Saturday, January 10, 2009

Dennewitz & My New Saxons

My friend George has recently revived an old tradition in our club - members hosting games on at their homes on Friday nights between club events (which are hosted at a rented hotel function room). We used to do this quite often, in fact the club held ALL of its events in people's basements for over a decade before we got big enough to warrant renting a neutral location montly. This past Friday I decided to take my turn and host a 15mm Napoleonic Volley & Bayonet game. Since I haven't hosted a Napoleonic game using the new V&B rules I chose one of the scenarios from the rulebook - Dennewitz. I liked that it utilized my new Prussian figures that I purchased from GAJO as well as my Italian and Russian figures.

The game went well and I learned a lot about the scenario hosting it for the first time. This scenario has a lot of figures in a rather small space, so maneuver takes a second priority to lines of retreat and secure flanks. Both of the latter ended up being key to the battle. The initial deployments are shown above, for those familiar with the scenario I substituted Russian figures for some of the Prussians, specifically the advanced Armeekrops which deploys on the table. I used my Oplechene figures for the Landwher and kept all the ratings, etc. the same. I chose to use the small battlefield option, but in future games I will probably use the larger battlefield, at least the additional foot of terrain on the eastern side of the battlefield. If you're looking at the tabletop and things look small, we use 2/3 scale V&B stands and rulers to allow us to fight larger battles on standard size tables.

On turn one the French immediately occupied Dennewitz, but surprisingly were pushed right back out in the Allied half of turn one by the Russian Olplechne. The marshy stream on the south side of Dennewitz made subsequent assaults on Dennewitz too difficult and the French chose instead to roll up their heavy artillery battalions and set in for a siege of the town via artillery fire from the neighboring hillside.

On the left flank, initial Russian cavalry units on the battlefield met the advancing French troops outside of Goehlsdorf. When I was reading the order of arrival for the battle and the objectives I didn't anticipate the battle lines ending up running through Goehlsdorf, but that's indeed how it developed in our game. In the next few turns both sides deployed their arriving troops along the battle line running from Dennewitz to Goehlsdorf. During the confusion of this deployment, one regiment of Prussian dragoons (a linear V&B stand) chose a target of opportunity, and charged the heavy artillery battalions that were shelling Dennewitz in the flank. A successfull melee on the first battalion was followed up by a breakthrough charge on a second battery routing both. The following turn the French countercharged the blown Prussian dragoons and annhilited them, but the Prussian players thought that one regiment of dragoons was a fair trade for two battalions of heavy artillery. Other than this exchange the next few turns consisted of scattered long-range artillery fire and further deployment of the arriving armies.

On turn five the fighting began in earnest and also came to an instant climax when a combined Saxon and Italian charge on the Prussian center faltered and resulted in the Saxon and Italian troops falling back through their own reinforcing line disordering it. The following Prussian countercharge was sucessful across the line (with the exception of one stubborn Saxon artillery battalion that held its ground firmly) in routing the repulsed Italians and Saxons en masse opening up a huge gap in the French center. The photo to the left was taken part way through the resolution of the combat on the Prussian turn.

West of Goehlsdorf, theFrench cavalry which had just arrived deployed to guard the French left flank and help support the troops occupying the town. The Russian reserve cavalry was marching to the area and Phil hoped to bottle them up before they could deploy.

The final turn saw French counter charges across the board, but the Prussians held firmly even though the constant fighting had prevented them the opportunity to go stationary. With the primary victory conditions being exhaustion of enemy divisions the Allies were clear winners with no exhausted divisions and they held the Windmill heights for a total score of -1 for the French. The French had 3 divisions exhausted (including one collapsed). The result of the battle a solid Allied victory.

This was a fun game to host. I'd like to thank everyone who came and played, especially Phil who didn't get troops onto the board until late in the game due to my unfamiliarity with the order of arrival of the troops (sorry Phil). I'd also like to specially thank my friend Ed for lending me the Prussian cavalry based on linear stands which I needed for the game.

My New Saxons
(or how to paint a corps in a weekend)

When I decided to host Dennewitz, I scanned the OB and thought to myself, 'Wow, I have everything I need for this!' Then the day I sent out the invitatinos for the game I realized that there was one glaring exception to my assumption. I didn't have any Saxons....and there's a whole CORPS of them in this OB. Lucky for me I had the weekend free and the Saxons used French uniforms so I happened to have some unpainted figures that would be appropriate in my 'dead lead' box. I decided to try my hand at some 'speed painting' using a black primer technique and see if I could paint up a few units. The flags are from printed on plain paper. There are two figure conversions in these units, but until I can get better close-up photos I'm going to leave them a secret.

To my surprise by Saturday evening I had painted up two brigades of infantry and four mounted Generals. Sunday I only had part of the day to paint but I was able to finish the artillerists, and artillery for four battalions of artillery, a brigade of cheveauleger cavalry as well as getting a start on the final two brigades of infantry. Monday night I was able to finish up the last of the infantry and base everything up. They won't win any contests, but I got it all done and still had plenty of time to set up the tabletop and label the troops for the game the following weekend.

Sorry for the poor quality photos, it's very windy here in New Hampshire in the winter and frightfully cold. Setting up my photo setup outside to get proper light is nigh impossible unless we get a very rare warm day, and I really wanted to include the Saxons in this post since I painted them for the battle.

Monday, January 5, 2009

33rd Foot

This is the most recent AWI unit I've completed. This was finished during a week-long power outage last month caused by an ice storm that devastated New England and in particular New Hampshire where I live. Being a hearty New Englander my house is equipped with a generator for emergency use. It powers our furnace, water pump, refrigerators and a few essential lights. With some clever routing of extension cords I was able to get a single lamp running in my painting room, just enough light to give me something to do in between refueling the generator. The unit was completed during the power outtage, along with two batteries which I'll be posting later. I waited until now to post them because I was waiting for the flags to arrive for it.

This is my version of the 33rd foot. I was inspired by Giles Allison's version of this unit which he posted in his blog, particularly when he listed all of the battles the 33rd foot fought in. Many of the battles the 33rd fought in are battles I like to fight on the tabletop. I've chosen to outfit my unit in tricornes, although I'm sure Giles' figure choice is more accurate. These were figures I had on hand when the power went 'poof' and I was desparate to get painting. Like all of my AWI figures, this unit is based for Volley & Bayonet rules as a two battalion unit with an additional skirmisher stand. Depending on the scale of the battle I choose to use this unit in it can represent itself in several scales, or at the highest scale each of the formed stands can represent a regiment (meaning one of the stands could represent the 53rd or 59th line).

The flag for this unit is my first from Rick O'Brien there was very helpful in fulfilling my special request of slightly smaller flags to fit the flag staffs I had already affixed to the figures. Although Rick's flags in full size are spectacular, I'm very happy with the high quality of workmanship he was able to achieve even at this smaller size. I ordered a few more flags in this order that will find their way onto other units soon. If you haven't seen any of Rick's flags, do yourself a favor and visit his site.