Napoleonics with honoured guests

Prussian infantry prepare the first attack to liberate the town from the French menace.
The Prussians are from Rhys Jones’s collection.
The town is from von Peter’s property portfolio and he wants to know who the blistering barnacles let it out to all those French?!

The word had gone out. Alan & Michael Perry were going to be back in town – the town being Wellington, New Zealand – and they were happy to meet up and even play a game. Someone (Rhys J.?) twigged that their visit coincided with Call to Arms – the local convention that with all due respect really doesn’t have hell of a lot in common with Salute, Partizan etc. Oh dear!!  8O)

As it turned out the Perrys were unable to visit Call to Arms on the Saturday … thankfully! Not attending on the Saturday meant that they missed the spectacle of the Union getting flogged from here to there and back again in the ACW display game. See the prior post for the whole embarrassing and sordid tale.

Sunday morning had the Perry party of the Perry twins and Aly Morrison visiting Call to Arms under the hopefully strict supervision of Rhys J. and Daniel J. Under later interrogation they were politely and seemingly genuinely complimentary about our local convention. They even mentioned unprompted a modern skirmish game played on a custom built board which had impressed. This was distressing news for von Peter himself as Craig W. had built the terrain. Gawd damn it – accolades from the Perrys!!!  8O)

Having seen Call to Arms Rhys J. drove them over to Terry S’s where they were to play in a Napoleonic game. At long last we’re are at the game of the title!

The rules of the day were Black Powder so that those UK based players would have that cosy feeling of home. Terry S. had bought a replacement twelve foot by six foot table and had it set up in his garage. On it he had placed a centrally located a village containing the French high command and some other scattered buildings, woods etc. Generally the terrain was fairly open. More importantly Terry S. had also set up a lavish spread for lunch and a well stocked drinks – alcoholic and non – fridge. Thanks Terry. All others should take note.

Representing the morally suspect French boo boo hiss hiss from their right were Michael Perry with Bavarians and a Saxon battalion who were camping. Paul G. starting off table(?) then Rhys J. with the French boo boo hiss hiss high command lounging in the village. Next was Michael Perry and finally The son & heir whose troops were marching to the village seemingly without a care in the world strung out in march columns flank on to the allies side of the board.

The allies from their left were von Peter himself who was marching on to the table with his Prussians. Daniel J. mostly marching onto the table(?) pretty much opposite the village and Ally Morrison who had Austrians and started on the table staring in an excessively salivating sort of way at The son & heirs exposed march column flanks. Terry sure knew how to make Aly feel good. To The son & heir this was just another case of the friends of von Peter himself pulling a dirty trick on him. Anyway the Austrian were several moves away. Plenty of time to sort out the situation by following his orders and rushing to the environs of the village.

So – five French boo boo hiss hiss commanders played three Allied. An evenly matched fight in other words! Terry would not be playing but he would oversee the game, feed in reinforcements and generally visit momentous events on the players. The setting was the later Napoleonic Wars with a distinct 1813 feel to it.

The general scenario was that the French boo boo hiss hiss were feeling far removed from any immediate threats and were in a state of not quite readiness. Their high command were living the high life in the village with a protecting battalion or two, their Germanic allies were in bivouac around a few buildings to their right and a brigade was casually marching to the village from their left.

For the Allies life was just as uncomplicated. All they had to do was grab the village and all the high Ranking Frenchmen boo boo hiss hiss they could find therein. von Peter himself also had secret orders not to fire on the Bavarians & Saxon to his front unless fired upon as the diplomats were hard at work behind the scenes.

The scene was set and the ‘who would go first’ roll was made – first to move would be the French boo boo hiss hiss. It was time to play a Napoleonic wargame.

The end of the central cavalry battles … and the central Allied cavalry

As is usual von Peter himself is far too lax too provide a blow by blow account of the proceedings. Besides, he has no detailed idea of what happened in the game apart from in  his little part of the battlefield on the Allied left flank … and even then he’s not too sure about some of that!

This is not how civilised men fight Wars – Action on the Allied Right flank

Not much of note happened in the French boo boo hiss hiss first turn but Aly Morrison soon got the ball rolling on the Allied side by rolling a triple move for his Austrians. This really set the cat among the column of march, open flank French boo boo hiss hiss pigeons troops of The son and heir. Aly and Terry both could not have been more delighted. The nice orderly column of columns was soon not looking so orderly and the supporting battery caught in the middle of the bridge and unable to deploy fled back to the other side of the river looking for a chance to deploy. This area of the table disolved into an undignified brawl for the rest of the game with coherent lines of units never really quite forming up before a flank would get jumped by the opposition.

And the funny thing was that the flank attacks never/practically never – von Peter himself was down the other end of the table – succeeded. Units of both sides became heroes fighting off attacks on their flanks. A French boo boo hiss hiss infantry column hurtled across the bridge into the flank of an Austrian infantry battalion only for the Austrians to firstly hold the charge, turn to face and then drive off the attackers. A unit of Austrian Hussars charged into oblivion by attacking the exposed flank of a French boo boo hiss hiss infantry unit that was in line!

And so the unexpected carnage continued through the game with much bluster being spoken and bizarre occurrences occurring … and Terry would feed in the occasional reinforcement to keep things simmering along. How to attack with a flank – the new super formation – was exercising the finely tuned military minds. Aly seemed to have an endless supply of anecdotes and The son & heir really enjoyed facing off against him.

Perhaps the unit of the day at this end of the battlefield was a regiment of French boo boo hiss hiss hussars. Despite several praise worthy attempts at destroying said hussars The son & heir was to find glory with them as they rode down two batteries of artillery and were still hovering when the game was called. <spit mutter mutter>

A hard slog – blood and mud in the Centre

This here reporter has not much detail to report from the centre of the battle. There was a hard fought slogging match but in the end the village was never really threatened. Perhaps two attacks actually hit the village to not much affect. Most of the fighting was around the periphery of the village with units from both sides being fed in and eventually spat out.

The major cavalry battle of the game occurred here with the Allies winning some/one(?) of the individual combats and loosing others. From his vantage point on the Allied right it seemed that winning Allied cavalry unit(s) would pursuing via Sweeping Advances to extinction while loosing Allied cavalry units were vapoised on the spot. Conversely the French boo boo hiss hiss seemed to be able to conserve their cavalry whether they won or lost. Dice can be hard task masters some times. Fortunately – from von Peter’s point of view – several of the surviving enemy cavalry were cleaned up by other means such as artillery. Excellent.

Diplomacy rules – Action on the Allied left

Overall this was the quietest area of the battle. It started with Michael P’s Germanic French boo boo hiss hiss allies – Bavarians and a single Saxon battalion – in bivouac around a few scattered buildings, some woods and a cemetery. Michael had to rouse them and get them into some sort of fighting formation.

Opposed to these Frenchified boo boo hiss hiss Germans were more Germans. Strong proud Germans willing to make the necessary sacrifices to throw off the hated French boo boo hiss hiss yoke. These were of course the Prussians of von Peter himself, minus all of their cavalry! Obviously von Peter had somehow earned the ire of Terry S. the host and game master!! Dumkopf!

As alluded to earlier there was a great hope amongst the Prussians that the Frenchified boo boo hiss hiss Germans would turn from the dark to the light. As a result they were not to be shot at or harmed in anyway … unless they shot or caused any harm first. von Peter himself was the only player aware of these diplomatic intrigues. The Prussian plan was to mask these troops and head off to the central village. A wonderful plan but the command dice ensured a very slow progress was all that was mustered.

There then followed an interesting period of play where von Peter’s Prussians made very little in the way of aggressive actions towards the Bavarians and Saxons. Michael P seemed quite incredulous that his troops were not subject to incoming fire. When asked if he was firing von Peter himself would cleverly feign a modicum of interest, survey the scene and then decline the offer. Michael P. was obviously a little surprised bemused stunned confused by this. At last Michael P. fired some of his troops at the Prussians which freed von Peter himself from his shackles and he issued return fire.

Just as the first Bavarian ‘bit the dust’ a Bavarian courier arrived at Michael P’s HQ informing him that Bavaria had seen the error of it’s ways and was leaving behind the dubious charms of the French boo boo hiss hiss. He was to send an ADC to the French  boo boo hiss hiss high command informing them of the change of allegiance – the perfidious French boo boo hiss hiss never did return the poor Bavarian ADC! Once the message was delivered he was to assume military actions against his former over bearing and odious overlords. As an aside this was all rather splendidly timed theatre as the two recently instated Bavarian ADC figures got to play their part in the battle … even if one was never allowed to return from their trip to the French boo boo hiss hiss held village.

Much of the rest of the game for Michael was spent trying to transfer his troops from the Prussian front to the new French boo boo hiss hiss front at 90 degrees from the original through a tangle of buildings, cemeteries and woods. The French boo boo hiss hiss quickly deployed reserves to ’embarrass’ him before he could reorganise but never quite succeeded* though Michael never got to advance on the village either.

* A battle honour is to be presented to the Saxon 1/Prinz Maximilian Infantry Regiment for the extreme valour and martial prowess displayed in this action. The citation reads that the battalion stood like a rock alone in the face of three French boo boo hiss hiss battalions to whom it dealt serious and punishing damage while holding its position as directed by its commanding officer.

The end game position around the town. Yes the town is still awaiting liberation – mutter mutter. French artillery and caisson from the collection of Paul Goldstone

A game that had worked well. A big thanks to Terry S. for hosting with panache and generosity and thanks to Raymond H. for loaning out his French troops even though he himself could not play. And thanks to all the players who played in the spirit of the game with good humour … even the Frenchmen! boo boo hiss hiss. The Perry’s and Aly Morrison had all proved to be excellent company and fine gamers to game with and against. They are all more than welcome back whenever they want.

As always don’t forget to ‘click’ on the photos to see larger versions.

Until we meet again …

von Peter himself

2 thoughts on “Napoleonics with honoured guests

    • Hello John

      And so you should be envious! 8O))

      To be honest hosting the Perry brothers and Aly Morrison to a Napoleonic Wargame has many potential cringe moments. But all seemed to go well with the game, the banter around the game and of course Terry had feted us all with bucket loads of consumables which didn’t hurt!. No cringes on the day thankfully.

      If you’re ever down this way let us know and we’ll organise a game in your honour.

      von Peter himself

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