Saturday, 23 September 2017

Dust Up at Dapol. Part the Second

A Prussian Pause

On the Prussian left Dörnberg rallied his shaken hussars while the Lützowers lined the hedgerows. To the young and inexperienced students and intellectuals of the Schwarz Jäger, Soult's hardened veterans appeared unassailable.

Lützower Botony Department: Best stop here, Lads. Gosh, vot an interesting hedge!
Poets (in raptures): Ja, und look at ze beautiful butterflies! 
Damsels in Disguise (outraged): And you call yourselves "Men"?!
Oblivious to the drama on the flanks, Driberg's assault columns continued their march towards the heights.....

Driberg: Up ze Guts, I tell you!
...where the Emperor's daughters were preparing a reception.

Guard Artillery Commander: Oooh look, Prussians. Let's give them a nice warm welcome!

The 21st was the first to mount the slopes. "Just a few more steps and the hill is ours!",  urged Gneisenau, but the fire of the French voltigeurs immediately checked the advance. The 21st teetered on the brink and then began to fall back.

Gneisenau: The last vun onto ze top is a sissy!
To the right of the 21st, the Neumark Landwehr reached the foot of the hill immediately below the French Imperial Guard. As Cambronne's Chasseurs presented their muskets, the French grand battery also prepared to fire. "Now's your time, Neumarks!", cried Bülow, "Charge!" .

Neumarks: $@E#%&!!!!!
Time seemed to stand still as the scene momentarily flickered back into monochrome.

1969 was slipping away from us. A sharp thump to the time machine, however, brought the action roaring back to life.

With a deafening crash, smoke and flames burst from the French ranks as the Chasseurs and the artillery fired simultaneously. The effect was annihilating. Bülow had no choice but to follow the shattered remnants of the Neumarks as they fled towards the rear.

Cambronne: See that, Chasseurs? Now, if we can just do that five more times...
A Bolt from the Blue

Although the Prussian guns had been in action for several turns, their fire had been completely ineffective. Unless they found the range swiftly, the Prussian assault would be doomed.

Battery Captain: Fire at will!
Gunner: ..but which of them is Will, Sir?
Undaunted, the Russo-German Legion charged. Cambronne's men had unwisely advanced beyond the crest, masking the French guns, and their own desultory volley could do nothing to halt onslaught. In the furious hand-to hand struggle that followed, the Guardsmen were slowly pushed back. Arentschildt galloped onto the rise, waving his sword excitedly.

Arentschildt: That's the spirit, Legionnaires!

Driberg sensed victory. The French gunners were decimated as the Prussian gunners finally found the range...

...while on the far right the entire French cavalry finally collapsed into rout. The triumphant Prussian horsemen surged forward in pursuit.

Murat: Curse these Pole bolters!
"Vun last push und ze victory is ours!", Driberg cried. Leaving nothing to chance, however, he ordered the Lützowers to renew the attack against the French right. At the very least they would keep Soult's men distracted while the French left and centre were crushed. Dörnberg readied the Estorffs for another charge.

Dörnberg (sounding the charge):  They thought it was Hanover. Well it is now!
The Swiss were mesmerised by the hypnotic symmetry of the Lützowers' black and white cockades until a few words from Soult broke the spell.

Soult: We're in luck, Boys, they've painted handy little targets onto their hats!
The Swiss delivered a devastating volley. As the smoke cleared, both German regiments were seen recoiling in confusion.

But it was too late. Although Cambronne's guardsmen fought on and the 13th Légère had yet to be seriously engaged, the Prussian cavalry were swarming into the French rear area. The Emperor turned and rode away, clutching at his inflamed oesophagus.

Napoleon: Grrrooolp...It's no good, Essex. Arrange an armistice while I go in search of some Gaviscon!

And so the battle ended. As we travelled back to the present we caught a final glimpse of the defiant Neumarks rallying around their chief.

Bülow: Ze enemy are asking to Parlez, General!
Driberg: Aaach, vell zen let zem have it. We must recruit our strength!

It was a short battle, but thoroughly enjoyed by all. Wellington Lad II took his defeat on the chin, but is refusing to get used to it. He is plotting vengeance...

Till then,



  1. I have just placed an order with John Cunningham for a unit of Hinton Hunt Napoleonic Saxons...
    The choice was a simple one as back in the day these were the first metal toy soldiers that I bought with my own money...
    I blame you.... :-)

    All the best. Aly

    1. Nothing like a bit of Saxon violence, Aly

      I'm very much afraid that John will blame me too.

  2. Wonderful! Absolutely wonderful!!

    Best Regards,


    1. Thank you Stokes. My regiments are paltry specimens compared to your mighty legions, but they're building up slowly.

  3. Not just pictorially beautiful, but brilliantly told. Running out of superlatives!

    1. One's tougue should be firmly lodged in one's cheek when playing vintage 20mm Napoleonics, ABC. I'm very pleased you think the same.

  4. I have been waiting all week for the second part. And by jove what an excellent start to a Sunday morning. The pictures are wonderful and the humorous battle report a pleasure to read. I do like the green table as well.

    I am sure Napoleon will be back. He will mobilising troops on the march and no doubt you will be under instructions to paint more French.

    Out of interest what blue do you use for your French and Prussians ?.

    1. It's Humbrol 104: Oxford Blue, Mark, and a few of the Neaumark's are in Humrol 14: French Blue, although it's hard to tell the difference.

    2. I bought a tin of Oxford Blue last weekend.

      I have not used enamels for years having switched to acrylics. However for classic Napoleonics I have started using enamels again for the main jacket colour.

    3. Having never used acrylics I can't really make comparisons, Mark, but I can say that enamels work really well on Hinton Hunts!

  5. Riveting stuff WM.

    Tony S

    1. Cheers, Tony. Unfortunately we only managed about six moves before we ran out of time.

  6. Just back from a weekend away playing soldiers and seen the post - thank you. From your comments time was what brought the battle to a close - is there actually a victory threshold in the M&M rules that you use?

    1. There is not, Rob, so it was an umpire's decision in this case. With their cavalry gone it was pretty clear the French were stuffed!

  7. Nice to see the allies getting the upper hand for once! Brilliant photography Matt I'm impressed with the standard you achieve using your phone.

    1. Cheers, Ian. It was far from clear that the Prussians were actually going to take that ridge until the total French cavalry collapse put an end to it. Muskets & Marhsals performed billiantly, by the way. I think we're getting the hang of it at last.

      I may get a proper camera when phase 2 is complete, which at current rates will be around Christmas 2018.

  8. What a wonderful battle. It is a pleasure to follow the action. It would be nice to see an overview shot of the table after every turn. Bravo.

    1. Cheers CN, it was fun to play. I'll have a think about your suggestion, but I suspect it would make for a rather dry battle report. What I've tried to do instead is create a general impression, with just the odd general shot for orientation.