Thursday, April 26, 2012

Napoleonic Reinforcements

I did not get to the SESWC this week and I am away on holiday next week to the south of France so no new games to report for 2 weeks.  As I said before I have 3 main projects at the moment - continuing to add units to my AWI collection, building up my Russian and French forces for the 200th Anniversary of the battle of Borodino in 2012 and also a long term project for a Prussian Army to help out in the 1813-14 anniversaries.

Firstly here are some new staff for my French army. The figures are by Perry - set FN14 Generals of Division - Jerome, Quiot and Marcognet - each with a figure from set FN55 Mounted and Dismounted staff officers. They were painted by the great team at Reinforcements by Post in Bangladesh.

Prince Jerome Bonaparte - trying to find his command

Quiot of 1st Corps in 1815

Marcognet of 1st Corps in 1815
Here are some recent additions to the longer term Prussian  project.  I have added units of East Prussian and Silesian line infantry and East Prussian Landwehr. I bought the figures from South Africa on ebay. I have added some Games Workshop wash to their flesh, matt varnished them and rebased them to match my other units. The flags are from Warflags - which I think is a great free site.  The MDF bases are from Warbases and the Silflor tufts were supplied by Mutineer Miniatures. Here are 3 photos.

East Prussian Line
Silesian Line

East Prussian Landwehr with distinctive red Eagle flag

I have a large game planned for 12 May after my return.. All I know at the moment is that it will be 28mm Napoleonic. The details I will work out on my holiday.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

WWII - Two Soviet Disasters - 20mm and 28mm

The last two weeks games that I played at the SESWC have both been World War II actions - the first in 20mm and the second in 28mm - both proved complete disasters for the Red Army.

Panzer IVs move forward on German right flank
Last weeks game RapidFire 20mm was based on the Mokre 1944 scenario from the excellent WWII site by Bob Mackenzie.

I adapted the scenario for the forces that myself, Colin Jack and Bart Zynda could provide.  Colin and Ian who was visiting for the first time commanded the German attackers - the appropriately named Kampfgruppe Collin and Bart commanded the Soviet forces.  I umpired.

Early and rare Soviet success as a Panther explodes
The scenario is set during the German counterattacks on the Sandomierz bridgehead over the Vistula with a battle group of 16th Panzer division attacking the lead  elements of the 6th Soviet  Tank Corps whose reserves steadily reinforce the front line.

Bart had a tank Brigade and its tank riders on the table at the start and was quickly reinforced by a rifle battalion and another tank brigade.  Bart deployed his initial forces on his right flank.  Colin split his attacking forces with the Panzer IVs and Panzer grenadiers on his right wing and the Panthers supported by a King Tiger and Stug III on the left.

Panzer IVs lead advance past Mokre....
Barts armour was deployed so it could not carry out opportunity fire but in his first turn his IS2 knocked out a Panther and that caused the rest of Panther company to retire of the field.   Ian brought on the King tiger and it started to engage the Soviet armour.   On their right the Germans advanced quickly and occupied the village of Mokre and got to the edge of the table stopping any Soviet reinforcements arriving on that flank.  Bart reinforced by his second tank brigade decided to launch his armour in an attack on his right.  Unfortunately he had forgotten that the Panthers would return and they and the KingTiger supported by long range fire from the Panzer IVs annihilated the Soviet armour. 
When we ended the game none of the Soviet tanks were operational and they had only knocked out the initial Panther and a Sd251 75mm support vehicle.

End game - a mass of destroyed and damaged armour....
The Luftwaffe was strangely active - their BF109 effectively strafing the Soviet infantry and driving of the late arriving Yak-9.

BF109 flys over mounting Soviet disaster
You will find more photos and descriptions of this action on my flickr site at

This weeks game was a 28mm Winter War scenario that Colin devised using the Triumph and Tragedy Rules.

Soviet troops parade before action - Za Stalina!!!
Colin and I commanded a Soviet force advancing over windswept snowy terrain towards the distant Finnish village of Talvisota.  We had the more numerous troops - 6 large units of Red army Infantry supported by a BT7 tank.  Sadly I had to dice for the quality of the troops and 5 of Soviet units were raw!  The Finns had one less unit and all their units were smaller.   Importantly they were far higher quality than the Soviets, they had 2 MGs and they were hidden in the trees in the flanks or in the village.

Urrah Tovarischii - the advance begins.....
The Soviet infantry made  2 advance moves and then came bogged down in a firefight with the ambushing Finns.  The raw infantry were repeatedly pinned by MG fire and steadily  broken apart.  The raw BT7 heroically tried to save the day but ended as a bullet riddled wreck, 2 crew eliminated, motor hit, track damaged, turret jammed, main gun knocked out.  The last lucky crewman surrendered.  With all 4 raw units fleeing the field the day was certainly the Finns.  Once again MGs and superior troops showed their superiority over masses of raw conscripts.

Finns observe the dark Soviet masses....
Bart has written up both of these games on his English/Polish language blog

Friday, April 13, 2012


I arranged a Black Powder game at Hugh Wilsons for the Easter break for our old friend Scott Duncan who was due to visit us from London - in the end Scott could not get away from his job so myself, Hugh Wilson and Dave Paterson played the game.
The game was based on the Battle of  Petersburg Virginia on 25 April 1781 with the orders of battle adjusted to fit with the troops that I have available.

The game was a further use of the amended turn sequence which has been proposed in the “& Blenheim” rule modifications by Ian Hopping available on the Yahoo BP Forum.  All the photos of the game are on my flickr site at.

View from behind Petersburg - militia massed on the turnpike
Some History
The Battle of Petersburg was a battle of the American Revolutionary War that took place on 25th April 1781 in Virginia.  A Patriot force of 1200 men led by General Von Steuben made a stand against a raiding force of approx 2,300 under General Philips which was moving thru Virginia pillaging and plundering.

The outnumbered Patriots fought a successful delaying action for 3 hours before withdrawing thru  Petersburg and using Pocahontas Bridge to cross the Appamattox River.  The British Loyalist Brigade was commanded by Benedict Arnold.

The Setup
The game was fought down a 10ft by 5ft table. We used the standard movement and ranges given in the rules.  The 24 figure units were classed as standard units and the 10 to 16 figure units as small units.

I made all the British commanders 8s for this game whilst on the Patriot side Von Steuben was an 8 and his Brigadiers were 7s.
The British regulars had the usual Special rules from the Freeman’s Farm scenario ie Crack, Steady and First Fire, the small units of Highlanders were rated Grenadiers and so had higher HtoH dice and stamina, and the Virginia State troops and the Loyalists were vanilla units but with First Fire and the militia were Unreliable and had only 5 HtoH dice and a morale save of 5+.

Hugh Wilson commanded the Patriot Army and Dave Paterson the British Army whilst I umpired.

British line forms - loyalists on left highlanders and Hessians on the right
Player OB and Breifing

Major General Philips
You have been ordered by General Clinton to take an independent command and to raid into Virginia to destroy  and seize any military supplies and stores of tobacco.  This action will also disrupt the LOC to the rebel army in North Carolina. You arrived by sea 2 days ago and have begun your march towards Richmond.  Your scouts report that the rebels are preparing a stand east of the small town of Petersburg.

Brigade of Col Simcoe
71st Highland          16 figures
42nd Highland         16 figures
Jaeger detachment   12 figures
Artillery                   Gun & crew

Brigade of  Lt Col Dundas
4th Line                  24 figures
5th Line                  24 figures

Brigade of BG Arnold
Loyal NY Regt       16 figures
Loyal Phil Regt       16 figures
Queens Rangers     10 figures
Artillery                  Gun & crew

Riflemen open the action - main body behind - in distance mil sk move up to cover the far right flank
 Major General Von Steuben
You are in command of the Patriot forces in Virginia.  Two days ago you received word that a British force had landed from New York.  The are on a raid to burn and pillage thru Virginia and are now approaching Petersburg with it’s important tobacco warehouses moving on Richmond.  You have mobilised the state troops and these and a county militia are the forces available.  You have put your command into a defensive posture and sent a courier to other counties requesting support.

Patriot OB
Virginia State brigade   MG Muhlenburg
1st Regt                   24 figures
2nd Regt                  24 figures
3rd Regt                  24 figures
Rifle detachment      12 figures
Artillery                   Lt Gun & crew

Petersburg County brigade BG Goode
Militia battalion        24 figures
Militia battalion        24 figures
Sk detachment        10 figures
Artillery                   Lt Gun & crew

How the game played
The Patriot army deployed with the Virginia State Brigade in a defensive position  defending the line of Poors Creek and the Militia brigade held back in reserve in Petersburg.  The British initially had 2 Brigades on table - Arnold deployed on the left of the turnpike and Simcoe marching on the road.  Dave quickly moved Simcoe to the right of the road to investigate a farm and deploy forward with Simcoe.  The Patriots deployed the militia from Petersburg as a 2nd line but sent their skirmishers and light gun forward to reinforce the main line.

The action opened with the riflemen on the Patriot left engaging in a duel the  Hessian Jaegers.   On the British side Dave decided to act first with his Loyalist troops on the left by crossing the creek and attacking farm no 2 held by a unit of state troops supported by a light gun.  The Loyalists screened by the Queens Rangers crossed the Creek and for a time were held up by the Patriot fire but eventually after the Rangers flanked and broke the patriot light gun with their fire the 2 formed units charged the Patriots holding the farm fence line.  The Patriots broke one of the units in the first round and the melee continued.

State troops hold Loyalists whilst Regulars move up in support
On the British left the Highlanders failing to find anyone at farm no 1 simply set it alight and then crossed the creek to engage the state troops holding the flanking wood.  Luckily for them it proved to be the property of a staunch patriot.  Patriot fire broke the Jaegers who fled the field.

Regulars march past unconcerned as Highlanders burn farm number one...

Eventually the 3rd British Brigade arrived and rushed up the turnpike but the 4th of Foot in the van was stopped on the bridge over the creek by repeated disordering hits.  Accordingly the 5th foot deployed to the left to support the Loyalists.

The state troops at farm no 2 eventually also beat back the remaining loyalist unit who retired back over the Creek.  These heroes of the revolution were then charged by the British regulars of the 5th Foot who won the first round of combat so forcing the fence line and in the next round they broke the exhausted state troops who fled to Petersburg.

Climax of battle for Farm No 2 as the 5th push across the fence line - hurrah!
On the Patriot left the Highlanders supported by the RA broke the flanking Lt gun and Patriot riflemen and drove of the militia skirmishers leaving the State troops holding the wood unsupported so that they were driven from the wood and then broken by massed fire.

This was the last action of the game as night fell - it was turn 12.  The British had not got near to Petersburg in the day but for the loss of 2 units they had broken 5 Patriot units out of 9 and burnt a farm so I declared the game a British tactical victory.  We did not have a single command blunder in the game.  I am thinking of using this game as a starting point of a mini campaign of linked games using some of the ideas in the LAOK Jacobite 45 Rising campaign.

Dave  Cooper of VolleyfFireWargames suggested the scenario to me and I adapted some rules on Pillaging and Burning farms that Dave had been given.  This is my BP version of them.
To determine loyalty of the owner of a farm or building....A BDE, DIV or Army  leader must be within 6” of the home. Then pass a Command Check (knock on the door) If the Command  Check is passed roll a dice. Odd Rebel or Even Loyalist…if rebel they can they try to pillage and burn!   Only one loyalty test can ever be undertaken for each property
If the Command  Check is failed they can try to pillage and burn then roll to test loyalty! If they burn a loyalist farm...OOps sorry about that you unfortunate colonial!  VP points go to Rebels!
To burn a farmhouse or field a Command Stand (Flag or leader of skirmish) must be next to the target and pass a Command roll to set fire.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

28mm SYW - Playtest of Maurice Lite

This weeks game at the SESWC was again something new for us. A 28mm Seven Years war game using the Maurice Lite rules by Sam Mustapha. Angus Konstam had returned from Orkney via Minneapolis and we decided to give the rules a test outing.  We threw together a simple scenario with Angus French force of 2 infantry brigades each of 4 battalions, a cavalry brigade of 2 Hussar regiments and 2 guns attacking my Hessian force of 2 brigades totalling 7 infantry battalions, a British Light Dragoon regiment and 2 guns.

My artillery open fire on the Hussars

I advanced my Right wing infantry brigade of 4 battalions whilst my weaker Brigade of 3 battalions on the left wing supported my battery of 2 guns. Angus advanced all of his force but his guns never got into action being screened by his advancing infantry.
On the French right the French Hussars advanced on my weaker Brigade but they were bombarded by my artillery. Eventually they got into a position were both regiments charged 2 of my battalions. The cavalry won both actions but not enough to break the infantry and had to fall back. My infantry then volleyed them causing more disruptions and Angus at his next turn withdrew them to safety out of my musket range.

Hussars recklessly charge home - they won but not enought....

On my right Angus infantry came into action against my stronger brigade and a long musketry duel developed. The highlight was when I played an Event card forcing Angus Irish Wild Geese battalion who were getting the worse of the fire fight to charge one of my battalions. Once again the attacker won but not enough to break my battalion and they withdrew with 4 disruptions. My next volley took them over their disruption level of 4 and the Irish broke. The fire fight continued and at the end of the game we had both lost 2 battalions.

The ongoing infantry battle - we both lost 2 units...

The rules worked but Angus and I both have severe doubts about the command mechanism.

Like Lasalle the game mechanisms are relatively simple and very well explained in even the free LITE version of the rules - available at
Add link here

Firing is very similar to Lasalle. The basic close combat system is simpler than even Lasalle. One notable feature of the game was that every attacker won their close combats but by never enough to break their opponent. If they had won decisively they would have automatically broken their opponent. A simple win inflicts 2 disruptions on the loser - this if it takes them over their disruption level it will break them. The winner suffers 1 disruption and if their opponent has not broken must withdraw. The hand to hand factors in Lasalle worked by adding/subtracting dice from each side - so troops with an advantage rolled more dice than their opponents. The difference in the number of hits from the dice determined victory and its level. In Maurice only a single dice is thrown and this adjusts a numeric combat value with modifiers the total of which is compared for the 2 sides to determine victory and its level. I must admit I prefer the multiple dice system to a system reliant on a single dice roll.

My main reservation is about the command mechanism - the key to this game and what makes it different - which in a player turn limits a player to doing 1 basic action with one force. A force in Maurice is a contiguous group of similar units in the same formation. A force is not a fixed brigade. These actions are march, bombard, charge, rally, pass or play an event card plus you can always volley fire. The problem with this system is that you can be left with part of your army not in action or unable to move/charge for long periods due to the priority you as the commander have to give to another part of the action.

The card deck you hold and can play allows you to improve your options or impact your opponent - e.g. +1 to every rally attempt, +2 to every unit in a force defending. There are good ideas in the card deck that I would use for special events with any set of rules.