Sunday 24 April 2022

The Action at Taubental

As promised, here is a brief update and a few snaps from yesterday's game.

Andy Moran came over for his first taste of Horse and Musket gaming, and I think he might be hooked!

We did have a great game, Andy taking command of the Astrovian forces (with Pils Holstein allies) whilst I handled the Vaubarians!

Here is a reminder of the map layout:

The forces were as follows:

Astrovians (deployed on near edge of table to left of river)

Commander Reichsgraffen General von Schwarzenatter

Astrovian Infantry Bde commanded by Brigadier von Jung - Regts Frankl; Schrodinger; Wittgenstein

Pils-Holstein Infantry Bde commanded by Brigadier von Wagner - PH Leibgarde; Wolfsheim; Braunschweig

Irregular light infantry: The Karavani Croats

Cavalry - commanded by Brigadier von Trapp - Klammer Kuirassiers; Czardas Hussars

1 Field Gun

Vaubarians (deployed on top edge of table to right of river)

Commander Markgraff Karl von Orff

1st Infantry Bde commanded by Brigadier Schweinsteiger - Leibgarde; Dremel; Breitner

2nd Infantry Bde commanded by Brigadier Maier - Electoral Grenadiers; Ratzinga

Dismounted Dragoons - Muller (begin game in the farm)

Cavalry - commanded by Brigadier von Hoeness - Vogts Cuirassiers, Podolski Hussars

1 Field Gun

I decided to have a very slight difference in the make up of the forces to create some tactical problems. The Vaubarians fielded only 5 infantry battalions, against the combined 6 battalions of Astrovians and Pils-Holstein. This was slightly offset by one of the Vaubarian battalions being Grenadiers and thus classed as elite. In terms of light troops, the Vaubarians were also better quality - the dismounted dragoons being trained regulars, and the Karavani Croats being raw irregulars.

In both cases, the hussars began the game off table and their arrival (time and position) would be diced for from turn 3... in the end, both arrived in a similar position, the Podolski Hussars on the northern table edge just above the farm, the Czardas Hussars a couple of turns later in the gap between the woods and the farm.

The game swung to and fro and a gentlemanly draw was finally declared at the end of 12 turns, with both sides severely battered and neither in a position to force the issue and seize all key features of the field. So both would withdraw under cover of darkness, to fight another day.

The casualty returns were as follows:

Astrovians lost 69 infantry and 6 cavalry.

Vaubarians lost 39 infantry and 12 cavalry.

This includes figures routed/ retired and from the table.

On paper, it looks like a Vaubarian victory, but the position certainly to a degree favoured the Astrovians at the end, although they had yet to cross the river at any point.
Andy grasped my embryonic rules rather well, and got to grips with the tactics of the era very quickly, so that's a very positive outcome... and augurs well for future games.

Thursday 21 April 2022

Time for a bit of Action!

It's time for a game.

The terrain is set out on the table for an outing for the forces of Vaubaria and Astrovia in the 1704 campaign, The Wars of the Vaubarian Succession.

Here is the sketch map for the game which will be played this coming weekend. 

Table is 6x5.

North is to the left hand table edge.

The Vaubarians will arrive on table from the east (upper table edge), deploying on the south side of the river.

The Astrovians (who will have an allied Pils Holstein contingent to bolster their ranks) will arrive from the west (near table edge), deploying north of the river.

A brief battle report will follow ...

Friday 15 April 2022

Finding Inspiration

First of all, Happy Easter weekend... I hope you've got plenty planned, and perhaps a little hobby time too!

Tomorrow (Saturday 16th April) is the anniversary of the Battle of Culloden, of course, and a date etched into my memory as this battle has held considerable fascination for me for many years... since I saw the Peter Watkins BBC documentary/drama back in the 1970s. I'm delighted this exists in its full form on youtube, and I may even watch it all this weekend at some point.

Further inspiration for the '45 came when I discovered Prebble's book and devoured its historical narrative with eagerness.

Some years later, I managed to get a role as an extra in the film Chasing the Deer (since renamed, "Culloden, 1746" I believe). It was an interesting experience, although I'm not sure being at the back of a redcoat column marching out of Fort George, hardly visible to the naked eye, counts as a screen debut!

The highlight for me (apart from the impromptu snowball fight between redcoats and highlanders on on the way off Moy Moor after filming one day) was meeting "Fish", the former Marillion front man. I'd been a  bit of a fan back in the day. He had a leading role in the film and by chance he and I were 'in wardrobe' at the same time as I was getting fitted for a plaid for one of the days as 'government militia'. He was complaining of a hangover from the night before... I was in awe. He really was as big in real life as he appeared on stage.

But I digress...

I guess the message is that I have always had more than a passing interest in Culloden (and when I lived in Scotland, visited the battlefield several times), but it's not a period I have ever 'wargamed'. I did have a dozen master figures of charging Jacobite highlanders sculpted many years ago with the intention of producing a range for my personal use... I never did anything with them. 

Don't worry, I'm not about to go there...

The point is, just because we are not wargaming a period, we can still find inspiration from it... the sound of battle, the tactics, the flags and drums. You get the idea.

And, if we choose to look for it, inspiration is in abundance...

Talking of inspiration in tricornes, albeit a different theatre of war, pop over to John Ray's blog (A Military Gentleman) and have a look at his pictures of the Dillon regt for the AWI. It was always a favourite of mine in John's collection. Inspiration in abundance.

Similarly, our friend Tidders (Kingdom of Wittenberg) has just produced a lovely PDF of his recent campaign which is a great read. Allan's collections all have a certain style to them which he consistently sticks to and which really works. The campaign is a delight. The PDF is interesting in that it also covers how he set up the campaign, the sequence of battles etc. Really good stuff.

And finally, on the subject of inspiration, it was sad to discover a few weeks ago the passing of our friend Ian Smith who has delighted show-goers with his 40mm display games for many years. Here are a few snaps I took of his game at Salute in 2016.

Ian and I didn't know each other well until around that time, but since then we had been in touch, and had many a good natter at shows... and not always about wargaming, but business, football, golf, and all sorts of other things too. 

In many ways, Ian was a 40mm man amongst 28s; he was a big character, and his games were ambitious and hugely inspirational... a feast for the eyes.
My thoughts, of course, have been with Diane and Ian's family this past few weeks, and with the likes of Shaun Bryant, Tony Runkee, and Mark Allen who knew Ian so well and contributed to his games, along with Dave Marshall who made much of Ian's terrain.

Thanks for the inspiration, Ian Smith. RIP.

The ranks are thinning, and every time Partizan comes round, we seem to be a man or more down. But the inspiration lives on...

It's what we do.