LARDEST AFRICA AT BATTLEGROUND – A CLOSE RUN THING!

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First of all, I must apologise. I had firmly intended to post this shortly after the Show but I fell ill with some form of heavy cold and am only now getting back on my feet.

Anyway, Battleground was, as ever, an excellent Show. From my perspective organisation was spot on, we were in without issue and set up in good time. I was busy at the game most of the day and so didn’t get around as much as I would have liked, but what I did see left me with the impression of a high standard of games and busy traders’ ideal! Anyway, on with the game!

Our intrepid party entered at the far end of a 6×4 table with about 5 feet of ground to cover to the river and the protection of the Royal Navy. My photography proved poor on the day and only a couple of shots came out well enough to be included, but they will give you an idea of the terrain.

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So, all was well, our Explorers activated and began to move towards the river. Having baggage with them did slow their rate of movement and the option of leaving it behind was discussed a couple of times, but at this stage all was well. A number of enemy blinds were on the table, but they were out of Line of Sight and so moved (controlled by the game system) along or across the table as if searching for their prey! The first to come to grips was a small party of skirmish troops scouting ahead. They emerged from the front right of the party, came into the open and almost ran into the party as they crossed the more open ground. Reacting quickly, our leader detached himself and 5 Askaris to face off this threat and opened a devastating fire, quickly dropping some of the enemy and driving the rest off. Those Blinds to the front of the party, the ones that presented a risk of getting between the party and safety, were resolved as noises in the bush and nothing more; things were looking good!

But not for long! A party of Warriors, clearly following their scouts, had heard the firing and came on at the rush from the same direction. Meanwhile, another party, appearing to the left rear of our band, began to shadow our chaps, playing a watching game for now. The RN Gardner gun on the hill opened up to give covering fire against the shadowing group – managed one burst, inflicted some shock, jammed and the RN spent the rest of the game arguing over who was supposed to bring the Instruction Manual!

Another group of tribesmen now appeared to our Party’s left rear and closed for an attack, the shadowing group also deciding to join in. Hard pressed from two sides, our gallant band remained equally divided – one leader and 5 Askaris to each flank. Our original detachment was nicely fixed by the onrushing natives and, despite some desperate firing, they almost came to blows (the movement dice were not kind to the tribesmen in this game – more than once they came up an inch short of close combat!) Over the next few turns, the explorers gradually gained the upper hand but it was on the left that danger really threatened. There was little finesse – as Leader cards came up, command flags were grabbed to up CI and allow fire to be maintained, weapons to be reloaded and the Leaders to lead from the front. As the first group rushed our left, our brave chief stepped forward, emptied his pistol into the approaching natives and then tackled the leading man with his empty pistol and cane! The Askaris held firm and the attack was just beaten off, our hero taking a minor wound to his arm in the process (and losing all too precious CI) and one of the more experienced Askaris fell to a spear thrust. The next group hurtled forward and stopped just short, allowing our defenders the chance to give them some close range fire. The cards were kind and another volley saw them pushed back, but with the first group now returning to the fray. It really was nip and tuck at this stage. One group of defenders holding off two groups and there was now another blind approaching from the left rear; clearly the main body had heard the firing and was rushing to the fight. In the end, both groups were beaten off. Our original group finished dealing with the threat on their flank and a timely interruption allowed them to save the bacon of their comrades. The latter had also been extremely fortunate with movement dice coming up short and their cards coming out in the right order to allow additional rounds of firing before the natives could close. As these two groups were beaten back, the third coming up fast was also resolved as more warriors, but they decided discretion was the better part of valour and decided simply to shadow the party, who were now able to proceed calmly towards the river and safety.

All in all, a very successful ‘playtest’. The rules for controlling the native forces seemed to work very well, some ‘chrome’ is necessary, but they are certainly well on track. I need to look at firing again – it did seem that our party should have been more effective at close range and the revolver proved a really powerful weapon; again, this should be reviewed. That said, very good progress on the basics!

More to follow shortly!

Monty the Desert Rat

ADVENTURES IN LARDEST AFRICA DEBUTS AT BATTLEGROUND 25/11/17

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Next Saturday we will be at Pendraken’s excellent Battleground Show with the first exposure to the world of the “Adventures in Lardest Africa” Sharp Practise 2 supplement. Everyone is welcome to come and try their hand or simply watch the dramas unfold – the brief for participants is reproduced below and we look forward to seeing you there.

Monty the Desert Rat

RESCUE MISSION

It all started three days ago when they came to your house. The Umkiliwakosi tribe have been the subject of much attention by Her Majesty’s Representatives of late and you have been trying to negotiate a treaty allowing access to and through their lands. This has proved difficult. They are wary of outsiders and dubious about your intentions. But then your chance came! The runners arrived just before lunch (most inconvenient!) and reported that the Chief’s daughter, Okuhle Kakhulu, had been seized by the Umkiliwakosi’s long term and bitter enemies, the Amadoda Adle. They believe that the Amadoda Adle have taken her to sacrifice and then eat her as part of the assention of a new chief. The Chief of the Umkiliwakosi, Isisu Esikhulu, sent word that, if you returned his daughter safe and well, he would trust your words and agree to the treaty. So, off you went. You gathered a small party of local Askaris – 4 trained men and 6 not so well trained and, along with your companion, Archibald Trevelyan, set out in pursuit. You anticapted catching up with them just across the Amanzi Asheshayo river and instructed Sub Lieutenant Chalmers of the Royal Navy to gather some sailors, make ready the boat and meet you two miles up the Amanzi Asheshayo.  All has gone well. Moving quickly, you soon found the trail and were able to follow it with little difficulty. Closing fast yesterday afternoon, you set in place a plan to sneak into their camp in the dead of night and recover Okuhle Kakhulu, smuggling her out wihtout being detected. Your master plan succeded and you are now on your way back to the river, hoping young Chalmers has done as instucted. You have just taken a short break to refresh when you hear cries of “Naim, Naim”[1] echoing through the morning air. Time to move. Can you make it to the river and (hopefully) safety?

 

[1] Roughly translated as “Dinner’s here!”

COWBOYS!

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I have been quiet for some time, I know, pressures of work and all that. However, I have managed to get some Cowboys painted for myself! They are a mix of Dead Man’s Hand and Artizan and they go very nicely together – they may even, I think, be by the same sculptor. At the moment, the rules of choice for me are Two Hour Wargames Six Gun Sound Blaze of Glory, although others at the Club have been trying out Dead Man’s Hand itself. Time will tell!

Piccies below!

Monty the Desert Rat

SIZE DOESN’T MATTER – HONEST!

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This post was prompted by completion of work on the initial forces for an ongoing but slow burn project here at Monty HQ, namely the War of Spanish Succession using an adaptation of “Bloody Big Battles”, which, if readers hadn’t noticed, is a favourite rule set round here!

Anyway, I have completed the first tranche of French and photos are attached – yes, I know, I still have the guns to do! They are all Baccus figures and represent a good mixed force based on the French contingent at Blenheim.

I really enjoyed painting them and this set me thinking about the whole process of getting figures ready for the tabletop and I came to the conclusion that there are two absolutely key issues, and that neither of them is size! As a professional painter, I paint all sorts and all scales and there is very little difference in requirements or methodology. Sure, I tend to use brighter colours for smaller figures and a degree of ‘impressionism’ is necessary. For example, the hat lace may be over-scale, but it needs to be there or the figures just don’t look like what they are supposed to be. No, the really key issues are the quality of the sculpt and the quality of the casting. The two go firmly hand in hand – no amount of care in the casting process, no amount of care of the mould or investment in quality materials can rescue a poor sculpt. But the converse is also true, a beautiful model that has that care and attention lost in the casting process, be it through poor materials, lack of care during the process or poor mould maintenance, will become a relatively shapeless lump of metal regardless of how beautiful it was at the start. Now if quality is maintained through both processes, what you get is a lovely figure and one that is so much easier to paint. Detail is crisp, clear and easily identifiable and a brush (a good one) will find it so much easier to follow that detail.

And this sums up these figures perfectly. They were a joy and a doddle to paint, far easier than some bigger scale figures, precisely because they are lovely sculpts that have been carefully and well cast. This is a bit of a theme right now – as well as these Baccus figures that have just completed the process; the workbench is home to some Pendraken 10mm Napoleonics. The same applies – lovely sculpts well cast; they really are beautiful figures. Pendraken have also just announced that they have released 1000 new products in the last 5 years. Whilst a real achievement, the most impressive thing for me is that they continue to deliver exceptional quality despite such a hectic release schedule. And that is not just for new products, the care taken with the casting process means the quality carries on through the years following release. Hats off to you all, gentlemen, your work is very much appreciated by this one painter.

Anyway, the piccies:

 

Monty the Desert Rat

1813 BLOODY BIG BATTLES PART DEUX!

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We met again at the end of November for another “Bloody Big Battles” Napoleonic game, once again, we set it in Germany in 1813 but somewhat later in the year. Once again, we had Austrians and Russians facing off against the French. The Allies had:

ALLIED ARMY

All Russian Infantry are  Stoic.

ALLIED ARMY

1st Army of the West   Barclay de Tolly

II Corps Baggavout
4

4

1

1

T S

T S

Light Foot

Heavy Foot

4th Div Prince Eugene of Wurttemburg

17th Div Alsufev

III Corps Tuckkov I
6

5

1

1

T S

V A

Light Foot

Heavy Foot

3rd Div Konovnitzin

1st Gren Div Strogonoff

IV Corps Ostermann-Tolstoi
5

3

1

T S

T S

Light Foot

11th Div Olsoufieff

23rd Div Bakmetieff I

VI Corps Docturov
4

4

1

1

T S

T S

Light Foot

Heavy Foot

7th Div Kapsevitch

24th Div Lichatcheff

I Cavalry Corps Uvarov
3 V M  
III Cavalry Corps Kreutz
3 M  
2 Horse Artillery Batteries  
Cossacks Platov
3

3

Lt Ir

Lt Ir

 

Austrians – Schwarzenburg

All Austrians are Passive.

I Corps Colloredo
6

6

1

1

T S

T

Heavy Foot

Light Foot

 
II Corps Merveldt
6

6

1

T S

T

Light Foot

 
III Corps Gyulai
6

1

T S

Light Foot

 

 

IV Corps Klenau
6

1

T S

Heavy Foot

 
Austrian Cuirassiers Nostitz
3 V H  
Austrian Cavalry
3 T M  
Austrian Cavalry
3 T Lt  

And the French had:

Imperial Guard Mortier                                                                 Arrives overnight.
4

5

4

1

2

V A DV

V A

V M A

Veteran Horse Artillery Battery

Veteran Heavy Foot Batteries

(OG) Curial

(YG) Roguet

Cavalry Bessieres

 

I Corps Davout                                                                               Arrives overnight.
4

5

5

1

1

V S A

V S A

T S

Medium Foot Battery

Heavy Foot Battery

1st Division Morand

2nd Div Friant

3rd Div Gerard

 

II Corps Marmont                                                                          Arrives overnight.
4

4

1

T S

T S

Heavy Foot Battery

 
III Corps Ney
5

4

1

1

T S

T S

Medium Foot Battery

Heavy Foot Battery

10th Div Ledru

11th Div Razout + 25th Div Scheler (Wurt)

IV Corps Eugene
3

4

4

1

T

T S

T S

Medium Foot Battery

IT Royal Guard Pino

13 Div Delzons

14 Div Broussier

V Corps (Poles) Poniatowski
4

3

1

T S A

T S A

Medium Foot Battery

16th Div Zayonchek

17th Div Kniaziewicz

VIII Corps (Westphalian) Junot
6

1

T S F

Medium Foot Battery

23rd Div Tharreau + 24th Div Ochs
Murat
1 Horse Artillery Battery  
II Cavalry Corps Montbrun                                                                Arrives overnight.
4 V H  
III Cavalry Corps Grouchy
3 V Lt  
IV Cavalry Corps Latour-Maubourg
4 V H Poles, Westphalians and Saxons

The plan was to play 6 turns, break for a night interval, and then play 6 more turns. The Allies didn’t know about the French reinforcements until the start of Turn 6, so they had some quick thinking to do! The French, of course, knew about them all along!

The table looked like:

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With the French on the left of the first picture and the right of the second.

The Allies diced to come on – anything but a 1/2 and they were on the table on Turn 1 and able to deploy up to the woods starting on the left of the second picture, running in a rough line across to the far table edge through the next two woods.

The French were all on table and deployed up to the road running across the table in the second of the pictures above with their line continuing through the two woods to the table edge. Poniatowski took the left holding the near village and the wood behind. Ney was left centre holding the next village along to the wood. Then came Eugene across to the hill on the right , which was held by Junot. III Cavalry Corps covered the extreme right and IV Cavalry Corps was in reserve behind Ney.

Both Allied commanders managed to throw low – no Allies on the table on Turn 1! However, they went first that turn and began to advance. Broadly speaking, they split into three groups. The Austrians were on their extreme right and were positioned to turn the French left flank with the village held by the Poles their first objective. Over on their left, one group of Russians was aiming to turn the French right flank by advancing across the stream and onto Junot’s flank. The other group of Russians was aimed directly at Eugene!

Over the course of the next 6 turns, the Austrians first flanked and cleared the most forward village held by the Poles, destroying the division holding it. More Austrians swung very wide and were clearly intent on a deep envelopment of the French left, although they made slow progress. Over on the French right, the situation was not dissimilar, with the Russians on that flank making good speed towards the stream with a view to turning Junot’s flank, whilst Eugene was being pressed to his front.

On Turn 6 the Allies learnt of the approaching French reinforcements, which gave them pause for thought that Turn. We then went into the night interval. This allowed the Allies to move forward, with those that had lagged behind closing up. Poniatowski also used the opportunity to trade more space for time and withdrew to a new line hinged on the village held by Ney and heading back to the table edge. He was joined by Marmont, who formed a new line along the road. Davout and the Guard came on behind Eugene, or at least some of them did! Poor rolls meant they were less coherent than would have been ideal and some did not make it on (we made the reinforcements roll as normal and then they could move a full move/half move/not at all onto the table dependant on the result). Murat brought the cavalry and horse artillery over on the right, even further across than Junot, whose cavalry support had been lost battling Russian cavalry on the first day.

With the scene set for the next day, we cracked on! The Austrians continued to make progress and got cavalry right around behind the French left, forcing the French cavalry to face off against them. Things then began to go Poniatowski’s way. His cavalry threw back the Austrian cavalry and his infantry counter attacked into the flank of the Austrian infantry that was closing on the rear of the French cavalry. The close combat went the way of the French and an Austrian division was sent tumbling to the rear.

Over on the French right flank, the Russians adopted a defensive posture and successfully destroyed the Guard cavalry, which had come too far forward in march column!

The main action was in the centre. Eugene threw his troops forward as Davout and the Young Guard approached as quickly as the movement dice would allow. The Old Guard were predictably slow moving and ended up being diverted to help Poniatowski as there was no chance of them reaching the scene of the action in time. However, Eugene’s troops crashed forward, losing men to the Russians as they approached, but doing damage of their own. Assaults were mounted and halted or thrown back. Russian cavalry also threw themselves into the fray, holding back another French division.

And then we had to call it a day. There should have been two more turns, but the need for some to leave early meant we called it as was. We concluded that the Austrians had been halted, but that they were well placed to mount a further attack in due course, probably after using the night to sort themselves out. Poniatowski was reasonably placed, but had run out of space to trade for time and would have had to have held his current position, which we felt would have been difficult. The Russians on the French right/Allied left were relatively unscathed and not under any pressure, they could act as they wished. In the centre, we felt weight of French numbers would have told in due course, but probably not in the remaining two turns. We therefore concluded that the Allied centre would have suffered damage, but that they would probably have been able to hold on until nightfall and withdraw during darkness. This would probably have prompted the Austrians to withdraw as well, leaving the French in possession of the field, but without the victory they had sought. Neither side managed a knockout blow and both commanders would have rued the missed opportunity as both sides lived to fight another day.

And here are some pictures of the action:

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Monty the Desert Rat

 

1813 BLOODY BIG BATTLES

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We met at the Club yesterday for another run out with “Bloody Big Battles” and the amendments for the Napoleonic period. The game was set in 1813 with the French on the back foot in Germany. In accordance with agreed strategy, the Allies are avoiding Napoleon and focusing on his Marshals and this time it was Ney’s turn! Ney has been somewhat ‘enthusiastic’ and got himself exposed with the Allies converging. He has the following under his command:

II Corps Marmont
4

4

1

T S

T S

Heavy Foot Battery

 
III Corps Ney
5

4

1

1

T S

T S

Medium Foot Battery

Heavy Foot Battery

10th Div Ledru

11th Div Razout + 25th Div Scheler (Wurt)

IV Corps Eugene
3

4

4

2

T

T S

T S

Medium Foot Batteries

IT Royal Guard Pino

13 Div Delzons

14 Div Broussier

V Corps (Poles) Poniatowski
4

3

1

T S A

T S A

Medium Foot Battery

16th Div Zayonchek

17th Div Kniaziewicz

VIII Corps (Westphalian) Junot
6

1

T S F

Medium Foot Battery

23rd Div Tharreau + 24th Div Ochs
II Cavalry Corps Montbrun
4 H F  
III Cavalry Corps Grouchy
3 Lt F

So, not too bad. Some useful artillery and plenty of Generals (the ones in bold are on table and count)!

On the Allied side, a combined Austrian (under Schwarzenburg) and Russian (under Barclay de Tolly) force is converging, with the following (all Austrians were Passive and all Russian infantry was Stoic); Russians listed first and Austrians second:

I Corps Gorchakov
4

4

1

T S

T S

Light Foot

 
II Corps Wurttemburg
4

4

1

T S

T S

Light Foot

 
III Corps Raevski
4

4

1

V A

T S

Light Foot

Gren Div
V Corps Yermolov
4

4

1

V A

V A

Heavy Foot

Gd Div

Gren Div

I Cavalry Corps Gollitzin
3 V M  
II Cavalry Corps
3 M
I Corps Colloredo
6

6

1

T S

T

Light Foot

 
II Corps Merveldt
6

6

1

T S

T

Light Foot

 
III Corps Gyulai
6

1

T S

Light Foot

 

 

IV Corps Klenau
6

1

T S

Light Foot

 
Austrian Cuirassiers Nostitz
3 V H  
Austrian Cavalry
3 T M

The table was as follows:

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with the French on the side with the 2 roads exiting centrally as shown on the right of the picture immediately above (apologies for some of the photos – a bright day with the shutters on the Hall windows open meant a patchwork of bright and dark areas on the table). The French were on table from the start, the Allies were split into 3 commands and diced with a 5/6 meaning that they were on table at the start, a 3/4 meant they would arrive on Turn 1 and a 1/2 would see them coming on in Turn 2. The game was scheduled to last 8 turns.

The objective was all about the French Army. The Allies aim was to crush it, Ney’s aim was to check the Allied advance to allow him to break clean and withdraw through the night unmolested. As umpire, this is where I fell a little short of the mark. The French CinC got the idea that all he had to do was keep pulling back and get off the table until I pointed out that that would not check the Allies and that they would still be hot on his heels. He took the point well, but I think he might have played things a little differently had he realised quite what he had to do.

Anyway, off we went. The French deployed pretty much across the table, spreading themselves thinly and with no reserve. They also deployed well forward, although I believe this was to force the Allies to deploy early and then slip away. The Allies could come on anywhere along their own table edge and basically up to the half way point on both flanks.

Allied movement dice rolling started badly and stayed that way. All 3 commanders threw consistently poor dice, which was a shame and did mean that the scenario didn’t go as well as hoped. That’s another point for me – the scenario needed to account more for such poor dice rolling. So, start of Turn 1 and not a single Allied soldier on the Table! And the only ones to arrive were one command of Russians over on the far right (I’ll do everything from a French perspective). Even then, they were slow with quite a few units not moving or only getting a half move.

Turn 2 did see the rest of the Allies arrive, but with not much more haste. The Austrians came on centre and centre left but the left hand (from the French side) Corps did very little. Some accurate artillery fire from the French (Marmont and Eugene) silenced the Austrian batteries and disrupted the infantry. Passive and with no General, they really didn’t get across the Start Line all day.

In the centre the Austrians did better, the presence of Schwarzenburg making all the difference. However, their artillery was sent packing by the Polish gunners and the advance was slow and ponderous. An attempt to drive their cavalry into the right flank of Eugene’s Corps was shot to pieces by the Poles (amazing what a double 6 can do!!) and the advancing infantry had to recover from several disrupts before being able to charge the village held by the Poles. However, accurate fire from the village stopped them in their tracks, killed a number of Austrians and disrupted the leading units. At this stage and with night falling, Poniatowski felt he had done enough and ordered the withdrawal. The guns and one division fell back, but the second division was slow (half move) and was vulnerable to being caught.

Over on the right, Ney’s Corps extended from the Poles further right and then Junot’s Westphalians held the extreme right. The Russians moved better (not passive) and managed to get some cavalry around the French flank and across the stream. The French cavalry threw them back, but the infantry following up caught them from 2 sides and shot them to pieces. The Westphalians then bounced the Russian Guards and Russian Cavalry. Trying to pull away, Russian fire gave a halt, disrupted result and so their planned withdrawal stopped, leaving them really quite exposed as night fell. Of course, Ney’s Corps was there to assist…….oh……. no it wasn’t! The left hand Division was gone – shot to pieces – and the right hand Division was in a poor state – low on ammo and disrupted, almost spent and with hordes of Russians closing, I ruled they would not have made it away.

So, the scores on the doors! Marmont, Eugene, half of the Poles and one French cavalry corps would have made good their escape, Ney’s corps and one cavalry corps were lost, the Westphalians had little chance of breaking clear and it was touch and go for the rest of the Poles. About 50% gone. We concluded Ney’s chat with the Emperor would be both interesting and lacking in coffee and biscuits! But we also felt the Allies would be disappointed. So much more should have been possible but they just couldn’t get it together. The story of much of 1813, in reality, and a real tribute to the command and control in BBB, allowing such to be represented so well and so easily.

Another area of post game discussion was the Allied plan. Clearly when you all throw poor dice, then that’s going to be an issue, but the intent had been to hit the French line in several places at the same time. We debated whether this is really an option with troops with such poor maneuverability. We discussed whether the Allies should have simply pushed forward and then, if necessary, paused rather than trying to get everyone from the start line to the objective simultaneously. We also wondered if they should have made more use of march column – that +1 can really make a difference and, on roads, much ground can be covered quite quickly. Yes, there is risk, but the Allies had the numbers to take losses, what they didn’t have was time.

The other subject is one that has been a constant theme for us. The attackers just don’t seem to be able to get their artillery into action. It moves up limbered, is therefore a prime target, gets hit, gets silenced and goes back. Repeat. Repeat. The exception this time was the Russians, whose guns’ approach was better covered by their infantry, which combined with the French redeployments, including of their artillery, to allow Russian guns to get into decent range (12″ and less) and they were the ones that really hurt Ney’s Corps. We continue to debate this issue – I feel that their approach has to be covered – let cavalry or infantry take the heat until the guns are in the right place and deployed. Harsh, but the guns are real killers in the later Napoleonic age and they are needed. I also felt that this deprived the Allies of the chance to disrupt the French infantry and complicate the withdrawal process. Withdrawing in the face of the enemy is hard, doing it under fire even more so. I wonder if the French would have become more fragmented and vulnerable had they been disrupted by artillery fire much earlier?

Anyway, some piccies of the action:

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Monty the Desert Rat.

 

PICKETT’S CHARGE IS LAUNCHED

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Just in case anyone has missed it, today is a momentous day! Reisswitz Press has published its first set of rules: “Pickett’s Charge” by the very well known David Brown. You can pick up pdf and hard copies at:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/product-category/reisswitz-press/

Happy shopping!

Monty the Desert Rat

 

BBB NAPOLEONICS – RUSSIA 1812

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BBB OFC

We met at the Club on Sunday for a Russian v French 1812 Napoleonic game using “Bloody Big Battles” with a few mods to reflect the Napoleonic period. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos at all! Apologies.

Anyway, it was an encounter battle with 5 objectives on the table, victory going to the side that controlled 3 at the end of the 10th turn. Three were villages closer to the Russian side (fewer generals and passive infantry made this necessary for balance). One was on the left, one left centre and one right over on the right wing. There were 2 objectives closer to the French – one on a hill opposite the village on the Russian left and one central in a village. There were several hills and woods around the table.

On Turn 1 both sides’ left flanks arrived. The Russians made all haste for the left flank village whilst the French advanced on the right flank village (all from a Russian perspective). Second Turn and the French centre came on, heading for the centre village. Both left flanks pressed forward and the Russian cavalry moved up onto the objective hill to their front.

Turn 3 – the French right appeared in march column, pressing towards the hill objective. The Russian left flank commander, having roundly berated his colleagues for their lethargy, was relieved to see both centre and right finally arrive. The former moved up towards the centre left village, now held by the Russian left flank, although they were thinly spread across the 2 objectives they had secured. The Russian right advanced on the village but the French had pretty much beaten them to it.

The Russian left flank cavalry corps then secured its place in history! They charged into the head of a French column, sending it reeling back after riding down a regiment. They didn’t stop there and carried on into the supporting artillery, riding down 3 batteries with the remainder escaping by the skin of their teeth. This drama was set to continue over the ensuing turns. The supporting French cavalry countered, but failed to drive the Russians off, and they duly charged another column, riding down 2 regiments. However, their days were numbered. The remaining French had deployed and a maelstrom of fire cut the brave troopers down. Nevertheless, they had stopped an entire French Corps in its tracks and they were to spend the rest of the game recovering from the effects of this gallant charge and played no substantive part in the remainder of the battle.

The centre also turned into a stand off as the Russians struggled to get forward and deploy and the French, content at securing the objective and viewing this sector as one for ‘economy of force’, remained defensively poised to protect their gains. The high point was the Cossacks chasing off a French artillery concentration from a hill to the right of the village objective, supported by a Russian cavalry corps, but the local French cavalry soon saw them off. The purpose of the Russian actions had, however, been achieved. They were covering the move of the Russian reserve, the Guard Corps, over to the right to support their beleaguered colleagues.

The right flank developed into the key contest of the day. By stealing 2 marches on their opponents, the French had closed on the village objective as the Russians arrived. The leading Russian division successfully cleared the village but the French follow on forces arrived in numbers as the Russian advance stagnated. The French deployed a grand battery (some 150 guns) to the left of the village, bringing it under sustained fire, supported by 2 divisions deployed respectively to the front and right flank. French cavalry screened the right flank and kept the Russian cavalry at bay. The Russians struggled to get their own guns into action, losing a heavy battery early on, placing them at a marked disadvantage in firepower terms. More Russian troops moved into the village but the combined firepower of the French over the space of several hours saw Russian units dying to a man. As dusk gathered and with the last Russian units struggling (still) to get into the fight and with the Guard still too far away, the French attacked. A desperate attempt to support the defenders saw Russian cavalry hurling itself at the guns and protecting cavalry, if only to give the defenders some respite, but 2 French divisions (actually, one was Italian) stormed into the village and the battle was won.

So, how did it go? Great! Once again BBB showed just why it is such a superb set of rules. The French General on the right, who delivered victory for the Emperor, had never played BBB before but soon had the basics firmly grasped. The game flowed swiftly, swung both ways with moments of high drama that will go down in Club legend, and consistently delivered realistic results. Friction was very evident, but not overpowering, period tactics were rewarded, the French felt like they were Napoleonic French and the Russians felt like Russians. The few mods we had made all seemed to work well and helped give the flavour of Napoleonic warfare. Great success and we will be back in Russia soon for a refight of Borodino!

 

SHARP PRACTICE AND CARRONADE

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SP2 Cover small

As some of you may well be aware, Sharp Practice 2 is now available at:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=6&zenid=c8e663f6c6c827a117eb0dbba019de84

I will also be at Carronade this Saturday in Falkirk and will be running a short ‘game’ to demonstrate the rules for anyone who is interested and fancies rolling a few dice.

Monty the Desert Rat

SHARP PRACTICE 2 – AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

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SP2 Cover small

TooFatLardies have announced that the much anticipated Sharp Practice 2 is available for pre-order. There are some stunning discounts to be had here and I am extremely excited by this news. My pre-order is in and now it’s just waiting for release on the 23rd. All the info you need is at:

Sharp Practice Advanced Orders Now Being Taken

and you can buy them here:

http://toofatlardies.co.uk/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=6

 

Monty the Desert Rat