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Craonne- Refights Compared

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Positively my last post on Craonne, here is a map comparing the French front lines at 1100 (start), 1300, 1500 and 1700 (end) for each of the three refights.

Craonne - Three Refights.png

(open image in a new window to see detail)

Obviuously lessons were well learnt from refight to refight - principally making sure that both wings had a balanced all-arms fore, and that Ney paid less and less attention to Ailes and more to getting to the far side no matter what. Whilst that may fulfil the scenario objectives having Ney arrive in the midst of the main Allied move up to Laon may not have achieved all that Napoleon wanted, and may have lost him Ney's Corps. Even in the third refight where De Morvan got off too, and most of the French could have exited as darkness fell having the Allies wrapped up in Bovelle casualties had been high and the troops would have been little use for a battle next day.

Confederation of the Rhine 6mm/20mm

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Just to finish off this strand here are the 6mm and 20mm versions of the Confederation of the Rhine contingent lined up for review.


Battle of Craonne - 6mm

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The third of the Craonne refights was a solo game in 6mm. Learning from the previous two I transferred Roussel's 6th Heavy Cavalry Division from Grouchy in the centre to Ney on the right flank.

Rules were my own Steady Lads Steady (SLS) using a 100m hex grid and 20min turns.

Start time was 1100, with the French having already taken Hurtebise. Unless stated all flanks are with regards to the French, and South(S) = left flank and North (N) = right flank, and West (W) is the direction of the French advance. LC = left centre, RC = right centre.

To save on buiding terrain I used the arrowed hexes to show the main slopes, map style.

T1 (1100): Charpentier (L) and Rebeval (R) again press into the woods either side of the neck. The French and Russian guns duel on the neck with both sides infantry suffering.

T2: LC: Jaegers charge YG Voltigeurs but bounce. 2nd Jaeger regiment comes up but is charged and forced back by the YG. YG now in control of the wood.
C: One of Rebeval's battalions is routed by gunfire on the neck. Russians exchange damaged battalions with their 1st line reserves.
RC: Rebeval's skirmishers advance to contact in the wood.
R: Ney pushes on to Ailes, and the Cossacks descend off the plateau.

T3: LC: YG pushes up to the edge of the wood
C: Two more French battalions routed by the gun fire. Russians also suffering.
RC: Two of Rebeval's battalion charge in against the Jaegers, one bounces, the other goes into melee.
R: Ney's Dragoons push forward to meet the Cossacks.

T4 (1200): L: Nansouty arrives on the board, threatening the Russian R flank.
C: Christiani's Middle Guard begins to fill in the gaps on the neck caused by the decimation of Rebeval's battalions.
R: Cossacks charge Ney's Young Guard, who form square and the cavalry bounce. More cossacks charge Ney's Dragoons but also bounce.

So far I'd been using the card driven activation I normally use with SLS. One downside is you spend a lot of time trying to find the formation (Division) on the table, and often you then don't want to do anything with it. So at this point I started using a PIP based system, each side getting about 5 - 10 PIPS a turn and being able to assign one or more PIP to a formation based on how keen they were to activate it first. This way not all units move, and its clearer who's going to activate. Sides activate formations alternately within a given bid value.

T5: L: Nansouty's cavalry routs some Russians caught forming square. Charpentier's skirmishers are trying to disable the Russian battery on the neck but having no effect.
C: The Middle Guard begin to push forward.
RC: The first Jaeger battalion finally breaks from the melee.
R: The Dragoons charge and get the better of the Cossacks

21 - A French Dragoon unit reforming after a charge against the Russian left flank

Dragoon face off against Russian Cossacks on the slope above Ailes.


T6: L: De Morvans Young Guard (supporting Nansouty), and Exelmans mixed cavalry division arrives on table. Nansouty's Guard Chasseurs a Cheval swoop down on the Russian line, routing a battalion. Two cossack regiments try to counter charge but bounce off the rest of Nansouty's cavalry.
C: Two battalions of Christiani's Middle Guard go into the assault supported by the Guard Artillery. The LH battalion routs a Russian Musketeer battalion and forces another back, and takes a 12 pdr battery. The RH battalion is stuck into a melee with a Grenadier battalion and taking damage.
CR: Rebeval's forces reform having routed the last Jaeger battalion.
R: One cossack regiment beaten in melee, the other breaks off

T7 (1300): L: Cossacks charge Nansouty again but are repulsed, but 1st Guard Lancers shaken. De Morvan's infantry slowly advancing as the Russians try to stabilise their R flank.
LC: Charpentier finally has his Division all out of the woods.
C: The RH MG battalion is routed, the R of the Russian line holding, but only just. The next wave of MG battalions is coming up.
RC: Ney's Spanish Brigade catches the last Jaeger battalion retreating out of the woods and decimates it.
R: Dragoons push the Cossacks back up onto the plateau. Ney's leading forces now into the woods and swamp N of Ailes - aiming to bypass Ailes leaving the Spanish brigade to take it.

T8: L: Slow advance by De Morvan. 1st Guard Lancers make an opportunistic charge against a Russian 3rd line gun behind La Bovelle, take it out, but find themselves embedded in the Russian squares. 2nd Guard Lancers rout a Russian battalion from square (it was already damaged), and the Guard Chasseurs a Cheval engage another square.
C: Christiani finally clears the Russian 1st line by the neck, routing 2 battalions and taking two batteries.
R: Ney makes slow progress through woods pass Ailes. Roussel's Dragoons are up on the plateau threatening the Russian 2nd line, but being shadowed by the Cossacks.

23 - De Morvans Young Guard supported by Nansouty advance on the Russian right flank

De Morvan's Young Guard advance on the left flank - with light cavalry harrassing the Russian flank

Decided that the PIP based command and control system was making little difference as most bids were for just 1 point, so back to old card based system.

The other change was to add 2 hex to all movement, so as to enable the 2nd wave of French troops to move into action more quickly and also give Ney at least a chance to reach the board edge - which given the woods and swamp he could not arithmetically meet given the current movement rates even though unopposed. The +2 worked well so I may keep it.

T9: L: 3rd Guard Lancers and Cossacks clash, whilst 2nd Guard Lancers take out another square. De Morvan is pushing forward and Rebeval's Young Guard force 2 Russian battalions back.
C: Christiani's Middle Guard clears the Russian 2nd line by flank attack and Guard Artillery. Old Guard Cavalry finally on board. Russians forming 3rd line in front of La Bovelle.
RC: Roussel's Dragoons push two Cossack regiments back, and roll up left flank of 2nd line, routing a battalion and taking two batteries and forcing another battalion back.
R: Ney making good progress in the wood and the Spanish Brigade about to assault Ailles.

T10 (1400): L: Nansouty's Guard Heavy Cavalry pushing hard down past La Bovelle push a Russian dragoon regiment off the board. A wave of De Morvan's Young Guard crash against the R of the Russian 3rd line alongside La Bovelle. Note: Nansouty here has made the move that failed in the Liphook game, managing to get passed the L of La Bovelle before the Russians could close the gap.
C: Melees going against the Russians, and French Guard Artillery moving up to pile on the pressure.
R: Ney's leading units through the wood. Spanish Brigade guns opening fire on Ailles.


41 - end turn 10

Nice overview of the end of turn 10

T11: L: Nansouty's Guard Cavalry finally clear all Russian cavalry from SW of La Bovelle. De Morvan's YG pushes one Russian bn back, but repulsed by Russian 3rd line. Other melees still ongoing.
C: Guard artillery opens up on the 3rd line. Old Guard finally make it on to the table. Christiani's Middle Guard reform ready for a renewed attack.
R: All of Ney's 1st and 2nd Voltigeur Divisions through the woods. Spanish division assaulting Ailles but not going well.

47 - the Russian battalion about to break

De Morvan's Young Guard finally breaks the Russian right flank

Time for a change of Command and Control again. Prompted by a review of some other rules I now draw 5 cards, and checking suit only that is how many formations each side can move, alternating as long as possible. Choice of formation up to commander, but only 1 activation per turn. Repeat in 5 card blocks til end of turn. Worked really well.

T12: L: Guard Lancers finish clearing most of the Russian light cavalry off of the board.
LC: Final Russian 2nd line battalion routed, had really been holding up De Morvan and Charpentier from getting to grips with the Russians L of La Bovelle - leaving the cavalry to have to do most of the work.
C: Guard Arty rout one Russian battalion through weight of fire. Middle Guard assault stalls on L due to ferocious return fire from the Russian guns, but goes in at R. Old Guard and Guard Cavalry parked up to watch the final moves. Roussel's Dragoons reform and Charpentiers Young Guard hurries in to support the MG.
R: The fight for Ailles goes on.

T13 (1500): L: Final Russian cavalry routed. Fr cavalry now has free reign and is behind the Russian 3rd line which it ploughs into the back of.De Morvan's Young Guard now pushing round the L of Bovelle as well.
C: Melees all around Bovelle with YG and MG and Russians.
R: Ney reaches the edge of the board (Hurrah!). One Jaeger battalion forced out of Ailles, but the 2nd Jaeger battalion has repulsed the French assault.

49 - the Guard heavy cavalry looks on

The Grenadiers a Cheval and Old Guard look on from the neck whilst their more junior colleagues get stuck in to the fight around Bovelle

T14: L: De Morvan routs one Russian battalion which runs into the Cuirassiers milling behind it, carnage. Nansouty's cavalry now against the back of the Russian line. De Morvan is now heading for the board edge, the other Divisions and cavalry having La Bovelle under control.
C: The Russian defence crumbles as battalion after battalion beaten in the big melee. The remaining Russian guns defending La Bovelle taken in the flank. Dragoons try and join the fight but their target on the extreme R of the Russian line forms square in time and repulses them, Horse artillery brought up to support the Dragoons.
R: Spanish Brigade reforms ready for a renewed assault.

59 - the last Russian (Austrian?) unit left of La Bovelle

The final fight around Bovelle. Smoke puffs show damage, red markers disorder and blue markers ongoing melees.

T15: L: Last battalion L of La Bovelle routed and De Morvan now at the board edge.
C: The melee still going on against the last 4 Russian battalions, but with Nansouty now in their rear it's all over.
R: The final Jaeger battalion pushed out of Ailles.

At the end of Turn 15 (1600) I declared game over. Checking measurements, by the end of Turn 18 (the planned game end and same as others games) the Old Guard, Guard Cavalry and Ney's Cavalry could all have been off board.

So I think I'd manage to learn the lessons of the last two refights - essentially make sure that all three prongs of the assault (Nansouty, Centre and Ney) all had all-arms support, Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery. As Napoleon's Maxim XLVII says "Infantry, cavalry and artillery are nothing without each other..."

The +2 on movement was also crucial to ensuring that the French could exploit and reinforce their success - bringing a much needed fluidity to the engagement. So often Napoleonic battles do become a slogging match with not much movement, but battle accounts always seem more dynamic. And there's the old mismatch between "real time" of ~2.5 minutes action per turn and "elapsed" time of 20 minutes per turn (which is about a 1500m march!)

I'll try and do a final post to compare the three battles.

For the record the losses were:

French: 10 formations, and ended with 6 formations still active (majority of elements with less than 3 damage), and 4 formations spent. Russians had 10 elements, but all spent. Russians had 42 units, so 210 CEF points, and had 14 CEF left on the board. French had 67 units so 335 CEF points, and had 174 left on the board. So the victory "cost" ~160 points, which is 32 battalions, about 4 divisions or 1 Corps. Probably a lot more than Napoleon would have been willing to pay.

Confederation of the Rhine - 6mm

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As with 20mm so with 6mm, and painting up the varied uniforms of the Rhinebund came as a welcome change to all that blue!

6mm-0COR-Panorama

The full Rheinbund contingent drawn up by column of Regiment, flanked by the batteries from Wurzburg and Mecklenburg

6mm-1Regt-Wurzburg-Arty
The Wurzburg gun battery


6mm-1regt-Wurzburg
The three battalions of the 1st COR Regiment from Wurzburg.


6mm-2Regt-Nassau
2nd COR Regiment from Nassau, 2 Bns.


6mm-3Regt-Nassau
3rd COR Regiment, also Nassau, 2 Bns.


6mm-4Regt-Coburg-Gotha
1st Bn 4th COR Regiment, Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Meiningen (the guys in the sky blue trousers) and 2nd Bn 4th COR Regiment, Saxe-Gotha


6mm-4Regt-Weimar
3rd Bn 4th COR Regiment, Saxe-Weimar, providing the Divisional skirmish line


6mm-5Regt-Anhalt-Lippe
1st Bn 5th COR Regiment, Anhalt and 2nd Bn 5th COR Regiment. Lippe.


6mm-6Regt-Schwarzenburg-Reuss-Waldeck
1st Bn 6th COR Regiment. Schwarzburg and 2nd Bn 6th COR. Reuss and Waldeck.


6mm-7Regt-Mecklenberg
1st and 2nd Bn 7th COR. Mecklenberg.


6mm-7Regt-Mecklenberg-Arty
Mecklenberg Battery. Another 40yr old piece, think my brother actually painted this one.


Visit the full Flickr set for some other nice shots of the Contingent.

6mm-0COR-LefttFlank2 6mm-0COR-RightFlank


About 40 (!) years ago I painted up the Duchy of Wurzburg's 3 battalions, cavalry regiment and gun battery as part of my Airfix Napoleonic wargames army. When I got back into wargaming about 10 years ago and started painting up loads of new French I decided to paint up the whole of the Confederation of the Rhine (the Rhinebund) regiments as a change from painting lots of blue coats. In moving to 6mm I have of course taken the opportunity to paint up the whole of the Confederation again. This post has the 20mm shots, and following posts will have the 6mm force, and then a comparison of the two.



20mm-0COR The whole Rhinebund contribution of 16 battalions in 7 regiments, plus a couple of batteries.

20mm-1Regt-Arty The Wurzburg gun battery. The Wurzburg figures (and paint job) are 40 years old.

20mm-1Regt-Wurzburg
The three (old) battalions of the 1st COR Regiment from Wurzburg.


20mm-2Regt-Nassau
2nd COR Regiment from Nassau. HAT figures, for the 1st Bn, the original Airfix figures for the 2nd.


20mm-3Regt-Nassau
3rd COR Regiment, also Nassau, 2 Bns.


20mm-4Regt-Coburg-Meiningen
1st Bn 4th COR Regiment, Saxe-Coburg and Saxe-Meiningen (the guys in the sky blue trousers)


20mm-4Regt-Gotha
2nd Bn 4th COR Regiment, Saxe-Gotha


20mm-4Regt-Weimar
3rd Bn 4th COR Regiment, Saxe-Weimar


20mm-5Regt-Anhalt
1st Bn 5th COR Regiment, Anhalt. I've actually got these in 25mm Hinchcliffe as well.


20mm-5Regt-Lippe
2nd Bn 5th COR Regiment. Lippe.


20mm-6Regt-Schwarzburg
1st Bn 6th COR Regiment. Schwarzburg


20mm-6Regt-Ruess-Waldeck
2nd Bn 6th COR. Reuss and Waldeck - note the Waldeck flag.


20mm-7Regt-Mecklenberg
1st and 2nd Bn 7th COR. Mecklenberg.


20mm-7Regt-Mecklenberg-Arty
Mecklenberg Battery. Another 40yr old piece, think my brother actually painted this one.



Battle of Craonne - 25mm

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Here's the account of the Liphook Historical Wargames Society refight of Craonne at the end of Jun. I was Napoleon :-(. The rules were the Liphook in-house rules, very old school in style and the game was played over 3 tables with about 7 commanders on each side. The game lasted from about 9am to 4pm real time one Sunday.

10 min per turn. 1mm = 1 yard. Units represented to company/squadron level but moved as battalions/regiments. Single figure casualty removal (usually by card marking) and 5 states of disorder (I think).

The battle started after the French had taken Hertebise Farm. The main differences from the historical battle plan were that Carpentier and Rebeval made their main push through the woods either side of the neck to try and outflank the guns - so lots of skirmishing with the Russian Jaegers, but a push across the neck was still needed in the end, and De Morvan's Young Guard Division was seconded to Nansouty so as to give him a combined arms force to hopefully secure any advantage he gained on the Russian flank, and also with the option of exploiting W to the table edge.

T1 (1100) 6 Russian batteries are deployed right at the head of the neck. Cossacks line the ridge on their L above the Lette. Rebeval and Charpentiers Divisions from Victors Corps push forward in skirmish order through the woods, which are already infested with Russian Jaegers. Victors other troops hold back on the neck. Ney pushes forward towards Ailles.

T2 (1110) Skirimishers push forward. Ney reaches the small bridge just past La Maison Blaume.

T3 (1120) Skirmishers almost in contact. Ney splits forces sending the Spanish Brigade towards Ailles and the rest towards the ridge - but mindful of the Cossacks

T4 (1130) Nansouty's cavalry starts to emerge from the woods on the S spur. Guard artillery moves onto the neck. Skirmisher firefights start in the woods both N and S of the neck.

T6 (1150) Exelman's cavalry move N on the spur, towards the Russian 2nd line guns. Some Russian cav being sent S. Guard infantry begins to move onto the neck but already getting very congested. Victors Young Guard is slowly pushing the Jaegers back, but with more success in the S.

T8 (1210) Young Guard in the S wood almost pushed through to edge, but Guard in N wood being pushed back.

T9 (1220) The Cossacks above Ailles finally decide to charge Ney's advancing infantry but bounce back.

T10 (1230) Young Guard now at edge of both woods, in S try and exit but bounced by defending Russians. Most of Nansouty's cavalry now on the plateau. De Morvan's Division which had been seconded from Mortiers Corps to bolster Nansouty's cavalry only force starts to emerge from the woods.

T11 (1240) Nansouty charges the Russian Pavlograd Hussars which have been monitoring him. In the N wood the Russian 14th Jaegers have pushed through the Young Guard line, but 15th Jaeger are being pushed back out of the woods.

T12 (1250) The Pavlograd Hussars rout the 1st Provisional Hussars but spent on followup surrounded by De Morvan's infantry. 3rd Tirallieurs finally exit the S wood on the flank of one of the Russian guns at the head of the neck.

T13 (1300) Nansouty's cavalry advances in skirmish order against the 2nd line Russian guns, but 2nd Provisional Hussars routed by Don Cossacks. Charpentier assaults the Russian battery from the edge of the S wood. Ney's lead troops almost cresting the plateau, whilst his Spanish Brigade invests Ailles.

T15 (1320) Nansouty's Grenadiers a Cheval chase off the Cossacks. Nansouty's guns decimate the Pensa IR which had formed square at the far S end of the spur.

T16 (1330) Charpentier's infantry exploits L and C beyond the Russian battery. Grouchy's cavalry finally has space to start moving across the neck. Vorontzov moves some infantry against Ney's forces cresting the plateau. The Pavlograd Hussars are finally chased off by the 1st Guard Lancers - but annoyingly for little loss (these Hussars were an annoyance to the French for the whole game), but they rout into the 10th Tirallieurs who are just following up a Russian battalion they have routed.

T17 (1340) There is an evolving cavalry melee between the Nansouty and Vorontzov cavalry on the spur.

T19 (1400) On the middle table the Polish Lancers melee with the Don Cossacks. In the centre the Russian guns(mostly spent) and infantry are pulling back to the 2nd line, with a few infantry battalions in square against the advancing Guard cavalry. Ney is making a 2nd assault up the slope.

T20 (1410) 2nd Provisional Hussars charge the Russian 2nd line battery SE of La Bovelle, but take 4 casualties and are Broken.

T21 (1420) Guard Chasseurs a Cheval charge the 8/9th Don Cossacks. 26th & 27th Chasseurs a Cheval charge the Vlapov (?) Don Cossacks. The French forces a now well S of La Bovelle and beginning to wrap around it.

T22 (1430) At the W end of the neck 1st Fusilier Grenadiers charge a Russian square of the combined grenadier companies of 15th Div and routs them. De Morvan's Division is pressing the Russian 2nd line gun SE of La Bovelle, which is now spent.

T23 (1440) A 2nd Russian square beyond the neck routs due to close range artillery fire and friends routing. Cossacks charge one of the Guard batteries on the neck. Ney and Rebeval pushing up onto the plateau again, which is now defended by a line of Tulsa IR.

T25 (1500) Russian centre now in full retreat to La Bovelle. The gap SW of La Bovelle which Nansouty and De Morvan had been hoping to exploit is rapidly being filled by Olsuflov's IX Corps with cavalry and artillery. French orders adjusted to try and exploit further S towards Paissy and Vanstcesse.

T26 (1510) De Morvan's Division now on the 2nd table, which is now the focus of action in all three sectors.

T27 (1520) Nansouty and De Morvan move WSW towards the stream crossing W of Paissy. Ney has cleared all but one building of Ailles from the Russians, with some others on fire, but exploitation W is stalling due to the lack of cavalry - the ridge W from Ailles now lined with cavalry and guns - the Russians having no infantry W of La Bovelle, it all being bottled up in the village.

T28 (1530) The Russian Beckendorff Hussars (them again) are enfolding the front of La Bovelle with Russian guns. The Russian 3rd line guns W of La Bovelle are frustrating any flanking move by Nansouty.

T29 (1540) Nansouty's cavalry is beaten back from the stream crossing by flanking fire from Paissy (although not quite sure how they managed to shoot up that slope :-) ), and the guns on the other side of the stream. Ney is still fighting over Ailles.

T30 (1550) Russian gun line at La Bovelle is keeping the French Guard from closing, and the Hussars are keeping them in square.

T31 (1600) Nansouty has another push on the L flank. Empress Dragoons charge the Russian guns in front of La Bovelle but are beaten back.

T32 (1610) Guard Horse artillery on L flank starts bombarding Caissy. Beckendorff Hussars finally pulled back into La Bovelle and their guns are more or less spent so a direct assault by Mortiers forces is likely to commence next go.

At this point the game was halted and a Russian victory declared. The French had not been able to successfully flank La Bovelle, and the Russians had put up a stout defence which had slowed the central advance.

There is a full set of photos taken with a proper camera here on Flickr.

Battle of Craonne - 2mm

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During the last couple of months I've been fortunate (?) enough to refight the Battle of Craonne (7 Mar 14) three times: solo in 2mm as planning for the Liphook battle, as Napoleon in a 25mm mega-battle (3 tables, c.7 players a side) at Liphook, and solo again in 6mm to fix the things in the plan that went wrong in the other two!

This is a summary of the 2mm battle. The 25mm version is already on the Liphook web site (but I'll also post here for completeness). Once I've got the 6mm version posted I'll try and draw it all together.

The 2mm (and 6mm) games were played using the Div/Bde Level version of my own Steady Lads Steady rules, vaguely Shako'esque, which work on a 40mm hex grid (so as to avoid any distance arguments!). Each base is a Brigade and only grand batteries have their guns explicitly represented. Activation was card driven. 1 turn = 30 min.

The Russians are formed up in about three defensive lines, at the head of the neck, by La Bovelle, and at the pinch to the rear of La Bovelle. The French have a Cavalry and Young Guard force under Nansouty on the L flank, Young Guard under Rebeval and Charpentier moving across the neck, and Ney with just infantry on the R flank. The French plan to hold back in the centre until the two flanks can bring pressure to bear on the Russian flanks.

View of the battlefield. Arrows point down slope. 1 hex = 200m. Hurtebise Farm on bottom edge of table, La Bovelle farm in middle, Cerny village in far distance. Just page through the other images, the red dice at bottom show the turn number (in base 6 - sort of!)

The descriptions are typically given Left, Centre, Right from the French point of view.

1 (1100) French advance except across neck. Nansouty's cavalry pulls up on to the plateau.

2 French advance except across neck

3 (1200) L: Cossacks charge unformed Nansouty Gd Cav but recoil. C: Russian guns take 1 CEF off of Fr on neck

4 L: 2nd Cossack charge against Nansouty results in a bounce. CR: Rabeval pushes Ru back at the head of the neck, but 2nd Bde at -3 CEF. R: Ney inf take -2 CEF from Cossacks on slope as they try to force their way up the slope onto the plateau.

5 (1300) L: Ru charge Nansouty's Gd Cav, Melee goes to 2nd round but looking bad for Dragoons. R: Ney pushed back off ridge. C: Guard arty opens fire on Ru inf and forces a retreat. Victor moving onto flank. Charpentier moves up into gap on neck.

6 L: Grenadiers a Cheval rout Russian Dragoons, take damaged infantry by La Bovelle. CL: Rabeval finally beats back Russians, but Division spent. C: Gd Arty continues to maul Ru inf in front of La Bovelle.

7 (1400) L: Cossacks charge Chasseurs a Cheval, but bounce back. C: Russians pull back to La Bovelle. 3x attacks La Bovelle and Russians suffer badly.

The French are now clear of the neck. Nansouty now joined up with the main French force.

8 C: Russian 1 Bde destroyed, causing some consternation in units to rear. Russians pull back to a new defensive line c.1km W (rear) of La Bovelle. French 2nd wave troops brought forward. R: Ney pulls up to the ridge as the Russians pull back.

9 (1500) C: Fr 3x and 7x go in against Russians. Successful but have to reform. R: Ney goes in against N of new Russian line, winning but bloody. Cossacks pushed back in melee onto infantry line.

Ney now joined up with the main French force.

10 Cossacks charge reforming 3x and 7x and rout them, buying time for infantry to form a third and final defensive line about another 1km back. Cossacks flee when counter charged by Fr Gd Cav.

11 (1600) Ney's Young Guard charge Russian line, but pushed back by cannon fire. Lancers fail to charge home vs Russian cavalry. Grenadiers a Cheval do go in and rout Russians, and maintain order and reform. Russians now at break point.

12 (1630) French 4x Dragoons chase 1 Cossack Regt off table, and eliminate a 2nd whilst reforming. Russians forced back to Cerny. Lead French units 1.5 km W of La Bovelle, 1 km fm Cerny and the table edge.

1700 - Planned end of game

There is a full image set on Flickr.

Battle of Tudela Refight

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Over the weekend Nick and I had the first proper game with my new Steady Lads Steady rules for Napoleonic Wargaming. Vaguely reminiscent of Shako, but designed to be played with full unit bases and on a 40mm hex grid with 6mm figures they are as close to my ideal rules as I've got. They'd worked well in solo games, so it was time to try them out in a proper games and with decent sized force (about 30-40 battalions/regiments each).

Having last year picked up a copy of the excellent Battle Studies in the Peninsula by Partridge & Oliver last year, and with a Peninsula campaign perpetually in the off'ing we decided on the Battle of Tudela. The big tweak we made though (since Nick likes Brits and to make things more equal) was to replace Saint March's militia brigade with a Brigade of seasoned British troops). You can download the scenario.

The playing area was just under 3ft x 6ft, and yes it took a few hours to draw all those hexes!

In keeping with the real life battle only a couple of divisions started on table, the rest coming in at random times as the battle progressed - which really helped to make it fluid and unpredicatable. Only Digeon's Dragoons failed to actually arrive.

So here's a quick summary of the proceedings.



All in all we both felt the rules worked really well. We probably spent about 10 hours on the 20 turns, but that also includes cooking a full Sunday roast and a Goulash on Saturday. We could probably get slicker on the rules (I'm looking at doing some quick reference cards to supplement the QRS), and also a bit of parallel working when unit activations don't conflict.

Salute 2013

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Back at the of April I went to Salute - the big wargames show in London - for the first time in about a decade. It was a truly huge event, with a good variety of stands, games and vendors. I met up with my mate Alan (who makes awesome wargames scenery and paints superbly) and we toured our favourite games. Here are some of the best we saw.

IMG_2716.JPG

A wonderfully weird space/floating islands game, part Avatar, part Space:1889.


IMG_2714.JPG

A 28mm mega-skirmish Napoleonic game. Superb figures and painting - particularly since my world currently revolves around 6mm.

IMG_2712.JPG

Fitting in with the current steampunk meme a Space:1889 Martian conflict complete with canals and flying barges. Probably one of the best looking games on show.

There was also a Mexican game that Alan really loved, 30mm I think, so getting even bigger.

The other two I really liked but for some reason failed to get images for were:

- a 6mm Franco-Prussian war game with great scenery and showing why this scale works so well
- a large ancient game being played out on a gridded table, echoing my own thoughts about gridded movement.

Every time I go to a show whilst I love being a punter I always hanker after running my own game - after all I did my first show games when I was still a teenager. Perhaps I can persuade Alan and Nick to do one to show off our 6mm plus hex system next year.



During a wonderful week's holiday up in the Forest of Bowland ( walking in the day, gaming in the evening - mostly Britannia) I managed to fit in a solo play of the old SPI Seelowe game of the planned invasion of the UK by Germany in 1940. Since I grew up around Dorking in Surrey, right by the Mole Valley gap my childhood walks were always full of pill boxes, and ever since the Battle of Dorking pamphlet of the late 1800s the area has always been seen as a strategic focus for any invasion.

I decided to play the September Navy scenario as this was the most realistic in the game. The invasion is focussed on the ports of Kent and Sussex initially, and comsists of a small early assault phase followed about a week or so later by a moderate main landing force. This is not on the scale of D-Day.  It is assumed that the RAF was eliminated in the Battle of Britain, and that the Royal Navy has been locked out of the Channel. The Luftwaffe is flying regular interdiction strikes from France - but its range is limited, and with daily rolls for weather the ability to actually use the Luftwaffe and land troops can be a pretty hit or miss affair.

The write up was done pretty much turn by turn, and I haven't made any attempt to tidy it up - but hopefully it gives you a flavour of the game. Total playing time was about 4 hours.

Turn 1
German landings at Brighton, Eastbourne, Hastings, Folkestone and Dover
Coastal opposition eliminated. 2nd Div deploys towards Chatham


IMG_2589

Turn 2
British slow to mobilise. 29 Gren Regt keeps 19 Div holed up in Dover. 51 Gren Regt protects L flank at Worthing. 28th Amphib Tank Regt siezes ports along the coast. Main thrust towards Dorking, secondaries on flanks to Maidstone and Guildford. British 1st Div under air attack at Redhill, and 2nd Div destroyed NW of Maidstone. One RAF fighter group lost in air attacks. Rough, landings only at ports.


Turn 3 Rough seas still limit landings, slow expansion of bridgehead. leading forces pushing in to Surrey

Turn 4 Bad weather delays reinforcements and grounds air attacks. GE attack on 1st Div delayed.

IMG_2587

Turn 5 Still rough but skies clear. Luftwaffe interdicts 1st Div and 47 & 48 Armd Bdes at Newlands Corner. Combined assault by 4 Regts and Para Bns destroys 1st Div (and Dorking) for the loss of the paras and a Regt. A proposed simultaneous assault on the Armd Bdes failed to materialise. 64 and 65 Gren Regt close on 25 Bde E of Croydon ready to open the way to the city where defence Brigades are still not fully mobilised.

Turn 6
German assault takes out the 47 and 48 Armd Bdes. Supply issues prevent assault on 25Bde. Germans now have a clear route to the W of London, and in the east are only 3 hex away from Central London. The first wave of the major GE reinforcements are embarked, and the British are belatedly mobilising some of their more far flung troops in East Anglia, Wales, and the West Country.

Turn 7
Air attack on 42 Div S of Guildford fails and one Sqn lost, operating at extended range but despite 8 Sqns on task. Successful interdiction against 7 Div moving SW fm Chelmsford. 19 Div in Dover finally falls, but takes 49 Regt with it. The attack against 42 Div goes in despite the failure of air support, and destroys the Div but 42 and 51 Gren Regts lost. 64 and 65 Regt push 25 Div back, and it withdraws across the Thames. The Germans are only 3 hex away from Central London, and despite forces massing in the Chilterns the situation for London is looking grim.

IMG_2593

Turn 8
The German strategy is to obliterate London before clearing the rest of the country. Weather is storms which delays landing of the main wave of reinforcements and renders the Luftwaffe useless. UK 5 and 16 Div destroyed defending Guildford, 55 and 61 Regt move in, whilst 17 Pz Regt protects the flank from 6 UK Div and 1, 15 and 16 Pz Div sweep on to West London. Other German forces advance on a broad front to the outskirts of London ready for the bloody street by street fighting. A second wave is moving up from the beaches.

IMG_2596

Turn 9
The Germans attempt a first assault across the Thames but are repulsed. 23 Div in Chichester also holds out. British forces mass in the Chilterns  ready for a potential counter-attack to relieve the pressure on London. weather still grounding a/c.

IMG_2613

Turn 10/11
A/c still grounded. Germans force way across Thames in central London but then held. Also across in Thames estuary. Supplies hampering exploitation in E. British Home Guard active and making fighting in London hard, several units unable to get in on W. British forces steadily building in Chilterns bipartisan not enough concentration to take on German screening force.

IMG_2618

Turn 12
Luftwaffe is flying again but loses on a/c in attempt to disrupt units around Basingstoke. GE destroy 5 Div W of Basingstoke, and push further across Thames estuary to complete their encirclement of London.

Turn 13
7 and 27 Divs defending East London destroyed. 6 Div defending Basingstoke destroyed. Only 4 units left in London but defensive line along Chilterns steadily building and Partisan and other forces massing S of Oxford.

Turn 14
Penultimate units in London destroyed. Luftwaffe plus 50,56 and 61 Regts sp by 5 & 6 Pzr and 48 Gren Regts finally clear 60 & 63 Mot Bdes and 21 and 33 Div fm Basingstoke area, only light resistance now between them and Oxford. GE encirclement of London now complete and preparing for assault on 6 Div and 33 Bde around High Wycombe.

IMG_2650

Turn 15
London finally falls as 12 Div and 17 Bde give way under increasing German pressure. The Pzr Regts are immediately dispatched to aid the assault on the Chilterns. In High Wycombe 6 Div and 33 Bde are destroyed, and NW of Basingstoke 56 and 57 Partisan are destroyed by 4 & 5 Pzr Regt. Apart from some militia units nothing stands between GE left flank and Oxford, and the remaining 6 British Divs in the Chilterns are surrounded.

This was the formal end of the game.

Victory Calculations

Ports 10
GB SP ~40
GE SP 106 
>2:1
Decisive German victory

Since the Germans were so close to total domination I decided to just play out their assault on the Chilterns.

IMG_2651

Turn 16 (extra)
Successful assaults on both flanks clear 3 British divisions from Chilterns

Turn 17 (extra)
All British forces except a Mot Inf Bde (Str 1) at Didcot eliminated.

And that was it. The rules say that normally the Germans have a hard time winning, and it's always an issue with solo games as to whether you become naturally biased to one side or another. I made some random roles to decide to strategies - for instance giving the Germans the choice of isolating London ( which I'd have done) or assaulting it (which the dice decided). The weather also frustrated German landings and air support so I don't think they had a particularly easy ride. The British just lacked a decent number of high strength combat units, and perhaps played too passive a game, defending the North Downs/GHQ line rather than trying to push forward and engage - but again I don't think in the early stages they really had the forces to do it.

All in all a fun game thought, and a nice counterpart to SPI's Normandy which I must also replay some time.

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