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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Lasalle Anglo-Russians vs French AAR

For a change, we did an Anglo-Russian force against a French one set in 1813 in Germany. For the first time we got to have cossacks on the table and some Hanovarians instead of simply British and Portuguese as the opponent. In this scenario the French did not set up as we used a literal fog to hide French dispositions.

The light fog that was in play that limited vision until within 10 base widths. This fog would last 6 turns only. The "?" tickets on the table represent the suspected French positions but nothing more. The French would be able to set up how they wanted having already identified the enemy and waiting in defense until responding. The Allies took advantage of the fog to use march columns to pull up close.

On the French left, some marauding cossacks manage to spot the three battalions of the 70th line. The cossacks would need to wait for the infantry to catch up before pushing on with an attack.

On the French right, the British spot multiple French battalions along with a battery of artillery deployed and waiting. In the center of the French line, a couple of battalions become exposed, but what else could be behind?

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As the Russians advance along the French left, the three battalions of the 2nd légère are revealed as well as the reserve battery just to the right of the picture.

The French center is all out in the open now and a horse artillery battery is deployed probably a bit too close to the front. Not sure why the hill ended up on the stream here, took me a while to catch this and put it back where it was.

Here the Russians and French have mostly closed the gap and the French have left a clear line of sight for the deployed artillery and cavalry to soften the enemy and pounce when the moment is right.

Here the Russians have decided to split up around the grove of trees. The Austrian battery filling in for a Russian battery will actually never fire a shot the entire battle due to being too far back and not having an available target. The Russian uhlans in the rear can be seen moving more toward the center due to a lack of space to deploy.

The cossacks in the center of the field decided that their lance will be enough to win the combat. a bad die roll prevented the 1st battalion of the 4th légère to form square in time. The combat was a narrow victory for the French and a temporary one as Russian Semonovsky Life Guards moving through the woods finished the battalion off the following turn.

The light cavalry brigade on the French right wing move up to fill the gap and stem the tide against the aggressive Russian infantry. The horse artillery battery is having no real effect in either causing damage or in slowing the advance of the Russians.

Here the Russian guard battalion carried the position of the routed French unit and moved itself into a precarious position. The French légère battalions side step to the left to bring the maximum number of muskets to bear and soften up the guardsmen before trying to charge into them. We also had some chasseurs take some Russian infantry head on towards the top of the picture.

Now on the French left flank this was the the beginning of the second round of melées. The first one saw the cossacks and the infantry battalion on the far left going at it. the 3rd battalion of the 70th line failed to form square against the cossacks and was pushed back. The Russian infantry battalion was repulsed and now is receiving a combined attack by the 1st and 2nd battalions.

At the top we see the French battery upon the hill was taken out by a frontal British attack. The French chasseurs in the center are still battling it out against the Russian line unit. A Few Hanovarian battalions can be seen marching up as a late arrival to join the British comrades.

Coming back to the French left flank, we see the cossacks were successful in taking the 3rd battalion of the 70th line out. It failed to form square yet again and paid the price. The Russian infantry to the right tried to take out the French reserve battery. The guns knocked one battalion but are then was forced to limber up and move to the rear. The other two Russian battalions are forced to turn about and defend themselves. The melée in the trees in the center continues to go back and forth with Russians bouncing back during a series of inconclusive attacks.

The French cavalry were unsuccessful in the center and now some Allied artillery is trying to sweep away opposition in the center. Below, we can see the French 1st battalion 36th line atop the edge of the hill. It was successful in stopping the first Russian assault on this position.

The Russian guard unit that so boldly made an attack from the woods did an about face and try to continue its advance only to find itself hit by vengeful French troops. Had it been more patient or the Russians behind him advanced more rapidly, it might not end up getting obliterated in the ensuing combat.

In the center of the image, the French took a chance and attacked the British battery opposite. This attack was thrown back with the artillerymen more determined to hold their position than run. The British have taken control of the flank and are in a turning movement that will only gain momentum.

Here the 1st battalion of the 36th line moves downhill to attempt to break the Russian battalion that was previously thrown back. Russian uhlans have decided there isn't much to do here and form up and move back to the Russian right flank where they started.

The artillery on the Russian flank continues to sit and wait for something. The Russian troops in the wooded area were finally destroyed and the Russian battalion on the far flank continues to be driven back.

The cossacks are taking a bit of a break. Being at 3 hits, they are no longer able to charge and are trying to get to a safe spot and recover. The 1st battalion of the 2nd légère and the 2nd battalion of the 70th line about face in an attempt to pin and blow the cossacks out of their saddles.

Due to the cossacks running around so fast, the 2nd battalion of the 70th line decides to about face and over a couple of turns move up to outflank the artillery that will pose a problem when the Russian battalion here breaks. The French légère at the bottom miss in their firing and the cossacks escape another turn and fail to recover. The other battalions of the French 2nd légère repulsed a Russian infantry attack and the 3rd battalion counters the last Russian battalion in this sector. The Uhlans were pushed back from their first attack on the 2nd battalion. Again, the French failed to form emergency square but won the melée anyway. On their movement turn they formed a square to ward off the uhlans.

The French in the center were partially successful in taking out a battalion but had a battalion retreat back. The Russian artillery, with no real opposition here any longer, are boldly hoping to canister the French center into submission. The French right at this point is nothing more than a few units and a battery of artillery.

The French 3rd battalion loses its combat with the Russian battalion here and is repulsed. The 1st battalion at the bottom of the image doesn't manage to hit the cossacks while the 2nd battalion of the 70th is getting closer to the silent artillery battery.

The 2nd & 3rd battalions of the 36th line try to give one last push to the Russians here in the center. The 4th légère continues a long range musketry duel. Russian canister hits the 1st battalion of the 36th but inflicts little damage. The Russian battery here was also hit by French horse artillery canister shot, but managed to live through it all.

The remnants of the French right. The hussar and chasseur units are attempting to buy time but the inevitable cannot be denied. Any gains on the French left and center will not be fast enough to then engage the other Russian and British forces. The French must call the game. The British player was rolling well today and it shows in the minimal losses he suffered. The Russians were banged up but still stromg enough to not quit the field. Time to retreat deeper into Germany.


Monday, July 14, 2014

New Project and Comparison

With the exception of Napoleon on the extreme left and officer with telescope, these were some Old Glory command figures I traded "Bandit" from The Miniatures Page. I have many of the Old Glory command figures but this was a group I had never acquired.

The reason I'm interested in this set is because of the lady dressed in a hussar outfit as well as the general (Massena with Madame X) seated with his mistress seated on his lap adorned with his hat. A seated cuirassier officer and a seated Napoleon along with Mustafa and a couple of Guard Chasseurs.

One of the things I noticed was that the Old Glory Napoleon was of better quality than the Fantassin Napoleon I had purchased a while back. Like all Fantassin models, the scale is off. Can the Spanish not measure?

This Napoleon would be just as tall as everyone else judging by the length of his legs. The coat looks a little smaller and the chair only comes up half way up Napoleon's back. On the Old Glory figure, the coat is larger and the chair reaches the upper back, giving the impression Napoleon is short. I'm rather glad I passed on painting the Fantassin model after seeing this superior Old Glory version.

AB Dragoons Update

Last year I made a post about an eBay auction I had won for a large group of unpainted French dragoons. It was a good deal even though I had four units of AB dragoons already. This represents my second brigade for Lasalle.

For many years my collection lacked enough dragoons to properly represent some of the large number of units commonly available in Peninsular War battles. I recently had the opportunity to field all eight of the units in my last Lasalle after action report. The division did quite well and looked impressive.

In this group there are two units with yellow facings. 3/4 of my original four units were red and so these additional two make three yellow and three red facings.

Here are the two units with pink facings. The pink is neat in that it is not as commonly seen in the French army. One of my future projects will be to paint some of the nice dismounted models available.

I believe they came out well and considering the huge discount of the auction, it makes this brigade more special for me. Painting and forming them into units instead of a diorama was probably the better choice.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Fire & Fury ACW Game

As an interesting diversion between Napoleonic games, I got to play in an ACW game using a modified version of Fire & Fury. This version used a single D6 versus the normal D10. The charts were of course modified as required in order to accommodate the different dice used.

The battle was not a historical scenario and had two mirror image forces playing in order to test out the modifications. I played on the Union side with two divisions of four brigades and two batteries of artillery each. This is the command for each of the four players.

Union left and Confederate right. Much of the build up for the Union was for a center push and the Confederates tried for a turning of the flank style. Having mirror commands opposing each other, this was going to be down to luck of the dice more than strength of numbers of reserves.

The Union right and Confederate left commands. The Union combined battery in the center knock out a Confederate brigade, directly opposite, in two turns of sustained fire with some good rolls. My stacking the center for punching a hole and then splitting off left & right was going to be a bit easier now.

One the Confederate left, the player was more aggressive and didn't wait for the Union to soften up his lines with artillery bombardments. Seeing the "D" for disordered, you can tell things were bloody quick on this end. Artillery turned out to not be of much use here due to the close proximity of the two forces.

As I made contact for melee, I made sure to leave a couple of brigades in reserve to fill any gap that might appear should my attack go badly. The Confederate brigade on the right in contact with my men was pushed back with some loss. The Confederate brigade on the left did better and pushed my leading brigade back with some loss.

My left front brigade suffered some well aimed artillery artillery fire for a second time and failed their subsequent morale test and broke. The second brigade was hit and I decided to pull back and use the artillery to keep some pressure on the Confederate wing so it would not close in on the center.

Here on the Union right, they managed to hold the Confederates off. Both sides manage to lose a brigade, but the Confederate attempt to push on was stalled. A couple of Union brigades attempt to "L" the Confederate line on the far right. The weakened Confederate brigade left to deal with them won't survive long on its own.

With the Confederate center not open and the artillery battery silenced and about the move to the rear, my left center attack is not going as well. Time for the reserves. The center double artillery battery is broken up and I pull my battery over to my center to aim it at the approaching Confederate right that now sees an opportunity.

Another Confederate brigade breaks and the line pulls back to play defense. The Union line is a bit scattered over here but still intact. The Union have a 2:1 artillery advantage that could be used if the other battery can be brought up into the line.

The Confederate right decides to swing shut just as my second battery unlimbers. My battery at the bottom is low on ammunition and will have to move to the rear on the following turn. I manage to silence the aggressive Confederate battery so it too will have to go to the rear. The Union attack here is also wheeling forward.

In this final photo, one can see a Confederate division reached a breaking point and is gone. The Confederate brigade on the right also had the same problem and so what was left of it and the battery of artillery attached to it leave the field. All four Union divisions are still present, but just barely so. The Confederate players throw in the towel. It was clearly over at this point as we still had all of our artillery and they had only half of their batteries remaining.

Fire and Fury is a difficult set of rules to fall in love with in its sanctioned form. This modification dealt with limiting formations for infantry, upped the fire points for infantry at close range and modified the unit effectiveness by giving a brigade a mandatory removal point. Official Fire and Fury had brigades staying on the field until they were literally slaughtered to a man or they somehow fell out of command range, were spent and rolled badly. That arrangement always prolonged the game play out to the point of fatiguing the players rather than the commands. To avoid fatiguing the players, limiting the number of turns was about the only way to conclude a game with some meaningful closure.

D10's tend to provide crazy results, which I'm sure was the author's clumsy way of dealing with games that tended to wear out the patience of the players. I've not played the regimental version, however hearing the general dissatisfaction with that set of rules, it appears to still be a lagging problem. I enjoyed these modifications as we got through the game in about 2.5 hours and had a clear and obvious conclusion to the game. In August there will be another game with this modification and I'll write that up with some higher quality pictures.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Defend The Hill: Lasalle AAR

After being directed to a post on columns verses lines in Lasalle, I made a suggestion for what I believe was a more constructive approach to dealing with the situation as opposed to some of the suggestions listed on the post. This was not the first time I had run across the issue, as it creeps into all Napoleonic rules to one degree or another. Although I do not recognize this to the level as a problem, I do see an historical point of view that was never addressed for point blank volley fire into deep formations. So, the rule used in this scenario as an experiment is:

An experienced infantry battalion in line, firing into an enemy unit in attack column or waves formation, may double shooting dice if within 2BW.

The latest store battle using Lasalle. This was a six player game with the French having a fair numerical advantage but the Anglo-Portuguese having a better position with concealment, if needed. It was a classic slug fest biding for supremacy of the field. Here we see the Portuguese contingent on the Allied right flank and in the background, the French left wing. The Allies had a numerical advantage on this flank.

I commanded the Allied center, which was to turn out to be the only part of the line that held. I'm certain this was due to the more aggressive nature of the French commanders on the flanks than my commanding.

This is the Allied left flank. Opposing them is an entire division of French dragoons and a brigade of infantry. This was to be the flank that decided the entire battle and would see the fiercest fighting.

Early in the battle the French dragoons were quite impulsive and made some rash charges which largely worked. The British square here manages to push back the dragoons but only for a moment. The French artillery is managing to soften up the defenders along the ridge which will be important later on during combat.

This will be the last image of the Scots Greys in the center. They were subsequently charged and routed off the field in one really decisive combat. Some more exchanges of cannons fire back and forth and little effect for either side.

On the Allied right, the Portuguese units with a Brunswicker battalion mixed in for fun, stand awaiting the rapidly approaching French. The French player on this particular wing seemed to be aggressive in wanting to engage but uncertain as to what formation to use. As it will turn out, multiple units will repeatedly change formation.

Back to the Allied left flank, the front British battalion was unable to pass a discipline test to form a hasty square and was promptly swept from the field. The rear battalion did manage to form square as normal and repulse the dragoons. Attempting to plug the gap, some British light dragoons came from the far left to try and cover the breech from the Scots Greys. The Royal Horse Artillery battery chose to stand its ground and fire into the chargers and take its chances in the melee. Clearly, that was a gamble.

With the artillery slaughtered (no surprise there), the square was a bit isolated and quickly going to be facing multiple cavalry units unless things change. The French artillery on this sector was now silenced due to the inability to have a clear path to any target. From this point on, this flank only managed to turn into a series of melees as the cavalry show no fear of the British battalions who were too spread out to support each other.

On the Allied right flank, the French move the artillery up close and canister the far flanking Cacadore unit. Over a few turns of longshot and canister, it was blown away. The series of melees here should have been in the Allied favor if for no other reason than sheer numbers. Due to the disadvantageous attack column the Allied player chose for a defensive formation, the fire power was reduced. This formation did allow more numbers to be brought to bear on a reduced frontage, however it did not provide and reserve to plug holes. It also could not return fire with as much power.

The French player on this wing was using a tactic used more frequently by the Prussians in 1813-1814. Cavalry come up, force the infantry into square while artillery and infantry take advantage of the situation. Here the Allied commander was facing odds not in his favor and can be excused for not being able to repulse everything thrown at him.

Here we see my opposite moving his forces toward the flank rather than smack dab into the center lines. My artillery played against these columns, but not enough to slow any of the approaching battalions down. Perhaps the Portuguese were seen as the weaker link.

My hussars had been shifted to cover the collapsing Allied left flank and as they arrived, two more British battalions routed. The light dragoons also were beaten off the hill and the great turning movement was made by the French. Both of my hussar units are lining up to charge the victorious French dragoons who moved up too far forward when consolidating their position.

Here in the center, my artillery fired canister until charged. Managing to limber up, they evaded contact with the opposing French battalion and moved to the rear. I then moved them off to try to slow the French tide on my left. My far right battalion (69th Foot) was charged by both the 1er and 2ème battalions of the 4ème Légère. The 69th did some good shooting and only suffered a minor push back from the combat. Here the shooting rule did allow me to easily inflict one casualty on each battalion.

Alas, the Allied right was outflanked to match the other flank. The dead pile on the upper right is quite lopsided when seen to the French dead pile of only one battalion on the upper left of the picture. Even if the break point for the army had not been reached at this point, the Allied player here had clearly a confused defensive strategy. The French may have changed from march column to attack column to line, but the Allied general here couldn't be bothered with dynamic tactics. Not pictured, but on the opposite flank my hussars managed to route the French dragoon unit opposed to it and that act concluded the battle.

In review, the adjusted rule for opposing columns was not as well used here as it could have been. Primarily, the Allied right was never able to exercise it and the center was only able to use it near the end of the battle. Ironically enough, the French managed to use it more effectively against the uninspired Allied right that remained in attack column. This explains why the French here formed into line and did put it to good use. The adjustment is not a game changer by any stretch of the imagination, however it is a bit more formidable than as written currently in the rule book. I believe for the mean time, I will retain it until something changes my mind.