The Battle for Dolitz April 2019, was October 1813

Goldie’s birthday bash war-game has come and sadly gone. The good news is that Prince Poniatowski had some sketches drawn and left some notes of his battle …

Above: looking down the table very early on in the game with the Allied forces starting to appear on the table on the right. The birthday man Goldie himself is seated to the right with Garage Gaming Terry showing a distinct interest in something. Both were honorary Austrians for the day. Rob playing Murat in one of his less flamboyant uniforms can be seen making adjustments to some of the French to the left.

The three urban areas that can be seen are Dolitz (nearest), Dosen and Probstheyda (furthest away).

Poniatowski‘s Polish command can be seen in the foreground of the photo arrayed in accordance with Emperor Russ’s general instructions. Lining the edge of the swamp in skirmish order is a battalion of Poles (dressed in French issued uniforms!). Behind them in line is another Polish battalion – the 1/2nd Polish Infantry who were tasting battle for the first time. The artillery besides the village are the very recently completed 1st Saxon Foot battery (6pdr) “Dietrich” likewise participating in their first battle. The static grass etc had been added to their bases the night before the game. More to come on the battery later. Inside the village of Dolitz were two battalions of the Vistula Legion who don’t show up to their best in this photo! To the rear of Dolitz are two regiments of Polish Uhlans one of which is the 2nd regiment also seeing battle for the first time. So many new units. Would they follow the generally held old wargamers tale of new units breaking and routing at the first opportunity in their first game? Poniatowski certainly hoped not.

The scenario was loosely based on the  Leipzig: The Battle for Dolitz Napoleonic scenario from the Scenarios 6: Imperial Sunset book.

Above: a little after the prior photo. A menacing horde of Austrians seem intent on claiming Dolitz to enhance their property portfolio. The rest of the table contained additional hordes of Austrians, Prussians and Russians appearing to be likewise in the middle of a frothing property acquiring extravaganza.

Above: Prince Poniatowski managed to find the perfect command post for much of the battle. Nice and safe and as an accidental bonus fairly central to the whole of his command! Sadly the Austrians slow but inexorable acquisition of Dolitz made the nice safe command post much less so and a move to the open battlefield became necessary.

Above: the Austrian property magnates have concluded negotiations with a battalion of the Vistula Legion and taken possession of the far half of Dolitz. The expelled Vistula battalion can just be made out at the back of the far side of Dolitz. Not happy with half of Dolitz the Austrians have opened negotiations with the second Vistula battalion for the acquisition of the near half of Dolitz with one of the large Austrian battalions banging on the front door. These negotiations were to prove just as successful with the entirety of Dolitz soon to be part of the Austrian property portfolio. With the transfer of Dolitz to the Austrians looking highly likely the Polish lines have commenced a tactical withdrawal.

Did you know … the round “N” counters denote hits or casualties on a unit as did the square counters for the Austrian units. Most units could sustain three hits before becoming “Shaken”. The Polish infantry were deemed to be tough SoBs and were able to sustain four hits before becoming shaken as were the large Austrian battalions. The smaller rectangular counters denote that a unit is disordered. The independent Polish casualty figure was for decorative purposes only.

Sadly the sketch artist contracted dysentery and so not all the sketches that should have been available are. A quick reading of various regimental histories reveals that …

  • as recounted above both battalions of the Vistula Legion were evicted from Dolitz in a battered state. Yet one of them bravely charged back into Dolitz to support a French battalion charging in from the side. A vicious multi turn melee involving two battalions from each side ensued that turned out quite well for the by now embarrassingly voracious Austrian property magnates.
  • this left both Vistula battalions battered and outside Dolitz. In the last Allied turn a single battalion of Austrian grenadiers spurred on by their leader via a “Follow me” order stormed out of their brigade across seemingly kilometres of the table to melee one of the Vistula battalions. The Poles lost and fled the table. Their supporting Vistula battalion liked not what they observed at all and likewise fled. When the state of the rest of the infantry brigade was assessed – hint: like the fish in Fish & Chips it was  well battered – it was considered to have broken.
  • the cavalry brigade stayed on over watch protective duties. Particularly watching out for any Austrian cavalry shenanigans. Poniatowski had reasoned that any offensive cavalry action would pay limited returns. The swamp was impassable to the cavalry and the large Austrian battalions in the area were a challenging prospect even if they didn’t form square. And if they were forced into square there was no offensive capability in the Polish infantry to take advantage. Perhaps Poniatowski was wrong! With this in mind one of the uhlans regiments was sent off to support the Emperor Russ while the other remained on local overwatch duties to survive the battle without a scratch. The uhlans despatched to the Emperor Russ were not so fortunate … but were surely glorious in their demise.

Above: end of game. The battered but defiant 2 remaining battalions of the now broken Polish infantry brigade. The Saxon artillery battery is still plugging away … even scoring the occasional hit. The edge of the bases to the rear of the artillery belong to the surviving uhlan regiment still on protective duties.

Just like the real Battle of Leipzig in 1813 the Allies had managed to scrape a win across the table … … … by quite a large margin.

As for the new units:

  • the 1st battalion of the 2nd Polish Infantry Regiment received quite a pounding from Austrian artillery and musketry but had survived all Break Tests asked of it. The battalions was still on the table at the end although it was shaken and the brigade broken!
  • the Polish 2nd Uhlans were calmly standing their ground at the end of the game. Their brigade was still in good order, ie. was not broken. Although to be fair they had done nothing other than move about a little and no one had actually tried to harm them. But a regiment can only do what it is asked to do so an official  “well done chaps” to them.
  • the 1st Saxon Foot battery (6pdr) “Dietrich” had likewise survived the battle unscathed though they at least had come under enemy fire. An ugly rumour that the novice gunners ran in fear from the noise every time they fired their cannons was never actually proven and really Poniatowski should not be saying such things about his own troops! 🤣 They even managed to hit the Austrians intermittently.

So all up the new units had proved the old wargamers adage of new units running at the first opportunity to be wrong. At least this time around.

As The dear readers have possibly noticed Poniatowski’s sketch artist never did get to travel far from Poniatowski’s command. Fortunately Garage Gaming Terry is expected to provide an overall – if potentially biased as he was an honorary Austrian for the day! – view of the battle. If it’s not available yet it’s probably not far away.

The game was played during a Wellington Warlords club day using the Black Powder rules.

PS. Prince Poniatowski had the great honour of being played by von Peter himself in the battle!  😃

Enough.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

Valleyboy’s lament

Possibly because The family does not get up there very often The family still retains some friendships around the Tauranga area of New Zealand. With The son & heir due back at Neu Schloss von Peter for one of the seemingly incessant holiday breaks to his tertiary education the decision was taken to lumber him with responsibility for the dog and the house and flee to the supposedly sunny north** – in this case meaning Tauranga and surrounds – for a few days rest & relaxation. The question to be answered – could the friendships survive actual face to face meetings?  😇

** ‘supposedly’ because the weather in the home base of Wellington was better than that in Tauranga and surrounds during the visitation. Typical!

Many thanks to those who put us up by providing accomodation … or just put up with us! But those poor souls are of no interest to The dear readers here on a wargaming blog. We will be focussing on the re-aquaintence with one Kerry T – aka Valleyboy – and also Anthony M.

In which von Peter himself gets educated, well provisioned and generally spoilt at Valleyboys ranch

Some history: von Peter himself had made Kerry’s and Anthony’s acquaintance over the internet on some forum or other. Some years ago the North Island Wargames Convention was held in Tauranga. The Republic to Empire Napoleonic rules had not long been out and Kerry and Anthony – both living in/around Tauranga – were going to be hosting a two day game utilising said rules at said convention. Craig and von Peter himself travelled up from Wellington to take part in the game. Friendships were formed.

Kerry and his better half Nicki have built themselves a swanky home on a lifestyle block near Tauranga. Designed as a four bedroom house it is in actuality a three bedroom plus wargaming room house. Brilliant! It was to this room that von Peter himself was invited for a game come lesson of General d’Armee using a small portion of the in-house 15mm armies. Kerry favoured his guest by deploying a Prussian army for him to use while Kerry fielded French. The Prussian army was larger but contained some landwehr rated as recruits. In contrast the French fielded a smaller force but contained more veteran / elite units. Unfortunately we had to abandon the game with quite a bit of play still in it because dinner guests arrived. But von Peter himself enjoyed the game and Kerry had managed to impart quite a lot of information re the rules. Some images with accompanying commentary from the game …

Above: the table with the troops deployed. Brave freedom fighting later Napoleonic Prussians to the left. To the right are the troops of the would be continuing oppressors – the French. Note the reflection of the photographer in the large central picture on the back wall. Artistry at its finest!

Above: a couple of moves into the game. In the foreground the Prussian cavalry brigade of a kuirrassiere and a dragoon regiment are trying to get the jump on the hopefully outmatched French light cavalry brigade of a hussar and a chasseur a cheval regiment. The French have spotted this ploy and have activated their reserve heavy cavalry brigade of two cuirassier regiments which have made alarming progress to the scene thanks to the cunning use of ADCs to spur their forward march.

Above: a few turns in on the Prussian left. The Prussian battery deployed next to the hill in the distance have been distracted from causing pain and suffering on their opposites by the posturing of a French light cavalry brigade. Battalions have been rushed to shore up the artillery’s position and the reserve brigade of one uhlan regiment and one horse battery – to the left of the image – have been despatched in their general direction.

In the end the French cavalry felt it had to charge the guns in a now or never move. An interesting touch and go situation spiced up with a generous helpings of canister and supporting infantry fire had the cavalry failing to charge home. A pass for the rules. As an amusing finale to this action we then realised that the cavalry brigade was “Hesitant” and therefore the cavalry charge could not have taken place! Mine ever gracious host Kerry pronounced that the result should stand as a monument to some steadfast military actions from both sides.

Above: the scene on the Prussian right at the same time as the previous image. By one of those gruesome military coincidences the artillery of both sides lined up opposite one another … and then proceeded to target each other in a most sanguine manner. All very pleasing to the infantry in the area one imagines!  😃

Above: the centre of the battle lines. From the Prussian perspective the damaged building – damned French vandalism! – separates a brigade of four recruit classed landwehr battalions to the left and a regular brigade to the right. von Peter’s original cunning plan was to hold the landwehr back a little but during the course of the battle an opportunity seemed to arise where the brigade might be able to gang up on a single French battalion deployed in line. Nothing ventured nothing gained and in the interests of giving the rules a decent run through the landwehr were duly launched in the general direction of the French battalion. The canny Marshal Kerry divined the Prussian plan and prepared to launch a spoiling attack on the landwehr with some of his infantry. This image shows the situation before the action ‘went down’. The French battalion with the blue ‘1’ die behind it charged the landwehr battalion to it’s front. The landwehr’s musketry failed to halt the Frenchmen and they were pushed back taking the (rear) supporting landwehr battalion with them. This left just one landwehr battalion – with another in support – to charge the French battalion in line. You can just see the lead landwehr battalion besides the command stand on the left of the image. Sadly this depleted force proved insufficient to move the Frenchmen.

FYI the little numbers on display keyed the units to a printed order of battle which greatly aided any players … cough  cough von Peter himself … who may not have been familiar with the model army they commanded.

Above: The Prussian Silesian Cuirassier – Prussian unit of the day. They spent much of the game involved in charges, counter charges or melees. They saw off two light cavalry regiments and a French cuirassier regiment and were still in play – if a little battered – when the game was called. And all this despite von Peter himself playing them as regulars rather than the veterans they should have been for most of the game! D’oh!! The supporting dragoons in their brigade could only sit back and applaud!

Not that luck has much to do with it but Kerry is a truly lucky wargamer to have his dedicated wargames room. Included in the room is a cunningly designed wargames table that shrinks & expands as required and provides copious storage for armies and terrain. Also included is a glass display case for the flaunting of a small portion of Kerry’s impressive painting output. The images below hopefully give a flavour of the mighty fine toys historic replicas currently on display. More and better – d’oh! – images on Kerrys blog.

Above: an overview of the display case

Above: Seven Years War Prussians. What a sensible man that Kerry is!  😃

Above: a shelf of Napoleonic Poles underneath a shelf of Napoleonic French

von Peter himself mentioned the post game dinner for a reason. It was wonderful. Mrs Valleyboy – Nicki – produced a gourmet meal that was consumed with great enthusiasm by all present … as was the fine wine selection!  🥂  All present included the additional dinner guests Fraulien von Peter herself, Anthony from that first game all those years ago and his wife Karen. A great evening that has left the residents of Neu Schloss von Peter well and truly indebted.

Die Kriegskunst 2

“Die what?” I hear the less well travelled Dear reader exclaim. Die Kriegskunst are a set of rules based on the General de Brigade rules for gaming the (European hosted?) battles of the Seven Years War.

It appears that there is to be a Seven Years War version of General d’Armee by the author of  Die Kriegskunst – Angus Konstam.

From the beginnings of a game report

This week we were off to High Germany, for our first proper playtest of Die Kriegskunst 2, or Son of Kriegskunst, or whatever we’re going to call it. Essentially the rules are a modified version of Dave Brown’s General d’Armee, with a lot of the original Die Kriegskunst thrown into the pot.

The SYW figures of von Peter himself have lain dormant for a while now. Hmmm! Play testing is expected to run “well into next year”.

 

Perry Napoleonic Swedes

From the latest Perry Miniatures newsletter …

Alan has started work on the Swedish Napoleonic Army and these are the first greens.  He is concentrating on the 1808-9 period first but will cover earlier and later uniforms too.

From the viewpoint of von Peter himself the later uniforms sound like the favoured 1813  period will be covered for anyone who would like to raise some of Bernadotte’s Swedes for the Allied Army of the North. Not that Bernadotte ever really put them in harms way as he played his own longer game in 1813.

 

Garage Gaming Terry’s Wagram II update

The one time Archduke Charles has posted another missive on the Wagram II game imaginatively entitled Wagram 1809 – Part 2.

 

A Clash of Eagles

As to that Garage Gaming Terry – von Peter himself has within the last hour or two exchanged military goods with him. From von Peter himself to Garage Gaming Terry went a set each of Austrian and Russian dice from Dice of War. Coming back the other way was a copy of the recently released A Clash of Eagles from Warlord Games. The latter is the Black Powder supplement covering the 1812 campaign in Russian. Some of the The dear readers may have a passing familiarity with that campaign!  😃

I’s a reasonably hefty publication coming in at 200 pages. A quick flick reveals …

  • an overview off the campaign
  • overviews of the armies involved including many of the French ‘allies’ that provided components to the Grand Army
  • some new rules for Black Powder
  • six scenarios and ideas for pick-up games
  • army lists
  • Appendix 1: An overview ofNapoleonic warfare
  • Appendix 2: Bibliography
  • lots of wargames porn – pictures of gaming figures and units.

The author is Adrian McWalter. von Peter himself believes that the is is very same Adrian McWalter who authored the Napoleonic rule set Over the Hills and the Napoleonic skirmish rule set Forager. A man of many talents and activities our Adrian!  😃

von Peter himself looks forward to disagreeing with some of the content re nationality and unit ratings etc. von Peter himself always does find something to disagree with and this keeps him most happy and content!!  😇

Enough.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

Wagram

Perhaps The dear reader has heard of the Battle of WagramGarage Gaming Terry has and it has long been his dream to refight the battle with massed gaming pieces shaped and pigmented so as to present themselves as replicas of the men of that era.

For the less learned of the readership the Battle of Wagram was fought between Napoleon’s French and Allied Army and the Austrians under Archduke Charles over the two days of 5 & 6 July, 1809. On the second day of the battle fearing the deteriorating situation the Austrians withdrew their army.

To counteract the French (slight) superiority in numbers, their advantage in command and control and slight advantage in the quality of their units (on average) Garage Gaming Terry had devised some evil schemes to make the game a little more interesting. Chief amongst these was the probability that in the refight Archduke John would put in an appearance with some(?) of his troops to give that French Emperor another element in the battle to process and deal with. Likewise elements of the Austrian V Corps were likely to arrive in contradiction to the occurrences back in 1809.

Somewhere along the line one of the Garage Gamers – Paul W – announced that he would make custom terrain for the battle. This was of course quite crazy. The sheer size of the table, the long hours of thankless work, the cost of the materials, the storage and the transportation. The man’s obviously a certifiable lunatic but as the pictures show he delivered. A first for von Peter himself – playing on custom built terrain for the battle. Luxury.

Above: Paul W’s custom built terrain prior to being sullied by the presence of the two armies. Photo care of John H.

Once again von Peter himself was summoned forth to don the white and red – and black and gold and green plume and … … … – of an Austrian general’s uniform. GdK Freidrich Hohenzollern commander of the II Army Corps was the part to be played. Closer inspection of his command revealed …

  • an Advanced Guard Brigade lead by Siegenthal of
    • 8th Jäger battalion (which was promptly substituted with a battalion of Grenzer as von Peter himself has pigmented Grenzer but his jagers remain unpigmented)
    • a battalion of Archduke Charles Legion (Landwehr)
    • Vincent Chevaulagers (which were promptly substituted for by von Peter’s Hessen-Homburg Hussars)
  • an Infantry Division lead by FML Thomas Brady
    • 5 large line battalions
    • 2 landwehr battalions
    • 2 batteries
  • an Infantry Division lead by FML Josef Ulm
    • 5 large line battalions
    • 1 landwehr battalion
    • 2 batteries

Hohenzollern’s job – hold the escarpment behind the Russbach Stream and associated swampiness from the town of Wagram on the right flank to just past the village of Baumersdorf on the left flank where a junction was made with the Rosenberg’s IV Army Corps who were holding the village of Markgrafneusiedl against Davout. Ominously Oudinot’s troops could be seen across the stream opposite II Corps.

Scenes from before the storm

Some images taken just prior to the first shots being fired. The sharp eyed may notice the occasional Prussian battery or battalion. The needs of the game were vast and the local resources not quite up to those needs despite some valiant efforts with paint brushes.

Above: the join between the right wing of Rosenburg’s IV Corps – Paul G –  and Hohenzollerns’s II Corps – von Peter himself. As is his way von Peter himself has managed to deploy his troops and left a battery out of the line. That will be his pudgy hand rearranging the troops to make room for the second base to complete the battery. The one base battery – soon to be two! – marks the left most unit of the II Corps. Oudinots French in the distance. The building on the left is the tower on the outskirts of Markgrafneusiedl. The buildings by the pudgy hand represent the village of Baumersdorf. This was initially garrisoned by a battalion of Archduke Charles Legion (Landwehr) from the Advanced Guard. Photo care of John H.

Above: Perhaps more of Oudinot’s French – who can tell … they all look the same! 😇 Whatever their fit in the French Army’s orbit they are under the masterful command of Alan H. The buildings to the left represent Wagram. The Austrians across the stream on the escarpment from the battery on the road to the right are von Peter’s charges. There was a rule in place to keep clutter off the table. Some idiot has broken the rule. In the idiot’s defence the game has not yet started. Photo care of John H.

Above: Nansouty’s French Cuirassiers way around opposite the Austrian right flank. These were destined to cause a few challenges for the Austrian command. Photo care of John H.

Above: The extreme left of the Austrian line as the game commenced. The French of Davout (and Montbrun’s cavalry?) posture aggressively against Rosenburgs IV Corps. More of Davout’s troops through the tree line. The burning buildings are those of Markgrafneusiedl. Photo care of John H.

Above: immediately to the Austrian right of Wagram the table looked something like this. Wagram on the left of the picture and Aderklaa on the right. Keith G. held Wagram for the Austrians and most of the Austrians in shot are his to command. von Peter himself strongly suspects that some of the Austrians to the right may be part of Ray H’s Austrian command who were to attack Aderklaa in the game. The mass of French facing Wagram are the play things of Alan H while John H defends Aderklaa and hinterland.  Photo care of John H.

Above: Moving a bit further to the right of the Austrian deployment. That’s Wagram (again!)  upper left with Aderklaa to the right. Those Austrian grenadiers and heavy cavalry are part of Ray H’s command. Photo care of John H.

Above:  An expanded overview of the prior image. Ray H’s Austrian grenadiers and cavalry nicely on show. John H’s opposing French garrison the burning Aderklaa and the immediate supports don’t look up to the job of holding it … but the French had a cunning plan. The Austrian battalion partially in picture bottom right on the other side of the wall are possibly the beginnings of Brian T’s Austrian force. Top right are Russell B’s French being an assortment of guard, cuirassiers, infantry and cavalry. French bully boys to the last man … errr, figure.  😇  Photo care of John H.

Above: An overview looking down the Russbach Stream. Wagram is represented by the nearest set of buildings. Paul has perhaps eaten something that is a little too hot!  Photo care of John H.

Ready, set, let the killing and maiming begin

The clock was set to 10am, 6 July, 1809 – day two of the historic battle. Generals start your armies please.  😃

Though probably the least busy of the players – see why below – von Peter himself has a limited knowledge of the detailed events elsewhere on the table. He’s also idle. So there is not going to be a detailed blow by blow recapitulation of the game. Just a few photos of the general action and a few more focussing on the glory of Hohenzollern’s Austrian II Corps actions … remembering of course that von Peter himself was wearing Hohenzollern’s uniform for the day!  😇

So why was von Peter himself probably the least busy of the players? The French devised a cunning plan to give themselves an unexpected jump on, and an advantage over, the Austrians in the central sector around Aderklaa. Immediately the game started instead of attacking across the Russbach Stream as the history books dictated Oudinot sent the brigades of his second line towards the gap between Wagram and Aderklaa. So a quick quarter turn to the right and a “march” from them and they were departing Hohenzollern’s front.

“The cowards” and “read your history books” loudly proclaimed Hohenzollern to all that cared to listen while he silently thanked his lucky stars at this fortuitous turn of events. Hohenzollern’s finely tuned military brain creaked and complained as it calculated that he should sit still for a turn or two to ensure that those redeploying French troops had indeed left the scene before getting a little aggressive. Unfortunately at that same moment the Austrian suprissimo Archduke Charles – aka Garage Gaming Terry – rode past with some reinforcements for the soon to be hard pressed Rosenburg. Two quick instructions to poor Hohenzollern …

  1. I’m appropriating two of your battalions from your left to assist Rosenburg
  2. attack across the Russbach … now!

D’oh!

Not much later the interfering Archduke Ludwig appeared and made off with two more of Hohenzollern’s battalions from his right flank this time and headed off in the direction of Wagram with them. Double d’oh!

The few photos of the action …

Above: Brian T’s Austrians are attacking the village Breitenlee which is burning. John H’s defending French look to be outmatched … but there’s a lot more French coming down the pike. Garage Gaming Terry’s Austrians hold the extreme right of the Austrian line and there’s a whole bunch of hurt coming his way down that pike. Photo care of John H.

Above:  Davout takes big bites out of Rosenberg’s defensive position. Markgrafneusiedl may be burning but it’s now burning in French hands. Photo care of John H.

Above: Rosenburg – Paul G – feeling the pressure of a well organised attack from Davout. Better quality troops, better command and control and even the dice are making a mockery of the Austrian defensive position. This photo just had to be published as it captures Paul looking like a bewildered man truly suffering under the repeated hammer blows of the cruelly uncaring fates.  😃  The French on the right facing away from the main Austrian position have turned to face the ahistorically arriving Archduke John … who didn’t achieve much this time around either really. Photo care of John H.

Above: The beginnings of the glory of Hohenzollern. The Grenzer have crossed the Russbach Stream and the landwehr gather in a threatening manner. The round command stand at the bottom is Archduke Charles on his return trip to the centre having delivered reinforcements to Rosenberg The square command stand represents the heroic Hohenzollern himself. Photo care of vPh.

Above:  Action around Wagram. Continuing with their cunning plan the French do not attack Wagram itself put poor troops into the area to the right – from the Austrian perspective – of the village. The edge of this action can be seen on the right of this image. Photo care of John H.

Above: Hohenzollern’s Landwehr have stormed across the Russbach Stream and it’s bayonet – or pitchfork?!  😃 – time. The central landwehr battalion has pushed back it’s opponents and it’s neighbours are striving mightily. The whitecoated Austrians are proving to be not that keen to move down off the escarpment to assist their lesser trained comrades. Fuzzy picture care of vPh.

Above: the same scene as the prior image zoomed in and from the French perspective. The Grenzer in the upper right are attracting all sorts of fire and will soon be recovering back behind the buildings of Baumersdorf. Photo from vPh.

Above: Two battalions of landwehr still exist on the French side of the Russbach Stream … and finally here come some of the boys in white. Hurrah! Another fuzzy survivor from vPh’s photographic efforts.

Above:  End of game. Paul G acknowledges the efforts of Hohenzollern’s troops in crossing the Russbach Stream and securing a French free enclave. The Grenzer can be seen reorganising behind Baumersdorf. To the right a division or two of French line that same Russbach Stream. They failed their command roll to cross four turns in a row. Being in line rather than column wouldn’t have helped. And in the interest of full disclosure those two battalions of landwehr at the back of the table aren’t really there. They are rightly to be found recently appended to the casualty lists. Photo care of John H.

Above: Heroes of the Hapsburgs and all around fine upstanding fellows. Left to right Brian, Raymond, Keith, Garage Gaming Terry, von Peter himself, Paul G. Photo care of John H.

Above: Wannabe Napoleons. Left to right Russell, John, Alan, Daniel, Paul W. Photo care of John H.

But there’s more! In effect this one day game was the dress rehearsal to the real reenactment yet to be had. This will take place over the two days – 5 & 6 August 2017 – of the Call to Arms convention in Wellington, New Zealand. Paul W will be adding 3 more boards for the game; reinforcements will not be rushed in as quickly; and a few tweaks may be made. So if you’re in the vicinity please feel free to drop in for a look and a chat.

Idiots corner

von Peter himself is indebted to John H for providing much of the photographic images of the game. Many photos were taken by von Peter himself on the day but his camera settings were incorrectly set for posed, tripod mounted, delayed shutter, long exposure photography not the shaky hand held photography as practiced on the day. The totally predictable result – many blurred and unusable photographs. And as if that was not enough the lighting setting was not quite as it should have been either. What an idiot! Few of von Peter’s photographs escaped the cutting room floor. So a big thank you John for saving the day … … … even if you did masquerade as an evil Frenchman on the day!!  😃

BTW John’s grandfather’s adventures in WWI serving in the 15th Battery, New Zealand Field Artillery are presented on the blog Walk March, Diary of a New Zealand Artilleryman, 1917-1919. New entries are being released on the 100th anniversary of the original diary entry. von Peter himself has read through the blog to date and will keep an eye on the proceedings of Gunner Godfrey Lincoln Lee’s war.

Since we’re in Idiot’s corner … it is highly likely that von Peter himself has butchered some of the history, geography, players, game play or anything really. Should Garage Gaming Terry raise an alert to any of the larger faux pas then von Peter himself may fix it and note the changes.

And for those with an interest … the adjudicating rules were Black Powder with some minor local amendments. The game was hosted by the Wellington Warlords Wargaming Club during one of their regular club days on the 1st July 2017. And if anybody really cares a quick summing up of victory points adjudged the game an honourable draw. Of course the hobby was the real winner on the day!  👍

Don’t forget to click on the images for larger and clearer versions of the same.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

Aspern-Essling – the rematch

von Peter himself has recently returned from a short no work to be seen or thought of sojourn in the winterless north of New Zealand. Yes, von Peter himself has been on holiday. Base camp was established in Kerikeri from which day long ‘campaigns’ were launched into the surrounding hinterland. Holiday pictures to follow in a later post you lucky Dear readers!

Before taking himself off on holiday a call to arms from the Hapsburg dynasty needed answering. The military talents of von Peter himself were required – stocks of available military talent being at a particularly low ebb – for a rematch of day two of the 1809 Apsern-Essling battle. Garage Gaming Terry and some of his Garage Gaming associates had organised a multiplayer rematch of said battle and von Peter himself and more critically his 28mm Austrians were in demand. Hurrah for Archduke Charles and his righteous ambition to throw off the unwanted shackles of French tyranny … … … and their bizarre insistence of adding garlic to absolutely everything! It’s just not the Austrian way.  😃

After the seemingly inevitable late withdrawals were withdrawn seven players remained to fight the fight with one extra substituting in near the end. The venue was kindly provided by the Wellington Warlords during one of their regular Saturday club days and Black Powder ruled the proceedings.

Aspern-Essling1

The forces of von Peter himself hug the edge and corner of the table field of battle. Their job – retake Essling. High command decided(?) on an indirect approach. The table behind holds the Austrian reserves and should be considered contiguous with the main table. That gap between tables can do funny things to general’s minds.

Aspern-Essling2

The defending French in and around Essling

von Peter himself was given the honour of commanding the Austrian left flank presumably with the aim of recapturing Essling. On the main table there was a huge central gap / hole between the forces reporting to von Peter himself and the next Austrians in the line. There is absolutely no truth to the various rumours that the Austrian high command were keen to keep the rest of the army away from the influence of von Peter himself or that the rest of the army had naturally removed itself from that portion commanded by the same von Peter himself! The French were destined to pour into this hole in one of their typical preemptive uncontrolled and undignified strikes. Where did the gentlemanly way of war go?! A back table held the Austrian reserves who were not to be held in reserve for very long lest the central hole filling French got into the flanks and rear of the main Austrian lines.

Aspern-Essling3

A look down the main table with the Austrians arrayed on the right showing the central hole in the Austrian deployment. This empty area was not to remain empty for long. Aspern is at the far end of the table. Our 1:1 scale models for this photograph are Brian, John and Terry. Thank you gentlemen. The sun streaming through the windows into the dark room was somewhat of an annoyance to this photographer. It’s almost as bad as the sun of Austerlitz. Mutter mutter!

Aspern-Essling4

The Austrian right flank and opposing French pre the nastiness of simulated warfare. The village is Aspern.

Special scenario rules and ‘stuff’:

Because they had recently been ousted from Aspern and Essling by the early morning whatever happened to gentlemanly warfare French attacks the left and right flanks of the Austrian host – those deployed along the short board edges – were prohibited from any forward movement in their first turn. This represented their reorganising after their forced evictions.

Garage Gaming Terry kept mysteriously turning cards during the game. They had something to do with the bridge(s) over the Danube in the French rear. What their effect might have been and whether anything came of the them during the game von Peter himself cannot say!  😃

The Granary in Essling was considered effectively impervious to attack … so it could not be attacked. In compensation it had restricted offensive capabilities – it could only issue one dice of fire out of each side.

Generally there were more Austrians than French but the French had much better Command & Control. In Black Powder terms for many of the French the maximum triple move was the expected result. Not so for the Austrians. In compensation the larger Austrian line battalions could absorb and dish out more hurt than their average French opponent.

The more astute of The dear readers may spot the occasional Russian unit in the photographs. These are really Austrians. Similarly some Saxon battalions are really Austrian grenadiers and Nassau battalions are really from Hesse Darmstadt batting for the French.

Time to let some pictures tell a story …

Aspern-Essling5

The situation from the edge of Essling looking towards Aspern at the end of turn 2(?). Did von Peter himself mention that the French were to quickly attempt to exploit the hole in the Austrian deployment. Infantry plus lots of French cavalry including their heavies. Part of the central Austrian command have advanced in a sort of double echelon formation trying to protect their flanks(?) while more of them are attacking the church in Aspern. Much like the troops of von Peter himself the Austrians coming in from the far short side of the table are having trouble moving forward. Obviously more reorganising required after their mornings eviction.

Aspern-Essling6

A view of Aspern from the Austrian main lines. The eagle eyed viewer will notice that it is an Austrian standard in the churchyard. Hurrah! Not for long however as the French would soon retake the church. Not for long however! The church was to change hands several times but in the end it would be the Austrians as sitting tenants.

Aspern-Essling7

Late mid game around Essling. The impertinent French are being pushed back having previously been much closer to the road. The Austrian battalion at the corner of the hedged in orchard / woods / gardens is about to charge said hedged in orchard / woods / gardens. Three consecutive rounds of close combat would see the Austrians bested by the French but the weee Hapsburgs held their position. The fourth round would see the French take a beating and disintegrate. In a mistaken application of the rules the Austrian battalion also performed a Break Test and disintegrated. If only von Peter himself knew then what von Peter himself knows now. The Austrian battalion immediately behind is shaken (has 4 casualty markers) and disordered (has a misaligned stand) and is totally disinterested in listening to any commands that may be issued to it. The Austrian battalion in the middle of the photo with the white flag will fail it’s order to charge the disordered (one stand misaligned remember) French battalion to its front. The Austrian battalion with the yellow flag next to the cavalry and artillery will not have an order issued due to the prior failed order and will continue to sit in front of the French artillery. Time to move on!

Aspern-Essling8

At the same stage as the prior photograph but on the alternate Essling front. von Peter himself seemed to have perpetual command failings here. Either he failed command / order attempts or his troops were disorganised as the result of French firepower and hence not amenable to receiving orders … or von Peter himself just plain missed opportunities while wandering around the table being sociable as a real gentleman of breeding should. For example in this photograph the Austrian battalion in column behind the two battalions in line is disorganised – remember the misaligned stand? It was part of intended bayonet attack but having been disordered it isn’t listening to any command to bayonet the enemy … or do anything! As an alternative a firing line has been set up to hopefully soften up the pesky Frenchmen. A third battalion of white coated Austrians has gotten itself left behind earlier due to a failed order and has not yet had a chance to catch up. It’s not all gloom, doom and incompetence though. The Grenz battalion dressed in brown and in skirmish formation in the left foreground of the photograph is about to advance closer to the French Battery and eventually destroy the battery with their fire. At the far end of the Austrian line 2 batteries of artillery have taken a section of Essling under continual and accurate fire. This would eventually result in there being no (living!) Frenchmen being in occupancy … and no immediately available Austrian battalion to occupy it!!!! Such are the wonders of 1809 Austrian staff work!

The end of game photographs from Aspern around to Essling …

Aspern-Essling9

The wooded area on the French side of Aspern is / was apparently called the Gemeinde Au and at the battle’s beginning was teeming with vermin … le petite Emperor’s vermin! 🐭 Not that von Peter himself is in anyway biased you understand! 😃 Here we see that the Gemeinde Au has been cleansed with good honest Austrians now in charge. Now what was that about not being biased?! 😎

Aspern-Essling10

Aspern is still a town in dispute with both sides claiming sectors with the church in a firmly pro Hapsburg state of mind. There appear to be ample Austrians in the vicinity. Not so much for the French if this and the prior photograph are reviewed.

Aspern-Essling11

A view centre of the battle. Through these Austrian eyes there seems to be a dearth of French compared to Austrians here as well.

Aspern-Essling12

The somewhat chaotic scene around Essling. With the last turn called some squadrons of the Austrian Hessen-Homburg Hussars have given in to their frustrations at sitting idle for most of the game and have attempted to charge the French battalion in line between the woods – now containing two battalions of Frenchmen – and the Danube. Of course they did not muster enough moves to get there. The Austrian battalion to the hussar’s rear is disordered as is the right hand battalion in line and the left most of the two batteries – yes it’s those misaligned stands again! 💀 The French battalion in line and the column behind the woods – both with white standards – may have been of the Young Guard. With the superior French command represented by higher commander ratings the French could reasonably reliably get triple moves for their commands. So depending on how the fight was looking brigades of Young Guard &/or cuirassiers would appear magically and just as soon depart as their services were required elsewhere. Meanwhile Austrian commanders were left jumping up and down in fury at their impotence as command rolls were failed. Much like that fateful day back in 1809 if one is to believe what one reads about the Austrian command.

Of course mere photographs only tell a portion of the tale. How battered individual brigades and divisions were and how much fight was left in them is an imponderable to The dear reader … much as it was to some of the Austrian commanders! What can be said – and it is the firm belief of von Peter himself that the Austrian commanders were unanimous in this – is that the though the French still held the majority of Aspern & Essling their army was rapidly becoming a battered wreck that would need to cede the battlefield lest it risk a complete and comprehensive destruction. And le petite Emperor would not like that one little bit. Not at all. He was already drawing up plans involving those troops for the follow up battle for which he appears to be favouring the name “Wagram”.

If this report has sparked any sort of interest then The dear reader should head on over to head organiser Garage Gaming Terry’s report. Lots more pictures and details are to be found over there.

Don’t forget to ‘click’ on the photographs for larger and clearer images.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

Moving pictures

A quickie inspired by some of those new fangled moving pictures that may be of interest to some of The dear readers.

Salute 2016

Salute 2016 has come and gone. A bit of an extended tramp from New Zealand to the UK – though that didn’t stop that dastardly Valleyboy who will have a lot of describing to do once he returns – but via the marvels of moving pictures it’s possible to do a flyover of some of the games. If your wife / husband / partner has left you a spare 31 going on 32 minutes have a look at the Salute – 2016 video from JonLawVids. If nothing else there is plenty of soothing / meditational music to groove to!

Salute2016

Painting Horses

There are many painting tutorials on the interwebs. Here’s a slightly different way to paint a horse … at least different for von Peter himself. It’s all about the hair texture. Moving pictures from Doctor Faust’s Painting Clinic’s How to Paint Horses. Thanks to Theo on a forum for the heads-up on this. There are several horse painting tutorials on the interwebs … in fact there are many tutorials on general miniature figure and terrain painting out there. Let your web searching go wild.

How to play Aurelian

Aurelian from Sam Mustafa from his Honour series provides the rules to fight the crisis of the 3rd century when it looked like Rome would not make it to the 4th century. It has come to the belated attention of von Peter himself that SirTobi has created a series of tutorials on the rules. Very nicely presented and well worth a look if The dear reader has any interest in Aurelian.

Aurelian-Cover

Glory, Hallelujah!

Thanks to Garage Gaming Terry a copy of Glory, Hallelujah – the American Civil War supplement for the Black Powder ruleset – now resides at Neu Schloss von Peter. On first flush this appears to be a well written 180 pages which is going to take some reading on account of its size. Being sourced directly from the publishers Warlord Games the book came with the ‘free’ Dead-Eye Davy metal miniature. Dead-Eye Davy is a prone sniper that comes with a choice of head to make him more obviously a Union (kepi) or Confederate (broad brimmed hat) figure. It will most likely be a kepi for von Peter himself who prefers to be on the side of the angels! 😀

The book is full of pretty pictures of war games figures. The proverbial war games porn. But excepting a couple of pictures of Dead-Eye Davy (from Warlord Games) all the figures pictured are the products of Perry Miniatures. Not a bad thing in itself as the Perry twins are rightly feted for the quality of their product but maybe some other manufacturers product might have been used on occasion. Perhaps it’s the Nottingham mafia at work! 👀 Or perhaps it was just convenient to have the Perry’s stage the photographs from their collection. Certainly flicking through the book there is a consistency provided by the use of a single range of figures.

Glory Hallelujah

And it may be just coincidence but look what long lost plastic set has appeared all of a sudden on the the Perry Miniatures Facebook page …

Perry ACW

Sharp Practice 2

The release of Sharp Practice version 2 from the TheTooFatLardies is now but a few days away on the 23 April 2016. von Peter himself has finally made his decision as to which pre release bundle to purchase and being his normal greedy and uncontrolled self has ordered Bundle 5. The biggest most expensive bundle with greatest savings … albeit that the cards and poker chip set are effectively duplicates of one another.

The Lardies have extended their explanation of the game by adding another two episodes  using moving pictures …

Sharp Practice 2

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

A first game at Neu Schloss von Peter and a little more

Attention! The son & heir applies himself and some pigments, a game and some commercial stuff.  Forward … March …

The son & heir’s latest pigmentation adventures

Not only have the paint brushes of von Peter himself been busy sloshing pigments on to figures but those of The son & heir have been stirred into action as well. The evidence for the latter would convict in most courts of law. Namely …

  • that the painting desk of von Peter himself has on occasion been occupied by persons other than von Peter himself – specifically The son & heir
  • the two images below are entered into evidence as the output of said pigment application sessions by The son & heir

1-72 WWII Russians 1

Above: 1/72 WWII Russians on manoeuvres somewhere in Russia. The scene comprised of …

  • Italeri Russians from box No 6057 Russian Infantry. Pigmentation applied by The son & heir. He has since painted more including figures from the Italeri box No 6069 Russian Infantry (winter uniform)
  • a Dragon Armour SU-85M as supplied ex the box. The son & heir has gone crazy and wants to dirty the model up a little. The local commissar has not given permission for such activities as yet
  • the buildings were originally created by Scenic Effects for use in 1812 Napoleon invades Russian duties. They are now available from Monday Knight Productions. They are 15mm but these and others are on hand and being of a parsimonious turn von Peter himself plans to use them for the 1/72 WWII Eastern Front action. Pigmentation applied by Craig.

pdf copies of the Battlegroup Rule Book and the Battlegroup Kursk have been purchased and for now these are the rules being aimed for.

The son & heirs ruffians 1

Above: 5 ruffians for and by The son & heir skulk in the back street shadows. These noble creatures have been extracted from a Games Workshop (GW) Warhammer Empire Militia box … of von Peter himself! Ok, permission was requested and granted for their use but by Sigmar the boy has a cheek!  😃

A game … a game

Neu Schloss von Peter had not yet hosted a wargame. Something obviously had to be done so a trip back to late 1812 and the steppes of Russia had to be organised. It had to be Russia as not only had Neu Schloss von Peter not seen any gaming activities but neither had the Russian buildings that von Peter himself had painted!

History had to be tweaked a little for the game. The Prussians had left the Bonapartists clutches a little earlier than the history books relate AND managed to get three battalions of East Prussian landwehr raised and sent to the front in north western Russia. The path to the west for two depleted French Divisions keen to leave the distinctly ordinary Russian hospitality was blocked by a joint Russian and Prussian force. Generals de Division Terry and Roly would be looking for a way through the blocking Prussians of Generalmajor Simon and the Russians of Generalmajor von Peter himself. The action would take place in the environs of the little village of Baooshka and an even smaller village that didn’t seem to rate a name.

Each of the French Generals provided their own troops as did von Peter himself. Generalmajor Simon used the Prussians of his own creation plus those of von Peter himself. Black Powder were the rules of the day. Conveniently General de Division Terry was well versed in their use and the local modifications. He would be a busy man!

Having lost his dedicated large gaming bedroom – The Bastion – with the move from Schloss von Peter games are now to be played in the sunroom or lounge or the double garage as best befits the occasion. For this first game the sunroom was the room of choice so the table was moved to make way for the gaming table tennis table. Sadly taking pictures in the sunroom was a little problematic especially as it was sunny and it was physically impossible to photograph the table from some directions … unless one were to go outside and take the photographs through the glass!!

The scene was set for the small but vicious Battle of Babooshka. Now for the photo essay which mostly reflects the Russian end of the battle as that is the end that von Peter himself was aware of … sorry …

Battle of Babooshka 1

Let the dance begin. The calm before the storm.

Battle of Babooshka 2

The situation at the end of turn 2 …. or 3 … or maybe 4! The French were first into the nearest village but were expelled at the point of Russian bayonets … who were in turn forced out by yet more French who then elected not to occupy the place of death. In the foreground an initial cavalry clash went the Russian way but it was inconclusive. In the far distance the French and Prussians both claimed a town section. Both got shot up and voluntarily abandoned the dubious defensive benefits of the buildings

Battle of Babooshka 3

A turn or 2 … or 3 later on. A decisive cavalry clash has occurred resulting in the Polish lancers no longer being required for this battle. The Russian hussars (front rank with lances bottom right) have fallen back to reorder their ranks and prepare for more deeds of daring. The Russian dragoons (centre foreground with pink facings) have charged the nearest French infantry battalion to force them into square. The cunning plan was that they would fall back next turn and the Russian infantry would then charge the square at an advantage. The French square was not going down without a fight though and their limited shooting managed to disorder the dragoons who therefore would not be able to voluntarily move … to get out of the way of the “weren’t we meant to be charging” Russian infantry. CURSES!! A French infantry battalion holds the near village having ejected a Russian battalion who had entered it as the target rich environment surrounding the village was just too good to pass up for the young Russian aristocrat in command

Battle of Babooshka 4

A zoomed in view of the prior photo. The French can be seen in temporary control of the village. On the far right a now disordered and shaken battalion of Nassauers has charged a Russian jager battalion. The Russians particularly despised these pawns of the Bonapartists as they dare to wear green uniforms and that just aint right – Father Disputin says so! Having disordered and shaken the battalion von Peter himself was fairly confident of the result here … and proved yet again that pride comes before a fall. The Nassau’s held for serval rounds of combat before vanquishing the jager. More CURSES!! Fortunately a supporting battalion of musketeers were later able to charge the Nassau battalion and see them off the table. To the right of the village a column of French infantry has likewise attempted to charge a second jager battalion but fell just short. The French light battalion in the field also attempted a charge – this one aimed at the Russian battery – but this too fell short as they could not clear the mass of infantry to their front. The ‘spirited’ Father Disputin can be seen in the foreground urging on the Russians with his particular brand of fire and brimstone preaching. In the back left hand corner of the table can be seen the French cantiniere camp next to the French 5th Hussars. The cantinieres were possibly the most dangerous element of either army. They were not to be troubled by the Russians! 😃

Battle of Babooshka 5

The same geography as prior but a little later in the battle. Thanks to Father Disputin’s none too delicate exhortations the Russians have managed to reclaim the village, destroy the French square beyond the village via an infantry charge and remove from the table the French line battalion that attempted to charge the jaguars next to the village which took the light battalion from the field with them. This effectively ends the battle at this end of the table. Many are the praises to be heaped upon Father Disputin who pulled out some stirling dice rolling to save the blushes resultant of the commands issued by von Peter himself! Urrah!!!  😃

Battle of Babooshka 6

The end game from the Prussian wing of the battle as seen from behind the French. Renowned beau sabre General de Division Terry has not yet used his Wurttemburg cavalry brigade which hovers in the rear of the French lines (out of picture). Likewise the Prussian cavalry is playing the cat and mouse game towards the rear of the Prussian lines. The Prussians have slowly been worn down but are still full of fight. Much was the muttering from the Prussian commander about getting his landwehr troops to do as they were instructed.

Battle of Babooshka 7

The same scene from the Prussian lines. It was noticeable during the battle that Generalmajor Simon was much harder on those East Prussian troops supplied by von Peter himself than their Silesian compatriots that were supplied by Generalmajor Simon. Very interesting!

The game seemed to be enjoyed – apart from The son & heirs problems with the recalcitrant landwehr! Most importantly the Battle of Babooshka got the right result with the Bonapartists getting a good kicking thanks to Father Disputin’s encouragement and threats of eternal damnation should the French be victorious! 😃 Father Disputin’s rantings preaching most certainly worked wonders on the dice as rolled by von Peter himself some of which was outrageous. Sorry Roly … no honestly!

Another outcome of the game is that von Peter himself is reminded that there are still two Russian buildings to be painted. And one of those two buildings is an Orthodox church. Father Disputin will not be happy should the church remain unpigmented for too long!

 

Perry American Civil War in a box

From a recent Perry Miniatures newsletter …

We are happy to announce Battle in a Box!
We have been keeping this under our hats for some time but we are getting close to the release now. As you can see this is a full box! It’s a big box too! Everything in the box is plastic, figures and terrain (from Renedra Ltd).
Included in the box there is a new ACW multi-part General sprue (x2) made by Michael.
There’s also a revised set of ‘Firepower’ rules by our good mate Alessio Cavatore included along with flags, bases, painting guide, 4 ft of fencing and the American farmhouse.
The box cover was by that talented artist Peter Dennis.
The whole box works out at about a third off our normal prices.
We’ll keep you updated!

von Peter himself and The son & heir probably have enough ACW to be getting on with – especially as the ACW project seems to be dormant for now. But for someone starting out on their their ACW journey this Battle in a Box could be a great start. Then again 95 pounds is not an insignificant up fromt cost.

Perrys ACW in a box

 

Victrix sale

Victrix Ltd have a 30% off sale until Sunday 18 October. Of course they do as notification of this sale was received a day after von Peter himself had bowed to The son & heirs birthday request and ordered a box each of …

To be honest only the savings on the decals would have been accrued. The two boxes of figures were sourced from Caliver Books as not only were the boxes a little cheaper but postage was free. With the cost of postage from the UK to NZ von Peter himself does not feel so aggrieved about missing the sale.

Anyways from the Victrix email …

We are running a “30% off all orders” deal from today until Sunday 18th October. This applies to all our product range including shield transfers and flags. Just type in 30%off in the discount box at the check out stage of the shopping cart.

Victrix Ltd

 

The History Book Man now provides for pdf downloads …

That is to say you are now no longer required to pay postage to receive any of  The History Book Man’s e-books on a disk if you do not wish to. Once again von Peter himself reproduces an email to save himself a bunch of typing …

NO MORE POSTAGE CHARGES!
After six months of testing and a system upgrade digital downloads are now finally available.  Thank you Natalie for all your hard work, and to the many friends worldwide for testing the e-mail links for us. 
From 5 October 2015 an additional delivery option will be available for the ‘Armies and Uniforms of the Napoleonic Wars’  series of e-Books by W J Rawkins.
Customers will now be able to order these books as a downloadable PDF file simply by selecting the DIGITAL DOWNLOAD option at the checkout. 
Visit the website for more information
The package for online download will consist of the Book File, plus a printable sheet of disc labels and artwork for a DVD case cover for those customers who wish to create a back-up disc.  
(Additional artwork sheets for all titles will be made available to new and existing customers FREE OF CHARGE on request).  The label art work needs only to be copied/cut and pasted in a Paint shop type application to be compatible with most label making systems, such as Cyberllnk, you can now use your favourite label product or even laser print your discs.)   
The download link will be sent by e-mail to the address provided by PayPal at confirmation of payment usually within 2 hours and will be available for 48 hours during which period the files may be downloaded no more than three times.
The option of buying the books loaded to DVD-Rom will still be available and postal charges will be subject to current Royal Mail rates and policies.
Thanking you all for your continued support.
MAC USERS: Older MAC users (Not you McKenzie) may experience some issues if they have not upgraded to accept PC generated files. Please contact us if in doubt.
Regards
Bill Rawkins

The History Book Man

Enough. And don’t forget that you can click on the images for a larger and clearer version.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

 

 

Call to Arms 2015 part the second … and some sadness

If von Peter himself were to be honest [shock horror] he might admit that the Call to Arms 2015 report was never meant to be a multi part undertaking. Rather late one night after working up the report a little further von Peter himself decided to preview that work to-date to check it for presentation, stupid errors etc. and save it for further work. Somewhere along the line of switching between the preview and the blog contents von Peter himself inadvertently published the update to the whole world! An “oh bother” – not the actual words used at the time 😀 – moment. An out of character rapid command decision was made. The post would stand. More unaccustomed rapid activity to remove some unwanted text and add the “To be continued” epitaph and the deed was complete.

Such is the sad background of gross incompetence to this continuation and conclusion of the Quatre Bras game …

Quatre Bras 4 von Peter's 2 brigades

Above: the two brigades of von Peter’s command for the game. Up front we have Pack’s four British battalions – two lining the hedge adjacent and a little in front of Quatre Bras and the two Highland battalions who have just leapt the hedge to get at the French as old gumboot (Wellington) wanted to apply some pressure on the French in this sector. Behind them are the Hanoverian militia battalions of Best’s brigade. Three battalions can be seen here as Picton has already removed the fourth to the flank where they would remain for the rest of the game.

Once the potential outflanking of the Allied line by the French had been thwarted (see here for the details) the worst of the battle was over for the allies stationed on the left though they did not yet know it. Monsieur Rhys tried heroically to puncture the line but it was not to be. Then again he may just have been foxing to keep allied troops away from the centre and allied right. Damned dastardly cunning those Frenchmen can be! By the game’s end the Allied left was advancing across the field trying to break the French brigades as much as taking ground. As the historical records recount their efforts were in vain as Monsieur Rhys proved to be a dab hand at surviving Break Tests and though his brigades may have been sorely tested none broke [mutter mutter].

A rare visit by von Peter himself to the Allied right delivered quite the surprise. There didn’t seem to be an Allied right flank. Whatever had gone on over there it was not good for the Allies. There was precious little standing between the French and Quatre Bras.

Thankfully the scenario timed out before the French could storm Quatre Bras. A moral victory for the Allies but a summing up of the scenarios victory points gave the game comfortably to the French. Time to fall back to that ridge we spotted near Mont St Jean. With any luck the Prussians will join in to add that victorious touch to the Allied efforts!! 😀

Quatre Bras 5 von Peter's 2 brigades up close

Above: a close up of the prior scene

During the battle the left flank of the Allied Army had no cavalry support and but a single battery. True there was a battalion of British Rifles which the (British!) writers have decided were supermen with plenty of special rules. Not that the special rules stopped them from blundering and running to the rear. 😀 They didn’t unduly affected the battle. And the much famed and feared British first fire turned out to be nothing more than a grave disappointment.

The true heroes on the left were Best’s Hanoverian militia who fought like lions all day. And their brave commander von Peter himself is totally unbiased in this. They invariably rolled high when required and low when required. Whether it was going toe to toe with the French in a firefight or surviving a flank charge by French Cuirassiers they managed it all with the aplomb of veterans. It must be their red caps … or the inspired leadership. 😀

All in all a good time was had. The same seemed to be true of the convention as a whole – at least on the Saturday that von Peter himself was in attendance. There were several other demonstration games and the hall was full of competition gaming in several gaming systems. There were even some visiting public who wandered in with varying levels of understanding of what we were doing. They were all ready and happy to talk.

von Peter himself appears to have ceased taking photographs after the couple above. But never fear – for a bunch more photos of the game garage gaming Terry has posted about a gazillion of them at …

Call to Arms 2015 – Part 1 and

Call to Arms 2015 – Part 2.

Meanwhile at home several painting sessions have moved forward the 3/4th East Prussian Landwehr Regiment as modelled as a shot up firing line – Calpe Miniatures figures of course. Perhaps a progress report photo next time around.

Good bye dear friend

Sadly – such an inadequate word – we had to put Laelaps “to sleep” today. This came totally out of the blue.

Thank you Laelaps for being such a fantastic and integral part of The Family. You were a gentle dog who invariably did your best to please … though it must be said that there was the occasional mischievous moment! You are and will be missed. It was The Family‘s great pleasure and honour to run as part of your pack.

Laelaps

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

Call to Arms 2015

The weekend of the 15-16 August 2015 was the appointed time for the Wellington Warlords to host their annual convention this year entitled Call to Arms 2015. von Peter himself used to be a regular attendee on a demo table of one sort or another but the convention has been sadly bereft of von Peter himself for several years now. 2015 was the year of the return of von Peter himselfGarage gaming Terry was organising a game of Quatre Bras for the 200th anniversary year thing. Black Powder were the rules, the scenario came for one of the Black Powder supplements and four players aside it was to be.

Quatre Bras 2 The view from the east

Above: the view across the Quatre Bras battlefield from the east a turn or two in. The British and Hanoverians are desperately trying to form a defensible line. The French – under the dastardly Rhys – have not read their history books and have almost got a brigade around the allied left. Sacré bleu! von Peter himself is feeling quite pleased with himself as his two brigades have managed to form up as directed immediately to the side of Quatre Bras. Of course he had less distance to cover than Daniel’s (arms folded at the far end of the table) troops who are stacked up behind each other as they march to their assigned positions. Old Gumboot (Wellington played by Paul) in his favourite uniform check shirt surveys the scene in the west with some disquiet.

Participation could not have been simpler for von Peter himself. None of his Prussians, Russian, Austrians, Bavarians or Saxons were required and what French were available – a single battalion! – was not required either. Some trees and hedges were taken along but they were not utilised on the day either. Absolutely brilliant!  😀

Quatre Bras 1 The view from the west

Above: the view across the Quatre Bras battlefield from the west a turn or two in. On the left Nassauers, Dutch-Belgians and Brunswickers hold the line up to Quatre Bras which sits on the raised ground. von Peter himself is staunchly defending some ground on the far side of Quate Bras.

Quatre Bras 3 The view from the east

Above: the view from the east a turn after the first picture. Potential disaster has been averted on the allied left but not without some alarm. Thankfully the flanking French brigade – bottom right of the picture – having raced across the table chose now to advance at a rather more sedate pace. von Peter himself fancies that he spied their commander jumping up and down on his bicorne in a highly frustrated and agitated manner … or it could just have been a bug wandering across the lens of his telescope!  😀 British battalions have managed to form lines to the French front sealing off the previously open flank. Just as Allied commanders were calming down a Royal artillery battery comes racing around the end of the line but fails to unlimber as planned leaving it limbered and open to the French. The allies don’t have many batteries and to loose one without it firing a shot just too much. Luckily Picton (one of von Peter’s personas for the day) sees the danger and taking control of a Hanoverian Militia (red flag bottom right of the picture) battalion screams “Follow me” and leads them to a position between the French and the battery.

To be continued.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

Waterloo 200th anniversary refight

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Steve Sands as Napoleon at Waterloo 2015 in Wellington. It’s obviously hard work herding the French commanders into something approaching a winning team! 😃 Image from the Radio New Zealand website

The weekend of the 13th & 14th June 2015 has passed meaning that the local 200th anniversary refight of Waterloo has passed into history … just as the original has.

To recap – one did not need the brain the size of a planet to realise that there would probably be one or two refights to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the epoch ending Battle of Waterloo. But there was only one refight that was being held in the Grand Banquet Room at the Wellesley Club in the city of Wellington … both of which names have distinct associations with the battle.

von Peter himself and The son & heir had both managed to inveigle their way into the game and with extreme good fortune had both been allocated Prussian commands. As gentlemen we could both rest easy that we had been cast on the side of the angels!  😃 von Peter himself was cast as Major General von Ryssel overseeing the operations of the 14th Brigade while The son & heir masqueraded as Cavalry General Prince William of Prussia commanding the Reserve Cavalry of the IV Army Corps. Luckily for The son & heir his last university exam of the current batch had been on the Friday immediately preceding the game and he was available to play.

The game involved around 40 gamers some of whom had travelled from around New Zealand for the event. Over 8,000 28mm figures were used to represent the three armies of the battle. The Black Powder rules were used to adjudicate the game. A set of rule amendments, clarifications etc had been supplied to all involved along with the scenario setup, orders of battle, victory conditions and administrative details for the weekend.

waterloo game map

Four tables were set up as per the graphic above. However only two – ‘La Haye Sainte’ and ‘Plancenoit’ were actually fought over during the game. ‘Mont St Jean’ and ‘La Belle Alliance’ were used as staging areas for the reserves.

An interesting aside: The following pictures show the base cloths bespoke for the game … and that these clothes are covered in a patch work of differently coloured fields. Apparently a British officer surveyed the terrain of the battle environs noting the different fields and the crops growing in them. Paul Goldstone had discovered this and used the information to replicate the fields including researching the colours of those different crops in June and getting the colours right. Brilliant! And then our troops arrived and marched and stomped unceremoniously all over them. What can you do?

The organising committee had excelled.

von Peter himself will now present a series of photographs of the event with an only slightly biased commentary based on the little he has gleaned from those parts of the game where he was not directly involved. Unfortunately these are not technically the greatest photographs one will ever see. The lighting could have been better. To add to this challenge it was discovered that the lights were turned down via a dimmer during the first day … d’oh! The strategy used was to snap a scene several times with the hope that one of them would be ok! Explanations of each photo follow that photo. Each photo is clickable for a larger and clearer view. Onwards …

Waterloo1 - T1 from Allied left flankAbove: Ready for the starters cannon. Looking down most of the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table with the French on the left, and Wellington’s army on the right. Out of shot in the bottom left corner is ‘La Haye’. Looking up the table ‘Papelotte’ is the first building to see followed by ‘La Haye Sainte’ and then ‘Hougoumont’. The dear reader may be familiar with some of the names. 😃

All the buildings were produced by Alan Hollows who has been concocting paper/card buildings for decades and has become quite the artisan with them. They have all been sized as required for the game.

Waterloo2 - T1 from Allied right flank

Above: A view of the same table but from the other end.

The starting positions for the armies was historic but after that anything went … and they certainly did. The French lead by Steve Sands acting as – and dressed as for the first day – Napoleon decreed that the major attacks would initially occur on the flanks of the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table. As a result the area between ‘Hougoumont’ and the table edge – bottom of the photo – became a veritable maelstrom of units firing, hacking, slashing bayonetting and dying.

Waterloo3 - T1 Hougoumont

Above a close up of ‘Hougoumont’ and immediate surrounds.

Waterloo4 - T1 La Haie Sainte

Above: The view from behind the Allied lines in the central sector of the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table showing ‘La Haye Sainte’ itself prior to the starting cannon being fired. The ‘Plancenoit’ table can be seen in the background.

Waterloo5 - T2 Plancenoit table

Above: The view several turns in of the ‘Plancenoit’ table. The Prussians have started arriving on the near edge of the table and the village on ‘Plancenoit’ can be seen way in the distance. Neither von Peter himself or The son & heir have yet put in an appearance which suited them just fine as they were free to wander around, chat, admire the game elsewhere and reacquaint themselves with the rules. In fact the game play on this table was so quick for the first few turns the Prussians went out for a coffee military planning meeting for the commanders.

To replicate the troubles of marching to the battle and to get the Prussian players involved from the beginning the French and Prussians started at the extremes of this table. The Prussian brigades had their order of march and would form a procession marching on. The catch was that while the infantry were able to march on through the woods the artillery and cavalry had to use the single road. This created traffic jams on the road and the dice rolling for movement often resulted in a miserly one move advance – even with the route march modifier applied. The nadir came with a blunder that had the whole column move backwards! Obviously a wheel had come off a cannon which had then rolled backwards!! 😃

The Prussian advance fell behind what the organisers had anticipated. This was later remedied by allowing all units on the ‘Plancenoit’ table a free two turn move to speed up the action.

Waterloo6 - Plancenoit

Above: ‘Plancenoit’ itself. This is the only close up of the town that the dear reader is going to see. Before a single Prussian boot was to make a mark on the table Lobau’s Corps, a Young Guard Division and the Guard Light Cavalry Division were striding down the table … presumably to welcome Grouchy’s arrival.  😃

As a result the action on this table would take place around the middle of the table … which suited the Prussians just fine. The fighting would come quicker, the soldiers would be less foot sore and there would be no attacking into ‘Plancenoit’.

Waterloo7 - Prussians changing tables

Above: Half of the leading Prussian brigade takes the road to ‘La Haye’ on the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table.

Because the Prussian brigades were so large – more like the divisions of the other two armies – and because the Prussian army and a habit of ‘kampfgrupping’ off portions of them to perform particular tasks the Prussian brigades were allocated an extra commander and the ability to divide their brigades as they saw fit. In this case Mark Conroy had broken his 15th Brigade in two and was sending half of it to aid the extreme left flank of the Allied army on the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table. If the Allied army broke then the French would be adjudicated the winners . This would obviously be a travesty for western civilisation and could not be allowed to occur. Supporting the Allied army was the Prussian armies chief concern.

Waterloo8 - Prussians changing tables2

Above: The Prussian 15th Brigade seen exiting the ‘Plancenoite’ table in the previous photograph appears on the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table to succour the hard pressed Allied left flank. ‘La Haye’ itself is under attack and beyond that building the French can be seen pushing through the woods.

Kerry Thomas – aka Valleyboy – had travelled down from Tauranga for the game and had betrayed his heritage to take the roles of Jaquinot and Durutte for the French on this extreme flank. von Peter himself is sure that he appreciated the extra attention the locals lavished upon him!  😃

Waterloo9 - Hanoverians will advance

Above: Action in the middle of the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table a few turns in. With the French attacking on the flanks their centre between ‘La Haye Sainte’ & ‘Hougumonte’ was not as strong as it could have been. This induced a Hanoverian brigade – Keilmansegge? – to advance off the ridge. Not all of the allied commanders were thrilled with this idea but that is one of the beauties of a game with a large cast of players. Command and control confusion is built in. You never know quite what is going to happen.

Waterloo10 - Allies behind Papelotte

Above: The scene around ‘Papelotte’ a few turns in. The French are coming.

Waterloo11 - Rockets too near La Haie Sainte

Above: Meanwhile back around ‘La Haye Sainte’ the action is heating up … literally!

Terry Swain was one of those who had organised the weekend’s activities. As a reward for his efforts he had been assigned a three way split personality. Simultaneously he was …

  • van Trip with the Dutch-Belgian heavy cavalry,
  • Uxbridge overseeing the Allied cavalry,
  • William, Prince of Orange as whom he was expected to dish out the occasional bizarre order to add a little colour to proceedings.

When talking to Terry during the game you always had to look deeply into his eyes to fathom who was talking back!! 😃

As such an important personage he was given the honour of firing the British rockets for a turn … and it is the expectation of von Peter himself that he was never asked to do so again. He managed a direct hit … on ‘La Haye Sainte’ and set it on fire!! Rumour has it that Napoleon himself granted a military award for such a sterling effort on behalf of the French! 😃

von Peter himself is unaware of whom had created the firing rocket but it was quite spectacular on the table.

Waterloo12 - The big French push on their left flank

Above: The mincer gets underway as the French attack on the flank beyond ‘Hougumont’. The mincer was destined to mince for the two days. There must have been many tales of daring do here but sadly von Peter himself was not privy to them.

Waterloo13 - French push between Papelotte and La Haie Sainte

Above: French advancing between ‘Papelotte’ and ‘La Haye Sainte’. At some stage the French stripped the Allied guns from the sector nearer ‘La Hatye Sainte’ in preparation for a later significant attack. Perhaps this is the attack that did the stripping.

Around 4:30pm the gaming, err … reenacting for the Saturday ended for we had an appointment at the War Museum. Rhys Jones had organised for us to get into the museum a little late in the day so that we could see the Gallipoli diorama that had been created care of the assorted inputs of Peter Jackson, The Perry twins, Weta Studios and a bunch of New Zealand Wargamers. See the Mustering the Troops site for more details on that project. Some of the players had contributed their painting to the project and were keen to spot their contributions. Good luck with that were the thoughts of von Peter himself with such a large diorama and so many figures. The task was easier for those who had painted some of the specialty figures.

Dinner was hosted at the  Leuven ~ Belgian Beer Cafe. What choice did we have? Of course dinner had to be in Belgium!

Sunday naturally followed the Saturday. Unfortunately The son & heir fell prey to the weakness inherent in his generation and crashed with a bad head-ache and was unable to take his place in the firing line. For all the doubters this was genuine. He had enjoyed his Saturday and he had been present of his own free will not because of an overbearing paternal parent.

Waterloo14 - Plancenoit table about to get murderousAbove: Back on the ‘Plancenoite’ table the French and Prussians are about to collide … and the congestion on the road shows no sign of abating.

Waterloo15 - Prussian direct entry to the La Haie Sainte table

Above: Alan Hollows wonders what fool put his lovely ‘Papelotte’ so far across the table.

Waterloo16 - Scratch 3 French cavalry regts

Above: The Prussians and French have commenced their deadly work on the ‘Plancenoite’ table. The significant features of this photo are what the dear reader cannot see. In an attempt to clear the three Prussian batteries three French cavalry regiments had charged them. It is a testament to the courage and skill of the Prussian artillerists that all three of their batteries are still to be seen but none of the French cavalry remain in the frame. Much lamenting will be heard from the wives, mothers and orphans of those brave cavalrymen! 😃

The more educated of the dear readers will have noticed the presence of two Saxon battalions and one from Nassau amongst the Prussians. By way of explanation the Prussian orbit required many MANY battalions of landwehr and they were just not available. These battalions helped make up the shortfall. And besides there were Prussian troops at Waterloo still in their old uniforms from Berg, etc so a few oddball uniforms was not totally unhistoric.

Also to be seen in this photograph is the French Guard Light Cavalry – the Chasseurs a Cheval de la Garde and behind them the Dutch Lancers. Earlier the Dutch Lancers had pounced on a foolish brave unit of landwehr cavalry that was in march column and way in advance of any other Prussian units. The expectation was that there would quickly be a finely sliced and diced landwehr cavalry regiment fertilising the battlefield but to everyone’s surprised they survived the first round of combat inflicting a casualty … but sadly not the second yet they did inflict another casualty(s?).

However it happened the Dutch Lancers were Shaken which in Black Powder terms meant that they were vulnerable. On the road at the top of the picture can be seen a unit of Prussian dragoons. These are sitting there in a disorganised state because of an audacious plan von Peter himself had dreamed up. With The son & heir’s non appearance due to illness command of the cavalry reserve had fallen to von Peter himself. A follow me order was issued and the dragoons had attacked the shaken Dutch Lancers. The dragoons had ended up throwing nine D6s – six sided dice – needing threes to hit and the Dutch Lancers hit back with ten D6s needing fives to hit. von Peter himself would happily take those odds on most days and the chance of removing the dangerous Dutch Lancers was well worth the risk. Sadly the dice were not with the good guys and the dragoons had bounced to where they can be seen here … and from where they would eventually be removed from the game as control of them was never regained due to ongoing disorders until they ceased to be. Sigh – a chance at an Iron Cross or better had gone begging. 😃

In the bottom left of the picture are some the Prussian troops that have started to chew their way through the French Young Guard Division.

Waterloo17 - Plancenoit table

Above: the same scene from down the table. Another brigade of Prussian heroes has appeared and still the road is a congested nightmare. At least the brigade artillery of von Peter’s 14th Brigade has finally made it onto the table … even if it is still stuck in traffic.

Waterloo18 - overview of La Haie Sainte table

Above: In the foreground the Prussians of Steimetz’s – who looked suspiciously like Rhys Jones – 1st Brigade are making a statement on the ‘La Haye Sainte’ table. Further along the table a life and death struggle continues as the French desperately try to break the Allied army before the Prussian wrath is applied. And the Allies are not that far off breaking Napoleon declares … or is this just one of those bulletins for which Napoleon is renown?

Waterloo19 - French breaking the line

Above: Apologies for the picture  – click on it for a larger and clearer version – but this is the sort of image that gave the French heart. French Guard infantry in bearskins hats supported by Cuirassiers and line infantry on the ridge which the Allies are meant to be holding. If only there had been Allied artillery left in this sector.

Waterloo20 - fear the landwehr cavalry

Above: Perhaps von Peter himself may get his Iron Cross after all. A French brigade tried to deploy so as to bar the way forward for the Prussians but blundered and advanced on the Prussians instead. Seeing a limbered French battery leading the way von Peter himself bravely placed himself at the head of a Prussian landwehr cavalry regiment – yellow and red pennants in the image – and charged. The cavalry came up with five dice to roll in the melee and the image records the result of that throw … btw sixes are good! Fear well lead landwehr cavalry!! 😃

Waterloo21 - Prussian pressure on La Haqie Sainte table

Above: Steinmetz goes to work on both sides of ‘Papelotte’.

Waterloo22 - French guard on the ridgeAbove: Those French chaps in their bearskin hats consolidate on the ridge.

Waterloo23 - bewtween La Haie Sainte and Hougoumont

Above: And it doesn’t look a whole lot better for the Allies on the other side of ‘La Haye Sainte’ either!

Waterloo24 - end game Plancenoit table

Above: The end game on the ‘Plancenoite’ table. On the Prussian left a division of French Young Guards has been consumed and the French are attempting to use their cavalry to cover for their lack of infantry.

On their left the Prussians are trying to reorganise themselves for a push into the woods where the French are ensconced. A series of single moves and disorders – and no doubt some inefficient decisions! – are making this a frustrating exercise for von Peter himself. The infantry supporting the Prussian central batteries have also been released by the high command to aid in this endeavour. The French have created a grand battery which dominates the area between the woods and the Prussian battery. At last the 14th Brigade’s supporting artillery has cleared the chaos on the road and has nearly reached the front. The first battery up is the newly painted 12 pounder battery. The plan was to have it felling lumber and Frenchmen in the wood. Note to self – should paint the limbers.

Waterloo25 - end game ... and still the road is clogged!

Above: The same position but looking down the table. The road is still chocked full of artillery while more infantry march to the sounds of the guns … unlike certain Frenchmen that could be mentioned. 😃

A National Radio consequence

On the Saturday Simon Morton from Radio New Zealand’s program This Way Up was in attendance with his microphones and easy conversational ways. As a consequence of this visitation the forty minute “Waterloo 200” has resulted and will be broadcast on Saturday 20th June early in the afternoon at 12:11pm.

Currently you can hear the program as a podcast here … for now. I’m not sure where it will be hosted in the future. 😳

Crutches

The weekend came three weeks after the infamous left hip replacement. Fortunately the recovery went about as well as could be expected. von Peter himself was able to hobble around either unaided or later in the day with one crutch or even later in the day with two crutches! A generous regime of pill popping helped. 😃 A big thanks to all those that helped out moving troops etc to and from cars for von Peter himself as he was unable to do so for himself. Also thank you Terry for taking care of von Peter himself once the Sunday gaming finished and the Fraulien von Peter herself was delayed collecting von Peter as she was out at a very nice eatery with friends!

Other sources

Given the significance of this game and the wide cast of characters involved von Peter himself is not the only blogger to record their thoughts on the refight. At the time of going to press von Peter himself is aware of the following ‘reports’ …

And as alluded to way back at the beginning this was not the only 200th anniversary Waterloo reenactment game played over the weekend. There were two note worthy efforts in Australia. These can be checked at …

Did history repeat?

Having suffered through so much the dear reader may be curious as to the result of the battle. To win the French needed to break the Allied army. To do so they needed to break 15 of the Allied army’s brigades. 13 had been broken when time was called. Conversely the French would loose if 21 of their brigades were broken and they too had lost 13 brigades. But because of the inroads being made by the Prussians and because the Allied army had not been defeated in time the game was officially adjudicated as an Allied & Prussian victory … by a nose. As in the original 200 years earlier a damned near run thing.

Good times played in a good spirit backed up by good organisation. A big thank you to all involved.

As always don’t forget that you can click on any of the pictures to see a larger and clearer view of them.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself

 

A triplex of games

A couple of turns into the trial Impetus game. Many of the figures are temporarily stuck on bases and many more are not yet painted but more importantly The Son & heir’s crossbowmen are about to be taught a lesson by their betters. Oh yeah baby!

The last few weeks have seen von Peter himself and The son & heir participating in several games.

Hail Caesar

First up was a first game of Hail Caesar. Terry had come over all keen on the Hail Caesar rules and with the benefit of a high initiative die roll he organised a game. These rules are published by Warlord Games, are based upon Black Powder and are for gaming the Ancients period. From what little von Peter himself has seen of the game it is a development / improvement on Black Powder in several areas.

Five of us got together at Terry’s one Wednesday night after work for our inaugural game of Hail Caesar. The son & heir was on school holiday duty otherwise he would have been unavailable. von Peter himself dusted off his Sassanids for himself and The son & heir to direct and Terry dug out his Romans for Craig and John to control. Terry was official rule looker upperer.

Controversial Sassanid light horse archers sticking it to some of the roman sandal wearers

Much cruel taunting emanated from the Sassanid side as the Romans either refused to advance or were just plain unable to do so as their troops showed a complete disdain of their commanders polite requests to please advance. It is with much regret that von Peter himself must own up as the initiator of much of these verbal barrages. But hey, those roman sandal wearing effeminate western barbarians deserved all they got and besides  von Peter himself was feeling a little ‘edgy’ at the time!!  8O)

The Sassanid plan was to take advantage of the Romans reticence about moving by advancing into archery range and letting the roman sandal wearing cowards suck down a few rounds of the far superior Sassanid archery before charging in with assorted elephants, cataphracts, clibinarii, heavy cavalry etc etc. It was a perfectly brilliant plan … spoilt solely by the rolling of a double ‘6’.

For those who do not know orders in Hail Caesar are verbally issued to a unit or group of units. Two dice are then rolled to see if – and if so how efficiently – the order is  carried out by the troops so ordered. The roll of a double ‘6’ is termed a blunder and following the roll of another die a table is consulted to see what the effect of the blunder is to be. In this case the effect of the blunder was that von Peter’s main strike force of clibinari & cataphracts went charging across the table to stop an inch or so in front of some very startled roman sandal wearers. Yes, they had moved to within archery range – but please save me from overly enthusiastic aristocratic bombasts!

So that was the storm of righteous Sassanid archery theory out the window. A ‘Plan B’ was quickly drafted and initiated. It was crafty in the extreme. Charge in with the kitchen sink to try and right the wrongs of the dice lords. After all we were there to trial and learn the rules. What better way to make some learnings than to take a less sophisticated approach!  8O)

For the benefit of posterity the learnings were that …

  • elephants are not all conquering of themselves and would benefit from support … and a preparatory archery storm
  • clibinari & cataphracts are powerful units but it would really be best to win in the first round of combat when they can use their charge bonus (or whatever it’s called) … and a preparatory archery storm would be most beneficial
  • forgetting to play the Roman pilum rule is a damned fine idea if you’re dressed as a high ranking – and outstandingly good looking – Sassanid. This even works without a preparatory archery storm!

The other talking point were the Sassanid light horse archers who generated a discussion or two with their bag of sneaky tricks. Overall we all learned a thing or two about the rules and it is now up to the rule lawyers to reread the rules and sort out all the things we did wrong.

Black Powder

Next up was a Napoleonic game using Black Powder. Labour Weekend was nearly upon us meaning that Monday was a public holiday here in New Zealand. von Peter himself bestirred himself and organised an eight player Napoleonic game for the Sunday … having first gained the blessing of the Godess of War Fraulien von Peter herself of course! But by the day of the game numbers had halved to four as the result of sudden visits by in laws, remembered marriage ceremonies out of town and the siren calls of domestic home maintenance duties! As it turned out the game was another of those father – son affairs. The Fathers – Rhys and von Peter himself – took on the sons – Daniel and The son & heir.

The scenario was set in 1813. The Prussians under the command of Major General Daniel had swooped down on a town defended by six battalions and a battery of Bavarians lead by the renown von Peter himself. The town itself had some old Vauban style fortifications that were in an extremely poor state of repair. The Bavarian artillery could not be placed on the walls and attacking the walls was no more difficult than attacking a stout building. The town was situated at one end of the field of battle.

Racing from the other end of the field of battle to the aid of the beleaguered Bavarians were their French allies lead by that Marshall in waiting Rhys. Awaiting him and protecting the back of Major General Daniel’s attack on the town were the Prussians of the dastardly and infamous The son & heir. Got it?

The 1/7 Bavarian IR on the decrepit town walls. These heroes saw off the attentions of several attacking battalions for much longer than could be reasonably expected only relinquishing their hold on the walls in the last combat phase of the game. The battalion may be formed from the brush strokes of The son & heir and be part of his collection but they have never performed as heroically as on that day when lead by von Peter himself.  8O)

The usual happened with a Black Powder game in that the competing armies were shredded.

Marshall in waiting Rhys and The son & heir traded men’s lives with a truly callous indifference. The usual number of bizarre results were on display as they usually are when The son & heir is involved. Cuirassiers bouncing off the flank of landwehr infantry in line makes for an illustrative example. The scales of war slipped first one way and then the other.

von Peter himself was well served by his Bavarian troops who generally fought well despite von Peter’s leadership! Major General Daniel rushed one half of the town with a single supported battalion and to the horror of von Peter himself succeeded in wrestling it from the defending Bavarian light battalion … the one blot on the Bavarians record for the day. Fortunately the defending Prussian battalion proved just as listless in their defence a few turns later. This was just as well as the Prussians finally managed to prise the other half of the town from the determined grip of the 1/7 Bavarian Infantry Regiment. So half a town each when the game was called. A draw … though obviously a moral victory for the fathers!!  8O)

Impetus

When The family sent their possessions back from the UK to New Zealand at the end of their foreign adventure a copy of the Impetus rules was included. Despite an interest they were never played. Much later The son & heir started collecting – and on occasion even painting! – the Perry Miniatures late medieval figures. After some extended agitation he convinced von Peter himself to dig out his Greater Italian Wars Spanish-Imperialist army for a trial of the game. All The son & heir had to do was read the rules, learn the rules and run the game.

As with the first game of Hail Caesar several errors were made but we are encouraged to continue with the Impetus rules – at least for now. One nice feature of the rules is how units get worn down and become less effective as they are used.

As with all periods von Peter himself can see himself playing several rule sets for his ancients gaming. This will provide for a variety of differing gaming experiences and also cater to the various tastes of the local gamers.

Don’t forget to ‘click’ on the photos to see a larger image if they should tweak your interest.

Until we meet again …

Salute
von Peter himself