Saturday, 2 February 2019

The PEF runs out of puff

Shortly before Christmas I had a bit of good news. This was that although I'd lost all my remaining photos of the battles I fought during my trip to the UK last year, my hosts had kept theirs, so all was not lost after all.

Fans of Stryker's Hinton Hunt Vintage Wargame Figures blog will have already seen the Prussian Expeditionary Force (PEF) in action during the Battle of the Four Generals. Although the side I was  playing with was beaten, the PEF under Ian's command performed splendidly. It was a huge pleasure to meet Ian and his wife again, and the lunch was yum! A big hello to Foy and Goya, too, by the way. You were really nice when I charged headlong into Ian's spotlessly-clean French windows. I completely failed to see these when I tried to sneak out into the back garden for a fag. So there you go: smoking is not only very bad for you, dear readers, it also exposes one to ridicule.*

Battered bonce notwithstanding, a few days later the PEF joined up with another beautiful Prussian army painted by the Archduke. This was but one of the Archduke's magnificent Hinton Hunt armies. The photos which follow were all taken by his Grace himself, who sent them to me a couple of months ago.

Opposing me was the Archduke's friend Ken, who fielded a mighty force of French and Poles. Most of the Poles, I believe, were Ken's, but almost everything else was from the Archduke's collection

Ken's indominable Franco-Poles

My plan was to sneak round Ken's flank with most of the PEF while the Archduke's Prussians did the heavy lifting in the centre. This turned out to be a remarkably stupid plan, as it happened.

The PEF went nowhere, as the Leib Hussars who were leading and protecting them were totally destroyed by Ken's elite Gendarmes, or at least I think that's who they were. They were certainly pretty hard.

The Leib Hussars prepare to meet their doom.
With Ken's cavalry now blocking the approaches to the bridge, there was nothing the PEF could do except form square and have a bit of a breather.


Plan B was to storm the village, but things started to go wrong almost immediately when the Garde du Corps were instantly overthrown.


It was nearly all up to the infantry after that. The Lutzowers did quite well at first by soaking up most of  Ken's artillery fire. The masses of French and Polish infantry behind Ken's guns, however, did not augur well.


Within a couple of moves the Prussian mass de manoeuvre had been whittled away to almost nothing.


Copious swearing by Blucher failed to turn the tide, although it did succeed in giving von Lutzow a bit of a shock.


Ken's strategy, on the other hand, was flawless - all my other units were shot to bits by his deadly skirmishers before his other battalions could even get near them.

His Grace, the Archduke, not only umpired with considerable aplomb, but also put me up for a couple for nights. As if this wasn't enough, the Archduchess is a wonderful cook and a supremely witty hostess who knows how to make the perfect G&T.  It was an altogether amazing and very joyful experience. I don't know what else to say, TA. I was very touched and the whole visit was completely glorious. Thank you.

Although this was the last stand of the PEF, it wasn't the last battle. Rob has also sent me pictures of the battle we fought just a couple of days later with his Spencer Smiths, so watch this space.....


Till then

WM

* For those who may be wondering, the doors survived even if my pride did not. If it's any reassurance, Ian, I've given up charging into plate glass, and I've even made a start on giving up the evil weed too.

19 comments :

  1. Plans do not always work out as planned! Beautiful troops anyway!

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  2. My plan was pants, Phil, but Ken and the Archduke's soldiers were very very lovely.

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  3. Stirring sight! And good luck quitting the evil weed.I managed it last year after 45 years of heavy smoking, so it is possible. Vaping is the way forward!

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    1. That sounds very encouraging, Dave.
      The PEF may have run out of puff, but I haven't. I also have a vaper, and it's so unpleasant that I'm sincerely hoping to ditch it in the near future. It has, however, prevented me from murdering kids, so it's not all bad.

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  4. "No battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy"*
    Whatever the Outcome the massed troos look lovely.
    * I prefer the original, although longwinded:
    Kein Operationsplan reicht mit einiger Sicherheit über das erste Zusammentreffen mit der feindlichen Hauptmacht hinaus.
    No operational plan extends with any certainty beyond the first meeting with the enemy´s main force .

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    1. Cheers Paul. My plan wouldn't have survived contact with a summer breeze. The troops looked lovely though!

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  5. Great photos WM - thanks for sharing. I'd forgotten about your underestimation of Ian's glass doors. It is good that you were not hurt, and as I recall you carried it off with commendable grace. Word is that when they cleaned the imprint from the door it had a startled but strangely resigned expression.

    It all builds character and - after all - war is hell.

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    1. Thank you, Foy. I don't remember the gracefulness bit. Just a lot of cringing.

      I'd like to claim it was the concussion which led to my two successive defeats, but my lamentable combat record in virtually every other engagement suggests otherwise!

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  6. Thanks for the laugh WM, I can just see the startled expressions after a tremendous thwap! We also have a sliding glass doors, but the rather large dogs we house always make sure that within moments of cleaning there is a nice visible streak of nose juice. I personally think they are just trying to protect us.

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    1. I think it was more of a "spang!" in this case, but I take your point. My fellow generals were really very nice about it. There was hardly any laughing, or at least not that I could hear anyway.

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    2. Those of you who have met WM will know what a pleasure it was to host him and the PEF. It was indeed the Elite Gendarmes who saw off the Leib Hussars, but as Guard Heavies against Hussars, they should be asking themselves how the Hussars actually managed to win a round. What happened to the Guard du Corps is, of course, another story.

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    3. You were, and are, far too kind, Archduke.

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  7. As Napoleon once said 'I know he's a good general, but is he lucky?'

    I think charging headlong into French windows without damaging them or yourself means your lucky.

    It was a good to meet you and although we did not get to enjoy a game we can perhaps get a game in on your next trip.

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    1. I am very lucky, Mark, as Wellington Woman likes to remind me. But seriously, who could ask for better friends or more glorious soldiers to play with?

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    2. I meant to add that it would be a very great pleasure to fight a battle with you too, Mark. I was very sorry this couldn't be arranged during my last trip, so I'll make sure to be a lot better organised next time.

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  8. What a thing to do Matt! Sorry you lost your photos but glad to be able to enjoy these images.

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    1. I've learnt my lesson, 'Lee, which us to back everything up!

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  9. Well I quite like Mike Tyson’s quote ‘ No plan survives a punch on the nose’.

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  10. The problem is that our dogs are too short to help alert you to the proximity of the glass (if you were crawling towards the doors on the floor you would have seen the warning slobber). You will be pleased to note that no structural damage was caused (to the door) and I have now affixed a "Caution Glass Doors" warning sign.

    How nice to see more from the Archduke's collection - a great looking game!

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