Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Hanau 1813 re-fought

                                        Please refer to the Hanau map in a previous post.

17 X 9 foot tables with the usual teddy bear fur.
The Allies were uncertain if any French would appear to the right of the Kinzig stream (now river) and at what point it might be fordable. They were convinced that given the space on the table, something would arrive…surely?

The French meanwhile would have their own problems of hacking their way through the forest, clearing it of Bavarian skirmishers and deploying their artillery. Admittedly this took 3 of the 10 moves completed so perhaps we could have started the game without this skirmish encounter. Also unknown was the whereabouts of the Russian Cossacks but the French rightly sniffed the saddle sores in the woods to the French right wing, where their own cavalry would come cascading down, and delegated French hussars to screen this threat.

Hanau in the distance with woods in the foreground,
which would conceal the Russian Cossacks.
Austrian medium and heavy cavalry
with their Bavarian allies in the distance.
 The French would shortly appear from the woods at the top.
Bavarian infantry and supporting artillery.
 A tad too close to the woods?
Sadly the Bavarian artillery/limbers and caissons were not ready in time for this battle so I had to provide more Austrian ones. The French limbers and caissons are also work in progress. We fielded 6 brigades on each side and fairly large quantities of cavalry (probably should have been less), the Allies out numbering the French cavalry by one brigade. The Austrian problem was that one brigade of infantry was on the wrong side of the Kinzig with two brigades of cavalry, convinced that something nasty would appear to their front. There were two Austrian Grenadier brigades in Hanau itself with artillery and they were not permitted to move until move 3.
1st and 2nd Austrian Grenadier brigades complete
 with two 12lbs and caissons. None of this force was to see any action.

Austrian right wing, ready to face the French?
The Austrian centre opposite  Neuhof
with supporting artillery dug in.
Same brigade as above but with the Lamboy bridge visible.
French infantry and detached artillery forcing their way through the forest.
French cavalry on the their right wing, led by hussars, then dragoons,
 followed by Guard and then heavy cavalry. A conveyor belt of horsemen. 
French heavies in the foreground.
Once most of the Bavarian skirmishers had been cleared, the Old Guard emerged from the tree line to face two brigades of Bavarians with supporting foot artillery. Initially the Old Guard had difficulty in making their quality count but soon the left hand Bavarian brigade was under severe pressure.

Austrian right advance.
Meanwhile the French left was left to a cavalry brigade of lancers and hussars, with one infantry brigade, and one foot battery to try and hold the Lamboy bridge. Efforts were made by both sides to take the village of Neuhof, with the Austrians being the eventual winners. The Austrian right wing by move 5 realised that nothing was going to appear to their front and so swung round and found the Kinzig fordable north of the Lamboy bridge.
Hanau detached!!
The French cavalry on the French right swept down and were initially met by a Bavarian brigade of Cheveuxleger (Hagen) and Bavarian lancers (plastic / Zvezda) who decided to withdraw and allow the better quality Austrian dragoons to have a bash who had come up from a deeper position. The French cavalry did not have the width of deployment to make their numbers really count. The French Guard cavalry and heavy cavalry brought up the rear.

French hussars and lancers attempt to hold the Lamboy
 bridge with artillery support and infantry.
French log jam in the woods.
Hard going.

French heavy cavalry

Allied guns fire at the French cavalry advance.
Austrian left wing. Bavarian cheveuxleger and lancers are in front. Austrian hussars,
 and Uhlans hold the middle while Austrian dragoons and
 light cavalry come up in support to meet the French.
Massed French cavalry.
French difficulty of deploying their artillery.
The 1st Bavarian brigade in danger of collapse with guns limbered and falling back.
 Austrian heavy cavalry move into the gap to face the Old Guard.
Bavarians facing the rear. This 1st Bavarian
 brigade was subsequently routed.
French progress against the 2nd Bavarian brigade was more muted.
Bavarian light cavalry looking a bit battered.
The French hussars on the French decided to enter the wood and became disordered as they did so, and sure enough spotted the cossacks hidden inside. Not one, not two, but three cossacks regiments with horse artillery ready to pounce. The Cossacks were then forced to attack and faired well, routing one French hussar regiment in the process. Where were those Krakus Cossacks when you need them?

Russian cossacks in the woods make their presence known.

Polish lancers attempt to deal with the Cossacks.
As do the French hussars.
The Bavarian centre was in danger of collapsing as the 1st Bavarian (left) brigade was routed and removed, but the 2nd brigade held on to form a defensive line. The rear Austrian Grenadiers moved out of Hanau to form a second deeper defensive line should all else fail. The Austrian Cuirassiers were thrown at the French Guard, using the initiative double move, and caught several Old Guard battalions not in square, who were swiftly put to the sword. But Austrian cavalry reserves were drying up while the French still had fresh Guard and heavy cavalry to commit.

Austrians take and cross the Lamboy bridge.

Austrian cavalry find the upper Kinzig fordable.

Austrian artillery on the solitary hill found it
difficult to locate a target.
The 2nd Bavarian brigade attempt to hold a line,
with support coming to their right.

Austrian infantry crossing the Lamboy bridge.

Austrian cavalry making significant progress
past the rear of the village of Neuhof.

French cavalry withdrawing on the French left wing.

Progress on the French right, stand off in the centre,
while the French left looks in danger of total collapse.
In the end the Allies did better than expected and a second day of gaming might have produced a conclusive result. The Austrians did manage to cross the Kinzig and the French left looked particularly weak as their infantry and artillery covering the Lamboy bridge were destroyed. Their cavalry retreating in the face of overwhelming numbers. The Allied centre right held, the Austian grenadiers never having been committed, so it was likely that any further French advance was going to be tough. The French were never really able to deploy their artillery properly, as there was little space….even on a 17 foot wide table. Had the French left ignored the Austrians on the far side of the Kinzig and attacked the 2nd Bavarian brigade to their front, it might have been interesting to have seen what would happen. Perhaps the three wasted moves clearing the woods of the Bavarian light infantry might have given the french more time to concentrate their efforts on the Bavarian 1st and 2nd brigades. Perhaps a Divisional test for the Bavarian 2nd brigade. (which we didn't do) The sensible approach, for the French, was to defend their left and rely on the French Old Guard and cavalry, which is what they did.

Good fun by all. Some new and newish commanders got to grips with the rules remarkably quickly which made the job of umpire considerably easier. Thanks to all who came and the next game will be on the 2nd July.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Napoleonic skirmishers

Some do and some don't. The intrinsic problem with representing skirmishers on the table top is threefold: it clutters the table and can slow the game down to such an extent that turns begin to take too long, and can simply over complicate the game. A recent Peninsula game, re-fighting Vitoria 1813, saw Allied skirmishers sweeping all before them so a happy medium has to be made. Worth having them on the table? I think yes, but let's not get too pre-occupied with their role that we end up with a messy table and a slow and complicated game. My collection focuses on central Europe in 1812-15 so avoiding the complication of how to use skirmishers properly in the Peninsula campaign. In Spain it is more difficult and greater thought may be needed as to how to represent them effectively.

Back to central Europe….
For infantry I have adopted the 3 man independent skirmish base for each formed light infantry battalion, which must remain a certain distance from their parent unit. Using a D8, this stand will score a disorder on a throw of 7 or 8 against most targets within range and if the target is already disordered, a hit. They are removed on contact with cavalry and retire on contact with formed infantry. They do not melee with anyone. If the parent unit they belong to is removed, the skirmish stand is removed also. I fully appreciate that whole battalions and whole brigades might deploy into skirmish order but that would be missing the point. If we try to cater for every eventuality in creating a rule set, we end up with an unworkable collection of rules.(or a very messy table!)

Saxon skirmishers in the distance, taking a pop at some
 Prussian Cuirassiers. advancing across their front.
But what about cavalry skirmishers? Not sure if I have ever seen this represented on any table but if the campaign stage of a game is missing, it would be fun to have this element introduced. Again in a limited way. The role of the umpire might become necessary to make this work. For example, if there are hidden forces in a wood or behind a hill, you would not send a whole regiment of cavalry to recce the area, but perhaps just a token force. This could be represented by 2 figures on a base, who can move further than other cavalry units, but have no offensive role. Would retire on contact with any formed unit and would stand off against any enemy cavalry skirmish stand, so would be almost impossible to wipe out. I appreciate they had their carbine, but enabling this token force to score disorders or hits, would make them too important. Their role would be to scout areas of the battlefield for hidden enemy units only. Perhaps just 2 bases per side.

Art Miniaturen have introduced some excellent Prussian cavalry jagers and Hagen Miniatures some superb Bavarian cavalry skirmishers:

I think this could work so I will think about introducing this element to the game over the coming months. After all, no general knew what he was up against so having some "unknown" element to any game should always be included if at all possible. This addition will enable a general to sniff out those unknowns.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Napoleonic Bavarian artillery

Franznap has spotted a niche. By producing artillery riders with greatcoats/overcoats they have given war gamers the flexibility to produce some interesting conversions, even if the covered up uniform might be a bit dull. It also helps to alleviate the problem of getting these uniforms right…quite a bit of conflicting information.

The heads were from Bavarian infantry (SHQ) and not from Newline Designs as they would have been too small.  I was keen not to cut off the collar of the Franznap French artillery rider bodies. Look ok to me. The horses are from Art Miniaturen (static Prussian) and the French caisson from Franznap. Looks like I will need to order the Art Miniaturen Prussian caisson to accompany this Bavarian set. I may also have to trim down the boots as they probably ought to be wearing campaign trousers. (the boots are barely noticeable under the coat) I also had to trim off the bum roll from the horse or else the rider would not fit properly onto the horse.

I have no idea at this stage which limber to choose but reading various forums it would probably be either the Austrian or Prussian limber (probably the latter) Bearing in mind so much equipment was captured I think the colour of the limber and caisson is perhaps more important than the actual type.

The Prussian caissons are also nearly finished. Just need to do the traces and base them properly. One row of these horses have not yet been stuck down….or else I would have problems doing the inside track of the traces. Tedious job but needs must. I will add some hay to the rear of some of the caissons.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Hanau 1813 Battle map

Starting positions for both sides will roughly reflect the actual battle with a few modifications: The game will be fought out on a 17 foot x 9 foot table. The bottom table including Hanau can be detached from the remaining set up, to allow easy access.

French forces will be concentrated in the woods and will comprise two brigades of Old Guard infantry with plenty of Guard Chasseur skirmishers out front. One Young Guard brigade, one French line brigade and one French conscript brigade will push through the woods with some cavalry support on both flanks. The majority of French cavalry will appear later on the French right flank. This will include the Guard cavalry. The majority of the artillery will also be coming down the north/south track/road through the forest.

From a previous game. French cavalry advance. 
The Allies will have one Bavarian Division of two brigades on the left flank. Each brigade will have two jaeger battalions plus skirmishers so should be able to delay the French advance, once they realise what has hit them. One Austrian Division will be on the right flank but will not be permitted to move left across the Kinzig stream until either French infantry have appeared from the southern most part of the Lamboy wood or have received an ADC from Hanau (C-in-C) to do so.

In reserve the Austrians will have a further division comprising two brigades of infantry, together with two heavy cavalry brigades, both with horse artillery.

Foot artillery will be spaced evenly across the battlefield. The reserve division in Hanau will have two 12lbs heavy batteries complete with limbers and caissons.

Unknown to the French there will be a Cossack brigade of cavalry roaming around somewhere.

That's the idea….could easily change!

Hungarians and Austrians in a previous game.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Hanau 1813

Pleased to announce that the forth coming 20mm Napoleonic game to be held in the barn on June 4th  will be Hanau, fought in October 1813.

I'm a little unsure wether the actual town of Hanau will be present, but it is likely that buildings representing the outskirts, will be there. Will need plenty of trees for this game as it would be good to kick off the game with the clearing of the woods by the Old Guard skirmishers/chasseurs. May need to even up the odds in favour of the Allies slightly.

French forces will roughly resemble those at the battle and will include Old Guard, Young Guard, conscripts, light infantry, Old Guard cavalry plus foot and horse artillery. I just hope to have the caissons completed on time. French forces will number approx 1,700-1,800.

Allied forces will include Bavarian infantry (only 300) so will have to use more Austrians. I hope to finish the Hagen Bavarian cheveuxleger in time to go with the Bavarian lancers (converted plastic figures, but don't look out of place).

The Austrians will be the Art Miniaturen figures. (600) plus 200 Grenzer figures from an unknown manufacturer, where the poses are all the same. Austrian cavalry will feature Hussars and Uhlans (Franznap) as well as Cuirassiers, Dragoons, and Cheveuxleger all from Art Miniaturen. Austrian guns will be from Art M and will be complete with limbers and caissons.
A brigade of Cossacks (3 regts of 16 Art M figures in each regt) plus a horse battery will also feature. So the Allies will have approx 1,300-1,400

caissons still to come.