Tuesday, December 18, 2018

All Things Must Pass

Zorndorf no more
After having a long run on the gaming table of nearly five months, the Zorndorf battlefield passes into the annals of the Palouse Wargaming Journal.  No more long lines of red-coated Russians and blue-coated Prussians at attention waiting to greet me every time I walk down into the game room.  There may be a brief period of mourning with no Zorndorf on the table but a new interest is sure to take its place.  With a backlog of games waiting for some table space to open up, it was time to take down the battle and put away the figures.  Jake will be happy to see the return of his fine Russian Army away on campaign for so long.  A return engagement is not out of the question at a later date.  For now, though, time to move on.

Having cleared the table and carefully put away the troops, my first thoughts were focused on grid-based gaming.  With an empty table, now would be the perfect opportunity to create a gridded mat.  Who knows when the gaming table will be barren again?
Italian Wars troops deployed for battle on the grid
With two, six feet by four feet flocked felt mats by MKP stored under the gaming table, I unrolled them on the table and began formulating a plan.
ECW troops deployed for battle on the grid
To the Strongest! (TtS!) was the main driver for the pull toward gaming on a grid on a large scale.  Given that, the first question to arise was the size of the rectangular grid to plot out on the mats.  While getting the basics of TtS! under my belt in Scott's recent 15mm Ancients games, I really needed a gridded game mat for my own rules' study to advance my understanding of the system.
ECW BMU spacing looks good.
Several of the 28mm collections use Impetvs basing with a 120mm frontage.  For 120mm frontage, TtS! suggests a grid size of 150mm squares.  For the 32mm ECW collection, which is not based for Impetvs, cavalry has a frontage of 180mm and infantry maintains a frontage of 140mm; both too large for a 150mm grid.  
Italian Wars battle line from behind
Wanting to use both 4'x6' mats together to form a 6'x8' playing area, only one grid pattern could be chosen.  In the end, I decided upon a 200mm grid and set to work laying out the grid.  200mm grid is the suggested size for "large" unit sizes as defined in TtS!  Out of the 8' x 6' playing area, a grid of 9 boxes by 12 boxes can be produced.  Perfect size for a TtS! battlefield.
Angle view of two pike blocks and supports
The result?  After laying out the grid, I pulled a handful of ECW units and Italian Wars units from their storage boxes and deployed them upon their new battle mat.  While half intervals exist especially between the 120mm frontage Impetvs units, the appearance does not look too spaced-out to my eye.  Others may disagree but there it is.  A grid box of 200mm is perfect to accommodate the depth of a pike block three stands deep (180mm).  The grid is in place and ready for a test.  
Scottish foot arrayed for battle
One advantage of the recommended battle mat size of 12 grids by 9 is that a four foot by six foot portion of the gaming table remains open when TtS! is on the table.  I could have more than one game in play at a time!

Seeing the Italian Wars troops out on the table reminds me that I have a small stack of flags to distribute to the lads.  Another task to address. 

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Egyptian Chariot and Runners

Activity at the painting desk slowed somewhat over the last two weeks as I worked my way through the Zorndorf solo battle and drafting of the accompanying three part battle report.  That work left not much time in the evenings for painting sessions but that is beginning to change.  Time to consider the next battle to put out onto the gaming table and the next unit mustering off the painting desk.  
The Assyrian Wars project continues to see activity at the painting desk.  This time an entry for the Egyptian side of the ledger clears the painting queue.  Chariot and runners are all from Black Tree Design.  These particular models have been lingering in The Lead Pile for a long time.  This chariot and several others were purchased during a sale in which chariots and cavalry were marked down 40%.  That sale may have been last Christmas or two Christmas' before.  Excellent models as I have mentioned many times before.  The Egyptians and Assyrians are among my favorite ranges of figures from BTD.  Figures are mounted upon an Impetvs-sized base and are ready to take to the field.
Likely off the painting table next will be two, four figure stands of Egyptian slingers.  After those figures clear the painting desk, next out will be the first of the reorganized Napoleonic cavalry in 28mm.  I tackled six cavalry formations to begin the reorg.  Each unit required the painting of one additional trooper to bring each unit up to a complement of nine horsemen from eight.  Yes, this effort requires rebasing 48 cavalry along with the six new recruits.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Zorndorf: Once More Into the Breach Part III

At last check in the fight at Zorndorf, the Russian right's First Line under the command of Saltykov collapsed.  Seeing the destruction of the First Line, the Russian CiC, Fermor, left the battle to "bring up additional reinforcements."  In his place, Saltykov stepped into the role of Commander in Chief.  Saltykov's First Line will now be commanded by "ex-Saltykov" to reduce confusion since Saltykov is now CiC.

As a reminder on the current state of the battle following Part II (See: Once More Into the Breach Part II), below is the current situation map at the start of Turn 9.
Situation Turn 9 with Saltykov's line broken
Notice that the retrograde movement of a portion of Saltykov's long First Line command has been fractured into three major components.  First Line regiments deployed into the Stein Busch and linking with Browne's brigade are now out of command and must act independently until brought back under command.  Dohna and Schorlemmer are beginning to apply pressure to Browne as distances close.

Turn 9.
Initiative for the First Move goes to the Russians.  With that, Galytsin orders his Second Line to advance to plug the hole left by ex-Saltykov's retreating infantry.
Galytsin's Second Line steps up to fill the gap
As ranges close, the resulting musketry and canister exchanges are brutal.  Losses mount on anyone within range.  Few are left unscathed.

In attempt to relieve some of this mounting destruction, Schorlemmer orders a charge.  On the Prussian right, Schorlemmer's Leib Cuirassiers charge into the Russian battery on the end of the line.  In an attempt to protect the guns, the Leib regiment, in turn, is charged by Russian heavy cavalry riding down and then back up out of the grund.
Charge and counter charge with Russian guns under threat.
The Russian heavies, mired in negotiating the difficult terrain of the grund, are too late to intercede.  Hitting the Russian guns before they, themselves, can be caught by the Russian heavies, the Prussian cuirassiers  scatter the guns.  With no pursuit, the Leib Cuirassiers attempt to recover before hit in flank by the Russians.  Due to the difficult nature of the ground crossed, the Russians have no momentum in the charge.  In the disorganized sword clashes that follow, both sides suffer heavily.  Fortunately for the Prussians, the Russian cuirassiers, now isolated from support, retreat back across the grund.     
Clash of the heavies
Dead Pile
Turn 10.
While the Russian First Line draws an admirable move with Saltykov's dashing personality nearby, Prussian cavalry on both wings strike.

On the Prussian right, Seydlitz finally completes his pan-battlefield tour and strikes Demiku's Russian cavalry wing in a seemingly uneven encounter.
Seydlitz attacks!
On the left, Marschall's cavalry reserve hits Gaugreben's cavalry and battery protecting the Russian baggage train.
Marschall attacks!
To the east of the Stein Busch, Browne's Observation corps steps off to advance on Dohna's brigade.  With elements of ex-Saltykov deployed in the woods, Dohna finds himself outnumbered.
Browne advances against Dohna
The Russians win the dicing for First Fire.  A cheer and musketry erupt from the Russian First Line.  Casualties are frightful as elements of the Russian First Line pour fire into the lead regiments at close range.  Preussen IR is destroyed in the murderous volley as is Dohna IR.  As Dohna Musketeers rout through their support, they carry the Below regiment along with them in their flight.    
Russians unleash a murderous First Fire
The exchange is not one-sided.  Manteuffel pours close range musketry into the closest Russian regiments.  Having only moments before moved up into the front line, Riazanskiy Musketeers are shot to pieces by Manteuffel's grenadiers.  As the musketeers scatter, they carry away two more Russian regiments and a battery in their flight.
Both sides waver under the hail of lead.
Casualties continue to mount as the Nevskiy Regiment breaks and scatters the 1/3 Grenadiers as it routs through.  One more Prussian regiment of de Biaix' infantry brigade folds under the pressure from Russian musketry.
Two more regiments Done For.
On the Prussian right, a similar scene is seen.  With Browne going on the attack, Dohna is met with heavy fire from two directions: Browne to his front and elements of the First Line in the woods.  One Prussian regiment dissolves under the volume of fire.
Browne vs Dohna
Seydlitz crashes into two of Demiku's cavalry regiments on the far right of the battlefield in line abreast.  In the first clash, Gens du Arms Cuirassiers with support hit the Russian hussars.  In the first clash of heavies vs lights and Superior vs Inferior, the lead regiment of hussars is scattered.  The Prussian cuirassiers pursue and pitch into the supporting hussars.  The second regiment of hussars fares no better than the first and is destroyed. 

In the second clash, Prussian dragoons are bested by Russian cuirassiers and fall back in retreat.  Now uncovered with the destruction of the hussars to their left, the Russians retreat back toward safety.  On the Prussian right, advantage Prussia. 
Seydiltz smashes into Demiku
Over on the Prussian left, Marschall's cavalry brigade strikes the left end of the Russian line frontally.  With the Russian line solidly anchored on the grund, no other option available to breach the Russian line.  With one regiment of dragoons targeting the artillery, three cavalry regiments remain to attack the Russian horse.
Marschall strikes, destroying the artillery with great loss
Already wavering from Prussian artillery bombardments, the Russian guns are destroyed but with great loss to the Prussian dragoons.  Schorlemmer's Dragoons retreat to allow time to recover.  As the Russian guns to their right disintegrate,  the cohesion of the Russian cavalry drops just as they are hit by the three regiments of charging Prussian dragoons.

Marschall's work is quick and effective.  In the clash, the lead Russian cavalry regiment is destroyed and its supporting regiment of hussars flees in retreat.  On the Prussian left, advantage Prussia.  The Russian baggage train is now defenseless. 
Marschall overpowers Gaugreben's cavalry
The situation at the end of Turn 10 shows that both Russian flanks have been compromised.  Gaugreben's small cavalry formation on the Russian right experiences defeat in detail and Demiku's large cavalry wing on the left is in tatters.

Prussian infantry has taken a lot of lumps with the Russians still in command of the center.  Browne, on the Russian left looks poised to go onto the attack.
Situation end of Turn 10
The Dead Pile grew dramatically over this turn.  Another turn like this and no one may be able to muster the strength for offensive action.
Dead Pile Turn 10
Turn 11.
With the Russian right compromised by Marschall's defeat of the Russian cavalry, Saltykov orders the Russian right to reform.  Still in solid command of the center, the Russian right begins forming a line angling back to anchor on the impassable woods.  On the Russian left, Browne with support from elements of the First Line go on the attack.
The Russian right reforming
Browne on the attack
Russian center holds
At close range, musketry volleys are devastating.  De Biaix' boys punish the red-clad lads to their fore but the Russian center holds.  On the Russian left, Browne's brigade, now on the attack, spews much lead.  With the inferior firepower of the Observation Corps, casualties are light against Dohna but sufficient to drive Dohna back upon supports.
Dohna driven back
While the Russian right collapses, the Russian center has repulsed Prussian attacks.  Dohna and de Biaix' brigades are in retreat.   
Prussians in retreat
Browne pressuring Dohna
Musketry intensifies on the Russian right as the Prussians under Manteuffel and Kanitz push to swing shut the gate on the Russian position before the refused Russian flank is formed.
The Prussian swinging gate
As casualties rise, regiments are forced to retreat
While infantry continue to blast one another in the center of the battlefield, on the flanks destruction of the Russian cavalry continues.

On the Russian right, Marschall's reserve cavalry continues its pursuit of the fleeing Russian horse.  Catching the Russians along the grund, both combatants fight until neither can fight more.  Both regiments scatter, done for the day.  The remainder of Marschall's reserve cavalry reaches the ponderous Russian baggage train and either capture or destroy it.   
Marschall destroys the baggage train
On the Russian left, Seydlitz continues denuding the Russian flank of cavalry.  Despite receiving harassing fire from musketry across the grund, Seydlitz' heavy cavalry continues its rampage.  All of Demiku's cavalry flee from the field.
Seydliz clears the Russian left
Dead Pile Turn 11
Turn 12.
At the start of Turn 12, Prussians have turned both flanks of the Russian Army.  Russian cavalry is nowhere to be seen.  Frederick controls the Victory Point Objective villages of Quartschen and Zicher in the Russian rear.  Russian baggage train is in Prussian hands.  The Russians still hold the center but Russian advanced positions in the western boundary of Stein Busch is quickly becoming untenable.  After tallying units lost, routing, and Victory Point Objectives held, The Russian Army has reached its Army Break Point.  The battle is over.
Situation Turn 12
Russian right
Russian left
The Russians, while suffering mightily, still maintain a strong presence in the center.  Without cavalry and artillery to support their infantry, it is likely only a matter of time before the Prussian guns and cavalry can redeploy to overwhelm the battered troops.

While the Russians could still dish out damage, in the long game, the Russian position is compromised.  A decision to the Prussians on points.  

My thoughts on the battle I save for another time.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Assyrian Archers and Slingers

Another round of entries into the Assyrian Wars project.  Off the painting desk this time are two stands of figures, both light troops.

First up is a nine-figure stand of Wargames Foundry archers from the fine Assyrian range.  The Assyrian Army can take in large numbers of archers so another stand is a welcome addition.  For Impetvs, this stand would be classified as a 'T' missile stand and may be joined with a stand of spearmen to form a large unit.  By the way Impetvs 2.0 is scheduled for release later this month or in January.
Next off the workbench is a skirmisher stand of BTD Assyrian slingers.  This time, I decided to keep the shields delivered with the figures rather than swapping out the BTD shields for Newline Designs' cone shields.  The slingers are another fine group of figures from BTD.

After having not added any reinforcements to this project for the first nine months of 2018, a total of seven stands of reinforcements have crossed the painting desk since late September.  Working on the Assyrian Wars project offered a fun distraction from all of the 15mm figures passing over the workbench throughout most of 2018.

Waiting in the wings is an Egyptian chariot stand as well as work to upgrade the 28m Napoleonic cavalry from eight figures to nine.  The final reinforcements from Front Rank are now in-house.  Another project having not seen any activity in a very long time is the 30mm ECW project.  For that project, 27 Renegade figures for forming a regiment of foote are in work.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Zorndorf: Once More Into the Breach Part II

When we last left the Zorndorf battle, Schorlemmer and Demiku's cavalry wings had fought a furious clash of steel on the Prussian right.  In the center and left, Prussians steadily advanced to within killing range of the long and seemingly solid Russian lines.

From the Prussian left to right, Manteuffel's grenadiers were poised to attack Saltykov's grenadiers while von Kanitz and de Biaix's brigades were bearing down on the Russian line in support.  Skirting the east end of Stein Busch, Dohna was approaching Browne's Observation Corps. The Phony Battle of long range cannonades and swirling and indecisive cavalry actions was about to end.  The action resumes with Turn 7.  
Dispositions Turn 7
Prussians advance on the left while the Russians wait
Battle lines looking from the west
Turn 7:
Fermor, the Russian CiC, gets the first move and Demiku's heavy cavalry fall back toward the safety of the grund.  Demiku's hussars opt to charge the isolated Prussian hussars on the east bank of the grund.  For the Prussians, Von Kanitz makes a double move to position his lead regiments to threaten a Russian battery. 
Demiku's cavalry fall back
In the Fire Phase, the Prussians draw first fire initiative.  Kanitz inflicts damage to the Russian guns to his front but return fire from the Russian gun line is brutal.  Leading Prussian infantry regiments take heavy losses with IR#3 destroyed in the exchange.
IR#3 Destroyed from heavy artillery fire
On the Prussian right, Dohna's brigade comes under heavy fire from the trio of Russian batteries as it advances into canister range.  Suffering under a terrible fire, Dohna's combined grenadiers can take no more.  Now carrying four hits, they are forced back. 
Grenadiers targeted by Russian guns
Grenadiers retreat through their supports
N.B. In HoW, the ability to get the First Fire Initiative can be an important consideration.  Since fire is by brigade, having two brigades in firing position provides positive options even when First Fire Initiative is lost.  Army deployment is important as well.  Is it better to deploy brigades abreast (Prussian deployment on the Prussian left) to improve command control or in tandem (Russian deployment) to maximize fire when activated?

In the hussar clash on the far right of the battlefield, even with support, the inferior quality of the Russian hussars is no match for the Prussians. Taking four hits in the clash, the Novoserbskiy Hussars retreat out of contact with the Prussians.  Suffering from the results of the clash, themselves, the Ruesch Hussars do not follow up in pursuit.
Russian hussars suffer in their attack on the Prussian right.
Turn 8.
Prussian left within striking distance of the Russian line
Frederick receives the Move Initiative.  With the three Russian guns facing the Prussian left all having heavy casualties (3 hits each), should the guns be assaulted or driven off through musketry volleys?  A tough choice.  If the Prussians choose to assault the guns, the guns will fire first during the approach to contact.  If the Russians receive the Fire Initiative, the guns will be able to blast the Prussian infantry before they can return fire.  Frederick decides to engage in a firefight and prays for Fire Initiative.
Situation Turn 8 before the lines erupt in fire
Fire erupts on the Prussian left as smoke belches from musket and cannon.  To Frederick's relief, the Prussians get first fire and Kanitz's lead regiment fires into the battery facing his troops.  The fire is too hot for the guns and they will be forced to retire.  The Russians counter by unleashing their guns against the advancing Prussians.  Casualties mount.  Manteuffel's brigade joins into the firefight causing more destruction among the Russian guns and grenadiers. Then, Saltykov's entire first line unleashes a massive volley.  
Casualties mount on in the firefight on the Prussian left
The combination of musketry and cannon from the Russian line breaks Kanitz's lead regiment and it will be forced to retreat.  Taking a deadly one-two punch from Russian musketry and artillery, Manteuffel's 38/43 combined grenadiers scatters as it accumulates five hits and is Done For.  Manteuffel returns the favor with his two remaining combined grenadier battalions.  The Russian grenadiers anchoring the right of the Russian line are driven back in retreat.  As units retreat, panic spreads through those supporting units passed through. 
View from behind the Russian line as casualties mount.
Formations retreat through their supports.
N.B. While the damaged Russian guns may have preferred to limber and retire voluntarily out of harms' way to avoid more casualties, they could not do so.  Interpenetration rule locks a unit in place when within 10cm (15mm scale) of an enemy unit.  No limbering and falling back voluntarily through supports or moving a support up to cover the wavering friendly unit.  The only way to retire is through forced movement having received four or five hits.  A lesson learned in having supports too close.  Sometimes, close support is necessary.  

Russian line uncovered with retreat of guns
On the Prussian right, having driven off the closest threat in the Prussian grenadiers, Russian artillery turns its attention to Dohna's other lead musketeer regiments.  Two musketeer regiments get the worst of the exchange against the three Russian batteries.  Notice Seydiltz' cavalry is finally making an appearance on the Prussian right. 
Casualties escalate on the Prussian right
Turn 9.
Prussians get Move Initiative.  Having forced two of the Russian guns to abandon their positions in front of Saltykov's line and forcing back one of the Russian grenadier regiments, the Prussians on the left advance.
Prussian left advances to close range
Frederick maintains the initiative in the Fire Phase too.  Suffering is great as volleys are exchanged at close range.  One Russian battery, one musketeer regiment, and one grenadier regiment all reach heavy casualties and must retreat while one Prussian regiment is driven back.  
Firefighting is heavy as casualties escalate
Manteuffel's grenadiers lay in a deadly fusillade into another front-line Russian grenadier regiment charged with protecting the right of the Russian line.  Taking five hits, the grenadiers scatter.
A Russian grenadier regiment is Done For
With four Russian units in retreat or rout, panic among the ranks of the adjoining and supporting units catches.  As the fleeing Russians give ground, their panic spreads.  Having taken punishment in the firefight already, these now wavering units are pushed beyond the brink.  They join in flight back toward safety.  A second Russian grenadier regiment breaks and is Done For.  The flight of a portion of Saltykov's First Line reveals a large, gaping hole.  Seeing the destruction of his First Line including many of his prized grenadier regiments, Fermor has seen enough and abandons the field. 
A large hole on the Russian line
With Fermor abandoning the field, Saltykov takes over as commander of the Russian Army.  Is Fermor's departure a blessing in disguise?  With Fermor rated as Dithering and Saltykov rated as Dashing, perhaps Saltykov can instill confidence in his troops and recover from the calamity on the Russian right?  Although the Russian First Line has been broken by Prussian attacks, Galytsin's Second Line stands firm.  The Prussians are not unscathed, however.  Many Prussians are wavering as well.
Situation end of turn 9
With the Russian First Line broken on the Russian right and a change in command at the top of the Russian Army, this seems a fitting point to break off the action for this episode in the Battle of Zorndorf.

In the next chapter, find out if Saltykov can salvage the situation on the Russian right and whether the Prussians on the other end of the battlefield can pierce the Russian left.  Stay tuned...
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