Monday, 29 April 2013

Friday Night AWI: AAR Americans vs. British and Hessians - 26th April 2013

On friday we met up in the HQ again and after some weeks with fantasy stuff we decided to return to some historical conflict. So AWI was sheduled and we prepared a little game with three brigades on either side and no historical background. Anyway three brigades of the young United States met two brigades of British troops accompanied by a brigade of Hessian auxilliaries. This time I had the unusual experience to command a brigade of American separatists. Very uncomfortable for me to shoot on Redcoats since that's my ancestral side...
Please excuse the poor photos. Unfortunately I forgot the digital camera and had only my cellphone at my fingertips.
The Continentals entering the battlefield from the left while British fifes and drums sound from the right hand side.
From the very beginning things were tough for us colonials. Although we had a heavy 24pdr cannon and a unit of cavarly a nearly one on one meeting with the best trained infantry of their time is always hard. Anyway we wanted to our very best and when nothing is ventured, nothing is gained.
The Hessian and the middle British brigade in their initial deployment. I love this impressing look.

The first turns went promisingly. The British left wing underwent a heavy command crisis and remained motionless for the first turns.
Meanwhile their center advanced only slowly because Bernhard befell some truble with his ADCs too. One of his bataillons blundered and after a second bataillon went disordered he reorganised his forces and sent the grenadiers ahead.

A bloody good idea as he realised later...
Some of my boys awaiting the enemy.
Meanwhile we separatists didn't want to hide and tried to set up brave defense. On our right front where I commanded a brigade of regular troops I advanced carefully to take position at the edge of the field. Taking cover seemed a good idea although the Redcoats on my flank remained motionless...
On the right Kalle rushed forward with his militia. He brought a small but fast galloper gun to the other side of the river and took position near the brewery. Simoultaneously he wanted to push his bataillons into the center but those smutty amateurs proved too unreliable to achieve any serious support.
However the Hessians were busy with their flank threatened...

While the British were busy with solving their command crisis we Americans saw a chance to come into a good position. Maybe we could overcome their mighty middle brigade with concentrated fire while the Hessians are bount at their flank. Hopefully their third brigade will not enter combat until we achieved first success...

But reality overhault us when the forces clashed in the center of the battlefield. Even Holger's trained regulars weren't able to hold fire until the Redcoats were in close range so the unloaded their bullets too early and caused only light damage. Even concentrated artillery fire didn't break the British grenadiers' spirit and their fifes and drums sounded inexorably.
Our boys did their very best to withstand them but after the first volleys came in from short range the spirit of liberty faded. While the British reduced their speed and fired volley after volley the poor bataillons in our center broke and the Holger's brigade sounded the retreat.

Simultaneously Axel's Hessians found their formation again and shattered the poorly equipped militia troops. Although my brigade wasn't that badly hurt by now I felt defeat being near. When Heinz's brigade started to move finally my boys lost their nerves. Although I fired several volleys on the leading unit all shots failed to hit them. Even my artillery which was reliable during the first half of the game failed to hinder the British.

Thereby the game was over rather quickly after the British were able to send in their whole power. Two of my units broke and the rest betook themselves to flight.
Heinz's brigade presenting the coupe de grâce.
Anyway it was a great evening and an entertaining game. Victory went to our opponents but it was well deserved for the best trained army during the late 18th century. However it showed that a one on one ratio is impossible to master for the Americans. We will bear that in mind for the next games, I'm sure.

Finally there's a short sequence from the movie "Revolution" which outlines the development of this game precisely:
Thanks to Holger for finding this nice clip.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

From Russia without love - Part 2: Five retreating Frenchmen painted

Some weeks ago I converted a couple of Victrix Old Guard Grenadiers for a skirmish game during Napoleon's retreat from Russia 1812 (older post here). Meanwhile they are finished more or less and I had the great pleasure to have them on the battleboard once. Since a friend of mine is working on a new ruleset for such games I participated in the first testing game.

However I'll have to add some minor details (e. g. the officer's buttons, some dirt...) but on the whole I like the result of my humble efforts with greenstuff:

The only thing I have to find a replacement for is the snow. I used Citadel Snowpowder and after several days it turned a bit yellowish-beige....

Having finished this quintet I'm really looking forward to lay my hands on  Perry miniatures I ordered recently. Hopefully they'll arrive tomorrow and the lot should include the two first sets of the twins. Meanwhile the released even more promising Frenchmen on retreat and I cannot wait to see Marbot's sleds available. There's a lot to come for Russia 1812. Have a look at their workbench here.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Hail Caesar Fantasy - Siege of Kuttel

Within part 1 (here) and part 2 (here) of my Good Friday AAR triology I presented the battle on the fields of Kuttel. As you might remember the allied forces of men and elves were able to stop the hordes of united villains who tried to set the finishing blow to the besieged city of Kuttel. Although we were not able to destroy their forces we blocked the way to Kuttel long enough to relieve the defeding garrison and the greenskins and the comrades were forced to retreat.

While this epic struggle happend nearby the garrison of Kuttel had to overcome the fierce attack in front of the walls of Kuttel. Only inadequately equipped to hold the walls the brave dwarves and halflings under command of Bernhard, Mark and Liam decided to meet their foes at the banks of the "Mäusefluss" (Mice River) to fend the united hordes of undead (Carsten), lizardmen (Axel) and beastmen (Georg) off.
The battlefield on the banks of the Mäusefluss. In the background the fortified city of Kuttel.
After the initial deployment on either side of the battlefield the dwarves moved slightly forward to enhance their defensive position. They dragged their artillery pieces to points with good overview of the battlefield and sent out their handgunners to overwatch the fields and the swamps in the center.
The battle is unfolding...
Meanwhile the beastmen were unusually hesitant. They dropped back on the left wing of their army while the lizardmen in the center bolted into their natural living environment and prepared a massive attack through the swamps. The undead advanced on the right flank and did their very best to browbeat their dwarvish opponents.
The cold-blooded lizardmen infiltrating the swampy area. (pictures provided by Axel)

First blood was shed in the center of the battlefield. After some well-aimed handgun volleys the dwarves produced their swords and axes and knocked off the first charges. While the lizardmen fell back to regroup the undead tried to break the defenders' left flank to coil up their battle line.
The dwarves readjust their formation to take the attack.
But the well trained dwarves and the lion-hearted halflings reformed quick enough and were prepared when the wavering hordes of rattling skeletons came in. They closed their ranks and condensed their untis that much that the fiends bounded off.

Meanwhile it became late on the near Kuttel and the sun sank outside our marvellous gaming location. On the field of honour itself the dwarves and halflings had suffered losses but had been rather in rather good shape still. The attackers on the other hand had suffered more than just a bleeding nose. The lirardmen as well as the undead had suffered severely but the beastmen were nearly fresh since they "executed the rearguard" for some time during the battle.

However the situation for the defenders seemed to be solid but not secure. So the commanders agreed to end the game as a draw on the battlefield but a success for the defence of Kuttel of course. A pleasant ending for a great game as all generals attested.
Bernhard, Mark, Liam Georg and Axel discussing the final situation.
So both games on this epic day ended with a draw but stratagically the alliance of men, elves, dwarves and halflings held the city of Kuttel and forced the united hordes to withdraw.

I hope you enjoyed the AARs of that day and got a feeling how much we enjoyed the great games.

Next week I'll return to less epic topics. First of all I'll be proud to present my finished french retreaters which I clumsyly converted from Victrix plastics (you might remember those pictures here). Later during the week I might be able to show you some AWI scots if I manage to finish them. However I'm on a good way...

Monday, 15 April 2013

Hail Caesar Fantasy - Battle on the Fields of Kuttel - Part 2

Finally here comes the second part of my AAR about the battle on the Fields of Kuttel (part 1 here). As you might remember the two armies were set up and ready to engage when hunger overwhelmed the generals.

So after lunch break we were ready to readopt combat operations:

Evolution after lunch
The line of the allied forces of men and elves stood firmly. On the outer right flank Holger lead his handgunners into the dense terrain of fields and took position behind one of the stonewalls. Additionally he formed a firing line with his second division to secure our right flank. It was one of our fundamental ideas that he had to withstand the wild charges of the savage orcs to give me time to attack on the left flank with my fast and furious knights.
Imperial men behind the stonewall.

Firing line on our far right.

Savage orcs on boars and mammoths.
Knights advancing (picture provided by Axel).
Meanwhile I ordered my knights to the top of the hill carefully estimating the speed and range of their orcish enemies since their large warbands of snarling green monsters impressed my slightly...

However while the dark elves held their center the united villains tried to rush forward. But this time luck was with us. The wild orcs managed a small progress only and on my flank one of Kalle's divisions was affected by a blunder he rolled. The orcs and trolls on their outside flank left the battlefield and opened an excellent corridor for my attack.

While I rolled up my sleeves and prepared for attack Holger unleashed deadly fire on the savage orcs. While several of Robert's units suffert minor casualties a large warband broke and fled for good.
Robert removing the broken warband.
Heinz and his elves were steady in the center and were engaged in some kind of ranged combat with their dark brothers.
So the knights' finest hour arrived. For units of knights rushed over the hill with the tremendous speed of pure-bread warhorses. Two units were fast enough to turn in and catch the goblin wolf riders in their right flank. The greenskins reform hastily and turn their front to their approaching fate. But they weren't able to use their long Kontos lances and were entirely crushed. Yet that didn't slow down the impact of bretonnian knighthood. The noblemen dashed further on and reached a unit of boar riding orcs. Reforming as hastily as their comrades in arms they met the same fate. Having destroyed two enemy units I ordered the knights to regroup and pivot to await the returning orcs and trolls from the left. However this round of combat was top-notch for me and my knights!
The enemy cavarly doomed to fall under the hooves of my noble knights.
Despite the succesful turn for us allies the united villains weren't beaten yet. After a much better command phase they managed to stabilize their right flank with Kalle's reappearing division and build up severe danger for my knights who might have hurried ahead a bit too far. With the my second division pressing from behind it became really narrow on top of the hill and the orcs had the important tactical advantage of space to manoevre.

The orcs reappearing while my knigths were crowded on the hill.
Meanwhile the elvish forces in the center were only seperated by a narrow strip of lawn and exchanged bolts and arrows over a small hedgerow. Both sides took casualties but none of their units broke until three units of bretonnian longbowmen swung in and sent a cloud of arrows to the unlicky unit of dark elvish corsairs in the corner of the hedherows. The combined firepower of those peasants and the elven archers at their side was enough to diffuse the raiders.
The two elvish battlelines severely affected by enemy fire. Observe the free space beyond the second bolt thrower were the corsairs broke.
Unfortunately it was getting later and later while both armys exchanged blow after blow and none of the armies faltered. Although we reached some success in earlier turns we weren't able to lead the decisive blow against the united villains. On the other hands their forces were heavily wore down and it was more than doubtful whether they would be able to reach the desired break through.
So at dead of night we all agreed that a draw would be a fair outcome for the epic battle. Although both sides might have been able to enforce the decision the leader were to considerate to take the risk of sacrificing their last men. At least the allies (aka. we) were able to push the villaineous troops from Kuttel.
The final situation: A steady center with fierce fighting on the right flank. Unfortunately the left flank with orcs, trolls and knights in close-combat isn't pictured.
However it was a great day at Erkrath and we six took part in an epic scenario between good and evil. It was great fun and probabaly the next two turns might have brought the decision. But unfortunately none of us had the condition to find it out...

Anyway there was a simoultaneous battle fought at the walls of Kuttel. Although I wasn't able to follow the whole game I'll present you some pictures during the next days.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Loki is celebrating his 2nd birthday!

At present Loki (aka. Andrew Saunders) is celebrating the second birthday of his blog "Loki's Great Hall".

Congratulations Loki !

Anyway it's a nice blog where Andrew presents his work regularly. Always good stuff and exremely well painted miniatures like his French wilderness force for FIW which he showed us last month (here). Just have a look at his blog. It deserves it!

And by the way Loki is running a giveaway raffle currently to celebrate the second aniversary...

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Hail Caesar Fantasy - Battle on the Fields of Kuttel - Part 1

Last week was too busy to get anything posted on Monty's Caravan. Somehow it was one of those weeks which were packed with appointments and I didn't find the time to sort the hundred pictures which I took on Good Friday. However I'm on a good way to restrain my backlog and here comes at least the first part of the report:

On Good Friday we had a special meeting with our wargaming group and gathered for a large game of Hail Caesar Fantasy. It was the first time we tried this apart from some trial games and the fewest were really familiar with the rules so we decided to use simple army lists from the core book and the official add-ons to depict orcs, goblins, dark elves and whatever.
For future games we might use some more sophisticated lists. For this I can recommend the Yahoo-group hosted by Scott Bowman from Scott's Wargaming Blog. He and the other members collected a large number of ideas and army lists for fantasy peoples. They even developed some rules for magical powers. Really good stuff. Thanks for your efforts, folks!

The picturesque city of Kuttel is one of the metropolises of the fantastic land Gelbien ("Yellow Land"). Gelbien has been hard-fought for years. The human Empire and its allies are waging war against the invading hordes of wild orcs and goblins, awful undead, cold-blooded dark elves and other villainous brood. The war tossed and turned but now the final decision casts a cloud over Gelbien. A horde of beastmen, lizardmen and undead managed lay siege to Kuttel. A force of loyal and brave dwarves decided to make an excursion and face the enemy in front of their city.
The fortified city of Kuttel, target of the united villains.
Meanwhile an even larger army of orcs, wild orcs, goblins and dark elves approaches the another flank of Kuttel and prepares to cross the Mäusefluss ("Mice River"). If they are stopped they'll attack the Kuttel defenders from the rear and most likely annihilate those brave fellows.
But the Empire of Men was well informed about those troop movements by own reconnaissance and thus summoned a relief force of Imperial, bretonnian and elvish troops to stop the united villains. Those two forces met on the Fields of Kuttel nearby but were too far to gear into the siege itself. So both battles had to be fought disjunctly but both were likewise decisive Gelbien's fate...
The large board: The Fields of Kuttel.
A view of all forces present on the two boards. The empty trays helt some civilians and stronghold troops of Kutteln which were positioned already.
Initial Deployment
Bird's eye view of the Fields of Kutteln with the two forces arriving.
With my brave Bretonnians I had the honour to fight on the Field of Kuttel to refuse the hordes from getting to the city. Our allied force was led by Holger the Imperial commander-in-chief and we were supported by Heinz and his steady elves. Our troops took position on the right hand side of the board with Imperial men on the right flank (at the top), the wood elves and the high elves in the center and my two Bretonnian divisions on the left flank (at the bottom). We were facing a strong united force of wild orcs on the left flank (at the top), dark elves in the center as well as orcs and goblins on their right flank (at the bottom).

The board itself depicted the Fields of Kuttel with the Mäusefluss at the left flank (bottom of the picture, only indicated with reed bases), a large hill on our left flank and some fields and hedges in the center and on the right flank. On the very far right flank we faced the small foothills of a large forest.
First Movements
During the first turns we had some cautious approach. The horde's flank commanders missed their command rolls rather early so only the dark elves in the center were able to advance.
But we allies weren't sure whether this was by mistake or some kind of weird tactics...
The dark elves with a warband of frantic corsairs two bolt throwers on their flank.
So Holger decided to employ the same manoevre and missed the command roll for one of his divisions as well. With our right flank as firm as a standing stone Heinz and me advanced considerately:
His elves moved at mediocre speed and formed two battle lines. Afterwards my archers closed ranks with their pointed eared comrades-in-arms and the knights trotted forward to prepare a swing to the center. The men at arms following as fast as possible to secure my divisions' left flank.
The allied battleline. The bretonnian and elvish archers shoulder side by side and in the background the Imperial troops.

The bretonnian knights on the far left trotting towards the united villains.
After these initial movements on both sides tension was in the air since the fate of Gelbien was to be decided.

But before any swords were crossed or any blood was shed an event occured that is mightier than the orders of emperors, kings or generals:
Let me finish the first part of my AAR with this impression. Be sure that you'll be able to read more of sneaky goblins, brutal orcs, steady elves and brave knights soon. I'll do my very best to get part two online until friday.

Part 2 online here.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Workbench update and pigsty painted

Last week was quiet here on the blog. The preparations for our large Good Friday game took a lot of time but I didn't manage to take photos or write some lines about it. However the day went by and we spent some great time together playing Hail Caesar Fantasy. Along the way a took nearly one hundred photos which I'm grading presently and I hope to bring the first part of the AAR online until friday.

However additionally I painted the first of my new Grand Manner buildings last week: The pigsty. Although I never liked to paint scenery and terrain pieces that much this little frame house was a pleasure to paint. I cleaned it with some warm water with a drop of usual washing-up liquid. Afterwards I gave it a thin undercoat of white Vallejo Primer although Dave told me that wouldn't be necessary. However it adhered perfrectly and likewise did the colours I painted on afterwards.
As ususal I used Vallejo Model Colours and some Vallejo Game Colours. Then I applied a coat of Armypainter Quickshade (Dark Tone) and worked out the highlights afterwards.
The pigsty from the front....
For the base I used the same colours as for my gaming board. Last but not least I sprayed on a smooth coat of matt varnish.
... and from the back.
Although the house itself is finished I'll invest some further work on it during the next week. I'll put some static grass on the base, fill up the feeder with Water Effect and I'll have a look around for some nice 28mm pigs to populate the pigsty.

Overall this terrain piece is worth every penny and I looking forward to paint the larger houses soon.