Sunday, June 30, 2013

10mm ACW Project - Guns and Wagons

Project progress seems to undergo a continuous reprioritization as projects surface to the front of my queue pushing other projects down the ladder.  One such activity was work on the 10mm ACW project.  After reading about Jackson's Valley Campaign with particular focus on the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic, my intention was to add a few rifled guns to the collection and develop a scenario for Port Republic.  With the size of the Port Republic battle, Regimental Fire and Fury (RFF)  should be a reasonable choice for battle resolution.  Do recent readings drive planned scenarios or projects for others besides me?  I bet they do!

Having received a bunch of equipment from Old Glory including rifled guns (3 inch and 10 inch), wagons and caissons, I planned to add Parrotts to both combatants arsenals.  Well, other projects received the painting attention and the ACW project took to a back burner.  Recreating Port Republic is still in mind and I wanted to field the proper gun models for the scenario.  When will I get to creating the scenario?  That answer is still unknown but I have the figures ready when my focus returns.

One of my goals for 2013 was to add to the ACW project.  Finally, at the 2013 halfway point, a few models have rolled off the assembly line.  To that end, I completed two supply wagons and six sections of Parrott rifles; three sections for each side.  RFF requires a "Heavy Casualties" marker and I think these wagons will make adequate markers.  The guns still need accompanying limbers.  Limbers will be added later since I have enough limbers to field all of the guns needed for Port Republic.  Perhaps, I should double check on the limber counts.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

15mm Samurai Battles Project

After my last Commands & Colors: Samurai Battles game with Jake (SB Game), I realized that more Ashigaru spear stands were needed to fulfill the scenario requirements for even one faction.  For our game, surplus teppo were pressed into service as spear.  Hardly a satisfactory solution but worked in a pinch.  To remedy this situation, more Ashigaru spear were needed.

Joining the collection this week is one stand of Ashigaru sword comprising 19 Peter Pig figures.

Now, the collection musters out with two brigades with each brigade containing:
1 x Samurai cavalry
1 x Samurai foot
1 x Ashigaru bow
1 x Ashigaru arquebus
1 x Ashigaru spear
1 x Ashigaru sword

plus assorted command stands.
Collection to date

Since many of the scenarios require spearmen in greater numbers, more spear units must be added.  Luckily, a couple of packs remain unpainted.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Battle of Mont de Champion - BatRep

The gaming group gathered at Scott's for an Age of Eagles game featuring the teleportation of the ACW battle, Champion Hill, back in time to the Napoleonic Wars.  Specifically, the battle pitted French forces under the Little Corporal, himself, against the combined forces of Austrian and Russia.
French Cuirassiers prepare for charge
The French objective focused on taking and controlling the vital crossroads.  To accomplish that task, Mont de Champion must fall to the French.  A general overview of opening deployments is illustrated in the game photo below.
Opening positions
With French forces already in a position to compromise the Austrian right flank, the French plan of attack was to hit the Austrian right hard and turn that flank while applying pressure all along the front.  Having made the Austrian right untenable, the plan was to then focus on attacking the heights protecting the crossroads.

When the game began, Austrian guns held the heights while remaining troop deployments stretched along the road.  The Austrian commander hurried reinforcements to the front.
French prepare to attack Austrian  defensive line
Austrian guns on Mont de Champion
As French overpower the Austrian right and combat escalates, the Austrian left falls back as pressure on that flank increases.  French bring up lancers to within striking distance of the Austrian line while the French cavalry reserve trots forward.
Clash on Austrian left
French on the right and center advance on the crossroads.  Austrian dragoons on the extreme left strike out against the German allies but are met with a hail of cannon and musket fire.  The dragoons take heavy casualties and retreat back into the safety of the woods.
Brash Austrian dragoons strike out
From my vantage point on the far French right, I could not discern the details of the heated action on the left.  For those details, see Scott's blog entry of the battle.  I could, however, witness good French progress against Mont de Champion as waves of French infantry smashed against the Austrian gun line on the hill top.  As the smoke cleared, French troops were clearly seen controlling the heights. 
French waves slap against the Austrian gun positions
French take Mont de Champion
To bolster the Allied defense and attempt to thwart French progress, Austrian reinforcements arrive on the Allied right and the Russians arrive nearly in the French rear on the Allied left.
Russians arrive
Still, the French in the center and right push on, driving the Austrians back.  
Pretty Austrian Dragoons
French center and right presses on
With Russians on their flank, three German brigades are diverted from their primary task of driving the Austrians from the field.  To support the French right, Napoleon releases the heavy cavalry division.
Austrians withdraw while Russians attack
Russians assault French right
The French heavy cavalry quickly counter attack the Russian infantry.  The first charge of the cuirassiers is repulsed as the Russians form square but the square just as quickly draws fire from artillery.  Disordered by artillery fire, the second charge into the Russians causes them to buckle and retreat.
French counter attack Russians
With the threat to the French right flank neutralized, the task of shoving the Austrians back upon their LOC continues.  At this point, the Allies choose to break off the engagement in an attempt to disengage in the face of a victorious foe. 

French drive deep into Austrian line
 The victors and the vanquished.
French: Kevin, Scott M. Allies: Scott R and Don

Saturday, June 22, 2013

28mm Ancients Project - Roman Legion a la Impetvs

For Impetvs, the 2nd Punic War mid-Republican Roman legion may comprise,
    1x Medium cavalry
    1x Heavy foot Hastati
    1x Heavy foot Princepes
    1x Heavy foot Triarii
    1x Skirmisher Velites

Below are two such legions (figures are a mix of Renegade and Aventine):

Four to eight such legions are allowed in a Roman army.  I define this as Option 1 where each component is one stand with the Triarii downgraded slightly to account for its historically smaller size.  Option 2 would have two stands each of Hastati, Princepes, and Velites in each legion.   

Impetvs supplement #4 arrived this week from On Military Matters containing new army lists for Greek hoplites, Alexander and his successors, and Rome and the Mediterranean. 

One of the new rules included in the supplement is specific to the Roman Republican army.  That rule describes line relief between Hastati and Princepes.  Since the Republican army was believed to be capable of line rotation, Impetvs adds this capability as well.  Now, given the right circumstances, supporting Princepes can rotate into battle to relieve the Hastati (or vice versa).  With this addition, the supporting unit can actually rotate into melee to replace the Hastati.  In fact, the Hastati, already in enemy contact, may fight one round of melee before being relieved.  The freshly rotated support is then able to fight a second melee with the same enemy.  Sounds like a powerful tactic for the Roman player.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Project Update Impetvs

With summer approaching in the northwest and increased work travel, time at the painting desk has decreased.  This week is no exception.  No new items made it off from the painting table this past week but several units are in various stages of completion. Back home on the painting table are the following Works-in-Progress:
  • 19x 15mm Peter Pig Ashigaru swordsmen
  • 2x 10mm Old Glory ACW supply wagons
  • 6x 10mm Old Glory ACW Parrot rifled guns and crew
  • 48x 15mm Old Glory Sardinian infantry
  • Rebasing two legions worth of 28mm Romans for Impetvs
I attempted to complete both 10mm ACW batches before I left Monday morning. "Morning" is really more like "middle of the night" since I was on the road by 3:00am.  Having completed the ACW pieces up to the point of dipping and basing by Sunday, I figured I had a better than even shot at getting them off the table before I left for the week.  Good thing I did not take myself up on that bet.  Sunday being Father's Day and a few household chores needing tending before my departure, my painting plans for the day fell to ruin.  The two supply wagons will likely be pressed into service as heavy casualty markers for Regimental Fire and Fury.

For the Impetvs unit rebasing, six skirmisher, one triarii, two hastati, two princepes, and two cavalry stands have been pulled off their stands and affixed to Impetvs sized bases.  I have an order submitted to Litko to increase inventory for more Impetvs complaint basing.  I really like the quality of Litko's products but their lead time seems to steadily run at about three weeks.  Having a three-four week delay for product delivery, planning becomes even a more important element.  To me, the Impetvs basing looks just right and the rules tick off the single stand unit requirement to which I am quite fond.

Even though I was content with the mechanisms contained within the free Basic Impetvs offering, I picked up a set of Impetvs rulebooks this week from eBay.  The four volume set consisted of rules and supplements 1 - 3.  Hot on the heals of this package, I ordered volumes 4 and 5 from On Military Matters.  Supplement 5 contains army lists for the medieval periods including lists for the Reconquista.  Perhaps, these will be awaiting when I return?

I have been purchasing books from Dennis at OMM since the mid-90s and he always delivers quickly with great communication.  In fact, I get a call from him when there is any difficulty with my order or payment.  He really is a great vendor. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Aventine Triarii

The latest addition to the 28mm Ancients Project is one Impetvs-sized stand of Aventine 28mm Triarii.  As a test, I based these on the recommended Impetvs stand size and I quite like the look of an Impetvs-based unit.  On the 120mm x 60mm base, I affixed 14 figures in two ranks.  Given my much recorded affinity towards "one unit = one stand" gaming and no casualty removals, this test piece has pushed me to the precipice of rebasing to Impetvs standards.

The downside is that my basing will no longer be compatible with the locals.  Given my figures have yet to see battle and Scott maintains a huge collection, that weakness could be dismissed.

The next test will be to try this basing scheme with either javelin or pilum armed troops in throwing positions.  Hopefully with the Impetvs basing scheme, the problem I face with weapon overhang and stands not aligning to their neighbor properly will be relieved.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Daily Double!

Sunday produced a daily double in gaming; quite a rare event for me.

Jake drove up from Moscow Sunday morning and then we carpooled to Terry's for a half day session of Regimental Fire and Fury.  The scenario Terry planned for today was the Battle of Port Republic.  Jake and I commanded the Federals while Ken and John took command of the Confederates.  The first phase of the game was played out earlier in the week and we simply started where the prior session stopped.  At the start of our game, Jackson was already bearing down on the Federal positions strung out across the valley floor with most of the Federal artillery atop the Coaling.
Confederates Advance on Federal Positions
With better troops and commanders, and a fistful of brave colonels, the Rebels were unlikely to fail any Maneuver rolls and we figured our foes would be aggressive.  In fact, they simply stormed ahead, wave after wave, as they girded themselves for frontal assaults.  Having a steady stream of replacements coming on-board, no need for the fine art of tactics.  Both sides reached heavy casualties after five turns.  

Federal artillery was deployed on the high ground at the Coaling.  While the artillery wreaked havoc on the Confederates in sight, the Union right collapsed after only a token resistance.  With the outcome all over except the crying, the Federals conceded the game even though they still held some of the key objectives.    
Union line breached
After a quick stop for lunch, Jake and I returned to my house for an afternoon session.  Our plan called for a game of Commands & Colors Samurai Battles in 15mm.  We had time for one game so we selected First Samurai Skirmish which pits too evenly matched forces in a straight-up contest.

Initial deployments
Initial Deployments Yellow Close-up

Initial deployments Red close up
Jake brought up his Samurai Battles kit and enough figures for Red.  I fielded Yellow contingent and this would be my troops' baptism under fire.

In the early turns, Red's firepower was used to pick apart several of my Yellow units at long range.  As I closed, three of Red's central units suffered damage but could not be finished off.  In a counterattack, I lost three units in quick succession including my most lethal Samurai horse unit.  Ouch!
Yellow Attacks
After that, momentum remained with Red faction as Jake picked up an additional two banners to win the game 5-3.  For my command, one unit of teppo had to be pressed into service as spearman due to a lack of enough Ashigaru spearman.  I need to paint and field a couple more units of spear.   For easier identification, I also color-code my units with green, blue, and red identifying marks.

An enjoyable day of gaming day including two different games in two venues.  What could be better?  Oh, possibly I could have managed a win in one of the games?  Not to be today!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Battle of San Martino 1859 BatRep 1200 - 1230

This is the last installment of the refight for the San Martino heights battle.  Although I set out the terrain for the entire battle, this replay only focused on the heated action over San Martino.  Even with that more narrow focus, my collection was stretched to the max.  Time to paint more figures.  Now to pick up the action... 

1200 Lang activates his division.  Reichlin rides over to IR19/4 in attempt to stop the rout.  He succeeds in restoring order into the battalion near Donnino.  IR27/4 remains disrupted from its earlier repulsed attack.  While IR19/4 and 27/4 attempt to sort themselves out, IR9/4 with support from IR18/4 assault two battalions of the 8th Infantry Regiment northwest of Contracania.  Outnumbered and outgunned, the 8th falls back to Monata Farm.
Austrians flank Contracania
In a bold move to clear the lower heights of Sardinians, Lippert leads an attack by the IR59/Grenadiers supported by IR59/1 against two battalions of the 7th Infantry Regiment.  Not able to stop the attack through firepower alone, the 7th is disrupted by the Austrian pressure to close.  Stubbornly clinging to the lower heights, the Sardinians force a stalemate but casualties are heavy on both sides as the firefight rages.  Both combatants reinforce the main battle line with their supports.
Lippert attacks
Lippert attacks
To screen the Austrian main attack, IR59/2 moves off the heights and interjects itself between San Martino and the ongoing firefight.  At Contracania, the 9th Jaegers fire into the complex forcing half of the 10 Bers to break and head towards the relative safety of Monata farm.  Remaining alone in the Contracania outpost is 10/1 Bers.        

On the Austrian right, Philipovic's infantry fire ineffectively into the Sardinians to his front.  Sardinian return fire is more effective with IR17/2 taking casualties.  5/1 Kaiser Jaegers fire out of San Martino into 12/2 IR at close range.  12/2 suffers casualties and becomes disrupted by the fire.  The battalion falls back to rally without success.
Overview at noon
Cucchiari's division activates with Acqui Brigade approaching San Martino along the Pozzolengo road.  12/1 and 12/2 move to the west of San Martino to counter IR59/2's advance.
Acqui BDE arrives
Acqui BDE arrives
Mollard activates and 8/1 and 8/4 recover from disruption. Arnaldi joins into the fray with the 7th IR to bolster the Sardinians resolve in the continuing firefight.  Mollard rides back to the 10/2 Bers to rally the broken unit.  Unable to stop the flight, Mollard is swept up in the rout as the Bersaglieri continues fleeing another 1,000 yards.

8/2 and 8/3 move up to plug the gap in the line left by the withdrawal of 8/1 and 8/4.  7/1 and 7/4 move up to the Roccolo farm.
Heated action in the center
In the continuing firefight sandwiched Contracania and Ortaglia,  IR59/Grenadiers suffer more casualties and reach the breaking point.  
Battle hangs in the balance
The grenadiers rout to the south about one-half mile.  Similarly, having been routed through by the grenadiers, IR59/1 falls back about a half mile.  As the Austrian center collapses, adjoining formations begin to sense the danger.  Both IR11/3 and the already shaken IR59/3 rout and stream towards the north while other nearby units become disrupted by the building panic.
Austrian collapse
At this point Benedek, seeing the disintegration of his center, orders his Corps to fall back to the river and make preparations for a defense. 

Wow!  What a sudden end to the game.  A series of poor die rolls by the Austrians saw their center collapse.  Given the disparity between the Sardinians' smoothbore muskets and the Austrians' rifled muskets, Lippert might have been prudent to remain on the heights and blast away at the approaching Sardinians.  Risking a frontal attack at close range negated the Austrian advantage in small arms.  Once the heights were secure, perhaps defending the high ground would have been a better tactic.

In the full battle, the Austrians must also be aware of the Sardinian columns coming from the west with thoughts of turning the San Martino position via Madonna della Scoperta.

By noon, two of Lang's three brigades were down to about 70% combat effective (CE) each.  With that reduction in CE, a defense is a better choice than an offense.  On the Sardinian side, Mollard's Cuneo Brigade and Cucchiari's Casale Brigade saw the most action.  By noon, Cuneo was fighting at 67% CE and Casale was at 81% CE.
Fallen combatants remain on the battlefield
This represents the first playtest and the QRS survived the initial battle with very few modifications.  A number of notes were jotted down during play and questions that arose were quickly adjudicated and documented.  I will perform a post-mortem on the game notes and make clarifications and changes as needed.  Game mechanisms are not very complex and play will likely be much faster in a multi-player outing rather than solitaire.

Time to put the troops away and get back to painting.  Perhaps I'll leave the battle set up and give Maurice a test over this very same ground?