Wednesday 26 June 2019

A Little Touch of Leipzig (in the night)

Apologies for the obscure 70s music reference ! Some of you may recall that we started to delve back into the wonderful world of 15mm Napoleonic gaming recently after I finally put together my Quarrie / GdeB mash up rules. A rerun of Albuera ensued recently and that went quite well so it was time for a second go with the "new" rules. We decided to move away from the Peninsula and try some Central European action to see how those armies performed. I will put a link to the rule amendments at the end of the post.

Italian Light Infantry masquerading as Young Guard
I picked the 1813 Dolitz & Probstheyda Scenario from the Napoleonic Scenarios 2 book from Partizan Press, avaliable below, Press/partizan_NS.shtml

An excellent set of scenario books perfect for any rule set. Even with over 6,000 15mm figures for the period I had to make some compromises as I have no Austrians and no French Guard, so my Italian Guard and Russians had a run out instead.

Historical Background 

We will all be familiar with the background of the Battle of Nations and this game represents a small section of that battle, the centre of Napoleons positions in the South of the battlefield to be precise. The game represents the Allied attack of the 18th October and is a simple attack and defend scenario.

Russian Cuirass
Set Up 

12 x 6 table with the Allies marching on the table on move 1 from the left, as viewed in the photos below,

Allies March On
From the French Lines
A fairly straightforward battlefield, there is a line of two villages and a farm along the centre of the table, Dolitz, furthest from the camera, Dosen in the centre and then the Meusdorf Farm. The Farm and Dolitz each had a small wood adjacent to their left flank. On the far side of the table there is another wood and the edge of a steam.

The rear of the French Line is dominated by a ridge line on which the village of Probstheyda is located (green copper spire church) with a fifth and final village, Lossing, which is level with Probstheyda and behind Dolitz.

French Infantry in Dosen
French Orbat

For general stats see the Quarrie / GdeB mash up rules post below, any variations on the standard charts to reflect the lower standard of some of the French units is noted below.

C in C - Murat

Augereau - IX Corps
Brigade Sierawski - 3 x Polish Line Battalions (2 x 36 figs and 1 x 32 figs) and 1 6pdr Polish Foot Battery. Set up between Dolitz and the stream.
Brigade Lagarde - 2 x Legere Battalions (36 , 30) and 2 x Ligne Battalions, both 36, both -1 on standard French Morale. 1 x 8pdr Foot Artillery. Set up in and around Dolitz.
Brigade Semele - 1 x 36 Fig Legere Battalion, 2 x Ligne Battalions 1 x 36 and 1 x 30, the 30 man unit is a- 2 on Morale. 1 x 8pdr Foot Artillery.
Brigade Sulkowski - 1 x 18 man Polish Uhlan Regt and 1 x 6pdr Polish Horse Art.

Victor - II Corps
Brigade Dubreton - 1 x 36 Legere Battalion, 3 x Ligne Battalions 2 x 36 and 1 x 30 (also -1 morale). 1 x 6pdr Foot Artillery. Set up in and around Dosen.
Brigade Dufour - 1 x 36 Ligne, 1 x 30 Ligne, 1 x 30 Legere and 1 x 24 Ligne (-1 Morale). Set up around the Farm.
Brigade Corbineau - 1 x 18 Hussars, 1 x 6pdr Horse Art. Set up between Dosen and the Farm.

French Cuirass
Oudinot  - Guard Corps (all in Reserve behind ridge, activated the turn after one of the front villages is either assaulted or fired on by musketry.
Brigade Pacthod - 4 x 32 Young Guard, 8pdr Foot Artillery
Brigade Curial - Italian Guard Grenadiers, Italian Guard Fusiliers both 30 figs, Italian Guard Velites 32 Figs, Italian Guard Foot Artillery 12pdr.
Brigade Bouresoulle - 3 x 24 Fig Cuirassier, 1 x 24 Dragoon (inferior mounts)

On a roll of 12 on initiative - Napoleon arrives anywhere on the French baseline escorted by 1 x 24 Guard Lancer and 1 x 24 Guard Chasseur.

Italian Guard on the ridge
Allied Army

C in C Schwarzenberg (remember Russian troops have been substituted in for Austrians)

Hesse Homburg - move on table opposite Dolitz
Brigade Roth - 3 x 48 Fig Russian Infantry Battalions one with -1 morale. 3 x 36 Fig Russian Infantry Battalions one with -1 morale. 1 x 6pdr Prussian Foot Artillery.
Brigade Mezentzov- 1 x 48 Fig Russian Infantry Battalion, 2 x 36 Fig Russian Infantry Battalions both with -1 morale. 1 x 30 figure Prussian Landwher, 1 x 6pdr Prussian Foot Artillery.
Brigade Vassov - 1 x 36 Fig Russian Grenadier Battalion, -1 morale. 2 x 16 Fig Prussian Hussar one with + 1 morale and 1 x 6pdr Prussian Horse Art.

Cossacks in a wood, what a surprise 
Gorchakov - move on table opposite Dosen
Brigade Grenadier - 4 x 32 Grenadier Battalions, 2 Prussian, 2 Russian. 1 x 6pdr Prussian Foot Artillery
Brigade Laelin - 1 x 24 Russian Guard Cuirass, 1 x 24 Russian Cuirass
Brigade Larkov - 2 x 24 Russian Cuirass

Russian Infantry Battalions attack
Barclay move on table opposite the Farm
Brigade Pirch  - 1 x 32 Prussian Fusilier (+1 morale), 1 x 32 Prussian Musketeer, 2 x 24 Reserve Prussian Infantry, 2 x 24 Prussian Landwher.
Brigade Von Kluse - 1 x 32 Prussian Fusilier (+1 morale), 1 x 32 Prussian Musketeer, 2 x 24 Prussian Reserve Infantry, 2 x 24 Prussian Landwher, 1 x Prussian Foot Artillery, 1 x 16 Landwher Cavalry.
Brigade Oldenkop - 5 x 32 Fig Russian Infantry Battalions (2 are -1 morale) and 1 Russian Position Battery
Brigade Zilowski  - 1 x 24 Russian Uhlan, 1 x 18 Russian Hussar, 1 x Russian Horse Artillery.

Prussian Reserve Infantry on the move
How did we get on 

We actually played through the scenario twice and it was quite an interesting experience having a go at a Central European battle after the Albuera Peninsula game. National Characteristics definitely give each army a personality and once you become aware of its strengths you start to alter your tactics to those of that nation, something I have been after in a game for a long time.

1st shot 6 gun battery, low ammo !
Normally I let the photos follow the story of the game but on this occasion they are a bit random, one because we played through twice and secondly because I was too busy taking notes about the rules rather than what was happening in the games.

Prussian Infantry attacking the Farm
In game 1 the match was over pretty quickly, the attack on Dolitz was a bloody affair with the Russians failing to gain any headway against the village and the Polish Infantry who had formed a line behind the stream. It wasn't long before the attacking Russians were streaming back to the baseline.

Another view of the Prussian attack on the Farm
In the centre the Allies sat there and got shot ! The Russian Guard Cuirass ended up retiring off the table without moving forward at all. That woke the rest of the troops up and there was a glorious charge against a gun line (see top photo) at the end of that game.

Waiting to go again in game 2
The Farm side of the table ground to a stalemate fairly quickly, the attack started on the Farm but all the French Heavy Cavalry came out to play, putting the Prussian Infantry in square ending any movement. With all the Russians running away at the end of our first session we decided just to reset and go again. I made a couple of changes to the orbat (the French started with the Guard Cavalry in game 1). Overall an easy Victory for the French in our first run through.

French Infantry in Dosen
Another aspect of game 1 was the atrocious dice rolling of the Allies (including myself) the double one for the Russian Artillery in the photo above was just the start, we have all had it, those days where you can't roll over 5 on 2 d6 until you need to roll low when you roll a double 6 !

French in the Farm
Game 2 went on for a lot longer (3 sessions) and was a much closer affair. We realised that we had been allowing too many people to shoot out of built up areas which made the approach to the villages a bit easier and the removal of the Guard Cavalry made the French player a little bit more cautious.

Attack on Dolitz in Game 2
The Russian attack on Dolitz was more sustained and they had a good deal of success against the French in the wood near the village, however the downfall this time was the Polish on the flank who pushed home their own attack in support of the village, there were some further shocking die rolls by the Russians but all in all a much closer battle.

French Cavalry mass behind the lines
In the centre the Allies wisely stayed out of range of the French Artillery, this time the French Cavalry massed behind the lines in the centre of the table but it all ended up with a lot of posturing. The Allies never got a clear run at a target whilst the French kept failing command rolls and remained on Hold orders behind the central village.

Cossacks skirmishing against Young Guard
The area around the Farm got a bit more fruity this time, this time the Russian Infantry led the attack, one thing we have quickly learnt is there is no point messing about firing Russian Infantry, get them stuck in as soon as you can. A battle raged over the woods adjacent to the Farm and the French sent two units of Young Guard to hold the line.

Prussian Infantry supporting the Russian attack
The Russians attacking the Farm failed to charge but those in the wood unceremoniously dumped the Young Guard out of the cover and into the path of a waiting Russian Hussar unit.

End of the Young Guard
The French committed the Italian Guard to hold the line in that area, the Allies had turned the flank but the new line at a right angle anchored on Probstheyda was pretty strong but was lacking Cavalry support.

We finished the game at this point entering a period of stalemate, the Allies had made more progress than before but had failed to get into the villages, with a bit more luck on dice rolls we could have got into the front line of built up areas but I don't think there is enough to get into the rear towns, it also felt that the French had a lot of artillery and with the ridge line they could often get multiple batteries on one unit when needed.

Italian Guard coming to the rescue
Rules Development 

The original Quarrie / GdeB mash up rules post can be accessed below,

There is still some work to do to get them perfect but I am happy with the progress and it's given me a renewed interest in Napoleonic gaming (which was my first gaming period) after years of inactivity so that in itself is a huge positive.

General de Brigade makes it harder to get into contact than other rules but when you do melee is over quickly, usually in a single round and there is none of the enormous black holes pulling in multiple units into massive combats which last 3 plus turns like say Gilders which needs a change of mind set from players of those sets.

The magic floaty tree
We found getting into contact a real problem in this game which is interesting as that wasn't an issue in the Peninsula bash, maybe we were expecting the British to shoot units off ?

The main discussion point and change from the game was the +1 for infantry charging in column. Infantry now has a charging factor for melee and a confused factor when not. We found that a plus 1 on top of the Impact factor was too much but we needed to reflect the impetus of charging in column so the decision was to count the Impact factor as the charging column factor and add a -1 to the Impact when charging in any other formation. The exception being the British.

I hope to get at least one more Napoleonic Game in before Xmas, oh the joy of too many collections ! Next game, currently on table is Spanish Civil War.

Wednesday 12 June 2019

The "Not" Jutland Ship Collection

Some people have drug or alcohol addictions I have model ships ! Not satisfied with all the ships at Jutland (250 for the uneducated) I could only stand withdrawal symptoms for so long before embarking on the lesser "Not" at Jutland collection.

All ships are 1/2400 scale GHQ and a handy guide on how I paint them is avaliable on the link below.

So let's have a run down of the new ships starting with Team Britain.

HMS Queen Elizabeth 

The lead ship of a class of Super Dreadnoughts, 3 knots faster than the standard 21 knot Dreadnought, she and her sisters were designed to form a Fast Squadron. With 8 15" guns and 13" armour QE was a formidable force.

Whilst undergoing trials in the Mediterranean she was called up for the Dardanelles Campaign where she served as a flag ship. After that ill fated action QE returned to the Grand Fleet at Scapa, however she missed the big day as the ship was in dock for maintenance.

Later in the 1st World War QE became the flagship of the Grand Fleet and went on to see extensive service in WW2, being badly damaged at Alexandria by Italian Frogmen.

HMS Dreadnought

The ship that started a revolution in Naval Warfare, launched in 1906 she was the first Ship to have a single calibre main armament (12" guns) and steam turbine engines which gave a top speed of 21 knots. Both of which made the existing Battleships or the now Pre Dreadnoughts, obsolete.

Despite the fanfare of Dreadnoughts launch her active career was less auspicious. The ship rammed and sank a U Boat in 1915 but missed Jutland whilst in dock being refitted. After that there was a stint in the home fleet before being scrapped in 1921.

HMAS Australia 

One of three Indefatigable Class Battlecruisers and the only Capital ship in the Australian Navy, she began the war searching for the German East India Squadron before being transferred to the North Sea.

Australia missed Jutland as she was in dock for repair following a collision with her sister ship New Zealand. The Battlecruiser returned to Australia after the war but was scuttled as a result of the Washington Naval Treaty.

HMS Glorious 

A strange beast, the second of three Courageous Class Battlecruisers, armed with 4 15" guns, with a top speed of 32 knots but very thin armour (3" belt).

One thing immediately obvious is the decks, rather than the standard teak decking of the time this class of ship had bare metal decks to save weight and therefore increase speed.

The ship took part in the second Battle of Heligoland Bight but after the war she was converted into an aircraft carrier, the model itself is huge and only just fits on the 120mm base.

The four new British "Capital" Ships 

HMS Drake

The next two ships fall firmly in the "why and when did I buy that" category.

When going through the "to do" box I found this Drake Class Armoured Cruiser but for the life of me I can't figure out where it came from. Coronel I hear you call, but alas no; I already own HMS Good Hope.

But never mind whilst the ship yards are open...... painted up as the lead ship of the Class it adds to my Armoured Cruiser collection. Before WW1 she was stationed in Australia before returning to the UK to be part of the 7th Cruiser Sqn. She was torpedoed in shallow water in 1917.

I love the detail on this ship, a hint of black wash in the recesses works nicely.

HMS Kent 

Lying in the box next to Drake was a Monmouth Class Armoured Cruiser, clearly there has been some sort of Coronel mix up going on as the Class name of that group, famously lost in the South Atlantic battle.

So rather than leave the model unpainted she has been finished and named HMS Kent.

Kent was refitting at the start of the war and spent time in the South Atlantic after Coronel playing a part in sinking the German Light Cruisers Nurnberg (Falklands) and Dresden. She was on the West African coast at the time of Jutland.

That concludes the new additions to Team GB, all I have planned to add are Repulse, Renown, Furious and the mysteriously missing HMS Audacious which I am sure I bought but can't find !

Team German

SMS K├Ânig Albert

The fourth ship of the Kaiser Class Dreadnoughts she was in dry dock for maintenance at the time of Jutland, a big miss for the High Seas Fleet.

SMS Goeben

I previewed this ship a couple of weeks back, I had been suffering a spot of Painters Block after the rush of the Italian Wars Project but finally managed to drag myself forward and get this model finished to hopefully get the Vallejo flowing again.

Another lovely GHQ model. Goeben was in the Mediterranean at the start of the war and was transferred to Turkey. Our Naval Campaign has historically taken a different route and the ship has been recalled to the 1st Scouting Group, hence the need for the ship.

It's going to be great seeing her go into action alongside her sister Moltke. The German Capital Ships are all done now and I have some early Pre Dreadnoughts and Armoured Cruisers on the go (from Tumbling Dice) so look out for a review on those soon.

Konig Albert firing it's front turrets
Out of interest I took a picture is Queen Elizabeth next to Dreadnought, it's amazing to see the two ships side by side in the same scale, Dreadnought as we know was a revolution but look how far things moved between 1906 and 1914. The sheer size of QE paints a real picture.