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Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Bridge AAR

A battle that turned out to be smaller than I had originally expected. Everyone appeared to be busy this weekend and so a 1-on-1 game is what we settled on playing. So that the game would not drag on relentlessly and appear aimless, I setup the scenario for 10 turns each and to have control over the bridge as the objective for winning. Each side had pretty similar forces but some slight differences in artillery and cavalry. I hadn't finished my 3rd battalion of AB Portuguese, so my Old Glory units filled in the Portuguese brigade for the British 3rd Division.

Both sides cautiously move forward through the center. The natural tendency is to cling to the villages either side of the stream. Although the stream is fordable, it does restrict movement. The bridge is a natural bottleneck and no one really wants to be stuck crossing it in an unfortunate formation such as a column. In my mind, it makes a good objective because you cannot take it and hide within its confines the way you would a village, forest or on top of a hill.

The French (my side) right wing. Both sides had smartly placed their cavalry on the plains where they could maximize their movement advantage. The British light cavalry brigade can be seen at the top moving up to meet the French advance.

The Portuguese move up to secure their side of the stream. The British chose to place the artillery in the center to secure the objective through firepower. I placed my battery beside the village to help sweep the open area. Although I only had a single horse artillery battery, it did prove to be more useful as this position permitted me to get into action sooner than the British battery, which never managed to open fire.

As I tried to close in around the bridge, the British infantry took a deeper interest in my advance in the center and moved to apply pressure on my flank. This ultimately lead me to divert a few battalions to square off against them.

The French dragoons had charged in with the best of intentions but were pushed back. Although the dragoons had a slight numerical advantage, I was unable to really make great use of that due to available space. I did manage to go after the slightly easier target first, being the British light dragoons and saving the British hussars when I could gain an advantage over them.

The horse artillery didn't manage to soften the British line up much here and so the French line infantry are going to have to try and rely on some brute force to break it up. I had to be careful in advancing with the infantry as I was fully expecting the British cavalry to come charging out and force my troops to form square. They showed some uncharacteristic restraint in not charging the infantry, probably more concerned with the French dragoons.

The Anglo-Portuguese have managed to form around the bridge in a position that would permit them to have a crossfire with any of my French troops that look to seize the objective. A solid move.

I had to form into line to counter the firepower that the British troops here were able to deliver. In forming into line, my movement slowed down and when combined with the terrain, bogged my advance down. One battalion tried to advance in column and batter its way across, but the Portuguese didn't give way. It would take repeated attempts to make a crossing.

Part of 2eme Legere, having made its way through the olive rows, attempted to push the British position back. After a couple of exchanges of fire, on top of the one the British infantry fired upon the French closing up, the left battalion has taken some serious disruptions that will handicap it in the upcoming melee.

A grand charge of the entire right wing. The French dragoons, having obtained a clear numerical advantage by breaking one of the British light dragoon regiments, now decide to proceed all out and perform a combined charge with the infantry. There isn't a qualitative advantage but there is a numerical advantage that the French have in their favor.

From another angle, part of the French dragoon brigade remains in reserve. The combat results turn out to be the loss of the British hussars and the 94th Foot break. The light dragoons would be in a horrible and isolated position were it not for the end of the scenario.

The 2nd Battalion of the 2eme Legere broke as the French charge here failed quite miserably. While the French manage to inflict slightly more casualties than they took and obtain a contested foothold on the other side of the stream, it wasn't convincing to declare a victory by the time constraints. The attack column failed to live up to its reputation and the Anglo-Portuguese infantry managed to stay solid and deliver enough fire power to weaken the French attacks. The British leftwing/French rightwing was more in the French's favor, but was not enough to decide the game. More damage would have been required to achieve victory through breaking the enemy force.

The end result was a draw.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

AB Peninsula British Infantry

A while back I departed with my Eureka 15mm British infantry with Belgic shakos as a way of motivating me to finish this project. Although I am fond of the Belgic, it isn't entirely accurate for the Peninsular theater where I am focused. With work and life, progress was slow and putting on a game was going to be a challenge unless I wanted to unleash my Spanish to fight alone.

This is 2/3 of Picton's Third Division from 1810-1811. The Seven British battalions were accompanied with 3 Portuguese battalions. I hope to have the final Portuguese battalion completed soon.

I'm happy with how they came out and just wanted to update the blog with some more relevant content. After I complete this division, I have one more to get me to where I want to be.

I might also mention that I went with the at ease pose due to concerns with bayonets. Anyone familiar with the Eureka figures knows the metal is a bit softer and if you're going to have other gamers handling your figures, you had best do what you can to prevent broken bayonets. No such problem here. I also notice with the AB range that this pose has more variety including a few without shakos and in a fatigue cap and a few missing any hat at all. A little variety is good and can be fun to play around with.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

New Napoleonic Scenario Books


Finding good scenario books is a challenge as most are rule set specific and often won't translate well into other rule sets. Sometimes scenarios that are available are all too common and frequently too large for many gamers to get involved in. Napoleonic gamers know of Wagram, but not many are aware of the smaller battles leading up to the climatic battle itself.

The first two volumes of the 1809 Danube campaign are now ready for you to reserve. Two more scenario books for the 1809 Danube campaign will follow shortly. These volumes, produced by the venerable Michael Hopper, author of Rise of Eagles, is producing a line of scenario books with many smaller unknown scenarios. The first two are fairly extensive and represent years of work and play testing to work out a finished product that any Napoleonic gamer would want to add to a collection.

These scenario books will only be produced in a limited run, so if you choose to wait you will miss out. If you want to own a finely produced scenario book to expand your game playing or inspire you to run a unique scenario with a chance of completing an entire campaign, this is your chance. You may contact Michael Hopper at: log1cal.mh@gmail.com

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Battle of Guilford Courthouse March 15, 1784

It has been a while since I've posted, but I look forward to getting back on track. In February I was privileged to play in a refight of the historic Guilford Courthouse during the American War of Independence. Although not a large battle, it did contain a good number of units that would later take part in the Battle of Yorktown. Here we see Cornwallis' command entering the field.

The Americans have three lines of defense. The first two are made of militia units, with the first being untested militia who had orders to give two good shots and retire. The first line also had some small light infantry and cavalry units to harass the flanks of the British. The third line contains the Continental regiments, which are the best quality of troops Greene has.

The American plan is to delay the British and inflict as many casualties as possible. The cavalry and light infantry are to harass and fall back all the way up to Guilford Courthouse, should they survive.

Here we have the first line of North Carolina militia units waiting behind the fence line. Lt. Colonel Washington's cavalry unit along with his light infantry. On the far side of the American line, you can see some of Light Horse Harry Lee's light infantry.

Here are the Virginia militia regiments in the second line. These militia were deemed a bit more reliable and in our refight, would prove to be a very difficult line to break.

The British advance after some cannon fire upon the militia. The British had hoped their cannon could clear the way, but it would take more than cannon to push the North Carolina militia units aside. Lt. Colonel Washington's light units are engaging the Hessian jaeger unit while Tarleton's cavalry enter the field (upper right).

Lee's light troops are tangling with the Hessians in an aggressive firefight that will wear down both sides. One of the North Carolina militia units had broke and left a gap due to continuous artillery fire. Cornwallis in this refight decided to use his cannons boldly, which managed to inflict minor damage.

With the Hessian jaegers eliminated early on, British Gen. Webster now has the problem of Lt. Colonel Washington's intact light infantry and dragoons on his flank. This threat to his flank would later prove to be a major problem as the British advance would be stalled.

Lee's light units fall back after some unsuccessful combat. Cornwallis' artillery continues to fire upon the North Carolina militia.

The British made an advance and the North Carolina militia were driven off. British General O'Hara's 2nd Guards and some converged Grenadiers then surged forward toward the Virginia militia manning the 2nd line.

Webster's troops have a dilemma before them. If they push on to attack the 2nd line, they will be shot at by rifled armed light troops and possibly hit in the rear by Washington's cavalry. The smaller light infantry units are faster than the British line regiments and can easily evade combat.

British General Leslie has decided to risk it and brave the harassment from Harry Lee's light troops. As you can see, the British attempting to move forward too quickly is leading to their units becoming disorganized as they are forced to fight effectively in different directions.

O'Hara and Webster's troops are attempting to destroy Lt. Colonel Washington's light troops that are managing to snipe at the British advance. The Virginia militia had managed to maul some of the British units before being broken. The casualty marker attest to the near breaking of multiple British units before they can even contact the fresh third line of defense.

Webster's regiments being continuously delayed fighting smaller numbers of American troops. The choice is either get shot in the back or turn and face your enemy.

One of General Leslie's desperate attempts to protect the army's artillery with the battered 1st Foot Guards.

Webster's men finally broke from the fire of Lt. Colonel Washington's light troops (note the row of casualty markers). The converged grenadiers attempted and succeeded in destroying one of Washington's light infantry units. The overall exchange not being favorable to the British side.

A major attempt to push the attack on the final American line after dealing with Lee's troops and Virginia militia. As can be seen, the casualty markers mean these units are almost to the breaking point.

A rash British attempt to subdue the Continentals with the British artillery sections deploying before the Courthouse. Greene's Continentals can't resist and come down from the hill to try and take the guns.

The left of Green's 3rd line is cautiously sitting on the hill with the cannons, just in case the attack fails.

With Webster's command broken, O'Hara is forced back by the faster moving light troops of Lt. Colonel Washington. The grenadiers are close to their breaking point and so this was a smart idea.

After dealing with Cornwallis' artillery, the Hessians use the sacrificed artillery to advance up the road.

The Hessian unit makes a desperate charge into the American artillery, which fails to win the day.

On the right, all that remains of the British that began this battle. Time to retreat toward Yorktown?

A closer image of Cornwallis and the few units he has still upon the field. The Continental regiment pictured is also mauled from frontally engaging the British artillery.

Historically, it was a British victory, with the Americans being brushed aside. In this refight, the British had the misfortune of not dealing with the American light units effectively, which cost them the game. Not really pictured, were Tarleton's infamous cavalry. The reason they're not featured is because they suffered a major defeat that broke the unit very early in the game (didn't get a chance to picture that combat). The British cavalry could have been used to counter the American flanking actions had they not been used as a battering ram.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Gettysburg Day 2

The group had played Day 1 of Gettysburg and now onto day 2. Since I haven't posted anything in a while, I thought I'd share this even if the pictures aren't close ups. This view is looking down from Power's Hill toward Little Round Top on the left.

Part of the Union center engaged against A.P. Hill. Some of Longstreet's corps can be seen in the upper left. It may not seem like it, but there are around 8,500 figures on this table.

Another view of the center facing toward Cemetery Hill. Lots of fresh Union troops await any Confederate break through.

Ewell's corps on the extreme left. The attacking up hill through the woods would prove inconclusive and bloody.

The rest of Ewell's corps wrapping around Culp's Hill. As in real life, the wooded hills proved to be too difficult to attack successfully. The Union was able to move reinforcements around to reinforce any point when needed. The Confederates did not have any reinforcements. This was the corps I commanded and although I made some holes here by the end of the game, Union troops held in reserve were waiting with artillery.

At the "fish hook", the defense was still just as good as Union troops were firmly behind breastworks. Other than charging in and hoping for a good die roll, there wasn't much to be done. You can't really stand off and trade shots and charging means trying to dislodge defenders on favorable ground.

The stone walls worked very much in the Union favor. Being unable to effectively weaken your target before closing in makes for combats that just chew up units.

We did try to attack this corner repeatedly but the defenses held out. The Union brought over several regiments from their reserve to reinforce the position with fresh troops. Near the end of the game some progress was made by the Confederates in trying to crack the position but the Union reinforcements arrived in time and reversed the push.

One can see a lot of Confederates stacked up here waiting for their break. We had the intention of breaking this corner and then rolling up both ends of the lines. Even with more time, not sure it could have been done. Their ability to bring over fresh units meant the Confederates had to fight superior numbers looking down from their high ground positions.

The center was mostly a holding action as the Confederates had optimism either Little Round Top or Cemetery Hill would be taken. Wasn't a whole lot of movement during the game so the positions stayed mostly where they began. The Confederates weren't successful this day, so Pickett's men may have to be called up.