Friday, 7 August 2015

The big meeting engagement - part 2

This post is an AAR of the meeting engagement scenario featuring the whole of my SYW Russian and Prussian collection. Both forces are arriving piecemeal, marching to the sound of the guns.

At the end of the second night much of the forces have arrived. Each side only has another dozen units to arrive. The action has been sporadic, flaring up in different parts of the field before dying down again.

 Most of the action during the evening's play took place around the village on the Russian left. Much of the effort has been concentrated here, and more troops are still arriving into the 'cauldron'.
In the centre, after the action around the mill was resolved - the speculative Prussian attack was repulsed - the action has been confined to long range artillery fire.
Somehow, the Prussian cuirassier were held at the stream by some very feisty cossacks - they persistently beat D10 and D12 rolls with their D4s, even succeeding in forcing the Garde du Corps from the field - losing heart the Prussians withdrew. 

Having done so, Russian infantry advanced unopposed. The Cossacks,just in shot on the distant right, have pinned the Prussian cuirassier in position - avery morale victory to the Russians.
 As the evening came to a close, the Russian cavalry, that had been somewhat pinned to the hill on which they had initially deployed, were forced to advance by the entry of the Observation Corps. 

Will they charge the Prussian heavy gun line?
 The OC have arrived just in time. The Russians are running out of infantry on their left.
 The action around the left most village has denuded both forces. The Russians have held, but are now outnumbered 2:1 here.
They have taken plenty of Prussians with them, including IR 15 the Garde. 

Both units of newly painted Garde have been routed in their first action without making any significant impact: isn't that always the way of new war game troops!
In the centre, the Prussians have plenty of infantry. They have not pressed their numerical advantage on the lightly held Russian centre. Perhaps it was the mere presence of the Russian cavalry.

The Russians and Prussians still have two more commands to arrive.

More action  next week.

Thursday, 30 July 2015

When I've got a couple of beauties, I get 'em out for the lads

With the Prussian and Russian SYW armies now finished, the temptation to fight at least one battle with everything is too tempting to pass up. However, there is a slight problem. My table is quite a big one - it is six feet wide and almost fifteen feet long  - but the troops, if lined up in a contiguous line, would be sixty six feet long. The battle would be 'wall to wall' in two lines on each side of the table. Therefore to make the battle more interesting I decided to make it a meeting engagement with troops arriving gradually.

The game would start with an advance guards, of about twenty units each, deploying up to 24" onto the table. Further troops would be introduced in commands at predetermined (by the players) points during the battle. Given the vagaries of the Piquet system, a simple additional random element, and the chance to change the points of entry as the game progressed, a game with some space to operate and which threw up tactical choices and problems might be achieved.

Last night we started to play the game. It is a big game for two players and myself (umpire and dog's body) to do, but the game progressed reasonably quickly. This short pictorial report shows how the game has progressed so far. At the end of turn three, the Prussians had deployed about two thirds of their total available force, the Russians slightly less and the battle had really just started. I think this game will be fought out over the next two to three weeks. It was a very simple scenario to set up, and being very short of time at present, this is a very good thing. The game will now truck along without a further draw on my time beyond 'gaming nights'.


Predeployment. The Russians have four commands as a van and the Prussians have three. One of the Russian commands is solely of fairly useless Cossacks.
Towards the end of the first night the Prussian van and Russian van are contesting the mill.

The Prussians have secured this flank by refusing their infantry line. Their cuirassier are about to arrive.
Russian Cossacks try to oppose reserve Prussian heavy cavalry at a stream. Defending the bank, they do reasonably well.

Russian infantry reserves move up to the top of the large hill on the Russian right whilst their mounted comrades buy them time. 
In the centre both sides have not committed.
As can be seen from this shot, space to manoeuvre is still very much available, as Prussian cavalry manoeuvres to the flank.
Action at the stream. White pompoms (much more serviceable than cotton wool) are for 'having fired' markers. You can get these from craft hobby shops - no more pulling shed whisps of cotton wool off of figures and bases for me.
Russian grenadiers gallantly defend the mill after throwing an unfortunate unit of jaeger from it.
Russians defend a village. In the distance, Prussian cavalry move to envelop them.
A close up shot of reserve Prussian infantry advancing in the centre. This is a typical command. The Prussians have eight commands, The Russians have nine.











The following tables give the OOB of each army. Shaded commands are the vanguard. Note that the Russian units are named by the first three letters of their name (e.g. in command A the infantry unit Apc is the Apcheronski Regt. Prussian units are named by unit number. 

The table edge was divided into seven two foot sectors.

RUSSIAN FORCES: C-in-C:
Command A:
Arrival point:
Infantry
Bel, Apc, St.P,
GR 1, 2
Artillery
Field guns x 1

Command B:
Arrival point:
Infantry
Ria, Kex, Smo, Azo,
GR 3
Artillery
Field guns x 1

Command C:
Arrival point:
Infantry
Nev, Sch, Nov, 2Mos, Nar
GR 4
Artillery
Heavy guns x 1

Command D:
Arrival point:
Infantry
Ros, Kie, But
CG x 3
Artillery
Field Guns x 1

Command E:
Arrival point:
Infantry (OC)
1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th
OCG x1
Artillery
Secret Howitzers x 2

Command F:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
CR Nov, Kie
HR Gro, Ven, Ser
HGR Stp
Artillery
None

Command G:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
Cossacks x 5
Artillery
None

Command H:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
CR 3rd, Pri
HGR Nar
DR Niz
Artillery
None

Command I:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
HR Hor (x 2)
DR Tob
Cossacks x 3
Artillery



PRUSSIAN FORCES: C-in-C:
Command A:
Arrival point:
Infantry
IR 25, 29, 14, 4
StG VI
Jaeger
Artillery
Field guns x 1

Command B:
Arrival point:
Infantry
IR 34, 24, 31,
CG 8/46
Gar 3
Artillery
Field guns x 1

Command C:
Arrival point:
Infantry
IR 1, 2, 5
IR (fus) 37, 46, 49
Artillery
Heavy field guns x 1

Command D:
Arrival point:
Infantry
IR 10, 19, 23
IR (fus) 40
CG 9/10
IR (guard) 15
Artillery
Heavy field guns x 2

Command E:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
HR 7 x 2
DR 1, 5, 11
Artillery
None

Command F:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
CR 1, 10
DR 8, 6 (x 2)
Artillery
Horse artillery x 1

Command G:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
HR 2 (x 2), 5 (x 2)
Artillery
None

Command H:
Arrival point:
Cavalry
CR 2, 8, 5, 7, 11
CR 13 (guard)
Artillery
None

Commands must enter within 12” of the specified numbered mark on table edge.
Commands may enter in any order.
Commands arrive on ‘arrival cards’. When the card is turned 1D3 is rolled. On a result of 1, no command arrives; on a result of 2, one command arrives; on a result of 3, two commands arrive.
Commands may enter on a frontage of two units in line or four units in column of route.
On a major morale card uncommitted commands may adjust entry point by plus or minus one.



Thursday, 23 July 2015

Prussian army finished - Roll Call!

One of the first figures I painted - Frederick. I painted him over 15 years ago.

I have three armies for the Seven Years War: Russian, Prussian and Austrian. I painted the base of each army around 15 years ago. Each was between twenty five and twenty eight units strong. A couple of years ago I decided to roughly double the number of units and increase infantry strengths from 16 man units to 24 man units. I finished the Russians some time ago and since then progress has seemed slow. Last month I decided to stop painting Austrians for a while (I still have 18 units in the lead pile to do) and paint up the last few six Prussian units. 

The Prussian Army - 50 units.
Today I based the last of them. The Prussian army is finished. Time for roll call.

12 guns and 47 crew

5 24 man units of combined grenadiers - they are, front to back CG 29/31, CG 9/10, CG G6/G8, CG 8/46, and Standing Grenadier IV.

4 units of Musketeers. Front to back they are: IR 24, IR 34, IR 1, IR 5.

4 units of Musketeers. Front to back they are: IR 29, IR 10, IR 4, IR 23.

4 units of Musketeers. Front to back they are: IR 19, IR 2, IR 14, IR 25.

4 units of Fusiliers. Front to back they are: IR 46, IR 49, IR 37, IR 40. (IR 46 is only 23 figures strong).

IR 15 The Guard, an 8 figure strong unit of Jaeger, a unit of Garrison 3 and a clutch of 12 command figures.

Six units of Hussars. Front to back they are: Two units of HR 2, two units of HR 7 and two units of HR 5. Three of these units are only 7 figures strong.

Six units of Dragoons. Front to back they are: Two units of DR 6 and one unit each of DR 5, DR 1, DR 8, DR 11.

Four units of Cuirassier. Front to back they are: CR 8, CR 7, CR 11, CR 10

Four units of Cuirassier. Front to back they are: CR 13, CR 5, CR 2, CR 1

So there they all are. The smallest of the three armies, it comprises 776 figures. Job done!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

I love pilgrims, but I couldn't eat a whole one.

NOTE: THIS POST IS WIP. 
This post is part scenario and part after action report. As the game starts with very little on the table the photos only show the game thus far. More to follow.

Tonight's game, at Graham H.'s request, is going to be a Crusade game using Ager Sanguinis 2. First I though about doing a straight up, line them up,  battle. Then, having a good memory of a recent scenario set by Charles Grant, I decided to do a 'wagon train' game.

This scenario is fairly simple. It is set in the First Crusade period. The Crusaders are travelling across Anatolia (Turkey) to reach the Holy Land. In their way are the Seljuks who see the Crusaders as a welcome source of slaves and concubines - Jihad, at this point, not having been thought of.

Anatolia is country of rolling arid hills, low mountains and wide vales, some of which are heavily wooded. In many respects it is the ideal terrain for setting a war game. After looking through a few images of the region, I settled on this type of terrain (but with slightly lower hills) to set the encounter: this is ambush territory.


The Scenario:
In the usual fashion for wagon train games I decided to set the game so that it will run lengthways up the table rather than across it. I decided to deploy the wagon train as part of the initial set up, and I decided, just add a little spice, to have the train in two distinct parts, one part well ahead of the other. 

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."

  • ......and it came to pass that in their rivalry Charlie le Chaplain sought to outdo the Abbot de Costello and pressed his following to be first into paradise.
The basics of the scenario are simple. The Crusader player must exit the far end of the table with as many civilians as possible. The Seljuks must prevent as many of the Crusaders exiting as possible.


This shot shows the initial set up and the deployment of the Christian civilians. Rocky hills (type II terrain and cover) surround the Crusader's route. A fast flowing stream (type II) crosses the route. Several woods (type II and cover to foot but not passable to cavalry) are marked by conifers; other trees are scenic only. The village, like so many in Anatolia at this time, is a ruin (type II and cover).

The Crusader deployment area has been delineated with Autumn leafed trees. 

You can probably just make out the Seljuk arrival point makers (small circular discs at the edge of the table); they mark the mid point of 36" wide deployment zones. Their are four zones that run along the right hand side of the table (as you look at it) and two that run along the bottom (just out of shot) of the table - the latter in the path of the Crusader advance.
The Crusader Forces:

The Abbot of Costello and his dishevelled band.

Abbot de Costello: (D8)

2 Pilgrim units (unshielded civilian fanatics, peasant weapons): D6 D6
1 Pilgrim unit (shielded civilian fanatics, mixed bow and spear): D6 D6


Charlie le Chaplain offers prayer as his followers move briskly past.
Charlie le Chaplain: (D10)
2 Pilgrim units (unshielded civilian fanatics, peasant weapons): D6 D6
1 Pilgrim unit (shielded civilian fanatics, mixed bow and spear): D6 D6


The Crusader player has three further commands he can freely deploy within the bounds of the Crusader deployment area (see notes on first pic).

Gerard de Pardieu: (D10)
1 Knight unit (heavy, shielded, couched lance armed elite fanatics): D12+1 D10
1 Seargeant unit (heavy, shielded, mixed crossbow and spear armed mercenaries): D8 D8
1 Seargeant unit (medium, shielded, mixed ordinary bow and spear armed stubborn mercenaries): D8 D8

Matta de Harri: (D10)
1 Knight unit (heavy, shielded, couched lance armed elite fanatics): D12+1 D10
1 Seargeant unit (heavy, shielded, mixed crossbow and spear armed stubborn mercenaries): D8 D8
1 Seargeant unit (medium, shielded, mixed ordinary bow and spear armed stubborn mercenaries): D8 D8

Lyintwous the Byzantine: (D12)
2 Mercenary horse archer units (medium, shielded, bow and javelin armed mercenaries). D8 D8.
Peter decided to depoly with his teeth clearly showing up front. I, as umpire, took control of Lyintwous and his Byzantines. When I deployed behind him he wasn't at all sure about me - which between Crusaders and Greeks is just as it should be. I think the name helped in this:  'lie-in-to-us' isn't too much of a concealed threat, but mistrust should, where appropriate be well stoked.

Crusader Victory Conditions:

To win the game the Crusaders must get at least half of their civilian units off the end of the table and have at least half of their martial starting force (not including expendable Byzantines) intact. Retreat is not an option. 

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."
  • All, without fear, went forth to seek His Domain. Yet the knights, knowing of the trials that would yet come, looked to preserve their strength even in the face of this enemy.
The Seljuk Forces:
Mudderfakir's troops (under Graham H.) were the first to arrive. They arrived at point 6; the end of the table; a blocking force.
The Crusaders were quick off the blocks and managed to get over the river and form a bridgehead before the Seljuks could react. The Christians were getting the cards and turns, repetitively ending on doubles, were not helping anyone.
Atabeg Mudderfakir (D12)
1 unit of Ghulam cavalry (medium, shielded, lance and bow armed elite professionals): D12 D8
1 unit of Seljuk horse archers (shielded, bow and javelin armed elite tribal cavalry) D10 D6
2 unit of Turcoman horse archers (bow and javelin armed tribal cavalry) D8 D6

Formalinonas Prince of Rum (D10)
1 unit of Ghulam cavalry (medium, shielded, lance and bow armed elite professionals): D12 D8
1 unit of Seljuk horse archers (shielded, bow and javelin armed elite tribal cavalry) D10 D6
2 unit of Turcoman horse archers (bow and javelin armed tribal cavalry) D8 D6



The last mounted commands are deployed. Graham forewent the deployment of his foot troops on two occasions. He regretted it. Because the foremost Crusaders advanced quickly and he was unable to occupy the wood opposite the village. His options limited, they appeared much further back - they are just in shot and about to pounce on the Abbot of Costello.

The Crusaders rear is well and truly exposed. Fearing 'the red hot poker' they start to form something approaching a defensive circle. Oh look, the Byzantines (centre) look like they are being helpful.

Diswaydatway of Tutherway (D10)
1 unit of Seljuk horse archers (shielded, bow and javelin armed elite tribal cavalry) D10 D6
3 unit of Turcoman horse archers (bow and javelin armed tribal cavalry) D8 D6

Itchi the old Ghulam (D12)
2 units of armed soldiers (shielded, heavy blade armed tribal infantry) D8 D6.

I have decided that the Seljuks of this area, being largely tribal, don't have a centralised command structure.The battle plan will be decided by a factionalised council of war. The Seljuk player will have to decide his deployment areas with an element of randomness.

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."

  • Knowing of the Crusader's arrival in their country Mudderfakir convened a council of war. At the council a dispute arose over how the Seljuks should dispose their forces.........

To simulate the random effect of this council, two edges of the Seljuk side of the table have been divided into three foot arrival point sections numbered, in this case, 1 - 6. At the start of the game, the Seljuk player draws a playing card (numbered 1-6) from a deck. One mounted command must be ordered to arrive here at the behest of the council. The Seljuk player may decide which sections his other two mounted commands will arrive in, but each must arrive in a different sector - one may join the sector of the 'council's choice'. All commands arrive separately regardless of entry point on Stratagem 4 cards (two in deck), one at a time.

As well as the mounted commands, the Seljuk player has a band of foot warriors raised and trained by the local 'head man'. An ex-professional soldier, he is called Itchi for reasons best left unspecified. This force may be secretly deployed in any wood or village unexplored by the enemy. Its location need not be specified until it is activated on the Stratagem 1 card.

Seljuk Victory Conditions:

To win the Seljuks must 'destroy' at least two thirds of the civilian units and have at least a third of their own starting force intact.

According to "The Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit."

  • The Atabeg Mudderfakir, though fearful of undermining his own power by a defeat, sought to curry favour with the Sultan by sending the Christians to him in chains...........
The end of the Crusader column is being enveloped. The Abbot has indeed been tardy - though rolling three ones for movement hasn't helped.
When Itchi's troops charge out from the wood onto the hapless pilgrims all looks lost. In the nick of time the Byzantines charge to the rescue. Some of the pilgrims are running, but now so are their assailants. 
Next week we will fight this confused battle to a conclusion.