Tuesday, 2 January 2018

A Bridge too Near

On Saturday morning JC arrived to take part in the annual JC-WM stoush. Still smarting from his stinging defeat of twelve months ago, JC once more took command of the Prussians and was determined to wreak his revenge.

The rules in use were Stryker's Muskets & Marshals v.5.3, although with a special amendment. The untried Prussian reserve battalions, we decided, would test for their moral class the moment they came under fire. One D6 would be thrown for each battalion: a score of 1,2 or 3 would make it C class and a 4 or a 5 would bump them up to B. Throwing a six, however, would make it A class fanatics, driven by an unquenchable hatred for their former French overlords.

The situation

A strong Franco-Bavarian advanced corps of two divisions has established a bridgehead across a river, occupying the hills and villages on the far bank. The French have to hold these positions until nightfall (10 turns). The Prussian mission is simple - to seize and hold the bridge and cut off the French.

La Debacle

To cut a long story short, it was a swift and decisive Prussian victory, which left JC feeling very pleased indeed. Almost nothing seemed to go right for the French.

Let Battle commence....
JC's plan was to throw everything he had at the bridge and the farm, while leaving a token force to delay and disrupt any counter offensives by the French left. My plan, such as it was, was to cram as many of my best troops as I could into the approaches to the bridge. The strong task force in my centre and left, I assumed, would easily deal with JC's right, which was made up of C-class troops and a single regiment of hussars. Aaah, this'll be a breeze, I said to myself.

As JC's forces straggled forwards, I prepared my riposte.
This'll teach him, I thought.....
But there was method to JC's apparent madness. His advance may have looked a bit disorganised, but is was bristling with firepower. I discovered this by rashly attempting to ride down the Neumark Landwehr with my lancers.  It...um... ended Murat's ambitions.

...but the only one receiving a lesson was me.

As the lancers retreated to safety, JC's crack Silesian marksmen advanced into the woods flanking the approaches to the bridge. A deadly firefight ensued against the French Combined Voltigeurs lurking amongst the trees - deadly for the Voltigeurs, that is. The Silesians hardly suffered a scratch.

If you go into the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise...

It was my first intimation of JC's uncanny dice-throwing abilities. So much started to become clear when the Empress Dragoons were utterly annihilated after only two rounds of melee with JC's Leib Hussars. More or less the only thing I could do after that was to lob cannon balls at them until they scuttled off for cover behind some trees. The Lutzowers, by the way, spent the entire battle lurking behind that hedge.

I forgot the Leib Hussars are invincible......

Safe from any sort of cavalry menace on his flank, JC sent in his Silesian regulars and 21st Reserve Regiment against the farm. The 21st, to JC's distress, tested as C-class, and sure enough the two battalions could make no impression at all against the farm, which was valiantly held by the 13th Legere. They needn't have bothered, however, as it had absolutely no effect on the rapidly unfolding debacle going on behind them.

It was just like Rorke's Drift, which would have been fine but for the 
Isandlwana which was also starting to unfold just off camera.

I knew something was up when JC's 18th Regiment tested as A-class as soon as they came under fire. In no time at all they were carving through my Bavarians. Most remarkable of all, however, was the performance of the B-class Field Battalion Bremen. They not only stopped my Imperial Guard in their tracks but then beat them up in fine style.

JC seeing off my crack battalions armed with only Prussian reservists
and Hanoverians

With mounting panic there seemed nothing for it but to launch an attack with my Swiss, supported by the remnants of the Lancers. Amazingly, they managed to see off JC's Cuirassiers, but it was all far too little and too late.

One of my very few and entirely pyhrric victories.

The end came in the next move. With my Bavarians and voltigeurs already routed, I had only a single battalion of line infantry left to try and stop the rot. They'd barely begun to move, however, when the Guard broke and fled before the absolutely unstoppable Hanoverians. With JC's Prussian foot guards bearing down on me, half my infantry gone, and all my cavalry in tatters, there was nothing for it but to thrown in the towel.

La Garde Recule, made all the more atmospheric by me
accidentally smearing my phone's camera lens.
JC, needless to say, was absolutely delighted and so, in a way, was I. This is just the incentive I need, I thought, to crack on and paint some more Frenchmen.

Happy New Year, Everyone!


Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Garrison Troops

It rained buckets in Wellington yesterday, so our traditional Boxing Day hike up a lump in the landscape was postponed. What I did instead, of course, was finish my Garrison infantry. Pictured below is the result.

The figures, which are nearly all from the 1972 Garrison French Napoleonic range, are:

FN 1: Old Guard Grenadier Officer, converted into a Line Officer, x 1;
FN 2: Old Guard Grenadier advancing, x 6;
FN 4: Line Officer, converted into an eagle-bearer, x 1;
FN 7: Line Fusilier advancing, x 9; and, for the Voltigeurs,
FN 9: Line Grenadier advancing, x 6.

The only non-Garrison figure is the drummer, who was converted from a Lamming FI/6: Imperial Guard Grenadier drummer.

Garrison 25mm French Napoleonic Line Infantry

Garrison 25mm French Napoleonic Line Infantry

Garrison 25mm French Napoleonic Line Infantry

Garrison 25mm French Napoleonic Line Infantry

Garrison 25mm French Napoleonic Line Infantry

Garrison 25mm French Napoleonic Line Infantry

The last shot shows the new battalion besides my Der Kriegspielers Swiss, with Soult as the proud Brigadier. I wasn't really sure how they were going to fit in with the rest of my French army when I started them, but I think I've just about got away with it.

Seeing them together like this suggests that another pre-Bardin line battalion is needed in order to give Soult his division.

There's a bit more artillery required first, however, and another battle to fight on New Year's Day.

Happy New Year everyone.


Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas

No French infantry for Christmas, but we don't care because Wellington Girl did this:

Merry Christmas!


Friday, 15 December 2017

A Wargaming Classic

One of the reasons I've wanted to paint Garrisons for so long is that masses of them appeared in the war games books I read when I was a lad. A lot of the photos in these books, of course, were of Peter Gilder's amazing collections. I didn't know they were Garrisons back then, but I thought they were magnificent all the same.

The all-time classic photo of Peter's troops, as far as I was concerned, was the one that appeared on the dust jacket of Bruce Quarrie's Napoleon's Campaigns in Miniature, published in 1977. The whole cover can be seen here. I spent hours staring at this picture and wondering where the figures came from.

A lot of the soldiers shown marching to their doom at Waterloo in this photo, I now realise, are Garrisons. The detail from the dust jacket I've posted below ought to show what I mean. Those are definitely Garrisons in the back two rows of the column in the foreground, and I think they make up most of the third and fourth rows in the other column as well.

Also depicted, of course, are zillions of Hinton Hunts and Hinchliffes. I'm almost sure that the chaps sporting the red and yellow plumes and marching beside them, however, are Lamming French line voltiguers, although what they're doing in company with the Imperial Guard is anybody's guess. The British on the ridge, by the way, look like S-Range Minifigs and Lammings to me, but if anyone knows better please don't hesitate to say so in the comments.

My own Garrison guardsmen, painted to represent line infantry grenadiers, are shown below. The figures are all Garrison FN 2: Old Guard Grenadier Advancing.

The last two fusilier and voltigeur companies are now on the painting table, but it remains to be seen whether or not I can get them finished before Christmas. Just in case I don't, here's the first half battalion to be going on with:

That's it for now,


Edit: I've added in an extra photo to show how the FN 7 Fusilier and the FN 2 Grenadier compare. I hope it illustrates what I was trying to get at in my comment to 'Lee. The fusilier has a slightly quizzical look somehow - I think it's something to do with the deft little side step he's making, and the slight tilt of his head - like he's trying to decide whether to charge or bolt!

Friday, 8 December 2017

Command Conversions

Well, I'm clearly quite keen on Garrisons as the command group is almost complete. Part of the fun of doing them was that they're all conversions.

First up is a Garrison FN 1: Old Guard Grenadier Officer, who I've converted to be my line infantry chef de bataillon. The new elements are a flattened-pin sword and the head of a Garrison FN 7: Line Fusilier advancing. His plume was taken from an old Minifigs S-Range French voltigeur.

The drummer also has an FN 7 head, in this case soldered on to the body of a Lamming FI/6: Imperial Guard Grenadier drummer. The only other new elements are his plume, which came from a Hinchliffe French artillery officer; and a bit of work on his epaulettes to create the swallows' nests favoured by fusilier drummers

Last but not least is the eagle-bearer, who is an adapted Garrison FN 4: French Line Officer. He's holding yet another of my fizzy-can flags, with an eagle snipped off a Minifigs French Horse grenadier. The other changes I've made to him are another flattened-pin sword and a bit of carving on his chest to produce an 1806 pattern tunic and waistcoat. This was actually a very simple job using my rotary tool.

The last two shots are of the three of them together. I'm really pleased with how the Lamming blends in with the Garrisons.

The first three fusiliers needed to make up the command base are also complete and, if I can find a spare hour or two, the grenadiers should not be far behind. If I'm a really good boy I may even manage to get the whole battalion finished by Christmas.

Hmmmm....we'll see. There's an awful lot of office parties lined up before then.


Edit: Rob's comment below reminded me that I intended another picture to show how Garrisons square up against Hinton Hunts. Pictured below is my chef de bataillon beside a vintage Hinton Hunt FN 1: French Infantry of the Line Officer, charging.

The Garrison is definitely a wee bit taller, but there's not a great deal in it. However, he is a lot broader, and the Garrison figure base seems positively enormous compared to the Hinton Hunt . However, six figures will go onto a 40mm x 30mm base right enough.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Over the Hump

The 18th Infantry are sent to guard the river crossing.

Having been banished from the office with a heavy cold, there was nothing else for it but to finish the 18th Infantry Regiment, aka "Wellington Man's Own". An extra incentive was also provided by the arrival by super-extra-speedy post of a pair of superb resin bridges, courtesy of Mr Hind. I've no idea who manufactured them, but they fit my old Napoleonics perfectly.

Herr Major:  "Zey shall not pass!" 

My sincere thanks to everyone for encouraging me to get them done. I'm not sure why my enthusiasm for these chaps began to wane, as they've turned out so much better than I dared hope. I think it must be a combination of the outbreak of good weather (it really has been lovely these last couple of weeks) and a lull in my work stress. I've been floating on a cloud of contentment ever since I came back from Oz. This was not good for productivity, evidently.

However, there was nothing doing so they went back home again.
Christmas, on the other hand, is shaping up to be rather stressful....there have been mutterings about "going to see my sisters" and some sort of vast inter-clan gathering in the South Island. I may have to paint an awful lot of Frenchmen to get over this.