Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Napoleonic bring and play - Some impressions of an epic gaming day

On Saturday some chaps and me met for a spontaneous and uncomplicated Napoleonic Black Powder game. Boiled down to the essence we simly agreed to bring the troops we wanted to play and constructed two equal armies. One of course the French forces with some allies like Saxon and Westphalian troops and on the other side British and Prussian forces. So we started at nine in the morning and arranged an enormous table with a couple of tables and a ping-pong table. We played until evening and the game didn't find a clear winner unfortunately. But nevertheless we had a great time and actually that was all this day was about.

Although a complete AAR is rather difficult I want to share some impressions of the game with you:
Marshall Davout gathers his division.
Simultaneously the Light Cavalry of the Guard arrives out of nowhere.
To balance the forces slightly we used the point system from "Albion Triumphant - Vol. II". Each of the armies had about 2,100 points.
The French forces marching on...

... and their allied counterparts.

I commanded some British and Hanoverian forces most of with advanced on and along the road.
To have enough room to manoeuvre all the troops we needed a large table. But on the other hand we had to be able to reach into the middle of the table. So we arranged them as a cross of tables. There the French got the first turn and unfolded very well. The lucky frogs past all their command rolls during this phase of the game...
The French dashing into the centre of the table.
They seem to be fear not being prepared to cross rivers since their experience in Russia...

But nevertheless they rely on their line infantry.

The Polish brigade marches steadily.
On the other side of the table we allies were slower unfortunately. Especially my Prussian allies failed several command rolls and slowed us down.
Blücher and his troops get mixed up.

The French light cavalry of the guard pushed forward into the center of the field.
Meanwhile the first Prussians make up some ground.
A French general lost touch to his cuirassiers that got scattered by Prussian musket volleys.
The allies still trying to enter the center part of the table to unfold.
But only single Prussian units are successful and threatened by French cavalry at once.
The Prussian right wing and center blocked by a defiant cavalry brigade as well as a disobedient infantry brigade.
The French tropps - Westphalians here - try to tie up their opponents.
But finally British cavalry reaches the field of glory - Now Scots Greys !
And at least some movement in the center of the allies.
Unfortunately we didn't reach a decision until the end of the day. Although the French had an excellent position in the middle of the battlefield there were several scenes which were dominated by the allies. Some Prussian units proved tougher than expected and Prussian and British heavy cavalry descended upon the French simultaneously hitting their horse artillery and light cavalry heavily.
The battlefield during the end of the game.
Anyway at the end of the day we all had a good time and we all had successful as well as disappointing moments. An excellent day with the chaps and nobody missed those detailed scenarios and well prepared games we used to play most of the time. Just plain and simple fun this time.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Preparing for a gaming weekend... With hot Toddy and a new pillow...

For the last week I've done everything to resist the flu which caught my kin one by one. First was our older daughter who brought the plague from the kindergarten I presume. Then my dear wife fell ill an finally even baby Anna had a running nose. Finally two days ago it got me. All the sinuses as well as my internal ears seem to have filled with mucus and I'm coughing without cease.

Really I don't want two whine but for next saturday we planned some kind of unique Napoleonic game. After some throwbacks with schedules this year a few guys from our gaming club agreed to meet in a boyscout hall next weekend, bring all the Napoleonic stuff they want to field and have a simply game. Pure fun without special rules, tricky scenarios and all that tricky stuff. So how to get fit within two days?

With a pillow and a hot Toddy or two:
The pillow is a present of matchless Mrs Monty. Actually she started the embroidery two years ago as the motiv implies. Although she finished it during the year after it took some time to sew the pillowcase around it. Anyway now it's finished and I can't thank my wife enough for the time she put into this present!
Besides that a traditional medicine shall help me to restore health. Most of you will probably know hot Toddy. A drink consisting of hot water, lemon juice, either sugar and honey as well as a good slug of whisky. By coincidence I found a recipe with tea instead of water and had a nice's Twining Earl Grey transformed into hot Toddy.
Excellent brew and I feel better and better sip by sip!

So I'm rather optimistic for the weekend and will let you know how our gaming saturday went. Cheers!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Command base finished: Sir Denis Pack and ADC

Finally it's done!
Yesterday evening I finished the command stand for my future 9th Brigade for Waterloo:

It represents Major-General Sir Denis Pack (later KCB) and his ADC  Major Edmund L'Estrange:
MAJOR-GENERAL Sir Denis Pack, K.C.B., wounded at Waterloo

Only son of the Very Rev. Thos. Pack, Dean of Ossory, by Catherine dau. and heiress of Denis Sullivan, of Berehaven, co. Cork. Five times received the thanks of Parliament for his military services. Was one of the moat dashing leaders of a brigade in the Par. War. " He was scarred with wounds and covered with glory." Commanded the 71st Regt. at Buenos Ayres when that city was retaken by the Spaniards, and was sev. wounded. and taken prisoner. When he escaped from prison, Pack was appointed to the command of a provisional battalion stationed at Colonia. His fidgety and irascible temper somewhat tried those who had to serve under him. One morning there appeared written in chalk on the door of a barn the following distich :

"The devil break the gaoler's back, that let thee loose, sweet Denis Pack."

For his services at Waterloo he was made Col.-in-Chf. of the York Chasseurs. M. 10th July, 1816, Lady Eliz. Beresford, youngest dau. of George, 1st Marquis of Waterford, and had issue. His 2nd son was Lord Beresford's heir, and assumed the surname of Beresford. Sir Denis died 24th July, 1823.
(from: "The Waterloo roll call" by Charles Dalton, Link to the original text)

Firstly I decided to represent Pack's brigade because I liked the mixture of different Scottish units. But meanwhile I got fascinated by the character of this gifted commander. If anyone knows a good biography about him I'd be happy for any hint.
Pack's staff officers were rather unlucky during the campaign. His General of Brigade Brevet-Major Smyth was mortally wounded at Quatre Bras and his other ADC Major Edmund L'Estrange was mortally wounded at Waterloo. Anyway I decided to represent the latter:

MAJOR E. L'Estrange, 71st Foot, K.

Edmund L'Estrange was a hero in every sense of the word. He waseldest son of Capt. Anthony L'Estrange of the 88th Regt. one of the Irish representatives of the ancient family of Le Strange, of Hunstanton, co. Norfolk. Was A.D.C. to Sir Denis Pack in the Par. War, and hisespecial gallantry, on several occasions, attracted the notice of Wellington. Made a brevet maj. at the early age of 26. His right leg was shattered by a round shot at Waterloo, and he died soon after suffering amputation. Had he lived, a great future was in store for him. A pension was granted to his mother whom he had supported.
(from: "The Waterloo roll call" by Charles Dalton, Link to the original text)

Although an officer of the 71st Regiment of Foot would have worn another dress I decided to show Major L'Estrange in the usual staff officers' uniform. In 1815 he had been Pack's ADC for several years so I thought it might be plausible that he adopted the appropriate uniform until then.
The figures are both by Perry Miniatures. While the Pack miniature is really meant to be the Major-General I had to improvise with the ADC because unfortunately there are no British staff officers by the twins yet. A pity!
Anyway luckily I got the inspiration of "Guns of April" who did some similar conversion a few years ago for a Peninsular War project they had. Although those chaps did a great job I wanted to be as precise as possible within the boundaries of my limited sculpting skills. So I took an ADC from the Perrys' Nassau command pack and started grinding and milling and removed everything that didn't look British. Afterwards I took some greenstuff to perform damage control and wel... reached the result you see now.
An excellent source for the work was Osprey's "Wellington's Generals" from their Men at Arms series. On one of the colour plates there's an ADC pictured and described. Anyway the experts amongst you will probably spot the small mistakes on the uniform and especially the horse furniture but I think they are venial.

If you're interested in it I'll post some WIP pictures of L'Estrange later this week.

As usual I painted the figures with Vallejo Model Colors. The base is a 60mm circular steel base from Precision Wargames Supplies. Perfect in shape, extremely thin and magnetic which makes transport of such vignettes much easier. In addition to my usual mixtures of static grass, flowers and flock I added a piece of Warbases' rather new animals range:
Meanwhile Diane and Martin are producing a wide range of domestic and wild animals and I can highly recommend them. They are all very well sculpted and the larger animals are perfect to add some life to farms or villages. And the smaller ones like those rabbits are to my mind a nice addition to larger vignettes.

Last but not least a close-up shot from Denis Pack's face. When you compare it to a historcial picture you see how close Alan and Michael came with there sculpt. Excellent work and great fun to paint. Unfortunately I'm still looking for a feeling for the contours of faces...
In any that makes me keen on painting more command bases. So probably I'll tackle a light cavalry commander rather soon for my 6th Cavalry Brigade... or Picton the old rogue... or the Iron Duke... A lot of possibilities...   ;-)