Monday, November 22, 2010

Battle of Blenheim

A few months ago our club re-fought the Battle of Blenheimin at the Atwater Library. Ken Mackie and my Daughter Brooke were the Anglo-Allied commanders. Harold Windell and Ray Jackson commanded the Franco Bavarian armies. I provided the armies and most of the terrain, with Ray providing the trees. The rules we used were a modified version of Volley and Bayonet and the figures were 1/300 Heroics and Ros.
And the rules modifications can be found at
Both sides were allowed to deploy their armies as they wished instead of using the historical deployments. Ken opted to reverse the positions of the allied armies, while Harold elected to defend the second stream, leaving only a couple of regiments in the forward villages. This was the first time that Harold, Ray, and Ken had played these rules.
The battle commenced with Marlborough assaulting the two villages. Oberglau fell immediately, but defenders in Lutzingen put up a stubborn defense and held the town all day. Meanwhile Prince Eugene advanced on Blenheim.
The city of Blenheim was overrun with relative ease and a major cavalry action was fought near the town. Marlborough left half his forces behind at Lutzingen and advanced on the French center. The action in the center saw numerous charges and counter-charges as the fighting swung to and fro.
As night fell the fighting finally ceased. Though they had captured Blenheim and caused serious casualties to the Franco-Bavarians, the Anglo-Allied army had also taken grievous losses.
Per the scenario victory conditions, even though it was a draw, Hal and Ray won the battle. If they had caused a couple of more casualties against the largest French formation the Anglo-Allies would have won. In retrospect, and this is something that I did not think about at the time either, Ken could have bypassed the remaining force in Lutzingen and used the superior firepower of the additional troops to out shoot the opposing forces. Also, many of our club games are fought using a set of Napoleonic rules written by Ray Jackson. As such, Ken was used to using tactics that work well for those rules, but have little effect in Volley and Bayonet. Even so, Ken made several good decisions, getting many of his units across the Nabel river without losing their battalion guns and coming very close to winning the battle along with having to help direct my daughter. Hal had to take command of the entire Franco-Bavarian army for a while as Ray was feeling a bit under the weather and had to return home for a couple of hours before rejoining the battle.

Ken, Brooke, and Hal

Ray. Initial Deployment

The Battle commences. Attack on the villages as Prince Eugene crosses the river.

Prince Eugene assaults Blenheim as Marlborough advances past Oberglau.

Action in the center and on the British flank.

The cavalry battle near Blenheim.

Hard fought battle in the center.

Dwarf Army Finished - Iranistan campaign

One of my projects this summer was to finish painting and basing my 28mm dwarf army. Most of the figures are from Games Workshop. Others are from various games or other manufacturers. All items are plastic. They have participated in a number of battles over the years. The army has ten units of warriors, five units of missile troops and four artillery units. For the rules they normally fight under this would be about 15,000 infantry plus generals, heroes and guns. Paints used for this project were Vallejo and various acrylic types from Marshalls.
I should also note that we don't use GW rules.

Update - Since this was posted the army has been adjusted to 50x50mm bases (2inch by 2 inch) instead of 100x100mm for the infantry and represents 30,000 infantry.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Seven Years War Club Game

On November 13th Gary Zaharek umpired a Seven Years War game using a modified set of Koenigs Krieg rules and his 40mm figures at the library in Atwater, CA. The Prussians were commanded by myself and Hal Windell. Ken Mackie and Ray Jackson commanded the Austrians.
The Austrians had two heavy guns, three units of three stands of Cuirassiers, one unit of three stands of Hussars, one unit of three stands of Grenadiers, and seven units of four stands of line infantry. The Prussians had two heavy guns, two units of three stands of Cuirassiers, one unit of three stands of Dragoons, one unit of three stands of Hussars, one unit of three stands of Grenadiers, and six units of three stands of line infantry.
The first photo shows Ken Mackie on the left, Gary Zaharek in the middle and Hal Windell on the right. The next has Ray on the right and me on the left.


The initial deployment and first move
General von Windell and myself had just finished breaking camp, when our scouts reported that the Austrians had been located to the south of the village of Am Wasser. Their report indicated that we were evenly matched in guns and cavalry, but that the Austrians had us out-numbered three to two in infantry. Austrian scouts had also been seen near us. Though we were out-numbered, Von Windell and I decided to engage the enemy immediately and deployed our forces just north of Am Wasser. I placed von Windell in command of our right wing with two brigades of musketeers and both batteries of heavy guns to the west of the village. I retained command of one brigade of musketeers, the grenadiers, and all the cavalry on the eastern side of Am Wasser.
Surveying the Austrian dispositions we saw that they had divided their cavalry and infantry almost equally between their two wings. However, General Mackie had elected to keep both batteries of heavy guns on his wing so that they could deploy on the small rise southwest of the village. He had also placed the heavier of his two cavalry brigades on his western flank along with the infantry brigade containing the grenadiers.

Austrian cavalry sweeps the field on the western edge of the battle
The heavy guns on both sides commenced firing as our army advanced towards the enemy. The Austrian cuirassiers moved forward on the western flank followed by their Grenadiers and musketeer brigade. On the eastern flank the Austrian infantry formed squares and their cavalry headed towards the western edge of the battle. Seeing this I ordered our dragoons and hussars to also move towards the western flank. At this point the musketeer brigade on our western flank suffered a disastrous reverse. It had moved up to fire upon the Austrian cuirassiers in order to drive them back, when the left regiments' came under fire from the Austrian artillery and fell back. General Evar Reddy's cuirassiers immediately charged the remaining regiment and destroyed it. They then overran the heavy battery that had been stationed on the rise behind the musketeers and swept on down into the backs of the regiment that had fallen back. General Evar Reddy's cuirassiers just kept on going as they pursued the remains of the musketeers to the north.

The overall battlefield viewed from the west following the success of the Austrian cavalry charge and the Prussian cuirassiers advancing around the flank of the Austrian infantry on the east.
With our right flank dangerously exposed, our dragoons and hussars were advancing as quickly as possible to cover it. Meanwhile I decided to attempt an out-flanking move with the cuirassiers on the eastern side of the battle. This drew the remaining Austrian cavalry back to protect their right wing. Having just reformed into lines from squares the two musketeer regiments immediately reformed into squares. I sent the grenadiers into the village to secure it. At this point the prospects of victory for our army were very dim. The most we could hope for was to slow down the Austrian advance and maybe inflict enough casualties on them that they would not press on. At this point we had twice as much cavalry remaining on the field of battle, but the Austrians had twice as many guns and infantry.

The Austrian infantry advances on the town. The aftermath of the Prussian counter-advance.
Though our grenadiers attempted to hold the town the enormous advantage the Austrian musketeers had in numbers began to tell as our grenadiers fell one by one to their relentless fire. General Mackie decided to envelop the village from the west with his musketeer brigade, while General Jackson pressed on from the front. At this point General von Windell saw an opportunity to position one of the regiments from his remaining musketeer brigade so that it would be able to attack the flank of either of the two Austrian brigades facing him. Meanwhile our dragoons and Hussars moved into position to threaten the Austrian grenadiers and musketeers on the western edge of the battlefield. Seeing this threat they elected to form squares, leaving both forces to stare at each other for the remainder of the battle. Facing the firepower of my musketeer brigade, General Jackson moved his musketeer brigade near the town back. I ordered one of the cuirassier regiments to engage the remaining Austrian cuirassiers in the hope of turning the eastern flank. This was not to be as General Jackson threw them back and ran them off the field. He then followed up his advantage and threatened our remaining cuirassier regiment. Again, our situation was looking bleak as I ordered the grenadiers back out of the town due to suffering serious casualties from their opponents.
The aftermath of the Prussian counter advance.
With the battle now looking to be lost, fortune finally turned our way. Our remaining cuirassiers were able to engage their opponents and chase them from the field. Our officers were able to keep control of them and after disposing of the enemy cuirassiers, reformed and faced the last remaining Austrian cavalry regiment of hussars. General von Windell was able to launch a frontal and flanking attack on the closest musketeer regiment near the town and broke them. He then advanced on the guns and the other regiment of the brigade. The telling fire from his brigade silenced one battery of Austrian guns and drove the other musketeer regiment from the field. General Mackie had ridden into Am Wasser and personally ordered the musketeer regiment that had taken the village to assault the grenadiers. Though they were able to storm out of the town and engage the grenadiers, our brave soldiers were able to thrust them back. I advanced my musketeer brigade and fired upon the Austrian musketeers facing them, causing their morale to collapse and saw them run from the field. At this point we had almost evened the odds against us. The Austrians withdrew their remaining troops from the field leaving us in control of the battlefield. Though we had won it had been at a terrible cost and our army was too exhausted to pursue them
Hal and Ray after the battle was over.
Though Ken had destroyed our right flank with his curiassiers, he had unfortunately lost control of them when he made his first exploitation move. He was never able to regain control of them and they just kept going right off the table after destroying every unit in their path. If they had remained in control the battle would have been lost by lunch time. I also made a number of mistakes during the game, most notably only engaging with only one cuirassier regiment on the eastern flank. Koenigs Krieg allows Prussian infantry to perform two different action during a turn. Thus Prussian infantry can move and fire while other infantry can only move or fire. I was able to take advantage of this by moving up and firing on the Austrians on one turn and then with the initiative advantage on the next turn I was able to fire and pull back out of range. This ability to move and fire is what finally broke the Austrian center, as we were able to move up and fire upon them causing enough casualties that their units failed their morale tests and retreated. At the end of the game we had three brigades at or below half strength out of our original five, while the Ken and Ray had four of their six brigades in the same state. At the end of the eighth turn both armies took an army morale test. Ken and Ray failed theirs, while Hal and I barely passed ours. Overall it had been an exciting and fun game with the chance of victory hanging in the balance until the final turn of the game.
Thanks to Gary for umpiring and providing the troops buildings and terrain for the game. Thanks to Ray for arranging for use of the library and providing the table cloths. Thanks to Ken for a hard fought battle and to Hal for helping to secure victory for our side. Ray is a member of the Friends of the Library and they have a room with tables available for our use. Some of our other club members also have libraries in their home towns that have rooms for community clubs to use.