.

Which should be more than enough to fill my table.

Monday, January 3, 2022

Serendipitous Russian Army

In the category of "I have awfully nice friends," a Russian army has just been gifted to me.

Honest, a book would have been enough, really

Scott stopped by today to give me a book that he had liked so much that he discovered he had already bought it. Cool, always wanted to read that one. Then he arrived with a moderately hefty box.

Ummmm... dude?

Oh my.

That's a lotta army, even for Russians

"Yeah, I decided that I have too many projects on the go already, so you can have these, so my French will have a big Russian army to fight."

Oh.... my.

Zoinks!

Russian High Command. Hussars. Uhlans (I've had a weakness for lancers since I was a lad). 6 (that's right SIX) guns; 3x 6 pounders, 2x 12 pounders and a 20 pound unicorn. Scott agrees that no Russian army is worth it if you don't have lots of artillery. Skirmishing Jaegers. 2x battalions of Pavlov grenadiers. 10x 16 figure battalions in plastic. Plus nice flags from GMB.

For the infantry I shan't bother with Big Men etc. for Sharp Practice. I'll do these all straight up for General d'Armee. I suppose I should look at my books for some proper orders of battle to get the proportion of grenadiers, musketeers and jaegers somewhat correct.

Well, I guess my 2022 painting has been decided now.

Next year is the 210th Anniversary of Leipzig. #Leipzig2023 anyone?

Saturday, January 1, 2022

The Convoy. First Game of 2022 (Picture Heavy!)

I decided to start the New Year off on a solid footing with pie for breakfast and then a game to get a bunch of my new stuff on the table. 

I opted for Sharp Practice with the Bavarians escorting their new supply wagons and being intercepted by the Prussians. 

Both forces came to 90 points.


Part of what I like about solo gaming is taking the time to set up a nice elaborate table. I set this up on the 30th, then sorted out the forces and played the first turn on the 31st.

Spot the Bad Squiddo bunny

The new cottages fit in with my old mill pretty well

Another bunny raids a garden

I also like setting up vignettes to give the table some life.
The Hausfrau asks the Tinker how much to get a pot fixed

A gentleman rides up to the inn asking for a room

Probably far too complex a table for big battle games unless you ignore most of the terrain as just being there for pretty

Bavarian convoy enters at bottom, must exit over the bridge

Peddler worries about wolves and bandits

Ducks


Bavarian column enters the table, getting three moves before the game starts.




Initial Force Morale. Bavarian 11 (blue), Prussian 9 (red)

Prussian force. 4x groups of musketeers, 4x groups of Landwehr 1x group of dragoons, 7x Big Men and 5 Command Cards

Prussians rolled a 5 and got to choose where to position their Deployment Point. I was thinking a quick thrust to cut the road and force the fight while the Bavarians were still debouching from the hills. Maybe I should have given them more room to maneuver.

Bavarian force. 1x group of Chevauxleger, 2x groups of schutzen, 2x groups of grenadiers, 2x groups of fusiliers, 7x Big Men


Franz trudged along, he smiled at a bird singing in the branches of a fir tree. "Hey Hans, how much longer you think? I'm hungry."

Hans sighed. "Weiss nicht. We stop when Der Scharf says 'halt'. Until then..." he gestured at the road before them and kept walking.

A green clad cavalryman galloped up to Hauptman Scharf, commanding the convoy escort. He saluted and pointed off to the left, where Franz couldn't see because of the rocky hills and pine trees. "Saupreißen!

"Scheisse!" hissed Hans as he unslung his rifle.

They watched as Scharf looked across the fields past the woods. He quickly started bellowing orders. "Vogel! Keep the road open. Wahl, bring your grenadiers up between the woods and that inn! Schutzen vor!" He pointed with his sword towards the woods on their left.

"Raus!" bellowed Feldwebel Harfner and the green coated schutzen filed off over the rocky hill and into the woods.


"Fire!" shouts Scharf and the first platoon of riflemen begin peppering the oncoming dark coated Prussian infantry.


The Prussian force erupts into view, flooding over the fields around the inn, trying to seize control of the crossroad and block their way.

End of Turn 1

End of Turn 1

Prussians explode onto the table in Turn 1



Lt. Vogel leads his cavalrymen ahead at the canter. A brown coated junker sits his horse in the middle of the road, stunned by the sudden flurry of violence erupting around him. "Mein Gott!" he swears and sidesteps into the courtyard.


With a shout and 4 Command Cards, a troop of blue coated Prussian dragoons rounds the corner of the inn and charges into the Bavarian cavalry. Steel crashes on steel, men shriek and horses scream as the battle rages in the lane beside the inn. The Prussians are bested, leaving half their number in the dust and recoil down the road.


End of Turn 2

"Keep firing, lads!" Scharf urges them on. Hans and Franz fire and reload as fast as they can. Thick clouds of powder smoke cling to the tree branches around them.

Harfner brings his platoon into line on their left and begins firing too, putting shock and wounds onto the right end of the Prussian formation as it's trying to form a solid line.

After getting his command untangled, Lt. Wahl brings his company of grenadiers up to plug the gap between the inn and the woods. "Present! FIRE!" he bellows and a well delivered volley slashes into the Prussian ranks. An already wounded sergeant is killed and a lieutenant is wounded.

Scharf uses a couple of instances of 4 command cards in Turns 2, 3 and 4 to get extra activations. With his 3 Command Initiatives and a bugler, he is able to really get the Bavarian force moving, bringing up the grenadiers faster and getting extra shooting from the schutzen. Shock is piling up on the Prussian line. One group of musketeers recoils, thus breaking the Prussian formation.

Lt. Vogel gets the initiative over the Prussians. "Vorwarts! Raus!" he bellows and points his saber at the Prussian officer. The melee swirls along the road and into the rye field. Vogel slashes the Prussian officer's sword arm. His troopers are dead around him and he gives his sword and parole to Vogel. The Prussian Force Morale tumbles to 3! (In hindsight the Prussian commander, breaking down the road into the Landwehr, carrying all that shock with him, might have been a bigger hit on the Prussian Force Morale and put some shock on the Landwehr too. Which might have helped Vogel in the next turn.)

End of Turn 3

The Prussian line halts and levels their muskets to give a ragged volley. Two schutzen drop clutching wounds.

"Halt!" Major Klink stops his Landwehr astride the road. Now he just needs a right face to form a solid line to block the Bavarian convoy.

"Achtung! Mein Herr!" a lieutenant shouts and Klink hears horses thundering down behind him. Vogel has seen his chance and spurs his troopers for one last effort!


The tired cavalrymen roll low, the Landwehr roll high. Many of Vogel's troopers are casualties, overwhelmed by superior numbers of Prussian bayonets. He takes one in his arm. The Landwehr are only defeated by one and recoil in disarray, but the depleted Bavarian troop is shocked and broken. They ride back to the Inn to dress their wounds, water the horses they have left, and drink some beer. Both sides take a hit to their Force Morale.

The Prussian musketeers give another sad, ragged volley. They have so much shock they lose 14 out of their 19 dice.
"Fire!" Lt. Wahl orders another volley which rips across the field. Three of the four Prussian groups break with double shock and flee off the table edge, ending the game.

And that was that. All very dramatic and demonstrating the importance of speed and concentration of effort. The few Random Events that occurred, were actually beneficial. The Landwehr got an extra move, helping them to get into position and the Schutzen got an extra firing activation and the grenadiers got an extra move too, which helped seal the Prussian's fate. The musketeers trying to advance into that maelstrom of musketry was just brutal. But I was trying to get them into a solid four group line to deliver a well ordered volley. But the Bavarian rifles just put too much shock onto them too quickly. In hindsight I should have backed off and put the musketeers into the inn, which would have effectively blocked the road.

*****************

Lt. Vogel was sitting on a barrel in the courtyard of the inn, his orderly bandaging both his and his prisoner's wounds. He poured the Prussian a glass of brandy and saluted him. "You fought well today."

"You bested us today, but your Emperor is kaput!"

Vogel smiled sadly. "Not my Emperor. Your health, mein herr."

A pair of green coated schutzen ambled into the courtyard, obviously sent to fill their comrades canteens at the water trough where Vogel's grey was busy drinking loudly. "Hey! Hans! Sausages!" One of them shouted excitedly. "Fraulein! How much for sausages? And cheese! Hans, have you got a spare pfenning?"