Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Battle of Windy Pass - Part 1

My good friend, JC, aka "The Fendalton Fusilier", has been watching my progress on The Hinton Spieler with amused tolerance for a couple of years. Shortly before Christmas he expressed a desire to see the troops "in the lead". The price of admission, however, was a battle, so last Sunday we met to fight it out.

It is 1813 and Napoleon has set forth to teach the perfidious Prussians another lesson in good manners and humility. Battle is joined in the foothills of Thuringia, where a small Prussian Corps under Blucher has been charged with the defence of a border pass while the Prussian Army completes its mobilisation.

Although the French had a slight numerical and qualitative advantage, JC elected to be Blucher and defend the pass. The room for the French to manoeuvre was strictly limited, and through the deft use of firepower and counter-attacks he felt sure to win the day!

Opening Moves

The French massed against the pass. However, Murat's position on the far right suggested that the Emperor was planning something...

Blucher initial deployment was equally deceptive. Would he occupy the hills or concentrate in the valley between them?

Blucher: Zey shall not pass!!!!

Napoleon: Tell me Marbot, would you want your little son to be with you today?
Marbot: Yes, so he could see you, Sire.
Napoleon: See me, eh?....Well alright, just so long as he doesn't touch anything!

The Emperor's plan started to take shape immediately as Marshal Soult led the 3rd Swiss around to the south, bypassing the farm and the orchard. Murat's lancers also advanced while the combined voltigeurs swarmed in front.

Soult: Suivez-moi, mes enfants. We shall take them by surprise!

The Prussians immediately marched to occupy the heights, preceded by a screen of Silesian riflemen.

Blucher: On to ze hills, meine kinder! Ve vill sweep away zis rabble!
As two Prussian battalions ascended the hill, a company of Silesian Riflemen entered the woods to their left, intent on harrying the flanks of any French advance.

Blucher: We've got the drop on them, boys!

Meanwhile the French masse de manoeuvre, led by Marshal Ney,began its ponderous march towards the pass along the main road.

Napoleon: Tell them to beat their drums louder, Marbot!
As the tension increased, the 2nd/21st were ordered into the pass, while the artillery manoeuvred in support.

General Zieten was confident that with a battery on either flank, and the Foot Guards and Garde du Corps in support, nothing could penetrate the 21st, who stood firm if somewhat self-consciously in their curious British uniforms.

Zieten: Don't worry lads, nothing will get through this lot!
Blucher's plan was obviously to use the massed firepower of the Prussian line to stop the French assault in its tracks.

Clausewitz (commanding the 2nd Neumark Landwehr): Remember men, the defensive is the strongest form of war!

The Battle is Joined

Napoleon's foremost troops burned with impatience as the Emperor's ponderous masse de manoeuvre slowly plodded its way towards the front line.

Napoleon: For goodness sake, Marbot, tell Ney to get a move on, it's nearly lunchtime.
Contemptuous of the Prussian landwehr on the hill, Murat ordered the 7th Lancers to charge, intending to ride down the impertinent Silesian riflemen. Ornano took similar action with the Guard Dragoons from the northern flank. Both cavalry regiments were immediately raked with a hail of Prussian lead while the Silesians easily evaded behind their infantry.

Napoleon: And he wants me to make him the King of Poland!
 Prussian spirits soared as both French regiments were thrown back in confusion with heavy losses.

Blucher: Ha ha ha! Did you see that, boys? Zey are already on the run!
Wearily resigned to the recklessness of his cavalry, the Emperor let out a deep sigh and ordered forward his voltiguers. With four companies concentrating their fire against only two companies of the Silesians, the voltiguers swiftly began to dominate their Prussian opponents.

Napoleon: "Sigh". Why do I still have to do everything myself!
Protected by the skirmishes, the two batteries accompanying the masse de manoeuvre finally deployed for action. A frisson of anxiety rippled through the Prussian ranks.

Napoleon: Now we'll see what those Prussians are really made of!
Firing at medium range into the closely-packed files of the 21st, the French guns tore gaping holes in the Prussian line. Zieten steadied the ranks, trusting that his two supporting batteries would silence the French ordnance.

Zieten: Close ranks, 21st. Our guns will soon deal with them!
To be continued....



  1. A most spectacular sight WM, and every one an individual little gem!

    1. Cheers 'Lee. The terrain is not quite up to your meticulous standards, but I was in a hurry!

  2. Like the 'Old School' look of the terrain , Tony

    1. Cheers Tony. I'm not entirely convinced by the table-top colour, which was a little more startling than I expected. However, the troops seem to show up quite nicely on it. I may experiment with alternative greens on the hills.

  3. I see your cavalry are keen to establish a thrusting if reckless reputation, but after the handling from Wellington Girl I can see why Nappy might have concerns about Marbot bringing his son along.
    Please don't leave us hanging too long for the second episode.
    Are you using Muskets & Marshals?
    Your writing style has lovely light touch with tongue firmly in cheek... the new school same as the old school! (in a good way)

    1. Muskets & Marshals it is Rob. Murat read the "Skirmishers charged by cavalry are ridden down" rule and got entirely over excited. Stryker's firepower effects are absolutely brutal!

      Yes, it is a bit flippant, but it reflects the mood of the game. JC and I were laughing uproariously.

  4. Wonderful. The figures and terrain are my cup of tea.

    My ask what rules you are using ?


    1. Hi Mark. I'm using Stryker's "Muskets & Marshals". This was only my second go at using these, and JC's first, so every move was a "playtest" to a certain extent! That's my excuse for my atrocious generalship, anyway.

  5. Great to see your whole collection on the table. I'm really impressed with what you've achieved in such a short time!

    1. Cheers, Ian. The computer says that their are 356 figures and models all told, of which 182 are Hinton Hunts, 168 Der Kriegspielers, 2 Lammings, and 2 each of Minifig and Warrior. If I paint any more I'm going to need a bigger table.

      It doesn't feel like a short time!

  6. Yes! A perfect way to start the weekend. Highly attractive figures and table. You have nailed it.

    Best Regards,


    1. No nails in that table top, Stokes! It's so heavy that you could dance a jig on top of it and it still wouldn't move. My two sons had to shift it for me!

  7. Great to see so many nice looking figures on the table

    1. Cheers, Alan. Many more to come, I hope. Needs more redcoats, I reckon!

  8. Great looking game, spectacular pictures and figures!

    1. Thank you, Phil. My apologies for the delay. Two years may qualify as the longest time its taken to set up a wargame in world history.

    2. That is the way of the hobby, I am afraid. We spend a few dollars for the rules, or get a set for free, (like Muskets and Marshals) and then we spend years painting the figures before we can play! In the meantime, we must maintain the enthusiasm and excitement. Congratulations on making it this far...and I hear that you plan to double your forces. That will require a bigger table.


      Captain Nolan

  9. I can easily beat two years.....thanks for a great morning's entertainment, WM. It's much nicer watching the machine gun effect of the M & M rules than experiencing them. My money's on the Prussians.

    1. Thanks once again, Archduke, and indeed everyone else who made this possible.

      It didn't have to be quite so delayed, Archduke, but I decided early on in this project that I wouldn't allow myself to do any terrain construction, let alone play a game, until a couple of proper armies had been painted. I knew that otherwise all I'd end up with is masses of gaming paraphernalia and a huge pile of unpainted troops. That's what happened the last time I tried to paint an army!

  10. Terrific pictures - really enjoyed them. I thought my tabletop was pea-soup colour until I saw yours - the uniforms stand out well, though.

    M & M - you need to sneak a rocket troop onto the table - if necessary, rewrite history to allow it. Weapons of Mass Destruction - make sure they're on your side.

    1. Thank you, Foy. You are confirming my doubts about it. I had in mind a "late Summer" sort of a hue, but....I'll stick with it for a while to see if it grows on me.

      Rocket Troops are on my secret plans list, but don't tell anyone.

  11. Having seen your posts on the Miniatures Page, I recently came accross a large lot of painted Hinton Hunt and der Kriegspielers miniatures for a price that I couldn't pass up. Do you have any links to sites that would help me distinguish the two? This was a true impulse buy so I am in need of a tutorial! I will take a look at Muskets and Marshals as a rule set. I normally play the DBx system and have lots of 15mm and 28mm Napoleonic armies based in that manner, so I am hoping to branch out and find a simple but tactically interesting game with that big unit look, such as you have captured in your blog. Inspiring work!

    1. David, welcome to the club.

      I've added a "Useful Links" list below my profile which should have most of the information you seek.

      The Hinton Hunter in particular is a superb resource which documents almost every HH 20mm figure ever produced. The Der Kriegspielers, however, are not nearly so well documented. Chuck Gibke's site (Vintage Wargaming Figures), however, is probably the best place to start. Not only does he have images of many of the sets, but also the DK and HH catalogues. There are also many DKs, and a ton of other things besides, on the The Hinton Hunter's sister sites on the link list. Last, but not least, is Stryker's superb Hinton Hunt Vintage Wargame Figures site, which is the site that principally inspires me.

      The general rule is that if looks like a Hinton Hunt, but isn't on the Hinton Hunter, then it's probably a DK! However, other DK giveaways are:

      - thin and not always square bases, which should have numbers but few if any other identifiers underneath them;
      - lightweight, slim, less detail and diminutive compared to HHs;
      - duller metal, which is also often more prone to oxidation;
      - very weedy looking cavalry; and
      - a wider range of standard infantry poses - typically four or five compared to the standard marching, firing and charging of the HHs (light infantry excepted).

      Having said all that, a number of others were producing HH clones of one sort or another, or figures closely resembling them (such as Alberken/Minifigs). The shape of the bases and the lack of identifiers are usually a clue here, as well as metal quality, which tends to be poor in comparison.

      If you get stuck, please don't hesitate to send me photos (my contact is in my complete profile), and if I can't help I can post them on the blog for others to have a go.

  12. An excellent looking game with a wonderful collection of figures, it is good to see a collection coming together, makes me want to get my Prussian Landwehr finished! Look forward to seeing more


    1. Cheers Paul. Episode 2 should not be too far off.

      More Landwehr are always a good thing. I'm finally having to think seriously about what the second phase of this project is going to look like and more landwehr definitely need to be fitted into it somewhere.

  13. Replies
    1. Thanks, Dale. The old soldiers are the best soldiers.