Monday, April 29, 2019

Cavalry Refit: Vistula Legion Lancers

Finally!  The refitting of the 28mm Napoleonic cavalry from eight figures to nine is finished.  The last unit to receive the augmentation of one additional trooper and rebasing from pairs to triplets makes its way off the workbench.  That unit is the Vistula Legion Lancers.  A fitting and fine pedigreed unit to end this small project.  Feels good to have this task behind me. 
Where next on this project?  While a few Portuguese and Spanish remain in The Lead Pile, getting these newly, reconfigured cavalry out onto the gaming table would be a proper way to show off their new formations.  Perhaps refighting a small portion of Albuera would be appropriate?  Having fought Albuera in 15mm more than once, zooming in on a slice of the action at a more granular scale might be a fun exercise.  Which piece of the action to concentrate my efforts on is the question.  Having a number of planned battles to refight may push this idea onto a backburner for a while. 

Friday, April 26, 2019

Bavarian Morawitzky Musketeer Regiment

Seems like SYW figures have not trooped across the painting desk in a while.  That is about to change.  Several battalions of Bavarian infantry are forming up in the painting queue patiently awaiting their turn with the brush.
Off the painting desk today is a 23-figure battalion of Bavarian infantry from the Morawitzky Regiment.  These figures muster out as the second battalion of the regiment.  The first battalion mustered out a long time ago.  I think those figures were Freikorps 15's.  Finally, its sister battalion is called up for service.
While the mounted officer is an Eureka Miniatures figure, the musketeers are from Lancashire Games' 18mm SYW Austrian range.  This battalion is the first time Lancashire's SYW Austrians have seen the painting table.  Lancashire SYW Russians have made their way across the painting desk but not Austrians.  These are really great figures.  Easy to paint with nicely raised details.  I like the seemingly oversized tricornes too.  Size-wise, the figures compare favorably to Eureka, Blue Moon, and Old Glory infantry.  Expect more of these fine figures to come.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Austrian Hussar Rgt #7

Two more squadrons of Austrian hussars trot off the painting desk for the 1799 project.  These troopers muster out as the 7th Hussar Regiment.  With a medium blue pelisse and breeches, green shako, red saddlecloth, and yellow trim, these lads are a colorful bunch.  Exactly what one expects from Austrian hussars!  Figures are AB Miniatures from the French Revolution range.  The small range of  FRW Austrians from AB are probably my favorites of all of the AB Napoleonics.  These hussar sculpts are exceptionally well crafted.
After having reignited the painting production line following a two-week holiday in Egypt, several units are making their way through the painting queue.  Expect to see a return to the 15mm 1859 project as well as a few battalions of SYW Bavarians in 18mm.  The Bavarians are sourced from Lancashire Games' SYW Austrians and they are a joy to paint.  Three such Bavarian battalions are in work.  One more Battle Report from the recent spate of Great Italian Wars' games is yet to be created before memories of the game fade completely from mind.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Mantova, Italy

Casa del Buffone Rigoletto
In a continuation of Northern Italy's Quadrilateral fortress tour, Mantova/Mantua is the second Quadrilateral fortress visited.  Mantua was taken as a day trip by train from our base in Verona.  For the first quadrilateral fortress stop, see Peschiera del Garda.

With only a few hours to spend in Mantua, itself, we purchased the tourist package at the train station before setting off to explore.  The package allowed entry into many of the city's main attractions for one set fee.  Without further ado, on to my whirlwind tour of Mantua.  Some of the sites visited are highlighted in the photo-tour below:

Ducale Palace
A walk through the Ducale Palace is highlighted by the numerous works of art including frescoes, paintings, and statuary throughout the palace.  One such stop is the Hall of Pisanello where some of Pisanello's works are lining the walls.  I spent several minutes scrutinizing both The Tournament of the Castle of King Brangoire and The Legend of Lancelot.

The Legend of Lancelot
The Tournament of the Castle of King Brangoire
Detail of The Tournament of the Castle
 of King Brangoire 
Rotunda de San Lorenzo
A Romanesque church built in the 11th Century.  The oldest church in Mantua.

Torre dell'Orologio
An astronomical clock adjoining the rotunda.  Note the cover above the clock face to shield the clock from weather and the sun.  Besides showing the time of day, the clock displays the phases of the moon, planet location, and follows the sun's path through the signs of the Zodiac.
Basilica di Sant'Andrea
Construction for the church was begun in 1472 on a site occupied by a monastery.  The old monastery bell is seen in the photo below.  The Basilica was built as a repository for a Relic of the Holy Blood and as a place of pilgrimage.

Castello de San Giorgio
The castle was built between 1395 and 1406 for Francesco I Gonzaga. In 1810 the Tyrolean Freedom Fighter, Andreas Hofer was imprisoned here before his execution.  If interested in more background on the Tyrolean Revolt and Andreas Hofer, please visit Peter's blog (Blunders on the Danube: Andreas Hofer) for a vivid account.

Armor Museum
A fine selection of armor is on display in the museum.

After a three hour walk around Mantua, it was time to head back to the train station for our return trip to Verona.  Mantua is definitely a city in which a return visit would be most welcome.  Lovely city.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Maisnon - Italian Wars BatRep 3

After two Battles of Maisnon using To the Strongest! and one victory apiece for each of the protagonists, the battle was reconvened a few days later for a rematch.  With the rules and scenario still fresh in mind, the forces were redeployed and the game readied.  Jake remained in command of the army of Charles V while I commanded the army of Francois I.

Francois draws first Player and sets to work advancing the French army to engage the army of Charles V.  The French advance begins across the breadth of their battle line.  The Imperials, under the eye of Charles V, push the deeply ranked arquebusiers ahead of their main line.
French army advances in foreground
The three French pike blocks
Arquebus and crossbows from both sides exchange fire in a series of continuing volleys.  At first, few casualties are suffered as successful saving cards seem all too common.  Francois' center pike block pushes forward and soon outpaces its supporting pikes as the distance to its opposition closes.  With each block preceded by light infantry formations, these light infantry must be brushed aside before the main action can commence.
French pikemen
In the opening stages of the battle, the two Imperial guns, so deadly in the first game find pinpointing the range difficult.  The guns' accuracy likely is hindered by the French ability to screen their vulnerable, deep pike blocks.  French crossbowmen and arquebusiers maintain a harassing fire against their opposition.   
Looking down the battle lines.
(French on left, Spanish on right)
Not to be caught flatfooted, Charles orders his army forward to meet the attackers.  Charles does not advance too fast in order to keep his guns firing as long as possible before their targets become obscured.  Francois maintains a brisk pace in crossing the beaten zone of the Imperial guns. 
Imperial pikes advance
Imperial Men-at-Arms advance on the Imperial left
French heavy infantry continues the advance
After watching the infantry advance on the French left, the French cavalry on the right flank finally step off towards the enemy.  The cavalry have much ground to cover.  Bringing the French cavalry into contact against the Imperial cavalry will take time. 
French cavalry on the right advance
With the Imperials pushing forward a unit of Zweihanders in the center, the French Gendarmes are compelled to respond.  The aggressive Zweihanders are inflicting casualties on the French light infantry and must be stopped.  
Gendarmes attack the Zweihanders
As the heavy horsemen barrel into the swordsmen, the Zweihanders fail to make good their escape and are cut down by the elite French Genadarmes.
Zweihanders cut down by Genadarmes
While one unit of Gendarmes is taking care to clear out the Imperial center of light troops, the remainder of the French right wing charges into the waiting Imperial cavalry.
French cavalry charge into the Imperial left
The Spanish jinettes are forced to scatter while the French heavies contact the German MAAs.  In the following clash, the French Gendarmes suffer more than the Germans.  The Gendarmes fall back.
Cavalry clash on the French right
On the French left, two pike blocks crash into one another.  Weakened by arquebus and cannon fire beforehand, the French pikemen are scattered by the Imperial pike block. 
Push of pike
With a flank opened, the French need time to adjust.  A loss of two out of three pike blocks for either side likely spells defeat.  No time for repositioning is forthcoming, though.  The center Imperial pike block crashes into the central French block.  Seeing the tide turning against him, Francois pushes his final pike block into the fray.  While the third French pike engages and ties down the block to its front, it is too late.  A second French pike block is destroyed.  
Battle for control of the center
Two French pike blocks, gone!
Having defeated two French pike blocks and enough light troops to force the French army to its breaking point, Francois abandons the attack.  The French have been defeated and will be unable to send relief to their countrymen, this time.
Charles V victorious
That was a close contest and an enjoyable evening game.  Congratulations to Jake for his determined victory.  

The game lasted longer than the previous two contests due primarily to the length of each of the pike melees.  Each of these pike scrums battled back and forth over several turns with neither player able to exact the deciding blow.  Misses were plenty as were saves.

Witnessing a seemingly, above average number of Aces pulled on initial brigade activations in the previous two games, we implemented Peter's suggestion of redrawing an initial brigade activation failure.  While we had not tallied the number of initial activation Aces drawn in the first two contests, the number seemed large.  In this battle, we counted initial brigade activation failures.  The count was twelve.  Twelve!  Included in that lot were two double Ace draws.  Fortunately, brigade failures seemed to be evenly distributed between the two players.  This change worked well and allowed the game to move along with continuity.  This is a change we will likely keep.  

The Battle of Maisnon will see one more action before the troops retire back to their storage boxes.