Saturday 18 November 2023

Vimiero - August 1808 - refight 8 Nov 2023

 This week saw Mike and I get his Anglo-Portugal army out to take on my French at Vimiero.  

The British have to hold the village of that name and keep the road to it from Port Nova free of French.  Wellesley's task is to cover British troops landing at Port Nova, so has deployed on a ridge from the sea to Vimiero.  The French are deployed on the ridge facing Vimiero, whilst expecting a flank attack on the British left to arrive soon (decided by a couple of dice rolls).

The scenario map below shows the start positions.

Here are the troops at the start of the game.

British holding Vimiero

French holding their ridge.....   waiting for the flank march.  As the flank march did not happen till turn 3, we rattled through the early stages of the battle as neither Mike nor I wanted to move, Mike's forces on the western ridge started moving slowly.  Combat was restricted to some cannon fire to/from Vimiero.

It then gt a bit "fast and furious" once the flank march came on.  I tried a daring cavalry strike for the road whilst massing my troops for the assault on Vimiero itself.  Mike was not rolling as well as he needed to, so the Brits were not holding the French off.

My cavalry strike did not get to the objective in time, but my assault on Vimiero managed to get a toehold in Vimiero on my last turn.  Mike then riposted with an assault to drive me off and win the game.  Sadly he rolled too low in the assault and thus bounced off, leaving me in possession of what was by now a very battered village.

Glorious French artillery, supporting the final French push

The end of the game, French hold Vimiero for a draw.

Wider view - Vimiero in the middle, battered Portuguese troops behind.

All in all it was a great game.  It was really nice to get my French out and very satisfying to do better than history.  

The flank march definitely adds to the excitement of the game, as neither side knows when it will actually turn up.  Of the three infantry units on the march, only two managed to take part in combat.  

We managed to set up, play and pack up in just over 3 hours, probably helped by our decision to not move for the the first 3 turns but trade artillery fire and banter....

Saturday 4 November 2023

Grand old Duke of York - British in Flanders 1793-95

Having bought the "Neither up nor down" book that covers the British involvement in Flanders, 1793-95, I started the forces needed.  In the scale I usually work in this will be 6 bases of infantry, 6 of cavalry, 2 command stands.  

In March I posted from the workbench in progress here and here are the finished troops so far - 3 units of line infantry, 2 heavy cavalry, the Duke of York himself to lead (astray?) the British troops.  

British Army

Duke of York (white Horse)

Heavy Cav (1st Dragoon Guards & 6th Inniskilling Dragoon Guards)

The Line Infantry 14th, 37th, 53rd

The figures are Baccus AWI British infantry (with French Officer & standard bearers), Napoleonic British cavalry and Generals (with suitable plumes).  Painting white/buff belts over red was a bit of a pain, but not as bad as I initially thought.  


Baden - 1809

 The Army of Baden took part in a number of Napoleon's campaigns.  In 1809 the troops wore a Raupenhelm helmet and blue coats.  Officers wore Bicornes rather than the helmet.  I used Austrian line in Raupenhelm with a French officer in Bicorne for the officer.  

You can't see it on the photos, but Baden troops had a yellow and red fringe below the comb and skull parts of the helmet, so I painted a minuscule stripe of orange to represent this.

Austrian Infantry Command - variations on a theme

 I posted some while ago about making officers, drummers and flag-bearers for Austrian infantry, using Baccus AWI Loyalist figures and doing some conversion work.

Last year's battle of Neerwinden playtest required more units to be raised, so I made the extra units needed but never got round to posting about the troops!  By way of recap, here's my earlier post on converting the figures.

The Austrian officers from 1792-98 wore the Tricorne, with a gradual phasing in of the schiffhut (bicorne hat).  Searching the Baccus catalogue enabled me to do some figure substituting, to make my command bases more interesting:

So here's the officers made to date:


SYW Grenadiers are ideal.  The flag bearer had his flag replaced by a pin and the officer with spontoon (small pike) got this reduced to sword length.

One command got an officer in Tricorne.

Finally one base (on the right) got no officer (as it's following a base with an officer....)

Line infantry

I now have 6 command bases with officers in Schiffhut (plus two, in the background, with no officer).

I also have 3 bases of officers in tricorne, using the SYW Austrian artillery officer and British AWI standard bearers (flagpole shortened to sword), as these wore Bicornes in Flanders 1793-5 so were going spare.

I hope that this has inspired you to give these troops a go....

Mad as hatters 2 - Austrian Artillery

 I was looking at my blog this last week and noticed that a couple of topics were left unfinished, one of which was the Austrian Artillery needed for fighting battles 1792 - 1806.  

As mentioned in my earlier post there were several different hat options available.  Here's an update on two of these:

1790 - 1806 Rundenhat - worn with the rear brim turned up (service dress) (conversion needed).  Has a plume.

Here are the two cannon batteries made so far - two artillery crewmen and one "handlager" picked from a nearby infantry unit to do the heavy lifting.

1790 - 1803 Tricorn (later as full dress only) (SYW Austrian artillery).  Here are three shots of a cavalry battery and a heavy gun (12 pdr) with the crew in Tricornes.  My understanding is that most of the artillery drew rated as NCOs, so there should be plenty of suitable hat trim.

Figures are Baccus (Converted Austrian arty, SYW, Handler from AWI loyalist), guns mounted on 1" 2mm mdd from Warbases.


Saturday 21 October 2023

Talavera - 27/28 July 1809 - refight 11 & 18 Oct 2023

 Fans of the "Sharpe" novels will know that Sharpe's Eagle is set at the battle of Talavera, where Richard Sharpe and his handful of 95th Rifles stop the French.  How did historical fiction play out on the table?  read on...

Mike chose Talavera as our next BBB battle and picked the British army.  This left Ned to take the French and I picked the Italians....  my favourite small French ally.

Our initial deployment was hampered by the club AGM but we got on with turns 1-4, with the Italians taking the left flank towards Talavera town and it's river crossing, Ned decided to go for centre & right.  The British army has a commanding position on a hill, with a nice flat plain for the Franco/Italians to march across.  The Spanish are then using the cover of woods to link the Brits with the Talavera river crossing.  The Brits get a right shift for devastating volleys, balanced by the Spanish being motivated to mainly stand still/run away....

Pics are not comprehensive, just taken when I had a break....

Early on:

British on the hills, Spanish in the woods.  Italians advancing.

French Dragoons & Carabiniers poised (or just making sure the Italian General feels supported?)

Italians moving into the woods, French light Cav lurking on Spanish far right, using woods as cover.   

One of my early moves was to push a 2 base unit of French light Cav to the far right flank of Mike's Spanish.  They did a little bit of manoeuvring to ensure no Spanish came near, neatly tying up the Spanish right as they were outflanked and the Cav COULD sweep down - so they deployed in line and did not move all game (apart from one foray into the wood - the light cav evaded, rallied & returned).

More towards the middle of the game:

The Italians move on Talavera, driving the Spanish before them.  I've ringed the scary two base French cavalry unit as it continues to restrict the Spanish right.

French Hussars & Chasseurs - not only flamboyant but highly effective....  see later.

Italians braving dug-in guns hiding in a wood to take on shaky Spanish 

A little later - Mike shores up his centre and retakes the gun pit objective, but 4 Brit bases now face off 8 French, 3 Italians & 2 Aggressive French Heavy Cav....  On the hill to the left, the French assault the Brit defenders.

Final moves:

Italians and French push into British middle.  The Brits are those above, now backed up by Cav & deployed in line....

French & Italians push the line back...

A little further back...

Meanwhile, on the hill, the Brits get pushed off by hordes of French...  so they rally and counterattack!

The final result of the counter attack - Brits lose 6, French 7, but French retain hill!  British/Spanish light Cav pivot to their right....

Arty takes out British light Cav.  Spanish light Cav has those Hussar/Chasseurs in front, French arty on a far away hill, Veteran Frogs to the right and rear....     ...meanwhile Wellington (bottom of pic) muses if there is a career in India for him, if he ever makes it out alive....

Ned and I did better than expected, with Mike's devastating volleys causing halts and casualties, but no French/Italian units got destroyed.  Mike's Brits performed well, but the Spanish refused to move, shot poorly and in some cases ran away at the sound of battle.  

It was a fun two evenings gaming and it was nice to get the Italians out of their box.  It has inspired me to make some more - if you look carefully you might see some rogue Bavarians as I didn't have enough Italian flag bases.

BBB made it an enjoyable and entertaining game - it was still in balance to the very last move, it could have ended as a draw or Brit win, if they had managed to retake/keep their objectives.

It was also nice to see Mike's Brits & Spanish grace the table - I'm looking forward to some more games soon.

Finally, sadly, in this game, Sharpe did not get his eagle, fame, glory and a promotion...

Sunday 3 September 2023

Maida - two games in an evening! Original battle 4th July, 1806, refight 30th August, 2023


 This Wednesday saw my return to the Leeds club, Mike suggested that we play Corunna or Maida.  I was happy to provide suitable French and Mike fielded some brand new British troops he has recently painted.

Maida is not really BBB material, in that the battle has about 5,200 British troops attacked by 6,400 French.  Both sides had Swiss battalions and the French had Poles.  You can read more here 

We set up the table, with French deploying on a ridge, with a river and wood to their left, the British deployed on a ridge opposite the French.  The battle has 4 turns representing 15 minutes real life, so it's not going to last long.

Initial deployment looked like this:

French deployment 

The view from the British end

I led the French for game 1, which started badly in that two of my units refused to move and two more got half moves.  Once my French actually got started i tried a left hook, but the late start, loss of cavalry and just not having enough troops meant my attack slowed then stalled.  The Brits for lots of cannon and some units had a "D" rating for devastating volley.

Here's the pics from game 1- from left to right:

Inadequate French forces try to assault up a hill...

British defenders on their hill sneering at the French.

Mike deploying the British re-inforcements to pincer the slow French

As the game had only taken half an hour, we reset and swapped ends.  Having now got one game under our belt, we appreciated the need for speed, but were now playing for the other team....

Mike's French sped across the plain, heading for my Brits in an extreme left hook.  I deployed right and managed to do very little damage as they came towards me.  My right hand Brits moved forwards, survived an assault and retreated to higher ground.  My left hand Brits then assaulted Mike's left and got high enough results to exploit.  That D rating just tipped the balance in my favour in the fire-fight.  Once again, the Brits held the ridge.

Pics from game 2:

Brit defenders on the Brit right

Brit Arty swivels to the right

French attackers having a go at my centre

French covering force to distract my left...  getting whittled away

In conclusion, Maida is a really nice game.  

Not many troops needed, but you do get guns and cavalry (French only) so there is a nice mix of troop types.  It's an opportunity to deploy Swiss and Poles, so different uniforms and flags (we just used ordinary troops).  British D firepower gives them the edge, but then the French have skirmishers in abundance.

It's a tough call for the French, who are attacking on a 1:1 ratio, however, the French can pick where to attack and the British have to hold all of their hill.

I would recommend this game in it's own right and as a starter to introduce new players to the game.